Another night, another frustrating loss for the Mariners, who now have dropped four straight and eight of their last 10. Obviously much has been made about the lack off offense, and it was apparent tonight, but the Mariners are supposed to rely on pitching and defense. They only got bits of both tonight.
Seattle committed a season-high four errors tonight and played a sloppy brand of baseball that managers loathe.
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“Watching that game, I don’t know if anybody in this clubhouse was proud of it,” Wakamatsu said.
The second smallest crowd in Safeco Field history of 15,589 fans witnessed the frustrating night and less than a third of them were around in the game final innings.
The mass exodus may have been from temperatures in the low 40s, or in the belief that this Mariners team is so offensively challenged that any deficit greater than a run is impossible to rally from.
Shortstop Jack Wilson committed three of the errors. Chone Figgins and Wilson made back-to-back errors to start the game, but starter Jason Vargas got out of the inning unscathed.
In the fifth, Wilson booted a ground ball off the bat of Gabe Kapler. That play never led to a run. In the seventh, he was way over right-center for left-handed shift against Carlos Pena. He fielded a ground ball, but when he went to throw he cleat got caught in the ground and he fell as he made throw.That error ended up costing the M's a run.
"The funny thing, I will take the same exact route on those balls tomorrow," Wilson said. "Sometimes the ball checks up on you and you get some funky hops. It's one of the things you are upset you lost the game, but I wouldn't do anything different on any of those balls. Two balls check up on you, and you catch a cleat on the dirt in right-center. What are you going to do?"
It was the first time he committed three errors in a game since May 2, 2001 in a 7-6 loss the Giants when he was with the Pirates at PNC Park.
When asked if he remembered, Wilson said, "2001, April, against the Giants."
Well, he was close.
The Mariners only real scoring threat against Rays starter James Shields came in the sixth. Up to that point, Shields had allowed one hit and struck out five and had a 3-0 lead. Wilson led off the sixth with a double down the line. Ichiro followed single to shallow center putting runners on the corners. Shields then uncorked a wild pitch to allow Wilson to score. Figgins reached on an infield single, and Gutierrez loaded the bases on a soft single to center.
But Shields struck out Milton Bradley looking and then threw three straight changeups to Ken Griffey Jr. to strike him out.
After the inning, Bradley was taken out of the game by Wakamatsu and replaced with Ryan Langerhans.
"We just felt at that time with what went on with the two strikeouts, it was time to get him out of the game," Wakamatsu said.
But apparently there's more to it than that. Bradley was supposedly furious at Wakamatsu at being lifted and there may or may not have been an incident afterward.
From Gregg Bell's AP story:
Multiple Mariners said he was "not good," though Wakamatsu deflected thoughts of an incident with a fiery slugger who is on his eighth team in 10 seasons.
Apparently, Wakamatsu wasn't in the dugout for the first at-bat of the top of the 7th, presumably dealing with Bradley.
No one is quite sure what happened. There are some rumors that Bradley had a temper tantrum after striking out, including throwing a bat and his helmet into a hallway and more anger, and then Wakamatsu then decided to take him out.
Wakamatsu and GM Jack Zduriencik and Assistant GM Jeff Kingston were meeting in Wak's office while the media was leaving. But that could also be about what do with reliever Mark Lowe.
Lowe had an MRI on his ailing back, and the results should be back by tomorrow. Don't be surprised if Shawn Kelley is called up from Tacoma tomorrow.
Three thoughts on the game
- If Wakamatsu decided to take Bradley out, it probably goes beyond looking at two called third strikes. You don't just manage for the one game, you manage for a season, and decisions can sometimes be based on that. Who knows if we'll ever find out what really happened.
- Apparently they have their reasons for keeping Jesus Colome, perhaps some concern of Lowe's back. But he's starting to remind me of my worst nightmare - Miguel Batista.
- Could Chone Figgins struggles be related to batting second instead of lead-off?