Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
August 10, 2008 5:57 PM
Posted by Larry Stone
I honestly thought Jim Riggleman might make a public example of Lopez after the game (beyond pulling him from the lineup in the fourth inning shortly after hitting a home run). But for now, the manager chose to let the situation speak for itself.
"I don't think I even want to address that right now,'' Riggleman said after the 11-3 Mariners' loss to Tampa Bay, when asked why he pinchy-hit for Lopez in the fourth.
"I appreciate the question, because obviously, you take a regular out of the ballgame in the middle of the game, it's going to raise questions. But I haven't talked to Jose yet. After I talk to him, I'll find the right words to explain it to you guys. But I want to get those words out to him first.''
It seems pretty obvious that something about Lopez's play on defense in the fourth inning upset Riggleman. He did confirm that there was no injury involved. The most glaring moment, as mentioned in the game thread, was when Lopez let Jeff Clement's throw on a stolen-base attempt by Akinori Iwamura get past him. I asked Riggleman if he was trying to send a message by pulling Lopez, but again he wouldn't bite.
Lopez, meanwhile, looked none too happy after the game. He talked briefly with reporters, saying he had "no idea" why he was pulled. He said, "Ask the manager.''
We tried that, Jose.
At any rate, this is a good test of Riggleman's abililty to hold this team together. After Carlos Silva's comments calling out his teammates on Friday, and now Lopez being benched mid-game, things could really start to go south. I think the team has responded well to Riggleman thus far; we'll see how he navigates this treacherous juncture.
Riggleman was pretty succinct in summing up the game.
"It was just a bad ballgame. We didn't play good. I don't know how else to say it. It's not in line with the way we've played lately. We've been very competitive. We're getting beat, but as all clubs do when they lose, you feel you should have won ballgames. We've had so many we felt we should have won. Today, it didn't even look like we belonged on the same field.''
Well said by the skipper. Now I'm going to go attend a remedial course on lineup posting.
August 10, 2008 1:00 PM
Posted by Larry Stone
Update 2:30: Interesting development here, with Tug Hulett pinch-hitting for Jose Lopez in the fourth, after Lopez had hit a home run his previous at-bat. There doesn't seem to be any injury to Lopez, so this could have something to do wtih the throw to second base on Iwamura's stolen base in the top of the inning. Jeff Clement's throw was good and seemed to beat Iwamura, but it went off Lopez's glove and into center, and Iwamura advanced to third. It was originally ruled an error on Clement's throw, but the official scorer just changed that to an error on Lopez.
(OK, I was in a hurry when I typed the lineup. Ichiro is in right, Balentien in center, Reed in left. The Mariners are not going with three center fielders).
Both sides have some bad injury news today, but Tampa Bay's has more serious ramifications for the pennant race. Carl Crawford, their outstanding outfielder, was placed on the DL with a finger injury, and there is some fear that he might be out for the remainder of the season. Obviously, that's a huge blow for the Rays, who are battling Boston and New York in the AL East. They activated Rocco Baldelli today and put him in the lineup in right field,, but there is no guarantee that Baldelli, battling his own medical condition -- something called mitochondrial disorder -- will be able to produce. Crawford apparently hurt himself on a check swing against J.J. Putz on Saturday. The official term is a subluxation of his right middle finger tendon.
Meanwhile, Willie Bloomquist was put on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring pull he suffered running out a double-play ball in the 10th last night. Tug Hulett was called up from Tacoma to take his roster spot. Jim Riggleman said before the game, "It's a very significant pull. I don't know if we'll see Willie the rest of the year."
If that's the case, that could be the end of the Willie Bloomquist era in Seattle. He is a free agent after the season and has made noises about exploring an opportunity in the National League, where playing time might be more plentiful.
Akinori Iwamura 2B
BJ Upton CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Rocco Baldelli rf
Cliff Floyd DH
Ben Zobrist SS
Eric Hinske LF
Willy Aybar 3B
Shawn Riggans C
Edwin Jackson P
Jeremy Reed LF
Raul Ibanez DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Jeff Clement C
Wladimir Balentien CF
Bryan LaHair 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
R.A. Dickey P