Baek, M's blasted by Blue Jays
By almost every measure, it was an eminently forgettable day for the Mariners on Wednesday at Safeco Field: a 10-0 drubbing by the Toronto...
Seattle Times staff reporter
By almost every measure, it was an eminently forgettable day for the Mariners on Wednesday at Safeco Field: a 10-0 drubbing by the Toronto Blue Jays that had the unmistakable feel of a spring-training game. A bad one, at that.
The loss reduced their "tragic number" for elimination from the AL West race to four. Cha Seung Baek was blasted early, Jays hurler A.J. Burnett overpowered them for eight innings, and the Mariners fell so hopelessly behind that most of the veteran starters were out of the game by the sixth inning.
But that wholesale emptying of the bench is what made the game memorable for many of the team's youngsters, who had been living their major-league dreams vicariously since coming up in early September.
Two pitchers, Travis Chick and Ryan Feierabend, made their major-league debuts, and did so in impressive fashion, combining for five scoreless innings. They came in after another rookie, Cesar Jimenez, had let the game get out of hand in Toronto's nine-run fourth inning.
Throw in the first major-league hit by shortstop Oswaldo Navarro (we won't bring up the first major-league error by outfielder T.J. Bohn) and it made the blowout almost tolerable for the Mariners. Well, not exactly.
"The only good thing about today is that it's over, plain and simple," said Mariners manager Mike Hargrove.
Still, it was a day that will never be forgotten by Chick and Feierabend, who became good friends as teammates at Class AA San Antonio after Chick joined the organization from Cincinnati in the Eddie Guardado trade.
Both had been called up to the Mariners from San Antonio at the beginning of this homestand and had thus been waiting six games for their first chance. Chick, 22, got the first call, and blanked the Jays on four hits over three innings.
"I didn't want to sit there and think, 'It's the big leagues, it's the big leagues,' and freak out," he said. "When I got out there, I just pulled my hat down so I couldn't see anything, and tried to throw strikes."
Chick's outing was no doubt a relief to his parents, who had flown to Seattle from Tyler, Texas, for last Friday's game, and had been coming to the park every day since waiting for their son's inaugural appearance.
"A couple of days ago, I actually got up to get loose," Chick said. "But as soon as I do, the guy hit into a double play, and that slammed the door on me. I'm just grateful it happened today. My parents are definitely excited."
And so was the 21-year-old Feierabend, who said he used Chick's success to calm his own nerves. It worked. After retiring All-Star slugger Vernon Wells on his first major-league pitch, a liner to right, Feierabend breezed through two innings on just 22 pitches. He struck out two, and his only base runner was on Bohn's error.
"My original emotion was, 'Don't give up a home run on my first pitch,' especially with Vernon Wells at the plate," Feierabend said. "My emotions were pretty much nervousness, and a little bit of shock, seeing all the fans. But I tried to calm myself down after I faced him. I threw one pitch for an out, and it was pretty much history after that."
Baek, who entered the game 3-0 with a 2.22 earned-run average in four starts, would no doubt like to erase this outing from history.
He said his shoulder tightened during the game, perhaps leading to his rocky performance. Baek gave up seven hits and six runs before giving way in the fourth to Jimenez, who walked three in a row and then gave up a grand slam to Gregg Zaun.
"You don't see very many nine-run innings in a season, especially this late in the season," Hargrove said. "Mostly you see those in spring training and early-season games. When it happens, it's usually real ugly, and it was."
But not quite so ugly for everyone.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.