Mariners Insider Blog

GAME THOUGHTS: Rays vs. Mariners, August 10th

PREGAME

A few quick things that I didn't mention in my earlier post. Raul is DHing today. That means Wlad in center and Reed in left (which seems kind of backward to me).

The Rays have placed Carl Crawford on the 15-day disabled list and activated Rocco Baldelli. Those are both huge stories. Here's the most updated story.

Baldelli's return from a mitochondrial disorrder is interesting. I saw him play when he first came up and I thought this guy was going to be an all-star. Check out this story on his comeback.

Top of first

Well defensively the Mariners look sharp early on. Jeff Clement was charged with an error on the pop up. He should have caught it. But Beltre probably should have called him off on the play. R.A. Dickey works out of the jam though.

Bottom of first

Shocking the Mariners strand a runner in scoring position. They are hitting .244 as a team with RISP, while Beltre, who seems to have the approach: "swing as hard as possible" is hitting .208 with RISP.

Top of second

The Rays jump to a 3-0 lead on Willy Aybar's three-run home run right down the left field line. Dickey battled him to a 3-2 count, but his knuckleball on the payoff pitch stayed up and floated and Aybar hit it out of the park.

Bottom of Second

It's now 3-1 as Jose Lopez continues to swing the bat well hitting his 10th home run of the season on a solo shot to left off of Edwin Jackson. That's one more run than the M's scored against Jackson in April when he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits.

Top of third

The Rays add another run as a lead-off walk to Cliff Floyd comes back to haunt Dickey. Baldelli gets his first hit and RBI of the season with a liner over the head of Betancourt.

Bottom of third

A lead off single from Yuni amounts to little. Jeremy Reed popped a bunt attempt to catcher Shawn Riggans. Here's Riggleman's comment about the Mariners bunting woes today.

Bunting is kind of a lost art throughout the game. That is an indictment all of us throughout the game, instructors, coaches, managers, all of us. It's rampant throughout baseball. We put an exclamation on it last night with the poor execution. Really just we have to get back off the cage off not a batting practice pitchers arm, but a machine that's firing, -- get in there and get back to work. It's really one of those things that is done over and over in spring training but that's useless in all of this. It's got to be maintained and we're going to have to do it.

Top of fourth

The lead is pushed to 5-1 as another walk comes back to bite Dickey. This time Aki Iwamura drew a walk and stole second. On the throw down, the ball skipped into center and he moved to third, scoring easily on BJ Upton's single.

The official scorer credited the error to Jeff Clement, but I disagree completely. I watched the replays, the throw was perfectly fine. There might have been small short hop, but Lopez needs to catch that ball. If he does, the runner is out. It's the failure to do these simple things that lead to losses.

Clement is having a tough time with Dickey's knuckler, he also had a passed ball later in the inning.

Bottom of fourth

Apparently Jim Riggleman agrees with me about Lopez catching the ball. Because after Adrian Beltre led off the inning with a single, Tug Hulett pinch hit for Lopez. Hulett, a dirtbag of a player (that's a compliment), had a nice at-bat, just missing a home run, fouling off some pitches and drawing a walk. But it led to nothing. Jeff Clement swung at a low pitch that led to a 1-6-3 double play. It was an uncharacteristic pitch for Clement to swing at, but I think he was trying to make up for the inning before. Balentien flew out to left to end the inning.

Top of fifth

The official scorer agrees with me and the rest of the press box. They changed the scoring, giving the error instead to Lopez. That might be the best aspect of the inning, because Dickey gave up a three run bomb to catcher Shawn Riggan and it's now 8-1. Its hard to tell how well Dickey's knuckleball is moving from the press box, but his command overall even with his other pitcher hasn't been great. He has four walks and has already thrown 110 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Top of seven

I took an inning off. Not much happened. The Rays got another run and lead 9-1.

What's more frustrating is watching Seattle hitters and their approach against Edwin Jackson. I don't know if I would call it an approach, I would call it hacking. Jackson came in with 57 walks in 130 innings pitched. He's notorious for falling behind hitters and giving free passes, but he has only two walks today - both to Tug Hulett - while the rest of Seattle has swung at just about everything he throws up there. It's why Jackson beat the Mariners in Tampa and he's doing the same thing here.

Perhaps even more frustrating is that the free swinging mentality is getting contagious. Jeff Clement, who in the past has been patient and willing to take pitches and walks, is now swinging at the first pitch all the time. It's not a good trend.

On a positive note, that was a great catch by Bryan LaHair to end the inning.

Top of Nine

I really have lost the will to post anything analytical or quippy about this game. About the best thing I can say is that it won't last as long as last night's game. But it feels longer at this point.

I'm certain many of you stopped watching about an hour ago.

Bottom of nine

For Visitingfan: Baldelli went 1-for-4 before being lifted for Gabe Gross. He looked pretty good, but I think the Rays will be relatively careful not playing too much, too soon.

As for Erik Bedard, he played catch today. It was back-to-back days for him. Nothing major, and I don't think it was a very long game of catch. But it is improvement.

South Kitsap's Jason Hammel is in to pitch the final inning for the Rays.

Rays (70-46)

Aki Iwamura 2B

B.J. Upton CF

Carlos Pena 1B

Rocco Baldelli DRF

Cliff Floyd DH

Ben Zobrist SS

Eric Hinske LF

Willy Aybar 3B

Shawn Riggans C

----------------

Edwin Jackson P

Mariners (45-72)

Ichiro RF

Reed LF

Ibanez DH

Beltre 3B

Lopez 2B

Clement C

Balentien CF

LaHair 1B

Betancourt SS

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Dickey P

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