Of all of the people to take the fall for the Mariners' awful season, one might not have expected the hammer to fall on Jeff Pentland first. But the M's hitting coach, who was overseeing the worst group in baseball at getting on base, is now lookng for work. Pentland has been replaced by Lee Elia, who was hitting coach for the M's in the mid-'90s, and who could give John McLaren a few pointers about delivering a good ol' profane tirade. Ryan Divish of the News Tribune has the full story.
Divish also has the lowdown on Brandon Morrow, who apparently has a sore shoulder and hasn't been available the last few days. John McLaren gives is his best "nothing to see here, move along" routine to try and quell any nervousness about Morrow, who already missed time this year with shoulder issues. Such issues need to be taken care of if he's going to be in any sort of shape to throw 150+ innings next year as a starter.
The M's pulled off the safety squeeze in the 10th inning last night. Miguel Cairo is good for something, after all. R.A. Dickey got the win in relief, and had good things to say about the "share your heart" meeting the team had before the game. Kudos to anyone who thought Dickey would be the second-best pitcher on the team at this point in the season in terms of VORP.
Yay for Ken Griffey. It's always nice to see a big moment occur in the baseball shrine that is Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphins Stadium.
Jeff Pentland is out of a job, fired as the hitting coach as the Mariners struggle with the worst record in the big leagues.
He became the first member of the organization to pay with his job for the lack of success this season.
Lee Elia, who has been with the club as a special assistant and part-time coach, is the new batting coach, a job he's held with the team in the past.
This might not be the last change if things don't improve. For the moment, however, the rest of the coaching staff remains intact, and the Mariners haven't made any moves with the 25-man roster, either. Pentland's work ethic was beyond reproach. His success, on the other hand, left much to be desired in a 2008 season that the Mariners thought would bring them back to contention and to the playoffs.
They entered play Monday with a 22-41 record that has much to do with an unproductive offense.
At the time of the Pentland dismissal, the Mariners were hitting .248, 13th out of 14 teams in the American League, and were 13th in runs scored, walks and hits. The club is last in on-base percentage with few of the regular hitters willing to go deep enough into counts to draw walks.
Pentland had spent countless hours in the batting cage with his players, and most of them have worked on their game. But the results never showed themselves -- the club hit just .240 for the month of May en route to an 8-20 record -- and when things didn't get better in June, Pentland was let go.
MARINERS 3, BLUE JAYS 2 (10 innings): Miguel Cairo put down a successful squeeze bunt in the top of the 10th inning for the win.
Cairo's day wasn't done, because in the bottom of the 10th, with the Blue Jays having loaded the bases with no one out, Cairo started a first-to-catcher-to-first double play as righty J.J. Putz collected the save for righty R.A. Dickey, who pitched two shutout innings for the win.
The Mariners got two runs in the first inning when DH Jose Vidro homered, then went on to win the game without getting a hit after the sixth inning.
--RHP Brandon Morrow has been battling shoulder problems the last four days, but after a throwing session Monday, he's been cleared to pitch again, and he should be ready to throw Tuesday in Toronto if needed.
--INF Miguel Cairo had a big night, although he didn't get into Monday's game until late. First, he gave the Mariners their first successful squeeze bunt of the season in the 10th inning to bring Willie Bloomquist home with the winning run. Then, with none out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, he started a 3-2-3 double play that kept the Mariners in front.
-Batting coach Jeff Pentland was fired Monday morning, and was replaced by former hitting coach Lee Elia, who has been with the organization on a part-time basis since this winter. "We should be better than we have been," LF Raul Ibanez said. "What's happened here is not Jeff's fault. It's our fault as players."
--RHP R.A. Dickey pitched two shutout innings Monday and picked a runner off first base. He got the win when the Mariners scored in the 10th.
--CF Ichiro Suzuki has hits in 18 of his last 22 games, and 10 of those games have been multiple-hit games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29 -- Other MLB teams with a bunt single before the Mariners finally joined the rest of baseball with a bunt for a hit. CF Ichiro Suzuki had a bunt single Saturday against the Red Sox, the first for the Mariners this year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is an ongoing process. At this point, we're just not getting it done." -- Manager John McLaren.