Saturday, August 07, 2004
On to business...
Bob Melvin got tossed during the exchange of the lineup cards. I didn't know it was possible to get tossed before the first pitch was thrown, but hey, I've learned two things in two days, I guess. Rene Lachemann took the helm for the day. Ichiro doubled to lead off the game, and Melvin's stupid smallball tactics weren't lost on Lach, or he was yelling them through the tunnel or something. Randy Winn bunted Ichiro to third, and Bret Boone hit hit a double into the gap to drive in Ichiro (SEA 1-0); a double as opposed to a sac fly or popout to the second baseman like I've grown to expect from the Mariners in such situations lately. Better yet, Edgar Martinez followed with a walk and Bucky Jacobsen hit a single to leftcenter to load the bases with one out. The thing about such a situation is that you're always one ground ball away from a double play to end the inning. That's what came off the bat of Jolbert Cabrera. The Mariners had four baserunners in the inning -- three got into scoring position -- and only one of them scored.
Former Cougar/76er/Net/Blue Jay Mark Hendrickson was one of the many no-name pitchers that set down the Mariners last summer during the second-half doldrums. He got out of the jam in the first having only given up the one run, and was to face the bottom third of the Mariner lineup in the 2nd. Jose Lopez singled to leftcenter. Justin Leone legged out an infield single and somehow Lopez ended up on third (I'd like to note here that the game was not televised, and I fell asleep during the radio broadcast. Bad timing, I know). In any event, it didn't matter, because number-nine batter Miguel Olivo hit a three-run bomb to leftcenter (SEA 4-0). What is this thing you call..."power hitting?" Still, the Mariners had the top of the order due up with nobody out. That didn't matter either, as Bret Boone was the only other baserunner in the inning (two-out single).
Fresh off some minimal run support in the form of an Aubrey Huff two-out solo shot off a catwalk element (SEA 4-1), Mark Hendrickson ran into some trouble in the 5th. With one out, Edgar singled and Bucky doubled; both were in scoring position. Jolbert Cabrera whiffed and Jose Lopez bounced out to Rey Sanchez at second.
Hendrickson would run into his last dose of turbulence in the 7th. Winn singled on the first pitch and stole second on a 2-0 pitch to Boone. Boone bounced out to Damian Rolls (he of the .171 batting average) at third. Hendrickson was pulled in favor of Jeremi Gonzalez, who came on to face Edgar. Edgar singled to rightfield, a single that presumably was too shallow or too close to being caught on the fly for Randy Winn to score from second base. With Winn now on third, Bucky drove in the final Mariner run of the game (SEA 5-1) with a sac fly to Rocco Baldelli in centerfield.
Ron Villone would follow suit with his final dose of turbulence in the Tampa Bay half of the 7th. Looking through the play-by-play, it was also his only run-in with a scoring threat in the game. Villone had only thrown 78 pitches heading into the 7th inning. He only threw nine more, however. Five pitches were needed to walk Julio Lugo, and he walked Toby Hall on four pitches -- not exactly the way you want to exit the game. Overall, I'd have to say Villone was pretty efficient except for those last two hitters. I'm fairly satisfied with this Ron Villone start mainly because he got into the 7th, more than what I'm used to seeing out of him. Of course, I'm also aware that the Devil Rays are a crappy hitting team. Straight from the wire article, the Rays are hitting .191 in their last 10 games, and have scored a whopping 29 runs (simple math: 2.9 runs/gm) over that span.
Scott Atchison was summoned to finish the 7th inning with two runners on and nobody out. He got a ground ball from Geoff Blum to force out Hall at second and keep the double play in order, but with Lugo at third. Rey Sanchez hit a sufficiently deep fly ball to left to score Lugo (SEA 5-2) and close the book on Villone (6+ innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 87 pitches (49 strikes)). Apparently Jolbert Cabrera must have airmailed the throw on the play, allowing Blum to scamper to second. Carl Crawford bounced out to Leone at third to end the inning.
Only one baserunner reached for the rest of the game, and it was Bret Boone on a two-out walk in the 9th. Jeremi Gonzalez ate up the final 2 2/3 innings for the Devil Rays and Scott Atchison and JJ Putz pitched 1-2-3 8th and 9th innings, respectively. I woke up during the corporate postgame show and Bob Melvin was saying that he wanted to see Putz in that situation in the 9th (Putz got the save) because he thought Putz was the one guy out of the youth movement of arms that he thought had closer-type stuff. If you ask me...if he's the closer, he's got to be wearing a number other than 20. Come on, that's not a pitcher's number. It's not as bad as Rob Bell wearing 6 for the Rangers after the Ruben Mateo trade a couple years ago, but I still get uncomfortable, dammit. And by the way, surely Bryan Price has been notified that Rich Aurilia is indeed off the team and that number 35 is readily available to take its rightful place on the back of the Mariner pitching coach's uniform? I've never liked seeing the number 27 pop out of the dugout and head toward the mound. I didn't like it the first time I saw it, and I still don't.
Gameball: Miguel Olivo. He's hung up a couple of 0-fers lately and can't block a ball in the dirt to save his life, but if he can belt a 3-run jack out of the nine-slot every once in a while, I can turn the other cheek toward some of that bad stuff.
Goat: Jolbert Cabrera. None of the pitchers sucked today, and Jolbert was the only guy in the lineup with a zero in the hit column. 0-for-4, one strikeout, one GIDP, four stranded runners.
With a win tomorrow, the Mariners will finish with a face-melting 4-10 record on this 14-game road trip. The Mariners have lost 22 of their last 25 on the road. Naturally, the Mariners win games this year in which Jorge Sosa and Mark Hendrickson pitched, as opposed to winning these games LAST year when it MATTERED.
Moyer. Bell. Tomorrow.
Okay, I'll admit I slept through a decent portion of this game. However, I did see the Mariners score their first run, and I saw most of the last half of the game, including the final play, which everyone's been talking about. To aid my filling of gaps (not too many, there weren't many runs scored tonight), I have the usual boxscore, recap, and play-by-play, along with watching the final five innings of the game on Mariners Double Play on FSNNW.
The umpires somewhat came into the forefront on the very first play of the game, when Ichiro served one into rightfield on the second pitch. It was a blatant trap, though it was called an out, and a diving catch by Jose Cruz Jr. The other weird play of the inning involved Bret Boone's strikeout that wasn't caught. He didn't realize that at first, but then scurried to first. No matter though, nobody scored or got into scoring position in the inning.
Ryan Franklin trotted out to the mound in the first and Carl Crawford promptly singled, and drew the obligatory ton of pickoff throws. He did end up stealing second base on a 3-1 pitch to Aubrey Huff, but that was rendered moot when Huff walked. A flyout and lineout by Rocco Baldelli and Tino Martinez would end that threat. Yes, a mere 21 pitches in the first inning for Ryan Franklin. Somewhat dicey.
Dewon Brazelton got two quick outs in the 2nd before he managed to walk Dan Wilson. Justin Leone followed suit with a walk of his own. Both Wilson and Leone had 3-0 counts to start their at-bats. Brazelton wouldn't be quite as wild with Jose Lopez, but Aubrey Huff would. Lopez bounced a ball to Huff at third, who misplayed it (I'm pretty sure he let it by him, and I think it'd have to be that because Dan Wilson would have had to make it home from second on the play). That gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
The Mariner half of the 3rd saw the Mariners both begin and end the hit parade. Boone led off with a single, and Edgar Martinez hit a single of his own to sandwich an all-too-predictable Raul Ibanez flyout. Runners were on first and second for a Murderers Row of Scott Spiezio, Dan Wilson, and Justin Leone. Popout, bean, flyout. End of threat.
And there you have it! Those were the only bona fide scoring opportunities the Mariners had all night. The only innings in which the Mariners weren't retired 1-2-3 were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. There's many ways to slice this up. Tampa Bay pitching (Brazelton and Travis Harper) retired the final 16 Mariner hitters, and 22 of the final 23 (I can make a stat like that since the Mariners only had one baserunner after the 3rd inning, and it wasn't on a hit). Now there were some notables about those 1-2-3 innings: we see that Ichiro and Bloomquist both popped out in foul ground (now THAT's contact!!) to start the 7th, and generally we notice that a ton of the outs were flyouts. The boxscore confirms this, as Dewon Brazelton shows what I'd have to say is a grossly imbalanced ground/fly ratio of 4/19. Brazelton threw eight innings of 2-hit ball, and the only run he allowed was unearned. Travis Harper came out of the bullpen and pitched the final two innings for the Devil Rays.
Ryan Franklin allowed his only run in the 4th. Baldelli legged out an infield single and stood on third after Tino Martinez singled to right. Jose Cruz Jr. hit a fly ball to shallow leftfield, and shortstop Jose Lopez ran back to catch it. Now I don't know if there was any way Raul Ibanez could have caught it (though the wire article's making me think he had a chance), but Lopez caught the ball and obviously had his momentum taking him backward. Baldelli is on third base and realizes this, breaks for home, and scores. Franklin would bounce back and do immediate damage control, getting Robert Fick to bounce into a double play. Franklin's only other inning of turbulence was the 6th, when the bases were loaded with one out on a Baldelli single, Tino infield single, and Cruz ten-pitch hard-fought walk. Luckily, Fick was up again, and it was the same result, except with more style points. In an extremely quick play, Fick lined out to Boone, who quickly flipped to Lopez breaking across the bag at second, forcing out Tino.
The first and final plays of the game weren't the only superfreaky occurrences in the game...Dan Wilson threw out a runner at second (Carl Crawford, no less!) in the 7th!!! And there was much dancing and celebration in the streets.
George Sherrill came on to start the 8th. He needed seven pitches to catch Julio Lugo looking, but got two outs with his next two pitches to end the inning. He was pulled after throwing a wild strikeout pitch to Fick. Of course, wild pitches get more wilder with Miguel Olivo behind the plate. Olivo was catching as a result of Randy Winn pinch-hitting for Wilson. Winn took over in center, Bloomquist moved to third (setting up the defensive alignment for the big finish). Clint Nageotte came in and nailed Rey Sanchez. Geoff Blum bounced out on the next pitch to end the threat.
What I'll say before I get into the weirdness is that Nageotte faced seven batters tonight. Other than an intentional walk and two first pitches that were swung at, three hitters saw first-pitch balls. Worse yet, two of the seven hitters were walked, and another was beaned. Anyway, Nageotte allowed a leadoff single to Carl Crawford (he went 3-for-4 tonight...no better candidate for a winning run). Julio Lugo bunted Crawford over to second. Aubrey Huff was put on first. Baldelli walked. On four pitches. To load the bases. Tino came to the plate. On a 2-2 pitch, he hit a gingerly fly ball of medium depth to leftfield. To a casually observing baseball fan, the play appears to have a catch by Raul Ibanez, who comes up throwing home, and Carl Crawford tagging up at third, seeing the throw coming in, and deciding to hold. The casual baseball fan also reacts in wonderment as to why Crawford is being awarded home plate by third-base umpire Paul Emmel. Meanwhile, in the booth, Rick Rizzs is beside himself, almost throwing his headset onto the field (well, maybe not). Bill Krueger's speculation is what turns out to be the final call. Emmel thinks that Jose Lopez ran toward third and leaned over to intentionally obstruct Carl Crawford's view of the catch, and in turn tried to rob him of having a well-timed jump on the throw. Did I know such a rule existed? Hell no. Was it the correct call? I'm leaning toward no. We know the umpires don't have the power of instant replay, but it did appear to me that Jose didn't do his lean-in until after Crawford had taken off from third. Rizzs tried to use the over-the-field replay to show that Crawford had an unimpeded line of sight between Bloomquist and Lopez to see the catch (and he did have it timed perfectly). I bash Rizzs as a hopeless optimistic homer, but I think he was right for the most part tonight. I mean...I can understand if Lopez made physical contact to obstruct Crawford from reaching the plate, but I had no idea that obstructing lines of sight on a tag-up situation wasn't fair game. Boy, if I was a runner on first base with nobody else on, I'd ask for the catcher on the opposing team to hold up his hand and show me what signs he's giving because I obviously can't see them. My dad was an umpire for some youth games here a couple years ago, and I asked him if he knew where his rule book was, and unfortunately he doesn't. What I can't get over...if the runner can't see the play, isn't the third-base coach acting as the runner's eyes on the play anyway? Couldn't Tom Foley (ex-Expo player, Rays' third-base coach, not former Speaker of the House) just have yelled "GO!" and Carl could have taken off, with just about the same reaction time? This whole damn thing is weird...
Anyway, best case scenario if the call has no run scoring on the play is if Nageotte gets Cruz to hit into a double play. Worst case would be that he walks him, which probably has a high probability anyway considering Nageotte's control or lack thereof. Such a walk would render the "RBI sac fly" call moot.
Gameball: Ryan Franklin. Seven innings, 1 run, 7 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 109 pitches (59 strikes). A solid, balk-free outing. No reason to gameball a hitter when the whole team only got two hits.
Goat: Willie Bloomquist. 0-for-5, stranding three.
So...can you think of any new ways for the Mariners to lose a game this season? I couldn't have thought of the one that happened tonight even in my wildest dreams.
Sorry I'm late with this one...turns out other more worthy people (you know, the ones that work) use the 'net in this house.
Villone. Hendrickson (man, Piniella knows what he was thinking when he got Hendrickson; a trio of Mariner-beating no-names! Sosa/Waechter/Hendrickson). Fifteen hours.
Friday, August 06, 2004
Anyways, I'm glad I didn't follow this trainwreck of a game. A few reasons:
---Willie Bloomquist played center field. You have got to be kidding me. It's OK to bring up Jamal Strong anytime now, M's brass. Don't hurt yourselves doing it, it's not that painful.
---Bloomquist went 0-for-5 with 2 runners left on base. Wolf Pride!
---The Mariners managed 2 hits off of Dewon Brazelton and Travis Harper. Inept offense, no big surprise.
---Raul Ibanez and Scott Spiezio each go 0-for-4. These are our big-time offseason acquisitions! Brilliant.
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Fire Melvin. It won't be soon enough.
David, have fun trying to recap this game. I hope you'll live to tell about it.
Villone. Hendrickson. Tomorrow. MILLI IS UNTOUCHABLE, REMEMBER THAT!
Now, David Boston is out for the season. Boston injured his left knee Friday during a workout against the Houston Texans.
I can't say I feel sorry for the Dolphins and their fans here. Too bad, so sad.
Wow. Hell of a deal for the Redbirds. Get this, St. Louis now has Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, and Larry Walker in the same damn lineup.
I must mention that the Cardinals are 69-38 and most likely 70-38 after they take care of the Mets tonight. Remember a certain team that was a ton of games above .500 but didn't make a deal, because they didn't want to ruin the chemistry?
Folks, the St. Louis Cardinals didn't have to make this deal. But they did. A raise of the glass to GM Walt Jocketty tonight.
BTW, what the hell went on at the end of the Mariners-Devil Rays game tonight? I didn't follow the game tonight at all, so I'll have to watch Baseball Tonight later to see what exactly happened.
-- The New York Jets have signed Pete Kendall. I'll just guess Mike Holmgren still has it in for him.
-- Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Jerry Colangelo apparently is retiring. Boy, it's good times in Diamondback land. Not with the team's performance, but Colangelo...I've never liked the guy, and I know I'm not the only one. The retiring coincides with the news that apparently agent Jeff Moorad is taking some sort of high-ranking position with the D-Backs. Yikes.
-- You've seen these commercials for the Honda motocross bikes, right? It starts out and it shows Ricky Carmichael (MX2002 was one of the best videogames I've played in my life), and then it shows a bunch of kids doing motocross stuff on these Honda bikes. The problem? Well, I have to say that the Kidz Bop compilations have built a trigger in me that cringes every time I hear a group of kids singing something. In the case of the Honda commercial, the word "ride" is sung roughly 43953034 times. It is ANNOYING AS HELL. I seriously mute the commercial every time it comes on, or I change the channel. It is bad. It's worse than the Jason Giambi commercials for ESPN MLB 2004. Hey...maybe's there's an ESPN MLB videogame curse similar to the Madden curse. Also, it's quite the coincidence that ESPN NFL 2K5 is going right up against Madden NFL 2005, considering John Madden is on ABC/ESPN payroll. Funny.
-- Okay, I'm sitting here before the Mariner game and I flip on Fox Sports Net Northwest (FSNNW). As an aside, I remember when everything was easier and they didn't use the word "Net" and it was just Fox Sports Northwest and it made everything easier. Anyway, I think FSN just reached a new low. They were showing TNA Wrestling. Granted, the TNA acronym meant "Total Nonstop Action" instead of what I'm sure most people wished it was when they saw the acronym originally, but the point is, Fox Sports Net was showing PRO WRESTLING. What the HELL?!!?! I could live through infinite reruns of I, Max easier than watching pro wrestling on FSNNW.
Okay, I think my heart rate is decreasing to healthier levels now. Thank you for accompanying me in my session of venting. Gametime is coming shortly.
Anyways, some football news here on this lazy Friday afternoon...
---The Rams will be without DT Jimmy Kennedy for 3-4 months with a broken right foot. Kennedy was the 12th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. The Seahawks were considering selecting Kennedy, but instead went with Marcus Trufant with the 11th pick. Mike Holmgren on Trufant: "He's money in the bank." Indeed.
Let's see, the Rams are now without 2 members of their defensive line from 2003. Grant Wistrom is in Seattle and Kennedy is out for 3-4 months. And let's not forget about DE Leonard Little, who could be suspended by the NFL because of his legal troubles. Hell, he could be going to jail. Personally, the man should have been locked up a long time ago.
---Falcons QB Michael Vick pulled up lame with a tweak of his right hamstring in practice Thursday. He should be fine. But KEEP THAT 'FRO GROWING, MIKE!!!
---The Seahawks are headed to Portland Saturday for "Seahawks Live". Tickets are already sold out for the event at PGE Park. I don't need an excuse to go to Portland. But if I was still in the Northwest, I would have gone to this, even if it is a glorified scrimmage.
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A few more things, non-football related:
---Boy, I wonder who decided at the family of networks that Linda Cohn was considered to be a "MILF". Because that's the only explanation I can give for ESPN sending Cohn out to Los Angeles for the "X-Games".
Oh sh*t, I just said "Linda Cohn" and "MILF" in the same discussion. Time for me to find some pictures of Bonnie Bernstein. That should help me feel better...
---David, there's more than a few Sonic Drive-Ins down here in Arkansas. Their desserts are what saves them from total extinction. Seriously, their food is not good at all. They charge way too much for their food. Yes, Dairy Queen charges good money for their food as well. But their food is good.
For the record, I have not had a "S'Mores" Blast yet. They sure sound good though.
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In the immortal words of Pepper Brooks, I feel SHOCKED!
Small tidbits for this afternoon...
-- As you've probably heard already, the Mike Myers era has ended in Seattle. He has been traded to the Boston Red Sox. No word on what's coming Seattle's way in the deal, but it's probably peanut shells, maybe some sunflower seeds. Mike Myers, we hardly knew ye, but what we did know had a lot to do with a 5-plus ERA and being one of Melvin's henchmen in Arizona.
-- Lots of basketball news swirling around. Most notably, Peja Stojakovic wants out of Sacramento, sparking some radio debate over who's better between Vince Carter, Ray Allen, and Peja. If the Sonics traded Allen for Carter, it'd be a stupid move because Carter's injured half the time. Peja has a nice stroke, but I don't think he creates and finds more opportunities for his teammates as Ray Allen. Also, given the perception that the European players can't defend as well...not that Ray Allen is the best defender in the world either, but hey... There's a lot more to go with this Peja story.
Also in the basketball world, Gary Payton is on the move again. He has been traded with Rick Fox and a lottery-protected first-round pick to the Boston Celtics for Chris Mihm, Chucky Atkins, and Marcus Banks. So...to think one of the people the Lakers are trying to fill the Shaq void with is Chris Mihm? Ha.
-- Some hockey tidbits: Nils Ekman (SJ, breakout year last year), Ruslan Fedotenko (TB, had a hell of a Stanley Cup Final series), and Milan Hejduk (COL, freakin' good) have all won their arbitration cases. Also, Nik Antropov and Bryan McCabe are returning to the Maple Leafs. But what's making me laugh is that Tom Hicks lost out on the Brett Hull sweepstakes. Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes have snapped up the sharpshooting 39-year-old. As long as Tom Hicks is taking it in the shorts with one of his two teams (Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars), then life is good.
-- Lastly, Rick James is dead. The basis for Charlie Murphy's great anecdotes on Chappelle's Show has passed away, reportedly of natural causes. I'm guessing it wasn't from Charlie and Eddie Murphy beating the crap out of him after kicking the suede couch with muddy boots. I don't want to make light of death or anything, but if his last words were "I'm dyin', bitch!!" it would be absolutely hilarious. Also in the last word realm, I think I was half-listening to a Mariner broadcast and I think they said Yogi Berra wanted "It's over" put on his tombstone, which would be pure Yogi, no doubt about it. Anyway, rest in peace, Rick James.
Mariner game in three hours. Yes, the anticipation has reached a fever pitch...
Thursday, August 05, 2004
The three at-bats that Tino Martinez had stuck out to me. Tino first got up in the 2nd with two down and a runner on first, and Madritsch threw a change on a 2-2 count and had him absolutely fooled; Tino was way out in front, and just sort of waved at the pitch. Madritsch had Tino (leading off the inning) 0-2 in the 5th (probably on fastballs or sliders, wish I could remember) and tried to sneak the change by Tino again. He probably could have snuck it by if he didn't hang it so much. Tino's homer into the rightfield stands tied the game at 1-1. Tino came to the plate again in the 7th with one out and Aubrey Huff on second with the game still tied at 1-1. Madritsch fell behind and I thought, "oh no, Bobby's scared of him." Boy was I wrong. Madritsch had the cojones to throw the change again to Tino on a 3-1 pitch, i.e., behind in the count and even after the hanging change got driven in the last at-bat. I thought it was almost as high as the pitch that went for a homer, but this time Tino topped the ball to Scott Spiezio at first.
Madritsch had 1-2-3 innings in the 1st and 4th, and faced the minimum three batters in the 6th (double play involved). In a fact involving Mariner pitching tonight (Madritsch/Putz/Atchison), Tampa Bay never sent more than four batters to the plate in any of the 11 innings in this game. Back to Madritsch, the only scoring opportunities the Devil Rays had were in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.
In the 6th, Madritsch was unfortunate enough to have Carl Crawford hit a single in a tie game. Of course, this led to a ton of throws over to first base. Julio Lugo tried to bunt on the first pitch, and a pitch-out was called on the second pitch. I can't remember if the bunt was taken off or not, but Madritsch was able to catch Lugo looking. Even more key, however, was getting Rocco Baldelli to hit a ball on the ground to Gold Glover Bret Boone. 4-6-3. Clutch.
In the 7th, Huff was the guy with the leadoff single. Jose Cruz Jr. bounced out to Madritsch (can't remember if this was the line shot that Madritsch fielded tonight) and Huff went to second. I described Tino's at-bat in the above paragraph, but that was clutch too considering Madritsch's newness to the Majors and the fact that Tino had homered the last time up. Madritsch then got Toby Hall to whiff.
In the 8th, BJ Upton hit a one-out double. Madritsch got a groundout from Carl Crawford before getting Julio Lugo to fly out to Randy Winn.
Well done, Bobby Madritsch. His line: 8 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 105 pitches (72 strikes). His ERA has dwindled down to a nice 2.12.
Madritsch was by far the top story of this game. Screw the extra-inning win, screw Ichiro going 3-for-6 (his second half is absolutely retarded), screw Scott Atchison's first Major League win. Bobby Madritsch, this was your night, and it's a good thing you used your game check to fly in some family to see the game (but not the girlfriend...we'll assume she had to work). As a complete aside, Bobby Madritsch's father looks like Larry Brown.
But yeah, there were other things going on in this game. The Mariners had to score some runs. Needless to say, they didn't fetch Madritsch the well-deserved win, but they did stop their losing streak. At first, however, they would have to confront the man who shut them out 1-0 last September (Ryan Franklin got royally screwed that day): Jorge Sosa.
Jorge Sosa was throwing nothing but gas in terms of sliders and fastballs early on, and there wasn't much the Mariners could do about it. After two fairly nondescript innings, the bottom of the lineup did some things in the 3rd. Justin Leone drew a walk and Jose Lopez hit a single. First and second, nobody out, top of the order coming to the plate. Flyout to left (Ichiro), flyout to center (Randy Winn), lineout to Tino (Bret Boone). The inning had started out with so much promise, too. Shame. In the 4th, Bucky Jacobsen continued his maturation process as a hitter, smashing a double to centerfield with one out. Second base was a good vantage point to witness the forthcoming Scott Spiezio groundout to short and the Miguel Olivo whiff.
The Mariners did have the first lead of the game, however, and Leone and Lopez started it off once again. Leone led off with a single, and Lopez hit a grounder that should have been a double play. Instead, the ball ate up BJ Upton at short. Ichiro singled two pitches later to score Leone. Winn, Boone, and Raul Ibanez followed with old-fashioned plays involving outs that don't involve runners scoring, i.e., fielder's choice, whiff, groundout to first.
The Mariners came to the plate in the 7th having just seen Madritsch get a key inning-ending double play. Jose Lopez drew a one-out walk. Ichiro singled again, and though the play-by-play just says "Suzuki singled to right, Lopez out at third," I know it was a weird play, and that Lopez was out by a mile at third. He's younger than me, people.
Jesus Colome didn't give the Mariners much of anything to hit in the 8th, and he struck out the side in the 9th (surprise, 7-8-9 hitters, all whiffs). In the 10th, they used little ball (yuck) and the top of the order to get Ichiro and Winn on second and third with one out (Boone's bunt). Ibanez was walked and Colome was pulled for Danys Baez. Baez blew his fastball by Bucky Jacobsen and got Scott Spiezio to pop out.
But the Mariners would get Baez to unravel. Interestingly enough, it all started off with Miguel Olivo, whose batting average has gotten the gasface lately. He walked, was bunted to second (Leone), and was held up at third because Lopez absolutely smoked that single to leftfield (it was too hard). Ichiro then hit a grounder to Geoff Blum at third base. Blum then realized his surname was a little too close to that of Willie Bloomquist, and proceeded to undergo a similar fate as Mark McLemore's unworthy successor did the night before. The boot by Blum let Olivo in to score the go-ahead run (SEA 2-1), and left runners on first and second, still with nobody out. Winn singled on the first pitch to score Lopez. Ichiro was nailed trying to take third. Bret Boone dinked one into rightfield to score Randy Winn and finally give that heckler guy in the stands some reason to shut up (the only one of the night; SEA 4-1). Raul performed a role he's been clinging to of late: ending rallies. He did so this time with a popout to Blum, who caught it cleanly this time.
In Mariner bullpen news, JJ Putz pitched a 1-2-3 9th, and Scott Atchison held the lead through the 10th and 11th. Atchison had a 1-2-3 10th, and gave up a Carl Crawford (23rd birthday) solo shot to rightfield with one out in the 11th. However, there weren't two or three guys on base when he gave up the home run. Considering the Mariners' usual fate this season, I'd have to say that we as fans may need to learn to appreciate things like "dammit, Atchison gave up a home run...but at least there weren't a bunch of runners on base." On the other hand, at least the Mariners had a three-run lead and not a one-run lead at the time of the blast.
Gameball: Bobby Madritsch. Absolute no-brainer here. Look no further than the first half of this post where I pretty much heaped praise on him, and posted his line. You know, watching his motion, it always scared me because of whatever he's doing with his arms during the leg kick before he rares back with his throwing arm. I thought he was doing some herk-jerk with his throwing arm, but I looked a little closer, and it's just some hitch with the glove hand. No worries. Thought there might be some hellacious arm surgery in the near future if it was his throwing arm doing that.
Goat: Raul Ibanez. 0-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout, stranding three. Again, this is what you're getting out of your cleanup hitter. Miguel Olivo went 0-for-5 also, but at least with all the passed balls and shakiness behind the plate, he managed to score the go-ahead run with his walk in the 11th and got that whole rally started. And Raul ended it. Hmm...
No four-game sweep for Lou. Bobby Madritsch had a lot to do with that. Unfortunately for Lou, so did Geoff Blum. I wonder if Don Zimmer bullrushed Geoff Blum in the locker room after the game...
Franklin. Brazelton. Tomorrow.
[Edit ~10:05p -- Just small edits here and there so that some of the crap I said makes sense. Seriously, I'll post, publish it thinking it's okay, read it, and then say "f#($, that makes no sense!!" Hence, changes. Hopefully not too many people read the post within ten minutes of me posting it. If you did, and were confused, hopefully I cleaned up the confusing parts for you.]
8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 1 BB
Best outing by a young starter this year by far. It's just too bad that the Mariners couldn't get him the W. But the M's win in 11 innings, 4-2. No sweep from Lou's Crew. Too bad, so sad.
David will most likely have more on the game later. A tip of the hat to Madritsch. I'm rooting for this guy to make it. You should as well.
You damn well better believe that.
I've been watching the 2003 Seattle Seahawks highlight reel (requires Real Player) at NFL.com a few times over the past week. And every damn time, I get chills watching the exchange between Mike Holmgren, Matt Hasselbeck, and his teammates, most notably John Randle:
After the Seahawks tied the game at 27 late in the 4th quarter:
Holmgren: "Who's gonna call it?"
Hasselbeck: "I got it"
Randle: "Matt's gonna call it"
Holmgren: "Call it."
Hasselbeck: "I got it"
Alex Bannister: "Let's go Matt"
Randle, patting Hass on the head: "There you go."
Coin toss takes place, Hasselbeck calls heads. We know the story:
Hasselbeck: "I like to call heads"
Hasselbeck: "We want the ball and we're going to score!"
I know the Seahawks lost this game. But 7 months later, I still can't help but be proud as hell of Matt Hasselbeck. Folks, we got ourselves a f***ing quarterback!
I was literally sick when that dreadlocked bastard Al Harris intercepted Hasselbeck's pass to eliminate the Seahawks. I've been tortured enough, dammit. So have most Seattle sports fans.
These aren't your same ol' Seahawks. There's reason to be excited about this team. Get fired up. And this season, Hasselbeck wants the ball. And he will score.
(Again, 1 player from each team)
In order of divisional standings:
ATLANTA BRAVES --- OF Chipper Jones, Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES --- 1B Jim Thome, Boston "Cool The Engines"
FLORIDA MARLINS --- 3B Mike Lowell, DMX "Party Up"
NEW YORK METS --- C Mike Piazza, Black Label Society (member of N.Y. Chapter)
MONTREAL EXPOS --- 3B Tony Batista, Ludacris "Stand Up" (default)
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS --- RHP Matt Morris, Steve Miller Band "The Joker"
CHICAGO CUBS --- OF Sammy Sosa, The Pointer Sisters "I'm So Excited"
HOUSTON ASTROS --- 1B Jeff Bagwell, Metallica (varies)
CINCINNATI REDS --- 1B Sean Casey, Van Halen "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"
MILWAUKEE BREWERS --- RHP Danny Kolb, Godsmack "I Stand Alone"
PITTSBURGH PIRATES --- OF Craig Wilson, U2 "Elevation"
LOS ANGELES DODGERS --- OF Steve Finley, Peter Gabriel "Sledgehammer"
SAN DIEGO PADRES --- RHP Trevor Hoffman, AC/DC "Hells Bells"
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS --- RHP Matt Herges, Rush "Tom Sawyer"
COLORADO ROCKIES --- 2B Aaron Miles, Soundgarden "Outshined"
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS -- 1B Richie Sexson, Rage Against The Machine "Guerrilla Radio"
Memo to the folks at ESPN.com: It wouldn't hurt to do a little bit of Google searching. It's OUTSHINED by Soundgarden, not UNSHINED. It's not too much to ask of a national website to get things right. If I can get them right, they can too.
Why isn't there a song for the Mets? Well, the fact that Piazza is a Black Label Society chapter member says enough. It's certainly more interesting than the song selections of the 2004 Mets.
So go crank up some of these tracks. No wonder Kolb is having the season he's having. You simply can't lose with "I Stand Alone".
The answer tonight was no. Meche pitched a somewhat topsy-turvy six innings, looking near-stellar at times, and off-target and on the verge of losing it at other times. Bill Krueger was on the TV wondering why Meche wasn't getting more first-pitch strikes with his fastball, and instead chose to go with soft stuff on the first pitch (18 of the 27 Oriole batters Meche faced saw a ball on the first pitch). Meche on multiple occasions appeared to have trouble finding the release point on his breaking balls, often leaving them too high, but mostly outside also. Still, others escaped the grasp of Miguel Olivo, who was tagged with a passed ball. Basically with the whole thing about the Orioles seeing a ton of slow stuff on the first pitch; it's either the dugout or Olivo calling for it, or it's Gil not trusting his stuff, and his blazing 94mph fastball he had going for most of the night. Overall, I'd have to say Gil did an okay job tonight. His line: 6 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 9 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 108 pitches (62 strikes).
However, it looked bleak for Meche to start off. Brian Roberts nearly parked one to lead off the game, and instead ended up with a double off the scoreboard in rightfield. Roberts fouled off a couple Meche pitches during the course of the game that had home-run distance. Roberts ended up on third after a David Newhan groundout. Melvin Mora bounced a ball to Willie Bloomquist at third, who checked the runner. He checked the runner again. He checked the runner one more time. Lucky for him, Mora isn't a step faster, because he was damn near safe on the play. Miguel Tejada was greenlighted on 3-0 and roped a laser beam in Bloomquist's direction. Bloomquist climbed the ladder a bit, and was insanely lucky and snow-coned it. No word on if Bloomquist is using the Ivan Calderon signature Wilson A2000 mitt.
Gil became victim of the defense behind him in the 2nd inning. Javy Lopez was standing on second as a result of his own infield single, and the Olivo passed ball. With two out, Meche went 3-0 on bullpen bouncer Karim Garcia, who hit a ball to Jose Lopez at short. Lopez fielded the ball cleanly, then launched one about 10 feet over Bucky Jacobsen at first and into the stands. Garcia was credited with an infield single, and he took second on the error. Javy Lopez scored. I think in the first game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, there were three Lopezes on the field, but I digress. At this point, Dave Niehaus was on the TV talking about how everything he'd heard about Jose Lopez was that he hit well, but had some trouble defensively. Niehaus said he hadn't heard whether the problems were with catching or throwing, but he found out pretty quick. This gave Baltimore an early 1-0 lead.
Realizing he had his best game of the year yesterday, Willie Bloomquist grounded into a double play in the 3rd, with a torrid Ichiro hitting behind him. Yes, Ichiro singled.
Back to Meche. His first inning was solid after the Roberts double. His second inning, he had to weather the error. His third inning, he allowed only a Mora two-out single and struck out the side.
In terms of Mariner offense, 6'7" Daniel Cabrera hadn't given the Mariners anything, really, through the first five innings. By anything, I mean "runners in scoring position with less than two out."
Meche gave up all his runs in the 4th, and all of them with two outs. Singles by BJ Surhoff and Garcia were followed by a Jerry Hairston Jr. walk to load the bases. Roberts came up again and got a maligned breaking ball from Meche (letter-high?) that Roberts knocked into leftcenter to put the Orioles up 3-0.
But the Mariners had to tie the game to make it interesting. Luckily Daniel Cabrera is a pretty young lad, which no doubt helped in the Mariners' plight for three runs in the 6th. Ichiro tripled deep to leftcenter (I think Hairston dove for the ball and it was just out of his reach), and scored when Randy Winn golfed one out to the left of the scoreboard in right (BAL 3-2). Winn's swing confounds me. It's somewhat of a quick, short contact swing, and the ball is quick off his bat. Then I realize sometimes he hits home runs, then I remember that he rattled the windows of the Hit it Here Cafe last year. How the hell did he do that? I still wonder that to this day. Must have been the perfect storm of hip rotation, mechanics, and hand-eye, I guess. Still, Edgar walked after the homer and Bucky Jacobsen singled. Jose Lopez bounced an infield single two outs later to load the bases. Miguel Olivo drew a bases-loaded walk to cap the scoring for the Mariners and tie the game at 3-3.
Gil Meche had a decent sixth and left the game with the no-decision. Shigetoshi Hasegawa came on in the 7th and played his 2004 role splendidly. He came on to face the top of the Oriole lineup. Roberts walked. Newhan laid down a bunt. Mora walked. Miguel Tejada was up with one out. He swung at the first pitch, bouncing one to Bloomquist at third base on what should have been an inning-ending 5-3 third-to-first double play. Not if you can't come up with the ball though. The bases were now loaded with one out and Rafael Palmeiro coming to the plate, yet to really kill the Mariners in this series, as has been his past reputation. Hasegawa was pulled, Mike Myers was put in. It only took two pitches. A single to rightfield put the game on ice for the Orioles (BAL 5-3), with the wild pitch to Javy Lopez only adding icing to the cake (BAL 6-3).
Yes, I've looked over the play-by-play and have realized that the only inning in which the Mariners had a runner in scoring position with less than two out was the 6th, when they scored all their runs. Yup, great stuff. Young Cabrera holds them down for the most part, Buddy Groom does what he does, Todd Williams is a no-name (of course the Mariners won't hit him), the Mariners are drinking the Jason Grimsley Kool-Aid, and Jorge Julio turns out the lights. Ballgame.
Gameball: Randy Winn. 2-for-4 with the two-run homer and a walk. Is it just me, or does this guy only hit well when the Mariners suck? Looks like two good second halves in a row for Randy. I've thought about good performances when the team's sucked, then I look no further than Alex Rodriguez and his lines in 1996 and 1998 (the 40/40 season), when the Mariners amassed records of 85-76 and 76-85 (flip-floppin'), respectively. His 1997 year didn't quite stack up to those two (I'm not remembering injuries here), and his average was a bit off in 1999. Of course, in 2000, he drew 100 walks, and he hasn't done that since. Oh yeah, I gave the gameball to Randy Winn. Didn't realize this after looking at Alex's career stats and all.
Goat: Willie Bloomquist. One day after having the best game I've seen him play all year, he gives us quite the stinker. 0-for-4, strikes out once, strands four, hits into a double play. That's before I even mention when he nearly lets Melvin Mora get aboard in the first while he's too busy checking the runner at third who would have been stupid to break for home, and before he boots the ball to load the bases in a tie game in the 7th to set up Rafael Palmeiro's annual Mariner-bashing. Oh yeah, Ichiro hit behind Bloomquist and went 3-for-5, with only the triple leading off an inning (i.e., no Bloomquist in front of him). Only 3-for-5, that's all. If Willie gets on base just once...
Also, Bill Krueger's rationale of Gil Meche staying in after the 57-minute rain delay in the 2nd: "they're young arms." Of course, this may have prevented Gil from going longer than 6 innings.
Louuuuuuu. Are we in for a 1-0 redux of last year?
Madritsch. Sosa. Fifteen hours.
[Edit ~1:25a -- Added more Ichiro stuff to the goat section.]
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Vinny Testaverde will most likely be the starter until Drew Henson is ready. Yes, I'm still bitter over this little picture.
Let's see how the Mariner offense helped waste it.
Randy Winn and Willie Bloomquist were still on base to start the game after Oriole pitcher Dave Borkowski's throwing error. Number 3 and 4 hitters coming up...jubilation and high anticipation, right? Bret Boone is caught looking, Raul Ibanez whiffs. Bucky Jacobsen singled to load the bases. Scott Spiezio watches strike three.
Bucky Jacobsen had singled himself aboard to lead off the 5th and was standing on second after a Spiezio groundout. Since Moyer was pitching, Wilson was catching. Wilson whiffed. Justin Leone flew out.
Wouldn't you know it, Bucky hit a leadoff single in the 7th also. Spiezio followed with the same thing. Ichiro was brought off the bench to pinch-run for Bucky (yeah, I'd say that's probably a speed advantage), who was the tying run, with the Mariners down 4-3. Problem? Two young guys coming to the plate. Leone bounced out to Jason Grimsley (highly inopportune) and Lopez bounced out to Tejada.
This isn't to say the Mariner offense didn't do anything in this game, because they did. They lost 5-4, not 5-0. Two runs scored in the 2nd: one on a Leone hammering of a hanging curve, and one on a Bloomquist single to score Jose Lopez. One run scored in the 4th on a Bloomquist single to score Leone.
The Mariners' 4th run tied the score in the 8th. Bloomquist hit a one-out single before Boone whiffed. Bloomquist stole second on a 1-1 count with Ibanez at bat. Ibanez hit a grounder to Miguel Tejada that easily should have been the last out of the inning. Instead, the ball ate Tejada up, and the former MVP was a little slow getting a handle on his bearings and the ball. Bloomquist alertly scored (I'll give this to him: he probably had his best game of the year) to tie the game.
So Miguel Tejada just booted the ball in the top of the 8th and let the tying run cross the plate. I STILL want him on my team. Why? Tejada mashes the second pitch from George Sherrill (Moyer didn't come out for the 8th) into the rightfield corner for a double. Two batters later, Jerry Hairston is up and Dan Wilson has trouble getting the handle on a wild pitch. Tejada breaks for third. Wilson airmails the throw to Leone at third; Tejada's aggressive baserunning gets him to third. Jerry Hairston Jr. singles on the next pitch. There's your ballgame. Jorge Julio turns out the lights on Wilson/Leone/Lopez (7-8-9) in the 9th, like I thought he would. To cap this paragraph, Tejada singlehandedly got himself to third base, where just a healthy fly ball would have gotten the O's the lead; he doubled, then took third on the wild pitch, which is small beans until you realize the play was still pretty close, and that no slouch could have made it to third on that play. Miguel Tejada, former MVP, set up that run all by himself, and Jerry Hairston drove it in. If you don't think he set it up himself, just agree with me that he took George Sherrill to the cleaners. Ballgame.
No, the Mariners didn't have the lead in this one. But they couldn't solve Dave Borkowski in the 1st or 5th (he's a no-name, surely the Mariners not solving a no-name surprises no one by now) and couldn't solve Jason Grimsley (dammit) in the 7th. Add that and Miguel Tejada's one-man schooling of George Sherrill, and you have the makings of a 5-4 Mariner defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
Gameball: Jamie Moyer. I posted his line as the first line of this post. The Mariners needed about 7 out of him in the nightcap after Ron Villone gutted the first game and let us all know the answer to the question "who will take Travis Blackley's spot in the rotation?" Not Clint Nageotte, who went 3 innings in the first game (the answer is Bobby Madritsch, for anyone who doesn't know) to help clean up Villone's mess.
Goat: Raul Ibanez. As the cleanup hitter tonight, Raul went 0-for-5, struck out once, and stranded EIGHT RUNNERS. He ended the 2nd, 4th, and 6th innings with his outs. It's a shame, because Bucky only went 3-for-4 in the fifth spot (yes, right behind Raul) in the lineup.
Meche. Cabrera. Fourteen hours.
[Edit ~11:09a -- Totally forgot to note that Rafael Palmeiro hit a single in the fourth to pass Babe Ruth after tying the Bambino in the first game. That's 2874 hits for Raffie.]
At one point tonight, I realized that maybe Travis Blackley (though it wouldn't have been his day to pitch) could have easily did what Ron Villone did this morning. Villone had a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd against the Orioles' 8-9-1 hitters. Other than that, he was pretty much crap. Though somehow his ERA stands only at 3.57 after today's shelling, I knew Villone was bound for one of these kinds of starts. The Mariner broadcast crew likes to use the phrase "effectively wild" to describe Villone, but that can only get you so far, and the aftereffect is what happened Tuesday (unless you believe crew transplant Bill Krueger, who thought Villone was getting squeezed. If he was getting squeezed, he sure didn't adapt to the strike zone quickly enough). How did Villone's horrific innings go? In the 1st, David Newhan doubled and scored on Melvin Mora's single (SEA 2-1). Miguel Tejada walked. Even when Villone caught Javy Lopez looking, the runners took off on the full count and ended up in scoring position. Rafael Palmeiro's two-run single gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Hey, guess what? The Mariner half of the 3rd inning also introduced us to an old familiar friend, the double play ball that moves one runner across the plate. Three infield/bunt singles were followed by Edgar's double play to tie the game at 3-3. Raul Ibanez then singled to score Randy Winn and give the Mariners the lead (SEA 4-3). There's nothing like having the bases loaded and nobody out, and then having two out, one run across, and one runner at third left afterward. You can't even sac fly him in, for goodness' sake, though in this case Raul made that moot.
The meat of the lineup came to the plate in the 3rd again for the Orioles. Villone walked Mora and allowed a dinker single into center to Tejada. Villone took Javy Lopez to another full count, but this time Lopez mashed one over the fence to put Baltimore in the lead again (BAL 6-4). Villone walked Palmeiro before exhibiting some semblance of damage control, getting Jerry Hairston Jr. and Luis Lopez to fly out.
The Mariners' response to the Javy Lopez 3-run dinger in the third: two-out small ball. The Mariner 4th saw consecutive singles by Jose Lopez, Ichiro, and Randy Winn (BAL 6-5). Fight fire with...a squirtgun?
With the score 6-5 Baltimore, Villone never got the third out in the 4th, and was yanked after allowing his second walk in the inning (Mora). Clint Nageotte came in for Villone ith runners on first and second with two out. Too bad Miguel Tejada was up. He hit a double to score Brian Roberts and further dent Villone's ERA (BAL 7-5).
In the 5th, Nageotte managed to walk the bases loaded (not consecutively; two walks, bunt, groundout, walk). Clint had a 1-2-3 6th inning against the likes of Mora, Tejada, and Javy Lopez.
The Mariners were down 7-5 with Sir Sidney Ponson still on the mound heading into the 7th. Bret Boone led off with a dinker into leftcenter. Edgar fought back from 0-2 to take Ponson yard to leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch; just a little reminder from the Edgar to remind us that he's still got something left in the tank. Now if he'd tell us what he REALLY thinks about those Edgar bears... With the score now tied at 7-7, Ibanez singled and chased Ponson. Jason Grimsley (right up there with Ted Lilly in my book...can't stand him) then managed to whiff Jolbert Cabrera, Miguel Olivo, and Justin Leone consecutively. Abhorrent.
Nageotte left the game tied with two outs in the 7th and Hairston on first, who got aboard with an infield single. Lefty specialist Mike Myers was brought in to face Larry Bigbie, maybe to get a double play ball or something. Myers got the double play ball, except without the "play" and "ball." Bigbie's double scored Hairston to give the Orioles the lead once again (BAL 8-7).
The Mariners had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 8th against BJ Ryan. Ichiro and Winn were on second and first with one out and the meat of the order coming to the plate. Boone popped out to Tejada. Edgar walked. Since I learned on Baseball Tonight that BJ Ryan is filthy to all lefties not named Ichiro, Raul Ibanez whiffed on three pitches.
Scott Atchison took the hill for the Mariners in the 8th with one out. He walked Mora, then got a fielders' choice out of Tejada. Javy Lopez singled to set the stage for Rafael Palmeiro's RBI single to give the Orioles insurance (BAL 9-7) and also tie him with Babe Ruth at 36th on the all-time hit list.
One tie, four lead changes. The Mariners had the lead twice in this game.
Gameball: Ichiro. 5-for-5, and he managed to sneak a triple in there. Dude's crazy. If he hit like this in April, how much better do you think this team would be? Okay, probably not much.
Goat: Ron Villone. Though Jamie Moyer has dominating career stats against Baltimore and was to start in the back half of the doubleheader, a line of 3 2/3 innings, 7 runs, 5 hits, 5 walks, and 5 strikeouts on 104 pitches (58 strikes) doesn't exactly help the bullpen. Not with five games left until the next off day, and with four of them against the Devil Rays and Lou Piniella, who is undoubtedly licking his chops and waiting to laugh the Mariners right out of the Trop.
(next recap coming...)
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
RON VILLONE IS UNTOUCHABLE!!!
The Mariners had 15 hits but could only score FOUR runs.
Sure, Willie Bloomquist was 3-for-4 in the second game. But he's not getting a gameball from me. I don't think David would give him one either.
From Alan Schwartz's Top August Deals column at ESPN.com today:
No. 13. Aug. 27, 1992: The Blue Jays trade Jeff Kent and a player to be named later (Ryan Thompson) to the Mets for David Cone. To this day, former Toronto GM Pat Gillick uses his acquisition of Cone as Exhibit A of what a post-deadline deal can do for a club -- and to its opponents. "I think it proves to the players, Hey, these guys want to win, they'll do what they can to win," Gillick once said. "That gives them a bit of an injection. I talked to Paul Molitor when he came to our club in '93, and he said it really took the air out of Milwaukee. He said that when Milwaukee heard we got Cone ... it hyped our guys up and it kind of deflated them a little bit." Cone helped the Blue Jays win the 1992 World Series, while Kent began to blossom in New York the following season.
It's too f***ing bad that Gillick couldn't have had this same wisdom during his reign in Seattle. I find it insulting that the Florida Marlins have won 2 World Championships in their short existence and the Mariners haven't won diddily-poo. (Sorry, no link for Jim Mora's hysterical interview. I had posted it last fall, but it no longer works.)
Yes, the life of a Seattle sports fan. Watching other teams win. Man I hope the Seahawks can erase the pain this fall.
Name that tune, A.L. style
These are my American League Music All-Stars (1 player from each team)
In order of divisional standings:
NEW YORK YANKEES --- RHP Mike Mussina, Scorpions "The Zoo"
BOSTON RED SOX --- 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, Pantera "Walk"
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS --- OF Rocco Baldelli, Led Zeppelin "Whole Lotta Love"
BALTIMORE ORIOLES --- OF B.J. Surhoff, Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing"
TORONTO BLUE JAYS --- RHP Josh Towers, Jane's Addiction "Just Because"
MINNESOTA TWINS --- C Joe Mauer, Joe Walsh "Life's Been Good"
CHICAGO WHITE SOX --- 3B Joe Crede, Godsmack "Voodoo"
CLEVELAND INDIANS --- 1B Ben Broussard, Tom Petty "Runnin' Down A Dream"
DETROIT TIGERS --- RHP Jason Johnson, Metallica "Enter Sandman"
KANSAS CITY ROYALS --- OF Matt Stairs, Stone Cold Steve Austin's WWF/WWE theme
OAKLAND ATHLETICS --- LHP Barry Zito, Incubus "Megalomaniac"
TEXAS RANGERS --- 1B Mark Teixeira, Jimi Hendrix "All Along The Watchtower"
ANAHEIM ANGELS --- OF Darin Erstad, Creed "One"
SEATTLE MARINERS --- 2B Bret Boone, P.O.D. "Boom"
However, the all-time Mariner at-bat song for me is Sweetwater's "Superstar", when Rich Amaral came to the plate. They used it earlier this season for SS Rich Aurilia, which was a travesty. Aurilia's no superstar, not without Barry Bonds protecting him.
N.L. musical selections will be released tomorrow.
-- Anyone remember the name Chris Hanson? If not, I'll give you some hints. Jacksonville Jaguars. Losing streak. Tree trunk. Ax. Leg. The Jags gave Hanson an extension in the offseason, and apparently there's no lingering injuries from the incident other than a scar from the deep gash in his leg. Said coach Jack Del Rio after the incident, "I'll find another slogan...The message was understood."
-- Apparently receiver Jerheme Urban has been busting his rear all offseason and was impressive at the first day of Seahawks training camp. Also looking good was Chike Okeafor on the pass rush. An aside here, but has anyone tried to imagine how weak the Seahawks' linebacking corps will be if either Chad Brown or Anthony Simmons is out? They're probably an injury or two away from seeing Niko Koutouvides and DD Lewis, for goodness' sake. Anyway, Marcus Tubbs was not in camp (contract, ill relative), Walter Jones probably won't be (contract), and Grant Wistrom has plantar fasciitis which hopefully won't keep him out for longer than two weeks.
The Mariners have lost game one of the doubleheader by a score of 9-7. I'm not sure if I'll make one big-ass recap, or two separate ones, at different times. Anyway, game two of the doubleheader starts at 4p. And yes, I think that Ron Villone was bound to have a start like that. "Effectively wild" is overrated, and the downside of it happened today. Nothing like your starter going nuts and losing his mind in the front end of a doubleheader!
[Edit ~1:51p -- Added stuff to the last paragraph.]
Well, it's a new band featuring three-fourths of Creed, minus that no-talent assclown Scott Stapp. The lead singer for Alter Bridge is Myles Kennedy, formerly of the Mayfield Four
So that didn't take long. David and I weren't big fans of Creed. But at the same time, I like Mark Tremonti. He can play. And in a surprising turn of events, former Creed bassist Brian Marshall is in Alter Bridge as well. You may remember Marshall as the man who bashed Eddie Vedder on Seattle's KNDD in 2000.
Anyways, I'm only posting this because I saw their new video for "Open Your Eyes" earlier this morning. It sounded pretty good, I have to admit. Here's a link to their official page.
And hell, I'm sure somebody will search for "Scott Stapp no-talent assclown". If so, they'll be led to Sports and B's. Hey, while I'm at it, how about "Anna Benson Gets Her Freak On With Mr. Met"?
Vikings head coach Mike Tice doing a radio commercial for a local Minneapolis steakhouse.
He had to get his mind off of the Vikings' season finale last year. You know, this one.
Have fun with that, folks.
David's take on Michael Vick's fro:
-- Michael Vick's vow: the 'fro grows until the Atlanta Falcons win the Super Bowl. My thoughts? GO SEAHAWKS!! KEEP THE 'FRO ALIVE!!! Street and Smith's preview mag had New England edging out Philadelphia in their Super Bowl, and had the Seahawks losing to Atlanta in the second round (divisional playoff, whatever) after beating Carolina on Wild Card weekend (or, weekend where ABC gets to show playoff games). Atlanta loses to Philly in their NFC final.
Yeah, Vick is going to have to keep that 'fro so fresh and so clean clean for a while. The Atlanta Falcons will be improved in 2004. But they aren't Super Bowl material.
By the way, the Seahawks host the Falcons in the regular season finale January 2. The Seahawks are 1-0 against Vick, a 30-24 OT win on Dec. 15, 2002. That game was the debut of the Seahawks white-on-white look. I like that look much, much better than the white-on-blue.
-- The returns are in, and your Seattle Mariners are...number 28 in SportsLine's latest Power Rankings. However, the A's still have a bigger lead in terms of spots in the Rankings (23) than they do in the actual AL West standings (20), though not by much, and probably not for much longer.
-- I found this story in the hometown rag, however, it involves a South Kitsap grad, which probably is of no interest to any of our readers considering we've probably shooed away those who would be interested via our thoughts on Willie Bloomquist. Nonetheless, 29-year-old journeyman minor leaguer and former Husky ballplayer Sean Spencer (Mariner for two games, Expo for eight) could be the number one starter for the Greek national team on the heels of Greece's top four arms succumbing to injury. The USA didn't qualify for the Athens games and will therefore not be defending their gold medal from the 2000 Games. However, ballplayers with Greek bloodlines from the USA and Canada (mostly minor-leaguers) comprise a large part of the Greek baseball team due to the sparseness of baseball in Greece, and due to the requirement of the host country to field a team. If this whole thing has you bewildered, be prepared for more bewilderment when I tell you this: there's some Peter Angelos money involved in this.
-- You know, all this time we've been wondering whether or not Ryan Christianson will ever wear a Mariner uniform, and I read this Joe Kaiser piece and totally forgot the dude's only 23. I know it's horribly obvious, they drafted him out of high school, of course he's going to still be young. Sure doesn't seem like it when you've been hearing the same thing for years though, and having to live with no-stick Danny behind the plate.
-- Michael Vick's vow: the 'fro grows until the Atlanta Falcons win the Super Bowl. My thoughts? GO SEAHAWKS!! KEEP THE 'FRO ALIVE!!! Street and Smith's preview mag had New England edging out Philadelphia in their Super Bowl, and had the Seahawks losing to Atlanta in the second round (divisional playoff, whatever) after beating Carolina on Wild Card weekend (or, weekend where ABC gets to show playoff games). Atlanta loses to Philly in their NFC final.
-- The vibe at Seahawks camp seems simple. Attention to detail, no mistakes/excuses, and don't talk about getting better, show it. Simple, yet powerful and concise.
-- Some hockey transactions of note: Ladislav Nagy (solid player) and the Phoenix Coyotes have avoided arbitration and agreed on a two-year deal, Simon Gagne and Branko Radivojevic (latter went to Philly in the Sean Burke trade) accepted qualifying offers and will return to the Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson and two assistants have been rightfully re-signed to multi-year deals with the team after last year's club-record 104-point season, and finally, we knew there was no way in hell he'd stick around after being benched in the Calgary series for the rookie Alex Auld, but now former-Canuck goalie Johan Hedberg has gone back to his native Sweden to play for the Leksand Stars. Here's to hoping Markus Naslund doesn't follow him out the door.
-- Some of you may remember me posting a link a while ago to a survey that was being done by the Rambling Hockey Fangirl. The survey/poll was a multiple-choice deal which somewhat graded the opinions of the survey-takers on what they thought of certain sweaters of the Vancouver Canucks of years past. Well, if you took the survey and checked the box indicating you wanted a final copy of the paper, you got an email in your inbox today with a link to the paper. She's not content with it, but it's quite an informative 21-page read (there's pictures), and it's even being placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame's archive. Props!!
-- To complete the four-sport whirlwind, I just loved the tone of this Danny O'Neil piece about the upcoming schedule for the Sonics. The basic tone of the first few lines: they won't get to face the Clippers as much. The Sonics also will embark on a brutal six-games-in-nine-days road trip which will see them log over 8500 air miles. The Sonics have four nationally televised games this year, three on ESPN (bleccchhhh) and one on TNT (Barkley unleashed!). What the Sonics have this year that I never got the benefit of in my four years as a student at Central Washington University: 70+ games on Fox Sports Net Northwest. As is the gist of what I'm saying, I could have used that four years ago. Also, co-blogger Jeremy will get to see NBA games on Fox Sports Northwest thanks to the badass digital cable at his house, but since the Blazers and Sonics split the FSNNW region, who knows which team Jeremy's going to see. [Edit ~10:22a -- Not so fast, as Jeremy says in the comment box.]
Yep, there's my Mariner off-day contribution, even though technically it's not an off-day anymore (after midnight). Anyway, feel free to feast on above tidbits before/during/after/between games of the Mariners' day-night (morning-late afternoon) doubleheader.
Monday, August 02, 2004
BOBBY TAYLOR! GRANT WISTROM! RAY RHODES WILL LET THOSE GUYS GO! (paraphrasing Jaws the best that I can)
HEY SEATTLE AND THE REST OF THE NORTHWEST! THIS IS ME YELLING, ABOUT 2400 MILES AWAY. IF YOU'RE NOT FIRED UP FOR THE 2004 EDITION OF YOUR SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD! GET FIRED UP! IT'S ONLY JUST BEGUN!!!
Shaq returns to Los Angeles with the Heat on Christmas Day.
The Blazers open up the season at Golden State Nov. 3 while the Sonics open up their season against the Clippers in L.A.
And in my neck of the woods, the Grizzlies open up Fed Ex Forum in Memphis Nov. 3 against the Wizards. It's adjacent to Beale Street, so they have that going for them.
2004-2005 Sonics schedule
2004-2005 Blazers schedule
The Sonics and Blazers are now in the Northwest Divison, which includes Denver, Minnesota, and Utah. Who knew at this time last year that the divison would be as loaded at the top as it is right now? The Nuggets have improved themselves. So have the Jazz. And the Timberwolves were the best team in the West during the regular season.
Good luck with that.
We hope for a speedy recovery for Patrick. He's one of the best in the business. And as David pointed out, he has to work with Dick Vitale during basketball season. It's shocking in a way that Vitale isn't undergoing heart surgery.
No word on how Summerall will handle the network promos.
"After the game, it's Sports......Center!"
And in Seahawks news, camp has begun. DT Marcus Tubbs is not in Cheney, as contract talks are still going on. Get your ass to camp, Marcus.
-- Eddie Guardado will go on the disabled list, apparently with a sore arm/arm fatigue.
-- Some things were said about Freddy Garcia, including that the Mariners wanted to re-sign him (that is, before Garcia signed the long-term deal with the White Sox). In any event, Bavasi said something to the effect of wanting to sign someone of $9M/yr calibre to take his spot in the rotation. Names bandied about by radio personalities after the interview: Kerry Wood, Matt Morris, Eric Milton, etc.
-- If there's an announcement about Edgar Martinez in terms of whether it's going to be the final couple months of his career (farewell tour, i.e., catch him at the ballpark), they're letting Edgar call the shots.
-- The thing that sticks out to me about the interview: Bavasi declined to comment on what Bob Melvin's fate will be after the season. He said Melvin's performance would be reevaluated/analyzed along with the other players, etc. In other words, the extension that they signed Melvin to a few months ago may not mean jack, as some have speculated.
To those wanting to hear the interview, it will be aired again tomorrow early in the 6am hour on KJR 950 AM in the Seattle market, or over the internet via the "listen live" page on the KJR website (link is under Local/Sound Coverage in the sidebar, though you'll have to install the ChainCast player, which doesn't take too long).
[Edit ~1:45p -- Just some wording changes, to have the sentences make a little more sense. It's been a while since I took an english class, after all, and I still might be feeling aftereffects of the six weeks away.]
[Edit ~2:29p -- Matt Thornton has been called up to take Guardado's roster spot. Tip of the hat to Mike.]
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Kendall played in Seattle from 1996 to 2000. He started 75 of 76 games as a Seahawk. Ask yourself this question: Is he better than Chris Gray? Pork Chop Womack?
The answer is yes.
And as David told me, he's great on KJR.
The Seahawks have said all offseason that they want to protect QB Matt Hasselbeck. Well, I think Kendall would certainly do that.
BRING PETE BACK!!!
As a quick aside, I asked myself in yesterday's recap how long the Mariners could possibly justify keeping Travis Blackley and his 10-plus ERA over six starts on the big club. My question was answered today, as Blackley was sent to Tacoma, and Clint Nageotte was brought back up in his place.
If there's one thing the Mariners did well as a team today, it was ramping up Bartolo Colon's pitch count. Five of the 27 batters Colon faced put the ball in play on the first pitch. I'm just putting that out there (I don't know what the normal numbers are), but what I know correlated into this is that the Mariner offense managed to get at least one baserunner per inning. Colon's only inning in which he faced the minimum amount of batters (three, of course) was his 6th and final inning, in which Justin Leone hit a one-out single, then Jose Lopez hit one right to Colon's right side. Colon managed to snare the quick liner and double off Leone at first. Colon had thrown 100 pitches through five innings, with his only tarnish being Bucky Jacobsen's opposite-field two-run blast in the 4th. He threw 12 more pitches in the 6th, and the Angels got the lead (and what turned out to be the win) for him in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Franklin ate up seven innings for the Mariners today, which I thought he might have some trouble doing after being visibly ticked off on the mound following the two balk calls on his pickoff moves (ump Angel Hernandez at first), Justin Leone's error on what should have been a groundout to end the 3rd, his own error on a pickoff throw in the 5th, and the strike zone of the rookie umpire Adam Dowdy behind the plate. Still, he got the bullpen some much-needed rest following the two extra-inning games in the series, and heading into an off day before a day-night doubleheader in which Ron Villone ("effectively wild" = no more than 6 innings) and Jamie Moyer will start the two games. Interesting fact here: three of the first four Angel baserunners that got into scoring position got there via Ryan Franklin's two balks and the pickoff throwing error.
Franklin's toughest innings were the 3rd and 5th, before he unraveled (not really, just enough to lose the lead and the game) in the 6th. Adam Kennedy bunted himself aboard in the 3rd, before Jose Molina couldn't get the bunt down and whiffed. Kennedy went to second on Franklin's second balk on the day. Oddly enough, Franklin was called for only two balks all of last season, so I had a hard time trying to decide if something had changed about Franklin's pickoff move or if the umpires were finally cracking down on it. Anyway, replay showed that he was sort of motioning ("deceiving the baserunner") toward home plate with the front knee before performing the spin move, therefore making it a balk. I wondered to myself how someone could make the pickoff move without moving their front knee first, and that motivated me to pick an empty area of floor in the house and try it myself. My conclusion: you've either got to raise both feet at the same time or do some sort of lateral crow-hop deal where you plant your right foot away from the rubber before stepping with the left and throwing. I was never an expert at this in my years of organized ball (don't think I picked anyone off, though I almost picked a guy off at second in a scrimmage when I was trying to do a Kevin Brown delivery, you know, where he looks toward second with the leg kick and then throws home). Three pitches later, Franklin got Chone Figgins to pop up to Bret Boone. Franklin induced a ground ball from Curtis Pride, but Justin Leone got sort of tangled up by the presence of Adam Kennedy running from second to third, and subsequently muffed the play. Curtis Pride stole second on the first pitch to Garret Anderson (I believe this was the play where the ball bounced up off Lopez' glove and went right to Bret Boone, preventing Kennedy from scoring). Franklin then got the clutch groundout to first by Garret to end the 3rd.
In the 5th, Robb Quinlan sent Ryan Franklin's second pitch into the rock quarry beyond the wall in leftcenter. Franklin then beaned Kennedy (debatable, it might not even have clipped the jersey) before Jose Molina flied out to left. With a 2-2 count on Chone Figgins, Franklin attempted to pick Adam Kennedy off of first (a balk happened the last time he tried it) and one-hopped Scott Spiezio on the runners' side of first base. Needless to say, Spiezio is no Olerud (not the fielder, not left-handed), so that ball went into foul ground and Kennedy ended up on third. Needing only an outfield fly ball to anyone but Ichiro to tie the game, Figgins whiffed two pitches after Franklin's error. 'Twas a clutch strikeout for Franklin. Curtis Pride would bounce out to first to end the inning; the Mariners still led 2-1.
Then came the 6th. Garret Anderson singled. Vlad Guerrero doubled. Two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Jose Guillen hit a fly ball to rightfield, but Ichiro has an arm and Garret has a bum leg, so there wouldn't be any scoring on that play. Darin Erstad solved that problem by hitting a fly ball to Randy Winn in centerfield to tie the score at 2. Then Robb Quinlan came up and hit a double to give the Angels the lead for good at 3-2. Quinlan only went 7-for-15 in the series. Not too bad. Ryan Franklin's final line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, no walks, 4 strikeouts, 103 pitches (69 strikes). For what it's worth, he recorded six groundouts and 12 flyouts (not surprising).
Bartolo Colon didn't come out for the 7th inning, and the Mariners were only down 3-2. Should be easier, right? Not when you can't do jack against Kevin Gregg (the four-wild-pitches-in-one-inning guy) and Scot Shields. The Mariners managed only two baserunners the rest of the way, in the form of singles by Ichiro (infield) and Edgar. Ichiro was doubled off. Five of the 10 hitters the Mariners sent to the plate in the 7th-9th innings struck out.
Another microcosm of the Mariners' season: in the 3rd, Ichiro was up with a 3-1 count and Jose Lopez on first. In what apparently was a hit-and-run, Ichiro failed to connect, and Lopez was gunned down at second. Ichiro singled on the next pitch.
Bobby Madritsch needed only eight pitches to slice through Garret Anderson, Vlad Guerrero, and Jose Guillen in the 8th to lower his ERA to 3.00.
Gameball: Bucky Jacobsen. 2-for-3 with the two-run homer (i.e., all the Mariner runs), a single, and a walk. This possibly could have gone to Ryan Franklin also for eating up those seven innings.
Goat: Scott Spiezio. 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, stranding four. Speez went 3-for-15 in the series in familiar surroundings.
So, the Angels take three of four. The Mariners don't like playing with leads, apparently. The bullpen is pretty much in disarray, except now it's a much younger-on-average disarray. But now, the starting pitching is in disarray with only Jamie Moyer and Ryan Franklin still around since the start of the season and with Ron Villone providing makeshift stability.
Crab cakes ahoy!!
Villone. Ponson. Tuesday midday.
Moyer. Borkowski. Tuesday afternoon.
[Edit ~9:35p -- In a wire article that I had taken offline and worked off of, Clint Nageotte was to start one of the games of Tuesday's doubleheader. Refreshment of the same article later had the information removed, and thus, it has been removed from the post. Unfortunately, it detracts from my "bullpen will still be a little bit worked after the doubleheader" argument, but hey, what can you do? Also, sources are split over who is starting first between Ron Villone and Jamie Moyer. The FSNNW telecast today had Villone going first, so that's what I'm going with.]
[Edit ~9:56p -- Don't look now, but the Mariners are now 20 games back of the division-leading Oakland Athletics. I now raise my glass of orange juice in honor of the 2004 Seattle Mariners.]
[Edit Mon ~11:15a -- Another thing I forgot to mention: I need to pour another glass of orange juice and raise it in honor of Jose Lopez, who notched his first Major League hit in the above game.]
A few notes on the Seahawks going into training camp:
---GET YOUR ASS TO CHENEY, WALTER JONES! I know Cheney is not a great place (I know this, I lived there for a year), but dammit, this is an important season for the Seahawks. Sure, Walter has played great the last two seasons after missing all of training camp. But I'm fed up with this. Most, if not all, Seahawks fans are as well. Of course, it's his agent Roosevelt Barnes that's been screwing around here. The Seahawks have been more than fair when dealing with the Jones matter. Again, GET YOUR ASS TO CHENEY, WALTER!
---DE Grant Wistrom will miss the start of training camp after being placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) due to his back. He shouldn't miss any significant time however. The Seahawks may have overpaid Wistrom, but he's very valuable to this defense.
---First-round pick DT Marcus Tubbs remains unsigned. The Seahawks have all of their draft picks signed, except for Tubbs. He should be in Cheney soon, as talks have heated up.
---TE Jerramy Stevens is apparently staying out of trouble this year. If he can play up to his potential in 2004, look out. The Seahawks are better off with both Stevens and Itula Mili playing well.
And in other NFC West news:
---Rams RT Kyle Turley re-injured his surgically repaired back over the weekend. He started all 16 games for the Rams in 2003, but his back was a threat to his career. The Rams are already without LT Orlando Pace because of a contract holdout. If they lose Turley, they're in trouble.
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There really aren't too many NFL blogs on the net right now. Count us as one of the few. Don't worry, we're still going to talk Mariners baseball. But at the same time, over the next few weeks, the football talk will heat up as well as the Olympics, with both Tara and Dana Kirk swimming in Athens. Things are not only heating up weather-wise, but they're also heating up here at Sports and Bremertonians.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.