Mariners Insider Blog

GAME THOUGHTS: Valbuena's progress, A's vs. Mariners, Sept. 27th

Yep, no game thoughts yesterday for various reasons. But I'm back with them today.

Not much went on in the pregame session with Jim Riggleman. I did ask about Luis Valbuena's progress. In yesterday's win, Valbuena had three hits thanks to some quality at-bats.

"He's gotten a good at-bat almost every at-bat," Riggleman said. "It hasn't always resulted in getting on base. But there have been very few at-bats where within a pitch or two it's over. There've been a lot of pitches thrown to him. He's made tough outs when he's made outs. He's drawn some walks. He's faced the other teams' closers and drawn walks. He's gotten hits. He grows on you. He's a nice player."

But would another season in Triple A benefit him?

"One of the things you can do is make mistakes in September and in spring training about evaluating players," Riggleman said. "But we can't not evaluate them. They're here. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. But if the makeup of the ballclub said we need him to play second base, I think the organization would be comfortable with that.

If the makeup of the ballclub said we need Lopez to play second and we've got a thumper to play first, then you'd give Valbuena some more time down below.

The added ingredient with Valbuena is that he's got such a good arm that he probably needs to get a game or two at shortstop just to keep that option open. Not that he's going to be a major league shortstop, but to be able to do that when you need it done, if it popped up in a game when you need him to play it."

Oh, I also talked to Ryan Feierabend about his elbow. He said it's nothing major. It just has been getting tight and achy after throwing and sometimes in between innings and it takes much longer to warm up.

Top of 1st

The Hyphen got himself into a bit of a spot with a pair of two-out walks, but as he always does, he found a way to get out.

Bottom of 1st

Wow, the Mariners put up a six spot in the first inning. Miguel Cairo draws a bases loaded walk, Wlad Balentien sat on a hanging curve ball and smoked it into left to score a pair of runs and Kenji Johjima ripped a monster three-run homer to left. All nine hitters come up in the inning.

Top of 2nd

Rowland-Smith gives up a lead-off double to Daric Barton, who is nearly cut down on a nice throw to Ichiro. Barton later scores on Cliff Pennington's single through the left side.

Bottom of 2nd

YUNI WALKS! YUNI WALKS! That's like two in three games. Of course, he later gets picked off by Greg Smith. Hey, minor victories.

Top of 3rd

Again RRS finds some trouble, giving up a few hits, but again he gets out without giving up a run. Moxie, the kid has moxie.

Top of 4th

A's add another as Tri-Cities product Travis Buck scores Cliff Pennington with an infield single. It's now 6-2. Any of you hoping that the A's can rally. They won't do it off the hyphen. He's just too steady and good at avoiding big innings.

Top of seven

RRS doesn't finish the inning. Sean Green comes into get the last out. But The Hyphen goes 6 2/3 allowing three runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Another quality start for RRS.