This is what September baseball looks like for teams whose season has gone like the Seattle Mariners2010 campaign - babies here, babies there, more babis on the way.
Justin Smoak is back from Tacoma, Matt Tuiasosopo is starting at third base, Michael Saunders in left field, Dan Cortes is in the bullpen ... and the Rainiers will be sending more reinforcements by mid-week.
The drawback is those young hitters will be facing veteran Cliff Lee tonight, and pitchers like him over the final 15 games.T he Pacific Coast League is tough, but not that tough.
As has been the case all season, the victim in all of this will be the starting pitcher. Jason Vargas starts this game 9-10 for the sason with a 3.62 earned run average. Had he gotten normal Amerian League run support, he'd be sitting of 14 or 15 wins. Easily.
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The kids can't do much worse than the men they'll replace - Casey Kotchman may have made his last start as a Mariner. Still, after 123 games, Kotchman was batting .220. Like it or not, Smoak is the future, Kotchman is not.
The wins and losses aren't going to look pretty no matter who plays the final two weeks. But hey, the Mariners are riding a one-game winning streak.
- Ichiro grounded to second base and beat the play to first, his 192nd hit of the season and infield single No. 52. Chone Figgins bunted Ichiro to second base. Jose Lopez flied out, Ichiro taking third. Franklin Gutierrez struck out. That, folks, is the Mariners offense.
- Jeff Francoeur singled and, with one out, Bengie Molina singled. Both runners moved up on a balk, but Vargas threw Francoeur out at the plate on an Elvis Andrus comebacker. Michael Young singled home a run. In the third: Texas 1, Seattle 0.
- Vladimir Guerrero singled. Ian Kinsler doubled him to third base. Francoeur singled home two runs. In the fourth inning: Texas 3, Seattle 0.
- Smoak singled, lining a ball up the middle and just missing Lee's head. Josh Bard doubled, Smoak to third. Matt Tuiasosopo struck out. Michael Saunders popped up. Josh Wilson fouled out. That's three Mariners in scoring position tonight - all stranded.
- Two-out single by Bengie Molina and this one feels gone. The Mariners have three hits, the Rangers five runs. In the sixth: Texas 5, Seattle 0.
- Gutierrez homered, his 12th. In the seventh: Texas 6, Seattle 1.
- Ichiro's second hit of the night, 193rd of the season, traveled about 60 feet. It bounced off Lee's glove, and in the effort to throw Ichiro out Lee wound up on his backside in the infield, laughing at himself.
- And in the ninth, facing reliever Alexi Ogando, the Mariners went quietly unto their 92nd loss of the year. They've now lost eight of their last nine games. Yikes! It's a final: Texas 6, Seattle 1.