Marineros vs. The Fish

Checking in from Safeco Field tonight, one night after checking out the Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

Let the ramblings begin:

The Mariners and Marlins are going at it. Will the M’s score more runs than the Sounders scored goals (4)?

The M’s are the visitors tonight as the three-game Interleague series was moved to Seattle because of a U2 concert in the Marlins’ home stadium in Florida.

The U2 song “Where the Streets Have No Name,” blared from the public address system just before the first pitch. Nice touch.

$10 NIGHT?: Lots of empty seats for this one. Wouldn’t be surprised if its the least-attended Friday night game in Safeco history. If you put me in charge for the night, I’d have promo’d it as $10 night. For $10 you can sit in any seat in the house.

NO GREEN: The M’s usually wear alternate green jerseys at home on Fridays, but they’re in their gray road uniforms.

HERE WE GO: Felix is on the hill. He walked the second batter, but later picked him off for a 1-2-3 inning.

The offensively-challenged M’s have gone down in order the first two innings.

REMEMBER GREG DOBBS? He’s starting at third tonight for the Marlins. He’s hitting .316 with two home runs and 21 RBI. I always liked him as a player. He had three pretty good years for Philadelphia before struggling in 2010. The Marlins landed him as pinch hitter/utility guy, but he’s won the third base job.

SPEAKING OF THIRD BASE: Chone Figgins is on the bench again for Seattle. Adam Kennedy’s making another start. You gotta wonder if Figgins will ever come out of this year-plus slump. A year ago, you gave him the benefit of the doubt. The M’s moved him from third to second and he hit No. 2 in the order after batting leadoff for the Angels. Do you just chalk it up to a bad signing, or does Figgins have a chance to turn it around and help the M’s? He is only 32. It’s not like he’s over the hill.

You got to like M’s manager Eric Wedge for having the you-know-whats to put the high-paid Figgy on the pine.

“Figgy’s just got to hang tough and keep doing the work when he’s not playing,” Wedge said. “When he does get in there and play, it’s an opportunity to move forward.
“Figgy and I have had multiple meetings. He can control the outcome in the end by, when he does get the opportunity to play, to go out there and play like we know he’s capable of. It’s tough because he’s not playing every day now, but that’s where we are right now.”

TRADER JACK: Speaking of over the hill, the manager in the Marlins’ dugout, Jack McKeon, is 80 years old. There was a time when Trade Jack smoked 12 cigars a day. He said he’s down to four now.

JOSE JOSE JOSE: You know who else is in Seattle, wearing a Marlins’ uniform? Joe Lopez, who had an All-Star season with the M’s, signed two weeks ago with Florida. Greg Johns of caught up with him before today’s game.

WILD THING: Felix has walked a guy and hit another in the second inning. As they say in baseball circles, his command is not very good. In the old days — Trader Jack will back me up on this — they’d say he was wild. Felix just hit Omar Infante with a high inside fastball, but the homeplate ump ruled it a foul ball. McKeon didn’t agree and he showed the ump the spot on Infante’s arm. The umps later got together and changed the call.

Now they’re going to have to explain this to Eric Wedge. The M’s manager is now making his argument. Wonder what he’s saying?

“So you’re gonna let the 80-year-old dude in the black jacket call the game, huh? He’s 80 and all of that, but c’mon. You called it a strike and now it’s a ball because Jack says it was.”

So the bases are loaded. The pitcher, Ricky Nolasco, is up. He’s hitting .091. Felix better not walk (or hit) this guy. Nolasco hits it pretty good but Carlos Peguero gets under it for the third out. Interesting inning.

FELIX SINGLES: With two outs in the bottom of the third, Felix Hernandez poked a single to right field. It was his first hit for Seattle pitchers in Interleague gmes this season. They were oh-for-17 before Felix broke the ice.

The National League is missing the boat on not having the DH. Nobody wants to watch pitchers hit.

WEAK, WEAK, WEAK: Except for the single by Felix, which wasn’t exactly a scorcher, the M’s have hit anything hard off of Nolasco thorugh four innings. It’s easy to see why Seattle is hitting .228 as a team and have no one close to hitting .300 (not counting Greg Halman, who’s at .367, but only has 30 at bats).

MARLINS SCORE: The Fish take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Henley Ramirez singled, moved to second on a sac bunt, stole third on a pitch that Mike Stanton struck out on and scored when John Buck struck out and reached first when he beat the throw from Miguel Olivo, who blocked a low pitch but couldn’t find it in time after the ball bounced away from him. A tough way to give up a run.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG: We’ve already reached the bottom of the sixth. The M’s have had just one runner. Felix reached on a single in the third. No walks, four strikeouts, and a bunch of weak at bats. This is like watching a lineup of hitter’s take swings. Maybe Nolasco’s that good tonight? He’s sure got the M’s hitting off their front foot a lot and looking foolish on a lot of swings.

M’S RALLY?: In the top of the seventh, Brendan Ryan drew a leadoff walk and Adam Kennedy hit a 99-hopper up the middle to move him to third with no outs. Will the heart of the order clutch up?

Smoak hits it hard at the first baseman, who goes home. Ryan would have been dead meat so he got in a rundown long enough for Kennedy to get to third and Smoak to get to second. Dustin Ackley was then intentionally walked to get to Olivo and a potential double play. The wheels in McKeon’s head are still turning.

Olivo hits it hard to third. Dobbs knocked it down and got the force at third, but Kennedy scored to tie the game. Tied 1-1. A chance for Carlos Peguero to be a hero. Peguero doesn’t hit it hard, but gets an infield hit on a bal hit to the right of shortstop Ramirez, who makes a nice diving stop to keep it from rolling into the outfield.

Now it’s Franklin Gutierrez who has a chance to be a hero. Guti singles in two runs with a hit up the middle. M’s 3, Fish 1. Here comes Felix. I bet he comes out of his shoes on his first swing!!! He goes fishing for an outside pitch and ends up bouncing out to second on an 0-2.

Now, can Felix finish the deal? He’s nine outs away from a complete-game victory.

LET ME INTERRUPT THIS SEVENTH INNING STRETCH: … for a soccer update. The M’s still haven’t scored more runs than the Sounders scored goals the night before. Four goals, two in the first 12 minutes. The Sounders put on a good show before 46,068 fans, their largest home crowd for an MLS game.

ATTENDANCE: The announced crowd for the M’s and Fish? 15,275 or 30,793 less than what the Sounders pulled.

LOPEZ PINCH HITS: Jose Lopez faced his old buddy and teammate in the bottom of the seventh. He pinch-hit for the pitcher in the bottom of the ninth with one out and a runner on first. Jose’s looking pretty trim, like his batting average (.196). Lopez flew out to Peguero for the second out.

PEGUERO 1-2-3: The M’s left fielder made all three catches in the bottom of the seventh. He made really nice plays for the first (going back on a hard-hit ball) and third (leaning into the crowd) outs.

FELIX GETTING STRONGER: Felix fanned two more Marlins and now has 10 strikeouts through eight innings. He’s allowed two hits, walked two and hit two. If he finishes it off, it’ll be his third complete game of the season and 16th of his career. It’s the fourth time he’s reached double digits in strikeouts. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 of his 16 starts.Will he finish it?

SOUNDS LIKE A SOUNDERS GAME: With out out in the top of the ninth, a group of fans started this chant with Miguel Olivo at the plate: “Oh-Oh, Olivo! Oh-Oh, Olivo! Oh-Oh Olivo!”

OH-OH, MY OH, OH-OH MY! Olivo fouled off what seemed like a dozen pitches (it was only four) in an 8-pitch at-bat before he hit a two-run home run oer the hand-held scoreboard in left field. M’s 5, Fish 1.

BOOS FOR WEDGE: With two outs in the ninth, the M’s manager sends up Jack Cust to bat for Felix Hernandez, who had been standing in the on-deck circle. Cust struck out. Brandon League, who left a game earlier in the week after getting hit in the leg by a hit ball, will come on in the bottom of the ninth.

BACK TO .500: League gets a 1-2-3 ninth, thanks to a great play by second baseman Ackley on the final out, and M’s are 38-38.



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