Thursday, August 03, 2006


AP photo -- Chris Gardner

[posted in full Sun 13 Aug ~5a]

In 25 words or less: No, really. A win against a lefthanded starter. Unfortunately, also a 2-1 game that broke the three-hour mark.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Erik Bedard. The temperature at game time was a mere 102 degrees. Bedard hadn't lost since June 11. The Mariners hoped to not start the month with a second straight loss to the Orioles. Why? Augusts past for the Mariners have usually been rough, and to start it off with two losses really would not be good considering the upcoming weekend series against the Oakland A's, the biggest series of the year to date for the Mariners. A win would bring them within one game of .500 going into the series, and with the Mariners having Oakland between them and climbing back over .500 if they swept, hopefully that'd be enough motivation for the Mariners to take the field and play like a highly motivated team. Still, however, this final game in the series at Baltimore had to be played.

Ichiro flew out to right on the first pitch. Jose Lopez shot a single through the left side. Adrian Beltre reached out on a 2-2 pitch and put it seven rows into the seats in leftcenter (370 feet), scoring Lopez and putting Beltre into double digits in homers for the year.
Raul Ibañez foul-tipped a full-count pitch into R Hernandez' glove behind the plate. Richie Sexson was up 3-0 but ended up rolled a 3-1 pitch to short. Bedard threw 25 pitches.

Brian Roberts rolled the second pitch to second. Brandon Fahey lined out softly to short on the second pitch. Melvin Mora dropped the second pitch into shallow center for a single. Miguel Tejada grounded the second pitch hard to Sexson nearly on the bag at first. F Hernandez threw eight pitches.

Eduardo Perez shot the second pitch through the left side for a single. Yuniesky Betancourt hit the first pitch for a sinking liner that was caught in rightcenter by Markakis. Rene Rivera whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Willie Bloomquist tried bunting the first pitch, but it was a bit too hard and went foul halfway down the line. Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 before flying out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Bedard threw 11 pitches and had 36 through two.

Jay Gibbons popped to shallow left on the second pitch. Jeff Conine worked a 1-2 count full before bouncing out to second. Corey Patterson took a belt-high 2-2 pitch for strike three. F Hernandez threw 14 pitches and had 22 through two.

Ichiro popped out to Tejada drifting into shallow center on the first pitch. Lopez reached and looped a single into shallow center. Beltre popped a 1-2 pitch high to center. Ibañez walked on a 3-1 pitch, moving Lopez to second. Sexson worked an 0-2 count full but took a sweeping curve for strike three. Bedard threw 20 pitches and had 56 through three.

Ramon Hernandez worked an 0-2 count full before lining a solid single into shallow center. Nick Markakis rolled a 1-2 pitch to second, where Lopez threw quickly to Betancourt at short, but Betancourt's throw was barely late. Roberts stuck the second pitch through the right side for a single, moving Markakis to second. Fahey fouled off three pitches and whiffed at the fourth, a wicked curve. Mora walked on four pitches to loaded the bases. Tejada bounced an 0-2 pitch to second. Hernandez threw 26 pitches and had 48 through three.

Perez grounded hard to third on the first pitch. Betancourt was down 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to short, nearly beating it out. Rivera chopped the second pitch high to Bedard off the mound, who threw very hard and low to first, and it went off Conine's glove (Conine got the error), enabling Rivera to reach. Bloomquist grounded hard to third, where Mora went to a knee to make the stop on his backhand side and quickly threw to second for the out on Rivera. Bedard threw 11 pitches and had 67 through four.

Gibbons was up 3-1 before walking on a full-count high fastball that went off of Rivera's glove and took a bite out of plate umpire Mark Wegner, hitting him in the arm and chest. Conine chopped a 2-2 pitch to second to start a 6-4-3 double play. Patterson lasered a 2-2 pitch past a diving Sexson and down the line for a triple, and the fact that the ball buried itself between the padding and the warning track helped Patterson out as well. R Hernandez rolled the second pitch up the middle to Betancourt ranging to his right. F Hernandez threw 18 pitches and had 66 through four.

Ichiro bounced a 2-2 pitch to the right side, where Roberts threw to a covering Bedard at first as Conine was caught in between on the play and first-base umpire Marvin Hudson may have blown the call. Lopez bounced the first pitch to third. Beltre was down 0-2 and failed to check a swing on a 1-2 curve that bounced about two feet in front of the plate. Beltre was a bit miffed that an appeal to the first-base umpire was not granted. Bedard threw 12 pitches and had 79 through five.

Markakis grounded out to second. Roberts took a 2-2 curve for strike three that Roberts thought went around the plate. Fahey whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. F Hernandez threw 12 pitches and had 78 through five. Kudos to MLB.tv's archived feed of this half-inning, which played the TV audio of the Comcast SportsNet crew and showed video feed telling me a commercial break was in progress when actual gameplay was occurring. Combined with the fact that the video feed wouldn't last more than five minutes without resetting and me having to find my place again, it's a good thing I'm getting my money's worth out of MLB.tv this year. Just like all those games without the on-screen graphics give it that vintage feel. Yes, I'm trying to say it's been a lot more of a pain in the ass this year. Come on, MLB.tv.

Ibañez was up 3-0 and ended up walking on a 3-1 fastball away. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 fastball. Perez walked on four pitches (Bedard took issue with the 2-0 and 3-0 pitches), moving Ibañez to second.

Julio Mañon came in for Bedard. Betancourt popped the second pitch to fairly deep center, allowing Ibañez to tag and advance to third. Rivera flew out on a 2-2 pitch, taking Markakis a couple strides short of the rightfield track.

Bedard's line: 5 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 93 pitches (57 strikes)
Mañon's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (4 strikes)

Mora got ahead 2-0 and ended up walking on a full-count fastball up and in. Tejada took the first pitch up and in en route to walking on four pitches (pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited before the 3-0 pitch), moving Mora to second.

Mark Lowe came in for F Hernandez. Gibbons knocked the second pitch up the middle and past a diving Lopez into center for a single, scoring Mora and moving Tejada to second.
Conine whiffed on a full-count slider. Patterson splintered his bat on the second pitch, softly lining it to second, where Lopez quickly tossed to Betancourt at the second-base bag to double off Tejada. Lowe threw ten pitches.

F Hernandez' line: 5 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 88 pitches (53 strikes)

Chris Britton came in for Mañon. Bloomquist walked on four pitches. Ichiro scorched an 0-2 pitch, lining to a diving Mora at third, who snap-threw to first to nearly double off Bloomquist. Lopez watched a first-pitch pitchout and R Hernandez threw the ball high and into centerfield as Bloomquist had second easily. Lopez flew out high to Markakis in rightcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Beltre got under the first pitch, flying out high to center. Britton threw 13 pitches.

R Hernandez was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball. Markakis lined a single over Lopez and into right. Roberts got behind 0-2 and with the count 1-2, Lowe made a pickoff attempt into the runner at first, and it got past Sexson and into foul territory, and Markakis had to fight through Sexson's screen and advance to second. On the next pitch, Roberts took the next pitch off the outside corner for strike three. Fahey walked on four pitches. Mora bounced the second pitch to third, where Beltre shorthopped it and took it to the third-base bag to force out Markakis. Lowe threw 19 pitches and had 29 total.

As the Orioles took the field, Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo and Roberts were tossed from the game by plate umpire Wegner. Chris Gomez came in to play second. Ibañez popped an 0-2 pitch lazily to center. Sexson popped the second pitch very high to Tejada on the foul side of the leftfield line. Perez popped a 1-2 pitch to Mora on the infield grass.

Britton's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 23 pitches (16 strikes)

Tejada was up 2-0 but grounded hard to short on a 2-2 pitch.

George Sherrill came in for Lowe. Gibbons rolled the first pitch to second.

JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Conine bounced the second pitch to second. Putz threw two pitches.

Lowe's line: 2 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 34 pitches (20 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)

Todd Williams came in for Britton. Betancourt rolled the second pitch to second. Rivera bounced to a charging Mora on the left side. Bloomquist knocked a full-count pitch up the middle for a single.

Tim Byrdak came in for Williams. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and ended up rolling a 2-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Bloomquist to third.

Chris Ray came in for Byrdak. Lopez grounded the second pitch to Mora behind the bag at third.

Williams' line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches (7 strikes)
Byrdak's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (5 strikes)
Ray's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (1 strike)

Patterson bounced the second pitch to second, where Lopez bobbled it a tiny bit, but put enough on the throw to get Patterson at first. R Hernandez grounded to Betancourt, who made a backhand play in the hole at short and used some of Sexson's height as the throw made Sexson srtetch. Markakis whiffed on an 0-2 fastball up and away.

Putz' line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeouts, 10 pitches (8 strikes)

Gameball: Jose Lopez
Okay, I think he's out of that funk that he was in after the birth of Jose Jr. In his past four games, he's gone 9-for-19 (.474), with four RBIs and oddly with exactly zero extra-base hits. As I've said quite a few times, Lopez' month of May is what landed him in the All-Star game, not the month of June and hitting third, though that did correlate with the team catching fire. He's gone 50-for-187 (.267) with ten doubles, two triples, one homer, 20 RBIs, ten walks, and 28 strikeouts. In May, he was 33-for-114 (.289) with three doubles, three triples, four homers, 25 RBIs, four walks, and 11 strikeouts. In a revelation that should surprise absolutely nobody, May's Jose Lopez is not the usual Jose Lopez. Normal Jose Lopez is much closer to what we've seen the last couple months than what we saw in June. One question I'll still be asking months after the season is over is whether moving Lopez to third and Adrian Beltre to the second spot in the lineup that was held by Lopez was the right thing to do. Was it right to warm up Beltre at the expense of Lopez? Has this stunted the growth of Lopez as a hitter? Let's hope not.

Goat: Richie Sexson.
In a low-scoring game such as this, one might hope that a Sexson can get a hold of one, especially with the money being thrown his way. Of course, the Mariners knew what they were getting into when they signed him, and knew there would be games like this. Using what I said a couple sentences ago, the game was probably low-scoring because Sexson didn't do anything, so it's probably not that Sexson didn't do anything in a low-scoring game...kind of like a chicken-or-egg thing there. Sexson hasn't recorded a hit since homering in the eighth inning of the first game of this series to give the Mariners an insurance run, making in 6-4 as the Mariners went on to score three more runs in the inning. Sexson since has gone 0-for-8, striking out twice. After hitting .255 in June with eight homers and 26 RBIs, Sexson hit .244 with nine homers and 17 RBIs in July. He hasn't been hitting quite as well averagewise as he has in years past, but those last two months are almost vintage Sexson in terms of power numbers. His numbers might be incredible now if he wasn't so brutal in April and May.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 77-30 .720 -- W1
2002 65-42 .607 12 W2
2003 65-42 .607 12 W2
2000 62-45 .579 15 L1
2006 53-54 .495 24 W1
2005 46-61 .430 31 L2
2004 39-68 .364 38 L6

Zito. Washburn. Tomorrow.

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