Thursday, September 02, 2004
Again, 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 -- come on, y'all
Ichiro led off the game with a single, not that we've seen that before or anything. He stole second on the 1-2 pitch to Randy Winn, and went to third on Winn's groundout. Bret Boone walked to put runners on the corners. Raul Ibanez grounded out 1-2 (groundouts to the catcher always look great in the game log), and Ichiro held at third while Boone moved into scoring position. Then Edgar Martinez was caught looking. There goes that scoring opportunity.
BOTTOM 1ST -- 1-2-3
Gil Meche got three groundball outs from the top third of the Blue Jay lineup.
TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Miguel Olivo singled with two out, but that was about it.
BOTTOM 2ND -- fighting out of jam
The inning didn't start too nicely for Meche, who walked Carlos Delgado and allowed an Alexis Rios single. Meche would buckle down. One pitch got Eric Hinske to fly out. Meche got Gregg Zaun to whiff, and Gabe Gross flew out.
TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
David Bush makes the Mariner top three look like mincemeat, getting Ichiro to ground out and getting Winn swinging and Boone looking.
BOTTOM 3RD -- fighting out of jam
Meceh had some adversity in the 3rd. Chris Gomez fouled off six pitches in a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a groundout. Frank Menechino's ground ball to Boone was muffed (wish I could have seen it). Orlando Hudson drew a walk, with Vernon Wells coming to the plate. Not good. It is good, though, if you manage to get Wells to bounce into an around-the-horn double play to end the inning.
TOP 4TH -- ho, hum
Yes, it's seven in a row for David Bush, as he slices through the middle third of the Mariner lineup with ease.
BOTTOM 4TH -- fighting out of jam
Meche didn't start this one off too well, walking Delgado on four pitches. At least he's not hitting a homer, I guess. Rios and Hinske then flew out to make things a little easier. Zaun pushed Delgado to third, but a Gross flyout took care of the inning.
TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Make it ten straight retired for Bush, this time with the bottom third of the Mariner lineup going away 1-2-3.
BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Meche had a fairly comfortable eight-pitch inning.
TOP 6TH -- some damage
Ichiro singled to lead off. Winn whiffed (not a good day for him at the plate). Boone smashed his 19th homer (man, what a crappy year) over the wall in right to break the scoreless tie (SEA 2-0). Two flyouts ended the inning.
BOTTOM 6TH -- some damage
Meche got a flyout from Wells. But then Delgado singled and Rios managed to get a triple (I'd like to see replay of this; SEA 2-1). Such was the end of the road for Gil Meche on this night, whose pitch count was something I used to equate to Freddy Garcia in April, back when he had that habit of starting slow and warming up with the weather. I've noticed that I have Meche fighting out of a jam in every inning except the 1st and 5th (1-2-3). Pitch counts of the other innings: 27 (2nd), 21 (3rd), 22 (4th), 10 (6th). Big dents in the pitch count include Gregg Zaun, who saw 15 pitches over his two at-bats against Meche, and the 10-pitch marathon at-bat by Chris Gomez that led off the 3rd. Boone's error didn't help the cause either, though Meche helped himself out with the double-play ball on the first pitch to Wells. Meche's line: 5 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 105 pitches (59 strikes). Call me crazy, but I think that ball/strike ratio kind of tells the story. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm thinking that I'm seeing the word "foul" pop up a lot more than usual when I look at the batters that Meche faced tonight in the game log.
Ron Villone came in for Meche and the lead was gone after one pitch thanks to a sacrifice fly to Randy Winn territory in centerfield (tie 2-2). Villone would warm up a pot of hot water by allowing a Zaun double and by walking Gross, but Gomez flying out took care of that.
TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Just some two-out false hope in this inning. Olivo drew a two-out walk, and found himself standing on third after Jose Lopez singled to centerfield. The fact that Toronto called a pitch-out with Olivo on first is, well, I'm giggling thinking about it, even though I know Olivo can pick 'em up and put 'em down pretty well for a catcher. Ichiro was put on base, and Winn flew out to continue his crappy night at the plate.
BOTTOM 7TH -- some damage
Technically, he blew the save in the 6th, but now it was Villone's turn to blow the game. Giving Frank Menechino a homerable pitch on an 0-2 count is certainly a good way to do that (TOR 3-2). Villone got Hudson to whiff, which was good, and then walked Wells, which is bad. A crappy pickoff throw by Villone allowed Wells to scoot over to third. Delgado singled to plate the insurance run, the run that got aboard via a four-pitch walk. Heck, it was so bad that Bob Melvin brought in Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who got two outs on three pitches to end the inning.
TOP 8TH -- ho, hum
Jason Frasor handed the Mariners their fourth 1-2-3 inning of the night, setting down Boone, Ibanez, and Edgar.
BOTTOM 8TH -- decent inning
If anyone's curious, Zaun saw 25 pitches over four at-bats tonight, 22 over 3 ABs if you leave out the one where he doubled in the 6th. Hasegawa only allowed a two-out single to Gomez in the inning.
TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Bucky Jacobsen battled back from 0-2 to work the count full and hit a ball to Rios in rightfield, who had the ball in the palm of his glove and had it roll out. Bucky stood on second and his pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist pitched a tent, as Justin Speier came in from the bullpen and the next three hitters would go away 1-2-3. The final play (Lopez groundout to first) was somewhat interesting, as the ball nicked the bag, Delgado grabbed the ball off the ground with his glove hand, and tagged the bag with his right hand. He had to yank the hand away quickly, so as not to get it run over and/or spiked by Lopez coming down the line. Weird way to end a ballgame. Not as weird as a walk-off balk or a walk-off visual obstruction call, but weird nonetheless.
There's a chance that the Blue Jays might draw more than the 22310 they did tonight at the SkyDome because Team Canada doesn't have a hockey game tomorrow night.
Gameball: Ichiro. 2-for-3 with a stolen base. He was the only Mariner with a multihit game tonight.
Goat: Randy Winn. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, stranding three. He's been hitting pretty well for a decent stretch now, but after Delgado tagged up from first last night, I cringe whenever I see a ball hit to centerfield with runners on, and if I'm reading the game logs, I'm looking to see if there were any unusual runner advances on the plays involving Randy Winn. There's much more discussion of this over at the USS Mariner.
Baek. Miller. Fourteen hours.
[Edit ~2:32p -- Wheelhouse Steve reminds me that Bloomquist pinch-ran for Bucky, which I didn't have before but now has been put into the post.]