Monday, July 03, 2006


AP photo -- Jim Bryant

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: Mike Hargrove cost the Mariners this game, first place in the AL West, and quite possibly their starting (though light-hitting) centerfielder as a result.

This one featured Jason Jennings going up against Jarrod Washburn. Washburn was pitching with a sore left knee. To cut to the chase with why Hargrove should be fired here, let's just say that the Mariners traded a budding young minor-league shortstop in Asdrubal Cabrera a few days ago and got lefty-mashing Eduardo Perez in return. There were a bunch of opportunities late in the game when Brian Fuentes was pitching that Perez could have been brought off the bench to pinch hit, i.e., exactly the reason he was brought to Seattle. He didn't get off the bench until Reed got injured in the 11th on the dive in centerfield and Willie Bloomquist was moved out there. Perez was brought in to play first. The fact that Hargrove brought in Bloomquist to pinch-run for Sexson and didn't put him in centerfield right away like he normally does surprised me, and if he'd done that, we're not talking about Reed being out for a few months with a broken thumb. Hargrove's best move was bringing JJ Putz in with the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth, though that followed a Grady Little-like move of bringing Washburn out to start the eighth in the first place. Of course, he was a bit strapped because now it turns out Rafael Soriano might be injured as well, and he's not the only one as Sean Green had brutal back spasms after his appearance in the 11th in this game.

In short, I hope everyone's enjoyed the last few weeks because it might be all downhill for the Mariners after this.

Jamey Carroll dumped a fly ball along the rightfield line that no one could get to for a single. Clint Barmes bunted the first pitch back to Washburn, who threw to first as Carroll moved to second. Todd Helton bounced a 1-2 pitch to second, moving Carroll to third. Matt Holliday popped to Lopez backing up into shallow right. Washburn threw 12 pitches.

Ichiro bounced out to second. Adrian Beltre popped the first pitch high to right. Jose Lopez hit the second pitch off the end of the bat and dumped a single into shallow center. Raul Ibañez blistered a single through the right side, moving Lopez to second. Richie Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Jennings threw 14 pitches.

Garrett Atkins was up 3-0 before walking on a 3-1 outside pitch. Ryan Spilborghs broke his bat on a line drive right to short, and Atkins raced back to first to beat Betancourt's attempt to double him off. Brad Hawpe popped to Betancourt in shallow left on a 2-2 pitch. JD Closser whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Washburn threw 19 pitches and had 31 through two.

Carl Everett was down 0-2 and ended up taking a 1-2 pitch over the inside corner. Jeremy Reed fouled a 1-1 pitch off a foot and worked the count full from 1-2 before driving a fly ball that carried Freeman to the leftcenter track. Rene Rivera popped the first pitch to right. Jennings threw 14 pitches and had 28 through two.

Choo Freeman chopped the first pitch high to third, where Beltre charged and barehanded it, but it got away from him and went into the stands, moving Freeman to second. Carroll tapped the second pitch back to the mound, and Washburn alertly turned and threw to third, just barely getting Freeman as Carroll reached. Barmes was up 3-0 before popping a 3-1 pitch to Sexson in foul ground on the right side. Helton flew out to left on the first pitch. Washburn threw nine pitches and had 40 through three.

Yuniesky Betancourt whiffed badly on an 0-2 pitch. Ichiro fished and popped the second pitch to center. Beltre walked on a full count. Lopez took an 0-2 pitch to the back, moving Beltre to second. Ibañez took the 3-0 green light and lined to centerfield, where Freeman ran forward and made a diving catch. Jennings threw 18 pitches and had 46 through three.

Holliday whiffed on an 0-2 pitch up in the zone over the outer half. Atkins worked a 1-2 count full before popping to Ichiro in right. Spilborghs flew out to right. Washburn threw 14 pitches and had 54 through four.

Sexson took a 2-2 pitch down over the inside corner. Everett dumped the second pitch into rightcenter for a single. Reed popped high to shallow right. Rivera whiffed on an 0-2 pitch well off the plate outside. Jennings threw 13 pitches and had 59 through four.

Hawpe walked on an outside 3-1 pitch. Closser bunted a but hard along the right side and Sexson went straight to second with the throw and got Hawpe. Freeman shot a ball through the right side after it went off the end of Lopez' glove and into rightfield (perhaps trying to make the turn too soon) for a single, moving Closser to third. Carroll popped the first pitch to center, scoring Closser.
Barmes didn't see a pitch as Washburn picked Freeman off of first (1-3-6). Washburn threw 13 pitches and had 67 through five.

Betancourt popped the first pitch to right. Ichiro walked on four pitches. Beltre took a 2-2 pitch up and in and Ichiro nabbed second. Beltre ended up popping to Helton behind the bag at first on the next pitch (full count). Lopez tapped the second pitch to the mound. Jennings threw 13 pitches and had 72 through five.

Barmes whiffed on an 0-2 pitch up and away. Helton slapped the second pitch into left for a single. Holliday was down 0-2 and nearly dropped a 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Holliday ended up flying out to right on the next pitch. Atkins watched the first pitch as Helton nabbed second but no further even with the throw into centerfield by Rivera. Atkins grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to Lopez in the hole on the right side, who knocked it down and gobbled it up, then threw in time to first. Washburn threw 15 pitches and had 82 through six.

Ibañez grounded the second pitch hard behind the bag at first and Helton raced over to the bag and was just barely beat by Ibañez (Jennings was late to cover). Sexson blasted a belt-high first-pitch fastball twelve rows into the leftfield seats, just inside the foul pole.
Everett grounded hard behind the bag at first, where Helton stepped on the bag with much less of a race this time. Reed fouled off five pitches before flying out to center (0-2 count). Rivera got down 0-2 and lined out to left on a 1-2 pitch. Jennings threw 16 pitches and had 88 through six.

Spilborghs looped the second pitch into shallow right for a single. Hawpe popped to shallow left. Closser flew out to center. Freeman lined out to left on a 0-2 pitch. Washburn threw 14 pitches and had 96 through seven.

Betancourt looped a broken-bat single into shallow left. With Betancourt taking off from first, Ichiro hit a swinging bunt along the left side, where Jennings came up empty on a barehand attempt and had a low-speed collision with Closser as well as Betancourt went to second and Ichiro reached. Beltre bunted the first pitch to the left side, where Jennings made the throw to first, moving Betancourt and Ichiro to third and second. Lopez popped the second pitch to not-so-shallow right, but Betancourt was sent from third anyway and was out by about eight feet and had the plate blocked by the left leg of Closser. Jennings threw

Jennings' line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 97 pitches (65 strikes)

Carroll was up 3-1 and took a high full-count pitch for a walk. Barmes bounced a first-pitch bunt high between first and the mound, but Sexson couldn't come up with it and everyone was safe. Helton walked on four pitches to load the bases with nobody out.

JJ Putz came in for Washburn. Holliday flew out to right on the first pitch, and Carroll held at third since Ichiro had enough time and momentum to get off a good throw. Atkins lined the second pitch a bit deeper to right, but it took Ichiro backward, so Carroll scored easily and Barmes went to third.
Jorge Piedra, hitting for Spilborghs, whiffed on an 0-2 splitter. Putz threw six pitches.

Washburn's line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 108 pitches (68 strikes)

Tom Martin came in for Jennings. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 but whiffed on a 2-2 offspeed pitch.

Jose Mesa came in for Martin. Sexson got ahead 3-0 and ended up taking a 3-1 pitch up and in and to the backstop. Willie Bloomquist came in to run for Sexson. Everett walked on four pitches, moving Bloomquist to second. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca came to the mound for a visit. Reed popped high to center as I once again was surprised he wasn't pinch-hit for. Roberto Petagine, hitting for Rivera, grounded an 0-2 pitch to second. Mesa threw 16 pitches.

Martin's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (3 strikes)

Kenji Johjima came in to catch for Rivera and Bloomquist came in to play first for Sexson. Hawpe took a 1-2 pitch for strike three. Closser rolled the first pitch to second. Freeman fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 splitter in the dirt (2-3 putout). Putz threw ten pitches and had 16 total.

Putz' line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 16 pitches (14 strikes)

Betancourt got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-2 pitch way down and away. Ichiro was up 3-0 and stroked the 3-1 pitch to the gap and rolled it to the rightfield wall for a triple. Beltre was intentionally walked. Lopez was also intentionally walked, moving Beltre to second and loading the bases (an Apodaca visit occurred with a 2-0 count).

Brian Fuentes came in for Mesa. Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch over the outside corner. Bloomquist, who wasn't lifted for Eduardo Perez at this point, tapped the second pitch back to the mound. Fuentes threw six pitches.

Mesa's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 4 walks, 1 strikeout, 35 pitches (13 strikes)

Julio Mateo came in for Putz. Carroll popped a 2-2 pitch to center. Barmes popped the first pitch to Betancourt near the leftfield line. Helton popped an 0-2 pitch to Betancourt in shallow left. Mateo threw 12 pitches.

Everett, not lifted for Perez, fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a belt-high 1-2 fastball. Reed popped into shallow center. Johjima fell behind 0-2 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Helton in front of the Mariners' dugout. Fuentes threw 14 pitches and had 20 total.

Fuentes' line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (14 strikes)

Holliday shot a 1-2 pitch past Bloomquist at first and into the rightfield corner for a double. Atkins grounded the second pitch to third, where Beltre knocked it down and threw to first as Holliday held at second.

Eddie Guardado came in for Mateo. Piedra popped an 0-2 pitch to Beltre near the coaches' box on the left side. Hawpe dropped a 2-2 pitch into some miscommunication in rightcenter between Reed and Ichiro as Reed made a dive at the last second and had the ball go under him as Holliday scored and Hawpe went to second. Reed looked to have injured his wrist or thumb on the dive (later revealed as a broken thumb). Bloomquist moved out to play center and Eduardo Perez came in to play first.
Closser worked a 1-2 count full before dropping a single past the reach of Lopez moving back into rightfield, scoring Hawpe.
Freeman got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full count, moving Closser to second.

Sean Green came in for Guardado. Carroll was ahead 2-0 and flew out to left on a full count. Green threw eight pitches.

Mateo's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (14 strikes)
Guardado's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 20 pitches (11 strikes)
Green's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (5 strikes)

Scott Dohmann came in for Fuentes. Betancourt flew out to left. Ichiro got a hold of the second pitch, homering into the fourth row of seats in rightfield. Too bad Betancourt didn't get aboard.
Beltre fell behind 0-2 and popped the 1-2 pitch to second. Lopez rolled the first pitch through the left side for a single. Ibañez

Ray King came in for Dohmann. Ibañez rode a fly ball to the centerfield track.

Dohmann's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
King's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (2 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
The big guy hit the two-run homer that should have held up for the Mariners and resulted in a virtual tie for first place with the Oakland Athletics, who were busy getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The homer was Sexson's only hit of the game, but it proved to be big as the game had been scoreless for four innings and the Mariners didn't score until Sexson's homer in the sixth. July so far has only consisted of two games, but Sexson is 3-for-7 in the two games with a homer and three RBIs. Starting with his 3-for-4 game on June 20th (a 12-game span starting with the opening game of the series at Dodger Stadium), Sexson has gone 17-for-50 (.340) with four doubles, four homers, and 13 RBIs. His batting average has gone from .205 to .227 as a result with the 5-for-5 game (June 25th at San Diego) being a large reason why. His slugging percentage? That's 33 total bases over 50 at-bats, so he's been slugging .660 in that span. They need the numbers out of Sexson, sure, but the timing of his homer today was simply brilliant. The game pretty much turned on that homer and didn't turn the other way until Jarrod Washburn loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth.

Goat: Jeremy Reed.
I don't know if I'd go as far as to say this was the end of Reed as a starting centerfielder in a Mariner uniform, but it just might be. He nearly had the wrist injury in spring training, but it turned out the fracture they found was an old one, and it bailed the Mariners out of a treacherous situation in centerfield. Then Reed's hitting dropped off a bit to the extent that Mike Hargrove started benching him against lefties, which at first I cried foul about. Then given a few more at-bats against lefties, Reed did nothing. Since I've been a defender of Reed, I could say that maybe Hargrove got it into his head at that point, maybe not. Then Reed started getting benched for Willie Bloomquist a few times and Matt Lawton once or twice, the former of which I was not a big fan. He'd gotten steady at-bats since, with the net result being that Reed hit really well in southern California and not so great everywhere else. In this last series, he appeared shaky on a couple of fly balls that he normally would get. I'm tempted to say he might have finally taken his offensive struggles into the field with him. Of course, I'm saying that just days after his diving catch in the final game of the Arizona series played a big part in the win. Now the Mariners are left to decide what to do with their centerfield situation and manage to keep themselves in the division race. As far as I'm concerned, making Willie Bloomquist the everyday centerfielder is not an option. By the way, Reed has six homers this year, double what Bloomquist has for his career.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 61-22 .735 -- L1
2003 54-29 .651 7 W1
2002 52-31 .627 9 L1
2000 49-34 .590 12 L1
2006 42-41 .506 19 L1
2005 35-48 .422 26 L2
2004 32-51 .386 29 L6

Ichiro 55-for-131 (.420), 4 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 15 RBIs, 14 walks, 9 strikeouts
Beltre 40-for-126 (.317), 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 20 RBIs, 12 walks, 22 strikeouts
Lopez 32-for-116 (.276), 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 17 RBIs, 7 walks, 16 strikeouts
Ibañez 36-for-109 (.330), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 10 homers, 33 RBIs, 16 walks, 20 strikeouts
Sexson 30-for-115 (.261), 4 doubles, 9 homers, 31 RBIs, 12 walks, 26 strikeouts
Everett 16-for-76 (.211), 3 homers, 7 RBIs, 6 walks, 18 strikeouts
Johjima 33-for-96 (.344), 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Reed 21-for-97 (.216), 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Betancourt 29-for-106 (.274), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 9 RBIs, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts

In addition, since this was a start with Rene Rivera started, it's pretty much standard that I show the average line for a starting pitcher with Rivera behind the plate, which is now 7 innings, 2.6 runs (2.3 earned), 5.8 hits, 1.8 walks, 5.4 strikeouts, and 104 pitches (68 strikes). The starting pitchers have an ERA of 3.00 with Rivera behind the plate. This game was the first time Rivera caught for Jarrod Washburn in a start. He has caught for Felix Hernandez three times, Joel Piñeiro four times, Gil Meche twice, and Jamie Moyer three times. Starting pitchers have gotten into the sixth inning in all but one and into the seventh in all but two of the games where Rivera has started behind the plate.

Weaver. Hernandez. Tonight.

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