Tropicana Field home of the Rays
Willy Aybar lifted a home-run to right field off of Jesus Colome in the bottom of the 9th, delivering another crushing late-inning loss to the Mariners today at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jason Vargas dueled with Rays starter James Shields until he was lifted in the 8th for Brandon League. Once again Vargas was sharp and it appears Don Wakamatsu can’t come up with the right timing on when to pull a starter or a reliever.Perhaps he has been over-relying on statistical information rather than going with a gut-feeling. Anyway you look at it this game goes into the already overloaded category of tough-losses for the year.
The Mariners started out frisky in the 1st inning for the second game in a row, thanks to Chone Figgins who scored on a single he stretched into a double, followed by an overthrow on a pick-off attempt, and then a wild-pitch. I have said it before but want reiterate that I believe Figgins should be batting lead-off. He manufactured a run in the 1st on sheer hustle and daring. But I suppose there is some sort of “Belief System” thing that Don “Spock” Wakamatsu has going with leaving Ichiro batting first. Ichiro is hot and had a couple more hits today, but I’d like to see him batting second or third where he could drive in some runs.
Incredibly Mike Sweeney hit a home-run today for his third day in a row and has filled in fine at DH as Ken Griffey watches from the bench for now. I would also like to Sweeney put on a glove and give him a game or two at first base to keep his bat in the lineup when Milton Bradley come back. Matt Tuiasosopo played first and looked awkward there and went hitless along with Saunders and Josh Wilson.
It appeared that the Mariners were going to pull this one out in the 9th when Adam Moore beat out an infield hit and Ichiro lashed a bullet to right , but Moore apparently had injured himself on the play at first and thus limped into second rather than making it to 3rd. The Mariners wasted this scoring opportunity and left the door open for the Rays to win the game in the bottom half of the 9th on Aybar’s fatal blow. Moore appears to be ok but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Josh Bard or Eliezer Alfonzo get called up from Tacoma soon.
On a positive note both in this game and the last one in Baltimore though heart-breakers , our team showed guts and fighting spirit right up till the end. As a fan these games take the wind out of my sails for a few hours before I’m able to gather my thoughts and put up my daily post-game wrap-up. The players on the other-hand are a lot more involved, and somehow have to get over these sort of games in a professional manner and suit up again the next day ready to play. Our guys are playing with heart and I hope those of us who are true-fans can stay behind them for the rest of the campaign despite the ups and downs.http://jeffsmariners.com