Friday, June 23, 2006


AP photo -- Jeff Lewis

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Felix didn't have it. Derek Lowe did. The Mariners' two runs hide the seven scattered hits.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Derek Lowe. Originally Brett Tomko was to get the start in this game, but had fouled a pitch off his foot and pushed back a day. After much time playing shortstop in his career, Cesar Izturis, recently coming off the disabled list, started at third. The Mariners were trying to win a sixth straight game, which would be a season high. It would also be the longest Mariner winning streak since a nine-gamer way back in 2003.

Ichiro popped weakly to third. Adrian Beltre bounced the second pitch to Furcal deep in the hole at short, who bounced a throw to first that was picked by Garciaparra. Jose Lopez fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Lowe threw ten pitches.

Rafael Furcal chopped a 1-2 pitch to third. Kenny Lofton popped the second pitch to right. Nomar Garciaparra fell behind 0-2 and chopped a 1-2 pitch to third. Hernandez threw ten pitches.

Raul Ibañez was ahead 3-1 and wound up tapping a slow roller to short on a full count. Richie Sexson hit a wormburner to short on a 2-0 pitch. Kenji Johjima bounced a single up the middle. Jeremy Reed lined out to left on the second pitch. Lowe threw 14 pitches and had 24 through two.

JD Drew took an 0-2 curve over the outer half and started toward the dugout, but it somehow was called a ball. Drew took a 2-2 tailing fastball down over the inside corner. Jeff Kent took a full-count curve over the inside corner. Andre Ethier scorched a hot grounder to third, where Beltre stopped the ball and had it roll away from him, but it was hit very hard and he had no play at first after he got to the ball (nonetheless ruled an error). Cesar Izturis shot the second pitch for a single through the right side on a perfect hit-and-run, moving Ethier to third. Russell Martin whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt (2-3 putout). Hernandez struck out the side on 23 pitches and had 33 through two.

Yuniesky Betancourt got ahead 3-1 and fouled a way inside full-count pitch off his calf. Betancourt ended up lining a ball just over the wall in leftcenter. Really, he did.
Felix Hernandez whiffed on an 0-2 pitch away. Ichiro bounced a 2-0 pitch to first. Beltre grounded hard to second. Lowe threw 17 pitches and had 41 through three.

Derek Lowe worked an 0-2 count full before lining a single past the mound on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Furcal got ahead 2-0 and rolled a 2-2 pitch to second, where Lopez threw to second for the force, but Furcal beat out the double play. Lofton bounced the second pitch to short, and Betancourt stepped on second, but Lofton beat out the double play. Garciaparra whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball away. Hernandez threw 20 pitches and had 53 through three.

Lopez bounced the second pitch to short. Ibañez drove the second pitch four rows into the rightcenter bleachers.
Sexson popped a 2-0 pitch to left. Johjima bounced a 2-2 pitch to a charging Izturis at third. Lowe threw 12 pitches and had 53 through four.

Drew looped a first-pitch fly into right on which Ichiro made a sliding catch. Kent bounced the second pitch to third. Ethier shot a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Izturis fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch for a ball, but Johjima nailed Ethier by five feet trying to steal second. Hernandez threw 14 pitches and had 67 through four.

Reed slapped a 1-2 one-hopper to short and was out, though the throw was high. Betancourt worked an 0-2 count full and chopped out to Izturis behind the bag at third. Hernandez whiffed on a 1-2 fastball down and away. Lowe threw 14 pitches and had 67 through five.

Izturis shot a 2-2 pitch that ate up Betancourt on the backhand side, and it went into left for a single. Martin looped a 2-0 pitch into center for a single, moving Izturis to second. Lowe bunted to the third-base side, where Hernandez threw to first as Izturis and Martin moved to third and second. Furcal ripped the second pitch into center for a single, scoring Izturis easily and moving Martin to third. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound.
Lofton, who has burned the Mariners many times in years past in such situations, lined out to short on the first pitch, and Betancourt tried to catch Martin off third, but to no avail. Garciaparra popped to left on the second pitch. Hernandez threw 17 pitches and had 84 through five.

Ichiro bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Beltre singled the first pitch into left. Lopez shot a double down the leftfield line, moving Beltre to third. Ibañez tapped the first pitch to the mound, where Lowe ran at Beltre coming down the third-base line, but stayed in it long enough to move Lopez to third and Ibañez to second. Sexson was ahead 3-1 and ended up whiffing on a full-count slider way away and low. Lowe threw 14 pitches and had 81 through six.

Drew ripped a single into left. Kent whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball way down and away. Ethier slapped the first pitch into left for a single, moving Drew to second. Izturis knocked a 3-1 pitch off of Hernandez and to Lopez, who stopped it but had no play as the bases were loaded. Chaves visited the mound. Martin slipped a single into rightfield, scoring Drew and Ethier and moving Izturis to second.
Lowe whiffed on an 0-2 pitch, though the strikeout came one batter too late. Furcal lasered the second pitch into left for a single, scoring Izturis easily and moving Martin to second.

Julio Mateo came in for Hernandez. Lofton got ahead 3-0 and took a full-count pitch low, loading the bases. Garciaparra whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away.

Hernandez' line: 5 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 11 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 106 pitches (68 strikes)
Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (6 strikes)

Johjima was ahead 2-0 and bounced to Izturis behind the bag at third. Reed shot a grounder past Garciaparra at first and into right for a single. Betancourt grounded the first pitch to Izturis behind the bag at third, who threw to second for the force as Betancourt was safe at first. Carl Everett, hitting for Mateo, bounced the second pitch along the left side, where Izturis charged and made a Beltreian play, barely getting Everett at first. Everett was incensed and Hargrove came out to argue, though he argues like Bob Melvin, so he didn't get tossed. Lowe threw ten pitches and had 91 through seven.

Eddie Guardado came in for Mateo. Drew looped the second pitch into left for a single. Kent took a 2-2 pitch across the outside corner. Ethier shot the first pitch through the right side for a single, moving Drew to second. Izturis whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and in. Martin took a 1-2 pitch from Guardado, who was then checked out by trainer Rick Griffin, who must have seen something he didn't like. Martin ended up bouncing the next pitch to second. Guardado threw 18 pitches.

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (12 strikes)

Ichiro lined softly to short, ending his 20-game hit streak. Beltre whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Lopez failed to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch way low and away. Lowe threw 13 pitches and had 104 through eight.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Guardado. Lowe bounced an 0-2 pitch to short. Furcal was ahead 3-0 before walking on a full-count fastball way outside. Lofton flew out high to Reed in leftcenter on the first pitch. Garciaparra poked a 2-2 pitch through the left side for a single, moving Furcal to second. Drew worked a 1-2 count full before bouncing to Sexson behind the bag at first, who backhanded to Fruto covering first.

Fruto's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 21 pitches (12 strikes)

Ibañez rolled a 1-2 pitch slowly to short but couldn't quite beat it out. Sexson fought off a pitch and singled into center. Manager Grady Little visited the mound and left Lowe in the game, unsurprisingly. Johjima fell behind 0-2 and chopped a 1-2 pitch to short, where Furcal went to second for the force. Reed chopped the second pitch to second.

Lowe's line: 9 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 119 pitches (76 strikes)

Gameball: Yuniesky Betancourt.
We knew last year what we had in him defensively, but I never expected his bat to come along this nicely. The Mariners' shortstop is hitting freakin' .291. His liner of a homer in this game was only his fourth homer of the season, but his second in June. Couple that with his three doubles and two triples this month, and Betancourt has a June slugging mark of .515. Wowzers! He's also getting on base at a .348 clip this month, which is great, grand, and even wonderful. The thing about watching MLB.tv is that if you get the non-Seattle feed enough, you get to hear about the escaping-from-Cuba story involving Betancourt roughly a million times. It's a great story, sure, but just go to it in the first game of the series. In any event, if Betancourt ends up hitting .290 every year, I'll be more than pleased with it considering all the stuff he does out there with the glove. He's got to be good if they moved Adam Jones out to centerfield in the minors, right? That's got to count for something, I would think.

Goat: Felix Hernandez.
There were a couple of sick things about this game. First off, all of the eleven hits Felix gave up were singles. Secondly, when I had to think of a goat for this game, I looked through the lineup and only two hitters in the starting lineup were hitless -- Felix (no surprise) and Ichiro, who had a 20-game hitting streak snapped. Also, the eleven singles catapulted the Dodgers to victory while the Mariners had two homers that were both solo shots. Go figure. To me, it seemed like Felix got into too many deep counts in the second inning, and it came to a head when Derek Lowe worked an 0-2 count full and singled to cap a ten-pitch at-bat to lead off the third. That's a pretty big part of what kept Felix from going past 5 2/3 innings. From my point of view, I also thought there were quite a few times where he had two strikes on a hitter and just couldn't put them away. He got six strikeouts, sure, but more often than not the pitches were either taken for balls, fouled off, or turned around for singles. For some reason, I'm mostly dismayed with the two-strike pitches being fouled off, because that means they're catching up to it when I wish they were completely missing those pitches. Oh well.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 55-19 .743 -- W1
2003 49-25 .662 6 L1
2002 46-28 .622 9 W1
2000 44-30 .595 11 W7
2006 36-38 .486 19 L1
2005 33-41 .446 22 L2
2004 30-44 .405 25 L2

Ichiro 42-for-93 (.452), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 9 RBIs, 8 walks, 5 strikeouts
Beltre 28-for-90 (.311), 6 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBIs, 9 walks, 14 strikeouts
Lopez 20-for-79 (.253), 8 doubles, 1 homer, 13 RBIs, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts
Ibañez 26-for-75 (.347), 5 doubles, 1 triple, 7 homers, 25 RBIs, 11 walks, 10 strikeouts
Sexson 18-for-77 (.234), 1 double, 6 homers, 20 RBIs, 11 walks, 20 strikeouts
Everett 14-for-60 (.233), 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Johjima 20-for-70 (.286), 7 doubles, 1 homer, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Reed 15-for-58 (.259), 1 double, 3 homers, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Betancourt 23-for-76 (.303), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 8 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Meche. Peavy. Tonight.

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