Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Reuters photo -- Ray Stubblebine

In 25 words or less: Now I just watch the Mariners and there are certain games I just don't feel like they're going to win.

This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Chien-Ming Wang. Whenever I say the full name of Wang, I like to imagine myself saying it like Ozzy might in the intro to Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." It has the right number of syllables and everything. Along the same lines, whenever the Mariners ran into Wang in the past, Jeremy liked posting game threads where he would write Wang Chung into the posts. As for the game, the Mariners looked to nab a win in the Bronx so they could keep their losing streak from reaching three games. They also wanted to keep from losing their 10th game in 13 tries. Remember when they were two games over .500 and looking decent? Try five games under .500 with a loss. That's a reality check. Alfonso Soriano rumors? Gimme a break.

Ichiro rolled the first pitch past Jeter at short for a single. Willie Bloomquist walked on four pitches, moving Ichiro to second. Adrian Beltre grounded a 1-2 pitch up the middle, but Cairo went to Jeter for the force on Bloomquist at second, but Beltre beat out the back end of the double play as Ichiro moved to third. Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and Posada went to the mound for a visit. Ibañez popped the next pitch to leftcenter, easily scoring Ichiro.
Richie Sexson watched as Posada tried a snap throw to first, but Phillips was unaware of such a play and the ball went down the rightfield line (error given to Posada), enabling Beltre to scoot all the way to third. Sexson ended up taking a 1-2 belt-high pitch over the plate for strike three, not that Sexson thought so. Wang threw 16 pitches.

Johnny Damon fell behind 0-2 before looping a 1-2 pitch for a single into shallow leftcenter about ten feet in front of a diving Ibañez, who pretty much looked foolish on the play. Derek Jeter rolled the second pitch to the right side, where Sexson fielded and backhand flipped to Washburn going to the bag (not an easy play), moving Damon to second. Jason Giambi worked an 0-2 count full before taking a fastball over or just off the outside corner for strike three. Alex Rodriguez didn't get all of the first pitch, flying out to left. Washburn threw 14 pitches.

Carl Everett tapped the second pitch back to the mound. Kenji Johjima bounced an 0-2 pitch over the mound, but Jeter fielded and got the out at first. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to right on the second pitch. Wang threw seven pitches and had 23 through two.

Jorge Posada grounded a 2-2 pitch hard up the middle, but Bloomquist made a sliding stop and threw in time to first. Bernie Williams flew out to center on a 2-0 pitch. Andy Phillips spanked a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Melky Cabrera grounded hard off the glove of Sexson at first (error, debatable) and down the line, moving Phillips to third as Cabrera got to second. Miguel Cairo punched the second pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Phillips and Cabrera. Cairo got to second on the relay home, which was late to get Cabrera.
Damon got ahead 3-0 and fouled off three full-count pitches before slapping a single into shallow left, scoring Cairo. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit.
Jeter had an 0-2 count on him when Damon took off on Washburn's first move and was picked off, 1-3-6. Washburn threw 28 pitches and had 42 through two.

Adam Jones had the hitters' counts before grounding to second on a 3-1 pitch. Ichiro was jammed and hit a looping fly to second. Bloomquist rolled the second pitch to short. Wang threw ten pitches and had 33 through three.

Jeter was up 3-1 before punching a full-count pitch through the left side for a single. Giambi popped to left on the second pitch. Rodriguez was jammed and popped the second pitch to Betancourt moving into shallow left. Posada was down 0-2 and grounded hard to third on a 1-2 pitch for a 5-4 force on Jeter at second. Washburn threw 14 pitches and had 56 through three.

Beltre bounced a 1-2 pitch to third, but Rodriguez threw high to first (error) and Phillips missed the tag as Beltre reached. Ibañez grounded the second pitch hard to second to start an easy 4-6-3 double play. Sexson drilled a 2-0 pitch into right for a single. Everett grounded the second pitch hard to second. Wang threw 11 pitches and had 44 through four.

Williams bounced a swinging bunt along the third-base side where Washburn dove past and Beltre had no play as Williams had the single. Phillips flew out high to fairly deep left on a 2-2 pitch. Cabrera was up 2-0 before chopping to third, where Beltre went to second for the force on Williams. Cairo lined out to center. Washburn threw 16 pitches and had 72 through four.

Johjima bounced the first pitch to short. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 before serving a 1-2 pitch into center for a single, taking his hitting streak to seven games. Jones bounced an 0-2 pitch to third, where Rodriguez' throw to second was high and wide (error) and pulled Cairo too far off the bag at second and everyone was safe. Ichiro grounded the second pitch hard to second, where Cairo backhand flipped to second to get the out on Jones, but Ichiro's fast and beat out Jeter's throw to first as Betancourt went to second. Bloomquist worked a 1-2 count with a hail of pickoff throws to first in between for a walk, loading the bases. Beltre rolled to short for a 6-4 force on Bloomquist. Wang threw 21 pitches and had 65 through five.

Damon worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to left. Jeter rolled the second pitch to second. Giambi squashed a hanging change, putting it four rows into the upper deck.
Rodriguez fell behind 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch to Betancourt in shallow left, who made the long strong throw to first. Washburn threw 16 pitches and had 88 through five.

Ibañez was up 2-0 and bounced a 2-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Sexson roped a line drive a couple of feet short of leaving the yard to rightfield, but it was hit so hard Sexson only got a single out of it as Ibañez went to third. Everett looped a 2-0 pitch into Cabrera's glove in shallow left (weak). Johjima ripped the second pitch through the left side for a single, moving Sexson to second and scoring Ibañez.
Betancourt chopped the first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play. Wang threw 14 pitches and had 79 through six.

Posada rode the first pitch for yet another Adam Jones Zoo play in centerfield, and the ball went off the wall and bounced away from it for a double. Williams lined out to right on the first pitch and Posada didn't try to test Ichiro's arm. Phillips popped the first pitch to right and Posada held again, this time without Ichiro flashing the arm. Cabrera split his bat on the first pitch, rolling out to third. Washburn threw four pitches and had 92 through six.

Jones flew out to right on a 2-2 pitch, the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Ichiro buried the 2-2 pitch in front of the plate and Posada picked it up and threw in time to first. Bloomquist laced the first pitch through the left side for a single. Beltre grounded hard to third, where Rodriguez' throw to first was high and wide again (error), but the Yankees hung up Bloomquist on the basepaths as they swung the ball back around the infield (3-4-5-6).

Wang's line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 96 pitches (62 strikes)

Cairo popped the first pitch to Sexson near first. Damon smacked a single near the leftfield line. Jeter grounded hard to short, where Betancourt made a nice backhand stop, but Bloomquist didn't come up with the throw (error to Bloomquist), which went into rightfield, allowing Damon and Jeter to move to third and second. Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Giambi got ahead 2-0 before getting intentionally walked to load the bases.

Mark Lowe came in for Washburn. Rodriguez was down 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 kinda-flat high slider. Posada reached and looped a 2-2 pitch to Ibañez in shallow left. Lowe threw ten pitches.

Washburn's line: 6 1/3 innings, 4 runs (1 earned), 9 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 102 pitches (65 strikes)

Mike Myers came in for Wangand Nick Green came in to play third for Rodriguez, who was later revealed to have an injury to his right big toe. Ibañez rolled to second on the second pitch.

Scott Proctor came in for Myers Sexson whiffed on a hard 0-2 fastball. Everett whiffed on the first pitch and flung his bat about ten rows into the stands behind the first-base dugout. Everett ended up whiffing on a 2-2 pitch and flinging the bat behind him this time.

Myers' line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (2 strikes)
Proctor's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 9 pitches (8 strikes)

Bubba Crosby, hitting for Williams, whiffed on a 2-2 slider. Phillips was down 0-2 before grounding a 1-2 pitch to short, where Betancourt one-hopped to first, but Sexson came up empty on the scoop (Betancourt charged with an error). Cabrera lasered the first pitch over Bloomquist's glove at second, but a perfect throw from Jones in centerfield beat Cabrera to the bag at second as Phillips moved to third. Cairo grounded the 1-2 pitch behind the bag at third to Beltre.

Lowe's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 24 pitches (16 strikes)

Mariano Rivera came in for Proctor. Johjima drove the second pitch to the gap in leftcenter for a double. Betancourt bounced a single through the left side, moving Johjima to third. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Jones, was down 0-2 before taking a 1-2 cutter over the inside corner. Ichiro looped the second pitch into Jeter's glove in shallow left. Bloomquist worked a 1-2 count full before foul-tipping a fastball into Posada's glove behind the plate.

Rivera's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 17 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Mark Lowe.
One of these days, Lowe is going to give up a run on the Major League level. Until that happens, I have to say I've really liked watching this guy pitch. That slider is incredible. He seems like he's a guy that could give you one out, three outs, or six outs. It's mid-July right now and we've got a lot of the season left, but I don't think I see this guy getting sent back down. Emiliano Fruto and Sean Green may have the revolving door going with Tacoma, but Lowe might have shut any such door for himself. Well, I guess he can let the revolving door spin once more if he can shove Julio Mateo the other way through it. Lowe for Mateo. That's a bullpen getting younger and cheaper right there. Too many more appearances like this one and people might start doing crazy things like writings songs about his slider or something. Of course, every time I think about something like that happening, I have to remind myself that this team isn't going anywhere, and that type of stuff usually only happens to the winning teams of the world.

Goat: Adrian Beltre.
Sure, he plays some good defense, but that's not the main reason the Mariners got Beltre, and everybody knows that, it's well-publicized, etc. On this night in the Bronx, the Mariners lost by two runs, and while none of the three errors have Beltre's name on them, he has an 0-for-4 night to his name with six runners left aboard in his line. But you know what? Spotty consistency (also more popularly known as inconsistency) is much better here than Beltre being consistently nonexistent at the plate and abhorrent, which is what was happening for most of the year before Mike Hargrove changed the lineup around. Now we see nights where Beltre looks great and nights where he looks purely terrible. There are nights where he'll swing at breaking balls five feet outside in the dirt and nights where he lays off that pitch but can still lace a pitch on the outer half into rightfield for a single. Of course, that's not without problems either because in Los Angeles he used to be able to take pitches on the outer half out of the yard. Beltre hitting homers almost seems foreign to me now.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 67-26 .720 -- W1
2002 58-35 .624 9 L1
2003 58-35 .624 9 W1
2000 55-38 .591 12 W2
2006 44-49 .473 23 L3
2005 41-52 .441 26 L2
2004 36-57 .387 31 W1

Piñeiro. Ponson. Tonight.

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