Saturday, August 28, 2004


Oh my goodness, this game got way out of hand.

But first, a complete aside. Has anyone realized that Gaard Swanson hosts the Tulalip Casino Night show on KIRO? Is CBS ticked that whatever network show that goes to all affiliates at 10pm on Friday isn't being shown in Seattle because of Gaard's hijinks? Possibly the most hilarious moment of the show was when they showed the leaderboard and the Pair of Queens team was last out of 11 teams. Knowing that the Pair of Queens team did not consist of two females (in fact, it was the complete opposite), Gaard may have slipped the tongue-in-cheek line about the Pair of Queens "bringing up the rear" in the competition (can he say that?). I guess the only thing more hilarious than that was after the end credits, when a logo with crossed swords was labeled with "On Gaard Productions." Hilarious. So finishes the complete aside for the night.

Gil Meche wasn't quite the Gil Meche that we've seen in his previous few starts. The Mariner bats were quite different on this night, to say the least.

Once again, the scale...

Mariners on pitching/defense (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 -- 1-2-3

BOTTOM 1ST -- come on, y'all
Ichiro led off with his 201st hit, a single the other way. Jolbert Cabrera followed with a single of his own. Raul Ibanez singled into leftfield, and Ichiro took off for home. Aaron Guiel had a good beat on the ball, and Ichiro was meat at the plate. Bucky Jacobsen lined the second pitch right to shortstop Angel Berroa, who had more than enough time to double off Cabrera at second.

TOP 2ND -- 1-2-3

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Scott Spiezio dinks a one-out single into rightfield, and watches the rest of the inning at first base.

TOP 3RD -- some damage
Gil Meche got Guiel to whiff. Backup catcher Alberto Castillo hit a double to centerfield (he wasn't done for the night). Ruben Gotay singled to put runners on the corners. David DeJesus hit a ball to the right side that Spiezio fielded. Or at least he tried to do so. He bobbled the ball, and when he recovered, he threw to second even though Gotay had pretty much reached the base safely about a millisecond after the ball left Spiezio's hand. All the while Spiezio could have had at least one out at first, depending on whether anyone was covering. In sum, Castillo scored on a play that should have been an inning-ending double play (KC 1-0). Still, Meche didn't let this get to him, getting a groundout from Berroa and a flyout from Joe Randa.

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Hiram Bocachica, Ichiro, and Cabrera went away 1-2-3.

TOP 4TH -- 1-2-3

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Ibanez, Bucky, and Bret Boone went away 1-2-3.

TOP 5TH -- terrible inning
Meche allowed a one-out homer to Castillo (2-for-4 on the night, KC 2-0). Meche walked Gotay and then yielded a gopherball to David DeJesus (KC 4-0). Homers will happen, but the walks don't have to. Granted, Meche has kept the walks way down over his last handful of outings. Meche would sandwich a Randa double inbetween a couple of outs in the remainder of the inning. And remember, there's that trademark Meche tendency to have one really crappy inning per start, even when he's on. This one was it.

BOTTOM 5TH -- some damage
It's only some damage, but the way they did it was certainly unexpected, and the victim was Zack Greinke. With one out, Miguel Olivo, Jose Lopez, and Bocachica (opposite field) all homered. Consecutively (KC 4-3). That's some punch out of the bottom of the lineup. Holy crap. Ichiro then bounced out, Cabrera singled, Ibanez doubled him to third, and Bucky was caught looking.

TOP 6TH -- fighting out of jam
A Calvin Pickering double-play ball erased the leadoff walk (Abe Nunez) from the basepaths. Guiel doubled, but was stranded. Meche would not return, as his pitch count was insane and almost TTF-esque at this point, except he gave up a couple less runs. A good portion of Meche's pitches were thrown in the 3rd (35 pitches), as well as in a 10-pitch Gotay walk, and Matt Stairs' at-bats of 8 and 9 pitches in the 3rd and 5th, respectively. Meche's line: 6 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 122 pitches. Meche yielded two homers, but along with Ryan Franklin and Jamie Moyer, he's not the only one giving up the longball on this staff. Longballs are contagious.

BOTTOM 6TH -- minimal damage
Nothing happened here except that Olivo mashed another ball that hit somewhere near the staircase above the bullpen to tie the score at 4-4. This was Olivo's first career multihomer game.

I think Olivo seems to have this knack where he'll not block a few balls behind the plate (okay, that's all the time), hang up a couple of 0-for-4s, maybe a 1-for-3 now and then, and then he'll bust out every 8 or 10 games with a game like tonight's game, where he drives in a couple of runs or hits a key home run. I'm not sure whether the time interval is accurate or whether it's below or above normal, but it's well above Dan Wilson standards. Bill Krueger mentioned something on FSNNW about Olivo facing Rene Lachemann and the JUGS machine next spring training, and if he gets through that all right, then Olivo might be a bright spot for next year. A catcher that can hit? It's been a while since we've seen that. It's been a while since we've seen a catcher with an arm also. But enough of this Olivo praise, let's get on with the 'cap.

TOP 7TH -- fighting out of jam
Small jam. Scott Atchison managed to keep a zero on the board despite giving up a one-out DeJesus double. Berroa hit a grounder to Atchison, and DeJesus was hot-boxed between second and third. Atchison then got Randa to whiff.

BOTTOM 7TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro gets hit number 202 on a drag bunt along the first base line, then gets doubled off on a hard Cabrera grounder to short.

TOP 8TH -- some damage
George Sherrill came in and left a pitch way too high in the zone to Nunez (who had quite a night in the first game of the series), who smashed the ball out to leftfield (KC 5-4).

BOTTOM 8TH -- some damage
George Sherrill was now on the hook for the loss, which he seemed destined for, given the Mariners' usual fate. Ibanez legged out an infield single, but Bucky bounced into a fielder's choice. Then Boone got a hold of a DJ Carrasco pitch and drove it out to give the Mariners the lead (SEA 6-5). Hell, even Spiezio got into the act, getting a low pitch he liked and driving it out to rightcenter (SEA 7-5). This was Scott's first RBI since July 20th (Boston) and his first homer since July 6th (at Toronto). I was out in the sticks of Oregon for those Spiezio milestones. But hey, this display of "clutch" tonight probably bought him the starting third baseman's job for next year.

TOP 9TH -- decent inning
George Sherrill was still the pitcher of record, but now was in line for the win. JJ Putz allowed only a one-out single, but then got a double-play ball to end it.

Nine homers tonight, six by the Mariners. On this day, Safeco Field was Coors Light. Does anyone want to bet on a 3-week homer drought for the Mariner offense? Also, the sixth through ninth hitters (Spiezio/Olivo/Lopez/Bocachica) were 6-for-15 tonight with five homers and five RBI.

Gameball: Scott Spiezio. 2-for-4 with a homer and an RBI. I can't remember the last time he got a gameball from this outlet. I just wanted the chance to say something good about this guy even though I know he muffed that double-play ball and a run scored on the play.

Goat: Bucky Jacobsen. 0-for-4 with one strikeout, stranding five. Luckily most people will be focused on the feats of the others in the lineup tonight. I've said on occasion that he's going to have nights like this, but we can probably just wait a couple days and then see him go nuts and bash a couple out of the ballyard and whatnot.

May. Nageotte. About twelve hours.
Serrano. Madritsch. After that.
[Edit ~12:44a -- If you saw the blank spaces for some Spiezio-related stuff, it's because I hadn't pulled up his game log before I went offline to type this post.]

[Edit 2:09p -- Yeah, the flipping of the Mariner starters flew right under my nose. I didn't realize it until I started listening to the first game.]

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