Sunday, August 29, 2004


Yes, it was Jimmy Gobble against Ryan Franklin in the rubber game of a five-game series between the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners.

The Royals chose to blow a 3-1 lead instead of the usual 4-0 lead in this final game between the cellar all-star teams.

Again, the spectrum...

Mariners on defense/pitching (bad to good)
massacre < terrible inning < some damage < fighting out of jam < decent inning < 1-2-3

Mariners on offense
I hate this team < come on, y'all < ho, hum < minimal damage < some damage < big inning

TOP 1ST -- decent inning
Franklin walked David DeJesus to lead off the game, but Desi Relaford and DeJesus were part of a whiff-and-gundown double play. Ah, the arm of Miguel Olivo.

BOTTOM 1ST -- come on, y'all
Ichiro, Randy Winn, and Bret Boone get Gobbled.

TOP 2ND -- fighting out of jam
Abe Nunez hit a one-out double and went to third (didn't see this play) most likely on a bad pickoff throw by Franklin. Aaron Guiel was then walked. Franklin then got two flyouts to bail himself out.

BOTTOM 2ND -- come on, y'all
Gobble is perfect through two, getting Raul Ibanez and Bucky Jacobsen to bounce balls back to him, and getting Jolbert Cabrera to fly out.

TOP 3RD -- minimal damage
The damage was minimal, but the 3rd inning was a 28-pitch odyssey for Franklin. The sick thing was, all the bad stuff happened with two out. Relaford hit a smash to rightfield (KC 1-0). Franklin would then make himself quite the jam. Joe Randa and Matt Stairs both singled, and Nunez walked to load the bases. Guiel then bounced out to Boone to end the inning. Franklin allows a requisite longball, then creates and eradicates his own jam. Perplexing.

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Olivo, Jose Lopez, and Willie Bloomquist (at first base, ugh) ensured that Jimmy Gobble was perfect through three innings.

TOP 4TH -- some damage
Franklin yielded a leadoff smash to John Buck (KC 2-0), the only notable moment of the inning.

BOTTOM 4TH -- minimal damage
Ichiro finally broke up Jimmy Gobble's perfect game, turning and golfing a pitch out of the yard to rightfield (KC 2-1). Ibanez walked and Bucky Jacobsen singled to put runners on the corners with two out, but they would stay there.

TOP 5TH -- some damage
Franklin gives a run right back, throwing a 3-1 pitch that Randa really liked and took out to leftfield for his 100th career homer (KC 3-1). The next three hitters were no problem, though.

BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
Same as the bottom of the 3rd, except Gobble was no longer perfect.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Ryan Franklin had his easiest inning of the game, setting down Buck, Wilton "Frank Stallone" Guerrero, and Angel Berroa.

BOTTOM 6TH -- some damage
Ichiro led off with a single, which is not unusual for him. One out later, Bret Boone reached first on a bad throw by Berroa. Ichiro stood on third after the play and would score on the next play, an Ibanez groundout to second (KC 3-2). Bucky chipped in with a single to score Boone from third to tie the game at 3-3. Cabrera coaxed a walk, but Olivo hit a comebacker to the mound to end the inning.

TOP 7TH -- some damage
It started out in quite a grim fashion. Franklin was chased from the game after the three hitters he faced singled (DeJesus and Relaford) or walked (Randa). Franklin was pulled after loading the bases with nobody out. Ron Villone came out of the bullpen. He had Stairs 0-2 before getting a double-play ball that scored DeJesus (KC 4-3). Villone fell behind 2-1 on Nunez before he was put on base. Villone walked Guiel to load the bases once again in the same inning, but then Buck put a weak half-swing on a ball that looped itself into Boone's glove to end the inning.

Ryan Franklin left the game with the bases loaded and the score tied. Luckily for him, Villone didn't let Franklin's ERA skyrocket too badly after the pitching change, though now Franklin was on the hook for the loss. Franklin's line: 6+ innings, 4 runs, 9 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 121 pitches. Ryan did get into the 7th, so I can't really say that the 121 pitches was TTF-esque. However, that's still a lot of pitches in a pretty short amount of time, especially for him. He walked more batters than be struck out (4 to 3), and his strikeout number was identical to the number of homers he gave up (3). That's simply Spirosiferous. I think you'd stress the third syllable in that non-word.

BOTTOM 7TH -- some damage
Lopez and Bloomquist would get out to make way for the rest of the order (I'll get to the badness of the bottom of the Mariner lineup later). Ichiro finished his day with a single, making him 3-for-4, a little warming up of sorts compared to the last few games. Winn singled off new pitcher Dennys Reyes and moved Ichiro over to third, and Boone singled to center to tie the game at 4-4. Ibanez followed with a single to give the Mariners the lead (SEA 5-4). DJ Carrasco came in and got Bucky to ground out to short.

TOP 8TH -- fighting out of jam
The other Guerrero got aboard on an infield single and would have been doubled off on an inning-ending double play, but Boone had some issues on what would have been a spin-and-throw to second base. DeJesus got to first base on that play. Villone buckled down and got Relaford to whiff and Randa to bounce out to short.

BOTTOM 8TH -- ho, hum
Cabrera, Olivo, and Lopez made Carrasco look like a genius.

TOP 9TH -- decent inning
Stairs hit a leadoff single, but Villone retired the final three hitters to end the game.

Gameball: Ron Villone. 3 innings of two-hit ball, with a walk and strikeout each, on 47 pitches. Can we all agree that if he has to have a role on this ballclub, we'd like it to be this one instead of as a starter? Bonus points for not letting all of Franklin's runs score in an inning that many times this year has gone to the dogs. I guess I'm glad I didn't see Hasegawa come out in this situation. By the way, I'm not forgetting Ichiro's 3-for-4 or Bucky's 2-for-4 today.

Goat: Jose Lopez. 0-for-4. He wasn't the only one in the lineup stinking it up, so this choice of goat was sort of random.

The Mariners won today even with Ryan Franklin nowhere close to the top of his game, and even with the 6-9 hitters of their lineup (Cabrera/Olivo/Lopez/Bloomquist) going a combined 0-for-14. I'll venture to say it's not very easy to win when you're punting four spots in your lineup every time through. Today, though, the Mariners did just that.

To the Great White North! From one retractable roof to another.

Moyer. Towers. Tuesday.

[Edit ~10:55p -- Sorry to anyone who read the stuff for the top of the 9th, because it made no sense. Thoughts ran into each other and a jumble came out. The problem has been grammatically rectified.]

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