Saturday, June 24, 2006


AP photo -- Lenny Ignelzi

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: This one was Mike Hargrove's reminder to Mariner fans everywhere that he still needs to be fired.

This one featured Gil Meche going up against Jake Peavy. Meche came in with the road ERA nearly three times worse than his home ERA, though the park in San Diego I'm sure is more friendly to the pitcher and would let Meche be able to get away with more mistakes. The Mariners were hoping not to start their first losing streak since the three-game sweep in Oakland. Also, they were hoping Gil Meche might get deep into the game and save the bullpen a bit after Felix Hernandez failed to get through the sixth inning the night before.

Ichiro took a strike and fouled off four pitches before looping to third for a flyout. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a 2-2 slider down and away, a Beltre specialty. Jose Lopez rolled a 3-1 pitch to short. Peavy threw 18 pitches.

Mike Cameron whiffed on a full-count fastball. Ben Johnson whiffed on a 2-2 curve over the inside corner. Brian Giles was ahead 3-0 and slapped a 3-1 pitch into left for a single. Mike Piazza fell behind 0-2 and took a full-count curve over the outside corner. Meche struck out the side on 25 pitches.

Raul Ibañez popped the second pitch to Cameron in leftcenter. Richie Sexson had the hitters' counts and flew out high to center. Kenji Johjima bounced a 2-0 pitch to short. Peavy threw 11 pitches and had 29 through two.

Adrian Gonzalez worked an 0-2 count before flyout out to center on a full count, the eleventh pitch of the at-bat. Khalil Greene flew out to Reed just short of the track in center on a 2-0 pitch. Vinny Castilla ripped a 2-0 pitch into left for a single. Josh Barfield was ahead 3-0 and rolled a 3-1 pitch up the middle to Betancourt. Meche threw 23 pitches and had 48 through three.

Jeremy Reed rode the second pitch into the gap in leftcenter and stood at second with a double. Yuniesky Betancourt took the first pitch in the dirt and to the backstop (passed ball), moving Reed to third. Betancourt whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Gil Meche whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Ichiro, hitting only around .250 with runners in scoring position and two down, took the first pitch for a strike and whiffed at the next two pitches that were horribly high and looked terrible doing it. Peavy threw 14 pitches and had 43 through three.

Jake Peavy popped a 2-0 pitch to right. Cameron drove a 3-1 outside-corner fastball just over the wall in right.
Johnson lined a single into shallow left. Giles flew out to Beltre in foul ground on the left side on a 3-0 pitch. Piazza looped a full-count pitch to Lopez drifting back into shallow center. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 69 through three.

Beltre roped the first pitch into the corner in rightfield for a double. Lopez foul-tipped a 1-2 cutter down and away into Piazza's glove behind the plate. Ibañez lined a 1-2 pitch and landed it barely fair near the rightfield corner for a double, scoring Beltre.
Sexson rolled a full-count pitch to short, and Gonzalez had to pick out the throw from Greene. Johjima whiffed on a 1-2 belt-high fastball. Peavy threw 19 pitches and had 62 through four.

Gonzalez rolled the first pitch softly along the left side, where Beltre did the barehand and throw thing and got Gonzalez, good for the #3 Web Gem on Baseball Tonight. That out was the first first-pitch out for Meche on the night. Greene took Ibañez to the leftfield track on the second pitch. Castilla whiffed on a 1-2 fastball over the outer half. Meche went 1-2-3 for the first time on the night, throwing seven pitches and having 76 through four.

Reed failed to check his swing on an 0-2 breaking ball. Betancourt ripped a base hit along the leftfield line on an 0-2 pitch, but Johnson's throw from left nailed Betancourt because he tried to slide around the base and the tag, but couldn't. Meche whiffed on a low 0-2 pitch. Peavy threw 12 pitches and had 74 through five.

Barfield whiffed on an 1-2 fastball. Peavy rolled an 0-2 pitch into the hole on the right side, where Lopez stopped it and had to pick it off the ground before throwing to first in time. Cameron was ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Johnson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 low curve. Meche threw 19 pitches and had 95 through five.

Ichiro was ahead 3-0 and popped to second on a full count. Beltre rode the second pitch to Johnson in deep left. Lopez had the hitters' counts and flew out to Cameron drifting back in center. Peavy threw 14 pitches and had 88 through six.

Giles took a 3-1 pitch up and away. Piazza got ahead 2-0 and flew out to Ichiro in deep rightcenter. Gonzalez fell behind 0-2 and tapped in front of the plate, where Johjima pounced on it and went to first even though he probably had a play at second.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Meche and Willie Bloomquist inexplicably came in to play second for Lopez (I can take that back if Lopez was injured). Greene took an 0-2 fastball down over the outside corner. Fruto threw three pitches.

Meche's line: 5 2/3 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 108 pitches (60 strikes)

Ibañez flew out to fairly deep center on the first pitch. Sexson had the hitters' counts and flew out to Barfield on the rightfield grass. Johjima fought off an 0-2 pitch and dropped it in front of Johnson charging in from left for a single (he overran it as well), and he thought for a second about stretching it but thought better of it. Reed flew out to center on a 2-0 pitch. Peavy threw 12 pitches and had 100 through seven.

Castilla got ahead 2-0 and lined out to a charging Reed in center. It was at this moment where San Diego broadcast color man Mark Grant drew the parallel of Fruto with Antonio Alfonseca minus the sixth finger. Barfield lined out to Beltre reaching above his head at third. Peavy took a 1-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Fruto threw 12 pitches and had 15 total.

Betancourt lined out to right. Bloomquist flew out to left on an 0-2 pitch. Ichiro shot the second pitch through the right side for a single. Beltre whiffed on a head-high 0-2 fastball, which was pitiful. Peavy threw eight pitches and had 108 through eight.

Peavy's line: 8 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts, 113 pitches (79 strikes)

Cameron walked on a 3-1 fastball outside. Johnson tried bunting though the pitches were up and in, then another attempt went foul. Johnson ended up taking a 2-2 breaking ball over the inside corner.

George Sherrill came in for Fruto. Giles worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to Ibañez a few strides short of the track in left.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill and Morse came in for Beltre at third, which again is inexplicable. Piazza popped to Ichiro. Soriano threw three pitches.

Fruto's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (3 strikes)

Trevor Hoffman came in for Peavy and Rob Bowen came in to catch for Piazza. Mike Morse fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, and was tagged out, though I thought the umpire called time as if to say the ball had been fouled off (no argument from Hargrove though). Ibañez was up 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Sexson fell behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch deep into the hole on the left side, where Greene threw to second and Ibañez was barely out on the force play, which luckily was enough to get Hargrove out of the dugout. Johjima took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt and lost sight of it, moving Sexson to second. Johjima ended up reaching and poking a single into right, but Sexson was waved around and was out by eight feet, and his only chance to score was to plow into Bowen at the plate, which he did, but Bowen held on easily. Hoffman threw 19 pitches.

Hoffman's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (11 strikes)

Gonzalez nearly dumped a base hit down the leftfield line and whiffed on an 0-2 fastball. Greene whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball way outside. Castilla was ahead 2-0 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Sexson halfway in on the first-base line. Soriano threw 13 pitches and had 16 total.

Soriano's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 16 pitches (12 strikes)

Scott Linebrink came in for Hoffman. Reed was up 3-0 and rolled t short on a full count, but Gonzalez had to dig out the shorthop at first. Betancourt took a 3-1 pitch down and away for a walk. Bloomquist air-bunted the first pitch foul behind the plate and hit a seeing-eye single through the left side past Castilla for a single, moving Betancourt to second. Ichiro whiffed on an 0-2 splitter in the dirt. Carl Everett, hitting for Soriano, whiffing on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt.

Linebrink's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (12 strikes)

Julio Mateo came in for Soriano. Barfield lined out to right on the first pitch. Bowen was nearly hit in the right leg with the first pitch and drilled the next pitch over Ichiro's head in right and to the scoreboard/wall for a double. Cameron fell behind 0-2 while my MLB.tv feed cut out. He rolled a single through the left side on a 1-2 pitch and moved Bowen to third. Johnson took a full-count breaking ball down and away to load the bases after fouling off a 2-2 pitch and a couple more with a full count. Giles punched the second pitch through Mateo and through to centerfield, scoring Bowen easily.

Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (10 strikes)

Gameball: Emiliano Fruto.
He's taken the mound six times for the big club. He was great in very long relief his first time out, which has stood up as his best performance. On this night, he was quite good, even with the walk. In the outings in which he hasn't given up runs, he has only given up a total of two hits (four outings, 7 1/3 innings). The bad news there is that he's walked five and struck out four in those outings. Nonetheless, I'm having more fun watching this guy from the land of Juan Valdez pitch rather than see a guy not from Colombia named Valdez that tried to play short for the Mariners in 2005 and couldn't hit for beans. If there's only one thing that Fruto can stick in his cap right now, it's this -- I can remember more of his outings than I can remember the outings by the ever-present Jake Woods. That's always a good thing. There's nothing more to say here other than ¡Viva Fruto!

Goat: Richie Sexson.
I'll put him here because no one else in the lineup went 0-for-4 and was the worst Mariner of the night by the numbers. The real goat of the game is Mike Hargrove. In the bottom of the sixth, Hargrove double-switched when he took out Gil Meche. He pulled Jose Lopez and put Willie Bloomquist at second. Lopez' hitting spot in the lineup was nine hitters away, sure, but it came around again in the eighth. The point is, Hargrove at that moment pulled 53 RBIs out of the lineup and made the lineup that much worse. The one that really chaps my hide, though, is the other half of the double-switched when Rafael Soriano was brought in for George Sherrill. Hargrove took out Adrian Beltre and put in Mike Morse at third. Beltre had ended the last inning, so his spot was on the other end of the lineup, but it still took a warming-up hitter out of the lineup and though no one knew for sure at the time, that spot would come up again as the fifth hitter to the plate in the tenth (Lopez would have been sixth). That isn't the worst part of this though. The worst part is trying to sneak Morse as the leadoff hitter in the ninth while punting the defense at third for the rest of the game, which was a tie game until the end. There's no way in hell I put Morse onto the field to play defense late in the game. The defensive drop from Beltre to Morse cannot be accurately described with words or interpretive dance.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 56-19 .747 -- W2
2003 50-25 .667 6 W1
2002 46-29 .613 10 L1
2000 44-31 .587 12 L1
2006 36-39 .480 20 L2
2005 33-42 .440 23 L3
2004 31-44 .413 25 W1

Ichiro 43-for-98 (.439), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 9 RBIs, 8 walks, 7 strikeouts
Beltre 29-for-94 (.309), 7 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBIs, 9 walks, 16 strikeouts
Lopez 20-for-82 (.244), 8 doubles, 1 homer, 13 RBIs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Ibañez 27-for-78 (.346), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 7 homers, 26 RBIs, 12 walks, 10 strikeouts
Sexson 18-for-81 (.222), 1 double, 6 homers, 20 RBIs, 11 walks, 20 strikeouts
Everett 14-for-61 (.230), 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Johjima 22-for-74 (.297), 7 doubles, 1 homer, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Reed 16-for-62 (.258), 2 doubles, 3 homers, 4 RBIs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Betancourt 24-for-79 (.304), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 8 RBIs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Moyer. Park. Tonight.

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