Saturday, September 10, 2005
Sound off about it in the box. Or sound off about anything. College football, the NFL stuff happening tomorrow, anything. I don't have Sunday Ticket over here, so I sadly reveal that there's no way in hell my game posts will be anywhere near as crazy as last year. I don't know how I'm going to do it, actually.
Tomorrow, it's the Seahawks at 10am and the Mariners at 1pm. This only sucks if you're in Hawaii. The thought of getting up before 7am on a Sunday morning isn't enticing to me.
Anyway, here be a thread.
In 25 words or less: The Safeco Field pitcher extraordinaire does his thing, and the Mariners watch as the opposition can't quite tie it up.
This one featured Eric Bedard going up against Jamie Moyer. Would Jamie Moyer be the home pitcher he's been this year? If so, it'd be a win for the Mariners.
A week of little sleep caught up to this particular writer on Friday night, hence the very late post.
Good start. Brian Roberts flew out to Ichiro in foul territory along the rightfield line. Melvin Mora got the hitters' counts and flew out to leftfield on a full count. Miguel Tejada took a 2-2 strike.
Ichiro worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Jamal Strong air-bunted the first pitch to BJ Surhoff coming off of the first-base bag on the left side. Raul Ibañez looped a shallow fly to centerfield, and Ichiro had to hurry to scamper back to first. Richie Sexson worked an 0-2 count full and wound up hitting a bullet Miguel Tejada at short that nearly got past the outfielders in leftcenter, and Ichiro scored from first on Sexson's double and 100th RBI.
»» MARINERS 1, ORIOLES 0
Adrian Beltre took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Fairly easy. Jay Gibbons worked a 1-2 count full and ended up flying out to Ichiro in rightcenter as Jeremy Reed and Ichiro made contact but didn't collide. Javy Lopez took a 2-2 pitch barely off the inside corner before taking a cutter at the knees over the inside corner. BJ Surhoff bounced an 0-2 pitch to second.
Bah. Jose Lopez chopped an 0-2 pitch over the mound, and the ball got past Tejada for an infield single. Jeremy Reed worked an 0-2 count full and rolled into a 4-6 fielder's choice. Yuniesky Betancourt took an 0-2 dirtball and Reed took off, but he was out by a foot. Betancourt ended up taking a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Very nice. Alejandro Freire grounded out to short. Eric Byrnes popped the first pitch to Ichiro. Luis Matos got ahead 2-0 and took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner.
Gak. Yorvit Torrealba took an 0-2 pitch barely off the outside corner and took the next pitch over the inside corner (fastball) for a strikeout. Ichiro bounced a 2-2 pitch to Tejada in the hole on the left side. Strong took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Whew. Roberts dumped the first pitch over Jose Lopez and into rightfield for a single. Mora smashed the second pitch off of Beltre's glove at second and into leftfield, advancing Roberts to second. Tejada watched the first pitch while Roberts and Mora had some issues with baserunning, and the Mariners had some issues with their rundown play as well. Roberts ended up with a 2-3-5 putout, and Mora stayed at first (also idiotic). Tejada popped the 2-0 pitch high to Lopez just beside the mound. Gibbons roped a 1-2 pitch off the track and wall in rightfield, but not only did Mora hold at third, Gibbons held at first and settled for the single. Javy Lopez fell behind 0-2 and nearly doubled a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line; Javy later walked to load the bases. Surhoff popped the first pitch high to centerfield.
Bleah. Ibañez singled to leftfield on the second pitch. Sexson just barely missed a homer, flying out very high to Byrnes at the track in leftfield. Beltre popped a 2-2 pitch into foul territory, but Roberts' diving catch outside the rightfield line came up empty. Beltre ended up mashing a 2-2 pitch for a flyout to centerfield. Lopez took a pitch off the left forearm, advancing Ibañez to second. Reed bounced the 2-2 pitch to third.
Still solid. Freire lined the second pitch into leftfield for a single. Byrnes the first pitch to Strong in foul territory along the leftfield line. Matos popped a 2-2 pitch to Jose Lopez. Roberts lined the second pitch right to Moyer with a broken bat.
Could've been much bigger. Betancourt took a full-count pitch high and away for a walk. Torrealba grounded hard to second, starting the 4-6-3 double play, though Betancourt was barely out at second. Ichiro poked the second pitch past Mora and down the leftfield line, but he stayed at first with the single. Strong reached down and laced a 1-2 pitch into centerfield for a single, moving Ichiro to second. Ibañez took a 3-1 fastball up and in for a walk, loading the bases. Sexson worked an 0-2 count for a walk, forcing Ichiro in from third and leaving the bases loaded.
»» MARINERS 2, ORIOLES 0
Beltre took the first pitch, and was nearly taken out at the knees. Beltre later popped to shallow leftfield on a full count.
Bedard's line: 5 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 105 pitches (64 strikes)
Highly enjoyable. Mora grounded hard to third, where Beltre handled the hot potato, bobbling it twice but still making the out at first. Tejada popped the 2-0 pitch to Torrealba behind the plate. Gibbons grounded the 0-2 pitch behind the bag at first for the 3-1 putout.
Aaron Rakers came in for Bedard. Jose Lopez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch high and over the outer half. Reed lined the first pitch into Surhoff's glove in the hole on the right side. Betancourt rolled the second pitch to second.
Defense. Javy Lopez rocked a full-count pitch to the leftcenter gap, but Reed leapt and made the catch, grabbed a body full of wall, fell to the track, and held onto the ball. Surhoff bounced toward the middle where Lopez tried to toss to Betancourt to make the throw to first, but it wasn't in time since the glove flip to Betancourt was a bit behind him. Freire bounced the first pitch to short where Betancourt flipped to Jose Lopez to start the 6-4-3 double play. Betancourt's flip was horribly unnecessary, but I'll take it.
Zippo. Torrealba whiffed on a low 1-2 pitch. Ichiro popped the second pitch to Matos in rightcenter. Strong whiffed on a full count.
Rakers' line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 19 pitches (13 strikes)
Byrnes fell behind 0-2 and looped a 1-2 single into shallow centerfield. Matos flew out to Reed in rightcenter on the second pitch. Roberts doubled the first pitch down the leftfield line for a double, easily scoring Byrnes.
»» MARINERS 2, ORIOLES 1
Julio Mateo came in for Moyer. Mora bounced the 2-2 pitch right to short. Tejada roped the first pitch into leftfield for a single, but Strong came up throwing and unleashed a great throw, on one hop to Torrealba at the plate, and Roberts was out at the plate on a very close play. Sam Perlozzo knocked umpire Adam Dowdy's mask out of his hand during the argument, and he was tossed.
Moyer's line: 7 1/3 innings, 1 run, 7 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 104 pitches (71 strikes)
Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (4 strikes)
Steve Kline came in for Rakers. Ibañez mashed the first pitch into the rightcenter gap for a double.
Jorge Julio came in for Kline. Sexson bounced a 2-0 pitch along the third-base line that stayed fair until it came near the bag. Sexson later whiffed on a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Beltre watched the second pitch as Ibañez stole third. Beltre took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt and it got through the legs of Javy Lopez and went to the backstop, allowing Ibañez to score.
»» MARINERS 3, ORIOLES 1
Beltre later whiffed on a 2-2 dirtball for a 2-3 putout, though the Javy Lopez throw nearly ended up in rightfield if not for a leap and reach from Surhoff at first. Jose Lopez popped the second pitch in front of the camera well on the first-base side.
Kline's line: 0 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)
Julio's line: 1 inning, 0 run, 0 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 14 pitches (10 strikes)
George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Gibbons golfed the 2-2 pitch into the fourth row in rightfield.
»» MARINERS 3, ORIOLES 2
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Javy Lopez nubbed the first pitch in front of the plate, and Torrealba threw in time to first. Surhoff poked the first pitch through the left side for a single, and Bernie Castro ran for him. David Newhan, hitting for Friere, fell behind 0-2 and Castro was nearly picked off of first but stole second on the next pitch. Newhan eventually took the full-count fastball over the outside corner. Byrnes bounced out to second. Ballgame.
Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
He led off the fourth with a single, walked with two out to load the bases for Richie Sexson in the fifth, and doubled to lead off the eighth. The Mariners scored a run apiece in the fifth and eighth, with Ibañez scoring the third Mariner run. Ibañez isn't the gameball recipient here just for the hits. After his double in the eighth, he stole third base. The Mariners never got another hit in the inning after the double by Ibañez, but Steve Kline uncorked a wild pitch with Ibañez on third. He scored on the wild pitch, and that proved to be the winning run. He scored easily and luckily it wasn't a bang-bang play like the play at the plate on Brian Roberts. The Ibañez run turned out to be very necessary insurance due to George Sherrill in the ninth inning. One stat that still scares me right now is that Raul Ibañez has 17 homers and Ichiro right behind him with 15. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised, though. Ibañez has only hit more than 20 homers once in his career, and that was his crazy year in 2002 when he hit 24.
Goat: George Sherrill.
Well, his job was pretty simple. He was brought in to get the lefthanded hitter out, and this time it was Jay Gibbons. It seems to me that Gibbons always ends up burning the Mariners at least once in every Baltimore/Seattle series. Anyway, Sherrill's time in the game was as long as Gibbons' at-bat, and the crap-to-time ratio was pretty high. Sherrill's been mostly great this year, though, and this was just one of those times when he couldn't be perfect. Looking at his game log, he'd gone the last five outings without sucking, so it looks like we'll just have to let Sherrill slide with this one. The really bad thing about it was that the home run let the Orioles climb to within one run in the ninth, but luckily Baltimore didn't have the meat of their order coming to the plate anytime soon. Instead, it was Javy Lopez, BJ Surhoff, and friends. It definitely wasn't Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada. Either way, JJ Putz came in afterward and held the rest of the inning down. George is good, and this we know. I think the team would have been way better off bringing up Sherrill way earlier than they did. They would have been even better off not having Ron Villone on the team to begin with, but I don't feel like opening up that can again.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 100-40 .714 -- W1
2002 82-58 .586 18 W1
2003 81-59 .579 19 L2
2000 76-64 .543 24 W1
2005 61-79 .436 39 W1
2004 52-88 .371 48 L1
The Mariners returned to a season-high nine-game cushion over the 2004 debacle. Also, the 2001 team had 100 wins after 140 games. I barely remember that season now. The seasons of 2002 and 2003 mirrored themselves late in a lot of ways. The 2000 team didn't have as great a winning percentage, but tied the 1995 team for the franchise best in how far they got in the playoffs (six games in the ALCS).
I guess if Jamie Moyer was 15-3 in his career against the Orioles coming into this game, I probably shouldn't have been too surprised with the result. The other thing that Moyer had going for him was that the game was at Safeco Field, and since Moyer has nutty splits this year that lean heavily toward him being an awesome home pitcher, well...he pitched into the eighth in this game and didn't allow a run until his final inning. He leaned on the dimensions of the field as well, getting twelve flyball outs compared to six groundball outs. He only walked one batter as well, and didn't allow any homers. The difference between Moyer this year and Moyer last year isn't night and day, but it does seem like home and road. Any slivers of Moyer that appear left over from the 2004 season seem to manifest themselves only when the Mariners are on the road. Moyer has lost his last three road starts and has given up a homer in each of those starts. What if the Mariners had five Moyer clones in the rotation, went 81-0 at home, and then just scraped together whatever wins they could get on the road?
Richie Sexson nearly homered in the fourth and would have homered in consecutive games for the first time since July 24th and 25th. Sexson had to instead settle for two RBIs that put him at and over the century mark this year, leaving him with 101 RBIs in his first year back in the American League and his first year as a Mariner. Seems like the labrum has held up this year (knock on wood). I don't know whether we can expect next year to be better for him at the plate or what, but I like what we've seen so far and he's seems to have adjusted fairly well to American League pitching, though one could argue that after his labrum exploded in 2004, Sexson had so much time off that he'd need to get used to any kind of pitching. In short, Richie Sexson has helped bring the bash back to Seattle, but unfortunately he can't do it alone. Adrian Beltre obviously needs to do a lot better next year, and someone else needs to step up. Or someone needs to be added to the roster that has power. Or Ibañez needs to hit 25 homers. Something.
The defense in the seventh and eighth innings were vital. Jeremy Reed's crazy catch in the leftcenter gap robbed Javy Lopez of a leadoff double in a 2-0 game. The middle infield also turned a double play to end that inning. Of course, the play that was extremely vital was Jamal Strong nailing Brian Roberts at the plate, though that call was very close. Still, I didn't know Jamal Strong had an arm like that. It's a good thing Randy Winn wasn't out there.
With the 1-for-3 game here, Ichiro has 173 hits on the season and sits with a .297 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (582 at-bats in 140 games, 4.16 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 27 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .295 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .297 season average.
-- he needs 29 hits to finish with a .300 average for the season; he'd need to hit .317 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 202 hits.
-- he needs 43 hits to finish with a .320 (.321) average for the season; he'd need to hit .470 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 216 hits.
Could the Mariners win a second straight series? They'll have to do it on Singles Night. Or they could just wait until Sunday when Felix pitches.
Lopez. Harris. Tonight.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Drummer Mike Bordin, Ozzy Osbourne, and guitarist Zakk Wylde.
I'd say that's one hell of a middle-of-the-order if you ask me.
Football is back.
THANK YOU, JESUS.
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(my picks in bold)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
New Orleans at Carolina (FOX, Carter Blackburn and Tim Green)
---The Panthers will get their revenge after their loss to the Saints in the season finale last year.
Houston at Buffalo (CBS, Gus Johnson and Brent Jones)
---Willis McGahee is the back in Buffalo. It's his world, folks.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (CBS, Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots)
---Trent Dilfer's first start as a Brown. He's the class act of all class acts.
New York Jets at Kansas City (CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and Bonnie Bernstein)
---GAME OF THE DAY: The Chiefs have an improved defense, on paper. But will that translate to on-the-field success in 2005? We'll find out soon enough.
Denver at Miami (CBS, Verne Lundquist, Dan Dierdorf, and Armen Keteyian)
---UPSET OF THE DAY: Nick Saban earns his first victory in the NFL.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota (FOX, Curt Menefee and JC Pearson)
---Am I the only one who doesn't think the Vikings are Super Bowl contenders?
Tennessee at Pittsburgh (CBS, Kevin Harlan and Randy Cross)
---Norm Chow makes his debut as offensive coordinator of the Titans.
Chicago at Washington (FOX, Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
---Over/under? I'll say 16.
Seattle at Jacksonville (FOX, Craig Shemon and Erik Kramer)
---Who is Craig Shemon? As far as the game goes, I look for Ken Hamlin to lay the hammer down on his fellow Razorback, Matt Jones. This has to happen.
Green Bay at Detroit (FOX, Kenny Albert and Brian Baldinger)
---I'll say it...the Packers will be 6-10 this season.
Arizona at New York Giants (FOX, Sam Rosen, Bill Maas, and Chris Myers)
---The Cardinals will also be 6-10. Take that, media hacks.
Dallas at San Diego (FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver)
---This will be the first of 16 Cowboys games that I'll get in my area. Yippie.
St. Louis at San Francisco (FOX, Ron Pitts and Tim Ryan)
---I'm still livid at the fact that the Seahawks lost 3 times to the Rams. No, I did not talk Seahawks-Rams while I was in St. Louis. I wanted to keep the blood pressure at a steady level. The last thing I needed while I was on my trip was a visit to the hospital.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Indianapolis at Baltimore (ESPN, Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, Joe Theismann, and Suzy Kolber)
---Number of times Paul Maguire gushes over Ray Lewis: 76
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Philadelphia at Atlanta (ABC, Al Michaels, John Madden, and Michele Tafoya)
---It's the final season of Monday Night Football on ABC. Not cool.
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FIRE IT UP, LET THE ENGINES ROLL!!!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I'll post my division winners, playoff predictions, and NFL award winners. You'll either love my predictions or hate them. Just remember that my predictions aren't worth a whole lot. Nobody's are. We just do predictions for the hell of it, really.
2005 NFL PREVIEW
(* - home field advantage throughout the playoffs)
AFC (AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE)
New England (13-3)
San Diego (10-6)
AFC WILD CARDS
Buffalo (10-6), Cincinnati (9-7)
NFC (NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE)
NFC WILD CARDS
Carolina (10-6), Minnesota (9-7)
Wild Card Round
PIT d. CIN, BUF d. SD
IND d. BUF, NE d. PIT
AFC Championship Game
Colts defeat Patriots
Wild Card Round
ATL d. MIN, CAR d. DET
PHI d. CAR, SEA d. ATL
NFC Championship Game
Seahawks defeat Eagles
SUPER BOWL XL (February 5, 2006 - Ford Field, Detroit)
Seattle Seahawks defeat Indianapolis Colts
NFL MVP: QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Offensive Player of the Year: Manning
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Julius Peppers, Carolina
Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay
Defensive Rookie of the Year: LB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City
Coach of the Year: Tony Dungy, Indianapolis
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New England over Oakland tonight. The Pick Me Up will return tomorrow. Catch it.
In 25 words or less: The game turned fast and turned hard, as the bullpen picked the ninth inning to blow up. At least it was dramatic.
[posted in full Thu ~11:15p]
This one featured Ryan Franklin going up against Dan Haren. It didn't featured the leftfield thrill ride of Mike Morse, who was nailed earlier in the day for violating Major League Baseball's steroid policy. Perhaps it was weird irony that Morse's suspension was announced on the same day as a Ryan Franklin start.
Happy start. Ichiro lined the second pitch down the rightfield line for a double. Jeremy Reed air-bunted the first pitch near the third-base line, but Haren came off the mound and made a diving catch. Raul Ibañez rocked a 3-1 pitch to the wall in leftfield for a double, scoring Ichiro.
»» MARINERS 1, ATHLETICS 0
Richie Sexson mashed the first pitch to leftfield, where Jay Payton leaped to make a catch on the track. Adrian Beltre got ahead 2-0 and was intentionally walked. Greg Dobbs dropped a 2-2 pitch into centerfield for a single, scoring Ibañez.
»» MARINERS 2, ATHLETICS 0
Jose Lopez whiffed on a 2-2 dirtball away.
Quite good. Mark Ellis popped an 0-2 pitch high to rightfield. Jason Kendall bounced out to second. Mark Kotsay rolled a 1-2 pitch to Lopez up the middle.
Ho hum. Yuniesky Betancourt dumped a 2-2 pitch into centerfield for a single. Miguel Ojeda bounced the first pitch to the hole at short for a 6-4 fielder's choice. Ichiro nailed a 3-0 pitch, but not enough as Matt Watson caught it in rightfield. Reed watched the second pitch go by as Ojeda either took off way too early or someone missed a sign. Ojeda was nailed by a mile.
Baserunners, but no damage. Eric Chavez popped a 3-1 pitch to Betancourt in shallow leftfield. Jay Payton blooped a first-pitch single into rightfield in front of Ichiro. Scott Hatteberg nubbed a full-count pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Payton to second. Dan Johnson popped a full-count change into leftfield. Marco Scutaro bounced the first pitch to third for a 5-4 fielder's choice.
Pile on! Reed smoked the second pitch up the middle for a single. Ibañez poked a double just fair down the leftfield line, scoring Reed.
»» MARINERS 3, ATHLETICS 0
Sexson punched the first pitch, getting jammed and singling to rightfield, moving Ibañez to third. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and took the next pitch near his head for a brushback. Beltre later bounced out to third on a broken bat, scoring Ibañez.
»» MARINERS 4, ATHLETICS 0
Dobbs popped the second pitch high near the third-base line to Chavez. Lopez cranked a 2-2 pitch off the top of the wall for a double, scoring Sexson.
»» MARINERS 5, ATHLETICS 0
Juan Cruz came in for Haren. Betancourt popped the second pitch to Ellis.
Haren's line: 2 2/3 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 56 pitches (31 strikes)
Holding fort. Matt Watson popped to Ibañez in the gap in leftcenter. Ellis looped a 2-2 pitch in front of Reed in centerfield for a single. Kendall bounced to Betancourt on the infield, who flipped it to second for a 6-4 fielder's choice. Kotsay lined the second pitch right to Ichiro.
Boo. Ojeda whiffed on some 2-2 high heat over the outer half. Ichiro walked on a 3-1 pitch for a walk. Reed bounced a 1-2 pitch into a 4-6-3 double play.
Blip on the radar. Chavez crushed the second pitch well over the wall in centerfield.
»» MARINERS 5, ATHLETICS 1
Payton popped the second pitch to rightfield. Hatteberg got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a high 2-2 pitch, the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Johnson looped a 2-2 pitch just fair down the leftfield line for a single. Scutaro whiffed on an 0-2 pitch down and in.
Cannon. Ibañez chopped out to Scutaro in front of the bag at second. Sexson clubbed a laser a few rows above the leftfield scoreboard for a homer.
»» MARINERS 6, ATHLETICS 1
Beltre took an 0-2 fastball over the plate after getting two curves over. Dobbs got the hitters' counts before one-hopping to short.
Hammering. Watson got the hitters' counts and looped the full-count pitch to shallow leftfield. Ellis fell behind 0-2 and knocked a 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single. Kendall slapped an 0-2 pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Ellis to second. Kotsay doubled the first pitch off the track and wall near the rightfield corner, scoring Ellis and moving Kendall to third.
»» MARINERS 6, ATHLETICS 2
Chavez bounced the second pitch deep in the hole at short, where Betancourt's only play was to first, and amazingly, he made it. Kendall scored on the play.
»» MARINERS 6, ATHLETICS 3
Payton got the hitters' counts and popped the 3-1 pitch to Sexson in the acres of foul territory on the right side.
Franklin's line: 5 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 90 pitches (59 strikes)
Blown more. Lopez whiffed on an 0-2 high fastball. Betancourt punched the second pitch through the left side for a single. Ojeda bounced out to short.
Ricardo Rincon came in for Cruz. Ichiro got ahead 3-0 and was then intentionally walked. Reed got ahead 2-0 and later couldn't hold a checkswing on a 2-2 pitch.
Cruz' line: 3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 40 pitches (24 strikes)
Matt Thornton came in for Franklin. Hatteberg flew out to leftfield. Johnson checkswung on a 2-2 pitch, much to the umbrage of the Mariner dugout, then walked on a full count pitch inside. Scutaro got ahead 2-0, which lured Ojeda to the mound, then wound up whiffing on a full count pitch down and in. Nick Swisher, hitting for Watson, got ahead 2-0 and rolled a 2-2 pitch to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice.
Thornton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 22 pitches (12 strikes)
Few tile. Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch at the knees, a pitch that gave Ibañez have some things to talk about with plate umpire Dana DeMuth.
Kiko Calero came in for Rincon. Sexson bounced the second pitch up the middle, where Scutaro moved over and made the play. Beltre popped the next pitch to Swisher along the right side.
Rincon's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 14 pitches (7 strikes)
Julio Mateo came in for Thornton. Ellis rolled a single up the middle to centerfield. Kendall flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on the second pitch.
George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Kotsay whiffed on a 1-2 pitch up and away. Chavez got the hitters' counts and nubbed the 3-1 pitch to second.
Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 25 pitches (15 strikes)
Very futile. Dobbs flew out to centerfield. Lopez grounded hard to third. Betancourt bounced the second pitch to short.
Calero's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
Solid. Payton grounded a 2-2 pitch up the middle past Betancourt for a single. Hatteberg lined out to centerfield. Johnson took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner for a strikeout.
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Adam Melhuse, hitting for Scutaro, whiffed at three straight pitches.
Huston Street came in for Calero. Ojeda looped a single into shallow leftcenter. Ichiro chopped to first for a 3-6 fielder's choice, with Ichiro beating out the double play. Reed doubled off the track and wall in the leftfield corner, scoring Ichiro.
»» MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 3
Ibañez was walked intentionally. Sexson fell behind 0-2 and wound up lacing a single through the left side, loading the bases. Beltre rolled into a 6-4-3 double play.
Street's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 26 pitches (14 strikes)
Swisher fell behind 0-2 and bounced a single past a diving Lopez through the right-side hole. Ellis took a strike followed by three balls for a walk (Putz didn't get a borderline 2-1 pitch, objected to DeMuth behind the plate, and definitely didn't get the 3-1 pitch).
Eddie Guardado came in for Putz. Kendall got ahead 3-1 and bounced the full-count pitch through the left side for a single, loading the bases. Kotsay doubled into the leftfield corner, scoring Swisher and Ellis, and moving Kendall to third.
»» MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 5
Chavez doubled the second pitch into the rightfield corner, scoring Kendall and Kotsay.
»» ATHLETICS 7, MARINERS 7
Payton was intentionally walked. Hatteberg watched and Chavez took a pickoff throw in the back on a wheel play. Hatteberg air-bunted the first pitch foul and to the backstop, then air-bunted the second right to Ojeda at the plate. Johnson bounced the first pitch into the hole on the right side, where Lopez slid to stop the ball, but couldn't make a play on it.
Jeff Nelson came in for Guardado. Keith Ginter, hitting for Melhuse, grounded the first pitch to short, where Betancourt went for the force at home, leaving the bases loaded. Swisher took a full-count pitch outside, scoring Payton. Ballgame.
»» ATHLETICS 8, MARINERS 7
Putz' line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
Guardado's line: 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (9 strikes)
Nelson's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (3 strikes)
Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
Raul doubled to drive in runs in both the first and third innings. His one-out double in the first drove in Ichiro to make it 1-0, and the double in the third made it 3-0 in the Mariners' favor. Raul ended up 2-for-4 with the two doubles and the two RBIs. He struck out once, but also walked once. That of course means he got on base three times. He also scored twice. Add it all up and Raul Ibañez figured into four of the Mariners' seven runs on the day. He had gone hitless in the previous three games and twelve at-bats, walking once in that span. After the short drought, Raul came through with this, his third multi-hit game of the month of September. As I mentioned in the goat entry for the middle game of the series, Raul hit a paltry .226 in the month of August, which I really didn't realize until I saw it in his game log. I guess I was desensitized by when he was on fire earlier in the season. Now it just seems like he fell off a bit, but when you see the numbers, yeah, he'd been struggling. Anyway, here's hoping that Ibañez rips it up the rest of the way. That's good for Sexson and Beltre behind him as well as the rest of the team.
Goat: Eddie Guardado.
In situations where the table is set and the later reliever gives up all the runs, I never forget that the table was set by someone. The one thing close to an excuse that Guardado would have in this case would be that he was warming up until Jeremy Reed doubled in Ichiro and the Mariners had a four-run lead instead of a three-run lead, therefore not making it a save situation when Oakland was to come up in the ninth. Then JJ Putz came out and set the table in the ninth by allowing a soft single to Nick Swisher and walking Mark Ellis, no doubt being shaken up by a borderline non-strike call that went against him in the latter at-bat. Two were on, and Guardado had to get ready again. Guardado has definitely been more accustomed this year to being given a lead of three or less and being brought in to start the ninth. This time, it was a save situation, but with a lead of four and two runners on base. Putz started off the inning in crappy fashion and Guardado's in a situation he's not that used to, sure, but Guardado should still be able to hold a four-run lead with a couple of runners on base. It was just a bad day for Guardado. They happen to everybody.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 99-40 .717 -- L1
2002 81-58 .583 18 L1
2003 81-58 .583 18 L1
2000 75-64 .543 24 L1
2005 60-79 .432 39 L1
2004 52-87 .374 47 W1
I'm not sure what I would have done if I saw this game live. I might have thrown things. This was the worst loss since...the game against Minnesota where Willie Bloomquist got greedy. The thing that rings true in both instances is that the Mariners were outs away from completing three-game sweeps of good ballclubs. Instead, the Mariners let the game get tied or let it slip away entirely in that half-inning, and Eddie Guardado was involved both times. It's just one of those losses that'll kinda leave your mouth agape after you're done watching it. Eddie got rocked out there, but the thought of bringing in Jeff Nelson right there just doesn't compute with me. There's a lot wrong with it, but I would have been more okay with putting Rafael Soriano out there, though that would have been far from a soft landing. The main thing about Jeff Nelson is that he's not good anymore, and he's prone to the walk. Either he gets his stuff over the plate or he doesn't. The latter has happened too often this season.
What else? The Mariners jumped all over Dan Haren early, knocking him out of the game in the third inning. That was just about it for the offense. Juan Cruz shut down the Mariner bats other than the Richie Sexson homer, and the Mariners got that last insurance run in the ninth that didn't prove to be enough. Ryan Franklin left with a 6-3 lead (he got run support) and the bullpen choked it away for him, which is deliciously ironic. Franklin had a pretty turbulent five innings filled with deep counts and eight hits, but no walks. Matt Thornton had a passable inning of relief, followed by shutout appearances by Julio Mateo and George Sherrill, the latter of whom did really well, striking out two. JJ Putz got the final out in the eighth before lighting the fuse in the ninth.
Multi-hit games in this one belonged to Jeremy Reed, Ibañez (gameball), Richie Sexson, and Yuniesky Betancourt. Reed singled to lead off the third and drove in the seventh Mariner run in the ninth. He finished 2-for-5 with an RBI, and scored after the single in the third. Sexson (3-for-5 with a homer and an RBI, scoring twice) singled in the third, homered in the fifth, and singled in the ninth right before Adrian Beltre grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out. Betancourt singled to lead off the third and singled with one out in the third to add to his usual defense.
Richie Sexson homered for the first time since August 20th, a span of sixteen games without a big blast. He finally scored homer number 33 as well as RBI number 99. Though he'd gone a while since homering, Sexson has gotten hits in five of seven games so far this month. He's coming off a .211 August with a .250 September. He probably won't get 40 homers, but the RBIs will easily eclipse the century mark. Hooray for Sexson's league adjustment period, though he did have prior experience in the AL.
With the 1-for-3 game on Wednesday afternoon, Ichiro has 172 hits on the season and sits with a .297 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (579 at-bats in 139 games, 4.17 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 28 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .292 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .296 season average.
-- he needs 31 hits to finish with a .300 (.301) average for the season; he'd need to hit .324 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 44 hits to finish with a .320 average for the season; he'd need to hit .459 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 216 hits.
An off day, then the Orioles at home.
Bedard. Moyer. Tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
In 25 words or less: The Mariners get the good side of their starting pitcher, and they actually take advantage of Oakland mistakes.
This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Joe Kennedy, who had worked magic against the Mariners in the past as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray. Which Joel Piñeiro would show up? Would Rafael Soriano pitch in the game? Could the Mariners manage their first winning streak since August 17th? Could they win their first series in about three weeks?
Short of a roar. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and whiffed horribly on a dirtball outside (2-3 putout). Jamal Strong took a 1-2 pitch over the inside corner. Raul Ibañez grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to third.
Typical Joel. Mark Ellis hit a low liner on the second pitch to rightfield, and it dropped in front of Ichiro for a single after the ball more than likely was lost in the lights by Ichiro. Mark Kotsay smoked a 2-0 pitch through the left side for a single, moving Ellis to second. Jay Payton bounced to third, nearly eating up Beltre, who gobbled up the ball and ran down Ellis with a tag before he could get to third (Kotsay advanced to second). Eric Chavez stuck a 2-2 single up the middle, scoring Kotsay and moving Payton to second.
»» ATHLETICS 1, MARINERS 0
Scott Hatteberg popped out to shallow centerfield. Marco Scutaro popped the second pitch to Mike Morse near the leftfield corner.
Bleah. Richie Sexson popped high to centerfield. Adrian Beltre fell behind 0-2 took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner. Jose Lopez took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner as well.
Remarkably decent. Dan Johnson got ahead 2-0 and wound up fisting a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Yuniesky Betancourt on the outfield grass, who threw over to first. Nick Swisher whiffed on an 0-2 fastball up and away. Adam Melhuse whiffed on a 1-2 high change after popping a foul ball down the leftfield line for which Mike Morse plowed a heater in pursuit.
Yay! Mike Morse poked a 2-0 pitch down the rightfield line for a double. Yuniesky Betancourt missed two bunts before lining a ball right to a diving Chavez down the third-base line as Morse held. Miguel Ojeda bounced the second pitch to short. Ichiro looped a ball just over Scutaro running out toward centerfield, and it fell for a single, scoring Morse.
»» ATHLETICS 1, MARINERS 1
Strong stung the second pitch into rightcenter for a single, moving Ichiro to third. Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 2-2 breaking ball outside.
Not too bad. Ellis walked on four pitches. Kotsay tapped the second pitch back to the mound, where Piñeiro started the 1-6-3 double play (Betancourt was quick with the feet, but low with the throw, which was picked by Sexson). Payton popped the second pitch to Sexson near the edge of foul ground on the right side.
Same. Sexson got ahead 2-0 and took a 2-2 pitch down the pipe. Beltre bounced a 1-2 pitch to third. Lopez rolled the second pitch to short, though Lopez was barely out.
Might he be rolling? Chavez popped the first pitch just short of the track in centerfield. Hatteberg fell behind 0-2 and later whiffed on a 1-2 pitch low over the outer half. Scutaro fell behind 0-2 and popped the 1-2 pitch to shallow rightfield.
Deadlock. Morse popped the first pitch to shallow rightfield. Betancourt bounced out to short. Ojeda rolled the first pitch up the middle to Scutaro, who threw him out.
Not rolling. Johnson crushed the 2-0 pitch off the scoreboard in rightfield, but it bounced right to Ichiro, who threw in quickly and held Johnson to a single. Swisher popped the second pitch to Morse in shallow leftfield. Melhuse whiffed on a 1-2 offspeed pitch. Ellis crushed the first pitch off the track and wall in leftfield for a double (not too good a jump by Morse), scoring Johnson.
»» ATHLETICS 2, MARINERS 1
Kotsay rolled out to second.
Repeat. Ichiro bounced the second pitch to first. Strong rolled the second pitch to short. Ibañez got ahead 3-1 and settled for a high chop to second just over the mound, and Ibañez was barely out at first.
Much better. Payton rolled the second pitch up the middle to Betancourt, who spun and threw him out. Chavez flew out to Morse just short of the leftfield track on a 3-0 pitch. Hatteberg bounced to first for a 3-1 putout.
An incredibly weird inning. Sexson took an 0-2 pitch barely off the outside corner before rolling a hard grounder past Scutaro's glove side for a single, and Kotsay bobbled the ball in centerfield, enabling Sexson to take second. Beltre popped the second pitch to the track in centerfield, moving Sexson to third. Lopez spanked a 1-2 pitch to centerfield for a single, and Kotsay tried to deke Sexson, but the ball went past him and to the wall, allowing Lopez to get to third as Sexson scored.
»» ATHLETICS 2, MARINERS 2
Morse was down 0-2 and eventually lasered a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line for a single, scoring Lopez. Jeremy Reed came in to run for Morse.
»» MARINERS 3, ATHLETICS 2
Justin Duchscherer came in for Kennedy. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and popped the 1-2 pitch to Melhuse behind the plate. Ojeda watched with the count 1-2 as Reed took off way too early from first and was clearly caught stealing by Duchscherer, but somehow Reed beat the pickoff throw to second. Ojeda pulled the next pitch deep in the hole at short, and Scutaro's throw made Johnson come way off the bag, moving Reed to third. Ichiro bounced a 1-2 pitch to short.
Kennedy's line: 6 1/3 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 6 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 92 pitches (62 strikes)
In the field for the Mariners, Reed stayed in to play centerfield, and Strong moved to leftfield. Scutaro got ahead 3-1 and scooped a full-count flyout to Jeremy Reed in centerfield. Johnson whiffed on a low 0-2 change. Swisher stuck a 1-2 pitch near the leftfield corner, where Strong came over to make a running catch near the wall.
Break. Strong fell behind 0-2 and settled for a soft lineout to second on the 2-2 pitch. Ibañez was down 0-2 and later popped out near the leftfield line on a 2-2 pitch. Sexson nubbed a 2-2 pitch gently to the left side, where Duchscherer came off the mound, bobbled the ball a bit, and threw in time to first.
Duchscherer's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
Nice finish. Melhuse rolled the second pitch to second. Ellis bounced to Beltre at the third-base bag. Kotsay poked the first pitch into rightfield for a single, breaking Piñeiro's streak of nine straight retired hitters. Payton popped the 0-2 pitch to Lopez in shallow centerfield.
Piñeiro's line: 8 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 96 pitches (63 strikes)
Huston Street came in for Duchscherer. Beltre reached over and chopped a 1-2 pitch to Chavez, who charged and barehanded the ball to make the out. Lopez bounced to third on a full count. Reed poked the 2-0 pitch into rightfield for a single. Betancourt whiffed over a 1-2 offspeed pitch down and in.
Street's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (12 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in for Piñeiro. Chavez bounced the second pitch to short. Hatteberg took a 1-2 pitch a bit off the outside corner for a strikeout. Scutaro got ahead 2-0 and wound up singling into shallow centerfield. Johnson reached on an 0-2 pitch, rolling it to second, where Lopez underhanded with the glove to Sexson. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Mike Morse.
Okay, so there was an episode of the Mike Morse Thrill Ride that occurred in this game, and that occurred on the Mark Ellis double in the fifth that gave Oakland the 2-1 lead. I could complain about Morse being in leftfield, but then I ask myself, how different is this from having say, an Al Martin out there? It'll be things like this that make me miss the Randy Winn tenure in Seattle, sure, but I've been following the Mariners long enough to realize that steady personnel and steady defense in leftfield have been the exception as opposed to the rule. So Mike Morse is a zoo in leftfield. We've seen leftfield defensive liabilities, sure. If you take out Randy Winn, Mike Morse's defense, even in its current form, doesn't look so bad. I've managed to talk this long about Morse without talking about his hitting. Morse hit two balls hard down the leftfield line for a double and a single. He scored the first Mariner run to tie the game at 1-1, then drove in what proved to be the winning run for the Mariners. All hail the Coded One! For this game, at least.
Goat: Raul Ibañez.
In a game where nobody out-and-out sucked, someone has to be the goat. Raul went 0-for-4, striking out once and leaving two runners on base. Only one of his outs occurred on a hard-hit ball. I guess I hadn't looked at Raul's game log in a while, but did anyone realize that he only hit .226 in August? That's how he dropped from .297 to .282 in a month. He was nearly up by the .300 mark and life was good. If you want an indication lately as to why the Mariners' offense has been sputtering, look no further than Richie Sexson and Raul Ibañez, back-to-back huge cogs of the lineup that have fallen largely silent around the same time. I can't think of anything else to put here at the moment, so I'll scare myself some more with the August numbers for Ibañez. Ready? Raul was 24-for-106 with four doubles, a triple, and three homers. He drove in twelve runs. Compare this to June, where he went 33-for-103 (.320) with four doubles, five homers, and 15 RBIs. I miss the Raul Ibañez that turned my opinion of him around this season.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 99-39 .717 -- W3
2002 81-57 .587 18 W2
2003 81-57 .587 18 W4
2000 75-63 .543 24 W1
2005 60-78 .435 39 W2
2004 51-87 .370 48 L7
The win in this game did two things. First, it was a consecutive win, and therefore was the first winning streak for the Mariners since August 17th against Kansas City, the final game of a three-game sweep. That also functioned as the last series win for the Mariners. Much like Jeremy the other day said, "You know what kills me about the Mariners? [This year], they can finally beat Mussina," it turns out that the Mariners can never do what needs to be done in Oakland when they're actually good, waiting for seasons like 2005 to finally go down to Oakland and take the first two of a three-game series. Timing is a biznatch. On the other hand, if I were an Oakland fan at this point, I'd really be hating it knowing that the last-place Mariners just came into the home digs and took the first two games of a three-game series when my team is trying to catch the Angels for the division lead. I can only take solace in the A's getting to the first round of the playoffs and losing so many times now that the Mariners haven't been to the playoffs in four seasons. It sucks.
Much like I thought after his last start, I still don't know what to think about Joel Piñeiro. Since he sucks horribly in the first inning and does well, he at least partially looks like his old self. I don't think I can buy into Joel Piñeiro this year, no matter what. He may give the Mariners quality innings from here on out, but are those innings necessarily better pitched by him than someone else in the Mariner pipeline? Of course, the Mariners' decision to make only sparse September callups while their minor-league teams are in the playoffs kinda answers the question in that regard. What I do know is that Piñeiro could throw four perfect games from now until the rest of the season and I still wouldn't be sold on whether he could pitch deep into ballgames on a consistent basis in 2006. I guess what's good about Joel is that at least we've seen some decent starts in recent weeks. Gil Meche and Ryan Franklin, not so much. In a totally unrelated note, we here at Sports and B's get a few assorted Shirley Piñeiro searches through multiple search engines, and I'm thinking everyone who searches us for that is disappointed when they figure out we have no pictures of Ms. Piñeiro.
I didn't mention it in the gameball entry, but Mike Morse had the only multi-hit game for the Mariners in this one. The other six hits were scattered singles among six other hitters in the lineup. Morse drove in the final go-ahead run, whereas Ichiro's punch over the head of Marco Scutaro drove in the first Mariner run, and Jose Lopez hit the ball to and through Mark Kotsay to score the Mariners' second run of the game. The most sickly ironic thing was that with the bobble to move Sexson to second and the absolute gaffe of a play on the Lopez ball, Mark Kotsay singlehandedly ruined his own bobblehead night. At least the Oakland fans didn't get overly rowdy. I don't remember the game being stopped at any point so that bobblehead dolls could get picked up off the field of play, so none of that happened. It's not like when your home team sucks on Photo Ball Day, then all those balls end up on the field. I remember watching a game long ago where the Mariners played at Arlington Stadium on Bat Day, and the crowd was still far from a sellout, but whenever the PA system would try to get the crowd amped up, the people with bats would rhythmically beat on the unoccupied bleachers in the outfield stands.
I guess the two short things that I'd elaborate on if I had more time would be that Yuniesky Betancourt is awesome and can pick it like nobody's business, along with Jeremy Reed coming in to pinch-run for Mike Morse and immediately getting picked off. Of course, Justin Duchscherer waited too long to get his throw off to second, so Reed was amazingly under the tag. Very luckily, that took place, and Reed's good luck finished off what Mark Kotsay started. Except that the runs had already scored, so Reed's hijinks were moot.
With the 1-for-4 game on Tuesday night, Ichiro has 171 hits on the season and sits with a .297 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (576 at-bats in 138 games, 4.17 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 29 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .289 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .296 season average.
-- he needs 32 hits to finish with a .300 average for the season; he'd need to hit .319 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 46 hits to finish with a .320 (.321) average for the season; he'd need to hit .459 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 217 hits.
My goodness, a series win. The Mariners are a mere three wins away from the mark of last season. Man, was last season terrible.
Franklin. Haren. Today.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Go for it.
This was the best Labor Day weekend that I've had in 3 years. Three years ago, when I was still living in Washington, I watched the Nevada-Washington State game at Seahawks Stadium, two Royals-Mariners games at Safeco Field, and attended the Jerry Cantrell concert at Bumbershoot. That was a weekend, definitely.
But I must admit, the weekend that I just had, well...
Friday, I was at the Rangers-Royals game in Kansas City (a 8-7 Rangers victory in 10 innings).
Saturday, I was at Arrowhead Stadium for the Missouri-Arkansas State football game and I was at Kauffman Stadium later that night for another Rangers-Royals ballgame (5-3 Rangers).
Sunday was basically a day full of I-70 and "The 40-Year Old Virgin".
Yesterday (Monday), I was in St. Louis for the first game of the last Cubs-Cardinals series in Busch Stadium, a 6-4 Cardinals victory.
Here's a few more pictures of my Labor Day weekend experience (I posted 2 pictures last night, in case you had not seen them yet).
Friday night, Kauffman Stadium, Rangers vs Royals. Right field, 12 dollars. A steal.
Kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium.
Saturday night, Kauffman Stadium, Rangers vs Royals (again). Left field line, 23 dollars. Another steal.
The view from the 6th floor at the Clarion Hotel in Kansas City. Beautiful.
This Bud's for you!
Cardinals 9, Cubs 0 (since 1908), Mariners 0
Jack Buck: "Root, root, root for the..."
The Gateway Arch, as seen from a zoom lens from a Vivitar digital camera used by some hack in the 300 level. That hack being, of course, me.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
---There may not be a better setup as far as MLB/NFL stadiums go than Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Same complex, lots of parking, easy freeway access. There's nothing wrong with those two venues, folks. Nothing.
---I feel for the Royals fans. Man, what a depressed bunch. Let's just say that they're looking forward to the Chiefs. If I wanted to be an ass, I would have said "yeah, another Chiefs season full of broken dreams". Wait, I know what that's like. I'm a Seahawks fan. Of course! (slaps forehead)
---I need to watch a Chiefs game in Arrowhead Stadium. By the way, the Seahawks travel to Kansas City in 2006. Thanks, NFL Record And Fact Book.
---No, I did not get a chance to sample the Kansas City barbeque scene nor did I get a chance to visit the Negro Leagues Museum. Don't worry, I should get those two items done during the next two years. I plan on visiting Kansas City again in the future.
---I SHOULD HAVE WORN SUNSCREEN! David knows how white I am. For the sake of our readers, I'm not posting any images of my knees. They're graphic, folks.
---I will now refer to the Edward Jones Dome as The Ghetto Dome.
---We did not stop in East St. Louis. Thank God.
---F*ck the Rams.
---I love Busch Stadium. It's now my second favorite ballpark, behind Safeco Field. Now, with the new Busch Stadium opening next year, the current Busch may slip to 3rd on my list. But for a 30-year old ballpark, it's a nice venue. It's amazing what grass can do to a ballpark.
---The people of St. Louis love their Cardinals. My friends and I have already discussed the possibility of going up to St. Louis next month for a Cardinals playoff game. Wishful thinking, yes. But it's not entirely impossible.
---If I wasn't a Mariners fan, I'd be a Cardinals fan.
---Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball. Better than Alex Rodriguez. Better than Barry Bonds. Better than Denny Hocking. (Hocking is now a Royal, which totally shocked the hell out of me when I saw his name in the Royals' lineup on Friday night)
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Missouri, you showed me a lot over the Labor Day weekend.
I'll be back soon. No doubt about it.
(But I still hate the Rams. F*ck the Rams.)
Monday, September 05, 2005
I'm short on time, but here's a preview of my post on my Labor Day weekend experience. I was in Kansas City on Saturday for the Missouri-Arkansas State football game in Arrowhead Stadium (ASU got smoked 44-17) and went to 2 Rangers-Royals games in the process (Friday night and Saturday night). Earlier this afternoon, I was at Busch Stadium in St. Louis for the Cubs-Cardinals tilt. So I'd like to think that I have a good excuse for not watching Felix Hernandez mow down the Oakland Athletics.
By the way, St. Louis is a baseball town. Oh you better believe it is.
Wow. Just wait until the new ballpark opens up next year in St. Louis.
Albert Pujols is good. Damn good.
Hopefully I'll have more tomorrow, but we'll see.
In 25 words or less: The Mariners' golden boy ends up on the right side of a 2-0 score this time and the offense does just enough.
This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Joe Blanton. In other words, it would be guaranteed entertainment on Labor Day. Additionally, Rafael Soriano was apparently in the dugout today. Not sure when he'll pitch, but it's good to have him back since he's attached to the last great memory I have of this team.
Early dominance. Ichiro bounced a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Marco Scutaro. Jeremy Reed whiffed on a 2-2 pitch way high and outside. Raul Ibañez whiffed on an 0-2 high fastball.
As advertised. Mark Ellis fell behind 0-2 before whiffing over the 1-2 evil curve low. Jason Kendall fell behind 0-2 and eventually bounced a 2-2 curve in the hole at short, where Yuniesky Betancourt made an off-balance throw that had to be picked at first by Richie Sexson. Eric Chavez tapped the first pitch back to the mound.
Not a hit parade, more like a hit isolated incident. Richie Sexson bounced the first pitch to third. Adrian Beltre drove an 0-2 hanging curve off the rightfield track and over the wall for a ground-rule double. Greg Dobbs popped a 2-2 pitch to shallow leftfield, and Matt Watson made a sliding catch. Jose Lopez badly whiffed on some sort of noncheckswing on a ball at about head height.
Nice repeat. Scott Hatteberg rolled the second pitch to second. Jay Payton got ahead 2-0 and wound up whiffing on a 2-2 heater. Dan Johnson chopped a 1-2 pitch to short.
Still nothing. Yuniesky Betancourt popped an 0-2 pitch to Johnson in foul ground on the right side. Yorvit Torrealba smoked the first pitch right to Chavez at third. Ichiro bounced an 0-2 pitch to short.
A bit turbulent. Marco Scutaro roped a 2-2 pitch down the rightfield line for a double. Nick Swisher whiffed on a 2-2 change outside. Matt Watson watched as Scutaro was nearly picked off of second with the count 1-1. Watson ended up tapping a 1-2 pitch back to the mound, and Hernandez was able to go to third after dropping the ball, and Beltre made the tag (1-5 fielder's choice). Ellis looped a 1-1 fly that dropped in front of Ichiro down the rightfield line, moving Watson to third. Kendall bounced the second pitch to third.
No offense. Reed popped a 2-2 pitch high to Scutaro on the outfield grass. Ibañez popped a 2-2 pitch to shallow leftfield. Sexson mashed a double to the gap in rightcenter, narrowly missing being caught by Swisher at the wall (misjudged). Beltre was intentionally walked. Dobbs got ahead 3-0 and eventually fisted a full-count bouncer to short.
Lightning quick. Chavez bounced the second pitch to Sexson at first, who took it to the bag. Hatteberg bounced the second pitch to short. Payton grounded the second pitch hard to third.
Odd. Lopez lined out to Chavez, waist height. Betancourt lasered a 2-0 single into leftfield. Torrealba took a 2-2 pitch barely outside and ended up whiffing on the eleventh pitch of the at-bat, and Betancourt appeared to have second base stolen safely, though he went in standing up and the ball was dropped at second. However, the call was that Torrealba leaned over the plate while Kendall was trying to throw to second, so his strikeout and the interference call ended the inning. Go figure.
Same good stuff. Johnson whiffed on a full-count dirtball. Scutaro bounced a 1-2 pitch up the middle, but Betancourt plugged up the hole and threw in time to first. Swisher whiffed on a full-count curve.
Offense! Ichiro served the second pitch into shallow leftcenter for a single. Reed bunted the first pitch to the right side, and it somehow got past Blanton as Johnson stayed back to cover first. Ibañez bounced up the middle to short, and Ellis underhanded backward to Scutaro, who was upended by Reed, breaking up the double play (Ichiro went to third). Sexson took umbrage to a 1-1 called inside strike and later took a fastball to the left bicep or thereabouts, loading the bases. Beltre flew out to leftfield on a 2-0 pitch, but it was deep enough to score Ichiro from third, and it moved Ibañez to third.
»» MARINERS 1, ATHLETICS 0
Dobbs laced the first pitch up the middle for a single, scoring Ibañez and moving Sexson to second.
»» MARINERS 2, ATHLETICS 0
Lopez lined the first pitch right to Chavez on a knee near the bag at third.
Rolling. Watson grounded a 2-2 pitch to short. Ellis got ahead 2-0 and later looped a 2-2 pitch toward shallow leftfield that Betancourt went back for and caught with a leap. Kendall grounded hard to third.
Dammit. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and wound up ripping the 2-2 pitch into the leftcenter gap for a triple. Torrealba chopped the second pitch to short as Betancourt held at third. Ichiro was intentionally walked.
Ricardo Rincon came in for Blanton. Reed air-bunted the second pitch with the squeeze on, and Chavez slid in to catch it and went back to the third-base bag to double off Betancourt.
Blanton's line: 6 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches (64 strikes)
Gargantuan jam. Chavez grounded the second pitch into the hole on the right side, and Lopez plugged the hole and made the play. Hatteberg grounded the first pitch hard to third. Payton dumped the second pitch into rightcenter for a single, snapping the streak of twelve straight reitred Oakland hitters. Johnson fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch barely out of the zone (Diaz). Johnson singled past Lopez' backhand side and into rightcenter, moving Payton to third as he was held up by Ron Washington's stop sign. Scutaro worked an 0-2 count full and took a breaking ball high to load the bases. Swisher took a 3-1 pitch outside for a strike before popping the full-count pitch high to leftfield.
Hernandez' line: 7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 107 pitches (68 strikes)
No insurance. Ibañez popped the second pitch high to Chavez in foul ground somewhere behind home plate, a "look what I found" catch.
Kiko Calero came in for Rincon. Sexson whiffed on an inside 2-2 pitch. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and wound up flying out to centerfield.
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)
Calero's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (5 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Hernandez. Watson laced a full-count single into leftfield, cut off by Ibañez from rolling past. Ellis took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner. Kendall flew out to leftfield.
George Sherrill came in for Putz. Chavez got ahead 2-0 before flying out to Ichiro on the rightfield track on the 2-2 pitch.
Putz' line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)
Justin Duchscherer came in for Calero. Dobbs rolled out to second. Lopez grounded the 2-2 pitch hard to third. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and lined out to leftfield on a 1-2 pitch.
Duchscherer's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in for Sherrill. Hatteberg fell behind 0-2 and flew out to short on a 2-2 pitch. Payton lined out to rightfield on the first pitch. Johnson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (7 strikes)
Gameball: Yuniesky Betancourt.
Three of the four balls he hit today were hard-hit. One of them was a lineout to leftfield in the ninth. One was a single that he crushed to leftfield in the fifth. The other was a leadoff triple in the seventh inning. Inexcusably, the Mariners were not able to plate Betancourt in that inning for the insurance run. It didn't just stop with the offense for Betancourt. Usually it stops with the defense and we don't get to see much offense, but I'm going the other way with this one. After making a nice play but a wide throw that had to be picked by Richie Sexson in the first, he plugged up the left-side hole on Marco Scutaro in the fifth, but more impressively, he raged back and leapt into shallow leftfield on what usually goes as a bloop single. I've seen that ball hit a million times and it always goes as a single. The main difference now is that Yuniesky Betancourt is a sickly good shortstop. All hail the Cuban! As Mariner fans, we only get to see Felix go once every five days, but we can still feel decent about watching the other games for the rest of the season because this cunning Cuban vacuum cleaner is out there every day.
Goat: Jose Lopez.
There were many Mariners that didn't hit today, and even the ones that did didn't get many hits. Thus, it makes Lopez and his 0-for-4 day not look as bad. His results weren't good, though the way he got those results wasn't necessarily overly bad. Okay, other than that first at-bat where he couldn't hold a checkswing on a pitch he had no chance at, he lined out his other three times at the plate. He lined out twice to third and hit a hard grounder to third as well, and Eric Chavez was there waiting for the ball every time, as he does. The greatest thing about Lopez so far? I know his stat line this year says he's only played 31 games this year with the big club, but what I like is this (knocking on wood) -- he's only made four errors in that span of time. Granted, you multiply that by five for a full season (around 155 games) and you still get 20 errors and that's high, but you know what? Twenty errors is better than watching Mike Morse on the infield. Add to all of this the fact that Lopez has appeared to develop some hitting shoes since this last callup.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 98-39 .715 -- W2
2002 80-57 .584 18 W1
2003 80-57 .584 18 W3
2000 74-63 .540 24 L1
2005 59-78 .431 39 W1
2004 51-86 .372 47 L6
The Mariners have tied their season-best eight-game cushion over last year's Mariners. With a win tomorrow night, not only would they have their first series win since the Kansas City series that ended with a sweep on the 17th of August, they'd also have their first winning streak in eighteen games, and they would have broken a streak of ten games of alternating wins and losses. Also, a win tomorrow night would give the Mariners a new season best of a nine-game cushion over last year's pace, and it's disappointing it would have taken that long. My preseason prediction for the team was to finish 77-85, eight games below .500, and they have to go 18-7 to equal that. I have a half-reasonable mind, so I doubt highly that that's going to happen. Instead, with 25 games remaining to go, I'd have to say that 13-12 would be nice for this team, and that'd put them at 72-90, a nine-game improvement over the year before. That's not bad, though it's less than what I expected. Of course, I didn't expect Bret Boone, Gil Meche, and Joel Piñeiro to all stink it up either.
The Mariners scored both of their runs in the sixth. Jeremy Reed provided two big plays in the inning, perfectly placing a bunt along the right side that ended up going for a base hit, and then sldiing hard into second and Mark Ellis to break up what could have been a double play. In any event, the non-double play and the bunt made up for the air-bunted squeeze later in the game. Adrian Beltre was jammed with his 2-0 pitch that went for a sacrifice fly which scored Ichiro and proved to be all the Mariners would need. Greg Dobbs followed up with a solid single to plate Raul Ibañez with the final run of the game. The Mariners had three of their seven hits in that sixth inning.
Yuniesky Betancourt (gameball) had the only multi-hit game for the Mariners. The other five hits went to Ichiro (leadoff single in the sixth), Jeremy Reed (bunt after Ichiro's hit that went for a single), Richie Sexson (deep fly ball for a double off the rightcenter wall that Nick Swisher probably should have caught), Adrian Beltre (ground-rule two-out double in the second), and Greg Dobbs (RBI single in the sixth).
With the 1-for-3 day today, Ichiro has 170 hits on the season and sits with a .297 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (572 at-bats in 137 games, 4.18 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 30 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .287 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .296 season average.
-- he needs 33 hits to finish with a .300 average for the season; he'd need to hit .316 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 47 hits to finish with a .320 (.321) average for the season; he'd need to hit .450 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 217 hits.
Lastly, Felix. He got fourteen groundouts and two flyouts. Only one of those flyouts reached the outfield, and that was the final out he got, Nick Swisher to leftfield in the seventh. He retired the first six hitters of the game, then started another streak with the final out in the third, retiring twelve straight hitters. That streak was broken by Jay Payton, who singled with two out in the seventh and that seemed to bump Felix off the tracks a little. Felix got ahead 0-2 on both Dan Johnson and Marco Scutaro, but went to full counts on both. Johnson singled and Scutaro walked to load the bases. It was a tenuous, edge-of-your-seat time for any Mariner fans that were watching, and Johnson probably should have been sent to the dugout by Laz Diaz (less problems than usual from Diaz today) on his 2-2 pitch. Thus, this all made the final out by Nick Swisher a huge one. As mentioned, that was the only flyout to the outfield that young Felix got in the entire game. Again, that's fourteen groundouts, two flyouts, and five strikeouts. Twenty-one outs, no runs, a walk, and 107 pitches. It finished in a very turbulent fashion, but it was still masterful.
Just for that, you get two more games in Oakland! Once again, two chances to get a series win. Can it happen?
Piñeiro. Kennedy. Tomorrow.
Seattle MARINERS at Oakland ATHLETICS, 1:05p
Felix Hernandez (2-2, 1.84) v. Joe Blanton (8-10, 3.54)
I'm quite glad we're not getting a crappy pitching matchup for Labor Day.
Now let's see if anyone is out there to plant some comments today...
Sunday, September 04, 2005
In 25 words or less: A certain starting pitcher finally got lit up in the Majors. Even after two opposing blasts, there was room for a false-hope comeback.
This one featured Jeff Harris going up against Bartolo Colon. Would Harris keep up his stellar pitching? Would Colon give the Mariners yet another Colonic? The answers would be revealed on a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark.
Omen? Ichiro grounded the first pitch hard to short. Jeremy Reed took a 2-2 pitch low and over the outside corner. Raul Ibañez took a 1-2 breaking ball down the pipe.
Defensive. Chone Figgins grounded the first pitch hard to short, where Yuniesky Betancourt dove and threw in time to first. Orlando Cabrera blistered the ball toward third, and Adrian Beltre took the ball off his glove and chest, had to corral it, then threw in time to first. Garret Anderson got ahead 2-0 and later popped high to rightfield.
Repeat. Richie Sexson flew out to centerfield. Adrian Beltre popped the second pitch high to Casey Kotchman alongside the mound. Greg Dobbs fell behind 0-2 and wound up bouncing to first.
Destruct. Vladimir Guerrero walked on a full-count pitch outside. Juan Rivera poked a second-pitch single into leftfield, moving Guerrero to second. Casey Kotchman crushed a 3-0 pitch over the wall in the rightfield corner.
»» ANGELS 3, MARINERS 0
Robb Quinlan got ahead 3-1 and popped a full-count pitch to Sexson halfway down the first-base line in foul territory. Jose Molina worked a 1-2 count full before lining the ninth pitch into centerfield for a single, luring Bryan Price to the mound. Steve Finley got ahead 2-0 before flying out near the track in centerfield. Molina took second without a throw on the second pitch to Figgins, who ended up lining out to first. By the way, Harris threw 36 pitches in the inning.
I'm bored at this point. Lopez fell victim to a sliding catch in rightfield by Juan Rivera. Yorvit Torrealba worked a 1-2 count full before taking a pitch over the outside corner. Yuniesky Betancourt smoked the ball off of Colon's glove, which slowed it down, but Cabrera couldn't get a handle of the ball, nullifying any chance he had at a play. Ichiro popped the second pitch high to Figgins on the rightfield line.
Yes, there's more. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 and laced a 1-2 pitch into centerfield for a single. Before any pitches were throw to Anderson, Cabrera stole second despite being picked off at first, but he beat out the throw from Sexson to second base (huge jump too). Anderson flew out high to Lopez in shallow rightfield on the second pitch. Guerrero crushed a pitch above fourteen rows deep inside the leftfield foul pole.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 0
Rivera flew out to centerfield on the second pitch. Kotchman hit a double over Jeremy Reed's head and off the track in centerfield, bringing Price to the mound again. Quinlan bounced a full-count pitch to a diving Betancourt at short, and he made the play.
Harris' line: 3 innings, 5 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 69 pitches (45 strikes)
I'm asleep at this point. Reed had a second-pitch foul pop nearly caught by a running Anderson near the leftfield stands. Reed ended up flying out to leftfield. Ibañez flew out to Rivera in the gap in rightcenter near the track. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and in.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa came in for Harris. Molina lined out to Beltre on a snowcone grab. Finley rolled a 2-2 pitch to second. Figgins ripped the first pitch into rightfield for a single. Cabrera took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Signs of life. Beltre grounded the first pitch along the third-base line, and Quinlan got to it from behind the bag and threw very wide of first, allowing Beltre to scoot to second. Dobbs dumped the first pitch into centerfield for a single, moving Beltre to third. Lopez singled into the rightcenter gap, scoring Beltre and moving Dobbs to second.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 1
Torrealba whiffed on a 2-2 fastball outside. Betancourt lined out to Anderson in front of the leftfield track. Ichiro flew out to Anderson in foul ground along the leftfield line.
Relief? Anderson got ahead 2-0 and later whiffed on a full-count breaking ball. Guerrero worked an 0-2 count for a walk (low and away final pitch). Rivera chopped to third for a 5-4-3 double play.
More life. Reed blistered the first pitch past Kotchman and down the rightfield line for a triple (Rivera had been shaded over to rightcenter). Ibañez took a first-pitch ball and watched as the trainer and Mike Scioscia went to the mound and yanked Colon from the game for what was revealed to be tightness in his lower back.
Esteban Yan came in for Colon. Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the inner half. Sexson bounced a 3-1 pitch to short, and Cabrera's off-balance throw was picked at first by Kotchman. Reed scored on the play.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 2
Beltre popped an 0-2 pitch near the rightfield foul pole, where Rivera had the ball go past the end of his glove, allowing Beltre to sneak in with the double. Dobbs got ahead 3-1 and eventually scorched a full-count single through the hole on the right side, scoring Beltre.
»» ANGELS 5, MARINERS 3
Lopez punched a 1-2 pitch past Kotchman for a single, moving Dobbs to third, who had been going with the pitch. Torrealba whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball outside.
Colon's line: 5 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts, 68 pitches (47 strikes)
Yan's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 27 pitches (19 strikes)
Moving along. Kotchman poked a first-pitch single into centerfield. Quinlan watched with the count 2-1 as Kotchman was hung up between first and second after a frew throws. Quinlan bounced out to third on the next pitch. Molina flew out to leftfield on a 3-1 pitch.
Hasegawa's line: 3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 39 pitches (21 strikes)
Brendan Donnelly came in for Yan. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 while Dave Valle revealed Gaylord Perry's strategy of cutting off the collar on his jackets and putting K-Y Jelly on his neck hair (this was all in reference to Donnelly's pine tar incident earlier this year). Betancourt grounded the 1-2 pitch to second. Ichiro hit a low liner to a running Finley in centerfield on a 2-0 pitch. Reed whiffed on a high 2-2 pitch.
Donnelly's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (11 strikes)
Matt Thornton came in for Hasegawa. Finley roped a 1-2 pitch for a single into rightfield. Figgins got ahead 3-0 before bouncing to third on a full-count, moving Figgins to second.
Julio Mateo came in for Thornton. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 and popped a 1-2 pitch to Beltre, who reached over the railing of the camera well on the left side to make the catch. Anderson foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch into Torrealba's glove for a strikeout.
Thornton's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (6 strikes)
Scot Shields came in for Donnelly. Ibañez walked on four pitches (final pitch up and away). Sexson got ahead 3-1 and took a full-count pitch down the pipe. Beltre took a 1-2 pitch way outside and to the backstop, moving Ibañez to second. Beltre later took the 2-2 pitch in the dirt, but not far enough away to advance Ibañez to third. Beltre finally whiffed on a full-count pitch in the dirt (2-3 putout), but Ibañez moved to third on the play. Dobbs flew out to leftfield on a 3-1 pitch.
Shields' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 21 pitches (8 strikes)
Yep. Guerrero got ahead 2-0 before walking on a full-count pitch barely outside. Rivera grounded up the middle into a 6-4-3 double play. Kotchman bounced a 3-1 pitch right to short.
Mateo's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 23 pitches (13 strikes)
Francisco Rodriguez came in for Shields. Lopez got ahead 2-0 and later whiffed on a full-count pitch way outside. Dave Hansen, hitting for Torrealba, worked a 1-2 count full before flying out just inside the leftfield line. Betancourt popped high to centerfield. Ballgame.
Rodriguez' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
After Jeff Harris floundered to start the game, someone had to take the middle innings of the game, and Hasegawa did so in this game, and with good results. I would have thought Julio Mateo was going to be the first guy out of the bullpen, but apparently not. Of course, it's come quite clear that Hasegawa's role in the bullpen is definitely different compared to what it was in years past, or even compared to the start of the season. In any event, Hasegawa faced only ten batters in his three innings of work, just one over the minimum. He did get the benefit of a double play to end the fifth as well as having Casey Kotchman wandering aimlessly between first and second. Kotchman doubled, homered, and drove in three runs in a 3-for-4 day, so I think he sort of made up for the baserunning blunder. He was a triple away from the cycle. In any event, Hasegawa held the game close after Harris was gone, and wouldn't you know it, the Mariners were down only 5-3 when Hasegawa was replaced with Matt Thornton. Hasegawa did his job.
Goat: Jeff Harris.
I'd have to say the realistic expectation of what Jeff Harris could consistently give a team was worse than what he'd been putting on the scoresheet for all of his appearances before today. Of course, I'd expect that a consistent Harris wouldn't do what he did today. I think a start like this from Harris was bound to happen at least once before the end of the year, and for any 31-year-old rookie, the fact that today was the day didn't surprise me. It didn't help that the Angels are a pretty good team. All five of the runs he gave up scored on the homers by Vladimir Guerrero and Casey Kotchman. Though he only walked one batter, Harris just didn't have control of his stuff. He left a lot of pitches up, be they fastballs, breaking balls, whatever. Throw that stuff to Major League hitters, and it's pretty predictable what will happen. I was a tiny bit disappointed that Harris wasn't able to really dig himself out of the hole, but now we'll get to see how rebounds from this start in five days. We shall see.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 97-39 .713 -- W1
2002 79-57 .581 18 L2
2003 79-57 .581 18 W2
2000 74-62 .544 23 W2
2005 58-78 .426 39 L1
2004 51-85 .375 46 L5
The Mariners haven't won a series since the home sweep against Kansas City on August 15-17. Since then, they've split one series (four games with the Yankees) and lost the other four. Like I said in the post for yesterday's game, the Mariners haven't had a losing streak since the 27th of August, a span of eight games. Of course, they haven't had a winning streak since finishing off the sweep of the Royals, and it's been seventeen games since that happened. Yes, the 2005 Mariners are hopelessly gripped by mediocrity. Luckily, there's been more mediocrity this year than all-out suckage. Last year was filled with much more of the latter.
On offense, the Mariners' chances were a bit unfulfilling, not that it's news to anyone this year. After Jose Lopez drove in the first Mariner run of the game, runners stood on first and second with nobody out. Immediately afterward, Yorvit Torrealba, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Ichiro went away 1-2-3. No deep-enough fly balls, no bunts, no hits, nothing. In the eighth, Raul Ibañez led off with a four-pitch walk and would have stayed there to end the inning if Scot Shields didn't prove to be so wild. Ibañez got to third on a wild pitch and got to third on another wild pitch on which Adrian Beltre struck out. Other than that, Richie Sexson was caught looking and Dobbs flew out to left to sandwich the Beltre strikeout. All too often this year, the Mariners have enacted the latter half of Ken Levine's Law. To those who've forgotten about the Law, it's "the leadoff walk always comes around to score unless it doesn't." To those who've forgotten who Ken Levine was, he came over to the Mariners' crew after having done work with the Baltimore Orioles and a bunch of TV sitcom work too. I'm pretty sure he came over when Rick Rizzs went to Detroit.
With the 0-for-4 day today (he also left three runners on base), Ichiro still has 169 hits on the season and sits with a .297 batting average. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (569 at-bats in 136 games, 4.18 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 31 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .285 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .295 season average.
-- he needs 34 hits to finish with a .300 average for the season; he'd need to hit .313 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 203 hits.
-- he needs 48 hits to finish with a .320 average for the season; he'd need to hit .441 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 217 hits.
In a more positive note, multi-hit games today belonged to the fifth, sixth, and seventh hitters in the Mariner lineup. Adrian Beltre, Greg Dobbs, and Jose Lopez all went 2-for-4. Beltre had the only extra-base hit out of the trio, a pop-fly double near the rightfield corner in the sixth that Juan Rivera just plain didn't catch, though he was obviously negotiating where the wall was going to be. Beltre's other hit was an infield hit behind the bag at third, and he was credited with the single and advanced on the Robb Quinlan double-wide throw. Dobbs and Lopez both singled in the fifth and sixth innings, with Lopez driving in a run in the fifth and Dobbs in the sixth. Jeremy Reed had the other extra-base hit of the day for the Mariners, a triple down the rightfield line to lead off the sixth, and he eventually scored the Mariners' second run on a Sexson groundout.
So, with the Mariners having not had a series win or a winning streak in forever, what's their reward? Three games in Oakland, of course. The first and last games of the series are day games. They get a day off on Thursday, then they don't get another day off until the 26th. At least we get to see Yuniesky Betancourt pick it at short on a daily basis.
Hernandez. Blanton. Tomorrow.
In 25 words or less: The game was bookended with run-scoring, but somehow the Mariners pulled this one out of the hat in the end.
This one featured Ryan Franklin going up against Jarrod Washburn. Willie Bloomquist would not start against Washburn due to his hamstring injury and current placement on the disabled list. Jamal Strong started in centerfield and Jeremy Reed sat against the lefty Washburn.
First blood. Ichiro lasered the ball into the rightfield corner and stretched it into a triple. Jamal Strong hit a sinking liner into centerfield, where Chone Figgins made a sliding catch coming inward, but Ichiro was still able to score.
»» MARINERS 1, ANGELS 0
Raul Ibañez got ahead 3-1 but grounded a full-count pitch hard to short. Richie Sexson got under the second pitch, popping it near the rightfield corner.
Giving back. Chone Figgins popped the first pitch high to first. Orlando Cabrera roped a single up the middle. Garret Anderson popped out to Adrian Beltre in front of the third-base dugout. Vladimir Guerrero walked on four pitches, moving Cabrera to second. Darin Erstad broke his bat on a flare that fell just over a reaching Sexson for a single, scoring Cabrera and moving Guerrero to third.
«« ANGELS 1, MARINERS 1
Bengie Molina fell behind 0-2 and wound up flying out to Strong in rightcenter.
Noncapitalist. Adrian Beltre rolled a hard single through the hole on the left side. Jose Lopez popped the second pitch to shallow leftfield. Mike Morse popped the first pitch to Guerrero in deep rightcenter. Miguel Ojeda fell behind 0-2 and eventually popped high to Adam Kennedy in shallow centerfield.
Pretty decent. Robb Quinlan bounced out to short. Juan Rivera smoked the second pitch right to Morse, who had mild trouble judging the ball but reached up and caught the line drive. Adam Kennedy got the hitters' counts and ended up foul-tipping a full-count pitch low and away into the Ojeda's glove for a strikeout.
Nothing much. Yuniesky Betancourt bounced the first pitch hard to Quinlan at third, who necessitated a stretch by Erstad into foul territory to get the throw. Ichiro bounced a 1-2 pitch to third. Strong got ahead 3-0 and later walked on a full-count pitch. Ibañez laced a 2-0 pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Strong to second. After a pickoff throw to second went off Kennedy's glove and into centerfield (Strong held, it wasn't far enough away), Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 dirtball.
A more familiar situation. Figgins drag-bunted the second pitch along the right side, and Sexson had no play as no one was left covering the bag. Cabrera popped high to rightfield. Anderson poked a single down the rightfield line, moving Figgins to third. Guerrero bounced an 0-2 pitch to short, where Betancourt got the force at second, but Lopez couldn't get the ball out of his glove. Figgins scored.
»» ANGELS 2, MARINERS 1
Erstad bounced the second pitch to second.
Squandering again. Beltre bounced the first pitch to third. Lopez walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Morse got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-1 pitch, and Lopez was nailed trying to steal second despite a high throw from Molina. Morse wound up bouncing a full-count pitch to third, and Quinlan threw high to first, making Erstad jump a little too high for the throw (E5). Ojeda popped the second pitch high to leftfield.
Solid. Molina popped a full-count pitch high to centerfield. Quinlan popped the first pitch high to Beltre halfway in on the third-base line. Rivera ripped the second pitch through the mound and into centerfield for a single. Kennedy hit a low liner to Morse in leftfield.
Holding pattern. Betancourt chopped a 2-2 pitch to third. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and later grounded the 1-2 pitch hard to first. Strong foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch over the outer half into Molina's glove behindf the plate.
Okay. Figgins fell behind 0-2 on a very slow curve before lining out to leftfield on a 2-2 pitch. Cabrera knocked the first pitch to a sliding Beltre, who spun and threw to first, where Sexson came off the bag and tagged Cabrera. Anderson bounced the first pitch to first, where the ball rolled off the heel of Sexson's glove on the backhand and went into rightfield (E3). Guerrero bounced to short for a 6-4 fielder's choice.
Futile middle. Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a letter-high pitch. Sexson fell behind 0-2 and flew out to Rivera in leftfield, who made a running catch going back near the track. Beltre bounced the second pitch up the middle, where Kennedy threw over to first.
Still decent. Erstad scooped a flyout to Ichiro just in front of the track near the rightfield corner. Molina whiffed on an 0-2 megaslow breaking ball. Quinlan worked a 1-2 count for a walk (low). Rivera roped the first pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Quinlan to third (Ichiro had bobbled the ball). Kennedy bounced a full-count pitch to Sexson at the bag.
Still scuffling. Lopez rolled over a pitch low and away, grounding to a charging Cabrera on the right side. Morse bounced a 3-1 pitch to second. Ojeda flew out on the first pitch just short of the track in centerfield.
Washburn's line: 7 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 95 pitches (57 strikes)
Sweet relief. Figgins poked the second pitch through the right side for a single. Cabrera bunted the first pitch along the right side to Sexson, who threw to Lopez at first, moving Figgins to second.
George Sherrill came in for Franklin. Anderson bounced the 2-2 pitch hard and deep into the hole on the right side, where Lopez made the play to first.
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Guerrero bounced the second pitch behind the bag at third, where Beltre threw over to first.
Franklin's line: 6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 99 pitches (62 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)
Brendan Donnelly came in for Washburn. Jeremy Reed, hitting for Betancourt, cranked a double to the wall in the gap in rightcenter. Ichiro bunted the second pitch in front of the plate, and Donnelly tried to field it, but had no play as Reed moved to third. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Strong, flew out to Figgins in shallow leftcenter as Reed held at third. Ibañez punched a 3-0 single through the right side, scoring Reed and moving Ichiro to second.
»» ANGELS 2, MARINERS 2
Scot Shields came in for Donnelly. Sexson whiffed on an 0-2 fastball over the inside corner. Beltre walked on a 3-0 pitch down and away, loading the bases. Lopez watched a low and away 1-2 pitch get away from Molina, who blocked it as Ichiro held at third. Lopez ended up chopping out to third.
Donnelly's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (6 strikes)
Could have gotten real bad. In the field, Reed stayed in to play centerfield, Dobbs to play leftfield, and Morse moved to shortstop. Erstad got ahead 2-0, and Bryan Price and a trainer came to the mound with the count 2-1. Erstad slapped a sinking liner to leftfield, where Dobbs let the ball drop in front of him (should have been a flyout). Molina bunted the second pitch along the right side to Sexson, who threw to a covering Lopez as Erstad moved to second. Quinlan couldn't hold a checkswing on an 0-2 pitch way up and in. Rivera bounced the 2-2 pitch to short.
Putz' line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
Splendid. Morse got ahead 3-1 and later took a barely-low full-count pitch for a walk. Ojeda bunted the first pitch along the first-base line, where Erstad fielded and tagged Ojeda coming down the line. Reed walked on four pitches. Ichiro punched a 2-2 single over Cabrera at short and into leftfield, scoring Morse and moving Reed to third.
»» MARINERS 3, ANGELS 2
Jason Christiansen came in for Shields. Dobbs fouled off a 2-1 squeeze attempt before scooping a 2-2 low liner toward Figgins in centerfield, who dove inward and had the ball bounce in front of him and past him. Reed scored and Ichiro moved to third. Dobbs ended up on second with the double.
»» MARINERS 4, ANGELS 2
Ibañez drilled the first pitch up the middle, scoring Reed and Ichiro.
»» MARINERS 6, ANGELS 2
Esteban Yan came in for Christiansen. Sexson bounced a 1-1 pitch to short, where Cabrera had trouble getting the ball out of the glove, nullifying a double play chance but getting the out at second. Beltre lined out to rightfield.
Shields' line: 1 inning, 3 runs, 1 hit, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 28 pitches (12 strikes)
Christiansen's line: 0 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (5 strikes)
Yan's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (4 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came in for Putz. Erstad bounced a 2-2 pitch to short and was barely out after Morse's throw and Sexson's stretch. Figgins fell worked an 0-2 count for an eight-pitch walk (last pitch up and away), taking four balls to end the at-bat. Cabrera got ahead 2-0, and Figgins took second without a throw on the 2-2 pitch. Cabrera walked on a full-count pitch down and in, luring Bryan Price from the dugout. Anderson flew out to centerfield on the second pitch. Guerrero slapped a second-pitch double into the rightfield corner, scoring Figgins and moving Cabrera to third.
»» MARINERS 6, ANGELS 3
Erstad rolled the first pitch to second. Ballgame.
Guardado's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (14 strikes)
He's warmed up the last two days in Anaheim, going 5-for-9 with a double, a triple, and a steal, scoring three runs and driving in one. He's also dusted off an old tool out of the toolbox -- the bunt single. He whipped it out to lead off the game on Friday, and he got another one in the eighth in this game (probably not the exact motive), not getting out but moving Jeremy Reed over to third, who later scored as the tying run. Also, it's good to see Ichiro leading off the last two games with hits. In the huge scope of things, getting a hit to lead off a game shouldn't be a big thing, but when Ichiro actually gets that leadoff hit, it's a big thing. It's a small tone-setter, if you will. Heck, why doesn't he just get like fifty infield hits this month? That'll spice things up. I guess I just miss vintage Ichiro lately. Of course, one could argue that vintage Ichiro hasn't existed this season, since his doubles are way off compared to years past. After hitting .244 in August, might we see Ichiro heat up in September and finish somewhat respectably?
Ichiro currently has 169 hits on the season. If he gets at-bats at the same pace he's been getting them for the season (565 at-bats in 135 games, 4.19 at-bats per game)...
-- he needs 31 hits to reach 200 for the season; he'd need to hit .274 for the remainder of the season, and that'd leave him with a .295 season average.
-- he needs 35 hits to finish with a .300 (.301) average for the season; he'd need to hit .310 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 204 hits.
-- he needs 48 hits to finish with a .320 average for the season; he'd need to hit .428 for the rest of the season, and he'd end up with 217 hits.
Goat: Richie Sexson.
After the monster July, Sexson hit .211 in August. His last homer was the tenth-inning grand slam to put away the third game of the four-game series in Minnesota. That was on the 20th of August. That's thirteen games without a homer. He's gone 10-for-45 in that stretch, with only four doubles as extra-base hits. He's struck out twelve times and walked seven times over the homerless stretch. After Sexson hit the slam in Minnesota, 40 homers for the season didn't seem like it would be too much of a stretch. Thirteen games later, he's still stuck on 32 homers. Can he mash eight more in the twenty-seven remaining games? I know I would sure like to see it. His most homer-happy month this season came in July, where he hit nine homers. Those nine homers occurred in a fourteen-game stretch. Sexson could definitely finish with forty homers. I just think he needs one homer to get the whole thing going again. Maybe the homers will come cascading down once again. Me likey the long ball. It's been a little lacking out of the Mariners lately, seeing as to how Sexson is the most prolific home-run hitter on the team.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 96-39 .711 -- L1
2002 79-56 .585 17 L1
2003 78-57 .578 18 W1
2000 73-62 .541 23 W1
2005 58-77 .430 38 W1
2004 51-84 .378 45 L4
If the Mariners come away with a win on Sunday, it wouldn't only give them another series win in Anaheim, it would also equal their season-best cushion over the 2004 team's pace. A Sunday win would make them eight games better than the abomination of a team from last year for only the second time this season. The only other time it happened was on August 25th after the final game of the series in Arlington. Since last year's team was in the throes of a seven-game losing streak at this point, the Mariners can go for a record cushion for the next three games, with a ten-game cushion being the best-case scenario. In other weird news, the Mariners have alternated wins and losses in the last eight games. The good news is that they haven't had a losing streak since the middle game of the home series against Chicago (27th of August). The bad news is that they haven't had a winning streak since the sweep against Kansas City (August 17th).
This was Ryan Franklin's best start post-steroid suspension, without question. He lasted 6 1/3 innings in this game, eclipsing six innings as his previous post-steroid best in terms of outs recorded in a start. That six-inning start was the Dugout Ruckus game in Minnesota. Of course, what set this start apart from all the other post-steroid starts was that Franklin managed to give up less than four runs. For his second straight start, he didn't give up double-digit totals in hits. He walked two batters and managed to not give up a homer. Now if he goes and shoots off about giving up two runs and not getting a win in the game, I'd go ballistic, but oh well. It's been fun going evil against Franklin ever since the steroid suspension, but hey, he just helped my team win. I'll lighten up until he goes out and gives up 12 hits and six runs in four innings of work. Anything to help the Mariners go on a 19-8 tear and make me look awesome for my 77-85 preseason prediction of the Mariners' record. I guess the only other thing I'd add about Franklin for the game -- what was with that slow-ass breaking ball? When did he start busting that out? It's that thing that floats up there at about 72. I'm pretty sure I didn't see him throw that to Vladimir Guerrero, and that's a good thing.
Multi-hit games in this one went to Ichiro and Raul Ibañez. Ichiro had the leadoff triple, the bunt single in the eighth, and the single that drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth en route to his 51st multi-hit game of the season. Ichiro had 80 multi-hit games in 2004. Raul Ibañez also had smashing results, singling in the third, eighth, and ninth innings and driving in runs with the singles in the eighth and ninth to both tie and put the game away.
Also, how about some props for the eighth-inning pinch-hitters, Greg Dobbs and Jeremy Reed, who stayed in the game and raised hell in the eighth and ninth? Reed doubled to lead off the eighth and he scored the tying run. Reed walked in the ninth and Dobbs doubled him across (the Figgins dive-and-miss) to make it 4-2.
It's a rubber game on a Sunday afternoon. Could the Mariners win a series? Could they have a winning streak?
Harris. Colon. Today.