Saturday, September 04, 2004


The story of the game can be picked out in that "word." Ichiro and Paul Konerko did some good things, and Ryan Franklin did some bad things, most notably allowing Konerko to do some of the aforementioned "good things." Ichiro, however, is beyond stupefying at this point. I wrote this guy off for chasing .400, and I'll continue to do so, hoping that it elicits some sort of telepathic reverse-psychology kind of thing where Ichiro makes every one of my predictions go to crap.

In spectralific terms...

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 -- ho, hum
Ichiro leads off the game with a single, one of many hits he would have on the day. Randy Winn would hit a ball to short, resulting in ye olde 6-4-3 double play. Edgar hit a ball to short.

BOTTOM 1ST -- some damage
Ryan Franklin didn't wait long in this game to embrace the long ball. Of course, he waited just long enough to get two guys (Willie Harris, Aaron Rowand) out first. Then there was the hanging slider to Carlos Lee that left the yard in the power alley (CHW 1-0). And who can forget the knee-high fastball that Paul Konerko bashed to centerfield (CHW 2-0)? Jose Valentin came to the plate, and Franklin got ahead 0-2. Franklin would walk Valentin. Nine pitches later. Not even the walks came easy today for Franklin, and Valentin's 11-pitch at-bat wasn't helping Franklin out. Franklin did help himself out when he picked off Valentin at first, raising Franklin's pickoff rate to 0.0000000000000001% (seriously, how many times does he throw to first?).

TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
The only hit was from Raul Ibanez, who tried to stretch his single into a double and was nailed doing so.

BOTTOM 2ND -- some damage
Even Timo Perez was hitting leadoff doubles. Franklin got a little greedy, and his pickoff throw ended up in centerfield. Not surprisingly, I'm guessing Chicago's third base coach was waving Perez around all the way on the play. I wish I could have seen this play on which Winn was charged with an error and Perez scored (CHW 3-0). Juan Uribe would take Perez's spot on the basepaths by hitting a double of his own. Two batters and one out later, Franklin walked Joe Borchard. Onw out later, Rowand hit a single to score Uribe (CHW 4-0). Franklin would allow another walk (Lee) before mercifully ending the inning.

TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
Jose Lopez draws a one-out walk and is doubled off on Willie Bloomquist's obligatory GIDP.

BOTTOM 3RD -- some damage
Timo Perez homered (CHW 5-0) and Ben Davis singled in the same inning. Enough said.

TOP 4TH -- minimal damage
Ichiro led off with a single (again) and ended up on third after a Winn groundout and a single by Edgar Martinez. Bret Boone hit a deep flyout to right, and Ichiro scored (CHW 5-1). Ibanez flew out to end the inning.

BOTTOM 4TH -- some damage
Harris led off with a single. One out later, with Carlos Lee at the plate, Harris would raise some hell with the Mariner battery, stealing second, and getting Miguel Olivo to make a bad throw. Lee would fly out to short, but the next hitter was Konerko, and he homered the opposite way (CHW 7-1). Franklin's day was done.

A pathetic day for Franklin. His line: 3 2/3 innings, 7 runs, 9 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 86 pitches (56 strikes). Only one of the walks came around to score...but the dude gave up four bombs in 3 2/3 innings!!! Crazy!! Good God, y'all!

Matt Thornton came in and got Valentin to whiff.

TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Bucky bounced out to short, and Olivo and Lopez whiffed. Behold the power of Mark Buehrle, ladies and gentlemen.

BOTTOM 5TH -- decent inning
Perez hit a leadoff single, then laid out the beach towel as three flyouts followed.

TOP 6TH -- minimal damage
Ichiro hit a one-out single and stood on second after a Winn groundout. Edgar drove him in with a single (CHW 7-2). Edgar stole second, which I would have liked to see, and Boone walked. Ibanez got aboard with an infield single to load the bases. But bases loaded with two out isn't a situation in which I expect the Mariners to get anything done, and they didn't, as Bucky bounced out to seocnd.

BOTTOM 6TH -- some damage
Even Willie Harris was hitting leadoff homers (CHW 8-2). Some of you may remember the following hilarious antidote. A couple years ago, Harris was the very highly-touted second base prospect for the White Sox, and was starting at second base. Then the Sox found themselves in a playoff race, and they traded for Roberto Alomar. Why was it hilarious? Willie Harris had number 12 on himself in tattoo form, and he wasn't going to wear 12 on any club with Alomar. Harris ended up wearing 13 after that. He wears 1 this year because Ozzie Guillen wears 13.

Enough of that, though. Rowand singled after that, and one out later, Konerko singled. Thornton would escape unscathed.

TOP 7TH -- minimal damage
Bloomquist hit a two-out double to leftcenter and Ichiro singled him in (CHW 8-3). Not much else.

BOTTOM 7TH -- decent inning
Uribe led off with a double, but the following hitters went away 1-2-3. Matt Thornton made it through 3 1/3 innings without walking anybody. Amazing.

TOP 8TH -- minimal damage
Edgar singled to lead off. With one out, Ibanez lined a ball that Uribe snared. Uribe then tried to double off Edgar at first, but threw wild, and Edgar trudged over to third. Bucky singled Edgar home (CHW 8-4). Olivo bounced to short to end the inning.

BOTTOM 8TH -- fighting out of jam
Ron Villone came in to pitch and was immediately greeted on the first pitch by Bloomquist getting caught on an inbetween hop. Villone got Lee to fly out, but then walked Konerko on four pitches. Pinch-runner Ross Gload watched as Valentin (flyout to Boone) and Perez (grounder to Lopez) squandered the opportunity.

TOP 9TH -- some damage
The newly-recalled Jeffrey Bajenaru made his Major League debut for the Sox. The first hit he gave up with the big club was a single by Bloomquist. Not a good sign. More sympathy is expressed for the single he gave up to the next hitter, Ichiro, his 5th hit of the day (5-for-5). Winn then singled to score Bloomquist (CHW 8-5). With the game now a save situation, Guillen summoned Shingo Takatsu.

My Takatsu memory is from when I was at field camp. I was listening on the radio in my tent, with the station fading in and out depending whether a vehicle was going by on the road. Anyway, it was clear enough for me to hear Bret Boone get ahead 3-0 on Takatsu and then strike out.

Edgar had the count 0-2 and watched two of those super-slow curveballs before whiffing. Winn scampered to second (indifference) but Boone walked anyway. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Ibanez singled to rightfield, and Ichiro and Winn scored (CHW 8-7). On the same play, Boone is gunned down trying to go to third. Ballgame.

Why does Boone, representing the tying run at that point, want to take third when there's two out and he'd score from second on a base hit anyway if he broke for the plate on contact? Hell if I know.

Who likes false hope comebacks?

Of course, I could blame this on Boone, or I could blame it on that insane Dave Myers, though that depends on whether Myers sent him on the play (I didn't see the play, sadly).

Let's make it a sweep tomorrow, boys! Win five, lose five? Sounds good to me.

And congratulations to whoever won the $1800 in groceries via Ichiro.

And thanks to Softy and his KJR promotional minions (I didn't get their names) who were at the CarToys in Silverdale today and let me walk away with a bunch of promotional crap. Now I have a new conversation piece which will include "no, I didn't go to Millen's Flag Football Challenge, I just got this shirt free at a promotional thing." I forgot to commend Softy on the one time he did a hybrid Piniella/Yoda voice. It was simply mind-bending.

Gameball: Ichiro. 5-for-5 with an RBI, scoring thrice. I usually try to give the gameball to someone non-Ichiro every night just to keep it fresh because he shows up every night. But when he goes 5-for-5, he automatically gets the gameball. That goes for pretty much anybody, because I even used that rule with Ibanez.

Goat: Ryan Franklin. I already posted his line above. He laid an absolute egg today, plain and simple. If it weren't September, I'd be a little more worried about bullpen overuse and the fact that the next off day is Tuesday instead of Monday. But alas, it's September.

Moyer. Diaz. Tomorrow.

[Edit Sun ~12:44p -- I saw replay of the final play on Boone. I guess he beat the throw, but the momentum of his slide tookhis left hand off the bag on the headfirst slide. Boone broke for third when he didn't need to, and Ibanez hit the ball a little too hard for Boone to get the extra base. As a result, Perez in rightfield gave Boone a round of Timotherapy.]

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