Sunday, June 13, 2004
The Mariners found the elixir to cure their scoreless innings streak last night, and tonight they were able to squeeze hard to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube.
What am I really trying to say? The way to get by with an anemic offense is to match up against one that's worse. This Montreal team is absolutely brutal on offense.
Another funny thing is that before the series, it looked like a matchup between two of the worst teams offensively in the Majors, and really, we've got everything we expected to see. Usually when people bring up teams as depicted "on paper," they usually follow it up with "that's why they play the games." Well, with these two teams, I'd rather they just took three days off and played the games on paper, or maybe with that Classic board game from the early '90s (my dad has one somewhere back home) that was an AWESOME board game, by the way. Or Bill Bavasi can match up against Omar Minaya using those old Topps cards back in the day that had the dice game on the back of them. Bavasi wouldn't have to use any thinking at all, and it'd be based purely on dumb luck. It'd be great.
However, the game really did go on as planned today. Since the final score was 3-0, and the Expos were involved, there weren't a lot of scoring opportunities for Montreal. In fact, their only runner in scoring position the whole night was Jamey Carroll in the 6th, who got there with one out on a Jose Vidro single and busted out his lawn chair as the next two hitters flew/lined out. Thus, Jamie Moyer didn't have too much resistance, with his only real enemy being deep counts, and even then, he only walked one batter (struck out seven).
Then there was the Mariner offense. That lineup that Bob Melvin promised a lot more of back in spring training finally showed up today (sans Raul Ibanez, of course) with Ichiro batting third. Randy Winn led off, and Rich Aurilia was curiously placed in the 2-spot. How did this all work? Well, both Winn and Aurilia went 0-for-3. Winn got walked in the first for his only on-base appearance, and scored on a Dave Hansen sacrifice fly. So, the non-Hiram Bocachica productive parts of the lineup (we'll get to that later) were Ichiro, Bret Boone, and Dave Hansen, who combined for a line of 3-for-9 with a run, an RBI, three walks, a strikeout, and three stranded runners. Not too shimmery indeed.
Then there was Hiram Bocachica. I guess the funny thing about his homer in the 2nd was the way he tossed the bat away and ran to first -- he did it like he hits 30 homers a year or something. That was Hiram's first homer since 2002 with the Tigers. There was some swagger to that home run, and sue me for being a little punk, but if that display was a little more overt, he's getting a sly little brushback the next time he gets up. All in all, though, it was a nice home run; nice sound, nice arc, nice landing spot.
The saddest moment of the game? John Olerud's sacrifice fly. I forgot whoever it was in the blogosphere (I can't remember) who saw Olerud hit in person earlier this year. John appeared to have belted a pitch as hard as he possibly could, and it didn't leave the yard. The Olerud sac fly for the Mariners' third run was exactly the same situation. I knew how bad Olerud had been doing this year, and even still, I thought John had gotten a hold of that pitch enough to drive it out. That ball didn't even get to the warning track in rightfield.
After an 8th inning of Ron Villone and Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Eddie Guardado pitched a quick 9th for his 11th save, ending with Juan Rivera getting nailed at second by Ichiro while trying to stretch a single into a double. Eddie Guardado's ERA is now 0.92. Is it a coincidence that the offseason move paying the highest dividends is one that doesn't have Bill Bavasi's fingerprints on it?
Gameball: Hiram Bocachica. Power! 2-for-3 with the homer
Goat: Scott Spiezio. 0-for-4 with a hat trick, stranding SEVEN. Seven runners is a lot to be stranding.
So, which would you rather have? A meaningless series win between two abhorrent offenses, or a series loss against a team whose centerfielder was the best athlete your city has ever seen, the same athlete that is currently chasing 500 homers?
Armas. Nageotte. ~Thirteen hours.
[Edit ~12:14a -- "Forgot" is now in place of "forgive" in the Olerud paragraph, so forgive me for forgetting proper grammar. This from someone now with a college degree.]