Mariners Insider Blog

GAME THOUGHTS: Rays vs. Mariners, August 9th

Yes, I know I am running about an hour behind. Perhaps it was because I was finishing up the rest of my Rays story, perhaps its because my ears still have a ringing in them from the Motley Crue concert last night, perhaps I just fell behind watching the Mariners put up five runs in two innings. Do you know how many games we've sat through where they've failed to score five runs or more in a game this season? 76

Jim Riggleman wasn't too happy with Carlos Silva for calling out his teammates after yesterday's loss.

Here's Silva's comments to a group of reporters.

"Maybe Chief (Silva's nickname) has to come and grab somebody in his neck and pin them to the wall. I'm very close to doing that, so write that down."

"Maybe half of the team wants to do the best they can ... I can talk about the starting rotation, we want to do our best every time we cross that line, you know? But maybe half of the team doesn't have that mentality. They only think to finish strong and to put up the numbers. That's great, but that affects us. As a team, that doesn't work out.

"Maybe instead of moving a runner, they want to get a base hit just because of the numbers. Instead of to get a ground ball, maybe I want to strike him out because of my numbers, you know what I mean? That's what we're doing right now."

Here's some of Riggleman's comments ..

I'm very disappointed. A couple of things I read just really didn't make any sense. It was just very strange to me.

When I hear somebody say something about selfish play, I challenge anyone to go in there and look at the tape of every game from March 31 to the present time and show me an example of somebody being selfish. I'll stand corrected if somebody points it out, but if you say someone is selfish you've got to show me something specific.

More importantly, he shouldn't have said it to the writer. He should have said it to me, he should have said it to the teammate he's directing it at.

The one thing he was talking about, not using a ground ball to move a runner, we've done a great job of that. But again, any time you're not successful at dong that, it's the intent that you have to question. I know the intention has always been to do it but sometimes you don't get the result. It's just like you don't intend to give up walks or base hits, but you give them up.

It's just a wrong way to send a message. You don't do that in the paper, you do that internally.

I admire him more for doing when he's 4-13, to tell you the truth. If you're 13-4 and saying stuff, it's kind of like, 'I'm gong good, so I can say anything I want.' But again,whether you're struggling or going good, you just don't do it publicly.

The stuff that was said was so convoluted, I don't know who it was directed at. Until you give a specific example.

I'm going to talk to him and a couple other guys. He used the phrase "the starting pitchers. We're focused but some other people aren't" That's ridiculous.

--- thanks to Kirby Arnold for the transcript.

So on to the game.

Ichiro in the lineup tonight as a DH - a day off for him - goes yard to start the game off of starter Matt Garza. It was the second time this season and 27th of his career. The Mariner add another run on a Adrian Beltre's fielder's choice.

Bottom of second

RBI singles from Ichiro and Yuni Betancourt and a double plate that scores a run that pushes the lead to 5-0.

Top of three

Ryan Rowland-Smith looks pretty solid early on, but he did give up a monster solo homer to right to Gabe Gross. It was hit so far, Ichiro barely moved.

Top of five

I'm very impressed with Rowland-Smith. Look the guys going to give up hits. That's going to happen, but he has enough moxie to NOT overthink the situation and try and do something else.

The best example came when a hit, an error by Jose Lopez and a walk loaded the bases. It got so bad that Miguel Batista of all people started warming up. But Rowland-Smith didn't back down to Carlos Pena, the Rays' top home run threat, and struck him out on a great breaking ball to end the inning and earn quite an ovation from the Safeco faithful.



Top of Six


Rowland-Smith works himself into a two-out bases loaded jam and manager Jim Riggleman decided to bring in fellow lefty Cesar Jimenez instead. That move has since backfired.

Jimenez gave up a hard hit ground ball to Aki Iwamura that a diving Jose Lopez had bounce off his glove to cut the lead to 5-2. Jimenez then gave up a double to BJ Upton to score two runs and cut it to 5-4.

And just when the game should only be tied afer Jimenez gave up another double, Betancourt applies a lazy tag on Carl Crawford's ball hit to right. If Betancourt puts the tag down with some authority, then Crawford was out at second and Upton's run doesn't count. But even though the all clearly beat the runner there, Crawford - replays show - slid in before Yuni put the tag on him.

It's now 7-5 as Carlos Pena ripped a shot off the right-field wall, to score a run. Pena tried to advance to second, but Wlad Balentien fired a perfect throw to second and this time Betancourt got the ball and glove down in time. Two runs too late, though.



Bottom of six


Kenji Johjima gets a rare hit to right field. How rare? According to baseball-reference.com, Joh has just 35 opposite field hits in his career. 35. And how does Betancourt follow that up by swinging at two balls well inside and popping up to shortstop. And I'm not even the least bit surprised by that at-bat because it's been happening all season.

Bottom of seven

Another wasted opportunity for the Mariners. Runners on first and second with no outs and Grant Balfour comes in gets a ground ball from Beltre, a strikeout of Jose Lopez and a broken bat fly to center from Wlad Balentien.

On the plus side, several members of Balfour's family are here, presumably from his native Australia. And every time he gets an out, they chant: "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!"

Top of eight

Divish, who do the Mariners have within the organization that looks to challenge Betancourt for playing time at SS? After watching him this season, I think he has become complacent there, and I think we can do better. He really doesn't compliment Lopez well at all. He showed so much promise with the glove a few years back, but the mental focus doesn't seem to be there.

I realize we signed him long term already, probably premature, but it is not a contract that should prevent us from having some flexibility there, correct? Again, who do we have in the minors? Thanks for responding, because I'm sure you will get right on it ;)

Touche Snydro, Touche. Well the shortstop prospects are not looking so good for the Ms in the immediate future. Yes they have Triunfel, who is at Class A high desert. He is only 18 years old and about three to four years away from seriously being considered. And most feel that he projects as a second baseman or third baseman or even outfield (think Alfonso Soriano, who he's built like). He's already committed 25 errors at short this season.

After that there isn't much, the Rainiers have used Oswaldo Navarro, Tug Hulett and Luis Valbuena, none of whom are every day shortstops at the big league level, not much else at Class AA. It looks like the M's are stuck with Yuni for awhile. And as I type this he just popped up a sac bunt attempt.

Ichiro bails him out with a single up the middle to tie the game. That was his 1,742 hit as a Mariner tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. second all-time. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out who leads 2,247 hits.

Top of Nine

JJ works himself into a little trouble and manages to get out of it with a couple pop ups. He is not the JJ of last season, but I still think he could get back there with a prolonged stretch of steady work and a prolonged stretch of healthiness.

We head to the bottom of the ninth.... Is it walk-off time?

Bottom of 10th

That is what is so frustrating about Yuni, he makes a brilliant leaping catch and then starts off the inning with a single. But really, if he makes more than a lackadaisical effort on a simple play, none of this is necessary.

Bloomquist showing some hustle is injured on the play. He's had a sore heel all week, but I don't know if that was his heel that he hurt on the play. Wash into run, not surprisingly they walk Raul to get to Beltre and now they are brining in a sixth fielder to the infield. Basically Beltre has to hit it to left to end the game. Instead he hits it to third for a 5-2-3 double play.

Ichiro has moved to right from DH so that means a Mariner pitcher will have to hit.

This game will never end.

Top of 11

I take back my last sentence, because Batista comes in walks the lead-off hitter. The Rays textbook it and move him to third and get a sac fly to go up run....

HMMM my lead is looking like this...

Even though Miguel Batista was scratched from making his scheduled start on Saturday, he still found a way to take the loss in an 8-7, 11-inning defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field.

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