Thursday, June 29, 2006


AP photo -- Roy Dabner

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: It's a winning baseball team and they can score seven combined runs in the final two innings.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Edgar Gonzalez. A win would put the Mariners above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2, five games into the season. A win here would give the Mariners eighteen wins in twenty-five tries. Simple math there gives the Mariners a win percentage of .720 in that stretch of games. Yes, the Mariners have been playing crazy-good baseball lately, the kind of baseball that I thought a month or so ago that there was no way in hell this team was going to be playing. I like surprises. The Mariners are two games from the halfway point of the season, and they're guaranteed of being no worse than a game under .500 after 81 games have been played. In a related story, the tail-spinning Diamondbacks came in with an 8.65 first-inning ERA. They also came in with Bob Melvin managing, but that happens every game.

Ichiro was ahead 2-0 before dumping a 2-2 pitch into shallow center for a single. Adrian Beltre took a 2-2 pitch in the dirt that went wide of Estrada behind the plate and to the backstop, moving Ichiro to second. Beltre ended up whiffing on a full-count breaking ball. Jose Lopez laid the barrel and reached on an 0-2 pitch and flew out to left. Raul Ibañez took the first pitch behind him and it went to the backstop, moving Ichiro to third. Ibañez ended up flying out high to Hudson moving back into shallow right. E Gonzalez threw 18 pitches.

Craig Counsell chopped high to first on a quick PFP play with a nice flip by Sexson (3-1 putout). Jeff DaVanon was up 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 curve of death. Chad Tracy served an 0-2 pitch into shallow center for a single. Conor Jackson grounded hard to third. Hernandez threw 16 pitches.

Richie Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball off the plate outside. Kenji Johjima popped an 0-2 pitch to Counsell moving back into shallow center. Jeremy Reed popped high to Tracy in foul ground near the third-base coaches' box. E Gonzalez threw 13 pitches and had 31 through two.

Luis Gonzalez flew out to fairly deep center on the first pitch. Shawn Green chopped a 1-2 pitch to first and Sexson tagged him running down the line. Johnny Estrada bounced the first pitch through the right side for a single. Orlando Hudson knocked a 2-0 pitch near the rightfield line for a single, moving Estrada to third. E Gonzalez was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 curve down and away. Hernandez threw 14 pitches and had 30 through two.

Yuniesky Betancourt reached on an 0-2 pitch and dumped a single just past Counsell moving back into the outfield. Felix Hernandez bunted the second pitch along the first-base line, where Jackson cut him off running down the line. Ichiro popped the first pitch to center. Beltre looped the second pitch in front of Shawn Green in rightfield, who played Beltre to pull as Betancourt scored.
Lopez flew out high to center. E Gonzalez 12 pitches and had 43 through three.

Counsell smacked a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single. DaVanon grounded the 2-2 pitch hard to first, moving Counsell to second. Tracy roped the second pitch barely foul down the leftfield line, and he whiffed on an 0-2 change on the next pitch. Jackson grounded the 1-2 pitch to third. Hernandez threw 17 pitches and had 47 through three.

Ibañez got the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch outside. Sexson grounded the second pitch hard to short to start a 6-4-3 double play. Johjima grounded out to second. Gonzalez threw ten pitches and had 53 through four.

L Gonzalez took an 0-2 fastball to the right tricep. Shawn Green whiffed on the second pitch, which got past Johjima to enable L Gonzalez to move to second. At this point, the FSN Arizona crew was still thinking about Hernandez throwing the errant fastball and showed footage of color man Mark Grace getting nailed in the right kidney with a Randy Johnson fastball. Shawn Green ripped a 2-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double, easily scoring L Gonzalez.
Estraded flew out high and deep to center, enabling Shawn Green to tag and move to third. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Hudson nubbed slowly to the left side, where Beltre charged and threw to first as Beltre would have had no play on Shawn Green, especially after having trouble coming up with a handle on it.
E Gonzalez ripped the second pitch into center for a single. Counsell rolled the first pitch up the middle to short, where Betancourt flipped to second for the force. Hernandez threw 15 pitches and had 62 through four.

Reed blasted the second pitch somewhere to the left of the pool and just to the right of the 413-foot marker. What a blast, seriously.
Betancourt popped a 2-2 pitch to Hudson calling off Jackson in foul ground near first. Hernandez chopped the first pitch to short. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and shot a 1-2 pitch through the middle for a single. Beltre popped to shallow left. E Gonzalez threw 19 pitches and had 72 through five.

DaVanon grounded the first pitch behind the bag at first and Sexson underhanded from the outfield grass to a covering Hernandez at first. Tracy walked on four pitches. Jackson was ahead 2-0 and ended up rolling out to second. L Gonzalez was up 2-0 and knocked a 2-2 comebacker to the mound that was nicely handled by Hernandez, who threw to first. Hernandez threw 15 pitches and had 77 through five.

Lopez drove a 2-0 pitch into the leftcenter gap for a double. Ibañez made contact with a letter-high 0-2 pitch and grounded to first, moving Lopez to third. Sexson whiffed on all three pitches he saw, the last one being belt-high over the outside corner. Johjima blistered a 2-2 pitch past a diving Tracy at third, scoring Lopez easily.
Reed lasered the second pitch to right that Shawn Green made a first step in on, but moved back and reached to make the catch. E Gonzalez threw 16 pitches and had 88 through six.

Shawn Green rolled the first pitch to short. Estrada looped an 0-2 pitch into left on which Ibañez got a bad jump and tried to make a sliding catch, but he missed. Luckily, Estrada wasn't hustling out of the box and only got a single out of it. Hudson grounded the first pitch to first to start a 3-6-3 double play. Hernandez threw six pitches and had 83 through six.

Betancourt grounded hard to short. Hernandez was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 pitch off the plate outside. Ichiro got ahead 2-0 and nubbed a 2-2 pitch to third.

E Gonzalez' line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 103 pitches (72 strikes)

Andy Shawn Green, hitting for E Gonzalez, bounced the second pitch to second. Counsell popped to Reed in leftcenter on a 2-2 pitch. DaVanon had four fastballs en route to a 2-2 count before taking a curve for strike three over the outside corner, which is just evil. Hernandez threw 12 pitches and had 95 through seven.

Hernandez' line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 95 pitches (62 strikes)

Luis Vizcaino came in for E Gonzalez. Beltre put the barrel on an outside 0-2 pitch and drove it to the wall in rightfield for a stand-up triple. Lopez drove a fly ball that landed near the track in rightcenter in front of the pool for a triple, easily scoring Beltre.
Ibañez scorched a full-count pitch past a diving Jackson at first for a single, scoring Lopez easily. Estrada came to the mound for a visit.
Sexson popped an 0-2 pitch high to Jackson near the mound. Johjima was up 3-0 before walking on a 3-1 pitch outside.

Greg Aquino came in for Vizcaino. Reed stroked a single into center, scoring Ibañez and moving Johjima to second.
Betancourt rolled the second pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play.

Vizcaino's line: 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 22 pitches (14 strikes)
Aquino's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (3 strikes)

George Sherrill came in for Hernandez. Tracy looped the second pitch into center for a single. Jackson was up 3-0 and walked on a full-count pitch outside, moving Tracy to second.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. L Gonzalez took an 0-2 pitch barely up and away before fishing a bit and popping to Ichiro on the track in rightcenter, moving Tracy to third. Shawn Green drove a 2-0 pitch to Reed a few strides short of the track in center, scoring Tracy.
Estrada flew out high to left on the second pitch.

Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (4 strikes)
Soriano's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (6 strikes)

Jose Valverde came in for Aquino. Carl Everett, hitting for Soriano, whiffed on a 1-2 fastball. Ichiro whiffed on a 1-2 pitch down and in that got away from Estrada (2-3 putout). Beltre took the first pitch to the arse. Lopez had the hit-and-run on and reached for a low-and-away 1-2 pitch and tucked it into right for a single, moving Beltre to third, i.e., perfectly executed hit-and-run. Ibañez walked on a 3-1 pitch low and away, loading the bases. Pitching coach Bryan Price came to the mound for a visit. Sexson rocked a down-and-in 1-2 pitch to the base of the wall in center for a double to clear the bases.
Johjima lasered the second pitch off the base of the leftfield wall to score Sexson.
Reed rode the first pitch to deep rightcenter for a flyout, about 20 feet shorter from where he hit the homer earlier.

Valverde's line: 1 inning, 4 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 26 pitches (16 strikes)

Sean Green came in for Soriano. Hudson was up 3-0 and walked on a full-count pitch down and in. Tony Clark, hitting for Valverde, rolled the second pitch to second for a 4-6-3 fairly nifty double play. Counsell grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to first.

Sean Green's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (7 strikes)

Gameball: Jeremy Reed.
I root hard for this guy, and it's worth it for nights like this one. Aside from his first at-bat of the night, Reed hit the ball really hard. Other than the homer that went a surprisingly long way and the RBI single, he also lined out to right on a ball that could have gone over Shawn Green's head, and he nearly hit another homer in the area of where he had successfully hit a homer earlier in the game. I think he's due for another diving catch in centerfield to remind us that he's great defensively out there, but he was pretty due for this offensive output as well. Reed hit .273 last month, but is hitting only .234 this month. His on-base average is .003 better this month than last. That month of May raised Reed's batting average from .188 to .227, but the month of June hasn't done much to it, as it's now at .230. By the same token, he's gotten more at-bats this month than in any of the previous months. So, to recap, Reed's percentage numbers are down in June, but most of the other numbers for this month are up from May, though more at-bats might have something to do with it. The good news is that it's his most prolific home-run month, and only one of those was in Anaheim.

Goat: George Sherrill.
If a guy comes in to face two hitters and gets nobody out, he's always a candidate for this spot if none of the hitters go 0-for-5 and strike out three times or something. In short, Sherrill came out to the mound with a 6-2 lead and made things way too interesting for anyone's liking other than Arizona. Of course, Sherrill is used in such a fashion where he usually never throws to more than one or two batters anyways, so sometimes Sherrill is susceptible to outings like this one. Sherrill has had 11 appearances this month and has given up five runs. However, those 11 appearances only add up to five innings. Thus, his ERA in June isn't exactly a sparkling one since it's an even 9.00. Still, he's given up runs in only four of the 11 outings this month. His strikeout numbers have dropped off in June compared to April and May. What gives a good scope of just how many times he gets out there and how many batters he faces, he's given up four hits in June, and that's more than he had in either April or May.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 58-21 .734 -- W2
2003 52-27 .658 6 L1
2002 50-29 .633 8 W4
2000 47-32 .595 11 W2
2006 40-39 .506 18 W4
2005 33-46 .418 25 L7
2004 32-47 .405 26 L2

Ichiro 49-for-115 (.426), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 12 RBIs, 11 walks, 9 strikeouts
Beltre 36-for-112 (.321), 11 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 20 RBIs, 9 walks, 19 strikeouts
Lopez 28-for-101 (.277), 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 16 RBIs, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Ibañez 32-for-94 (.340), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers, 30 RBIs, 14 walks, 15 strikeouts
Sexson 26-for-101 (.257), 3 doubles, 8 homers, 28 RBIs, 11 walks, 24 strikeouts
Everett 14-for-64 (.219), 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Johjima 30-for-87 (.345), 8 doubles, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Reed 20-for-81 (.247), 2 doubles, 4 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Betancourt 26-for-90 (.289), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 8 RBIs, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts

Meche. (Another) Gonzalez. Tonight.

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