Saturday, August 19, 2006


AP photo -- Chris Carlson

In 25 words or less: It's not every day you get to see a Major League record. The Mariners' intra-division losing streak can now vote and buy cigarettes.

This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Jered Weaver. The horribly slumping Ichiro was given the night off, and Willie Bloomquist hit leadoff, which of course gave the Mariners the best chance to beat Weaver. Taking Ichiro's spot in rightfield was Chris Snelling. That's fun. It shoudl be noted that when Bloomquist came to the plate in the third inning, Steve Physioc on the Angels' television broadcast said Bloomquist was from Bremerton (wrong) and went to college at the University of Washington (double wrong). The Mariners were trying to avoid losing their ninth straight game. The last Mariner team to do this was the magnificent 2004 team, which lost nine straight heading into the All-Star break en route to a grand 63-99 finish. That was also a season where Bob Melvin's contract was extended early on for whatever reason. All in all, I'm to the point where the Mariners are so hilariously bad that they might as well go all the way with it. You've lost eight straight, why not go for eight(een) more? Just bury this season already, I say. I guess the only thing that keeps me coming back day in and day out is that I'm a sadist.

Willie Bloomquist whiffed on a 1-2 fastball down and in. Jose Lopez took an 0-2 curve barely off the outside corner before being jammed on a 1-2 pitch and popping to left. Adrian Beltre was up 2-0 before popping an inside full-count pitch to left. Weaver threw 19 pitches.

Chone Figgins was up 2-0 and ended up bouncing to first. Maicer Izturis lined a 1-2 pitch off chest of a diving Ibañez (the dive was too short), and the ball rolled toward center, enabling Izturis to get the double. Orlando Cabrera chopped the first pitch very very high to the left side, where Beltre had no play and Izturis moved to third. Vladimir Guerrero had his bat explode on the first pitch, but he fisted the ball just over Betancourt's reach and into left for a single, scoring Figgins and moving Cabrera to second.
Garret Anderson whiffed on a 1-2 fastball that was blown past him. Juan Rivera walked on a 3-1 pitch barely up and in, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick bounced the first pitch to short. Hernandez threw 20 pitches.

Raul Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball away. Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed brutally on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt away on a pitch where Weaver dropped down sidearmed. Ben Broussard worked a 1-2 count full before reaching to pop a full-count pitch to center. Weaver threw 17 pitches and had 36 through two.

Mike Napoli worked a 1-2 count full before fouling a pitch off his front foot, then he flew out to the leftfield track. Reggie Willits hit a sinking fly to shallow center, but Bloomquist made the running and diving catch. Figgins was up 2-0 before popping to left. Hernandez threw 16 pitches and had 36 through two.

Kenji Johjima reached for an outside 1-2 pitch and bounced to short. Yuniesky Betancourt popped out to Kendrick on the infield grass. Chris Snelling had the hitters' counts before walking on a high full-count curve. Bloomquist was up 2-0 and whiffed on a high 2-2 fastball. Weaver threw 19 pitches and had 55 through three.

Izturis took an 0-2 pitch barely off the inside corner before taking a 2-2 slider(?) over the inside corner. Cabrera bounced up the middle to Lopez, who ranged to the backhand side and threw in time to first. Guerrero hit a second-pitch bullet to Beltre reaching above his head at third, who caught the ball in the palm of his glove and grimaced at the stinging of it all. Hernandez threw 13 pitches and had 49 through three.

Lopez whiffed on a high first pitch and Weaver went to his hands and knees after delivering the pitch, and the team trainer came out right away with pitching coach Bud Black as it appeared that Weaver may have twisted his right ankle a bit. Weaver threw a couple warmup pitches and stayed in the game. Lopez was down 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to second. Beltre bounced hard to third on the second pitch. Ibañez shot the first pitch through the right side for a single. Sexson popped the second pitch high to Kendrick near the first-base coaches' box. Weaver threw nine pitches and had 64 through four.

Anderson ripped a 2-0 fastball into the gap in rightcenter for a single. Rivera popped high to right. Kendrick took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner. Napoli clubbed a 2-2 fairly low curve over the centerfield wall for his first RBIs in 21 games.
Willits was down 0-2 before waving at a 1-2 breaking ball. Hernandez threw 20 pitches and had 69 through four.

Broussard popped the first pitch to Cabrera in shallow left. Johjima rolled the second pitch to short. Betancourt popped a 2-2 pitch to Guerrero near the rightfield corner. Weaver threw eight pitches and had 72 through five.

Figgins rolled the second pitch up the middle to Lopez. Izturis bad the hitters' counts before chopping to first (3-1 putout). Cabrera shot the second pitch through the left side for a single. Guerrero lined the second pitch into right for a single, moving Cabrera to second as Snelling flashed his arm on the play. Anderson whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and in. Hernandez threw 17 pitches and had 86 through five.

Snelling drilled a single into right. Bloomquist whiffed on a 1-2 pitch for the hat trick. Lopez bounced the first pitch right to third to start an easy 5-4-3 double play. Weaver threw eight pitches and had 80 through six.

Rivera was down 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to third, where Beltre barehanded and threw to first, much like Cabrera did yesterday. Kendrick bounced an 0-2 pitch to short, where Betancourt moved behind it but threw into the runner at first as Kendrick reached on the error. Napoli was down 0-2 and took a 2-2 curve for strike three but Kendrick stole second on the pitch. Willits was down 0-2 before flying out to left on a 2-2 pitch.

Hernandez' line: 6 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 107 pitches (69 strikes)

Beltre took an 0-2 pitch off the left side of the rib cage. Ibañez was up 2-0 and lined a single into left, moving Beltre to third. Sexson popped to Rivera in right and Beltre held at third on a throw that would have gotten him at the plate. Broussard whiffed on a high 0-2 fastball. Johjima had the hitters' counts before whiffing on a full-count curve off the plate outside (eighth pitch of the at-bat).

Weaver's line: 7 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 103 pitches (69 strikes)

Julio Mateo came in for Hernandez. Figgins worked a 1-2 count full and drilled a single past a diving Lopez and through the hole on the right side. Izturis took a 2-0 pitch and Figgins had the throw beat him at second, but Lopez had the ball come loose on Figgins' slide. Izturis walked on four pitches. Cabrera took a first-pitch ball and pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound with Johjima. Cabrera popped to Beltre halfway in along the third-base line on a 1-2 pitch. Guerrero fell behind 0-2 and popped to Snelling in rightcenter on a 1-2 pitch.

Eric O'Flaherty came in for Mateo. Anderson popped the first pitch high to center. O'Flaherty threw one pitch.

Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 19 pitches (10 strikes)

Scot Shields came in for Weaver. Betancourt bounced the second pitch to second. Snelling popped lazily to left. Ichiro, hitting for Bloomquist, rolled a 1-2 pitch to second.

Shields' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (7 strikes)

Ichiro stayed in the game to play right, and Snelling moved to center. Rivera bounced a 2-2 pitch hard past Betancourt and into leftcenter for a single. Kendrick was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 slider down and in. Napoli was up 3-1 and took a full-count pitch down and in, moving Rivera to second. Willits rolled the second pitch to short, where Betancourt went to Lopez at second for the out, and Napoli slid hard and Lopez bobbled the transfer as Rivera went to third. Figgins lined out to right.

O'Flaherty's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 22 pitches (12 strikes)

Francisco Rodriguez came in for Shields. Lopez popped an 0-2 pitch lazily near the rightfield corner. Beltre roped the first pitch down the leftfield line for what was originally called a home run. A fan reaching around to the fair side of the leftfield foul pole reached over the wall and caught the screaming first-pitch line drive on the fly. The umpires conferred after being spurred on by the Angels' acting manager Ron Roenicke and the ruling was reversed as it was called a ground-rule double. Ibañez took a pitch in the dirt that got away from Napoli as Beltre moved to third. Ibañez got ahead 3-1 and popped a full-count pitch to Napoli behind the plate. Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 slider over the outside corner.

Rodriguez' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: Chris Snelling.
Throwing him in rightfield and giving Ichiro most of the night off was quite a position in which to put Snelling. Nonetheless, he came through with a hard single and was the only Mariner hitter to draw a walk in the game. He also flashed his arm at one point, holding a runner from going around to third. So, knowing that he's got a pretty good arm and knowing that with Willie Bloomquist and Adam Jones, you're getting nothing offensively out of centerfield, isn't right now as good a time as any to start Ichiro in centerfield? Ever since Mike Cameron left, I've wanted Ichiro in center. For me, I always liked to have as much ground covered in centerfield as possible more than I liked having a cannon arm in rightfield. Thusly, my starting infield on Opening Day in 2004 would have been Randy Winn in left, Ichiro in center, and Raul Ibañez in right. That thought was further reinforced in the first couple weeks of that season when there were a couple of gappers and long line drives on which you immediately thought, "Cameron would have had that," as it dropped and rolled to the wall for a double or triple. Also, if you believe in hiding your weakest arm in leftfield, that Winn/Ichiro/Ibañez outfield would have done that.

Goat: Willie Bloomquist.
Ichiro gets the day off and Bloomquist gets the spot start and leads off. He takes advantage of this by striking out three times. His net contribution in this game compared with that of Ichiro lately is probably not much different, though Ichiro rarely strikes out three times in a game. Ichiro would have put the ball in play at least once more. So, number two Web Gem on Baseball Tonight aside, this night wasn't good for Bloomquist. He had his third strikeout for the second out in the top of the fifth, and was lifted for the pinch-hitting Ichiro with two out in the eighth, taking away Bloomquist's chance to strike out a fourth time. When the Mariners let Mark McLemore sign elsewhere (Baltimore) as a free agent after the 2003 offseason, they'd basically groomed Bloomquist to be the next McLemore. In a way, they have. Bloomquist plays a few positions and doesn't care where. The problem is that he hits like the 2003 McLemore rather than the 2002 or 2001 McLemore (see). The Mariners weren't completely wrong about it.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 87-35 .713 -- L2
2002 74-48 .607 13 L1
2003 74-48 .607 13 W1
2000 69-53 .566 18 L6
2006 56-66 .459 31 L9
2005 53-69 .434 34 W1
2004 46-76 .377 41 W1

Washburn. Lackey. Tonight.

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