Friday, June 30, 2006


AP photo -- Roy Dabner

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Great win for the Mariners. It's more fun watching Bob Melvin get ejected when he's not managing your favorite team.

This one featured Gil Meche going up against Enrique Gonzalez. The Mariners were looking for their nineteenth win in twenty-six tries. In a smaller scope, a win would make it ten in twelve tries. The Mariners had the chance to equal their longest winning streak of the season at five games. Also, two games over .500 would tie the high-water mark for the season. The last time the Mariners were this high over .500, they had a record of 3-1.

Ichiro popped the 2-0 pitch high to Tracy moving onto the mound. Adrian Beltre got ahead 3-1 and rode a full-count pitch off the wall near the rightfield corner for a triple. Jose Lopez hit a chopper to the left side that went off Tracy's glove and Counsell couldn't pick it up to have a play as Beltre scored (credited as a single).
Raul Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outer half. Richie Sexson took the first pitch off of Snyder's glove behind the plate and it rolled away, moving Lopez to second. Sexson ended up flying out high to shallow right on the second pitch. E Gonzalez threw 19 pitches.

Craig Counsell fell behind 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 2-2 low breaking ball. Eric Byrnes poked the first pitch into the rightfield corner for a triple. Chad Tracy fell behind 0-2 before grounding to first on a 1-2 pitch as Byrnes had to hold at third. Conor Jackson got ahead 3-1 before taking a full-count breaking ball at the waist. Meche threw 21 pitches.

Kenji Johjima grounded hard to third. Jeremy Reed popped out to left. Yuniesky Betancourt was up 2-0 before popping to Hudson in shallow center. E Gonzalez threw 11 pitches and had 30 through two.

Luis Gonzalez bounced the second pitch to short. Shawn Green stroked a double down the leftfield line on the second pitch. Johjima went to the mound for a visit. Orlando Hudson grounded to Lopez moving back into shallow center. Chris Snyder worked a 1-2 count full before taking a curve for strike three. Meche threw 14 pitches and had 35 through two.

Gil Meche bounced a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Counsell. Ichiro popped a 2-0 pitch to Green in shallow right. Beltre had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Lopez bounced the second pitch to short to force out Beltre at second. E Gonzalez threw 15 pitches and had 45 through three.

E Gonzalez fell behind 0-2 and ended up shooting a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Counsell worked an 0-2 count full before punching a single through the right side, moving E Gonzalez to second. Byrnes shot the second pitch hard through the mound and to Betancourt to start a 4-6-3 double play, moving E Gonzalez to third. Tracy had the count 2-1 when Meche balked, which incredibly sucks. Meche rose up a bit while looking in for the sign and went back down, so it was a valid call.
Tracy was ahead 3-1 and hit right back to the mound on a full count. Meche threw 22 pitches and had 57 through three.

Ibañez worked an 0-2 count full before grounding to second. Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before flying out very high to center. Johjima grounded the second pitch hard to third. E Gonzalez threw 14 pitches and had 59 through four.

Jackson popped to Sexson near the first-base side of the mound. L Gonzalez was up 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Shawn Green was up 3-0 before grounding hard to first on a 3-1 pitch. Meche threw 13 pitches and had 70 through four.

Reed rocketed the second pitch right into E Gonzalez' glove at the mound. Betancourt tapped back to the mound. Meche whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball away. E Gonzalez threw nine pitches and had 68 through five.

Hudson fell behind 0-2 before popping out high to center on a 2-2 pitch. Snyder split his bat on the second pitch, rolling out to short. E Gonzalez worked a 1-2 count full before grounding hard to second, where Lopez ranged over and booted the ball into centerfield (error). Counsell walked on a low 3-1 pitch. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Byrnes smacked the first pitch into center for a single, scoring E Gonzalez and moving Counsell to second. Reed's throw wasn't exactly great either.
Tracy popped the second pitch to Lopez in shallow center. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 91 through five.

Ichiro bounced out to first. Beltre fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 inside pitch. Lopez popped the first pitch high to left. E Gonzalez threw 12 pitches and had 80 through six.

Jackson popped high to Sexson at first. L Gonzalez flew out to a trotting Ibañez in left on the second pitch. Shawn Green shot the second pitch through the mound and into center for a single. Hudson watched as Shawn Green was gunned down trying to steal second. Meche threw eight pitches and had 99 through five.

Ibañez popped a 2-2 pitch to Tracy at the dugout railing on the left side. Sexson blistered a down-and-in first pitch into the leftfield corner for a double. Johjima walked on a 3-1 change down and in. Reed whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Betancourt rode a fly ball to the centerfield track.

E Gonzalez' line: 7 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 100 pitches (58 strikes)

Hudson bounced to second. Snyder popped a 2-2 pitch to right. Andy Green, hitting for E Gonzalez, bounced to third on a 2-2 pitch.

Meche's line: 7 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 6 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 114 pitches (73 strikes)

Brandon Lyon came in for E Gonzalez. Carl Everett, hitting for Meche, popped the second pitch to shallow center. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and served a 1-2 pitch into left for a flyout. Beltre fell down 0-2 and reached down and doubled to the wall in rightcenter on a 1-2 pitch. Lopez looped a 1-2 pitch to second.

Lyon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (13 strikes)

Eddie Guardado came in for Meche. Counsell was ahead 2-0 and ended up rolling to first (3-1 putout). Byrnes whiffed on a 1-2 inside pitch. Tracy roped the second pitch into right for a single. Jackson spanked the second pitch back to the mound, where Guardado put a glove out and stopped it, and he thought it was in his glove, but it was at the top of the mound (his throw to first was barely late) as Tracy went to second. L Gonzalez looped the second pitch into shallow left but was robbed by a diving Reed (in the last game post, I did say he was due for one).

Guardado's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (9 strikes)

Jorge Julio came in for Lyon and Tony Clark came in for Jackson to play first. Ibañez rocked a 3-1 pitch to center which at first was called a triple, then was called a homer. Ol' Bob Melvin came out to argue and couldn't believe that the home plate umpire, who made the call on the play, was overruled in a conference after Ibañez was safe at third. Eventually, Melvin got tossed. I'll give it to him, this ejection was a lot better than most of the ones we saw in Seattle. However, as Thom Brenneman and Mark Grace said on the FSN Arizona telecast, Byrnes would have been racing in from centerfield to argue the call if it wasn't a homer.
Sexson popped the second pitch high to Clark in foul ground on the right side. Johjima slapped a 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a triple, just barely beating the relay from rightfield (Willie Bloomquist came in to run for Johjima). Reed whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Betancourt lined the first pitch in front of Byrnes for a single, scoring Bloomquist easily.
Roberto Petagine, hitting for Guardado, got ahead 2-0 and walked on a full-count pitch in the dirt. Ichiro popped the second pitch to Byrnes in shallow leftcenter.

Julio's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 25 pitches (13 strikes)

Shawn Green whiffed on a low 0-2 splitter. Hudson worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball down and away. Jeff DaVanon, hitting for Snyder, worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Clark grounded to third on the first pitch.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 16 pitches (9 strikes)

Gameball: JJ Putz.
It's been quite the month for Putz. Twelve appearances. One run, and Putz wasn't in a save situation in that game. Seven hits. Probably the most staggering thing is that he's walked only one hitter this month while striking out sixteen. Even more amazing, the one walk he's issued this month was in this very game, which may have been one of the more clutch saves he's had this month, and this was a game where the Mariners pulled it out in the ninth. This save here was probably in second place on the clutch save list for the month of June for Putz. Number one is, of course, the strikeout of Barry Bonds in the ninth way back on the 16th, probably the most entertaining game the Mariners have played this season. It's amazing the way this guy has developed. Remember that stretch last year where Putz was giving up a bunch of homers? He's come a long way since then. Sadly, Eddie Guardado has now done the exact opposite. This isn't about him, though. It's all about Putz here. Fourteen saves in fifteen tries this season. An ERA of 2.41. Seven walks and 52 strikeouts. Wow.

Goat: Ichiro.
He was 0-for-5. It's games like this that remind you of how much Ichiro means to the lineup when he's hitting, which is usually a lot. It also reminds you of how hard it can be for the Mariners to generate offense when he's not getting on base. When Enrique Gonzalez is shutting you out in six of the seven innings in which he throws, one can't help but think of how differently the game may have transpired if Ichiro had gotten on base even once. Maybe Enrique Gonzalez gets distracted if Ichiro gets on base, and maybe the Mariners scratch together some more runs and make this game a little less treacherous. What's a slump for Ichiro? In the last four games, he's gone 4-for-18 (.222), dropping his season batting average from .360 to a much more pedestrian .353. He's still hitting .396 for the month of June. I went back through Ichiro's game log and the Mariners' schedule so far this season, and I've come up with this: the Mariners have a record of 3-12 when Ichiro goes hitless. Of course, this also means that Ichiro has hit safely in 65 of 80 games this season.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 59-21 .738 -- W3
2003 52-28 .650 7 L2
2002 51-29 .638 8 W5
2000 48-32 .600 11 W3
2006 41-39 .513 18 W5
2005 34-46 .425 25 W1
2004 32-48 .400 27 L3

Ichiro 49-for-120 (.408), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 12 RBIs, 11 walks, 9 strikeouts
Beltre 38-for-115 (.330), 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 20 RBIs, 10 walks, 20 strikeouts
Lopez 29-for-105 (.276), 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 17 RBIs, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Ibañez 33-for-98 (.337), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers, 31 RBIs, 14 walks, 16 strikeouts
Sexson 27-for-105 (.257), 4 doubles, 8 homers, 28 RBIs, 11 walks, 24 strikeouts
Everett 14-for-65 (.215), 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Johjima 31-for-90 (.344), 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
Reed 20-for-85 (.235), 2 doubles, 4 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts
Betancourt 27-for-94 (.287), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 9 RBIs, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts

Fogg. Moyer. Tonight.

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