A Futile Fight

The Mariners' offensive struggles continue, but take a back seat to Richie Sexson's helmet-throwing confrontation with Kason Gabbard. And another stellar performance from 19-year-old Quebecois Phillippe Aumont saves the night from being a complete mess in the minors.

The Mariners can't seem to do anything right these days. Twenty-two innings and counting of scoreless baseball. Just six hits in two full games against the worst-pitching team in the AL. And now, they can't even get fighting right.

It's nice, I suppose, that the M's showed a little bit of fire last night in the bench-clearing fracas that broke up the monotony of one hitter after another returning to the dugout with a shrug, but the whole thing came off as a bit forced. Richie Sexson looked more like a guy who was bound and determined to throw his helmet at someone, than a guy who was defending himself and the honor of his team. Kason Gabbard's pitch was way up out of the zone, there's no question, but wasn't really all the close to hitting Sexson. What happened next was not the measured act of someone who was just following the script (these baseball tiffs always seem to play out the same way), but the act of an angry man who wanted to hurt someone. There aren't many times when you see that rage coming from a batter so pointedly as he charges the mound. That's why Sexson has probably earned himself somewhere in the neighborhood of a week's vacation for his actions. And maybe he could use it. Sexson has admitted that spending the previous evening with his child at the hospital contributed to his state of mind last night, and when personal and professional frustrations come to a head it usually leads to trouble.

The fact is, everyone on this team could use three or four days to take a step back, clear their heads, and just start over. But that's where baseball is different than every other sport. It's a daily grind that is unforgiving, and it can be tough to keep everything from spiraling out of control. Tonight, the Mariners get their shot at another team that has fallen on hard times recently, the Chicago White Sox. Maybe last night's brawl was the chance to let it all out and come to terms with that frustration, and maybe tonight is that fresh start we've all been looking for.

If the Mariners are going to salvage this season, they need to bury the first 36 games of this season with Richie's helmet in Kason Gabbard's back.

The News-Tribune's Ryan Divish has the transcript of Richie Sexson's postgame interview from last night.

Jeff Clement hasn't exactly shot out of the gate since becoming a Mariner. Divish addresses Clement's frustrations and points out that he actually hit lefties better than righties in AAA.

Miguel Batista's foot hurts.

Around the Minors

It was an ugly night in Des Moines for the Rainiers (17-16, 9.0 GB in PCL North), who took a 14-2 beating from Iowa. Tacoma made four errors on the night --- two from Matt Tuiasosopo, who was removed from the game after making both errors in the first inning. The pitching "highlight" of the evening came from Joe Woerman, who managed to walk just one batter in four innings of relief after walking 20 in his previous 13 innings. Robert Rohrbaugh took the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) in three innings. Jeremy Reed was the lone bright spot offensively, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Mike Curto has the recap for the News-Tribune.

For the second straight night, West Tenn (22-12, 1.0 GB in SOU North) got off to an early lead but couldn't hold on. This time, the Jaxx put up five runs in the bottom of the first inning but eventually dropped a 9-7 decision to Mississippi. Fifteen hits weren't enough on this night, as Justin Thomas labored through 4 1/3 eventful innings to take the loss. Thomas allowed six hits, six earned runs, and six walks, but struck out eight, giving him 37 punchouts in 33 1/3 innings. Marshall Hubbard continued his tear for the Jaxx, doubling twice and driving in two runs. Their five-game series with the Braves wraps up tonight.

High Desert (15-19, 2.0 GB in CAL South) can't get home fast enough, as Lancaster finished up a three-game sweep of the Mavericks with a 16-3 beatdown. Three different JetHawks hit two home runs, and they hit seven overall. Keith Renaud struggled through 4 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits. The loss drops him to 0-5. The Mavs did have nine hits, but all were singles, and they left seven runners in scoring position. James McOwen, Carlos Triunfel, and Carlos Peguero each had two hits for the Mavs. The Victorville Daily Press combs through the carnage.

Saving the night from being a complete washout, Wisconsin (12-17, 10.0 GB in MID Western) got superb pitching efforts from Donald Hume and Phillippe Aumont and beat Cedar Rapids 7-1. The 6-7, 220 lb. Aumont was the Mariners' first round pick in the 2007 draft and has been dominant so far with the Rattlers. With three perfect innings last night, he has now thrown 17 2/3 innings this season without allowing an earned run. He's given up just seven hits and has struck out 20. Hume was on his game as well, allowing just two hits over six innings and striking out seven. The lefty is allowing opponents to hit just .194 against him. Rattler lead-off man Maximo Mendez broke out of a 1-for-35 slump by picking up three hits, three runs, and three stolen bases to energize the offense. Juan Diaz and Alex Liddi each drove in three runs.

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