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.
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