Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
August 17, 2008 4:07 PM
Posted by Larry Stone
I'm going to make this quick, because I have to rush to catch a plane to Chicago. (Yes, Geoff and I like to live dangerously on getaway day).
What a wild game, in many ways. R.A. Dickey called his knuckleball action "violent" which is good and bad. It was hard to hit, harder to catch. The four wild pitches in the fifth were a major-league record. Poor Kenji Johjima (who had a passed ball in the same inning) didn't seem to have a chance with some of those pitches. Dickey said that Charlie Hough told him once that the knuckleball always was erratic in the Metrodome. Apparently, Gino Petralli set a passed ball record here trying to catch Hough's knuckleball. Didn't have time to look up the details.
All told, Mariners pitchers walked 10 in the game. Riggleman cut Ryan Feierabend some slack (nerves, three days' rest) and said he'll make his next start. But if he has another effort like this one, we'll see.
The Mariners have a .299 average since the break, and Raul Ibanez is ridiculous right now. They just need to get their pitching together to win some games. It would help if they didn't fall behind in the first inning every night. The Twins scored 2, 2 and 5 in the first inning. If you play catchup every game, you're going to lose most of them. And the Mariners are.
I'll leave with one last rousing quote from Riggleman after the game:
"We're going to get it together. You can sense it. We're going to get it together and get it turned around.''
I don't share his confidence. Do you?
August 17, 2008 10:32 AM
Posted by Larry Stone
UPDATE 1:04 P.M. The Mariners made it a little less hideous in the sixth with three home runs, cutting the Twins' lead in half to 8-4 (Justin Morneau just made it 9-4 with a home run as I was typing this). Amazingly, the back-to-back home runs by Balentien and Johjima were just the second back-to-backers by the M;s this season.
Jason Kubel just got his fourth hit of the game, a double. He's officially a Mariner-killer. He is now 13-for-18 against them this season.
UPDATE 12:38 P.M. Well, Dickey just tied a major-league record with his four wild pitches in one inning. It's been done five times, most recently by Ryan Madsen of the Phillies in 2006. No chance for No. 5, however. Dickey is out of the game. This game is hideous.
UPDATE 12:08 P.M. Feierabend is out of the game after three innings. He wouldn't have made it out of the third if Adam Everett hadn't run into the third out trying to stretch a single. Feierabend's pitching line is ugly: 3 ip, 10 h, 6 r, 6 er, 1 BB, 1 SO. Ouch.
R.A. Dickey and his rubber arm is in the game.
UPDATE 11:33 A.M.: OK, so maybe he's still not ready. The Twins blasted Feierabend for five runs in the first inning, with five hits -- three of them doubles. What struck me is that his fastballs were coming in at 85, 86, which seems well below what I remember from Feierabend. Dickey was warming up halfway through the inning, not a good sign.
I'm looking forward to seeing Ryan Feierabend pitch today. If he can show something down the stretch, he should be a viable rotation candidate for next year. I think a lot of people wrote Feierabend off too early because he has struggled at the big league level, but he was awfully young. Feierabend turns 23 next week; he was starting games for the Mariners at age 21, when he just wasn't ready. There's not too many Felix Hernandezes. Perhaps now he's ready. If so, I'll have to work hard learning to type the name "Feierabend," which I find exceedingly difficult, for some reason. I have to almost do it with one finger every time to make sure I get it right, which isn't good on deadline. There's a little inside journalism for you.
Meanwhile, guess who's back in the rotation? Why, R.A. Dickey, who was taken out to make room for Feierabend. Now that Carlos Silva is on the disabled list, Dickey is back in Silva's spot and will likely start Wednesday against the White Sox. For the time being, anyway. Brandon Morrow isn't too far from coming back up to start. In case you didn't see, Morrow worked 3 2/3 innings last night for Tacoma against Sacramento (61 pitches, 39 stirkes). He gave up three hits, two runs, struck out five and walked two. Morrow probably has two or three more minor-league starts to make before he's ready.
Then there's Erik Bedard, who threw on the side today for the third straight day. The Mariners hope he'll be ready to throw off a mound by the time the team returns home next weekend, followed by simulated games. If all goes well, they'd like Bedard to make some starts in September, too. And Riggleman thinks Silva will be back in a couple of weeks, too. The rotation could be awfully crowded in September -- Felix, Washburn, Silva, Rowland-Smith, Feierabend, Morrow and Bedard may all be in the picture. We'll see how they sort it all out.
Miguel Cairo 3B
Raul Ibanez LF
Adrian Beltre DH
Jose Lopez 2B
Wladimir Balentien CF
Kenji Johjima C
Bryan LaHair 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Ryan Feierabend P
Denard Span CF
Nick Punto 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Delmon Young LF
Jason Kubel RF
Randy Ruiz DH
Brendan Harris 3B
Adam Everett SS
Glen Perkins P