Saturday, April 29, 2006


AP photo -- Gail Burton

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Mariner fans were bored out of their gourds until the Mariner bats met a much-too-elusive friend -- the big inning.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Bruce Chen.

Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and ended up bouncing a 2-2 pitch to Tejada in the hole on the left side. Willie Bloomquist bunted the second pitch along the left side where Chen got to it but his throw was wide and Bloomquist was too quick and got the single. Raul Ibañez rolled a 2-2 pitch right to short for a 6-4-3 double play. Chen threw 12 pitches.

Brian Roberts was ahead 2-0 and roped a full-count pitch to rightfield for a single. Melvin Mora ripped a second-pitch single to leftfield, moving Roberts to second. Miguel Tejada whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Jay Gibbons took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner, but it wasn't called as such. Gibbons ended up bouncing to second on a 1-2 count, but Lopez bobbled the turn of the double the play and his only play was at first. Ramon Hernandez bounced the second pitch to short. F Hernandez threw 21 pitches.

Richie Sexson worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Carl Everett flew out to fairly deep centerfield. Adrian Beltre popped out to Roberts along the rightfield line. Kenji Johjima fell behind 0-2 and popped high to Roberts on the infield. Chen threw 17 pitches and had 29 through two.

Kevin Millar fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch off the right wrist. Corey Patterson popped the first pitch high to rightfield. Jeff Conine punched the first pitch through the left side for a single. Kevin Millar walked off the field due to his wrist and was replaced by Chris Gomez. Ncik Markakis watched the first pitch go very far outside and to the backstop, moving the runners to third and second. Markakis lined the next pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Gomez and moving Conine to third.
Roberts had the hitters' counts and walked, moving Markakis to second. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Mora fell behind 0-2 and waved badly at a 2-2 curve away in the dirt. Tejada tipped the first pitch in front of the plate, and Johjima pounced on it and threw to first. Hernandez threw 21 pitches and had 42 through two.

Lopez was ahead 2-0 and got under a 2-2 pitch, flying out to left. Yuniesky Betancourt popped high to short. Ichiro flew out to Conine in left. Chen threw 11 pitches and had 40 through three.

Gibbons popped the second pitch to Ibañez in shallow left. R Hernandez was ahead 3-0 and walked on the 3-1 pitch high. Gomez just missed a double down the rightfield line before bouncing a hit-and-run single through the left side on a full count, moving R Hernandez to second. Patterson nearly put a ball onto Eutaw Street, but anyway it was good for a three-run homer over the rightfield scoreboard.
Conine doubled into the rightfield corner on the second pitch. Markakis took a pitch and Chaves came to the mound. Markakis was ahead 2-0 and later rolled up the middle to Betancourt as Conine went to third. Roberts flew out high to Betancourt on a 1-2 pitch. Hernandez threw 28 pitches and had 70 through three.

Bloomquist popped a full-count pitch to R Hernandez behind the plate. Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Sexson bounced a full-count pitch to third. Chen threw 18 pitches and had 58 through four.

Mora rolled the first pitch up the middle for a single. Tejada blistered the second pitch to rightfield for a single, moving Mora to second. Gibbons banged the first pitch through the right side for a single to load the bases. Chaves came out again to visit the mound. R Hernandez nubbed a 2-2 pitch in front of the plate, and F Hernandez had to go barehand it and shovel it home for the force, leaving the bases loaded. Gomez grounded an 0-2 pitch up the middle to Betancourt to start a 6-3 double play. Hernandez threw 13 pitches and had 83 through four.

Everett was ahead 3-0 and popped the 3-1 pitch the other way into the lower bullpen in leftcenter.
Beltre was called out on a failed 0-2 checkswing on a ball in the dirt. Johjima bounced out to third. Lopez split his bat on a first-pitch dunker of a single into leftfield. Betancourt took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner. Chen threw 16 pitches and had 74 through five.

Patterson bounced the second pitch to second. Conine popped high to right. Markakis broke his bat on a low pop to Beltre. Hernandez threw eight pitches and had 91 through five.

F Hernandez' line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 10 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 91 pitches (60 strikes)

Ichiro put a double into rightcenter. Bloomquist watched the first pitch as Ichiro nabbed third. Bloomquist punched a single under Roberts into centerfield to score Ichiro.
Ibañez watched as Bloomquist nabbed second on a throw that was on the shortstop side of second base, though it seemed like Bloomquist's slide was a little long and Tejada nearly reached over in time with the tag. Ibañez hit a sinking liner toward leftcenter but was foiled by a diving and aged Conine on a 1-2 pitch.

Jim Brower came in for Chen. Sexson watched the second pitch go to the backstop as Bloomquist went to third. Sexson walked on a 3-1 pitch. Everett watched the first pitch go by and R Hernandez threw to try to pick Bloomquist off third, but it went off Bloomquist, who got spiked by Mora, and the ball went down the leftfield line as Bloomquist scored and Sexson went to second.
Everett rolled to second as Sexson went to third. Beltre took a breaking ball very high and in for a walk. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone came out to the mound. Johjima split his bat and fisted the first pitch for a single over Mora at third to score Sexson and move Beltre to third. Incredible.

Eddy Rodriguez came in for Brower. Lopez walked to load the bases. Betancourt singled the second pitch past Tejada up the middle to score Beltre and Johjima scored.
Ichiro punched a single through the right side to score Lopez and move Betancourt to third.
Bloomquist flew out to rightcenter. Rodriguez threw 15 pitches.

Chen's line: 5 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 87 pitches (53 strikes)
Brower's line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 18 pitches (8 strikes)
Rodriguez' line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (8 strikes)

Rafael Soriano came in for Hernandez. Roberts dumped a 1-2 single into shallow centerfield. Mora watched the first pitch as Roberts took second without a throw. Mora nubbed the second pitch back to the mound as Roberts held at second. Tejada watched the second pitch high as Roberts nabbed third and the Orioles had the Major League record for steals to start a season without being caught (20) as Johjima's throw was high and Beltre had to leap for it. Tejada smacked the 2-2 pitch into rightfield for a single to score Roberts. Tejada was lifted for a pinch-runner, Luis Terrero. Roberts left the game as well.
Gibbons whiffed on a high 2-2 fastball. R Hernandez watched as Terrero was gunned down at second by Johjima. Soriano threw 25 pitches.

Todd Williams (former Mariner, first appearance of the season) came in for Rodriguez. The bevy of injuries resulted in Raul Chavez coming in to catch, Mora moving to second, Terrero staying in to play left, Gomez moving to short, Conine moving to third, and R Hernandez moving to first. Ibañez was ahead 3-0 and bounced the 3-1 pitch to Mora at second. Sexson didn't hit the ball that hard, but it nonetheless took Terrero to the track in left. Everett popped the second pitch high to center. Williams threw 11 pitches.

Williams' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches (5 strikes)

R Hernandez took a 1-1 pitch off the left elbow. Gomez fell behind 0-2 before flying out to Ichiro near the rightfield line as R Hernandez held.

George Sherrill came in for Soriano. Patterson singled the first pitch under Sexson and into shallow rightfield, and the ball was hit slowly enough to move R Hernandez all the way to third.

JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Conine grounded to Lopez in the right-side hole, scoring Mora.
Markakis looped the first pitch to Betancourt. Putz threw four pitches.

Soriano's line: 1 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 31 pitches (22 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)

Sendy Rleal came in for Williams. Beltre bashed the first pitch four rows deep into the seats to the right of the hitters' backdrop for his first homer of the season.
Johjima was up 2-0 but rolled over for a grounder to short. Lopez lined the first pitch to Terrero a few steps short of the leftfield track. Betancourt laced a 2-0 pitch into leftfield and tried to stretch it into a double, and was somehow successful even though it looked like the throw had him beat, but the tag didn't. Ichiro was intentionally walked. Bloomquist took an 1-2 breaking ball over the inside corner despite Chavez setting up over the outer half (i.e., Rleal missed his spot). Rleal threw 19 pitches.

Chavez took a 1-2 pitch that caught the lower part of the zone. Mora whiffed on a 1-2 splitter down and in. Terrero broke his bat on an 0-2 pitch to Beltre, who knocked down the ball but was wary of the bat barrel hurtling toward him as well, enabling Terrero to beat out the throw to first (Beltre was tagged with an error). Gibbons chopped a 1-2 pitch to Lopez close to first base, who had to quickly shovel it over to first to barely get Gibbons as Sam Perlozzo came out to argue. Putz threw 15 pitches and had 19 total.

Putz' line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 19 pitches (15 strikes)

Ibañez bounced a 2-0 pitch to short. Sexson popped high to right. Everett bounced the second pitch to first. Rleal threw eight pitches and had 27 total.

Rleal's line: 2 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 27 pitches (13 strikes)

Eddie Guardado came in for Putz. R Hernandez punched a first-pitch single past Guardado into centerfield. Gomez had the hitters' counts and singled the 3-1 pitch into rightfield, moving R Hernandez to second. Patterson bunted the first pitch off himself, then bunted the second pitch to Guardado, who went to first because nobody covered third when Beltre charged; the runners were on third and second). Conine was ahead 2-0 and took a 2-2 pitch just off the plate inside before taking the full-count pitch in the dirt to load the bases and put the winning run on first. Markakis fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outer half. Chavez bounced to Lopez, who took it to the bag at second for the game-ending force.

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Yuniesky Betancourt.
It's different when Hargrove pulls Jeremy Reed from the lineup and puts in Willie Bloomquist like he has lately. He's put Bloomquist behind Ichiro and bumped Jose Lopez down to the eighth slot in front of Betancourt. It's a bit intriguing considering how well Lopez has hit this season. You could say it adds more punch to the bottom of the lineup. You could also say that maybe Hargrove knows the middle of the lineup is going to suck, so maybe moving Lopez to eighth is good because he and Betancourt can hit, and lately Ichiro's been warming up as well. They're putting ducks on the pond for Ichiro, who's a good hitter. It is sad to have to punt the middle third of the order, sure, but I'm trying to reach for some goodness here. Betancourt may not be a world-beating hitter, but down in the ninth slot this year, he's been doing quite well. If Hargrove wanted to be really crazy, he could slot Betancourt second and see what happens. What you do with Lopez then is a mystery though, but that's not my concern. Maybe Hargrove should make the bottom and middle thirds of the lineup swap places.

Goat: Raul Ibañez.
Only Richie Sexson and Ibañez failed to join the hit parade today in the Mariner lineup, but Sexson walked twice and scored. Ibañez never reached base. He grounded into a double play to end the first, struck out in the fourth, was robbed of a double by Jeff Conine's diving catch in the sixth, and grounded out in the seventh and ninth. That's an 0-for-5 day, of course. On the other hand, Ibañez has been one of the few consistent bats in the Mariner lineup in this near month-old season. Despite the 0-for-5, he's sitting with a .286 average, which looks great compared to just about any combination that Mike Hargrove has put in the three lineup slots behind him. One other problem for the Mariners is the absolute lack of power hitting, and Ibañez doesn't lead the team in homers -- that's Jose Lopez and Carl Everett with a whopping four each. Ibañez has three, but he times them nicely. Still, more would be nice out of everyone, not just him. I think what we need to do is take wagers (1) who will lead the Mariners in homers at the end of the year, (2) how many that leader will have, and (3) how many homers the team will amass. Bonus points if you nail their team rank among the rest of baseball.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 20-5 .800 -- L1
2002 18-7 .720 2 L1
2003 16-9 .640 4 W1
2000 14-11 .560 6 L1
2005 12-13 .480 8 L2
2006 10-15 .400 10 W1
2004 9-16 .360 11 W1

Moyer. Murray. Tomorrow.

/ Click for main page

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Click for Sports and B's 

home page