Saturday, July 29, 2006


AP photo -- Tony Dejak

In 25 words or less: Washburn didn't collapse on the road and the Mariners got the good side of the Hitting Against Former Teammates sweepstakes.

This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Jake Westbrook. Adam Jones was given a day off and Willie Bloomquist was given the start in center. Ben Broussard also got his Mariner debut as designated hitter against the righthanded Westbrook. Before the game, Rafael Soriano was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Sean Green was activated from said list after going onto it for back spasms. The Mariners looked to even their road series with the Indians and make it six wins in nine games overall. A win would also bring the Mariners to within three games of .500 before experiencing what probably would be a foregone conclusion and formality the next day, an afternoon loss to Cliff Lee, who absolutely owns the Mariners. Also not helping the Sunday plight to bring the Mariners within two games of .500 should they win this one -- Joel Piñeiro would be taking the mound for Seattle. Unless he gets into primo trade-showcase form, don't look for a Sunday win from the Mariners.

Ichiro hit a sinking line drive to left that was snared on a diving catch by Michaels. Jose Lopez whiffed on a low 1-2 offspeed pitch. Adrian Beltre hit the first pitch for a sinking liner, but it too was caught on a diving catch, this time by Sizemore. Westbrook threw ten pitches.

Grady Sizemore fell behind 0-2 before flying out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Jason Michaels grounded the 2-2 pitch to Beltre behind the bag at third, who threw from foul territory to one-hop Sexson, who picked it and fell over afterward. Travis Hafner bounced the first pitch to second. Washburn threw 13 pitches.

Raul Ibañez drilled a full-count pitch but got too much air under it was Sizemore made the running catch in center. Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 low offspeed pitch. Ben Broussard fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to the hole on the right side, where Belliard moved over and bobbled it and had no play (error). Kenji Johjima popped the first pitch to Belliard in foul ground down the rightfield line. Westbrook threw 16 pitches and had 26 through two.

Victor Martinez was down 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to short. Casey Blake got down 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch past Washburn and toward second, where Betancourt ranged over and threw to first in time. Ronnie Belliard popped high to right on a 2-0 pitch. Washburn threw 11 pitches and had 24 through two.

Yuniesky Betancourt shot the second pitch to the leftfield wall for a double. Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt about a foot outside and to the backstop, moving Betancourt to third. Bloomquist ended up bouncing a 2-2 pitch softly to short, scoring Betancourt.
Ichiro dumped the second pitch into shallow right for a single. Lopez popped the first pitch to Martinez in foul ground halfway down the first-base line. Beltre rolled over on a 1-2 pitch, grounding out to third. Westbrook threw 14 pitches and had 40 through three.

Jhonny Peralta scorched a line drive right to Ichiro. Andy Marte popped the second pitch to Lopez in shallow right. Kelly Shoppach slapped the second pitch into shallow center for a single. Sizemore had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch, moving Shoppach to second. Michaels smacked a 2-2 pitch over Beltre and down the leftfield line for a double, scoring Shoppach and moving Sizemore to third.
Hafner was up 3-1 before tapping back to the mound on a full count. Washburn threw 23 pitches and had 47 through three.

Ibañez pummeled the second pitch just over the wall in dead center.
Sexson bounced the first pitch to third. Broussard chopped an 0-2 pitch to first (3-1 putout). Johjima bounced to second on an 0-2 pitch. Westbrook threw nine pitches and had 49 through three.

Martinez popped a 2-0 pitch to fairly deep left. Blake took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Belliard took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner. Washburn threw 13 pitches and had 60 through four.

Betancourt rolled the second pitch to short. Bloomquist shot a 2-2 pitch past Martinez and into right for a single. Ichiro was up 2-0 and hit a liner toward the wall in deep leftcenter and Sizemore turned the wrong way first and then recovered, making a diving catch away from the field of play on the track as Bloomquist held at first. Lopez popped the second pitch high to Peralta in shallow left. Westbrook threw 13 pitches and had 62 through five.

Peralta grounded the first pitch to short. Marte popped to Sexson on the infield grass on the right side. Shoppach worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a pitch up in the zone on the inside corner. Washburn threw ten pitches and had 70 through five.

Beltre walked on four pitches. Ibañez slapped the second pitch into left for a single, moving Beltre to second. Sexson bounced the first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play, moving Beltre to third. Broussard flew out to deep left. Westbrook threw 11 pitches and had 73 through six.

Sizemore popped the second pitch to Ibañez just on the foul side of the leftfield line. Michaels was jammed dumped a 2-2 pitch just barely past the reach of Betancourt trying to make an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center. Hafner whiffed on a full-count pitch, and Michaels was gunned down trying to steal second on the play as well as Michaels appeared to have been injured on the play, but came out to play left the next half-inning. Washburn threw 14 pitches and had 84 through six.

Johjima smoked the first pitch back to Westbrook, who got a glove on it and got the ball rolling behind the mound, throwing to first in time. Betancourt rolled the second pitch to short. Bloomquist rolled the second pitch for a single up the middle into center. Ichiro watched a 1-2 pitch in the dirt and Bloomquist nabbed second without a throw (wild pitch, stolen base). Ichiro popped the 2-2 pitch to left. Westbrook threw ten pitches and had 83 through seven.

Martinez ripped the second pitch through the left side for a single. Blake waved at a 1-2 pitch. Belliard rung a hanging 2-2 pitch off the wall in leftcenter for a double, moving Martinez to third.

Mark Lowe came in for Washburn. Peralta hit a weak popup to first on a 2-2 pitch. Todd Hollandsworth, hitting for Marte, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Shin-Soo Choo, hitting for Shoppach, popped an 0-2 pitch to Ibañez on the foul side of the leftfield line. Lowe threw 13 pitches.

Washburn's line: 6 1/3 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 96 pitches (59 strikes)

Aaron Boone came in to play third, Hollandsworth stayed in to play right, Blake moved to first, and Martinez moved behind the plate. Lopez tapped back to the mound on a 1-2 pitch. Beltre popped a 1-2 pitch to Blake halfway in on the foul side of the first-base line. Ibañez had the hitters' counts before walking on an outside 3-1 pitch. Sexson got ahead 3-0 before whiffing on a full count (eighth pitch).

Westbrook's line: 8 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 104 pitches (69 strikes)

Sizemore whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Michaels fouled the first pitch off of the inside of Johjima's right foot or ankle and walked it off for a few seconds as plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Johjima quite a lot of time to get his bearings back. Michaels whiffed on an 0-2 fastball over the outside corner. Hafner whiffed on a 2-2 slider down and away.

Lowe's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 26 pitches (16 strikes)

Brian Sikorski came in for Westbrook. Broussard belted a drive that just got over the glove of a leaping Hollandsworth and just over the rightfield wall for some insurance.
Johjima bounced an 0-2 pitch to Boone behind the bag at third. Betancourt slapped the second pitch into right for a single. Bloomquist hadn't taken a pitch when Sikorski picked Betancourt off of first (no slide). Bloomquist was down 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Sikorski threw 12 pitches.

Sikorski's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 12 pitches (9 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Lowe. Martinez grounded the second pitch hard to first. Blake whiffed on an 0-2 splitter on the outer half. Belliard drove the second pitch to Bloomquist on the track in leftcenter.

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

Gameball: Mark Lowe.
I think it's pretty safe to say that Mariner fans are liking what they're seeing out of Lowe. I know I am. You'd have to really reach to dig up something bad about Lowe, and the only thing I can come up with is that he's walked one hitter in each of his last three appearances. Even that is mitigated by the fact that his walk today was an intentional one. Still, he hasn't given up a hit in any of his last five appearances. He gave up two hits apiece in his first two appearances and a single hit in his third appearance. He struck out two hitters in each of his first three appearances. Of course, the most important thing on Lowe's log so far is a pretty bold and simple fact -- he hasn't given up a run yet. I don't know how long this can possibly last, and with every time he goes out there, he's more and more due to finally give up a run, but I'm waiting to see how long this can possibly last. Though I hate how with MLB.tv you don't get a choice with which team's feed you get (with Gameday Audio you do), I had the Cleveland feed today and it was the first time their STO television crew had seen Lowe, and they came away very impressed. This isn't the first time I've seen non-Seattle feed and seen that happen (the YES folks were also impressed). Also, I'd like to thank Lowe for doing so well today in cleaning up Washburn's mess in the seventh and striking out the top three of the Cleveland lineup in the eighth because before he came, I almost thought about giving Willie Bloomquist the gameball, and I really didn't want to do that, although he had a pretty good game.

Goat: Jose Lopez.
Folks, your team's All-Star second baseman is 0-for-15 with no walks and three strikeouts since flying back from Venezuela to see his newborn son. Needless to say, everyone in Marinerville is hoping this hitlessness that Lopez is exhibiting disappears right quicklike. Those fifteen at-bats are over the span of four games, and it's dropped Lopez' season average from .279 to .268. I should note that before Mike Hargrove put him into the third slot in the lineup just before the month of June, Lopez had a slugging mark of .495. He slugged .449 in June to bring his slugging percentage down to .472. This month? He's slugged .214 to bring the season slug mark down to .425. Somewhere along the way, Lopez has found a way to chop 70 points off his slugging percentage in two months. Since Hargrove first moved him into the number-three slot in the lineup (I'm attaching his futility to that turning point) and put him back into second, Lopez has gone 44-for-168, good for a clip of .262. He hit .289 in May and .276 in June, so most of that dropoff is due to his July numbers. Let's just say if he warms up in August, it'll be a very good thing.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 74-29 .718 -- W2
2003 63-40 .612 11 W2
2002 62-41 .602 12 L1
2000 60-43 .583 14 W2
2006 50-53 .485 24 W1
2005 45-58 .437 29 W1
2004 39-64 .379 35 L2

Piñeiro. Lee. Tomorrow.

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