Saturday, May 13, 2006


AP photo -- Francis Specker

In 25 words or less: There's no better way to start the weekend than having last week's Player of the Week get systematically dismantled by a division rival.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Kelvim Escobar. Piñeiro was originally slated to square off with John Lackey, but the Angels had a game rained out in their previous series and elected to stay with the order of their rotation. A win in this game would give the Mariners four wins in six games. It's not a torrid stretch, but it'd be a start. The Mariners so far are 4-6 in the month of May, whereas after ten games last May, the Mariners were 1-9. Live feed was FSN West for me, but archived feed was FSN Northwest. A bit irritating.

Ichiro drove a 2-2 pitch to the wall in rightcenter and wound up at third with a triple. Jose Lopez fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 fastball down the pipe. Raul Ibañez grounded hard to second, and Kennedy went to first for the out as Ichiro scored.
Richie Sexson took a 2-2 offspeed pitch over the plate. Escobar threw 20 pitches.

Chone Figgins rolled to second. Orlando Cabrera had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count pitch up and in. Vladimir Guerrero fell behind 0-2 and lined a 1-2 pitch to left. Garret Anderson popped high to Reed in shallow rightcenter. Piñeiro threw 16 pitches.

Carl Everett fell behind 0-2 before flying out to a charging Guerrero in shallow right on a 1-2 pitch. Adrian Beltre flew out to right on an 0-2 pitch. Kenji Johjima rode the 2-2 pitch to the track in center. Escobar threw 16 pitches and had 36 through two.

Tim Salmon was ahead 2-0 before walking on a low full-count pitch, the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Juan Rivera punched an 0-2 pitch barely over the glove of a leaping Betancourt at short, moving Salmon to second on the single. Dallas McPherson smoked a 1-2 single into rightfield, loading the bases. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Mike Napoli lasered a 2-2 pitch off of a leaping Beltre's glove and it went high into the air. Betancourt came up with it soon after, but he had no play as Salmon scored and the bases remained loaded.
Adam Kennedy slapped the second pitch into left for a single, scoring Rivera and leaving the bases loaded.
Figgins popped the first pitch down the leftfield line where Ibañez slid and made the catch in foul ground and gunned home for McPherson even though he had no chance. This enabled Napoli to move to third and Kennedy to move to second.
Cabrera took a 1-2 pitch barely off the outside corner before poking the next pitch past a drawn-in Lopez and into rightfield for a single. Ichiro gunned for home, but it wasn't in time to nail Kennedy, who was safe and Napoli had scored ahead of him. Cabrera went to second on the throw home.
Guerrero was intentionally walked. Anderson grounded to first to mercifully start a 3-6-1 double play. Piñeiro threw 38 pitches and had 54 through two.

Jeremy Reed rolled the second pitch to second. Yuniesky Betancourt popped the 1-2 pitch to left. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 before singling into center on a 1-2 pitch. Lopez dumped a second-pitch single into center, moving Ichiro to second. Ibañez creamed the second pitch right to second for a 4-6 fielder's choice. Escobar threw 15 pitches and had 51 through three.

Salmon crushed a homer into the bullpens in leftcenter.
Rivera rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. McPherson fell behind 0-2 and later whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Napoli got ahead 3-1 before rolling to short on a full count. Piñeiro threw 20 pitches and had 74 through three.

Piñeiro's line: 3 innings, 6 runs, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout, 74 pitches (44 strikes)

Sexson singled the first pitch into leftcenter. Everett drilled a 2-0 pitch to right for a single, moving Sexson to second. Beltre rolled the second pitch to the left side, where Figgins made a diving stab and got the runner at second as Beltre beat out the double play. Sexson moved to third on the play. Johjima roped the first pitch off Figgins' glove and into leftfield (error), scoring Sexson. Beltre moved to second on the play.
Reed got ahead 2-0 before cranking a pitch in front of the hitters' backdrop just to the right of the rockery. Great time for Reed's first homer of the year. Confidence is good.
Betancourt rolled the second pitch to short, and Cabrera had a long way to go to get to it, and the throw was late, so that's a single. Ichiro watched the second pitch and Betancourt was gunned down trying to nab second. Ichiro got the hitters' counts before flying out to Kennedy in shallow center. Escobar threw 19 pitches and had 70 through four.

Bobby Livingston came in for Piñeiro. Kennedy was nicked on the jersey. Figgins whiffed on a high 0-2 pitch. Cabrera got the hitters' counts and walked on a high 3-1 pitch, moving Kennedy to second. Guerrero grounded the first pitch hard off Betancourt's glove in the hole on the left side but knocked it down, loading the bases and probably saving a run. Anderson walked on four pitches, scoring Kennedy as the bases remained loaded. Chaves visited the mound again.
Salmon walked on a full-count pitch off the plate outside, scoring Figgins as the bases remained loaded.
Rivera threw the barrel down on a letter-high 0-2 pitch, popping it just inside the leftfield foul pole. Slamarrific.
McPherson drilled a single into right.

Sean Green came in for Livingston. Napoli walked on a low full-count pitch, moving McPherson to second. Kennedy fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. Figgins mercifully bounced to second. Green threw 16 pitches.

Livingston's line: 1/3 inning, 6 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 31 pitches (15 strikes)

Lopez nubbed the first pitch along the right side, where Escobar came off the mound to field it but Lopez beat the throw. Ibañez popped to Anderson in leftcenter as Lopez held at first. Sexson drilled the second pitch off Figgins' glove and heel, and the ball stayed near him, but he had no play as Lopez went to second. Everett took the second pitch in the dirt and it rolled away, enabling Lopez and Sexson to move to third and second. Everett later rolled out on a 1-2 pitch to third, scoring Lopez and moving Sexson to second.
Beltre popped the second pitch to left. Escobar threw 13 pitches and had 83 through five.

Cabrera popped to Reed in deep leftcenter. Guerrero fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 2-2 pitch to third. Anderson got ahead 2-0 before drilling a single up the middle. Salmon popped high to left. Green threw 15 pitches and had 31 total.

Johjima drove a single into the rightcenter gap and thought about going for a double, but didn't. Reed poked a first-pitch single through the left side past a diving McPherson to move Johjima to second. Betancourt whiffed on an 0-2 pitch off the plate outside. Ichiro shot a hard grounder to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. Yup. Escobar threw 11 pitches and had 94 through six.

Escobar's line: 6 innings, 6 runs (5 earned), 11 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 94 pitches (64 strikes)

Rivera bounced to second. McPherson popped the 3-1 pitch quite high to Beltre, but he had it carry away on him and it dropped in shallow left (error) as McPherson went all the way to second. Napoli took a 2-2 pitch to the track in rightcenter where Reed leaped and made the catch at the wall, and McPherson scooted easily to third on the play. Kennedy got the hitters' counts before bouncing to second on a full count. Green threw 19 pitches and had 50 total.

Hector Carrasco came in for Escobar. Lopez bounced the second pitch to a charging Cabrera at short. Ibañez fell behind 0-2 before dumping a full-count single into shallow right. Sexson was ahead 2-0 before walking on a full-count pitch outside, which moved Lopez to second. Everett bounced to Figgins on the left side to start a 5-4-3 double play. Carrasco threw 18 pitches.

Figgins worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Cabrera grounded to second to start a quick 4-6-3 double play. Guerrero rolled over to short on a 1-2 pitch. Green threw 14 pitches and had 64 total.

Green's line: 3 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 64 pitches (37 strikes)

Beltre cranked the second pitch for a homer just right of the rock display in centerfield for his second homer of the season.
Johjima popped a 2-0 pitch high to Napoli on top of the plate. Reed slapped an 0-2 pitch for a flyout to left. Matt Lawton, hitting for Betancourt, whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball outside. Carrasco threw 14 pitches and had 32 total.

Jake Woods came in for Green. Willie Bloomquist came in to play short. Anderson rolled to Lopez in shallow right. Salmon took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Rivera worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Tommy Murphy ran for Rivera. Robb Quinlan, hitting for McPherson, fell behind 0-2 before taking a 2-2 breaking ball over the inner half. Woods threw 21 pitches.

Woods' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 21 pitches (10 strikes)

Murphy stayed in to play center, and Quinlan to play first. Ichiro grounded the second pitch hard to second. Lopez fell behind 0-2 before nubbing a 2-2 grounder to the left side, where Carrasco jumped from the mound to field it and threw the ball into foul ground down the rightfield line, and Lopez advanced to second. Lopez was credited for a single, but Carrasco still got the error. Ibañez popped the first pitch high to center. Sexson bounced to short. Carrasco threw 14 pitches.

Carrasco's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 46 pitches (29 strikes)

Gameball: Jeremy Reed.
He needed a game like this in the absolute worst way. I hope he gets a big boost of confidence out of it and can parlay it into some playing time. I know I was rooting for that fly ball to keep carrying over the fence. It did, and at the time it got the Mariners to within one run at 6-5 after having been down 6-1. He also had another single with runners on base later in the game. Let's also not forget the leaping catch at the wall in the 6th on what would have been extra bases for Mike Napoli. I could say more things about the homer, but there's one main thing about it -- though it was Reed's first homer of the year, he's already got more homers this year than Willie Bloomquist. I've argued it a million times, so it goes without saying that I think the Mariners should roll with the punches when it comes to Jeremy Reed. Willie Bloomquist is not the future of this team. Jeremy Reed might not be either, but he's got to have more of a chance than Bloomquist. You don't just trade Freddy Garcia for crap, and I remember how great we all felt after we got Reed for him. I know it's been a while since that, but the talent is still there.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
The two starts last week were great, but what we saw in this game looked like it came from a Player of the Weak. He couldn't keep the ball down, and the Angels were just having a field day. No one with MLB.tv feed missed it, but Angel color guy Rex Hudler made a big point out of noticing that Piñeiro was leaving a bunch of 0-2 pitches up in the zone, or more importantly giving hitters something to hit on 0-2. This bailed the Angels out of a number of situtations. Piñeiro didn't throw the nail-in-the-coffin 0-2 pitch of the game (Bobby Livingston did), but that doesn't mean he was good in this game or something. He was quite the opposite. He just couldn't get his breaking balls down. Nothing broke right, and the Angels pounded him into submission. Or at least into the showers. To recap, Piñeiro faced 17 batters. He got nine outs. Six hitters got hits. He walked three and struck out one. Basically, over half the hitters he faced reached base safely. Not a winning recipe, of course. Far from it.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 28-9 .757 -- W5
2002 26-11 .703 2 L1
2003 23-14 .622 5 W1
2000 20-17 .541 8 W2
2005 15-22 .405 13 W1
2006 15-22 .405 13 L2
2004 13-24 .351 15 L1

Where do you start with a game like this? It would have been the same old story if Piñeiro gave up all those runs and the Mariners lost 9-1 or something. Instead, the Reed homer got the Mariners to within one run. Of course, a young Bobby Livingston pitched young, and the walks rained down. Two of his three walks forced runs across with the bases loaded. Those two runs were immediately followed by the game-destroying grand slam off the bat of Juan Rivera, on an 0-2 pitch. That was pretty devastating to any chance the Mariners had to win the game. So the bad things were definitely that Joel Piñeiro was a zoo, that Bobby Livingston was a zoo, and that the Mariners scored seven runs and outhit the Angels 14-10 and lost. It's crap that we see the anemic offense of this team, then they go and score seven runs and lose. Good times.

The bright spots of this game? I already went over Jeremy Reed, whose performance was much needed and much welcome. Adrian Beltre's solo shot doubled his 2006 home run output. It was good to know that he can indeed get a hold of a ball again. Of course, I hope he doesn't just end up overswinging the next couple days and trying to hit 20 homers in five days. I want him to, sure, but it won't happen. Two things that would have made Beltre's homer more fun would have been if the Mariners had runners on base and if the homer would have left the yard in rightcenter. At least this homer was closer to the center of the field than dead pull. The only other bright spot I saw in this game was the pitching of Sean Green. Sure, the game was gone by the time he got in, and he did walk the first guy he faced in what was already a treacherous inning, but this was a lot better of an outing for him than his last one, which was against Cleveland to the tune of three runs, two walks, and a hit in a third of an inning.

No Mariner in the starting lineup went hitless. Four Mariners had multi-hit games. Other than Reed (2-for-4), it was Ichiro (2-for-5), Jose Lopez (3-for-5), and Richie Sexson (2-for-4, which is big for him too) that had multi-hit games. If only the Mariners could go 14-for-39 as a team every night. In a bit of news, though he's gotten hits in the last two games, Raul Ibañez has seen his average drop below .300 for the first time since April 29th. He's now at .297 thanks in part to not having a multi-hit game in about a week. He's 4-for-24 (.167) over the past six games, which had a little 0-for-7 slide in there.

In terms of pure enjoyment, this game featured mild enjoyment after the Mariners' early 1-0 lead, then it went away, then it came back with Reed's homer, then it all came crashing down after the grand slam. If you're typing most of the game post during the game like I do, it was pretty much autopilot after the fourth inning. That of course opened more time for making dinner, taking out the trash, and doing laundry. I guess the only other odd and mildly entertaining thing would be the fact that Hector Carrasco got one of those size-of-lead-independent saves since he pitched three innings effectively in relief.

Washburn. Lackey. Tonight.

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