Saturday, May 27, 2006


AP photo -- Ann Heisenfelt

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: The Mariners hadn't faced Francisco Liriano, which gives the offense the excuse to say they didn't have a book on him, so they sucked.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Francisco Liriano. On the MLB.tv archived feed (FSN North), the first 35 minutes or so is the on-field presentation of some state legislators and governor Tim Pawlenty signing the bill for the financial package for the Twins' new outdoor ballpark, coming to a Twin City near you in 2010. Pawlenty also signed a home plate that will be the first used in the new park. Could you imagined what would have happened if the Twins got a stadium bill up to the governor's office, but Jesse Ventura was the governor?

Ichiro had the hitters' counts before spanking a single along the leftfield line on a full count. Jose Lopez was ahead 2-0 and Mauer came to the mound for a visit. Lopez got both hitters' counts before flying out high to center on a 3-1 pitch. Raul Ibañez watched as Ichiro took off on the second pitch and nabbed second when the ball went off the end of Castro's glove. Ibañez ended up grounding to second on a 2-2 pitch, moving Ichiro to third. Richie Sexson didn't check his swing on a 1-2 fastball in the dirt. Liriano threw 20 pitches.

Jason Kubel hit a shallow fly to left on a 2-0 pitch, and ball two in the at-bat was called by Tim Tschida in response to Hernandez going to his mouth while on the mound. Luis Castillo grounded the second pitch hard to third. Joe Mauer was ahead 3-1 and ended up walking on a low full-count fastball. Torii Hunter lined the second pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Mauer to second. Michael Cuddyer fell behind 0-2 before bouncing a 1-2 pitch to Beltre, who missed a tag on Mauer passing by, but threw to first anyway for the out. Hernandez threw 18 pitches.

Carl Everett flew out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Adrian Beltre was down 0-2 and whiffed over a 1-2 slider. Kenji Johjima flew out to right on a 2-2 pitch. Liriano threw 16 pitches and had 36 through two.

Justin Morneau bounced a ball up the middle to a ranging Betancourt, who made the spin and throw, which was wide and Sexson missed with the tag (Morneau got the single). Rondell White was down 0-2 and then drilled a 1-2 pitch down the leftfield line (Beltre got a piece of it) for a double, moving Morneau to third. Tony Batista slapped the second pitch into shallow right to score Morneau and move White to third.
Juan Castro bounced a 1-2 pitch to short to start a 6-4-3 double play, scoring White.
Kubel popped the first pitch to Ibañez near the bullpen plates in foul ground on the line. Hernandez threw 16 pitches and had 34 through three.

Willie Bloomquist bounced an 0-2 pitch to short. Yuniesky Betancourt waved at an 0-2 fastball off the plate outside. Ichiro chopped a 1-2 pitch to second. Liriano threw ten pitches and had 46 through three.

Castillo was down 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 breaking ball. Mauer got a hold of a hanger on the second pitch, clubbing it out to rightcenter.
Hunter fell down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 curve low and away. Cuddyer whiffed on a 1-2 pitch as Hernandez struck out the side. Hernandez threw 21 pitches and had 55 through three.

Lopez was up 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 pitch down in the dirt (2-3 putout). Ibañez grounded out to short. Sexson drove a 2-1 pitch to the bag/wall to the left of center for a double. Everett whiffed over a 1-2 inside pitch. Liriano threw 16 pitches and had 62 through four.

Morneau was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball over the inner half. White flew out to right on the first pitch. Batista bounced a 1-2 pitch to short. Hernandez threw nine pitches and had 64 through four.

Beltre shot the second pitch through the right side for a single. Johjima watched as Beltre went to second on the second pitch, which was a wild one that got away from Mauer. Johjima later chopped a 1-2 pitch off the plate and it bounced so high that nobody had a play as Beltre went to third and Johjima reached base. Bloomquist walked on four pitches, loading the bases. Liriano got a visit from his pitching coach, Rick Anderson. Betancourt was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a low 2-2 pitch. Ichiro was down 0-2 before serving a 1-2 pitch into shallow center that turned into a running shoestring catch by Hunter running toward the infield, who threw immediately to second to double off Johjima.

Liriano's line: 5 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 83 pitches (53 strikes)

Castro grounded softly to third, where Beltre charged in and threw hard and in time to first. Kubel whiffed on an 0-2 curve away. Castillo lined the second pitch to a leaping Betancourt at short. Hernandez threw seven pitches and had 71 through five.

Matt Guerrier came in for Liriano. Lopez was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Ibañez roped a 2-0 pitch right to Castro, who went to his knees at short to make the catch. Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a full count. Guerrier threw 13 pitches.

Mauer flew out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Hunter was down 0-2 and grounded hard to third on a 1-2 pitch. Cuddyer whiffed on an 0-2 fastball. Hernandez threw 12 pitches and had 83 through six.

Everett lined the second pitch into right for a single. Beltre shot the second pitch through the mound and into center for a single, moving Everett to second. Johjima popped the second pitch high to Batista behind the bag at third as the infield fly rule was called. Bloomquist whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball way away. Betancourt dumped a single into rightfield between a miscommunicating Castillo and Morneau, scoring Everett, but Beltre was hung up between third and home and eventually tagged out (4-2-6-5-2-6).

Guerrier's line: 2 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 24 pitches (18 strikes)

Morneau worked a 1-2 count full before grounding to first (3-1 putout). White worked an 0-2 count full before failing to check his swing on a curve in the dirt (2-3 putout). Batista fell behind 0-2 before whiffing over a 2-2 pitch.

Hernandez' line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, 103 pitches (73 strikes)

Juan Rincon came in for Guerrier. Ichiro rolled the first pitch to Morneau behind the bag at first. Lopez lined a 2-2 pitch to left. Ibañez split his bat while grounding out to second. Rincon threw 12 pitches.

Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (8 strikes)

George Sherrill came in for Hernandez. Castro dumped the second pitch into center for a single. Ford dumped an 0-2 pitch into shallow left for a single, moving Castro to second. Castillo bunted a bit too hard to a charging Sexson, who threw right to third for the force on Castro as Ford went to second on the play. Mauer whiffed on a 1-2 pitch.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Hunter got ahead 2-0 before bouncing to short on a 2-2 pitch.

Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
Soriano's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)

Joe Nathan came in for Rincon. Sexson flew out high to Morneau at first. Everett looked at a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Beltre popped the second pitch to Castillo drifting back in shallow right.

Nathan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (8 strikes)

Gameball: Adrian Beltre.
When he has a multi-hit game, it's news. He singled in the fifth and seventh, and though he got thrown out between third and home to end the seventh, the futility of that Mariner rally had more to do with the hitters ahead of Yuniesky Betancourt not doing anything as well as Willie Bloomquist failing twice to get a bunt down. Beltre didn't fail the Mariners in this game. The bottom of the lineup built up some promise in the fifth, where Beltre led off with a single and the bases were loaded with nobody out, but Yuniesky Betancourt struck out and Ichiro was robbed on a shoestring catch/double play turned in by Torii Hunter. In the seventh, Everett and Beltre got aboard to put two on with nobody out, but the bottom third of the lineup went away 1-2-3. The 2-for-4 day bumped his batting average up by .006 to .213 for the season. If it seems like he's been scorching lately, that's because he is. He's hitting .239 in May after a .189 month of April. He's slugging at a .341 clip after doing so at a .233 clip last month. Okay, he's still terrible.

Goat: Raul Ibañez.
What's cooler than cool? His latest stretch is a 1-for-19 tear. His last multi-hit game came in May 16th at Oakland. He has only five hits since, going 5-for-37 (.135), sending his batting average from .294 to .265. Ibañez was hitting .323 after the game on May 5th against Cleveland. He is hitting .227 in May after a .301 April. Ibañez up until this point in the season has been a pretty consistent hitter. Now he's only batting five points higher than Carl Everett. Having Richie Sexson and Beltre stink it up most of the year has left a large enough hole in the lineup to begin with, and the Mariners don't need their number three hitter to join that group. Sexson and Beltre may have finally rubbed off on him, though Mariner fans surely hoped it'd be the other way around. This is a guy with a .282 career average, so we could only hope that he rises from .265 to get to that or something above that. Of course, all of us hoped John Olerud would rebound back to his career marks in 2003, and that never happened, one of many ingredients that assisted the Mariners to a 51-50 finish that year.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 38-12 .760 -- W6
2002 32-18 .640 6 L1
2003 32-18 .640 6 W1
2000 26-24 .520 12 L2
2006 22-28 .440 16 L2
2005 21-29 .420 17 W3
2004 19-31 .380 19 W1

Moyer. Bonser. Tonight.

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