Justin Verlander had certainly been horrible in his first nine starts this season, but he has enough of a track record that his fortunes are likely to turn around soon. The Mariners were just who he needed to see. Outside of Jose Vidro, who had pummeled Verlander in previous outings, the Mariner roster came into last night's game with a collective .143 average off of the young righthander. And outside of Adrian Beltre's first inning homer, the M's never really threatened Verlander.
The Times' Geoff Baker adds that Reed is unsure of his role with the club.
And, finally, in Ryan Divish's story about Reed, John McLaren admits that "we're playing it by ear" in regards to Reed's role.
To recap: Reed is surprised. Reed doesn't know what his role will be. McLaren also doesn't know what Reed's role will be. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Seattle Mariners in a nutshell!
Around the Minors
Jeff Clement hit a fourth-inning grand slam last night to help lift Tacoma to a 7-1 win over Las Vegas. While Clement struggled in his limited action with the Mariners, he's absolutely crushing AAA pitching. In 25 games he's getting on base at a .527 clip and slugging .706. Victor Diaz had two hits for the Rainiers and is batting .324 with a .432 OBP since joining the team two weeks ago. Sean White had his best start of the year, going a season-high 7 2/3 innings and allowing only one run despite scattering 10 hits. White is susceptible to high hit totals because of a low strikeout rate (just 22 in 52 innings), but he worked out of trouble yesterday with three double-play balls. White left the game with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, and was bailed out by Eric O'Flaherty who recorded a strikeout to end the inning. The Rainiers have two more games with the 51's before heading to Colorado Springs on Friday.
Ryan Ketchner pitched well for West Tenn on Tuesday, but the Jaxx dropped a 4-1 decision to Mobile. Ketchner struck out seven and walked none in six innings, and got into trouble only in a two-run fourth inning. Unfortunately, the bats were quiet and wasted Ketchner's effort. Michael Saunders did his part to keep the Jaxx in the game, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Johan Limonta also had two hits for an otherwise dormant West Tenn attack. Brandon Shields has the story from Jackson.
High Desert was off yesterday. They start a four-game series with Inland Empire tonight. Through 45 games the Mavs are in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, such as runs scored and home runs. However, the Mavs are last in the league in drawing walks (121), and have struck out more than any other team (386). Unfortunately, plate discipline seems to be a problem even in the lower levels of the organization. The Mavs are also last in the league in team ERA (5.60) and have allowed more unearned runs (50) than any team in the league. Clearly, there is much room for improvement over the last three months of the season.
Wisconsin committed four errors in an 11-6 loss to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday afternoon. The Kernels got an unearned run in the third inning and four more in the fourth off of Rattler starter Juan Ramirez. Jacob Wild struggled in relief and allowed a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to break open a 6-5 game. Denny Almonte hit a two-run home run in the sixth, his second home run in eight games since joining the team. Edilio Colina was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Tacoma: 23-21, 2nd in PCL Pacific North, 9 GB
West Tenn: 28-17, 2nd in SOU North, 2 GB
High Desert: 19-26, T-2nd in CAL South, 2 GB
Wisconsin: 19-22, 5th in MID Western, 11 GB