Saturday, August 13, 2005
In 25 words or less: Ryan Franklin returns and makes the run-support argument moot as the Mariner bats get a big fat Colonic.
This one featured probably-should-have-been-a-Mariner-at-the-2002-deadline Bartolo Colon going up against fresh-off-the-steroid-suspension Ryan Franklin. Also, Chris Snelling is probably gone for the season. In a related story, the game on Wednesday night didn't have to go into extra innings.
Merry-go-round. Chone Figgins bounced the 2-2 pitch down past Sexson and down the rightfield line for a double. Orlando Cabrera got behind 0-2 and ended up shooting a 2-2 single through the left side, moving Figgins to third. Darin Erstad looped a soft liner right to Yuniesky Betancourt at short, holding the runners. Cabrera was picked off of first by Franklin (came in standing up) before Vladimir Guerrero see any pitches. Guerrero tucked the second pitch through the hole on the left side, easily scoring Figgins.
»» ANGELS 1, MARINERS 0
Garret Anderson served the second pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Guerrero to third and bringing pitching coach Bryan Price to the mound for a visit. Juan Rivera lined the second pitch into rightfield for a single, scoring Guerrero and moving Anderson to second.
»» ANGELS 2, MARINERS 0
Maicer Izturis hit a low lineout to Raul Ibañez in leftcenter.
Short of a whimper. Ichiro took an 0-2 pitch just off the inside corner and eventually flew out to leftfield. Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 before flying out to shallow centerfield. Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and ended up grounding hard to first on a full count.
Does the fun ever stop? Jose Molina flew out deep to Ichiro in the rightcenter gap. Adam Kennedy whiffed on a belt-high 2-2 pitch. Figgins smacked a 3-1 pitch over the fence in rightcenter, reaching the covered tunnel.
»» ANGELS 3, MARINERS 0
Cabrera got ahead 2-0 and later flew out high to Bloomquist near the infield grass.
Too easy. Richie Sexson took an 0-2 fastball over the outer half (looked at all three pitches). Adrian Beltre whiffed on an 0-2 pitch low and very outside. Jeremy Reed whiffed on a full-count fastball.
Unusually easy for Franklin. Erstad popped the second pitch near the leftfield line. Guerrero popped the second pitch high to Betancourt fighting the sun in shallow leftfield. Anderson popped the second pitch to rightfield.
Maybe a tiny blip on the screen. Yuniesky Betancourt smacked a single through the hole on the left side for the first Mariner hit of the afernoon. Scott Spiezio foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into the catcher's glove. Wiki Gonzalez got ahead 2-0 and popped out lazily to Izturis in foul territory on the left side. Ichiro grounded the second pitch hard to the left side, but it went for a 5-4 fielder's choice.
A fairly easy inning. Rivera fell behind 0-2 before popping the 2-2 pitch to Sexson in foul territory on the right side. Izturis flew out to Ichiro, who made a hopping (not really leaping) catch just in front of the rightfield wall. Molina dumped the second pitch into centerfield for a broken-bat single. Kennedy whifed on a 2-2 breaking ball.
Fiddlesticks. Bloomquist chopped the second pitch to second. Ibañez grounded a 2-2 pitch into the hole on the right side, where Kennedy stopped it, but that was all as Ibañez scooted in with a single. Sexson ripped the first pitch barely foul down the rightfield line, took a mighty hack at the 1-1 pitch, took a 1-2 pitch barely low, then took a full-count pitch low and away for a walk, moving Ibañez to second. Beltre grounded the second pitch to second, starting a clutch 4-6-3 double play.
Like the first, except longer. Figgins worked a 1-2 count full before tagging a single into centerfield, getting him within a triple of the cycle. Cabrera looped a 2-2 single into shallow centerfield and Reed overran the ball, allowing Figgins to score from first.
»» ANGELS 4, MARINERS 0
Erstad fisted the first pitch into shallow centerfield for a single, moving Cabrera to third. Guerrero got behind 0-2 and punched a 2-2 pitch (reaching) past a seemingly early-diving Beltre and into leftfield for a single, scoring Cabrera and moving Erstad to second.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 0
Anderson fell behind 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 1-2 pitch. Rivera dumped a bloop single into leftfield a few feet shallow of a diving Ibañez, who made a bad cutoff throw that was dropped by Sexson near the mound. Erstad scored, Guerrero moved to third, and Rivera moved to second.
»» ANGELS 6, MARINERS 0
Jeff Harris came in for Franklin. Izturis was intentionally walked. Molina fell behind 0-2 and lined a 1-2 pitch just inside the rightfield line and into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring Guerrero and Rivera.
»» ANGELS 8, MARINERS 0
Kennedy popped the second pitch to Beltre in foul territory on the left side near the stands. Figgins fell behind 0-2 and flew out high to centerfield on a 2-2 pitch.
Franklin's line: 4 1/3 innings, 8 runs, 12 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 87 pitches (59 strikes)
Pathetic. Reed popped lazily to third. Betancourt popped the second pitch high to leftfield. Spiezio popped the first pitch high to second.
Refreshingly easy. Cabrera was down 0-2 before whiffing on a breaking ball low and away. Erstad fell behind 0-2 and took the 2-2 delivery over the inside corner. Guerrero flew out to Reed in the rightcenter gap on the second pitch.
Gonzalez got ahead 2-0 and later rolled out to short. Ichiro bashed the second pitch deep to rightfield, where Guerrero camped under it on the track, jumped, reached up, and had the ball go off his glove and over the wall. That's funny.
»» ANGELS 8, MARINERS 1
Bloomquist grounded the second pitch up the middle, where Cabrera plugged the hole and made a crazy off-balance throw from centerfield in time. Ibañez flew out to the track in leftfield in front of the manual scoreboard.
The well hadn't run dry yet. Steve Finley, hitting for Anderson, took a 1-2 pitch barely off the inside corner before popping the 2-2 pitch to Sexson near the first-base line. Rivera worked a 1-2 count full before golfing a pitch into the visitors' bullpen beyond the leftfield wall.
»» ANGELS 9, MARINERS 1
Izturis flew out to centerfield on a 2-2 pitch. Molina tapped an 0-2 pitch back to the mound.
Mostly lifeless bats. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch low and over the outside corner. Beltre rolled over a low and outside 2-2 pitch and grounded out to short. Reed chipped the second pitch into centerfield for a single. Betancourt tagged a 1-2 line drive right into Izturis' glove at third.
At least Harris was looking okay. Dave Hansen took Sexson's spot at first base. Kennedy got behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch over the inside corner. Figgins flew out just short of the track in rightfield on the second pitch. Cabrera whiffed on a full-count pitch.
Harris' line: 3 2/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 59 pitches (36 strikes)
Easy again. Casey Kotchman took over at first and Jeff DaVanon took over in rightfield for the Angels. Spiezio popped out to Kennedy on the first pitch. Gonzalez popped out to leftfield on an 0-2 pitch. Ichiro popped out to Figgins in rightcenter on the first pitch.
Colon's line: 8 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 93 pitches (66 strikes)
Matt Thornton came in for Harris (Mike Morse took over at short, Betancourt moved to second, Bloomquist to third). Casey Kotchman chopped the 0-2 pitch off of Thornton's glove and into the air, but Betancourt was able to grab it out of the air and throw in time to first. Jeff DaVanon took a 2-2 pitch over the inner half. Finley grounded an 0-2 hard behind the bag at first, where Hansen made the diving stop and threw over to Thornton covering, but it wasn't in time as Finley took the single (Thornton covered late). Rivera took the first pitch low and to the backstop, allowing Finley to get to second. Rivera tapped the second pitch back to the mound.
Thornton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (12 strikes)
Esteban Yan came in for Colon (Jeff Mathis took over behind the plate). Bloomquist flew out to rightfield on the first pitch. Ibañez grounded out to third. Hansen got behind 0-2 and lined the 1-2 pitch into Izturis' glove. Ballgame.
Yan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (6 strikes)
Gameball: Jeff Harris.
It's too hard to choose a gameball today, so I may or may not be going with an obvious choice here. Harris ate up some innings and gave Julio Mateo an extra day of rest that he could have used after throwing three innings late in the extra-inning loss on Wednesday that didn't have to happen (thanks, Willie). To those who wanted Ryan Franklin to suffer a sort of karmic payback, Harris aided in that as well. In the fifth, Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera were in scoring position with one out, and Harris' 1-2 pitch to Jose Molina got poked for a ground-rule double down the rightfield line, scoring both of Franklin's inherited runners and bumping his run total from six to eight. As for Harris' good stuff, he faced 24 batters, struck out four of them, got one groundout, and got six flyouts. He gave up two hits, as listed in his line. Maybe when Franklin's turn in the rotation comes up next time, Harris and Franklin can be pegged as Starter A and Starter B. Just make one guy go three or four innings, and make the other guy fill out three or four.
Goat: Ryan Franklin.
Quotes from last night included "I look forward to this thing," "I always like to get on the mound," "I'm pumped," and the clincher, "It seems like whenever I get more pumped, it's not good. I'm going to try to stay at even pumpage." Mister Pumpage also said, "If I throw a shutout, I'll get cheers. If I give up 10 in the second, I may not get cheers." He gave up two runs and five singles in the first, so he didn't quite give up ten runs in the second inning. Of course, that doesn't mean that eight runs and failing to get out of the fifth inning is much better. Neither give your team a chance to win, and Franklin certainly came nowhere close in this game to giving his team a chance to win. If the opposing team has scored eight runs after five innings, you can pretty much bank on a Mariner loss. The bats, even if everyone was pulling their weight this year, more than likely won't be able to overcome that hole, even if they're down 8-4 instead of 8-0.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 83-32 .722 -- L1
2002 71-44 .617 12 W2
2003 69-46 .600 14 L3
2000 68-47 .591 15 W1
2005 49-66 .426 34 L3
2004 43-72 .374 40 L2
Don't worry, everyone. The 2003 team lost three straight at this point as well, and they ended up winning 93 games! Guess what this 2005 team has in common with the 2003 team? No playoffs! Of course, Mariner teams from 2002 and thereafter all share this trait. But no team before this year had Felix.
I mentioned it in the last game's post, and it bears repeating -- this team is going to harder than hell to watch other than on the days when Felix is pitching. I was watching the game today on Fox (I was lucky enough to have KHON-2 showing the game) and I was taking down most of this post, but I was only half paying attention, though I had all the information I needed and everything. What is there really to remember other than Vladimir Guerrero muffing the one ball for the homer and Bartolo Colon making the Mariner bats his bitch? There really wasn't more to the game than that, unless you want to stretch and say that Chone Figgins was a triple short of the cycle. Other than that, this had to be one of the more boring games of the season. I nearly fell asleep watching it, and usually that signals when I have to get off the chair or something and stand for about 30 seconds before sitting down and having the entire process repeat itself. Come to think of it, I'm almost falling asleep typing this stuff. Yes, it's a sleepy piece for a sleepy game.
Raul Ibañez and his 1-for-4 afternoon left him hitting at a 9-for-42 clip in the month of August. Just to let you know, that comes out to an average of .214 for the month. That's how you make a batting average go from .297 to .289 in 11 games. In the game itself today, he also dove about two feet short of a bloop single in shallow leftfield, and also made a bad throw toward the infield, which caused Sexson to have to jump up and receive the ball. The point to this is that the Mariner lineup functions a lot better when Raul Ibañez is hitting once in a while. He hasn't been good in August yet. He's gone hitless in four of 11 games this month, and has had multi-hit games only twice.
It gets worse. Richie Sexson has cooled off after his torrid July. I guess I expected a cooldown, but not by quite this much. His 0-for-2 day today makes him 5-for-38 in the month of August, making his average this month a ghastly .132. He has gone hitless in seven of the 11 games the Mariners have played this month, and he's had only one multi-hit game. His batting average after his crazy July was .274, but has now plummeted to .260. I was hoping he'd hit maybe .250 this month or something; I was hoping for just a notch below the July production, but not an all-out nosedive. Of course, with this team, nothing bad really surprises me.
Part three of David's Perusing Through Game Logs to Get More Material looks at Adrian Beltre's month of August, though I'm not expecting much better or worse since he's been pretty bad most of the year. Beltre is hitting 10-for-40 (.250). There was a point this year where .250 was higher than his batting average, but luckily that isn't right now. What's the point of this paragraph and the two before it? The 3-4-5 hitters in the Mariner lineup have combined to hit .200 so far this month (24-for-120, six homers, 19 RBIs). They're not the end-all cause as to why the Mariners haven't won as much as they should be (for instance, the 3-4-5 guys could have gone 6-for-12 today and it wouldn't have made a difference), but it doesn't help. To put this in brutally honest terms, the middle of the lineup isn't doing anything. Add this to the top of the lineup and Ichiro's coldness, and add that to the bottom of the lineup not doing anything, and what do you get out of the Mariner bats? Try jack. The Mariners have scored 33 runs in 11 games this month, and yes, that's an average of three runs a game.
No Mariner had a multi-hit in this game. No Mariner reached base more than once. Five Mariners in the starting lineup went hitless. I guess that's expected when Bartolo Colon twirls a four-hitter, huh? Colon has the shutout if Vladimir Guerrero fields an Ichiro fly ball at the wall cleanly, but that was just a gift run. Hey, five of the Angels had multi-hit games.
Anyone who was half-evil and hoping for Ryan Franklin to just trip all over himself today certainly got their wish. The Angels got twelve hits off of Mariner pitching, and twelve of those were given up by Franklin. His ERA went from 4.61 before the game to 4.99 afterward. Franklin further contributed to the average-to-badness of the Mariner arms this month. The Mariners have surrendered 52 runs in 11 games this month, or an average of 4.73 runs a game. Yes, it's bad.
My eighth-grade health teacher was a total rah-rah "positive mental attitude" person who used to write "TGIM" on the board, which really did mean Thank Goodness It's Monday. All of the students hated and dreaded this habit of hers, since we were in junior high at the time and therefore hated school. About ten years later, I can finally say TGIM with some gusto thanks to Felix, who will be throwing to open the work week. Until then, though, we still have one more game that will most likely be completely uneventful like the one today.
Lackey. Meche. Tomorrow.
Bartolo Colon (14-6, 3.56 ERA) vs Ryan Franklin (6-11, 4.61 ERA)
Night Court is better than watching the Mariners on days when Felix Hernandez isn't pitching. Why in the hell am I bringing up Night Court, you're asking yourself?
TV Land has a Night Court marathon this weekend!
Since the M's game is blacked out on MLB.TV this afternoon, you might as well watch Bull and the gang on TV Land (if you have TV Land, of course).
Ryan Franklin, the pride of Spiroid, Oklahoma, isn't better than Night Court.
(The inspiration for this post is right here, right now.)
In 25 words or less: Remember the 14th inning against the Twins on Wednesday night? It sort of happened again.
This one featured Jarrod Washburn, fresh off the disabled list, going up against Jamie Moyer, who's reportedly invoked his 10-and-5 no-trade rights to quash multiple trades to contending teams. In a related story, feel free to link Willie Bloomquist with Chris Snelling's left knee injury which has landed him in a familiar place, the disabled list. Go on, I won't bite if you do. I'd be more likely to applaud.
A decent-enough start. Chone Figgins popped the second pitch to rightfield. Orlando Cabrera grounded the 2-2 pitch hard to third. Darin Erstad grounded the 1-2 pitch to Sexson, who stepped on the bag.
A usual start, unfortunately. Ichiro grounded out to third. Willie Bloomquist lined a pitch into the rightcenter gap, where Steve Finley ran it down. Raul Ibañez fouled off a couple of full-count pitches before failing to check his swing on a slider low and away.
Let the scoring begin. Vladimir Guerrero popped a 2-2 pitch very high to Yuniesky Betancourt behind the bag at second. Garret Anderson bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Bengie Molina smacked a high 1-2 pitch four rows into the seats just inside the leftfield foul pole.
»» ANGELS 1, MARINERS 0
Steve Finley grounded the second pitch to short.
Hey, payback! Richie Sexson walked on a full-count pitch high and away. Adrian Beltre mashed the second pitch (knee-high slider) about six rows back inside the leftfield foul pole, scoring Sexson. It was almost in the same spot where Molina hit his dinger.
»» MARINERS 2, ANGELS 1
Jeremy Reed blooped the first pitch along the leftfield line, where it was caught. Yuniesky Betancourt smashed a line drive into Chone Figgins' glove at third. Scott Spiezio fouled off an 0-2 pitch before taking the 1-2 pitch over the inside half.
Topsy-turvy. Juan Rivera got ahead 2-0 and later whiffed on a full-count pitch outside. Adam Kennedy took a ball just below the belt on the backside and went to first. Figgins grounded to Beltre behind the bag at third, who then threw to second for the force, though Figgins beat out the double play (5-4 fielder's choice). Figgins took second on the 1-1 pitch to Cabrera, who later laced a 1-2 single into centerfield, easily scoring Figgins, who was taking off with the pitch.
»» ANGELS 2, MARINERS 2
Erstad foul-tipped a high 2-2 ptich into the catcher's glove.
The Mariners got some help. Yorvit Torrealba got ahead 3-1 and eventually walked with a full count. Ichiro got behind 0-2 and later grounded a 2-2 pitch through the left side for a single, moving Torrealba to second. Bloomquist bunted the first pitch in front of the mound, where Washburn picked it up and threw to first, but it was into the runner and rolled into rightfield. Torrealba and Ichiro scored, but Guerrero gunned over to third and nailed Bloomquist trying to stretch it out.
»» MARINERS 4, ANGELS 2
Ibañez grounded the first pitch to short. Sexson took a 2-2 fastball over the inside corner.
Blast off. Guerrero impaled a very high 2-2 pitch about four rows into the leftfield bleachers well to the right of Jackie Robinson's number 42.
»» MARINERS 4, ANGELS 3
Anderson popped high to Reed in leftcenter. Molina knocked a full-count pitch into rightfield for a single. Finley got behind 0-2 and later popped a 1-2 pitch high to shallow rightcenter, where Ichiro came down with it. Rivera fouled off an 0-2 pitch and had to have his hand looked at by the trainer. He later whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball.
Pathetic. Beltre clobbered the first pitch off the base of the wall in the gap in leftcenter for a double. Reed bunted the first pitch along the third-base line, moving Beltre to third. Betancourt got behind 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 1-2 fastball very high and outside. Spiezio popped a 2-2 pitch high to third.
Little jam here. Kennedy lined the second pitch up the middle for a single. Figgins popped out to rightfield. Kennedy took off on the 0-1 pitch to Cabrera (stealing on first move), who grounded out to short. Kennedy moved to third on the play. Erstad popped high to Sexson near the first-base coaches' box.
Nothing here. Torrealba popped the first pitch to Erstad in foul territory on the right side. Ichiro got ahead 2-0 and later grounded out to second. Bloomquist popped out to fairly deep centerfield.
Orbit. Guerrero blasted a 3-0 pitch about eight rows into the leftfield bleachers (cheap seats) just inside the foul pole.
»» ANGELS 4, MARINERS 4
Anderson hit an 0-2 pitch on the screws right to Bloomquist's glove at second. Molina popped the second pitch to Ichiro in rightcenter. Finley broke his bat and popped out to Beltre running behind the mound, making a basket catch.
Sigh... Ibañez popped out to leftfield on an 0-2 pitch. Sexson grounded very hard to short, causing Cabrera to stumble on the play, though he threw over in time. Beltre looped a flyout to rightfield.
Jam escaped. Rivera popped high to Ichiro just short of the track. Kennedy poked a very low 0-2 pitch into shallow rightfield. Figgins popped the second pitch to Bloomquist in shallow rightfield.
JJ Putz came in for Moyer. Cabrera got ahead 2-0 and later popped the 2-2 pitch high to Bloomquist in shallow centerfield, reaching up and running backward to make the catch.
Moyer's line: 6 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 103 pitches (68 strikes)
Pathetic AGAIN. Reed took a low 3-1 pitch for a walk. Betancourt bounced the first pitch off the track in leftcenter and over the fence for a double, moving Reed to third. Spiezio popped the second pitch to Erstad in front of the camera well on the right side.
Brendan Donnelly came in for Washburn. Dave Hansen, hitting for Torrealba, got behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 belt-high fastball over the outside corner. Ichiro was intentionally walked, with Donnelly nearly throwing ball two over Molina, loading the bases. Bloomquist bounced the 1-2 pitch to second.
Washburn's line: 6 1/3 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 5 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 96 pitches (62 strikes)
Donnelly's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (7 strikes)
No chance after this. Erstad took a 3-1 pitch high and away for a walk. Guerrero got ahead 2-0 and later lined a single to rightfield, sending Erstad to third. Anderson drilled the 2-2 pitch into rightfield for a single, easily scoring Erstad and moving Guerrero to second.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 4
Molina lined a 1-2 pitch into centerfield for a single, scoring Guerrero and moving Anderson to second.
»» ANGELS 6, MARINERS 4
George Sherrill came in for Putz. Finley air-bunted the second pitch, and Sherrill ran off the mound toward the third-base line and caught it. Rivera knocked the 2-0 pitch past Betancourt and into leftfield for a single, loading the bases. Kennedy popped the first pitch to Ichiro in the rightfield corner, and Anderson easily tagged up and scored, with Molina tagging and going to third.
»» ANGELS 7, MARINERS 4
Figgins poked the second pitch into rightfield for a single to score Molina and move Rivera to second.
»» ANGELS 8, MARINERS 4
Cabrera drilled a 2-2 pitch into leftfield for a single, scoring Rivera easily and moving Figgins to second.
»» ANGELS 9, MARINERS 4
Erstad got behind 0-2 and ended up fouling a 2-2 pitch into the catcher's glove.
Putz' line: 1/3 inning, 4 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (13 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 20 pitches (13 strikes)
Kevin Gregg came in for Donnelly. Ibañez popped to leftfield. Sexson popped to fairly deep centerfield. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and reached for a 2-2 pitch over the outer half, but bounced it off the track in rightcenter for a double. Reed got ahead 3-0 and whiffed on a full-count pitch.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Sherrill. Guerrero took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner. Jeff Mathis, making his Major League debut, hit for Anderson. Mathis took an 0-2 pitch over the outer half. Molina flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on the second pitch.
Hasegawa's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 8 pitches (8 strikes)
Lots of fight in these guys. Betancourt grounded hard to Kennedy up the middle. Spiezio got behind 0-2 and took the 1-2 pitch over the outside corner, holding back on his swing. Wiki Gonzalez got behind 0-2 and hit the 2-2 offering into centerfield for a single. Ichiro badly whiffed on a 2-2 pitch way outside.
Gregg's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 37 pitches (23 strikes)
Gameball: Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
With the whole non-obvious gameball edict I've imposed on myself, it means that there are games sometimes where the team sucks so much that it's really a stretch to think of a non-obvious gameball. The obvious one would of course be Adrian Beltre, who I'll get to later in the post. Here, I'm relegated to choosing Hasegawa for throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning in garbage time. He's been having some injury problems, so I guess it's good that he was able to get Vlad Guerrero and Major League newbie Jeff Mathis looking, and then Bengie Molina after that. Yes, a 1-2-3 ninth with the game already decided will get you a gameball on a night like this. Lame? Definitely. But is that not the story of your 2005 Seattle Mariners? I'm not sure if I can come up with an adequate word for the story of the 2004 Mariners. Gravedigging. Incompetence. Megafailure. Something that would make Mary Katherine Gallagher want to stick her hands under her arms and then smell 'em like THISSSSSSS. That's bad, she knows.
Goat: Scott Spiezio.
I won't necessarily bag on him for making the last out int he fourth when Beltre led off with the double and was on third with one out. The seventh, though...he had Jeremy Reed and Yuniesky Betancourt in scoring position with nobody out and flew out to Darin Erstad in front of the camera well on the second pitch. Even when he could have just hit a well-placed grounder somewhere or chopped a ball over the infielder or tried to work a walk...but to do that, and only on the second pitch, it's pathetic. Can I officially ignore the fact that he's a Mariner at this point? Can I just presume the Mariners are operating with a 24-man roster right now? Would there be much of a difference right now between Spiezio and Luis Ugueto? Right now it almost appears that the edge would go to Rule 5 since at least he could take pinch-running duties. This brings me to a realization, an epiphany, if you will -- Luis Ugueto (or a random Rule 5 player) should be on an underachieving team like this one, NOT like the team the Mariners fielded back in 2002. That was absolutely infuriating that year watching Lou Piniella manage a 24-man roster. It was worse than Mike Hargrove strapping himself with the 13 pitchers so that the bench sucks.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 83-31 .728 -- W3
2002 70-44 .614 13 W1
2003 69-45 .605 14 L2
2000 67-47 .588 16 L1
2005 49-65 .430 34 L2
2004 43-71 .377 40 L1
If the last game of the Minnesota series and the first game of this series against the Angels haven't reminded you yet, I'll clue you in -- this team is going to be hard to care about if Felix Hernandez isn't out there on the mound. Other than that, you're pretty much going to get the same thing you expected out of the team for the month or so before Felix got on board and gave us all something to anticipate. Other than that, the only real positive new development is hoping that Joel Piñeiro's mechanical flaw may or may not earn him some more wins and make him more watchable again. I'm certainly hoping so. I'm tired of seeing his talent and his potential going to waste. This of course means it's time for Gil Meche to string together two good starts in a row so I can rethink everything I've stated about him. Not that I'm rejecting everything I've said about Piñeiro, though I'm hoping a mechanical flaw has been the reasons for his ungoodness this year rather than an injury, which nobody hopes it is.
With how the game was going, and how the Mariners had leads of 2-1 and 4-2, I pretty much knew the moment that Vladimir Guerrero hit the first homer out (4-3) that the Angels were going to get the lead. Once Scott Spiezio and the Mariners blew their golden chance in the seventh to take the lead, it was only fitting that the Angels more than took advantage of the Mariners' utter futility of the half-inning immediately beforehand. The Angels getting the lead at that point was a mere formality with how the Mariners seemed to be driving in runs (as in not much). This kind of quick turnaround to me was nearly similar to the one that took place in extra innings on Wednesday night, though that occurred in the 14th. I guess in Wednesday's game, there were two quick turnarounds. One was the Bloomquist error leading to the tie. The other was the Twins' four-run 14th. Somewhere in there was the Chris Snelling injury.
Adrian Beltre may have had one of his top six or seven games at the plate this year. He reached both gaps with doubles and homered into the upper deck in leftfield. He had the only multi-hit game for the Mariners on this night, going 3-for-4 with his homer and two doubles, with two RBIs to boot. Add to this his usual great defense, and it's all a good thing. Now if there could be any synergy in this offense, maybe stuff could get done, maybe a few more rallies here and there. But alas, we know what kind of year this team's been having. You want a rally? Too bad, so sad. Unlike the anti-nursery rhyme, I'm not glad you're mad. I guess I didn't mention how glad I was that Beltre took a pitch that was over the outer half of the plate and took it to rightcenter. If he can learn to mash stuff to the opposite field, than we'll all have even more fun as Mariner fans. As it is now, however, there is definite work to be done on many fronts. I'm babbling at this point, so if any of this stops making sense, it's because I may have been half asleep typing it.
If it weren't for getting bit three times by the homer bug, Jamie Moyer threw a pretty decent game. The second homer by Guerrero may have been the best chance I've seen for a ball landing onto Royal Brougham, though it's not like the ball was landing in the back five rows of the bleachers out there, it still had a ways to go. That just lets you know how much of a shot it'd be up there in order to clear everything. Someday it has to be done, right?
In other news, Willie Bloomquist was stupidly credited with a hit on a bunt that went right back to Jarrod Washburn coming off the mound. Washburn ended up throwing it up the line, and it got past and went into rightfield to put the Mariners ahead 4-2 in the third inning. Basically, Bloomquist was credited with a hit on a play in which the speed of the throw had him beat by a mile, and he only got on because of the error. The only way the scoring judgment would have been worse would be if Bloomquist was credited with two RBIs on that play. Luckily he wasn't. If you ask me, though, Bloomquist went 0-for-4 in this game.
Anyway, the series rolls on, though the Mariners had won the opening game of their last three series, and had done that in five of six series before this one. Yes, it's afternoon baseball in the Northwest. Late morning baseball for those in the fiftieth state who follow the Mariners.
By the way, Ryan Franklin will be coming off his steroid suspension to pitch. In a related story, you may never see Ryan Christianson suit up in a Mariner uniform. I keep saying it, but I think Christianson's gotta get a shot one of these days since everyone else and their mother has gotten a turn behind the plate. They traded for a buttload of catchers around the deadline, and I can only hope that he gets just one look (.245 average be damned), but I'm convinced he's getting blackballed because of the steroid thing. So if he's getting blackballed, why won't Franklin get the same treatment? Not even steroids or substances containing steroids can help you overcome a lack of perceived lack of run support. I wish people would take a look at Franklin's ERA (4.61) before saying anything about his run support. Most of the time he renders the run support argument completely moot by giving up a bunch of runs. Okay, it's much too late for me to rant further.
Wait, I forgot to mention that Putz was terrible in the eighth, and Sherrill had his second straight bad outing, though I hate to admit that. Okay, I'm done.
Colon. Franklin. Today.
Friday, August 12, 2005
What the Seahawks and head coach Mike Holmgren realized, however, was that Wallace would be better served to stay at quarterback.
The Seahawks traded Trent Dilfer to the Browns in March, so the #2 job behind incumbent Matt Hasselbeck was open. David Greene was drafted in the 3rd round, but it would have been silly to give him the backup job instead of Wallace, who has been with the Seahawks since 2003.
Tonight, Seneca Wallace proved that the right choice was made by the Seahawks.
Taking over for Hasselbeck in the 2nd quarter, Wallace went 12-for-20 and threw for 137 yards as the Seahawks had their way with the Saints in New Orleans tonight, winning 34-15. Wallace ran for a 24-yard score and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Pathon, who played in New Orleans last season.
It's only one preseason game, but I'm impressed with the play of Wallace tonight. I'm also impressed with the effort of the Seahawks defense, who forced three Saints turnovers, which the offense turned into three touchdowns.
The Seahawks head back to Cheney for the week to prepare for their first exhibition home game against Dallas next Monday, August 22. The game will be on KOMO at 5 p.m. Pacific. We'll have a game thread up for the Dallas game, because we're good like that.
(Mariners game thread below this post. Believe it.)
Jarrod Washburn (6-6, 3.28 ERA) vs Jamie Moyer (9-4, 4.29 ERA)
Screw the Angels.
(Seahawks exhibition game thread is below this post, if you want to talk 'Hawks.)
Seahawks at Saints, 5:00 p.m. Pacific (KONG, KIRO 710 AM)
NFL.com Live GameCenter
Matt Hasselbeck will start the 1st quarter, then Seneca Wallace will take over in the 2nd quarter. David Greene may get mop-up time, but that remains to be seen.
As is always the case with exhibition football, pray that nobody gets hurt.
SENECA WALLACE! TODD BOUMAN! IT'S THE SEAHAWKS AND SAINTS IN NEW ORLEANS! EXHIBITION FOOTBALL! THEY STILL CHARGE FULL PRICE, BABY!
Today, it's my turn to ramble.
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---For the love of God, I need the complete DVD set of Almost Live. If anybody at KING-TV is reading this, I want my Almost Live DVD. I'd high-five every white guy known to man if KING-TV ever produced Almost Live DVDs. Don't worry, I'd high-five everyone known to man, so believe me, there's no discrimination on this end.
---I'm just one week away from moving to northeast Arkansas. Or more specifically, Arkansas State University. Go Indians!
---We've seen a lot of supergroups in music over the past couple years, with Audioslave and Velvet Revolver. However, if you ask me who my favorite supergroup of all-time is, it's Mad Season. Sure, they only made one album, Above. But how can anybody deny the talent in that band?
Layne Staley (Alice In Chains). Mike McCready (Pearl Jam). Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees). And let's not forget about John Baker Saunders. It's sad that both Layne and Baker are gone. Can you believe it's been three years since Layne died?
---Yes, Layne Staley is on a first-name basis with me. RIP, Layne.
---I love Madden 2006. But I just have one major problem with the game:
WHY AREN'T THE BLUE PANTS IN THE GAME?
The Seahawks have worn the blue pants at home since 2002. Maybe EA Sports knows something we don't. I'd have no problem if the Seahawks decided to wear their white pants at home this season, though. If the white pants at home can get them a playoff victory, I can live with it.
---11 years ago today, baseball went on strike. A dark day, indeed.
---I'm sick and tired of the Terrell Owens story.
BREAKING NEWS: ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that Eagles WR Terrell Owens played horse with 76ers PG Allen Iverson at his New Jersey home today; more on SportsCenter at 6 ET
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We ramble because we can.
We'll have dueling game threads tonight. One for the Seahawks-Saints exhibition game and another for the Angels-Mariners ballgame. Believe it.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
This is as open of a post as you'll ever see here at Sports And Bremertonians.
Talk about anything and everything. (Within reason, of course!)
In 25 words or less: The Mariners lose the sweep, and they can thank Willie Bloomquist for that.
This one featured Brad Radke going up against Joel Piñeiro. The Mariners had already won the series (really), and were looking to extend their first winning streak since sweeping the four-game series from the Angels before the All-Star break.
Quick start for Joel. Shannon Stewart lined out to second. Luis Rodriguez grounded out to second. Joe Mauer also grounded out to second.
A start of miniscule proportions. Ichiro grounded the second pitch to first. Willie Bloomquist bounced a full-count pitch up the middle for a single and stole second on the 3-0 pitch to Raul Ibañez. Ibañez fouled off the 3-1 pitch and whiffed on a full-count breaking ball. Richie Sexson walked on a 3-1 pitch outside. Adrian Beltre got ahead 2-0 and was later jammed, grounding harmlessly to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice.
A wee bit dicey. Matthew LeCroy took a 2-2 fastball down the pipe for a strikeout. Jacque Jones got ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 curve. Justin Morneau lined the second pitch off of Bloomquist's glove in the hole on the right side, and it got past him for what was ruled a single. Terry Tiffee got ahead 2-0 before smoking a single to centerfield and moving Morneau to second. Michael Ryan bounced the second pitch to first, where Sexson underhanded to the covering Piñeiro.
Misfortune. Jeremy Reed got ahead 3-0 before walking on a 3-1 pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt popped an inside 0-2 pitch to Mauer behind the plate near the screen. Chris Snelling hit a laser beam to Morneau at first, who gloved in and stepped on first to double off Reed.
A top-notch inning. Juan Castro grounded an 0-2 pitch to second. Stewart rolled the second pitch to short. Rodriguez whiffed on a 2-2 pitch.
Sudden end. Wiki Gonzalez popped out high to rightfield. Ichiro grounded an 0-2 pitch into the hole on the right side, and Rodriguez couldn't quite get enough on the throw, and it went as a single (though replays show it might have been an out). Bloomquist grounded the second pitch to short for a nicely-turned 6-4-3 double play.
Joel didn't get away so easily this time. Mauer knocked the first pitch up the middle for a single. LeCroy worked a 1-2 count full, fouled off two pitches, then whiffed. Jones ripped a single through the right side on the first pitch, moving Mauer to second. Morneau blooped the second pitch into leftfield for a single, scoring Mauer.
»» TWINS 1, MARINERS 0
Tiffee grounded the second pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play.
Life! Ibañez grounded the second pitch to second. Sexson crushed a letter-high 2-2 pitch into the Mariner bullpen beyond the centerfield fence. Majestic.
»» TWINS 1, MARINERS 1
Beltre got under a 2-0 pitch, popping it to leftfield. Reed bounced the second pitch to second.
Way too easy for Piñeiro. Ryan popped out to centerfield on the first pitch. Castro chopped the 2-2 pitch up the middle, where Betancourt ranged over and plugged the hole, throwing out Castro. Stewart popped to centerfield.
Grrrr. Betancourt flew out to the track in leftfield on the first pitch. Snelling knocked the second pitch through the right side for a single. Gonzalez broke his bat on the second pitch, nubbing it to Radke off the mound on the right side, who easily threw over for the out, and Snelling moved to second. Ichiro got ahead 2-0 and ended up whiffing on a 2-2 dirtball (2-3 putout).
Piñeiro escaped jamness. Rodriguez lined the 1-1 pitch to Snelling's glove in leftfield. Mauer got ahead 2-0 and ended up doubling a full-count pitch off the base of the wall in leftfield. LeCroy grounded the second pitch to third. Jones grounded the second pitch to second.
Nice to see a half-baked offense rather than just crap. Bloomquist poked a double into the leftfield corner. Ibañez drilled a single up the middle, and the throw home was cut off.
»» MARINERS 2, TWINS 1
Sexson got ahead 3-0, fouled off a 3-1 pitch, then took a full-count pitch inside, moving Ibañez to second. Beltre smacked a high fastball into the gap in rightcenter, but the ball was cut off before it could go to the wall, so the bases were loaded and Beltre had the single. Reed chopped the second pitch to second, where a 4-6-3 double play was turned, though Ibañez scored. Sexson moved to third.
»» MARINERS 3, TWINS 1
Betancourt popped the 0-2 pitch to Castro in shallow leftfield.
Piñeiro was looking too good. Morneau popped the second pitch high to rightfield. Tiffee barely held a swing at a high 0-2 pitch, then chopped to second on the next pitch. Ryan popped an 0-2 pitch high to centerfield.
Nothing here. Snelling foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch low and away into the catcher's glove. Gonzalez poked the first pitch to second for the groundout. Ichiro fouled off a couple of 2-2 pitches before whiffing badly on a dirtball.
Radke's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 94 pitches (58 strikes)
Turbulence. Castro poked the second pitch up the middle for a single. Stewart chopped out to a charging Beltre. Rodriguez got behind 0-2 and later chopped out to second, with Castro holding at second.
George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Mauer got behind 0-2 and poked the 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Castro.
»» MARINERS 3, TWINS 2
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. LeCroy took a 1-0 pitch, and Mauer stole second on it after Gonzalez couldn't come up with it. LeCroy whiffed on a 1-2 pitch.
Piñeiro's line: 7 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 98 pitches (72 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (5 strikes)
Putz' line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pirches (3 strikes)
Blown chance for insurance. Matt Guerrier came in for Radke. Bloomquist chopped the second pitch high to third. Ibañez popped the 3-1 pitch into the leftfield corner, where Stewart had the ball go off the heel of his glove just inside the leftfield line, and Ibañez coasted in with what was ruled as a double. Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a curveball. Beltre was intentionally walked.
Terry Mulholland came in for Guerrier. Reed popped a full-count pitch high to Tiffee near the mound.
Guerrier's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (7 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in to shut the door. Jones lined the first pitch to fairly deep leftfield, but he didn't quite get it to the track, and Snelling came down with the catch. Morneau grounded the second pitch to the hole on the right side, where Bloomquist slid on the outfield grass and threw in time to first. Mike Cuddyer, hitting for Tiffee, worked an 0-2 count full, fouled off three pitches, then grounded up the middle, where Bloomquist ranged over and tried to make a nice play, but instead threw three feet over Sexson and into the stands, landing Cuddyer on second, where Nick Punto ran for him. Lew Ford, hitting for Ryan, poked a single through the left side, and Snelling threw home, but it was a tad bit late, and Punto slid through Gonzalez' leg blocking the plate. Gonzalez got to the ball, and nailed Ford trying to take second.
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 3
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 1 run (unearned), 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
BAH! Betancourt laced the second pitch up the middle for a single. Snelling bunted the first pitch to Punto on the left side, moving Betancourt to second. Gonzalez nubbed the 3-1 pitch to second, and Betancourt went to third. Ichiro was intentionally walked.
Jesse Crain came in for Mulholland. Bloomquist popped the first pitch to Morneau near the first-base dugout.
Mulholland's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (8 strikes)
Julio Mateo came in for Guardado. Castro dumped a single into leftfield on the first pitch. Stewart bunted the first pitch to the right side, where Sexson fielded and threw to a covering Bloomquist, moving Castro to second. Rodriguez popped high to Snelling near the leftfield line as the runners held. Mauer was intentionally walked, and Castro came out of the game with what was later revealed as a left knee sprain, and Jason Bartlett came in to run for him. LeCroy popped high to Gonzalez behind the plate on the first pitch.
Sigh... Ibañez rolled a 1-2 pitch out to second. Sexson popped a few feet short of the track in rightfield. Beltre roped the 2-2 pitch into the gap, where Jones ran it down and caught it.
Big jam. Jones got ahead 2-0 and flew out to Snelling in fairly deep leftfield. Morneau lined the second pitch off of Mateo's glove, and it caromed to Bloomquist, who threw in time to first (1-4-3 putout). Punto reached for a low second pitch and poked it into centerfield for a single. Ford mashed the 2-2 pitch for what would have been a homer down the leftfield line had it stayed fair. With a full count, Ford grounded into the hole on the right side, and Bloomquist slid once again, stopping the ball, picking the loose ball off the ground, but throwing a bit late to first, moving Punto to third. Bartlett popped the second pitch to Ichiro near the rightfield line.
Bottom of the lineup. Reed got behind 0-2 and eventually whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Betancourt got behind 0-2 and eventually popped to Morneau barely on the outfield grass. Snelling got ahead 2-0 and ended up rolling a 2-2 pitch to second.
Crain's line: 2 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 29 pitches (21 strikes)
Tightroping again. Stewart doubled the second pitch off the base of the wall in rightfield, and Ichiro nearly gunned him down at second. Rodriguez bunted the first pitch along the left side, and Mateo threw in time to first as Stewart moved to third. Mauer was intentionally walked. LeCroy grounded the first pitch right to Beltre, who took some time to throw to second (probably waiting for Bloomquist to get over there), but it turned out to be a double play, 5-4-3.
Mateo's line: 3 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 39 pitches (22 strikes)
Joe Nathan came in for Crain. Dave Hansen, hitting for Gonzalez, got behind 0-2 and worked the count full, fouled off a pitch, then took a pitch high and outside for a walk, and Yorvit Torrealba ran for him. Ichiro bunted the second pitch off the plate, and it bounced high into the air. When it came down, Punto and Mauer collided, and Punto threw a tad bit late to first (ruled a single). Torrealba moved to second on the play. Bloomquist air-bunted the first pitch to Mauer behind the plate (runners obviously holding). Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball. Sexson took a 1-2 pitch barely off the outside corner, and eventually he grounded out to third.
Matt Thornton came in for Mateo. Jones got ahead 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Morneau flew out to Snelling in the gap in leftcenter. Punto fouled off an 0-2 pitch, took the next pitch just off the outside corner, then bounced out to short.
Thornton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (9 strikes)
Beltre got behind 0-2 and later whiffed on a 1-2 pitch up and in. Reed got behind 0-2 and couldn't hold a 1-2 swing, ending up as a whiff. Betancourt poked the second pitch toward the hole on the left side, but Bartlett had a ways to go to get to the ball, and the throw was wide, giving Betancourt the single. Betancourt took off for second on the 1-0 pitch to Snelling, but he was gunned down by Mauer. Bartlett's leg was blocking Betancourt's best path to the plate, and he was tagged before his right hand touched the bag.
Nathan's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 33 pitches (22 strikes)
Jeff Nelson came in for Thornton. Ford worked an 0-2 count full, fouled off a pitch, then took a pitch way outside for a walk. Bartlett air-bunted the first pitch to Sexson charging in on the first-base line. Stewart was nailed on the left elbow with a 1-1 pitch.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Nelson. Rodriguez got ahead 3-1 and later blooped a full-count pitch into leftfield for a single, scoring Ford and moving Stewart to second.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 3
Mauer got the hitters' counts and tagged the 3-1 pitch into the leftcenter gap for a double, scoring Stewart and Rodriguez.
»» TWINS 6, MARINERS 3
LeCroy got behind 0-2 and drove the 2-2 pitch into leftfield for a single, moving Mauer to third. Jones grounded to second, where Bloomquist tossed to Betancourt for the 4-6 fielder's choice since the throw back to first wasn't in time. Mauer scored easily.
»» TWINS 7, MARINERS 3
Morneau grounded the second pitch to second, and Bloomquist's throw pulled Sexson off the bag. Jones moved to second on the play. Punto grounded the second pitch to second, where Bloomquist shoveled to Betancourt for the 4-6 fielder's choice.
Nelson's line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (7 strikes)
Hasegawa's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (14 strikes)
Juan Rincon came in for Nathan. Snelling poked a full-count pitch through the right side for a single, and trainer Tom Newberg attended to him, and Scott Spiezio ran for him. Torrealba whiffed on a high 2-2 fastball. Ichiro smacked the first pitch right to second, starting a 4-6-3 double play. Ballgame.
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (9 strikes)
Gameball: JJ Putz.
After George Sherrill had probably his worst appearance of the year, Putz got Matt LeCroy swinging with the tying run on second. With the strikeout, Putz held the 3-2 lead, which the Mariners took into the bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth. Yes, JJ came through in the clutch. It's not really anything you could say for most of the Mariners on this night, but hey, somebody had to do their job, and this isn't the obvious gameball. I'll get to the candidates for that later. Since the sense I'm getting is that Bryan Price and friends (and broadcasters) are high on Putz, he'll be around for a while. So, it's good to see him get good outings and hopefully shake himself off of that grand slam deluge earlier in the year. The LeCroy out, though only one out, was a very big out in the eighth. It was a big out on the way to what should have been a three-game sweep of the Twins at the hands of the Mariners, except for the bad things that were about to happen. We're not just talking 1-2-3 innings out of the offense or just plain bad pitching or anything like that. We're talking about last night's output of...
Goat: Willie Bloomquist.
He's earned a respite of a month or so on my part, since he's usually been helping the team win, but I'm done with that for this game. Obviously, I'm turning a blind eye to the single and the double. In the ninth inning, he made a nice play on the ball hit by Justin Morneau, I'll give him that. Then he got greedy. If you're overthrowing 6'8" Richie Sexson at first base, that's a tall order (pardon the pun). I mean, good gracious, put the ball in your back pocket and let him have the base, but don't put the tying run into scoring position. I know he's been a Major League semi-regular starter for only a month or so, but that is the type of mistake that you'd expect from a newbie like a Mike Morse or a Jose Lopez or something, not a 27-year-old in his third season in the Majors. But it didn't stop with the error, no sir. Though minor, with runners on the corners and two out in the ninth, he popped out in front of the first-base dugout. For another major gaffe, with runners on first and second and nobody out in the twelfth, Bloomquist air-bunted the first pitch and was out. Horrible. To kick dirt on the grave, Bloomquist pulled Sexson off the bag in the top of the 14th, making the excruciating inning last even longer. Bloomquist also grounded into a double play in the third inning.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 82-31 .726 -- W2
2002 69-44 .611 13 L2
2003 69-44 .611 13 L1
2000 67-46 .593 15 W5
2005 49-64 .434 33 L1
2004 43-70 .381 39 W2
Since it's already late, I'll try to reel off my immediate thoughts of what I can remember over that game that was much too long.
The cost of Willie Bloomquist getting greedy WITH TWO OUTS IN THE NINTH...
-- if it weren't for the off-day today, the bullpen would be absolutely jacked for the next three or four games
-- Joel Piñeiro gets screwed out of a win
-- Eddie Guardado probably pitches different with a runner on first rather than on second
-- two hours that I could have spent writing up this recap since the game would have been over
-- me eating my dinner late
-- an absolute buzzkill; this win coupled with the Felix thing and the sweep would have been absolutely awesome
-- Chris Snelling doesn't have to leave the game in the 14th with a possible injury if Bloomquist eats the ball in the ninth
-- No amount of late-night Ivar's Clam Chowder on the waterfront is warm enough to melt away the shock of being one out away from a sweep and then realizing that you have to take the 12:50am ferry home since somebody pulled a Knoblauch. Keith Olbermann's mom isn't back there, Willie
Multi-hit games in this one belonged to Ichiro, Bloomquist, Raul Ibañez, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Chris Snelling. Ichiro went 2-for-6 with a walk and a couple strikeouts, and I remember the strikeouts especially because Radke made him look pretty stupid on them (balls in the dirt). Bloomquist left five runners on base on his 2-for-6 night. Ibañez doubled, had an RBI, and struck out twice for his 2-for-6 night. Betancourt went 2-for-6, and Snelling was 2-for-5 with a strikeout.
What the frick has gotten into Joel Piñeiro? He's holding the ball and glove further away from the body before winding up and doing the leg kick, but is that seriously all it was? He's turned in two good starts in a row, and this one -- NO WALKS?! Seriously?! Is this the same dude we've been watching most of the season? I frankly think we have some sort of cyborg uber-Piñeiro that's grown a more stately goatee and dyed his hair dark again. I'm reminded of the Stewie-controlled Peter Griffin robot from Family Guy. Of course, said cyborg/robot holds his hands further away from his body, and apparently that must be enough of a mechanical shift to get everything else going right. Granted, I think the fastest pitch he threw all night was going 93mph, but I guess this mechanical thing is a decent place to start. It's too bad it took way longer than just a ten-day stint in "Tacoma" to figure it all out, but if this keeps up, maybe it'll bode well and hopefully they can carry this into next year.
Credit Julio Mateo for eating up the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth innings, but probably not much more than that. I like three innings and everything, but two walks and four hits? If anything, Mateo proved to be incredibly slithery. It was like walking on eggshells for an hour just hoping none of the Twins would score. Incredibly, Matt Thornton followed up his best outing of the year on Monday night with a pretty dominant inning in the 13th.
Then Jeff Nelson came in and crapped the bed. He had Lew Ford 0-2 and walked him. Though Jason Bartlett pulled a Bloomquist, he was followed by Shannon Stewart taking a baseball to the left arm. I'm not sure if George Sherrill or Jeff Nelson was more Ron Villone-like on this night. One pitcher gave up an RBI single and was pulled, yet the other was wild and beaned a batter. Tough decision, really.
The man who was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda was in the crowd tonight, and he was still in his seat around the 13th or 14th inning, which I thought was amazing. It's too bad the Mariners couldn't give him a win, since he had to sit through an interview conducted by Matt Morrison and everything. If you thought the FSNNW interview was out of place, debate with yourself about whether you'd rather hear Matt Morrison conduct that interview, or Rick Rizzs and Dave Valle stumble through the first two outs of an inning.
Is it a good time for an off day? I'd have to say so. The game was much too long. Thank goodness that in Hawaii I can still watch a whole game like this, do a recap, and then manage to not be a total zombie the next day. If I were still back in Bremerton, I'd be railing against Bloomquist even more.
Now, for things I wish I'd see on the transaction wire, but I know I won't...
SEATTLE MARINERS -- Designated UT Willie Bloomquist for assignment. Recalled 2B Jose Lopez from Tacoma (AAA).
Thursday's off, folks. That means off-day posts from us, and here at Sports and B's, that could really mean anything. Then...the Angels. Yikes.
Washburn. Moyer. Tomorrow.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Brad Radke (7-10, 3.71 ERA) vs Joel Pineiro (4-7, 5.89 ERA)
Blame Blogger for this post being so late.
Reality bites, doesn't it?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
In 25 words or less: For the first time in ages, I got the feeling I might be asking myself years from now where I was on this night.
This one featured Kyle Lohse going up against a certain 19-year-old by the name of Felix Hernandez. Since the first Felix start wasn't beamed back to Seattle, and since the MLB.tv feed was confined to a camera that was five miles away above and behind the plate at Comerica Park, the second start for Felix was met with that much more anticipation.
(For more on Felix, visit Seth, who speaks. Also, there's some crazy-ass breakdown in that post.)
Shannon Stewart fouled off an 0-2 pitch and rolled a ball along the third-base line, and Adrian Beltre hoped that it would roll foul, but it ended up hitting the bag for a single. Stewart was gunned down by a one-hop Wiki Gonzalez throw at second after taking off on a 1-2 pitch to Nick Punto. Punto grounded the 2-2 pitch to short. Joe Mauer fouled off three 2-2 pitches before whiffing on a curveball.
Blown chance. Ichiro popped the second pitch off the track in leftfield and over the fence for a double. Willie Bloomquist air-bunted a 1-1 pitch foul but eventually whiffed on a 1-2 slider low and away. Raul Ibañez got the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch inside. Richie Sexson whiffed at a high 1-2 fastball. Adrian Beltre got ahead 2-0 and chopped a full-count pitch along the third-base line, but Terry Tiffee threw on the run in time to first.
Felix was looking good. Matthew LeCroy took a mean 2-2 curveball over the plate at the knees for a strikeout. Jacque Jones popped the first pitch on the infield to Yuniesky Betancourt. Lew Ford bounced a 1-2 curve to short.
Quick. Jeremy Reed popped the 1-2 pitch high to Punto on the right side of the infield. Yuniesky Betancourt popped out to Ford in shallow centerfield. Chris Snelling bounced out to second.
Felix rolls. Justin Morneau popped an 0-2 pitch to leftfield. Terry Tiffee bounced the second pitch to first, and Sexson stepped on the bag. Jason Bartlett worked a 1-2 count full, then broke his bat on a grounder to short.
It's a Wiki offense. Wiki Gonzalez looped a single into shallow centerfield. Ichiro took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Bloomquist popped the first ptich to Bartlett in shallow centerfield. Ibañez got behind 0-2 and tagged the 1-2 offering up the middle, but right into Bartlett's glove (lineout).
Felix be rollin'. Stewart got behind 0-2 and ended up grounding to first, where Sexson underhanded to a covering Felix. Punto held his swing on a low 0-2 curve but couldn't hold up on the next pitch. Mauer lined out on a 3-1 pitch to centerfield.
Ugh. Sexson grounded the first pitch to short, where Bartlett had the ball go off his glove, but still had enough time to throw to first. Beltre got the hitters' counts and took a full-count pitch over the outside half of the plate. Reed worked a 1-2 pitch for a walk. Reed was nailed at second on the 1-0 pitch to Betancourt.
Felix meets jam. LeCroy fisted the first pitch over Beltre for a single into leftfield, snapping the Felix streak of 12 straight retired Minnesota hitters. Jones poked the second pitch up the middle, moving LeCroy to second. Ford bunted the first pitch to the right side, where Hernandez pounced on it and threw in time to third, nailing LeCroy, though Ford beat out the double-play try at first. Morneau got the hitters' counts and whiffed on a full-count fastball over the outside corner. Tiffee grounded an 0-2 pitch to Beltre at third, who thought about tagging Jacque Jones going to third, but threw the ball about 12 feet high to Sexson at first, pulling Sexson off the bag (error). With the bases loaded, Bartlett grounded the first pitch to Felix off the mound to the first-base side, and he tossed over to first.
More of nothing. Betancourt got ahead 2-0 and later reached on a full-count pitch and grounded out to short. Snelling grounded a ball to Morneau behind the bag at first, but the latter had trouble cradling the ball, and Snelling reached first. Gonzalez whiffed on a 2-0 pitch, and Snelling was out by about ten feet on what might have been a blown hit-and-run. Gonzalez later popped a 2-2 pitch to Jones in foul ground along the rightfield line.
Roll Felix! Stewart got behind 0-2 and later whiffed on a 1-2 slider low and away. Punto flew out to centerfield on the first pitch. Mauer bounced a 2-2 pitch to second.
The offense was offensive. Defensively, the Twins moved Punto to centerfield to replace Ford, and Luis Rodriguez was put in at second base. Ichiro mashed a 2-1 pitch quite far but foul, then whiffed at the next pitch high and outside. Bloomquist got behind 0-2 then looped the 1-2 pitch to Jones just past the foul line in rightfield for the out. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 pitch low and away.
LeCroy flew out high to Snelling in shallow leftfield. Jones bounced the second pitch back to the mound, though Felix grimaced a bit after throwing the ball to first (he stayed in the game). Rodriguez lined the second pitch to Snelling just short of the track in leftfield.
Sexson got the hitters' counts and couldn't hold a swing on an outside slider in the dirt. Beltre reached for a pitch and grounded out to short. Reed bounced the first pitch into the gap in rightcenter, off the track and off the wall for a double. Betancourt drove the first pitch into the gap in rightcenter, scoring Reed. The ball took three hops to the wall, and Betancourt slid in with a triple.
»» MARINERS 1, TWINS 0
Snelling got ahead 3-1 and ended up popping the full-count pitch to Rodriguez on the edge of the outfield grass.
Lohse's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 107 pitches (64 strikes)
Felix finished his night nicely. Morneau poked the first pitch into rightfield for a single. Tiffee bounced the second pitch to Bloomquist on the right side, who threw to second for the force, but it was hit too slow for Betancourt's throw to first to be meaningful (4-6 fielder's choice). Michael Ryan came in to hit for Bartlett. Ryan whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Stewart poked the first pitch through the left side for a single. Punto bounced the first pitch back to the mound, and Felix easily shoveled over for the out.
Hernandez' line: 8 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 94 pitches (69 strikes)
Juan Rincon came in for Lohse. Gonzalez poked an 0-2 pitch down the rightfield line, where Ryan made the catch. Ichiro got behind 0-2 and later chopped out to short. Bloomquist grounded to the right side past a diving Tiffee, but Punto backed him up and threw in time to first (nice play).
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (8 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in to shut the door. Mauer chopped a 1-2 pitch to Bloomquist on the infield grass. LeCroy whiffed on an 0-2 pitch. Jones popped the first pitch high to Betancourt on the outfield grass. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 8 pitches (7 strikes)
Gameball: Eddie Guardado.
After the rookie had done his thing, and after the offense had finally scratched out a run, it came down to Eddie Guardado in the 9th. All he had to do was mow down Minnesota's third, fourth, and fifth hitters. Guardado proceeded by making mince meat out of Joe Mauer, Matt LeCroy, and Jacque Jones. Do I know how Eddie keeps doing it? I'm not sure I care as long as it gets done. In short, I haven't cared 28 times this season, though there was one time where I did. Eddie's shoulder could explode at any time, but he's come this far this season. It's amazing that he can just get by on tenacity and location, since it sure isn't speed. We know Eddie's gotten people out in the setup and closer roles for a while, so this isn't a huge surprise like when Kazuhiro Sasaki had the luggage accident and Shigetoshi Hasegawa stepped in and went absolutely insane in 2003. Hasegawa finished with a 1.48 ERA in 2003, while Eddie right now is sitting on a mark of 1.35. Who knows, maybe if we feel really good about things at Sports and B's, we could put up a Pump with the ERAs of Felix, Guardado, and maybe a George Sherrill or something. I'd fill my tank with 69-cent Felix Unleaded right now.
Goat: Adrian Beltre.
Quite simply, I didn't like any of his at-bats, and I surely didn't like the error, which very nearly crapped things up in the fifth inning. The inning should have been over right there, but instead the bases ended up loaded. Luckily Felix was able to get the next hitter, Jason Bartlett, to hit a ball right back to him. It's hard to pick a goat in a game like this, and I very easily could have gone with Richie Sexson and his two strikeouts, but I decided Beltre's error figured a lot more into the scope of the game. Seriously, if Bartlett does anything, the whole game goes to crap, the whole night goes to crap, etc. I do realize I'm saying this about a team that came back from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 the night before, but I'm not banking on comeback wins on consecutive nights from this team. No way. Anyway, remember when Beltre warmed up back? We kinda need that to happen at least once more this season to remind ourselves that we aren't insane. Beltre's average was at .269 after the game on July 7th. He's now at .254. His homers by month this year: two, three, one, six, two (in progress).
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 81-31 .723 -- W1
2002 69-43 .616 12 L1
2003 69-43 .616 12 W3
2000 66-46 .589 15 W4
2005 49-63 .438 32 W2
2004 42-70 .375 39 W1
The Mariners had gone 20 games without winning consecutive games. Thank goodness that's over. The Mariners won a second straight game for the first time since July 17th, the final game of the Baltimore series at the Safe. Hey, this here's their first series win in two weeks.
But really, that's not the important thing. Does anyone else out there feel like they've gotten a whole new lease on the season? I haven't been this pumped over a Mariner game in a long time. It's been a long time since I've felt this great about this team as a result of what happened on the field (the days when Beltre and Sexson signed in close succession was a pretty big time). Heck, this might have been the greatest Mariner game since this one. Surely you remember Rafael Soriano striking out Nomar Garciaparra on a warm summer day at the Safe back in 2003.
Like Jeremy said, there will still be four days between starts for Felix, and the team and 80% of the rotation will probably resort to their usual habits on those days. Seriously, though, it's good to know that 20% of the season will be worth watching from here on out. I was juiced for the 2006 season the minute the Mariners signed Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson, and it was partly because I was looking forward to Felix coming up for a full season and having the Mariners hopefully go out and get a relevant arm next winter. It could be fun, kids. If the Mariners can get a playoff spot next season, it will have been the first in five years. It didn't have to be that long (or however long it'll be), no, but it'll be good if we can taste that again.
Something I also alluded to in the game thread that Jeremy also brought up -- when's the last time you were juiced up when a Mariner pitcher got two strikes on a hitter? Well, maybe you might do that for Eddie Guardado, but for a starting pitcher? We discovered after while that Freddy Garcia was better when he let his fielders do the work instead of trying to strike everyone out. Gil Meche came through the pipe, and since he was a power pitcher, one would expect some decent strikeout numbers to come out of that, but it turns out Meche can't put hitters away with two strikes, or at least not as regularly as I'd like. Tonight, though, I know I was feeling a long-lost feeling, and the crowd was feeling it too. I remember when Randy Johnson was in town and the Microsoft K's for Kids meter would tilt. I remember when the pitching staff lost Randy and his strikeouts and no one was really left to strike out hitters. "What about the kids?" I thought. The Home Runs That Help promotion also wasn't helping for that much, and it'll take more than Sexson and Beltre to make that huge these days.
The great thing about Felix doing so well and the Mariners being able to pull off the win was the fact that the Mariner bats were collectively crappy. One quick look at the boxscore shows that no Mariner had a multi-hit game. Ichiro and Richie Sexson each struck out twice. The Mariners got only four hits and two walks off of Kyle Lohse, as well as a fielding error by Justin Morneau on a ball hit by Chris Snelling. You could say Lohse threw a whale of a game, but this was the Mariner lineup he was facing. Luckily a couple of rookies named Jeremy Reed (the only Mariner to reach base twice in the game) and Yuniesky Betancourt managed to get to Lohse in the seventh, and quite quickly. Reed has nine hits in his last nine games (eight starts), though Mike Hargrove really needs to hold back on his running game. Betancourt started his career at the plate with a triple, and he hit one that reeked of clutch tonight. The guy's got some wheels too. Yowza.
Radke. Piñeiro. Tomorrow.
Mariner fans haven't seen a pitcher of Randy Johnson's dominance since, well, Randy Johnson.
Now, I'm not comparing Felix Hernandez to Randy. Not at all. However, watching tonight's ballgame brought me back to Johnson's career in Seattle. Remember the 2-strike ovation when Randy was on the mound? I could have sworn I heard the same 2-strike ovation on a few occasions tonight for Felix.
Let's face it, we as Mariner fans deserve a break. The days between Felix's starts will test the soul, of course. But at least M's fans have something to look forward to for the rest of what will turn out to be another last-place season.
I can only speak for myself, but Felix has made the Mariners worth watching again. For the first time in a while, I was pumping my fist like crazy. I feel like a baseball fan again. While I can't make it out to Seattle to watch Felix pitch, I can watch his starts through the power of MLB.TV. Technology rules, folks.
8 innings, 5 hits, 6 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 runs.
Get used to those types of lines, M's fans.
The King is in Seattle.
Pray For Felix
Kyle Lohse (7-10, 4.38 ERA) vs Felix Hernandez (0-1, 1.80 ERA)
If it weren't for Felix Hernandez, I'd play Madden 2006 tonight.
Pray for Felix.
Monday, August 08, 2005
In 25 words or less: The Mariners overcame (injured?) Vintage Meche as well as a pitcher that had beaten them handily in the past.
This one featured sinkerballer and two-time Mariner-beater Carlos Silva going up against the ever-enigmatic Gil Meche. This Monday game was one of the few on a light schedule around the Majors. The Mariners get Thursday off this week.
Decent start. Shannon Stewart lined the second pitch off of Meche's right forearm and on or near his hip. The ball ricocheted to Adrian Beltre at third, who gobbled it up and threw to first. Meche stayed in the game after taking a couple of warmup tosses. Nick Punto hit a low liner to leftfield on a 1-2 pitch, where Chris Snelling made the catch. Joe Mauer grounded a 1-2 pitch up the middle to Willie Bloomquist, who went to his right to make the play and record the out.
This was quick. Ichiro served a 2-2 pitch to a running Stewart near the stands on the leftfield line. Willie Bloomquist flew out high to rightfield on the second pitch. Raul Ibañez chopped the first pitch to short, and may have tweaked his ankle running to first, though he stayed in the game.
Meche didn't blow up. Matthew LeCroy fouled off a full-count pitch before taking a fastball on the black of the outside corner for strike three. Jacque Jones flew out high to centerfield on a 3-0 pitch. Lew Ford got behind 0-2 and later flew out to a drifting Jeremy Reed in rightcenter.
Breakneck speed. Richie Sexson worked an 0-2 count full before foul-tipping a pitch down and away for a strikeout. Adrian Beltre lined out to rightfield on the first pitch. Jeremy Reed lined the second pitch to rightfield.
Look what Meche did! Justin Morneau grounded the second pitch to first, and Sexson stepped on the bag. Terry Tiffee poked the second pitch into shallow centerfield for a single. Jason Bartlett walked on four pitches. Stewart rocked the 1-2 pitch into the gap and to the wall in leftcenter to score Tiffee and Bartlett.
»» TWINS 2, MARINERS 0
Punto got behind 0-2 and grounded the 2-2 pitch gently down the rightfield line for a double, scoring Stewart and bringing pitching coach Bryan Price to the mound.
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 0
Mauer got ahead 3-0 and flew out high to leftfield on a 3-1 pitch. LeCroy singled through the left side to score Punto, though Beltre cut off a relay throw and the infield got LeCroy in a rundown between first and second.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 0
Some life. Mike Morse gently grounded the first pitch to third. Chris Snelling walloped the second pitch about seven rows into the seats in rightcenter (418 feet) for his second Major League homer.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 1
Yorvit Torrealba grounded the first pitch to Punto in the hole on the right side. Ichiro popped the first pitch high to Bartlett just foul along the leftfield line.
Polar opposite. Jones flew out high to Beltre on the infield grass. Ford lined a ball to Beltre's feet, where the latter got his glove down in time for the lineout. Morneau worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to rightfield.
They got back into it. Bloomquist grounded the second pitch to second. Ibañez got the hitters' counts and doubled on a full count off the base of the wall in leftcenter. Sexson stuck the 1-2 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, scoring Ibañez.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 2
Beltre bounced an 0-2 pitch off the plate and high into the air, and there was nothing that Bartlett could do after charging in from short (Sexson went to third). Reed sharply singled into centerfield, scoring Sexson and moving Beltre to second.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 3
Morse grounded the second pitch right to third for a 5-4-3 double play.
This could have been really bad. Tiffee lined the second pitch to a running Ichiro in rightfield. Bartlett walked on four pitches. Stewart wrapped a double into the rightfield corner, and Bartlett held at third. Punto got behind 0-2 and later foul-tipped a 1-2 fastball up and in for a strikeout. Mauer was intentionally walked. LeCroy hit a first-pitch fly ball to the track in rightfield, where Ichiro made the catch.
Meche's line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 88 pitches (51 strikes)
Huh? Snelling got the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Torrealba hit a broken-bat grounder toward the left side on the second pitch, and Silva came off the mound to throw off balance to first for the out, though Snelling moved to second. Ichiro flew out high to rightfield on the first pitch. Bloomquist got behind 0-2 and ended up doubling into the gap in rightfield on the 2-2 pitch, scoring Snelling and somehow tying the game.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 4
Ibañez whiffed on an 0-2 pitch.
Matt Thornton came in for Meche. Jones bounced out to short. Ford grounded to second on the first pitch. Morneau got behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 pitch.
This was disgusting. Sexson took an 0-2 pitch off the outside corner, but it was called a strike anyway. Beltre rolled an 0-2 pitch to short. Reed took an 0-2 pitch over the inside corner.
More adversity this time for Thornton. Tiffee got the hitters' counts, fouled off a couple of full-count pitches, then whiffed at a high fastball. Bartlett got the hitters' counts and bounced a 3-1 pitch up the middle, where Morse went over and nearly threw in time to first (nice try). Stewart tapped the second pitch back to the mound, and Thornton threw to Morse at the bag at second for a 1-6-3 double play.
Sinkers equal double plays. Morse took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner, much to Morse's dismay. Snelling poked a single up the middle. Torrealba hit a broken-bat grounder to short, which was turned into a 6-4-3 double play.
Two out of three relievers isn't bad. Punto took a full-count pitch down and in for a walk. Mauer whiffed on an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Jeff Nelson came in for Thornton. Punto stole second on the 2-1 pitch to LeCroy, and the throw got past Bloomquist and into centerfield, but not far enough for Punto to take another base. LeCroy got ahead 3-1 and later took a high full-count pitch for a walk, and Luis Rodriguez pinch-ran for him.
George Sherrill came in for Nelson. Jones lined the first pitch to Reed in centerfield, and Punto tagged and went to third. Ford whiffed on a very high 0-2 pitch.
Thornton's line: 2 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 35 pitches (21 strikes)
Nelson's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (2 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (5 strikes)
Unusual. Ichiro got ahead 2-0, fouled off a couple of 2-2 pitches and shot a single through the left side. Bloomquist singled sharply to rightfield, sending Ichiro to third.
Jesse Crain came in for Silva. Ibañez broke his bat on the first pitch and blooped to first for the out, and everyone held. Sexson fisted a 2-1 pitch into shallow centerfield, where Punto ranged backward, reached back, and made the catch. Bloomquist tagged on the play and moved to second on a throw home which kept Ichiro at third. Beltre got ahead 3-0 and was walked intentionally. Reed got ahead 3-1 and took a full-count pitch high and outside, forcing Ichiro across and moving everyone else up 90 feet.
»» MARINERS 5, TWINS 4
Morse whiffed on a 2-2 pitch high and away.
Silva's line: 7 innings, 5 runs, 9 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 93 pitches (71 strikes)
Crain's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 20 pitches (8 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in to shut the door. Morneau flew out to leftfield on an 0-2 pitch. Tiffee flew out to rightfield on the second pitch. Bartlett whiffed on a high and outside 1-2 pitch. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (7 strikes)
Gameball: Matt Thornton.
As much as we've bagged on him this season, he may have had his best outing of the year in this game. You can guess what I was thinking after Gil Meche got taken out after five innings. There's not really a dropoff in terms of "feelings of helplessness" when you're watching your team go from Gil Meche to Matt Thornton on the mound. Then Thornton had a 1-2-3 sixth inning. In the seventh, he allowed only the well-placed ground ball on which Morse nearly made a really nice play. Right after that, Thornton had a ball hit right back to him and started the double play to end the inning. His only misstep was the leadoff walk of Nick Punto in the eighth, but he came back to strike out Joe Mauer before he was pulled. Then Jeff Nelson came in and was absolutely worthless, followed by George Sherrill's bid for the gameball. Basically, Thornton made me eat my words for one night. If you ask me who I want for long relief in a tie game in the sixth, I'm not going to want to go with Thornton. Of course, I'm sure Mike Hargrove was thinking the same thing as well, and probably would have made the same decision as I, except for the fact that Julio Mateo had thrown 1 1/3 innings the day before.
Goat: Mike Morse.
It wasn't just that he went 0-for-4. It wasn't just that he struck out twice, though that's part of it. He didn't make any errors. He put two balls in play. The first was a groundout to lead off the third inning. The other was a double-play ball that froze the Mariners with a 4-3 deficit to end the fourth. That could have been a bigger inning, and it sure would have been nice. I have a feeling it's safe to say that the American League knows a lot more about pitching to this guy than they did in mid-June. Morse hit .357 in June and hit .282 in July. Morse started July with a .353 average and ended it with a .321 mark. He currently sits at .307. If the big shortstop doesn't have his bat, it just gives Yuniesky Betancourt more playing time out there, I think. Maybe it gives one of the other shortstops in the system some playing time in September. I'll tell you who it shouldn't be: Michael Garciaparra, who was the Banner Bank minor-league player update on the FSNNW telecast for this game. I still can't believe someone broke the 50-error barrier in a season of professional ball at any level.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 80-31 .721 -- L1
2002 69-42 .622 11 W6
2003 68-43 .613 12 W2
2000 65-46 .586 15 W3
2005 48-63 .432 32 W1
2004 41-70 .369 39 L1
Yes, the 2004 Mariners had crossed the 70-loss mark at this time last year. The 2004 Mariners took 128 games to register their 48th win of the season. Like the post title says, this was game 111 for the 2005 Mariners. In case anyone's wondering, last year's team at this point of the season won back-to-back games before embarking on a stretch where they lost 10 of 13 games.
Regardless of the fact that the Mariners had runners on the corners with nobody out and couldn't drive the go-ahead run home with a hit, this is still a good win for the Mariners. How often have we seen this team come back from a 4-0 deficit to win a game? Early on, this seemed like a Mariner game that I'd seen many times before. Gil Meche got lit up for four runs in the third inning, and I figured that'd be it. Instead, Chris Snelling homered in the third, Richie Sexson (double) and Jeremy Reed (single) drove in runs in the fourth, and Willie Bloomquist doubled to tie the game in the fifth. Then the relief corps was able to keep the Twins off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Mariner hitters took advantage of Jesse Crain's wildness in the eighth. Enter Eddie Guardado, and you have your game. It seems like these are the types of games you lose against a team like the White Sox. Alas, these are the Twins we're dealing with here.
Multi-hit games in this one went to Willie Bloomquist (2-for-4 with an RBI double) and Chris Snelling (2-for-2 with a homer and a walk, scoring twice). Bloomquist's hits weren't cheap, and they were timely. He doubled to tie the game in the fifth and drilled a single in the eighth to put runners on first and third with nobody out. That set the table for the Mariners' incredible rally (sense the sarcasm). Snelling homered to get the Mariners on the board in the third, and he hit a one-out single in the seventh before he was doubled off (Torrealba). Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Reed got aboard twice apiece via singles and walks. Beltre's hit was a cheapie, a ball that bounced off the plate and probably thirty feet in the air to where the left side of the Minnesota infield couldn't do anything with it. Reed's hit was a very hard-hit ball that made it 4-3 in the fourth. I guess after seeing Carlos Silva manhandle this team twice, I was glad to see the Mariners get to him. That they tacked him with a loss is just icing on the cake.
As crappy as Jeff Nelson was in his short appearance, George Sherrill was just as good. The guy that should have broken the Opening Day roster came up with two big outs to preserve the tie game in the eighth before the Mariners got the lead. Yes, behold George Sherrill, the reason why I can't rationalize the Mariners ever bringing back Ron Villone a second time. The Northern League is representin', as some would say. It's a shame the other Northern League guy that had tattoos and stuff hasn't been able to throw this year. I can't tell you how much I miss watching Bobby Madritsch throw the ball.
I said Gil Meche was giving us Vintage Meche while he was on the mound tonight, but that's only half fair. He did take the line drive to the hip and arm from Shannon Stewart, the very first hitter in the game. For all I know, he might have been completely lucky to even get through five innings. Of course, if a completely healthy Gil Meche went out there and gave up four runs in the third inning, I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. However, I might have to chalk up this particular outing by Meche into the column labeled "slightly inconclusive." It's like if, say, the Falcons are hosting the Packers and Michael Vick doesn't know whether he'll play due to a pulled hamstring or something. Vegas sometimes declares such a situation as "NL" for "no line." In an oddly related note, I'be been looking at Vegas lines in the scoreboard pages of the daily paper since my pre-teen years, even though I've never placed a single sports wager, and I should probably keep it that way for another five years or so.
With this win, the Mariners have won the first game in five of the last six series. They have won only one of those series, and that was two weeks ago in Seattle against the Tigers. For the third straight series, the Mariners look to take the series with a win in the second game. Will the third time be the charm? Well, that won't be the only thing we'll be watching.
Lohse. Hernandez. Tomorrow.
Carlos Silva (7-5, 3.27 ERA) vs Gil Meche (10-8, 5.04 ERA)
Yes, I'm posting this at 4:20 Central time.
Why? Because I can.
Fill it up.
Wednesday, November 2 vs L.A. Clippers
SONICS VS BLAZERS
Friday, December 16 at Portland
Monday, January 30 at Seattle (NBA TV)
Sunday, April 2 at Seattle
Friday, April 7 at Portland
SONICS AT MEMPHIS
Tuesday, November 8
Tuesday, March 28
2005-2006 Portland Trail Blazers schedule
Wednesday, November 2 at Minnesota
BLAZERS VS SONICS
BLAZERS AT MEMPHIS
Tuesday, November 22
Wednesday, December 21
2005-2006 Atlanta Hawks schedule
BREMERTON'S MARVIN WILLIAMS NORTHWEST APPEARANCES
Saturday, November 5 at Portland
Friday, February 10 at Seattle
MARVIN WILLIAMS AT MEMPHIS
Sunday, April 2
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
The Sonics will be on national television 17 times (4 ESPN, 7 TNT, 5 NBA TV, 1 ABC).
The Blazers are on national television 8 times (3 ESPN, 5 NBA TV)
The Hawks will make just one national television appearance (Tuesday, December 27 vs Charlotte, NBA TV).
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Yeah, it's fair to say I'm juiced up.
Over the last week, the NHL has pretty much lost its mind, whereas the Canucks have kept their core intact, but lost two of their defensemen from the last season.
The rundown, followed by my rudimentary notes...
Markus Naslund -- 3-year contract, $18M
Brendan Morrison -- 3-year contract, financial terms undisclosed
Brent Sopel -- traded to Islanders for conditional 2006 draft pick (2nd or 3rd round)
Marek Malik -- signed with Rangers, 3 years and $7.5M
Brad May -- signed with Avalanche, 2 years, financial terms undisclosed
Johan Hedberg -- signed with Dallas
Martin Rucinsky -- signed with Rangers
I'm a little wary about losing two relevant defensemen, and Scott Niedermayer's off the market. Apparently the Canucks are looking to trade for another defenseman and bring up a Tomas Mojzis or a Kevin Bieksa from Manitoba.
The Brad May signing is just weird on so many levels. Sure, Colorado doesn't have Steve Moore on the payroll anymore, but May was one of the guys that Moore named in his lawsuit. May was attributed to saying there was a bounty on Moore after the latter had given Markus Naslund the concussion. Now Colorado has the guy who was hated less than only Todd Bertuzzi in Denver.
Martin Rucinsky, as much as goal-scoring his forte, and as good as I thought he looked on the Czech World Cup team last fall, couldn't buy a goal for the Canucks after they traded for him. It's too bad, really. They could have used the extra scoring down the stretch right before the winning streak to end the season.
Still, the Canucks have locked up Naslund/Morrison/Bertuzzi for the next two years (probably 1.75 depending on how long Bertuzzi is suspended to start this season), so they'll be together for another run. The good thing is that the same group of guys are together, though now with a package of rules that seemingly is better for their system. The bad thing is, the same group has been together and hasn't gotten far in the playoffs lately, has lost Game 7 on home ice the last two years they were on home ice, etc. Dan Cloutier will probably be in the fold too. He's gotten three straight seasons of 30-plus wins in the regular season. Of course, if he doesn't get injured in the Calgary series, this might all be moot.
But while the Canucks have mostly stayed put and kept the same guys, teams within the division have picked up the following...
Calgary -- Tony Amonte, Darren McCarty
Colorado -- Pierre Turgeon, Patrice Brisebois, Andrew Brunette
Edmonton -- Chris Pronger, Mike Peca
Minnesota -- Andrei Nazarov, Scott Ferguson, Kurtis Foster
Not to mention that other teams in the West have also picked up Nikolai Khabibulin and Jeremy Roenick, and who wants to face Nashville with Paul Kariya? Now the Seinfeld episode will ring true with hockey as well. You're rooting for laundry now.
Forgive me, I miss the hell out of hockey. Remember as you're reading any of these hockey posts that I'm the same guy who did DJ duty for a junior hockey team in Bremerton (the Puget Sound Tomahawks) last winter, and it was damn fun hockey to watch.
And before I go, give some hits to Phil, because he's got a good thing going over there, and he even reads our blog and stuff. He's good people. The more hockey blogs, the better.