Saturday, July 29, 2006
[extras added Sat ~6:58p]
In 25 words or less: Felix loses on a solo shot by a former Mariner instead of having his half-dozen walks come back to bite him.
This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Jeremy Sowers. Sowers had just come off of a complete-game four-hit shutout six days earlier against the Minnesota Twins. Also in the game was the Cleveland debut of former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo. Ben Broussard was on the bench for the Mariners, but wouldn't start until the Saturday game as Sowers is a lefty, so Eduardo Perez got the start in the Mariners' new platoon. The Mariners hoped to open the road trip with a win and make it six wins in eight games overall. A win would also pull the Mariners to within two games of .500, where they haven't been since they were 44-46 thanks to a win in the first game of the series at Toronto on July 14th, the first game after the All-Star break.
Ichiro bounced the second pitch to Blake at first, who had to evade Sowers coming over to cover as well as Ichiro and dive to the bag at first, but Blake was beaten by Ichiro, who had his 150th hit of the season. Jose Lopez bounced deep in the hole on the right side to second. Adrian Beltre smashed a 2-0 pitch past Peralta at short and into left for a single and Ichiro came around third, but Hollandsworth nailed Ichiro at the plate, which was blocked three feet down the line by Martinez. Beltre went to second on the throw home. Raul Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on some 1-2 gas. Sowers threw 12 pitches.
Grady Sizemore whiffed on a 1-2 evil curve. Joe Inglett had the hitters' counts before shooting a full-count pitch past Lopez in the hole on the right side for a single. Travis Hafner had the count 1-1 when Inglett easily stole second on Johjima's bouncing inaccurate throw. Hafner got ahead 3-1 and took a full-count curve for strike three. Victor Martinez took a 2-0 pitch up and away that went off Johjima's glove (wild pitch, evidently) and to the backstop, moving Inglett to third. Martinez was up 3-0 and took ball four intentionally that nearly flew past Johjima. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Casey Blake took a 2-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Hernandez threw 25 pitches.
Richie Sexson grounded the second pitch to short. Eduardo Perez was down 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 change down and out of the zone. Kenji Johjima rode a 3-1 pitch to the track in center. Sowers threw 14 pitches and had 26 through two.
Todd Hollandsworth lined out to center on the first pitch. Jhonny Peralta bounced the second pitch off the rightfield wall for a double. Shin-Soo Choo had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count curve down and in. Andy Marte got ahead 3-1 before whiffing on a full-count change. Sizemore whiffed on an 0-2 fastball up and over the outer half. Hernandez threw 20 pitches and had 45 through two.
Yuniesky Betancourt popped to Marte on the left side near the mound. Adam Jones drilled a single into leftcenter. Ichiro hit a broken-bat looper into shallow center that was caught by Peralta moving back. Lopez lined an 0-2 pitch right to the feet of Peralta, who threw down the glove for the catch. Sowers threw 12 pitches and had 38 through three.
Inglett grounded to short on the second pitch. Hafner shot a grounder off the mound, slowing it down just enough so Betancourt could range over and reach up to make the play to first. Martinez flew out to Ibañez on the track in left, who reached to make the catch and had a low-speed collision with the wall. Hernandez threw seven pitches and had 52 through three.
Beltre fell behind 0-2 and looped a 2-2 pitch down the rightfield line that was caught by Inglett. Ibañez was up 3-1 before bouncing out to second. Sexson grounded a 2-2 pitch to third. Sowers threw 18 pitches and had 56 through four.
Blake bounced a 3-1 pitch to short. Hollandsworth bounced to second, but Lopez bobbled it and never got a handle on the easy grounder (error). Peralta walked on a low full-count pitch, moving Hollandsworth to second. Choo walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away, loading the bases. Beltre had a short talk with Hernandez. Marte took a hanger of a first-pitch curve, and pitching coach Rafael Chaves zoomed to the mound for a visit. Marte grounded hard to third on a 2-0 pitch, and Beltre stepped on the bag at third before throwing to first for the incredibly timely double play. Hernandez threw 22 pitches and had 74 through four.
Perez popped to right on the first pitch. Johjima bounced to short on a 2-2 pitch. Betancourt shot the first pitch off the glove of Marte at third and into left (error). Jones flew out to right on a 2-0 pitch. Sowers threw 11 pitches and had 67 through five.
Sizemore worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Inglett watched a hail of pickoff throws to first before knocking a single into shallow left. Hafner lined out right to Betancourt at short on a 3-1 pitch, and Betancourt waited a fraction of a second to throw to Lopez at second, and Sizemore evaded getting doubled off. Martinez took the first pitch and it went off of Johjima's glove and to the backstop (passed ball), moving Sizemore and Inglett to third and second. Martinez was given the last three balls intentionally to load the bases. Blake was up 3-0 but bounced the 3-1 pitch toward the hole on the left side, but Beltre got to it and started the 6-4-3 double play. Hernandez threw 25 pitches and had 99 through five.
Ichiro lined the first pitch into right for a single, making it multi-hit game number 49 for him this season. Lopez bounced the second pitch right to short for a force on Ichiro, though Lopez beat out the throw to first. Beltre, however, made sure of it and grounded to short to start a 6-4-3 double play. Sowers threw five pitches and had 72 through six.
Hollandsworth rolled the second pitch right to short. Peralta grounded the second pitch up the middle to Betancourt. Choo bashed his first big-league homer about four rows above the far right end of the in-wall scoreboard just to the left of center.
»» INDIANS 1, MARINERS 0
Marte grounded the first pitch right to third.
Hernandez' line: 6 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts, 108 pitches (53 strikes)
Ibañez rode the second pitch just short of the track in center. Sexson had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Perez took an 0-2 cut fastball over the inside corner. Johjima lined the first pitch right to Inglett at second. Sowers threw 12 pitches and had 84 through seven.
George Sherrill came in for Hernandez. Sizemore roped the first pitch down the rightfield line and it was barely foul. Sizemore ended up whiffing on a 1-2 fastball. Ronnie Belliard, hitting for Inglett, popped to Ibañez in shallow left. Hafner foul-tipped an 0-2 pitch into Johjima's glove behind the plate.
Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 11 pitches (9 strikes)
Belliard stayed in the game to play second. Betancourt lined out to left on the first pitch. Jones grounded to Peralta in the hole at short. Ichiro chopped a 1-2 pitch to third. Sowers threw nine pitches and had 93 through eight.
Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Martinez smacked an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Blake ripped the second pitch into left for a single, moving Martinez to second. Hollandsworth popped high to center. Peralta popped high to center on the first pitch. Choo was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 curve down and in.
Mateo's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (10 strikes)
Lopez rolled right to third and Marte's throw pulled Blake off of first a bit, but Blake merely tagged Lopez coming down the line. Beltre reached down for an 0-2 pitch and singled into left. Ibañez grounded to second on a full count to nearly start a 4-6-3 double play, and though Beltre was out at second, the throw to first wasn't corraled by Blake at first, so Ibañez was safe. Manager Eric Wedge came out to the mound, but not with the hook as the crowd's boos turned to cheers. Sexson popped high to Choo in fairly deep right.
Sowers' line: 9 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 109 pitches (72 strikes)
Gameball: Adrian Beltre.
He's 19-for-58 since the All-Star break, good for a .328 clip, which is better than his first half of July (5-for-31 and .161), leaving his average for the month at .270. Also coming after the break were seven of his nine doubles in the month, his only triple of the month, his only two July homers (one of them left the field of play), and ten of his 11 RBIs for the month. Also encouraging is that he's bumped his season average from .254 to its current .264 since the break. Another thing encouraging about that is that .264 is the highest that Beltre's batting average has been all season. He peaked in on-base average after the final game of the Boston series (.326). However, his slugging percentage is also at its highest point this season at .421. His season slugging percentage never reached .400 until June 29th at Arizona, when he hit a double and a triple. His slugging percentage has been at or better than .400 after all but six games since (five of those six were before the break).
Goat: Eduardo Perez.
Well, when they bring a player onto the team with the specific job of hitting lefthanders and then he goes 0-for-4 and strikes out twice against a lefty, well, that's not so good. It's especially magnified when the rest of the team only gets five hits. The 4-8 hitters in the Mariner lineup went a combined 0-for-16 with a walk (Sexson's) and three strikeouts (Ibañez had the other one) in this game. In any event, watching Perez go hitless against a lefthanded pitcher is a better and less costly alternative than having Carl Everett do it. My second choice for the goat here would have been Raul Ibañez, but that catch up against the wall was enough to exempt him from it. I was gonna use stuff like "he's hitting .220 for July" and stuff like that. After hitting nine homers and driving in 27 runs in June, he's hit four homers and driven in 16 runs in July. He hasn't homered since July 15th at Toronto in what some people know as The Evil 14-Inning Game. Ibañez is 9-for-50 (.180) since the All-Star break with three doubles, a triple, a homer, nine RBIs, three walks, and ten strikeouts. More shocking is that his on-base mark last month was .414 and he slugged .695. This month, he's .250 and .439 in those categories, respectively.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 73-29 .716 -- W1
2002 62-40 .608 11 W1
2003 62-40 .608 11 W1
2000 59-43 .578 14 W1
2006 49-53 .480 24 L1
2005 44-58 .431 29 L2
2004 39-63 .382 34 L1
HERNANDEZ WITH RIVERA CATCHING (average line, four starts)
7 innings, 3 runs (2.5 earned), 6 hits, 1.5 walks, 7.3 strikeouts, 100 pitches (66 strikes)
HERNANDEZ WITH JOHJIMA CATCHING (average line, 16 starts)
6 innings, 3.7 runs (3.3 earned), 6.5 hits, 2.3 walks, 5.3 strikeouts, 100 pitches (62 strikes)
Washburn. Westbrook. Today.