Wednesday, July 19, 2006


AP photo -- Julie Jacobson

[posted in full Sat ~2:02a]

In 25 words or less: A bad call, an unjustified blown save, some rain, a long wait, and the likely result.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Sidney Ponson. Piñeiro is Piñeiro while Ponson was in his first start wearing the pinstripes and having the prying eyes of the Big Apple upon him. Ponson also showed up with number 24 on his back, which surely irks any fan of Tino Martinez. I'd complain about why his number isn't retired yet, but these are the Yankees we're talking about here. Also, Richie Sexson came in 11-for-22 lifetime against Ponson. Alex Rodriguez did not start in the game due to taking a foul ball off his left big toe the night before. The Mariners were trying to snap a four-game losing streak. Moreover, a loss would make it 11 losses in 14 games, which equate to quite possibly their worst stretch of the season. Again, remember this team was two games over .500 just a couple weeks ago.
1:58 rain delay in bottom of ninth.

Ichiro was up 3-0 before walking on a 3-1 pitch outside. Adrian Beltre had Ichiro taking off on a full count, but he flew out to center. Jose Lopez watched the second pitch go by as Ichiro nabbed second easily. Lopez ended up walking on four pitches. Raul Ibañez popped and 0-2 pitch high to Phillips in foul ground on the right side. Richie Sexson crushed a first-pitch low curve to the right of the stands beyond the leftfield wall.
Carl Everett bounced out to second on the second pitch. Ponson threw 22 pitches.

Johnny Damon slapped the first pitch near the leftfield line for a single. Miguel Cairo whiffed badly on an 0-2 curve way off the plate. Derek Jeter was nailed near the left hip with a first-pitch curveball. Jason Giambi took the second pitch in the dirt and it bounced to the backstop, allowing Damon and Jeter to moved to third and second. Giambi ended up rolling to second to score Damon and move Jeter to third.
Bernie Williams bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches.

Kenji Johjima took an 0-2 breaking ball over the outer half. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to center on the second pitch. Adam Jones rolled to the right side, where Cairo never got the ball into the glove, and it died where he stopped it (error) as he never came up with the ball. Jones wasn't on base long and was picked off before Ichiro had a single pitch thrown to him. Ponson threw ten pitches and had 32 through two.

Andy Phillips golfed the first pitch, a high fastball, just over the wall in leftcenter.
Melky Cabrera tapped lightly along the first-base line, and Piñeiro moved over to make the play. Nick Green smacked the first pitch to the wall in rightcenter for a double. Kelly Stinnett whiffed on an 0-2 fastball over the outer half. Damon whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and away. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches and had 26 through two.

Ichiro flew out to center. Beltre was up 2-0 but ended up flying out to fairly deep center on a 2-2 pitch. Lopez flew out to Williams in rightcenter. Ponson threw 12 pitches and had 44 through three.

Cairo rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Jeter stuck the first pitch into center for a single. Giambi watched as Jeter nabbed second on a 2-0 pitch. Giambi got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Williams grounded hard to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. Piñeiro threw 13 pitches and had 39 through three.

Ibañez walked on four pitches. Sexson got down 0-2 and whiffed over a low 1-2 breaking ball, not too far from what he homered on in the first at-bat. Everett was ahead 2-0 but whiffed on a 2-2 two-seamer on the outer half. Johjima took an 0-2 fastball that came back over the outside corner. Ponson struck out the side on 17 pitches and had 61 through four.

Phillips grounded hard behind the bag at third, where Beltre made a diving stop and threw off-balance from his right knee and threw over to first in time, good for the #3 Web Gem on Baseball Tonight. Cabrera was up 3-0 and grounded to first on a 3-1 pitch. Green lined a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. Stinnett worked a 1-2 count full before rolled a ball that didn't quite get through the infield thanks to Betancourt ranging over, whose throw was late, but the fact he got to the ball was amazing enough, and the hit moved Green to second. Damon grounded hard to second for a 4-6 force on Stinnett. Piñeiro threw 26 pitches and had 65 through four.

Betancourt shot the first pitch through the left side for a single. Jones watched the first pitch go by as Betancourt stole second, just beating the throw from Stinnett. Jones ended up bouncing out to second on a 1-2 pitch, moving Betancourt to third. Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before looping a fly ball between the middle infielders and Damon in shallow center, scoring Betancourt.
Beltre lined out to short and Jeter threw to first to double off Ichiro, who took off with the pitch and was around the bag at second. Ponson threw 16 pitches and had 77 through five.

Cairo bounced the second pitch to short. Jeter rolled out to short. Giambi whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball low and away. Piñeiro threw nine pitches and had 74 through five.

Cabrera whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball away. Ibañez shot a 3-0 pitch hard along the line on the right side, but Phillips made a quick dive behind the bag and underhanded in time to a covering Ponson. Sexson bounced to second. Ponson threw 11 pitches and had 88 through six.

Williams bounced to the right side, where Piñeiro picked it up and ran the ball to first himself. Phillips whiffed over a 1-2 low breaking ball. Cabrera grounded the second pitch to first. Piñeiro threw ten pitches and had 84 through six.

Everett was up 2-0 but bounced out to first. Johjima grounded hard to third on the second pitch. Betancourt reached for an outside pitch and rolled it up the middle into center for a single. Jones drove a single past Jeter and into center for his first Major League hit, moving Betancourt to third.

Ron Villone came in for Ponson. Ichiro took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner.

Ponson's line: 6 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (59 strikes)

Green cranked a belly-high 1-2 fastball to the base of the wall to the left of center (in front of the Yankee bullpen) for a double.

George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Jorge Posada, hitting for Stinnett, whiffed on a 1-2 fastball down the pipe. Damon worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a breaking ball down and away.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Alex Rodriguez, hitting for Cairo, popped very high to Betancourt in shallow left on the second pitch. Soriano threw two pitches.

Piñeiro's line: 6 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 88 pitches (60 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 12 pitches (8 strikes)

Posada stayed in to catch for Stinnett, Rodriguez stayed in to play third, and Green moved to second. Beltre lasered the ball over Rodriguez at third and into the leftfield corner for a double. Lopez had the hitters' counts and reached on a 3-1 pitch, flying out to shallow right. Ibañez foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into Posada's glove. Sexson was intentionally walked.

Kris Wilson came in for Villone. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Everett, popped the second pitch to right. Wilson threw two pitches.

Villone's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 22 pitches (10 strikes)

Jeter foul-tipped a highish outside 1-2 pitch into Johjima's glove for strike three. Giambi fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 fastball of which Soriano looked to have taken a tiny bit off. Williams drove the second pitch to Jones a couple strides short of the track in center.

Soriano's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 13 pitches (11 strikes)

Johjima flew out to shallow right ont he first pitch. Betancourt worked a 1-2 count full before
popping to Phillips near the tarp in foul ground on the right side. Jones bounced a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single, his second hit in the Majors. Ichiro was up 2-0 before flying out to second.

Wilson's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (11 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Soriano and Willie Bloomquist came in to play center for Jones. Phillips slapped a 2-0 pitch just fair that banked off the tarp and ricocheted back into right, kinda throwing Ichiro for a loop, and he didn't get a strong throw off to second. Cabrera was at bat as the rain started to fall at Yankee Stadium. Cabrera fouled off three 1-2 pitches before whiffing at the fourth, a deathly splitter inside. Aaron Guiel, hitting for Green, had the rain fall harder as he punched the second pitch through the right side for a single to score Phillips. Bubba Crosby came in to run for Guiel.
Posada took a 2-0 pitch that went off of Johjima's glove and to the backstop, moving Crosby to second as lightning and thunder started to appear in the Bronx and the MLB.tv feed got really crappy. Posada had a 3-0 count go full before grounding deep into the hole on the right side, where Lopez went way over to field the ball and slipped, but gathered himself to throw in time to first, though first-base umpire Mike Reilly didn't agree, calling Posada safe at first (Crosby moved to third) as Lopez and Sexson and a few other Mariners couldn't believe it. Mike Hargrove came out to argue and was tossed. Ron Hassey stepped in for Hargrove on managerial duty for the remainder of the game. Damon flew out to Bloomquist in sufficiently deep leftcenter on the first pitch, scoring Crosby as the game was tied and Putz was tagged with a blown save thanks to a bullcrap call by Reilly.
Rodriguez got ahead 3-1, and at this point the umpiring crew ordered the tarps to come out as the Bronx faithful weren't too enthused.

One hour and fifty-eight minutes later, Julio Mateo came in for Putz and inherited the 3-1 count. Rodriguez took a full-count pitch down over the outside corner. Mateo threw two pitches.

Putz' line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 23 pitches (14 strikes)

Kyle Farnsworth came in for Wilson, Damon moved to first, Crosby stayed in to play center, and Phillips moved to second. Beltre got ahead 3-1 before lining out on a full count to Williams, who ran back a bit and stuck the glove out to catch it. Lopez grounded to second on a 2-0 pitch. Ibañez popped to Jeter near the leftfield line. Farnsworth threw 13 pitches.

Farnsworth's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (7 strikes)

Jeter grounded very hard to third on the first pitch and Sexson pulled down the wide throw and tagged Jeter going by. Giambi was up 2-0 and ended up whiffing on a 2-2 fastball on the outer half. Williams drove a 2-0 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Phillips bounced to the left side, where Beltre found the ball between Williams and Betancourt and threw in time to first. Mateo threw 14 pitches and had 16 total.

Scott Proctor came in for Farnsworth. Sexson grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to third. Perez took the first pitch between the numbers. Johjima was down 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a high 1-2 fastball. Betancourt whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball away in the dirt with Perez going (2-3 putout). Proctor threw 14 pitches.

Proctor's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 14 pitches (10 strikes)

Cabrera got ahead 2-0 before roping a line drive to the railing over the rightfield wall.

Mateo's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (13 strikes)

Gameball: Adam Jones.
He did get picked off in the second inning, but I'm not about to rain on the parade here. In his fourth game in the Majors, Jones got his first two Major League hits. I'm sure it's also thrilling to get your first big-league hit in the Bronx as well, in a place steeped in endless history. Jones is making some strides defensively as well. It seems like with every day that goes by, he's less and less of a zoo in centerfield on the balls that are driven hard and take him to the track or the wall -- basically the ones where he has to make a decision to catch it at the wall or play it off the wall, and whether he gets in the right position to do either of those things. I'd like to see him get on base more and wreak more havoc on the basepaths, but who the heck doesn't? I just want him to improve so that we can all have something to look forward to next year in terms of the centerfield position. If he goes nuts, though, it pretty much spells the end of Jeremy Reed's tenure in Seattle, I would think. One way or the other, though, it's pretty much a lock that Willie Bloomquist won't get the chance for which he's been waiting. Maybe he needs to be a Royal.

Goat: Kenji Johjima.
He hung up an 0-for-5 in this game, which isn't exactly helpful. So far in the month of July, he's gone 9-for-41 (.220). This is after a .267 April, a .280 May, and a .345 June. Since the All-Star break, he has gone 6-for-21 (.286), which is less bad. What is still bad is that Johjima's first extra-base hit in the month of July came in the first game of this series in the Bronx. That was after eight doubles, a triple, and five homers in the month of June. The bottom line is that right now he's not having the hottest month, which might have a tiny bit to do with his newborn being half a world away, but ballplayers have kids all the time while they're away, so Johjima's not the first. The distance thing is probably a lot more of a factor though. My least favorite trait about him so far is the passed balls and balls off his glove, etc. My favorite thing about him is that the Mariners have a catcher that can hit and stabilize the bottom third of the lineup. Also fun is how well he hits when he is behind in the count. It trips me out.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 68-26 .723 -- W2
2002 58-36 .617 10 L2
2003 58-36 .617 10 L1
2000 55-39 .585 13 L1
2006 44-50 .468 24 L4
2005 41-53 .436 27 L3
2004 37-57 .394 31 W2

Meche. Johnson. Today.

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