Thursday, September 30, 2004
I think it's Bob Melvin's modus operandi to put JJ Putz into the 9th inning of any game that doesn't involve Bobby Madritsch. Madritsch threw a complete-game three-hitter tonight, sure, but 133 pitches is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Once again, I read this as another subtle cry from Bob Melvin, saying "pleeease fire me after the season." I guess what's unnerving is that I think I heard Tim Kurkjian on KJR allude to the possibility of Melvin returning if there aren't any big names out there in the offseason. Kurkjian even said that Melvin deserved another chance, but to that I say one thing -- granted, the team's changed a lot since spring training, but Melvin said he was going to put more of a stamp on this team this year, and look where it's gotten them. Furthermore, Melvin was brought in to manage a veteran ballclub, and some think Melvin should be axed because the job description has changed -- he's dealing with younger players now, and would have to do so next year also, if brought back. In short, I have to say Bob Melvin isn't the only problem, but I don't see him as part of the solution, either.
Oh, the game. Two hours and forty minutes of decent baseball watching. Jeremy Reed is good, and his September is nuts, except Reed has way more upside than Willie Bloomquist did when he had his anomalous September a few years ago.
Ichiro went 1-for-3 tonight (he also whiffed, grounded out, walked, and was beaned in the back) to bring his 2004 hit total to 255.
So to cap it off, in similar format to how I was presenting it before...
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 (4 games remain), he would need to go 3-for-16 (.188).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 3-for-20 (.150).
There's not many more spectrums remaining in the season...
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
Rich Harden had some trouble keeping the ball down in the early going, including throwing a pitch to the backstop with Ichiro at the plate. Ichiro walked, and Randy Winn bounced a ball right to Marco Scutaro at second for the easy double play. Bret Boone chimed in and gave Scutaro another ball to scoop up.
BOTTOM 1ST -- fighting out of jam
Madritsch didn't have the best first inning to start. It was reminiscent of Joel Pineiro, actually, one of those first innings where he throws a bunch of pitches and manages somehow to not give up a run (that's not to say that Pineiro always came away unscathed). Madritsch walked Mark Kotsay to lead off, and walked Eric Chavez one out later. Jermaine Dye bounced out to Boone to move the runners into scoring position, but Madritsch got Erubiel Durazo to chase a high pitch out of the strike zone for a popout to Greg Dobbs at third to end the inning.
TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Reed hit a two-out single into centerfield and was caught leaning off of first a little too far with Dan Wilson at the plate.
BOTTOM 2ND -- 1-2-3
Scott Hatteberg, Scutaro, and Bobby Crosby were retired in a fairly quick inning for Madritsch.
TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
It's another two-out single for the Mariners, this time by Jose Lopez. Lopez wasn't picked off like Reed in the inning before, however. Like the Mariner 2nd, there were no other baserunners in the inning.
BOTTOM 3RD -- some damage
Madritsch faltered with two out. Eric Byrnes doubled into leftfield, and Chavez singled him in to put up the first crooked number of the ballgame (OAK 1-0).
TOP 4TH -- minimal damage
Harden followed suit by allowing some two-out damage. Raul Ibanez doubled and came home on Jolbert Cabrera's single to tie the game (1-1). Cabrera stood on second after the unsuccessful throw home. Reed was put aboard, and Harden got a grounder to short out of Wilson.
BOTTOM 4TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch got through Durazo (8-pitch at-bat), Hatteberg, and Scutaro.
TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro (hit number 255) and Winn singled with two out. The two hits were flanked by Harden striking out the side, all via the whiff.
BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch got through Crosby, Adam Melhuse, and Kotsay (whiff).
TOP 6TH -- ho, hum
Harden followed with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, needing seven pitches to get past Ibanez, Cabrera, and Reed.
BOTTOM 6TH -- some damage
Byrnes doubled to lead off, putting the go-ahead run into scoring position right away. Chavez bounced out to Cabrera at first, but Byrnes moved to third on the play. Dye was put aboard to put the inning-ending double play in order. Durazo flew out to Ibanez on the first pitch, and it looked as if Madritsch might escape the inning unscathed. Madritsch walked Hatteberg to load the bases, but all he needed was one out. A ground ball to Lopez at short seemed to be the inning-ender. But Jose didn't glove it right, and bobbled the ball, allowing Byrnes to score (OAK 2-1). Lopez fielded his next grounder cleanly off Crosby's bat to end the inning.
TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Harden nets his second straight 1-2-3 inning, predictably setting down Wilson, Dobbs, and Lopez.
BOTTOM 7TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch follows suit, putting the costly Lopez error behind him and putting away Melhuse, Kotsay, and Byrnes.
TOP 8TH -- some damage
Ichiro started off the inning with a groundout, but it took 13 pitches (eight fouls) from Harden to force that outcome. But then Winn legged out an infield single and Boone doubled off the face of the wall in the gap, too hard to score Winn, however. Harden was pulled at this point, with both the tying and go-ahead runs on base being his. Ricardo Rincon was brought in to go lefty/lefty against Ibanez. This worked, as Ibanez whiffed. Former Mariner farmhand and screwballer Jim Mecir was brought in. Cabrera singled on the second pitch and drove in both runners to put the Mariners in the lead and put Harden on the hook (SEA 3-2). Reed then singled into centerfield, and Kotsay came up trying to nail Cabrera at third. The throw sailed into foul ground, of which there is a lot in Oakland, as Cabrera easily scored (SEA 4-2). Wilson flew out to center to end the inning for good measure.
BOTTOM 8TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch had thrown 106 pitches through seven innings, but we know Melvin, and his habit is generally to leave Madritsch in for at least 120 pitches (yikes!). Madritsch picked a good time to have a 1-2-3 inning though, fresh off his team getting the lead back, and against the meat of the A's lineup (Chavez whiff, Dye, Durazo).
TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Three groundouts for Justin Duchscherer, along with nailing Ichiro in the back with two out, firing up Madritsch in the process.
BOTTOM 9TH -- 1-2-3
Madritsch had thrown 120 pitches through eight innings. Still, Melvin rode the hot hand (or arm) and it worked. Hatteberg, Scutaro, and Crosby (looking) were no match for Madritsch.
Madritsch retired ten straight to end the game. He didn't allow a hit to his final 15 batters, with the Byrnes leadoff double in the 6th being Oakland's final hit of the game. The tatt man's got himself a spot in next year's rotation, one would think. The only ways in which I can't see that happening are through total organizational incompetence (always possible with this group) or the acquisition of multiple top-tier free-agent starting pitchers (not happening). Way to go, Bobby!
Madritsch's line: 9 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 hits, 4 walks (eek?!), 4 strikeouts, 133 pitches.
Bob Melvin is out of his mind.
Also, at least the Mariners didn't have a 3-year $9M contract with Charles Gipson when they were using him as a late-inning defensive replacement. Raise your hand if you're enjoying the Scott Spiezio Era in Seattle. "I can't read this guy!"
Gameball: Jolbert Cabrera. 2-for-4, with 3 RBI (all with two out). I don't give a lot of gamers to the Joly One, but he drove in all three of the runs tonight, and that's got to account for something.
Goat: Dan Wilson. 0-for-4, stranding four. Once again, Dan gets everything in front of the ball except for his bat.
Well, unless Ichiro gets three hits tomorrow, the home fans should be in for some history when Ichiro comes back to Seattle. Also, it's Edgar's farewell, and Edgar Martinez Day is on Saturday. I don't know if number 11 will be hanging from the rafters after the game, but if 11, 19, and 21 aren't hanging from the rafters after next year, something's wrong. Add 24 and 51 later as necessary. No, that 51 isn't Ichiro; 51 only belongs to one Mariner for me, and he's tall.
Looks like I'll be at work for the nine-inning lunch...I'll see if I can hijack the radio.
Franklin. Redman. Ten and a half hours.