Sunday, July 02, 2006


AP photo -- Jim Bryant

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Piñeiro pitching means an automatic appearance from The Big Inning(TM)! What I'm not used to is the Mariners coming back from five runs down.

This one featured Byung-Hyun Kim going up against Joel Piñeiro. Adrian Beltre came into the game 0-for-13 lifetime against Kim. This was the 82nd game of the season, and the Mariners looked to kick off their second half of the season with a win. A win here would take them to a stretch of winning six of seven and 11 of 14 games. If you want to take it really far back, they'd have won 20 of 28 games since the six-game losing streak that left them ten games under .500 at 22-32 after a 6-4 loss at Texas on May 30th, their low-water mark of the season. Coming into this game, the Mariners had been at or above .500 after 11 games this season. They had been above .500 after six games and they were looking to go for seven since a loss would send them back to break-even at 41-41.

Jamey Carroll flew out high to leftcenter, where Ibañez stuck a foot into the wall and reached over the concrete exit shed in the visitors' bullpen to take the homer away from Carroll (later went as the #2 Web Gem on Baseball Tonight, beaten out only by a crazy catch in Texas by Gary Matthews, Jr.). Cory Sullivan was up 2-0 and ended up lining out to left. Todd Helton dumped the second pitch into left for a single. Matt Holliday grounded hard to the hole on the left side, where Betancourt made a dive and threw to second for the force. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches.

Ichiro smacked a 2-0 pitch down the rightfield line for a double. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 pitch off the plate outside. Jose Lopez was up 3-1 and ended up whiffing on a full-count pitch at least a foot off the plate outside. Raul Ibañez crushed the second pitch into the equipment tunnel in rightcenter, scoring Ichiro.
Richie Sexson popped the second pitch to Hawpe in fairly deep right. Kim threw 18 pitches.

Garrett Atkins grounded out to short. Brad Hawpe slapped a 1-2 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double. Jorge Piedra whiffed on a 2-2 curve. Yorvit Torrealba walked on four pitches. Clint Barmes dumped an 0-2 pitch into shallow center for a single, scoring Hawpe and moving Torrealba to second. The pitch target was set outside, but it actually got a good chunk of the plate.
Carroll fell behind 0-2 and a balk was called on Piñeiro, moving Torrealba to third and Barmes to second. Carroll slapped a 1-2 pitch into shallow right for a single, scoring Torrealba easily and Barmes, who had just enough to beat the throw, sliding past the tag. Carroll went to second on the play.
Sullivan dumped the first pitch into shallow left for a single (not quite a sliding Ibañez catch), scoring Carroll easily.
Helton had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away, moving Sullivan to second. Holliday ripped the second pitch through the right side for a single, where Ichiro threw home and Johjima took the ball up the line and Sullivan evaded the tag, though Helton was hung up between second and third to end the inning. Piñeiro threw 36 pitches and had 49 through two.

Carl Everett took a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Kenji Johjima barely missed a double down the line on the second pitch and took the 0-2 pitch off the left elbow body armor. Jeremy Reed bounced the second pitch to second. Kim threw nine pitches and had 27 through two.

Atkins popped the first pitch high to center. Hawpe was up 3-1 before slapping a full-count curve into the leftfield corner for a double. Piedra bounced out to second, moving Hawpe to third. Torrealba drove a 2-0 pitch into the fourth row in rightfield, scoring Hawpe. Piñeiro is terrible.
Barmes rolled an 0-2 pitch to short, but Betancourt's throw was low, but not picked by Sexson, who usually gets that (Betancourt tagged with the error). Carroll got ahead 3-1 as pitching coach Rafael Chaves came out to the mound and Mike Hargrove went straight for the bullpen phone. Carroll ended up bouncing a full-count pitch off the track and the foul pole and into the crowd for a double. The umpiring crew held Barmes up at third. Piñeiro heard some boos upon his exit.

Jake Woods came in for Piñeiro. Sullivan worked a 1-2 count full before taking a fastball across the outside corner. Woods threw six pitches.

Piñeiro's line: 2 2/3 innings, 7 runs, 9 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 70 pitches (46 strikes)

Betancourt had the hitters' counts before lining to center, where Sullivan had to race backward in time to reach up and make the catch. Ichiro walked on four pitches. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whiffed once again on a 1-2 pitch about a foot off the plate outside. Lopez watched the first pitch as Ichiro stole second. Lopez bounced a 2-2 pitch to short. Kim threw 21 pitches and had 48 through three.

Helton fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to second. Holliday grounded the first pitch hard to third. Atkins bounced the second pitch to short. Woods threw eight pitches and had 14 total.

Ibañez flew out high to third on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson stroked a 2-2 pitch into shallow leftcenter for a single. Everett lined a 2-0 pitch into the third row in rightfield to score Sexson, and Dave Henderson totally called it.
Johjima held his bat out on a 2-2 pitch way outside, but was called out by the first-base umpire. Reed drove a ball off the track in rightcenter and to the wall for a triple (Sullivan was playing toward leftcenter). Pitching coach Bob Apodaca came to the mound for a visit. Betancourt grounded right to first on the second pitch. Kim threw 25 pitches and had 73 through four.

Hawpe whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and away. Piedra popped out to left. Torrealba lined a 3-1 pitch into center for a single. Barmes fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt that hopped high on Johjima, enabling Torrealba to move to second. Barmes ended up flying out high to center on a 2-2 pitch. Woods threw 20 pitches and had 34 total.

Ichiro was ahead 2-0 before slapping a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Beltre dumped the second pitch into the gap in rightcenter for a single, moving Ichiro to third. Lopez popped to shallow right as the runners had to hold.

Ray King came in for Kim. Ibañez took a 1-2 pitch that in the dirt that got away from Torrealba behind the plate and toward the first-base dugout, enabling Ichiro to score and Beltre to advance 180 feet to third.
Ibañez whiffed on the next pitch (2-2 count). Sexson shot the second pitch through the left side for a single to score Beltre.
Everett popped to Barmes falling into the crowd along the third-base side (foul ground, of course).

Kim's line: 4 1/3 innings, 6 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 84 pitches (53 strikes)
King's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (8 strikes)

Carroll rolled an 0-2 pitch up the middle, where Lopez made a dive for it, but had somewhat of a time trying to get off a throw, and the throw from a knee was late. Sullivan lined an 0-2 pitch into center that Reed looked like he had, but it went further down than his glove was, and he kicked it into right (Sullivan credited with the double), moving Carroll to third. Heloton tapped the first pitch back to the mound as the runners held. Holliday was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Julio Mateo came in for Woods. Atkins popped the second pitch high to Sexson, who made a semi-basket catch near the rail along the first row of seats. Hawpe lined the first pitch to Ichiro in right. Mateo threw three pitches.

Woods' line: 2 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 47 pitches (30 strikes)

David Cortes came in for King. Johjima dumped the first pitch along the rightfield line for a single. Reed flew out to center on an 0-2 pitch. Betancourt took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Ichiro was up 3-1 and lasered a full-count pitch into the fourth row of seats in rightfield, scoring Johjima.
Beltre popped a very high and away 0-2 pitch just short of the rightfield track. Cortes threw 21 pitches.

Piedra worked a 1-2 count full before flying out to Ichiro just in front of the rightfield wall (ninth pitch). Torrealba lined the first pitch to Ichiro on the rightfield track. Barmes grounded hard to third. Mateo threw 13 pitches and had 16 total.

Lopez rolled an 0-2 pitch through the left side for a single.

Tom Martin came in for Cortes. Ibañez walked on a 3-1 pitch up and in, moving Lopez to second. Apodaca visited the mound again. Sexson lined a 2-2 pitch to left that was nicely snared by Holliday, who faded back and reached high above his head to make the catch as Lopez had to go back to second and Ibañez ran so far he had to touch second and first. Everett tapped the first pitch slowly to second, moving Lopez and Ibañez to third and second. Johjima was intentionally walked to load the bases. Reed, who I'm a bit surprised Hargrove didn't pinch-hit for at this point, whiffed over a 2-2 fastball over the outer half.

Cortes' line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 25 pitches (20 strikes)
Martin's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (9 strikes)

Carroll one-hopped the second pitch to second.

George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Ryan Spilborghs, hitting for Sullivan, was down 0-2 before foul-tipping a 2-2 inside-corner pitch into Johjima's glove behind the plate. Helton was down 0-2 and tapped the 2-2 pitch back to the mound.

Mateo's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (14 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (6 strikes)

Scott Dohmann came in for Martin and Spilborghs stayed in to play center for Sullivan. Betancourt lined the second pitch over Barmes at short for a single. Ichiro watched a 2-2 pitch go by as Betancourt was just barely nailed at second by Torrealba. Ichiro ended up walking on an inside full-count pitch. Beltre was down 0-2 before bouncing a 2-2 pitch to third to start a 5-4-3 double play.

Dohmann's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (8 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Holliday grounded the second pitch hard to short. Atkins was up 3-1 before taking a full-count pitch at the knees over the outside corner (might have been a tiny bit outside). Hawpe whiffed on an 0-2 splitter in the dirt.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 11 pitches (8 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
The tall guy went 2-for-4 with an RBI. The RBI was highly instrumental in the game as it was the one that got the Mariners to within one run in the fifth at 7-6. The inning started with both Ichiro and Adrian Beltre getting aboard. Jose Lopez failed to advance either runner. Ichiro scored on a wild pitch to Raul Ibañez and Beltre moved to third, but Ibañez struck out on the next pitch. The Mariners had pushed one run across in the inning that made it 7-5 for the Rockies. Sexson jumped on the second pitch to plate Beltre from third for an incredibly clutch two-out RBI. Possibly just as important as what Sexson did do in this game is what he didn't do. He didn't strike out at all. I probably shouldn't say that since it might curse him, but let's hope it doesn't. Sexson had an average of .255 in June along with a slugging percentage of .539. His career batting average is .267 and he's slugged .521. He is currently at .225 and .418 for the season. Back to the strikeouts, though, he struck out only 21 times in June after striking out 28 times in April and 36 times in May.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
I wish he was some other team's problem. I've said for a while now that the team should have cut bait with either Piñeiro or Gil Meche last offseason, but they still have both and I wish they had neither. I knew they needed at least one of the two since their organizational starting pitching depth is sad, but I wish one of them was gone. Nonetheless, we're left to watch Piñeiro go out there every five days and...well, you know. Piñeiro's ERA last decreased two starts before this one, an 8-5 win in the middle game of the series at Dodger Stadium. Even in that game he was tagged for ten hits. His last great start was five starts before this one, a 12-1 Mariner win against the Royals on June 3rd when he gave up one run over seven innings. Since that start, he's had a total line of 24 1/3 innings, 29 runs (25 earned), 40 hits, 12 walks, 12 strikeouts, and 459 pitches (292 strikes). That works out to an average line over five starts of 5 innings, 5.8 runs (5 earned), 8 hits, 2.4 walks, 2.4 strikeouts, and 91.8 pitches (58.4 strikes). His ERA over his last five starts? How does 9.25 sound to you? This guy is the Mariners' #2 starter in the rotation, by the way.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 61-21 .744 -- W5
2003 53-29 .646 8 L1
2002 52-30 .634 9 W1
2000 49-33 .598 12 W1
2006 42-40 .512 19 W1
2005 35-47 .427 26 L1
2004 32-50 .390 29 L5

Ichiro 52-for-126 (.413), 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 14 RBIs, 13 walks, 9 strikeouts
Beltre 40-for-123 (.325), 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 20 RBIs, 10 walks, 22 strikeouts
Lopez 30-for-112 (.268), 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 17 RBIs, 6 walks, 16 strikeouts
Ibañez 34-for-103 (.330), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 10 homers, 33 RBIs, 16 walks, 18 strikeouts
Sexson 29-for-112 (.259), 4 doubles, 8 homers, 29 RBIs, 11 walks, 24 strikeouts
Everett 15-for-72 (.208), 3 homers, 7 RBIs, 5 walks, 16 strikeouts
Johjima 33-for-95 (.347), 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Reed 21-for-92 (.228), 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Betancourt 28-for-101 (.277), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 9 RBIs, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts

Jennings. Washburn. Today.

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