Tuesday, August 29, 2006


AP photo -- Ted S. Warren

In 25 words or less: It's a win, but ouch. What Rafael Soriano took to the head reminded me of Brad Holman and Norm Charlton all over again.

This one featured Jered Weaver going up against Jarrod Washburn. Jose Lopez again was hitting eighth. Willie Bloomquist did not start. Dave Niehaus said the gametime temperature was 59 degrees, and though I know you all aren't looking forward to it in the Northwest, I miss having four seasons. You don't get four seasons in Hawaii. It seems like it's been mid-80s to low-90s forever here. Playing angsty music while driving just doesn't do the same job for me if it isn't cold and gray outside. Oh yeah, a little over two hours after Felix Hernandez twirled his masterpiece, a 3.7-magnitude earthquake shook the area. The quake was shallow and about 40 miles away. Let me also say that I wish the Mariners television crew would stop using the Rex Hudler interview clips from their pregame show because, well, he's annoying. God forbid I could be scrolling through the channels here and watching Vin Scully do a Dodger game on FSN Prime Ticket, and then press the down-channel button and being subject to Steve Physioc and Hudler. Orlando Cabrera had a sore throwing hand, possibly aiding in any defensive throwing mishap that came about. Can I get something off my chest? Robb Quinlan has an ugly swing. Can I get something else off my chest? I thought Cal Ripken, Jr.'s swing was very ugly as well.

Yeah, I decided to keep it somewhat happy and pick a non-Rafael Soriano photo to pull off the wire.

Chone Figgins worked an 0-2 count full before failing to hold a checkswing on a fastball that nearly hit him in the legs. Maicer Izturis broke his bat and fisted a one-hopper to first. Orlando Cabrera lined a double to the wall in rightcenter. Vladimir Guerrero singled into right, where Snelling gunned straight home, and Johjima took his eye off the ball and had it go off his glove. If Johjima fields the ball cleanly, Cabrera is out by ten feet. Guerrero went to second on the play. Later in the game, it was announced that Guerrero was getting an RBI on the play in what apparently was a scoring change.
Juan Rivera whiffed on an 0-2 fastball. Washburn threw 17 pitches.

Ichiro got a hold of the second pitch, hitting a fly ball that just kept carrying until it left the yard near the equipment tunnel in rightcenter.
Chris Snelling f#*$ing lasered a line drive that went eight rows deep into the rightfield seats. This was his first homer of the season and third of his career.
Adrian Beltre ripped a 1-2 pitch off the top of the wall (yellow line) in front of the visitors' bullpen for a double. Raul Ibañez took the first pitch in the dirt, and it got away from Napoli behind the plate, moving Beltre to third. Ibañez ended up shooting a base hit into the gap in rightcenter for a double, scoring Beltre. Pitching coach Bud Black quickly came out to the mound.
Richie Sexson nubbed a 1-2 pitch along the left side, where Weaver came off the mound and threw to first, moving Ibañez to third. Ben Broussard lined a ball just foul into the rightfield corner that would have been a double. Broussard whiffed on a 2-2 high fastball. Kenji Johjima popped high to Napoli a few feet behind the plate. Weaver threw 24 pitches.

Garret Anderson foul-tipped a 1-2 outside breaking ball into Johjima's glove. Robb Quinlan fouled off three 1-2 pitches before flying out to fairly deep center. Howie Kendrick two-hopped the second pitch to Beltre on the left side. Washburn threw 13 pitches and had 30 through two.

Jose Lopez got a nice 3-1 pitch to hit, but merely flew out to left. Yuniesky Betancourt had the hitters' counts and took a slider away for a walk, and Mike Scioscia, Black, and a trainer came out to see what was up with Weaver's pitching hand, which apparently had a cut on the right thumb (on the knuckle, above the nail). Weaver stayed in the game. Ichiro was down 0-2 and reached way down for a 1-2 pitch, dumping it into shallow right for a single to move Betancourt to second. Snelling whiffed on a 1-2 fastball up and away. Beltre popped a first-pitch low breaking ball into the glove of Cabrera on the left side. Weaver threw 20 pitches and had 44 through two.

Mike Napoli popped the second pitch to right. Figgins bounced to Lopez moving into shallow center. Izturis was down 0-2 and slapped a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Cabrera grounded to Lopez in the hole on the right side. Washburn threw 13 pitches and had 43 through three.

Ibañez turned on a pitch, hitting a very high fly ball that kept carrying and landed ten rows into the rightfield seats. That's good for 104 RBIs on the year, a new career high for Ibañez.
Sexson popped the second pitch to left. Broussard put the barrel down on a 1-2 pitch, singling into center and probably saving him from a goat for the night. Johjima shot the second pitch off the glove of Izturis at third and into foul ground down the leftfield line, and Broussard made a big turn at third before hurrying back as he would have been out by a long shot (in addition, he had taken off with the pitch). Johjima also went to second on that play. Lopez bounced a 2-0 pitch right to Kendrick, who threw straight home, and Broussard was hung up between third and home as Johjima went to third on the play. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and flew out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Weaver threw 19 pitches and had 63 through three.

Guerrero bounced hard to third on the first pitch. Rivera bounced an 0-2 pitch to Sexson in the hole on the left side, where he made the backhand play and tossed to the covering Washburn. Anderson shot a ball up the middle that was caught on a dive by Betancourt, who got back up and threw in time to first on a very nice play. Washburn threw nine pitches and had 52 through four.

Ichiro popped up weakly to second on the first pitch. Snelling reached down on a second-pitch sinker and lined it into the third row of seats beyond the rightfield wall.
Beltre lined out to left on the second pitch. Ibañez walked on four pitches. Sexson took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner on a call he didn't particularly like. Weaver threw 13 pitches and had 76 through four.

Quinlan rolled the second pitch deep into the hole at short, where it came up Betancourt's arm, though Quinlan might have been safe anyway on what was ruled a single. Kendrick popped a 2-0 pitch to Ichiro in rightcenter. Napoli walked on a full-count high fastball. Figgins worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball. Izturis rolled right to short for a 6-4 force on Napoli. Washburn threw 22 pitches and had 74 through five.

Broussard rolled the first pitch to a charging Cabrera, who had to throw quickly to try to get Broussard, but couldn't as his throw got away from Quinlan, but not far enough for Broussard to advance (single). Johjima whiffed on a 1-1 breaking ball in the dirt away as Broussard stole second (first of the season). Johjima bounced a 2-2 pitch to short that Cabrera bobbled twice (error) and had no play. Lopez bunted the first pitch along the left side, where Napoli came out from behind the plate and threw in time to first, moving Broussard and Johjima to third and second. Betancourt bounced right to short (drawn-in infield), where Broussard took off on contact and again was hung up between third and second, but Broussard stayed in it long enough for Betancourt to move to second as Johjima was camped on third while Broussard was getting tagged out.

JC Romero came in for Weaver. Ichiro was intentionally walked to load the bases. Snelling bounced a 3-1 pitch to Kendrick in the hole on the right side.

Weaver's line: 4 2/3 innings, 5 runs, 9 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 86 pitches (55 strikes)
Romero's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (2 strikes)

Cabrera popped the first pitch to right. Guerrero got ahead 2-0 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Sexson in foul ground near the first-base line. Rivera grounded the first pitch hard near the third-base bag, where Beltre slid to a knee on his backhand side and made the long throw to first in time. Washburn threw seven pitches and had 81 through six.

Hector Carrasco came in for Romero. Beltre whipped the first pitch over a leaping Cabrera at short and into left for a single. Ibañez bounced a 2-2 pitch back to the mound, where Carrasco threw to second for an out (1-6), but Ibañez beat the back end of the double play. Sexson drilled the second pitch into left for a single to move Ibañez to second. Broussard got ahead 3-1 and drove a full-count pitch to deep center, taking Figgins to the track. Johjima bounced an 0-2 pitch to third, where Izturis threw a one-hopper to first that was a bit wide and got past Quinlan, enabling Ibañez to barely beat a subsequent throw home by a recovering Quinlan.
Lopez had the hitters' counts before rolling a 3-1 pitch to short, where Cabrera made a casual backhand flip to second for the out on Johjima. Carrasco threw 23 pitches.

Anderson got a meaty fastball up over the inner half and golfed it about twelve rows into the rightfield seats.
Quinlan drilled an 0-2 pitch into the visitors' bullpen, off the staircase.
Kendrick looped a second pitch into shallow center that was caught on the run by Ichiro. Napoli walked on a full-count pitch down and in. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit, along with a couple on infielders in what apparently wasn't a stall tactic since Mike Hargrove didn't come immediately afterward with the hook (Rafael Soriano was warming in the pen). Figgins flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter on the second pitch. Izturis rolled the second pitch to short for an easy 6-4 force on Napoli at second. Washburn threw

Washburn's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 100 pitches (65 strikes)

Betancourt popped the second pitch to Figgins, who had to run straight back to catch the ball hit over his head. Ichiro was down 0-2 and nubbed a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Snelling had the hitters' counts before grounding a full-count pitch to Kendrick in the hole on the right side.

Carrasco's line: 2 innings, 1 run (unearned), 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 37 pitches (23 strikes)

Rafael Soriano came in for Washburn. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner. Guerrero crushed the first pitch off the right side of Soriano's head (particularly, his ear), and it ricocheted into foul ground on the left side for a single. Soriano fell to the ground immediately and was attended was met with a mad dash of trainers after play was called dead. As you may imagine, the entire ballpark fell silent. Fortunately, Soriano appeared to be conscious the whole time (I inferred this from the live feed, but this was later confirmed by the broadcast crew). Soriano was put onto a gurney by the on-site EMTs, wheeled off the field of play on a football injury-style cart, and subsequently to Harborview Medical Center. Later in the night, I heard on SportsCenter that Soriano was also able to speak afterward. [late night edit -- Soriano was hit behind the right ear and suffered a concussion.]

Sean Green came in for Soriano. Rivera was up 3-1 before rolling a full-count pitch through the left side for a single to move Guerrero to third.

George Sherrill came in for Green. Anderson dropped a double along the rightfield line, scoring Guerrero and moving Rivera to third.

JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Quinlan whiffed on a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner. Kendrick nearly dumped a double into the rightfield corner, but it went into the seats in foul ground. Kendrick popped a 1-2 pitch to Ichiro a few steps short of the track. Putz threw 12 pitches.

Soriano's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
Green's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (3 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 4 pitches (2 strikes)

Brendan Donnelly came in for Carrasco. Beltre lined out to Figgins running back toward the track in center. Ibañez popped a full-count pitch to Izturis in foul ground along the leftfield line. Sexson smacked the second pitch into left for a single. Broussard fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch down and in.

Donnelly's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeouts, 16 pitches (11 strikes)

Napoli flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter. Figgins took a 2-2 pitch barely inside before popping a full-count pitch to Johjima, who reached above the dugout railing and Beltre's glove to make the catch. Izturis flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch.

Putz' line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 28 pitches (19 strikes)

Gameball: JJ Putz.
I'm seriously pushing it here. I'm going with a pitcher on a night where four of the 12 Mariner hits were homers and the first six hitters in the Mariner lineup got two hits apiece. Yes, the first two-thirds of the Seattle lineup combined to go 12-for-28 with all the extra-base hits (two doubles, four homers). Still, I'm going with Putz. Rafael Soriano didn't leave a mess out there, he got Orlando Cabrera before the horror occurred. Sean Green got a ground ball that got through the left side, then George Sherrill had Garret Anderson drop a double along the rightfield line. With the Mariners up 6-4, Mike Hargrove called on Putz to get five out to end the game. The situation Putz had to work with was one with runners on second and third with one out and the seventh hitter of the lineup due to the plate (Robb Quinlan). Let's not forget he along with Green and Sherrill before him had to somehow ready themselves mentally just minutes after seeing one of their bullpen mates get carted off the field and sent to a hospital. The situation was different, but once again Putz came through. The Mariners have depended on Putz so much this year, and it's been great to see how well he's responded. Of course, if this is about three weeks ago, I think Mark Lowe either starts or finishes that eighth inning, but that's neither here nor there.

Goat: Kenji Johjima.
Ben Broussard rescued himself from my ultimatum from yesterday by going 2-for-5, though he struck out twice. While the Mariners' middle infielders were 0-fer at the bottom of the Mariner lineup, the hitter just before them was 0-for-4 as well. Still, Yuniesky Betancourt was his usual defensive self and Jose Lopez didn't muff anything and chipped in with that bunt (how far has he fallen in three months?). Since there was a lot going on in this game, it's easy to forget that Johjima failed to catch the ball on a throw home from Chris Snelling in rightfield, who was trying to gun down Orlando Cabrera. Perhaps Johjima was tripped out by the fact that it wasn't Ichiro out there in rightfield throwing the ball home, but that put an uneasy feeling into the game (it'd be uneasy in a whole different way a couple hours later) that lasted for just a few minutes until Ichiro and Snelling opened up with their barrage of homers to start the bottom half of the inning. Still, the Mariners have a catcher that's hitting .291 out of the seven hole and who is enabling the organization to let Jeff Clement grow in the minors.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 94-38 .712 -- L2
2002 78-54 .591 16 L1
2003 77-55 .583 17 W1
2000 72-60 .545 22 W1
2006 63-69 .477 31 W6
2005 56-76 .424 38 L1
2004 51-81 .386 43 L1

Lackey. Woods. Tomorrow.

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