Sunday, July 30, 2006


AP photo -- Mark Duncan

In 25 words or less: The L in the boxscore goes to Fausto Carmona, but at least the W didn't go to Cliff Lee. Piñeiro continues to confound.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Cliff Lee. Lee came into the game with a 5-1 career record against the Mariners. Piñeiro is Piñeiro, so prospects for a win didn't look too great after the series had been evened on Saturday night. The Mariners looked to win this road series by winning the last two games of the set. Also, a win would make in their third in four games, sixth in eight, and seventh in ten. A win would take the Mariners to within two games of the .500 mark, a place they haven't been since they went to bed on the night of July 14th.

Ichiro served a single into leftcenter. Jose Lopez was ahead 2-0 and laced a 2-2 pitch into center for a single to snap an 0-for-15 slump. Adrian Beltre bounced a 2-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Ichiro and moving Lopez to second. Pitching coach Carl Willis came to the mound for a visit.
Raul Ibañez fouled an 0-2 pitch behind the plate that plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt took it off the left bicep and went down to a knee as his mask fell off. The Cleveland training staff and other umpires tended to him. Ibañez got a little too under another 0-2 pitch (hanging and breaking) and flew out to the track in right. Richie Sexson popped the first pitch high to second. Eduardo Perez whiffed on a low 2-2 fastball. Lee threw 24 pitches.

Grady Sizemore was ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Jason Michaels watched a 1-2 pitchout that was at the right time, but Rivera's throw was a bit late and Betancourt was a bit late to cover. Michaels worked the count full and punched a single through the left side, moving Sizemore to third. Travis Hafner bounced the first pitch to second for what nearly was a 4-6-3 double play, but Betancourt's throw one-hopped Sexson and was a bit wide (partially aided by a Michaels takeout slide), making it hard for Sexson to glove it as Sizemore scored.
Victor Martinez rolled to the hole on the right side, but Lopez had it go off the heel of his glove and he had no play, moving Hafner to second. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Casey Blake flew out to Jones in leftcenter as the runners held. Ronnie Belliard couldn't check his swing on a 1-2 pitch down and away. Piñeiro threw 24 pitches.

Yuniesky Betancourt hit a sinking liner into rightcenter that was speared by a diving Sizemore (of course). Rene Rivera popped an 0-2 pitch to Blake, who was closer to second than first. Adam Jones got ahead 3-1 and spanked a full-count pitch for a line drive into right that was caught by a sliding Choo. Lee threw 11 pitches and had 35 through two.

Shin-Soo Choo grounded very hard to Sexson at first. Joe Inglett golfed hanging second-pitch breaking ball for a lineout to right. Aaron Boone popped a 2-2 pitch to Betancourt in shallow left. Piñeiro threw 11 pitches and had 35 through two.

Ichiro rolled the second pitch to short. Lopez looped a full-count pitch into shallow left that could have been a single, but Inglett ranged back from short and reached back to catch it, sliding afterward. Beltre roped the first pitch to Sizemore on the track in leftcenter. Lee threw 11 pitches and had 46 through three.

Sizemore fell behind 0-2 and drilled a 1-2 pitch off the wall (just missing a homer) near the rightfield corner for a double. Michaels lined a full-count pitch to Ichiro at the track in right, moving Sizemore to third. Hafner bounced the second pitch over the mound to Lopez, whose only play was to first as Sizemore scored.
Martinez grounded a 2-2 pitch to second. Piñeiro threw 19 pitches and had 54 through three.

Ibañez smoked a double down the rightfield line and into the corner. Sexson crushed the second pitch about fourteen rows into the seats in leftcenter.
Perez popped to Boone on the infield grass near the mound. Betancourt popped the second pitch to Blake on the infield grass near the mound. Rivera fell behind 0-2 and lined a 1-2 pitch to Michaels on the leftfield track. Lee threw 15 pitches and had 61 through four.

Blake ripped a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Belliard stung the second pitch through the left side for a single, moving Blake to second. Choo walked on four pitches to load the bases. Rivera came out to the mound for a visit again, and it appeared the two having communication issues. Inglett rolled the first pitch to short, but it was hit slowly enough so Betancourt couldn't turn two, and he went straight to first. Belliard and Choo moved to third and second.
Boone grounded the first pitch to short, where Betancourt ran at Choo behind him, who was hung up as Belliard stayed at third. Sizemore walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Chaves came to the mound for another visit. Michaels bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Piñeiro threw 22 pitches and had 76 through four.

Jones flew out to right. Ichiro popped a 1-2 pitch to left. Lopez popped an 0-2 pitch high to Blake near the plate. Lee threw 11 pitches and had 72 through five.

Hafner whiffed on a 1-2 offspeed pitch away. Martinez failed to check his swing on a 2-2 pitch up and away. Blake popped to Ichiro on the track in right. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches and had 89 through five.

Beltre doubled just inside the third-base bag near the corner on the first pitch, where it was picked up by a fan. Ibañez popped the first pitch to third. Sexson worked an 0-2 count full and bashed a pitch foul past the leftfield foul pole. Sexson whiffed on a fastball up and away on the next pitch. Perez was intentionally walked. Betancourt tapped the second pitch back to the mound. Lee threw 15 pitches and had 87 through six.

Belliard popped the second pitch to Lopez, who called for it at the last second. Choo whiffed on a 2-2 breaking pitch inside. Inglett lined the second pitch to Jones in center. Piñeiro threw nine pitches and had 98 through six.

Rivera popped the first pitch to first. Jones tapped a 2-2 pitch to the mound. Hilariously on the incredibly hot day, the outfield sprinklers activated and the fans cheered. Ichiro flew out to left on the first pitch. Lee threw seven pitches and had 94 through seven.

Boone popped the first pitch high to Jones in leftcenter. Sizemore popped a 2-0 pitch to left. Michaels grounded an 0-2 pitch to the hole on the right side, where Lopez made a sliding stop and threw in time to first. Piñeiro threw seven pitches and had 105 through seven.

Piñeiro's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 105 pitches (65 strikes)

Lopez smacked the second pitch into right for a single. Beltre got just under a 1-2 pitch and yelled in frustration as he popped to short. Ibañez flew out to center on an 0-2 pitch.

Fausto Carmona came in for Lee. Sexson whiffed on a 1-1 pitch as Lopez stole second. Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing. Carmona threw six pitches.

Lee's line: 7 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 106 pitches (75 strikes)

Jake Woods came in for Piñeiro. Hafner worked an 0-2 count full and grounded a full-count pitch up the middle to Lopez, who had his throw beaten out by Hafner since his momentum took him away from first. Martinez grounded the first pitch up the middle to short for a 6-4-3 double play. Blake popped the first pitch to Sexson in foul ground on the right side. Woods threw eight pitches.

Ben Broussard, hitting for Perez, walked on four pitches. Betancourt nicely bunted the second pitch along the first-base line, moving Broussard to second. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Rivera, smashed a grounder into the hole at short, where Inglett backhanded it, looked to third to see if he had a play on Broussard, then threw to first, but that look gave Dobbs enough time to beat out the throw. Kenji Johjima, hitting for Jones, grounded the second pitch right to third, where Boone threw home and Martinez threw the ball too early in the rundown on Broussard (who I wish would have held at third), which took a while (5-2-5-1-6) as Dobbs and Johjima ended up on third and second. Ichiro was intentionally walked. Lopez drilled the second pitch over Boone's glove and into left for a single, scoring Dobbs and Johjima.
Beltre was brushed back on a 1-2 pitch, then was hit in the arm on the next pitch, that grazed off his arm and got a good chunk of Martinez' left thigh as well. Ibañez bounced a 2-0 pitch through the right side for a single, scoring Ichiro and Lopez.

Tom Mastny, making his Major League debut, came in for Carmona. Sexson smacked the second pitch right to Boone at third, who ran it to the third-base bag for the force on Beltre.

Carmona's line: 1 inning, 4 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 33 pitches (15 strikes)
Mastny's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (1 strike)

Johjima stayed in the game to catch and Willie Bloomquist came in to play center for Jones, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter. Belliard bounced the second pitch up the middle past Betancourt's reach for a single. Jhonny Peralta, hitting for Choo, grounded the second pitch to the hole at short, where Betancourt made a diving stop to get to it, but he couldn't set himself on his rear to get off a good throw.

JJ Putz came in for Woods. Inglett was down 0-2 and looped a 2-2 pitch (tenth pitch of the at-bat) to left that dropped in front of Ibañez, who threw quickly to Beltre at third to force out Belliard. Todd Hollandsworth, hitting for Boone, slapped the second pitch and dropped it in front of Ibañez for a single to load the bases. Sizemore grounded the second pitch hard to second to start a 4-6-3 double play.

Woods' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 14 pitches (11 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
He had two great games to close out this Cleveland series. Combined, he went 4-for-8 with a double, a homer, and three RBIs. Today's game was the first game he had more than one RBI since the Evil Extra Inning Game in Toronto a couple weeks ago (the 15th) where he drove in four. Also, this was the first time Ibañez had back-to-back multi-hit games since he did so on May 31st and June 2nd in Texas and at home against the Royals. He homered in both of those games. After the first game of the series, Ibañez had a 9-for-50 (.180) mark since the All-Star break, but that's obviously now changed to 13-for-58 (.224) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 12 RBIs, four walks, and ten strikeouts. In the last two days, he's picked up 28 points on his July on-base percentage and 50 points on his July slugging mark. He's put four points on his season on-base percentage and nine points on his season slugging mark in the same span. If you ask me, though, these last two games are exactly what Ibañez needed and they were exactly what I needed to see as well. Ditto that for Jose Lopez today too, who was the obvious gameball choice, but all of you know I don't do that here.

Goat: Adam Jones.
I don't think this is one of the days where one of the Mariners is the worst guy on the field today. So I guess my rationale for putting Jones here is that he was the least best. He stuck out the least to me in the game, and it didn't help that he didn't reach base either. His line since being called up is 10-for-43 (.233) with two doubles, three RBIs, two walks, ten strikeouts, and he's 2-for-3 on steal attempts. He has three multi-hit games out of his thirteen games overall. He had consecutive multi-hit games in the final two games of the Boston series at home. Four of his ten strikeouts were in the middle game of the Toronto series at home, which was the Roy Halladay game and/or the Gil Meche Implosion game. Also, for being rushed (I think everyone can agree on that), he's been a pretty fast learner in centerfield. It can't be easy to take Jones out of his accustomed shortstop position and just throw him into centerfield whenever a Yuniesky Betancourt comes along and goes nuts at shortstop. Still, I think the future looks bright, and I think we're all Jonesing for more.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 75-29 .721 -- W3
2002 63-41 .606 12 W1
2003 63-41 .606 12 L1
2000 61-43 .587 14 W3
2006 51-53 .490 24 W2
2005 45-59 .433 30 L1
2004 39-65 .375 36 L3

6 2/3 innings, 2.7 runs (2.4 earned), 5.8 hits, 1.9 walks, 5.3 strikeouts, 106 pitches (69 strikes)
3.25 ERA

MARINER STARTING PITCHERS (average line, 104 starts)
6 1/3 innings, 3.4 runs (3.2 earned), 6.6 hits, 2.0 walks, 4.1 strikeouts, 101 pitches
4.60 ERA (2nd in AL West, 4th in AL, 11th in baseball)

MARINER BULLPEN (numbers and ranks, I pulled these up during the Sunday night games)
3.93 ERA (3rd in AL West, 5th in AL, 10th overall)
.242 opposing batting average (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
2.1 walk/strikeout ratio (2nd, 4th, 9th)
8.13 hits per nine innings (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
4.11 walks per nine innings (4th in AL West, MLB.com isn't kind enough to let me sort that column)
8.56 strikeouts per nine innings (1st, 1st, 2nd)

Meche. Loewen. Tomorrow.

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