Manager Lloyd McClendon: The stretch run begins now for the Mariners

 

The Mariners will be playing their 127th game of the season on Friday night in Boston. They are 68-58 and have 35 games remaining after today. And to manager Lloyd McClendon,  that means the stretch run for the postseason begins with this three-game series with the Red Sox.

“This is it,” McClendon said. “It really is. We have to up our game in a lot of different ways, both mentally and physically because they all get tough from here on out.”

Sure the games leading up to it meant just as much, but going forward players won’t be getting off-days for rest unless absolutely necessary. He will still use match-ups and splits to determine the lineups, but it’s time to make a push.

“Other  than our scheduled days off, no,” he said.

And the Mariners will have to make that run on the road. Of the 35 remaining games, only 15 are at home. Seattle plays just nine games at home in the month of September. But they are 34-26 on the road this season.

“If we are going to be successful, we are going to have to do it on the road,” McClendon said. “I think we’ve got nine home games in September. I don’t know who in the hell made that schedule up. That’s pretty tough. It is what it is and we’ll deal with it. We’ve done it all year. We don’t talk about it. We don’t make excuses. We just go out and do it. It will be no different in September.”

Robinson Cano, who has played in a few stretch runs with the Yankees, is ready for it.

“This is a time where a manager isn’t going to sub,” Cano said. “You don’t want to take a game off because every means a lot. It’s must win right now. You gotta be ready every single day. That’s why in the offseason I work really hard because this is the time where the team really needs you – these kinds of situations. Whatever you did in the past doesn’t count right now. Hopefully we continue to play the same way we have been playing.”

But are Cano’s teammates, who are far less experienced in these situations, ready for it?

“Yeah of course,” he said. “Whatever is in my hands that I can do to tell them, talk to them or show them, then I will do it. We are there. A lot of peopled doubted that we’d be so far along this late in the season, but we got a bunch of guys here that work really hard every single day. They go out there and try to win the game and play hard and we have a good chemistry.”

Cano said the Mariners would be contenders during the eight-game losing streak. The comment elicited plenty of eye rolls, but he believed it.

“If you look around at all these guys on this team, all of these guys can hit,” Cano said. “It was just a matter of time to get experience - how are they going to pitch me? What am I going to do in this situation? Everyone goes through that, even myself. “

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Mariners minor league report, August 22 — Alex Jackson returns to action

Here is today’s Mariners’ minor league round-up, which offers the team’s official minor league report from Kelly Munro that features, notes, stats and box scores. There are also game results on all of the organization’s minor league affiliates that were in action.

 

Class AAA Tacoma

Erasmo Ramires gave the Rainiers a solid start, pitching eight innings and giving up three runs (two earned ) on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks in a 7-3 win. Ketel Marte and Gabe Noriega each homered in the win.

  • Video of Noriega’s homer
  • From the report: OF NOTE: OF Stefen Romero currently has a 13-game hitting streak, batting .482 (27×56) with 15 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, 18 RBI, 5 walks and 1 stolen base. Since being optioned to AAA Tacoma on Aug. 1, Romero is batting .425 (31×73) with 17 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs, 21 RBI, 7 walks and 1 stolen base in 17 games. 1B Justin Smoak has recorded a hit in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .393 (22×56) with 11 runs scored, 7 doubles, 9 RBI and 13 walks. INF Ty Kelly has recorded 3 consecutive multi-hit games, batting .500 (7×14) 1 run scored, 3 RBI and 1 stolen baes. Since July 31, Kelly has hit safely in 15 of 20 games with 11 multi-hit games, batting .359 (28×78) with 12 runs scored, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 10 RBI, 10 walk and 3 stolen bases. C John Hicks has hit safely in 17 of 22 games since his promotion to Tacoma, batting .305 (25×82) with 10 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 19 RBI, 5 walks and 1 stolen base. INF Ketel Marte has hit safely in each of his first 8 games with Tacoma, batting .371 (13×35) with 6 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBI, 3 walks and 3 stolen bases. Dating back to July 30 with AA Jackson, Marte has hit safely in each of his last 17 games, batting .361 (26×72) with 12 runs scored, 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 10 RBI, 3 walks and 3 stolen bases. 

Class AA Jackson

The Generals picked up a 3-2 win with Jordy Lara and Carlton Tanabe driving in a run in the sixth inning. Starter Victor Sanchez pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

  • From the report: INF D.J. Peterson ranks 3rd among all minor league players wth 102 RBI combined between High Deset and Jackson. He also is T10th in the minor leagues with 28 home runs. INF Jordy Lara has hit safely in each of his last 5 games, batting .333 (7×21) with 2 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBI. Over his last 4 starts in August, LH Tyler Olson is 3-1 with a 1.09 ERA (3 ER, 24.2 IP). During this stretch he has limited opponents to a .223 (21×94) average, while walking 4 and striking out 20. After going 3-5 with a 4.56 ERA (36 ER, 71.0 IP) over his first 13 AA starts, Olson is 5-2 with a 2.41 ERA (11 ER, 41.0 IP) over his last 7 starts. LH Kyle Hunter has not allowed a run over his last 19.2 innings (11G/1GS). During this stretch, since July 16, Hunter has limited opponents to a .191 (13×68) average, while walking 5 and striking 11. RH Trevor Miller has not allowed an earned run in his last 21.2 innings over 9 relief appearances. During this stretch, since July 24, he has limited opponents to a .192 (14×73) average, while walking 4 and striking out 18. Since July 1, RH Victor Sanchez is 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA (20 ER, 59.2 IP) in 10 starts. During this stretch he has limited opponents to a .234 (51×218) average, while walking 17 and striking out 43. 

 

Class A High Desert

The Mavs picked up a 5-0 win. Starter Brett Shankin and relievers Rafael Pineda and Oliver Garcia combined on the shutout. Each pitcher worked three scoreless innings. Jabari Henry went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and a RBI.

  • From the report: OF Gabby Guerrero has hit safely in 7 of his last 9 games with 4 multi-hit contests, batting .469 (15×32) with 8 runs scored, 1 double, 3 home runs, 10 RBI, 4 walks. OF Jabari Henry has hit 4 home runs in his last 9 games and 15 in 48 games since July 1. His 29 home runs this season currently are the most among all Mariners farmhands and rank T7th among all minor league players. Henry has hit safely in each of his last 4 games, batting .615 (8×13) with 2 runs scored, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 5 RBI and 4 walks. He has also hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games, batting .383 (18×47) with 6 runs scored, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 13 RBI and 7 walks. RH Andrew Kittredge is averaging 12.43 strikeouts per 9.0 innings over 37 relief appearances with High Desert (105 SO/76.0 IP). Ovearall this season he has struck out a career-high 110 batters in 83.0 innings combined between High Desert (105), Jackson (3) and Everett (2) in 42 appearances. 

 

Class A Clinton

The LumberKings lost 7-3. Aaron Barbosa had two hits in the loss.

  • From the report: OF Tyler O’Neill is batting .311 (23×74) with 15 runs scored, 5 doubles, 7 home runs, 19 RBI, 5 walks and 1 stolen base in 19 games in August. INF Joe DeCarlo currently has an 11-game hit streak, batting .372 (16×43) with 6 runs scored, 4 doubles, 7 RBI and 2 walks. He has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games, batting .371 (23×62) with 11 runs scored, 7 doubles, 10 RBI and 5 walks. LH Paul Fry has not allowed a run over his last 8.0 innings in relief (6 G). Since July 12, Fry is 3-1 with 1 save and a 0.74 ERA (2 ER, 24.1 IP) over his last 16 relief appearances. 

 

Short A Everett

The Aqua Sox lost 8-4. Starter Luiz Gohara pitched five innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

  • From the report: RH Daniel Altavilla is 5-0 with a 3.72 ERA (12 ER, 29.0 IP) in his last 5 starts, after going 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA (18 ER, 25.0 IP) in his first 7 career starts (6/17-7/19). LHP Ryan Yarbrough has allowed only 5 hits in 17.0 scoreless innings over his last 5 starts. Overall with Everett he is 0-1 with a 1.41 ERA (5 ER, 32.0 IP), while walking 2 and striking out 43 in 10 games/8 starts. 

 

Rookie League Pulaski

The Mariners lost 7-1. Taylor Zeutenhorst hit his first career homer in the loss.

  • From the report: OF Arby Fields has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, batting .378 (14×37) with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, 6 walks and 5 stolen bases. RH Rohn Pierce has not allowed a run over his last 12.2 innings in relief (4 G). LH Spencer Hermann has not allowed a run in 15.0 innings over 3 games/1 start with Pulaski. During this stretch he has limited opponents to a .143 (7×49) average, while walking 5 and striking out 14. 

 

Rookie League Arizona

The Mariners had their game suspended by rain. But the big news was that top draft Alex Jackson returned to action for the first time since suffering a broken cheek bone on July 21. Jackson was at DH and struck out twice in two at-bats.

  • From the report: RH Osmel Morales is 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA (3 ER, 24.0 IP) over his last 6 games/3 starts. During this stretch he has limited opponents to a .198 (17×86) average, while walking 6 and striking out 37. He did not allow a run over a season-high 16.1 innings, from the 3rd inning on July 17-Aug. 13. INF Erick Mejia has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, batting .362 (21×58) with 12 runs scored, 5 triples, 1 home run, 9 RBI, 5 walks and 9 stolen bases. After batting .167 (4×24) over his first 9 games with the Mariners, Mejia has hit safely in 18 of his last 22 games, batting .342 (27×79) with 17 runs scored, 2 doubles, 5 triples, 1 home run, 11 RBI, 9 walks and 11 stolen bases. RH Ronald Dominguez is 3-1 with 1 save and a 0.50 ERA (2 ER, 36.1 IP) in 15 relief appearances. Overall he has limited opponents to a .165 (20×121) average, while walking 8 and striking out 34. RH Jose Santiago is 4-0 with a 0.77 ERA (2 ER, 23.1 IP) in 4 starts in August. Overall with the AZL Mariners, Santiago is 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA (13 ER, 40.0 IP) in 8 games/7 starts.  

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Mariners 5, Red Sox 3 — an improbable come back win

  • Box score … 08.22.14 Box Score
  • Video Highlights … link

It might be a little premature to break out the old “Two outs, so what?” mantra for this Mariners’ team. But for one night, it sure seemed fitting.

They were one out away from defeat on Friday night in a game they should have lost. For eight innings, Seattle was inept offensively and poised to drop its fourth game of the road trip to a team that had waved the white flag on this season long ago. Yet for all the Boston Red Sox’s problems and failures this season, the reignin world champions were still 44-0 this season when taking a lead into the ninth inning.

Make that: 44-1.

Down 3-0 and facing Red Sox all-star closer Koji Uehara, the Mariners scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally for an improbable 5-3 win, stunning the crowd of 36,433 at Fenway Park.

It was just the third time this season Seattle (69-58) has won a game when it was trailing after eight innings. The last time the Mariners overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth inning was on May 30, 2009 against the Angels.

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“Baseball is a funny game,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “When you think you’ve got it figured out, you tell me, because I don’t know. The first three hours of that game, we didn’t look very good. Our at-bats weren’t very good. All of the sudden with two outs, we turned it on. I can’t figure it out.”

With two outs and Logan Morrison on first, Endy Chavez drew his third walk of the game – something he’d never done in career. It was a 10-pitch affair in which Chavez had fallen behind 1-2 in the first three pitches.

“I thought it was just a tremendous at-bat,” McClendon said. “He really battled and fouled off some great pitches.”

Said Chavez: “I was just fighting with two strikes and trying to be selective.”

Pinch hitter Chris Denorfia flared a single into right field to load the bases and bring Austin Jackson to the plate.

Jackson had already stranded five runners in the game, including a pop up to second with bases loaded to end the fifth. But this time he came through, doubling off the Green Monster in left to score two runs.

Dustin Ackley followed with a bloop double to left field that landed between shortstop Brock Holt and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs.

“I did NOT know that was down,” Ackley said. “I knew I got it up in the air. I saw Holt running for it and thought he might have a chance at it.”

But it landed just out of a diving Holt’s reach.

The Mariners weren’t done. Robinson Cano added a RBI single that scored Ackley, who was running on the pitch, all the way from first, thanks to a gutty “send” by third base coach Rich Donnelly and a pretty slide from Ackley for a much-needed insurance run.

“Ack was running the whole way,” Donnelly said. “It was luck of a draw at home plate. But he made a hell of a play”

Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for his 37th save to secure the win.

The ninth inning rally erased a frustrating sixth inning that started off with a bad break and it ended with a bomb. Yoenis Cespedes hit a towering three-run home run off of Seattle starter Felix Hernandez that carried over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park, probably landing somewhere on the Mass turnpike. It looked like that would be the difference in the game.

“That changeup didn’t do anything,” Hernandez said of the pitch Cespedes hit. “Give credit to that guy. I threw four in a row and he was looking for it and I just missed my spot.”

Hernandez was cruising along, delivering his normal pitching goodness.  He wasn’t as efficient as he’d been in past starts, but he still hadn’t allowed in run in the first five innings. It started to derail in the sixth when the second base bag got in the way. Daniel Nava’s bouncing ball up the middle bounced off the bag and into the outfield allowing him to hustle it into a double. It was the first time Hernandez had allowed a leadoff runner to reach base in the game.

Could it have been fielded by Cano? Probably not. But it removed the chance for a double play and put Hernandez in damage control mode.

Dustin Pedroia moved Nava to third with a ground ball to second base. With a bag open and David Ortiz already 2-for-2 in the game and 17 for his last 32, manager Lloyd McClendon opted to intentionally walk him and face Cespedes in hopes of getting a double play. In a similar situation in the first inning, Hernandez was able to get Cespedes to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

But not this time.

“He had good at-bat,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez never made it out of the sixth. He left with two outs and 116 pitches, having allowed five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was the first time he allowed more than two runs in a start since May 2. Brandon Maurer got the final out of the inning and worked the seventh without incident.

Dominic Leone, who grew up in nearby Norwich, Conn., got the win in relief, pitching a scoreless eighth inning.

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