Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
August 25, 2008 11:35 PM
Posted by Larry Stone
The Mariners haven't had too many like that, so they celebrated like they had just won the pennant. The Twins may look back at this game with great regret if they fall short in their playoff bid. They had the game in control in the ninth with a one-run lead and the great Joe Nathan on the mound. But this was Adrian Beltre's night. He said that Nathan is an old nemesis dating back to his days with the Giants (when Beltre was with the Dodgers). But Beltre managed a leadoff double and came around to score the tying run, with help from an error by shortstop Nick Punto that got him to third.
Jeff Clement came up with runners on first and third, no outs. You can't quite say he came through -- he hit into a double play -- but he did get the tying run home. Which brings to mind a total non sequitor: I've always wondered whether the scoring rule that denies an RBI to someone hitting into a double play is actually a fair one. Here's my reasoning: Clement could have struck out, or popped out, and the run wouldn't have scored, and maybe it would never have scored. But even though he cost his team two outs, he still got the run home. So why not an RBI? Discuss. Maybe next we'll tackle the question of whether a sacrifice fly should count as an at-bat. I think there's a good argument for that, too.
Beltre's game-winning homer in the 11th, off Fraser Crane -- excuse me, Niles, er, Jesse Crain -- was a rocket shot. My only question was whether it had the height to go out. It did, and Beltre was pummeled as he reached home plate. He joked that he was scared rounding third, because he knew he'd get beat up.
Riggleman put forth the theory that Beltre has hit in bad luck all year and his numbers aren't indicative of how well he's hit the ball. I'm not sure if that's completely accurate, but I do agree that he's had an inordinate amount of line-drive outs. Whether it's more than any player gets in the course of a season I'm just not sure.
Riggleman also pointed out that Beltre has played hurt all year. Right now, he's working through a left shoulder injury. Beltre wouldn't discuss it, saying only, "I'm good enough to play. That's good enough.''
Players admire guys like that, which is one reason why Beltre is a very popular man on this team. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for him. As I wrote Sunday, I believe he is one of their few trade chips that could bring back a package of prospects to help the team rebuild. I wouldn't be surprised if he was dealt in the offseason. I'm not sure who would play third base, but that's for the next GM to figure out.
I'm going to send this post and make a walk-off move of my own -- home.