Friday, August 25, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

In 25 words or less: The first series win in two weeks isn't such a big deal until you consider that 11-game losing streak that happened as well.

This one featured Randy Johnson going up against Jarrod Washburn. Adrian Beltre hurt his neck breaking up the double play on Friday night, forcing Willie Bloomquist into the starting lineup at third. Translation: bunt to the third-base side. Also, TJ Bohn got his first Major League start, taking rightfield. Richie Sexson was the designated hitter on this night as Eduardo Perez played in the field at first. Kenji Johjima started behind the plate for the Mariners, who had penciled in Rene Rivera behind the plate on the three previous lineup cards. Alex Rodriguez missed the middle game of the series with some throat-related virus and didn't start in this game either. In the game post from the night before, I lamented that there was no way the Mariners would win this game. Of course, the last time I did such a thing, the Mariners won that game as well. Regardless of what happened in this game, the Mariners would face the Red Sox the next night with Curt Schilling on the mound. Yes, that's Johnson and Schilling on consecutive nights, except they won't be facing the Diamondbacks of the recent past.

Johnny Damon had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch low and away. Derek Jeter took a 2-2 fastball over the inside corner. Bobby Abreu took an 0-2 pitch barely off the outside corner but whiffed on a change on the next pitch. Jason Giambi rode a 2-2 pitch to deep leftcenter, but Ichiro ran it down. Intriguingly, the cameras caught Washburn talking with plate umpire Jeff Nelson before the commercial break. Washburn threw 19 pitches.

Ichiro was ahead 3-0 and one-hopped to the centerfield wall on a 3-1 pitch for a double. Willie Bloomquist popped the second pitch to rightcenter, and Ichiro tagged and went to third easily (Damon's arm). Jose Lopez lined an up-and-away second-pitch fastball into right for a single, scoring Ichiro.
Richie Sexson got jammed a bit, flying out to fairly deep center on the second pitch. Eduardo Perez was down 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to third. Johnson threw 16 pitches.

Jorge Posada took an 0-2 fastball over the outside corner. Robinson Cano fell behind 0-2 and hit a low liner to Snelling in left on a 1-2 pitch. Melky Cabrera whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Washburn threw 13 pitches and had 32 through two.

Kenji Johjima nearly doubled down the leftfield line but ended up popping to Wilson on the infield on a 2-2 pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt busted his bat on the first pitch and bounced out to second. TJ Bohn whiffed on an 0-2 slider down and in. Johnson threw 11 pitches and had 27 through two.

Craig Wilson poked a 2-0 pitch over the mound and up the middle for a single. Nick Green waved at an 0-2 fastball over the outside corner. Damon drilled a hanging breaking ball into right for a single, moving Wilson to third. Jeter rolled a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single, scoring Wilson and moving Damon to second.
Abreu worked a 1-2 count full (supposedly checking his swing on a 2-2 pitch) before whiffing on a curve down and away. Giambi worked an 0-2 count full (taking a 2-2 curve barely off the inside corner) before whiffing on a breaking ball away. Washburn threw 26 pitches and had 58 through three.

Snelling poked the second pitch just inside the leftfield line for a double. Ichiro bounced the second pitch to second, moving Snelling to third. Bloomquist unleashed a swinging bunt on the first pitch, rolling it along the first-base line, where it never rolled foul and Snelling stayed at third on the single. Lopez did the same as his first at-bat, getting an 0-2 fastball away and sticking a single into right, scoring Snelling and moving Bloomquist to third.
Sexson nearly drilled the first pitch down the leftfield line for a double. Sexson didn't get all of an 0-2 slightly inside pitch, but nonetheless dumped it into the leftcenter gap, rolling it to the wall for a double to score Bloomquist and Cabrera. Pitching coach Ron Guidry visited the mound.
Perez took a full-count slider over the inner half. Johjima bounced the first pitch to second. Johnson threw 18 pitches and had 45 through three.

Posada took an 0-2 pitch just above the left hip, and Washburn was none too pleased about this, and neither was I. Cano smacked the second pitch past the reach of a diving Betancourt and into center for a single, moving Posada to second. Cabrera whiffed on a full-count slider, making it a season-high eight strikeouts for Washburn. Wilson took a low second pitch and Johjima caught Cano napping off of first, throwing over to Perez, who took the throw and laid down to block the bag as he tagged Cano for the out. Wilson walked on a 3-1 high curve. Green was hit by the second pitch, loading the bases. Damon hit a sinking liner to left on a 1-2 pitch, but it was caught on the run by Snelling heading toward the line. Washburn threw 22 pitches and had 80 through four.

Betancourt popped an 0-2 pitch to Damon in rightcenter. Bohn bounced a 2-2 pitch to short. Snelling fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch barely down and away before taking Abreu to the rightfield track on a full-count pitch. Johnson threw 17 pitches and had 62 through four.

Jeter bounced the first pitch just inside the rightfield line in the corner and into the stands in foul ground for a ground-rule double. Abreu drove the first pitch to Ichiro in leftcenter, who threw quickly to third to hold Jeter at second. Giambi got under one, flying out high to right. Posada was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Washburn threw nine pitches and had 89 through five.

Ichiro took a 1-2 fastball that apparently caught the outside corner. Bloomquist bounced a 2-2 pitch to second. Lopez popped the second pitch to first. Johnson threw 13 pitches and had 75 through five.

Cano was horribly jammed on the second pitch, punching a ground ball past the mound to Betancourt, who threw into the runner to pull Perez off the bag, but Perez came off and tagged Cano in the chest for Washburn's first infield out of the night. Cabrera flew out to right on a 2-2 pitch. Wilson was down 0-2 and bounced a soft grounder in front of the bag at second, where Betancourt negotiated the hop while charging, then he threw in time to first. Washburn threw 11 pitches and had 100 through six.

Sexson grounded an 0-2 pitch to Green at third, who made a nice sliding stop and threw in time to first. Perez walked on a low full-count pitch. Johjima bounced a 1-2 pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. Johnson threw 15 pitches and had 90 through six.

Green got behind 0-2 and rode a 2-2 pitch to deep centerfield, but it was nicely caught on the run by Ichiro reaching high above his head on the track. Damon quickly was the buzzkill, dropping the barrel on a first-pitch fastball, putting it into the second row of rightfield seats.

Julio Mateo came in for Washburn. Jeter rolled the first pitch softly to second. Abreu popped high to Betancourt backing into shallow leftcenter on a somewhat treacherous play as Snelling and Ichiro peeled away at the last second. Mateo threw four pitches.

Washburn's line: 6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts, 108 pitches (68 strikes)
Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (3 strikes)

Betancourt reached on an up-and-away 0-2 pitch, popping to shallow center. Bohn fouled off a 3-0 pitch (they gave him the green light) before walking on a 3-1 pitch that was low. Snelling lined the first pitch to Abreu in front of the rightfield track on the first pitch and looked to lose the ball in the lights, though I think it was more likely he was trying to deke Bohn off of first. Ichiro bounced the first pitch through the right side for a single to move Bohn to second. Bloomquist popped the second pitch to Abreu in front of the rightfield track. Johnson threw 12 pitches and had 102 through seven.

George Sherrill came in for Mateo and Ben Broussard came in for Perez to play first. Giambi whiffed on a 2-2 fastball up and away. Posada was up 2-0 before flying out to right. Cano fell behind 0-2 and popped to Ichiro in leftcenter on a 1-2 count. Sherrill threw 14 pitches.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (9 strikes)

Lopez just missed doubling the first pitch into the leftfield corner. Lopez looped an 0-2 pitch to Cano moving into the outfield grass on the right side. Sexson popped the first pitch very high to Damon in leftcenter. Broussard bounced along the first-base line to Wilson, who stepped on the bag. Johnson threw seven pitches and had 109 through eight.

Johnson's line: 8 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 109 pitches (80 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to Broussard at first, who had it go off his glove and he booted it before gobbling it up and tossing to a covering Putz at the first-base bag. Bernie Williams, hitting for Wilson, shot a grounder to the mound that went off of the leg of Putz and ricocheted to Lopez at second, who threw in time to first. Trainer Rick Griffin came to the mound to make sure Putz was okay. Alex Rodriguez, hitting for Green, took an 0-2 pitch just off the outside corner before whiffing on a belt-high 2-2 fastball.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (10 strikes)

Gameball: Jarrod Washburn.
Was this a world-beating start for Washburn? No. Was this his best start of the year? No again. When you consider the kind of starting pitching the Mariners have gotten lately out of their rotation, however, this start was exactly what the team needed. The team won the first game of the series on Tuesday night with five innings from Cha Seung Baek, which really doesn't do the bullpen many favors in terms of rest. Though the middle game of the series unquestionably was terrible for the Mariners, Joel Piñeiro gets minor credit for being able to finish off the game after Felix Hernandez was raked over the coals and couldn't get out of the fourth inning. The last two really decent Mariner starts before this game involved Jake Woods on Sunday making his first Major League start and Jamie Moyer making his final start as a Mariner last Thursday. Then again, Washburn somehow racked up nine strikeouts in this game, besting his previous season high by two. Given that, I guess this gameball fits in the "this may never happen again this season" category. How often is Washburn going to record more strikeouts in a game where Randy Johnson is on the mound for the opposing team?

Goat: Kenji Johjima.
In a pretty good team win, Johjima is merely the guy with the worst batting line. I already gave Washburn the gameball, the bullpen threw 2 2/3 perfect innings, and only Betancourt was the other 0-for-3. Johjima left two runners on base and Betancourt left none. The Mariner catcher also grounded into a double play. Still, Johjima snap-threw to nail Robinson Cano leading too far off of first, which was a key play considering the Yankees had two on and one out in the fourth with the Mariners trying to protect a 4-1 lead. That inning ended with the Chris Snelling running catch on the Johnny Damon fly ball. So far in the month of August, Johjima is hitting 20-for-63 (.317) with three doubles, a homer, and five RBIs, walking once and striking out five times. Johjima returned to the starting lineup in this game after Rene Rivera got three starts in succession, relegating Johjima to pinch-hitting duty. Still, the Mariners have a catcher that's hitting .292 to extend the meat of the order a little further down the lineup card.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 91-36 .717 -- W2
2002 76-51 .598 15 W1
2003 76-51 .598 15 L2
2000 70-57 .551 21 L2
2006 58-69 .457 33 W1
2005 54-73 .425 37 L1
2004 47-80 .370 44 W1

Schilling. Woods. Tonight.

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