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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 5, 2008 11:29 PM

Putz "closes" ninth

Posted by Geoff Baker

vidro0805 040.jpg

You see J.J. Putz, above, striking out Nick Punto to begin the ninth inning. Putz held the 8-7 lead through the ninth and picks up the win. But since he blew the save opportunity in the eighth, he doesn't get credit for a save here. You can't create your own save opportunity, get it? Anyhow, a wild way for Putz to do what he's supposed to, retiring the side in the ninth. Walked Justin Morneau after that then yielded a double to Jason Kubel -- who had two homers already on the night -- to put runners at second and third. Putz then walked Delmon Young intentionally to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Mike Redmond flied out to right. A night that began awfully for Putz and looked shaky throughout still ends on a good note. But this could be a nervy last two months in the bullpen. Putz's four-seam fastball lacked command tonight and that's what Mike Lamb hit for that two-run double in the eighth.

Huge night for Raul Ibanez with five more RBI. Also for R.A. Dickey, who allows just three runs over seven innings. Oh yeah, that Jose Lopez fellow also wasn't bad.

Like I said, I think Ryan Rowland-Smith is going to be rejoining this team fairly soon. It's going to be tough to kick Dickey out of the rotation. Not when Miguel Batista has closing experience and lasted just three innings in a start last night.

"I'd like to think I’ve done a pretty good job making a case to stick in there,'' Dickey said. "I don't know how many starts I've had, but I've had five or six quality starts and given us a chance to win.''

Dickey says it's ultimately out of his hands. He's used to that. As a loyal employee, he'll go along with whatever the team, decides.

From these eyes, it's a no-brainer. He goes six or seven innings a night. End of story.

"I'd like to be part of the solution,'' Dickey added. "And I feel that I could be.''

This team has a lot of tough solutions to find. It should do itself a favor by going along with the easy ones.

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Posted by ethan

10:31 PM, Aug 05, 2008

i think Morrow would have been a great closer..but we're desperate for starters that can go 4 innings and not make 9 million dollars.

Posted by scottM

10:31 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Last night the M's knocked the Twins out of first place. Tonight didn't help their cause either. Where was this M's edginess in April, May, June and July?????

Posted by Martin

10:42 PM, Aug 05, 2008

New story. Mariners go for their first sweep of the year tomorrow vs. the Twins. The Twins came into Seattle a little over confident and are getting a humbling doze of the Tacoma Raniers , Raul Ibanez, and Jose Lopez

Posted by GripS

10:43 PM, Aug 05, 2008

OMG Putz.... you sure don't have your 'stuff' anymore. Very lucky to get out of this one.

How in gods name can you go from one of the best to one of the worst in one season.... Good god. Can we DFA Putz as well please? :)

Nice job Raul!!!! He needs to be regular @ DH. No doubt about it.

See ya Vidro!!! Nah nah nah nah.....nah nah nah nah..... hey hey hey....goood bye!!!!!

Posted by Martin

10:43 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Sorry "dose"

Posted by tomtom

10:45 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Dang.... first we try to make Ichi into CF and SS Morse sink in the OF, and two Bench Coaches into Managers...

Now we try to make a AAA guy bat DH, and try to turn all the kids in the bullpen into Felix.... after one big drunken rally against the Twins.

The only thing more nervous about tonight than reading about all the M's changes,,,, was watching the world's worst Yankee hit a grand slam against Texas.

I think Satan was pretty active in Baseball tonight.

Posted by Chuck D

10:52 PM, Aug 05, 2008

it looks like the M's are relishing the role of Spoilers.
It also seems like they are playing with more enthusiasm and effort. Good to see.

Posted by levinea

11:05 PM, Aug 05, 2008

The more I see it and the more Putz seems done as a closer. But also very happy to see the young players.

Posted by Oly Mike

11:29 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Is Bedard pitching anymore this year???? If not the Mariner starting rotation for the rest of the year should be:
1. Felix RP
2. RRS or Feirerben LP
3. Morrow RP
4. Dickey RP
5. Washburn/Silva/Batista (which ever one Riggleman feels won't lose that particular day)

Bull Pen
1. Greene
2. Putz
3. Jimenez
4. Lowe
5. Corcoran
6. & 7. Washburn/Silva/ Batista (whichever two that do not make the starting rotation.)

I personally would like to see all 3 (washburn, Silva & Batista) go. But because of MONEY we have to keep them. Right!!! And because of them we won't see Josh Fields and probably Feirerben before Sept. call ups. Funny now that two of the Demons have been exorcised the Team is playing better. Two (Sexson & Vidro) down only Four too go (Kenji, Washburn, Sila & Batista)

Posted by Jonathan

12:29 AM, Aug 06, 2008

I was at the game tonight, best lineup I've seen all year.

Reed is hitting righties well and Bloomquist is tearing up the lefties, I can live with that platoon the rest of the year.

If we can get RRW and Morrow in the rotation sooner than later this nightmare could have a light at the end of the tunnell.

Posted by Faceplant

12:29 AM, Aug 06, 2008


Posted by Adam

12:39 AM, Aug 06, 2008

morrow has serious command issues and no 3rd pitch, he has a 4 seam and a 2 seam and nothing else. he is a closer. we should have taken lincecum not this joker.

Posted by ness77

1:00 AM, Aug 06, 2008

It would be incorrect to say that Brandon Morrow "is a closer." More accurate would be that he is capable of closing, and may or not be capable of becoming an above-average major league starter. Remember, he's barely 24 years old - there's still a few years for development. Given that this season is completely lost, and there's two months left to play, how could there be a single argument against beginning to find out if Morrow can cut it as a starter?

Posted by Oly Mike

6:49 AM, Aug 06, 2008

I agree with "ness77" !!! Morrrow should be given an ample opportunity to start. At the very least if he does not cut it as a starter then the endless discussion and debate about that issue will have been answered. As far as wishing for Lincecum, well he could have been a Mariner just like Jones could have been a Mariner still but that has already been decided by “Bonehead”. The only thing we can do is hope that Bedard and Morrow can be the best that they can be.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

7:09 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Only 9 days to go until the signing deadline for draft picks from this past June and it'd sure be nice to see Josh Fields get a Sept. audition - at least for some setup work with an eye on moving into the closer role sometime next season. JJ looks to be a couple of miles off from last year with his fastball and when he tries to throw harder, his control is off. If it keeps up for the remainder of the season, I think the M's will need to make other plans for closer next season - either Fields or possibly Morrow if the starter audition doesn't work out well. Some hard throwing relievers are best suited to remain in the bp rather than moving them to the rotation (Papelbon & it looks like Joba Chamberlain fall into that category).

Posted by Ryan

7:13 AM, Aug 06, 2008

This team is starting to hit. It's nice to see the 19 runs and 33 hits in two games against a fairly solid pitching staff. It's not like we're doing this against Texas. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but maybe this is the start of a 6 or 7 in a row streak. Maybe, just maybe we can run down Oakland. I believe we sit " only "9.5 games back of them.

Can we just give Ibanez the player of the week right now?? 14 RBI in three games. Can we also sign him beyond this year, but as DH and part time OF. Nothing wrong with his bat.

Posted by Ragarm

8:21 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Games are becomming more fun and interesting because FO finallly listened to us and purged Vidro and Sexon bringing in youth and enthusiasm. It has given Raul hope and he has responded.

My hat's off to Dickey. Great effort. Great attitude. Mature approach. He is the solution. I think R.A. has earned his rotation spot and Batista/Silva/Washburn earned an outfield bullpen bench seat where we fans can heckle them.

Clement will come around. Remember Lopez was a dog his first season hitting. There is a glimmer of hope. Let's work on the four pitchers withwhom we owe a lot of grief this season.

Posted by WWfan

8:37 AM, Aug 06, 2008

To Faceplant, check out Jim Caple's story on why closers are overrated. It's more than just one man's opinion; he presents some interesting stats to support the idea that late-inning specialists are unnecessary.

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

8:41 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Morrow makes his first start for Tacoma in three hours. 850 AM will broadcast it in the south end. RRS goes on Saturday and I am gonna try and make that one.

Posted by Adam

8:56 AM, Aug 06, 2008

WWFan - That wasn't the real "Faceplant" who posted about closers being more important than starters. And I'm not the Adam who ripped on Morrow afterwards.

A good starting pitcher is more valuable than a reliever. Pure and simple.

I'm glad the Mariners finally sent Morrow down, but this was a move that should have been made in the spring of 2007. But Bavasi, having stupidly traded away Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez, had a BP spot to fill, and both he and Mike Hargrove were blinded by Morrow's stuff - to the detriment of the entire franchise.

Had Morrow spent all of 2007 getting ready to start, this current team would have been free or Carlos Silva. Or perhaps even Eric Bedard.

So while this has set us back, at least now it's being done. And I frankly don't care if Morrow every pitches for the Mariners again in 2008. There's simply no need to have him come back up. He can spend the rest of the year at AAA, shut him down for the winter, and have him ready to go come Feb. 2009.

Posted by Waz

9:03 AM, Aug 06, 2008

I went to the game last night and it was very nerve-cracking at the end but I glad Putz managed it for a victory that he blew up the save.

We should give a credit to Lopez for two extra runs to help M's for victory.

They won three games in a row with 27 runs, 44 hits. (19 runs and 33 hits in last two games vs Twins). Way to go, let hope that Mariners can sweep Twins today.

also, I wish Morrow a good luck for the start today for Tacoma. Go Morrow!

Posted by scrapiron

9:05 AM, Aug 06, 2008

What happened to the theory that Ibanez couldn't hit without Vidro "protecting" him in the lineup?

I saw a quote yesterday where Riggleman said he couldn't believe no one wanted to trade for Vidro before the deadline. C'mon, seriously?

Geoff, when you hear this PC psycho-babble from the manager, do you ever get the urge to call BS?

Posted by Chuck

9:22 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Typical Sexon numbers: down and out, 8-2 in the eighth he hits a meaningless grand slam. Reult a home run and 4 RBI's added to his numbers. BUT the Yankees still lost.
Results were the same in Seattle, oh so many times.

Posted by meagain

9:28 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Just for fun, I looked up the 2008 stats for Horacio Ramirez and Rafael Soriano.

Ramirez 23 IP, 2.74 ERA, 11 SO, 1 BB.

Soriano 14 IP, 2.57 ERA, 16 SO, 9 BB.

Ramirez and Vidro have something in common; they are good people. I'm glad Vidro will get to see his son start school in PR, and I expect him to be back in a major league uniform shortly.

These guys did little for the M's, but they shouldn't be used as human punching bags either. I'm glad Vidro is moving on. He was the wrong guy in the wrong situation with the M's. Like Ramirez, he should do better elsewhere.

Posted by M Dogg

9:34 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Bravo to the FO for making some moves. A line up with Reed,Clement,Balentie and LaHair at least gives some hope for the future. Still don't know why Batista is scheduled for the start vs. the Rays Saturday, but at this point I will settle for 1 small miracle at a time.

Posted by xarmyguy78

10:40 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

8:41 AM, Aug 06, 2008

Morrow makes his first start for Tacoma in three hours. 850 AM will broadcast it in the south end. RRS goes on Saturday and I am gonna try and make that one.


I would be surprised if you go to the Rainiers game on Saturday and see RRS pitching, you might try a little further north to catch RRS making a start

Posted by B_A_

12:30 PM, Aug 06, 2008

PLEASE PUT BATISTA IN THE BULLPEN!!! I don't care what he did last year...he is terrible this year as a starter--and actually performed pretty well in the bullpen. Dickey has proved he belongs in the rotation! I really hope it's not too late to send Washburn to the Yanks...
Next years rotation:
1) Felix
2) Bedard
3) Morrow
4) Dickey
5) RR Smith/Frierbrand
oh yeah...put the fat guy named Silva in there somewhere because he has to "earn" his millions!!!

Posted by Strytlr

12:33 PM, Aug 06, 2008

Geoff, what's the latest on the signing of Josh Fields?

Posted by Adamesque

1:49 PM, Aug 06, 2008


What Adam are you? Do we know you from Adam? How can you really claim to be Adam? Was Adam not first man? Who might you be? You really can't be Adam.

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