Sunday, June 04, 2006


AP photo -- Jim Bryant

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Homers from both Sexson and Beltre as well as a good start from Piñeiro? The Royals must be in town.

This one featured Seth Etherton going up against Joel Piñeiro. The Mariners looked to make it three straight victories coming off of a six-game losing streak. Sure, they were facing the Royals, but it was still Piñeiro taking the mound for them. Would we see Bad Piñeiro or Player of the Week Piñeiro? Also, it was Trading Card Day at the ballpark.

David DeJesus one-hopped a 3-1 pitch to short, where Betancourt made a nice backhanded stop. Mark Grudzielanek bounced an 0-2 pitch high to third. Doug Mientkiewicz nubbed the second pitch in front of the plate, where Piñeiro got it and threw to first. Piñeiro threw 11 pitches.

Ichiro lined an inside second pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Adrian Beltre fisted a 2-2 pitch right to Mientkiewicz on the fly as Ichiro held at second. Jose Lopez had the hitters' counts before taking the 3-1 pitch way outside for a walk. Raul Ibañez took a 1-2 pitch way inside that went off Bako's glove behind the plate, allowing Ichiro and Lopez to move to third and second. Ibañez got under a 2-2 pitch, flying out to Costa in somewhat shallow rightcenter, but Ichiro tagged and scored anyway. Lopez held at second on the play.
Richie Sexson was ahead 3-0 before crushing the 3-1 pitch over the National League scoreboard above the bullpens in leftcenter.
Carl Everett took ball one before pitching coach Bob McClure came out to visit the mound. Everett ended up taking strike three over the outside corner. Etherton threw 29 pitches.

Emil Brown popped the second pitch to Sexson in front of the tarp on the right side. Matt Stairs walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Shane Costa grounded a 2-0 pitch to Lopez to start a 4-6-3 double play. Piñeiro threw ten pitches and had 21 through two.

Kenji Johjima grounded to second on a 2-2 pitch. Jeremy Reed flew out to Costa on the rightfield track on the second pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to center on the second pitch. Etherton threw nine pitches and had 38 through two.

Mark Teahen was ahead 2-0 and fouled a 2-2 pitch into Johjima's glove behind the plate. Angel Berroa one-hopped the second pitch to short. Paul Bako walked on four pitches. DeJesus lined the first pitch into left that dropped in front of Ibañez (stopped with his chest) for a single, moving Bako to second. Grudzielanek lined the first pitch into left and Ibañez gunned a throw wide of the plate to the first-base line, but Johjima moved over to get it and was able to retreat back to the plate in time to tag Bako trying to score. Replays showed Bako got the left hand across just before Johjima came over with the glove. Bako was argued a bit with the home plate umpire, as did third-base coach Luis Silverio. Manager Buddy Bell emerged from the dugout and came unglued, though not enough for an ejection. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches and had 34 through three.

Ichiro had the hitters' counts and fouled off three pitches with a full count before taking a full-count change over the inside corner. Beltre cranked a 1-2 thigh-high hanging breaking ball outside over the centerfield wall into the patch of grass, which is cause for celebration.
Lopez had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch. With Ibañez up, Bako tried to throw to first to pick off Lopez, but it went way wide and foul down the rightfield line as Lopez scooted all the way to third. With a drawn-in infield, Ibañez took a 3-1 pitch up and away for a walk. McClure came out to talk to Etherton once again. Sexson flew out high to fairly deep right on an 0-2 pitch and Lopez tagged and scored, but the throw went to second, where Ibañez beat it out.
Everett walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Johjima lined a double down the leftfield line to score Ibañez, and the relay throw missed the cutoff man, allowing Everett to score as well.

Andrew Sisco came in for Etherton. Reed, who miraculously wasn't lifted for a pinch-hitter on the second straight day when a lefty was brought in, was up 2-0 before flying out to fairly deep leftcenter. Sisco threw four pitches.

Etherton's line: 2 2/3 innings, 7 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts, 75 pitches (39 strikes)

Mientkiewicz dumped a fair ball into the leftfield crowd near Ibañez for a double. Brown was down 0-2 and dropped a 2-2 pitch into right to move Mientkiewicz to third. Stairs grounded the second pitch past Lopez on the right side, scoring Mientkiewicz and moving Brown to second.
Costa popped out to right and Brown held at second, not wanting to test Ichiro's arm. Teahen grounded to Lopez moving into shallow right to move Stairs to second and Brown to third. Berroa grounded out to short on the second pitch. Piñeiro threw 17 pitches and had 51 through four.

Betancourt walked on four pitches. Ichiro was ahead 3-0 and took a 3-1 pitch in the dirt for a walk, moving Betancourt to second. Beltre had the hitters' counts and Betancourt and Ichiro took off on the 3-1 pitch on a successful double steal, which was rendered moot on the next pitch when Beltre walked to load the bases. Ibañez flew out on the second pitch to right, deep enough to score Betancourt and move Ichiro to third.
Ibañez rolled slowly to short, where Berroa went to second for the force as Ichiro scored and the double play wasn't completed due to Beltre's brilliant takeout slide at second.
Sexson was had the hitters' counts before crushing a 3-1 pitch about ten rows into the rightfield seats. Huh???
Everett singled into rightfield on a 1-2 pitch. Johjima rolled a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a single, moving Everett to second. Reed lined out right to DeJesus on a 2-0 pitch. Sisco threw 37 pitches and had 41 total.

Sisco's line: 1 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 41 pitches (17 strikes)

Bako whiffed on a 2-2 change. DeJesus fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch at the knees for strike three. Esteban German, hitting for Grudzielanek, whiffed on a full-count pitch. Piñeiro threw 23 pitches en route to striking out the side and had 74 through five.

Elmer Dessens came in for Sisco and German took over at second. Betancourt was down 0-2 and ended up flying out to center on a 1-2 pitch. Ichiro lashed an 0-2 pitch for a liner into the gap in rightcenter and coasted in with a stand-up triple. Beltre grounded the first pitch right to short as Ichiro held at third. Lopez took a 2-2 pitch for strike three. Dessens threw 14 pitches.

Dessens' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (11 strikes)

Mientkiewicz rolled out to short. Brown lined out right to Ibañez in right. Stairs drilled a hanging full-count curve into right for a single. Costa flew out to fairly deep right. Piñeiro threw 12 pitches and had 86 through six.

Joel Peralta came in for Dessens. Ibañez knocked an 0-2 pitch into the rightcenter gap, but stayed on first with a single. Sexson grounded right to short for a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch. Everett grounded a 2-0 pitch to second. Peralta threw seven pitches.

Peralta's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (5 strikes)

Teahen flew out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Berroa popped the first pitch to Lopez in shallow center. Bako drilled the first pitch to center for a single. DeJesus grounded a 1-2 pitch to Lopez, who backhand flipped to second for the force on Bako. Piñeiro threw 15 pitches and had 101 through seven.

Piñeiro's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 101 pitches (66 strikes)

Ambiorix Burgos came in for Peralta. Johjima flew out to right on the second pitch. Reed grounded the first pitch up the middle for a single. Betancourt nubbed to the right side, where Burgos picked up and threw to first as Reed went to second. Ichiro singled to rightfield on a 2-2 pitch and was a homer away from the cycle. Reed scored on the play.
Beltre was ahead 3-0 and wound up taking strike three.

Burgos' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 20 pitches (14 strikes)

Jake Woods came in for Piñeiro, and Willie Bloomquist came in to play rightfield. German grounded to short. Mientkiewicz was ahead 2-0 and walked on a full-count pitch. Brown had the hitters' counts and grounded right to Lopez on a full count to start a 4-6-3 double play. Woods threw 15 pitches.

Woods' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (7 strikes)

Jimmy Gobble came in for Burgos. Lopez and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Ibañez popped to center on a 3-1 pitch. Roberto Petagine, hitting for Sexson, whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Gobble threw 17 pitches.
Gobble's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 17 pitches (10 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Woods. Stairs whiffed on a 2-2 splitter. Costa grounded a 2-2 pitch to second. Teahen flew out to center on the second pitch.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (9 strikes)

Gameball: Ichiro.
He was a homer away from the cycle in this one. In May, he had the 18-game hitting streak. Right now, he's got a four-game hitting streak going. The catch? All four games have been multi-hit games. He went 2-for-4 and 3-for-5 in the final two games of the Texas series and has started the Kansas City series by going 2-for-4 and 3-for-4. This of course adds up to a 10-for-17 (.588) tear over the last four games. In fact, including the game where his hitting streak ended, Ichiro has hit 17-for-37 for a hardly pedestrian .459 clip. I remember some past years where Ichiro would start out with a torrid April and then tail off as the season went on. So far, even though there's a lot of season so far, it looks like the reverse has been the case. He hit .287 in April, bottoming out at .176 after eight games, or .177 after 15 games (more at-bats). After that .177 start (11-for-62), Ichiro has hit 71-for-178 (.399), and the 178 at-bats are over a span of 42 games. Of course, the only knock is the lack of extra-base hits. He had five each in April and May, but he had two in this game. We'll say he's on pace for 30 or so. He had 50 extra-base hits in 2001, 43 in 2002, 50 in 2003, 37 in 2004, and 48 in 2005.

Goat: Jose Lopez.
Only because it has to be somebody. How has he done since getting moved to the third slot in the lineup? He's 4-for-16 (.250) with a double and homer (both in the same game) and six RBIs, scoring four times himself. I know the lineup was long due to be shaken up, and Mike Hargrove has gotten endless flak from just about everywhere for not doing it sooner, but I'm not sure putting Lopez third, even though he was hitting as good as you'd want out of a number-three hitter, is being fair to Lopez. It might be putting too much pressure on him, but I think the biggest thing is that he was really getting pitches to hit and was doing pretty well in the second slot. Of course, the grand scheme of things appears to involve getting Adrian Beltre to warm up, in which case it's for the good of the team. Though it's a hockey analogy and barely any of our readers will probably get it, this to me is kind of like the Pittsburgh Penguins thinking about putting the A on the jersey of Sidney Crosby despite his being all of 19 years old. It means more in hockey than hitting third does in baseball, sure, but there's a bit of responsibility that goes along with hitting third, and I don't know if Lopez is ready for that yet. I think it needs more time before I make a concrete decision on it though.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 45-12 .789 -- W13
2003 39-18 .684 6 W8
2002 36-21 .632 9 L1
2000 30-27 .526 15 L2
2005 25-32 .439 20 L1
2006 25-32 .439 20 W3
2004 22-35 .386 23 L1

Redman. Washburn. Today.

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