Monday, September 06, 2004


I'd like to extend a big "thank you" to CC Sabathia, because combined with tomorrow, writing this recap will be like having two days off from Mariner recaps instead of one.

What was the story of the game tonight? There were three, really. Sabathia, Ichiro, and homers. The only way in which they were related was that Ichiro got two hits off Sabathia, but other than that, neither of the players gave up or hit a homer.

Another thing about the game was that thanks to Sabathia's mastery of the Mariner bats (Willie Bloomquist started at first, for God's sake), this game just zipped along and I think it was over before 9:30.

Spectrologically speaking...

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
Gil Meche gets Coco Crisp to bounce out to Jose Lopez, Omar Vizquel to fly out to Ichiro, and Matt Lawton (he's hitting three-hole for this team?!) to fly out to Raul Ibanez. However, Meche did go to three balls on the final two hitters, and with the amount of pitches Meche threw the last time out, it was something to watch.

BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
I think that FSNNW showed a graphic that said Ichiro has 44 hits to lead off the game for the Mariner hitters. He didn't do it this time. Randy Winn also was victim to an absolutely crazy backhanded diving catch by Crisp in leftcenter on a ball that I thought was going to drop for a double. Edgar Martinez whiffed.

TOP 2ND -- some damage
Meche actually whiffed the side in this inning. The problem? That one homer by Travis Hafner that ended up a few rows back of the FSNNW sign in right (CLE 1-0), and the Casey Blake homer that reached somewhere close to the not-so-temporary seats in centerfield (CLE 2-0), where a lot of fans were dressed as green seats. Imagine that, Howard Lincoln.

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Ibanez, Bret Boone, and Jolbert Cabrera get mowed down by Sabathia on only eight pitches combined.

TOP 3RD -- some damage
Meche got tired of giving up the solo shots, so he allowed a dinker single to Jody Gerut before giving Vizquel a fastball to turn on and drive over the rightfield wall (CLE 4-0).

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
With two outs, Crisp almost made another crazy play when he nearly charged in from centerfield and snowconed a broekn-bat dying quail (thanks, Niehaus) off the bat of Willie Bloomquist. No dice, and Willie stood on second. Ichiro then gave everyone something to cheer about, poking a single through the hole on the left side, but not placed well enough to score Bloomquist. No one cared at that point, because the game was lost and Sabathia was about to start dealin'. Winn killed the rally with a grounder to the shortstop.

TOP 4TH -- 1-2-3
Hafner was caught looking, Blake bounced out to Lopez, and Ben Broussard popped out to Cabrera. This inning could have been longer if Blake didn't ground out on a 3-0 pitch.

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Edgar reaches the wall in rightfield, but that's a single for him, and everyone knows it. Ibanez bounces into a double play, and Boone whiffs.

TOP 5TH -- 1-2-3
Meche gets Ron Belliard to whiff, Jody Gerut to bounce out to him, and Crisp to line out to Ibanez.

BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
It was another eight-pitch inning for Sabathia. Flyout, whiff, and flyout from Cabrera, Miguel Olivo, and Lopez.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Meche had two full counts in the inning, but got through Vizquel, Lawton, and Victor Martinez in order.

BOTTOM 6TH -- ho, hum
Groundouts. Bloomquist, Ichiro, and Winn.

TOP 7TH -- 1-2-3
This was Meche's final inning. Hafner whiffed, Blake flew out, and Broussard bounced out to Boone. For all the crap that I may have given him in this recap, Meche retired 14 straight Cleveland hitters to end his outing. Other than the three homers, he was actually pretty impressive: 7 innings, 4 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts, (here comes that damn number again) 116 pitches (73 strikes).

Can somebody tell Gil Meche that the whole "chicks dig the long ball" thing was directed toward the hitters instead of the pitchers? Other than long balls this was quite an outing from Meche, striking out eight (pretty high for any Mariner starter in the post-Johnson/post-Garcia-trying-to-strike-everyone-out-and-throwing-115-pitches-in-six-innings era), but most importantly, walking zero.

BOTTOM 7TH -- ho, hum
Edgar hits a leadoff single again, but is out on a fielder's choice instead of a double-play ball; this was a weird play which I wish I had the radio turned on for, because it was like the perfect storm for Ron Fairly. He always wonders why infielders don't let a weak fly ball drop and try to get a double play out of it, and that was exactly what Belliard tried to pull in that situation. Unfortunately for him, Ibanez was busting it down the line, and only Edgar was out. The net result was Ibanez on first with one out rather than what could have been Edgar on first with one out, had Belliard caught it on the fly. Anyway, it was Ibanez' turn to be out on a double-play ball, and it was Boone's GIDP that would facilitate this.

TOP 8TH -- 1-2-3
Masao Kida kept the string of retired Indians going, extending it to 17. Belliard, Gerut, and Crisp were no match for the oldbie-but-newbie.

BOTTOM 8TH -- ho, hum
Cabrera and Olivo whiffed, and Lopez bounced out to Blake at third.

TOP 9TH -- some damage
George Sherrill came in for the Mariners and extended the streak to 18 straight retired by Mariner pitching. That ended when he gave Lawton a juicy pitch to mash to rightfield for a solo shot (CLE 5-0). Sherrill would walk Martinez before Hafner lined out to left, Martinez scooted to second on passed ball number 13 for Olivo this year, and Blake was caught looking on a pretty dirty off-speed pitch from Putz. Bob Melvin made the dumb move once again of yanking Sherrill with two out left in the 9th so that Putz could come in and get one measly out. I hate it when he does this. It's not going to kill Sherrill to face a righty down 5-0 when he only needs one out.

BOTTOM 9TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro hit a one-out single and is now at 226 hits, 31 shy of the record. One out later, Edgar walked, but Ibanez flew out to end the game.

If I could give a gameball to CC Sabathia, I would.

I'd be ticked if I played for Cleveland right now, based solely on logistics. They played the Sunday Night game at home in Cleveland, then had to fly to Seattle for tonight's game. Then the scheduling geniuses made tomorrow an off-day, and made the next game be on Wednesday, and it's only a two-game freakin' series!! I know this is all about $$$ and everything (Labor Day game probably sells more than regular Tuesday night game), but still, it's weak sauce.

You know, I hate being the wet blanket and everything, but George Sisler got his 257 hits in a 154-game season. So, in order to avoid getting Maris'd, Ichiro would have to break the record (get 32 hits) in 17 games rather than 25 -- hypothetically, give him four at-bats per game, and he'd have to go 32-for-68, which is a .471 clip. Otherwise, it may go down in the record books as Ichiro 257*. Don't say I didn't warn anybody.

And if you got the Queens of the Stone Age reference in the post title, give yourself a pat on the back.

Gameball: Edgar Martinez. 2-for-3 with a walk, giving the fans some smiles on his way into the sunset.

Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-4, stranding four. I still find it almost pleasantly surprising that his average sits at .277, however.

Lee. Baek. Wednesday.

[Edit ~11:46 -- I threw in the part about Sherrill getting yanked with two out in the 9th.]

[Edit Tue ~12:01a -- Correction: Ichiro has played in 136 games (one day off), and therefore would need to get the 32 hits in 18 games, not 17 like I originally said, to break George Sisler's record in the same amount of games (154). This would adjust the clip to 32-for-72, or .444.]

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