A few more showings like last night and the Mariners could see at least one significant change — the departure of pitcher Aaron Sele...
NEW YORK — A few more showings like last night and the Mariners could see at least one significant change — the departure of pitcher Aaron Sele.
Sele’s outing was enough to make Yankees owner George Steinbrenner forget Bellamy Road’s disappointing Derby.
Not even Bret Boone’s 1,000th and 1,001st runs batted in on a double in the eighth could lessen the sight of the way the Yankees, who had been sputtering, pounded the veteran Sele for eight hits and seven runs in 2-2/3 innings en route to a 7-4 victory.
Asked if that was the kind of start that led to someone being moved, Mike Hargrove said at first, “No, no.”
Then the Mariners manager added, “Too many of those kind of starts do.”
In response to a question about possible changes, general manager Bill Bavasi said, “We do not discuss personnel matters in the media.”Boone acknowledged that his accomplishment didn’t mean as much because of the M’s stretch of nine losses in 10 games.
“It’s a nice milestone,” he said. “But we’re scuffling and what’s going on with the club right now supersedes anything individual like that. We have to find a way to pull out of this.”
With the type of performance Seattle has been desperately seeking from Sele, Chien-Ming Wang shut down the Mariners on four hits in 7-1/3 innings, in only his third major-league game.
Winning pitcher: Chien-Ming Wang (1-1)
Losing pitcher: Aaron Sele (2-4)
Today: M’s at Yankees, 10:05 a.m., ESPN
Starting pitchers: M’s Jamie Moyer (4-1, 4.70) vs. Carl Pavano (2-2, 4.17)
Hargrove waited futilely for Sele to match Wang in a third inning in which the Seattle pitcher’s only outs came on superb outfield plays. Instead, Sele got worse.
“His velocity was good,” Hargrove said. “He just had no command of his pitches. He was missing way off the plate and up. When, their guy [Wang] missed, it was down. That was the difference.”
After Robinson Cano, hitting .087, added an RBI single in the third inning to his 400-foot sacrifice fly in the second inning, Hargrove gave Sele the hook.
“We couldn’t get [Julio] Mateo ready in time for Cano,” Hargrove said. “That was going to be Sele’s last batter anyway.”
The question now is when Sele will start again.
“There haven’t been many in-between starts for Aaron this year,” Hargrove said. “Either he’s been on or off.”
While Sele has three good starts, they came against Kansas City, Cleveland and Oakland, the three worst-hitting clubs in the American League. Texas, Anaheim twice and now the Yankees have beaten him up and left him with a 6.31 earned-run average.
The Mariners have not said if they will promote Felix Hernandez (4-2, 2.75 ERA) from Tacoma. Jorge Campillo (2-1, 3.00 ERA), with more experience out of Mexico, also has pitched well.
A National League scout, who has seen Hernandez pitch in the Pacific Coast League, came away impressed, but said, “He’s going to be a good one, but maybe not yet. He hasn’t shown fine control and he’s so young, why rush him?”
Seattle also could move Mateo from the bullpen, where he has been exceptionally strong, including 3-1/3 scoreless innings after Sele left, dropping Mateo’s ERA to a dazzling 0.48.
So bad was Sele, it was difficult to remember Seattle had given him a 2-0 lead with runs in each of the first two innings.
The first run came off Ichiro’s first first-inning triple since Aug. 21, 2004. The other run was manufactured when Jeremy Reed walked, stole second and scored on Wilson Valdez’s two-out single.
But Sele, who escaped the first when Reed ran down Hideki Matsui’s warning-track shot to center, couldn’t hold the lead.
He committed the cardinal error of walking Alex Rodriguez to start the second inning, after being ahead 0-2. He then left a fastball up and out over the plate for Tino Martinez to poke into the left-field corner for a ground-rule double.
With one out, Sele jumped ahead 0-2 on John Flaherty, hitting .211, but then ran to a full-count and laid a fastball down the pipe that Flaherty lashed on a line to center to make it 2-1.
Cano followed with a deep ball to center for a sacrifice fly that tied the game.
While Wang settled down, Sele continued to self-destruct.
“You have to adjust when things are that bad,” Sele said. “I had to get the ball down and I was missing, by a lot. When I’m making quality pitches I give my team a chance to win. I didn’t tonight.”
Sele walked Gary Sheffield on a 3-1 count to start the third inning. Matsui hammered a fastball into the gap in right-center, but Ichiro ran it down. Rodriguez shot for the same gap, but closer to center, and Reed made a diving catch.
Despite those two brilliant defensive plays, Sele collapsed.
He hung a 1-1 fastball to Martinez, who drove it out to right for his fourth homer in four games and a 4-2 Yankees lead. The rout was on.
Bob Finnigan: 206-464-8276 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Sele’s May slump|
|Aaron Sele has fallen to 0-2, with a 12.86 earned-run average in two May starts:|
|Last 2||12.86 ERA||0-2||7.0||14||11||7||2|