Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
September 7, 2008 5:53 PM
Posted by Larry Stone
That's always a popular thing to do at Safeco Field, where the fans have not forgotten or forgiven.
Alex had a rough series, going 0-for-10 in the three games. He is now hitting .121 (4-for-33) in his last 10 games at Safeco, dating back to Aug. 31, 2005. In only one other series this year did Rodriguez go hitless -- against his other former team, Texas, Aug. 4-7.
The low point for A-Rod came in the third inning when first baseman Bryan LaHair sneaked in behind him, and Ryan Feierabend fired over a pickoff throw to catch Rodriguez off base. Rodriguez got in a rundown, and eventually Derek Jeter, the runner on second, had to commit to third, and thrown out to end the threat.
It was a nifty play, one that Feierabend and LaHair have perfected over the years in the minor leagues. Feierabend called it a "backdoor pick" and said the key is not an inattentive runner, but an inattentive first-base coach.
"If you have a coach at first base not paying attention and more worried about the hitter, you're going to catch a lot of guys at first base,'' Feierabend said.
For the record, the Yankees' first-base coach is Tony Pena, former KC Royals manager.
Rodriguez said, "I still don't know what happened.'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "That's a situation where you can't get picked."
The Yankees, by the way, are toast. They dropped into fourth place, behind Toronto, 8 1/2 games out of the wild card. So much for Brian Cashman's plan to pick up a game a week, and sweep Boston in the season-ending series at Fenway. They're dropping games instead of gaining. I'd bet they were counting on a sweep of lowly Seattle. Instead, they lost two of three.
Feierabend was very impressive. So was Jose Lopez (two home runs), who deserves credit for finishing strong after second-half fades the last two years.
Here's a stat to chew on: Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Feierabend, three home-grown Mariners' pitchers, were 2-0 in the Yankee series with a 2.57 ERA (21 innings, six earned runs, 13 strikeouts, 13 hits allowed). That's something positive to cling to.