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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 12, 2008 10:52 PM

Another mistake-filled loss

Posted by Geoff Baker

ange0812 032.jpg

Speaking of padding stats, here comes Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez to notch a four-run save after an error in the ninth brings the tying run to the on-deck circle. Yeesh. K-Rod strikes out Raul Ibanez for save No. 46 -- in pursuit of Bobby Thigpen's record of 57.

When an error by the shortstop costs your team three runs and a win, it gets to the point where you wonder how much longer that team can continue to play said infielder. Yes, Yuniesky Betancourt did look like Ozzie Smith on that groundout in the seventh inning. But what can I say?

Too late. Mariners lose 7-3.

This was what Carlos Silva talked about last Friday. Bringing your "A Game" right off the bat. Betancourt didn't have it on that Jeff Mathis grounder in the fifth inning and Jarrod Washburn got buried after that. Oh well, another night, another derfeat. Jeff Clement nearly cost Washburn big in the third inning by failing to snag a foul pop-up by Vladimir Guerrero near the screen.

Washburn got his catcher off the hook for that one, striking out Guerrero. But he couldn't pick up Betancourt, nor fool Guerrero a second time when the error enabled him to bat in that fifth inning.

Story of the game right there, folks. Some more botched chances on offense against a shaky Jon Garland.

You've got to get the runner home from third in that fifth inning with one out and Adrian Beltre up. Then another chance later, in a 4-3 game, with one out and runners on first and second, goes by the wayside as well. Lack of execution. So, is it a "talent" issue? Or an execution issue? Not saying these are mutually exclusive, just asking which is predominant with this club?

Mark Lowe yields three runs in the eighth on a Garret Anderson homer and a Juan Rivera double. That's your ballgame. Washburn gets another "quality start" of seven innings, one earned run allowed. But I'm sure he'd rather have had the win.

"When you know that if you make one bad pitch here or there, and it changes the whole game, it's tough to do,'' Washburn said after his 12th "quality start'' this season. "You would hope every game doesn't come down to one pitch. But it seems to be working that way for us.''

Yes, it has. It's why Silva blew a gasket last week. One reason Washburn has only four wins to show for those dozen quality starts.

Mariners manager Jim Riggleman addressed his players after the game. He talked about how it's a team game and that their missed opportunities throughout the contest helped create the loss. Riggleman tried to downplay the Betancourt error as a play made on a "hard hit ball'' that was no gimme. True, it wasn't. But Betancourt is supposed to be an above-average shortstop defensively. At least, that's the rumor.

Riggleman was upset about the lack of add-on runs against Jon Garland.

"I think sometimes some of our guys are going up to the plate with the weight of the world on their shoulders,'' Riggleman said, "and wanting to be successful so bad that they're just not allowing themselves to relax and get a quality at-bat.''

We've been hearing that one since the beginning of the season. It may be true. Perhaps these players are trying too hard in pressure situations. The flip-side, a pessimist might say, is that they can't handle pressure. I won't make that call definitively just yet. But they have been making this "trying too hard'' claim all year. getting the job done, apparently, is a lot harder than it sounds.

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Posted by ethan

9:40 PM, Aug 12, 2008

we out hit we won, right??

Posted by scottM

9:57 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Bikeman, I read somewhere where Marlon Byrd had multiple RBIs several games in a row. Of course, Ibaņez had an amazing week, and deserved the honor more, IMHO.

Of course, the argument for the M's is which poor unlucky player gets the least talented award-of-the-weak and who gets the "doggin' it" bone-of-the-weak.

Posted by Hollywood Die Hard

10:02 PM, Aug 12, 2008

This team does not have a talent issue, these clowns are just mailing it in and cashing their checks. It is not enough to want it by yourself, you have to want it together. If you care you will execute.

Silva was right. Good on him for saying it out loud, at least he seems to have some desire.

Posted by familyguy

10:05 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Tough Loss, but these M's seem to be getting things turned around lately. I enjoy going to Safeco and watching the youngsters get a chance to play. Nothing beats a boblehead night and some nice summer weather to head on down to the ballpark and watch the home team. There is more to the M's than just wins and losses.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:07 PM, Aug 12, 2008

The pitching blew this game, Washburn and Lowe, period.

Yuni could have made that play and he was in line to grab it, but that ball was hit hard with a ton of spin on it. It was not laziness as Geoff suggests.

If it was a slow roller and Yuni did not square up on the ball then yes that is lazy. The ball was hit hard, Yuni took 2 steps two his left and nearly made the play, the ball was hit hard. I know it's hard to see from the press box, and when the TV monitors up there show it in slow motion it looks like WTF he should have had it. Watch it in real time and you will change your mind. On second thought, no matter what Geoff sees he has his mind made up on Yuni.

Washburn not Yuni gave up 2 home runs. Those were the two costly mistakes. Lowe gave up another costly mistake. It is unbelievable how pitchers get a free pass when they allow home runs.

Look this isn't about me being Yuni's #1 fan. I'd take Jimmy Rollins or a dozen other infielders in a heartbeat if I could make it happen. He's not the best, but a pretty dam good one. I get disgusted reading biased BS exaggerations that our shortstop sucks defensively and the blame/focus of the M's losing.

Posted by wag the dog

10:10 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Guess benching Lopez had little/no effect in terms of motivating the team to focus and play hard, eh? The Lopez benching was, imo, a long time coming and perhaps needs to happen several more times, and to several other players. Why didn't Yuni get the hook tonight?

Granted, there's nothing to play for in terms of post-season for this team, but where is the pride and professionalism? And am I mistaken, or are most of these guys playing for a spot on next years roster (or any major league roster, for that matter)? It's audition time. I'd think that even being this far out of contention these guys would care about future playing time. Or at least the guys who didn't previously hit the Bill Bavasi "pay to underperform" jackpot.

Posted by ethan

10:19 PM, Aug 12, 2008

i keep seeing the replay of some fat white mariner being thrown out at home...who was that? FEET FIRST? lolol thats passion right there.

Posted by 11Records

10:20 PM, Aug 12, 2008

K Rod - 47 Saves
Mariners - 46 Wins.

Maybe the M's can catch up to him tomorrow.

Resin - you often make sense. In fact, because of that I can't tell if you're playing the irony card or being serious about Yuni. Cause he's kind of fat and terrible. He's the least selective hitter in baseball. Sees less pitches than any starting player in the major leagues. Walks less than any starting player in the major leagues. And, his .960 fielding percentage is freakin' weak. So, he's pretty much killing his team in the field and at the plate.

Seriously - make a move to bring in Omar for the last 6 weeks. Let him bookend his career by finishing up with the M's. Let Yuni watch and learn from one of the two best shortstops of the modern era.

Posted by HMJ

10:31 PM, Aug 12, 2008

It is going to take years to recover from the front office's mistakes. The team has no direction and no immediate future. They only make change when the fan base overwhelmingly criticize them. The propaganda machine is always rolling. The management team of Howard and Chuck is strangling this team.

Also, familyguy, since we have now lost another 4 in a row, I must assume your comment on them turning it around was tongue in cheek.

Posted by Hollywood Die Hard

10:31 PM, Aug 12, 2008

That ball was hit hard, and if I was playing short I would have missed it. But we have all seen Yuni make that play, and he seems to make it when he wants to. I get the feeling he thinks to himself when he blows a game, "Well, anything is better than living in Cuba." He may be right.

Washburn is not brilliant, but he is steady, and if his fielders can focuse for more than an inning he is fine.

And Lowe, well, good thing he's a looker.

Posted by Hollywood Die Hard

10:34 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Do you think Chuck or Howard is familyguy?

Posted by Bavasi's Ghost

10:35 PM, Aug 12, 2008

The disgusting Yuni-Lopez apologists are at it again.

The only thing missing is Mr. ( I say outrageous things; otherwise, nobody talks to me) X apologizing for Johjima-his favorite player and team leader( tee hee)

That grounder was hit hard, waw.

The coaches need to let Yuni swing early and often, waw.

It's everyone's fault not named Lopez or Betancourt, waw.

My favorite blog writer doesn't write things I like anymore, waw.

Posted by CJ

10:38 PM, Aug 12, 2008

The real shame is the media's, television, radio, and print (yes you Geoff), inability to call this what it is... This team has flat out mailed it in... Period! Aside from a couple guys, this team has completely quit... Lets thank god this isn't soccer or these guys would get relegated to tipple A... not a couple of guys mind you, the whole franchise!

This has gone beyond just a bad year... This team is playing the game collectively as bad as any team I can remember...

These guys deserve to be publicly humiliated for this mess... What is anyone really gonna care if these losers stop talking to the media because Larry, Geoff and Andresien start hammering them in the media... This town and fan base is so soft it's ridiculous... It really hurts because I love you guys...

Posted by AKMarinersFan

10:48 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Washburn didn't even have to pull a Silva. Geoff did it for him

Posted by Dana

10:53 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Yuni muffed it.... They gave him a freakin error.

Posted by Alfred E. Packer

11:03 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Geoff - If I didn't know better, I'd say you criticized the defense of somebody other than Raul Ibanez here. I'm not sure that's allowed, is it?

I've been led to believe from what I've read here and on certain blogs that Raul Ibanez' defense is the cause of all evil in the world, and any attempt to suggest otherwise is...well...un-American.

Shame on you.

Posted by Sounders

11:09 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Tough loss? Who cares? Let's talk about donuts

familyguy or Howie and Chuckie?

The Dodgers came from behind to beat the Phils. Go Manny

Posted by PackBob

11:12 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Silva is not the guy to quote and Silva was not the guy that should have spoken out. If he had included himself as part of the problem, a big part (no pun intended), that would have been different. He certainly is not bringing his A game to the ballpark.

Last 19 starts, averaging 5.4 innings with a 6.77 ERA; last 4 starts averaging 4.7 innings with a 7.71 ERA.

So he brings his A effort - so what? Just think if he didn't. I hope he can find his form of the beginning of the season, his A game. But if he's going to complain about players not showing up, he needs to put himself near the top of the list.

But Geoff quotes him as if he's nailed it on the head with this team. I don't think you elevate obvious frustration, and blaming other players, to that status. It's obvious to anyone following the games that lapses in the middle-infield is part of the problem. Don't need a frustrated Silva who is bringing his C game, or a reporter quoting a frustrated pitcher, to point that out.

The upper management (or lack of) of this team is one of the big problems. Never anything done until it is obvious to everyone in and out of baseball that something needs to be done. Send Yuni down and bring up a minor leaguer, until Yuni understands what is expected on the field and at the plate.

Bring some fire (not frustration) back to this team.

Posted by HeyItsTodd

11:14 PM, Aug 12, 2008

>Posted by ethan
>10:19 PM, Aug 12, 2008

>i keep seeing the replay of some fat white mariner
>being thrown out at home...who was that? FEET
>FIRST? lolol thats passion right there.

Watch a lot of baseball, do ya Ethan? Watch some more and see how many head first slides occur at home plate.

By the way, what does the race of the player have to do with it?

Posted by Sounders

11:16 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Howie and Chuckie better get lost, and soon. That is the only thing that might entice a decent GM to come here.

I mean, seriously? Why,if you were Kim Ng, or any of the competent candidates, would you want to come here and get involved in this mess?

The M's clearly need a full bore overhaul, and with Howie and Chuckie sitting around screwing it up, meddling with their little lawyer one in their right mind would want to get involved in that kind of quagmire

Posted by shortbus

11:53 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Calling this a "quality start" is a joke. This is exactly why ERA is a crappy stat...Yuni gets dinged with a questionable error, then Washburn gives up two home runs and ends up with just 1 ER for the game. BS. Washburn is NOT GOOD at pitching. He's had a lucky stretch which should have been Pelekoudas' cue to trade his butt for a box of Ho Ho's to shed the salary. Now we're stuck with the chipmunk for another season.

Posted by ethan

11:55 PM, Aug 12, 2008

Clement looked like a kid on a slip n slide. not Pete Rose meeting Ray Fosse.

i see the Rangers (15 back) and Red Sox (3 back) both had "the weight of the world on their shoulders."

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:03 AM, Aug 13, 2008

11records-I understand what you are saying the problem is the opposition we play have players make errors in crucial situations, yet the pitcher gets out of the jam.

Geoff Baker-Good pitchers get out of jams in baseball all the time. While I could argue till I'm blue in the face regarding the play/hit that extended the inning. Washburn imploded just like Silva has in the past.

Blame has to be rational. Yuni did not pitch the ball that was hit out of the park.

We saw Teixiera make a crucial error extending the 9th inning. K-Rod pitched out of the jam. Game over.

Honestly, you can put Ozzie Smith or the current bench player Omar Vizquel at short in his prime and we still lose this game because Washburn doesn't have an out pitch and cannot pitch out of jams consistently. Silva is the same way. Silva has 2 games in 24 starts where errors hurt him. He has been awful this year.

You can trade away Beltre who has been masquerading as a middle of the order $15+ million hitter with Manny Ramirez and we still lose these game because bad pitching.

You think Truinfel is ready, think again. He's at best three years away and his defense according to scouts plays at third since he is struggling at short right now.

Trade or send Yuni down and you still lose these games because our pitching has sucked. The same can be said for example removing Lopez from second base and making him DH.

Look its easy when some can't figure out the problem here to blame one guy, one scapegoat. We are all being completely misled by Geoff's biased reporting to think removing Yuni magically makes Washburn learn an outpitch, or Silva magically gets a boost in talent and his exceedingly high home run rate deflates. And Geoff you can respond if you want I won't go Miller on you.

Posted by Adam

12:08 AM, Aug 13, 2008

To echo shortbus - this is why ERA can be a stupid stat. Just because Washburn gave up three runs AFTER the error doesn't mean he wasn't responsible for those runs. He still made a bad pitch to Vlad, who CRUSHED that ball.

He pitched poorly in the fifth, and it cost him.

Posted by Jonathan

12:19 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Where is the guy who said we need to trade Putz and get Morrow in the rotation because Lowe is a capable closer? the guy can't get out of innings, he's terrible.

Posted by Dana

12:42 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Sounders - If you're referring to Peter Griffin the answer is no. Peter is fatter, has balls for his chin and is generally better looking.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

12:57 AM, Aug 13, 2008

At least Silva acts like he cares, Bedard would rather play ping pong.

Posted by ThankGodFootballIsAlmostHere

1:05 AM, Aug 13, 2008

does anyone still care about the mariners day-to-day? i just figured we were all waiting until next season so our (new) incompetent management could find new ways to screw things up.

Posted by JamesY

1:44 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Geoff -

In your opinion, is Betancourt the starting shortstop for the M's next year?

Posted by brock

1:57 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Why don't the M's try moving Clement to 1st base or DH? They have several excellent catchers ready to move up in the minors that are better defensively and now are starting to hit for average. Granted they made the mistake of signing Johjima for three more years. But that doesn't mean they can't improve their defense and hitting at the same time. Rob Johnson is hitting .307 in Tacoma and has always been considered a very good defensive catcher (much better than Clement). Behind him is Luis Oliveres hitting .296 and at West Tennessee they have Adam Moore who may be West Tennessee's best hitter. There's a logjam and Clement's defensive prowess is just not up to par. What kind of decision making is going on? They should be mapping out a road where these players have the best chance to succeed and if Clement has to worry about his misplays how does that help his psyche? He was always slated as a poor defensive catcher from day one. Why doesn't management get a clue?

Posted by Ryan

6:41 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Is it football season yet?? Thank God for the Olympics, which gives me something to watch. I can't watch this train wreck night after night anymore.

Posted by Ziasudra

7:08 AM, Aug 13, 2008

inre Jonathan (12:19) You may remember my comment on Lowe some time ago - two years ago, he was an up-and-coming reliever with a fastball maybe better than Putz. Then he hurt his arm last year, and has not recovered. At least, not this year. He may never, but he'll probably have one more year to try.

Posted by will clark

7:41 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Back up the truck and turn Safeco into a parking lot.

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

7:46 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Can someone explain how two HRs equals one earned run?

Posted by scottM

8:20 AM, Aug 13, 2008

I flip the channel to the Olympics with the M's up 3-0. Turn it back a minute later and its 4-3 Angels. Same thing in the eighth. A minute away from the game and it's 7-3 Angels. I want to apologize to my fellow fans for Doggin' it, for taking my eye off the ball, for not bringing my "A"ttention game.

Posted by Utis

8:31 AM, Aug 13, 2008

The gap in talent was very evident last night. all our runs scored on singles. Most of their runs scored on extra base hits. The M's run a severe power deficit compared to most other teams. This puts a lot of pressure on the pitchers and defense. Granted Yuni's error cost Washburn but earlier in the game he made a nice play for him.

Posted by RagArm

8:43 AM, Aug 13, 2008

How many times will this have to be written?

Make a statement with Yuni, Lopez, Batista, and Silva--bench them or move them down. Or out.

Have Famlyguy take his rally fries and shove them down his family's throat. And his own too.

Get rid of Chuck, Howard, Lee, and jthat excuse making Wiggleworm. Gut the sucker fish.

We missed our chance on Washburn. Way to go FO! Give him away to a division rival so we can get some hits too.

The psychology of this team is in the gutter and management needs to hire a sports psychiatrist to help them out of the funk. I think they did this years ago with another lousy M's team.

The losing culture and poor chemistry has got to go and that will only happen by blowing up the team.

Fire the rest of the broadcast team on both radio and television. They are apologists and unable to speak the truth about poor perfoming players who also lack talent.

That said, I'm going back to my poolside chair to sip lemonade. Familyguy and meagain can suppport mediocrity forever if they wish. I'm going to enjoy the summer and part of that means slamming this team.

Posted by scottM

8:46 AM, Aug 13, 2008

2008 Nosedive in a Nutshell

Record on April 23, 2008

11-11 (.500)

Record on May 26, 2008

18-34 (.345)

During that 33 day period, the M's went 7-23 (.233 winning pct)

For the record, both JJPutz and Erik Bedard were pitching during this period. O'Flaherty was already demoted to the minors. Wilkerson's last game was on April 29th when he hit 3 for 3 against the Indians.

The team wasn't injured, ten of those games were against AL West rivals, and this stretch included that disastrous road trip through the Indians, Tigers and Yankees.

It was a TEAM collapse.

Posted by RagArm

8:56 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Lame team. Lame broadcast team. Lame management. A few lame supporters still defending this Seattle culture of mediocrity.

Posted by MLG

9:02 AM, Aug 13, 2008


When a player (Yuni) makes the same fielding mistakes over and over again during an entire season I think you've got to call it a talent issue. For whatever reason (quickness, weight, etc.), Yuni's defense has deteriorated every season to the point where he is now clearly a below average SS defensively. "Bringing his A game" would be useless because this isYuni's "A" game at this point in his career.

Posted by downonstrikes

9:16 AM, Aug 13, 2008

I'm so happy I'm not employeed by this organization. Can you believe how awful life must be for each person? This poor state of affairs lies squarely on the back of Howard Lincoln. If ownership fails to see this and act, it is ultimately responsible for the demise of Seattle baseball.

Posted by Oly Mike

9:25 AM, Aug 13, 2008

One reason Washburn has only four winsto show for those dozen quality starts": Geoff Baker

Now the question is do you want Washburn in the Mariners starting rotation next year? I don't because he is "A LOSER". It doesn't matter how many "Quality Starts" Washburn gets if he still loses. Consistent losing is just something that cannot always be explained by stats, numbers or percentages. If Washburn comes back next year I believe that he will lose more games than he will win because that is what has happened for the past 4+ seasons for him. So expecting that result why would anyone want to have him in the starting rotation? Please do not start the 2009 season with 15+ losses already assured!!!! Get rid of him now and give someone else a chance to build for the future!!!

Posted by Zack

9:30 AM, Aug 13, 2008

It doesn't matter that Yuni's supposed to be a good shortstop - he's not. Bad players make more errors than good players.

And you make it sound like not scoring a runner from 3rd indicates a lack of execution. Come on, these guys have to hit a little white ball coming at 95 mph. You think getting a guy home from 3rd is just about "executing"?

Newsflash: bad team loses to good team

Posted by AndruV

9:41 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Yuni needs a personal trainer

Posted by Bork

9:58 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Hey Geoff, other teams are doing things like benching key players for not running hard to first, why aren't the Mariners doing that, or something like it?

Although, I suppose it would be hard to play with only three men out there.

Posted by Ryan

10:15 AM, Aug 13, 2008

In all fairness, or at least in my opinion these are the players that will be brought back for next year:

Felix Hernandez

Erik Bedard ( only to see what he can do if healthy)

Silva ( he's under contract, we have no choice)

Ibanez ( first base or DH)

Jose Lopez (probably our most consistent hiter all year)

Brandon Morrow

Ryan Rowland-Smith


Jeff Clement ( he will hit here)

Other than them, I think anyone else is fair game to be let go. Let's just blow it up, save for these core players, and redo the whole thing.

Posted by Bill

10:18 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Something tells me if Washburn were traded to a division rival he would beat this M's team 9 times out of 10. The M's can't score more than 3 runs a game.

Do you know the way to second base Mariners? How about an extra base hit?

Posted by Bill

10:39 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Quote from Gary Sheffield about playing in the field versus being a DH. Perhaps relevant to the M's and Raul:

"I can be in the outfield and play every day. I don't want to DH," Sheffield told the Boston Globe. "I don't feel like a baseball player when I DH. I don't know how to be the leader that I am from the bench. I can't be a vocal leader. I can't talk to guys from the bench because I don't feel right about it.

Posted by jimbob

11:01 AM, Aug 13, 2008

This is a top down issue. no MAJOR changes in the F.O. or change in ownership, no changes in the success on the field, period, period, period.

Posted by M's Fan

11:19 AM, Aug 13, 2008

The difference between Sheff and Ibanez is that according to Leland, Sheff was signed as a DH.

Posted by andre

11:35 AM, Aug 13, 2008

Why you guys wasting your energy....we suck, I'm so bored with this team right now. Since I don't work in the FO for the M's it doesn't matter what I or any of you say they should or shouldn't do.....Bored and not surprised to see this team keep making mistakes and losing....

Posted by byebye

11:49 AM, Aug 13, 2008

"So, is it a "talent" issue? Or an execution issue? "

The M's shortstop has an execution issue, not a talent issue. He could improve his talent by training harder and doing some concentration drills. Edgar was self taught in this department, YB needs outside help.


Posted by davis

11:59 AM, Aug 13, 2008

hey duders, wash only gave up 1 earned run stop hatin on da man just because ussQUEERINER hates on em lawl

Posted by whaat?

2:54 PM, Aug 13, 2008

oh..i didn't know the M's were still playing? I thought they had a mercy rule that allowed bad teams to end their seasons early.

Posted by makeaplayforpetesake

3:40 PM, Aug 13, 2008

All I can say is Trammel and Whitaker didn't have the gifts these two have. Sad waste.

Posted by steve

3:23 PM, Aug 14, 2008

Geoff - What's up? Washburn is still a M! It's over, Pelekoudas blew it!!

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