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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 9, 2008 4:46 PM

Tampa Bay Rays at Mariners -- 8/8/09 game thread

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

9:17 p.m. And it all comes crumbling down. All told, seven straight Rays reached with two outs, turning a 5-1 lead into a 7-5 deficit. And RRS will not be leaving today with his first win as a ML starter.

8:53 p.m. Rowland-Smith got a standing ovation for striking out Carlos Pena to end the fifth, and that might have been the seminal moment of the game there.

The Mariners wasted an opportunity in the third. They had runners on second and third with no out, but Balentien fouled out, followed by a shallow fly out by Bryan LaHair and another pop foul by Johjima. Here's betting that Carlos Silva noticed.

8:03 p.m. Gabe Gross tags Rowland-Smith with a HR to right, and it's 5-1. But otherwise, Rowland-Smith is hanging in there, with 43 pitches through three. He's got a good chance to go six or more.

7:53 p.m. The M's rattled four straight hits off Matt Garza there, with Johjima's double the biggest of them. With no outs, Sam Perlozzo made the right move to keep runners at third on the hits by Johjima and Yuniesky Betancourt. Both runs eventually scored.

Mariners lead 5-0.

7:32 p.m. The Mariners got a couple there, starting with Ichiro's leadoff HR, but they probably walk away from that inning thinking they should have had another. Lopez popped out with Ibanez on third and one out; with the infield in, he just had to get something past the dirt.

It's 2-0 M's.

Ryan Rowland-Smith had a bit of a scare there in the first, grazing Carlos Pena's face with an 0-2 fastball, but otherwise, he looked solid in the first inning. He goes 13 pitches -- 11 of them strikes. He threw just one ball to Upton and another to Pena.

Ryan Rowland-Smith is back from Tacoma and will start today. Jared Wells, as Geoff mentioned last night, has been sent back down. Rowland-Smith's trip back to Seattle could last the rest of the season. A spot in the rotation is his as long as he pitches well enough to keep it.

Ichiro will DH for the first time this season. Reed's in center, Balentien in right, and Ibanez in left.

For Tampa, rookie 3B Evan Longoria is still out of the lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Carl Crawford, LF
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Jason Bartlett, DH
6. Ben Zobrist, SS
7. Willy Aybar, 3B
8. Dioner Navarro, C
9. Gabe Gross, RF

RHP Matt Garza


1. Ichiro, DH
2. Jeremy Reed, CF
3. Raul Ibanez, LF
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. Jose Lopez, 2B
6. Wladimir Balentien, RF
7. Bryan LaHair, 1B
8. Kenji Johjima, C
9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith

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Posted by Cynical Optimist

5:07 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Too bad Clement's not out there but I guess you gotta give Kenji time too. Nice to see Balentien moving up in the order, let's hope he keeps up his hitting. GO RRS!

Posted by -j.

5:38 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Clement finally has a good game going 2 for 3 then gets benched the next day.

With Ichiro DHing for the first time today that maybe more than Raul has DHed this year.

Posted by dc

5:48 PM, Aug 09, 2008

If Johjima was told yesterday that he's not the starting catcher anymore, then why in the world is Clement not catching tonight? Geez, every time he starts to show a groove they put Johjima out there. It's that kind of stuff that drives me nuts about this team. I just don't get it.

Posted by Adam

5:58 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I'm sure Mr. X is happy that Ichiro isn't in the OF tonight. Finally we'll have an OF full of players who like to dive!

Posted by aaron

6:01 PM, Aug 09, 2008


Clement is starting to feel it and you sit him for the guy that you told isn't playing? WHAT THE CRAP? Honestly, does anyone know?

Posted by scottM

6:14 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Haiku #19

Will the big Chief choke
After Riggles takes a poke––
At our pitching joke?

Posted by 11Records

6:26 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I'm assuming Johjima is starting because it's RRS's 3rd or 4th MLB start and he's thrown much more to Kenji.

Furthermore - with tomorrow being a day game after a night game, Clement was gonna sit one of these 2 games anyway. And, they probably want him to catch Dickey tomorrow.

Of course, they can start Burke tomorrow and make me look like an idiot...

Posted by Frustrated

6:36 PM, Aug 09, 2008

One of the only games I go to all year, and Clement isn't starting. I really don't want to watch Kenji go 0-4. I would much rather watch Clement go 0-4, because at least he has a future. Garza isn't even left handed!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

7:06 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Adam - It's entirely possible Mr. X is waiting for a trifecta tonight: shoulder injury for Raul (bang into left field wall), broken wrist again for Reed (dive), something non-specific yet 15-day-DL for Wlad (bang into right field railing). As long as they're gamers who go all out, right?

Posted by Batter Up!!!

7:09 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Wiggles needs to take his own advise and talk to the Buffalo, not the press.

Please get this guy out of town along with the rest of this wannabe management team & FO.

Please let us have local ownership soon!

Posted by Adam

7:11 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Chris - And if Ibanez continues to just try and "pad his stats," he's going to be peeved...

Posted by oregongal

7:23 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Damn that Ichiro with his selfish home runs and all.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

7:25 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I think Ichiro was sending a message!

Posted by 11Records

7:33 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I've said it before, I'll say it again - Ichiro is a gangster.

Posted by 11Records

7:36 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Hey - here's a philosophical question for you...

If Silva calls out Ichiro - and Ichiro responds by hitting the 2nd pitch he sees into the seats, does that mean that Silva was being a GOOD teammate, and not a dick?

Posted by Pirata Morado

7:40 PM, Aug 09, 2008

"beltre is gonna stick out on a pitch over his head or low and away. mr anti clutch"

No, remember that he is not unclutch, according to many, he's "unlucky".

Posted by Chris from Bothell

7:40 PM, Aug 09, 2008

11records - Gangster? Hell, Ichiro borders on being a warlock.

Posted by doug

7:45 PM, Aug 09, 2008

well he didnt K but equally poor result. This is what we pay top 3b dollar for.

Posted by oregongal

7:56 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I can't help it, I'm still a Kenji fan.

Posted by Ichi-GO

8:03 PM, Aug 09, 2008


Your obsession with high-priced, under-producing Japanese cathcers is disturbing and more than a little sick...please seak professional help! :-)

Posted by oregongal

8:10 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Rooting for Kenji is what they call a self limiting illness--it is only possible for a game at a time.

Nice start for our Aussie friend. Not too many Mariner pitchers have had five runs to work with this season.

Posted by doug

8:11 PM, Aug 09, 2008

lope> ichi

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:26 PM, Aug 09, 2008

chigo- if he does indeed stay at his own hotel this will back up the reasons why I read teammates resent Ichiro. I am curious if he takes his own private jet and flies separate from his teammates. It's too bad Geoff doesn't investigate Ichiro like he did with Julio Mateo and his criminal past, LOL!

In the end we can argue about how selfish Ichiro really is until we are blue in the face. The reality remains he is here until his career ends.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:39 PM, Aug 09, 2008

If you every played competitive sports in your life. Your teammates appreciate it when you dive for a ball or make an aggressive play especially on a short fly ball. Otherwise they look at you as selfish or non-caring about the team.

I would be curious to read what Richie Sexson, Jose Vidro, and Jose Guillen believe regarding Ichiro. Maybe, Ichiro is actively involved with his teammates and we don't see it. I know lIchiro used to publicly socialize with Mike Cameron on the bench and in the locker room. When I see Ichiro on the bench, I never, ever, ever, see him interact with anybody other than the rare conversation with Kenji.

Posted by tugboatcritic

8:41 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin- Ichiro occasionally takes selfish ab's, especially late in the game. He is not, and should not be considered a selfish player due to this deficiency. He doesn't hurl himself after balls that some would think he could get to. He doesn't steal a money bag when everyone in the park thinks he should go. That's his game. He plays percentages and generally comes out on top. I would change some of his approach if I could, but he is a fine player, overpaid perhaps, but very good at what he does.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:45 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin - FWIW, I did read a bit in a pre-season about how Ichiro took time to talk to Mike Morse - invited him over to his place for dinner, talked about defense and baseball in general. This was when it looked like Morse had a serious shot at hitting his way into playing left field, or at least a bench spot, pre-injury.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:49 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Well, there you go. Ichiro may indeed be a team player. I have to agree with Tugboat on his style of game, but he may be a good teammate after all. I could see however how his teammates may resent him if he was allowed special rules that allowed him to come to the park late, or stay at his own hotels, not travel with his teammates, etc.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:53 PM, Aug 09, 2008

At the end of this game, I better read numerous references to Lopez's throwing error by Mr. Geoff Baker, otherwise I will continue to call him biased.

Posted by Mr. October

8:59 PM, Aug 09, 2008

"I would be curious to read what Richie Sexson, Jose Vidro, and Jose Guillen believe regarding Ichiro"
Or you could read waht some Hall of Famers think of him:
I know, who are they to judge him...

Posted by BrianL

9:08 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Richie Sexson was a fiery clubhouse leader?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:09 PM, Aug 09, 2008

With all due respect to those Hall of Famers, they didn't battle day in and day out with Ichiro in the locker rooms or on the bench.

Posted by 11Records

9:11 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Would it be wrong to say that Cesar Jimenez and Jose Lopez have totally screwed Ryan Rowland-Smith?

Posted by Faceplant

9:13 PM, Aug 09, 2008

no its RRS and ichiro who screwed this one up

Posted by Mr. October

9:15 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Yeah, we know ALL Hall of Famers are consumate teammates. Rings or no rings.

Posted by M Dogg

9:16 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Sexson? His middle name is "Fire"....or is it Lockwood? Oh, well same thing.

Posted by Why oh Why

9:17 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Please, please please don't let Lopez play the field anymore. That's 3 plays that he could and should have made. Well maybe not him, but an athletic 2b.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:19 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Well, this is what we saw happen under McLaren. A failure to quickly recognize a pitcher is losing it and is slow to the trigger. This has happened all year since Riggleman took over, slow to pull starters and relievers from games. Remiscent of how he rode his starters hard in (Kerry Wood) Chicago.

Something to talk about when some fans look at Riggleman's response to Silva in a newspaper interview over what Riggleman does on the field.

Posted by Dana

9:22 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Nice to see Jimenez throw some gasoline on the fire. Two out and the bases loaded - single, double, double, single. Way to help out RRS.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:23 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin - 2 outs in 6 pitches in the 6th is losing it? No, RRS was fine. He should have finished the 6th. If the Ms end up losing this one it's Lopez's fault. No-decision for RRS? Lopez's fault.

Posted by Tom

9:24 PM, Aug 09, 2008

God, this team is awful, blow the whole frickin' thing up.

Why I keep watching this crap I don't know.

Posted by headliner

9:31 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Lopez should be called on his sloppy play but Riggleman will make the same excuses McClaren did. I think this is what Silva was alluding to. The sloppy middle infield play, costing pitchers their wins.

Posted by oregongal

9:33 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Jeez, I leave the game for half an hour and come back to the Mariners I've come to know. Yuni and Lopez are so damn frustrating when they forget how to catch and throw. Guess I missed another Lopez throw.

Posted by Why oh Why

9:35 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Betancourt and Lopez are lazy pieces of sh@#. They are so nonchalant about everything. How about they get benched for their lack of caring in the field.
Did we pay these guys before they were due for arbitration? Seems like they got their $$ and now are lazy and are not even trying to improve. Suck.

Posted by Sounders

9:39 PM, Aug 09, 2008


Posted by headliner

9:43 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Lopez is hitting good, let him DH and put some defense in at 2nd. Yuni is bad at both ends.

Posted by Bavasi's Ghost

9:47 PM, Aug 09, 2008

ReXin is a Yuni-Lopez apologist.

It's not their fault, waw. the M's caoches are coaching them wrong, waw.

Posted by RagArm

10:03 PM, Aug 09, 2008

I got blasted on another thread for suggesting that Lopez is a sloth. Tonight proves it. When he booted the double play attempt and put RRS in a bind early I knew we had trouble.

Yuni and Lopez need some Lou Penella fire on their asses!

Posted by Tom

10:05 PM, Aug 09, 2008

If Lopez can't run out those groundballs up the middle because he doesn't have enough speed, just put him at 3rd base next year and sign Orlando Hudson in the offseason to play 2nd.

Posted by RagArm

10:09 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Kenji, Yuni, Jose. Why not Clement, Bloomquist, and Cairo at second? These three jokers have to be dealt.

Posted by 11Records

10:11 PM, Aug 09, 2008

So far as I'm concerned they can cut Yuni right now. Absolutely useless.

Posted by 11Records

10:14 PM, Aug 09, 2008

At least the selfish Ichiro bailed out Yuni there.

Also - for the first team in 3 weeks (notwithstanding Clement's thumb injury) it's come in handy to have 3 catchers. Cause Clement was able to hit for Kenji, then they were able to pr from Clement with Cairo.

I wonder if the oh so selfish Ichiro will try to snag a bag here. Pump up his stats...

Posted by scottM

10:18 PM, Aug 09, 2008

RRS on the bench biting a towel. Él Buffalo Chief sits nearby wearing a muzzle. The only choking going on is out in the field of play. Like gagging on a Pez.

We have Pez Jimeñez and Pez Lopez.

Hey Riggleman, why not let RRS clean up his own mess at 107 pitches in the sixth? Pez Jimeñez has shown repeatedly since he came up that he loves to give up the big hits when it counts. Why no short leash on Pez Jimeñez, Riggles?

Pez Lopez only has 9 errors in 2008, and has become a master at choking on the play, but not getting the error. At least Pez Lopez is versatile. Those difficult balls roll under his belly, bounce off the tip of his glove, stick to the leather when he does catch them. They're not errors but it must take much practice and training to find so many ways to not get an error yet still choke.

And, where was the effort on that safe call at second? Was he sucking on a Pez and afraid he might gag. The ump had it right. With plenty of time, José Lopez doesn't extend his arm. How hard would it have been to block the base on that play that cost two runs?

To heck with bobbleheads, with this choking play can the M's have a Mickey Mouse Pez Dispenser Night?

Posted by downonstrikes

10:26 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Should have started Clement. Good double and an RBI. Nice job!

Yuni fouls off a bunt. yep!

Posted by Dana

10:26 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Betancourt Can't field and again can't bunt. Pathetic!

Posted by Dana

10:29 PM, Aug 09, 2008

And here comes another Putz meltdown???

Posted by 11Records

10:37 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Either Yuni or J.Lo is gonna get a walkoff hit, and everyone's gonna forget their crazy midgame suckage.

Just a hypothesis.

Posted by Ben

10:53 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Anybody know how many walks per inning JJ has given up this year?

Posted by Dnak

10:53 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Is this J.J. Ayala pitching?????

Posted by doug

10:56 PM, Aug 09, 2008

JJ was not all that dominant last year and is awful this yr. rather have matt thornton both years

Posted by 11Records

11:03 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Doug - You're insane. JJ's season last year was one of the most dominant by a closer EVER. He allowed 50 runners in 72 innings.

Matt Thornton? 46 baserunners in 47 innings.

So - not to be a dick, but get real.

Posted by scottM

11:04 PM, Aug 09, 2008

You were almost right about Yuni, 11Records. Heck of a catch!

JJ looked solid once the pressure was on. Too bad he created his own pressure.

Posted by dumb bloggers

11:05 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Doug said JJ was not all that dominant last year
..Hey stupid take your head out of your ass and get the f*ck away from the keyboard dipshit.

Posted by Nat

11:06 PM, Aug 09, 2008

11records- don't ever take doug seriously. He just likes to get a rise out of anyone who's gullible enough to take the bait.

Posted by 11Records

11:06 PM, Aug 09, 2008

JJ's stats:

Matt Thornton's

BTW - JJ blew 2 saves last year in 42 chances. Thornton blew 5 in 7 chances.

Posted by Nat

11:16 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Can Beltre get a clutch hit?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:25 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Pull every single ball possible not in the strike zone=unlucky

That Adrian Beltre sure is one unlucky son of a . He is not a big game hitter. He is not a smart hitter either, nearly getting called out by intentionally trying to get hit by the pitch.

Dear Front Office:

Please trade Adrian Beltre this winter so he can become unlucky with another ball club. Thanks and have a great day.

Posted by Nat

11:30 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Bottom of the 11th Percival comes in. I want to be optimistic but experience says, good luck with that...

Posted by 11Records

11:31 PM, Aug 09, 2008


A walk, a stolen base, and groundout to move the runner over and a Sac Fly?

I didn't know that it was possible to score a run in that fashion. That's CRAZY.

Posted by scottM

11:32 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Worst non-play of the game: Lopez not getting that tag down at second. Gave Tampa two runs.

He's up next. Will Pez Lopez redeem himself, or will 11Records need to sell his crystal ball at the next yard sale?

Posted by BrianL

11:33 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin isn't Cheating - Good luck finding anyone on the market who is a better 3B. Park factors matter, not that you care. In fact, you'll probably just ignore this post and bring up another red-herring deflection.

I take it everyone is going to blame Beltre for today's loss, but will forget that Cesar Jimenez coughed up a 4 run lead earlier that led to this debacle.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:33 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Dana-He shouldn't had been bunting in the first place. By the way, he got a single despite the idiots telling him to take 2 pitches no matter what. He's now starting to hit better because he is swinging aggressively as he always has.

Posted by scottM

11:35 PM, Aug 09, 2008

11 Records: sell that crystal ball and any Pez dispensers you might have. Don't want the kids to choke.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:36 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Park factors matter, not that you care.

You hear that guys? Park factors caused Beltre to ground into a double play after trying to pull every conceivable pitch thrown at him. LMAO!

Posted by Jennifer

11:36 PM, Aug 09, 2008

What time was the game over?

Posted by BrianL

11:37 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin isn't Cheating - One at bat is also a small sample size and in no way indicates whether or not a player is good or not.

Of course, you've just got an agenda to push, so you're going to gloss over this post too.

Posted by BrianL

11:38 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Oh, and your top prospect Bryan LaHair has been in freefall mode lately, Resin. Remember when I said he was a platoon partner at best and you blasted me for it?

Didn't think so.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:39 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Jennifer -Time of death 11:38 pm

Posted by scottM

11:40 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Send Jimeñez down. That was one of several choke outings. He doesn't belong.

Posted by BrianL

11:41 PM, Aug 09, 2008

WSUx3 - Congratulations, you've been reported.

Posted by scottM

11:41 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Send Jimeñez down. That was one of several choke outings. He doesn't belong.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:45 PM, Aug 09, 2008

BrianL-I never said LaHair was a top prospect. Now you resort in fabricating stories? I said, LaHair has enough talent to possibly win the first base position these next two months. Get your facts straights. Also while your at it. try actually watching Beltre's at bats with your own two eyes rather than relying on the word of the puppet master. LOL! Even Beltre's staunch supporters had to been disgusted with Beltre's last at bat.

Posted by BrianL

11:47 PM, Aug 09, 2008

Resin isn't Cheating - I am disgusted with that last at bat.

One at bat, however, is still not a large sample size that indicates whether or not a player is successful or not. Of course, you don't believe in sample sizes.

Now which red-herring are you going to use now? I bet it's going to be the Corey Patterson argument again. That's a good standby for you.

Posted by downonstrikes

8:42 AM, Aug 10, 2008

Geoff fell asleep at 9:17 and missed some exciting and some pathetic baseball.

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