Mariners Insider

Archives: May 2011

May
31st

Smoak brings ‘em back alive with home run

The 24-year-old Justin Smoak has now played 148 major league games and his home run tonight was his 21st – and the first of its kind for the Seattle Mariners first baseman.

It came in the eighth inning in a game was trailing 2-0, and produced a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

“I wasn’t looking for any particular pitch, and I sure wasn’t thinking home run – not the way I’ve been lately,” Smoak said.

 Smoak came to the plate in that eighth inning with two hits in his last 17 at-bats, with his batting average down to .250.

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May
31st

It’s a family feud: Wilson vs. Kennedy

They have gotten along well all season, two veteran middle infielders who have shared second base – and the bench – for the Seattle Mariners.

Then, this afternoon, Jack Wilson put on the catching gear, got into the batting cage about 3:10 p.m. and Adam Kennedy noticed. Wilson took mock pitches and threw to second base and backup catcher Chris Gimenz.

“I was impressed, the throws were pretty good,” Gimenez said. “Maybe I should worry about my job.”

Wilson insisted it was just for fun, that he was burning off a little excess energy since he wasn’t in the starting

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May
31st

Mariners Minor League Report, May 31: Carp homer gives Rainiers win, Poythress hits a grand slam for Jackson

Sorry for the delayed report. There was mitigating circumstance – I5 traffic.

Anyway, Mike Carp hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth and Dan Cortes was solid late in the game as the Rainiers picked up an 8-5 win.

Double A Jackson got a grand slam from Rich Poythress and pretty solid pitching from Erasmo Ramirez to pick up a 7-4 win.

Class A High Desert picked up an 8-5 win as Dennis Raben had three hits and Vinnie Catricala had two hits and a homer.

Class A Clinton dropped a double

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May
31st

Three thoughts on possible Mariners roster moves

1. Chone Figgins is not going to be designated for assignment. So just get that thought out of your head. When Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro were DFA’d midseason of 2008, when Milton Bradley was sent packing earlier this year, they were done as Mariners regardless. All three were in the final years of their contracts. They had no future with Seattle, so it was easier to just jettison them.

Sexson couldn’t hit, didn’t work and wasn’t going to do so in the future. Vidro was pretty much the same. Bradley? He was a malcontent. He was awful at the

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May
30th

Mariners 4, Orioles 3 — Fister strikes out career-high nine

Obviously everything pregame was about the new lineup and such. Postgame most of the talk was about Doug Fister.

He was really good. Mariners manager Eric Wedge raved about him after the game as you can see in the video above.

Fister isn’t a lot of things. He isn’t a hard-thrower. He isn’t intimidating. He isn’t much for talking about himself. But he is a competitor, which Wedge loves about him. The perfect example came in the seventh inning with the Mariners leading 4-1 and runners on first and second and two outs.

Fister was facing

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May
30th

Lineup changes: Ryan batting second, Figgins drops to eighth (updated 11:57)

Mariners manager Eric Wedge finally made the lineup move everyone wanted to see – well sort of. Wedge dropped Chone Figgins to eighth in the batting order and moved Brendan Ryan up to second.  A lot of people wanted Figgins dropped to ninth in the order, but the Michael Saunders, who has his own hitting issues, in the lineup today, Figgins was moved to eighth.

Unlike last year where Figgins was visibly upset and bitter about being dropped to ninth, he seemed relatively at peace with this decision.

“I’ve been through stuff like this before,” he said. “I’ve been moved

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May
30th

Mariners Minor League Report, May 30: Halman homers in return

Greg Halman is back with the Tacoma Rainiers and he announced his presence in a big way. After 48 days on the disabled list with a broken hand, Halman was activated before yesterday’s game and homered in his first at-bat to lead the Rainiers to a 10-6 win over Las Vegas.

You can listen to the venerable Mike Curto make Halman’s homer call right HERE.

Halman finished the game 3-for-5. Mike Carp extended his hitting streak to 14 games, going 2-for-6. Dustin Ackley had one hit, but did strike out four times. The first time

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May
29th

Yankees 7, Mariners 1: A series win, but no sweep

Well, the Mariners didn’t sweep the Yankees. And that’s not really a surprise.

Why?

It’s hard to sweep the Yankees.

Seattle has not done so since May 3-5 of 2002 at the old Yankee Stadium, and they haven’t pulled off a home sweep since August of 1996.

So should they be disappointed they didn’t get a sweep? Not really. A series win against the Yankees is damn respectable. The chances of the Mariners beating the Yankees on a day when CC Sabathia starts and Jason Vargas is very ordinary, well, are pretty slim.

“They have a lot of the best players in the game,” said Mariners starter Jason Vargas. “You really have to be on top of your stuff and you have to make pitches.”

But Vargas wasn’t on top of his stuff and he struggled to make pitches. Normally, he has impeccable command. But on Sunday, it just wasn’t as crisp.

In the second inning, he got up 0-2 on Nick Swisher. But Swisher shrugged off two changeups out of the zone and then fouled off two fastballs on the corners before getting a fastball he could handle, driving it over the wall in left for a home run.

AP photo

“When you give them an opportunity to see that many pitches, they are going to wait for you to make mistakes,” Vargas said.

Things fell apart completely in the third inning.

Vargas walked Jeter to start the inning, which is never a good sign, and then gave up a single to Curtis Granderson.

Yet, Vargas looked as though he might be escape with minimal damage. He got Mark Teixeira to bounce out to the mound as the runner advanced to second and third. Alex Rodriguez then hit a hard ground ball to Chone Figgins at third. Figgins fired high to home, but catcher Chris Gimenez made a brilliant play on the throw, jumping and grabbing the ball and coming down and blocking Granderson off the plate for the second out of the inning.

But it didn’t matter. Vargas couldn’t get an out to get out. He gave up an RBI single to Robinson Cano, and then Swisher worked a walk after falling behind 1-2.

It brought the well-traveled Andruw Jones to the plate with the bases loaded.

Vargas got up 0-2 on two pitches. But Jones wouldn’t chase at two pitches on the outside. Vargas continued to nibble on that corner, but his cut fastball caught just a little too much of the plate and Jones went with the pitch driving into the corner in right field for a double and clearing the bases.

“Andruw made a good swing on a good pitch,” Vargas said. “You can’t let those types of hitters see that many pitches in that short of time.”

Eduardo Nunez followed with a triple to score Jones. Suddenly a 1-0 game had turned to a 6-1 game in a half inning.

“When you get behind and with runners on base, they make you pay,” Vargas said. “I got behind and had to force the issue.”

Really Vargas just needed a swing and miss or even a called strike on a borderline pitch to get out with maybe a run or two allowed. Instead he was done after three innings and 80 pitches, giving up six runs on five hits with four walks and just one strikeout.

“He was so close,” Wedge said. “We’ve seen him fight through it before. He just wasn’t able to finish hitters off in the inning.”

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