Tuesday, June 06, 2006


AP photo -- Elaine Thompson

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: This one was a scoreless tie for much too long.

This one featured Mike Wood going up against Gil Meche. The Mariners were trying to take three of four from the Royals after a laugher the other way on Sunday. Following this game would be three home meetings with the Twins who swept them in Minnesota when the Mariners had their worst series of the season.

David DeJesus fell behind 0-2 before taking a 2-2 curve for strike three that was dropped by Johjima (2-3 putout). Tony Graffanino was down 0-2 and ended up bouncing a 1-2 curve to Beltre at the third-base bag, who threw into the runner and in fact hit Graffanino on the hand (error), who went to second on the play. Doug Mientkiewicz took a 1-1 pitch off the foot, so it nullified a wild pitch that would have put Graffanino on third. Reggie Sanders chopped to short, where Betancourt started a 6-3 double play. Meche threw 15 pitches.

Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and wedged the 2-2 pitch for a flyout to center. Adrian Beltre grounded the second pitch to short. Jose Lopez bunted the first pitch back to the mound, and I'm not sure if I'd rather tell myself it was his call or Hargrove's. Wood threw only eight pitches.

Matt Stairs chopped a 2-2 pitch off the plate to the right side, where Meche didn't play it cleanly and nobody was covering first since he, Sexson, and Lopez all converged on the ball. Shane Costa split his bat and chopped to Lopez, who started a 4-6-3 double play as Stairs was bewildered by the broken bat and never moved far from first. Mark Teahen was behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 fastball. Meche threw 16 pitches and had 31 through two.

Raul Ibañez stung a single into shallow center. Richie Sexson was up 3-1 and ended up popping high to first on a full count. Carl Everett tapped an 0-2 pitch along the right side where Wood made the play and tossed to first, moving Ibañez to second. Kenji Johjima bounced the second pitch to third, where Teahen bobbled it (Ibañez ran in front of him) and threw wide and into the runner at first, but Mientkiewicz couldn't get that tag down. Ibañez went to third on the play. Jeremy Reed popped the first pitch to DeJesus a couple steps short of the track. Wood threw 17 pitches and had 25 through two.

Angel Berroa grounded the first pitch to Beltre near the mound, where he threw quickly to first for the out. John Buck worked an 0-2 count full before lining out to Beltre, who speared the ball to his backhand side. DeJesus sliced the first pitch to the gap in leftcenter, and he got all the way to third for the triple. Graffanino popped the second pitch high to right. Wood threw 11 pitches and had 42 through three.

Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to right. Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before poking a single over Berroa at short and into left. Beltre flew out high to shallow center on the second pitch. Lopez fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 breaking ball low over the outer half. Wood threw 16 pitches and had 41 through three.

Mientkiewicz was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 breaking ball low and away. Sanders grounded the first pitch to third. Stairs was up 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Costa rolled the second pitch to second. Meche threw 15 pitches and had 57 through three.

Ibañez had the hitters' counts before poking a full-count pitch into right for a single. Sexson one-hopped right to third for a 5-4-3 double play. Everett was ahead 3-0 and took a full-count pitch over the inside corner. Wood threw 18 pitches and had 59 through four.

Teahen popped the second pitch to left. Berroa whiffed wildly on a 1-2 fastball over the inner half. Buck flew out to right. Meche threw nine pitches and had 66 through five.

Johjima grounded a 3-1 pitch to short. Reed bunted the first pitch along the third-base line that stayed fair and Wood's throw was wide of first, but the play was nicely backed up, so Reed didn't advance to second. Betancourt tapped an 0-2 pitch back to the mound, where Wood threw to second to force Reed and Betancourt beat out the double play (1-6 fielder's choice). Ichiro took a 2-2 pitch and watched as Betancourt was gunned down trying to steal second. Wood threw 15 pitches and had 74 through five.

DeJesus took the first pitch off the right elbow. Graffanino took the second pitch and DeJesus was gunned down by Johjima trying to steal second even though DeJesus looked safe even in real time. Graffanino ended up flying out to right on an 0-2 pitch. Mientkiewicz was up 3-0 before walking on a low 3-1 pitch. Sanders took a 1-2 pitch way up and in on a pitch that knocked Johjima on his seat as he was either crossed up or a pitch got away from Meche. Sanders ended up whiffing on the next pitch, a breaking ball that was low enough. Meche threw 14 pitches and had 80 through six.

Ichiro shut the first pitch inside the first-base bag and down the rightfield line for a double. Beltre rolled right to short and Ichiro took off for third anyway and was thrown out, though the ball wasn't hit in front of him. Lopez lasered a double past Teahen and into left, moving Beltre to third.

Jimmy Gobble came in for Wood. Ibañez had the hitters' counts before drilling a 3-1 pitch up the middle for a single, scoring both Beltre and Lopez.
Sexson had a 1-2 count when Ibañez took off on first move and was hopelessly picked off by Gobble, who threw to second for the tag. Sexson ended up whiffing on a 1-2 breaking ball. Gobble threw ten pitches.

Wood's line: 5 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 81 pitches (48 strikes)

Stairs poked a single into center. Costa grounded a 2-2 pitch under a diving Sexson and into right, moving Stairs to third. PItching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Teahen grounded the second pitch deep into the hole on the right side, where he slid, spun, and threw in time to first. Stairs scored and Stairs went to second on the play.
Berroa flew out to center on the second pitch. Buck took a 1-2 curve over the outer half. Meche threw 16 pitches and had 96 through seven.

Meche's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 96 pitches (60 strikes)

Everett whiffed on an 0-2 pitch. Johjima popped to Teahen in foul ground near third. Reed rolled the first pitch to first (3-1 putout). Gobble threw seven pitches and had 17 total.

George Sherrill came in for Meche. DeJesus took a high 3-1 pitch for a walk.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Graffanino whiffed badly on an 0-2 pitch. Mientkiewicz fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Sanders whiffed on a 1-2 slider. Soriano threw 13 pitches en route to striking out the side.

Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (1 strike)
Soriano's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 13 pitches (10 strikes)

Betancourt drove the second pitch into the gap in rightcenter, and Betancourt flew into second with a double. Ichiro looped a 2-2 pitch for a flyout into left.

Joel Peralta came in for Gobble. Beltre foul-tipped a full-count fastball into Buck's glove behind the plate. Lopez hit an up-and-in fastball off the wall in the leftfield corner for a double, scoring Betancourt.
Ibañez was intentionally walked. Sexson lined the second pitch into left for a single, scoring Lopez and moving Ibañez to second.
Everett whiffed badly over a 1-2 breaking ball down and in. Peralta threw 20 pitches.

Gobble's line: 2 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 25 pitches (16 strikes)
Peralta's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (9 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Soriano. Stairs took a 2-2 highish fastball for strike three. Costa popped to Ibañez in shallow left. Teahen checkswung but nubbed the second pitch to third.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (6 strikes)

Gameball: Jose Lopez.
He went 2-for-4 with a couple of doubles in this game. After a half-dozen games hitting in the three-spot in the lineup, the second baseman has 6-for-23 (.261) with three doubles, a homer, and seven RBIs, scoring five times, walking three times and striking out five. In the six games since the lineup overhaul, Lopez is slugging .609. It looks better than the .261, that's for sure. Anyway, the main motive of this whole thing according to what we've been sold is the improvement of Adrian Beltre, who despite having a nine-game hitting streak snapped in this game has hit 8-for-26 (.308) in the second slot in the order with a double, two homers, and five RBIs, walking twice and striking out four times. Tonight, Lopez drove middle infield cohort Yuniesky Betancourt for an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. It released some tension in the building and made it less of a cliffhanger when JJ Putz went out to the mound in the ninth, though we're getting a bit spoiled lately whenever the Mariners have a lead of three or less going into the last frame of play.

Goat: Carl Everett.
Usually I try to look somewhere else, and he's usually been decent enough to keep him out of the goat entry this season, but tonight the designated hitter didn't hit. He was 0-for-4 and got the hat trick, striking out three times. He had a terrible April, hitting .220 (18-for-82) with six doubles, four homers, and 13 RBIs, walking 15 times and walking 13. In the month of May, he was much better, hitting .291 (30-for-102) with one double, three homers, and 11 RBIs, walking six times and striking out 18 times. However, the month of June is not starting out so great. Everett is 1-for-14 (.071) with a walk and five strikeouts and no extra-base hits. He's scored a run though. I could spend more space here lamenting why on earth Bill Bavasi decided to sign this guy, but it'd be a waste and I've already done that at Sports and B's many times. At least they haven't made him play the outfield or anything hair-brained as that. Random -- remember the Mariner ad where other players started following Ichiro and putting the first names on the backs of their jerseys? "Thaddeuz?"

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 47-12 .797 -- W15
2003 40-19 .678 7 L1
2002 37-22 .627 10 L1
2000 32-27 .542 15 W2
2005 26-33 .441 21 L1
2006 26-33 .441 21 W1
2004 23-36 .390 24 W1

Liriano. Hernandez. Tonight.

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