Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Tonight's start by Ryan Franklin evoked instant memories for me of a game I saw with Jeremy and friend Grant back in 2000. We saw Freddy Garcia gassing up his SUV at the 76 station before the game. He had the start against the White Sox that day, facing Sean Lowe. Garcia gave up two runs over eight innings and was tagged with the loss that day. Today, Ryan Franklin gave up three runs over eight innings and lost. While he didn't get the win tonight, what he does get is credit from me for saving the bullpen.

The Mariners tonight were stifled by yet another no-name, this one by the name of Jimmy Serrano. The first two things that come to mind when hearing the name Serrano: number 1 is Wascar, and number 2 is Pedro. "Pedro" Serrano is hilarious on multiple levels here, considering the Mariners' history with no-name starting pitchers. That other level...come on, you know.

The Mariners had a scoring opportunity in the 1st. Randy Winn hit a one-out double, but Bret Boone flew out to second and Raul Ibanez lined out to the rightfielder.

Then came the biggest headline of the night. With one out in the 3rd, Serrano threw a ball that seemed headed for some part of Ichiro. Ichiro didn't seem to pick it up quickly enough. He did manage to turn away, but the pitch appeared to hit him pretty squarely in the back of his (helmet-covered) head. It wasn't a very glancing blow. Ichiro was laying prone on the ground next to the batters' box for a few minutes as the trainers did the requisite tests. Ichiro was able to walk on his two feet again, and was pulled from the game. Hiram Bocachica took his spot in rightfield. For the record, Ryan Franklin brushed back Andres Blanco with a pitch in the bottom half of the 3rd. Both benches were warned.

In the 4th, Boone singled on an 0-2 pitch. Ibanez drew a walk. Bucky Jacobsen bounced into a double play, and Jolbert Cabrera bounced out to second. No one scored.

In the Royals' half of the 6th, John Buck doubled on the first pitch with one out. Franklin had set down 15 straight Royals, going back to David DeJesus' leadoff single in the 1st. Blanco bounced out to Scott Spiezio (once again, why is he playing?) at first, moving Buck to third. Buck scored on a David DeJesus single as the Royals drew first blood (KC 1-0). Surely many fans have gotten used to having that sinking feeling whenever it's a low-scoring game, Ryan Franklin is on the mound, and the opposing team takes the lead. No exception here.

But wait. In the top of the 7th, Bucky hit a one-out single. Jolbert Cabrera got under a pitch that appeared to be just a fly ball to leftfield. Aaron Guiel seemed like he had a beat on the ball. He was going to catch the ball. Then the ball bounced off the top of the wall and into the bullpen (SEA 2-1). Ryan Franklin would pitch once again with the lead when the bottom of the inning came. After the Cabrera homer, Spiezio doubled (huh?) to rightfield. Dan Wilson whiffed and Lopez bounced out to short. Franklin responded to his new lead by throwing a 1-2-3 7th.

Ryan Franklin had 86 pitches heading into the 8th inning. He got Guiel to whiff. Desi Relaford singled to rightfield. Franklin had suppressed his longball tendencies for 7 1/3 innings. Then John Buck got a hold of one to leftcenter (KC 3-2). Hey, at least if the Mariners didn't score in their half of the 9th, they wouldn't have to burn the bullpen for an inning, right? Score they didn't.

Gameball: Ryan Franklin. Ryan lets the bullpen rest for a day, and even manages to get his ERA to drop. Yes, it was 8 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, no walks (always a plus), and two strikeouts. Unfortunately, there was also the costly home run to drop his pathetic record to 3-12. Ouch, people. Ouch.

Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-3. A fielders' choice, a GIDP, and a whiff. To translate, he had runners on board every time he got up. Adding to the badness, if Scott Spiezio manages to get on base twice ahead of you, you've got to take advantage of that at least once.

But the last two days' doings by Bobby Madritsch and Ryan Franklin have set up the bullpen beautifully for when Ron Villone does his thing tomorrow. If there was an over-under, I think I'd set it at 5 2/3 innings.

One more day of barbecue before hitting the assembly line.

Villone. Wood. Tomorrow.

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