Saturday, July 22, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

In 25 words or less: The Mariners didn't tag the guy who made his Major League debut, they just waited a while to heat up.

This one featured Kason Gabbard going up against Felix Hernandez. Gabbard was making his Major League debut. The Red Sox were in their horribly ugly red jerseys. Jose Lopez was not at the game for the second straight day due to family concerns. At one point, Steve Lyons said that Bloomquist was from North Kitsap, which of course made me laugh. The Mariners hoped to stop their losing streak at a single game, which isn't really a streak at all. Wins mean a lot more if they're followed up by more wins, sure, but the Mariners have to start somewhere. They haven't had a winning streak since they sandwiched the All-Star break with wins. The last winning streak before that was the five-gamer near the end of July when they were almost becoming kinda good (who doesn't love redundancy?).

Before I go on, here's some stuff about the Mariners' streaks this season. First, here they are in order...
L1, W3, L4, W2, L1, W1, L3, W1, L4, W1, L1, W1, L1, W3, L4, W1, L1, W2, L2, W2, L3, W4, L1, W1, L6, W3, L1, W3, L1, W3, L3, W5, L2, W5, L1, W1, L6, W2, L4, W1, L1, W1 (current).

Winning streaks...
ONE GAME: nine times
TWO GAMES: four times
THREE GAMES: five times

Losing streaks...
ONE GAME: ten times
TWO GAMES: twice
THREE GAMES: three times
FOUR GAMES: four times
SIX GAMES: twice

Coco Crisp rolled out to second. Alex Cora got ahead 3-0 before walking on a 3-1 pitch down and away. David Ortiz was up 2-0 and took a nasty 2-2 curve for strike three. Manny Ramirez whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and away. Hernandez threw 18 pitches.

Ichiro chopped a single over Lowell at third and too deep into the hole for Gonzalez to make a play. Willie Bloomquist scooped a low pitch into left for a single, moving Ichiro to second. Adrian Beltre rolled over on an outside pitch, rolling right to third, where Lowell stepped on the bag to force out Ichiro and threw to first for the double play. Richie Sexson was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch hard behind the bag at third. Gabbard threw 15 pitches.

Trot Nixon flew out to shallow center on the first pitch. Mike Lowell was up 3-1 before smacking a waist-high inner-half full-count pitch about seven rows above the manual scoreboard in left, on the side closest to the visitors' bullpen.
Wily Mo Peña whiffed on a 1-2 curve. Doug Mirabelli rolled the second pitch to short. Hernandez threw 14 pitches and had 32 through two.

Eduardo Perez was ahead 2-0 before lining out to Peña in left on a 2-2 pitch. Carl Everett thought he was hit on the left pant leg with the second pitch, but he wasn't awarded first base. Everett had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch. Kenji Johjima flew out high to center. Yuniesky Betancourt rolled the second pitch for basically a swinging bunt perfectly placed along the third-base line for a single, moving Everett to second. Adam Jones got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch outside, loading the bases. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a single, scoring Everett and Betancourt and moving Jones to second. Gabbard got a visit from the pitching coach.
Bloomquist flew out to Crisp in rightcenter on a 2-0 pitch. Gabbard threw 29 pitches and had 44 through two.

Alex Gonzalez rode the first pitch toward the gap in leftcenter, but Jones ran about a mile to make the catch (later revealed as the #10 Top Play on SportsCenter later in the night). Crisp worked an 0-2 count for a walk (eight pitches). Cora watched the first pitch as Crisp got a huge jump and stole second. Cora popped the second pitch to Beltre behind the bag at third. Ortiz punched the first pitch through the shift into center, scoring Crisp.
Ramirez ripped a pitch to the wall in right for a single (he might have thought it was a homer, and Thom Brenneman and Steve Lyons subsequently started sounding off), moving Ortiz to third. Nixon was up 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 curve. Hernandez threw 21 pitches and had 53 through three.

Beltre snapped the second pitch for a single past a diving Gonzalez and into center. Sexson rolled the first pitch right to short to start a 6-4-3 double play. Perez whiffed on a 1-2 curve way outside and in the dirt. Gabbard threw seven pitches and had 51 through three.

Lowell took a 1-2 fastball down the pipe. Peña drove the second pitch to the track in center. Mirabelli tapped to short. Hernandez threw nine pitches and had 62 through four.

Everett tapped an 0-2 pitch back to the mound. Johjima popped the second pitch to Nixon in shallow right. Betancourt was up 3-1 and bounced out to third on a full count. Gabbard threw 11 pitches and had 62 through four.

Gonzalez bounced a 2-0 pitch to short. Crisp grounded a 2-2 pitch to a diving Sexson at first, who underhanded to first for the out. Cora fell behind 0-2 and grounded to first on a 2-2 pitch. Hernandez threw 13 pitches and had 75 through five.

Jones slapped a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Ichiro was ahead 3-0 before whiffing on a full-count pitch, and Mirabelli's not-everything-on-it throw to second nearly nailed Jones, who bumped the ball out of the glove of Gonzalez at second. Bloomquist bounced a 3-1 pitch to third. Beltre was ahead 3-0 and ended up taking a full-count fastball down and in that was called for strike three. Gabbard threw 24 pitches and had 86 through five.

Ortiz lined out to deep center on a 2-0 pitch. Ramirez whiffed on an 0-2 curve away. Nixon ripped a 2-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Lowell grounded a 2-2 pitch to third, where Beltre went to second for the 5-4 force on Nixon. Hernandez threw 17 pitches and had 92 through six.

Sexson popped high to first. Perez tapped a 1-2 pitch to Lowell charging in from third, who barehanded and threw to first, and Perez was called safe, saying Ortiz didn't have his toe on the bag as the throw definitely beat Perez. Everett was up 3-0 and poked a full-count pitch up the middle for a single, moving Perez to second.

Julian Tavarez came in for Gabbard. Johjima bounced the second pitch to the left side, where Gonzalez tried backhand flipping to third, and it hit Perez in the right elbow or back (error) and the ball went into foul territory, allowing Perez to score and Everett to move to second.
Betancourt had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count pitch down and in. Jones tapped the first pitch to third, where Lowell threw home to start a horribly untimely 5-2-3 double play. Tavarez threw ten pitches.

Gabbard's line: 5 1/3 innings, 3 runs (2 earned), 8 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 99 pitches (59 strikes)

Peña tapped the second pitch to the right of the mound, where Hernandez got to it and tossed to first. Mirabelli drove the second pitch to deep center, but Jones got to the track and camped under it for the out. Gonzalez grounded hard an 0-2 pitch hard to third, where Beltre made the diving stop and threw to first, where Sexson had to make the stretch and it looked like he might have been pulled off the bag, but Gonzalez was called out.

Hernandez' line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 99 pitches (64 strikes)

Ichiro fell behind 0-2 before popping a 1-2 pitch high to third. Bloomquist had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and called time right as Tavarez was starting his motion (happened twice in the at-bat). Beltre ended up popping a 1-2 pitch to shallow center, where it landed between Gonzalez and Crisp coming a long way in from center (single), and the two nearly collided as Bloomquist now didn't have to tag up and sprinted to second as Beltre reached. Sexson listened to boos raining down as Tavarez made the billionth stepoff in response to Bloomquist. Sexson worked a 1-2 count for a walk, loading the bases. Perez laid the bat out on a 1-2 pitch, rolling a single up the middle, scoring Bloomquist and Beltre and moving Sexson to second.
Everett chopped a 1-2 pitch high to second, where Cora went to second for the out and it was too slow to turn two (Sexson moved to third). Johjima slapped an 0-2 line drive that was caught by Nixon running toward the line in right.

Tavarez' line: 1 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 41 pitches (25 strikes)

Mark Lowe came in for Hernandez. Crisp flew out to Jones racing into leftcenter. Cora grounded near the middle, where Bloomquist made the play to the backhand side and got the out. Ortiz fell behind 0-2 and popped high to Betancourt in shallow left on a 1-2 pitch.

Lowe's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (9 strikes)

Rudy Seañez came in for Tavarez. Betancourt popped a 1-2 pitch to Gonzalez in shallow center. Jones smacked a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Ichiro bounced a 2-0 pitch to second, where Cora went to second for the out, but Ichiro beat out the double play at first. Bloomquist one-hopped hard to second on a full count.

Seañez' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 20 pitches (13 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Lowe. Ramirez took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner. Nixon popped the first pitch to left. Lowell fell behind 0-2 and popped to Bloomquist moving back into shallow center on a 1-2 pitch.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (8 strikes)

Gameball: Adam Jones.
The worst thing he did was end the bottom of the sixth inning with a double-play ball. Still, he had his second multi-hit game in the Majors, and he managed his first big-league stolen base to boot. Combine the two hits with a walk in the ninth slot in the lineup, that puts someone aboard for when Ichiro comes to the plate. That's generally a good thing. It's even more of a good thing since both Jones and Ichiro run like jackrabbits. The most important thing for me, however, is Jones' progress defensively in centerfield. It's only been a little over a week, but Jones seems to be improving almost daily. He ran down a couple of balls toward the gaps today and he also ran down some balls toward the track and toward the wall. Though I'm a big fan of Jeremy Reed and I've rooted hard for him to succeed in Seattle, if Jones puts together a couple more weeks of solid improvement and brings his bat along for the ride too, Reed is totally screwed in Seattle. Or maybe when Reed comes back, he somehow gets showcased and does well until he gets traded. They can't have both since I think neither of them hits for enough power, though Reed is the lefty out of the two.

Goat: Kenji Johjima.
He's really not having a hot month at all. He hit .345 in June and ended the month hitting .298 for the season. As a matter of fact, he sat at .292 after the first game of the series at Yankee Stadium. He's gone 1-for-13 since, dropping ten points off his batting average as a result. He is now hitting .282 for the season and a sickly low .204 in July. With just over a week left in the month, Johjima has managed only one extra-base hit, a double in that first game of the series in the Bronx. His worst full month of the season extra-base hitwise was April, when he hit four doubles and two homers. His second-worst month was May, which was marginally better at three doubles and three homers. He went nuts in June with eight doubles, a triple, and five homers. Before I forget, he also caught Felix Hernandez today, and Felix didn't do too badly. I watched the first inning thinking the curveball should have been called a lot more, but it didn't seem to burn Felix too badly. It also wasn't a day where Johjima has a few pitches get past him or go off his glove in bad situations either.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 70-27 .722 -- W2
2002 60-37 .619 10 L1
2003 59-38 .608 11 L2
2000 57-40 .588 13 L1
2006 46-51 .474 24 W1
2005 42-55 .433 28 L2
2004 38-59 .392 32 W1

HERNANDEZ WITH RIVERA CATCHING (average line, four starts)
7 innings, 3 runs (2.5 earned), 6 hits, 1.5 walks, 7.3 strikeouts, 100 pitches (66 strikes)
3.25 ERA

HERNANDEZ WITH JOHJIMA CATCHING (average line, 15 starts)
6 innings, 3.9 runs (3.5 earned), 6.7 hits, 2 walks, 5.3 strikeouts, 100 pitches (63 strikes)
5.22 ERA

Lester. Washburn. Tomorrow.

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