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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 5, 2008 10:08 PM

Minnesota Twins at Mariners: 08/05 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

vidro0805 039.jpg

A younger look to the Mariners tonight, with four guys in the starting lineup who were in Class AAA at the start of the season. That would be Wladimi Balentien at DH, Jeremy Reed in CF, Bryan LaHair at 1B and Jeff Clement catching. Oh yeah, wait. R.A. Dickey is pitching. Make that five guys out of 10 if you include hitters and the starting pitcher.

Tell you what, if these Twins hope to be serious playoff contenders come September, they'll have to learn how to hold a lead. Jose Lopez just doubled home a pair off Joe Nathan in the eighth to put Seattle ahead 8-7 as we head to the bottom of the ninth. What a wild ride. J.J. Putz is still out there. He threw only eight pitches in the eighth. Hang on, folks!

Jim Riggleman had plenty to say about today's moves before the game. Hear a lengthy clip from him about the DFA of Jose Vidro right here in which he talks about why the team waited so long to make the move. Also, how he was surprised no one picked up Vidro in a trade.

"I couldn't believe the phone wasn't ringing for someone to take Jose Vidro,'' he said.

Here is some more audio from Riggleman on why Brandon Morrow was sent down now. Just a day or two ago, Riggleman was stressing the need to see J.J. Putz notch back-to-back-to-back saves (never mind just back-to-back). Now, all that's been forgotten, so I asked him why there was such an about-face in thinking. He told me it had to do with the fragile balance between giving fans their money's worth (meaning not losing every night) and building for the future.

"Every night, our guys are trying to win and our staff is trying to win,'' he said. "But we're not going to win the pennant.''

No, they most certainly will not win the pennant or anything else. I suspect, as I wrote earlier, that the sudden change has plenty to do with the need to address the rotation. That Miguel Batista start of three innings last night, not to mention some other abbreviated outings, will likely necessitate the call-up of Ryan Rowland-Smith by his next turn in the rotation. Might Batista go to the bullpen? Perhaps. At that point, you'd want to option Morrow down in any event. So, there was little chance of Putz getting three straight (let alone two consecutive) save opportunities by Thursday or Friday. So, you might as well get Morrow down to Class AAA right now. Which the team has done.

vidro0805 035.jpg
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And the guy who made tonight's Seattle lineup possible, Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, down on the field checking it all out before the game.

9:47 p.m.: Seattle fans are getting an early taste of what life at the back of this bullpen could be for a while. The M's just coughed up a three-run lead in the eighth and now trail 7-6 after a two-run homer by Mike Kubel off Cesar Jimenez and a two-run double by Mike Lamb off J.J. Putz. No, Putz doesn't look quite back to normal just yet. But this was always going to be the risk. This entire night of pitching by R.A. Dickey, going seven innings and allowing only three runs, has now been wasted. Dickey did solidify his bid to remain in the rotation. If I was Miguel Batista, I'd be a little nervous.

9:08 p.m.: Two more runs batted in by Raul Ibanez in the sixth inning, on a bases loaded, two-out single off southpaw reliever Craig Breslow, have made it a 6-3 lead for the M's. Ibanez has five RBI tonight. He just tied the club record for RBI in a two-game period (11) and a three-game period (14), both set by Ken Griffey Jr. in April 1999. R.A. Dickey is back out there for the seventh inning, his pitch count at 93.

8:45 p.m.: Jason Kubel led off the sixth inning with a blast into the right field seats off R.A. Dickey, who's danced in and out of trouble for most of the night. Dickey did a fine job escaping a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning and still has a 4-3 lead as we head to the bottom of the sixth. Seattle could use some add-on runs. It won't have Brandon Morrow to close things out tonight.

8:05 p.m.: Seattle just took a 4-2 lead in the third inning, courtesy of a three-run homer by Raul Ibanez and a sacrifice fly from Wladmir Balentien. Ibanez now has nine RBI in two days. Player of the Week should be wrapped up by tomorrow night. Ichiro led things off with an infield single, followed by a single to left on a sinking liner by Jeremy Reed. Ibanez stepped up and crushed a Scott Baker pitch into the right field stands. Jose Lopez (having a heck of a game at the plate and in the field so far), then beat out his second infield single of the night. Jeff Clement followed with a single to right center, with Lopez taking third. And Wladimir Balentien notched an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Big inning.

7:50 p.m.: Minnesota has taken a 2-0 lead as we head to the third inning. R.A. Dickey wasn't hit all that hard in the second, but the Twins scored twice off him anyhow. A dribbler up the third base line managed to stay fair as catcher Jeff Clement tried to blow it foul. An ensuing flair into by Delmon Young put two on and a groundout to first base moved the runners up. Dickey then uncorked a wild pitch to bring one run home and Brendan Harris hit a sacrifice fly to left to score the other.

Seattle had a chance in the bottom of the frame when Jose Lopez beat out an infield single and Jeff Clement walked. Wladimir Balentien skied a ball to right field for an out, with Lopez advancing to third. But Bryan LaHair then struck out and Yuniesky Betancourt grounded out. Younger lineup, same lousy results in a chance for a big inning. At least, so far.

7:20 p.m.: One inning in the books and we're scoreless. Each team had a hit. Joe Mauer notched a single off R.A. Dickey with two out, but Justin Morneau waved at a full-count offering. Then, Jeremy Reed came through with a one-out double. Raul Ibanez grounded out, Reed advancing to third. But Adrian Beltre then grounded out to the third baseman to end the frame.

The lineups:

TWINS (62-50)

2 Denard Span RF
8 Nick Punto 2B
7Joe Mauer C
33 Justin Morneau 1B
16 Jason Kubel DH
21 Delmon Young LF
32 Brian Buscher 3B
23 Brendan Harris SS
22 Carlos Gomez CF

30 Scott Baker RHP

MARINERS (43-69)

51 Ichiro RF
8 Jeremy Reed CF
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
4 Jose Lopez 2B
9 Jeff Clement C
50 Wladimir Balentien DH
39 Bryan LaHair 1B
5 Yunieksy Betancourt SS

41 R.A. Dickey RHP

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Posted by CougTat

7:00 PM, Aug 05, 2008

WOW I have to say that's the most interesting line up all year. That makes me WANT to tune in and watch this game.


Posted by I am awesome

7:04 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Go Rainiers!

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

7:06 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Something is seriously wrong with the M's.

First, they put up 10 runs in the 7th last night to come back from down 6-0.

Then, today, they make a no-brainer move and DFA Vidro.

Will someone please tell me what happened to our team and FO? Where did they go? And who are these apparent professionals that took their spots?

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

7:07 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Oh, and send Morrow down to stretch him out. I forgot that move.

Definitely, something or someone has replaced our FO in the past day or so.

Or, is there a pending sale of the M's?

Posted by scottM

7:10 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Balentienforcer. It's very clear now. You wanted to be the president of your own fan club. We're truly impressed with your political savvy!!

I do wish your organization well. Success for Wlad would be a great windfall for the M's (and save the organization millions). We will be on the sidelines watching how this unfolds.



Posted by The Mariners FO.

7:14 PM, Aug 05, 2008

We were not replaced, The Jose Guillen Society held a basket of rally fries under our noses until we made the moves. Those people play hardball!!!

Posted by The Ghost of Bavasi

7:28 PM, Aug 05, 2008

I hope Morrow doesn't take Silva's spot in the rotation. We are paying him too much money to do anything but start!!

Posted by mikey

7:32 PM, Aug 05, 2008

"I couldn't believe the phone wasn't ringing for someone to take Jose Vidro,'' he said.

HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA are you kidding me???

Posted by Scanman

7:35 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Once again the Game looks like it will survive along with all of our hopes and dreams and Entertainment is taking a backseat to the Grand old Game.

Posted by Balentienforcer

7:39 PM, Aug 05, 2008

No political savvy here (lord knows there's none to be found publicly in this city).

I just want power....OFFENSIVE POWER for the M's.

Hopefully Wald can be a catalyst for the entire team.

ScottM, you are respectfully invited to be a charter member of the club though (along with Walla Walla Girl, and Frankie)


Posted by Balentienforcer

7:47 PM, Aug 05, 2008

OK, well, 1st at bat for Wlad......advancing the runner with no outs isn't bad!!

I smelled a Vidro DP there!!

GO M's!!!


Posted by 11Records

7:51 PM, Aug 05, 2008


I can't believe how many people on here are calling Clement a bust after like 150 AB's. Get real! It might take a while for him to get adjusted. But you can't give up on him yet!

Moving on - Not to bag on Carlos Silva (and Bill Bavasi) in this thread, but Dan Haren just signed a 4 year extension. For just under $45 million. Silva's deal is 4 years and $48M.

Let's exclude this season's (Cy Young Caliber) numbers from the equation, and look at Haren's numbers in 2005, 2006, and 2007 vs. Silva's:


3.73 14 12 217 212 101 90 53 163
4.12 14 13 223 224 109 102 45 176
3.07 15 9 222.2 214 91 76 55 192

3.44 9 8 188.1 212 83 72 9 71
5.94 11 15 180.1 246 130 119 32 70
4.19 13 14 202 229 99 94 36 89

So - SERIOUSLY - can someone tell me how on this earth Silva has a bigger deal than Haren?

Posted by Eddy

7:56 PM, Aug 05, 2008

felix the cat, that wonderful, wonderul bat, he lets it fly, it goes so high into the summer night. felix the cat, the wonderful, wonderful bat...

Posted by Batter Up!!!

8:02 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Posted by Scott

8:11 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Boy, I bet the Mets and D-backs are glad they didn't trade for Ibanez! Rauuuuuuuuuul's on fire right now.

Posted by Balentienforcer

8:11 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Oh, Yeah....The little things count!!

Nice Sac and RBI for Wlad.

And I see the haters have moved on to busting on Clement....Puhleeze. He IS the future.


Posted by yeah baby

8:12 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Woo hoo!! Youth!!

Posted by diablo

8:15 PM, Aug 05, 2008

what a mess im a mariners nmania fan i grew up playing hardball in the street from the field,the three pitchers have all fallen in the bigd this stuff happens,now what???Bedard i wouldve said yes a lefty and looked more mature as a pitcher last year, for what ive seen.But really now what does this Braintrust do ??I feel Morrow Aumont i love .They blew it when they wouldn't put in clement to the twins for Santana.

Posted by nodiggity

8:16 PM, Aug 05, 2008

What the hell is in going on today? The Mariners are actually making some logical moves, getting rid of that waste of spaceJose Vidro, sending Brandon Morrow to start in the minors, and bringing up some youngsters from AAA. You also have the Mariners actually leading a game. And on top of that Richie Sexson just hit a grand slam.

Posted by Singles are better than nothing

8:22 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Game Graphic, 4th inning: Ichiro has 143 hits. Aren't there only about 60 games left in the season? Will he get 200? And does it matter?

Posted by RagArm

8:51 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Boo! I looked at the picture of Howard Lincoln and then saw John McCain and noticed they are both pale as a ghost. Or did they see the ghost of Bavasi in the dugout? Spooky.

Reed 3 for 3. Balentine down on a 3 pitch called strike. Yep, I'm watching again. Vidro is gone and win or lose we can cheer for the future now.

Posted by 11Records

8:58 PM, Aug 05, 2008

I'm gonna come right out and say this now....

If the bullpen ends up blowing this game, I'm not gonna complain about Morrow's absence. I'm gonna nod and say, "decent start by Dickey. Some nice work from Wlad and Clement. Let's get 'em tomorrow".

Of course, if the M's can get Raul to the plate here, the bullpen may not really have too tough a task.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

9:15 PM, Aug 05, 2008

These obvious, long overdue, logical moves by the M's have improved the mood on this blog immediately! Finally! What took you so long, FO?!

But ... it's not yet enough. Keep making the moves, dumping geezers, and bringing up young guys ... or else TJGS will be back holding a basket of rally fries under your noses. Expect the hard bargaining to continue if appropriate moves aren't made.

Go Mariners. And Go Away Geezers.

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

9:26 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Clement has seen 23 pitches so far tonight, WTF is going on here? This team is fun to watch again.

Posted by Sounders

9:34 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Mwhaah haa haaa!!!!!

I see Howie and Chuckie are trying to do something. You guys. Baghead Nation will not be appeased by your meaningless and trivial moves!

Step Off!!!! Do it now!!!

Posted by Sounders

9:43 PM, Aug 05, 2008


Haren signed a good deal with AZ because they have a baseball team, and a competent organization, not a circus sideshow.

The M's would've had to pay him double the money to come to this craphole and deal with Howie and Chuckie

Posted by Sounders

10:02 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Putz sux ass. One year wonder

Posted by scottM

10:07 PM, Aug 05, 2008


Posted by tomtom

10:22 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Well folks, that is definitely the season's TOWEL being thrown in immediately after last nights surprise win over the hottest team in baseball. the M's won, so they changed their entire outfit.

Gone is the mild mannered, switch-hitting Pro, and UP COMES a young guy with a record of K K K K K Ks in the MLB. We must be cycling in against some more difficult teams instead of battling against last place teams.

Lest we forget, Vidro was a part of that win; and lest we forget, our hot new 1B had to be taken out cause his bat cooled. You can expect more of that kind of 4 and ZIP stuff against a Pitcher the Pros are eating alive, once all the kids get back into regular play.

It was good to see Clement get a clutch hit to bring in winning runs... he gets so few; it was a good sign of how he gets on-board a rally. That kind of hitting frenzy makes the Pro smell blood and lick his lips; and make the rookies' eyes bug out.

So the old mild mannered Pro is gone, and SOMEBODY managed.... excuse the pun... to make certain we don't embarrass a really good team for the rest of the year.

So typically MARINER of us, don't you think?????

Posted by choker

10:22 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Forget Putz.. when are we going to see Josh Fields??

Posted by B in BL

10:22 PM, Aug 05, 2008

What a game!

Anyone know when Morrow's first start will be?

Posted by ben

10:23 PM, Aug 05, 2008

KUBEL...... we can't solve him tonight...

Posted by scottM

10:27 PM, Aug 05, 2008

whew! Nice to have a dominant closer in JJ.

Posted by ness77

10:52 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Tomtom, I don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

It was interesting to hear, after listening to that Riggleman interview, some insight into the statistics our manager employs. To paraphrase, he said Vidro didn't have a good average, but his RBI's per at-bat and "good plate approach" made him think other teams would be calling about a trade for him. Jim, he has a bad average because he's washed up, and he has good RBI numbers because you moronically keep batting him cleanup.

On the bright side, this was the second fun game in a row! Two of the only bright spots this year - the development of Lopez as a solid hitting 2nd baseman, and the pickup of a charismatic,compatent 4th starter (Dickey) basically for free. And now a bunch of good roster moves as well. Let the good times roll! Er, at least the better times...

Posted by Patti

11:41 AM, Aug 06, 2008


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