Since firing manager Don Wakamatsu, his bench coach and pitching coach, the Seattle Mariiners are 7-4 - meaning they've won one more game under Daren Brown than they managed all of July.
Are they going to continue on as a winning team the res of the season? Probably not, and for good reason. They're the same terrible offensive team they were the first four-plus months, when they were 42-70.
Look at any of Brown's lineup and the fact that Jose Lopez remains the cleanup hitter may say it all. The Mariners may never have had a worse No. 4 hitter - and Lopez has batted in that spot 78 times now.
The theory, endorsed by both managers this season, seems to be that putting any other player in the cleanup spot might screw them up, that suddenly they would try to do or be more than if they were hitting in any other spot.
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Lopez? It's hard to imagine him changing his approach no matter where he bats. He's batting .241 with seven home runs and 46 RBI with an on-base percentage of .273. How bad is that? It's 20 points lower than Yuniesky Betancourt's.
The Mariners needed two home runs from Ichiro Suzuki yesterday to manage four runs, and lost 9-4. Against the Yankees and CC Sabathia, it's hard to imagine this offense doing even that well today.
And looking ahead, the Mariners face the Red Sox, Twins, A ngels. It's hard to imagine Seattle winning many games against those teams.
It's hard to see them winning today, too - but one never knows in baseall. Who knows, maybe Mr. Lopez will break out a career day ...
- The Mariners didn't make CC work too hard in the first ining - he retired them in order on nine pitchess, five of those thrown to Russell Branyan.
- After walking Marcus Thames, Luke French got a routine fly ball and a double play grounder from Austin Kearns - except Jose Lopez booted that grounder at third base. When French walked Bett Gardner, the Yankees had the bases loaded. French got a broken-bat pop fly, then a fly ball from Derek Jeter. Nice pitching by French. In the second inning: No score.
- CC is dominant, allowing only one base runner - Adam Moore, who reached base on a Mark Texeira error. French, however, is matching him with zeroes, and has gotten two double plays in three innings.
- Austin Kearns 10th home run of the season extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and puts a run on the board. In the third: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Franklin Gutierrez doubles inside third base opening the fouth, ending CC's no-hit bid. With one out, Adam Moore singled - but Gutierrez was thrown out at the plate by Nick Swisher. It's raining again, and third base coach Lee Tinsley likely figured any c hance to tie the score would be worth the risk. Television replays showed catcher Jorge Posada tagging Gutierrez with his gloved left hand - while holding the ball in his right hand. Oops.
- Game, set, match? A walk, single and error on Ichiro and intentional walk loaded the bases, and Robinson Cano unloaded - his 25th home run and a grand slam, to boot. In the fifth: New York 5, Seattle 0.
- As French was warming up in the bottom of the sixth, the game was delayed by rain.
- The game restarted, with Chris Seddon pitching for Seattle. After a walk, Eduardo Nunez hit a ground ball that splashed to a dead stop in shallow right field - a double. Jeter's fly ball got a run home. After two walks, Robinson Cano singled home two more. In the sixth: New York 8, Seattle 0.
- Jorge posada opened the seventh inning with a home run, his 15th. In the seventh: New York 9, Seattle 0.