Tuesday, July 04, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

[initial partial post]

In 25 words or less: I think the Mariners just declared themselves independent from winning baseball. Hope you enjoyed the week they were at or above .500.

This one featured Ervin Santana going up against Gil Meche. The Mariners were hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak. A loss here would make it a futility strech of four losses in five games. They just got done winning six of seven games, 11 of 14, and 21 of 28. The good news is that the Mariners won't see the AL West for a month. The bad news is that they haven't seen the National League since the weekend and they won't for the rest of the season, and that includes the World Series since there's no way in hell they'll get there. Amazingly, the Mariners led this game 5-1 after four innings of play. A total of 14 more runs were scored in the game, only one of which were scored by the Mariners. The Angels scored the first 11 of the runs as well as the last three.

Chone Figgins rolled the second pitch to second. Maicer Izturis had the hitters' counts before looping out to Lopez backing into center. Orlando Cabrera popped high to right on a 1-2 pitch. Meche threw 12 pitches.

Ichiro fell behind 0-2 before looping a 1-2 pitch for a dying fly ball into center, where Figgins caught the ball at the shoetops and then slid, so not a sliding catch. Adrian Beltre grounded an 0-2 pitch hard to first. Jose Lopez got ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 slider away. Santana threw 13 pitches.

Vladimir Guerrero grounded the second pitch hard to third. Garret Anderson took a 1-2 curve at the knees over the inside corner. Juan Rivera worked an 0-2 count for a walk, which is always great. Kendry Morales also worked an 0-2 count full, but he flew out to Choo a few steps in front of the track in center. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 33 through two.

Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and rode a 2-2 pitch to Figgins a step or two short of the centerfield track. Richie Sexson popped the second pitch to shallow right. Carl Everett grounded the second pitch hard to first, where Morales bobbled it, but had enough time to throw to first (3-1 putout). Santana threw nine pitches and had 22 through two.

Adam Kennedy lined a single into rightcenter. Jose Molina whiffed on a 1-1 pitch and Kennedy was gunned down by five feet on what was probably a failed hit-and-run. Molina took the next pitch (1-2) over the outside corner for strike three. Figgins whiffed on a 2-2 change low and away. Meche threw 14 pitches and had 47 through three.

Kenji Johjima bounced out to third. Shin-Soo Choo lined the first pitch right to Morales' glove at first. Yuniesky Betancourt popped out to Figgins in leftcenter on the second pitch. Santana threw six pitches and had 28 through three.

Izturis drag-bunted the second pitch along the right side, where Meche didn't come up cleanly with the ball, but Meche tried flipping it to Sexson but threw wide as Izturis took a turn toward second but tried to retreat. Sexson went back to get the ball and threw back to first to try to get Izturis, but the throw hit Izturis (Sexson's first error of the season), who was able to move to second as another throw toward second got away. Cabrera grounded the first pitch to second, moving Izturis to third. Guerrero got a 1-2 count and the Mariners drew the infielders back in to cut off the run at the plate. Guerrero ended up flying out high to center on a full count, easily scoring Izturis. Choo had a decent throw on the play.
Anderson grounded the second pitch to first. Meche threw 11 pitches and had 58 through four.

Ichiro was up 3-0 and took a low 3-1 pitch for a walk. Beltre nicely slapped an up-and-away pitch to right for a single on a hit-and-run, moving Ichiro to third. Lopez lined the second pitch into shallow right and Rivera's sliding catch attempt was a bit short, scoring Ichiro and moving Beltre to second.
Ibañez clubbed the second pitch four rows into the rightfield seats, scoring Beltre and Lopez. Not an All-Star, apparently.
Sexson blasted the first pitch six rows into the seats in rightcenter.
Everett was ahead 3-0 and ended up whiffing on a low full-count breaking ball. Johjima popped a 3-0 pitch high to Kennedy on the edge of the outfield grass. Choo rolled the second pitch to second. Santana threw 25 pitches and had 53 through four.

Rivera bashed a 2-0 pitch into the third row of rightfield seats.
Morales flew out to left on a 1-2 pitch. Kennedy rolled out to second. Molina flew out to right on the first pitch. Meche threw 12 pitches and had 70 through five.

Betancourt singled into center on the first pitch. Ichiro lined the second pitch up the middle to Cabrera, who threw to first in time to double off Betancourt. Beltre grounded an 0-2 pitch behind the bag at third, where Izturis made a nice stop and throw just in time to first. Santana threw six pitches and had 59 through five.

Figgins worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Izturis watched as Figgins was nearly picked off of first. Izturis got ahead 3-1 and ended up smoking the full-count pitch past Meche and into center for a single, moving Figgins to second. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves and the starting infield visited the mound. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 and punched a 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Figgins and moving Izturis to second. Cabrera has now reached base in 61 straight games.

Julio Mateo came in for Meche. Guerrero drilled a ball to the leftfield wall for a double, scoring Izturis and moving Cabrera to third.
Anderson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Rivera popped the second pitch to Ichiro deep in rightcenter, who made a nice catch near the shoestrings, scoring Cabrera and moving Guerrero to third.
Morales was up 2-0 and ended up doubling to the rightfield wall, scoring Guerrero and moving Anderson to third.
Kennedy was intentionally walked. Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Molina shot the first pitch to the mound, and Mateo got a hand on it but it went between first and second, and Lopez had no play, scoring Anderson and keeping the bases loaded.
Figgins popped the second pitch to Ibañez running toward the leftfield line, scoring Morales from third.
Izturis lined a 1-2 single into center to score Kennedy and the cutoff relay to third was late to get Molina.
Cabrera popped an 0-2 pitch high to Sexson on the infield grass. Mateo threw 27 pitches.

Meche's line: 5 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 5 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 87 pitches (54 strikes)
Mateo's line: 1 inning, 4 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 27 pitches (13 strikes)

Lopez was down 0-2 and fouled off five 2-2 pitches before whiffing on a breaking ball. Ibañez was up 3-1 and whiffed on a full-count breaking ball inside. Sexson blistered a line drive right at Izturis at third. Santana threw 19 pitches and had 78 through six.

Jake Woods came in for Mateo. Guerrero walked on four pitches. Anderson popped a 2-2 pitch to shallow center. Rivera smacked a single past a diving Betancourt and into left, moving Guerrero to second. Morales doubled into the leftfield corner, scoring Guerrero and Rivera.
Kennedy looped the second pitch just off the glove of Betancourt at short, who alertly picked the ball up and threw to third to catch Morales, who had overrun third base. Molina lined the first pitch to Ibañez in front of the leftfield track. Woods threw 19 pitches.

Everett whiffed on an 0-2 pitch in the dirt (2-3 putout). Johjima flew out to Figgins in leftcenter, who reached up to make the catch. Choo whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Santana threw 11 pitches and had 89 through seven.

Figgins flew out to Choo a couple steps in front of the centerfield track on the second pitch. Izturis grounded to Sexson well off the bag at first, who underhanded to Woods racing to first, who lost the footrace to Izturis, but Woods tagged him near the face before any feet touched the first-base bag. Cabrera lined a 2-2 pitch to left. Woods threw 11 pitches and had 30 total.

Woods' line: 2 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 30 pitches (16 strikes)

Betancourt chopped the second pitch high off the plate to Izturis, who had no play to first (single). Ichiro hit a 2-0 pitch to the right side, where Kennedy made a dive to stop it and throw to first, moving Betancourt to second. Beltre took the first pitch and it got away from Molina, moving Betancourt to third. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and ended up grounding to third to score Betancourt.
Lopez tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Santana threw 14 pitches and had 103 through eight.

Santana's line: 8 innings, 6 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 103 pitches (68 strikes)

Rafael Soriano, back from soreness to which we still don't know the degree, came in for Woods. Guerrero rolled the second pitch along the third-base line for the most unGuerrero-like single as Beltre had no play. Anderson dumped the second pitch a ways in front of Choo in shallow center for a single, moving Guerrero to second. Rivera wedged a fly ball just inside the rightfield foul pole, scoring Guerrero and Anderson.
Morales popped a 1-2 pitch to Johjima along the screen behind the plate. Kennedy grounded an 0-2 pitch behind the bag at first. Molina whiffed on an 0-2 pitch. Soriano threw 19 pitches.

Soriano's line: 1 inning, 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (16 strikes)

JC Romero came in for Santana, Erick Aybar came in to play short, Figgins moved over to left, and Tommy Murphy came in to play center. Ibañez popped the second pitch to short. Sexson was ahead 3-0 before flying out to fairly deep leftcenter on a full count. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Everett, bounced the second pitch to third.

Romero's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (5 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
As of right now, the following are not the numbers of an American League All-Star (84 games): .286 batting average, .356 on-base percentage, .538 slugging percentage, 18 doubles, 4 triples, 19 home runs, 68 RBIs, 37 walks, and 57 strikeouts. However, those are the numbers of the most consistent hitter on this Mariner team this year. Ibañez has had three consecutive hitless games only once this season. Five other times he's been hitless in two straight games. By my quick count, he's had ten other scattered hitless games, which I'd usually call scattered singles, except there aren't any hits involved. So, other math says that he's hit safely in 61 of 84 games this season. The three straight hitless games knocked 13 points off his batting average back in mid-May. The first game of that stretch, he was 0-for-1 and drew three walks in the game. The others were an 0-for-5 and an 0-for-3. As shown below, he's driven in 36 runs since Mike Hargrove adjusted the lineup. By month, he drove in 16 runs in April, 20 in May, 27 in June, and five so far in July.

Goat: Julio Mateo.
He threw in the final two games of the Colorado series and had a day off before being summoned in this one. He threw a combined 3 1/3 innings in those games. George Sherrill, Emiliano Fruto, and Joel Piñeiro had thrown the night before. JJ Putz, Mateo, Eddie Guardado, and Sean Green threw on Saturday. I'm trying to find a way to bag on Hargrove here for putting in Mateo after pulling Gil Meche today (which he did way too quickly, by the way), but the only thing I can come up with is that he should have put in Jake Woods instead or left Meche in for a couple more batters. I'd have let him try to work out of that jam. I don't like what Hargrove did now, and I didn't like it at the time. Still, his two only real choices for the first guy out of the bullpen would have been Mateo or Woods. Piñeiro only threw that night because it was his scheduled bullpen day. Fruto threw 51 pitches last night, half of what a starting pitcher might normally throw. Really, though, Fruto was only used last night because Rafael Soriano wasn't available (though thankfully he was today). So Soriano's inavailability had a domino effect on the bullpen and the usual garbage-time righty out of the bullpen would have been Fruto (or Green before the back spasms), but he was forced to throw last night. In sum, it should have been Woods out of the pen first, but not for another three batters or so in that inning.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 62-23 .729 -- W1
2002 54-31 .635 8 W2
2003 54-31 .635 8 L2
2000 50-35 .588 12 W1
2006 42-43 .494 20 L3
2005 37-48 .435 25 W2
2004 32-53 .376 30 L8

Ichiro 56-for-138 (.406), 4 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 15 walks, 11 strikeouts
Beltre 42-for-134 (.313), 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 homers, 21 RBIs, 12 walks, 24 strikeouts
Lopez 34-for-124 (.274), 10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 homer, 18 RBIs, 7 walks, 18 strikeouts
Ibañez 38-for-117 (.325), 6 doubles, 1 triple, 11 homers, 36 RBIs, 16 walks, 22 strikeouts
Sexson 31-for-122 (.254), 4 doubles, 10 homers, 32 RBIs, 13 walks, 28 strikeouts
Everett 16-for-83 (.193), 3 homers, 7 RBIs, 6 walks, 20 strikeouts
Johjima 34-for-103 (.330), 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homers, 16 RBIs, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Reed 21-for-97 (.216), 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 7 RBIs, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Choo 1-for-6 (.167), 1 double, 2 strikeouts
Betancourt 31-for-111 (.279), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 9 RBIs, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts

Colón. Moyer. Tomorrow.

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