After pondering the Seattle Mariners’ two-hit loss a night earlier, manager Eric Wedge called a team meeting before Saturday’s game, and when players emerged 22 minutes later they certainly understood what he expected of them.
“Last night was unacceptable. Your bad can only be so bad, and we were beyond that. I told them what should be important to them, and what shouldn’t be,” Wedge said. “Whether you’re a young player or an older veteran, a guy playing every day or a reserve, we’re going to find out who wants to be part of this. You play as if every game was the last one – and some of these guys should be playing as if it could be their last game.”
Wedge didn’t publicly call out anyone but made it clear he expected much more from his team than what he has seen in this homestand.
“I didn’t drag my butt all the way out here to fail. We will get it done. We will become a championship team,” Wedge said. “When we get to the point where we’re winning more games than we lose, the fans will support us and, economically, we’ll be able to keep the players we want. We won’t have to blow it up like we did in Cleveland (where Wedge managed from 2003-09).
“The bottom line? What we do here is important. If this isn’t one of the three most important things in your life, you should be doing something else.”
The meeting followed a stretch of five home games this week in which the Mariners had scored five runs, been shut out twice and – on Friday – were two-hit by a journeyman sinkerball specialist Aaron Cook.
There was no major lineup shake-up, and little Wedge could do if he wanted to: The Mariners have a three-man bench at the moment, and one of those players – Michael Saunders – still had flu-like symptoms.
Wedge sat catcher Jesus Montero and shortstop Brendan Ryan, made designated hitter John Jaso his cleanup hitter and had Chone Figgins and Munenori Kawasaki at the end of his batting order.
HE THREW WHAT?
Ever wonder if players pay attention to the radar gun readings on pitches available in every ballpark?
Steve Delabar talked about watching Erasmo Ramirez start a Pacific Coast League game this season, and following his velocity on the scoreboard.
“He threw one pitch and it read out ‘137 mph,’ ” Delabar said. “I thought that was pretty cool – but then his next pitch was ‘138 mph.’ ”
The Mariners starting rotation over a five day span is one international configuration. Beginning with Ramirez (Nicaragua) on Saturday, Seattle’s rotation is Jason Vargas (United States), Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan), Felix Hernandez (Venezuela) and Hector Noesi (Dominican Republic). ... Former Seattle ace Mark Langston threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He lives in southern California and does some broadcast work with the Los Angeles Angels.
Seattle hosts Boston in a 1:10 p.m. game that will be televised on Roots Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Felix Doubrant (8-4, 4.54 ERA) vs. Vargas (7-7, 4.54).email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLarue