Tuesday, August 01, 2006


AP photo -- Gail Burton

[posted in full Fri ~12:33a]

In 25 words or less: For the second straight day, the Mariners' starting pitcher scuffles but their offense tags a late-inning reliever.

This one featured Gil Meche going up against Adam Loewen. The trade deadline came and went for both teams without much incident as Miguel Tejada remained with the Orioles and started in this game. The Mariners hoped to kick off the series with a win, which would be their third straight overall, their fourth win in five games, seventh in nine, and eighth in 11. A win would also get the Mariners within one game of .500, somewhere they haven't been since they were 42-43 when they lit fireworks after the game on July 4th, the middle game of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels in Anaheim. It was the third loss of a six-game losing streak.

Ichiro got ahead 3-1 before whiffing on a full-count slowish ball down and in. Jose Lopez popped a 3-1 pitch to right. Adrian Beltre fell behind 0-2 before flying out high to right on a 1-2 pitch. Loewen threw 15 pitches.

Brian Roberts crushed a high second-pitch fastball and put it just inside the rightfield foul pole and onto Eutaw Street, a 410-foot blast.
Brandon Fahey grounded to short on an 0-2 pitch. Melvin Mora worked a 1-2 count full before hitting a fly ball that went about seven rows into the leftfield seats.
Miguel Tejada took an 0-2 curve barely outside before taking the next pitch more over the outside corner (pretty much the same pitch). Jay Gibbons popped high to first. Meche threw 19 pitches.

Raul Ibañez popped a 2-2 pitch high to left. Richie Sexson bounced to a charging Mora at third. Eduardo Perez was down 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 breaking ball. Loewen threw 12 pitches and had 27 through two.

Jeff Conine slapped a single into shallow center. Corey Patterson watched as Johjima blocked a second-pitch 55-foot breaking ball to keep Conine at first. Patterson ended up taking a 1-2 curve for strike three. Ramon Hernandez took a 1-2 deathly curve on the outer half for strike three. Nick Markakis got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch outside, moving Conine to second. Roberts foul-tipped a 1-2 fastball into Johjima's glove. Meche struck out the side on 20 pitches and had 39 through two.

Kenji Johjima bounced out to third. Yuniesky Betancourt grounded a 2-0 pitch to third. Adam Jones whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball down and in. Loewen threw 11 pitches and had 38 through three.

Fahey took a 3-1 pitch outside and went to first. Mora was down 0-2 before rolling a 2-2 pitch up the middle to Lopez behind the second-base bag, who dished to Betancourt, who threw to first, but Mora beat it out (6-4 fielder's choice). Tejada poked a full-count pitch under a diving Betancourt and into center for a single, moving Mora to third (he'd taken off with the pitch). Gibbons ripped a 2-0 pitch for homer distance, but it was foul to the right side. Gibbons ended up shattering his bat on a single to right, scoring Mora and moving Tejada to second. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit.
Conine grounded the first pitch to short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. Meche threw 23 pitches and had 62 through three.

Ichiro popped to Fahey along the leftfield line on a 2-0 pitch. Lopez bounced a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a single, making him the first Mariner to reach base in the game. Beltre bounced the second pitch to short, where Tejada quickly turned and underhanded to Roberts at second to start the 6-4-3 double play. Loewen threw eight pitches and had 46 through four.

Patterson tried drag-bunting the first pitch, but got it too close to the line and Sexson got the ball and tagged him before he could get to first. Hernandez worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a breaking ball. Markakis fell behind 0-2 and had his bat explode on a 2-2 pitch which he lined softly to Meche. Meche threw 16 pitches and had 78 through four.

Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full before lining out to left. Sexson whiffed over a 1-2 breaking ball. Perez whiffed on an 0-2 fastball. Loewen threw 13 pitches and had 59 through five.

Roberts skipped a 2-2 pitch into the hole on the right side, where Lopez ranged way over and threw to first, and Roberts barely beat it out for the single. Fahey bunted the first pitch along the left side, where Beltre made the play to first as Roberts moved to second. Mora had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch in the dirt. Tejada bounced an 0-2 pitch to first, and Sexson threw to second, but Tejada beat out the back end of the double play, moving Roberts to third. Gibbons whiffed on an 0-2 curve down and in.

Meche's line: 5 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 96 pitches (59 strikes)

Johjima bounced to the left side, where Mora charged and barehanded and threw in time to first, which made the Web Gems segment on Baseball Tonight. Betancourt dropped the second pitch into shallow leftcenter for a single. Jones broke his bat on the first pitch and looped a single into center, moving Betancourt to second. Ichiro lined out to left as the runners held. Lopez lined a 1-2 pitch into left to score Betancourt and move Jones to second.
Beltre walked on four pitches, loading the bases. Ibañez drilled a 2-0 pitch into rightcenter for a single to score Jones and Lopez.
Sexson rolled slowly to third on the second pitch. Loewen threw 23 pitches and had 82 through six.

Apparently Meche must have come out to warm up and Hargrove pulled the hook on Meche, though Comcast SportsNet might have run that part taped, I'm not sure.

Julio Mateo came in for Meche. Conine popped the second pitch to Johjima by the on-deck circle on the left side behind the plate. Patterson whiffed on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Hernandez chopped high in front of the plate to Johjima, who got to the ball and threw in time to first. Mateo threw ten pitches.

Perez ripped the first pitch into left for a single, and Fahey bobbled it (error), enabling Perez to move to second. Johjima shot the first pitch past Roberts at second and into center for a single, scoring Perez.

Julio Mañon came in for Loewen. Betancourt doubled into the leftfield corner, moving Johjima to third. Jones fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 belt-high fastball away. Ichiro was intentionally walked to load the bases. Lopez popped a 2-0 pitch high to third as the runners had to hold. Beltre reached and rolled over to ground to third, but Mora bobbled the ball and threw to second when he gathered himself, but the throw was late, scoring Johjima and leaving the bases loaded.
Ibañez had the hitters' counts before reaching outside to ground to second.

Loewen's line: 6 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 7 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 84 pitches (50 strikes)
Mañon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 25 pitches (12 strikes)

Markakis got ahead 2-0 and Johjima came to the mound for a visit. Markakis spanked the next pitch into the bullpen in leftcenter.

George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Roberts worked a 1-2 count full and cranked a long foul ball before flying out to Ichiro in rightcenter. Fahey worked an 0-2 count full before foul-tipping a low fastball into Johjima's glove.

Mark Lowe came in for Sherrill. Mora fell behind 0-2 before taking a 2-2 fastball down over the outside corner.

Mateo's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (7 strikes)
Lowe's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (3 strikes)

Eddy Rodriguez came in for Mañon. Sexson cranked a 1-2 pitch five rows into the seats in rightcenter.
Perez walked on four pitches. Johjima roped the first pitch (hanging slider) ten rows into the leftfield seats.
Betancourt drove the second pitch to the wall in leftcenter for a double. Jones was up 3-1 before rolling to short on a full count, moving Betancourt to third. Ichiro grounded right to a drawn-in Conine at first, forcing Betancourt to hold at third. Lopez, however, stuck the first pitch over Tejada at short and into leftcenter for a single, scoring Betancourt.
Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 high fastball. Rodriguez threw 25 pitches.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Lowe. Tejada had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count fastball away. Gibbons popped to Jones in rightcenter. Conine took the second pitch way outside and to the backstop, moving Tejada to second. Conine bounced to second, moving Tejada to third. Patterson tagged the first pitch into right for a single, scoring Tejada.
Hernandez took the second pitch in the dirt and it went to the backstop, and Johjima casually went back to get the ball, but Patterson took advantage of that and scooted all the way to third. Hernandez took the next pitch as well, and it went off Johjima's glove, but didn't get far enough away to score Patterson. Hernandez ended up whiffing on a 2-2 fastball.

Fruto's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (10 strikes)

Ibañez drove a 2-0 pitch and one-hopped it off the track and over the wall in leftcenter. Sexson took a 1-2 pitch way high and to the backstop, moving Ibañez to third. Sexson worked the count full and just got under it, flying out just short of the rightfield track, long enough for Ibañez to tag and score.
Perez popped a 2-0 pitch to Hernandez on the right side in foul ground not far from the plate. Johjima popped high to Conine near the first-base coaches' box.

Rodriguez' line: 2 innings, 5 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 40 pitches (22 strikes)

Jake Woods came in for Fruto. Markakis poked the first pitch up the middle for a single. Roberts popped high to Sexson near the first-base coaches' box. Fernando Tatis, hitting for Fahey, grounded the second pitch hard to second, where Lopez made the sliding stop and started the 4-6-3 double play.

Woods' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (4 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
Ibañez went 2-for-5 with a couple of RBIs and a double in this one. More importantly, he ended the month by hitting 6-for-13 with two doubles, a homer, a walk, and five RBIs in the final three games. He tacked six more points onto his season batting average in that span of time as well as five points onto his on-base and ten points onto his slugging mark. Though we all expected that Ibañez wasn't going to have a July anywhere close to what his June was, I don't know if I expected quite this much of a dropoff. He hit .326 in June and hit six doubles, a triple, and nine homers and he drove in 27 runs. He also slugged .695 and got on base at a .414 mark. Yes, those numbers are nuts. By comparison, his July was a whole lot of hitting .253 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and driving in 21 runs. He slugged only .495 and had an on-base percentage of .284. Definitely related to that was that he walked 15 times in June and walked only five times in July. If Ibañez gets a little closer to his June performance in the next two months, it'd be grand for the Mariners. If he duplicates his June, well, I like the chances for this team.

Goat: Gil Meche.
Okay, I know it was a scorching dripping wet time out there in Baltimore to be having a baseball game. Still, Meche is a southern guy and has definitely pitched in that before, so it's no complete mystery for him. So, when I see such a line as he had in this game, I don't really know where to take it. For all the talk of Meche becoming the top guy on the staff, it just so happens that, like a few people on the team, he had a much worse July than June. After sporting an insane 1.60 ERA in five starts and 33 2/3 innings in June, Meche had an icky ERA of 5.67 in six starts and 33 1/3 innings in July. Meche never gave up more than two runs in a game in June, but gave up at least two in every game in July. Of course, there was the clunker game where he bowed before Roy Halladay and got tattooed, and that was when he gave up seven runs on ten hits and couldn't get out of the fifth. Even with the brutal ERA in July, he did come away with a 2-1 record for the month, so I guess it's not all that bad. Meche did, however, set his season high for homers yielded in a month with six.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 76-29 .724 -- W4
2002 63-42 .600 13 L1
2003 63-42 .600 13 L2
2000 61-44 .581 15 L1
2006 52-53 .495 24 W3
2005 46-59 .438 30 W1
2004 39-66 .371 37 L4

Moyer. R Lopez. Today.

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