Mariners’ Vasquez struggles against Rangers again
Mariners rookie Anthony Vasquez got to start in his home state
for the first time. And the left-hander had no better luck against
the Rangers this time.
Vasquez gave up five runs and seven hits, including three home
runs, over only 3 1-3 innings in the Mariners’ 5-3 loss Friday
night against the Rangers, who a couple of hours later clinched
their second consecutive AL West title after the Los Angeles Angles
For the lefty from San Antonio, being back in Texas wasn’t that
a big of a deal.
”It was the same as any other. It’s not like I had 100 people
here rooting me on. You’ve got to focus on keeping your team in the
ball game,” Vasquez said. ”I felt good, it’s a matter of
executing pitches. That’s where I got myself in trouble.”
Vasquez (1-5) had a pitching line all-too similar to his
previous start, in Seattle last Saturday against the Rangers. He
also gave up five runs, seven hits and three homers while going
only three innings in that game.
”I thought his breaking ball was pretty good, but same thing
we’ve been talking about with him – fastball command. Without that,
it’s hard to utilize your changeup,” manager Eric Wedge said. ”He
has to command the ball. That’s what he’s done in the minors. We’ve
seen small stretches up here, but we haven’t seen him do it
consistently up here. That’s what he has to work on.”
On Friday night, only two of the Texas home runs went over the
fence – long drives by Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton.
With one out in the fourth, Craig Gentry hit a liner to
left-center that went to the wall after splitting the gap between
two outfielders. Left fielder Mike Carp and center fielder Trayvon
Robinson both made diving attempts for the catch, Robinson a few
feet behind Carp.
”Carp’s the guy that has a chance at that ball and Tre has to
pull behind him,” Wedge said. ”You can’t both go for the ball
right there. Carp had the angle, and when that happens, Tre has to
circle behind him and back him up.”
The speedy Gentry initially wasn’t even running full speed, and
made a stutter-step rounding first base before realizing the ball
was rolling to the wall. He then took off and scored standing up
for his first career homer and the first inside-the-park homer for
the Rangers since Nelson Cruz at Oakland on Sept. 4, 2006. Cruz was
on base when Gentry got his.
”We did exactly what we were supposed to do, which is attack
the ball. We both felt we could get it,” Robinson said. ”Thank
God we didn’t collide with each other or we probably wouldn’t be
talking right now. I thought it was a good effort. Next time, we
just need to use a little more communication. It fell right between
us. It looked like a movie on the replay.”
That made it 5-0 and chased Vasquez, who pitched one season at
Texas A&M before transferring to USC.
Vasquez has given up at least five runs in five of his six
career starts and has an 8.89 ERA.
Rangers starter Matt Harrison (14-9) retired 15 of the first 16
batters he faced until four consecutive Mariners reached to start
the sixth. Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI single before Robinson walked
to load the bases. Dustin Ackley and Miguel Olivo followed with
consecutive sacrifice flyballs.
It was the team-leading 61st RBI for Olivio, who also leads the
Mariners with 18 homers. No catcher has ever led Seattle in homers
Harrison allowed three runs over six innings, giving up three
singles and walking two. The left-hander is 4-0 in September, and
6-1 in his career against the Mariners.
Notes: Seattle is 4-13 against the Rangers this season. . …
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (14-13, 3.32 ERA) makes his last
scheduled start of the season Saturday. His is fourth among AL
starters with 220 strikeouts and 230 1-3 innings a season after
winning the AL Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record. … Alexi Ogando
(13-8, 3.58), given extra rest down the stretch by the Rangers,
makes only his third start of September. … Mariners SS Brendan
Ryan (back/neck) and OF Casper Wells (sinus affecting equilibrium)
are not with the team, and manager Eric Wedge said they are
doubtful to play again this season. SS Luis Rodriguez didn’t play a
night after a hand injury in the ninth inning at Minnesota.