Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Mariners 8, Angels 1
AP photo -- Jim Bryant

In 25 words or less: The starting pitching was way better than it should have been, and same with the offense. That's a good thing.

[posted in full Wed ~5:15a]

This one featured Ervin Santana going up against Joel Piñeiro. Which Joel Piñeiro would we see? How would the Mariners follow up after Felix Hernandez had the worst outing of his young Major League career the day before?

Grade: B-
Joel-esque. Chone Figgins doubled the first pitch down the rightfield line, catching the corner of the stands. Orlando Cabrera chopped high to third, but the ball was speared by Adrian Beltre at the line, and he threw in time to first as Figgins advanced to third on the play. Garret Anderson popped the second pitch to Raul Ibañez in leftfield, and Figgins tagged and scored.
Vladimir Guerrero fell behind 0-2 and wound up popping a 1-2 pitch to Jose Lopez drifting back into shallow rightfield.

Grade: C
No denting. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and wound up lining a 2-2 pitch to a leaping Cabrera at short. Jeremy Reed rolled the second pitch to first. Raul Ibañez lined a first-pitch single into leftfield. Richie Sexson had the hitters' counts and whiffed on a full count.

Grade: B+
Decent. Darin Erstad got ahead 3-0 and whiffed on a high full-count fastball. Bengie Molina grounded the second pitch deep in the hole to Yuniesky Betancourt on the left side. Casey Kotchman rolled the second pitch to first.

Grade: C
Bleah. Adrian Beltre chopped the second pitch to third and got aboard with the infield single. Greg Dobbs looped the first pitch into shallow centerfield for a single, moving Beltre to second. Jose Lopez popped a 2-0 pitch high to Adam Kennedy on the back slope of the mound. Yuniesky Betancourt air-bunted the first pitch in front of the mound, and Santana caught it. Dobbs was nearly doubled off of first on the play. Yorvit Torrealba grounded the first pitch hard to short, and Cabrera's backhand flip to second was nearly late getting Dobbs, but Kennedy stepped on the bag in time.

Grade: B
Odd. Steve Finley flew out near the rightfield track on a 1-2 pitch. Adam Kennedy golfed the first pitch off the rightcenter track and into the crowd for a double; the ball dropped right in front of Ichiro, though he and Jeremy Reed may have miscommunicated. Figgins rolled the first pitch to short. Cabrera popped the second pitch high to first.

Grade: B+
Juice. Ichiro swatted a 2-2 pitch into shallow leftfield for a single. Reed popped a 2-0 pitch into shallow rightfield that nearly dropped in front of Guerrero, but he caught it. Ibañez popped the second pitch to rightfield. Sexson whiffed on a 2-0 pitch on which Ichiro stole second with a high throw. Sexson crushed the next pitch into the back of the Mariner bullpen in leftcenter.
Beltre popped the second pitch to rightfield.

Grade: A
Good. Anderson drove the first pitch to leftcenter that Reed ran a long way to get, but he got it and juggled it out of his glove, but got it back. Guerrero rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Erstad popped the second pitch high to centerfield.

Grade: B
More. Dobbs popped the first pitch high to rightfield. Lopez took a hard 2-2 pitch and was nailed on the arm or something, but I wouldn't know since the Angel telecast was busy showing a rookie initiation picture instead of using the replay to see where Lopez was beaned. Betancourt watched as Lopez took second on the first pitch, a ball in the dirt. Betancourt flew out high to Kennedy on the rightfield grass. Torrealba laced a 2-2 single up the middle, scoring Lopez.
Ichiro was intentionally walked. Reed popped out to Kennedy on the rightfield grass.

Grade: A
Might someone be rolling? Molina popped an 0-2 pitch to the rightfield track. Kotchman rolled to second. Finley popped to Betancourt in shallow centerfield.

Grade: B
Add on. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and later drove a full-count pitch off the track and wall in centerfield for a double. Sexson fell behind 0-2 and had the front of his jersey untucked by a 1-2 pitch way inside. Beltre bounced to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice as he beat out the double play at first with Ibañez moving to third. Dobbs popped a 2-2 pitch to Figgins in foul ground on the right side. Lopez took a 2-1 pitch and Beltre took off for second and drew a throw, but Kennedy's throw back home wasn't that great, and Ibañez scored. Beltre was safe at second.
Lopez was ahead 3-1 but whiffed on a full count.

Grade: A
Roll. Kennedy bounced out to second. Figgins rolled the second pitch to second. Cabrera bounced a 1-2 pitch to short.

Grade: C
Meah. Betancourt popped the second pitch to Guerrero in shallow rightfield. Torrealba drilled a 2-2 single over the middle.

Jason Christiansen came in for Santana. Ichiro drove a flyout to deep leftcenter. Reed got ahead 2-0 and eventually bounced out to second.

Santana's line: 5 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 96 pitches (58 strikes)
Christiansen's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (4 strikes)

Grade: A
On fire. Anderson roped the second pitch to Lopez in the hole on the right side, and he threw to first. Guerrero flew out to Lopez in shallow rightcenter. Erstad grounded out to second.

Grade: B
Kevin Gregg came in for Christiansen. Ibañez got ahead 3-1 and popped a full-count pitch that carried into the visitors' bullpen.
Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on an outside pitch. Beltre got ahead 3-1 and stuck a full-count pitch up the middle. Dobbs took an 0-2 pitch that rolled past Molina (passed ball), moving Beltre to second. Dobbs later took a 1-2 pitch over the inside corner. Lopez stuck the second pitch the other way into rightfield for a double, scoring Beltre.
Betancourt popped the second pitch to Erstad in foul ground on the right side.

Gregg's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 28 pitches (17 strikes)

Grade: B-
Dodging bullet. Molina took a 3-1 pitch for a walk, snapping Piñeiro's streak of retired Angels at twelve. Kotchman rolled the second pitch to second, advancing Molina to second. Finley worked an 0-2 count full before taking a breaking ball over the inside corner. Kennedy singled the second pitch into shallow centerfield, moving Molina to third. Figgins got ahead 2-0 and Kennedy took second on the 2-2 pitch. Figgins ended up walking on a low pitch, loading the bases.

JJ Putz came in for Piñeiro. Cabrera popped an 0-2 pitch to Ichiro in shallow rightfield.

Piñeiro's line: 7 2/3 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 91 pitches (57 strikes)
Putz' line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (3 strikes)

Grade: B-
Greg Jones came in for Gregg. Torrealba looped a 2-0 pitch into centerfield for a single. Ichiro reached low and lined out to centerfield on the second pitch. Reed lined the second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, scoring Torrealba, who beat the throw home.
Ibañez drilled a full-count pitch into leftfield, scoring Reed easily.
Sexson bounced a 3-1 pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play.

Jones' line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (10 strikes)

Grade: B
Eddie Guardado came in for Putz. Anderson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Guerrero fisted a pitch up the middle for a single. Erstad whiffed on an 0-2 pitch low and away. Molina took a strike and four balls. Kotchman popped to centerfield. Ballgame.

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 21 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Yorvit Torrealba.
Unlike Miguel Olivo's Seattle tenure, Torrealba has been a solid backstop and he's shown something at the plate. He's warmed up at the plate ever since snapping the 0-for-20 skid on Sunday. Frankly, if he goes 3-for-4 in any game, I'll probably be putting him in this spot. It's not just good for him, it's good because Ichiro is behind him, and if you give Ichiro chances to hit with runners aboard, I'd have to say that's generally a good thing. The only drawback I could see to that is if Ichiro were trying to leg out a triple and somehow passed whatever catcher you had hitting ninth that day on the basepaths. That'd be bad. Anyway, the Angels only got him out the one time, and that was on a pretty hard-hit ball that nearly got through Orlando Cabrera in the second with two on and two out, and Cabrera nearly muffed the backhand toss over to Adam Kennedy at second. Torrealba singled in every remaining at-bat. If he's a stopgap until Jeff Clement comes up, I'd have to say I'm okay with that scenario coming out of camp next spring. Give Clement at least half of next year and see where he's at, then maybe think about bringing him up. If not, I guess we'll see Clement next September or in 2007.

Goat: Yuniesky Betancourt.
He unfortunately went 0-for-4 on a night where the Mariner lineup pounded out fourteen hits and no one else went hitless. Of course, there was his usual defensive nuttiness, but I hardly think any of his crazy defensive plays made a seven-run difference in the game. That's harsh, yes, but somehow I have to pick a goat for this game. I hope Betancourt and Jose Lopez put their hitting shoes on next year. If both of those guys hit .260, I'll be cool with it. Fifteen homers from Lopez, I'd be all right with that. Eight triples for Betancourt, and I'd be cool with that. I'd dig some passable hitting from the middle infielders, and some big damage from the corner infielders. Even better so far this season has been that the defensive ineptitude of Jose Lopez has been much less prevalent than last year, when he racked up many errors in a short amount of time. In other words, Mike Morse was 2005's Jose Lopez. Sure, there's an obvious difference in height between the two. Hopefully only the one between the two of them took steroids in the minors too.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 103-40 .720 -- W4
2002 84-59 .587 19 L1
2003 82-61 .573 21 L2
2000 78-65 .545 25 W2
2005 62-81 .434 41 W1
2004 53-90 .371 50 L1

Well, this game certainly got out of hand, didn't it? The Mariners didn't necessarily tattoo any one pitcher, nor did they pound out a big inning. They just played add-on, battering the Angels with a series of onesies and twosies, and did they definitely kept adding to the offensive smorgasbord. The aforementioned smorgasbord consisted of fourteen Mariner hits, five of them going for extra bases. Doubles were hit by Raul Ibañez, Jose Lopez, and Jeremy Reed. Homers were hit by Richie Sexson, who hit his 35th (third homer in the last five games) and Raul Ibañez, who luckily put a cushion of three between himself and Ichiro with his 18th homer of the season.

Multi-hit games in this one went to Raul Ibañez, Adrian Beltre, and Torrealba (gameball). Ibañez had himself a monster day, going 4-for-5 with a double, homer, two RBIs, and even a steal of home on the front end of a double steal. He singled with two out in the first, led off the fifth with a double that one-hopped the wall in centerfield, homered to lead off the seventh, then hit a one-out RBI single in the eighth. Beltre went 2-for-4, getting aboard with a leadoff infield single in the second, and getting on with a traditional single with one out in the seventh. But hey, hits of any kind are good, really, and Beltre ended up scoring later in the seventh on a Jose Lopez double.

But it wasn't all about the hitting. Joel Piñeiro had one of his better starts of the year, making one truly wonder if maybe he really was hurt during all the times that he's been far from stellar this season. He had a streak of twelve straight retired Angel hitters in the eighth inning before it started getting a bit dicey. Perhaps if not for the shaky start to the eighth inning, maybe he goes all nine. After the first inning, he pretty much manhandled the lineup of the division leaders. In a way, isn't that typical Piñeiro? Hasn't Joel even in his best form struggled in the first innings of his starts? We know that Gil Meche is the Big Inning guy, but Joel Piñeiro has been the Big First Inning guy. What do you say after a start like this? Do you say that it's good to have Joel back? I don't think I'd go quite that far, because I still need a bit more to convince myself that he's even on his way back. Not that this start wasn't encouraging, because it certainly was. Let's hope he can get through spring training next year without any health issues, and let's see how he looks around late March.

With the 1-for-4 game here, Ichiro has 180 hits on the season and sits with a .302 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (596 at-bats in 143 games, 4.17 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 20 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .253 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .296 season average.
-- he needs 23 hits to finish with a .300 (.301) average for the season; he'd need to hit .290 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 36 hits to finish with a .320 average for the season; he'd need to hit .455 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 216 hits.

Might the Mariners win this series? Against the Angels? Against the division leaders? Against their lineup? Even with having to face Vladimir Guerrero?

Byrd. Franklin. Tonight.

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