Wednesday, June 21, 2006


AP photo -- Jeff Lewis

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: The Mariner offense looked like a million bucks against Brad Penny. Mostly.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Brad Penny. The Mariners came in with a 6-0 record this year in interleague play. They had a three-game winning streak going and even with the sweep in Oakland had still won 12 of their last 17 games. So, the hope was to maek it four straight and 13 of 18. Having Piñeiro on the mound coming in doesn't necessarily set you up very well for that, but sometimes the breaks turn your way.

Ichiro bounced a single up the middle. Adrian Beltre pounded a homer about six rows into the bleachers in rightcenter.
Raul Ibañez bounced the second pitch back to the mound. Richie Sexson blistered a single into left. Kenji Johjima was robbed on the second pitch by a sliding catch by Drew in shallow right. Jeremy Reed popped the second pitch to Martin in foul ground near the screen behind the plate. Penny threw 15 pitches.

Rafael Furcal chopped a 2-2 pitch down the rightfield line toward the corner for a double. Kenny Lofton whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball. Nomar Garciaparra watched as Furcal was nearly picked off of second, though Bloomquist didn't come up with the throw (might have been late anyway). Garciaparra ended up scorching a single into left, scoring Furcal, and the relay home from Ibañez got past Johjima and Piñeiro behind the plate and it got past, allowing Garciaparra to get to second. Piñeiro dove for the ball behind the plate and some training staff came out, but Piñeiro stayed in after a warmup throw or two. Ibañez was given an error on the play.
JD Drew rolled the second pitch to first, moving Garciaparra to third. Jeff Kent took the second pitch in the dirt and it got away from Johjima, but not far enough to move Garciaparra. Kent took a 1-2 breaking ball outside in the dirt that Johjima couldn't quite block and it went to the backstop, scoring Kent. The pitch was Piñeiro's first wild pitch of the year.
Kent ended up whiffing on a full count. Piñeiro threw 23 pitches.

Willie Bloomquist spanked a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Yuniesky Betancourt smacked the second pitch into right for a single, moving Bloomquist to second but not third since the hit-and-run wasn't on. Joel Piñeiro bunted the second pitch and bounced it along the first-base line, where a charging Garciaparra tagged Piñeiro comnig down the line but had no other play as Bloomquist and Betancourt went to third and second. Ichiro popped to shallow left and Kemp's throw home bounced off of Bloomquist and went past, though Penny backed up the play and was able to throw back to Martin in time at the plate to get Betancourt out. Penny threw 12 pitches and had 27 through two.

Matt Kemp whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball away in the dirt. Ramon Martinez popped the second pitch high to center. Russell Martin worked a 1-2 count full before bouncing a single through the left side. Brad Penny whiffed on an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner. Piñeiro threw 15 pitches and had 38 through two.

Beltre scorched one into leftfield and it got past Kemp (weird route) and rolled to the wall, giving Beltre a double. Ibañez was down 0-2 before popping to Kemp along the leftfield line. Sexson chopped over Martinez at third and Beltre was running with the pitch and scored on the single.
Johjima was down 0-2 before popping high to short on a 2-2 pitch. Reed punched a single into shallow left, moving Sexson to second. Bloomquist flew out to right on the second pitch. Penny threw 21 pitches and had 48 through three.

Furcal lined a 1-2 pitch right to Ibañez in left. Lofton bounced out to short. Garciaparra fouled the first pitch square off his left foot or shin, then bounced to short on the next pitch as Niehaus mistakenly identified Betancourt as Furcal, but hey, it's Niehaus and he rules. Piñeiro threw ten pitches and had 48 through three.

Betancourt bounced a broken-bat bouncer to third on the second pitch. Piñeiro was up 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-2 fastball. Ichiro grounded hard to first on the first pitch. Penny threw eight pitches and had 56 through four.

Drew popped the first pitch barely foul near the leftfield foul pole. Drew rolled an 0-2 pitch to second. Kent rode the second pitch for a double to the wall in rightcenter. Kemp popped an 0-2 pitch to Sexson in foul ground on the right side. Martinez nearly lasered the second pitch down the leftfield line, but it went foul. Martinez ended up spanking the next pitch through the right side for a single, moving Kent to third, where the stop sign was thrown up on him. Martin worked an 0-2 count full before hitting a piped breaking ball into center for a single, easily scoring Kent and moving Martinez to second. Niehaus did use the phrase "for cryin' out loud" when pointing out that the pitch was right in the middle of the plate, and he also wondered aloud why they just didn't give Martin the fourth ball intentionally since the pitcher was on deck.
Penny grounded the second pitch to short, where Betancourt tossed to second for the force on Martin. Piñeiro threw 21 pitches and had 69 through four.

Beltre flew out to Drew in front of the in-wall scoreboard in right. Ibañez flew out to Drew in front of the same scoreboard in right on the first pitch. Sexson squashed the first pitch and hit a fly ball that just kept carrying until it got over the wall in rightcenter.
Johjima lined the first pitch over Drew's head and off the track and wall in rightfield for a double. Reed rolled slowly to second. Penny threw ten pitches and had 66 through five.

Furcal bounced out to first (3-1 putout). Lofton smacked a single into right. Garciaparra had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 low fastball. Drew drove the second pitch to Ibañez just in front of the wall in leftcenter as the runners retreated. Kent grounded a too-high 2-0 breaking ball to a diving Beltre behind the bag at third, who got a glove on it and it rolled but stayed close, saving a run but loading the bases. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Kemp bounced the first pitch right to Beltre at third, who tagged Garciaparra coming down the line. Piñeiro threw 18 pitches and had 87 through five.

Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch up the middle to Furcal, who barely threw him out. Betancourt chopped out to second. Piñeiro whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball. Penny threw 12 pitches and had 78 through six.

Penny's line: 6 innings, 5 runs, 10 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 78 pitches (53 strikes)

Martinez bounced the second pitch to short. Martin grounded the first pitch to third. Andre Ethier, hitting for Penny, grounded the first pitch to first. Piñeiro threw five pitches and had 92 through six.

Hong-Chih Kuo came in for Penny. Ichiro walked on a 3-1 pitch. Beltre walked on four pitches. Ibañez punched an 0-2 single into center, scoring Ichiro and moving Beltre to second.

Jonathan Broxton came in for Kuo. Sexson took a very wild first pitch to the backstop, moving Beltre to third and Sexson to second. Sexson got ahead 3-1 and whiffed on a low full-count pitch and briefly talked about the location with the plate umpire. Johjima bounced a 2-0 pitch through a drawn-in infield into left for a single, scoring Beltre and moving Ibañez to third.
Reed was behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to short to start a 6-3 double play.

Kuo's line: 0 innings, 2 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (4 strikes)
Bruxton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (7 strikes)

Furcal doubled the first pitch down the leftfield line. Lofton tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound, and Piñeiro looked Furcal back to second before throwing to first for the out. Garciaparra bounced a single through the left side on the second pitch, moving Furcal to third.

George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Drew fell behind 0-2 and flew out to center on a 2-2 pitch, scoring Furcal.

Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Kent popped to left.

Piñeiro's line: 6 1/3 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 10 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 102 pitches (72 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)
Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (2 strikes)

Jae Seo came in for Bruxton. Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Betancourt popped to right. Carl Everett, hitting for Mateo, popped a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Seo threw 12 pitches.

Rafael Soriano came in for Mateo. Kemp whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball outside. Martinez worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to center. Martin flew out to right. Soriano threw 15 pitches.

Ichiro took a tailing 1-2 pitch for strike three. Beltre walked on four pitches. Ibañez slapped a base hit past Kemp in left and to the wall, where it bounced away from him, and he bobbled it away when he fielded it, allowing Beltre to score and Ibañez to get to third (he had a double on the play).
Sexson had the hitters' counts before taking a full-count pitch outside for a walk. Johjima popped the second pitch to Kent along the rightfield line, and Ibañez somehow tagged and scored, beating the throw in from Kent, who was pretty much caught napping on the play.
Reed chopped a 1-2 pitch to first.

Seo's line: 2 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 hit, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 38 pitches (22 strikes)

Cesar Izturis, fresh off the disabled list and hitting for Seo, worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Furcal was ahead 2-0 and popped to left on a full count. Lofton drove a 2-0 pitch to Ichiro on the rightfield track. Garciaparra ripped the first pitch into rightfield for a single, moving Izturis to second. Drew fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch.

Soriano's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 38 pitches (21 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
I chose this guy as the goat for the Sunday game, and here he is for this one. To update, he's hitting .238 for the month, better than his previous two months. He's slugging .540 this month, almost 100 a hundred points better than either April or May. On-base percentage isn't something you think of with Sexson, but he's at .329 for June, better than his .308 mark for April. So, he's 15-for-63 for the month. Six of those 15 hits are homers and one is a double, accounting for nearly half of his hits. He has 18 RBIs this month, already more than the 15 from the month of April, and there are still ten days left in the month. Something really curious, however, is the strikeout category. He struck out 28 times in April and 36 times in May. Like I said, we have ten days to go in June, but Sexson's sitting here with only fifteen strikeouts for the month. I realize he can have a couple bad nights and have a hat trick or two somewhere, but it's a decent sign. Also, he already has more walks than in all of May and he's four away from outdrawing his 12-walk April.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
I think I was going to pick Raul Ibañez for this based partially on the throwing error and other assorted leftfield hijinks but laid off because he had a couple of hits and drove in a couple of runs and has almost doubled his season RBI total in the last near-month. So, I couldn't think of anyone but Piñeiro, who by far didn't have his worst outing, but getting knocked around for ten hits is generally bad. Luckily he only walked one Dodger hitter. Still, he was getting balls too far up in the zone, and at one point he was just getting ripped around the field. As for going 3-0 on Russell Martin and not walking him with runners on the corners with two out and the pitcher on deck in the fourth, well, I don't know who to blame that on -- it could be Hargrove, Johjima, or even Piñeiro shaking off every other sign. In any event, a sensible man pulls Piñeiro some time in the fifth, but Hargrove seems to have a thing for squeezing an extra inning or two out of his starters when I sometimes don't think he should. Luckily this time he appears in the right.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 54-18 .750 -- L1
2003 48-24 .667 6 L2
2002 45-27 .625 9 W4
2000 42-30 .583 12 W5
2006 35-37 .486 19 W4
2005 33-39 .458 21 W1
2004 30-42 .417 24 W1

Ichiro 40-for-84 (.476), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 9 RBIs, 7 walks, 5 strikeouts
Beltre 24-for-82 (.293), 5 doubles, 5 homers, 15 RBIs, 8 walks, 13 strikeouts
Lopez 18-for-71 (.253), 7 doubles, 1 homer, 11 RBIs, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Ibañez 24-for-67 (.358), 5 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers, 24 RBIs, 10 walks, 9 strikeouts
Sexson 16-for-69 (.232), 1 double, 6 homers, 20 RBIs, 10 walks, 18 strikeouts
Everett 13-for-58 (.224), 1 homer, 4 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Johjima 17-for-62 (.274), 6 doubles, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Reed 12-for-50 (.240), 1 double, 2 homers, 3 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Betancourt 22-for-67 (.328), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 7 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Washburn. Billingsley. Tonight.

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