Saturday, May 28, 2005

THE PUMP 5/28/05 

Mariners at Devil Rays, 3:15 Pacific (KOMO AM 1000, MLB.TV)

Aaron Sele (3-4, 4.62 ERA) vs Casey Fossum (2-2, 4.11 ERA)

Why should we care about this game today?

Dave Henderson tells us that you'll see something that you've never seen before.

What would that be, Hendu? Back-to-back shutouts by Aaron Sele? I think not.

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Devil Rays 5, Mariners 4
AP photo -- Steve Nesius

In 25 words or less: At least it was more watchable than that whole Baltimore series, though it took a while.

This one featured Gil Meche going up against the quite tall Mark Hendrickson. Alongside Rick Rizzs in the broadcast booth was ex-Mariner Darnell Coles, who also does some work on ESPN's college baseball telecasts.

Grade: C-
More of the same to start. Ichiro grounded a 2-0 pitch to short. Randy Winn chopped a groundout to third where Jorge Cantu threw into the runner, but Travis Lee pulled it down. Adrian Beltre fouled off an 0-2 pitch, but later pulled a pitch low and away to third for a groundout. Hendrickson threw 14 pitches.

Grade: C
Meche would set his tone early. Carl Crawford grounded a full-count pitch that went off of Meche and bounced to Bret Boone at second. Though he had absolutely no play at first, he tried to do a spinning-throw kind of thing, but the ball went over everything and toward the first-base dugout. Once the ball was there, it ricocheted past Olivo as well, and Crawford stood on second after the downward spiral stopped. Julio Lugo flew out to rightfield on the first pitch, greatly assisting Meche. Aubrey Huff grounded out to second to move Crawford to third. Travis Lee had a 3-0 count go full before checking his swing on an outside pitch for a walk. Josh Phelps fell behind 0-2, and Lee took second without a throw two pitches later. Phelps fouled off three 2-2 pitches before being beaned in the left tricep. Jorge Cantu nearly hit a homer down the line, but it was foul. He grounded out to short to end the inning. Meche threw 28 pitches.

Grade: B
An early lead? Yes, it's true! Richie Sexson clubbed the second pitch into the gap in leftcenter. The ball one-hopped the wall, and Sexson coasted into second with a double. Raul Ibañez grounded out to the right side for the odd 4-1 putout, and Sexson scooted to third. Bret Boone whiffed on a 3-0 curve, and grounded the 3-1 pitch to Lugo at short, who could have had a play at home, but dropped it. He recovered and threw to first, but Sexson scored. Finally, a break goes the Mariners' way.
Jeremy Reed tapped back to the mound to end the inning. Hendrickson threw 14 pitches.

Grade: A-
Meche had his easiest inning of the night. Alex Sanchez had a 2-0 count, but would ground out to short on a full count. Toby Hall flew out to Ichiro. Nick Green fouled off an 0-2 pitch before whiffing on a curve low and away. Meche threw 18 pitches.

Grade: C-
Unfortunately, Hendrickson would have one of his better innings. Willie Bloomquist grounded out to second. Miguel Olivo fouled off a 3-1 pitch and whiffed at the next. Ichiro grounded out to first on the 0-1 pitch, though he didn't run it out. That's because he thought the ball hit the bat twice, though a foul ball was never called. I'd have liked to make my own judgment on the play, but all the camera technology at the Trop is crap, and/or they never got a replay onto the telecast that meant something. There sure as hell was no X-mo. Hendrickson threw 15 pitches.

Grade: B-
More jam, please. Crawford laced the first pitch under Sexson's glove and into rightfield for a single. Lugo popped up to Ichiro in rightcenter on a play where it looked like there was a chance that Reed and Ichiro would collide. Huff popped a ball foul down the leftfield line, and Beltre made an over-the-shoulder basket catch. Lee had a 3-0 count and took the 3-1 pitch low and outside for a walk. Phelps grounded the 2-0 pitch to short for an easy 6-4 fielder's choice. Meche threw 16 pitches.

Grade: C
The Mariners can't even take advantage of Levine's Law. Winn walked on a 3-1 pitch to lead off. Beltre whiffed on a 2-2 change that was outside and quite low. Winn took second on a first-pitch dirtball to Sexson. Sexson fouled off a 2-0 pitch, but tapped the 2-2 pitch gently to the right side, where Hendrickson picked it up and tagged him out. Winn scooted to third, which is where he watched Ibañez ground out hard to second. Hendrickson threw 17 pitches.

Grade: C
This one was getting so bad that Ron Fairly was telling secondhand riddles along the lines of "if you take two apples off a tree, what do you have? You have two apples. They never asked you how many were left on the tree." Cantu worked a 1-2 count full before flyout out to Boone in shallow centerfield. Sanchez had a 3-0 count go full, but eventually walked. Hall singled to rightfield on the first pitch, and Sanchez went to third and held. Green walked on four pitches, sending Bryan Price to the mound. Crawford flew out to leftfield on the first pitch, and since leftfield is the home of Randy Winn and his arm, Sanchez scored easily.
Lugo hit one off the end of the bat to centerfield for a flyout. Meche threw 25 pitches.

Grade: C-
Enjoy futility! Boone got down 0-2 and ended up flying out to rightfield. Reed got down 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 2-2 curve. Bloomquist poked the first pitch through the right side, then decided he'd try to stretch it into a double. It was definitely a bang-bang play, but on that replay they showed before the commercial break, it was clear that Bloomquist was safe. Darnell Coles said afterward that the umpire was in a bad position to make that call. As it was, Lugo didn't have the ball as it came in, and he tagged Bloomquist with the glove, which didn't have the ball in it. The ball eventually ended up in Lugo's bare hand, but Bloomquist was never tagged with the ball. Chalk it up as just another thing not going the Mariners' way. There'd be more. Hendrickson threw 11 pitches.

Grade: C-
Meche didn't survive the inning. Huff fouled off three 0-2 pitches before whiffing on a fastball high and outside. Lee worked a 1-2 count for a walk, his third of the night. Phelps fouled off a 2-0 pitch before dinking the 2-2 offering down the rightfield line, barely fair (another bounce not going the Mariners' way), and good for a single as Lee went to third.

Julio Mateo came in for Meche. Sometimes I get a feeling when a Mariner pitcher gets yanked with runners on base that the reliever will manage to score all of the runs. This was one of those times. Mateo grooved the first pitch to Cantu, who laced it through the left side to score Lee.
Sanchez got down 0-2, but hit a pitch low and away to rightfield, scoring Phelps. Ichiro tried to nail Cantu at third but wasn't in time.
Sanchez took off for second on the first pitch to Hall, but Olivo gunned him down at second as Boone applied the tag to the helmetless head of Sanchez. Cantu remained on third, not charging home on the throw. Hall got behind 0-2 and eventually whiffed.

Meche's line: 4 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts, 105 pitches (60 strikes)

Grade: B-
This inning could have been a lot more. Olivo nubbed a single into shallow centerfield to snap and 0-for-12 slump. Ichiro grounded one through the left side for a single, and Olivo moved to second. Winn nearly parachuted the first pitch down the leftfield line for a fair ball and possibly a hit, but it was barely foul. Winn lined the next pitch to the second baseman, and Olivo didn't freeze on the line drive. He was easily doubled off at second, and the whole inning looked to have gone to crap. Beltre fouled off an 0-2 pitch, but wound up singling past the shortstop. Too bad Olivo wasn't still on base. Sexson stuck the 2-0 pitch up the middle to score Ichiro. The throw went into third base, and Beltre held at second.
Ibañez turned too hard on a hung 1-0 pitch, but clobbered it way foul. After Beltre was nearly picked off of second, Raul took a low 3-1 pitch for a free pass.

Seth McClung came in for Hendrickson. With two on and two out, it was a good time for Boone to fly out to centerfield on the first pitch.

Hendrickson's line: 5 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 92 pitches (54 strikes)

Grade: B+
Mateo had a relatively easy inning. Green lined a single into leftfield. Crawford popped out to Winn along the leftfield line on the first pitch. Lugo popped out to Ichiro. Huff flew out to short on a 2-0 pitch. Mateo threw 14 pitches.

Grade: C
Once again, an inning goes to crap. Reed had the hitters' counts and took the 3-1 pitch high and outside for a walk. Bloomquist took ball one from McClung.

Then Travis Harper inherited the 1-0 count from McClung. Bloomquist split his bat on a 1-2 pitch, rolling the ball up the middle. That's where Lugo took the ball, stepped on the bag, and threw to first. A once-promising inning was dashed by another inopportune double play. Olivo got behind 0-2 and whiffed at a 1-2 pitch low and away.

McClung's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (2 strikes)

Grade: C
Then Hargrove went nuts with the bullpen. Lee hit a high fly on 0-2 that was destined for Ichiro until it hit one of the catwalks in play (again, another bad bounce). Lee ended up on third with a triple. Phelps then worked Mateo, grounding the first pitch just foul down the third-base line on the first pitch, then mashing the 0-1 pitch down the line for what was two or three feet to the left of being a homer. After taking the 0-2 pitch barely outside, Phelps covered the 1-2 pitch, sending it dead center over the wall in centerfield.
Cantu grounded a ball to third that Beltre gloved but bobbled, though it went for a single.

Matt Thornton came in for Mateo. Sanchez bunted the first pitch to the right side. The entire right side of the infield went for the ball, and nobody went to cover the bag. Predictably, Sanchez ended up on first.

Jeff Nelson came in after Thornton's ironman one-pitch outing. Hall bunted the first pitch in the air to Beltre. Green whiffed on a 1-2 pitch.

Ron Villone came in for Nelson. Crawford grounded out to Boone to mercifully end the inning that seemed like it took about two hours to finish.

Mateo's line: 1 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 33 pitches (22 strikes)
Thornton's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)
Nelson's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (4 strikes)

Grade: B
The Mariners would make it interesting. Ichiro grounded out to second on an 0-2 pitch. Rick Rizzs was nonetheless bored, busting out the story of Eddie Guardado retaliating at Greg Dobbs with a use-a-guitar-for-batting-practice gag that Dobbs thought involved his new guitar. Winn slapped a double down the leftfield line. Beltre mashed the 2-0 pitch to leftfield, but it was on a line and Crawford drifted back to catch it. Sexson took a four-pitch walk.

Piniella was probably so incensed at the four-pitch walk that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez came out with the hook and brought in Trever Miller. Ibañez crushed the 2-0 pitch, and I was yelling "get the f#*$ out" to the ball from in front of my TV set, but it was probably about a half-foot short of leaving the field of play in rightfield. Thus, it was a two-run double as Winn and Sexson scored. Again, another bounce that went against Seattle since that could have been the game-tying homer. What's new?

Danys Baez was brought in by Piniella to make damn sure the game didn't get out of hand. It helped that Boone was the next hitter. He got the hitters' counts and popped the 3-1 pitch to Crawford in shallow leftfield.

Harper's line: 1 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 22 pitches (13 strikes)
Miller's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (1 strike)

Grade: A-
Villone closed out with a decent inning. Lugo lined a pitch to Boone's shoetops, but he caught it. Huff was called out on an 0-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Lee fouled off a 3-1 pitch, and later was caught looking on a pitch over the outside corner.

Villone's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 17 pitches (12 strikes)

Grade: C
The last hurrah was a bit frustrating. Reed flew out to Lugo in shallow leftfield. Bloomquist walked on a 3-1 pitch. Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit for Olivo. He fouled off two pitches, then was CAUGHT LOOKING on 0-2. Pinch looker. Ichiro hit a hard grounder that went through Cantu's legs at third (error), and Bloomquist went to third on the play. Winn fouled off two pitches (he knew he should have had the second one), and whiffed on the third pitch off the plate outside. Ballgame.

Baez' line: 1 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 23 pitches (15 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
The too-obvious gameball choice is Richie Sexson with the only Mariner multi-hit game. Raul Ibañez had the two-run double that was inches away from being the game-tying homer in the eighth. Other than that, he had the ground ball that advanced Sexson to third, where he later scored on the Boone groundout. Other than that, he grounded out hard to second and nearly turned on a ball in the 6th, but ended up walking. So Ibañez was either moving runners, walking, or hitting the ball hard. Decent enough.

Goat: Bret Boone.
He drove in the first Mariner run with a groundout, but that was kinda thanks to the ball being dropped by Cantu. He stranded four runners. He made that crazy-ass error in the first, and somehow Meche wriggled out of that inning without the run (Crawford) scoring. He didn't hit any balls hard either. Just awful.

I'm just glad the game held my interest at one point, that's all. They got an early lead and held it for a couple innings until they blew it. Meche couldn't get out of the fourth, then Mateo scored his runs. The Mariners scored a run to make it 3-2 in the inning that should have scored way more runs. Then the Phelps homer almost made the victory a for-sure thing for Tampa Bay until the happenings of the eighth.

Still, lots of things going against the Mariners. A couple of untimely double plays (including Olivo running on a line drive), Ichiro not getting another chance after hitting the ball twice on the same pitch (foul), Bloomquist hitting a double but getting nailed on a phantom tag, Travis Lee hitting the catwalk for a triple on something that's a flyout in any other park, Ibañez missing the game-tying homer by inches...I could go on, but it'd just be even more saddening.

As for the hitting, only two hitters hung up zeroes, and they were Boone (covered above) and Jeremy Reed (0-for-3 with a walk). The bats scattered eight hits between everyone else, and the lineup as a whole drew five walks. Richie Sexson's RBI single and Raul Ibañez' double both occurred with two outs, which means that three of the four Mariner runs were driven in with two out. That's somewhat encouraging. Ibañez and Boone both sit at 23 RBIs on the year, which for some reason seems weird to me. Ibañez has a 32-point lead in the batting average department, as you might suspect.

As for the pitching, not a banner night at all. The last time a Mariner starting pitcher failed to get out of the 5th inning was Joel Piñeiro on the 13th, exactly two weeks before this start. Meche never got bit by his trademark big inning, but nearly all of his innings in this game seemed to be on the verge of becoming huge innings. The five walks definitely did not help. Three of the walks were to Travis Lee, making it Christmas in May for him. The other two went to Alex Sanchez (#7 hitter) and Nick Green (#9). I know Tampa Bay has a decent-hitting bottom third of the lineup, but sheesh. Mariner starting pitchers this month have a collective 5.90 ERA (up 0.01 from the night before). Their average start consists of 5.64 innings (5 2/3), 3.78 runs (3.7 earned), 6.4 hits, 2.7 walks, 2.9 strikeouts, 96.4 pitches (58 strikes).

Nearly everyone and their mother got work out of the bullpen in the 7th inning as Mike Hargrove went nuts and ticked me off a bit. Julio Mateo had his first stinker of a relief appearance. Matt Thornton was completely useless with the only pitch he threw. Jeff Nelson and Ron Villone bailed everyone out of that inning. Villone also had a decent 8th against the 2-3-4 hitters in the Tampa Bay lineup. Oddly for the Mariners' staff as a whole, every Devil Ray starter got a hit except for the second and third hitters, Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff, who both hung up 0-for-5s. Also, the Mariner bullpen didn't walk anyone in their 3 2/3 innings.

Like I said, the game was at least competitive. I felt afterward like my time was at least somewhat well spent/wasted. The Ibañez double made the game interesting, and having the go-ahead run on base in the 9th made it interesting as well, but it's too bad the Mariner bench is horrid. I'm not just referring to Greg Dobbs and his pinch-strikeout, but I'm not a big fan of Willie Bloomquist coming to the plate with one out and the bases empty in the 9th against a flamethrower on the mound. May we pleeeeeease ditch the 12 pitchers thing now? Please?

Sele. Fossum. Today.

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Friday, May 27, 2005


Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend, everybody!


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THE PUMP 5/27/05 

Mariners at Devil Rays, 4:15 Pacific (FSN Northwest, MLB.TV)

Gil Meche (4-2, 5.00 ERA) vs Mark Hendrickson (1-2, 4.47 ERA)

Welcome back to the Pump, Exxon. We missed you, bro.

Mark Hendrickson averaged 2.9 ppg as a rookie in 1996-1997 with the Philadelphia 76ers. 1996-1997 was also Allen Iverson's first season in the NBA.


---Score more runs than the other team

---Lou Piniella doesn't manage the Mariners anymore

---If the ball isn't kept down, it will fly, fly away

---Mons Venus is open until 5 a.m., so there's no hurry to finish the ballgame in less than 2 hours

This is a game thread, in case you didn't know. The blogosphere is much more fun than this current Mariner ballclub. Sad but true.

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Orioles 5, Mariners 2
AP photo -- Chris Gardner

In 25 words or less: Like the previous day's game. Mariner pitcher gets roughed up in the first and does okay the rest of the game, but the offense stinks.

This one featured Ryan Franklin going up against Daniel Cabrera, who is tall and throws fast. Cabrera also had a chaw of monumental proportions beneath his lower lip during the game. Seriously, the thing was huge.

I've probably said something about this before. It has to do with the current Qwest ad campaign. The ads end with a random Qwest worker, and their first name and position is identified on the screen. The last thing they say is "that is our spirit of service in action." Lately, I've noticed that they overemphasize the final two words in that line, so they VERY clearly say "IN ACTION." The problem? Before, they said all the words with a fluid cadence, so it probably sounded more like "inaction," and there's probably some people out there that agreed with the whole "inaction" thing. I'm guessing someone clued them in to that.

Grade: C-
Since I already warned of tonight's performance by the bats, get used to the pattern. Ichiro rolled one very slowly to a charging Brian Roberts, who barely got Ichiro at first. Randy Winn grounded an 0-2 pitch to first for a 3-1 putout. Adrian Beltre got down 0-2 and fouled off a couple of pitches before whiffing on a slider outside. Cabrera threw 10 pitches.

Grade: C-
Here's how Ruff Ryan rolls. Brian Roberts shot one down the leftfield line past Beltre for a single. David Newhan hit the first pitch to Boone, who went to second for the 4-6 fielder's choice. Melvin Mora got down 0-2 and fouled off a couple pitches en route to working the count full. Then Franklin grooved one and Mora tagged it into the seats in leftfield.
Miguel Tejada got under the second pitch he saw, flying out high to centerfield. Sammy Sosa grounded out to second to end the inning. Franklin threw 16 pitches.

Grade: C
Sigh. Richie Sexson flew out high to shallow rightfield. Raul Ibañez worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Bret Boone fouled off a 2-0 pitch before falling victim to a running and diving catch by Sosa in rightcenter. Jeremy Reed took a 1-2 fastball that tailed back over the inside corner for strike three. Mariner hitters from both sides of the plate had trouble with that pitch all night. Cabrera threw 17 pitches.

Grade: C+
The inning started off with something interesting, at least. Rafael Palmeiro whiffed on the first pitch and the bat flew into the crowd. He fouled off an 0-2 pitch before Franklin twice tried nibbling at the corners to no avail (squeezed?). Palmeiro flew out to leftfield. Jay Gibbons whiffed at a 1-2 pitch outside. Sal Fasano knocked the first pitch over Wilson Valdez at short for a single. Larry Bigbie grounded an 0-2 pitch up the middle that went under Boone's glove for a single on what should easily have been a 4-6 fielder's choice to end the inning, and Fasano scooted to third on the play. Franklin compounded the mess by walking Roberts on four pitches to load the bases and bring Bryan Price to the mound. Newhan fouled off a high pitch on 0-2 but whiffed on a curve in the dirt to end the inning. Franklin threw 21 pitches.

Grade: C-
The beat continued. Miguel Olivo flew out to Sosa in shallow rightfield. Wilson Valdez grounded one up the middle, which was fielded by the shortstop. Ichiro grounded out to third to end the inning. Cabrera threw 12 pitches.

Grade: B-
Franklin had to get through the meat of the order. Mora fell behind 0-2 and flew out to Sexson behind the bag at first. Tejada laced the first pitch into centerfield for a single. Sosa flew out to rightfield on the first pitch. Palmeiro hit one where Boone usually would have been, except the shift was on, and the ball snuck through for a single. Gibbons flew out to Ichiro on the first pitch to end the inning. Franklin threw 12 pitches.

Grade: C-
Ho-hum. Winn grounded into the hole on the right side, but Roberts made the play. Beltre was jammed and grounded out to third. Sexson got down 0-2 and eventually foul-tipped a slider over the middle into the catcher's glove. Cabrera threw 13 pitches.

Grade: A
Franklin would begin to settle down. Fasano popped the first pitch to Sexson by the coaches' box in foul territory. Bigbie grounded out to second. Roberts took an 0-2 pitch in the dirt, but grounded to Sexson on the next pitch, who stepped on the bag. Franklin threw only seven pitches.

Grade: C
It didn't get better for the Mariners, unfortunately. Ibañez took the tailing fastball over the inside corner for strike three. Boone took the same pitch barely outside on 1-2, but whiffed on the obligatory slider low and away (it's clockwork). Reed bounced a 3-1 pitch off the track in leftcenter for a double. Cabrera hung a 1-2 pitch to Olivo, but he's Olivo, so it ended up as a fly ball to shallow centerfield that was caught by Roberts. Cabrera threw 19 pitches.

Grade: B+
Franklin would get some help. Newhan popped out to Valdez in shallow leftfield. Mora hit a shot up the middle that nearly hit Franklin's legs, and it went for a single. Tejada fouled off a 2-0 pitch, but grounded the next pitch to Beltre for an around-the-horn (5-4-3) double play to end the inning. Franklin threw 10 pitches.

Grade: B-
Offense?! Valdez went from 2-0 to the whiff. Ichiro hit his second pitch into the gap in rightcenter, and it rolled to the wall as Ichiro chugged into third with a triple. Winn fouled off an 0-2 pitch before flying out down the leftfield line. Luckily, it was deep enough to score Ichiro and cut the lead in half.
Then Beltre took the 1-2 tailing gastball over the outside corner. Cabrera threw 15 pitches.

Grade: B-
Give it right back! Sosa rolled the first pitch to short. Palmeiro mashed the 3-1 pitch over just over the wall in centerfield, and apparently Reed reached over the fence to get a glove on it, but couldn't pull it back into the field of play. Story of my freakin' life, ladies and gentlemen.
Franklin hung an 0-2 pitch to Gibbons, who flew out to Ichiro in the gap. Fasano flew out high to Reed in leftcenter. Franklin threw 11 pitches.

Grade: C+
Cabrera was doing an imitation of me as a starting pitcher back in Babe Ruth ball for this inning. Sexson whiffed on a pitch low and away, and was erased on the 2-3 putout. Ibañez saw the first pitch go way over his back and to the backstop. John Marzano in the booth said it might have been intentional based on Cabrera's reaction, which I didnt see. Of course, I think Marzano's assertion is part homerism, part Marzano, and part just wanting to see anything remotely entertaining in this God-awful series. Ibañez responded by ripping a double down the rightfield line. Boone hit a hard grounder to short, and Ibañez held at second. Reed had the hitters' counts and took the 3-1 pitch behind him and to the backstop for ball four. Olivo fouled off a low 0-2 pitch before hitting a slow bouncer to Tejada at short.

Cabrera's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 106 pitches (68 strikes)

Grade: A
Franklin finished nicely. Bigbie bounced one to second. Roberts flew out to Ichiro in shallow rightfield. Newhan was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch.

Franklin's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 91 pitches (64 strikes)

Grade: C
Jorge Julio came in for Cabrera. Dave Hansen came on to pinch hit for Valdez. He flew out to centerfield. Ichiro flew out to Bigbie in leftcenter. Winn popped the first pitch just over a leaping and drifting Roberts for a single. Beltre hit an 0-1 pitch off of Julio and up the middle for a single. Of course, there were two out. Winn stole third without a throw on the first pitch to Sexson. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch that we usually see Beltre whiff at; it's the pitch where the catcher sets up over the outside corner, but the ball goes closer to the batter's head, but Beltre/Sexson swings at it anyway.

Julio's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (16 strikes)

Grade: C
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Franklin. Mora ripped the second pitch down the leftfield line for a double. Tejada had a 2-0 count, but crushed the 2-1 pitch about 17 rows or so into the seats in rightfield. This officially put the outcome of the game out of doubt.
Sosa had an 0-2 count and later flew out to Ichiro. Palmeiro split his bat on the first pitch, and the ball rolled to Sexson, who stepped on the bag. The business end of the bat had gone into the Oriole dugout and shiv'd end (ex-handle) nearly speared one of the Orioles in the back. Palmeiro thought the ball had gone foul and got a new bat and went back to the plate. Wrong. Oh well. I've walked to first on ball three before, and Mike Cameron actually did that last week. Gibbons grounded out to Sexson as well, who stepped on the bag for the third out.

Hasegawa's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (11 strikes)

Grade: B-
Submarine Steve Reed came in for Julio. Ibañez grounded the first pitch to short. Boone grounded the 0-2 pitch to second. Reed decided it'd be a good time for his first Major League homer, and why not? It was a 1-1 pitch that was sent just over the scoreboard in rightfield.
Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit for Olivo. He flew out to leftfield. Ballgame.

Reed's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (8 strikes)

Gameball: Jeremy Reed.
The only Mariner with a multi-hit game. He hit the double in the 5th, and in the 9th came his first big-league homer. Yes, Jeremy Reed homered off of Steve Reed. He's warmed up a bit lately, and hopefully this homer helps out the ol' psyche. Ryan Franklin was the only other obvious gameball, but I'll cover that below.

Goat: Richie Sexson.
He didn't make any errors, which would have made this decision exponentially easier. However, he did hang up an 0-for-4 with a hat trick. He also stranded two runners. He also went hitless in the final two games of the series. There are going to be days like this for Richie, though I think I said that for the last game post as well.

I guess I'll deal with the pitching first. The run support argument does hold up in this one for Ryan Franklin, so as much as I like to rip on the argument when it doesn't apply, it's justified this time, so we have to hear it all the damn time now. He only walked one batter, which is a lot better than five and three walks in his two previous starts. Seeing him give up the Rafael Palmeiro homer in the half-inning right after the Mariners had cut the deficit in half was a little disturbing, but not unexpected considering these Mariners. For the second straight night, though, the Orioles scored first, and scored in the first inning, and were in the driver's seat the rest of the way. The Orioles scored in the first inning in every game of the series. In Tuesday's game, they scored a run to erase the Mariners' 1-0 lead after one half-inning. Then, of course, the Mariners held a 2-1 lead for four innings before blowing it. Basically the Mariners looked out of it early in the last two games of the series, and that's not fun to watch. It's really not a good investment of time. Not at all.

To the rotation itself, they've gone from a 7.31 May ERA after the game on the 18th to a much better 5.89. Unfortunately, that pitching improvement has correlated with the Mariners offense going into the tank in Camden Yards, which is so depressing it's unfathomable. Both conventional and unconventional wisdom say that the park in Baltimore is a hitters' park. Damned if the Mariners didn't know that. Franklin's fifth start of the month lowered his May ERA to 4.85, just a shade under Meche's 4.73 mark. The average line for a Mariner starter this month: 5.70 innings (5 2/3), 3.82 runs (3.73 earned), 6.5 hits, 2.6 walks, 2.9 strikeouts, 96 pitches (58 strikes)

Now let's be sadistic and talk about the hitting. Jeremy Reed's two hits accounted for one-third of the Mariners' output in that category. Ichiro, Randy Winn, Adrian Beltre, and Raul Ibañez got the other four. That means the hitless parties (Sexson, Bret Boone, Miguel Olivo, Wilson Valdez) combined to go 0-for-12 and strike out five times. I guess that number is a little less damning than I thought it'd be, but oh well. The two runs the Mariners scored came on a homer (Reed) or with a runner on third (Ichiro). Reed's two-out double in the 5th was the Mariners' first hit of the game, and Reed was the second Mariner baserunner of the game. I pointed it out earlier, but the Mariners were having trouble all night with that tailing pitch that Cabrera was throwing, the one that tailed over the inside corner to lefties (outside corner to righties). It was doubly bad on Sexson/Beltre/Boone, who could either hack and miss at that pitch or the slider low and away.

I don't like to bring it up, but I'll do it until this crap stops. The 2005 Mariners, sitting here at 18-28, are one whole game over the pace of the 2004 Mariners, who were 17-29 after 46 games. The current Mariners better watch out, because the 2004 Mariners won games 48 and 50, and they won 10 of 14 from games 54 to 67. As you might expect, that 29-38 mark was the high-water mark for the 2004 Mariners, who went on to lose 16 of the next 19 games to put the death knell into the season, including blowing the entirety of the nine-game road trip going into the All-Star break. It was so bad I decided I'd rather attend a six-week geology field course in the sticks of central Oregon. "Decided" here is closely related to the phrase "required to graduate."

I guess the point is that we at least watched baseball that was competitive for the first month of the season even though the team was mediocre (.500), which I expected them to be. Lately, though, it just reeks way too much like last year. The other team scores early, the offense acts like they're out of it, and it's hard to pay attention to the game when you're bored out of your mind and know your team won't win. Yes, the Mariners have gone from ALCS losses in 2000 and 2001 to this in 2004 and 2005. Simply unbelievable.

I just want a return to watchable, competitive baseball. Is that too much to ask? It probably will be too much against Mark Hendrickson, who has handled this team before. It might be too much to ask against Lou Piniella too, who would freakin' love to sweep the Mariners.

Meche. Hendrickson. Tonight.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005


There's no need for me to waste 600-800 words on this ballclub right now.

The Mariners wasted their time in Baltimore this week, scoring just 5 runs in the 3-game sweep. In lieu of actual analysis, well, here you go.

Sue Bird could probably put up a .215 average at shortstop right now. Which, not surprisingly, would be better than Wilson Valdez' average, otherwise known as "Exxon" to me.

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THE PUMP 5/26/05 

Mariners at Orioles, 4:05 Pacific (KSTW, MLB.TV)

Ryan Franklin (2-5, 4.53 ERA) vs Daniel Cabrera (3-3, 5.91 ERA)

In case you missed it, I did a post earlier on the TV/Radio crews of Major League Baseball. Need to know who the Orioles' broadcasters are? The answers are in that particular post.

As for tonight's game, please don't make me get out the broom and towel.

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It's summertime (or almost summertime) and for the majority of us, we will watch and/or listen to a few ballgames in the next few months. We know who the players are. However, who are the folks who call these games? For example, you may have MLB.TV and want to watch the Mariners-Devil Rays game. The Mariners FSN Northwest feed isn't being used on that particular day, so you have to settle for the Devil Rays TV feed. Who are the Devil Rays TV announcers? The answer is in this post.

Instead of going to 30 different pages, how about putting all of this information in one post? This post will be as accurate as possible, but will be updated if there are any changes during the season. There are a few of you who may use MLB.TV, MLB Gameday Audio, XM Satellite Radio, and/or Extra Innings.

Hopefully this information is worthwhile to you.

Thanks to MLB.com for the information

(listed by division; pbp = play-by-play, analyst = analyst)


Baltimore Orioles
TV --- Comcast SportsNet, WJZ, PAX 66, WB 54
Fred Manfra (pbp), Jim Hunter (pbp), Buck Martinez (analyst), Jim Palmer (analyst)
Radio --- WBAL 1090 AM (Flagship)
Joe Angel (pbp), Jim Hunter (analyst)

Boston Red Sox
Don Orsillo (pbp), Jerry Remy (analyst)
Radio --- WEEI 850 AM
Joe Castiglione (pbp), Jerry Trupiano (analyst)
Spanish --- WROL 950 AM
J.P. Villaman (pbp), Uri Berenguer (analyst)

New York Yankees
TV --- YES Network, WWOR
Michael Kay (pbp), Jim Kaat (analyst), David Justice (analyst), Ken Singleton (analyst)
Radio --- WCBS 880 AM
John Sterling (pbp), Suzyn Waldman (analyst)
Spanish --- WADO 1280 AM

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
TV --- FSN Florida, PAX
Dewayne Staats (pbp), Joe Magrane (analyst)
Radio --- WHNZ 1250 AM
Andy Freed (pbp), Dave Wills (analyst)
Spanish --- WAMA 1550 AM
Enrique Oliu (analyst)

Toronto Blue Jays
TV --- Rogers Sportsnet, TSN
Rod Black (TSN pbp), Jamie Campbell (RSN pbp), Tom Candiotti (analyst),
Darrin Fletcher (analyst), Rance Mulliniks (analyst), Pat Tabler (analyst)
Radio --- FAN 590
Tom Cheek (pbp; currently not in booth, due to brain tumor; get well soon, Tom), Jerry Howarth (pbp/analyst), Warren Sawkiw (analyst), Mike Wilner (analyst)


Chicago White Sox
TV --- WGN, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WCIU
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson (pbp), Darrin Jackson (analyst)
Radio --- ESPN Radio 1000 AM
John Rooney (pbp), Ed Farmer (analyst)
Spanish --- WRTO 1200 AM (selected games)

Cleveland Indians
TV --- FSN Ohio
John Sanders (pbp), Rick Manning (analyst), Mike Hegan (analyst)
Radio --- WTAM 1100 AM
Tom Hamilton (pbp), Matt Underwood (analyst), Mike Hegan (analyst)

Detroit Tigers
TV --- FSN Detroit
Mario Impemba (pbp), Rod Allen (analyst)
Radio --- WXYT 1270 AM
Dan Dickerson (pbp), Jim Price (analyst)

Kansas City Royals
TV --- Royals Sports Television Network (RSTN), KMCI
Bob Davis (pbp), Paul Splittorff (analyst)
Radio --- WHB 810 AM
Denny Matthews (pbp), Ryan Lefebvre (analyst)

Minnesota Twins
TV --- FSN North, WFTC
Dick Bremer (pbp), Bert Blyleven (analyst)
Radio --- WCCO 830 AM
Herb Carneal (pbp), John Gordon (pbp/analyst), Dan Gladden (analyst)


Anaheim Angels
TV --- FSN West, KCAL
Steve Physioc (pbp), Rex Hudler (analyst), Jose Mota (analyst, innings 5-9 on KCAL)
Radio --- ESPN Radio 710 AM
Rory Markas (pbp), Terry Smith (analyst)
Spanish --- KTNQ 1020 AM
Ivan Lara (pbp), Jose Mota (analyst)

Oakland Athletics
TV --- FSN Bay Area, KICU
Glen Kuiper (pbp), Hank Greenwald (pbp), Tim Roye (pbp), Ray Fosse (analyst)
Radio --- KFRC 610 AM
Bill King (pbp), Ken Korach (pbp)

Seattle Mariners
TV --- FSN Northwest, KSTW
Dave Niehaus (pbp innings 1-5), Ron Fairly (analyst w/Niehaus), Rick Rizzs (pbp innings 5-9), Dave Henderson (analyst w/Rizzs), Dave Valle (analyst w/Rizzs)
Radio --- KOMO AM 1000
Dave Niehaus (pbp innings 5-9), Ron Fairly (analyst w/Niehaus), Rick Rizzs (pbp innings 1-5), Dave Henderson (analyst w/Rizzs), Dave Valle (analyst w/Rizzs)
Spanish --- KBRO 1490 AM Bremerton (home games only)
Amaury Pi-Gonzalez (pbp), Julio Cruz (analyst)

Texas Rangers
TV --- FSN Southwest, KDFI, KDFW
Josh Lewin (pbp), Tom Grieve (analyst)
Radio --- KRLD 1080 AM
Eric Nadel (pbp), Victor Rojas (analyst)
Spanish --- KFLC 1270 AM
Eleno Ornelas (pbp), Jose Guzman (analyst)


Atlanta Braves
TV --- TBS, Turner South, FSN South
Skip Caray (pbp), Pete Van Wieren (pbp), Chip Caray (pbp), Don Sutton (analyst), Joe Simpson (analyst), Ron Gant (analyst/TBS Xtra), Bob Rathbun (pbp/FSN South), Tom Paciorek (analyst/FSN South)
Spanish TV --- TBS SAP
Pete Manzano (pbp), Fernando Palacios (analyst)
Radio --- WGST 640 AM, WKLS 96.1 FM
Skip Caray (pbp), Pete Van Wieren (pbp), Don Sutton (analyst)

Florida Marlins
TV --- FSN Florida, PAX
Rich Waltz (pbp), Tommy Hutton (analyst)
Spanish TV --- FSN Florida SAP
Raul Striker, Jr. (pbp), Cookie Rojas (analyst)
Radio --- WQAM 560 AM
Dave Van Horne (pbp), Roxy Bernstein (analyst)
Spanish --- WQBA 1140 AM
Rafael Ramirez (pbp), Luis Quintana (analyst)

New York Mets
TV --- MSG, FSN New York, WPIX
Dave O’Brien (pbp), Ted Robinson (pbp), Ralph Kiner (pbp), Fran Healy (analyst),
Radio --- WFAN 660 AM
Howie Rose (pbp), Gary Cohen (analyst)
Spanish --- WADO 1280 AM
Billy Berroa (pbp), Juan Alicea (analyst)

Philadelphia Phillies
TV --- Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, WPSG
Harry Kalas (pbp), Larry Andersen (analyst), Chris Wheeler (analyst)
Radio --- WPHT 1210 AM, WIP 610 AM (Friday games only)
Scott Graham (pbp), Tom McCarthy (analyst)
Spanish --- WPWA 1590 AM

Washington Nationals
TV --- Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), WDCA
Mel Proctor (pbp), Ron Darling (analyst)
Radio --- WFED 1050 AM, Z104 FM
Charlie Slowes (pbp), David Shea (analyst)


Chicago Cubs
TV --- WGN, Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Len Kasper (pbp), Bob Brenly (analyst)
Radio --- WGN 720 AM
Pat Hughes (pbp), Ron Santo (analyst)

Cincinnati Reds
TV --- FSN Ohio
George Grande (pbp), Chris Welsh (analyst)
Radio --- WLW 700 AM
Marty Brennaman (pbp), Steve Stewart (analyst)

Houston Astros
TV --- FSN Southwest, KNWS
Bill Brown (pbp), Jim Deshaies (analyst), Larry Dierker (analyst)
Radio --- KTRH 740 AM
Milo Hamilton (pbp), Alan Ashby (analyst)
Spanish --- KLAT 1010 AM
Francisco Ernesto Ruiz (pbp), Alex Trevino (analyst)

Milwaukee Brewers
TV --- FSN North
Daron Sutton (pbp), Bill Schroeder (analyst)
Radio --- WTMJ 620 AM
Bob Uecker (pbp), Jim Powell (analyst)

Pittsburgh Pirates
TV --- FSN Pittsburgh
Lanny Frattare (pbp), Bob Walk (analyst), Steve Blass (analyst/home games)
Radio --- KDKA 1020 AM
Lanny Frattare (pbp), Greg Brown (pbp), John Wehner (analyst)

St. Louis Cardinals
TV --- FSN Midwest, KPLR
Joe Buck (pbp), Dan McLaughlin (pbp), Al Hrabosky (analyst), Bob Carpenter (pbp/WB), Rick Horton (analyst/WB)
Radio --- KMOX 1120 AM
Mike Shannon (pbp), Wayne Hagin (analyst)


Arizona Diamondbacks
TV --- FSN Arizona, KWBA, 3TV
Thom Brennaman (pbp), Mark Grace (analyst), Joe Garagiola (PT analyst), Jeff Munn (TV pbp: Brennaman FOX)
Radio --- KTAR 620 AM
Greg Schulte (pbp), Ken Phelps (analyst)
Spanish --- KSUN 1400 AM
Miguel Quintana (pbp), Oscar Soria (analyst), Richard Saenz (analyst)

Colorado Rockies
TV --- FSN Rocky Mountain, KTVD
Drew Goodman (pbp), George Frazier (analyst)
Radio --- KOA 850 AM
Jack Corrigan (pbp), Jeff Kingery (analyst)

Los Angeles Dodgers
TV --- FSN West 2, KCOP
Vin Scully (pbp), Rick Monday (analyst)
Radio --- KFWB 980 AM
Vin Scully (pbp), Charley Steiner (pbp), Al Downing (analyst)
Spanish --- KWKW 1330 AM
Jaime Jarrin (pbp), Pepe Yniguez (analyst)

San Diego Padres
TV --- Ch. 4
Matt Vasgersian (pbp), Mark Grant (analyst), Tony Gwynn (analyst)
Radio --- XPRS The Mighty 1090 AM
Jerry Coleman (pbp), Ted Leitner (pbp), Tim Flannery (analyst)
Spanish --- XEMO 860 AM
Eduardo Ortega (pbp), Juan Angel Avila (analyst)

San Francisco Giants
TV --- FSN Bay Area, KTVU
Duane Kuiper (pbp), Mike Krukow (analyst), Greg Papa (pbp: Miller ESPN)
Radio --- KNBR 680 AM
Jon Miller (pbp), Duane Kuiper (pbp: Miller ESPN), Dave Flemming (analyst)
Spanish --- Cumbia 1170 AM (selected games)
Amaury Pi-Gonzalez (pbp), Erwin Higueros (analyst), Tito Fuentes (analyst)

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

15 ballclubs have a Spanish radio affiliate. The Braves and Marlins also use Spanish television announcers. Maybe in the next few seasons, every ballclub will have a Spanish radio affiliate.

Questions? Comments? Leave them in the box.

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Orioles 3, Mariners 1
AP photo -- Gail Burton

In 25 words or less: A familiar foe strikes as both teams execute the hurry-up offense. However, the latter was after the first, and that was the difference.

This one featured Jamie Moyer, trying to have his first good start in a looong time and finally become the Mariners' all-time winningest starting pitcher, and Rodrigo Lopez. In other news, Thursday's game hopefully marks the final time I have to hear "Can't Stop" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers every time Jay Gibbons comes to the plate. In completely unrelated news, I've always hated BJ Ryan's throwing motion. It just irks me because he just looks like he sort of spins but doesn't really load up energy before exploding toward the plate or anything like that. I'm not saying I wouldn't take Ryan over Villone in a heartbeat, because I totally would.

Grade: C-
Get used to this type of inning. Ichiro grounded the second pitch to short. Randy Winn fouled off a couple of 0-2 pitches before whiffing. Adrian Beltre hit the first pitch on a line to rightfield, and Jay Gibbons made a diving play...and trapped the ball. Not that the umpire saw it that way or anything. Of course, asking for a two-out rally from this lineup is a little much. Lopez threw eight pitches.

Grade: C
Not the kind of first inning the Mariners wanted from Jamie Moyer, especially considering what he's put out there the last four or so starts. Larry Bigbie flew out to centerfield on the first pitch. Melvin Mora had a 3-1 count, then singled softly to centerfield on a full count. Miguel Tejada wouldn't hang up another 0-for-5 in this game, as he doubled to leftfield to really spice things up. Much like he did with the tying run the night before, Sammy Sosa hit the first pitch he saw to Jeremy Reed in centerfield, and it was deep enough to score Mora from third.
Moyer got ahead 0-2 on Rafael Palmeiro, which was fine and dandy. Unfortunately, the count was soon full. Moyer threw a pitch that was over the plate and a bit low, and Palmeiro busted out the 9-iron, barely getting over the rightfield wall and nailing the foul pole. Just another day at the office for Palmeiro when it comes to facing the Mariners. If you ask me, he can't retire soon enough. I always laugh at the story of him getting the Viagra ads after Edgar Martinez had spurned them. Love that story.
Chris Gomez grounded out to short to end the inning. Moyer threw 17 pitches.

Grade: C
Like I said, get used to the futility. Richie Sexson got too far under a 3-1 pitch, flying out to Gibbons in foul territory along the rightfield line. Raul Ibañez split his bat in half, but it was good enough for a single to shallow centerfield. Bret Boone flew out high to leftfield, and Jeremy Reed slapped a low liner to leftfield that looked like it might fall, but BJ Surhoff was able to make the catch. Lopez threw 10 pitches.

Grade: B
Get ready for the start of a roll for Moyer. BJ Surhoff flew out to Winn in shallow leftcenter on the first pitch. Jay Gibbons got ahead 3-0 and took a five-pitch walk. Geronimo Gil fouled off a 2-0 pitch, but hit a grounder up the middle (Moyer let it past) on the next pitch which fortunately started the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Moyer threw 10 pitches.

Grade: B
Zzzzzzz. Pat Borders hit a slow roller to first for a 3-1 putout. Wilson Valdez bunted a ball up the first-base line, but it was too quick, and Lopez was able to get the ball and shovel-pass it to first for the out. Ichiro flew out high to centerfield to end the inning. Lopez threw seven pitches.

Grade: A-
Three up, three down. Bigbie grounded out to Boone. Mora got a somewhat high pitch to hit, but it went for a lazy flyout to Winn in leftfield. Tejada had a 2-0 count, but later flew out to centerfield to end the inning. Moyer threw 11 pitches.

Grade: C-
If it wasn't so quick, it would have been melatonin baseball. Winn popped the first pitch to Gomez behind the bag at second. Beltre got behind 0-2, later pulling a ball low and outside to short for a groundout. Sexson hit a high fly ball, but it went to Palmeiro beside the coaches' box in foul ground. Lopez threw 10 pitches.

Grade: A
Moyer was officially dealing. Sosa grounded out to Beltre. Palmeiro flew out to Ichiro on the first pitch. Gomez got behind 0-2, popping softly to Boone two pitches later. Moyer threw 10 pitches.

Grade: B-
Wake up for a few minutes. Ibañez ripped the first pitch into the gap in rightcenter for a leadoff double. Boone grounded the first pitch to first base for a 3-1 putout. Though it moved Ibañez to third, the out was decidedly unclutch. Reed ripped a single to rightfield to score Ibañez, which was good to see. Yay, Reed!
Then Borders hit an 0-2 pitch to short, starting a 6-4-3 double play. Lopez threw 10 pitches.

Grade: A
It's been a while since Moyer's gotten results like this. Surhoff got behind 0-2, later grounding out to first. Gibbons hit a grounder over Moyer, but Valdez got to it and threw to first in time. Gil flew out to Reed in leftcenter to end the inning. Moyer threw 13 pitches.

Grade: C
A bit frustrating, this one. Though Valdez isn't a good hitter, I think he got jobbed behind the plate in this at-bat. The 3-0 pitch was given quite a late strike call (it at least looked like it). He fouled off the 3-1 pitch, then took a curve that was a bit low but over the inside corner, and Valdez started toward first before heading toward the dugout instead. Ichiro grounded out to short. Winn fouled off a 2-0 pitch before sending the next pitch just past Tejada and into leftfield for a single. Beltre took the green light on 3-0 and smoked a single right past where you'd think a shortstop would usually play. Of course, the problem was that there were already two out. Sexson grounded the first pitch to third, which turned into an easy 5-4 fielder's choice. Lopez threw 17 pitches.

Grade: A
Moyer mowed through again. Bigbie hit his 1-1 pitch just foul down the leftfield line, though it had home-run distance. He worked the count full, but grounded to Sexson for the 3-1 putout. Mora reached at a pitch low and away, flying out to Valdez in shallow centerfield. Tejada reached at an outside pitch as well, grounding out to Valdez at short. Moyer threw 14 pitches.

Grade: C-
Not much doing again. Ibañez ripped his pitch just short of the track in rightfield, where it was caught. Boone reached at a pitch low and outside, bouncing it to short. Reed grounded one up the middle, and Gomez turned it into a groundout. Lopez threw nine pitches.

Grade: A-
Not much trouble for Moyer. Sosa grounded the 2-0 pitch to Valdez. Palmeiro hit his first pitch barely foul down the rightfield line for what probably would have been a double. Palmeiro whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low and outside. Gomez flew out to short on the first pitch. Moyer threw eight pitches.

Grade: C-
Plate umpire Tim McClellan was declared the Pepsi Fan of the Game, which is wrong on about a million levels. Way to be, guys. Borders grounded the second pitch to third. Valdez got behind 0-2, and bounced the 1-2 pitch to third, where Mora did like a backhanded hotdoggish swipe thing that I always used to do when I played first base. Anyway, that was a groundout. Ichiro got way under a 2-0 pitch, flying out high to centerfield. Lopez threw 10 pitches.

Lopez' line: 8 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 82 pitches (54 strikes)

Grade: B
Moyer's run would come to an end. Surhoff got behind 0-2 and eventually hit a can o' corn to Reed in centerfield. Gibbons singled up the middle on the first pitch, ending a streak of 17 straight Baltimore hitters retired by Moyer and 20 straight Oriole batters without a hit. The tension ratcheted up a tiny bit when Gil singled up the middle after being down 0-2. Luckily, Bigbie swung at the first pitch and lined it to Valdez, who quickly underhanded to Boone running to the bag to double off Gibbons on a very quick double play. Moyer threw 12 pitches.

Moyer's line: 8 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 96 pitches (57 strikes)

Grade: C-
BJ Ryan came in to close it out. Winn hit a liner that was a bit too soft, and it was caught by Gomez playing second. Beltre flew out on the first pitch to Tejada on the outfield grass, so he put a huge wallop on that ball. Sexson took a 3-1 pitch low, but was called for a late strike. He whiffed on the next pitch. Ballgame.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (6 strikes)

Gameball: Jamie Moyer.
There's one other clear-cut gameball favorite for this game, though Moyer's the more obvious one. Still, I'm going with Moyer anyway. Sure, I won't let the shaky first inning go unmentioned, but he did set down 17 straight. That's no slouch of an effort, to say the least. He got 17 straight outs, and he hadn't gotten that many outs in any of his three previous May starts, and that was more than three times better than his first two May starts combined. Jamie Moyer needed a start like this in the worst way, and so did the Mariners. Moyer took his ERA from 15.30 to an even 10.00 with this start.

Goat: Ichiro.
This whole offense just sputters when Ichiro isn't in gear. We thought his slump might have been snapped when he hung up a 3-for-3 night with a walk in the first game of the series. In this game, it was a big ol' 0-for-4. The last time he went hitless? Sunday. Not too long ago. He'll snap out of it, sure, but this offense looks exponentially worse when he isn't clicking.

Rodrigo Lopez is now in the pantheon of Mariner efforts that came against Tim Hudson and Carlos Silva (last year too). Incredible. At least with the Mariner bats not doing anything against Lopez, they decided they'd hardly ever get into any deep counts, and the same with the Orioles. The game-wide hurry-up offense helped decrease the overall amount of time wasted, and since the Mariners didn't win, I feel less time was wasted (one hour and 55 minutes). I was able to spend time doing much more gratifying things such as watching Season 2 of Chappelle's Show on DVD and watching the American Idol season finale.

The last time through the starting rotation, the innings started to come around, though that was partly a function of Mike Hargrove leaving the starters in for as long as possible regardless of how many runs they'd given up. This most recent time through, the runs given up have decreased while the innings have gotten better. Since Moyer's last start on the 18th, the rotation's ERA in the month of May has gone from 7.31 to 6.01. Who would have guessed that the best two outings in that span of time would have come from Aaron Sele and Jamie Moyer? Oops, pow, surprise! The average game for a Mariner starting pitcher this month: 5.635 innings (5 2/3), 3.86 runs (3.76 earned), 6.4 hits, 2.7 walks, 2.9 strikeouts, 96.3 pitches (57.7 strikes)

Then there are the bats. The only other guy I would have considered for the gameball was Raul Ibañez, who got the broken-bat hit in the second, but tagged every other ball he hit, including the double. Needless to say, if the Mariners get five hits as a team, that means at least four guys have gone hitless. Five Mariners went hitless in this game, those with the names of Ichiro, Richie Sexson, Bret Boone, Pat Borders, and Wilson Valdez. Interestingly enough, this game had the complete opposite of the first game of the series where Ichiro and Sexson scored/drove in all (both) of the Mariners' runs. Here, both went hitless. Richie will have nights like this, Boone is having way too many nights like this (sadly, I'm used to it), Borders is old, and Valdez has solidified his reputation nicely at the plate.

This isn't the first time I've used space here at Sports and B's to complain about this, but one of Raffie Palmeiro's Viagra ads (around the 500-homer chase) had him at the plate swatting a homer. Unfortunately, they couldn't just take generic game footage and put it in the ad; they had a separate shoot instead. Palmeiro is shown earlier in the commercial in shot after shot taking a swing and then bringing the bat back with two hands to his front side, a la Jim Thome, though not as quick with the recoil. Anyone that's seen Palmeiro for any length of time knows he's letting go of the bat with the top hand on the follow-through, etc., a typical sweet-swinging lefty. The second flaw that irked me about the commercial -- there's a shot where Palmeiro hits a homer that stays just inside the leftfield foul pole. I'd like to know if Palmeiro has ever hit a homer just inside the foul pole in leftfield. Of course, if it were to occur, it would probably occur against the Mariners. Unfortunately, there's still a game tonight where it just might happen. So, Ryan Franklin needs to throw hard stuff outside to Palmeiro.

So how do you stay positive after this? Well, Moyer had a good start. The Mariners have lost the first two games of the series, though they haven't been clobbered or anything. They should have won the first game and always (technically) had this game within reach if the bats got their hitting shoes on. Sadly, they've managed to score only three runs combined in two games in Baltimore. Additionally, and if I took the numbers down right from the telecast, the Mariners are now 3-21 when they don't hit a home run, and they're 1-20 when they score three runs or less. That be putrid.

Franklin. Cabrera. Tonight.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

THE PUMP 5/25/05 

Mariners at Orioles, 4:05 Pacific (FSN Northwest, MLB.TV)

Jamie Moyer (4-1, 6.11 ERA) vs Rodrigo Lopez (2-2, 4.88 ERA)

Jamie Moyer is 15-2 lifetime against Baltimore, with a 3.04 ERA. Can he get win #16 against the Orioles tonight at Camden Yards? The month of May has not been good to Mr. Moyer, so hopefully he can get a victory tonight to ease some of the pain.

You want my scouting report?

The Sports And Bremertonians Scouting Report, sponsored by Red Baron:

---Don't allow the other team to score more runs than you.

---When you need a pinch hitter, use Dave Hansen.

---Don't get distracted by Boog Powell's barbeque in right field.

Go Mariners.

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Orioles 3, Mariners 2
AP photo -- Gail Burton

In 25 words or less: From the moment Ron Villone beaned Brian Roberts in the 7th, the Mariners' 2-1 lead was as good as gone.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro -- coming back from taking 10 days "in Tacoma" -- against Bruce Chen. Piñeiro celebrated his 100th Major League start by going bleach-blond. In addition, former Mariner catcher John Marzano joined Rick Rizzs on both sides of the booth, as he will for the rest of the Baltimore series. For me, I'll always remember Marzano for standing up to Paul O'Neill behind the plate at the Kingdome. That was a high point of Mariner pride for me.

Grade: B
Hey, this is fun. Ichiro lined a single to centerfield to lead off. Randy Winn worked an 0-2 count full before grounding a ball to Melvin Mora at third, who barely got Winn at first. Ichiro was sent on the pitch and made it to second base easily. Adrian Beltre hit a high fly ball to leftcenter and Jeff Fiorentino came down with it. Richie Sexson laced a 2-0 pitch into leftfield for a single that scored Ichiro and got the Mariners an early lead.
Bret Boone flew out to Fiorentino in leftcenter to end the inning.

Grade: C
Of course, Joel Piñeiro hadn't taken the mound yet. Brian Roberts grounded the 2-0 pitch right to Sexson. Jeff Fiorentino took a four-pitch walk. Melvin Mora got behind 0-2. Fiorentino took second base on a 2-2 breaking ball that was very high, and though Miguel Olivo probably didn't have much of a chance anyway, the throw was wide. Mora worked the 0-2 count full and mashed a single to leftfield to score Fiorentino.
Miguel Tejada hit a very high fly ball that was caught by Winn. Sammy Sosa grounded an 0-2 pitch to end the very shaky inning for a certain Mariner pitcher.

Grade: C
The Mariners failed to take advantage of Levine's Law. Raul Ibanez worked an 0-2 count for a leadoff walk. Miguel Olivo fouled off a few pitches with two strikes before swinging through a ball low and over the outside corner. Jeremy Reed saw a 3-0 count before getting jammed on 3-1 and popping out weakly to Tejada just past the infield. Wilson Valdez tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Grade: C+
Shakiness reigned again, except without runs. Rafael Palmeiro walked on an outside 3-1 pitch. Javy Lopez fouled off an 0-2 pitch before ripping the next pitch under a diving Beltre and into leftfield for a single. BJ Surhoff flew out to Ichiro, and Palmeiro held because he's old and slow. Jay Gibbons flew out to Winn on a 2-0 pitch. Roberts worked a 1-2 count for a walk, and pitching coach Bryan Price came to the mound to see what the frick was going on. With the count 0-2, Fiorentino hit a low liner to Winn to end the inning.

Grade: B
A lot similar to the first inning. Ichiro fouled off a 3-0 pitch (green light) before taking the 3-1 pitch low and outside. Winn popped up to left, and therefore didn't advance the runner. Beltre foul-tipped the 2-0 pitch before flying out to Gibbons on the track in rightcenter. Ichiro stole second despite a decent throw from Lopez on a 1-0 pitch to Sexson. Sexson poked a single to rightfield to score Ichiro and get the Mariners the lead back.
Boone fouled the 2-2 pitch back, and it went off of Lopez' right hand behind the plate. Lopez tended to his hand, the Oriole trainers came out, cheesy organ music was played to accompany the stop in action, etc. Lopez had to come out of the game for what was later revealed to be a broken hand. Geronimo Gil stepped in his place. By the way, Boone flew out to centerfield to end the inning.

Grade: B
Piñeiro faced less hitters, though it wasn't totally clear if he'd settled down. Mora had an 0-2 count before taking a fastball over the outside corner for strike three. Tejada had the hitters' counts before bouncing out to second on the 3-1 pitch. Sosa had the hitters' counts as well, but took the 3-1 pitch low and outside for the free pass. Palmeiro got behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 change. That's good.

Grade: C
Some mild frustration in this one. Ibañez hit a very high chopper over the mound. Tejada ran to get it behind the mound, but airmailed the throw to first, though Ibañez probably would have had the single anyway. The ball bounced off the front of the photographers' well and stayed in the field of play, rendering Mike Hargrove's semi-argument (I guess it was just an "inquiry") moot. Ibañez was credited with the single. Olivo got behind 0-2 and eventually hit a low liner to rightfield that was caught by Gibbons. Reed slapped a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line, and the grass slowed it down. Reed had the single though. Valdez tapped one back to the mound again, though this one proved to be much more costly, as Chen fielded it cleanly to start the 1-6-3 double play.

Grade: A-
This was Piñeiro's easiest inning. Gil had a 2-0 count, but eventually flew out to centerfield on a high pitch that Piñeiro kinda got away with. Surhoff fouled off an 0-2 pitch before grounding out to short on an outside curve. Gibbons grounded out to short on the second pitch to end the inning.

Grade: C
Repeat frustration. Ichiro hit the first pitch to leftfield, and Surhoff slid, but couldn't come up with the ball. Ichiro was given the single. Winn bunted back to the pitcher, and Ichiro moved to second, so that went off without a hitch. Beltre fouled off a 2-0 pitch, and lined the next pitch to rightfield, where Gibbons dove and dropped the ball. Beltre was given a single, and Ichiro was on third. Sexson had a 2-0 count, but grounded the next pitch up the middle, where a 4-6-3 double play was turned. Third time wasn't a charm for the Ichiro/Sexson combo that had worked twice before in the game.

Grade: B
Piñeiro's inning was dicier than the one before. Roberts singled to centerfield to lead off. Fiorentino had a 2-0 count, but grounded the next pitch to Beltre, who threw to first (Roberts was sent on the pitch). Mora lined a hard grounder to Beltre, who hot potato'd it for a couple seconds before nailing Mora at first. Roberts advanced to third on a 1-1 dirtball that went to the backstop. Tejada flew out to leftfield on the 3-1 pitch, which was a big out.

Grade: C-
The Mariner offense went to sleep as opposed to work. Boone fouled a 1-2 pitch high behind the plate, where it was caught by Gil up against the screen. Ibañez flew out to Tejada barely on the outfield grass. Olivo grounded out to Tejada at short to end the inning.

Grade: B-
This one was dicey, and Piñeiro didn't see the end of it. Sosa foul-tipped a full-count pitch into Olivo's glove. Palmeiro smacked a single into centerfield. Gil parachuted a 2-1 pitch into rightfield for a single. Mike Hargrove and the infielders came to the mound, and Piñeiro was pulled.

Ron Villone came in for Piñeiro. Surhoff grounded out to Sexson for a 3-1 putout, though both runners moved into scoring position. Villone got away with a high 1-2 pitch to Gibbons, who flew out to leftfield to end the inning.

Piñeiro's line: 5 1/3 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 107 pitches (60 strikes)

Grade: C-
An inning of mistakes for the Mariner offense. Reed took a four-pitch leadoff walk, so that's not bad. Valdez nearly bunted the first pitch fair down the first-base line, but it went foul. He bunted the 1-1 pitch in the air, and Gil ran over to catch it in foul territory along the first-base line. Not good. Ichiro fell behind 0-2. With the count 1-2, Reed was picked off of first. Again, not good. To rub it in, Ichiro singled through the right side. Winn grounded the 3-1 pitch to short to end the inning.

Chen's line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 119 pitches (67 strikes)

Grade: C
Game over. Villone nailed Roberts in the front side of the left knee on the third pitch of the inning, but he stayed in the game. The crowd in Baltimore yelled, "YOOOOOOOOUUUUUU SUUUUUUUUCK" at Villone as Roberts writhed on the ground in pain. After blowing two bunts, Fiorentino bunted the 1-2 pitch to the left side, and Beltre tried and hurried to get the runner at second. The throw was high, and both runners were safe. Roberts had to slide on the play, which just made the knee worse, and he came out of the game (Chris Gomez pinch-ran).

Jeff Nelson came in for Villone. Mora placed a perfect bunt along the third-base line, and Olivo tried to barehand and throw to first, but he wouldn't have gotten Mora anyway. So, bases loaded and nobody out = good times. Tejada fouled the second pitch behind the first-base bag in foul territory, and Sexson dove back but missed it. Of course, the runner from third might have tagged and scored on such a play anyway. The count fell to 0-2, and Tejada eventually whiffed on a 2-2 frisbee outside. So, a ground ball could have gotten the Mariners out of the inning. Sosa got a pretty good pitch to hit, and flew out to centerfield, deep enough for Gomez to score.
Then Nelson beaned Palmeiro for no apparent reason with a 1-1 pitch to the right tricep. Gil grounded a ball to Sexson, but it seemed like it took forever to Nelson to run off the mound and cover first. Nelson finally got over there, and Gil was nearly safe. Nonetheless, the inning was mercifully over.

Villone's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run (unearned), 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
Nelson's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (10 strikes)

Grade: C-
Todd Williams came in for Chen. Beltre got behind 0-2 and eventually took a fastball low and away for strike three. Sexson had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch low and outside. Boone made good of the situation, grounding a ball to second to start the 4-6-3 double play. Boone is clutch and clutch is everything in life.

Williams' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (7 strikes)

Grade: C
JJ Putz came in for Nelson. Of course, given the trend lately, no one would be surprised of the outcome. Surhoff took a 2-2 fastball tailing back over the plate for strike three. Then Gibbons smashed the first pitch he saw into the Oriole bullpen in leftcenter.
For all intensive purposes, that was definitely the game. Gomez looped a single to shallow rightfield. Fiorentino flew out to Reed on the first pitch. Mora had the hitters' counts and singled through the right side on the 3-1 pitch. Tejada worked a 1-2 count full, but grounded out to thankfully end the inning.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (12 strikes)

Grade: C
BJ Ryan came in to shut the door. Ibañez got down 0-2 and whiffed at a low pitch over the outside corner. Olivo flew out high to rightfield. Hargrove brought in Willie Bloomquist to pinch-hit for Reed, and I have a ton of problems with the move, Reed's lefthandedness be damned. Bloomquist nonetheless poked a single into centerfield on the second pitch. Of course, there's no righthanded bench bat of any merit, so Valdez was sent out to the plate once again. He fouled off an 0-2 pitch, but then took a breaking ball headed for his shoetops, but couldn't hold his checkswing. Ballgame.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 15 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
It's a good thing when there are two obvious gameball candidates, because then I can just pick one of them. Frankly, if it wasn't Richie or Ichiro, I don't know who it would have been. Richie was 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in both of the Mariners' runs.

Goat: Ron Villone.
Good gracious. Sure, the 6th wasn't bad, but the 7th was...gaaaah. That's what "effectively wild" gets you, folks. The lesson? The Mariners had held the 2-1 lead since the top of the 3rd. For one, the Mariner bats have to add runs in Camden because you can only hold down the Oriole bats for so long. The second part of the lesson is that you can't let Brian Roberts or anybody on base before you get to Mora/Tejada/Sosa/Palmeiro, etc. I guarantee you Miguel Tejada will not hang up another 0-for-5 for the rest of this series.

Still, even with my railing of Villone, the offense outside of Ichiro and Richie Sexson did next to nothing. Ichiro was 3-for-3 with a walk and a steal, so you can't ask for much more out of him. Sexson drove him in twice. Randy Winn went 0-for-3 in the second spot, and Adrian Beltre went 1-for-4 in the third slot. Not a lot of production between Ichiro and Sexson there.

It didn't stop there for the lack of hitting though. Bret Boone probably had the worst line of the night with his 0-for-4, and he stranded three. Surprisingly, he didn't strike out at all. Miguel Olivo chimed in with a customary 0-for-4 of his own along with a strikeout. Wilson Valdez? 0-for-4, a strikeout, five stranded runners.

The last three innings of Mariner offense were just brutal though. The 7th saw Reed drawing a leadoff walk, but Valdez couldn't get a bunt down and Reed got picked off. The 8th saw Boone up with Sexson on first and one out, but he grounded into a double play. The 9th saw the pitfalls of the Mariner bench, as Willie Bloomquist was brought on to pinch-hit for Reed (lefty-righty), but Valdez was still sent to the plate. Translation: WE NEED BUCKY and/or can we just go to 11 pitchers like everyone else in the normal world and get a righty bat off the bench that means something?

As for Joel Piñeiro making his first start in a while, he was shaky to start off and was never really at his sharpest. However, he did have flashes of brilliance, he did get some low-90s pop on his fastball, and his curveball and change were pretty good at times. It's a start, anyway, and he didn't get shelled. He walked four guys, but I wasn't expecting him to strike out 12 and toss a 2-hit shutout or anything. Piñeiro cut his May ERA to an even 6.00 after four starts. The rotation now boasts a May ERA of 6.20. The average line per start: 5.517 innings (5 2/3), 3.9 runs (3.8 earned), 6.5 hits, 2.8 walks, 3 strikeouts, 96.3 pitches (57.7 strikes)

[NOTE -- the average starting pitcher line that was originally posted was wrong, as it divided the sums of all the crap by one less game than what had actually occurred. My bad.]

JJ Putz has given up homers in four of his last six appearances. Of course, he gave up the grand slams against the Red Sox and Yankees, and then this game-turning solo shot in the 8th to Gibbons, who I wasn't surprised hit the homer. He's a good player, that guy. He'd be great on the Mariner bench too, but that's beside the point. Sure, bullpen guys are supposed to have short memories, but sometimes you gotta wonder. It's a bit unnerving.

I've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE CRAB CAKES!

Moyer. Lopez. Tonight.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The Towel isn't just for Matt Thornton.

It's also for situations like tonight.

Case in point, the top of the 9th for the Mariners.

2 outs, nobody on, down 3-2. Jeremy Reed is scheduled to come up. But wait, who's that coming to the plate?

Why, that's Willie Bloomquist!!!

Willie Bloomquist?!?

The Mariners want Reed to succeed. But how is he supposed to succeed if he isn't allowed to hit in that situation? I don't care what "The Book" says. Let Reed hit. Who knows, he may have been able to get on base.

Bloomquist got on with a base hit, bringing Wilson Valdez to the plate. Great. Mike Hargrove pinch hits for Reed, but won't pinch hit for Valdez? Tell me where's the logic in that?

Why in the blue hell is Dave Hansen on the 25-man roster if he's not going to be used? He's only one of the best pinch hitters in baseball. I'd say he has a little more pop in his bat than Willie Bloomquist or Wilson Valdez. But what do I know? I'm a guy who's part of one of the few non-stats oriented blogs in the Mariner blogosphere!

What if the M's would have tied the ballgame or taken the lead?

---Put Bloomquist at shortstop.
---Move Winn to center field, Ibanez moves to left field, Hansen becomes the DH.

Yes, Valdez is a better defensive shortstop than Bloomquist. Ibanez in left field isn't exactly a great move. But it's the price you pay when you want a guy like Hansen hitting in the top of the 9th with a 1-run deficit. It also speaks to the fact that this bench is still awful after all these years. Please come back, Bucky Jacobsen.

Games like tonight are the ones that drain me. It's bad enough that Joel Pineiro spent the last 10 days trying to turn into a Backstreet Boy than working on his mechanics. But the way this game turned out for the Mariners, my goodness.

Mike Hargrove threw in the towel tonight. Thanks, Grover.

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THE PUMP 5/24/05 

Mariners at Orioles, 4:05 Pacific (KSTW, MLB.TV)

Joel Pineiro (2-3, 6.52 ERA) vs Bruce Chen (5-2, 3.63 ERA)

If today's Pump looks familiar to you, it should be.

Since Miguel Olivo, Willie Bloomquist, and Greg Dobbs didn't play on Sunday, their averages are the same. With that, they're still on the Pump with those awful averages. Don't complain, guys. It's not my problem.

Over/under on Miguel Tejada home runs this series? I'll set it at 2. Take the over.

Computer blue!

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Tonight at 5:30 Pacific (ESPN), the 2005 NBA Draft Lottery will take place in Secaucus, New Jersey. Remember when the lottery was held during halftime of a playoff game? In recent years, it's now a pregame affair. It's too bad that TNT isn't televising the lottery. Hell, it's a bigger shame that they aren't doing the draft anymore. You tell me who's better to listen to during the draft, Charles Barkley or Tom Tolbert?

This year, the lottery takes on a more significant role for folks from Kitsap County, or more specifically, Bremerton. Where will Marvin Williams go? We'll have a better idea tonight once we know the actual order of the draft.

2005 NBA DRAFT LOTTERY CHANCES OF WINNING (odds, 2004-2005 record)
Atlanta 25% (13-69)
Charlotte 17.8% (18-64)
New Orleans 17.7% (18-64)
Utah 11.9% (26-56)
Portland 8.8% (27-55)
Milwaukee 6.3% (30-52)
Toronto 3.6% (33-49)
New York 3.5% (33-49)
L.A. Lakers 1.4% (34-48)
Golden State 1.4% (34-48)
Orlando .8% (36-46)
L.A. Clippers .7% (37-45)
Cleveland .6% (42-40) --- pick to Charlotte via Phoenix
Minnesota .5% (44-38)

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Monday, May 23, 2005


We had joy, we had fun, we have Sele in the Sun.

Seriously, I can't believe I didn't link to this earlier, but better late than never.

A man who's no stranger to the blogosphere, Jim Thomsen, has an excellent piece on Mariners pitcher Aaron Sele today in the Kitsap Sun (it will always be the Bremerton Sun to me, Jim). Registration required (use Bug Me Not if you need to).

Jim interviewed Sele after last Monday's ballgame against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field. We've said all along that we're not necessarily fans of Sele the pitcher, but we appreciate Sele the person. That's something that every fan should remember.

Good work, Jim. Good work, Aaron, especially after yesterday's shutout over the San Diego Padres.

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The Philadelphia 76ers have hired former Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks as their new head coach, effective immediately. This comes after the 76ers fired Jim O'Brien, who spent just one season in Philadelphia.

Cheeks was one of the most popular players in 76ers history. He played for the 76ers from 1978-1989 and was part of the 1983 championship team.

The news of Cheeks becoming 76ers head coach is no surprise to me. Since being fired by the Trail Blazers back on March 2, this was pretty much a no-brainer. Cheeks can coach. It's just that the situation in Portland was impossible to overcome. I know this all too well, because I'm a Blazers fan.

Good luck, Mo.

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We have ourselves a new blog in the Mariners Blogosphere.

Although to be honest with you, it's not really "new". It's from Sportspot.net (formerly Top Forum) and it's called Mariners Roundtable. We were one of the first blogs to link to Sportspot and now we're one of the first blogs to link to the roundtable. They run a good show over at Sportspot.

Each week, the Mariners Roundtable will have a new topic for its panelists and guest blogger to discuss. This week, the guest blogger the Mariner Optimist. In the future, don't be surprised to see me as a guest blogger over there.

Welcome to the Mariner blogosphere, Mariners Roundtable.

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Mariners 5, Padres 0
AP photo -- Jim Bryant

In 25 words or less: A starting pitcher steps up, and it's Mister Interleague, who gives the bullpen a badly-needed rest.

This one featured Major League newbie Tim Stauffer facing Aaron Sele. Also featured was the 2005 return of the Ageless Wonder, otherwise known as Pat Borders, 42 years young. I know Miguel Olivo's not a straight-up Freddy-type headcase, but I'm hoping Borders can help turn him around.

Grade: A-
Sele started off with a very low-pitch inning. Dave Roberts grounded out to second. Mark Sweeney singled to right, but he was doubled off when Ryan Klesko hit a well-placed ground ball to short. Sele threw only five pitches.

Grade: C-
The Mariner bats didn't respond with much. Ichiro bounced a 2-0 pitch to second. Randy Winn hit a grounder behind the first-base bag, and Phil Nevin caught up to it and ran to the bag. Adrian Beltre got behind 0-2 and later flew out high to Roberts in rightcenter. Stauffer threw 12 pitches.

Grade: A-
Sele got his first 1-2-3 inning. Brian Giles foul-tipped a full-count pitch into the catcher's glove for a strikeout. Phil Nevin got down 0-2, and later he shot a ball down the third-base line, where Beltre backhanded it and threw in time to first. Geoff Blum swung at a 3-1 pitch, but flew out to Ichiro in shallow rightfield. Sele threw 17 pitches.

Grade: B+
The Mariners would draw first blood. Richie Sexson bounced the first pitch off the track and wall in centerfield and coasted in for a stand-up double. Raul Ibañez got behind 0-2 and later hit a ball hard to Sean Burroughs at third, who held Sexson at second and threw to first for the out. Bret Boone hithis first pitch just inside the leftfield line and off the angle where the stands come toward the field. Sexson scored, and Boone had hits in 10 of 11 games.
Jeremy Reed fouled off a 2-0 pitch, then Stauffer hung the next pitch. Reed hit a chopper toward the right side that had some eyes, getting past a diving Blum and into rightfield. Boone scored.
Pat Borders hit a grounder to second that went for a 4-6 fielder's choice as Borders and his 42-year-old wheels beat out the throw back to first. Wilson Valdez had a 3-0 count fall full, but thankfully walked. Ichiro whiffed on a 1-2 pitch high and outside of the zone. Stauffer threw 23 pitches.

Grade: B+
Not the smoothest inning for Sele, but still no damage. Sean Burroughs flew out to Winn near the leftfield line. Miguel Ojeda whiffed on an 0-2 curve low and away. Damian Jackson fouled off the 3-1 pitch before taking the next pitch just barely high, going for Sele's first walk of the game. Roberts took a 3-0 gimmie pitch that was quite high. Sele took a break on the mound to tuck his shoelaces into his shoes, and Ron Fairly asked aloud why Sele doesn't just get shorter shoelaces. The next pitch was grounded right to Sexson at first, who stepped on the bag. Sele threw 18 pitches.

Grade: C-
The offense would go back to sleep. Winn hit a slow roller to third that was charged by Burroughs, who threw over in time. Beltre whiffed at a 1-2 dirty slider low and away. Sexson bounced out to second to end the inning. Sele threw 14 pitches.

Grade: A-
Sele would chug through a bad bounce. Sweeney rolled out to second. Klesko hit a hard grounder back to the mound that went off Sele's left foot and bounced to Boone, who by then had no play. Luckily, Giles hit a ball to Sexson, who was able to start the 3-6-3 double play. Sele threw nine pitches.

Grade: B
Add-on? Ibañez hit a 2-0 pitch that bounced to the wall in the gap in rightcenter and off the angled part of the fence. Ibañez was able to stretch it out into a triple. The Padres drew the infield in and Boone responded by hitting the second pitch very shallow to Giles in rightfield. Needless to say, Ibañez didn't score. Reed got another high pitch and laced it into rightfield for a single, plating Ibañez.
Borders hit a foul ball high along the rightfield line, and Blum ran over to get it. Valdez rolled one to Blum at second to end the inning. Stauffer threw 11 pitches.

Grade: B-
Sele rolled along. Nevin hit a hard grounder to Beltre. Blum looked like he got all of his second pitch, but he was Geoff Blum power, and Ichiro camped out on the track in rightfield before catching it. Burroughs hit a roller just under Sele's glove and into centerfield for a two-out single. Ojeda hit a hard grounder to Valdez at short, who went to second for the easy out to end the inning. Sele threw 12 pitches.

Grade: C
The bats were in some slumber once again. Ichiro rolled one to second. Winn had a 3-0 count go full before he took an outside pitch for a walk. Beltre smoked his 1-2 pitch, but right to the second baseman, who had the easy 4-6 fielder's choice. Beltre beat out the double play, and hopefully his hamstring held up. Sexson chopped a ball back to the mound to end the inning. Stauffer threw 14 pitches.

Grade: A-
Sele had one of his better innings. Jackson worked a 1-2 count full before flying out to Reed in centerfield. Roberts flew out to Winn in the corner in leftfield. Sweeney flew out to Reed on the first pitch to end the inning. Sele threw 12 pitches.

Grade: B
The Mariners would chase Stauffer, though it didn't look like it at first. Ibañez flew out high to first baseman Nevin. Boone whiffed at some hard stuff low and outside. Reed ripped a double into the gap in rightcenter. Borders took a four-pitch walk. Valdez poked a full-count pitch through the right side for a single to score Reed and move Borders to second. Imagine that -- with two out, the bottom of the lineup pushes a run across.

Chris Hammond came in for Stauffer. Ichiro flew out to centerfield to end the inning.

Stauffer's line: 5 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 99 pitches (59 strikes)

Grade: A
Sele would somehow settle into even more of a groove. Klesko flew out to center. Giles split his bat in half, rolling out to second. Nevin grounded out to Valdez at short. Sele threw 11 pitches and had 84 through seven.

Grade: B+
They tacked on another one. Winn bounced a ball to Burroughs at third, who took a bit of time and barely nailed Winn. Beltre fouled off a couple of 1-2 pitches before reaching at a pitch low and away and managing to make very good contact, looping one off the track and off the way in leftcenter, good for a double. Sexson doubled off the track and wall in leftfield as well, and Beltre scored. Back-to-back homers one night, back-to-back doubles the next (afternoon).
Ibañez fouled off a 3-1 pitch and rolled the next one toward first for a 3-1 putout. Boone looked at a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner for strike three.

Hammond's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 29 pitches (18 strikes)

Grade: A
Sele was rolling once again. Blum hit one to Sexson, who made the backhand play falling backwards, then tossed to a covering Sele. Burroughs hit a 2-0 quick roller to Sexson. Ojeda whiffed on a 1-2 curve low and away. Sele threw nine pitches and had 93 through eight.

Grade: C
Darrell May came in for Hammond. Reed flew out to Giles in rightcenter. Borders poked the first pitch into leftfield for an old single. Valdez hit a broken-bat popup to rightfield. Ichiro flew out to Giles on the first pitch to end the inning.

May's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (6 strikes)

Grade: B-
Sele averted disaster one last time, though there weren't many in this game. Jackson grounded out to short. Roberts poked a single into rightfield. Sweeney flew out just short of the track in centerfield. Klesko got down 0-2 and popped the 2-2 pitch high to shallow rightfield, where Boone came down with it. Ballgame.

Sele's line: 9 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 112 pitches (69 strikes)

Gameball: Aaron Sele.
Like the middle game of the series, there are a few ways to go with the gameball. I'm picking the one that I think is least likely to repeat the performance. Richie Sexson had hit two doubles in a game again, and Jeremy Reed can go 3-for-4 again this year, but I'm not so sure Aaron Sele can repeat this performance, which was a great one, no doubt about that. The point is, if he doesn't game a gameball for this, he may never get one. Needless to say, it was the first complete game of the month for Mariner starting pitchers. This was only the sixth time in the month of May that a Mariner starting pitcher recorded an out in the seventh inning, which doesn't sound so bad until you consider they had a stretch of eight straight games without one.

Goat: Ichiro.
This one's a rarity. Ichiro didn't get on base once in five plate appearances. Two groundouts, two flyouts, and a strikeout. Definitely not a banner day for Ichiro. The 0-for-5 outing decreased his batting average to a measly .322. But hey, he robbed Klesko on Saturday, so maybe this was payback.

Well, the performance by Aaron Sele wasn't the only thing that made the game an odd one. The other oddity is that Ichiro and Randy Winn combined to go 0-for-8 and only got on base once between themselves (Winn walked). Everyone else in the lineup got a hit. Hitters 3 through 9 in the lineup went 10-for-26. Six of the ten Mariner hits went for extra bases. Richie Sexson hit two of the five doubles, while Raul Ibañez had the lone triple.

Richie Sexson went 2-for-4 for the second straight game and raised his average by .003 to .241. As mentioned, he hit two doubles. The other multi-hit game in the lineup belonged to Jeremy Reed, who feasted off some pitches that Tim Stauffer left too high in the zone. Reed flew out in his fourth and final at-bat, and had to settle for a piddly 3-for-4 day with a double. Of course, considering that the bottom of the lineup needs someone to step up every once in a while, a 3-for-4 day is quite nice for anyone in the bottom third to get. For the rest of the bottom of the order, both Pat Borders and Wilson Valdez managed a hit apiece. Valdez walked along with his two-out RBI single that chased Stauffer in the sixth.

As one might suspect, a four-hit complete game shutout does a lot for the collective numbers of the Mariners' starting staff in the month of May, which previous to the last two games were much much worse. The rotation's May ERA went from 7.30 after Friday's game to 7.03 after Saturday's game. A four-hit complete-game shutout leaves the rotation's ERA for the month at 6.43. Aaron Sele threw 15 of his 22 May innings in the last two starts. Two starts after he was on the very hot seat, he suddenly has the best May ERA of the rotation at 4.50. Sele also decreased his walk rate from one per inning to 0.64, which is always much more preferable. Of course, the individual numbers suffer from the fact that you'll probably only get five starts in the span of a month, but Sele just chopped a whole 0.60 off of the rotation's ERA, so he definitely did something with this game. Frankly, and I said this once or twice after his decent starts earlier this year, if Sele gets into the sixth inning every game and gives up four runs, I'll take it every time out. That's all I want and reasonably expect from him. I hope he can build on this.

[Edit ~11:50a -- In the second to last sentence of the above paragraph, the vital word "if" was omitted. Until I put it where it should have been, of course.]

The average Mariner starting pitcher this month takes the following line: 5.526 innings (we'll say 5 2/3), 4.05 runs (3.95 earned), 6.6 hits, 2.7 walks, 3 strikeouts, 95.7 pitches (57.6 strikes). The Mariners' starting pitchers managed to go at least six innings in all three games against the Padres. There are two pitchers left to get onto this train, and they are Joel Piñeiro, who goes tomorrow, and Jamie Moyer, who goes on Wednesday. If they get on track, we might be on the road back to mediocre baseball. Hey, it's a lot better than absolutely poor baseball.

The Mariners have won two of their last three series after having lost 10 of 11 games. They have raised their May record to 6-13. There are eight games left in May, and while they're guaranteed a losing month, the last two series wins were against Boston and San Diego, who were two very hot teams coming to Seattle. It's got to start somewhere. I'm not expecting this team to make the playoffs, but I am expecting some watchable and enjoyable baseball in the near future.

Crab cakes!

Piñeiro. Chen. Tomorrow.

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