Spotted a 5-0 first inning lead, Erik Bedard and his 1.99 ERA couldn't hold it and was chased from the game after giving up six runs despite only recording six outs. While this is probably just a case of a good pitcher having a bad night, one alarming trend of note is that Bedard's walk rate is much higher than it has been over his previous three seasons. If Bedard continues at this rate and throws 200 innings, he's on pace to walk 106 batters, which based on previous years would surely place him in the top three (or should I say bottom three) in that category in the AL. He walked just 57 batters last season, which contributed to his 1.088 WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched) last season, second-best in the AL. Bedard's hit rate is still good (27 H in 33 2/3 innings) but we'll need to keep an eye on his control as the season progresses.
The four-run rally in the top of the ninth last night had the makings of a season-turning event had the M's been able to finish the job, but the all-too familiar ending leaves John McLaren scratching his head once again. Kenji Johjima is now 7 for his last 12 at the plate following his 3-for-4 performance last night, and his three-run homer off C.J. Wilson in the ninth was maybe the most dramatic moment of the whole season. Sad that it couldn't pay off in a victory.
The Seattle Times' Larry Stone summarizes the three big questions every reasonable person has surrounding the M's possible acquisition of Ken Griffey Jr.: 1) How much is left in the tank? 2) Where will he play? 3) How much will he cost?
The News-Tribune's Ryan Divish points out a couple of communication difficulties that the M's have had recently, though I think he's overreacting just a bit. Though Richie Sexson does sound legitimately surprised that John McLaren told reporters that he didn't expect Sexson to make the trip to Texas while serving his suspension.
The AP has a story today about the attendance problems at Safeco, but doesn't offer many ideas to fix it other than to start winning and get some better weather.
The Mariners have brought their catching coordinator, Roger Hansen, in from the minor leagues to help get the pitchers and catchers "on the same page," writes Geoff Baker of the Times. In this story, and the Ryan Divish piece linked above, Kenji Johjima's still-rough grasp of English is cited as an obstacle to that happening. Although one wonders what Hansen can really do to address that, unless he's bringing one of those Rosetta Stone courses with him to help Johjima learn more English.
Around the Minors
New kid on the block Victor Diaz paid big dividends for Tacoma (20-17, 10.0 GB in PCL North) last night with two home runs in the Rainiers' 6-4 victory at Omaha. Shortstop Oswaldo Navarro extended his hitting streak to nine games and raised his average to .326 with a three-hit night. Tacoma starter R.A. Dickey was not at his sharpest, but he did earn the win, allowing 10 hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Roy Corcoran picked up his third save for the Rainiers. They finish up their road trip in Omaha today, then return home to start an eight-game homestand on Friday night.
West Tenn (23-15, 4.0 GB in SOU North) suffered a third-straight loss at the hand of the Birmingham Barons, managing only four hits in a 7-2 defeat. Prentice Redman had two of those four hits, and Mark Kiger had an RBI triple in an otherwise dismal night for the offense. Denny Stark, in the second start of his comeback attempt, gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.
High Desert (17-21, T-1st in CAL South) could only manage six hits in a 4-1 loss to Bakersfield last night. The Mavs also committed four errors in the ball game. James McOwen's double in the third inning drove in the only run for the Mavs. Nicholas Hill took the loss, surrendering three earned runs in six innings. Hill struck out six, but gave up two home runs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx was solid in relief, throwing two perfect innings.
Wisconsin (14-19, 11.0 GB in MID Western) got a terrific pitching effort from Nathan Adcock last night but couldn't give him any support as the Rattlers lost 1-0 in 10 innings to Burlington. Adcock allowed just four hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out nine. Reliever Walter Suriel pitched into the 10th inning but got in some trouble when he loaded the bases. Ryan Moorer came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs and threw a wild pitch that scored the only run of the game. Joseph Dunigan was the only Rattler with two hits, and the only one with an extra-base hit. Rattler hitters struck out 13 times on the night and only drew one walk.