Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Before I go on with the recap here, I've got some issues with Bob Melvin's "strategy" in the 9th, and I want to type it at the beginning here so I don't forget. With the Mariners down 6-2, Edgar Martinez and Bret Boone were on second and third with one out. Still, Bob Melvin leaves Scott Spiezio in the game in this situation. That's where I bring in Bucky Jacobsen. There's no way I let Spiezio hit in that situation. Still, Dan Wilson was up after him, and I'd be a little hesitant to run him out to the plate too, though not as much as I would be with Spiezio. Jose Lopez has a terrible average right now, but he's young and needs the Major League experience, so let him hit. So why the hell is Willie Bloomquist up representing the winning run with two out? Give me Jolbert Cabrera, give me anyone else to see up in that situation, but not Willie Bloomquist.

Also, congrats to Jay Buhner. My big Buhner memory is the ball off the ambulance at Yankee Stadium, which I'm sure I share with a lot of people.

KJR clubhouse reporter Jason Puckett was just on the air, saying it was a great day for Mariner clubhouse reporting, as none of the players were available for comment, and he ended up talking college football with Dave Andriesen of the P-I.

Now, the recap.

Ryan Franklin didn't wait long to get into some hot water, allowing a leadoff single to Carl Crawford. Crawford moved to second on a BJ Upton bunt and went to third on a Randall Simon groundout. The station-to-station transportation (that's all me, no rhyming dictionary in this house) of Crawford was rendered moot when Tino Martinez mashed one into the stands in right (TB 2-0). Surely we haven't forgotten that Ryan Franklin has a propensity for home runs. Not as Much as Jamie Moyer this year, but he's still got the longball bug in him.

The bottom of the 1st also had a withered scoring opportunity for the Mariners. Ichiro's 199th hit of the season led off the inning on the first pitch. Randy Winn hit a comebacker to pitcher Rob Bell, which moved Ichiro to second. Ichiro moved to third on an Edgar Martinez fly to right. Ichiro remained at third as Raul Ibanez grounded out to first.

Franklin dug the hole a little deeper in the 2nd. With one out, Jorge Cantu singled to centerfield. Cantu scored from first base two pitches later on a Toby Hall double to deep leftfield (TB 3-0). Hall would end the inning stranded on third.

The Mariners made some hay in their half of the second. Spiezio drew a one-out walk (he got on base!) and Dan Wilson doubled to put two Mariners in scoring position. Lopez bounced a ball to Cantu at third, who made a bad throw (didn't see that part of the game; can't comment on throw details). Spiezio scored on the play (TB 3-1) and Lopez ended up on second, making me think that the throw got into foul territory somehow. Dan Wilson would score on a wild pitch by Bell on a 1-1 count to Bloomquist (TB 3-2). Bloomquist bounced out to short, holding Lopez at third, and Ichiro whiffed.

Starting with Ichiro's strikeout to end the 2nd inning, Rob Bell would retire 13 straight Mariners. No Mariner hits would be recorded from innings 3 through 6.

Not many hits were tallied up by Tampa Bay either. Franklin gave up a leadoff double to Julio Lugo in the 4th, and a single after that to Cantu, who advanced to second on a throw or something (game log interpretation). Franklin buckled down and got outs through the air on Hall, Rey Sanchez, and Crawford to end the inning. Ryan Franklin would match Rob Bell with his own streak of retiring 13 straight hitters.

Of course, Franklin's streak of 13 straight retired Devil Ray hitters had to end somewhere, and it ended with one out in the 8th. Franklin fell behind 3-0 on Randall Simon and walked him. Tino worked Franklin for another walk. Jose Cruz Jr. hit a slow bouncer to Boone, who spun to throw to second, but held it when he realized there wasn't enough time. The completion of Boone's 360 spin concluded with an in-time toss to Spiezio at first. Runners were on second and third with two out for Lugo, who singled to rightfield. Simon scored immediately (TB 4-2), but Ichiro's throw was cut off by the infield, and Lugo was caught in a rundown between first and second. Lugo was tagged out before Tino crossed the plate at home (if he even tried to score at all...damn lack of video replay).

Rob Bell was pulled after seven innings of mastery of the Mariner lineup, on only 86 pitches. Not that that's hard to do against the Mariners. Jesus Colome made mincemeat out of Bloomquist, Ichiro, and Winn in the 8th.

Ryan Franklin was pulled after a fairly solid outing, consisting of two crappy innings, one cliffhanger/fighting-out-of-jam inning, and five good-to-great innings. He couldn't stay away from the longball. You know, I have sympathy for pitchers that go deep into the game, give up two runs, and end up losing. When the pitcher gives up four runs, I'm on the fence about it. Basically, the best thing about Franklin's outing is the eating of the innings. The other good thing was the string of 13 straight. The bad things, though, are the homer and the leadoff walks in the 8th. His line: 8 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 120 pitches (76 strikes).

Scott Atchison was on the mound for the Mariners in the 9th. He promptly had Cantu rip a double on an 0-2 pitch. Atchison caught Hall looking, but Sanchez singled to score Cantu (TB 5-2). Matt Thornton was brought in, consequences be damned. Crawford doubled on the second pitch, and two runners were in scoring position. Then a weird play happened. Pinch-hitter Damian Rolls popped a 2-0 pitch into foul ground way behind first, toward the tarps (why are there tarps?). Scott Spiezio gives chase to the ball, and runs a long way to eventually catch it. Sanchez breaks for home, partly because Spiezio is far from the plate, but also because Spiezio's momentum is taking him away from the plate. Spiezio throws toward home and short-hops Dan Wilson. The ball goes off the inside of Wilson's left knee and toward the backstop, and Sanchez scores (TB 6-2). A good throw gets Sanchez on the play, sure, but where do you draw the line on catching or not catching the ball in foul territory if you're being carried away from the play?

Here's why a good throw would have been slightly timely. Edgar led off the 9th with a single off Danys (called "Danny" on the Safeco Field scoreboard tonight) Baez. Ibanez whiffed (great night for him), then Bret Boone flipped the bat on what ended up being a double to the gap in right that one-hopped the wall (the roof was closed; Bret's longball batflip radar needs fine-tuning). Runners were on second and third with one out (needless to say, Edgar didn't score from first on the Boone double). Spiezio flew out to Julio Lugo, who was running backward toward leftfield while making the catch. Bucky came in to pinch-hit, and he fisted an 0-2 pitch into centerfield to score Edgar and Boone (TB 6-4). Miguel Olivo ran for Bucky, and took second on the first pitch to Jose Lopez (indifference was called). Lopez singled to leftfield to score Olivo (TB 6-5). Bloomquist was up representing the winning run. Baez threw all fastballs, except for one pitch. His first pitch was taken for a strike. He blew the ball past Bloomquist with his second pitch. He threw a low-and-away slider in the dirt on the third pitch, which wasn't offered at by Bloomquist. Bloomquist fouled off the next pitch before taking a pitch that apparently was high and away. Bloomquist fouled off the next two pitches before taking what I thought was pretty much the same pitch for a called third strike to end the game. Frankly, I would have wrung him up the first time.

I already bored everyone with the 9th inning strategy complaints for the opening of this post, so I won't bore you again with it.

Gameball: Bret Boone. 2-for-4 with a double. Definite honorable mention to one Bucky Jacobsen for his pinch-hit two-run single. Semi-honorable mention for Franklin, who along with Madritsch have adequately rested the bullpen for their sure necessity to relieve tomorrow's starting pitcher at length.

Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, stranding two. Not a good night, no sir. Just to tick me off, Jose Cruz Jr. put up the same exact boxscore line as Raul. Of course, contract heftiness is the tiebreaker here. Advantage: Cruz.

Since he left Seattle, Lou Piniella is two games over .500 when managing against the Mariners. "I'm sick of [being asked] the same damn thing, over and f%&$ing over!! Don't ask me, ask the players!" -- Lou, late 2002.

One more against the Devil Rays. Was anyone as surprised as I was when Tampa went to dominant green on their uniforms and other apparel from that purple/green/yellow fading scheme? Once again, I must point out that the green uniforms and the Buddy balls (Selig-era baseballs) were the two discrepancies I noticed when viewing The Rookie, a.k.a. the Jim Morris story. I don't think Jose Canseco and Wade Boggs ever wore the dominant green uniforms, yet they were among the first things Dennis Quaid saw when he walked into the locker room at the Ballpark in Arlington. As for the baseballs, I'm fairly sure the baseballs were still marked differently between American and National leagues at that point.

Oh yeah, the Mariners have the handful of games with the Royals after tomorrow. On another uniform note, I think Kansas City needs to put some cursive on the front of those gray road tops. Hell, the same thing they have on their home tops would work; they've done it before, and I think that's what they had when they first moved away from the powder blue road tops. Also, one uniform fad I hated was gray caps. The Orioles and Royals tried this in conjunction with their road tops, and I hated it.

One final note concerning backs of uniforms. The Orioles this year moved back to the orange numerals/letters from the black on their home uniforms, but stuck with the orange on the road uniforms. They should have gone back to the black. And yeah, the gray cap with the gray uniform and the orange letters/numbers was terrible, like I alluded to. On my other backs-of-uniforms note, if there's an above-the-field play these days involving the Blue Jays on the road, I won't be able to tell who the hell is involved in the play. Use a darker shade of blue on those numbers and letters, PLEASE. The color's too light to begin with, and then the lights reflect off it, and I can't see.

My goodness, how did I get off on that tangent?

Sosa. Villone. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~11:55p -- Originally I said Baez threw nothing but fastballs to Bloomquist, forgetting that Baez wasted a slider on 0-2. The sentence in the recap has been revised.]

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