Saturday, July 16, 2005


REUTERS/Matthew Minard

Arkansas' own Jermain Taylor is your new undisputed middleweight champion after earning a split decision against Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas Saturday night.

As a resident of the state of Arkansas, I feel a little bit of pride tonight in seeing Taylor win. He's a class act who's great for the sport of boxing. Hopkins, however, isn't as classy. Of course, Hopkins had some pre-fight comments about Taylor and the state of Arkansas.

"I refuse to lose to a person that lives in Arkansas, I'm a Philadelphia guy."

Good for you, Bernard.

"All you hear is he is younger and stronger than me, you never hear he is talenteder than me."

Yes, Hopkins said "talenteder". I can honestly say with a straight face that nobody in this state has ever used the "word" talenteder.

"(This wasn't) some fight in Arkansas, in a swamp someplace. This is Hollywood. We're in Vegas, man, this is the big time."

Las Vegas may be glitzy, but it's not Hollywood. Last time I checked, Hollywood is in California and Las Vegas is in Nevada.

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Congratulations, Jermain.

Arkansas is proud of you.

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THE PUMP 7/16/05 

Orioles at Mariners, 7:05 Pacific (FSN Northwest)

Bruce Chen (7-5, 3.87 ERA) vs Jamie Moyer (8-3, 4.64 ERA)

This whole "booing the Mariners for not pitching to Rafael Palmeiro" deal is something I need to address.

First of all, it's not cool to boo your own pitchers for doing their job. Yes, seeing a milestone in your ballpark may sound good. But at the same time, the Mariners' fortunes should be more important than a milestone by the opposition, the opposition being Rafael Palmeiro.

You want to know why I don't believe that Seattle is a great baseball town? It's because of the boofests of the last two ballgames. Don't boo your own team, Seattle fans, when they actually do their job. Boston wouldn't pull this stunt. Neither would St. Louis. Yes, those two cities are miles ahead of Seattle when it comes to "best baseball towns".

However, I also believe that Joel Pineiro should keep his mouth shut.

"It's weird. They were booing me. ... I don't know if they came to see us play, or came to see him hit. I guess I made it for the fans. They wanted to see that, they got it."


"They're happy about it, but we lost the game."

Shut up and pitch, Joel. Seriously, this is just unacceptable. We have Ryan Franklin pouting to the press about not being able to start until the M's hit Toronto this upcoming week. Now we have Pineiro whining about the fans. What's next? Aaron Sele complaining about the lack of respect he's been given by some fans, mainly the blogosphere? Stay tuned...

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Alright, rant over.

David and I aren't going to be at the USS Mariner feed at Safeco Field tonight. So for the four of you who were expecting our presence, sorry. Have fun anyway.

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Orioles 6, Mariners 3
AP photo -- John Froschauer

In 25 words or less: Hope you really enjoyed the milestone, because the rest of the game was crap.

This one featured Rodrigo Lopez going up against the ever-so-enigmatic Joel Piñeiro. Eternal Mariner killer Rafael Palmeiro sat on 2999 hits going into the game.

Grade: B-
Piñeiro was touched up right away. Brian Roberts foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into Miguel Olivo's glove behind the plate. Sammy Sosa flew out to centerfield. Melvin Mora homered over the manual scoreboard in leftfield.
Miguel Tejada doubled into the leftfield corner. Rafael Palmeiro took a strike followed by four balls, and the boos rained down once again. I didn't like it, and it turns out that Dave Henderson didn't like them either, saying that, "Joel Piñeiro's trying to win a ballgame here," and that not pitching to Palmeiro isn't such a bad thing in that situation. Jay Gibbons whiffed on a full-count breaking ball.

Grade: C-
Bats on the rocks. Ichiro bounced out to second. Willie Bloomquist bounced out to short. Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0, and ended up singling through the mound and into centerfield. With the count 1-2 on Richie Sexson, Ibañez broke for second and was nailed by Sal Fasano.

Grade: D
Dig that hole, Joel. Piñeiro fell behind 3-0 on Luis Matos, eventually walking him on a full count. Larry Bigbie saw a 3-0 count as well, and hit a broken-bat dinker into centerfield for a single to move Matos to second. Sal Fasano held a checkswing on a 1-2 pitch low and away, then was drilled in the left elbow on the next pitch to load the bases. Roberts grounded the first pitch hard to Sexson at first, who nearly booted the ball away, but recovered and stepped on the bag in time as Matos crossed the plate.
Sosa hit a hard grounder to Beltre at third, who had a way to go and blocked the ball, but had no play, and Bigbie scored.
Mora got ahead 2-0 and lined out to Beltre two pitches later. Tejada popped out high to short. Piñeiro threw roughly a billion pitches in the inning.

Grade: B-
A sign of life. Sexson, now with a fresh count, covered a 3-1 pitch, depositing it into the Mariner bullpen in leftcenter. Temporary joy and jubilation were had.
Adrian Beltre popped out high to rightfield on a 2-0 pitch. Jeremy Reed poked the first pitch into leftfield for a single. Mike Morse bounced out to third. Chris Snelling grounded out to first, and Palmeiro tossed over to Lopez for the putout.

Grade: B+
If Piñeiro had settled down, it should have happened in the second inning. Palmeiro chopped out to first. Gibbons ripped the first pitch up the middle for a single. Matos fouled off an 0-2 pitch, and whiffed at a pitch over the outside corner. Bigbie took a 1-0 dirtball that got away from Olivo. Gibbons took off for second base, and Olivo fired the cannon, and though the throw was a bit high and wide, Morse is tall, and he brought the ball down in time to tag Gibbons.

Grade: C
A squandered opportunity here. Olivo fouled off a couple of 2-2 pitches before whiffing on a breaking ball down and away (Boone-like). Ichiro served an 0-2 pitch into leftfield for a single. Bloomquist poked his first pitch into centerfield, also for a single, moving Ichiro to second. This of course means it's time for an untimely double play, this time off the bat of Ibañez, who had fouled off a 2-0 pitch and hit the next one to short, where said 6-4-3 dobule play was started.

Grade: B
Piñeiro mostly handled the lineup turnover. Bigbie grounded the first pitch to Sexson at first. Fasano got ahead 2-0, but hit a 2-2 low and outside breaking ball to Beltre for a groundout. Roberts singled over Piñeiro into centerfield. Sosa whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball low and outside.

Grade: C-
The bats were going away quietly. Sexson flew out to centerfield. On his first pitch, Beltre flew out to Mora on the infield dirt. Reed got ahead 2-0, but later tapped out to the mound.

Grade: C-
Piñeiro put the game out of reach. Mora doubled down the leftfield line. Tejada flew out high to Reed, and he made a strong throw to third to hold Mora at second, which sadly was one of the better Mariner moments of the game. Palmeiro got behind 0-2, then doubled into the leftfield corner on his first pitch. Rare because he hit it the opposite way (teams do the shift against this guy), but also rare because it was his 3000th career hit. Nice job, Raf. Oh yeah, the hit scored Mora from second. That was temporarily of no concern to the Orioles, who emptied the dugouts and bullpen not to engage in a brawl, but to congratulate Señor Blue Pill on what should be his ticket to Cooperstown.
Gibbons doubled down the rightfield line two pitches later, scoring Palmeiro.
Matos flew out to leftfield. Bigbie bounced out to first.

Piñeiro's line: 5 innings, 5 runs, 9 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches (60 strikes)

Grade: C
Again, more squanderingnessality. Morse stung the first pitch into centerfield for a single. Snelling was ahead 3-0, but flew out to centerfield on the 3-1 pitch. Olivo whiffed at an 0-2 breaking ball outside and in the dirt, channeling his inner Boone. Ichiro grounded out to third.

Grade: B+
Shigetoshi Hasegawa (first appearance in a while, due to back complications) came in for Piñeiro. Fasano whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Roberts flew out to shallow centerfield. Sosa hit a broken-bat single to left. Mora got down 0-2 and whiffed on 1-2.

Grade: B
The Mariners would sprinkle some false hope and make the game a tiny bit more respectable. Bloomquist whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low and outside. Ibañez got ahead 2-0, eventually walking on a full-count pitch outside. Sexson got the hitters' counts, hitting a hard grounder to third that played Mora, who was charged for the error after having the ball go off his chest. Beltre had the best at-bat of the night, working the count from 0-2 to full, fouling off four pitches in a 10-pitch at-bat. He bounced the ball off the track in rightcenter and over the fence, scoring Ibañez and putting Sexson at third.

Tim Byrdak came in for Lopez. Reed grounded out hard to first (too bad it didn't get through), and Sexson scored.

Jason Grimsley came in for Byrdak. Morse took a 1-2 breaking ball for strike three.

Lopez' line: 5 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 95 pitches (58 strikes)
Byrdak's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)
Grimsley's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 4 pitches (3 strikes)

Grade: B
A surprise seventh. Tejada took a four-pitch walk. Palmeiro poked a single to centerfield to move Tejada to second.

Matt Thornton came in for Hasegawa. Gibbons looked at an 0-2 fastball for strike three. Matos whiffed on a slider down and in. Bigbie whiffed at an 0-2 slider low and away. Thornton had struck out the side.

Hasegawa's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 22 pitches (11 strikes)

Grade: C
Jorge Julio came in for Grimsley. Snelling grounded a ball to Palmeiro, but Julio was a bit late running over to first, and as Palmeiro underhanded, Julio and Snelling were in a footrace to first, one which Julio barely won. Olivo whiffed on an 0-2 outside pitch. Ichiro singled through the hole on the right side as Henderson was ticked about a pitch at Ichiro's knees earlier in the at-bat. The first pitch to Bloomquist got dirty and went to the backstop, and Ichiro took second. He stole third on the next pitch. Bloomquist ended up taking a four-pitch walk. Ibañez hit a low liner into the gap in leftcenter, where Matos made the catch.

Julio's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (9 strikes)

Grade: C
Insurance for the Orioles at a field name Safeco. Fasano got a 1-1 pitch down and in and drilled it into the visitors' bullpen in leftfield.
Roberts popped to Morse in shallow leftfield.

Jeff Nelson came in for Thornton. Sosa hit the first pitch up the middle, and Bloomquist dove toward the hole, but made a wide throw at first as Sosa got the single. Mora whiffed on a high pitch. Tejada whiffed on an 0-2 slider outside.

Thornton's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 16 pitches (13 strikes)
Nelson's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 9 pitches (8 strikes)

Grade: C-
Chris Ray came in for Julio. Sexson whiffed on an inside fastball. Beltre flew out to Matos in rightcenter. Reed flew out to Tejada on the infield.

Ray's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (8 strikes)

Grade: A-
Ron Villone came in for Nelson. Palmeiro got ahead 2-0, but was caught looking on a full count. Gibbons flew out to Reed in the gap in leftcenter. Matos got behind 0-2 and eventually was caught looking.

Villone's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)

Grade: C-
BJ Ryan came in for Ray. Morse worked a 1-2 count full, fouling off seven pitches over the course of his at-bat. He hit a fly to rightfield that had some carry to it, and Gibbons nearly didn't catch up to it as he ran back and reached up to make the catch. Randy Winn came in to pinch-hit. He got down 0-2 and eventually flew out to rightfield. Jose Lopez came in to pinch-hit, and flew out to Palmeiro near the tarp on the second pitch.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 20 pitches (15 strikes)

Gameball: Ichiro.
Ichiro and Richie Sexson were the only Mariners that got more than one hit. Ichiro had two very Ichiro-like singles, one served into left, and one bounced through the hole on the right side. He went 2-for-4, and he did his job. He crossed the plate zero times due to various sources of offensive ineptitude spread through the lineup. Ichiro's sitting at .310, but we're all hoping that number goes way up. He could go on a crazy tear at any time. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. Granted, I'm not delusional and thinking the Mariners have a shot at the playoffs or anything, but I don't like these types of games.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
It'd just be too easy to pick on Miguel Olivo for his customary 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, so I'm going with Joel Piñeiro. This guy's still hurt, right? There's no way he can be this bad or this inconsistent if he's fully healthy, which I think a lot of people doubt at this point. Not that Piñeiro's as much a part of it, but do you all remember when the Mariners were really good, and all of these young arms the Mariners had were untouchable? Not that Pat Gillick ever learned the lesson, but hopefully somebody did -- pitching prospects are just that. Prospects. What we're left with in the starting rotation right now are two of the arms in the form of Joel Piñeiro and Gil Meche. Thank goodness the Mariners never traded them to take a shot at the World Series or anything. The hands of Edgar Martinez remain bereft of gawdy jewelry, and I'll never be a happy camper about that.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 64-25 .719 -- L1
2002 56-33 .629 8 W2
2003 56-33 .629 8 L1
2000 52-37 .584 12 L1
2005 39-50 .438 25 L2
2004 33-56 .371 31 L2

These Mariners better pick up the pace, because even last year's Mariners went on to win four of five games from this point. In a sick twist, so did the 2001 team. Still, these Mariners have maintained a six-game cushion on last year's team after each of the last four games. The 2005 Mariners have never been more than six games better than last year's team. I've said on multiple occasions that I want that number to be around 14.

Was the Rafael Palmeiro moment great? Of course it was. How often do you watch a game where someone gets their 3000th hit? As for the hit being a double into the leftfield corner (not a pull), that seemed to me to be just as non-fitting as Mark McGwire's 62nd homer being a rope that barely got over the leftfield fence at Busch. As for Palmeiro, it's a great capper to a career in which he's beaten the lights out of the Mariners time and time again. Sure, the fans cheered and they'd seen history, but they'd also seen the home team go down 4-1. Sure, maybe the fans got their money's worth for the night, but I still wanted to see my team win the game, and I knew at that point (probably earlier than that) that it wasn't going to be happening on this night. Actually, just knowing that Rodrigo Lopez was going to be starting the game was enough for me to think the Mariners didn't have too great a chance to win it. I've got an idea for a late-season promotional night. It's called Joel Piñeiro Turn Back the Clock Night.

The Mariners are in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Let's look at their last few streaks. They lost seven straight, won two, lost two, won four (Angels), and now they've dropped their two. I almost miss the back-and-forth stuff back in April because it at least guaranteed us .500 ball. Of course, what the Mariners really need to do is just run the table and finish at 112-50. The greatest part would be that we could say that the team had gone through some adversity and would be tested for the playoffs. Back in 2001, the bullpen really hadn't faced any adversity during the year, and they finally faltered in Game 4 of the ALCS, and that was a horribly bad time for it to happen. Still, I'm just rambling at this point since we know 112-50 isn't going to happen, and the Mariners aren't going to be Houston and trade for Carlos Beltran.

As for offense, the timely hits that we were seeing in the series against the Angels have mostly fizzled. Richie Sexson's homer led off the inning, so it didn't drive in any extra runs. Ichiro got two hits and never scored. Raul Ibañez ended the third with a double play after Ichiro and Willie Bloomquist had singled. Mike Morse led off the seventh with a single and didn't move. Ichiro and Bloomquist got aboard again with two out in the seventh, but Ibañez ended that inning as well, this time with a flyout. The most timely hit of the game was the Beltre double off the track, which was a great at-bat by him.

To the bullpen, Ron Villone did pretty well, but that was in garbage time. Jeff Nelson gave up a single, but otherwise did well in the 8th. Shigetoshi Hasegawa did pretty well in his first inning, but like Matt Thornton wasn't as good when brought out for another inning. Hasegawa put two runners on for Thornton, and Thornton came out in the 8th and fell victim to Sal Fasano. You know it's bad when Matt Thornton serves one up to Fasano, but he's not the first Mariner to get lit up by him. The Orioles need Javy Lopez back so the Mariners don't have to worry about getting Sal Fasano out.

Can the Mariners salvage a split from this series? I doubt it. But hey, anything can happen. I just saw some SpikeTV little baseball show thing where they had a highlight montage and they showed the Ichiro Spider-Man catch. That happened in a pretty crappy game. Anything can happen, and something might be worth watching. I watch in case there are moments like that.

Chen. Moyer. Tonight.

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Friday, July 15, 2005


AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Rafael Palmeiro is the 26th player in baseball history to join the 3,000 hit club. In fact, he's only the 4th player ever to hit 500 home runs (currently at 566) and have 3,000 career hits. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray were the first 3 players to join the 500 HR/3000 hit club. Now Palmeiro is part of that club.

And get this, his 3,000th hit was an opposite-field double. Yeah, Palmeiro hitting one to left field? When does that happen? Sure enough, his 3,000th hit brought Melvin Mora home, giving the Orioles a 4-1 lead in the 5th inning.

Congratulations, Rafael. His 3,000th hit couldn't have come anywhere else in my book, not with what he's done in his career against the Mariners.

You may now return to following the mediocre 2005 Seattle Mariners.

NOTE: Our game thread is below this post, if you still want to talk about the game.

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THE PUMP 7/15/05 

Orioles at Mariners, 7:05 Pacific (FSN Northwest)

Rodrigo Lopez (8-5, 4.47 ERA) vs Joel Pineiro (3-4, 5.44 ERA)

---Will this be the night Rafael Palmeiro gets his 3,000th hit? Probably so. For my take on Palmeiro and the damage he's caused against the Mariners, click here.

---Six years ago today, Safeco Field opened, changing the shape of baseball in Seattle forever. Unfortunately, I still remember the blown save by Jose Mesa to ruin the opening night hoopla as well. Memories suck sometimes, they really do.

---Hopefully Haloscan doesn't do any maintenance tonight. There are actually a few people who want to comment in our game threads. Don't screw that up, Haloscan.

---Aww, Ryan Franklin is mad that he doesn't get to pitch until Wednesday in Toronto. Hey Ryan, YOU ARE 5-10. FIVE AND TEN! I don't give a damn about the "run support" or lack of it. Facts are facts, folks. Since when does Ryan F*cking Franklin get to whine to the press about his problems? It's ridiculous. There's a reason why this is a last-place team. It's more than science.

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Joel Pineiro, you may (will) be a part of history tonight.

I can feel it! (cue Live "Lightning Crashes")

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Orioles 5, Mariners 3
AP photo -- Elaine Thompson

In 25 words or less: If you have one good offensive inning out of nine, your chances of winning are pretty slim.

This one featured flamethrower Daniel Cabrera against Aaron Sele. Rafael Palmeiro sat on 2998 career hits going into the game, aiming for 3000. Of course, it seems like Palmeiro has had 3000 career hits against the Mariners alone, but apparently that's not the case.

Grade: B
Not a bad journey out of the gate. Brian Roberts bounced out to short. Sammy Sosa flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter at the wall. Melvin Mora placed a bunt perfectly along the third-base line, and Adrian Beltre's throw was late, though he didn't have much chance to begin with. Miguel Tejada popped out to shallow center.

Grade: C-
Not much of a start here for the offense. Ichiro chopped out to short. Randy Winn grounded an 0-2 pitch hard to first. Raul Ibañez flew out near the track in leftfield.

Grade: A
Sele had a better inning. Rafael Palmeiro grounded out to Richie Sexson at first, who underhanded to Sele for the putout. Jay Gibbons popped a high foul to Beltre. Luis Matos whiffed on a 1-2 inside pitch.

Grade: A
The Mariners looked like they'd carreid over some of the magic from the series against the Angels. Richie Sexson took a 1-2 pitch over the outside half of the plate. Adrian Beltre lined a 2-0 pitch into centerfield for a single. Jeremy Reed took an 0-2 pitch in the ribs, the pitch after he'd shaken off a possible mound meeting between him and catcher Sal Fasano. Willie Bloomquist blooped the first pitch into centerfield to score Beltre. The throw to third base by rightfielder Jay Gibbons went wide and into foul territory, and Reed scored as well. While the Orioles were in pursuit of the ball, no one was covering third base, and Bloomquist ended the play on third base.
Jose Lopez whiffed at a 1-0 pitch, and apparently he hadn't fouled it off, and the ball bounced through and went to the backstop, scoring Bloomquist from third.
Lopez hit a grounder to Tejada, who bobbled the ball a bit, and Lopez wound up safe at first on the error. Pat Borders whiffed at a slider outside. Ichiro chopped one to first.

Grade: B
Sele walked the tightrope a bit more. Larry Bigbie ripped a 2-0 pitch to leftfield for a single. Sal Fasano hit the first pitch for a shallow fly to Ichiro. Roberts hit a seeing-eye single to rightfield, sending Bigbie to third. Sosa fouled off a few two-strike pitches before whiffing on a full-count inside pitch. Mora got ahead 2-0, but ended up flying out to shallow centerfield.

Grade: C-
The Mariners were unfortunately done for the night. Winn bounced out to second. Ibañez got ahead 2-0, but flew out high to short. Sexson fouled off a 2-0 pitch before flying out to shallow center.

Grade: C+
Sele faltered a bit. Tejada flew out to center. Palmeiro singled down the rightfield line, good for career hit #2999. Gibbons homered on his second pitch, reaching the rightfield foul pole.
Matos foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch into Borders' glove for a strikeout. Bigbie grounded out to second.

Grade: C-
The Mariner bats had become stagnant. Beltre got behind 0-2, eventually whiffing on a slider low and away. Reed rolled one to third. Bloomquist took a full-count strike.

Grade: C
Sele blew the lead. Fasano homered to rightcenter on the first pitch of the inning as the ball just kept carrying over the fence.
Roberts flew out near the track in center. Sosa whiffed on a full-count curve. Mora got behind 0-2, but took the 2-2 delivery off his left bicep. Tejada flew out to Ichiro on the first pitch.

Grade: D+
This one was freakin' quick. Lopez flew out to left on the first pitch. Borders bounced the first pitch up the middle, but Roberts plugged up the hole and got Borders on an off-balance throw. Ichiro grounded the second pitch to third. Yes, that's three outs on four pitches.

Grade: C
There went the game. Palmeiro got the hitters' counts, but bounced the 3-1 pitch to Sexson, who underhanded to Sele for the out. It didn't help that Palmeiro stumbled out of the box and had to plant his hands to keep from falling. Gibbons got ahead 3-0 and ripped the 3-1 pitch up the middle for a single. Matos took a full-count pitch low and away for a walk. The first pitch to Bigbie was bounced in front of the plate and got away from Borders, and the runners advanced. Two pitches later, Bigbie flew out to Winn in leftcenter near the track, more than sufficient (and to the right guy) to bring home Gibbons and give the Orioles the lead.
Matos flew out to shallow right.

Sele's line: 6 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 92 pitches (55 strikes)

Grade: D+
More frustration. Winn took a four-pitch walk. Ibañez was jammed and fisted a flyout to Tejada in shallow leftfield. Sexson grounded the second pitch to Mora at third, who rolled up the 5-4-3 double play. That's a killer.

Grade: A
Julio Mateo came in for Sele. Roberts flew out to center. Sosa got ahead 2-0, but whiffed on a 2-2 pitch up and in for the hat trick. Mora flew out to left.

Grade: C-
The bats once again responded with nothing. Beltre got ahead 2-0, but ended up chopping out to third. Reed flew out to Roberts in shallow centerfield. Bloomquist lined out to short on the first pitch.

Grade: B
No history here. Tejada popped out foul to Sexson. Palmeiro was behind 1-2, but worked Mateo for a walk as the fans at the Safe booed at the latter, which I can't say elicited any pride in me. Mateo's been doing great all year, and had only walked one guy. I didn't hear JJ Putz drawing the ire of the crowd in the 9th (coming soon). Gibbons foueld off an 0-2 pitch, and later flew out high and foul to Borders. Matos flew out to left on the first pitch.

Mateo's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 30 pitches (17 strikes)

Grade: C-
The first last gap wasn't a good one. Lopez fouled off a few two-strike pitches before whiffing badly on a breaking ball low and away. Scott Spiezio came on to pinch-hit, and got ahead 3-0 before taking a full-count breaking ball for strike three. Ichiro flew out to left on the first pitch.

Cabrera's line: 8 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 97 pitches (72 strikes)

Grade: D
JJ Putz came in for Mateo. Miguel Olivo also came in to catch. Bigbie grounded a ball up the middle to short, and Bloomquist's throw bounced wide of Sexson and into foul territory (E6), allowing Bigbie to skitter to second. Fasano worked a 1-2 count full before taking ball four low and outside. Roberts bunted the first pitch along the third-base line, and Beltre decided to go for the out at first rather than let the ball roll foul. Sosa flew out to left (Winn) on the first pitch, easily allowing Bigbie to score the insurance run.
Mora worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Really, he did. This is JJ Putz we're talking about here, remember. Tejada fouled off an 0-2 pitch, and chopped the next one to Putz.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 22 pitches (12 strikes)

Grade: D+
BJ Ryan came in for Cabrera. Winn got ahead 2-0, but took the 2-2 pitch looking over the outside corner. Ibañez whiffed through a 2-2 fastball. Sexson whiffed through a 1-2 pitch, which apparently he thought was foul, but was tagged by Fasano to end the game. Ballgame. It didn't feel like it was Seattle's game anyway. Oh yeah, Ryan had struck out the side.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 16 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Julio Mateo.
The reason I didn't like the walk to Rafael Palmeiro is because it was a walk in the eighth inning of a one-run game, not because it was a walk to someone trying to get his 3000th hit. I've got your back, Julio. Palmeiro was Mateo's only baserunner through two innings of no-hit ball. Julio Mateo, you are the shiz-nite.

Goat: Richie Sexson.
I hate to pick on him especially after how well he did in the series against the Angels, but that double-play ball to end the sixth was an absolute killer. The Mariners were down by one run at that point with one out, and Randy Winn had drawn a four-pitch leadoff walk. Right about then is supposed to be when the Mariners or any team take advantage of the mental feebleness that one would expect out of a youngster like Daniel Cabrera. It was not to be. Sexson didn't help matters. So, to recap, Sexson hit the one double-play ball, struck out twice, and flew out. He's going to have days like this, and he'd probably earned the right to have one after he went something like 6-for-12 with 6 walks in the series against the Angels before the break.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 64-24 .727 -- W2
2003 56-32 .636 8 W1
2002 55-33 .625 9 W1
2000 52-36 .591 12 W1
2005 39-49 .443 25 L1
2004 33-55 .375 31 L1

Yes, fans, these Mariners remain six games better than the pace of the tattered crew from a year ago. Does it seem like they're 13 games worse than the 2000 team? Sixteen worse than the 2002 team? Seventeen worse than the 2003 team? Twenty-five worse than the 2001 team? Well...yes, yes, yes, and yes. I still tell myself that they seem way better than six games above the 2004 skeleton crew, though.

Did Daniel Cabrera handle the Mariners or what? Holy hell. Still, I won't say the Mariners' strategy was purely hacktastic, though that four-pitch fifth inning was a little unnerving, considering Cabrera's a youngun that can lose it a bit mentally and then try to throw the ball instead of pitch it, therefore losing control and everything. Of course, if you start swinging at the first pitch or early in the count for a prolonged length of time, you're also not giving a guy like Cabrera enough chances to mess up. It's different against a Tim Hudson or a Carlos Silva (though it doesn't have to happen against a Cliff Lee), but Daniel Cabrera's a mental newbie when it comes to Major League pitching and hitters and the like. For some reason, I just thought of Freddy Garcia, but I don't want to take that thought much further.

So, let's see how the lineup did in this game. Seven of the starters went hitless. Four of them were hitters 1-4 in the lineup. I don't have to tell you that won't cut it. The only baserunner out of those first four hitters was Randy Winn, who drew the four-pitch walk to lead off the sixth which should have been part of the rally to tie the game at 4-4. Of course, the Mariner bats had decided to pitch a tent in the third inning and call it a night. Worse yet, Winn's aforementioned walk was the only baserunner the Mariners had after the second inning. Yes, Cabrera and BJ Ryan (the ninth) sliced through this Mariner lineup like a blazingly hot knife through butter, or something like that.

The main blame for this one's going on the bats. Aaron Sele had a half-decent outing, and definitely not one that totally put the game out of reach for the Mariners or anything. If you give up four runs as a starter, I'd have to say (speaking obviously from my mind and not from statistical evidence) that you've got a pretty good chance to win, though there's still a decent chance to lose as well. Sele gave up four runs in this game and lost. That'll happen. Of course, if your offense manages one good inning and then only gets one baserunner and no hits for the rest of the game, your hands are pretty much tied unless you almost match the other guy pitch-for-pitch. That said, Sele's wild pitch (or Borders' mis-block) to Larry Bigbie with two on in the 6th was horribly inopportune, and that enabled the go-ahead run to come home on a sacrifice fly. Though you could argue the case that Sele could have gotten through the inning unscathed, it still would have been a tie game and the offense probably still wouldn't have been able to do anything.

Oh man, three more games in this series with Baltimore? Crap. I'm not too hopeful. I'm not too hopeful about the subsequent road trip to the Rogers Centre (fmr. SkyDome) either. What I should do next Thursday is play hooky -- stay home and watch that early game...which, if televised on MLB.tv, would start at 6:37am Hawaiian time for me. Nine-inning breakfast, baby! But yeah, me staying home is not likely. Also, if it's that early a start, I bet it's a DiamondVision in-ballpark game. Not fun. The scoreboards in the gaps of the fences in Toronto creep me out, by the way.

Lopez. Piñeiro. Tonight.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005


No, I'm not talking about Rafael Palmeiro's two hits. He was able to get hit 2,999 tonight, but he'll have to wait until tomorrow night to try for his 3,000th hit.

Lost in all of this madness about Palmeiro is that the Mariners were held to just 2 hits. In fact, the M's didn't have a hit in the final 7 innings. Ouch.

Haloscan (our commenting service) has been doing maintenance for over an hour now, so commenting is disabled. I don't know when the comments will return, so bear with us for the time being. You'll be able to comment on anything and everything (within reason) sooner rather than later.

Football season is coming slowly but surely, folks.

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THE PUMP 7/14/05 

Orioles at Mariners, 7:05 Pacific (FSN Northwest)

Daniel Cabrera (7-7, 4.90 ERA) vs Aaron Sele (6-8, 4.70 ERA)

Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is just 2 hits away from 3,000 hits. He may reach the mark tonight at Safeco Field. How fitting. In case you haven't read my post on the Mariner Killer himself, click here or go one post below. Here at Sports And Bremertonians, we understand the historical significance of events such as the one we're likely going to see tonight or sometime this weekend.

As for the Mariners, they swept the Angels before the All-Star Break. Can they keep up the momentum from that series? We'll just have to find out, won't we?

It's the second half. We're still here, folks. Have no fear, we have NOT lost interest in the season. That's the fact, Jack.

In NBA news, Jerome James is a New York Knick. Isiah Thomas is the dumbest general manager alive. Have fun with Jerome, Knicks fans.

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"I really can't explain it. I'm feeling better, I feel good. It's a great place to play. There are ballparks you feel good in. There are ballparks you don't feel good in. I feel good here. There's no other explanation."

This was Rafael Palmeiro's "explanation" to David Andriesen of the Seattle P-I on July 28, 2003. Palmeiro drove in a career-high 7 runs, hitting 2 home runs, including a grand slam off of Arthur Rhodes, as his Texas Rangers blew out the Mariners 10-1.

If there's one guy I can point to and yell out "Mariner Killer" with no hesitation at all, it's Rafael Palmeiro. Chew on these numbers.

Palmeiro in his career against the Seattle Mariners (1989-2005):

---212 games (779 at-bats)
---.288 BA
---.916 OPS
---51 HR
---142 RBI
---136 runs
---224 hits (42 doubles, 3 triples)
---102 walks

Palmeiro at the Kingdome (1989-1999)
1989-1993 Texas, 1994-1998 Baltimore, 1999 Texas

---62 games (232 at-bats)
---.293 BA
---.826 OPS
---9 HR
---28 RBI
---38 runs
---68 hits (12 doubles, 1 triple)
---21 walks

Palmeiro at Safeco Field (2000-2004)*
2000-2003 Texas, 2004-current Baltimore

*Texas did not play at Safeco Field during the 1999 season

---39 games (150 at-bats)
---.280 BA
---1.003 OPS
---16 HR
---47 RBI
---24 runs
---42 hits (7 doubles)
---20 walks

Don't those numbers just make you feel good about yourself?

Seriously, Palmeiro is a beast, especially in Safeco Field. That's why it's so fitting that he is in Seattle this weekend with the Baltimore Orioles for a four-game series with the Mariners. Palmeiro is 2 hits away from reaching 3,000 hits in his career, sitting at 2,998 at the All-Star Break. If he doesn't get 2 measly hits this weekend, it will be one of the most shocking moments of my sporting life.

If I were a Hall Of Fame voter (I'm not), I would put Palmeiro into Cooperstown just based on his numbers against the Mariners over the years. However, I think having over 500 home runs and eventually 3000+ hits will get him into the Hall Of Fame anyway. He has to be in the Hall Of Fame, doesn't he? You can say what you will about Palmeiro. He hasn't always been the dominating hitter on his own team. But 500 home runs and 3000 hits still mean something. At least I think they do. Only 25 men in the history of baseball have 3,000 hits on their resume. For some reason, I just can't see the voters keeping Palmeiro out of Cooperstown.

Aaron Sele, you may just be a part of history Thursday night at Safeco Field.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The NHL Lockout is over.

Today, the National Hockey League owners and players have reached an agreement on a new 6-year collective bargaining agreement, which is expected to be ratified next Thursday, July 21.

The key features of the new CBA, according to TSN:

---A hard team-by-team salary cap with a payroll of range of $21 million to $39 million (in the first year), which includes all player costs (benefits, insurance etc).

---The league's total expenditure on player costs (salaries, bonuses, benefits and insurance) is not permitted to exceed 54 percent of defined hockey-related revenue and the salary cap and payroll range will move up or down as revenues increase or decrease each year of the deal.

---A 24 percent salary rollback for any NHL player who has time remaining on an existing contract, keeping in mind that the players will receive none of the monies they were slated to earn in the lost season of 2004-05.

---Liberalized free agency (including unrestricted status at 27 by year four of the deal), a more restrictive entry level system, totally revamped salary arbitration, improved pension benefits and a revenue-sharing plan.

---Age eligibility for unrestricted free agency at age 31 in 2005, 29 in 2006, 28 in 2007. In 2008, it's 27 or seven years of NHL tenure.

A draft lottery is expected to take place soon. This is a long overdue move for the NHL. Sidney Crosby is expected to be the #1 pick of the 2005 NHL Draft. The 17-year old has been compared to Wayne Gretzky, even though he hasn't suited up in a game yet.

Even though the NHL is coming back, not all of the fans will be coming back. The NHL is going to have its hands full trying to market the game. Hockey is a sport for diehards, so it is up to the league to try to bring in the casual fans. As for the NHL's future in the South, I can only hope that the league does all it can to help the game in the Southern markets (Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh, Tampa Bay, Miami). In fact, two of the game's best young players, Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk, are currently playing for the Atlanta Thrashers. The Nashville Predators were a playoff team in 2004, but hopefully the momentum gained from that playoff appearance wasn't forgotten by the fans there. Raleigh and Miami have hosted the Stanley Cup Finals (Hurricanes 2002, Panthers 1996), while Tampa Bay is the defending Stanley Cup champions (2004).

Alright, hockey is back. But the league has a long way to go to regain the fans' respect. Both the owners and players are at fault, even though in the players' case, it was a lockout, not a strike. The deal that has been struck is worse than the deal that was originally presented in February. However, the players are chomping at the bit to get back on the ice.

Game On!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


We're a few hours from July 12th. Of course, this year the 12th is the day after baseball's All-Star Game, which of course means it's the slowest sports day of the year. The Majors take a day off (AAA has their All-Star Game), and the NBA, NFL, and NHL are all out of season.

So where does that leave us?

I'm left to come up with different material for a day, in part because the Mariners aren't playing. But it also gives me some free time to mess around. What have I been thinking about the last couple days?

(***NOTE -- scroll way down for the All-Star related thought)

1) There's two words we've been getting searched for like crazy lately that I know I've only mentioned on this site once in our entire existence. What are they?

I'll give you 20 seconds to guess...

Are you still guessing?

Do you feel confident in your answer?

Okay. Ready for the answer? Here it is...

Paulina Gretzky. Yes, that's right, the 16-year-old daughter of the Great One. I mentioned her once on the site after she sang "O Canada" before the Czech Republic/Canada game at the World Cup of Hockey late last summer, seriously one of the three best hockey games I've seen in my life.

So I try to trace back through these Google searches and Yahoo searches and see if something newsworthy has happened involving Paulina. The most recent headline is this, saying that she'll be a cover girl on the August issue of Flare magazine. Good for her. But is that alone what's really driving up the amount of hits at Sports and B's? I mean, this is nuts. We haven't seen hits like this since everyone was searching for pictures of Anna Benson. If we have Canadian readers than can clue us in better to the situation, it'd be appreciated.

2) Okay, my long-awaited second thought. For the All-Star Game, game day is preceded by other on-field events the two days beforehand, namely the celebrity/old-timers' game which nobody cares about, the Futures Game, and the Home Run Derby. Football doesn't truly have a hyped-up All-Star event showing off skills, except for the shown-after-the-fact Quarterback Challenge. Basketball covers both ends of the crowd-rousing play spectrum, having both a three-point contest and a slam-dunk contest. Hockey has the SuperSkills Competition with fastest slapshot, most accurate shot, fastest skater, and that shootout thing (forgive my forgetting the name of the event) where all the scorers take penalty shots against the goalies.

What am I saying here? I think something is missing from baseball's All-Star festivities. I'm not saying to cop hockey here, but I do know some other skills should be featured. Hitting jacks isn't the only thing ballplayers can do, though it's certainly the most glorified.

So, I'm just going to start spewing here, with completely random and made-up sponsors...

--- AOL Broadband Fastest Baserunner
Pretty self-explanatory. Make Ichiro, Juan Pierre, Scott Podsednik, et al., race against the clock. Whether the race would be from home to first or all the way around...that'd be a debate.

--- UPS Speed Pitch
We all know they dumb down the radar guns when you're throwing balls into the machine on the concourse. Do you think there'd be some ego involved in this? Just have the guys (say, Billy Wagner, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling healthy, and company) warm up for 10 or so minutes beforehand, and then have 'em let loose. Would there be an elimination bracket? No idea.

--- Garmin/Dartfish Craziest Breaking Ball
Who's breaking ball has the greatest horizontal and/or vertical movement without bouncing it up to the plate? Where would Francisco Rodriguez' slider go? Maybe even an Aaron Sele curve? A Kerry Wood curve? Kyle Farnsworth's slider when he was good? Of course, this could be done on a type-of-pitch basis. There could be a changeup competition, a curveball event, a slider event, etc.

--- DoubleTree Suites Double Play
I'm reaching with this one, but follow me. I somehow can imagine this going nuts and being a slam-dunk-type event, going for style points and possibly even using props (that's the sound of purists shuddering). Maybe someone could do a study beforehand to tabulate what would be the time cutoff to get the ball to first. Or...you could strike a deal with the USOC and have the middle infielders go up against sprinters off the US track team. Crazy thoughts, I know.

--- ADT Home-Run Robbing
I have no idea how this could happen, I just know it'd be cool if someone could pull it off. Of course, how do you get someone or something to keep hitting rob-able homers to the fence? It'd be hard, but the reward would be infinite if it were physically possible.

--- NRA Gun-Down
Pretty simple. Which catcher has the fastest/most accurate throw to second base? Third base? Pickoff to first? Miguel Olivo would train all year for this event. You could also expand this to include outfield arms throwing to the plate. You could have a completely reverse contest and enter Randy Winn in the event.

Those are the only ideas I can think of right now. Of course, this would require moving the All-Star Game to a weekend, but would that really be that bad? Basketball and hockey have all-star weekends, and football camps out here in Hawaii after the season. What you do is have all this stuff on Friday or Saturday, or have it all day on Saturday and cap it off with the Home Run Derby to close SkillSaturday or something.

Seriously, scrapping the celeb/oldies softball game would buy you an hour-plus right there that could be used to showcase some skills that just don't get the same pub that the homers obviously do.

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Here's your All-Star Game open post.

I'm sure somebody will use it.

If you want to talk Seahawks football, I just did a Seahawks post, so go ahead and fire away there. Good deal.

NCAA 2006 is going to take over my life, if it hasn't already.

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It's July 12, the All-Star Game is tonight, and Sportscenter has John Clayton and Sean Salisbury on to discuss the NFL's offseason winners and losers. I have no problem with this, because hey, it's a football segment. And y'all know how much I love the game of football.

Okay, all the b.s. side, who does Clayton have as one of his offseason losers?

The Seattle Seahawks

Clayton brings up the losses of Chad Brown and Anthony Simmons at linebacker, as well as seeing Chike Okeafor sign with a divisional rival in Arizona.

What's the deal, John?

The way I see things, I think the Seahawks have had a very good offseason.

---Re-signed left tackle Walter Jones and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

---Signed linebacker Jamie Sharper (Houston), wide receivers Joe Jurevicius (Tampa Bay) and Jerome Pathon (New Orleans), defensive end Bryce Fisher (St. Louis), cornerbacks Andre Dyson (Tennessee) and Kelly Herndon (Denver)

---Released wide receiver Koren Robinson and Simmons (mentioned above)

What some people need to realize about the departures of Brown and Simmons is that those two players have not been huge contributors to the Seahawks defense in the last two seasons, due to injuries. The addition of Sharper and second-round draft pick Lofa Tatupu will help shore up a linebacking corps that was downright pathetic in 2004. By the way, Sharper has never missed a game in his 8-year career.

While the Seahawks lost cornerback Ken Lucas in free agency to Carolina, they were able to sign Dyson and Herndon. Those two players will be solid contributors to a young secondary along with Marcus Trufant, Ken Hamlin, and Michael Boulware.

Let's not forget about the ever-so-important wide receiver position. The "big play potential" of Koren Robinson is finally gone, but the wide receiver corps will have two veterans in camp, Jurevicius and Pathon. I'll take my chances with those two guys over a inconsistent kid with wasted potential. Yeah, Koren is still a kid.

Point being, the Seahawks have gotten better. I have no problem with the "experts" picking the Arizona Cardinals winning the NFC West. No problem whatsoever. In the end, I expect the Seahawks to be back in the postseason. Hopefully this season, they will win a playoff game for the first time in the Mike Holmgren era.

This isn't that dire of a situation, folks. Don't let Clayton fool you.

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I enjoyed watching last night's Home Run Derby. While I didn't like the format of the derby (Jason Bay does NOT belong in a home run hitting competition), I did enjoy the pride the players showed for their countries. It would have been unjust to see somebody other than Bobby Abreu winning the Home Run Derby last night.

I could do a post on the Home Run Derby itself. But I figured that I should go in a different direction.

During the preshow, Alter Bridge performed "Open Your Eyes", from their album One Day Remains. I would have rather heard "Find The Real", but "Open Your Eyes" would do. Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti is from Michigan, so there was a local connection there. I'd like to salute Major League Baseball for not using Kid Rock as the preshow entertainment. Thanks, Bud.

Anyways, everything is going well. Until Johnny Damon and Mike Piazza step on stage.

REUTERS/Gregory Shamus

The most talented person on that stage was Mark Tremonti. Seriously, Tremonti is a damn good guitarist. His work in Creed will never get the proper respect because of Scott Stapp. I'm just glad that he's able to play with Alter Bridge, who are one of the better rock bands out there today.

REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

It's too bad that I couldn't find a picture of Piazza banging the cymbals on Scott Phillips' drum set. That had to be the funniest white guy moment since Mark Madsen's Dance Fever audition in Los Angeles a few years ago.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Singer Myles Kennedy with Damon. Bud Selig instituted his "Best Interest of Baseball" rule by banning Scott Stapp from Major League Baseball for life due to his atrocious performance of "God Bless America" at the World Series last year.

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

In hindsight, I wished that Miguel Cabrera would have ran on stage with the Venezuelan flag. Seeing him with the Venezuelan flag was the highlight of the Home Run Derby for me, even with Abreu crushing 41 home runs.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The All-Star Game coverage starts at 5 p.m. Pacific on FOX. IT DOESN'T COUNT!

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Monday, July 11, 2005


Seattle Times

The Mariners have traded Bret Boone to the Minnesota Twins. Boone was designated for assignment last Sunday (July 3). It is not known which players the Mariners will receive from the Twins, if they receive any players at all.

Back in March, I had predicted that Pokey Reese would be traded to the Twins in July. Well, I'm sort of right. "Sort of right" doesn't mean a whole lot, but whatever. Reese hasn't played a single inning for the M's this year and Boone is now a Twin. Go figure.

The Twins are 48-38, 9 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the A.L. Central. But they are leading the A.L. Wild Card race, so there is definitely hope for the Twins in the second half. Can Boone help the Twins get to the postseason? Surely he can add more to the Twins' lineup than Luis Rivas did. I picked the Twins to win the American League pennant before the season started, so that explains why I want to see the Twins in the playoffs.

Best of luck to Bret in Minnesota.

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I'm a football junkie.

While I already have the Phil Steele College Football preview issue, I needed another magazine to satisfy my football withdrawals. Before I bought the Phil Steele issue, I had already bought the Pro Football Weekly NFL preview issue and the Athlon Sports college football preview issue. Okay Jeremy, 3 football magazines is enough.

Well, I guess you just don't know me that well, do you?

Football is a religion here in the South. Never is this more evident than when I picked up Dave Campbell's Texas Football and Hooten's Arkansas Football preview issues. For those of you scoring at home, the Texas Football issue was $9.95 while the Hooten's issue was $14.95.

When I lived in Washington, I had heard about the Texas Football magazine. It's a magazine I've always wanted to read. This is the first year that I've been able to read Texas Football. That's mainly because this is the first year where I've been able to buy the magazine in the state of Arkansas. The only Arkansas-related item in Texas Football is a small paragraph on Arkansas State (my school, as of next month), an opponent of North Texas in the Sun Belt Conference. I can't say "rival" because let's face it, North Texas has dominated the Sun Belt Conference the last 4 seasons.

The Texas Football magazine is in its 46th year of service and is run by Dave Campbell. If there's one state that knows football, it's Texas. The cover features quarterbacks Vince Young of Texas and Reggie McNeal of Texas A&M. In the 352-page issue, Texas Football covers Texas and Oklahoma teams in the Big XII Conference, along with the Texas teams in Conference USA (Houston, Rice, SMU, UTEP) and the Mountain West Conference (TCU). There's also previews for the Division 1-AA teams in the state of Texas, including Sam Houston State, who defeated Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals of last year's D-1AA playoffs. And of course, there's the high school preview section (5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 6-Man). The NFL teams in the Lone Star State also get a few pages (Dallas and Houston).

Not to be outdone, Hooten's Arkansas Football is a 424-page effort. Obviously, Arkansas is a much smaller state than Texas, but the Arkansas Football magazine is bigger than the Texas Football issue. However, the cover of Hooten's Arkansas Football is a drawing of the "Ultimate Hog QB", as Hooten's did a feature on what intangibles would make the perfect Razorbacks quarterback. The first 60 pages is nothing but Arkansas Razorbacks football, by the way. I'm going to Arkansas State, but unlike some Indians fans/students, I understand why Hooten's is going to include more coverage on the Razorbacks. They're an SEC team while Arkansas State is a Sun Belt team. And in this state, it's Razorbacks 24-7. I've known this to be true in my 2-plus years of residency here. As for Arkansas State's coverage? Four pages. Yeah, four pages. Again, that's not a big surprise to me.

Hooten's also covers the smaller colleges in the state, with the Gulf South teams and the SWAC (UA-Pine Bluff, or UAPB). But the interest for most people here is the high school coverage, as Hooten's covers every single high school team in the state of Arkansas, big and small.

While reading these two magazines, I wondered what would a Washington Football magazine look like? Maybe I could use my journalism degree in a few years to start the Washington Football magazine myself, who knows?

In the Washington Football magazine, you would have to cover Washington and Washington State, that's a given. But what about the other schools in the state? I think it would be a neat deal to feature Eastern Washington, Central Washington, Western Washington, and Pacific Lutheran in the same magazine. Believe it or not, not everybody in the state of Washington went to Washington or Washington State. If there was to be a Washington Football magazine, I'd have no doubt in my mind that people would be interested in buying it. Not only would this magazine include the college teams, the high school teams in the Evergreen State would be featured as well. Hell, throw in a preview of the Seahawks, similar to Texas Football's takes on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.

Anyways, I don't think I'll be buying another football preview magazine until the Sports Illustrated college football preview issue comes out next month. Five is enough, for now. Let's see if I stay true to my word in a few weeks.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005


Mariners 7, Angels 4
AP photo -- Francis Specker

In 25 words or less: Holy Broom Hilda! The Mariners sweep the Angels to win their sixth game in eight tries, thanks to timely hitting and good-enough pitching.

This one featured the ever-so-enigmatic Gil Meche going up against Ervin Santana. The Mariners had already won the series by taking the third game of the series the day before. They were trying to sweep the Angels and take their momentum into the All-Star break. The Angels were trying to conjure up their monkey and stuff. Boo.

Grade: B-
The two-out thing almost struck gold again. Ichiro slapped a full-count grounder to short. Randy Winn tapped one back to the mound. Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0, and took a full-count pitch high and outside for a walk. Richie Sexson walked on a full count as well. Adrian Beltre took a mighty hack at a 3-1 pitch, but too the next pitch in the dirt for a walk. Santana had walked the bases loaded, though there were two out. Jeremy Reed managed a decent at-bat, falling behind 0-2 but then working the count full. Too bad he took the next pitch for strike three, though he thought it was low and started jogging toward first. Oh well. Santana's pitch count was way up, at least.

Grade: D
It wasn't a pretty beginning for Meche. Chone Figgins blooped a single over Willie Bloomquist at short and into leftcenter. Darin Erstad hit the 3-1 pitch to Meche, who knocked it down and appeared to throw to first for the out. Figgins had gone to third on the play but was sent back to second. Erstad was awarded first. It turns out that Erstad nicked Olivo's glove during his swing again, convincing me that Erstad's back foot is probably three feet behind the back line of the batters' box. Vladimir Guerrero whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball low and outside, losing his helmet for the second time in the at-bat. Garret Anderson flew out to left. Juan Rivera fell behind 0-2, but would end up singling through the hole on the right side to score Figgins and give the Angels the lead.
Bengie Molina grounded the 2-0 pitch up the middle, and second baseman Jose Lopez dove for the ball and threw to Bloomquist, who was late covering the bag at second. Bloomquist threw home trying to get Erstad, but that was late as well. The throw got away from Olivo, but nobody advanced.
Maicer Izturis flew out foul to Bloomquist near the leftfield line on the first pitch.

Grade: C-
Nothing much here. Willie Bloomquist flew out to Erstad in foul territory near the stands. Jose Lopez bounced out to third. Miguel Olivo worked a 1-2 count full, but flew out high to second.

Grade: A
Meche bounced back. Jeff DaVanon whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and in. Adam Kennedy whiffed on an 0-2 pitch. Figgins took a 1-2 fastball over the inside corner.

Grade: B
The clutch meter showed some life. Ichiro slapped the second pitch through the left side for a single. Winn got ahead 3-1 and would later bloop a high fly ball into leftcenter, where Anderson had the ball go off the end of his glove. DaVanon got the ball and threw past Kennedy at second, and the runners were safe. Ibañez had the hitters' counts and slapped the 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in leftfield. It was good for a double, and Ichiro and Winn scored from second and first, respectively, to tie the score.
Sexson popped the first pitch foul to Erstad. Beltre whiffed on a low 1-2 pitch. Reed flew out to first.

Grade: C+
Meche would falter again. Erstad drew a four-pitch leadoff walk. Guerrero hit a laser on the first pitch right to Beltre, who was able to snag it at the very hot corner. Anderson hit a hard single over Sexson, who debatably should have had it, and Erstad moved to third. Rivera grounded a ball to third, where Beltre made a diving stop and tried to roll the double play. The throw to first wasn't in time, and Erstad scored to retake the lead for the Angels.
Rivera took off for second on the 1-2 pitch to Molina, but was gunned down by Olivo.

Grade: A
All hell broke loose. Bloomquist hit the second pitch into the hap in leftcenter, good for a double. Lopez slapped the first pitch down the rightfield line, good for a double as well, and Bloomquist scored to tie the game up once again.
Olivo smoked a 1-1 pitch into the seats in leftfield, near the line. Surprise!

Kevin Gregg came in for Santana. Ichiro fell behind 0-2, and would ground the 1-2 pitch slowly into the hole at short, but Izturis couldn't throw over in time, and Erstad had to dive to stop the ball (single). Winn fouled off an 0-2 pitch, then Ichiro broke for second and got in under the tag. Winn whiffed on a 1-2 outside pitch. Ibañez bounced out to second. Sexson smoked his first pitch six rows back into the rightfield seats above the scoreboard. That's good.
Beltre grounded a 2-0 pitch up the middle, but Izturis plugged up the hole and threw him out.

Santana's line: 3 innings, 5 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 78 pitches (46 strikes)

Grade: A
Meche appeared to buckle down. Molina flew out high to left on an 0-2 pitch. Izturis lined a ball to Lopez, and he had to climb the ladder, jumping to spear the line drive. DaVanon hit a fly to centerfield, and Reed had to drift back and reach up to make the catch.

Grade: C-
Not much from the bats here. Reed grounded out to second. Bloomquist flew out to center. Lopez grounded a 2-0 pitch to the left side, and Figgins made a diving stop and threw from his knees in time to first.

Grade: B+
Meche would face three batters, though not in the easiest manner. Kennedy rolled out to short. Figgins got ahead 3-0, but the count fell full before he singled into leftfield. Erstad grounded the second pitch to Lopez, who started the 4-6-3 double play.

Grade: C-
Gregg fired back with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Olivo whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Ichiro got ahead 2-0 and later rolled out to short. Winn bounced out to short to end the inning.

Gregg's line: 3 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 41 pitches (26 strikes)

Grade: B
Meche fell victim to an inevitability. Guerrero got a 2-2 pitch high and over the plate, crushing it over the wall in straightaway centerfield.
Anderson bounced a ball to first, and Sexson ran it to the bag. Rivera flew out high to Reed in leftcenter. Molina tapped a 1-2 pitch to Meche, who knocked it down and threw to first.

Meche's line: 6 innings, 4 runs (2 earned), 6 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches (63 strikes)

Grade: C-
Scot Shields came in for Gregg. Ibañez ripped a 1-2 pitch barely foul down the rightfield line. He ended up failing to check his swing on a pitch very high and outside. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and in. Beltre had the hitters' counts, nearly hitting a double down the rightfield line, but grounding out to short on a full count.

Grade: B-
Julio Mateo came in for Meche. Izturis grounded out to short. DaVanon fell behind 0-2, but fouled off a few pitches during the course of his at-bat, eventually flying out to left. Kennedy double off the wall in rightcenter on his first pitch.

Ron Villone came in for Mateo. Figgins got the hitters' counts and took a 3-1 dirtball for a walk. Erstad whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low and away, but the ball rolled up Olivo's arm and got away along the third-base line, and Erstad took first as the bases were loaded.

Jeff Nelson came in for Nelson. Guerrero got behind 1-2, fouled off a 2-2 pitch, then couldn't check his swing on a pitch quite low and away (first-base umpire appeal). It was quite the clutch strikeout for Nelson and the Mariners.

Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (10 strikes)
Villone's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (5 strikes)

Grade: C+
The Mariners couldn't quite muster up another run. Reed laid down a drag bunt which got past Shields, and Reed had first base as Kennedy couldn't come up with the ball. Bloomquist grounded a ball to second for a 4-6 fielder's choice as Reed had a good slide to break up any thought of a double play. Lopez chopped the ball over Erstad and into rightfield for a single, sending Bloomquist to third. Olivo whiffed on a 2-2 pitch low and away. Ichiro flew out to Rivera in rightcenter.

Shields' line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 35 pitches (23 strikes)

Grade: A-
Nelson held it down for another inning. Anderson flew out to Reed in leftcenter on the first pitch. Rivera bounced the 3-1 pitch to short. Molina flew out to Reed in leftcenter to end the inning.

Nelson's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (9 strikes)

Grade: C
Francisco Rodriguez came in for Shields. Winn fisted his 0-2 pitch for a soft lineout to second. Ibañez got behind 0-2, later taking a 1-2 fastball for strike three. Sexson fouled off a 2-2 pitch, somehow took the next pitch barely off the outside corner, then took a slider low and away for ball four. Beltre worked a 1-2 count full, fouling off three pitches along the way before whiffing at a full-count fastball.

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

Grade: B+
Eddie Guardado came in for Nelson. Izturis fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. DaVanon got ahead 2-0, but whiffed on a high 2-2 pitch. Kennedy doubled down the rightfield line into the corner, off the foul pole, and into the crowd for a double. Figgins worked a 1-2 count full, but flew out on a full count to Lopez in shallow rightfield, nearly colliding with Ichiro. Ballgame.

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (11 strikes)

Gameball: Jose Lopez.
It's bad when you cut Bret Boone and then end up getting no net offensive gain, since you're losing a bit on defense anyway. Luckily, Jose Lopez showed some signs of life at the plate today, going 2-for-4 with the game-tying double and RBI in the fourth. That accounted for the first run in the gargantuan five-run inning. Lopez also started a double play to end the fifth inning. Even still, and I've said this, I'm still not comfortable with Jose Lopez as a Major League hitter, but he hasn't been up for too long. I've got to give him time, and the fans should probably do the same. I'd like to ask and encourage everyone out there right now to please try to think of a better nickname than Lopey (already used), or worse yet, J-Lo. I'd seriously slap someone if I heard them call Lopez J-Lo. Don't try me.

Goat: Ron Villone.
Futility once again, and it ended up nearly exactly like it did in the second game of the series. Villone crapped up the situation, and Nelson (arguable gameball) had to face Vladimir Guerrero and bail everyone out. In Friday's game, Villone sandwiched an out with a single and a walk. In today's game, he went 2-0 and 3-1 on Figgins, and buried the 3-1 pitch. Then he buried a 1-2 pitch to Erstad as well, but he swung at it. Of course, the ball got away from Miguel Olivo, which may or may not be Villone's fault given what we know about Olivo's blocking ability. But hey, we've been hearing it for the past two years -- Ron Villone is effectively wild. Something like that. I sure haven't been believing it, and it's still not lost on me that the Mariners are overpaying him, which I argued over with some guy at Mariner FanFest months ago. He tried to play the versatility card. Vomit.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 63-24 .724 -- W1
2003 55-32 .632 8 L1
2002 54-33 .621 9 L2
2000 51-36 .586 12 L1
2005 39-48 .448 24 W4
2004 33-54 .379 30 W1

How sweep it is! Man, I really don't like the Angels. Shock the monkey, all that stuff. This was quite the turn in fortune after the Mariners dropped the series in Kansas City, which was inexcusable. All in all, it was great seeing the Mariners crush the Angels in the first two games of the series, and then hold off the Angels in the final two games of the series, getting some very timely hitting. Yes, Bartolo Colon, Jarrod Washburn, John Lackey, and Ervin Santana, all falling victim to the sudden Mariner offensive juggernaut. It's a beautiful thing, really. The only bad thing about sweeping the four games in Orange County when they did is that now they have the All-Star break. Hopefully on Thursday the Mariners can pick up right where they left off. Hopefully the All-Star break doesn't stop them dead in their tracks. Of course, they say momentum is your next day's starting pitcher, but that's been a good and bad thing this year, mostly bad.

Two Mariners had a multi-hit game in this one. I covered Jose Lopez with the gameball entry. The other was Ichiro. I'm glad he's picking it up a bit. He went 2-for-5 and scored two of the Mariners' runs. Conversely, only one Mariner went hitless, and that was Adrian Beltre. However, he wasn't totally worthless thanks to some very key defensive plays.

That leaves six other hits scattered across the remaining six hitters in the lineup. Miguel Olivo and Richie Sexson made the most of their hits, hitting a two-run homer apiece, turning a tie game into a four-run Mariner lead in the fourth. As nice as it is to see Jose Lopez provide some offensive spark at second base, it's also nice to see Miguel Olivo get something -- anything -- to possibly give him a morsel of confidence when he's up there with a bat in his hands. It's just nice to know that he still has the ability to hit a mistake, and to park it. Also driving in two runs was Raul Ibañez in the third inning, whose double tied the game at 2-2.

Usually with Gil Meche there will be a few moments where I think he'll just fall off the rail and give way to the customary big inning. The first inning was definitely not the nicest inning to watch, though he only gave up two runs. Walking Darin Erstad on four pitches to lead off the inning right after the Mariners tied the game wasn't a good thing, and that run did come around to score. After the Mariners turned a one-run deficit into a four-run lead, Meche pretty much went to cruise control, allowing only the Vladimir Guerrero mortar shot in the sixth, which was an inevitability in the series.

On Friday, with the Mariners up 7-4, Jeff Nelson struck out Vladimir Guerrero with two men on. Today, Nelson struck out Guerrero once again with the same score, this time with the bases loaded. That was so clutch it was sick. Jeff Nelson's old, yes, but these two appearances prove that there is indeed something left in the tank. If nothing else, thank goodness Nelson was there to mop up the mess that Ron Villone made. Great googly-moogly.

Eddie Guardado got his 21st save in 22 opportunities, and he's been an absolute joy to watch in his time in Seattle, which may soon be at a close next month or next offseason. Ichiro stole his 20th base in the game. One's an All-Star, one's not. As I said a couple days ago, enjoy the break, Eddie.

With this, the Mariners roll into the break with a record of 39-48, six games better than the 2004 pace, and the first time they've been nine games under .500 since June 28th against Oakland, the first game of that road series, and the third of what ended up being seven straight losses. A .448 winning percentage, if maintained, would translate into a season-end mark of 73-89, ten games better than last year. Might that seem crappy? Sure. You don't want your team going 73-89. But guess what? Ten games of improvement over the year before is pretty good. I was hoping for a 14-win gain, but hey, if they just keep up their pace right now, it's an improvement of ten games. This team's not gonna be good overnight, kids.

Oriole pitcher. Mariner pitcher. Thursday.

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The Mariners have swept the Angels!

Life is good. It's just a shame that the All-Star Break is now here.

Here's to the Angels falling flat on their faces in the second half! I'd like to think that the 4-game sweep by the Mariners is the start of a great future. We'll see what happens though. In the meantime, get your brooms out!

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THE PUMP 7/10/05 

Mariners at Angels, 1:05 p.m. (KSTW, MLB.TV)

Gil Meche (8-6, 4.97 ERA) vs Ervin Santana (3-3, 5.50 ERA)

---Yes, the Mariners have won the first three games of the series in Anaheim. No, I'm not going to say you-know-what.

---Ervin Santana is a familiar name to me, because he was pitching for Double-A Arkansas earlier this season. Needless to say, Santana isn't coming back to Little Rock anytime soon.

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

Willie Bloomquist is in the lineup again today. He's at shortstop, batting 7th.


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Mariners 6, Angels 3
AP photo -- Mark J. Terrill

In 25 words or less: Ryan Franklin's offense was introduced to a new and welcome friend. It's name? The big inning.

This one featured Ryan Franklin going up against John Lackey. The night before, the Mariners had a record that was a season-high five games better than the pace of the 2004 Mariners. Could they make it six?

Grade: C
The two-out stuff wasn't clicking early. Ichiro chopped one high beside the mound, where Lackey picked it up and threw to first. Randy Winn, fresh off the grand slam the night before, looped a fly ball toward shallow leftfield. Maicer Izturis kept backpedaling and eventually caught the ball going backward, falling down afterward. Raul Ibañez ripped a single past the mound and into centerfield. Richie Sexson fouled back a 3-1 pitch before walking on a full count. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball.

Grade: A-
Franklin had to work. Chine Figgins flew out to centerfield. Darin Erstad worked a 1-2 count full, fouling off a lot of pitches before flying out near the track in centerfield. Vladimir Guerrero was jammed on his second pitch, flying out to center.

Grade: C-
A disturbing trend was gaining some steam. Jeremy Reed whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Willie Bloomquist got behind 0-2 and whiffed at a 1-2 breaking ball low and away. Mike Morse whiffed on a full-count pitch over the outside corner. Lackey had struck out the side.

Grade: B+
No damage would be inflicted. Garret Anderson grounded the first pitch to first. Juan Rivera flew out to leftfield on an 0-2 pitch. Maicer Izturis bounced a single up the middle. Jeff DaVanon got ahead 2-0, and later bounced out to first on a full count.

Grade: C-
Lackey was feeling it. Miguel Olivo whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball outside. Ichiro whiffed on a fastball, and Lackey had struck out six straight hitters. Winn returned everyone to normal sanity, working a 1-2 count full and fouling off a few pitches before grounding out to second, and therefore making contact.

Grade: C+
The Angels would get the lead. Jose Molina worked Franklin for a very long at-bat, working a 1-2 count full and fouling off five pitches along the way before nubbing a ball that died near the plate. Franklin had to field and throw very quickly, but had absolutely no play, and it went for a single. Adam Kennedy flew out high to centerfield. Figgins poked a double down the leftfield line and toward the corner, sending Molina to third. Erstad grounded to short, and Morse had no play on Molina going plateward, and the Angels led.
Guerrero flew out high to Reed in leftcenter.

Grade: C-
Every hitter faced a 1-2 count and made a play on a 2-2 pitch. Ibañez flew out to left. Sexson bounced one through the hole at short for a single. Beltre hit a laser of a grounder, but right to Figgins at third, who went around the horn for the double play.

Grade: B-
Franklin looked like he might unravel, but plays happened behind him. Anderson walked on four pitches. Rivera fell behind 0-2, and later looped a 2-2 pitch into centerfield. Izturis grounded a ball to second, and Bloomquist tagged Rivera on the basepath, then took a little time throwing to first but still got Izturis for the 4-3 double play. Anderson scooted to third. DaVanon fell behind 0-2 and later hit a very high fly ball to Ichiro, who had a beat on the ball as it drifted further and further back. Ichiro stumbled backward a but in front of the warning track, but thankfully held onto the ball.

Grade: A
It snowballed. Reed grounded the first pitch hard to Figgins at third, who made a diving stop and threw him out. Bloomquist dinked a 2-0 pitch into leftcenter for a single. Bloomquist stole second, just under the tag, on the first pitch to Morse. Morse smoked a single into leftfield on the next pitch, and though Rivera had the ball as Bloomquist was just rounding third, Bloomquist barreled home anyway, and just moved wide of the tag, tying the game.
Olivo grounded into what ended up to be a 6-5-4 fielder's choice when Morse let the ground ball go in front of him, but kept going toward third. He was hung up and tagged. Ichiro singled through the hole on the right side, moving Olivo to third. Winn ripped the first pitch and almost drilled Lackey, and the ball traveled into centerfield. Olivo scored, Ichiro went to second, and the Mariners somehow found themselves in the lead again.
Ibañez got behind 0-2 and had a great at-bat, working the count full before dropping one into the gap in leftcenter. Ichiro scored and the Mariners doubled their newfound lead.
Sexson took a 1-2 pitch barely inside. He then ripped the next pitch to the wall in the gap in rightcenter. Winn and Ibañez crossed the plate. This was crazy.
Beltre grounded the first pitch to short to end the inning.

Grade: B
Franklin would sort of move along. Molina fell behind 0-2, eventually flying out to Morse in leftcenter. Kennedy whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low and away. Figgins fell behind 0-2 and blooped the next pitch into leftcenter for a single. Erstad got a 1-2 dirtball, and Figgins stole second. Erstad grounded out to short on the next pitch.

Grade: C-
This one was amazingly quick. Reed grounded to Figgins deep in the hole on the left side, but he had no play, and it went for a single. Reed broke for second on the first pitch to Bloomquist, but was gunned down by a mile and by a perfect throw from Molina. Bloomquist flew out to right two pitches later. Morse flew out to right on the first pitch. Five pitches, three outs. Quick.

Grade: A-
Franklin showed some strikeout prowess. Guerrero flew out to rightfield on the second pitch. Anderson whiffed on an 0-2 breaking dirtball. Rivera got ahead 2-0 but whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball.

Grade: C-
The Mariners looked to be done scoring. Olivo broke his bat on a lineout to the pitcher. Ichiro grounded out hard to first. Winn was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner.

Lackey's line: 7 innings, 5 runs, 9 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 114 pitches (74 strikes)

Grade: B-
Franklin wouldn't survive the inning. Izturis fouled off a 3-1 pitch before taking ball four inside. The first pitch to DaVanon was a dirtball, and Izturis skittered to second. Franklin battled back from a 3-0 count to make it full before walking him on a pitch up and out. Curtis Pride came on to pinch hit, and he grounded to Sexson, who threw to second (Morse) to get the forceout, and Izturis scooted to third.

Ron Villone came in for Franklin. Kennedy fell behind 0-2, but would ground a single past Sexson on the right side, and Izturis scored to make it much more interesting.
Figgins grounded the 2-0 pitch to Beltre, who tagged Pride and threw in time to first for the very key 5-3 inning-ending double play.

Franklin's line: 6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 112 pitches (70 strikes)

Grade: C
Brendan Donnelly, fresh off his suspension, came in for Lackey. Ibañez fell behind 0-2, but later slapped a double down the leftfield line. Sexson took a 1-2 pitch that looked inside for strike three. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 fastball that he thought was inside for strike three. Reed fouled off an 0-2 pitch before whiffing at a 1-2 pitch low and away. Donnelly had struck out the side.

Donnelly's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 17 pitches (13 strikes)

Grade: A-
'Twas a decent inning of relief. Erstad hit a soft liner to second. Guerrero flew out high to Bloomquist in shallow right. Anderson got ahead 2-0, but took the 2-2 offering over the outside corner.

Villone's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 18 pitches (11 strikes)

Grade: B
Esteban Yan came in for Donnelly. Bloomquist drilled an 0-2 single into centerfield. Bloomquist took second on the 3-0 pitch to Morse, who walked a pitch later anyway. Olivo bunted high into the air on the first pitch. The trouble was, Donnelly went back for it, and it went behind him. Multiple people were going for the ball, but when someone finally got a hold of the ball, no one was left to cover any of the appropriate bases. Olivo got a single out of that. Ichiro flew out to the track in rightfield on an 0-2 pitch, and Bloomquist came across the plate.
Winn fouled off an 0-2 pitch before grounding to Donnelly just off the mound, and he threw home, where Morse was tagged out. Ibañez hit a high pop to Izturis in shallow leftfield.

Yan's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (18 strikes)

Grade: B-
JJ Putz came in for Villone. Rivera mashed a pitch into the first row in centerfield.
Izturis grounded out to short. DaVanon fouled off a few pitches before flying out to left. Bengie Molina fell behind 0-2, and hit a low liner to Bloomquist. Ballgame.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
He didn't record a strikeout in the series until he was called out on a pitch that looked inside. He went 2-for-3 in this game with the walk and strikeout. He hit the big two-run double in the fifth. He's 5-for-9 with four walks and one strikeout in the series. Wouldn't it be weird if Sexson walked at a rate four times greater than he struck out for the rest of the season? It's be weird, but he's said they're paying him to take big hacks and mash balls out of the yard, and the strikeouts serve as a secondary indicator to that. He's still swinging at the juicy pitches though.

Goat: JJ Putz.
Far from dyn-o-miiiiite. He didn't turn the entire game over or anything like that, but he's still pitching like he's shaken from the grand slams he was giving up against Boston and New York, Those occurred quite a while ago, but I still don't feel one-fourth as good with Putz out there right now as I did last year. They say he's got closer stuff, but I'm VERY glad Eddie Guardado is healthy right now or else this season imaginably could be worse than last year if Putz had been closing. As for the "closer mentality," they say you have to have a short memory, but I just referred to those grand slams. He might be able to forget that when he's out there on the mound, but he sure isn't pitching like it. All in all, let's hope that JJ gets his confidence back after the All-Star break.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 62-24 .721 -- L1
2003 55-31 .640 7 W1
2002 54-32 .628 8 L1
2000 51-35 .593 11 W2
2005 38-48 .442 24 W3
2004 32-54 .372 30 L9

For the second game in a row, the Mariners set a season high for how far ahead of the 2004 Mariners' pace they are. Right now they are a whole six games up on the pace of the hapless Mariner team of last year. However, it helped that the 2004 team lost nine straight going into the break. Those Mariners won game number 87, so the Mariners will have to win today to keep pace. I know this whole fake reverse chase thing is dumb, but I just want to make sure this team can get further and further away from last year's team. We just want some improvement, that's all.

How about that big inning? Rather than with Randy Winn's grand slam the night before, the Mariners were able to scratch out a run and then keep piling on. I'm not sure which method between the snowball effect or a grand slam is more demoralizing to the opponents' fans. You'd figure from being a Mariner fan for so long that I'd know the answer to a question like that, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

As for Franklin's start, it was completely serviceable. I'll take that start every time he goes out there, except maybe for the three walks, Walks are evil. That aside, he got into the seventh even though I thought he was going to lose it in the 4th when he walked Garret Anderson on four pitches to lead off the inning, and the next hitter singled. Two guys were on and nobody were out, but Franklin was able to wriggle out of the jam. If not for a couple crazy at-bats with a billion foul balls early in the game, I could very well be talking about an eight-inning start by Franklin. Either way, Franklin and the Mariner pitching staff hung up another zero for Vladimir Guerrero in the hits column of the boxscore. That's always good. He can impale against any team not named the Mariners, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Well, after losing the series in Kansas City, the Mariners have taken the first three of a four-game road series against the Angels. Ain't baseball weird?

Meche. Santana. Today.

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