Saturday, September 11, 2004
You know, I was sitting there in front of the TV at the end of the game and thought, "the Mariners actually had a lead? Ha!" Oh, how fragile a 1-0 lead is when the Red Sox have their lineup along with Curt Schilling on the mound. It's also quite fragile when you have longball-friendly Ryan Franklin throwing to some big bats. But it didn't get truly crazy until after what turned out to be a big error.
Sonics coach Nate McMillan was in the TV booth for a couple innings; that I can deal with. What I can't deal with: what the hell was up with that idiotic text message trivia contest, and why the hell did we have to hear about it every freakin' half-inning? Also, big kudos to whoever made the voting graphic confusing as hell. Instead of voting for A, B, or C, it looked more like you had to enter "TXT" to vote for Ichiro, "A, B, or C" to vote for Harold Reynolds, and "86128" or whatever the hell the number was to vote for Julio Cruz. The worst part about it was that they tried to bait everyone into watching the pregame show on Sunday, which was when they'd reveal the answer. Of course, the mere concept of "hey, maybe I should jump onto the internet and get the answer" surely annihilates any of the logic in said trivia "contest."
Before I get to the recap here, I'll once again provide the Ichiro update...
Ichiro was 0-for-4 tonight, remaining at 229 hits for the year and lowering his average to a paltry .375.
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 (22 games remain), he would need to go 28-for-88 (.318).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 28-for-110 (.255).
As for breaking Sisler's record in 154 games (i.e., how many Sisler played in 1920) and avoiding the asterisk...
>> if he averaged four at-bats a game for the next 15 games, Ichiro would have to go 28-for-60 (.467)
>> if he averaged five at-bats a game, he would have to go 28-for-75 (.373)
Sisler played in all 154 games in the 1920 regular season, but the way I'm counting it would be during Ichiro's first 154 games played, because he had the one day off. If you want to just go with the hypothetical 154-game "season," then I guess you could subtract the four and five at-bats from the math and do it yourself. He'd have to hit .500 if he got four ABs/gm under the subtracting-one-game hypothesis. Anyway, I'm sticking with what I went with.
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
It wasn't the easiest 1-2-3 inning that Ryan Franklin has ever thrown, but the 15-pitch affair to the top third of the Red Sox lineup would suffice.
BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
Ichiro didn't lead off the game with a single, and since I already spoiled it for you, he didn't do anything tonight. Randy Winn got aboard thanks to a bad throw by Bill Mueller, but Edgar hit a grounder to a middle infielder. I don't have to tell you what happened, but I will tell you that the inning ended with that play.
TOP 2ND -- decent inning
Franklin gives up a leadoff walk to David Ortiz and manages to strand him via three fly balls, two of them to Winn (eek).
BOTTOM 2ND -- minimal damage
Raul Ibanez and Bret Boone led off the inning with consecutive doubles to put up a crooked number (SEA 1-0). Boone went to third on a Scott Spiezio groundout, but then Greg Dobbs whiffed. Seeing young Dobbs whiff inspired Dan Wilson, who whiffed in an attempt to feel young again.
TOP 3RD -- decent inning
A good ol' 18-pitch affair here for Franklin, though the only baserunner got aboard when Dave Roberts was nailed in the hand with one out.
BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Jose Lopez led off with a single and went to second on Ichiro's groundout. Then Winn and Edgar Martinez both whiffed against Schilling.
TOP 4TH -- some damage
Manny Ramirez golfed a ball out on the first pitch, a one-handed sendoff over the wall in left to tie the score (1-1). Ortiz walked and Jason Varitek singled, and both moved up 90 feet thanks to Kevin Millar hitting a ball back to Franklin and getting tagged out physically by Franklin. Then Orlando Cabrera hit a fly ball to the track in right to give the Red Sox the lead (BOS 2-1). Franklin allowed a walk to Mueller to make things all the more dicey before catching Roberts looking.
BOTTOM 4TH -- minimal damage
Boone swiped at a 3-1 pitch from Schilling and deposited it into the seats in rightfield (2-2). Nothing else of real note, though.
TOP 5TH -- 1-2-3
See Franklin's top of the 1st, except with 11 pitches this time.
BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
Schilling got three groundouts from Wilson, Lopez, and Ichiro in a 1-2-3 inning. Dobbs made a nice pick on a ball in the hole off the bat of Ramirez.
TOP 6TH -- terrible inning
It wasn't all Franklin's fault. But the first pitch of the inning was, though, a pitch that got way too much of the plate; Ortiz jumped all over it and the ball touched down in the rightfield stands in a hurry (BOS 3-2). One out later, Millar's grounder to Jose Lopez was blatantly muffed by the 20-year-old. Cabrera flew out to Winn on the first pitch.
Then things got way out of hand. Mueller singled, Roberts doubled (BOS 4-2), and Johnny Damon tripled into the corner in right (BOS 6-2), with Ichiro not playing the ball quite cleanly. Masao Kida came in for Franklin and gave up a single to Mark Bellhorn (BOS 7-2). Kida would yield a nine-pitch walk to Manny after getting ahead 0-2, but then would get a groundout from Ortiz.
With the Bellhorn single, the book was closed on Ryan Franklin. His line: 5 2/3 innings, 7 runs (3 earned thanks to Lopez), 6 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 101 pitches (64 strikes). The walks are unnerving as always (one of them scored), and the two homers are always unwanted (both solo shots tonight), though we know we'll get them from Franklin. The guy just can't win a game anymore, plain and simple. I don't think he'll win another game this year. Frankly, if I were him, I would just mail it in from here on out. If I wasn't a minor-league callup or if my name wasn't Ichiro and I was playing for the Mariners right now, I'd probably just mail it in. Okay, maybe I wouldn't, but man, it's bad enough watching/listening to/keeping track of six months of crappy baseball. Could you imagine living six months of crappy baseball?
BOTTOM 6TH -- ho, hum
Schilling exhibits complete mastery of the 2-3-4 hitters of the Mariner lineup.
TOP 7TH -- massacre
Varitek singled off Kida's first pitch, but was doubled off on a ground ball by Millar. Kida would leave the game after allowing a Cabrera single and consecutive walks to Mueller and Roberts.
And who better to bring in with the bases loaded and nobody out than Aaron Taylor? He fell behind 2-0 on Damon and gave up a single on the 3-1 pitch (BOS 8-2). He fell behind 3-0 on Bellhorn before walking him (BOS 9-2). I'd been sitting there watching the game in the living room with my dad, and I'd mentioned something about a grand slam, knowing that Manny and Ortiz were eventually coming up. The third pitch to Manny was some sort of hanging off-speed pitch that got too much of the plate, and Ramirez sent that thing into orbit (BOS 13-2). Shortly after lowering its heat shields after reentry into the earth's atmosphere, the ball landed a few rows back of the KOMO 1000 News sign in the leftfield bleachers (second deck). Taylor somehow got Ortiz to whiff and end the inning.
It's a total pet peeve and/or idiosyncracy of mine, but I've been trained by the Kingdome, I guess, and when a ball is hit into the second deck in leftfield (bleacher seats that went for $7 a pop in 2000), I can't bring myself to call it the upper deck. The upper deck in rightfield, the one that Luis Gonzalez reached in the Home Run Derby three years ago, that's an upper deck. For me, if it's not the third deck, I can't call it the upper deck.
I just thought of something -- since I don't want to call the second deck in leftfield the "upper deck," maybe we could keep with the whole Mariner theme and call it (drum roll)...the poop deck? It'd be like the Rock Pile in Colorado, except they wouldn't be the cheapest seats in the place and it'd be much less cool.
BOTTOM 7TH -- ho, hum
Mickey Lopez got his first Major League at-bat and bounced out to first. Other than that, nothing was of note.
TOP 8TH -- 1-2-3
Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched in a situation tailored perfectly for Shiggy v2004. With all three Red Sox hitters in the pinch, Trot Nixon whiffed, Doug Mientkiewicz bounced out to Mickey Lopez, and Ricky Gutierrez (he's still in baseball?!) flew out to Winn.
BOTTOM 8TH -- ho, hum
Wilson singled on the first pitch from Curtis Leskanic. He would be out on an Ichiro fielder's choice. The only other thing of note in theinning was Jeremy Reed's first Major League hit, a fister into the hole on the left side.
TOP 9TH -- 1-2-3
JJ Putz mowed down Kevin Youkilis, Doug Mirabelli, and Gabe Kapler in a completely meaningless appearance. Gotta see how Bob Melvin's closer of the future that he will never have will perform when down by 11 runs.
BOTTOM 9TH -- ho, hum
Scott Williamson was able to catch Willie Bloomquist looking for today's Obligatory Willie Bloomquist Strikeout, brought to you by today's fake sponsor, the Westside Burrito Connection in beautiful downtown Bremerton. The place is real, the sponsorship is not. I order the taco salad every time.
There would be a Spiezio walk sandwiched inbetween groundouts by the newbies Mickey Lopez and Dobbs to end the game.
You know, if Orlando and Jolbert Cabrera are in the game with Jose and Mickey Lopez all at the same time, I might fly off the handle because I try to mention full names once and then use surnames for the rest of the recap; keeps it a bit less cumbersome. Of course, if this Cabrera/Lopez thing happens, someone might have to consult the record books or something. Two Lopezes and two Cabreras in the same game? I'm sure this has probably happened before. I can't remember if the Mets had both Bobby Joneses at the same time, but if they faced the Braves (Andruw, Larry Wayne), it'd be a Jonesfest. I'm rambling now. Stop it, David.
Gameball: Bret Boone. 2-for-2 with a double and a solo shot. I can't really see anyone else to give it to on such a crappy night, and Boone drove in all the Mariner runs.
Goat: Ryan Franklin. I've already posted his line above. He definitely let Jose Lopez' error get to him, or he just missed his spots and gave Dave Roberts and Johnny Damon some juicy pitches to hit. Looking at the schedule real quick, this guy is probably due for four more starts the rest of the season, unless Melvin really messes with it, but he won't due to his "our 'best team' should face their best teams" philosophy. If he blows all four starts, Ryan Franklin could finish 3-19, people!!
Arroyo. Moyer. Seventeen hours.
[Edit ~1:31p -- Forgot to commend Dobbs on a nice stab in the 5th off Ramirez.]