Game 54, Red Sox at Mariners
A special dual-author game thread post!
Wakefield vs The Interview, 7:10 pm.
Thanks to reader Christian who sent this in. From today’s P-I notebook:
About three weeks ago, the Mariners were sick and tired of seeing a seemingly endless supply of short pop flies and soft liners fall in front of their outfielders.
They were particularly tired of seeing runners go from first to third when the opportunity was presented. So the Mariners did what seemed to be the logical thing — they started positioning their outfielders closer to the infield.
That worked well for a couple of weeks, but during the seven-game losing streak that the club carried into Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox, a number of balls have fallen behind the outfield.
“We’ve talked about it, and we’re going to split the difference,” manager John McLaren said. “I really can’t explain what’s happened. I’ve never seen anything like it. First, every ball was being hit in front of us. Then, when we brought the outfielders in, they started getting balls past us.”
Raises Hand: “Mr. McLaren, I can explain it. Raul Ibanez has the range of a poorly watered potted plant. You can move him around all you want, but it won’t matter. You could clone him, stick nine Raul Ibanezes in left field, and they still wouldn’t get to most of these lazy fly balls. You have a designated hitter playing left field. As long as you keep him out there, you’re going to have a serious problem.”
“That’s ridiculous, son. Raul works his tail off, shows up to the ballpark early, and we’re happy with his effort. I just don’t understand how the ball keeps falling in front of him, and then behind him, and occasionally next to him. It’s bewildering.”
Puts hand down, punches self in face “How did you get hired again?”
More from the PI
Manager John McLaren talked about the energy he felt Miguel Cairo gave the club while playing first base, including making a couple of nice placeon [sic] defense and bunting the eventual winning run into scoring position Tuesday in the bottom of the ninth.
Cairo is an utter embarrassment. He has no place being on the Mariners roster. He does nothing that Bloomquist doesn’t do better, and Bloomquist is a fit as the last guy on the 25-man. Cairo stays on the roster while other players who are more useful to the team have been shuffled off. It makes no sense that he’s on this team in the first place, it doesn’t make sense that he’s stayed on the team..
That the team would start him as a reward for his “spark” is another indictment of McLaren’s incompetent management and lineup construction. We’ve seen this over and over again with this team, where whim and wishful thinking drive decision making, and this is one more in the never-ending series of decisions that make reasonable fans want to punch themselves in the mouth so they’ll feel something other than overwhelming frustration with this team.
Jeff Clement got sent down hitting .167/.286/.250, but Cairo, who can’t even manage that, who we have every reason to think is hitting to his skill level, is starting at first base. Willie Bloomquist, despite having a lower batting average, gets on base more than Cairo and plays better defense — and who we were supposed to see get more playing time because Cairo was on the roster — sits. Sexson, who at least provides power, sits. A defensively inept left-fielder who can hit plays the field while an offensive black hole occupies the “Doesn’t Hit” slot in the lineup. Our manager’s seen that the once-invincible closer, now clearly not right, needs to pitch more often. On and on and on.
In related news, tonight we’ll get under 250 plate appearances before Turbo’s option vests.
And the M’s still have the worst defense in the league.