Sunday, July 16, 2006


Reuters Canada photo -- Hans Deryk

In 25 words or less: Extra! Extra! This team is bad and likes losing in extras!

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against AJ Burnett. It was the fourth annual Dog Day at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and hopefully all the janitorial crews get paid more to clean up after this game. In Burnett's Ricoh Scouting Report, Dave Valle said that the Toronto righty had an 11-to-7 curveball, which I find kind of impossible. It could be 1-to-7, but I can't see 11-to-7. That might be some sort of screwball or something. Also a welcome thing on the MLB.tv broadcast were FSN graphics and commercials, which of course add to the viewing experience and should be on the feed every day because that's the way it was last year. A win for the Mariners would make it their third in five games, which hardly seems like an accomplishment, but it's something. It's much better than a loss, which would make it their ninth in 12 games.

Ichiro flew out high to shallow center on a 2-0 pitch. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a belly-high 0-2 hard fastball. Jose Lopez dumped a 2-0 pitch into shallow center for a single. Raul Ibañez lined out to left on the second pitch. Burnett threw 11 pitches.

Reed Johnson grounded the second pitch to third. Frank Catalanotto bounced a single up the middle and into centerfield. Vernon Wells walked on a full-count pitch up and in. Troy Glaus bounced to third, where Beltre reached back to tag Catalanotto coming down the basepath, then spun and threw to first for an unusual variation of a 5-3 double play. Hernandez threw 15 pitches.

Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed over a nasty curve down and away. Carl Everett had the hitters' counts and dumped a single into shallow center. Willie Bloomquist bounced the second pitch to third, where Glaus' throw nearly led Hill off the bag and therefore Toronto couldn't complete the double play (Everett was out). Rene Rivera grounded the second pitch up the middle to McDonald, who tossed to second for the force on Bloomquist. Burnett threw 11 pitches and had 26 through two.

Lyle Overbay lined the second pitch near the leftfield corner, but it went off the top of his glove and to the wall for a double. Gregg Zaun whiffed over an 0-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Bengie Molina worked a 1-2 count full and grounded hard to short, where Betancourt threw to Beltre at third, but Overbay took off anyway with the grounder in front of him, and Beltre ran him down with the ball. Aaron Hill had the hitters' counts and walked on a full-count fastball down and away. John McDonald rolled slowly to a charging Betancourt on a full count. Hernandez threw 23 pitches and had 38 through two.

Yuniesky Betancourt popped to Hill moving back into shallow right. Ichiro roped a single into right, snapping a small 0-for-8 slump. Beltre foul-tipped a 2-2 curve into Zaun's glove behind the plate that was horribly low and way outside. Lopez watched as Ichiro stole second on a bouncing 1-1 pitch. Lopez took a high and inside 2-1 pitch for what was called a strike before taking the next pitch, a curve way low and away which was stopped by Zaun but rolled wide of the plate, enabling Ichiro to go to third. Lopez looked to dump the full-count pitch into shallow right, but shallow rightfield appears to be where Mariner base hits go to die, and this time it was Johnson making the diving catch. Burnett threw 19 pitches and had 45 through three.

Johnson chopped a 1-2 pitch back to the mound. Catalanotto rode the second pitch a few feet short of the track in center. Wells took a devastating 2-2 curve over the inside corner. Hernandez threw 12 pitches and had 50 through three.

Ibañez popped high to Zaun behind the plate, and he fell to a knee to catch it. Sexson tapped the first pitch to second. Everett had the hitters' counts before whiffing on a high hard fastball. Burnett threw ten pitches and had 55 through four.

Glaus popped very high to Betancourt in front of the bag at second. Overbay was ahead 3-0 before bouncing to second on a full count. Zaun grounded hard to third on a 2-2 pitch. Hernandez threw 14 pitches and had 64 through four.

Bloomquist whiffed badly on a 1-2 curve down and away. Rivera fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch barely off the outside corner before whiffing horribly on a curve in the dirt away (2-3 putout). Betancourt stroked a single into center, breaking Burnett's streak of seven straight retired Mariner hitters. Ichiro watched as Betancourt nabbed second base on the second pitch. Ichiro was given the final two pitches wide and given first base. Beltre blistered the second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, scoring Betancourt and moving Ichiro to third.
Lopez whiffed on yet another wicked curve, a 2-2 pitch on the outer half. Burnett threw 26 pitches and had 81 through five.

Molina was down 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to third. Hill bounced a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Lopez. McDonald was ahead 3-1 but took a full-count curve inside on the ninth pitch. Johnson watched the second pitch go by as McDonald nabbed second on a delayed steal. Johnson ended up ripping a double down the rightfield line, easily scoring Johnson. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit.
Catalanotto stroked the second pitch into center for a single, easily scoring Johnson.
Wells roped a 3-0 pitch into the gap in rightcenter (double), where Ichiro gunned to Lopez cutting off, who relayed home to beat Catalanotto by five feet as Rivera blocked the plate and Catalanotto never got to it. Hernandez threw 28 pitches and had 92 through five.

Ibañez got decent wood on a full-count pitch, but Wells ran far and reached up to make the catch on the track in center. Sexson got under a 3-1 pitch, flying out high to shallow right. Everett dumped a fly ball into the glove of Wells in center. Burnett threw 14 pitches and had 95 through six.

Eric Hinske, hitting for Glaus, got ahead 2-0 and foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into Rivera's glove. Overbay grounded a 2-0 pitch to a sliding Sexson, who tossed to a covering Hernandez. Zaun slapped the first pitch the other way for a flyout to the track in left. Hernandez threw nine pitches and had 101 through six.

Hinske stayed in the game to play third. Bloomquist grounded the second pitch to third, where Hinske made a high throw, but it was pulled down at first. Rivera took a pitch off the back of the left hand. Betancourt flew out to Wells in rightcenter. Ichiro popped the second pitch to McDonald moving back into shallow left. Burnett threw 12 pitches and had 107 through seven.

Molina was mowed down on an 0-2 fastball. Hill grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to Beltre at third, who had it go through the pocket of his glove, and it went to Betancourt backing up, who had no play. McDonald popped the second pitch high to right. Johnson smoked the second pitch through the left side for a single, moving Hill to second.

Jake Woods came in for Hernandez. Catalanotto walked on a full-count pitch down and away, loading the bases. Wells walked on four pitches, forcing Hill across the plate from third.
Hinske, who came in for Glaus due to what was revealed as right knee tendinitis for Glaus, flew out to Ibañez a few steps short of the track in left. Woods threw 13 pitches.

Hernandez' line: 6 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 112 pitches (66 strikes)

Beltre drove the second pitch off the track and wall in the gap in rightcenter for a double. Lopez took a 2-2 breaking ball off his left shoulder.

Scott Schoeneweis came in for Burnett. Ibañez ripped a full-count pitch off the mound and high into center for a single, scoring Beltre and moving Lopez to second.

Justin Speier came in for Schoeneweis. Sexson popped high to Overbay in foul ground on the right side. Everett bounced a 1-2 pitch to second, where Hill threw to second for the force on Ibañez, but the throw back to first was late and wide as Lopez moved to third. Bloomquist popped the second pitch to Johnson in shallow right.

Burnett's line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 114 pitches (65 strikes)
Schoeneweis' line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (4 strikes)
Speier's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (6 strikes)

Overbay stroked the first pitch into right for a single. Zaun grounded the second pitch hard to third to start an easy 5-4-3 double play.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Woods. Molina popped high to right on a 1-2 pitch. Fruto threw four pitches.

Woods' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (6 strikes)

BJ Ryan, coming off two innings yesterday, came in for Speier. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Rivera, drove a 2-2 pitch to Wells a couple strides short of the track in straightaway center. Betancourt turned on an inside pitch and smacked a line drive just over the leftfield wall in a 1-2 pitch.
Ichiro served the second pitch into center for a single. Beltre reached for an outside first pitch and flew out to shallow center. Lopez flew out to right on a 2-0 pitch.

Ryan's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (11 strikes)

Kenji Johjima came in to catch. Hill flew out to Bloomquist a few feet short of the track in center. McDonald whiffed on a high 1-2 fastball. Johnson popped an 0-2 pitch to Betancourt in shallow center.

Fruto's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (13 strikes)

Scott Downs came in for Ryan. Ibañez popped the second pitch to McDonald backing into shallow left. Sexson lined the second pitch to Wells in center. Everett shot the second pitch into center for a single. Bloomquist took an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner that caught the front knee. Said Dave Valle quietly as they went to break, "that's not a strike." Downs threw ten pitches.

George Sherrill came in for Fruto. Catalanotto worked an 0-2 count full before taking a fastball over the outside corner, or outside, depending on your preference. Wells walked on four pitches for the second straight at-bat. Hinske flew out to leftcenter. Overbay watched an 0-2 pitch as Wells stole second with nobody in time to cover second. Overbay whiffed on the next pitch. Sherrill threw 18 pitches.

Johjima whiffed badly on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt away (2-3 putout). Betancourt rolled the second pitch slowly to short. Ichiro ripped the 2-2 pitch off the base of the centerfield wall for a double. Beltre was intentionally walked. Lopez was ahead 3-0 but whiffed badly on a breaking ball in the dirt inside. Downs threw 22 pitches and had 32 total.

Downs' line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 32 pitches (19 strikes)

Zaun looped a 1-2 pitch just past the reach of Betancourt way back into shallow left for a single.

Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Molina eschewed a bunt attempt and drove a ball toward the gap in leftcenter, but Zaun was held up at third on what ended up being a single. Hill was intentionally walked to load the bases and Chad Mottola ran for Zaun at third. Russ Adams, hitting for McDonald, got ahead 2-0, fouled off the next four pitches, then foul-tipped the seventh pitch of the at-bat into Johjima's glove behind the plate. Johnson popped the second pitch high near third and the infield fly rule was called, which was good because Beltre was physically impeded from catching the ball by Mottola on the bag at third. Catalanotto fouled the first pitch foul along the third-base line, but it was tailing back fair until Beltre touched it in foul ground. Catalanotto ripped the next pitch down the rightfield line, scoring Mottola.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 24 pitches (14 strikes)
Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 18 pitches (11 strikes)

Gameball: Yuniesky Betancourt.
With one out in the ninth and BJ Ryan on the mound, I was expecting a much quicker loss for the Mariners than they took on Saturday. While this loss was 44 minutes quicker than the 14-inning monstrosity the day before, Betancourt's sudden and blindsiding homer in the ninth made the game quite a bit more interesting and made it longer. One look at his game log reveals that he has a six-game hitting streak going, and he's 9-for-25 (.360) with today's homer, two RBIs, and two strikeouts in that span. He's gone hitless in only two of the 11 games so far this month. He's hitting .310 in July. Yes, all of this with an occasional timely homer, some incredible defense, and some triple-friendly speed coming out of the ninth slot in the lineup, though it appears with Adam Jones in the fold Betancourt will be hitting eighth. I guess it just gives us another reason to loathe how this team is doing since they have a .287 hitter in the ninth slot and a lot of dead weight in other spots in the lineup. Ah, to be a fan of the Mariners...

Goat: Willie Bloomquist.
There's a bunch of people who are on the side of the local guy, including a decent portion of Port Orchard and the broadcasting crew for the Mariners, which said, "he's got to play sometime" at one point in the game today. While this may be true and you don't want to waste spots on the 25-man roster and leave players to rot on the bench, when I see an article like this and then see that Bloomquist put up a line of 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and four runners left on base, someone could say it's little wonder why he's not getting more playing time. The Mariners let Mark McLemore go and pretty much wanted Bloomquist to be the next McLemore, and he has been, except with the type of hitting that plagued the latter stages of McLemore's tenure in Seattle rather than the early (good) part. Bloomquist did try to bunt once (leading off the seventh), but his best other shot at getting on base was to be patient, and he was far from that. In his five at-bats, he saw two, four, two, two, and four pitches. Willie deserves a chance somewhere, I'll grant him that, but does this team really need a 28-year-old speedster who can't hit consistently?

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 66-26 .717 -- L1
2002 58-34 .630 8 W1
2003 57-35 .620 9 L1
2000 54-38 .587 12 W1
2006 44-48 .478 22 L2
2005 41-51 .446 25 L1
2004 35-57 .380 31 L1

7 innings, 2.6 runs (2.3 earned), 5.8 hits, 1.9 walks, 5.5 strikeouts, 106 pitches (69 strikes)
3.04 ERA

7 innings, 3 runs (2.5 earned), 6 hits, 1.5 walks, 7.3 strikeouts, 100 pitches (66 strikes)
3.25 ERA

6 innings, 4 runs (3.6 earned), 6.9 hits, 2 walks, 5.2 strikeouts, 100 pitches (63 strikes)
5.44 ERA

Washburn. Wang. Tomorrow.

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