Friday, September 02, 2005


Mariners 5, Yankees 1
AP photo -- John Froschauer

In 25 words or less: It's a come-from-behind victory, with the Mariners pulling it off late. It was also an odd pitchers' duel early on.

[***NOTE -- Not testing this time. I was having trouble pulling up the MLB.tv feed all night after I got home, though I eventually did see the game in its entirety. I'll type the rest of the endpiece at a later time so that I'm not a complete zombie at work on Friday morning. No, I haven't been there long enough to skip out on Friday and make it a four-day weekend.]

This one featured overrated free-agent of last winter Carl Pavano (10-19 in day games) going up against...Joel Piñeiro.

Grade: C+
A Joel-like first. Derek Jeter popped the second pitch high into centerfield. Hideki Matsui lofted a 2-0 single into shallow centerfield. Gary Sheffield took a 3-0 pitch inside. Alex Rodriguez poked the first pitch into shallow leftcenter for a single, scoring Matsui and moving Sheffield to second.
Jason Giambi got ahead 2-0, prompting a visit from Bryan Price. Giambi got ahead 3-0 but later took a full-count breaking ball over the plate for strike three. Bernie Williams fell behind 0-2 and wound up chopping a 2-2 pitch to second.

Grade: C
Mundane. Ichiro got the hitters' counts before grounding hard to Giambi, who knocked it down and looked around quickly to find it before grabbing it and diving to the bag in time. Jeremy Reed flew out high to centerfield on a 3-1 pitch. Raul Ibañez walked on a 3-1 pitch high and away for a walk. Richie Sexson fouled the second pitch hard off his front shin but stayed in and wound up lining a 1-2 pitch to Williams short of the track in centerfield.

Grade: B
Not overly treacherous. Matt Lawton got ahead 2-0 and ended up grounding deep on the right side to Sexson for a 3-1 putout. Jorge Posada took a 2-2 breaking ball over the outer half for a strikeout. Robinson Cano roped the first pitch near the leftfield corner for a double. Jeter rolled a 1-2 pitch to second.

Grade: C
A baserunner at least. Adrian Beltre worked a 1-2 count full before flying out to fairly deep centerfield. Dave Hansen chipped a single into shallow leftfield. Jose Lopez chopped a 1-2 pitch slowly to Cano on the right side, moving Hansen to second. Yuniesky Betancourt bounced an 0-2 pitch to short.

Grade: A-
Very nice. Matsui got ahead 2-0 and wound up whiffing on a high full-count pitch. Sheffield fell behind 0-2 and tapped a 1-2 pitch back to the mound. Rodriguez whiffed on a 2-2 low breaking ball.

Grade: C
Curing insomnia. Miguel Ojeda popped high to Williams in leftcenter. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 before lining a 2-2 pitch at Jeter's feet for the out. Reed got the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Ibañez flew out to Williams in leftcenter on the first pitch.

Grade: A-
Slightly impressive. Giambi grounded a 2-2 pitch deep into the hole on the right side, where Lopez made the play. Williams took a full-count breaking ball down and over the inside corner. Lawton nubbed the first pitch slowly along the right side, where Lopez scooped it with the glove and shoveled it in time to first.

Grade: C
Zzzzz. Sexson cracked a 2-2 pitch into the gap in leftcenter for a double, limping into second as an effect of the earlier foul ball off the ankle. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and wound up chopping a 1-2 pitch off the mound to the left side, where Wright made the play as Sexson held. Hansen lined the second pitch right at Williams in centerfield. Lopez popped high to third.

Grade: B+
Not bad. Posada bounced over the middle to Betancourt. Cano lashed a single into rightfield. Jeter flew out to Reed in centerfield on the second pitch. Matsui popped high to Ibañez in leftfield.

Grade: C-
Bored. Betancourt flew out high to Posada near the first-base line in foul territory. Ojeda bounced the first pitch to short. Ichiro smoked the first pitch right at Giambi near the third-base bag.

Grade: B+
Solid. Sheffield fell behind 0-2 and ended up lining to Betancourt's backhand side in the hole on the right side. Rodriguez took an 0-2 pitch to the back of the left shoulder. Giambi ripped a single up the middle, moving Rodriguez to second. Williams popped the second pitch into foul ground along the leftfield line, where Beltre ran a good distance and made the over-the-shoulder basket catch. Lawton whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner.

Grade: B
Scratch out. Reed bounced hard to short. Ibañez got the hitters' counts and wound up drilling the 3-1 pitch off of Wright for a single. Wright got up on one knee immediately after taking the line drive to the collarbone on his right side, but he was able to walk off on his own power. X-rays later came back negative.

Tanyon Sturtze came in for Wright. Sexson fell behind 0-2 took the next four pitches for a walk (last pitch outside), moving Ibañez to second. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and after a mound visit from Mel Stottlemyre, popped the 2-2 pitch to Sheffield in rightcenter. Hansen tagged a 2-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Ibañez and moving Sexson to second.
Lopez popped the 2-0 pitch to leftfield.

Wright's line: 5 1/3 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 85 pitches (49 strikes)

Grade: B+
Recover. Posada bounced out to third. Cano got ahead 2-0 and later whiffed on a 2-2 dirtball, but it got away from Ojeda behind the plate, and both runners were safe. Jeter fell behind 0-2 and ended up popping high to centerfield on a full count on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Matsui watched three strikes go by on three pitches, the last being a heater over the outer half.

Piñeiro's line: 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 112 pitches (68 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 3 pitches (3 strikes)

Grade: B
Unlikely source. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and golfed a 1-2 flyout to left. Ojeda cranked a 2-0 pitch about four rows above the manual scoreboard in leftfield.

Alan Embree came in for Sturtze. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to second. Reed got ahead 2-0 and ended up bouncing the 2-2 pitch to second.

Sturtze's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 26 pitches (13 strikes)

Grade: A
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Sheffield fell behind 0-2 before drilling a 2-2 pitch into centerfield, where Reed had to run a long distance to make the catch. Rodriguez chopped the second pitch along the third-base line to Beltre. Giambi popped a 1-2 pitch in foul ground near the plate to Ojeda.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (10 strikes)

Grade: A
Kablooie! Ibañez lashed the first pitch into rightcenter for a single.

Ramiro Mendoza came in for Embree. Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball outside. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and wound up bashing the 2-2 pitch off the wall in rightcenter, scoring Ibañez.
Hansen bounced the second pitch to second. Lopez fouled off a 2-0 pitch but blistered the next pitch to the back of the visitors' bullpen in leftfield.
Betancourt rolled a 2-0 pitch up the middle to Jeter, who made a good play on the ball, ranging to his left.

Embree's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
Mendoza's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 18 pitches (10 strikes)

Grade: B+
Eddie Guardado came in for Putz. Williams ripped a ball up the middle, and Guardado hit the deck to avoid it (single). Ruben Sierra, hitting for Lawton, pounded the second pitch into the hole on the left side, where Betancourt backhanded it and threw in time to second to force out Williams. Posada popped the second pitch high to Lopez in shallow rightfield. Cano grounded the first pitch hard to Guardado, who went to the ground again, but knocked it down and threw to first in time. Ballgame.

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (5 strikes)

Gameball: Joel Piñeiro.
Kind of a vintage Piñeiro start, in a way. He started out with a crappy first and got it together after that. After the struggles in the first, Piñeiro had a stretch where he set down eight straight Yankees. He got a bit shaky in the sixth, nailing Alex Rodriguez with an 0-2 pitch and allowing a Jason Giambi single, but put the clamps down after that and didn't allow any more damage to occur. Right now with Joel, I really don't know what to think. His season was crap up until he strung together those three good starts in a row, then he reverted back to mostly crappy for a while, and then came this game. I'm really not sure what to think at this point. I remember when it was just easy to pan him off as being hurt, and one might still be able to make that argument. More likely, you can rationalize a scenario where a certain pitcher is consistently inconsistent, as in the doubt that Piñeiro can go out to the mound in five days and have a performance as good as this one. In fact, one may expect the complete opposite.

Goat: Ichiro.
He chimed in with his second straight 0-for-4 game. He hit .244 in the month of August, just barely beating out his worst hitting month as a Major Leaguer, the .242 month of August back in 2003. Though he's set a Major League career personal best for himself with the 15 homers and it's just two less than Raul Ibañez' homer total on the season (that's scary), his doubles are waaaaay down this season. Since he got to these shores, he's hit 34, 27, 29, and 24 doubles. With a month to go, he currently has hit only 15 doubles in 2005. Other than hits and batting average, that seems to be the only conventional bubblegum card stat that seems to be off.
Back to current times, Ichiro is still sitting on 164 hits for the season. Provided he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (556 at-bats in 133 games, 4.18 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 36 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .297 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .295 season average.
-- he needs 39 hits to finish with a .300 average for the season; he'd need to hit .322 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 53 hits to finish with a .320 average for the season; he'd need to hit .437 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 217 hits.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 95-38 .714 -- W1
2002 78-55 .586 17 L2
2003 77-56 .579 18 L1
2000 72-61 .541 23 L1
2005 57-76 .429 38 W1
2004 51-82 .383 44 L2

Moyer. Byrd. Tonight.

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