Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
August 8, 2008 11:09 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
The Mariners did indeed lose 5-3 to the Rays as Troy Percival closed out a 1-2-3 ninth. Once James Shields got that three-run lead, you kind of knew he wasn't going to give it back.
Carlos Silva just went off on his teammates (some of them) in the clubhouse post-game. Says only half the team trying to win, the other half padding stats and making starters look bad. Said he's close to throwing someone up against a wall.
Listen to the audio portion of what he said right here.
"Maybe half of the team wants to do the best they can,'' Silva said. "Take the starting rotation...every time we cross that line, we want to do our best. No matter how many games we are behind. But maybe half of the team doesn't have that mentality. They are only thinking of finishing strong. And to put up their numbers. That's great, but that affects us. As a team, that doesn't work out.''
Silva's nickname (the other one that isn't Bison related) is The Chief. Here's another comment from him, referring to himself in the third person.
"Maybe Chief has to go and grab somebody from his neck and throw him into the wall and something's going to change,'' he said. "I'm very close to doing that, so write that down.''
This game was pretty much done by the third inning after Silva gave up four runs, three of them earned. Yuniesky Betancourt put an exclamation point on his Bobblehead Night by throwing a routine grounder into the camera bay behind first base. Two runs scored on that play. Jeff Clement had a nice double off the center field wall and a two-hit night, while Raul Ibanez made a leaping catch at the wall.
But I thought Ichiro could have made a better throw home (or not attempted a throw home in the first place) on a single to right in the third inning that scored Ben Zobrist, who is not exactly a track star. Both runners moved up on the play, allowing each to score on the Betancourt error. Carl Crawford ran hard up the line to first on the Betancourt throw. Remember, the Rays benched B.J. Upton the other day for not running out a grounder. The little things can mean all the difference.
"I don't care if we are 40 games behind, we should have played better than this,'' Silva said. "For me, every game is important. For me, if we are where we are right now, we should take it one game at a time and play one day at a time. Thinking 'We've got to win this game'. And when the day is over 'We've got to win the next one.' ''
Many of you will laugh at Silva and accuse him of making excuses for his poor record and ERA. You would be dead wrong. Silva is the last guy to make an excuse for a poor performance. He isn't saying anything that others haven't mentioned privately throughout the season. He's just the only one with the guts (and maybe the size) to say it in public. Put it this way, as he spoke, Felix Hernandez, a guy who's pitched pretty well this year, was standing about two feet to Silva's right listening to every word and smiling.
"It's tough, man,'' Silva said. "It's tough, because you never want to be in this (last place) position. Because, especially for us, as a pitcher, it's going to kill you. Especially as a starting pitcher, that's going to affect you so much.''
Jarrod Washburn was off to Silva's left. He could also hear -- the clubhouse was almost devoid of other players -- but chose to say nothing. Didn't jump up to protest. Nor agree out loud. He just listened. So, I finally asked Silva whether the other pitchers felt the same way he did. He looked at both Hernandez and Washburn, who both looked back at him.
"I don't know, but, Felix and Wash, we are very competitive,'' he said. "I can talk about those two. Very competitive, I don't know if they feel the same way I feel, but I'm sure they are very close (to it) too.''
Neither pitcher seemed to disagree. At least not out loud.
Jim Riggleman alluded to some of Silva's struggles, moments before the pitcher went off. He talked of how hard Silva has taken every defeat and how he's worked to grind out innings even while struggling all year to find control of his sinker.
"The way he gets after it is the way we want everyone to do it,'' he said.
It's a nice dream. But it's still not happening yet. And winning in the big leagues is about a whole lot more than putting up fancy numbers when they mean little. When these games meant something back in April and May, very few numbers were anywhere to be found. From folks being counted on to win.
Yes, this team still has problems. Learning how to bring it game-in, game-out is one of them. And it's a problem that's been here all season. Won't show up on a stats sheet. But it impacts the games just the same.
By the way, Ryan Rowland-Smith is here and starts tomorrow. Jared Wells goes to AAA.