Mariners-Rangers: Cheers and Jeers from Series No. 9

Jordan GillisContributor IMay 6, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 29: Starting pitcher Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox on April 29, 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Well the two-game “series” with Texas did not go so well.

The difference in winning and losing the series was huge for our push for the playoffs. Being 17-10 with a commanding lead over the rest of the division looks much better than 15-13 and stuck right in the middle of things.

While losing two games in a row in baseball happens, it just really hurts when the 2009 Seattle Mariners do it—because they seem to make it look close every time.

And that’s where this series’ Cheers and Jeers begin.

Cheer: Felix and Bedard vs. Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla. Advantage: Us.

Jeer: Felix was sick, and while he went six innings pitched, struck out nine, and walked no one, his fastball was not really there.  That helped allow 10 hits—including two home runs.

Cheer: After going down 4-0 in the top of the fifth inning, the Mariners strung together four runs by hitting the cycle in the inning with Russell Branyan and Franklin Gutierrez home runs, Ichiro’s triple, Kenji Johima’s double, and a Jose Lopez single.

Jeer: Just as Felix was awarded by his offense getting out of the loss column, he gave it right back in to the top of the sixth, when Chris Davis pounded a Felix Hernandez fastball over the right field fence for another two-run home run.

Cheer: The bullpen kept Texas scoreless in the last three innings!

Jeer: The Mariners offense could only match one of the two runs, and despite a controversial call, they should have taken this game away from Kevin Millwood and the Texas Rangers.

Bonus Cheer: Yuniesky Betancourt drew a walk in the bottom of the ninth inning! Cue the pep band! La la la!!!!

Cheer: While the Mariners lost a close one, which will happen in baseball, they had a great set up versus starter Vincente Padilla with our Erik Bedard.

Jeer: In 10 innings the Mariners managed only three hits.

Cheer: Erik Bedard went seven innings and pitched seven strikeouts.  He had one mistake leave the yard in the form of a Nelson Cruz solo home run.

Jeer: Denny Stark came in during a tie game in the tenth inning to hand over the Texas win on a silver platter (1 IP, 5 hits, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR).

Cheer: Wladamir Balentien misplayed a ball in the early going, having it bounce off the heel of his glove. However, later on he gunned out Michael Young going home, and has shown some improvement in the outfield.

Jeer: Elvis Andurs is a great defensive shortstop, and Yuniesky should take note. And Vincente Padilla lowered his ERA to 5.71 after giving up only one unearned run in eight innings. Should have been a field day.

Cheer: The Mariners still have a half-game lead on the division.

Jeer: Shawn Kelley will likely miss a month with a strained or torn muscle, meaning we get more Denny Stark.

All in all, life would have been better not seeing either of these games. They were hard to watch. Felix was on when he wanted to be, making me believe that his illness made it hard for him to focus and stay in the game mentally. Erik pitched brilliantly and it is too bad that Shawn Kelley did get hurt, because the Mariners did squeeze a run in the bottom of the tenth.

Our team has the potential to really win the AL West; however, losing these two games to the Texas Rangers, takes away a ton of slack. A week ago we looked like buyers at the trade deadline, and now it is back to square one.

The team needs some left-handed hitting, more Ronny Cedeno at SS sightings, and the return of a healthy Brandon Morrow.


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