Saturday, July 31, 2004
Both Kelvim Escobar and Travis Blackley got through the first two innings unscathed. However, the Mariners worked Escobar for a 29-pitch 2nd inning, yet only managed to strand Edgar Martinez on second with two out. Edgar worked Escobar for a leadoff eight-pitch walk.
Then came the ever-elusive big inning for the Mariners. Miguel Olivo got a nice fat pitch on 3-1 and belted it over the leftfield fence to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Consecutive singles by Ichiro, Randy Winn, and Bret Boone plated another run (2-0). Edgar got down 0-2 and struck out four pitches later. Raul Ibanez got a pitch to drive on 2-2 and scaled the scoreboard in rightcenter to cap the big inning at 5-0 Mariners.
What would 21-year-old Aussie Blackley do with a 5-run lead? In the 3rd, it involved 34 pitches. Only Adam Kennedy and Chone Figgins reached base, and only advanced with two out on a 2-2 wild pitch to Garret Anderson, who lined out to Ichiro later in the at-bat. The problem? It turns out Adam Kennedy and David Eckstein aren't the only pesky guys on this Angel team. With a 2-1 count, Chone Figgins proceeded to foul off the next five pitches. Figgins took a pitch to push the count full, and fouled off the next two pitches, before the young Aussie caved in and walked him. End result: 34 pitches in the inning for Blackley, with 12 of them being to Figgins.
That said, Blackley threw a scoreless 34-pitch inning in the 3rd. He would not be so lucky in the 4th. Mariner fans saw Vlad Guerrero pitch one out of the bunker and over the leftfield fence the other night, but today they were treated to a laser beam to the leftfield stands which took about 0.25 seconds to go from bat to stands (5-1 Mariners). Jose Guillen singled and Robb Quinlan (hot bat) doubled before Tim Salmon proved his washed-upness by fouling out to Scott Spiezio at first. Bengie Molina hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to score Guillen and move Quinlan to third (Randy Winn in centerfield, 5-2 Mariners). Quinlan would score on a Miguel Olivo passed ball with Adam Kennedy at the plate (5-3 Mariners).
The Mariners would add a run in the 5th in what to me is a microcosm of the 2004 Mariner offense: three singles and a double play, with the run scoring from third (6-3 Mariners). I'd like to congratulate Scott Spiezio for driving in that run...oh, wait. That doesn't count as an RBI. You gotta love these guys!
Blackley came out to face the top of the Angel lineup in the 5th. Eckstein and Figgins needed only three pitches between them to both hit singles. Garret Anderson proved once again to not be his Mariner-bashing self, flying out to Ichiro. Blackley walked Guerrero (that happens??) to load the bases and get yanked in favor of Scott Atchison. Blackley left with the lead, but couldn't qualify for the win anyway, having not pitched five innings.
With the bases loaded and one out, Atchison proceeded to let two of Blackley's runs cross the plate. Jose Guillen would single to score Eckstein (he had a hell of a day, SEA 6-4) and Robb Quinlan drove in Figgins, but on the same play Vlad was nailed in the shoulder by Jolbert Cabrera's throw, then ran through the stop sign at third base and was tagged out by Olivo in a rundown play (Seattle 6-5). Salmon then followed with an obligatory strikeout.
Scoring plays from the 6th-8th were simple, as Jose Guillen hit a single off Atchison to plate Garret Anderson from second to tie the game (6-6). In the 8th, Shigetoshi Hasegawa was victim to a pesky David Eckstein single to drive in Darin Erstad from third to give the Angels the lead (7-6).
Also of note in the Mariner 7th was Bengie Molina taking a wild pitch off his finger. Though I only caught for one year back in my youth, I know how the fingers feel after shots like that. Bad times, bad times. This put a second Angel on the shelf after Vlad came out of the game after Jolbert Cabrera beaned him with the throw.
Rather than just lay down for Troy Percival and let Mariner fans kick back and enjoy the rest of their afternoons, Ichiro decided he'd help waste another half-hour or so of their time by ripping the first pitch over the wall in rightfield to tie the game again (7-7). The Angel half of the 9th featured Jose Guillen singling off JJ Putz, then getting nailed trying to steal second by Olivo to end the inning. Dan Wilson's nice, but he can't do THAT.
Then Putz came on in the 10th and walked Salmon to lead off. Not good. Josh Paul laid down a textbook bunt to move Alfredo Amezaga (pinch-running) to second. Adam Kennedy was walked to keep the possible inning-ending double play in order. David Eckstein came to the plate and was immediately nailed in the knee with a Putz fastball. Eckstein knew the pitch was going to be inside, and jumped away from the plate, but the ball was knee-bound. He probably would have been better off letting the ball go behind him, but flopping forward over the plate isn't exactly a reaction of instinct when a ball is coming inside at you. Somehow, Eckstein managed to shake off the beanball and trot out to first. Putz then got Figgins with a clutch strikeout before George Sherrill was summoned to face Garret Anderson. What followed were three pretty weak-looking waves at the ball from Garret at stuff breaking low and away.
The Mariners scored the way they wish they could've done all year in the 11th, in a sequence of single (Ichiro), bunt (Winn), and RBI single (Boone) to give the Mariners an 8-7 lead; warm up Eddie Guardado, the Mariners might have a chance!! Somewhat disappointing were the whiffs by Bucky Jacobsen and Ibanez, stranding Boone at first.
An 8-7 lead with Eddie Guardado coming on to nail it down. Surely he'll bounce back from the other day and put this one away, right? That's what closers do, after all. Not so fast. Curtis Pride singled on a full count. Jose Guillen got up and capped his hell of a day. He got a belt-high (approx) ball over the inside corner and simply covered/golfed it out over the leftfield fence. Angels 9-8, and yes, that's a final.
Two ties, three lead changes. That's a topsy-turvy one for you.
Gameball: Raul Ibanez. I'm only selling out for today, on the heels of a 3-for-5 day with the three-run homer. All the while on the Fox telecast, Rex "The Pot-Smoking Wonder Dog" Hudler was mentioning right before the homer that Raul had been hitting something like .215 with runners in scoring position. I remember Ron Fairly used to have an opposite knack, either using stats or saying "wouldn't a homer out of (Mariner hitter) be nice right about now?" and then having it actually happen. On another Fox crew note, it was Josh Lewin and Hudler in the booth today. Viewers withstood Lewin (Ranger TV guy) asking Hudler (Angel guy) whether they'd "throw down" in the booth like the Angels and Rangers did in batting practice not long ago. On another occasion, Hudler described a baseball attribute called "stink," which I think was in reference to David Eckstein. Apparently, "stink" is a good thing, something you don't smell, but can feel, and Lenny Dykstra had a lot of "stink." Rex Hudler, you amaze us all.
Goat: Travis Blackley. 4 1/3 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 95 pitches (61 strikes). Blackley's ERA stands at 10.04 after six starts in the Majors. I know there weren't a billion walks this time, but he hasn't made it past the 6th inning in any of his six starts. With no immediate signs of him being more efficient and stretching out, how much longer can they justify keeping him with the big club? I want him to develop in Seattle as much as the next guy, but with an ERA over 10 after six starts, would it be better if he found his groove again in Tacoma? This is getting almost saddening to watch.
You know the funny part about all this? The dog days of August don't start until tomorrow.
Franklin. Colon. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~9:08p -- From the wire article: The Mariners are 19-for-38 this year in save opportunities, they've blown 5-0 leads in three of the last six games, and I totally forgot to mention the Major League debut of Jose Lopez.]
Well, in better news, the Seahawks begin training camp on Monday.
So the Mariners didn't make any big moves at the deadline. Same as it ever was. But along the lines of what David was saying, I didn't expect too much this July 31. However, after reading David Cameron's analysis at USS Mariner, let's just say that I'm vexed.
How in the hell does Bob Melvin get any say in what this ballclub will look like in the future? Randy Winn should have been dealt. His value won't be any higher than it is now. But Melvin thinks he's underrated. Yeah. Right. Uh-huh. OK. What? A player cannot be considered underrated if the majority of fans say "Mike Cameron would have had that" after every Winn defensive gaffe.
Again, Bill Bavasi is an idiot. He basically thought that Mike Myers was Mariano Rivera when he asked the Indians for Grady Sizemore. You can only imagine what Indians GM Mark Shapiro thought when Sizemore's name was being brought up.
And who in their right mind would consider Ron Villone "untouchable"? Somebody better give me a good explanation for this. It's not like he's a good Major League pitcher.
John Olerud could sign with the Yankees? Wow. If this were to go down, I don't know what to think. But I will say this, no-trade clauses should be banned from baseball.
Case in point: Charles Johnson. Since when does a player like Johnson earn the right to have a no-trade clause? He has a chance to leave Colorado to go to Los Angeles, who's in a pennant race. What does he do? He stays in Denver. Have fun with that, Charles.
The Dodgers will now turn to Brent Mayne to fill their hole behind the plate. Steve Finley is going to L.A. In return, the Diamondbacks receive catching prospect Koyie Hill, P Bill Murphy (who was in the Penny-LoDuca deal), and OF Reggie Abercrombie (and Fitch). In related news, I hate Abercrombie and Fitch.
And as David noted, Willie Bloomquist is now on KJR on Tuesdays, replacing Jeff Nelson. Stark raving sick sad little world.
It's now 8-7 Mariners, going into the bottom of the 11th. Eddie Guardado better be coming in...
Jeremy's pretty much got the trades covered, so what can I possibly bring you as I realize that once again Travis Blackley is out of the game fairly early (left with the lead, but didn't pitch five)?
...And now, for something completely different!
-- New Sonics power forward Danny Fortson was on the air with Dave "Softy" Mahler and Dick Fain yesterday, talking about how he'd be getting tons of playing time with the Sonics, the need for a rebounding presence, the need for some to get on Rashard Lewis if he's slacking, etc. Then, as promised to Mitch Levy (morning show host), Softy asked Fortson what happened between him, Art Long, and a horse. Fortson said it wasn't as bad as it came out in the papers. Though apparently he was 17, distracted, and they were doing some underage drinking, the horse was not hit overly violently, though hand-to-horse contact did occur between Long and horse. In a totally unrelated note, I just realized that the Tuesdays with Nelly (Jeff Nelson) segment that Softy had in years past has been replaced with Tuesdays with Willie (Bloomquist). Can you say "letdown"?
-- Whenever hockey season starts up, the usual crew will be back at Hockey Night in Canada, including the ever-popular rabble rouser Don Cherry. Also added to the crew is former Vancouver Canuck GM Brian Burke. Added to the World Cup of Hockey crew (of which the CBC will be airing all 19 games) is goalie Sean Burke, a grossly overpaid backup for the Philadelphia Flyers down the stretch last spring.
-- On another hockey note, Radek Bonk has left the Ottawa Senators (i.e., Jeff's favorite team) for Les Habitantes. He signed a three-year deal, which is slightly surprising due to the peril of the current labor situation. In related news, if there were a Hockey Hall of Names, Radek Bonk would be in it with Adam Deadmarsh, Adam Graves, Jeff Beukeboom, Darius Kasparaitis, Hakan Loob, and many others.
-- Yes, it's okay to stop talking about Mike Tyson. Dude tore a knee ligament in that last fight, I guess. Please, please fade into obscurity. Man, the heavyweight division sucks. To think Mike Tyson, after all this crap, could have reeled off a few decent fights in a row and had a legitimate shot at the heavyweight title. Yikes.
-- It turns out that "soldier" tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. of the Cleveland Browns and his ass agents Carl and Kevin Poston have turned down the Browns' contract offer that would make Winslow the highest-paid tight end in history (yes, even higher than Tony Gonzalez) even though he hasn't proved a damn thing in the NFL. To properly convey my sentiments about this, I'll just bite Gilbert Gottfried's contributions to VH1's I Love the 80s Strikes Back: Kellen Winslow Jr., WHAT THE F%&$?!!?!!
-- Lastly, Willie Bloomquist found some time to do something constructive as Jose Lopez is starting at shortstop. It turns out that the former South Kitsap Wolf shot a 62 on the Old Course at Sunningdale in the Women's British Open. Oops, wait... That was actually done by 19-year-old Minea Blomqvist of Finland. My bad. Minea Blomqvist shot the 62, and hit a 60-foot birdie putt on the final hole of that round, which probably would rival any of Bloomquist's feats in the Majors.
That's it for non-baseball stuff from me for now, and it looks like I'll have something to write about, what with a 5-0 Mariner lead turning into a tie game at 6. If Scott Atchison ever gets lit up, is anyone else down with referring to him as "Beyatchison"? I think it'd be endless fun.
Anyone remember that defunct MTV show Buzzkill?
Another post coming in a few hours. Enjoy your day, y'all.
Personally, I wish MLB would just make the trade deadline into some huge TV special like the draft. Everyone gets a war room, a delegate on the floor, and trades are announced to a nation wide audience and a room of screaming fans. Who wouldn't watch this?
I would watch this. Hell, Mariners fans would probably be as well known as the Jets or Eagles fans if this event actually happened. This has to happen.
I wonder what Bill Simmons thinks of this idea.
Nomar will make his Cubs debut tomorrow as well.
The game is on WGN at 1:20 Central.
Yeah, I think I'm going to watch this game.
CUBS acquire SS Nomar Garciaparra
RED SOX acquire SS Orlando Cabrera and 1B Doug Mientkiewicz
EXPOS acquire SS Alex Gonzalez, P Francis Beltran, and INF Brendan Harris
TWINS acquire P Justin Jones
--- --- --- ---
Advantage Cubs. If the Red Sox had acquired Matt Clement, then I'd consider this a great deal for the Red Sox. But they didn't.
And Steve Finley has accepted a deal to the Dodgers.
Things will heat up in Arlington, if the heat there isn't hot enough.
Anyways, we have some trades to report:
---ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Red Sox have traded Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs. No further details as of yet.
---The White Sox deal SP Esteban Loaiza to the Yankees for SP Jose Contreras. GO, GO WHITE SOX, WAVE THAT WHITE FLAG, BABY! (For those who are still patting Bill Bavasi on the back for the Freddy Garcia deal, keep in mind that the White Sox GM is Ken Williams.)
---WHY IN THE HELL ARE THE WHITE SOX TRYING TO HELP THE YANKEES? HELL, WHY DOES ANYBODY WANT TO HELP THE YANKEES? Have fun with Jose, White Sox fans.
---The Marlins acquire RP Rudy Seanez from the Royals for OF Abraham Nunez. Ismael Valdez is also a Marlin, acquired from San Diego for P Travis Chick.
--- --- ---
No Mariner deals to report. Jose Lopez has been called up from Tacoma, however. He's starting today at shortstop. So far, he's 0-for-1.
Miguel Olivo just homered. 1-0 Mariners. TELL ME WHY THIS GUY ISN'T IN THE LINEUP MORE? If there's one positive thing about the 2004 Mariners, it's the fact that the M's finally have a catcher worth a damn.
More to come, because I have nothing else better to do today. Heh.
And it looks like Randy Johnson will stay in Arizona. Have fun with that, Unit.
Anyways, here at Sports and Bremertonians, from time to time, we'll talk music. This is one of those times. I'll talk about trades later on today.
David and I were talking about live albums a few days ago. And while the subject was still on my mind, I browsed through my collection of CDs and realized that I hadn't listened to Rage Against The Machine's "Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium" in months. Shame on me.
RATM is one of my favorite bands. I was floored when they broke up in 2000. There are only a few bands out there that in my opinion never made a bad album. RATM was one of those bands.
As far as the live album goes, it was the last time RATM would perform live. The show opens up with "Bulls On Parade", always a crowd pleaser. RATM's setlist consisted of 16 songs, including "Killing In The Name", "Sleep Now In The Fire", and my favorite RATM song of them all, "Know Your Enemy". My only problem with this album was that they didn't play "Down Rodeo". While "Know Your Enemy" is my favorite RATM song, "Down Rodeo" is right up there.
So, if you need to buy a new CD anytime soon, give Rage Against The Machine's "Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium" a listen. If you've never seen them live (I didn't), this is the closest you'll get to seeing that happen.
The rookies drew first blood for the Mariners in the second, as Bucky Jacobsen hit a one-out double, and crossed the plate two hitters later on a Justin Leone single to make it 1-0 Mariners.
The 1-0 lead last all of three batters, as Gil Meche thought to himself "I hate pitching with leads," and allowed a Jose Guillen single, a Darin Erstad infield single, and a Robb Quinlan (man, this guy's been ripping the cover off the ball) three-run homer to make it 3-1 Angels. In the bottom of the 3rd, Meche got out of a two-on-one-out situation by inducing a fielders' choice from Vlad Guerrero and catching Guillen looking.
Seattle chipped at the lead in the 4th. Randy Winn led off with a double, was advanced to third on a deep fly ball to center from Bret Boone, and scored on a Raul Ibanez groundout (with authority) to make it 3-2 Angels. In the bottom of the 4th, Erstad led off with a double and later stole third, but never scored.
The Mariners had somewhat of a scoring chance in the 5th, when Scott Spiezio led off with a walk. He stole second with Justin Leone at the plate. Leone whiffed, but Dan Wilson and Willie Bloomquist were due up behind him. Enough said.
Jose Guillen led off the 6th with a home run on the first pitch to make it 4-2 Angels. Meche managed to not lose his mind, and whiffed Erstad, got Quinlan to ground out, and whiffed Molina.
The Mariners mounted an unlikely comeback against Francisco Rodriguez. Dan Wilson led off with a single and Miguel Olivo pinch-ran for him. Edgar flew out, then Ichiro walked. Randy Winn singled to score Olivo and bring the Mariners within one (4-3). Boone whiffed (2nd out) and Ibanez walked to lead the bases. Bucky Jacobsen roped the next pitch into leftfield to score Ichiro and Winn to get the Mariners the lead, 5-4.
George Sherrill had pitched a scoreless 7th for the Mariners, and came on in the 8th. Garret Anderson singled on the first pitch, and Sherrill was yanked in favor of JJ Putz. Putz immediately got Vlad to pop out to Spiezio in foul ground, and whiffed Jose Guillen. Smooth sailing, right? Runner on first, two out, with Erstad, Tim Salmon, and Bengie Molina coming to the plate should be easy, right? Putz fell behind 3-0 to Erstad before he walked him on a 3-1 count. Salmon only fouled off one pitch before he got beaned. Bengie Molina singled on his second pitch to score Garret and Erstad to give the Angels the 6-5 lead. Mike Myers and Shigetoshi Hasegawa came on to get the final out. Why two pitchers? Myers beaned his only batter (Adam Kennedy).
Troy Percival pitched for the Angels in the 9th.
Gameball: Bucky Jacobsen. 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, on the clutch 2-out single to get the Mariners the lead. Five of Bucky's 10 RBI have occurred with two outs.
Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-3, stranding one. It had to be somebody, and Raul's gotten the goat before, so let's get him another one. There was no clear-cut goat tonight in the lineup. It was Raul or Ichiro tonight, but Ichiro just had that big long streak (21 games) end, etc.
Did I make the deadline?
Blackley. Escobar. Two hours.
Friday, July 30, 2004
Say it with me, f**k Bengie Molina.
Gil Meche made his first start with the Mariners since June, giving up 4 runs in 6 innings. Could this have been the last start for Meche as a Mariner? Who knows.
Ichiro's 21-game hitting streak ended tonight as he went 0-for-4. Don't worry, he'll start another one Saturday. After all, he cares so deeply about his 200 hits.
My attention span tonight is not too good, so I'm not going to go any further with this. But it could be worse. I could be Mike Tyson right now.
Blackley. Escobar. Tomorrow. Trade deadline is less than 15 hours away.
So, what's left of the Jeff Cirillo deal?
Vince Faison has played in 17 games for San Antonio in 2004, hitting .288 with 3 home runs and 17 RBIs. Wiki Gonzalez is on the DL in Tacoma. Kevin Jarvis lasted a few weeks too long with the big club.
Hansen will be best remembered for his pinch-hit 3-run home run off of Tim Hudson April 21 in Seattle that tied it up at 4. Of course, the M's went on to lose that ballgame 7-4.
So the Mariners-Padres pipeline continues. Same as it ever was.
Why in the hell would I mention this here? Well, it's simple. I grew up watching "Married...With Children" and remember watching Byrnes on an episode with Anthrax. Needless to say, it's one of my Top 5 "Married...With Children" episodes of all-time.
"Kookie, kookie, lend me your comb. Kookie, kookie."
The proposed deal:
Los Angeles would receive CF Steve Finley, SP Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi
Florida would receive C Paul Lo Duca, RP Guillermo Mota, OF Juan Encarnacion (who was traded to L.A. during the offseason from FLA)
Arizona would receieve OF Jayson Werth and prospects from FLA and possibly LA or AZ
If this deal were to go down, the Dodgers would definitely come out on top. Penny would fit nicely into the rotation in Chavez Revine. Choi would give the Dodgers the first baseman that they've needed for a while. Finley would be a solid veteran guy to have in the fold. Hell, if the Dodgers get Finley, it means that the Padres won't.
Why would the Dodgers deal Lo Duca? Simple, they have Koyie Hill waiting in the wings. Dave Ross would probably take over the full-time duties behind the plate for the time being however. Mota would definitely improve a miserable Marlins bullpen. And as noted, Encarnacion would return to South Florida.
Trading deadline is at 3 p.m. Central tomorrow afternoon. Should be interesting to see what happens. One thing's for sure, I hope Randy Johnson doesn't become a Yankee.
Q: What are you most pleased with about the team this season?
A: I'm very pleased with the involvement and the participation in our offseason program, which has generated a honest-to-goodness good feeling in that locker room. There's a feeling of optimism in there.
Q: Finally, just how close is this team to fulfilling your expectations?
A: I think we're close. I thought last year, the way we were playing down the stretch and we didn't play some of our best football on the road, but we had a chance without stretching it too much to be 12-4. Baltimore, that game got stolen from us. So we're 11-5. Then Cincinnati and Washington, we were the (pits). Without stretching it too much, we're 12-4. Then we get a home-field game here in the playoffs. Now, does that guarantee anything this year? No, it doesn't. But, like I said, we are right there. If, Matt has a good year; Koren Robinson comes back and has a good year; Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson stay healthy. We have the people here to do this.
If you're not excited for Seahawks football right now, you might as well be dead. It's finally "now time" for the Seahawks. Can September 12 come already?
WINTERSPRINGSUMMERFOOTBALL (Now THAT'S an ad campaign!)
A Jim Moore column that doesn't mention Amber Lancaster or Jeff Cirillo!
Well, believe it. Or not. I'm walking on air, I never thought I could feel so free. Flyin' away on a wing and prayer, who could it be? Believe it or not, it's just me.
Anyways, the Go2Guy interviewed ESPN's John Clayton, who is the man when it comes to NFL coverage. I can criticize ESPN for many things, but they do a great job when it comes to the NFL. Clayton is one of the main reasons why that is the case.
Read the column. Trust me, there's no references to Cirillo.
One more thing, I'm looking forward to seeing Clayton kick Sean Salisbury's ass on "4 Downs" this season, if they bring that segment back.
Any which way you put it, this sure took long enough. Not only was a Mariner road win a long time coming in the scope of the last few weeks, it took a long time tonight as well.
Ron Villone made his usual 5-6 inning start (full six tonight) that makes the broadcast crew drool and say he's incredibly versatile and dependable (I still think it's overrating, but if it's a conspiracy to drive up his trade value, I'm all for it). My response to Rovo's starts is that even with a "great" start like tonight, you still need one or two guys to get the game to Eddie Guardado, in effect putting more workload on the bullpen, which will probably get even more work when the younger kids are starting, domino effect occurs, etc. On the bright side, Villone was perfect through 2 1/3 innings. The shutout was spoiled before he could get the third out in that inning. With two out, David Eckstein on first, and Bengie Molina at second, Chone Figgins hit a grounder to Jolbert Cabrera at short, who tried to force out Eckstein at second, but his throw was a little wide of Bret Boone, and not to the glove side. Molina scored, and thus began the Angels' gradual comeback.
A one-out RBI double by Molina in the 4th made it 5-2 Mariners before Vlad Guerrero busted out the sand wedge and basically hit a home run one-handed in the 5th on a 1-1 count to make it 5-3 Mariners. Villone and JJ Putz held that lead, and got the ball to Eddie Guardado in the 9th, with Robb Quinlan, Molina, and Tim Salmon due up. Quinlan has been tearing it up as of late, and he rifled a hot shot to Boone at second, who knocked the ball down, but it trickled away from him toward the outfield. Molina then stepped to the plate and got sufficient wood on Guardado's 2-2 pitch and hit it out to left to tie the game at 5. Guardado was visibly ticked. He's been ticked about the team's performance, but rest assured he's ticked at himself after the postgame tirade yesterday. They got the ball to him in the 9th in this one for the first time in quite a while, and he couldn't nail it down. It's frustrating for us all, and watching Guardado pitch is one of the few things from the Mariners that has brought me joy this year.
So the game went to extra innings, where it basically became The Bobby Madritsch Show. The Lakota lefty threw two quick innings in the 10th (helped by Justin Leone diving stab off Alfredo Amezaga) and 11th, and got through some decent turbulence in the 12th and 13th. Vlad Guerrero hit a single to center to move Garret Anderson (winning run) to third in the 12th, but Randy Winn threw the ball in to Bret Boone, who caught Vlad too far off first base for a vital first out. Jose Guillen (righty facing lefty) was then walked to keep the double play in order, and to face Darin Erstad, who then popped out to Boone. Josh Paul pinch-hit for Amezaga, and whiffed with a half-swing on an 0-2 pitch as Madritsch quickly hopped off the mound and toward the dugout. Madritsch induced a groundout from Chone Figgins to end the game (13th) with pinch-runner Curtis Pride (deaf, if I'm not mistaken) in scoring position.
Of course, I've totally neglected to mention the Mariner offense. Eight hitters made Aaron Sele throw a whopping 37 pitches in the first. It looked like Sele might weasel his way out of it having only given up the RBI single to Bret Boone, but Jolbert Cabrera rattled one into the LF corner to score two and stake Villone out to a 3-0 lead before taking the mound. Two more runs came in the 3rd, when Cabrera was on first with two out, and Sele hung a curve over the inside corner to Justin Leone, who smashed a majestic arc just beyond the fence in leftcenter to make it 5-0.
The winner for the Mariners was Bret Boone's two-out single on a 2-2 pitch from Kevin Gregg (you know, the four-wild-pitches-in-one-inning guy) to score Ichiro (on board with a double, his fifth hit of the game) in the 13th.
On another note from Boone, he nearly got the Mariners ahead in the 11th when he just got under a hanging Francisco Rodriguez breaking ball (can't remember if it was the slider). The microphones were cranked high enough (and Boone's voice loud enough) where you could hear Bret cursing a well-known higher being/deity. This harkened back memories for me from the 2001 Home Run Derby, where Alex Rodriguez was up, and he wasn't getting good contact yet, and on national television, you could clearly hear him say, "Sh!+, I suck!!" after one of the pitches. A great, joyful moment for all, it was.
Gameball: Bobby Madritsch. Four innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. When he harnessed his pitches (there were A LOT of high pitches there to start out), he did a pretty solid job. I was impressed with his poise in the 12th. Most importantly, he gave the Mariners another chance to win this game, and without burning any more of the bullpen arms. Good job for his second Major League victory.
Goat: Miguel Olivo. 0-for-6 with five strikeouts. Though Bucky Jacobsen had Olivo beat with stranded runners (4-0), Olivo's 5-4 strikeout edge takes the cake here. I know three is a hat trick and four is a golden sombrero, but what the hell do you call FIVE strikeouts? I haven't a clue.
Meche. Ortiz. Eighteen hours.
[Edit ~1:02a -- Lastly, I forgot to mention that Ichiro's hit streak is now at 21 games. His fourth of five hits tonight netted Amy Lee of Spokane (not of pseudo-Christian band Evanescence) $1800 worth of crap from the Safeway $1M Baseball Magic contest thingamajig. Congrats, Amy! Enjoy the free crap!]
[Edit ~1:11a -- Congrats to the USS Mariner guys on their new domain/server. Those with RSS feeds are probably advised to adjust accordingly to the new address.]
By the trading deadline at 1 p.m. tomorrow, the Mariners are expected to have made deals involving infielder Dave Hansen and left-handed reliever Mike Myers, names that have been in play for some time.
As a result of the moves, or at least that of Hansen, Seattle hopes to create room on the major-league roster to bring up shortstop Jose Lopez from Class AAA Tacoma, a promotion regarded as imminent.
"We'll end up doing something, I couldn't tell you how many right now," general manager Bill Bavasi said. "Nothing earthshaking. It's going to be a boring deadline period for us."
Bavasi was too busy scarfing down Dodger Dogs the past 4 years to notice the exciting deadline period in Seattle. Yeah, nothing happened. I'd rather not talk about it, at the risk of going insane.
As for Jose Lopez, he will take playing time away from Willie Bloomquist. Oh, and he's supposed to be pretty good. Heh.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Case in point: Top of the 9th, 2 outs, Mariners up 5-3. Scott Spiezio gets on with a double. Hey, he made himself useful! In this situation, any smart Major League manager would bring Edgar Martinez off the bench to pinch hit for Jolbert Cabrera.
One problem: Bob Melvin is the Mariners manager.
Believing in giving even the worst of ballplayers an opportunity, Melvin decides to bring in Ramon Santiago to pinch-hit for Cabrera. To no one's surprise, Santiago grounds out. Going to the bottom of the 9th, up 5-3...with Every Once In A While Eddie Guardado coming on.
What does Eddie do? He gives up an infield single to Rob Quinlan, then gives up a 2-run home run to Bengie Molina. Of course, Bengie has hit Mariner pitching very well in 2004. So has his brother Jose. There's no telling what their younger brother Yadier could do against Seattle. (He's in St. Louis, however) Ballgame tied at 5.
Ron Villone goes 6 innings tonight, giving up just 1 earned run on 6 hits. Personally, I think he should be traded, but in the end, he'll still be in Seattle. Somebody has to take Joel Pineiro's innings for the next 6 weeks.
I could give the gameball to Milli tonight, but it has to go to Bobby Madritsch. He's a man, baby. 4 innings of scoreless baseball. He's now 2-0 in his week with the big club. As Rich Waltz was saying on the radio telecast, he hasn't had a soft landing. Hopefully he can keep this up.
I'm spent. Nice win. It's just too bad it couldn't have come over an hour and a half ago.
Gil Meche. Pedro Lite. Tomorrow. (Could this be the last start for Meche in a Mariner uniform? Stay tuned.)
Oh yeah, Vladimir Guerrero is overrated. Right.
More to come later...
Stick this in your "Raul Ibanez is a great guy" file, because I don't give a damn.
Of course, it was more entertaining than the John Kerry acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. (Please don't talk politics in the comments box below, thank you very much. I choose not to state my political views on here for a reason.)
Oh, yeah, right.....I know what y'all want to see.
-- That whole Randy Johnson trade to the Yankees is looking less and less likely to happen. Surprise. There's nothing the Yankees can send the other way, or at least nothing they want to send the other way in terms of prospects. Curbing the outflow of prospects appears to be the name of the game at this juncture in Yankeeland. Also in this same Scott Miller article is a mention of the Mariners possibly being a third team in a Steve Finley-to-San Diego trade. Let's just hope nothing weird happens, i.e., Jeff Cirillo back to Seattle or something weird like that.
-- Ricky Williams failed a third test for marijuana. It's become apparent that Ricky knew months before the announcement that he was going to walk from football, so yes, he did indeed royally screw the Dolphins, their fans, etc. Can we say he pretty much chose pot over football? It might not be a stretch. By the way, I have to say that I'm in stitches every time KJR plays those "It's just a little pot!!" sound clips they lifted from those anti-pot PSAs, which they play pretty much every time they talk about this Ricky Williams deal.
-- Here's the "so much for shaking the core" article concerning the Vancouver Canucks, who announced the re-signing of center Brendan Morrison hours after goalie Dan Cloutier got the same treatment. Morrison was seeking a long-term deal, but instead only got a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. Why? Long-term deals aren't exactly being handed out left and right given the unsureness concerning the next collective bargaining agreement.
-- Lastly, Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes have made an offer to 40-year-old Brett Hull. I don't much like Hull, but he's damn good. If you squint your eyes, you can almost convince yourself that the Coyotes' red sweaters look kinda like the Red Wings' red tops.
Are y'all pumped for the Mariner game in about four hours? Yeah, me neither.
About an hour or two after I posted about the original rumors, Softy got a guy from the Kansas City Star onto the show to basically say that the Royals' brass has basically laughed at the same rumor all week.
Yes, it's total crap.
We've seen the Mariners take on stupid money before (McCracken), but $37.5M over three years is a hell of a lot of money, so I doubted the deal was coming to fruition, and I didn't really want it to happen anyway.
Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
[Edit ~10:45a -- Softy Mahler is railing on John Hickey's article today, basically saying that it was worded to say that some random hack called in cancelling Gil Meche's interview. Softy says it was a representative with the Rainiers that called to say Meche couldn't make the interview, and not some Joe Schmo that called bringing that message.]
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
The quote itself (and its original post reaction) is this...
"We plan to show up and give them a good run."
So really, only the first two words were changed, and the words are indeed out of Bill Bavasi's mouth, so I think it's paraphrased as opposed to indirect.
Regarding other things toward the top of the page, enabling Denmark font will help you see all the post headlines in a font similar to the logo at the top of the page. Enabling 1024x768 screen resolution will help you fit the entire logo on one screen. In my experience, 800x600 makes it necessary to scroll right to see the entire Sports and B's logo. These two are just aesthetic/visual things, nothing much.
About the final tinkering in the intro paragraph, yes, I'm back in the town of B, so yes, one of us is actually in Bremerton.
As for other things having to do with the site, I do realize we're damn near three months behind on the weekly description thing, which was intended for Jeremy, I, and the readers to get more than just the archive dates on the side; they'd get little blips as to what was going on that week, and maybe have an easier time getting to what they wanted. Granted, it's a high-maintenance thing, but one day, we'll get around to it.
Finally, we're just a couple weeks from the one-year mark for Sports and B's, and to somewhat commemorate the occasion, we'll be working on a Sports and B's Hall of Fame, because quite frankly, there's a few Bremerton athletes that we feel deserve to be in it. What would come with an entry? Probably a permanent and periodically updated post, a picture if we can dig one up, and some accompanying links. That and a permanent link on the sidebar to said post. Should be fun.
To those of you in disbelief that we're nearing the one-year mark here at Sports and B's, it's most likely because we didn't really get linked by the bulk of the blogosphere until a couple of months into our existence (though right before the blogosphere went from about six to twenty-plus in the span of a couple of weeks). I like to say that this enabled us to hone our craft before we delved into the main Mariner readership with our brand of stuff.
Anyway, readers, thanks for sticking with us in my absence in the recent past, thanks for sticking with Jeremy while I was gone, thanks for putting up with my blogpost reacclimation period, and if there's anyone that's been with us since around November of last year, big thanks for sticking with us through the many evolutions of Sports and Bremertonians as we know it.
Thanks, all. Tomorrow is upon us.
R = number of games in Mariners' current road losing streak
I = number of games in Ichiro's current hitting streak
Jamie Moyer went all Pedro/Randy on us (with strikeouts, not blazing speed or arm/back problems), but it was all for naught in today's loss, by a score of 3-2 to the Oakland A's.
Ichiro is now at 20 games in his hit streak, while the Mariners have lost 15 straight games on the road (gaffes in my previous posts regarding this number have been rectified).
As for the Mariner offense, one might expect little to no scoring opportunities for the Mariners against a pitcher of Mark Mulder's calibre, and today was no surprise. The Mariners' only real scoring chances (usually by this I mean "runner in scoring position with less than two out") were in the 3rd and 8th.
In the 3rd, Ichiro, Randy Winn, and Bret Boone played Singlefest-where-nobody-scores with one out, then Bucky Jacobsen was caught looking. Mulder really wasted the pitch on 0-2 to Raul Ibanez, uncorking a wild pitch to score Ichiro. Raul was caught looking on the next pitch.
In the 8th, Bret Boone ended up on third after a double and an error by Eric Byrnes on the throw from centerfield. After what was probably an insufficiently deep fly ball to leftfield by Bucky (this wasn't a TV game), Ibanez hit a comebacker to the mound that Mulder snared. Bret Boone was caught dead in-between third and home. There goes your go-ahead run. Scott Spiezio was the next hitter. Okay, I'll tell you what he did: he popped out to short. If Boone was still on third after the Ibanez play, we can only hope that Bob Melvin would have pinch-hit for Spiezio, maybe with Edgar or some sort of half-viable rightie option off the bench.
The quote that I heard on the KONG sports segment at 10 (and backed up by the wire) was Hasegawa saying that Eric Byrnes "closed his eyes" before he hit that homer. After seeing the homer on the highlight reel, I have to say the pitch was pretty freakin' high, and Byrnes pretty much tomahawked it out just to the left of the stairs in leftfield. Boy, what a year for Hasegawa. It's been a painful one.
As for the events of the 9th inning, Ken Levine's Law applies: the leadoff walk always comes around to score unless it doesn't. This time, it did, and there was nothing Ichiro's arm could do about it.
Gameball: Jamie Moyer. Easy choice here, and he really did get screwed. Seven innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts, 105 pitches (69 strikes). His ERA of 4.29 in comparison to the three pitchers in the game after him: Shig Hasegawa (5.64), Mike Myers (5.33), Julio Mateo (5.05). Great numbers for three of the main veteran (use term loosely with Mateo) guys in the Mariner bullpen. Remember back in the day when Arthur Rhodes' ERA was under 1 for the longest time? We're light years away from that. By "we" in this case, I mean both the fans/readers as well as Rhodes.
Goat: Willie Bloomquist. 0-for-4 with a strikeout, stranding one. Is it unfair that Bucky hits a solo BuckyBlast(TM), but strikes out once and strands six runners, yet I don't give him the goat? Who cares?!! On three occasions, Bloomquist got out (caught looking in 3rd, bounced to Mulder in 5th, bounced to short in 7th), and Ichiro got on base behind him (infield single, walk, single). If Bloomquist gets on base just one out of those three times, well, it certainly would have helped. The one time Bloomquist did get on base (9th inning), Miguel Olivo was forced out on the ground ball he hit. I know it's Mark Mulder out there, but hey, welcome to playing every day in the big leagues.
And to those who didn't get Jeremy's extremely witty final line of his game post...
Villone. Sele. Tomorrow.
Could this season get any worse? Sure it can.
There's two more months.
The only positive that can come out of today's ballgame in Oakland is that the A's drew 40,998 for Root Beer Float Day, raising $50,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Good job, Oakland.
You know the Microsoft Home Runs for Kids promotion at Safeco Field? In spirit of the 2004 Mariners and Oakland's Root Beer Floats, they should change the promotion to Microsoft/A&W Willie Bloomquist Outs For Kids. Today, Willie was 0-for-4. Wolf Pride!
Milli. Gutless Viking. Tomorrow.
The P-I's Mike Thompson blogs today about the possibility of the Mariners moving their AAA club to Portland. The Padres would move their AAA club, currently in Portland, to Tacoma for 2005, then move to Reno for the 2006 season.
It makes sense on all fronts. First of all, the Rainiers are in financial trouble. Owner George Foster has tried to sell the club for a few years, but hasn't been successful. Cheney Stadium needs improvements, but of course, they haven't been done.
As for the Padres, it would make perfect sense for them to move their AAA club to Reno, a shorter flight from San Diego. The people of Portland don't really give a rat's ass about the Padres. If the Mariners move their AAA club to Portland, the attendance at PGE Park will go up.
What would happen to baseball in Tacoma, if there isn't a AAA club in town? Say hello to the Northwest League. And if that doesn't happen, then the independent Northern League is always a phone call away. They're looking to expand and Tacoma could be a candidate, if there's no team in Cheney Stadium.
Obviously, I'm not in the Northwest right now. But if I was, I would definitely make a few road trips to Portland to watch the Mariners AAA club. (PGE Park trip from 2001; me, David, and our friend Grant)
There's much more to do after a game in Portland than there is in Tacoma. So, in that case, I'm in favor of the Mariners switching their AAA affiliation from Tacoma to Portland.
David will have his take on this soon enough, I know he will.
BEAVER FEVER, SNATCH IT!!! (I should have gotten the shirt when I had the chance)
I'd do that deal in a heartbeat.
I like Mike Sweeney. He's a damn good hitter who would help the Mariners big time. And the Mariners like guys who are good in the community. Sweeney fits the bill.
One problem: His contract.
Mike Sweeney 1B/DH KAN Signed Mar 2001 - 5 years/$55M
-No-trade clause 2002 & 03, 8 team NTC each year thereafter
-Can void deal after 2004 if Royals finish below .500 in 2003 AND 2004
-Salary rises to $12.5M per year if traded
That's $12.5 million each of the next 3 seasons, if he's traded to Seattle. Mike Sweeney is a good player, but he's not worth $12.5 million a season.
However, you can look at it like this. The Mariners don't sign free agents to big time money (see Miguel Tejada), so this could be their chance to get a big money player. But again, Sweeney is not worth $12.5 million a season.
And no David, I can't see the M's cutting their losses with Scott Spiezio. He hasn't performed his pregame concert with Sandfrog yet, scheduled for September.
Apparently, they were supposed to have Gil Meche on at 9:05am for an interview. He was suddenly unavailable. They were told by the Rainiers and some other source I probably forgot (probably the Mariners) that nobody (including Gil Meche) cancelled, but that he was unavailable. When KJR asked why he was unavailable, they gave the response along the lines of "you'll know soon enough."
This led KJR to suspect a trade involving Gil Meche. The trade? Apparently they corroborated this speculation with the Newark Star-Ledger, and I can't find the article. It's Gil Meche and some arms to the Royals for Mike Sweeney. Yes, he's a power hitting first baseman, but he also has an oft-injured back and is due around $37M on his contract.
Is there a plan here? Are they thinking about cutting their losses on Scott Spiezio even though he has two years left on his deal?
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Ryan Franklin tonight played a familiar role, the role of "pitch fairly well, but get screwed." The Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning, and the only run they scored came across on Edgar Martinez' double-play ball. Yuck.
The Mariners' 1-0 lead was erased in the 2nd, when Erubiel Durazo blasted one down the line past Scott Spiezio at first to score Scott Hatteberg. Bobby Crosby scored from third later in the inning on a deep fly ball (high probability of scoring) to centerfield (Randy Winn's arm/mechanics; 100% chance of run scoring) to put the A's up 2-1.
The game stayed that way until Ryan Franklin caught too much of the plate with a fastball and Bobby Crosby jumped all over it to make it 3-1 in the 4th. Mark McLemore burned his old mates with a 2-out RBI single in the 5th. The A's capped their scoring with an Eric Chavez opposite-field mash off of George Sherrill, a home run that for me echoed shades of the walk-off homer down the line he hit against Kazu Sasaki a couple years ago.
Accordingly, the Mariners capped their scoring in the 7th when Justin Leone hit a 2-run bomb with one out to bring the Mariners within one at that point (4-3).
One disturbing trend the Mariners showed in the early going was the inability to stay back on Mark Redman's changeup, surely aiding in at least one (can't count it off the top of my head) of the three double plays they grounded into in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th innings.
I listened to KJR's postgame show tonight, and there were two main topics:
-- (1) Why was Willie Bloomquist up with one out, Octavio Dotel on the mound and Miguel Olivo on first in the 9th with the Mariners down 5-3? (Bucky Jacobsen was on the bench, and Ramon Santiago could have taken Bloomquist's spot in the field if needed)
-- (2) What is Willie Bloomquist still doing on this team anyway?
Naturally, Jason Puckett rushed to Bloomquist's defense in some way because Bloomquist does a segment with Softy Mahler every Tuesday and he does some stuff for the station. Puckett did say that he was glad Bloomquist was getting the chance to prove his worth (one way or the other), but also conceded that his role may diminish even further as more and more young guys get brought up and are given more playing time. Puckett does think Bloomquist is an asset to the team due to his ability (should I put that in quotes?) to play multiple positions.
"If this guy wasn't from Port Orchard, would he even have a job in the Major Leagues?" --a postgame caller
Granted, I can't give Bloomquist the goat for the second night in a row because he had two hits (damn!), but what did I see out of him (I wasn't in front of the TV for the whole game)?
-- (1) He short-hopped Dave Hansen at first on a fairly routine ground ball (Bobby Crosby's grounder) in the 8th, and the ball went into foul territory. I think Miguel Olivo was the next person to touch the ball; he being the catcher backing up the throw in first-base foul ground.
-- (2) When he was up in the 9th against Dotel, did you see his reaction after that first fastball? It was as if he was marveling at the speed, one of those "whew!"-type air-blowing-outward gestures, except triggered by a feeling of dismay or helplessness (you could see it when they were showing his stat graphic). Once he did that, I knew he was done. The next pitch was high at 96 mph and he barely got a bat on it to foul it off, then Dotel whipped a slider about 10 inches or so off the outside corner on the third pitch and Bloomquist was done.
Gameball: Ryan Franklin. It's sort of by default. It wasn't his best line of the year, but he did get through seven (4 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts). If the Mariners get even one more run out of that situation in the first, he might pitch differently and the game may take a whole different course, who knows. Ryan didn't get royally screwed as he has in some past outings, but he gave up four runs tonight, and his ERA is 5.20, so from a pure painfully-obvious number standpoint, he pitched better than expected.
Goat: Randy Winn. 0-for-3 with a walk. Randy had his 11-game hit streak snapped, which is pretty inopportune considering Ichiro got on base twice ahead of him. Winn got his walk and bounced into a fielders' choice with Ichiro on base.
Will Ichiro make it twenty? Will the Mariners make it fifteen? Get ready for a nine-inning lunch tomorrow with the Not-So-Ambiguously Bad, Poor Excuse for a Baseball Team.
Moyer. Mulder. Tomorrow.
Anyways, Bob Melvin before tonight's ballgame admitted that Monday's umpiring crew did a "good job". Give me a f***ing break, Bob.
Sure, in most cases, hindsight plays into the situation. But dammit, what does this do for Travis Blackley? DEFEND YOUR TEAM, BOB! It doesn't matter if he thinks that the umps were "right".
Lou Piniella wouldn't have admitted he was wrong in the press. If there's one change in 2005 that I want to see, I want Melvin gone. I don't give a damn if he's extended for 2005. This team isn't going anywhere with Bob Melvin.
Oh, and Willie Bloomquist sucks. Thank you and tip your waitress. (WHERE WAS BUCKY JACOBSEN? WE LIKE BUCKY BLASTS, NOT BUCK'S A&W!!!)
Cris Carter proclaims the Seattle Seahawks as the 2nd best team in the NFC, behind Philadelphia.
The Seattle Seahawks are the second-best team in the NFC. If they have a good regular season, it will come down to Seattle and Philadelphia for home-field advantage in the playoffs and the inside track on this year's Super Bowl.
I agree with this statement. It will come down to the Eagles and Seahawks for home field. These are the two best teams in the NFC going into training camp. Both teams should win their divisions. However, I won't shed a tear if the Eagles earn the #1 seed overall. I believe that the Seahawks will be improved on the road in 2004. Hell, the only direction they can go is up.
Give me an Eagles-Seahawks NFC Championship Game. It doesn't matter where it is played, just give it to me.
Carter on the Seahawks:
The Seattle Seahawks will benefit from their experience in last year's playoffs and Mike Holmgren, after years of struggling, finally has the team that he wants in Seattle. People in Seattle should be excited about the team and what Holmgren is doing. Things are really looking up for the Seahawks.
Matt Hasselbeck is growing into a confident quarterback and has good weapons in Shaun Alexander and a good young receiving corps. If Darren (Darrell!) Jackson and Koren Robinson can cut out half of last year's drops, the Seahawks offensive production will explode.
On defense, newcomers Grant Wistrom at defensive end and Bobby Taylor at cornerback will be the catalysts for Seattle. These two guys are solid veterans coming from winning teams.
OK, he got Darrell Jackson's name wrong. But he's right on the money with everything else concerning the Seahawks.
He does have the Eagles beating the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, but that's to be expected. A ton of "experts" are picking the Eagles to win the NFC in 2004, and with good reason. They added Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse to a team who has had a lot of success over the past 4 years. But I still don't think it will be enough.
I need to save some of my "expertise" for my big NFL preview (coming sometime in late August-early September). I can't help myself though, I'm so ready for football.
Or, better yet, I'm So Taguchi for football.
Here's the link Jeff posted in the comments box(NSFW, only because of the porn links on the left)
Here's a link to the video that I had found as well. (Click on "Classic Jim Rome Video" on the left)
Our readers rule. That's all there is to it.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are on vacation. That's cool.
But who does ESPN have in place of those guys on PTI today?
Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.
What, Stephen is going to lay Slava Medvadenko on us? Bayless had to take a break from kissing Jim Rome's ass?
I need to find a video of Jim Everett kicking Rome's ass.
-- Will Derting has made Rivals.com's list of first-team preseason all-Americans. To those not wanting to hit the link, Jason White of Oklahoma was first-team, and Matt Leinart of USC was second-team.
-- The Atlanta Thrashers have picked up Scott Mellanby to skate alongside Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk. Scary.
-- In his first press conference after being hired as GM by the Vancouver Canucks, Dave Nonis mentioned that he would be shaking up the core. I thought that an element of this shakeup would be letting Dan Cloutier walk. Wrong. He's back on for another year in the Vancouver net. I'm not completely against this if he gets another 30 wins (or an equal percentage) next year. Unfortunately, getting injured in Game 3 against Calgary hindered him from truly sinking or swimming in the playoffs last year. So what's left for shaking up the core? Maybe it's Todd Bertuzzi sitting out for a looooong time. Maybe it's Markus Naslund going back to Sweden for good. Who knows.
-- The CBC has a pretty good Olympic schedule up, including the all-important link to their broadcast schedule, which is available in .pdf format. Swimming week is the 14th through 21st, whereas medal rounds for trampoline will be held on the 20th and 21st. For those wondering, the CBC shows a lot of stuff live (waaaaaay more than NBC), and basically lets the games take over the network.
More later. Thanks for stopping by, Sports and B's readers.
Former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will sign with the Minnesota Vikings, pending a physical.
He will most likely be on the Vikings practice squad in 2004, but stranger things have been known to happen. Starting defensive end Kenny Mixon was suspended by the NFL today for 2 games for violating the anti-substance abuse policy, so if Lesnar can impress the Vikings during traiing camp, he could be on the 53-man roster at the start of the season. I doubt it, but again, stranger things have been known to happen.
Walk on they did, as the Mariner pitching staff allowed 14 free passes tonight on the way to a 14-5 stinker of a loss to the Oakland A's. All in all, what a great start to a 14-game road trip. By the way, Ichiro's hitting streak is edging out the Mariners' road losing streak by a margin of 18-13.
I'd like to start out by saying that I left the house right after Travis Blackley got out of the jam in the second, and mowed down the A's 1-2-3 in the 3rd. The Mariners had a 5-0 lead a half-inning later, and Blackley had walked only two batters. Blackley was missing with the claw/cricket changeup at that point, but as they'd tell us back in Legion ball, Travis "lived down," with an alternative version of that adage being "if you're going to miss, miss low." Of course, it goes without saying that you can't miss too much, and I feel safe saying that even though I didn't see the innings after that, that's more than likely what happened.
In the early innings, the Mariners staked out the Aussie to a 5-0 lead, thanks in part to RBI singles by Raul Ibanez and Ichiro, a Justin Leone moon shot, and (what's this?) a 2-run double into the LCF gap by Willie Bloomquist. I have to say, it might be a slam-moratorium here at Sports and B's tonight for Willie Bloomquist, unless I make him partially to blame on Scott Hatteberg's RBI "double" in the 8th that got between him, Randy Winn, and Ibanez, but it's mostly Winn's fault. On a truly nit-picky note, Bloomquist was way out on his front foot hitting that ball, but you can't argue with results in this instance. The other reason for the Mariners' early surge in offense was the lack of sharpitude from Barry Zito. The big 75 was missing high with his curveball, leaving the Mariner hitters to guess between only the fastball and the changeup, while laying off the obvious out pitch. The only time I saw Zito's curve in top form was the triple-whiff Bret Boone strikeout to lead off the third. A refreshing moment was when Zito tried to sneak a fastball past Edgar Martinez to lead off the 2nd, but Edgar mashed it to left for a double.
And since I missed most of the ruckus involved with the retracted Fox Sports report saying that Joel Pineiro had a torn elbow ligament and would need ligament replacement (i.e., Tommy John) surgery, I guess I'm glad I didn't get too caught up in it. That said, I probably think there's nothing to gain if the Mariners think Joel and Raf Soriano should see the mound for the big club this year. They won't be 100%, the team's not in a pennant race; shut them down, or just have them do sim games, throw on the side, winter ball, who knows. I just don't think there's any benefit to having them on the big club for the rest of the year. That said, Bobby Madritsch, here's your rotation spot, now do something with it. That's what I'd tell him, at least.
Before I toss out the gameball and goat, I'll throw in two bonuses here that come with me waiting for the phone line to clear up (damn 56k).
Bonus number one: Travis Blackley is 21 years old.
The guy above is 18 in the picture, but is 22 now. He's only about 15-20 pounds heavier at the moment, and just took some decent hacks (batting cage) the other day. He's okay defensively and has no worse than a Randy Winn arm. Luis Ugueto's on the AAA team, right? This guy at least has to get a Tacoma spot, but he'll totally settle for a spot on the San Antonio roster.
Bonus number two: I jotted notes from KJR's Baseball's Best Postgame Show, which tonight was Jason Puckett flying solo, doing a half-hour by himself, but taking no calls. It may remind you of the Canuck radio postgame jotting I did a few months ago. Enjoy...
KJR POSTGAME (Jason Puckett monologue)
What a great way to start the trip. Joel Pineiro will miss some time. Not a pretty ballgame. Unable to get anything going. Travis Blackley wild, 9 walks. Lead of 5-0 blown. 3rd inning was his best. Only good outing is the Houston Astros (ed.: actually Texas, I think). Probably not ready for Major League. Nageotte and Thornton sent down right away after having control problems. Walks too plentiful. One might say it's exactly what Blackley needs (5-0 lead). In the 4th, against Kotsay, if he gets out of that situation, he gives up less runs.
Mariners get their hits, Ichiro. Pitching staff can't control itself though. Blackley 4 IP, 3 hits, walks 9, 6 ER, 94 pitches (41 strikes). Sherrill 1 IP. Putz 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 21 pitches (9 strikes). Young'uns not getting it done right now. Nerves or whatever it is is haunting the Mariners right now. Mariners had 5-0 lead, then Kielty walked, Miller singled, got dangerous when Byrnes walked. Scutaro popped up (big out, 2 outs). Got two strikes on Kotsay, who battles back. Breaking ball broke over, didn't get call. Fastball was (umpire) low and away. Melvin and Price (ejected when Crosby was up) mad at the call. Chavez singled, Crosby nailed at third by Bucky. SEA 5-4, but Oakland came back against Sherrill, walking too many guys, putting too many on base. SEA had opportunities, Zito not sharp.
Mariners scoring runs early and getting to starting pitchers, which they did in the homestand.
One good start against Houston. Blackley booed when he gave up three home runs in a game. This is supposedly the cream of the crop of the pitching, but have we seen anything yet? Has anyone thoroughly impressed you? Nageotte's first start was awesome. Blackley's first start was good. It was fun. Is it living up to the hype right now? One might say no, but what were really the expectations for the Blackleys, Nageottes, Putzes, etc.? This team is 21 games under .500. They're not working on getting back into the race, they're getting ready and developing players for next season. This is part of the growing pains.
Mariners 12 hits, but only 5 runs. Innings 4-8 did the damage for Oakland, namely the 4th-6th (12 runs). Offense for Mariners is Ichiro (3-5, RBI 2 LOB), Ibanez (1-5, 6 LOB), Mariners total 19 LOB. Leone another mammoth HR (3rd, 4 LOB). One thing encouraging about Leone is power to CF, problem is offspeed stuff. For Oakland, Kotsay 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI. Lost Chavez, but stayed in race, Chavez 3 hits. Miller, Byrnes 3 hits each.
How can Oakland continue to do what they've done, losing stars and getting injured? Impressive to watch.
Young Seattle pitching staff continuing to show its youth. From not missing a start last year to becoming big concern. Pineiro has strained flexor bundle, experienced some soreness in 8th inning last night. Not a ligament tear. FOX Sports originally reported ligament tear and ligament replacement surgery, later retracted. Will be reevaluated after the road trip. That's Pineiro and Soriano that are on the shelf, possibly shut down for the rest of the season (who knows?). Would you even try to bring these guys back this year? Is it worth it even if they're 90% healthy? Might be running risks; how much would they have to gain from late-season action? Pineiro might not have serious ligament damage, but this is a pitching elbow. You don't want to risk anything, especially with the histories the Mariners have had with Ryan Anderson, Meche, etc. Somewhat scary for organization banking on young arms...don't want to say they've failed yet. Blackley hasn't had enough experience yet, but you can't be pleased about the amount of walks that all of these young guys have been giving up.
Zito wasn't awful, but was missing high with the curve and missing with the fastball.
Does Villone stay in rotation? Give a shot to Bobby Madritsch in the rotation? Something so concrete over the last few years (rotation) seems suddenly not so stable.
14 BB given up by Mariner pitching.
Gameball: Edgar Martinez. 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. I really liked the double I saw him hit tonight, and I also saw the walk. I know the legs won't come back, but if the eye does, maybe we'll all be treated to some more magic out of that bat than we've been seeing these first four months.
Goat: Raul Ibanez. 1-for-5, 1 RBI, stranding six. The one hit was a nice hit, I'll give him that. Stranding six runners though...all I think of the guy when he steps to the plate is "they overpaid for the guy...they overpaid for the guy..." When he gets a hit, it makes me think for a second that "okay, they're getting some return from the investment..." When he strands six runners, I think about instigating a chunk-spewing session, which in this case would involve digested Taco Bell Grilled Stuft Burrito (beef, if you were wondering).
Will Ichiro make it 19? Will the Mariners make it 14? Only tomorrow will tell...
Franklin. Redman. Tomorrow.
Monday, July 26, 2004
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
RE! SPECT! WALK!
ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?
ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?
WALK ON HOME, BOY!
14 shades of walk tonight by your Seattle Mariners pitching staff (Travis Blackley 9, George Sherrill 2, J.J. Putz 2, Julio Mateo 0, Mike Myers 1)
That's all from me tonight on the Mariners front. Oh, and thank God that Joel Pineiro won't have to undergo Tommy John surgery.
One ESPN NFL 2K5 related note to pass on...
"Byron to Reggie, Touchdown Jacksonville!"
The Seattle SuperSonics have traded Calvin Booth to the Dallas Mavericks for Danny Fortson.
All together now...
I know who the benefactor in this deal is, and it's not Mark Cuban.
Initial discussion on KJR says that the starting lineup for the Sonics next year consists of this...
PG - Luke Ridnour
SG - Ray Allen
SF - Rashard Lewis
PF - Danny Fortson
C - Vitaly Potapenko
Long story short, Rashard doesn't have to worry about rebounding anymore. Also, Vlad Radmanovic...he's gotta be on his way out or something, because they've got to decide between Rashard and Vlad, and they can't have both.
But hey, they finally got someone who can clean the glass.
The quote from Sonics GM Rick Sund...
We're very happy to have Danny on board as part of our front court. In an effort to improve our rebounding, the addition of Danny, coinciding with Nick Collison returning from his injury, will enhance our physical toughness and defense. Ever since Danny came into the league he has been among the league leaders in rebounds per minute. His rebounding skills will help us tremendously.
Don't get us wrong here, the Sonics still won't be that good, but at least someone will be able to freakin' rebound on this team.
[Edit ~1:16p -- KJR just had one of their regular updates, along with a Kevin Calabro radio clip. After the clip played, Dick Fain said that it was the only Calvin Booth highlight he could find, and it was only Calvin Booth setting a screen for a Ray Allen layup against Cleveland.]
Sunday, July 25, 2004
And hell, some of our readers only read this blog during the week.
So, to start off the "workweek", heeeeeeeere's Ricky!
Well, ESPN NFL 2K5 is so damn good that I basically spent most of Sunday playing it. Yes, I even missed out on the Angels-Mariners game. Oh well.
ESPN NFL 2K5 came out this past Tuesday and is $19.99 at most major retailers. Target even has it for $15.88 this week. A steal if I've ever seen one.
Madden 2005 won't come out until August 10, so ESPN/SEGA has EA Sports beat as far as timing goes. Now, Eddie George is still a Titan in the ESPN game, but if I'm the Titans in a franchise mode, I'll still keep him. Because quite frankly, he's a Titan in my mind, not a Cowboy.
I won't go into a full-blown review on NFL 2K5, only because there are other sites on the web that do a much better job at it than I can do. But I can say a few things about the game.
---This is the best NFL game I've ever played. And that's saying something. I have Madden 2002 and Madden 2004, but the graphics on 2K5 are just sick.
---SEGA really improved their product over the past few years. I rented NFL 2K3 a few years ago and it was just horrible. Good job SEGA, for stepping up and making your product better.
---The Seahawks colors are correct on 2K5! I couldn't believe it.
---2K5 got the Qwest Field name in before the deadline, but their audio track says "Seattle Stadium". I can deal with that. It's no big deal.
---2K5 has the full-blown ESPN presentation. It's simply awesome. Chris Berman should only cover the NFL. He's just that damn good at it.
---The gameplay is outstanding. Again, SEGA improved their gameplay big time.
---There's a Cribs section in 2K5. It's part of the VIP system. You can even play games against the likes of David Arquette, Funkmaster Flex, and Carmen Electra. I beat Courtney Cox's bitch 35-3.
---I've played 2 seasons of Franchise, and so far, so good. Of course, I'm the Seahawks. First year of franchise, I was 10-6 and earned a wild card berth. Won the Super Bowl against Tennessee. But for me, the highlight of the 1st Franchise season was Ken Hamlin laying out Terrell Owens in the NFC Championship Game. T.O. had to leave with a separated shoulder, and the Eagles chances went bye-bye.
---Seahawks-Eagles NFC Championship Game (for real). I'd love to see it in Seattle, but it would be even better if it was in Philly. To see the Seahawks beat the Eagles in the Linc would be hysterical.
---YES, I'M SO F***ING READY FOR FOOTBALL.
---First Person action is in one word, insane.
--- --- --- --- ---
The graphics are killer, the gameplay is great, and everything else is just awesome. Go get ESPN NFL 2K5.
You can still play Madden too, but at least give 2K5 a chance.
That said, not a lot of offense was needed to net the Mariners a victory over Ramon Ortiz, a pitcher who in the past has taken the alter-ego of Pedro Lite and made the Mariners look like mince meat. Now without a stable rotation spot, Ortiz is relegated to spot starting in situations such as Jarrod Washburn getting scratched (i.e., today). Ortiz wasn't all that bad, but Joel was better today, plain and simple. Ortiz gave up three runs in his seven innings, all via Mariner longballs. Dave Hansen put a frozen rope off the rightfield foul pole in the 2nd with Raul Ibanez aboard, and Bucky Jacobsen took an outside pitch the other way in the 7th for a solo BuckyBlast(TM).
After both starting pitchers were out of the game (mid 8th), the score was Mariners 3-1. What happened next? Long story short, Kevin Gregg done lost his mind. I suppose that's what happens when you realize you gave up a leadoff triple to the catcher (Miguel Olivo, and now I can actually believe the assertions that he runs well for a big man) on a full count. While watching Kevin Gregg's pitching motion makes me uncomfortable, Angel fans undoubtedly were made more nauseous by Gregg's four wild pitches and the three runs that crossed the plate in the inning. Bucky Jacobsen saw wild pitches on a 2-1 count and a full count.
Then Eddie Guardado came on in the 9th to protect a five run lead and get some work. He threw some pitches, that's for sure. Bengie Molina hit a leadoff homer over the manual scoreboard in left. Jose Guillen lined out to Dave Hansen at first (ESPN Web Gem recognition), then Darin Erstad bounced out to Bret Boone. Guardado then walked Robb Quinlan and Tim Salmon before getting Jose Molina to whiff.
Also, Ichiro extended his hit streak to 17 games. In a related story, I'm not sure I care.
Another notable play happened in the 2nd. Jolbert Cabrera had singled after Dave Hansen homered with two out. With Scott Spiezio up, Ortiz caught Cabrera napping off of first. This is when Hole-Cab showed us a new and exciting way of trying to avoid/prolong pickoff rundowns: fall down. He tried this at least twice in the rundown, being successful once, and getting "tagged" (it's debatable) by David Eckstein the final time. What can I say, the result was the same old story, but it was new and exciting. Yes, friends, this is the type of morsel we have to reach for nowadays as Mariner fans.
Gameball: Joel Pineiro. His line is just too good for me to go with anyone else, though Miguel Olivo had the Mariners' only multi-hit game (2-for-3, double and triple...extra-base hit madness!! Explolivo!!)
Goat: Scott Spiezio. I'm trying to think of whether some gas stations in Oregon were having a silent "Scott Spiezio's batting average is our gas price" promotion or if some gas station chains are trying to pay him off to have him tank it (pardon the brutal pun). In any event, he's hitting a grand .210. In a related story, I took a tip from one of the OSU students: only tip the gas attendants in Oregon IF they squeegee your windshield. It's a good rule to follow. You're giving up an extra dollar or two anyway when they try to stuff your gas tank to an even dollar amount.
Blackley. Zito. Tomorrow.
[Edit Tue ~12:18a -- Ichiro's streak was 17 after this game, as opposed to the 19 I had originally posted. Bad info or memory lapse...I'm not sure which.]
-- Pat Hentgen, Cy Young Award winner in 1996, is walking away from baseball at the age of 35. He's convinced himself he doesn't have it anymore and he always wanted to retire a Blue Jay. He had a couple really good years, he did.
-- Cotton Fitzsimmons has left us due to complications from lung cancer. I knew him as a standard in the Phoenix Suns hierarchy who was called on multiple times to coach, and I remember as a youngster that he was always a great and fun interview. He will be missed and the family of the Phoenix Suns will miss him dearly.
-- In probably the saddest note of the night, redshirt freshman-to-be and third-string Oregon State cornerback Justin Williams was killed in a car accident in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Wilsonville, Oregon, last night just four hours before I drove the same stretch of roadway going northbound. I had no idea that those events had transpired. After spending six weeks at field camp with some of the Beaver faithful, this one hits a little harder.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of Cotton Fitzsimmons and Justin Williams.
-- The Randy Winn/Raul Ibanez double steal got Bengie Molina to make a wild throw into center(Winn scored), so I guess the Mariners may have actually forced the play there. Imagine that.
-- In the 5th, Ichiro beat David Eckstein's throw to get aboard. For some reason, the Angels pitched out on 2-1, leaving Aaron Sele to face Randy Winn with Ichiro on second and a 3-1 count. Ichiro took off, and Winn drove one into the LCF gap for a triple.
-- JJ Putz didn't give up a run in the 9th. Every other Mariner pitcher didn't fare as well.
Before I say anything else here, I must say one thing. I know I've been gone and not totally in the know over the last six weeks (i.e., I've been hearing nothing more than broadcasts and ESPN Radio), but it sure seems to me like the broadcast crew grossly overrates how well Ron Villone's starts are actually going. I was listening to Dave Henderson on the radio today (yes, my IQ did decrease) saying that part of Villone's "success" was due to him being "effectively wild," in turn keeping the hitters off balance. If you're a young Randy Johnson with mid- to high-90s stuff and can handle huge workloads, great. If you're Ron Villone, all that being effectively wild does is put a bunch of runners on base, ramp up your pitch count, and burn the bullpen. I know I'm saying this even though he's the spot starter, and there should be a lower expectation there, but man, I just don't think he's doing all that great.
No Vlad Guerrero? No Garret Anderson? No problem at all, says Robb Quinlan, who went nuts by hitting a solo shot on a cheap fly ball to rightfield, and drove in three runs total. Also, Bengie freakin' Molina managed to grab a hat trick's worth of hits.
The big blows, though, belonged to Darin Erstad and Josh Paul in the 7th. Julio Mateo had been yanked after Quinlan's game-tying RBI double. Mike Myers came in to face Darin Erstad (lefty/lefty, you know) and a 1-2 pitch was straight down Broadway. Erstad, well, HE GOT ALL OF IT!! Wire story says 415 feet. That gave the Angels the lead they would never relinquish, and then Josh Paul mashed one over the Mariner pen for his first of the year to rub it in.
You know, when I was at field camp (yes, still glad to be done with it), there was an optional field trip day/off day originally scheduled at the end of the first week. That optional field trip was then made mandatory. Angry and sports-deprived, I went to Bleachers in Bend at the end of the second week and saw some much-needed baseball and one of the first things I saw was Francisco Rodriguez throwing that filthy slider. Man alive. When he threw in tonight's game, and they had the behind-the-plate camera view going, it was just sick. He could probably throw a 40-foot slider and I'd hack at it and corkscrew myself into the ground.
Gameball: Randy Winn. 2-for-4 with a walk, triple, steal, and 2 RBI
Goat: Bucky Jacobsen. 0-for-4 with a strikeout, stranding five runners. If there's any Backers out there reading this, I will defend myself by saying that if I was in full posting capacity over the last six weeks, you can bet the ranch that Bucky would have gotten a couple of gameballs.
Ortiz (Washburn was scratched). Pineiro. Tomorrow.
And keep in mind that the Dolphins starting quarterback could be A.J. Feeley.
Of course, Feeley is a lucky bastard, because he's dating Heather Mitts. HEY NOW!
ALRIGHT MIAMI, who's going to run the ball now? (Howard David on the call)
In more football news, I'll have my review of ESPN NFL 2K5 up soon. Not tonight, because my fingers are just ringing from the 6-plus hours I've already played of 2K5 earlier tonight. And you know what?
I may just go play a few more hours. Why not.