Thursday, September 16, 2004


Just a few days departed from his grandmother's funeral in Oklahoma, Ryan Franklin had his best performance of the year in the form of a 2-hit complete-game shutout. Franklin has had a horrible year, no doubt about it. He's had a share of bad outings. He's had a share of decent outings where the offense didn't score enough runs for him. In that context, it was only fitting that he had to pitch a shutout (and nothing less, considering how his run support turned out) to end his 96-day winning drought (June 5th).

It wasn't an easy win, as most of the game centered around the pitching duel involving Franklin and John Lackey of the Angels, who struck out a career-high 10 Mariners on the night.

But before I go any longer, the Ichiro update.

Ichiro was 1-for-4 tonight, putting him at 233 hits on the season, 24 shy of George Sisler's 84-year-old record and 25 shy of setting his own 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 (17 games remain), he would need to go 25-for-68 (.368).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 25-for-85 (.294).

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record in 154 games and avoid the asterisk...
>> if he averaged four at-bats for the next 10 games, he would need to go 25-for-40 (.568).
>> if he averaged five at-bats a game, he would need to go 25-for-50 (.500).

I'll warn you, there wasn't much offense in the game. At all. This was largely in part to the pitchers taking the alter-egos of John Lackey circa late 2002 and Ryan Franklin circa 2003.

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 -- decent inning
Darin Erstad was the only baserunner, getting aboard with a one-out walk.

BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
Randy Winn singled and stole second on the pitch that caught Edgar Martinez looking. Ichiro whiffed to lead off as Lackey got two Ks in the inning.

TOP 2ND -- decent inning
Only Adam Kennedy reached base, via a two-out single.

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Bret Boone bounced out to Kennedy, then Jolbert (I almost typed Miguel Cabrera for a second; that's wishful thinking) Cabrera and Miguel Olivo whiffed. Two more Ks for Lackey.

TOP 3RD -- fighting out of jam
Not much of a jam, but a runner did reach third base. Darin Erstad hit a triple to centerfield with two out, but stayed there. This is one of the plays I didn't see, so I'm wondering whether Jeremy Reed had an adventure in centerfield with the ball or not.

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Reed singled to lead off, but was erased on Ichiro's fielder's choice one out later. Randy Winn singled Ichiro over, but Edgar clocked in with a fielder's choice of his own.

TOP 4TH -- 1-2-3
Franklin was about to get into a groove. As a testament to his true flyball proclivity, Franklin got Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, and Jose Guillen to all fly out.

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Boone drew a one-out walk on four pitches, but Cabrera and Olivo repeated their second-inning performances by whiffing.

TOP 5TH -- 1-2-3
Franklin got Kennedy to pop out to Boone, and got Bengie Molina and Chone Figgins to whiff.

BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
Lackey started trading 1-2-3 innings with Franklin, getting Reed (popout to David Eckstein at short), Lopez (popout to Figgins at third), and Ichiro (whiff) in order.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Eckstein tried to bunt his way aboard but it didn't work. Erstad whiffed. Vlad Guerrero flew out to Reed in centerfield.

BOTTOM 6TH -- ho, hum
Another 1-2-3 inning for Lackey. Winn bounced out to Lopez, Edgar flew out to Garret in centerfield, and Raul Ibanez was caught looking.

TOP 7TH -- 1-2-3
Six pitches got Franklin through this inning. Anderson flew out, then Glaus and Guillen bounced out. The same three hitters werent away 1-2-3 in the 4th.

BOTTOM 7TH -- ho, hum
Boone's leadoff walk would snap the streak of eight straight Mariners in a row retired by Lackey. The last Mariner that had reached based ironically enough was Boone himself, in the 4th, on a walk (much like this time). Cabrera and Olivo whiffed in tandem for the third time (amazing!). Reed bounced out to Kennedy to end the inning. Lackey had not allowed a hit to the last 15 Mariner hitters.

TOP 8TH -- 1-2-3
Kennedy flew out to Winn, Molina bounced out to Cabrera, and Figgins flew out to Lopez. Franklin had set down 16 straight Angel hitters.

BOTTOM 8TH -- minimal damage
With one out, Ichiro hit a ball off Lackey's leg that bounced away from him, and he couldn't come up with the ball in time to get Ichiro. That was hit number 233 on the year for Ichiro. Then it looked like the inning would go to crap like usual for the Mariners when Winn hit a ball up the middle that Kennedy dove to the backhand side for, then turned to his left to make a backhanded flip to Eckstein at second just in time to force out Ichiro on the play. Edgar singled hard on the next pitch to rightfield and Winn had a full head of steam going home, but the mere presence of Vlad's arm and the suppressing of demons by Dave Myers kept this from happening (at least right away). Francisco Rodriguez came in to face Raul Ibanez with two outs and runners on the corners. Ibanez ripped a hanging slider (Rodriguez is human!) into rightfield to drive in Winn (SEA 1-0). Boone was caught looking on an absolutely deathly slider in an at-bat in which he didn't take the bat off his shoulder.

TOP 9TH -- decent inning
Franklin was left out there to get the complete game, and luckily his pitch count wasn't absurd like those of Madritsch and Meche the last time out. He got Eckstein looking to start the inning. Erstad lined out to Winn, but then Franklin walked Vlad. Bob Melvin came out to the mound to a smattering of boos, which were then replaced by cheers as he went back to the dugout without having summoned a new pitcher. Four pitches later, Garret flew out to Cabrera in foul territory to end it.

I'd like to thank John Lackey and Ryan Franklin for allowing me to type a quick recap with sparse scoring on a day where I worked three hours longer than expected and where going in at 8am actually bumps back the sleep cycle by a couple hours. Thanks, guys.

I said after Franklin's last start that I didn't think he'd win a game for the rest of the season. I was wrong. Therefore, look for Jamie Moyer to win one soon because I think I said the same thing about him also.

Gameball: Ryan Franklin. 9 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 112 pitches (74 strikes). Needless to say, neither of the walks scored. One was in the first inning; Erstad walked with one out. The other walk was Vlad with two out in the 9th. Overall, it just finally came together (sans decent run support) for Franklin. His pitches were working, his control was working, and his defense came through behind him.

Goat: Jolbert Cabrera. 0-for-3 with a hat trick, stranding two. Only because I've given Olivo his share of goats whenever he hangs up those 0-fers. Olivo and Cabrera had the same exact boxscore line.

Sele. Moyer. Seventeen hours.

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