Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners Game # 116 - And A New Lineup

Now Playing Center Field ...

Jim Riggleman came up with a new lineup tonight, one with Jeremy Reed DHing and rookie Wladimir Balentien in center.

Balentien's bat has him in the lineup, and though he's only started in center field one other time, the Mariners want to take a look at him there.

Tough News For Kenji ...

The Mariners have told Kenji Johjima - who signed a three-year contract extension in April - that he's no longer a starting catcher.

That job, they say, belongs to Jeff Clement, at least through the end of the season, and that if Johjima wants to win the job back, he'd better come up with another approach at the plate by next spring.

Signing Johjima to the extension made no sense and wasn't a baseball decision. That order came from Japan.

Along with Clement, the Mariners are deep in young catching prospects, from Rob Johnson in Tacoma to Adam Moore in West Tennessee.

It's why Mariners players were stunned when Seattle extended Kenji.

They had good reason to be ...

Dividends In Center ...

Balentien's fifth home run of the season just banged off the upper deck in left field, and it's hard to remember a recent Mariners farmhand with his power.

If he can hit for average AND keep that power, Seattle will have found at least one bat in its quest for 2009 offense.

Mariners 2, Rays 1 ...

Argh & Arghhh Again

Carlos Silva isn't pithing particularly well, but he's had little help behind him.

Ichiro over threw the cutoff man on an RBI single, allowing two runners to move up a base.

Then shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt made a fine stop, looked both runners back - and threw a ball away for a two-base error.

Ugh.

To the bottom of the third:

Rays 5, Mariners 2 ...

If They Can Just Get To J.J. ...

Mr. Putz may not have a game to save tonight, but the Mariners might want him to pitch, anyway.

Why? In his last three appearances, J.J. is 3-0, that's why. He's the first Seattle reliever to win in three consecutive appearances in 30 years.

Mariners aren't having much success when it matters most against James Shields - and Raul Ibanez is 0-for-3.

Fans have let out an audible moan after each of those outs.

To the Sixth:

Rays 5, Mariners 3 ...

Mendoza Line Special ...

Jeff Clement is heating up - he's gone 9-for-23 this home stand, pulling his average from .167 to .201.

Over that same stretch of games, Kenji Johjima has only seven at-bats. That's meant almost not work for reserve Jamie Burke, who's had one at-bat in the past nine games.

After givin up a leadoff single in yhre seventh, Mr. Silva has been pulled in favor of Jake Woods. Silva deserved better tonight.

Rays 5, Mariners 3 ...

On To The Ninth ...

Grizzled veteran closer vs. Balentien, Bryan LaHair and Betancourt. The kids are getting a baptism by fire.

Rays 5, Mariners 3 ...

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