Mariners Insider

Mariners put up a clunker in Oakland

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Sep. 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm with 12 Comments »
September 28, 2012 10:55 pm

OAKLAND – After playing well without much success against contending teams that past 10 days, the Seattle Mariners played a game that belonged in last place Friday.

Oh, they managed to continue their home-run-hitting way, homering for the 17th consecutive game, and they trailed Oakland only 4-2 until the bottom of the seventh.

Still, a pair of fielding errors, the inability to hit with men in scoring position and an uncharacteristically ineffective bullpen beat the Mariners and handed the Athletics a 8-2 victory.

Seattle is limping toward the finish line of a season, losing seven of its last eight games and 10 of the last 14. Until Friday, however, they had played well against good teams – the Orioles, Rangers and Angels – and lost close games. This one didn’t have that feel.

“All year, one of the keys for this team has been defense,” second baseman Dustin Ackley said. “You see what happens when you don’t play good defense – it can cost you the game.”

Starting pitcher Blake Beavan wasn’t particularly sharp and didn’t survive five innings, giving up a home run to the first man he faced, Coco Crisp, but allowing only four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

A two-run home by Stephen Drew hurt Beavan, but so did shortstop Brendan Ryan’s two-out error in the fifth, which was followed by a John Jaso passed ball that allowed a run to score.

“The pitch to Drew, I just put that on a tee for him,” Beavan said.

“Blake was up a little to much tonight,” manager Eric Wedge said. “They hit a couple of home runs, hit a lot of hard outs. He was living on the edge.”

And then it got worse.

 Charlie Furbush started the seventh inning, walked the No. 9 hitter and then wild pitched him to second base. An infield single and another walk loaded the bases with Athletics, and Wedge brought in hard-throwing right-hander Stephen Pryor.

Pryor walked Yoenis Cespedes to force home a run.

With one out and the Seattle infield in, Josh Reddick grounded to second baseman  Ackley. His throw to the plate was wide, and when Jaso had to dive to catch it, a runner scored on the throwing error.

 Third baseman Josh Donaldson singled home two more and, well, it was 8-2 and Oakland had maintained a two-game lead over Los Angeles in the wild card race despite an Angels win Friday.

And the Mariners had played like the fourth-place team in a four-team division – a spot they’ll occupy for the fourth time in the past five years.

“That’s a play I’ve had trouble with, throwing the ball down and to the left when I’ve thrown to the plate,” Ackley said. “I think I try to hurry it, I don’t set my feet right.

“That’s a play I haven’t worked on a lot and it shows with me. I’ve got to make that.”

Wedge agreed.

“He’s got to throw a strike home,” Wedge said. “We get that out, the game is still close. We didn’t.”

Ackley shook his head.

“It seems every time I make an error, the next guy up gets a big hit,” he said. “It cost us.”

Home runs by Trayvon Robinson and Michael Saunders kept the Mariners close, but in the situations that defined the game, the offense couldn’t deliver.

When Ackley singled and Casper Wells walked to open the sixth inning, neither Kyle Seager or Jesus Montero could even advance them. When Jaso was hit with a two-out pitch that loaded the bases, Smoak flied out.

Even down six runs in the ninth, the Mariners got a Smoak single, a walk to Saunders and then …. went down 1-2-3 without moving Smoak off second base.

Seattle finished the night with six hits, and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Over their last nine games, the Mariners have managed only seven hits in 71 at-bats with men in scoring position.

 With only five games left in 2012, it’s likely too late to expect those numbers to make a complete turnabout. The Mariners can, however, play better defense, tighten up their pitching.

          If so, they may still add to their 73-win total. It won’t get them out of fourth place, but it would make being there a bit more comfortable.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. I like the last sentence,it won’t get them out of last place,but it would make being there a bit more comfortable.To me that means,find your level of incompetence and enjoy it.

  2. SharkHawk says:

    Larry… you have such a large audience and I know people care what you think. Why aren’t you openly questioning the serious issues with this franchise on a daily basis? I understand you are “unbiased”, but you’re also our voice. As fans we want to see Lincoln and Armstrong OUT. A real baseball man in the mode of Pat Gillick needs to be given the reins to the organization and have full power to build this team into whatever he or she wants to.

    It’s time to move in the fences and reconfigure the outfield. It’s time to get some marketing people in that aren’t spending all of their money on trying to prevent a Sonics arena and further alienating a fanbase that they SHARE (sports fans tend to attend a sport, and it seems the M’s are trying to avoid another team, because that means they’ll have to spend money to put a better product on the field).

    The cries for the ouster for Lincoln and Armstrong would be deafening in any other baseball market in the country, but you’ve been part of the crew that has given these jokers a free pass for far too long. Fans are tired of this. We’re tired of seeing our hitters go elsewhere and blossom due to better ballpark dimensions and better teammates surrounding them. We’re just tired of losing and being a “spoiler” if we’re lucky at the end of the year. I understand you like your job and need the work…. but you can speak out and make a case for us and still do your job.

    It’s time for Howie and Chuckie to GO AWAY. PLEASE!!!! Force them out. Point out stupid decision after stupid decision they’ve made on a daily basis. Let ownership know that we’re watching what they’ve done to a once proud organization (surprisingly… under the watch of Pat Gillick). We need that type of leadership here and we need it now. If things don’t change this offseason then I think we’re in the garbage hole for the long run, and with the way ownership has been acting about Larsen’s arena deal they’ve further burned bridges with the fans they had left. This team is teetering on minor league level as it is. BIG changes need to happen NOW.

  3. Larry Larue says:

    shark –
    i understand your frustrations, with the team and with me. the sonics issue is one not of howard lincoln but of ownership, and i think the mariners have heard the voices of their fans clearly the past month on that.
    as for a free pass, it’s difficult to blame lincoln/armstrong for the annual roster changes, unless you want to say the GM they hired is the problem, thus an extension of their reign. they don’t make the key decisions. they sign off on the big ones, like moving ichiro, locking felix in, hiring/firing managers. in essence, they put GM in charge, then are hands on only after GM has made decision that requires their attention – huge contracts, etc.
    talking to officials from other teams, to scouts and managers and players, there’s rarely criticism of lincoln/armstrong. nor from those within the organization – even off the record.
    the business of the mariners is under scrutiny. i have written many times about decisions on players, managers, baseball decisions.
    owners listen to fans, not media. poor attendance has their attention, not my stories or blogs. TNT columnist Bart Wright called Armstrong a ‘lap dog’ in 1989, and chuck remains. that tells you all you need to know about media power.
    aside from that, saying a change of direction, making moves at the top of the organization? the owners will do that either when they feel it must happen or when fans force their hands.
    there are no ‘facts’ i can lay out that they don’t know and haven’t explained to themselves.
    my job has always been to give fans the truth as best i can, and as i know it to be true.

  4. Good summary of your stance, Larry. Lincoln and Armstrong are tied to ownership, and short of a riot I don’t know how the fans who complain can affect that. (Many say they aren’t attending; why should present management listen to committed absentees? It’s the people who do attend that matter most to them, along with the ones they haven’t attracted yet.) Whether the latest “winning strategy” will work is debatable. It seems clear to me that the organization has 2014 in their sights as the year when the team should, and had better, prove that Jack Z’s strategy works. Not that I like it; I’m just observing. Meanwhile I opine that selling the team is about the only way that upper management will change. For you, Larry, to let our a great yawp of complaint at this point would be ineffectual and make you look silly.

    I haven’t always been pleased by what you’ve written, Larry, and apparently most of your energies are focused elsewhere at this point, but I’ll always appreciate that you’ve stuck to your beliefs and have never tried to make yourself the story. That’s old school, and I like it.

  5. Palerydr says:

    If Lincoln/Armstrong aren’t the problem then who is? Or is there a problem? I see some improvements in the team this year. I see more talent in the minors which has moved up in the rankings by others. I love seeing Smoak crush the ball after making some adjustments he desperately needed to make. I’m a pitching/defense guy when it comes to building a team but I don’t mind having a few thumpers in the line up. IMO the kind of hitters they need here are line drive in the gap kind of guys, guys with good speed and the ability to put pressure on the opposing pitcher with the run game. A few mashers at the traditional spots would be fine with me 1st, 3rd, dh, catcher, or the corner outfield spots.

    Like your response Larry I know you don’t need anyone’s approval but I like the stuff you put out.

  6. bbnate420 says:

    Timeout, you’re dead wrong when you question why ownership should listen to absentees. Most of these people USED to spend money to go to the games and on merchandise. I don’t anymore. I’m not sure I will again until there are major changes, hopefully the team being sold. Trading Ichiro was a start, but it wouldn’t have happened had he not bailed these f&*king bozos out and requested it. Olivo and Figgins better not be on the 25 come April of 2013. If they dump that garbage and spend the money from the contracts of Ichiro, Bilbo, and Olivo by the start of the 2014 season, then I will strongly consider spending money on this team again.

    Money talks, bullspit walks. That’s what they should be listening to. They can’t just cut payroll and put a garbage product on the field year after year and expect the fans to support it. As long as enough clueless fans are content to wait for their stupid commercials every spring and pay to watch a mediocre at best team every year, thus allowing these bozos to turn a profit, then there will never be real change. Hopefully, Grandpa Nintendo has lost interest now that Ichiro is gone.

  7. Since you aren’t spending any money this year, bbn, you’re walking, not talking. That’s my point. When you say I’m dead wrong, that’s your opinion, not a fact. It must feel great to be so sure. But if you think any company extant pays more attention to non-participants and less to paying customers, please offer evidence.

    Good lawyers never ask a question unless they know the answer. We don’t know whether the next owner will be better or worse than Yamauchi, the guy who kept baseball in Seattle. We’re going to find out one of these days, and I hope we’re pleased. But there’s no guarantee.

    Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. I recognize the difference between fact and opinion.

  8. bbnate420 says:

    Timeout, apparently you don’t know anything about reading comprehension, along with being clueless about the meaning of “money talks, bullshit walks”! Where did I say that it was a fact? Please quote where I said that. Oh yeah, that’s right, I didn’t! These posts ARE our opinions, unless you just list statistics. I didn’t know I had to specify that for readers with less than a 3rd grade reading level. My bad.

    I AM talking by not spending my money on a team that has it’s priorities all screwed up. Winning should be priority #1! Not honoring old Japanese players or pretending like signing a pinch-running hobbit wasn’t a mistake. I used to spend money on them. Now I don’t. That’s the message! Not sure why you’re too stupid to understand this. Moron fans like you send the message that they can continually cut payroll, make horrible decisions year after year, try and block Seattle from getting an NBA team back, and idiots like you will continue to shill out their money as long as they come out with some stupid commercials in spring training and give away stupid bobble heads a couple of games a year. We’re both talking, you’re just sending the wrong message. In my opinion, so you don’t get confused again. You can send all the letters to Howie and Chuckie you want stating your opinion and that you still pay to go to games. I’ll bet it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference until the team feels it in their pocket book. That’s what elicits change. Not letters from fans or whining on blogs. Got it?

  9. So now I’m stupid. Boy, that’ll get you lots of points in the adult league, bbn. Enjoy your superiority. I’ve had it.

  10. Except for this–good luck, Larry.

  11. Larry, good summary on your thoughts and thanks for your input into how people from other organizations look at Armstrong/Lincoln. I have been pretty critical of you over the past few years, but good luck nonetheless as you move on from the Mariners beat.

  12. bbnate420 says:

    timeout, stupid is as stupid does. When you insult me based on a lack of comprehension of fairly simple concepts, that is stupid to me.

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