Saturday, August 29, 2009


Though the Mariners didn't beat the tar out of the Royals tonight, the Royals showed the marks of a bad baseball team. Three plays stick out in particular. One is the play where Mike Sweeney scored from third on a comebacker to the mound, which is just ridiculous. The second play was the one where a runner was on third with two out, and Mark Teahen charged a ball and misjudged the hop, resulting in a run. The third play was the throw to first that Billy Butler just plum had go off his glove. The Royals were charged with two errors in the game, and when you couple that with the Mariner offense scoring six runs, that's a winning recipe for Felix Hernandez even when he doesn't have his A-game. Really, I view the whole thing as karmic payback for when the umpire called Josh Anderson safe at second on a stolen base attempt even though he was out (Anderson later scored). After the loss in the first game of the series, I'm just glad the Mariners were able to right the ship and restore normalcy. The Mariners, while not an incredible team, are a middling team that should be able to eat a bottom-feeder in the standings. An oddity for the night was that Mike Sweeney got the start against the righthanded Brian Bannister. Ichiro again sat out with the strained calf muscle. During the game, Russell Branyan apparently had his back acting up on him, so a four-way replacement happened -- Michael Saunders came in to play leftfield (and took Branyan's lineup spot), Ryan Langerhans moved over to rightfield, Bill Hall moved in to play third, and Jack Hannahan moved over to play first base. All hail versatility!

The Mariners' fourth win in their last five games raised their season record to 67-62 after 129 games. This pace is seven games worse than the 2007 pace, but seven games better than 2006, 12 better than 2005, 18 better than 2004, and 20 better than last year. Sixty-seven wins is also four worse than 2000, nine worse than 2003, 10 worse than 2002, and 26 worse than 2001. Other records of new-millennium Mariner teams when getting the 67th win: 67-46 in 2000, 67-26 in 2001, 67-42 in 2002, 67-43 in 2003, 63-99 in 2004, 67-87 in 2005, 67-73 in 2006, 67-52 in 2007, and 61-101 last year.

Seattle hitting went 7-for-33 on the night, walking three times and striking out only eight times (hey!), stemming the double-digit strikeout binge the offense has been on lately. The team also went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners in all. The Mariners are 7-for-54 in the last seven games with runners in scoring position. The only extra-base hit of the night for the Mariners was a Bill Hall double. The only multi-hit Mariner on the night was Mike Sweeney, who had two hits and walked. The 8-9-1 hitters in the Mariner lineup (Ryan Langerhans/Rob Johnson/Franklin Gutierrez) combined to go 0-for-11 with a walk and four strikeouts. The multiple-strikeout Mariner hitters were Jack Hannahan and Langerhans, who both did so twice.

As for Mariner pitching, it was a good night. The starting pitcher will be covered below. Sean White started the eighth inning and came in to protect a 6-3 lead. He sandwiched a groundout with two flyouts, setting down all three hitters he faced. White threw nine strikes out of 15 pitches. David Aardsma allowed a leadoff single to Mike Jacobs, but got the next three hitters out. Aardsma got two flyouts and a strikeout, giving up one hit. He faced four hitters to get three out and threw 12 strikes out of 23 pitches. An interesting note about Aardsma -- he's given up at least one hit in each of his eight save opportunities this month, and he's blown two of those saves. Also interesting is that in every one of Aardsma's blown saves, he's never managed to get the third out before being pulled.

1) Mike Sweeney
You know, the Mariners' righthanded designated hitter had a five-game hitting streak even before Kansas City rolled into town to provide some extra motivation. Sweeney got the start despite the righthandedness of Kansas City's starting pitcher, Brian Bannister. That said, this was one of his best games of the year. It turns out there were some baserunning hijinks again this time, but I guess that's Sweeney for you. Let's go over the anatomy of an awesome day for Sweeney. In the second, with Branyan on first and nobody out, Sweeney singled. He and Branyan moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, and a groundout to the right side by Hall moved both runners another 90 feet and giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Josh Wilson tapped a ball back toward the mound, and Bannister came off the mound to field it. As soon as Bannister rared back to throw to first, Sweeney darted toward the plate, and he slid in just under the tag of former Mariner catcher Miguel Olivo. I immediately declared the night a success for the Mariners since there's no way in hell I'm going to see Sweeney score on a comebacker to the mound ever again. Sweeney then led off the fourth with a single and scored on a single by Josh Wilson. Sweeney popped out to lead off the sixth, then walked with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh to force in the Mariners' sixth and final run of the game, accounting for the final 6-3 margin. So, Sweeney is 11-for-22 over his last six games with four doubles, a home run, and five RBIs.

2) Felix Hernandez
I'm just glad that the walk train seems to have finally come to the end of the line for the Mariners' ace. After walking 14 hitters over his first three starts this August, Felix has walked only two hitters over his last three starts. I threw a stat into one of the posts in the last few days about how the Mariners' starting staff just lost their radar completely after the trade deadline, and Felix was more than part of that loss of control. I don't know if he's quite back to vintage Felix yet, but if he's walking one hitter or no hitters in his starts, then he can't be that far away. Felix now has a record of 13-5 on the year. Mix that in with a stat I heard on the Softy show a week ago, and his record could be even more impressive -- Felix has given up three earned runs or less in all but one of his nine no-decisions. The one exception is a five-inning, five-run start in his second start of the year (at Oakland). I'm not going to sit here and tell you that he should have won all nine of those games and that he should have a record of 22-5 right now (as nice as that'd be). I will say that in a just world, maybe three, four, or maybe even five of those no-decisions should break into the win column for Felix. The guy could have nearly 18 wins right now, and we'd all be screaming Cy Young for the guy. I think the only way he wins the Cy Young is if he runs the table the rest of the year, and even then he'd be up against pitchers on playoff teams. Maybe it's good to keep his price down if the Mariners are trying to re-sign him. Anyway, Felix gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out six. He got 11 groundouts to four flyouts (one Mitch Maier home run), faced 27 hitters to get 21 outs, and threw 63 strikes out of 104 pitches.

3) Josh Wilson
The FSN broadcast crew noted that nothing was really wrong with Jack Wilson, but that the team had planned to give Jack Wilson some rest for either this game or Saturday's game. They chose this game. Cue Josh Wilson back into the scheme of things. Since returning to the Mariners on August 13th, Josh Wilson had gone 13-for-38 (.342) with two doubles and three mind-bending home runs, along with five RBIs. He had a six-game stretch where he went 11-for-22 with two doubles and two homers. He didn't go nuts with a multiple-hit barrage in this game, but he did manage to drive in half the Mariners' six runs on the night. The first run he drove in was largely Sweeney's doing since that was the aforementioned play where Sweeney scored from third on a tapper back to the mound. Again, that's insane, and something I'll more than likely never see again. In the fourth, Josh Wilson had his only hit of the game, singling into leftcenter with nobody out to drive in both Hall and Sweeney to blow the game open and put the Mariners up by a 5-1 margin. How do his totally weird numbers look now? In the last half-month, he's gone 14-for-42 (.333) with two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBIs. He's also no slouch defensively. I'll say once more that I don't think Josh Wilson necessarily has a future for this team, but thanks to this last couple weeks, I have to think he'll get significant playing time for some team next year.

Ryan Langerhans
It's just one of those nights where the goat just has to be somebody even though nobody horribly sucked. It just so happens that tonight the goat is the guy who went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. Yes, even the guy that homered to end two games in the span of 18 days isn't immune to wearing the goat horns. Maybe the whole move to rightfield in the fifth inning is what threw him for a loop. He still had two at-bats after that. Anyway, here comes the Langerhans night of futility. He struck out swinging to end the second, though the bases were empty thanks to Sweeney being completely nuts. With Josh Wilson on first and nobody out in the fourth, Langerhans flew out to center. In the sixth, Josh Wilson again was on first, but this time with two out, and Langerhans popped out to second to end the inning. Lastly, Langerhans whiffed with the bases clear and one out in the eighth. While Langerhans didn't have the best night at the plate, it's worth noting that he didn't strand 10 guys on base or anything. It was just one of those nights. He's earned a few of those here and there thanks to those two game-ending home runs.

Maybe Saturday will be a day where the Royals ask what that Snell is. This is where I realize the Mariners have a Snell and used to have a Snelling. Odd.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009


In 2001, some Mariner fans tacked the "Two outs...so what?" line onto the team. This game, it was more like "worst record and second-lowest home run total in the American League...so what!" Doug Fister's first three Major League starts proved to be great, and they came against the White Sox, Yankees, and Indians. Obviously, it would then come as no surprise that the horrible Royals would prove to be his undoing. Well, it was a combination of that and Kyle Davies' thing where he's inexplicably better on the road than at home. Thus, the Mariner hitters never got it on track, and the Royals got ahead and never looked back. This game was over in the sixth inning. The weeknight crowds at the games lately have been pretty thin (i.e., under 20000), but it's games like this that really make the crowd seem as thin as the paid attendance figures say it is. While this wasn't the unwatchable baseball the Mariners were playing last year, this really wasn't anything you'd talk about at the watercooler the next day for more than 10 seconds. Did I mention the team needs Ichiro back on the field?

The Mariners had their three-game winning streak snapped and are now at 66-62 after 128 games. This pace is seven games worse than the 2007 mark, but seven games better than 2006, 12 better than 2005, 18 better than 2004, and 19 better than last year. Sixty-six wins is also four worse than 2000, 10 worse than 2003, 11 worse than 2002, and 26 worse than 2001. Other new-millennium Mariner teams' records at win number 66: 66-46 in 2000, 66-25 in 2001, 66-42 in 2002 and 2003, 63-99 in 2004, 66-86 in 2005, 66-73 in 2006, 66-50 in 2007, and 61-101 last year.

Seattle hitting went 8-for-35 on the night, walking three times and striking out 10 times. The double-digit strikeouts means Mariner hitting has struck out 10 or more times in four of the last five games and nine times in the last 14 games. They went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners in all. The Mariners are 6-for-48 in the last six games with runners in scoring position. There were three multi-hit Mariners on the night, all three of them getting two hits -- Franklin Gutierrez, Kenji Johjima, and Jack Wilson. The Mariners had only two extra-base hits, one being a Bill Hall double, and the other being Jack Wilson's first Mariner home run. As mentioned, the strikeout train chugged along again. The bottom four hitters in the Mariner lineup combined to go 5-for-16 (not bad) with three RBIs (not bad) and seven strikeouts (yikes). Russell Branyan and Johjima struck out twice apiece while Michael Saunders turned in the hat trick. Saunders has struck out seven times (out of 11 at-bats) in the last three games. In the got-aboard-more-than-once category, Bill Hall doubled and walked, and Jack Hannahan walked twice. While I'm here, I'll just say I bumped Johjima from the gameballs because of his passed ball.

It wasn't the best night for Mariner pitching, that's for sure. The starting pitching will be covered below. Shawn Kelley started the seventh inning with the Mariners down 5-2. He got two quick outs before walking Josh Anderson. He had an 0-2 count on David DeJesus, who homered five pitches later to blow the game open and make it 7-2 for Kansas City. Kelley got the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. Kelley gave up two runs on one hit, walking one and striking out one. He threw 22 strikes out of 33 pitches, and faced five hitters to get three outs. Randy Messenger had a much softer landing this time than in his last outing. He got two quick outs in the eighth, then Alberto Callaspo was gunned down at second by Hall to end the inning after trying to stretch a single into a double. As for the ninth, Brayan Pena one-hopped a ball over the centerfield wall for a double, then went to third on a wild pitch one out later. The Royals' eighth and final run scored on an infield single. Messenger gave up a run on three hits, walking none and striking out one. He got two groundouts and two flyouts, faced eight hitters to get six outs, and threw 19 strikes out of 33 pitches.

1) Jack Wilson
I guess I've figured out the solution -- I give Jack Wilson the goat, and the next night he does awesome. The Mariners' starting shortstop was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in the game, though he still slipped a couple strikeouts in there to keep everyone honest. Okay, and the home run was in the ninth when not even I cared what was going on in the game, and my ears kinda perked up when I heard Dave Sims' voice rising in tone and getting louder. Jack Wilson had look out of sorts at the plate over the last coming back from his injury, but tonight he showed he is indeed worth something at the plate and hasn't totally lost it at the plate. He's apparently going to wait a while before he realizes he's a National League guy on an American League team in Seattle, at which point he'll immediately hit .220, but the Mariners won't really face the music and move him since they have so much money tied up in him. Wait, this is supposed to be a gameball paragraph... The best part about Jack Wilson having a night like this is that I don't have to wonder whether Josh Wilson could have done the same thing. I think maybe we should ask Jack Wilson if he can go back to Pittsburgh and sort of make off with that one Vince Lombardi trophy and put it in Renton where it belongs.

2) Bill Hall
He's being billed as versatile and as a very good athlete, and he's done nothing so far to dispute either of those claims. In only six games as a Mariner, Hall has already appeared at third base, leftfield, and now rightfield the last couple nights. In this game, he went 1-for-3 with a walk (and a strikeout) and an outfield assist when he gunned down Callaspo trying to stretch a single into a double. He is not chop liver defensively, that's for sure. I'm intrigued as to what this guy can do over a full season against American League pitching. Hopefully it'll be better than what Adrian Beltre did in his first full year against American League pitching. Needless to say, Hall will never be a better defender at any position as Beltre is at third, so that's probably a wash. One hilarious thing is that this is the Royals' only trip into Seattle this season, and Willie Bloomquist sat the bench in the first game of the series. The other hilarious thing? Hall is probably going to be all kinds of better than Bloomquist. Hall could turn out way better than Mark McLemore, even (yes, I know Hall's shown good home-run power in the past). Intriguing, it is.

3) Franklin Gutierrez
Maybe I could say that the Mariners' centerfielder is pulling an Endy Chavez at the plate? Much like Chavez filled in admirably in the leadoff spot for Ichiro, Gutierrez is doing the same. Gutierrez has been in the leadoff slot the last four games and has gone 8-for-17, turning him into a .292 hitter from his previous .289. I guess maybe the bad thing is that he was gunned down in the first inning trying to stretch a single into a double. That's really too bad, because I was going to launch into the whole diatribe about how Gutierrez is feeling all the crappiness that Ichiro feels when he gets on base and doesn't get driven in because the rest of the lineup sucks. Anyway, he went 2-for-5 in this game, with one of the hits being the one where he was thrown out at second. The other hit was his RBI single in the fifth, which pulled the Mariners to within a run at 3-2. I'll tell you what's a bit worrisome for me about Gutierrez -- it's his power drought this month. He homered in consecutive games in the Tampa Bay series, but those are his only dingers of the month. He's gone homerless in the last 17 games and hasn't had an extra-base hit of any kind in the last 10 games. This was a guy who I thought had a pretty good chance at 20 homers. Now he has an outside shot at 20 homers. He ended July with 12 homers on the season. He's at 14 right now.

Doug Fister
Maybe it's just a surprise that Fister hasn't been in this paragraph yet. It wasn't until his fourth Major League start (fifth Major League appearance) that Fister finally experienced some growing pains and landed himself in the goat entry. In his first and third starts, he showed a heavy tendency toward groundouts. In his start in Yankee Stadium in between, he leaned toward flyouts, but I think that's more because everything in that new place is weird and crazy. In this start against Kansas City, Fister got seven groundouts and six flyouts. While that ratio's good for most pitchers, for Fister it probably wasn't. Sure, he got six flyouts, but three other fly balls went over the outfield walls. It should be noted, however, that no windows, females, or skeet were involved. Now that I've got that completely unnecessary pop culture reference out of the way, it really was too bad that of all teams, the Royals had to be the team to take Fister to the woodshed. It's not like I expect this team to sniff anywhere near the top of the wildcard standings, but this team hasn't had a winning streak longer than three games since the original six-game winning streak that vaulted them to 7-2 back in April. Damn. All told, Fister gave up five runs on five hits, walking one and striking out five in six innings of work. He got seven groundouts to six flyouts, faced 24 hitters to get 18 outs, and threw 57 strikes out of 86 pitches.

I'm normally jazzed when it comes to Felix Hernandez starting the next day, but lately a win with him on the mound isn't a lock like it used to be. Not when the freakin' Royals are turning the Safe into a launch pad.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


How do we know the Oakland Athletics are officially having a bad year? They're having a bad year when the Mariners can sweep them at home. They'd be having a horrible year if the Mariners swept them in Oakland. Anyway, the Mariners completed the sweep in this game by getting ahead early and hanging on until the end. Really, that sounds more like the 2000-2001 recipe for Mariner wins. One of the stats the television broadcast rolled out tonight was that the Mariners are tied with the Yankees for the league lead in walk-off wins with 11. That's 11 out of the Mariners' 66 wins coming in the final at-bat, and as a Mariner fan, I'm really not used to those kinds of wins happening that often. Tonight's game was almost a polar opposite of a walk-off win. Of course, the Mariners should buy Rajai Davis a nice big steak dinner for the two fly balls he had go off his glove, one of which led directly to scoring for Seattle. Thank you kindly, Rajai Davis. Finally, I'm not sure what exactly Mariner third-base coach Bruce Hines was thinking tonight -- he gambled badly twice and got lucky once. With two out in the second and Rob Johnson on second, Franklin Gutierrez singled hard into rightfield. Hines sent Johnson (catcher, though fast for a catcher) home, and it was so obvious the play wasn't even going to be close. Johnson was out by about 15 feet. The Mariners were up 2-0 at that point, but the game ended up getting closer, so that run could have been very important. As for the second time, the fifth Mariner run (insurance) came when Mike Sweeney singled with Lopez on second and two out. Hines sent Lopez home, and the throw had Lopez beat, but luckily it was wide, or else Lopez would have been out by 10 feet. I guess Bruce Hines realized he worked in Seattle and shared a name with Hines Ward or something.

The Mariners' third straight win (i.e., sweep of Oakland) bumped their record up to 66-61 after 127 games. This pace is seven games worse than the 2007 pace, but eight better than 2006, 12 better than 2005, 19 better than 2004, and 20 better than last year. Sixty-six wins is also four worse than 2000, 10 worse than 2002 and 2003, and 25 worse than 2001. Other new-millennium Mariner teams' records when obtaining win number 66: 66-46 in 2000, 66-25 in 2001, 66-42 in 2002 and 2003, 63-99 in 2004, 66-86 in 2005, 66-73 in 2006, 66-50 in 2007, and 61-101 last year.

Seattle hitting went 8-for-31 on the night, walking three times and striking out 10 times, making it the third time in the last four games and the eighth time in the last 13 games that Mariner hitting has piled up double-digit strikeouts in a game. The Mariners snapped their three-game hitless drought with runners in scoring position, managing to go 3-for-13 in this game. This makes them 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position over the last five games. Two Mariners racked up multiple hits on the night as Jose Lopez and Mike Sweeney got two hits apiece. As for people getting aboard more than once, Jack Hannahan went 1-for-2, walked twice, and score three of the Mariners' five runs. Sweeney, Rob Johnson, Hannahan, and Lopez all doubled, and Lopez added a home run. I mentioned the strikeout plethora, and that again was anchored by the bottom of the lineup as Jack Wilson struck out three times for the hat trick, and Michael Saunders liked the strikeout so much he did it twice. Other than the last two hitters I mentioned, only Russell Branyan went hitless, going 0-for-3 with a walk in the sixth spot in the lineup.

As for Mariner pitching, it wasn't a bad night at all. Luke French only walked one hitter this time out after walking three in his last start. It's not just about French, though, it's about the entire Mariner staff, who had walked a lot of hitters lately. In the last five games (i.e., one trip through the rotation), Mariner starts have walked a total of four hitters. In the previous turn in the rotation, Mariner starts walked 11 hitters. In the turn before that, the rotation walked 16 hitters. In the turn previous to that, Mariner starts walked 25 hitters (Jason Vargas issued the first three walks). August has been a walk party for the Mariners' starting pitchers, but luckily it appears to be tapering off a bit. In the third, French allowed a couple of one-out singles, but quelled the threat. In the fourth, he threw a pretty high-and-tight pitch on which Jack Cust somehow got around and hit a high-arc majestic home run to pull Oakland to a 3-1 deficit. French stranded Ryan Sweeney on second after a leadoff double in the fifth. French's real trouble came in the sixth, when Davis got aboard and Kurt Suzuki mashed a homer off the concrete bullpen divider in leftcenter. French got two more outs before walking Mark Ellis to bring Don Wakamatsu out with the hook. French wasn't being yanked on pitch count, but rather the fact that Wakamatsu wasn't going to let French possibly take a loss if something happened with Ryan Sweeney. It's too bad since he pretty much cruised through the first five innings. French gave up three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out four. He got three groundouts to 10 flyouts, threw 53 strikes out of 86 pitches, and faced 24 hitters to get 17 outs. Miguel Batista then finished off that inning and threw a 1-2-3 seventh, proving himself to be worth a modicum of my give-a-damn. He threw eight strikes out of 10 pitches, got three flyouts and struck out one, and retired all four hitters he faced. Mark Lowe gave up a leadoff single in the eighth before retiring the next three hitters. He threw nine strikes out of 14 pitches and got a grounder and two flyouts with his four hitters. Lastly, David Aardsma made for a dicey ninth. The first two hitters got aboard with singles before Aardsma caught the next two hitters looking and got a groundout from Adam Kennedy to end it.

1) Jose Lopez
Last night I had Lopez in the goat entries, though mentioning all the caveats when it comes to Lopez. He doesn't just tear it up and go on long streaks for 15 games at a time. His approach is more like having four awesome games, then hanging up a goose egg. While I'm not entirely sure this game would qualify as stupendously awesome, Lopez went 2-for-4 in the game with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. He also scored the two Mariner runs that Jack Hannahan didn't score. After Hannahan drew a one-out walk in the first, Lopez saw the right pitch from Gio Gonzalez and blasted it to the back of the Mariner bullpen in leftcenter to open the scoring (putting the Mariners up 2-0) and giving Luke French a good bit of breathing room. He followed a leadoff Hannahan walk in the fifth with a double to push Hannahan to third. He struck out looking after Hannahan led off the third with a double. He also hit the second fly ball that Davis had go off his glove in the game, this one coming in the seventh. The two runs batted in for Lopez give him 78 for the season. He has 21 for the month, which is now his highest RBI month of this season, with five days left to go in August. If he gets any more RBIs in the next five days, he'll gave a decent shot at ending the season with 100 RBIs, especially since some of the teams the Mariners face will be trotted out their AAAA pitchers for cups of coffee. Lopez is hitting .279 and slugging .519 for the month.

2) Mike Sweeney
I guess it's the fact that Sweeney plays sparingly that makes me surprised that he's quite a few notches above worthless when it comes to contributing. In the boxscore for the game, he shows as going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, along with a strikeout. In the first, he followed the Lopez home run with a long drive to center that Davis had, but it went off the pinkie finger of his glove, and Sweeney got a double out of it. With one out in the third and Hannahan on second, Sweeney flew out to right on a 2-0 pitch. With two runners in scoring position and nobody out in the fifth, Sweeney whiffed on a breaking ball down and in and was not pleased with himself. Finally, in the seventh, the Mariners had Lopez on second after the Davis gaffe, and Sweeney drove him home with that single, though I guess Sweeney can thank Hines' craziness for the RBI on that play. Again, despite playing sparingly, Sweeney's having a bit of a hot streak lately, going 9-for-19 in his last five games with four doubles, a home run, and four RBIs. He's hitting .308 and slugging .564 so far in August. Who says they're the Dog Days? That's preposterous talk.

3) Bill Hall
He has an obvious hitch to start off his swing, but it looks like he just lays into the ball and drives through it. In five games wearing a Mariner uniform, Hall has gone 6-for-19 (.316) with a double and four RBIs. I guess maybe only the one walk to seven strikeouts might be concerning somewhere down the line, but right now it looks like the Mariners may have a versatile player who can not only defend and hit, but can put a licking on the ball. The guy's displayed massive power in the past, though that was in Milwaukee and everything. It might be sad that the Mariners might be kicking the best third baseman they've ever had to the curb, but I guess that may be tempered by the notion that if Hall turns into anything at all, the benefit-cost ratio would be so radically in the Mariners' favor that it'd make the Adrian Beltre signing look like a complete joke. They'd go from high-dollar productive third baseman to bargain-basement productive third baseman. Of course, going too far along that line of thinking would be akin to putting the cart before the horse and everything, so I'll just stop it with that. For the record, I really liked the Beltre signing at the time, and I'm pretty sure you can go back to that offseason in the Sports and B's archive and find that I did.

Jack Wilson
This is getting weird. Jack Wilson goes down, and Josh Wilson fills the spot. Then Josh Wilson hits like we'd expect a healthy Jack Wilson to hit. Now Jack Wilson has come back from his hamstring injury. The problem is, now Jack Wilson is hitting how we'd imagine a normal Josh Wilson to hit. This is a bit ridiculous. I know it reeks of small sample size, but Jack Wilson has gone 1-for-12 since coming back and has struck out six times. Granted, he wasn't exactly tearing the American League on fire after getting to the Mariners, but in this Oakland series he looked out of sorts at the plate. I don't know if he's got to work out the kinks in his swing (he last played August 12th before this series) or if the hamstring thing is affecting something in the foundation of his swing. Something doesn't seem right watching Jack Wilson at the plate. That Josh Wilson, though, that there guy has a swing that could put a ball onto Royal Brougham. That guy should be the everyday shortstop over this hack Jack Wilson. This Josh Wilson's an all-star, and his number 16's going to hang from the rafters at Safeco Field. Yee-haw! Okay, so we know Jack Wilson will get every chance in the future and next spring to be the Mariners' starting shortstop because they've got too much money invested in the guy. I think Josh Wilson could play himself into a crappy starting lineup next year though. Someone out there had to have been watching over the past two weeks.

Looks like the Iron Fister will try to knock the crowns off the Royals.

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With the Mariners down 2-1 in the eighth, Franklin Gutierrez walked with one out, and Ken Griffey Jr. came off the bench to pinch-hit for Jack Hannahan. Griffey ended up striking out, though Gutierrez did cross the plate in the inning (thank you, Adam Kennedy). Bill Hall was moved to third base from rightfield, and Ryan Langerhans filled the spot in the outfield. I guess maybe Don Wakamatsu should have cut out the middle man (Griffey) in the eighth? Of course, on the surface, pinch-hitting for lefty Hannahan with lefty Langerhans seems a bit redundant, but Langerhans drove a pitch over the rightfield wall to end a game for the second time in 18 days. Really, he finished the job that Russell Branyan started with that high fly that was caught at the wall by Ryan Sweeney in the ninth. Where are the Mariners now? As I've said a few times in this space, they've been out of the wild-card race since getting swept at home by Cleveland about a month ago. I think what's left is to raise the high-water mark of the season, which is seven games above .500. The Mariners are currently four games above .500.

The extra-inning win raised the Mariners' record to 65-61 after 126 games. This pace is eight wins worse than that of the 2007 team, but it's also eight better than 2006, 11 better than 2005, and 19 better than 2004 and last year. Sixty-five wins is also five worse than 2000, 10 worse than 2002, 11 worse than 2003, and 25 worse than 2001. Other new-millennium Mariner teams' records when netting their 65th win: 65-46 in 2000, 65-25 in 2001, 65-42 in 2002, 65-42 in 2003, 63-99 in 2004, 65-85 in 2005, 65-73 in 2006, 65-50 in 2007, and 61-101 last year.

Seattle hitting went 8-for-35 on the night, walking three times and striking out a plentiful 13 times, making it the seventh time in the last 12 games that Mariner hitting has amassed double-digit strikeouts in a game. The team also went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners in all. Another flattering stat -- the Mariners are now 0-for-17 in the last three games (and 1-for-27 in the last four games) with runners in scoring position. The only multi-hit Mariner on the night was Franklin Gutierrez, who went 2-for-4 and has gone 5-for-8 with two walks and a stolen base while filling in for Ichiro at the top of the lineup the last two games. The bottom third of the lineup was flummoxed by Oakland pitching, going 2-for-11 on the night while striking out seven times (one walk). Jack Wilson and Michael Saunders both struck out twice, while Bill Hall (who was great defensively) and Kenji Johjima both went for the hat trick and struck out three times. Extra-base hits went to Mike Sweeney, who doubled, and to Branyan and Langerhans, who both homered.

As for the pitching, it's really too bad the starter couldn't come away with the win. He'll be discussed below. Shawn Kelley came into the seventh inning with runners on first and second with one out and with Oakland just having obtained a 2-1 lead. He then got a hot grounder to Branyan at first followed by a flyout to end the threat. In the eighth, he allowed only a two-out single to Nomar Garciaparra, probably because he felt bad for him or something. Kelley gave up one hit and struck out two in 1 2/3 innings. He threw 23 strikes out of 29 pitches, got one groundout to two flyouts, and faced six hitters to get five outs. With the Mariners having tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, David Aardsma threw the ninth to hold the tie, and he threw a rare 1-2-3 inning. He got a flyout, groundout, and strikeout, throwing 11 strikes out of 14 pitches. Finally, Mark Lowe threw a 1-2-3 10th inning, getting a groundout and two pop flies, and throwing six strikes on seven pitches. Hooray bullpen for throwing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

1) Ryan Langerhans
It's been an interesting month for Langerhans. On August 7th, he homered to end a home game against Tampa Bay. On Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, he made a really long run to catch a fly ball and almost snow-coned it, but then he collided right-shoulderfirst into the leftfield wall. He stayed in the game, probably thinking that if Adrian Beltre can take a hard grounder to the testicle and play five more innings, the least he could do was stay in if he could still move his non-throwing arm. In this game, the legend continued. Hall was moved to third as the defensive replacement for Hannahan in the ninth, and Langerhans was called off the bench to fill Hall's vacant spot in rightfield. Gutierrez got aboard with one out in the eighth inning and Griffey couldn't get a hit in the pinch. The 10th inning came, and Gutierrez got aboard again, this time with a single. Langerhans got ahead 2-0 in the count before falling back to 2-2. Then Craig Breslow threw a pitch that Langerhans found quite opportune, and he drove it over the rightfield wall to end the game. Langerhans has amassed exactly 86 at-bats in his tenure as a Mariner, but I'd have to think he's already contributed more to this team than Mike Morse ever did, and with less substance abuse (though Morse got hit in the minors, but whatever)! Morse's most memorable moment in Seattle might have been when he addressed Mike Hargrove as "Big Dog."

2) Ryan Rowland-Smith
Of the five pitchers in the Mariners' starting rotation, only Doug Fister and the Aussie have managed to record an out in the seventh inning in any of the past seven games. It has been a wee bit rough for the rotation since the trading deadline, and the pressure lies on Rowland-Smith and Felix Hernandez to eat up the innings since Ian Snell, Luke French, and Doug Fister can't really be depended upon to go further than about six innings. Rowland-Smith stumbled out of the gate at first, allowing a double and two singles with two out to stake Oakland out to a 1-0 lead. He then set down the next seven hitters and nine of the next 10 hitters. He got a key groundout with two on and two out to end the fourth. The Aussie made sure a leadoff bunt single that moved to second with one out went for naught in the fifth. After a 1-2-3 sixth, Rowland-Smith nearly lost his bearings in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff double followed by a hard-hit shallow single that put runners on the corners with nobody out. After Cliff Pennington flew out, the Aussie needed only a well-placed grounder to end the inning, but instead, Kennedy dropped a single in front of Hall in rightfield to put Oakland up 2-1 and put Rowland-Smith on the hook, and that hit chased him from the game. Rowland-Smith gave up two runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking none and striking out one. He got seven groundouts to 11 flyouts (early on it was a heavy flyout-leaning ratio), faced 28 hitters to get 19 outs, and threw 65 strikes out of 98 pitches.

3) Franklin Gutierrez
As I mentioned above, Gutierrez has filled in for Ichiro in the leadoff role the last two nights and has gone 5-for-8 with a walk and a stolen base. It's obvious Gutierrez isn't going to hit leadoff as long as Ichiro is healthy, but it's very nice to see Gutierrez step up when Ichiro isn't around. Endy Chavez filled in admirably in the leadoff role for the first eight games of the season, and now Gutierrez is doing it. He'll have another chance in today's game as well. Gutierrez has had a bit of a rough month at the plate, but is still hitting .275 in August. The guy went nearly three months without going hitless in consecutive games where he didn't get injured in one of them, so we've got to cut him a bit of slack. He had a .300 season average on August 11th, but has gone 12-for-52 (.231) since. He was bound to hit a rough patch at some point, but what causes my pure elation when it comes to Gutierrez is that his rough month still has him hitting .275. This was a guy who I'd have been happy with if he just played awesome defense and hit .240, and now .275 is an off month for him. Yes, the Mariners and their fans have been spoiled with great centerfield play since 1989, with maybe a couple of the post-Cameron years taken out.

Jose Lopez
This is what Lopez does. His longest hitting streak this year is eight games. Instead of putting together a long hitting streak, what Lopez seems to do is rake and have three multi-hit games in a row or get multiple hits in three of four games, then he'll hang up a goose egg. On the last road trip, Lopez had a three-game streak that saw him go 4-for-13 with a double, two home runs, and four RBIs. The game after that, he went 0-for-4 and committed the game-breaking error in Felix Hernandez's start on Sunday. To start the homestand, Lopez went 2-for-3 with a double and a homer and had a great game. In this game, he hung up another goose egg, going 0-for-4. It's unfortunate, since as a leading RBI man on this team, he grounded into a first-pitch double play with two on and nobody out in a 1-1 tied game in the sixth. That was a bit deflating for me, and I'd have to say that if he gets a hit right there, Rowland-Smith probably manages to get a win out of this. Anyway, the caveat applies -- Lopez does this from time to time, but his better games are pretty good games. His worse games are like Sunday's game.

Let's see if French turns the Athletics into foie gras.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Fresh off a loss in a Felix Hernandez start (which totally buzzkilled his whole streak-snapping aura), the Mariners returned home to face their nemesis, the Oakland Athletics. Though the A's aren't what they used to be, to a certain extent you can kind of throw out the record books and everything and just let the teams play baseball. Okay, that's not entirely true since Oakland is kinda rebuilding and going young. Again. Of course, anything I just said pales in comparison to the big news that came before the game, which was that Ichiro would sit with a calf strain. This marked the ninth game Ichiro missed this season. Ichiro played in 157 games in each of his first two seasons in Seattle, and that was his previous low for games played in a season in the Majors. Now he'll finish with 153 at the most. As for other things about the game -- was there a chance in hell that Ian Snell would get his second straight win? The same pitcher that had two of the most awful starts by any Mariner pitcher this year? I guess if Snell could beat any team, it'd be Oakland. Still, there was the argument that if Snell didn't have his control, the Oakland hitters would just sit up there and take all the walks they could get. Jack Cust certainly would do that.

The win by the Mariners ran their record to 64-61 after 125 games. This record is eight wins worse than the 2007 team, but seven wins better than 2006, 11 better than 2005, 17 better than 2004, and 18 better than last year. Sixty-four wins is also six worse than 2000, 11 worse than 2002, 12 worse than 2003, and 25 worse than 2001. Other new-millennium Mariner teams' records when grabbing win number 64: 64-46 in 2000, 64-24 in 2001, 64-42 in 2002 and 2003, 63-99 in 2004, 64-81 in 2005, 64-71 in 2006, 64-50 in 2007, and 61-101 last year.

Seattle hitting went 9-for-32 on the night, walking four times and also striking out four times. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners in all as they failed to give Vin Mazzaro the early exit he surely deserved. Extra-base hits were turned in by Lopez (double and home run) and Ken Griffey Jr., who also homered. Multi-hit games were turned in by the aforementioned Lopez and Griffey (two hits apiece), as well as Franklin Gutierrez, who was bumped into the leadoff spot and went 3-for-4 with a walk. The other Mariner getting aboard more than once was Bill Hall, who had a hit and a walk while playing rightfield in place of the calf-strained Ichiro. I should note that Lopez drove in his 76th run of the season, and still has an outside shot at a 100-RBI season.

As for Mariner pitching, I'd have to say if the staff only allows one run, it had to have been a pretty good night. The starting pitcher will be discussed below. Sean White came in and threw the seventh and eighth innings, facing six hitters and retiring them all in order, picking up a strikeout along the way. White threw 16 strikes out of 23 pitches and got three groundouts to two flyouts. David Aardsma picked up save number 29, setting down three straight hitters after allowing a leadoff double by Jack Cust. Elise Woodward on KJR brought up a stat the other day about how Aardsma's last 1-2-3 inning in a save situation was eons ago. Normally I'd be worked up about that, but I can only expect Aardsma to get away with so much when he's trying to repeatedly pump fastballs by people. Anyway, Aardsma threw seven strikes out of 12 pitches, got two flyouts, and struck out one in his inning of work.

1) Ken Griffey Jr.
When the elder statesman/Mariner emeritus has a night like this one, he's pretty much destined for the gameball. It's a guarantee he's here unless Felix Hernandez throws an eight-inning one-hitter or something. In this game, Junior went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run that came in the at-bat after he was hit in the calf with a pitch. Griffey seemed no worse for the wear, obviously, after line-driving his home run over the rightfield wall. The home run came in the fifth and capped the Mariners' scoring. Steve Sandmeyer said on KJR this morning that he'd lost a bet with a friend since Griffey had hit his 13th home run of the year on Sunday. Sandmeyer then revealed that he took the under, with the over-under being 12. When quizzed about this by Mitch Levy, Sandmeyer said he thought Griffey would miss a lot of time. I guess I didn't realize it until it was brought up on the radio, but isn't it massively surprising that Griffey hasn't missed significant time or ended up on the disabled list? Griffey could easily take a spa week or a spa month, and goodness knows if he'll get up this morning since that right calf is probably going to be sore, but it's pretty amazing he hasn't ended up on the DL yet.

2) Franklin Gutierrez
From June 16th to August 12th, Gutierrez didn't got hitless in consecutive games in which he got a full set of at-bats (that's the quirk I have to put in for that game in Detroit where he crashed into the wall and messed up his neck). That's how Gutierrez turned from a .251 hitter to a .300 hitter in just under two months. Then Gutierrez had a couple of goose eggs, one ending the Yankee series and another starting the series against the White Sox. Including his 3-for-4 night with a walk in this game, Gutierrez is 10-for-48 (.208) from August 12th to the present with a double, no RBIs, six walks, 14 strikeouts, and two stolen bases. Gutierrez hasn't had the best week and a half, though the whole re-upheaval of the lineup with Adrian Beltre being injured might have had something to do with it. He hit leadoff in this game and did a great job, but there was also the one time a couple weeks ago where Gutierrez hit second again and Russell Branyan was bumped down in the order. All told, Gutierrez is still hitting .264 for the month, which is above what I expected him to hit for the entire season, so that's a plus.

3) Ian Snell
If Felix Hernandez went six innings and gave up one run, he wouldn't even make it into the gameball section. Ian Snell, however, who has had two horrific starts out of his four overall starts as a Mariner, will land himself into the gameballs if he goes six and mostly averts disaster without walking a ton of hitters. His first hiccup inning came in the third, when he issued both of his walks, but nothing came of it. In fact, Snell somehow took a no-hitter into the fifth, when Daric Barton broke it up with a two-out single. Snell appeared to lose it a bit toward the latter part of the sixth inning. He allowed a single to Kurt Suzuki with two on and two out that broke up the shutout bid. Snell gave up one run on four hits in six innings of work, walking two and striking out two. He threw 60 strikes out of 99 pitches, got seven groundouts to nine flyouts, and faced 24 hitters to get 18 outs. Best of all, Snell wasn't awful and was completely watchable. I guess the next step for Snell now that he's gotten two straight wins is to see if he can stretch out past the sixth inning.

Russell Branyan
Again, I won't try and hash too much over a very terrible error that I never got the chance to see with my own eyes. All I've been hearing was that it was a pretty bad gaffe on a pretty routine play. Instead of two outs and nobody on in the sixth, suddenly Felix Hernandez had a runner on first and one out. Though you'd think this shouldn't affect how Felix goes about his business on the mound, the floodgates opened on Felix. What used to be a one-run deficit for the Mariners at that point became a five-run deficit. It didn't take very long at all, I'm sure. Of course, it wasn't just the back-breaking error that Lopez gave to this game. No, it was also the 0-for-4 with a strikeout. With runners on the corners and two out in the third (Indians up 1-0), Lopez grounded out to end the inning. This team looks to Lopez for RBIs, lest we forget. With the Mariners down 2-1 in the fifth, Lopez had a runner on third and lined out to end the inning. It was not the best day for the Mariners' second baseman. It still doesn't erase his outside shot at a 100-RBI season.
Okay, so the big first baseman had three good games on the road trip. He homered in three straight games, went 5-for-12, drove in five runs, and even drew a couple of walks. He's followed up those three games with two goose eggs. I know Gutierrez was hitting directly in front of him, but there's no way Gutierrez should be able to go 3-for-4 with a walk and score zero times. Part of the blame goes to Branyan. One day, we may figure out just how balky Branyan's back has been since the beginning of July, when his numbers really started taking a nosedive. Maybe it'll be like when you discover so-and-so hockey player didn't skate quite as quickly or didn't have as much of a scoring touch because they'd been skating with a broken heelbone for the last two months or they've been trying to shoot pucks with two broken bones in one of their hands. Anyway, this 0-for-5 night makes Branyan 18-for-90 for the month, a .200 hitter in August. It seems bad, and it is. What's worse is that .200 for August is actually an improvement over his .159-hitting July. That was just all kinds of awful.

We'll see if the Aussie can make the A's 'roo the day they stepped into Safeco Field...

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Sunday, August 23, 2009


I'll preface this by saying I saw only the first few two or three innings. It was only a six-game road trip, and the Mariners finished 2-4 and everyone feels like crap about it. The Mariners could have swept the Detroit series, but one of the wins was an Ian Snell win. Oddly, that was the only win of the series, when in fact I thought the Felix Hernandez game would be the only win of that series. One could argue the Mariners should be heading home with a 5-1 road trip instead of a 2-4. Again, with the Snell win, I'd argue for two of three both times. This should have been a 4-2 road trip. A record of 65-59 would look a lot better than 63-61. Of course, a 66-58 record would look just that much better. Aw, who are we kidding? They're so far out of the playoff race it doesn't even matter. As I've mentioned before, watch and appreciate the little things, because that's where we're at with the 2009 Mariners. I guess maybe the sad thing is the scope of the season is that right now the team looks as inconsistent as they did when they went nearly a month between winning streaks of consecutive games (i.e., two or more). Right now the streak is at 12 games, whereas earlier in the season it ran itself to 29 games. I hope I don't have to watch this team tread water for another two and a half weeks.

The Mariners' seventh loss in 10 games dropped their record to 63-61 after 124 games. This record is eight games worse than the 2007 pace, but seven better than 2006, 10 better than 2005, and 17 better than 2004 and last year. Sixty-three wins is also six wins worse than 2000, 12 worse than 2002 and 2003, and 26 worse than 2001. Other new-millennium Mariner teams' records when losing their 61st game: 72-61 in 2000, 116-46 in 2001, 84-61 in 2002, 82-61 in 2003, 38-61 in 2004, 46-61 in 2005, 56-61 in 2006, 73-61 in 2007, and 38-61 last year.

Seattle hitting went a disappointing 6-for-33 on the day, walking once and striking out a horrific 11 times. This was actually the sixth time in 10 games that Mariner hitting has piled up more than 10 strikeouts in a game. Additionally, the team went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game and stranded six runners in all. Jack Hannahan and Rob Johnson both had two hits apiece as the only multi-hit Mariners. Hannahan doubled twice and Johnson doubled once, while Ken Griffey Jr. homered to account for the Mariners' extra-base hits. Five of the starters in the Mariner lineup went hitless. Namely, Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez at the second and third slots in the lineup combined for an 0-for-8 with three strikeouts, while Josh Wilson and Ryan Langerhans at seventh and eighth combined for an 0-for-7 day with three strikeouts.

As for Mariner pitching, I guess it wasn't so bad before the error by Jose Lopez. Felix Hernandez cruised pretty well through the first five innings. In the first, Ryan Langerhans had a long run toward a Grady Sizemore fly ball and looked to almost have caught it, but had a pretty good collision with the wall. Langerhans rolled around on the ground and eventually somehow threw the ball in despite being on the ground. Sizemore got a triple out of it, though without Langerhans' effort, it's probably an inside-the-park home run. Sad thing is, the Indians wasted two more outs and the Mariners nearly stranded Sizemore on third, but Jhonny Peralta singled with two out to put the Indians into a 1-0 lead. Hernandez didn't get burned again until the fourth, when again it was Peralta, this time leading off the inning with a homer to make it 2-1 for Cleveland. After getting the first out in the sixth, Peralta (again?!) hit a routine grounder to Lopez at second, who apparently completely muffed it. The next five hitters, in order, singled, singled, doubled, sacrifice flew, and singled. By the end of that mess, the Indians led 6-1, and that held up as the final margin. Hernandez gave up six runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings, walking none (encouraging) and striking out six. He threw 67 strikes out of 101 pitches, got seven groundouts to five flyouts, and faced 28 hitters to get 18 outs. Miguel Batista threw a completely inconsequential seventh and eighth innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out three. He threw 19 strikes out of 35 pitches and faced eight hitters to get six outs.

1) Jack Hannahan
When Bill Hall played third the night before, I figured Hannahan would be doomed to platoon duty, and since Fausto Carmona is righthanded, I might still be right in my prediction. Still, the mere fact that most starting pitchers are righthanded means Hannahan should still get most of the starts at third. In any event, his two hard-hit doubles in this game helped state his case toward maintaining the playing time he's already been getting. I guess the more shocking thing about all this is that these two doubles were his first extra-base hits since July 23rd in Detroit. He played 20 games without collecting an extra-base hit. All in all, he really needed the two hits to make his road trip look a little better -- he still finished 3-for-19 on the road trip with the two doubles, and he walked twice and struck out six times. He's now hitting .245 as a Mariner and .216 on the season. I guess what's sad about following the Mariners right now is that Adrian Beltre was back for barely over a week, and I miss him already. Beltre hit .390 after coming back from the bone chip surgery. Sure, it was a no-power .390, but it was still .390.

2) Rob Johnson
There's pretty much an unwritten rule within my game posts that states if Johnson has a multi-hit game, he gets a gameball. It's way too easy. He went 2-for-3 in this game with a double. As we sit here watching an expensive Kenji Johjima getting playing time mostly sparingly, and look at Johnson getting the bulk of the playing time despite hitting .229, I can't help but wonder where the Mariners would be if Jeff Clement's knees would have held up and he would have been able to catch on a regular basis. Sure, he wasn't a defensive whiz back there, but every ball in the dirt that gets past Johnson makes me wish anyone else was behind the plate. It'd be different if Johnson hit even .240 or .250. When Dan Wilson was being vintage Dan Wilson and not hitting a lot, even he could pull a .240 out of it. Given that logic, it's hard for me not to be expecting more out of Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson's nowhere near as defensively sound or as sound calling a game as Wilson was. Realistically, though, how many good things come out of the Butte-Whitehall area of Montana?

3) Ken Griffey Jr.
The elder statesman, the Mariner emeritus, chimed in once again. It was a day in which only he and three other Mariners would manage to get hits, and only he managed to have a run-scoring hit off Fausto Carmona, which in his case was a home run, the 624th of his long career. Just think -- if he hits 36 homers in the next five weeks, he'll catch Willie Mays on the all-time career home runs list. Yeah, it's not happening. Still, we'll be able to watch what is likely the last five weeks of Griffey's Major League career. We'll be more than happy with what Griffey has brought to Seattle, though there will always be that little nugget in everyone's mind that wonders what kind of numbers Griffey would have put up if he hadn't been hurt so many times. Might he be scraping 800 career home runs right now? Who knows? I remember being at a game against the Twins at the Kingdome where Griffey homered off a speaker and after the game said that the ball would have gone 800 feet if not for the speaker. Anyway, Griffey has 13 homers on the year and is hitting .220. Do any of those numbers surprise anyone?

Jose Lopez
Again, I won't try and hash too much over a very terrible error that I never got the chance to see with my own eyes. All I've been hearing was that it was a pretty bad gaffe on a pretty routine play. Instead of two outs and nobody on in the sixth, suddenly Felix Hernandez had a runner on first and one out. Though you'd think this shouldn't affect how Felix goes about his business on the mound, the floodgates opened on Felix. What used to be a one-run deficit for the Mariners at that point became a five-run deficit. It didn't take very long at all, I'm sure. Of course, it wasn't just the back-breaking error that Lopez gave to this game. No, it was also the 0-for-4 with a strikeout. With runners on the corners and two out in the third (Indians up 1-0), Lopez grounded out to end the inning. This team looks to Lopez for RBIs, lest we forget. With the Mariners down 2-1 in the fifth, Lopez had a runner on third and lined out to end the inning. It was not the best day for the Mariners' second baseman. It still doesn't erase his outside shot at a 100-RBI season.

Will Ian Snell be the streak-stopper? Yikes.

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