Wednesday, September 15, 2004


It was just another day at the office for Bobby Madritsch. Since being inserted into the starting rotation, Madritsch has been the most consistent pitcher on the starting staff, and arguably is the most consistent starting pitcher the Mariners have had all year. Tonight, Madritsch pitched into the 9th. I'm beginning to get a little edgy whenever Bob Melvin leaves him out there past about 115 pitches, but let's just hope he's got a durable arm. They might need it to eat up about 220 innings or so next year, so let's keep the arm healthy.

So what were the stories to this game? Basically, there was Ichiro, Madritsch, and a rare pinch-hit homer off the bat of a Mariner. I can't say I was expecting the latter of the three to occur.

Before I go any further, the Ichiro update.

Ichiro was 1-for-4 tonight, putting him at 232 hits on the season, 25 shy of George Sisler's 84-year-old record. I know we're all more than amazed by Ichiro at this point, but I'm going to say right now that I don't think he's going to break it in 154 games or 162 games. By the way, I've been erroneously using the word "break" when I've been posting these numbers, instead listing how he'd have to do to tie the record, while still using the word "break." Sorry to all that have been misled. The old posts will be rectified to reflect this. The record is 257, and Ichiro would need 258 hits to break the record.

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record before the end of the season...
>> if he averaged four at-bats per game the rest of the way (18 games remain), he would need to go 26-for-72 (.361).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 26-for-90 (.289).

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record in 154 games and avoid the asterisk...
>> if he averaged four at-bats for the next 11 games, he would need to go 26-for-44 (.591).
>> if he averaged five at-bats a game, he would need to go 26-for-55 (.473).

Now, the recap.

To decode 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 -- 1-2-3
Hey, that's a good start! Madritsch gets David Eckstein and Darin Erstad to whiff, and gets Vlad Guerrero to fly out to Ichiro.

BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
Jolbert Cabrera doubled to shallow center according to the game log I'm reading (to me, that means there was miscommunication on a 'tweener fly ball that went untouched). But the Mariners wouldn't reap the rewards of that, since Cabrera would be caught napping on the basepaths; Bengie Molina took out the trash. Edgar Martinez then lined out to Jose Guillen in left.

TOP 2ND -- decent inning
Madritsch weathers a Troy Glaus leadoff walk and gets Garret Anderson to pop out to Willie Bloomquist at first (why, God, why?), Guillen to fly out to Ichiro, and Molina to whiff.

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Raul Ibanez legged out a one-out infield single and even Hiram Bocachica managed to get a single off Jarrod Washburn. With two on and one out, Dan Wilson hit a grounder to the shortstop.

TOP 3RD -- fighting out of jam
Not much of a jam, but still a jam. Madritsch walked Chone Figgins on four pitches to lead off the inning. Figgins was bunted over to second by Adam Kennedy. Luckily, Madritsch was able to induce groundouts from Eckstein and Erstad.

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Bloomquist managed to single off Washburn (you know, that whole "Bloomquist owns Washburn" semi-myth) in an otherwise meaningless inning.

TOP 4TH -- decent inning
Glaus hit a one-out single and Guillen hit a two-out single, but Madritsch got Vlad to fly out to lead off the inning, and got Garret and Molina to whiff.

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Edgar whiffs, Bret Boone grounds out to Eckstein, and Ibanez whiffs. Washburn is not chop liver, lest we forget.

TOP 5TH -- 1-2-3
Figgins grounds out to Boone, Kennedy pops out to Lopez, and Eckstein is caught looking. Madritsch might be grooving at this point.

BOTTOM 5TH -- minimal damage
This inning could have meant a lot more. Bocachica coaxed a walk, but was hung up between first and second after Dan Wilson whiffed on what apparently was a hit-and-run or at the very least a swing-to-make-contact-and-protect-the-runner kind of operation. But with two out, things started happening. Lopez and Bloomquist both walked, and Ichiro got hit number 232, a one-hopper that went over the wall in rightcenter for a double (SEA 1-0). Jolbert Cabrera bounced out to end the threat.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Erstad flew out to Winn, Vlad popped out to Bloomquist on the first pitch, and Glaus whiffed. Hooray, Bobby! (By the way, I hope Red Stripe didn't get wiped out by Hurricane Ivan, if only for those commercials)

BOTTOM 6TH -- ho, hum
Washburn countered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Edgar was caught looking, Boone flew out to Vlad, and Ibanez popped out to Figgins.

TOP 7TH -- decent inning
Garret singled to lead off, but was doubled off on a 4-3 double-play ball off Guillen's bat. Molina lied out to Ichiro to end the inning.

BOTTOM 7TH -- some damage
Bocachica doubled to lead off and was bunted over to third by Wilson. One out later, Washburn was pulled and Brendan Donnelly came in. In the no-brainer move of the night, Randy Winn was brought in to pinch-hit for Bloomquist. Winn mashed a 1-0 pitch into the lawn beyond the centerfield wall (SEA 3-0) and had half as many homers in one at-bat as Willie Bloomquist has in his entire career. Ichiro bounced out to the first baseman to end the inning.

TOP 8TH -- decent inning
Eckstein was the only baserunner in the inning, and he got aboard via the infield single.

BOTTOM 8TH -- ho, hum
Kevin Gregg comes in and gets Cabrera to fly out, and Edgar and Boone to whiff. Ick.

TOP 9TH -- some damage
Bob Melvin left Madritsch in to try to get the complete game, this despite Madritsch having thrown 116 pitches (there's that forsaken number again) through eight innings. Two pitches later, Vlad singled into centerfield. Two pitches after that, Glaus lined out to Winn. Vlad stole second on the first pitch to Garret, and he scored on the second pitch because Garret singled (SEA 3-1). Madritsch was pulled. I'll give his line later. JJ Putz came in and made it interesting. He got Guillen to whiff, but surrendered a single to Molina and Figgins beat out a grounder in the infield (SEA 3-2). Luckily, Jeff DaVanon came through in the pinch and lined out to Ichiro to end the ballgame.

Well, the Mariners won't be getting swept in this four-game series. In the process, though, they've made things a little more dicey for the Angels in their quest to take the division title from Oakland, since there's no way they're getting the Wild Card.

Gameball: Bobby Madritsch. 8 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 122 pitches (83 strikes). I wouldn't have run him out there for the 9th and he would have had his eight shutout innings. I probably would have pulled him even before that. I think Melvin is trying to work Madritsch and Gil Meche up to where they'll be throwing 160 pitches a game by their final starts of the season.

Goat: Bret Boone. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. At least the Mariners have that Gold Glove defense back there. By the way, there's probably no way in hell he's winning the Gold Glove this year. If I remember right, there were actually debates in 2002 because Jeff Cirillo (though a crappy hitter) was the best defensive third baseman in the AL, but Eric Chavez won the Gold Glove that year with 17 errors (Cirillo had 9). Anyway, Boone's hitting .249 right now, the same digits you'll find at the end of the 2002 line on recent Jeff Cirillo baseball cards.

Lackey. Franklin. Twelve hours.

By the way, this post was ready before midnight last night, but you can thank the technology gods for not letting it see the light of day until now.

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