Tuesday, August 08, 2006


AP photo -- Ted S. Warren

In 25 words or less: The bullpen does the job again because they're awesome, but it's partly because Moyer couldn't get out of the fifth.

This one featured Tim Corcoran going up against Jamie Moyer. Coming off of what most likely was the death knell to their playoff hopes, the Mariners hoped to rebound from yet another sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays came to town, and the Mariners hoped to take a series or something. Of course, the last time Jamie Moyer faced the Devil Rays, he balked in the only run of the game and Scott Kazmir shut down the Mariner bats. Going in the Mariners' favor was the fact that there was no one of Kazmir calibre taking the mound for Tampa Bay in this game.

Damon Hollins foul-tipped a full-count change on the outer half. Carl Crawford shot the first pitch just inside the bag at first and the ball banked off the stands and juked Ichiro, resulting in an easy triple. Jorge Cantu punched the second pitch through the right side of a drawn-in infield (why?) for a single, scoring Crawford.
Travis Lee nearly homered on a full count but ended up walking on an inside pitch. Greg Norton fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 pitch and Cantu took third on the pitch, though Lee stayed at first. Dioner Navarro hit a 2-2 pitch and flew out to Ichiro, who had to run all the way near the line to make the catch. Moyer threw 25 pitches.

Ichiro bounced to third on a 1-2 pitch. Jose Lopez slapped a low-and-away first pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Adrian Beltre clubbed the second pitch beyond the mass of inebriation to the right of the Mariners' bullpen and back toward some select eateries.
Raul Ibañez drove a long fly ball to center on a 2-2 pitch, but Hollins caught it and had hopped into the wall in a low-speed collision. Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 curve over the outside corner, possibly a bit low. Corcoran threw 19 pitches.

BJ Upton was ahead 3-0 (and shook off being misidentified by Dave Niehaus as Jonny Gomes, then Niehaus said David Wright was a Yankee) and popped a full-count pitch to right. Jonny Gomes had the hitters' counts before whiffing on a full-count change. Ben Zobrist (Niehaus was on fire at this point, saying "Zobriski" before correcting himself) got ahead 2-0 and ended up flying out to center. Moyer threw 18 pitches and had 43 through two.

Ben Broussard popped the first pitch very high to Lee behind the bag at first. Kenji Johjima popped the second pitch lazily to center. Yuniesky Betancourt bounced a single through the left side just past the reach of Zobrist at short. Willie Bloomquist watched the second pitch go by as Betancourt was gunned down by a one-hop throw from Navarro to Zobrist, who picked it nicely and laid down the tag. Corcoran threw nine pitches and had 28 through two.

Hollins hit a sinking liner to center that was caught on the run by Bloomquist. Crawford lined an 0-2 pitch to Ibañez in left. Cantu walked on a 3-1 pitch and really appeared at this point to not be too pleased with the strike zone. Lee smoked a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single to move Cantu to second. Norton bounced the second pitch through the left side for a single to score Cantu, who easily beat the Ibañez throw to the plate.
Navarro checkswung on a high pitch and tapped back to the mound. Moyer threw 20 pitches and had 63 through three.

Willie Bloomquist drilled a 2-2 pitch into center for a single, giving him a five-game hitting streak (true). Ichiro popped the second pitch high to shallow rightcenter. Lopez laced the first pitch into the leftcenter gap for a double, moving Bloomquist to third. Beltre ripped the second pitch right into Cantu's glove at second. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and was given the final two balls intentionally, loading the bases. Sexson took a full-count pitch low, forcing Bloomquist across and leaving the bases loaded.
Broussard bounced up the middle over the second-base bag, but Zobrist got to it and backhand flipped to a covering Cantu to force out Sexson. Corcoran threw 23 pitches and had 51 through three.

Upton worked an 0-2 count full before shooting a grounder past Betancourt and into left for a single. Gomes watched as Upton took off on first move and took second even with Moyer going to first on a pickoff throw as Upton beat the throw back to second. Gomes whiffed on an 0-2 pitch. Zobrist punched a double down the leftfield line, scoring Upton easily.
Hollins grounded hard to third, where Beltre went to a knee and did the whole spin-and-throw thing, getting the out at first as Zobrist held at second. Crawford laid the wood on the second pitch (the swing looked funny), scoring Zobrist. Ichiro's throw home was caught by Johjima about ten feet in front of the plate.
Cantu fell behind 0-2 and ended up flying out to the track in right on a 1-2 pitch. Moyer threw 23 pitches and had 86 through four.

Johjima fell behind 0-2 before popping a 2-2 pitch to Lee in foul ground on the right side. Betancourt took a 2-2 breaking ball just off the outside corner, but it was called a strike. Bloomquist was down 0-2 and ended up whiffing on a 1-2 fastball. Corcoran threw 14 pitches and had 65 through four.

Lee bounced a 3-1 pitch to Sexson behind the bag at first (3-1 putout). Norton poked a 2-0 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit. Navarro walked on a 3-1 pitch away.

Julio Mateo came in for Moyer. Upton popped to left on the first pitch. Gomes popped high to center. Mateo threw four pitches.

Moyer's line: 4 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches (55 strikes)

Ichiro rolled the second pitch to short and was barely beat by the throw from Zobrist. Lopez spanked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Beltre put a good charge into an 0-2 pitch but got under it a bit much and flew out to the track in left. Ibañez smacked the second pitch for a line drive four rows into the rightfield seats.
Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 pitch away.

Corcoran's line: 5 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 83 pitches (52 strikes)

Zobrist took a 2-2 change at the knees. Hollins had the hitters' counts and walked on a full-count pitch down and away. Crawford drilled the second pitch into right for a single to move Hollins to second. Cantu popped to Sexson behind the bag at first.

George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Lee bounced an 0-2 pitch to short, and Sexson nicely picked the Betancourt throw at first. Sherrill threw three pitches.

Mateo's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 23 pitches (15 strikes)

Dan Miceli came in for Corcoran. Broussard fell behind 0-2 and lost his bat on a 1-2 pitch on which he'd whiffed. Johjima got too much under one, hitting it hard but flying out to left. Betancourt rolled the second pitch to short, where Zobrist made a nice play on the run.

Miceli's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (7 strikes)

Norton fell behind 0-2 and popped to Betancourt in shallow left on a 2-2 pitch (eighth pitch of the at-bat). Navarro whiffed on an 0-2 pitch.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Upton was down 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 fastball. Soriano threw four pitches.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (12 strikes)

Chad Harville came in for Miceli. Bloomquist chopped the second pitch to second. Ichiro lined a 1-2 pitch right to Zobrist at short. Lopez popped a 3-1 pitch to Cantu backing onto the outfield grass. Harville threw 11 pitches.

Gomes flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on an 0-2 pitch. Zobrist lined the first pitch in front of Ichiro in right for a single. Hollins hit the second pitch for a sinking liner into rightcenter that looked like it might drop, but Ichiro ran all the way over to make the catch. Crawford fouled an 0-2 pitch back and off of Bruce Froemming's left shoulder behind the plate, and he took a few seconds to shake it off and have the company of Rick Griffin. Johjima got Crawford's follow-through off his mask as well on the pitch. Crawford ended up dumping a 2-2 pitch into the leftcenter gap for a single, moving Zobrist to third.

JJ Putz came in for Soriano. Cantu watched the second pitch as Crawford took second on indifference. Cantu was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a full-count splitter. Putz threw six pitches.

Soriano's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeouts, 16 pitches (13 strikes)

Beltre bounced the first pitch to first (3-1 putout). Ibañez rolled to the hole on the left side, where Zobrist had a way to go to get to it and did so, but booted it once he gloved it. Sexson bounced a 3-0 pitch to short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play.

Harville's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 19 pitches (11 strikes)

Lee poked the second pitch through the right side for a single. Norton popped the first pitch to Bloomquist in rightcenter. Navarro watched as Lee stole second on a 2-0 pitch. Navarro was ahead 3-0 before walking on a full-count fastball up and in, then Josh Paul came in to run for him. Upton broke his bat on a slow bouncer to short, and Betancourt charged and threw to first in time, but Lee moved to third. Gomes took a full-count splitter down and in, loading the bases. Chaves visited the mound. Zobrist mercifully popped a 2-2 pitch to Bloomquist in shallow center to end Putz' best Eddie Guardado impression (the good kind).

Putz' line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 29 pitches (15 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
He was 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs, and an intentional walk. Even the out he made was on a drive that went to the warning track. That hard-hit ball was more worthy of a hit than the roller to short that Ben Zobrist booted, but oh well. He was hitting the ball hard. By my count and discretion, the last solid start from a Mariner starting pitcher was on July 29th in Cleveland, when Jarrod Washburn went 6 1/3 and gave up a run on five hits, walked one, and struck out five. That in and of itself doesn't have much to do with Ibañez, but what it does say to me is that if the starting pitching is faltering and if the bullpen is currently getting worked hard and soaking up a ton of innings, the offense has to put it together and step it up. It'd also be nice if the bullpen got some more low-pressure innings, though I guess that ends up on the shoulders of the early-inning relievers like a Jake Woods or a Julio Mateo or a Sean Green. Then you hope those guys don't toss away the game so you can get into the deeper reaches of the bullpen with Rafael Soriano, George Sherrill, Mark Lowe, JJ Putz, etc.

Goat: Jamie Moyer.
It was apparent early on that the strike zone wasn't much in Moyer's favor. He surrendered three walks in the game. In the last three games, Seattle starting pitchers have combined to throw a grand total of twelve innings. All Mariner fans as well as I love how the Mariner bullpen has done all year. So when the Mariners have 13 games left in a stretch where they play 17 games without a day off, the rested bullpen is a good bullpen. Joel Piñeiro, Gil Meche, and now Moyer have all done terrible and have all turned it over to the bullpen to get massive innings. Let's hope that the Mariner bullpen doesn't implode onto itself, but the only way to alleviate the problem is if one of the starting pitchers steps up and gives seven or gets into the eighth. Of course, it's all on Felix to do that in the middle game of this series. What'll he end up doing? I'll venture to guess he won't throw any more than six innings, hopefully give up just two or three runs, maybe seven hits. Most importantly, I hope he doesn't walk a bunch of guys. No more than two walks from Hernandez would be nice. Seven or eight strikeouts would be nice. Anyway, the fact that the Mariners need Felix to be the stopper (of the bad-start streak) tells you all you need to know about the starting pitching situation right now.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 80-31 .721 -- L1
2002 69-42 .622 11 W6
2003 68-43 .613 12 W2
2000 65-46 .586 15 W3
2006 54-57 .486 26 W1
2005 48-63 .432 32 W1
2004 41-70 .369 39 L1

Seo. Hernandez. Tonight.

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