Monday, September 13, 2004


The Mariners made their bread and butter the last three years by doing well or holding their own against the teams in their own division since the advent of the unbalanced schedule. But with this 2004 edition of the Seattle Mariners, having to end the season with 20 games against the Angels, A's, and Rangers just doesn't have the same ring to it that it once did.

In the first game of the final stretch of divisional games, the Mariners succumbed to the magic of one Kelvim Escobar tonight, losing to the Angels by a score of 5-1. Cha Seung Baek started for the Mariners tonight and was much better than in his other starts, but it still wasn't spectacular by any means and it wasn't good enough for a win.

Feast on this stat relayed by Tony Garassi (sp?) of KJR: the Mariners are 0 for their last 22 with runners in scoring position, and 4 for their last 60 with RISP.

I'd be remiss if I didn't do the Ichiro update.

Ichiro hung up an 0-for-4 today with a walk. He remains at 231 hits, still needing 26 to break the record, and I'm having doubts that he'll break the record, period.

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 (19 games remain), he would need to go 26-for-76 (.342).
>> if he averaged five at-bats per game, he would need to go 26-for-95 (.274).

For Ichiro to break Sisler's record in 154 games and avoid the asterisk...
>> if he averaged four at-bats for the next 12 games, he would need to go 26-for-48 (.542).
>> if he averaged five at-bats a game, he would need to go 26-for-60 (.433).

Finally, the recap.

In spectral form...

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
Baek gives up only a two-out double ripped down the line by Vladimir Guerrero, and gets Garret Anderson looking to end the inning.

BOTTOM 1ST -- ho, hum
Escobar started Ichiro off with four pitches that are nowhere close. He ended up on second after a passed ball by Bengie Molina, but Edgar Martinez lined out and Raul Ibanez whiffed.

TOP 2ND -- some damage
Baek started off Troy Glaus 3-0 and walked him, but Miguel Olivo bailed him out thanks to a backdoor pickoff play at first. Baek didn't feel right without a baserunner out there though, so he had Jose Guillen double into the gap. Guillen ended up on third after a Casey Kotchman grounder to Scott Spiezio at first, but then Molina doubled into the gap (ANA 1-0). Baek caught Adam Kennedy looking to end the inning.

BOTTOM 2ND -- ho, hum
Bret Boone led off with a single. Two whiffs (Spiezio and Olivo) and a flyout (Greg Dobbs) followed.

TOP 3RD -- some damage
Baek fell behind on David Eckstein, who walked to lead off. One out later, Vlad blasted one up the middle and got aboard. Then Garret got a pitch that was a bit high, but he pummeled it, or shall I say, GOT ALL OF IT (ANA 4-0). The ball went just inside the foul pole and looked like it might have reached the back few rows of the seats in front of the concourse. With the bases clear, Baek had a little less to think about, getting Glaus to ground out to Dobbs at third, and getting Guillen to whiff.

BOTTOM 3RD -- ho, hum
Randy Winn hit a two-out single and stole second. Nothing else happened, since there were two out and these are the 2004 Seattle Mariners we're talking about here.

TOP 4TH -- fighting out of jam
Baek gave up back-to-back singles to Kotchman and Molina. Kennedy grounded out to Boone to move the two runners over. Eckstein hit a fly ball to left and Kotchman tried to tag up and score. Ibanez threw home to Olivo, who took the throw in front of the plate and went back to the plate in time to tag Kotchman.

BOTTOM 4TH -- ho, hum
Ibanez singled to lead off. He took second on a wild pitch by Escobar and went to third on Spiezio's groundout, but that's as far as he got.

TOP 5TH -- decent inning
Other than a two-out walk for Garret, there wasn't much else.

BOTTOM 5TH -- ho, hum
Dobbs (popout), Jose Lopez (popout), and Ichiro (groundout) were the guilty parties in a 1-2-3 inning.

TOP 6TH -- 1-2-3
Baek has his easiest inning. Guillen grounded out on the first pitch. Baek went to 3-0 on Kotchman, who popped out to Spiezio. Molina saw a 2-0 count, but grounded out to Boone.

BOTTOM 6TH -- ho, hum
Edgar and Ibanez had back-to-back one-out singles. Edgar reached third on a Boone fielder's choice, but Spiezio whiffed to end the inning.

TOP 7TH -- some damage
Baek surrendered his third leadoff walk of the game, this one to Kennedy. He would reach third on an Eckstein single. One out later, he scored on Vlad's bounceout to Boone (ANA 5-0). Garret flew out to end the inning.

This was Baek's last inning of the game. His line: 7 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, 120 pitches (72 strikes). Not too bad, but not too good either. Four walks is never a good number to have, and two of the walks scored.

BOTTOM 7TH -- minimal damage
Lopez has a very wide stance, and sometimes I think it might facilitate too much of an uppercut swing. But it worked this time, as he put a ball into the bullpen to spoil the shutout (ANA 5-1).

TOP 8TH -- 1-2-3
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in and got Glaus (whiff), Guillen (ground to Lopez), and Kotchman (whiff).

BOTTOM 8TH -- come on, y'all
Winn walked and stood on second after an Edgar groundout. He stood on third after an Ibanez groundout. Boone walked, Scot Shields was yanked for Francisco Rodriguez, and the game was officially over. Jolbert Cabrera pinch-hit for Spiezio (a good thing), and fouled out to Chone Figgins leaning into the third-base dugout.

TOP 9TH -- 1-2-3
Matt Thornton didn't walk anybody? Holy crap! Molina flew out, Kennedy whiffed, and Eckstein grounded out to Boone.

BOTTOM 9TH -- ho, hum
Just some false hope against Francisco Rodriguez and the breaking ball of doom. Dobbs scratched out a single, went to second on a dirtball, and then Lopez drew a four-pitch walk. Ichiro grounded out on a bang-bang play in which Kotchman nearly went for the out at second, but got the throw to Rodriguez just in time. It was the ultimate PFP, except in a small amount of time. The runners moved to second and third, but Winn bounced out to end the game.

Yes, we're 19 games away from the merciful end to this train wreck of a season. I guess if there's one thing I can take away from this year, it's that I can better appreciate a good performance by the opposing team. Of course, I'd rather the opposing team get clobbered by mine, but when I see Garret Anderson just mash one out, I can't bring myself to get ticked off this late in the season with nothing on the line. All I could say was, "damn, what a shot!" Then I marveled at how effortless his swing looks. Since I somehow convinced myself Jose Lopez has a wide stance that might encourage an uppercut swing, I thought of the bitchingest uppercut swing out there right now, that of Jim Edmonds. I have no idea how he can bash the ball with that swing, but it's amazing.

Gameball: Jose Lopez. 1-for-3, scoring and driving in the only run, and not making any errors.

Goat: Scott Spiezio. 0-for-3 with an error, striking out twice and stranding four.

As total asides, Mike Cameron hit his 29th homer of the year tonight, and my goodness...Frank Francisco, a chair, and a female fan behind the bullpen. Yikes.

Washburn. Madritsch. Tomorrow.

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