Wednesday, July 26, 2006


AP photo -- Kevin P. Casey

[posted in full Fri ~4:34a]

In 25 words or less: It looked a tiny bit competitive in the very beginning, but the game out progressively out of hand.

This one featured Roy Halladay going up against Gil Meche. A win in this game would give the Mariners a four-game winning streak and five wins in six games. It would also put them within two games of .500. Jose Lopez thankfully started at second base for the first time in a few games after flying to Venezuela to see his newborn son. Of course, Adrian Beltre had been hitting okay in the three-hole with Lopez gone, but Mike Hargrove returned the lineup to what it was, batting Beltre second and Lopez third and the rest of the lineup how it was, etc. Nothing surprising. Of course, Mariner fans were looking forward to this, thinking it was going to be a nice pitchers' duel. Unfortunately, the game still had to be played. The main motive in this whole thing, of course, is for Meche to go crazy and get his trade value through the roof so the Mariners can get great returns in a trade.

Reed Johnson fell behind 0-2 before punching a hanging 1-2 curve into shallow left for a single. Frank Catalanotto grounded the second pitch hard to a drawn-in diving Beltre at third, who threw from his knees straight to second for the out on the lead runner Johnson, and Lopez had a nice effort trying to throw in time to first, but Catalanotto reached. Lyle Overbay was up 3-0 before bouncing right to short on a full count to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. Meche threw 12 pitches.

Ichiro hit a sinking liner to shallow left that was caught by a running Catalanotto. Adrian Beltre grounded to third. Jose Lopez walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Raul Ibañez looped to shallow center, but Johnson ran in to catch it. Halladay threw 15 pitches.

Troy Glaus rung a 2-2 pitch off the track and wall in left for a double. Gregg Zaun drilled the second pitch into center for a solid single to move Glaus to third, but Zaun got hung up between first and second on the relay throw back to the infield, possibly trying to lure the defense into forgetting about Glaus at third, who had the stop sign up anyway. Eric Hinske whiffed on a 1-2 mother of a curve inside. Bengie Molina walked on an outside pitch. Aaron Hill grounded quite hard to second. Meche threw 18 pitches and had 30 through two.

Richie Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt away. Carl Everett fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 slider. Yuniesky Betancourt fouled the first pitch off his shin and down the first-base line before flying out to shallow left on the first pitch. Halladay threw 13 pitches and had 28 through two.

John McDonald fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 evil curve for strike three. Johnson roped the second pitch past a diving Beltre down the leftfield line for a double. Catalanotto laced the first pitch into the gap in rightcenter, scoring Johnson easily.
Overbay took a 2-2 pitch up and away and Johjima nailed Catalanotto by five feet trying to steal third. Overbay whiffed on the next pitch, a full-count curve down and away. Meche threw 13 pitches and had 43 through three.

Adam Jones fell behind 0-2 and couldn't check his swing on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Ichiro flew out to left. Beltre fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 fastball at the knees. Halladay threw 12 pitches and had 40 through three.

Glaus had a 3-0 count go full before walking on a low curve, the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Zaun worked a 1-2 count full only to get the front foot out a bit and whiff on a change down and away, falling to the ground as a result. Hinske punched the first pitch through the right side for a single, moving Glaus to second. Molina worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball. Hill fell behind 0-2 before smacking a 1-2 pitch (belt-high down the pipe) into the rightcenter gap just past Ichiro's reach for a double, scoring Glaus and Hinske.
McDonald popped to Sexson halfway down the first-base line on a 2-0 pitch. Meche threw 28 pitches and had 71 through four.

Lopez popped an 0-2 pitch just short of the track in left. Ibañez was ahead 2-0 and bounced a full-count pitch to a charging Hill at second, who had to throw off balance to get Ibañez at first. Sexson was up 2-0 before rolling a 2-2 pitch along the right side, where Halladay picked it up and tagged Sexson halfway down the line. Halladay threw 14 pitches and had 54 through four.

Johnson push-bunted the first pitch along the right side, but once Meche took the underhand toss from Sexson, he lost the footrace to the first-base bag. Catalanotto bunted to the left side, where Beltre made the charge-and-throw move to first like he always does, moving Johnson to second. Overbay took a 2-1 pitch in the dirt which was blocked by Johjima, who tried to catch Johnson coming too far off the bag at second, and Johnson was safe on the close play. Overbay walked on a 3-1 pitch inside. Glaus lasered a full-count pitch over a leaping Lopez into rightcenter for a single, scoring Johnson and moving Overbay to second.
Zaun had the hitters' counts before walking on a fastball down and in, loading the bases. Hinske roped a 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double, scoring Overbay and Glaus and moving Zaun to third.

Jake Woods came in for Moyer. Molina flew out to right, where Ichiro gunned home right away to hold Zaun at third. Hill was intentionally walked to reload the bases. McDonald took the first pitch for a ball and plate umpire Tim McClelland tossed Mike Hargrove from the game. Johjima also jawed a short bit with McClelland as well after Hargrove was tossed. McDonald had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch, forcing Hinske across the plate and keeping the bases loaded.
Johnson grounded to third. Woods threw 21 pitches.

Meche's line: 4 1/3 innings, 7 runs, 10 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, 98 pitches (55 strikes)

Everett rolled to short, where McDonald booted it and then threw wide of first, enabling Everett to reach safely. Johjima fell behind 0-2 before poking a full-count pitch into shallow center. Betancourt ripped the first pitch off the manual scoreboard, scoring Everett and Johjima. The ball ricocheted toward the infield on Catalanotto, but he picked it up and threw to third, where Betancourt unsuccessfully tried to stretch it into a triple.
Jones whiffed on a 1-2 pitch way low and away. Ichiro served a looping single into shallow right. Beltre took the first pitch as Ichiro nabbed second. Beltre grounded the second pitch hard to first. Halladay threw 20 pitches and had 74 through five.

Catalanotto golfed an 0-2 pitch just over the wall in right.
Overbay grounded the second pitch to first. Glaus drilled a first-pitch single into shallow center. Zaun fell behind 0-2 before flying out to Ibañez in shallow leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch. Hinske flew out to the track in center on the second pitch. Woods threw 12 pitches and had 33 total.

Lopez bounced a 2-2 pitch to a charging McDonald at short. Ibañez bounced to the left side, where Glaus charged and came up empty on the barehand attempt as Ibañez got the single. Sexson ripped a single into center. Everett flew out to shallow center on the first pitch. Johjima bounced the second pitch to first. Halladay threw 15 pitches and had 89 through six.

Molina fell behind 0-2 before bouncing out to third on a 1-2 pitch. Hill fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 pitch. McDonald rolled out to second. Woods threw 11 pitches and had 44 total.

Betancourt grounded up the middle, where Hill dove for the ball and stopped it, but Betancourt is fast and legged out the single. Jones once again whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball way the hell outside. Ichiro drove the second pitch into right for a single, moving Betancourt to second. Beltre was jammed and looped the second pitch into shallow center for a single, scoring Betancourt and moving Ichiro to second.
Lopez popped the first pitch to Overbay in foul ground on the right side. Ibañez popped to McDonald backing into shallow left.

Halladay's line: 7 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 9 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 103 pitches (71 strikes)

Johnson grounded hard to first on an 0-2 pitch, and Sexson had the ball go off of him and had to stay with it to underhand to a sprinting and covering Woods for the out at first. Catalanotto bounced the second pitch to first. Overbay worked a 1-2 count full before taking a fastball over the outside corner. Woods threw 11 pitches and had 55 total.

Justin Speier came in for Halladay. Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 fastball low and away. Everett flew out to McDonald in shallow left on the first pitch. Johjima grounded to short. Speier threw eight pitches.

Speier's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 8 pitches (6 strikes)

Glaus worked an 0-2 count for a walk, which is always a great sign for the pitcher. Zaun popped the first pitch high to center. Hinske looped a fly ball to Beltre in foul ground on the left side. Molina broke his bat on a 1-2 pitch, dumping it into shallow center for a single, moving Glaus to second.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Woods, which to me was pretty pointless. Hill walked on a full-count pitch way inside. McDonald got a hold of the second pitch (fastball up in the zone), putting it into the Mariners' bullpen. Yeah, that's a slam.
Johnson whiffed on a 2-2 splitter down and in.

Woods' line: 4 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 68 pitches (42 strikes)
Fruto's line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (8 strikes)

BJ Ryan came in for Speier, which is another pointless move. Betancourt popped to Overbay toward the foul line on the right side. Jones whiffed on an 0-2 pitch in the dirt. Ichiro served an 0-2 pitch into left for a single. Beltre popped the first pitch to Johnson in leftcenter.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (9 strikes)

Gameball: Yuniesky Betancourt.
This guy's got himself up to a steady .300 at the plate. I can't say I expected that from this guy. I expected some crazy defensive skills and maybe some hitting every once in a while, but this? He's hitting .302, for goodness' sake. Of course, the perspective has changed a bit over the last week or so as Adam Jones was brought up and took the ninth slot in the lineup from Betancourt, who now hits eighth, or seventh if Rene Rivera is in the game. So far this month, Betancourt is hitting 27-for-73, a torrid .370 clip. Who misses the black-hole bottom third of the Mariner lineup from past years? Who misses their Wilson Valdez? Their Dan Wilson? Their guys that they wanted to hit in the middle of the lineup but they sucked and got moved to the bottom third and still sucked? Of course, back then the Mariners had offense in the other two-thirds of the lineup to get the team their offensive identity and support. For now, though, there's a shortstop for the Mariners that hits .300 with a wicked glove out there.

Goat: Gil Meche.
What an absolute buzzkill. I try not to get juiced up about many things Mariner since I've been conditioned to expect failure or letdown scenarios after the many years of futility. Still, I was going into this game possibly expecting a nice pitchers' duel. Is there a such thing as a pitchers' single? How do you chop "duel" in half? One-man show? Monocle? It wasn't just the fact that Meche got rocked and stunk it up and that the Mariners had no chance -- it was the fact that going into this game, the trade value for Meche was probably the highest that it's ever been. Of course, there's nothing like giving up seven runs on ten hits in 4 1/3 innings to leave Meche's trade value mangled and tattered in the wind. If they could have only traded Meche after his previous outing and traded Joel Piñeiro after his game in the Bronx, everything just might be a little more hunky-dory. I really don't think that the Mariners' rotation can step forward toward the future until Meche and Piñeiro are out the door. Moyer will stay because he's Moyer, but to me, the Mariners have to almost get rid of the last vestiges of the Bryan Price era, as good as that era was. I think he probably hit the wall with Meche and Piñeiro, and that probably one of the biggest reasons he left the Mariners after one year under Hargrove.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 72-28 .720 -- L1
2002 61-39 .610 11 W1
2003 61-39 .610 11 W2
2000 58-42 .580 14 L2
2006 48-52 .480 24 L1
2005 44-56 .440 28 W1
2004 38-62 .380 34 L3

Burnett. Moyer. Tonight.

/ Click for main page

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Click for Sports and B's 

home page