Saturday, July 22, 2006


AP photo -- Ted S. Warren

In 25 words or less: The dog days arrived eleven days early. An absolutely time-consuming clunker of a game.

This one featured Kyle Snyder going up against Jamie Moyer. Jose Lopez was not at the game due to family reasons, so Willie Bloomquist took his spot in the lineup. Manny Ramirez came into the game having hit nine career homers against Moyer. David Ortiz came in with four homers against Moyer. The Mariners hoped to string together a pair of wins. Though I'd be looking past this game to mention it, the Mariners haven't strung together a winning streak of three wins or more since the five-gamer in the latter part of June, i.e., the 11-wins-in-14-games stretch. A loss in this game would make for futility stretches in three tasty flavors -- four losses in five games, 11 losses in 14 games, or 12 losses in 16 games. Lest we all forget, the Mariners' low-water mark this season is ten games under .500, which they reached toward the end of May when they were 22-32. The good news is that they came in 23-18 since. The bad news is that at one time they were 9-2, 14-5, 19-7, and 20-8 coming off of that 22-32 start. Compare 23-18 to all of that, and yeah, it's bad.

Kevin Youkilis popped the second pitch to center. Mark Loretta flew out to right. David Ortiz cranked a hanging second pitch five rows into the rightfield seats. It got out in a hurry.
Manny Ramirez was up 3-0 before flying out to Ichiro in the rightfield corner on a 3-1 pitch. Moyer threw 12 pitches.

Ichiro was up 2-0 before looping a 2-2 pitch to Kapler reaching down for the catch near the leftfield line. Willie Bloomquist popped to left on a hanging 1-2 breaking ball. Adrian Beltre shot a 1-2 pitch to the left side, where Youkilis made a diving stab but bobbled it a bit and Beltre legged out the single. Raul Ibañez grounded hard to first on an 0-2 pitch. Snyder threw 16 pitches.

Jason Varitek fell behind 0-2 before flying out to fairly deep center on a 1-2 pitch. Trot Nixon grounded the second pitch to second. Coco Crisp was down 0-2 before popping to Sexson near the first-base camera well in foul ground. Moyer threw 12 pitches and had 24 through two.

Richie Sexson bounced the second pitch to Youkilis behind the bag at third. Carl Everett was up 2-0 before popping out to Gonzalez in shallow left. Kenji Johjima grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to short, where Gonzalez had it go off his glove but stayed with it and threw to first in time. Snyder threw 11 pitches and had 27 through two.

Gabe Kapler tapped an 0-2 pitch up the middle that went off of Moyer's glove (error, he should have had it) and died behind the mound, enabling Kapler to reach. Alex Gonzalez crushed a 2-2 pitch that hit the back of the visitors' bullpen, scoring Kapler.
Youkilis rolled out to short. Loretta stroked a 2-0 pitch along the leftfield line for a double. Ortiz grounded to short, and Betancourt raced way over from his shifted position to make the play at first as Loretta moved to third. Ramirez rolled out to short on a 2-2 pitch. Moyer threw 23 pitches and had 47 through three.

Yuniesky Betancourt rolled hard to short, but it went under the glove of Gonzalez and into left for a single. Adam Jones grounded the first pitch hard to second for a very easy 4-6-3 double play. Ichiro served a single over Gonzalez and into center. Bloomquist popped a hanging second-pitch breaking ball high and foul to Varitek near the righthanded batters' box. Snyder threw nine pitches and had 36 through three.

Varitek was up 2-0 and roped a low 2-2 pitch into the Mariners' bullpen. Moyer talked with Johjima immediately after the blast.
Nixon grounded the first pitch behind the bag at first (3-1 putout). Crisp popped the second pitch high to Ichiro in rightcenter. Kapler looked like he barely got a bat on a high 0-2 pitch, but the fly ball took Ibañez to the track in left. Moyer threw 13 pitches and had 60 through four.

Beltre hit a hard fly ball, but it only took Kapler to the track in left in front of the manual scoreboard. Ibañez grounded to Ortiz behind the bag at first (3-1 putout). Sexson shot a 2-2 pitch past a diving Gonzalez into left for a single. Everett got ahead 2-0 before foul-tipping a 2-2 curve into Varitek's glove behind the plate. Snyder threw 19 pitches and had 55 through four.

Gonzalez walked on four pitches. Youkilis blasted a down-the-pipe thigh-level second pitch into the back of the visitors' bullpen, scoring Gonzalez.
Loretta reached for an outside pitch and rolled out to short. Ortiz had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Ramirez reached down and away and simply golfed one into the visitors' bullpen, scoring Ortiz.

Jake Woods came in for Moyer. Varitek rode the second pitch to the rightfield track. Nixon split his bat on a hard grounder to first that went off the glove of a diving Sexson and past Bloomquist on the deflection into right for a single. Crisp was up 3-0 before lining out to center on a 3-1 pitch. Woods threw 11 pitches.

Moyer's line: 4 1/3 innings, 8 runs (7 earned), 6 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 78 pitches (46 strikes)

Johjima grounded the first pitch to third, where Youkilis had the ball go off his glove (error) and into left. Betancourt found the gap in rightcenter on the first pitch, not quite reaching the wall and Crisp bobbled the ball (error), enabling Betancourt to move to second as Johjima moved to third. Jones fell behind 0-2 and lined out to second on a 1-2 pitch. Ichiro took the first pitch in the dirt, and it went off of Varitek and toward the first-base dugout, scoring Johjima and moving Betancourt to third.
Ichiro walked on four pitches, with the fourth ball brushing him back. Bloomquist popped the second pitch to deep-enough left, scoring Betancourt.
Beltre was down 0-2 and watched Ichiro steal second without a throw on the 1-2 pitch. Beltre ended up walking on a full-count pitch up and away. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 fastball (eighth pitch of the at-bat).

Snyder's line: 5 innings, 2 runs (unearned), 5 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 82 pitches (53 strikes)

Kapler took a 2-2 breaking ball down over the inside corner. Gonzalez fell behind 0-2 and popped to Betancourt in shallow left on a 1-2 pitch. Youkilis ripped a 2-2 pitch down the leftfield line and off the angled wall that cordons off the stands for a double. Loretta punched out to Bloomquist on a soft line drive. Woods threw 19 pitches and had 30 total.

Kyle Snyder came out to warm up, but he came off the field with a member of the Boston training staff. He may have hyperextended his knee during his warmup pitches.

Craig Hansen came in for Snyder. Sexson chopped a 1-2 pitch to third. Everett was up 2-0 but flew out lazily to left. Johjima grounded the second pitch to Youkilis behind the bag at third. Hansen threw 11 pitches.

Ortiz tried ducking out of the way of a full-count pitch, and I certainly thought it hit him, but Ortiz wasn't awarded first base. The ball went off the knob of the bat as well as his hand, and he remained at the plate with a full count. Ortiz fouled off five full-count pitches before whiffing on a breaking ball down and off the plate outside on the eleventh pitch of the at-bat. Ramirez scorched a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. Varitek was ahead 2-0 and ended up grounding hard down the line at third, where Beltre went into foul ground and still got the throw off to second in time to force out Ramirez, though of course Varitek beat out the back end of the double play. Nixon popped the second pitch to left. Woods threw 22 pitches and had 52 total.

Betancourt got the hitters' counts before shooting a full-count pitch through the mound and into center for a single. Jones drove the second pitch into the gap in rightcenter and to the wall for a double, scoring Betancourt for his first Major League double and first RBI.
Ichiro chopped a 2-2 pitch over the mound and into center for a single, easily scoring Jones. Hansen got a visit from stand-in pitching coach Al Nipper.
Bloomquist grounded the second pitch right to Youkilis to start a 5-4-3 double play. Beltre chopped a 2-0 pitch through the left side for a single.

Manny Delcarmen came in for Hansen. Ibañez flew out near the leftfield corner on a 2-2 pitch. Delcarmen threw six pitches.

Hansen's line: 1 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 30 pitches (19 strikes)

Crisp grounded a 3-1 pitch very hard to third, where he blocked it with his chest and it went to his left, where he pounced on it and threw it hard and in time to first, a Beltre defensive specialty. Kapler walked on four pitches.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Woods. Gonzalez took an 0-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Youkilis took a 2-0 pitch outside that went off the end of Johjima's glove (I thought he should have had it) and to the backstop, allowing Kapler to move to second. Youkilis walked on four pitches. Loretta rolled the first pitch slowly past the mound, but Betancourt charged, gobbled it up, and threw in time to first. Fruto threw eight pitches.

Woods' line: 3 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 61 pitches (35 strikes)

Sexson got ahead 3-1 before grounding a hard one-hopper to third on a full count (eighth pitch). Everett had the hitters' counts before flying out to Kapler near the corner in left. Johjima drilled an 0-2 pitch into left for a single. Betancourt reached and poked an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Johjima to second. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Jones, was up 2-0 but grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to Ortiz behind the bag at first, who had a bit of initial trouble with it before underhanding to Delcarmen running over to cover. Delcarmen threw 26 pitches and had 32 total.

Delcarmen's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 32 pitches (22 strikes)

Dobbs stayed in to play third, Beltre moved to second, and Bloomquist moved to center. Ortiz whiffed on a 2-2 splitter down and away. Ramirez had the hitters' counts before taking a 3-1 pitch that sailed up and in and all the way to the backstop for a walk. Varitek walked on four pitches, moving Ramirez to second. Nixon got ahead 3-0 and Johjima went to talk to Fruto. Sexson came out to the mound as well, and the plate umpire was quick to try to quell the delaying. Then Mike Hargrove came out and jawed with the plate umpire a bit, prolonging the madness. Nixon ended up popping foul on a full count to Dobbs near the stands in foul ground on the left side. Crisp had the hitters' counts before punching a single past Dobbs at third and into left, and the relay home was late to get Ramirez (the throw got past Johjima, but was backed up by Fruto), who scored as Varitek got to second.

Julio Mateo, now rocking the high socks look, came in for Fruto. Kapler walked on a full count, loading the bases. Gonzalez flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on the second pitch.

Fruto's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 34 pitches (15 strikes)
Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (5 strikes)

Mike Timlin came in for Delcarmen, Youkilis moved to first for Ortiz, and Alex Cora came in to play third. Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before grounding out to short, though it took 13 pitches to get to that conclusion. Bloomquist popped the first pitch to Loretta backing into shallow right. Beltre popped the first pitch to Youkilis behind the bag at first.

Timlin's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Jake Woods.
Though I hate going for the obvious gameball here, I could have just as easily gone for Yuniesky Betancourt here, since even though he's a nice hitter, he may not go 4-for-4 again for the rest of the season. It was quite an impressive night for him. Though nowhere near as flashy, Woods came through tonight in the only role that Mike Hargrove seems to be willing to give him this season. That role, of course, is Garbage Time Innings Eater, GTIE, or GarbTimInEat, possibly put in allcaps as GARBTIMINEAT. Even with the Boston pitching staff ravaged with injuries, the chances of the Mariners coming all the way back from an 8-0 deficit are slim. Thus, in comes Woods to eat innings and hopefully save the rest of the bullpen for more important innings in the series. When the Mariners were good, this role (though slightly different and better used by Piniella) was performed by guys like John Halama, Brett Tomko, Ryan Franklin, and Julio Mateo, who also ran into the Bob Melvin tenure. I don't need to tell you they were all better at it, but Woods might be working himself into more outings here, which is good for him. How good that is for everything else is to be determined. In any event, Hargrove keeps 12 pitchers and this guy's the twelfth, and he barely gets used.

Goat: Jamie Moyer.
The crafty lefthander. It's no secret that he's better pitching at Safeco Field than he is on the road. He has brought home the bacon for a few years now pitching to the dimensions of the home ballyard. So when a night comes along like tonight, when Moyer has already given up a ton of homers this season, and he gives up a handful of homers, well, it's not good. At one point, Dave Henderson on the television broadcast was trying to reassure Mariner fans that may be wondering why Moyer was still in there after having given up six runs. Henderson tried to say it was because Moyer had made a couple of bad pitches and had otherwise done well and the Red Sox hadn't mounted anything off of him. Well, for Hendu that's all great and dandy, but this homer stuff has got to die down a bit. Sure, there have been times where Moyer has been screwed by bad run support this season, but this definitely was not one of those times. If Moyer gives up five solo shots, even then he doesn't stand too much of a chance of winning. When eight runs are charged to him, chalk up the L already.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 69-27 .719 -- W1
2002 60-36 .625 9 W2
2003 59-37 .615 10 L1
2000 57-39 .594 12 W2
2006 45-51 .469 24 L1
2005 42-54 .438 27 L1
2004 37-59 .385 32 L2

Gabbard. Hernandez. Today.

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