Wednesday, September 29, 2004


The Mariners have five games remaining. They stand at 61-96 after tonight's 7-2 victory in Oakland against Tim Hudson (three uncharacteristic things when you consider it's also September) and have to win two games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1983. In yet another fact pulled from the wire article (thank you, AP), the A's have gone 11-15 this September after going 70-30 in Septembers 2000-2003.

I can't configure the Ichiro updates like I did before I left for the prairie because Ichiro is past the mark of 154 games played. In terms of that mark, George Sisler produced his 257 hits, and Ichiro had 251 after Sunday's game at Texas (his 154th game of the year). So, if Ichiro goes on and gets 258 hits or more, it'll be the Maris 61 to the Ruth 60. That said, not many people alive right now have seen the type of season that Ichiro is having right now. So, yeah, I've said that an Ichiro record at this stage wouldn't be an outright record, but damn, that's a lot of hits. He's hitting .372 right now and is raking (singles) at a .486 clip during his current 8-game hit streak.

As for tonight, Ichiro went 2-for-5 to bring his 2004 hit total to 254.

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 (5 games remain), he would need to go 4-for-20 (.200).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 4-for-25 (.160).

For anyone wondering, Bresnan Communications in Butte, Montana, carried the cable duties in the motel room I was at last night. It's weird because they carried the Mariner game, and carried the Northwest Sports Report right up until the Colorado Rockies finished their game in LA, then the coverage cut over to FSN Rocky Mountain. FSN Rocky Mountain also carried the programming before the Mariner game. In an unrelated note, the Rocky Mountain Sports Report ballyhooed the Broncos as having the number one defense in the NFL, but based on yards per game rather than points (in which the Seahawks would be number one). The other weird thing? I don't know if it was the strength of AM radio waves at night or a bitchin' relay, but KOMO 1000 was coming in crystal clear in Butte. I couldn't believe it. I think that's something like 600 miles away.


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 -- some damage
Ichiro drilled a 3-1 pitch from Hudson into the gap in rightfield, as Jermaine Dye had to cut the ball off to prevent Ichiro from stretching it out to a triple. In a move that probably sickened most of the blogosphere and drew a second-guess from Dave Niehaus, Bob Melvin had Randy Winn bunt Ichiro over to third. Edgar Martinez then pounded a single up the middle to drive in Ichiro (SEA 1-0). Raul Ibanez then doubled down the leftfield line, but no runs would score (Edgar on the basepaths). Boone hit a grounder right to Eric Chavez, who had a bit of trouble handling it, but got Boone at first as the runners held. Jeremy Reed then bopped a single into center to score the runners (SEA 3-0). Reed nabbed second before Jose Lopez bounced back to Hudson.

BOTTOM 1ST -- 1-2-3
Gil Meche got through Mark Kotsay, Eric Byrnes, and Eric Chavez quite easily.

TOP 2ND -- ho, hum
Hudson responded by getting through Greg Dobbs, Miguel Olivo, and Ichiro quite easily, if you don't count Olivo working the count full.

BOTTOM 2ND -- decent inning
Erubiel Durazo dinked one into leftcenter for a single, but Meche got flyouts from Dye and Scott Hatteberg, and caught Marco Scutaro looking.

TOP 3RD -- ho, hum
Make it seven straight retired by Hudson, as Winn grounded out, Edgar whiffed, and Ibanez bounced out to Bobby Crosby.

BOTTOM 3RD -- decent inning
Kotsay hit a two-out single in an inning where Meche picked up two more strikeouts, amazingly his final strikeouts of the night.

TOP 4TH -- minimal damage
Reed singled and Lopez mashed a double to left with one out. Dobbs hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to score Reed (SEA 4-0).

BOTTOM 4TH -- some damage
Chavez doubled and Durazo tripled him in (SEA 4-1). I wish I could have seen this play to verify whether the adage of "every fly ball to Jeremy Reed is an adventure" is really true. Dye then hit a fly ball to Ichiro that took him backward, and was therefore enough to score Durazo (SEA 4-2). Meche encountered mild turbulence due to a Hatteberg single and a beaning of Crosby, but no more runs crossed the plate.

TOP 5TH -- ho, hum
Ichiro got hit number 254 on the year and was promptly erased on the front end of a double-play ball off Winn's bat. Edgar bounced one back to Hudson, and I wonder how far Edgar made it down the basepath before he was out.

BOTTOM 5TH -- 1-2-3
Meche set down the top third of the Oakland lineup once again. First inning redux, basically.

TOP 6TH -- some damage
Four hits from the Mariners in the inning, yes, it's true. Ichiro's fielder's choice ended the inning, weirdly enough. Ibanez led off with a single and came home on Bret Boone's bash (SEA 6-2). Reed made his presence felt once again, mashing a double to rightfield. He went to third on a Hatteberg foul catch in Oakland's acres of foul ground. Dobbs' single capped the scoring in the game (SEA 7-2). Olivo whiffed before Ichiro did the fielder's choice thing.

BOTTOM 6TH -- decent inning
Nothing other than a two-out walk to Hatteberg.

TOP 7TH -- ho, hum
Tim Hudson didn't come out for the 7th, leaving his line along the lines of 7 runs and 11 hits (ouch!). Chris Hammond came in and allowed only a two-out Ibanez single. I knew that when I was gone, Ibanez had that 6-for-6 game, and quite simply, the dude is nuts right now. For all the bashing I put him through in the offseason, Ibanez is hitting .298 right now. I've still got my argument, though, because his money (or at least the margin in which they overpaid him) could have gone to sweeten the deal that should have gone to Tejada, but how about we not relive last offseason, shall we?

BOTTOM 7TH -- fighting out of jam
Meche got outs from Crosby and Kotsay, but the bases got loaded via an Ibanez error, a Byrnes single, and a walk to Chavez. Melvin pulled Meche for the now-bearded Ron Villone (this scared me as I watched the game from Butte, MT last night). Villone went to 2-0 on Durazo and got him to foul out to Ibanez.

TOP 8TH -- ho, hum
Dobbs dinked a two-out single, but Hammond didn't let the Mariners have much else.

BOTTOM 8TH -- decent inning
Scutaro legged out an infield single with two out, but Scott Atchison didn't let the A's have much else.

TOP 9TH -- ho, hum
Justin Lehr came on for Oakland and got the top third of the Mariner lineup in order, which of course included Ichiro.

BOTTOM 9TH -- fighting out of jam
JJ Putz got through the 9th. The bases were loaded after singles by Kotsay and Chavez, and a beaning of Durazo. Luckily, Putz had gotten two outs before having to face Dye with the bases loaded and bringing the tying run to the on-deck circle (it's a stretch, but true). A fielder's choice to Lopez ended the game.

Gameball: Jeremy Reed. 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI. At the very least, we know he can hit. Hopefully he'll be tearing it up two years from now if/when the Mariners have a chance to play for something.

Goat: Miguel Olivo. 0-for-4 with a hat trick. I'd been giving him the benefit of the doubt when he'd have that one game every week and a half or so where he'd go 2-for-4 and hit a homer or something, but this is a tad bit unbearable. He's hitting .229. I think the last time the Mariners had a catcher that could hit, it was Dan Wilson in his All-Star year, and since I'm bad with my trivia and that was quite a few years ago, I can't remember what year that was (and the computer's too damn slow for me to look).

Anyone watching the Mariners for something other than Ichiro chasing a record, Edgar's final go-around, and Dobbs and Reed cutting their teeth are probably coming away ungratified. But hey, the AL West is tied! If you love baseball in general, you shouldn't have trouble finding something fun to follow. The West has not been won, and the NL Wild Card race is looking quite dicey. It's fun.

Madritsch. Harden. Seventeen and a half hours.

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