Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Ah, to face the glorified triple-A team known as the 2004 Kansas City Royals.
Bobby Madritsch had his least sharpest start so far. As I've feared on occasion, when Bobby misses the strike zone, he tends to miss high. Of course, against a team as crummy as the Royals, the repercussions aren't as great.
Ichiro homered on the second pitch into the bullpen in rightfield to lead off the game (SEA 1-0). Madritsch responded by throwing a 1-2-3 1st.
Then came an offensive flourish. Raul Ibanez and Bucky Jacobsen led off with a single and a double to the wall in centerfield. Miguel Olivo grounded out to about-to-be-shellacked Darrell May. Justin Leone drew a walk to load the bases. Jose Lopez hit a dinker to move everyone up 90ft (SEA 2-0). Ichiro served a two-run single into right (SEA 4-0). Randy Winn hit a two-run triple to right (SEA 6-0, I seem to remember someone either misplaying the ball in the outfield or an outfielder falling down on the play). Edgar followed with a ball to the wall in leftcenter, which he tried to stretch into a double. He was out by a mile at second, but Winn scored (SEA 7-0). Bret Boone, the 9th man to come to the plate in the inning, bounced out to short.
Now pitching with a 6-run lead, Madritsch surrendered singles to Ken Harvey and Abraham Nunez to lead off the Royals' half of the 2nd. Madritsch walked hyped-Ranger-prospect-of-lore Ruben Mateo to load the bases with nobody out. Madritsch got Desi Relaford to bounce into a 5-3 double play (SEA 7-1). It's a shame the bases had to be loaded with nobody out, but that was some damage control right there.
The runs kept a-comin' for the Mariners. Ibanez and Jacobsen started a shorter hit parade in the 3rd, with a double and single. Bucky singled to left, so Ibanez had to hold at third. Former Minnesota Twin Matt Kinney (I believe he used to wear these computer dork-type glasses on the mound in his Twins days) was put in for the brutally ineffective Darrell May. Miguel Olivo (whiff) and Justin Leone (flyout to second) practiced exercises in futility. Jose Lopez was beaned to load the bases. Ichiro hit a two-run single (SEA 9-1)...what's new?
Madritsch got two quick outs in the 3rd, but started losing control. Joe Randa and Ruben Gotay (four pitches) drew walks, and Ken Harvey dove over the plate (as many hitters do) and took a pitch in his right elbow. Madritsch had loaded the bases for the second straight inning before inducing a Nunez groundout to end the threat.
A weird play occurred in the Royals' half of the 4th. Desi Relaford was on board with a four-pitch walk. With two out, Andres Blanco hit a ball that Bret Boone had to move a long way to his glove side to get. He didn't have a chance to nail Blanco, but attempted one of those spinning fadeaway throws that he does. It went past Bucky at first, and Miguel Olivo was backing up the play. Relaford took off for third, and Blanco took off for second. Olivo gunned the ball to second base and nailed Blanco, though I thought Blanco had the throw beat. If he's out, Blanco's leg must have come off the bag or something while he was sliding into and over it with the rest of his leg.
Madritsch allowed a one-out Randa double in the 5th. Gotay grounded out to move Randa to third. Madritsch fell behind 2-0 before whiffing pinch-hitter (and Langley, BC's own) Aaron Guiel to end the inning.
Boone smashed a ball beyond the 410 marker in centerfield with one out in the 6th (SEA 10-1). Matt Kinney would allow an Ibanez single, and would get Bucky to whiff. He threw one wild pitch to Olivo to move Ibanez to second. He threw another ball before the trainer came out and Kinney was pulled with a calf cramp. In came Jorge Vasquez, who threw two strikes, and then uncorked a wild one of his own on a 2-2 pitch to move Ibanez to third. He beaned Olivo with the next pitch. No fear, though. Willie Bloomquist was pinch-hitting for Justin Leone, who at this point was nursing the back of his hand after it was nailed by a Matt Kinney pitch. Four pitches and a whiff. Madritsch responded to his extra run of support with a 1-2-3 6th.
Here come more runs. Ichiro drew a one-out walk. Winn hit into a fielder's choice. Edgar singled to put runners on the corners. Bret Boone hit a bomb to leftcenter which he wasn't sure was a homer; he thought the outfielder had brought it back. Nope, it was a homer. Nice to see a little power from Bret, finally (SEA 13-1). Ibanez and Bucky would form another hitting tandem, this time with a single and double. Olivo hit a ball to Blanco at short which was muffed (SEA 14-1). Bloomquist whiffed.
Madritsch had 96 pitches after six innings of work. I was pleasantly surprised he was trotted out there for the 7th, though I knew full well that the season is lost, it's late in the season, and Bobby had a mere 13-run lead at that point. He got John Buck to ground out on the second pitch. He walked Andres Blanco on five pitches. I was waiting for Bob Melvin to come out with the hook, but he didn't. Madritsch got a key strikeout on a devil of a 2-2 changeup to David DeJesus. Joe Randa then singled to put runners on the corners. Again, no hook (I'm surprised again). Six pitches later, Gotay flew out to Bucky.
As I said earlier, it was the least sharp of Madritsch's starts so far. Somehow, though, he stretched it out to seven innings. That's the rockiest seven innings of one-run ball I've seen a pitcher throw in a while. His line: 7 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 5 walks (yikes!), 4 strikeouts, 119 pitches (72 strikes).
Holy crap!! Shigetoshi Hasegawa was put into a situation that is perfected suited for him!! He threw a 1-2-3 8th inning! Remember when these were the only types of situations where we wanted Kevin Jarvis to throw? For Melvin to Throw in the Towel? Ah, good times, bad times. You know I've had my share.
More runs. Ibanez drew a two-out walk from Jaime Cerda and reached base for the sixth time in the game. Bucky hit a ball to Desi Relaford at third, who hurried the throw to first even though Bucky's not the fastest guy. Wilton Guerrero, a.k.a. Vlad Guerrero's Frank Stallone, couldn't come up with the throw. Olivo singled on the first pitch (SEA 15-1). Even Bloomquist singled on the first pitch (SEA 16-1), the official sign that yes, this game was indeed out of hand.
Clint Nageotte was brought on for the 9th. He wouldn't walk anybody, but the results weren't that great either. With one out, John Buck (a.k.a. Beltran bait) and Blanco hit back-to-back one-out singles. DeJesus bounced out to first, moving the runners. Nageotte surrendered a single to Guerrero/Stallone (SEA 16-2). Nageotte threw a wild pitch on the 0-1 pitch to Gotay, scoring Blanco (SEA 16-3). He would get Gotay to whiff, however. Nageotte has an outing that is predominately ineffective, with flashes of that cool breaking ball.
Gameball: Raul Ibanez. 5-for-5 with a walk. One might wonder why I chose Ibanez even though he had zero RBIs. Raul led off two innings with hits, had a two-out bases-empty hit, and got two hits after Boone had homered. I'm not Raul's biggest fan, and I hate his contract to death, but if he doesn't get a gameball tonight, he's never getting one. Also kudos to Bucky, who hit behind Raul, going 3-for-5 with a walk and two doubles (yay for extra-base hits!)
Goat: Miguel Olivo. 1-for-5 with a strikeout and RBI, stranding six. This is mostly on the basis that it has to be somebody tonight, and that he stranded the most runners.
You know Justin Leone's hand I was talking about earlier? Two fingers were broken on that Matt Kinney beanball. He'll be out 4-6 weeks. Greg Dobbs, anyone?
One trouncing of a win, but pretty costly for the Mariners' newbie third baseman. Bret Boone has some pop in that bat after all. Raul Ibanez can hit in Kansas City, which didn't surprise me because three years isn't a small sample size. Ichiro can hit, this we know. What I know is that all this second-half hitting would have been nice LAST YEAR. But damn, that guy is the best singles hitter walking the earth right now. I miss all those doubles into the gap, Ichi.
Franklin. Serrano. Tomorrow.