Saturday, August 27, 2005
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs, 5:30p PT
Exhibition/Preseason Week 3
Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners, 7:05p PT
Jose Contreras (8-7, 4.08) v. Joel Piñeiro (5-8, 5.83)
Yes, it's a combo game thread. Watch the first couple of possessions for the Seahawks, cook up some dinner, then fire up the Mariners.
Or go out and have a life. You decide.
No, I won't be throwing a party at my place later in celebration of the Little League national champion team from Ewa Beach (pronounced like how Stephen A. Smith pronounces "how-EVAH") back here in Hawaii. I'll more than likely be doing laundry or cooking up some food.
In 25 words or less: Felix discovers a thorn in his side but pitches well otherwise. The Mariners fall short after finally getting to a Yankee castoff.
This one featured Orlando Hernandez going up against Felix Hernandez. For some people out there, it also signifies the first time in five days they've seen Mariner baseball. For probably the same group, it'll be the only Mariner baseball they'll see for another five days. Frankly, I can't blame those people.
Solid start. Timo Perez chopped a full-count pitch up the middle, where Betancourt ran a long way over and had the ball go off the end of his glove, though a play on the ball might have been a lot to ask. Tadahito Iguchi rolled the first pitch to second, advancing Perez to second. Carl Everett watched as Felix threw over to third to pick off Perez by ten feet. Evertt ended up taking a 1-2 death curve for strike three.
El Dookie. Ichiro, coming off a 5-for-29 road trip, grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to short. Willie Bloomquist whiffed on a high 0-2 fastball. Raul Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to third.
A baserunner. Paul Konerko bounced the first pitch to third. AJ Pierzynski got ahead 3-0 and ended up lining out right to Bloomquist at second. Jermaine Dye clubbed a 2-2 pitch into the gap in leftcenter for a double and the first extra-base hit for anyone off of Felix Hernandez. Geoff Blum grounded the 2-2 pitch to the mound.
A bit dashed. Richie Sexson lofted a second-pitch single into leftcenter. Adrian Beltre checkwhiffed at an 0-2 slider low and away. Greg Dobbs popped a 3-1 pitch to Konerko in the first-base coaches' box. Yuniesky Betancourt popped the second pitch to centerfield.
Another first. Juan Uribe grounded the first pitch off Felix's hand and up the middle to Yuniesky Betancourt, who barehanded the ball behind the bag at second and threw in time to first (1-6-3 putout). The trainers came out and looked at the hand of Felix after he threw a couple of warmup tosses. Brian Anderson clubbed the first pitch into the back of the visitors bullpen, hitting the stairway, which is covered by net now, unlike in 2000, when you could grab a homerun ball from the stairway. It got out in a hurry for the first gopher ball given up by Felix.
»» WHITE SOX 1, MARINERS 0
Perez was caught looking on a 2-2 pitch. Iguchi bounced the second pitch to a charging Beltre.
Jeremy Reed fell behind 0-2 and five pitches later splintered his bat on a 1-2 tapper back to the mound. Yorvit Torrealba took a 2-2 pitch in the shoulder and took his base. Ichiro laced a 2-0 pitch to rightfield for a single, and Torrealba moved to third, though partly thanks to an offline throw from Dye in rightfield that may have been in time if more accurate. Bloomquist had the squeeze play on, and Bloomquist bunted the second pitch to the right side, where Orlando nicely made a backhand flip to get Bloomquist, but it worked since Torrealba scored and Ichiro moved to second.
»» WHITE SOX 1, MARINERS 1
Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and later grounded out hard to Konerko behind the bag, who ran to step on it.
Again, minimal damage. Everett fouled an 0-2 curve into Torrealba's glove behind the plate. Konerko ripped a 2-2 pitch past Beltre and through the hole on the left side for a single. Pierzynski fell behind 0-2 and eventually whiffed on a 1-2 curve on the seventh pitch. Dye got ahead 2-0 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Sexson in foul ground on the right side.
Not taking advantage. Sexson popped the first pitch high to shallow centerfield where it landed between the middle infielders and Anderson coming in from centerfield, saving an out from Sexson, who ended up on first. Beltre rolled over on a 2-2 pitch for a 6-4-3 double play. Dobbs flew out to leftfield on a 2-2 pitch.
Might he be cruising? Blum took an 0-2 death curve over the outside corner. Uribe rolled out to short, with Sexson tagging him after Betancourt's wide throw. Anderson took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner.
Betancourt whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball. Reed got ahead 2-0 and later bounced out to second. Torrealba cranked the second pitch over the centerfield fence in front of the hitters' backdrop (418 feet) for some sweet revenge and his first Mariner home run.
»» MARINERS 2, WHITE SOX 1
Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and wound up lightly chopping a 2-2 pitch to the right side, where Orlando came off the mound and threw to first.
Impressive damage control. Perez chopped a 1-2 curve along the first-base line to Felix, who ran to the bag for the out. Iguchi punched a single through the left side. Everett laced the first ptich into shallow centerfield for a single, moving Iguchi to second. Konerko whiffed on an 0-2 death curve low and away. Pierzynski took a 2-2 knee-high fastball over the outside corner.
It's not easy in this game. Bloomquist flew out high to Iguchi on the outfield grass. Ibañez pushed the first pitch past Konerko and into rightfield for a single. Ibañez took off on the 0-2 pitch to Sexson and was out by about five feet. Sexson took a 2-2 fastball over the outer half.
Ouch. Dye flew out on the first pitch to Reed in leftcenter. Blum bounced to the first-base side of the mound, where Felix took care of it. Uribe worked a 1-2 count full before taking a full-count pitch high. Anderson fell behind 0-2 before cranking the 1-2 pitch into the Mariner bullpen. He's not fazed.
»» WHITE SOX 3, MARINERS 2
Perez fell behind 0-2 before bouncing out to second.
Felix Hernandez' line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, 112 pitches (80 strikes)
The wind had already fled the sails. Beltre grounded the second pitch hard to third. Dobbs rolled a second-pitch groundout to third. Betancourt popped high to Konerko in foul ground on the right side.
JJ Putz came in for Felix. Iguchi popped a 2-2 pitch high to rightfield. Everett grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to third. Konerko flew out to Ibañez reaching back on the leftfield track.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
Off the hook. Reed flew out high to Blum near the mound. Torrealba scooped a single into centerfield. Ichiro got behind 0-2 before popping the 2-2 pitch to Blum near the seats on the left side. Bloomquist cranked the second pitch into the leftcenter gap, scoring Torrealba from first.
»» WHITE SOX 3, MARINERS 3
Ibañez popped the second pitch high to Konerko near the tarp in foul ground along the rightfield line.
Orlando Hernandez' line: 8 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 104 pitches (70 strikes)
George Sherrill came in for Putz, though the inning was delayed by Ozzie Guillen asking for Sherrill to tuck the strings into his glove. Pierzynski grounded out to Sexson behind the first-base bag on the first pitch.
Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Dye got ahead 2-0 and wound up shooting a 2-2 double behind the bag at third past Beltre and to the corner for a double. Blum popped to Beltre in foul ground near the seats. Uribe whiffed on a 2-2 pitch.
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)
Cliff Politte came in for Orlando. Sexson popped off the end of the bat to leftfield. Beltre took a 3-1 pitch inside. Dobbs fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 offspeed pitch. Betancourt looped a 1-2 flyout near the rightfield corner.
Clutch damage control. Anderson golfed (one-handed) a 1-2 pitch off the track in centerfield for a double. Perez bunted the first pitch along the third-base line to Mateo, who threw in time to first as Anderson moved to third. Iguchi nearly doubled a 2-2 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, but later whiffed on a pitch over the outer half. Everett whiffed on a 1-2 fastball high and tight.
Yuck. Reed grounded the first pitch to Konerko behind the bag at first. Torrealba popped the second pitch high to Anderson in shallow centerfield, a different result than Sexson's 'tweener earlier in the game. Ichiro whiffed on a 3-0 pitch before popping the next pitch to Blum in foul territory near the bag at third.
Politte's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 26 pitches (15 strikes)
Hanging tough. Konerko fell behind 0-2 before softly lining out to rightfield. Pierzynski lasered a 2-2 pitch past the mound and up the middle, where Bloomquist tried to make the play, but it would have been very late, and luckily he didn't airmail Sexson at first this time. Dye fell behind 0-2 and apparently held a 1-2 checkswing (close) on a ball barely off the outside corner. Dye ended up whiffing on a 2-2 pitch low and off the plate outside. Blum lined the second pitch right to Ichiro.
Mateo's line: 2 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 47 pitches (32 strikes)
Luis Vizcaino came in for Politte. Bloomquist popped the first pitch into foul ground on the right side, where Konerko was blocked by first-base umpire Bob Davidson. Bloomquist later whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low and away. Ibañez popped the second pitch (down and in) to Pierzynski behind the plate. Sexson took an objectionable inside 1-0 pitch for a strike and later popped high to short.
Vizcaino's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (6 strikes)
Jeff Nelson came in for Mateo. Uribe bunted the second pitch along the first-base line, where Nelson came off the mound and tried to throw as he was falling down and threw it past Sexson and down the rightfield line. Uribe had rounded first, and luckily Bloomquist backed up the play and made Uribe dive and swim back to first. Anderson bunted in front of the plate, where Sexson picked it up and threw in time to first.
Eddie Guardado came in for Nelson. Aaron Rowand, hitting for Perez, took a full-count pitch down and in...but for a strike. Iguchi crushed one into the visitors' bullpen, hitting the stairs.
»» WHITE SOX 5, MARINERS 3
Everett lined a 1-2 double into the rightfield corner. Konerko was intentionally walked. Guardado went to his mouth while on the mound and was charged for a first ball to Pierzynski, who later nearly doubled down the rightfield line. Pierzynski finally rolled to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice on the eighth thrown pitch of the at-bat.
Nelson's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
Guardado's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 26 pitches (17 strikes)
Dustin Hermanson came in for Vizcaino. Beltre flew out high to Dye in shallow rightfield. Dobbs flew out to Anderson in the leftcenter gap just short of the track. Dave Hansen, hitting for Betancourt, lined a full-count pitch into centerfield, where Rowand ranged over and made a running catch.
Hermanson's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (5 strikes)
Gameball: JJ Putz.
Though in Texas he threw a perfect inning against the Rangers, it was against the bottom of their lineup, so the competition wasn't top-notch by any stretch of the imagination. Fast-forward to this particular game, and he had to face the second, third, and fourth hitters in the Chicago lineup with the Mariners down one run in the eighth. In other words, he had to face better hitters on a better team with the situation still being sticky. Of course, it does help to pitch in a pitchers' park instead. Anyway, Putz mowed through Tadahito Iguchi, Carl Everett, and Paul Konerko. He didn't get into any really unfavorable counts, though his final two outs were hit pretty hard and I thought Konerko's fly ball was going to sail into the bullpen. Still, Putz entered the inning with a one-run deficit, and he left the inning with only the one-run deficit. It's progress. With a little over a month left in the season, we'll probably end up seeing some mild regress as well, but this could be something for Putz to build on, you never know. Since this guy may or may not be the closer next year, he needs all the progress he can get.
Goat: Greg Dobbs.
Doughnut-for-five. He came to the plate in the second, fourth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth, and all of his at-bats ended with outs. Two of those outs got out of the infield, and both of them were flyouts to left. One of the outs was a whiffer. Those aren't so bad except that the two remaining outs were high flies into foul territory. I guess it just ticks me off that the name for it is "designated hitter" and all the Mariners got was a designated out-maker hitting in Felix's spot. He could have gone 0-for-5 just as easily, though I'm sure all Mariner fans don't want to see Felix have to hit, if only for fear of injury or sprinting out of the box and pulling a groin or whatever. If you were looking for a whole new reason to hate interleague play since Edgar's gone and you don't have to find a way to shoehorn him into the lineup, you have your new reason. I'm going to cringe every time I see Felix step into the batter's box. Anyway, in two of those situations I mentioned earlier, Dobbs came up to the plate with a runner on first and one out. He got ahead 3-0 in the second and popped the 3-1 pitch foul, which is unclutch. In the ninth, he fell behind 0-2 and went down swinging. Designated out.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 91-36 .717 -- W2
2002 76-51 .598 15 W1
2003 76-51 .598 15 L2
2000 70-57 .551 21 L2
2005 54-73 .425 37 L1
2004 47-80 .370 44 W1
Felix first. I don't know if it was just me, but it seemed like the White Sox were more adept than past opponents when it came to fouling off pitches with two strikes, namely the curveball, of which some of the hitters were able to get a piece if they couldn't get it all. The only guy that really got it all was Brian Anderson, who made it happen twice. If all is fair and right in the world, Anderson never does that against Felix ever again and goes hitless in his next 26 at-bats against him. As for the rest of the White Sox, their success was spotty at best against Felix. When all three of the runs scored against him come home on Anderson's homers, that should tell you something about how the rest of the lineup did. Felix did strike Anderson out once, but it definitely wasn't enough to make up for two homers. Though Felix did great once again, the Anderson homer in the bottom of the seventh just took the wind clear out of the sails, and I enjoyed my DiGiorno pizza significantly less as a result. The enjoyment factor decreased exponentially when the game went to extra innings.
For all the guff that I'd given him, Willie Bloomquist shut me up after this game for two reasons, though I won't forget the final game of that Minnesota series for a while. That triple in the eighth bailed Felix out of a loss and also snapped Bloomquist's 0-for-20 slump. In the third inning, he also put down the squeeze bunt to score Yorvit Torrealba and tie the game at a run apiece. The 1-for-4 day bumped his August average slightly up, now at .245. I think that barring a mother of a slump, we're probably relegated to seeing Bloomquist start for the rest of the year. Based on September callups, he might not play second base the entire time, but I'm sure Hargrove will bench Jeremy Reed a couple times and keep Bloomquist in the lineup, not that I'd want it that way. On the other hand, and much to my chagrin, Reed isn't giving Hargrove too much incentive to keep him in the lineup other than for his stellar defense in centerfield. I wonder how much better the Mariners would be right now with a healthy Jeremy Reed hitting .278 in the second slot in the lineup. Instead, what we're seeing is a .252 hitter that's been bumped all the way down to eighth. That's cold, but...he's not doing much. By the way, Reed's hitting .241 this month, and he's hit over .241 in only one month this season, and that was May (.312).
I think Ichiro's suffering from a bit of homer hangover and some grounding balls right to fielders and not finding any holes. In this one, he had the one hit, a hard grounder, a tap to the mound, and two pop fouls (unclutch, those flyouts). Ichiro's hitless games by month and corresponding batting averages in parentheses: four (.356), five (.288), eight (.243), four (.364), seven (.245, in progress). We've heard about Ichiro's wild fluctuations from month to month, and I'm hoping he tears through September, or I'll be a bit angry. Hey, he's only making about $12.5M this year, so no big whoop. After last season and the crazy hit romp, what could have been anyone's realistic expectation of Ichiro? I think I'd have to say about .320. I definitely wouldn't expect .299. I'm glad the Mariners aren't fighting for a playoff spot right now, because I'd be looking at someone in particular down the stretch. I remember what happened in 2003. His worst hitting month of his Major League career was that August, when he hit .242 and followed it up with a .273 September (evidence). As badly as Bret Boone's career tailed off in 2004 and 2005, I will commend him right now for being one of the few Mariners that did anything down the stretch in 2003. If I'm remembering correctly (there's lots of things about that second half that I try to block out), the only other guy that was holding up okay was Randy Winn. To answer any questions, yes, the Mariners did start out the 2003 season by going 42-19, and yes, they did finish it off with a torrid 51-50 stretch. One of the worst sports experiences of my life.
Multi-hit games in this one belonged to Richie Sexson and Yorvit Torrealba. Sexson singled his first time to the plate, and his other single was thanks to miscommunication by the Chicago middle infield and Brian Anderson as the high fly ball landed between all three. Anderson would later find himself in a much better situation. Torrealba, on the other hand, ended up scoring all three of the Mariners' runs in this game. He drove himself in once with his first homer as a Mariner, and Bloomquist drove him in the other two times with the squeeze bunt and the triple. In related news, Torrealba is hitting .325 in his month with the Mariners. He's been starting regularly since the 14th. If you take the totals from there, he's hitting .414 (12-for-29) the past two weeks. There's no way in hell that'll hold up, but wouldn't it be nice if a #9 hitter that's hitting .325 for the month was followed by a leadoff hitter that was hitting something at least a shred more humane than .245 for the month?
What's next? No Felix until next week when the Yankees come to town and we'll see the much-anticipated Randy Johnson/Felix Hernandez matchup. Hey, at least the Mariners only have the next twelve games against the White Sox, Yankees, Angels, and Athletics. It could be worse. Hoping for .500 out of that stretch would be a minor miracle.
Contreras. Piñeiro. Tonight.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Felix Hernandez is pitching tonight against the White Sox.
I may be around tonight, but I may not be. We'll see what happens.
Pray for Felix. Please.
In 25 words or less: With an unquenchable hunger for Major League innings, Jeff Harris lasts long and holds a powerful lineup at bay in a hitters' park.
This one featured Jeff Harris going up against Joaquin Benoit. You know, that's instead of seeing Gil Meche go out there and stink it up for another start. They probably shelved him at least a month too late. It was also quite hot in Texas for this day game.
Two-out ruckus. Ichiro whiffed over an 0-2 pitch. Willie Bloomquist got ahead 2-0 but later whiffed on a high 2-2 pitch. Raul Ibañez fell behind 0-2 but broke out the 9-iron and reached the fourth row in the upper deck on a full count.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Richie Sexson walked on a full-count dirtball away. Adrian Beltre bashed the second pitch into the leftcenter gap and to the wall, scoring Sexson. Michael Young's throw home was much too late to begin with, and it got away from Sandy Alomar, allowing Beltre to move to third.
»» MARINERS 2, RANGERS 0
Greg Dobbs looped a 1-2 flyout to David Dellucci in the gap in leftcenter.
Small jam. David Dellucci worked a 1-2 count full before lining a ball right to Jeremy Reed in centerfield. Michael Young reached and poked a 2-2 single into centerfield. Young stole second on the second pitch to Mark Teixeira thanks to a very high throw to second by Miguel Ojeda. Teixeira got ahead 3-0 and later walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Hank Blalock fell behind 0-2 and tapped a 1-2 pitch back to the mound for a 1-6-3 double play.
Bottom third. Yuniesky Betancourt popped the second pitch lazily to leftfield. Jeremy Reed got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-2 pitch up and away. Miguel Ojeda worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to rightfield.
Imperfect. Alfonso Soriano rocked the first pitch right at Ibañez in leftfield, who had the ball in his glove, but it fell out, allowing Soriano to cruise into second. Kevin Mench bounced out to short with Soriano holding at second. Soriano stole third on the first pitch to Adrian Gonzalez thanks to a wide throw. Gonzalez poked a 2-0 single into shallow centerfield, scoring Soriano.
»» MARINERS 2, RANGERS 1
Gary Matthews, Jr. nearly doubled an 0-2 pitch down the leftfield line, but rolled the next pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play.
The bats froze in the heat. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 before popping high to Michael Young on the outfield grass. Bloomquist chopped to a charging Blalock on the infield grass. Ibañez lasered the second pitch right to Mench a few feet short of the track in rightfield.
Nice. Sandy Alomar, Jr. rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Dellucci flew out high to rightfield. Young worked a 1-2 count full before walking on a very high full-count pitch. Teixeira whiffed horribly at a high 1-2 pitch.
Mowed through. Sexson took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner. Beltre popped the first pitch to Dellucci in fairly deep leftfield. Dobbs sent a 3-1 pitch high into the sky, coming down into Teixeira's glove on the infield grass for Benoit's tenth straight retired hitter.
Very nice. Blalock whiffed on a high 2-2 pitch. Soriano flew out to rightfield on a 1-2 pitch. Mench got ahead 2-0 and later bounced out to second.
Unlucky thirteen. Betancourt bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Reed got behind 0-2 and worked the count full before flying out to leftfield on the eighth pitch. Ojeda flew out to Mench jogging toward the rightcenter gap.
Very quick. Gonzalez looped a flyout into leftfield. Matthews rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Alomar popped the first pitch high to centerfield.
Still nothing. Ichiro bounced out to short. Bloomquist lazily popped an 0-2 pitch to Gonzalez reaching over into the stands. Ibañez lofted a 1-2 pitch to Soriano on the outfield grass, making it sixteen straight retired Mariners for Benoit.
Controlling what little damage there was. Dellucci chopped an 0-2 pitch to second. Young worked a 1-2 count full before hitting a hard liner that shorthopped Ibañez in leftfield for a single, snapping Harris' streak of eight straight retired Texas hitters. Teixeira bounced the first pitch to second for a 4-6-3 double play.
Capitalizing. Sexson bounced the first pitch to short. Beltre got ahead 2-0 before bouncing a full-count pitch to third. Betancourt lined the second pitch to Dellucci in leftfield, who had the ball go off his glove as Dobbs was safe at second on the error, snapping Benoit's streak of eighteen straight retired hitters. Betancourt poked a single into shallow leftfield, scoring Dobbs.
»» MARINERS 3, RANGERS 1
Reed got ahead 2-0 before splintering his bat on a flyout to rightfield.
Benoit's line: 7 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 102 pitches (68 strikes)
Solid and eventful. Blalock singled the first pitch into leftfield, and Bryan Price visited the mound. Soriano cued the first pitch for a flyout to a jogging Ichiro in shallow rightcenter. Mench got ahead 2-0 and later cranked a full-count pitch to the wall in leftfield, where Ibañez leapt to make the grab, and gunned it back to the infield, with the result being a 7-6-3 double play since Blalock had taken off. Of course, 7-6-3 double plays are something we see every day.
Harris' line: 7 innings, 1 run (unearned), 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 94 pitches (59 strikes)
Doug Brocail came in for Benoit. Ojeda bounced a 1-2 pitch to Young at short, who had the ball go off the top of his glove webbing and past him for an error. Ichiro took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner. Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and grounded the 1-2 pitch to the hole on the right side, where Soriano threw behind Brocail running over to cover the bag at first (error), moving Ojeda to second. Ibañez popped out to leftfield. Sexson got ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 pitch low and away.
JJ Putz came in for Harris. Gonzalez took a 2-2 belt-high strike over the outer half. Matthews got ahead 2-0 and chopped a 2-2 pitch behind the mound, where Bloomquist charged and threw over to first. Alomar tapped to the third-base side of the mound, where Putz literally pounced on it with a dive and threw to first.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
Dagger. Beltre laced a hard grounder through the right side for a first-pitch single. Dobbs worked a 1-2 count for a walk on a high full-count pitch. Betancourt bunted the first pitch foul but was successful on the second try, bunting in front of the plate to Alomar, moving Beltre to third and Dobbs to second. Reed was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Ojeda was announced but was pulled back for Dave Hansen.
Justin Thompson came in for Brocail. Jamal Strong, hitting for Hansen, chopped a ball to the left side that found its way to Young, but it was too deep in the hole for any play as Beltre scored and the bases remained loaded.
»» MARINERS 4, RANGERS 1
Ichiro crushed the second pitch about fourteen rows back into the rightfield seats, giving Thompson a rude welcome back to the Majors, and some payback for striking out Ken Griffey, Jr. the first five times he faced him.
»» MARINERS 8, RANGERS 1
Bloomquist grounded to second, where Soriano bobbled the ball but still had time to throw. Ibañez popped out to leftfield.
Brocail's line: 1 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 36 pitches (21 strikes)
Thompson's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in for Putz (Yorvit Torrealba came in for Ojeda and Jamal Strong came in for Ibañez). Phil Nevin, hitting for Dellucci, got ahead 3-0 but ended up whiffing on a full-count pitch over the outer half. Young flew out to the rightfield corner on a 1-2 pitch. Teixeira crushed the second pitch off the wall in the leftcenter gap for a double. Blalock looped the second pitch into shallow leftfield for a single, scoring Teixeira.
»» MARINERS 8, RANGERS 2
Soriano grounded the 0-2 pitch to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (12 strikes)
Gameball: Jeff Harris.
I got way more enjoyment out of this than I would have gotten out of a Gil Meche start. At least this gave me a reason to watch and know that I'd see something new. It turns out that everyone able to watch saw Jeff Harris get his first Major League win. That's no small feat for a 31-year-old rookie who's traveled to bejeezus and back playing baseball and has contributed very meaningful innings in his few appearances this year for the Mariners. If the Mariners are shrewd, this is the type of guy they could get for long relief or the front end of the bullpen on the cheap. He's also hungry to be on the mound, and who wouldn't be after all those bus trips in the minors and/or the independent leagues? It's also fun to watch the guy. He doesn't seem afraid to come after anyone, and he does actually remind me (I've said this before) of Todd Williams, a former Mariner who threw at that kind of angle, and for some reason I see some Tom Davey in him, though I'm not sure exactly why. I'll classify it as an intangible reason. Congrats to Harris, though.
Goat: Willie Bloomquist.
Solid defense, sure. However, he was hitless in five at-bats, striking out once. The Mariners haven't gotten sturdy defense and 0-for-5 nights since...well, since Bret Boone. The Bloomquist counterpart to Bret Boone's 2001 was replicated only twice on the Bloomquist scale in September of 2002 and last July. All other moments in the Bloomquist tenure have been, well, there. Of course, this year has been the only year where he's started regularly for a decent stretch of time. Bloomquist hasn't gotten a hit since singling in the tenth last Saturday and scoring on Richie Sexson's grand slam in Minnesota. What's happened since? He hasn't walked once, which isn't a big deal until you consider that he's 0-for-18 in that stretch of time. Is the honeymoon finally over? Can Rick Rizzs and the Sun finally cash in their chips? After that Minnesota game, Bloomquist's average sat at .278, tied (to three decimal places, anyway) for his high-water mark on the season (not counting early April percentages). He's now at .256, where he hasn't been since after the game on July 5th at Kansas City.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 90-36 .714 -- W1
2003 76-50 .603 14 L1
2002 75-51 .595 15 L2
2000 70-56 .556 20 L1
2005 54-72 .429 36 W1
2004 46-80 .365 44 L4
Though their last loss tumbled them a season-low nineteen games under .500, this win established something positive for the 2005 Mariners -- this is the first time this season that they've been eight games better than the pace of the 2004 Mariners. They'd been hovering at seven games up for the last seven games. That's a lot of seven. The bad news is that these Mariners will have to extend this out to a six-game winning streak to keep their eight-game cushion over the 2004 team, who somehow won five straight games at this point last year. I know we've got blog posts documenting the streak, but offhand I don't remember it. The other bad thing is that the Mariners would have to keep their eight-game cushion by sweeping a home series against the White Sox and taking the first half of the home series with the Yankees. In other words, the wins would have to be in that order and it'd take a 5-2 homestand. Not gonna happen.
It wasn't the absolute toughest of situations, but JJ Putz had a good outing. The mitigating factor is that his 1-2-3 inning came against the bottom third of the Texas lineup, but even with that, he got that good of an inning while holding what was a 3-1 lead. I guess going 2-0 on the number-nine hitter is a bad thing too, but Putz getting a 1-2-3 inning when he's more capable of doing so is better than JJ Putz walking a guy and then giving up a game-tying homer to a guy in the bottom third of the lineup. Yes, in a rocky year for Putz, he came out with a good showing this time. Besides, the entire Northwest region would have been ticked at Putz if he'd have scuffled against the back end of the Ranger lineup and screwed Jeff Harris out of a win. Or at least they should have been if they were paying attention. That plain wouldn't be just, and I'm sure people would react accordingly. The funny thing is that Josh Lewin (yes, Josh Lewin) on the FSNSW broadcast was watching Harris throw out there and said something to the effect of, "Ryan Franklin's gotta be sitting there thinking about how a newbie like Harris can have his way with the Ranger hitters while Franklin" did what he did. Also, Harris had three runs of support when he left the game.
In a way, this was kinda like a less-dominant version of the last Felix game against the Twins, except the Mariners didn't come from behind. However, the pitching did hold up over a long span of time until the bats woke back up in the ninth. Then came the five-run ninth, much like the Sexson grand slam inning in Minnesota. Another difference in this game is that Harris got the win that he so rightfully deserved, whereas Felix in that game got some great numbers, but not a win.
It's a good thing Harris did what he did, because the Mariners couldn't hit Joaquin Benoit for a too-long stretch of time. Benoit retired eighteen straight Mariner hitters, a span stretching from the last out of the first inning all the way to the David Dellucci error in leftfield in the seventh. Benoit went one more hitter until giving up a true hit. So that's eighteen straight retired, and nineteen straight without a hit. Harris had a streak of eight straight retired Ranger hitters, though he went twelve straight hitters without allowing a hit. After the first inning, this game pretty much devolved into a pitchers' duel, which was great in helping the game along at a swimmingly quick fashion (2 hrs, 32 min), and great for me since I get these recaps typed up sooner. Yes, I loves me a quick game these days. If the Mariners are having the stuff beaten out of them with say, Ryan Franklin on the mound that day, the one good thing that would come out of that would be that Franklin works pretty quickly, and even quicker if he's not throwing to first base a billion times. That game would be quick.
Adrian Beltre got the only multi-hit game for the Mariner lineup, hitting a hard single and reaching the fence on a double. He is now hitting .298 on the month with a slugging mark of .607. Twenty-three RBIs is the most Beltre has had in a month, whereas he needs one homer to have a new high for a single month. He's gone hitless in five games this month, and has six multi-hit games, with the other eleven having one hit apiece. He went 5-for-11 in this Arlington series, though curiously without a homer.
Overall, Jeff Harris provided a solid and meaningful start, and it was a welcome sight to all the people who are actually watching the games between Felix starts. Guess what Friday's game is?
Hernandez. Hernandez. Today.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
In 25 words or less: Strangely, seeing Ryan Franklin get throttled every fifth day is sickly satisfying, though it falls a tad short of seeing Felix every fifth day.
This one featured Ryan Franklin going up against Juan Dominguez. To totally rub it in, it was Dog Day in Arlington. Knowing how bad the Mariners have been in August over the years, that just makes it worse. Also, every time someone calls Greg Dobbs by the name of "Dobber," my soul withers away little by little. Not really. I just get infuriated. It's a cheap nickname. Even D-O-double-bizzle-S would be better.
Not totally horrible, but still the same result. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outer half. Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and later hit a line drive to rightfielder Kevin Mench, who ran toward the track to make the catch. Raul Ibañez nearly doubled down the rightfield line on a 1-1 pitch, but worked the 1-2 count for a walk (pitch low and away) instead. Richie Sexson ripped a single into centerfield, moving Ibañez to second. Adrian Beltre chopped the first pitch to first, where Mark Teixeira ran to the bag.
That other team scored first. David Dellucci clubbed the 3-1 pitch to the gap in leftcenter, and Jeremy Reed leapt near the wall to make the catch. Michael Young bounced out to third. Mark Teixeira fell behind 0-2 but ended up pounding a high 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Hank Blalock reached for a low 0-2 pitch, flaring it into shallow centerfield for a single, scoring Dellucci.
»» RANGERS 1, MARINERS 0
Alfonso Soriano flew out high to centerfield on a 1-2 pitch.
Nothing again. Jeremy Reed popped a 2-0 pitch high to Young in shallow leftfield. Mike Morse flew out to centerfield on a 2-2 pitch. Greg Dobbs got the hitters' counts and flew out to centerfield on the 3-1 pitch.
There goes the game. Kevin Mench drilled the second pitch up the middle for a single. Adrian Gonzalez walloped the first pitch to the wall in the rightcenter gap for a double, easily scoring Mench.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 0
Gary Matthews, Jr. grounded to first for a 3-1 putout, moving Gonzalez to third. Rod Barajas fisted an 0-2 blooper into rightfield for a single, scoring Gonzalez.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 0
Dellucci ripped the first pitch down the rightfield line for a double, scoring Matthews and moving Barajas to third.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 0
Young got the hitters' counts before taking a full-count breaking ball low and away. Teixeira flew out high behind the plate near the screen to Torrealba on the second pitch. Blalock got ahead 2-0 and wound up grounding hard into a 5-4 fielder's choice.
Effortless. Yorvit Torrealba whiffed on a 1-2 low pitch. Ichiro fouled off three 1-2 pitches before serving a flyout into leftfield. Bloomquist bounced the second pitch to short.
Slow, but less damaging. Soriano lined the second pitch into leftfield for a single. After Soriano was nearly picked off on the fifth throw over to first, Mench ripped a broken-bat 2-2 line drive right to Beltre's glove at third. Gonzalez popped the second pitch to rightfield. Pickoff throws be damned, Soriano stole second on the first pitch to Matthews, who ended up falling behind 0-2. Matthews popped a 1-2 pitch between Beltre, Morse, and Ibañez along the leftfield line in foul territory before grounding a full-count pitch (Franklin's 61st overall) hard to second.
Watching, but no hitting. Ibañez was robbed, grounding a 2-0 pitch hard near short, where Young made a sliding stop and throw in time to first. Sexson bounced a 2-2 pitch to Soriano on the outfield grass. Beltre took a four-pitch walk, snapping Dominguez' stretch of nine straight retired hitters. Reed also took a four-pitch walk, prompting an obligatory visit from pitching coach Orel Hershiser. Morse took Dominguez' ninth straight ball before bouncing to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice.
Decent. Barajas whiffed on a 1-2 slider half a foot off the plate. Dellucci rolled a 2-2 pitch to second, Franklin's fifth straight retired hitter. Young fell behind 0-2, took a 1-2 pitch barely off the outside corner, then rolled the next pitch up the middle, where Morse dove to stop it, but had no play. Teixeira chopped a 2-0 pitch right to Sexson, who ran to the bag.
Why even play? Dobbs fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch for a 3-1 putout. Torrealba worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and reached low and away for a 1-2 popout to left. Bloomquist flew out high near the rightfield line on the first pitch.
One final batch of suck. Blalock popped a 3-1 pitch high to centerfield. Soriano knocked the second pitch into leftfield for a single. Mench crushed a homer four rows into the seats above the leftfield scoreboard.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 0
Gonzalez flew out to a running Ibañez in shallow leftfield. Matthews bounced a 3-1 pitch to second.
Franklin's line: 5 innings, 6 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 96 pitches (64 strikes)
Run! Ibañez took a four-pitch walk. Sexson got under a 1-2 pitch, flying out high to centerfield. Beltre rocked the first pitch barely over the glove of Dellucci and off the leftfield scoreboard for a double, scoring Ibañez.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 1
Reed popped out very high to Teixeira on the infield. Morse crushed a 2-2 pitch deep and foul before whiffing on a pitch over the outside corner.
Dominguez' line: 6 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts, 102 pitches (59 strikes)
Clint Nageotte came in for Franklin. Barajas flew out high to centerfield on the second pitch. Dellucci bounced the first pitch to second. Young worked a 1-2 count full before grounding to short, where Morse made a somewhat high and wide throw on which Sexson was able to stretch and keep the foot on the bag, though quite treacherously.
John Wasdin came in for Dominguez. Dobbs cranked the second pitch into centerfield for a single. Torrealba laced the second pitch into the hole on the left side for a single, moving Dobbs to second. Ichiro popped a 2-0 pitch near the leftfield line as the runners held. Bloomquist chopped out to third as Dobbs moved to third and Torrealba moved to second. Ibañez popped out to Young in shallow leftfield.
Nageotte didn't look too bad. Teixeira walked on a full-count dirtball. Blalock dropped a 3-1 pitch in front of Ibañez in leftfield for a single, moving Teixeira to second. Soriano shot a hard grounder to third for a 5-4-3 double play, though Teixeira did advance to third on the play. Mench whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball.
No signs of life. Sexson grounded the first pitch to third. Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outer half. Reed got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a belt-high 2-2 pitch.
One last ounce of suck. Gonzalez poked the first pitch into the leftfield corner for a double. Matthews swing-bunted along the first-base line, where Nageotte threw in time to first on a tough play. Barajas roped a double into leftfield near the corner, scoring Gonzalez.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 1
Dellucci tapped back to the mound, where Nageotte originally dropped it, but had time to still get the out at first. With the count 0-1 on Young, trainer Rick Griffin was summoned to the mound, but the decision was to leave Nageotte out there. Young looped a 1-2 pitch into shallow rightfield, scoring Barajas.
»» RANGERS 8, MARINERS 1
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Nageotte. Teixeira grounded the second pitch up the middle, but it was too deep and Bloomquist had no play as Young moved to second. Blalock looped a flyout to Ibañez near the line on the second pitch.
Nageotte's line: 2 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 43 pitches (27 strikes)
Hasegawa's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (3 strikes)
Not even a whimper. Morse flew out to shallow centerfield on the first pitch. Dobbs popped the second pitch to Young on the infield. Dave Hansen, hitting for Torrealba, flew out to Soriano in shallow rightfield. Ballgame.
Wasdin's line: 3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 26 pitches (17 strikes)
Gameball: Yorvit Torrealba.
He's batting .246 for the year, but he's gotten more at-bats this month than in any other month this season. Though he's at .246 this year, he's hitting .297 as a Mariner. Sure, he only has one extra-base hit in his short tenure in Seattle (and that does predictably leave his slugging percentage lower than his on-base percentage), but his 11-for-37 is something the Mariners have been looking for all year in the catcher slot since not having offensive punch from Dan Wilson or Miguel Olivo (though Wiki Gonzalez had some moments). The bottom line is that although .297 is unrealistically high for him to sustain, he'll get a hit here and there, and that's more than what the Mariners had been getting from the guy with the gear. His numbers are even better if you cut off the first week or so of the month where he wasn't starting regularly, but I don't feel like busting out any sort of calculator or anything, but it probably gets his average over .300 for the month. I've checked his numbers to second what I heard on the broadcast, and it's true -- Torrealba has three passed balls in his 224-game career. Makes you miss Olivo, doesn't it?
Goat: Ryan Franklin.
He's been hilariously bad since coming off the suspension. Abracadabra...how does 19 runs in 15 1/3 innings grab ya? Thirty-three hits combined in the three starts? If you haven't seen the numbers already, and if you happen to be at work, conduct a friendly wager right now as to what Franklin's post-suspension ERA is. Go on, don't be afraid. Losers buy doughnuts, lunch, coffee, get the last pick in every round for the fantasy football draft, whatever. I'll reveal the answer at the end of the paragraph. As for this game in particular, everyone watching saw that Clint Nageotte was warming up in the bullpen in the second inning. This of course reminded me of the good ol' days of when John Halama would put a runner or two on in the first inning, and Lou Piniella would warm a Brett Tomko or someone up in the first inning since Halama probably didn't even know the reason he was in Piniella's doghouse. One thing that I found incredibly hilarious was the exchange in the third inning after Alfonso Soriano got aboard. He took five pickoff throws to first with Mench at the plate, stayed at first after Gonzalez flew out, took a couple more pickoff throws, then got a massive jump on Franklin and nabbed second base on the first actual pitch to Matthews. Just hilarious. The answer to the ERA question, by the way...11.15 is your grand total.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 89-36 .712 -- L1
2003 76-49 .608 13 W2
2002 75-50 .600 14 L1
2000 70-55 .560 19 W1
2005 53-72 .424 36 L3
2004 46-79 .368 43 L3
Big hooray to the 2000 Mariners, who at this point in their season snapped their mother of an eight-game losing streak. As for this year's Mariners, they better hurry up and piece something together since their 2004 counterparts are a game or two away from reeling off a five-game winning streak that I don't remember at all since the season sucked so much.
The Mariners got only four hits, but got five walks. The translation there is that if Juan Dominguez was throwing strikes, the Mariners were screwed. Dominguez allowed the five walks and two of the Mariners' four hits over his six innings of work. His walks, however, weren't overly devastating in retrospect. Raul Ibañez walked, but with two out in the first. When Dominguez had the plate disappear in the fourth when he threw nine straght balls, Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Reed were both walked with two out. Torrealba walked in the fifth with one out, and that could have gone somewhere if Ichiro and Bloomquist would have managed to do anything. Ibañez walked on four pitches to lead off the sixth and came around to score on Beltre's double that barely eluded the grasp of David Dellucci. Basically, the Mariners only burned Dominguez on one of his five walks. Thank goodness they drove in the runner that got the four-pitch leadoff walk. That's always a good thing to know you can do. Other than the sixth, the Mariners didn't really have any good scoring chances, i.e., runners in scoring position with less than two out.
Then came the seventh, which nearly turned out as the opposite of Tuesday's game. Opposite not in result, but parts of the lineup involved. Greg Dobbs and Torrealba greeted John Wasdin with singles to lead off the seventh, and the lineup turned over. Ichiro flew out on a 2-0 pitch, Bloomquist grounded to third, and Ibañez popped on the infield. Not only were those outs untimely, none of those balls were hit hard. Also, and I'm not sure if it'll develop a trend, but Ichiro homered in the first game of the series, and the two outs he made were in the air (also had an infield single and a walk). The next day (this game), he led off with a strikeout and flew out the following three times. I don't know if the trend will hold up, and I have absolutely no evidence from the past for it to hold up, but I've told myself over the years that after Ichiro hits a homer, he starts trying to lift everything for a while, and the result is an abundance of flyouts. The bad thing about that, of course, is that he can't beat out flyouts with his running speed. He just needs to hit the ball squarely or just bounce it somewhere, then run.
On the next episode of Ultimate Devil's Advocate, if you're a hitter for the Mariners, do you get the other eight hitters in the lineup to just lay down from here on out every time Ryan Franklin takes the mound? Moreover, I'd have to think that Ultimate Devil's Advocate would be an absolutely awesome reality show. Unless the idea's already taken and I just forgot or don't know what the show is.
The Mariners look to get back to within five games of third place this midday. The best-case scenario going into this series was to be a game back of the Rangers afterward, but it's too bad the Mariners are getting taken to the woodshed by the Rangers. The most unnerving thing is when you know that this is a hitters' park and then you see Sexson in the first game of the series mashing two balls that don't quite get over the fence. Dumb freakin' luck. Two solo shots could have made a huge difference in that game, but oh well. As for the rest of the offense, they've barely had any sustained pressure through the whole series, and when they do finally get the runners on base, not a lot is happening. It's a bit frustrating.
Harris. Benoit. Today.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
In 25 words or less: There are times when your team gets clobbered and times when your team is totally unclutch. The latter happened in this game.
[posted in full Wed ~8:49p]
This one featured Jamie Moyer going up against Chris Young, who is tall. The Mariners entered the game a mere four games behind the Texas Rangers for third place in the AL West. Could they get any closer?
Early dentage. Ichiro lofted the second pitch about twelve rows into the rightfield seats just inside the foul pole.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a very low 2-2 changeup. Raul Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and later flew out high to Mark Teixeira on the infield. Richie Sexson walloped the 2-2 pitch high off the scoreboard in leftfield for a double, narrowly missing a homer. Adrian Beltre popped a 2-2 pitch to the track in leftfield.
Decent enough. Gary Matthews, Jr. grounded hard to third. Michael Young popped to rightfield. Mark Teixeira pounded a double into the leftfield corner. Hank Blalock got ahead 3-1 and wound up taking a fastball over the outer half.
No threat. Jeremy Reed rolled out to second. Greg Dobbs fouled a 2-2 pitch into the catcher's glove for a strikeout. Yuniesky Betancourt roped a 1-2 pitch into leftfield for a single. Yorvit Torrealba flew out to the leftfield corner on the second pitch.
There goes the slim lead. Alfonso Soriano got ahead 2-0 and later took a full-count pitch inside for a walk. Kevin Mench fell behind 0-2 and plunked a 1-2 pitch over Betancourt and into centerfield for a single. Phil Nevin got the hitters' counts and flew out high to Ibañez in shallow leftfield. Rod Barajas lasered a single over Betancourt and into centerfield for a single, scoring Soriano and moving Mench to second.
»» RANGERS 1, MARINERS 1
Mark DeRosa reached for a 1-2 pitch outside and rolled it to short for a 6-4-3 double play.
Ho hum. Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before flying out high to centerfield. Bloomquist got ahead 2-0 before taking a full-count pitch low and inside, but called for a strike. Ibañez bounced a 1-2 pitch behind the bag at first for a 3-1 putout.
Matthews bounced the second pitch back to the mound. Young rolled a single into centerfield. Teixeira lined a 1-2 pitch to Reed in centerfield. Blalock got ahead 2-0 and bounced the 2-2 pitch to short.
Yecch. Sexson got ahead 2-0 and wound up flying out in front of the wall to centerfield, again barely missing a homer. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Reed rolled an 0-2 pitch deep into the hole on the right side where Soriano got a glove on it, but it ricocheted away, going for a single. Reed stole second on an 0-1 pitch to Dobbs, thanks to a high throw. Dobbs ended up popping a 2-2 pitch high to Blalock in foul ground along the left side.
Knot untying. Soriano worked a 1-2 count full before flying out to shallow centerfield. Mench lined the first pitch into the first row of rightfield seats.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 1
Nevin lined the second pitch to a running Ibañez in leftfield. Barajas lined out to Reed.
Monotonous. Betancourt whiffed on a 1-2 pitch up and in. Torrealba whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and in. Ichiro fouled off nine pitches with two strikes on him before finally walking on the fifteenth pitch of the at-bat, which was inside with Ichiro's tucked-in half-swing that probably could have gone the other way. Pitching coach Orel Hershiser visited the mound. Ichiro was gunned down at second by Barajas on the second pitch to Bloomquist.
Young's line: 5 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 100 pitches (68 strikes)
Decent. DeRosa got ahead 3-1 before driving a single into leftfield with a full count. Matthews flew out high to Reed in leftcenter on a full count. Young rolled the second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, and DeRosa tried scoring from first, but was beaten at home on the relay throw from Betancourt, which had DeRosa by about seven feet. Young went to third on the play. Teixeira was walked intentionally. Blalock flew out high to Sexson just beside the move.
Kameron Loe came in for Young. Bloomquist fouled a 2-1 pitch off his left ankle, bringing trainers out of the dugout. Bloomquist wound up bouncing out to second. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 low sinker. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 sinker over the inner half.
Soriano poked a 2-2 outside pitch into centerfield for a single. Mench fell behind 0-2 and lined a 2-2 pitch into leftfield for a single with Soriano going on the pitch. On the play, Ibañez came up throwing as Soriano ran full steam toward third, and he got there in time. Nevin drove a 3-1 pitch into the gap in rightcenter to score Soriano and Mench.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 1
Julio Mateo came in for Moyer. Barajas bunted the first pitch in front of the plate to Torrealba, who threw to third, and the throw was in time, but Beltre couldn't get the tag down on Nevin. DeRosa whiffed on a full-count pitch down and away. Matthews grounded the second pitch up the middle to Betancourt, who stepped on the second-base bag to start a 6-3 double play.
Moyer's line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 10 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 102 pitches (55 strikes)
Almost. Beltre reached for a 1-2 pitch a bit low and away and put it down the leftfield line and into the corner for for a double. Reed bounced the second pitch to second, moving Beltre to third. Dobbs stroked the first pitch into the rightcenter gap for a double, easily scoring Beltre and bringing pitching coach Orel Hershiser to the mound.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 2
Betancourt fouled an 0-2 pitch off the ground and off his face before whiffing. Dave Hansen got ahead 3-0 and ended up walking on a low and away 3-1 pitch.
Steve Karsay came in for Loe. Ichiro bounced a ball deep in the hole on the left side, where Young tried to throw over to second, but it was late and wide for an error. Dobbs scored. Hansen was safe at second, as was Ichiro at first.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 3
Bloomquist softly lined a 1-2 pitch to Soriano's glove, at foot level.
Loe's line: 1 2/3 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 34 pitches (22 strikes)
In the field, Miguel Ojeda came in for Torrealba. Young grounded the first pitch to short. Teixeira drilled the second pitch for a line drive over the rightfield fence.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 3
Blalock flew out to leftfield on the first pitch. Soriano flew out to Bloomquist in shallow rightfield on the second pitch.
Mateo's line: 2 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (12 strikes)
Not enough. Ibañez lined a 1-2 pitch near the rightfield corner for a double. Sexson took a 3-0 strike a few inches off the plate outside before taking the next pitch high for a walk. Beltre fell behind 0-2 before reaching for a pitch about a foot outside, but doubling it down the rightfield line, scoring Ibañez and moving Sexson to third.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 4
Brian Shouse came in for Karsay. Reed tapped back to the mound.
Francisco Cordero came in for Shouse. Mike Morse, hitting for Dobbs, whiffed on a 1-2 fastball inside. Betancourt took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Karsay's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 19 pitches (12 strikes)
Shouse's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (2 strikes)
Jeff Nelson came in for Mateo. Mench checkswung bunted the second pitch to a charging Bloomquist near the grass. Nevin got the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count frisbee outside. Barajas whiffed on a 1-2 pitch that got past Ojeda, allowing Nevin to scoot over to second.
Matt Thornton came in for Nelson. David Dellucci, hitting for DeRosa, grounded the first pitch to Sexson in the hole to the right side, where Sexson moved over and threw wide to first, allowing Nevin to score, though it looked like Thornton might have been a bit late covering first.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 4
Matthews took the second pitch, which went straight off of Ojeda's glove and to the backstop (passed ball), allowing Dellucci to move to second. Matthews later took a 1-2 pitch down the pipe.
Nelson's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run (unearned), 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
Thornton's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 6 pitches (5 strikes)
Ojeda got ahead 3-1 and later took a pitch low and away for a walk. Ichiro popped a 2-0 pitch to Blalock in front of the third-base dugout. Bloomquist looped an 0-2 pitch to Mench in rightfield. Ibañez grounded to first. Ballgame.
Cordero's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 24 pitches (14 strikes)
Gameball: Adrian Beltre.
Someone's having probably his best month of the season. His .286 August batting average may not be the highest of the season, but the .597 slugging percentage beats the pants off any other month this season for the ex-Dodger. Moreover, he has six homers in August, which hopefully he exceeds in the next week for his best homer month. His 21 RBIs in August has already exceeded his RBI totals for any other month this season. The results tonight were good, and I have to focus on the good since he reached for both of the pitches on which he hit doubles. He reached for the double down the leftfield line, and he reached a foot outside for the double that went down the rightfield line. I guess the one thing that'd make me happy about the double down the rightfield line is that he went the other way with it. That's good, I guess. I'd like to not see him reach and roll balls over or swing at crap out of the zone, but hey, the results for August speak for themselves. As an added bonus, he can also keep Ryan Franklin in check. Who knew they'd get that as part of the five years and $64M?
Goat: Willie Bloomquist.
He had the banner night of any Mariner that played a full game in the starting lineup by going 0-for-5 with a couple of strikeouts. His only at-bat in a key situation was when he poked a ball into Soriano's glove at second with two on and two out in the seventh, and with the Mariners having just gotten to within one run at 4-3. Bloomquist hit .319 in July, and is cooling at a .271 clip for August. He has four doubles (after six in July) and a triple this month. He hasn't homered this month. Actually, he hasn't homered in any month. Warning-track power might be a stat worth keeping for this guy. Of course, if we told ourselves that Bloomquist's game was centered in any way around balls in the air, that'd be horribly wrong. It'd probably be wrong if we said Bloomquist's game depended on line drives too. I think his game is either shooting balls just over the infield or beating out grounders. That's about it. I'm still mildly shocked that a pennant-race team out there didn't convince themselves that Bloomquist would be of some value to their team. It's not just me wanting him out of Seattle, it's me wishing that the media overhype might have leaked into offices of GMs across the country.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 89-35 .718 -- W2
2002 75-49 .605 14 W1
2003 75-49 .605 14 W1
2000 69-55 .556 20 L8
2005 53-71 .427 36 L2
2004 46-78 .371 43 L2
Yes, that's one game further from third place (Rangers) for the 2005 Mariners. In past news, the 2000 Mariners were going through the throes of an eight-game megaskid at this point five years ago that made me question all that I knew about life and the universe at large. They turned out pretty well by the time the playoffs rolled around.
This game really was almost unbearable to watch. The Mariners got an early lead and saw it fritter away in the second. The tie was broken in the fourth, and that turned out to be it. It's just that the Rangers had an answer for everything the Mariners did. Conversely, the Mariner pitchers had no luck holding the score in place after their offense had brought them closer to the Rangers. I guess the sad thing would be that the Mariners really didn't have any true scoring chances until the seventh. Yuniesky Betancourt whiffed with Greg Dobbs on second and one out with the score 4-2, and that wasn't clutch. Dave Hansen walked, so that wasn't bad. Ichiro hit a nicely placed grounder, which was good. Willie Bloomquist got a bit unlucky, and needed a little mroe lift on his ball to tie it for the Mariners or at least advance runners.
What really killed it all was the eighth. First off, Julio Mateo gave up the laser beam of a homer to Mark Teixeira, so that made for a bigger hill to climb. The Mariners appeared unfazed, with Adrian Beltre's double bringing the Mariners within a run again at 5-4 and putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. What a bad time for the 6-7-8 hitters to come to the plate. One of these days, these three hitters will come through at the same time for the Mariners, but this wasn't the night for Jeremy Reed, Mike Morse, and Yuniesky Betancourt, who were a tap to the mound and two strikeouts away from bailing the Rangers out of the threat. When Miguel Ojeda's passed ball moved Phil Nevin to second in the bottom half of the eighth, that pretty much threw dirt on the grave after Richie Sexson threw wide to first. Ojeda's leadoff walk in the ninth didn't really make up for his gaffe in the eighth, though it just looked bad and didn't figure into any run-scoring. He just plum didn't catch one of the pitches.
In this game of horrible unclutchness, the Mariners got multi-hit games from Ichiro and Beltre (gameball). Ichiro went 2-for-4 with the leadoff homer in the first, an infield single in the whirlwind seventh, and a walk. The game propelled Ichiro's average to .304. Beltre's two doubles on very imperfect pitches put his average at .261. Other extra-base hits in the game came on doubles by Sexson and Raul Ibañez. In offensive offensive news, Betancourt went for the hat trick, striking out three times.
You know what a disturbing trend is lately? Mariner starting pitchers not named Felix have been allowing double-digit hits in their starts. There's no way anyone can spin that into anything good, I don't care what they say. If you give up ten or more hits and you haven't gotten into the seventh, I'd have to say you've more than likely had a bad start. Jamie Moyer gave up ten hits in his five-plus innings in this game, but the whole thing just served to put more credence into the whole home-road split thing, which is grossly gross at this point.
Can the Mariners keep their chances for a series win? Can they get back to within four games of third place?
Franklin. Dominguez. Tonight.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Which brings up the next point. I can't promise that I'll have daily game threads up for the rest of the season. Being back in school does take a little time away from this site. Priorities, folks. Priorities. And I'm not talking exclusively about the schoolwork either. Heh.
Gotta run for now. Game thread is early, again. So be it.
Monday, August 22, 2005
(ABC; blacked out in 75-mile radius of Seattle)
Can you believe this?
I've always considered the NFL's blackout rules to be asinine. The fact that an EXHIBITION GAME is being BLACKED OUT in the Seattle area makes my point even more valid than it already was. Please save me the "Seattle fans aren't real fans" b.s. There's no reason to deny anybody in the Seattle area from seeing the Seahawks on television tonight. Keep in mind that the ticket prices for exhibition games are the same prices during the regular season as well. As much as I love football, I'm not paying full price to watch an exhibition game.
THAT'S RIGHT, NFL, I JUST SAID EXHIBITION. TAKE THAT.
Anyways, I'm officially in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I'm done with classes today, but I'm pretty busy right now. So the blogging on my end will be a little lighter than usual. No, I'm not going to apologize for that, heh.
Yes, this game thread is a little early. But between now and 7 p.m. Central, I'm pretty busy. It's all good though, because I should be able to watch the game tonight. Hey, it's not often that the Seahawks are on television in this state, so I have to make the most of the few opportunities that I have.
Stay cool. Rock out. Do whatever the hell you feel.
My life is up and running again. Thank God.
Sports and Bremertonians did turn two years of age last Wednesday, and since I had the Mariner post to do, and also since Jeremy pretty much said everything that I could think of at that time regarding our two-year longevity, I just sat back.
Well, we turned two years old on Wednesday, but we also got our 200,000th visitor some time last Thursday. I know there are sites out there that just rake in hits at a much more crazy pace than us, but 200 grand is mighty good for us. The way I look at it, I'm surprised anyone wants the opinions of some Bremerton guys, let alone 200 thousand.
Over the past few months, it even appears that we've gotten regular readers who drop in some comments and keep us entertained. Thanks to all of you who read and/or comment. It's fun stuff. It used to be that I'd look at the stat counter, see that we had 250 hits for a day, then look at the empty comment boxes and say, "surely there isn't something stupid I've said that would tick someone off to the point where they'd drop a visceral comment about it?"
Much like Jeremy said last week, I would also like to thank everyone that ushered us gently into the 'sphere in the winter of 2003-04 during the main Mariner blogosphere boom. We sure had a lot to talk about back then, didn't we? There was a few months' worth of delay between when we started this whole thing and when we started getting linked into the rest of the group. The good thing about that is we'd had a few months' worth of "seasoning" before the glut of readers came in to see what this whole B's thingie was about. That doesn't mean we went back and deleted everything on this blog that was pre-November of 2003. All of that stuff is still there, warts and all. Yes, you the Sports and B's reader can see how the blog matured into what it currently is. There was even a time when I knew how to put together a short post. I think I stopped doing that because I was usually just saying "hey, this happened," and then not really putting as many thoughts into it as I'd later liked to have done, if that makes any sense.
How long will this last? Beats me. As long as it can possibly last, I guess. It's survived weeks-long absences by the both of us (months-long from me), so we've got that going for longevity purposes. If this all ended right now, I'd be glad that we'd started this thing on the day that Rafael Soriano mowed down Nomar Garciaparra, and that we've taken it this far. The body of work in sheer quantity (what of mine is really quality?) is pretty amazing. I scroll all the way down the sidebar and see the archive, and it's long. I know either one of us can go back into the options or preferences somewhere and just make the archives by month, but that's no fun.
To our readers and everyone who's helped us along, I (and we) thank you.
We now resume to everything you've come to know and possibly love about Sports and Bremertonians...
Sunday, August 21, 2005
In 25 words or less: Much like yesterday's game, the Mariners' hopes turned quickly. Unlike yesterday's game, the result wasn't a win or anything close to it.
This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Brad Radke. Would we see the Joel Piñeiro that's been surprisingly good the last three times on the mound? Would we see the other one that really sucks? Is it scary that his last start lowered his ERA to 5.56?
Dent that scoreboard. Ichiro grounded the first pitch hard to second. Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and fouled the 1-2 pitch off his leg before nubbing the 2-2 pitch to second. Raul Ibañez smacked a 3-1 pitch for a line-drive homer over the centerfield fence.
»» MARINERS 1, TWINS 0
Richie Sexson got whiffed on a 3-1 low slider before taking a slider too low and away for a walk. Adrian Beltre looped a 1-2 flyout to shallow leftfield.
Weird inning. Shannon Stewart lined a single into leftfield. Nick Punto got ahead 2-0 and later grounded to second for a 4-6-3 double play. Joe Mauer fell behind 0-2 and later blooped a ball along the leftfield line and toward the bullpen. Ibañez proved to be a zoo on the ball under various seats in the bullpen, and Mauer somehow got to third on the play. Matthew LeCroy blooped a single that dropped in front of Ichiro in rightfield and bounced over his head, scoring Mauer.
»» TWINS 1, MARINERS 1
Lew Ford lined out to rightfield, though Ichiro came in and fell backwards making the catch.
Not too good. Jeremy Reed bounced the second pitch off the rightfield baggie for a double. Greg Dobbs popped the second pitch to Punto in shallow rightfield. With the count 1-2 on Yuniesky Betancourt, Radke stepped off and caught Reed in a rundown, but it ended with Punto dropping the ball as Reed got back to second safely. Betancourt chopped a 1-2 pitch to short which was picked by LeCroy at first as Reed for some reason took off on the ball hit to the left side and ended up on third. Yorvit Torrealba whiffed on a high 0-2 pitch.
Deuces wild. Jacque Jones ripped the second pitch through the right side for a single. Michael Cuddyer popped a 2-0 pitch very high to centerfield. Mike Redmond chopped the 1-2 pitch to short, where Betancourt stepped on the bag and threw over for the 6-3 double play.
Too quick. Ichiro rolled out to Punto in the hole on the right side. Bloomquist chopped up the middle to Punto, who went to the backhand and threw in time to first. Ibañez popped the second pitch high to rightfield.
Decent. Jason Bartlett smoked a 2-0 pitch into the leftcenter gap, but Reed came down with the catch. Stewart got ahead 3-0 and flew out high to leftfield on a full count. Punto bunted to the left side, where Piñeiro pounced on the ball and one-hopped a throw to first, but it was in time to beat the head-first sliding Punto.
Surprise. Sexson grounded a 2-0 pitch hard to second. Beltre drilled a hard grounder to short on the first pitch. Reed walked on four pitches. Dobbs got ahead 2-0 and wound up smashing a pitch into the upper deck in rightfield. Yes, upper deck.
»» MARINERS 3, TWINS 1
Betancourt popped out to LeCroy behind the bag at first.
Weird again. Mauer laced a single through the left side. LeCroy popped a 2-2 pitch high to Ibañez on the track in leftfield, and Ibañez was able to nail Mauer trying to advance to second. Ford chopped the 1-2 pitch to third, but he beat out Beltre's throw to first. Jones got ahead 3-0 and whiffed on a full-count curve (2-3 putout).
Quick again. Torrealba whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Ichiro whiffed hopelessly on a 1-2 dirtball. Bloomquist popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow rightfield.
Someone was leaving pitches up. Cuddyer lined the second pitch into the rightcenter gap for a double. Redmond nubbed the first pitch under a diving Betancourt and into centerfield for a single, scoring Cuddyer.
»» MARINERS 3, TWINS 2
Bartlett flew out to centerfield on the second pitch. Stewart roped the first pitch to the leftfield fence for a double, moving Redmond to third. Punto chopped the first pitch to second, moving Redmond across and Stewart to third.
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 3
Mauer was intentionally walked. LeCroy poked the second pitch through the right side for a single, scoring Stewart and moving Mauer to second.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 3
Ford bashed the first pitch just over the fence in leftfield.
»» TWINS 7, MARINERS 3
Jones grounded the first pitch to second as Bloomquist stumbled while throwing to first.
That's a way to fight back. Ibañez grounded hard to first. Sexson smoked the second pitch back to the mound, where Radke threw with ample time to first. Beltre reached on an 0-2 pitch and rolled out to short.
More carnage. Cuddyer whiffed on a 1-2 curve low and away. Redmond bounced an 0-2 pitch to short. Bartlett shot a double down the leftfield line. Stewart singled to rightfield on the first pitch, and Bartlett ran through the stop sign at third and ended up scoring thanks to Ichiro's offline throw.
»» TWINS 8, MARINERS 3
Matt Thornton came in for Piñeiro. Punto walked on four pitches. Mauer took the first pitch for a ball, prompting Bryan Price to visit the mound. Mauer got the hitters' counts and took the 3-1 pitch way up and in, loading the bases. LeCroy whiffed weirdly on a high 0-2 pitch.
Piñeiro's line: 5 2/3 innings, 8 runs, 13 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 83 pitches (55 strikes)
Thornton's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 12 pitches (4 strikes)
In the field, Justin Morneau came in for LeCroy. Reed fell behind 0-2 and later whiffed on a full-count pitch up and away. Dobbs fell behind 0-2 and scooped a 2-2 pitch for a single into centerfield. Betancourt grounded a 1-2 pitch up the middle to a diving Bartlett, who started the 6-4-3 double play.
Radke's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 106 pitches (68 strikes)
Clint Nageotte came in for Thornton. Ford took the first pitch over his head and to the backstop, and Nageotte was tossed immediately.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Nageotte. Ford flew out to fairly deep centerfield on a 2-0 pitch. Jones grounded the second pitch to the third-base side, and Hasegawa fielded and threw in time to first. Cuddyer fell behind 0-2 and wound up grounding a full-count pitch into the hole on the left side, where Betancourt nearly made a nice play, but Cuddyer beat the throw. Redmond singled through the right side, moving Cuddyer to second. Bartlett grounded to Sexson behind the bag at first, who jogged to the bag.
Nageotte's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (0 strikes)
Hasegawa's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (11 strikes)
JC Romero came in for Radke. Torrealba popped out to Punto in shallow rightfield. Ichiro got the hitters' counts and chopped the 3-1 pitch to first. Bloomquist popped the second pitch to shallow rightfield.
Romero's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches (5 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Hasegawa. Stewart worked a 1-2 count full before having the knob of the bat come in contact with a ball up and in, but it somehow went for a groundout to first. Punto poked a 2-0 pitch down the leftfield line for a double. Mauer was intentionally walked. Morneau splintered his bat on a line drive, but Bloomquist climbed the ladder to snare the ball. Ford whiffed on a 1-2 dirtball low and away.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
Juan Rincon came in for Romero. Ibañez walked on a full-count pitch low and away. Sexson fell behind 0-2 and later took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Beltre popped the first pitch to Ford running in to shallow center. Reed got ahead 2-0 and flew out to Ford in leftcenter on a full count. Ballgame.
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (9 strikes)
Gameball: Greg Dobbs.
The Mariners only had one hitter with a multi-hit game today, and I'll be damned if it wasn't Greg Dobbs turning in his best performance of the season. In his second game after being called up from Tacoma, Dobbs went 2-for-3, homering with one on and two out in the fourth and singling with one out in the seventh. He was erased in the seventh on a Yuniesky Betancourt double-play ball. Still, after all the non-hitting he's done this year, and all of his time on the Pump, which would more than likely be graced with his presence were it still in operation, it's good to see him hit. One could argue he was the only hitter today that hit like he gave a damn. Of course, it was pretty hard for anyone to give a damn after Joel Piñeiro imploded in the fifth. Dobbs got the Mariners the 3-1 lead in the fourth, and Joel did okay in the fourth before the two-run lead turned into a four-run deficit. Dobbs did manage that single in the seventh, so he at least got something done after Joel had done his thing. With his two hits, Dobbs accounted for half of the Mariners' hits in the entire game. Raul Ibañez and Jeremy Reed had the others.
Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
The first inning was a bit shaky, but in his first four innings of work, Piñeiro was the beneficiary of three double plays from the defense behind him. Of course, double plays require a runner to be on base, so you know that was the case for those innings. While the defense can turn double plays, they can't do much about thirteen hits and eight runs. He fell behind hitters 2-0 and 3-0 in the third inning, but in the fifth inning, every Twin that came to the plate swung at the first or second pitch except for Joe Mauer, who didn't do so because he was intentionally walked. Of course, they swung early in the count because Piñeiro's pitches were suddenly getting a little too elevated. Thus, the early-count swinging turned a 3-1 Mariner lead into a 7-3 Mariner deficit in amazingly quick fashion. I'm not entirely sure why Mike Hargrove left him out there for the sixth, but he gave up a double to the #9 hitter, who scored after Shannon Stewart drove him in. It was a mercy pulling. After three good starts from Joel Piñeiro, does this take it all back to square one? Is it as if the three good starts never happened?
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 88-35 .715 -- W1
2002 74-49 .607 14 L2
2003 74-49 .607 14 L1
2000 69-54 .561 19 L7
2005 53-70 .431 35 L1
2004 46-77 .374 42 L1
On offense, the Mariners barely had put up a whimper at all even when they got their runs, which weirdly enough all came in via the home run, which as we know isn't much like this team. Brad Radke had one stretch where he retired eight straight Mariner hitters, and had another stretch right after the Dobbs homer where he set down eight straight again. In other words, the Mariners mounted no sustained rallies of any sort, nor did they even sustain any semi-rallies of note. Basically, it was all quite disappointing after the great win yesterday. The scary thing is that the Mariners held a 3-1 lead in this game until Joel suffered the meltdown. How do we rationalize Piñeiro's meltdown? The only thing I can think of is that Gil Meche is on the DL and out of the rotation for at least three turns, so Piñeiro just put in a little shout out, pulling a big huge Meche in the fifth inning of the game today.
I don't know if anyone can prove me wrong out there, but did Clint Nageotte even get a warning after throwing the first pitch over Lew Ford's head to open the seventh inning? I don't think he did. Regardless, Larry Poncino tossed him without delay, bringing to a quick end Nageotte's first appearance after being called up from Tacoma to take Gil Meche's spot on the roster. I was surprised with the quickness of the ejection, and Mike Hargrove was surprised after the game as well, noting that if the Mariners were going to throw at anybody, it would have been Joe Mauer. Of course, Ford was the one with the homer in the game. Still, in a game like that, I was just hoping that Nageotte could stay in and eat some innings, giving some of the bullpen an extra day of rest going into the off day. Can you determine intent on the first pitch from a new pitcher? I don't know, I guess. I didn't suspect it'd happen that way.
I like Jeremy Reed, and I'm glad that Willie Bloomquist isn't taking his playing time anymore. That said, just a day after he took off from second to third on a groundout right back to the mound, in this game, Reed created his baserunning hijinks in the second inning. First, he was picked off of second, but managed to get into a rundown to the point where the Nick Punto muffed the ball and Reed was able to get safely back to second. Not long after, Reed took off for third on a ball hit to the shortstop, though Jason Bartlett went to first with the play, though he more than likely could have made meat out of Reed at third. I can deal with his .258 average because he's been playing a centerfield that's been well above average. I'd rather he didn't run so much since he's been caught ten of sixteen times trying to steal. Baserunning mistakes two days in a row, though, that's not good. I got grilled back in the day by the coaches when I made stupid mistakes on the basepaths or any other mental mistakes in the field. What happens if you make these kinds of mistakes, except you're getting paid to play ball?
With this, the Mariners are 3-7-1 in ten series since the All-Star break, and they're a grand 14-22 (.389) since the break. One of the few positives is that the Texas Rangers have also been absolutely horrible to the point where the Mariners are only four games back of third place in the AL West, and that will be the case going into Tuesday's play. If the Mariners manage to climb out of the cellar at any point during the rest of the season, that'll be a minor miracle in itself. After how they started out, I don't know what I'd do if I were a Texas fan. Of course, it'd probably be something similar to what I did in 2002 and 2003, except those teams weren't under .500. Of course, those Mariner teams played the same amount of playoff games that the Rangers will play this season, so what does it matter?
If you don't know already, three games in Texas are on the docket. Worst-case scenario is that we find out what we already know about Mariner pitching against the hitters in the Ranger lineup. Best case scenario? That'd be a three-game sweep of the Rangers and the chance of being one game back of the Rangers for third place. It could happen. It probably won't, but it's not wholly impossible. I've seen Ichiro make a Spider-Man catch this year, so anything's possible.
Lastly, a big "thank you" to AP photographers Tom Olmscheid, Ann Heisenfelt, and Paul Battaglia for being strategically placed beside the Mariner dugout after all three of the Mariners' losses in this series.
Moyer. Young. Tuesday.
Joel Piñeiro (5-7, 5.56) v Brad Radke (7-10, 3.78)
If you haven't read Steve Kelley's piece that goes off on Ryan Franklin, here it is.
The Mariners have tomorrow off. This means you can watch the Seahawks tomorrow and not miss any Mariner action.
The Mariners are four games back of the Rangers going into today.