SEATTLE – Kids these days.
They blindly go where adults with more wisdom haven’t.
Take Sunday, when Jeremy Reed, Jose Lopez, Adam Morse and Rene Rivera – the Seattle Mariners’ Bottom (of the order) Babies – led the M’s to an 11-5 victory over the New York Mets.
Hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the last four spots in the order, they performed as though Mets starter Tom Glavine were just another pitcher, not a two-time Cy Young winner and former World Series MVP.
Didn’t they realize the Mariners were just 6-12 this season against left-handed starters?
Or that the four of them comprised a middle of the Mariners’ defense – Rivera (21) at catcher, Morse (23) at shortstop, Lopez (21) at second base and Reed (24) in center field – that averaged 22 years old?
On a day when the Mariners offered a clear look at their future, the youngsters went a combined 8 for 18 with five runs batted in and three runs scored.
“Tom Glavine is a great pitcher, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I watched him pitch before I started playing baseball,” said Rivera, who was 3 years old when Glavine reached the major leagues in 1987. “But when I’ve got a bat, I have to hit the ball.”
He did Sunday, going 3 for 4 with an RBI double off Glavine in the second inning.
“I just hit the ball where it is pitched,” Rivera said. “I don’t try to think too much.”
Lopez went 2 for 5 and drove in two runs, Reed 1 for 5 with two RBIs and Morse 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
“The kids have come up here and they’re not afraid,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “I don’t mind playing young people if they have the talent to play and they’re not overmatched. These guys were not overmatched in spring training and weren’t overmatched in San Antonio and Tacoma. I have no reservations at all about playing them.”
Sunday’s victory completed a three-game sweep of the Mets and was the Mariners’ fifth in six games. In the 20 games since they plunged a season-low 11 games under .500, the Mariners have pulled themselves to five under at 31-36.
The surge has coincided with the arrival of Morse, Rivera and Lopez from the minor leagues. Morse replaced non-hitting shortstop Wilson Valdez and is batting .407 after 17 games. Rivera, brought up after injuries to veteran catchers Dan Wilson and Wiki Gonzalez, also is batting .407. Lopez, starting at second for at least a week while Bret Boone works on his hitting mechanics, is batting .417 in 12 at-bats.
The old guard contributed, too.
Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez each went 3 for 5 and Adrian Beltre, starting his first game since he injured his left hamstring last Sunday, got two hits and scored once.
Richie Sexson hit a two-run homer in the first inning, his 15th this season, and drew crucial a bases-loaded walk in the sixth when the Mariners scored three runs.
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