Tuesday, August 15, 2006


AP photo -- Jeff Chiu

In 25 words or less: Lucky thirteen! The Mariners pulled a page out of the 2004 season, finding a brand new way to lose.

This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Barry Zito. Jose Lopez returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday with the jammed thumb, but Richie Sexson was out and put onto the bereavement list (minimum three games) since his wife gave birth to twins. Why Mike Morse was called up, I have no idea. The Mariners were trying to avoid a five-game losing streak. It would also be a stretch of nine losses in 13 games as well with a loss in this game. A loss would drop the Mariners to nine games back of Oakland, essentially burying them once and for all in the AL West. To top that off, the Mariners would have two more games in the series against Oakland remaining regardless of what happened in this game.

Ichiro popped the first pitch to Chavez in front of the tarp on the left side, roughly three miles away from home plate. Jose Lopez popped to Kendall in foul ground on the right side on an 0-2 pitch. Adrian Beltre walked on a 3-1 count. Raul Ibañez chopped a full-count pitch slowly over the mound and to Ellis, who played the hop and threw barely in time to first. Zito threw 15 pitches.

Jason Kendall rolled a single through the left side. Bobby Kielty popped high to Betancourt on a full count. Milton Bradley bounced the first pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. Washburn threw 11 pitches.

Eduardo Perez whiffed on a full-count high fastball. Kenji Johjima rattled a ball off the base of the wall in left just inside the line, but it was hit too hard and Kielty got there quickly, so Johjima had to hold at first with the single. Ben Broussard walloped a 1-2 pitch over the wall in rightcenter.
Yuniesky Betancourt hit a 1-2 pitch hard but right at Kielty in left. Willie Bloomquist fell behind 0-2 and popped to Kielty in shallow left on a 2-2 pitch. Zito threw 24 pitches and had 39 through two.

Frank Thomas was up 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Eric Chavez fell behind 0-2 before lining a 1-2 pitch to Ibañez in fairly deep left. Jay Payton shot a ball into the leftfield corner for a double, moving Thomas to third. Nick Swisher punched a single through the left side, scoring Thomas and moving Payton to third.
Marco Scutaro had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch away, loading the bases. Mark Ellis reached on a 1-2 pitch but hit a low liner to Ibañez in left. Kendall was up 2-0 and ended up bouncing to Betancourt. Washburn threw 29 pitches and had 40 through two.

Ichiro drilled a single through the mound and up the middle. Lopez drove a double into the leftfield corner, moving Ichiro to third. Beltre hit a too-high 3-0 pitch to Chavez near the bullpen plates on the left side in foul ground, and Chavez fired straight home to keep Ichiro from scoring. Ibañez was down 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner. Perez worked an 0-2 count full but took a five-years-ago deathly Zito curve over the inside corner. Zito threw 23 pitches and had 62 through three.

Kielty lined a single into left on a full count. Bradley was ahead 2-0 and split his bat on a full-count pitch, rolling it to third to start what was nearly a 5-4-3 double play, but Lopez double-clutched on his throw to first and Bradley was safe. Thomas popped high to fairly deep right. Chavez walked on a 3-1 pitch to move Bradley to second. Payton had the hitters' counts but grounded hard to third. Washburn threw 27 pitches and had 67 through three.

Johjima grounded hard to third on a 1-2 pitch. Broussard popped the first pitch high to Chavez near the third-base coaches' box. Betancourt was ahead 3-0 before taking a full-count pitch in the dirt away. Bloomquist took the second pitch for a strike as Betancourt took off and was thrown out at second by Kendall. It's unfortunate that Betancourt is a horrible base stealer; his speed is go great, but it's not turning into steals as often as it should. Zito threw 15 pitches and had 77 through four.

Swisher popped near the bullpen mounds on the right side, but it dropped near Broussard in pursuit. Swisher was down 0-2 before bouncing out to third on a 2-2 pitch. Scutaro popped to right on the first pitch. Ellis reached and drove a 2-2 low fastball over the wall in leftcenter.
Kendall rolled a double to the wall in the rightfield corner. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Kielty was up 2-0 and popped high to Ibañez in leftcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Washburn threw 20 pitches and had 87 through four.

Bloomquist was ahead 2-0 and found some lightning in a bottle, driving a pitch off the stairway in left. If you can't hit against Washburn, you might as well hit for him. He finally has more homers than I do this season.
Ichiro whiffed brutally on a 1-2 curve down and away. Lopez fell behind 0-2 but poked a single into left on a 1-2 pitch. Beltre had the hitters' counts and bashed a 3-1 pitch past Kielty just in front of the track near the leftfield corner, moving Lopez to third. Ibañez bounced a 1-2 pitch deep into the hole at second, scoring Lopez and moving Beltre to third.
Perez tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Zito threw 27 pitches and had 104 through five.

Zito's line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 104 pitches (63 strikes)

Bradley bunted the first pitch in front, but Washburn got to it and threw to first. Thomas took an 0-2 pitch barely outside, then crushed a 2-2 pitch a couple rows back into the second deck (473 feet away) inside the foul pole in left. Washburn jawed a bit at plate umpire Fieldin Culberth after the ball left the yard.
Chavez split his bat on an inside pitch but doubled into the rightfield corner. Payton popped the second pitch to Beltre in foul ground on the left side. Swisher hit a 3-0 pitch for a screaming line drive right into Beltre's glove that was destined to be a double down the leftfield line. Washburn threw 15 pitches and had 102 through five.

Washburn's line: 5 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 102 pitches (56 strikes)

Chad Gaudin came in for Zito. Johjima bounced the second pitch to third. Broussard was up 2-0 but rolled out to second. Betancourt had the hitters' counts and drilled a 3-1 pitch into left for a single. Ichiro was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to a diving Swisher at first, who took it to the bag for the out. Gaudin threw 15 pitches.

Mark Lowe came in for Washburn. Scutaro painted the outside corner with a 1-2 fastball. Ellis worked an 0-2 count full before rolling out to short. Kendall grounded a 2-2 pitch up the middle to a sliding Lopez, who threw from the seat of his pants in time to first. Lowe threw 18 pitches.

Ichiro walked on four pitches. Lopez bounced a 2-2 pitch right to Chavez to start a 5-4-3 double play. Beltre popped a 2-2 pitch to Kendall behind the plate. Gaudin threw 15 pitches and had 30 total.

Kielty rode a 2-0 pitch to Ibañez on the track in leftcenter. Bradley whiffed on a letter-high 0-2 fastball. Thomas was up 3-1 before popping a full-count pitch to Broussard in foul ground on the right side. Lowe threw 12 pitches and had 30 total.

Lowe's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 30 pitches (18 strikes)

Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full before popping to left. Perez worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Johjima popped a 1-2 pitch foul down the rightfield line that was nearly run down by Ellis. Johjima ended up foul-tipping with a weak swing on a breaking ball way inside.

Joe Kennedy, pitching for the first time since May 9th, came in for Gaudin. Broussard took a 2-2 fastball across the outside corner.

Gaudin's line: 2 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 48 pitches (26 strikes)
Kennedy's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (3 strikes)

George Sherrill came in for Lowe. Chavez lined the second pitch into right for a single.

Rafael Soriano came in for Sherrill. Payton popped an 0-2 pitch to Broussard in foul ground on the right side. Swisher was ahead 3-0 but got a hold of a 3-1 pitch, putting it just over the wall in right. Chavez scored as well.
Scutaro grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to second. Ellis was down 0-2 and popped a 1-2 pitch to Ibañez in shallow leftcenter.

Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (2 strikes)
Soriano's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 19 pitches (13 strikes)

Justin Duchscherer came in for Kennedy, Mark Kotsay came in to play center, and Payton moved to left. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Betancourt, grounded hard to short. Bloomquist hit the second pitch for a sinking liner to shallow center on which Kotsay made a sliding catch after not having played centerfield in about a week. Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before bouncing a single into left. Lopez watched with the 1-2 count as Duchscherer picked Ichiro off of first. That's new.

Duchscherer's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (10 strikes)

Gameball: Mark Lowe.
Before I start with Lowe here, let me say that I almost put Willie Bloomquist in this spot, but since I didn't, I still have to give him his due because it may be another long while until he homers again. He last homered on September 27th of 2004, his second homer of that season. The oddities are that Bloomquist's last homer not only came in Oakland, but it also came against Barry Zito, much like the one in this game. His three-run shot in the 2004 game tied the game at 5-5 before Ron Villone and Julio Mateo made it 6-5 for Oakland in the bottom of the ninth. In this game, Bloomquist broke the 2-2 tie and gave the Mariners a lead they wouldn't relinquish until Nick Swisher did his thing in the bottom of the eighth. The bottom line is that I'll root for anyone that helps my team win, and in this game more than any other game in a long time, Bloomquist did that. Now to Lowe. He had a week off of game action as the team decided to rest his elbow a bit, brought on by a heavy dependence on his wicked slider. In two outings since, his ERA is still nonexistent, and he's walked one and struck out three. He hasn't allowed a hit either. The whole elbow thing is kind of odd too since his last appearance before the shutdown (August 5th against Oakland) was probably the most any of us had seen him struggle all year. So is he basically a shutout machine if he's healthy?

Goat: Eduardo Perez.
He walked once, struck out twice, and didn't get a hit. So far as a Mariner, Perez has gone 5-for-42 (.214) with a homer as his only extra-base hit. He has driven in six runs, walked six times, and struck out 12 hitters. Based on those numbers alone, someone could probably say that it's not really much of an improvement over what Carl Everett was giving the team when he was here, but who cares? I didn't want that option to vest anyway, and I didn't want to watch him waste at-bats for this team any longer. I said on a few occasions that it would benefit the Mariners more if they finally shook themselves from thinking that the designated hitter should be a position for an everyday player, and finally they did it when they designated Carl Everett for assignment. Not everybody is Edgar Martinez. As Jarrod Washburn found out, not everybody is Frank Thomas. To me, it takes a special kind of circumstance for an everyday DH to be a viable option. Otherwise, that slot in the lineup should be cycled through the rest of the roster to give guys days off in the field or to throw a platoon there like the Mariners currently have.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 85-33 .720 -- W2
2002 72-46 .610 13 L1
2003 71-47 .602 14 L1
2000 69-49 .585 16 L2
2006 56-62 .475 29 L5
2005 51-67 .432 34 W2
2004 45-73 .381 40 W2

Piñeiro. Saarloos. Tonight.

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