Thursday, August 31, 2006


AP photo -- Elaine Thompson

In 25 words or less: Hey, it was still a 7-2 homestand. Coming off an 11-game losing*** streak, all I wanted was watchable baseball.

[***yes, that used to say "winning," which of course is horribly incorrect.]

This one featured John Lackey going up against Jake Woods. The Mariners were riding their six-game winning streak, their longest since 2003. The Mariners got news that Rafael Soriano sustained a concussion but nothing more, and he was released from Harborview Medical Center. The Mariners, meanwhile, hoped to ice an 8-1 homestand after that whole thing where they lost 11 straight games. Woods doesn't have a lot of big-league starts under his belt, but out to the mound he went in this one to go up against the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series.

Maicer Izturis broke his bat on a roller to Lopez in the hole on the right side. Orlando Cabrera walked on four pitches. Vladimir Guerrero worked a 1-2 count full before shooting a hard roller through the left side for a single, moving Cabrera to second. Juan Rivera popped the first pitch to Ichiro on the centerfield track as Cabrera held at second. Garret Anderson flew out to center. Woods threw 18 pitches.

Ichiro bounced back to the mound. Chris Snelling took the second pitch just above his right elbow as he tried to turn away. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 fastball off the plate outside. Raul Ibañez had the hitters' counts before popping a full-count pitch to Izturis just in front of the stands in foul ground on the left side. Lackey threw 15 pitches.

Robb Quinlan bounced the second pitch deep into the hole on the right side, and pretty close to third base, but Betancourt ranged over and made the incredibly long throw in time to first. Tim Salmon fisted the second pitch over the reach of a leaping Lopez at second and into right for a single. Howie Kendrick took a 1-2 pitch up and away that went into and out of Johjima's glove, but it didn't go far away to advance Salmon. Kendrick worked a 1-2 count full before lining out to Ichiro, who ran in to make the catch. Mike Napoli fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Woods threw 14 pitches and had 32 through two.

Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 before rolling a 2-2 pitch hard to short. Ben Broussard popped a 2-2 pitch high to right. Kenji Johjima fell behind 0-2 before reaching to lift a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Jose Lopez took an 0-2 pitch for a ball, and Johjima stole second on the pitch. Lopez took a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt away that bounced to the backstop to move Johjima to third. Lopez worked an 0-2 count full before bouncing out to second. Lackey threw 22 pitches and had 37 through two.

Izturis popped to Ichiro in leftcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Cabrera was ahead 3-0 before grounding a full-count pitch to third, where Beltre went to both knees to make the stop and then stood back up to throw to first. Guerrero drilled the second pitch to deep left, where Ibañez moved back to the track and made a running and leaping catch at the wall and had a resultant low-speed collision with the wall. Woods threw 14 pitches and had 46 through three.

Betancourt lined a ball into the rightcenter gap that got past Guerrero and went to the wall as Betancourt slid in with a triple. Ichiro popped a 3-1 pitch weakly to second. Snelling took the first pitch way inside and past Napoli, but not far enough to score Betancourt from third. Snelling was ahead 2-0 before squeeze-bunting to the right side (not an easy one to bunt) to score Betancourt, and Snelling was thrown out at first. Replays showed that Snelling bunted the ball off his foot, but the ball was never declared dead (Snelling would have been out), and Mike Scioscia argued this to no avail.
Beltre fell behind 0-2 when plate umpire Jerry Crawford stopped play to quell some verbal fire from the Angel dugout. Beltre fouled off four straight 0-2 pitches at one point and later popped a 1-2 pitch very high to shallow center. Lackey threw 21 pitches and had 58 through three.

Rivera was down 0-2 but singled into center on a 1-2 pitch. Anderson had the hitters' counts before ripping a full-count pitch off the base of the rightfield wall, but it banked right back to Snelling, who threw quickly to the infield to hold Anderson to a single as Rivera moved to third. Quinlan got behind 0-2 and rolled up the middle to Lopez, who started the 4-6-3 double play that scored Rivera.
Salmon dropped a ball just fair down the rightfield line and toward the angled stands for a double. Kendrick ripped the first pitch off the leftfield wall for a double, easily scoring Salmon, depleted knee and all.
Napoli whiffed over a 2-2 breaking ball. Woods threw 26 pitches and had 72 through four.

Ibañez one-hopped a 2-0 pitch right to Cabrera at short. Sexson took a 1-2 pitch inside and off the overhanging part of his jersey, good for first base. Broussard was down 0-2 before chopping a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving a lumbering Sexson to third. Johjima stroked the first pitch into the leftcenter gap for a double that scored Sexson and moved Broussard to third.
Lopez softly lined the second pitch in front of Guerrero, who threw straight home and had Broussard dead to rights, but Broussard slid and knocked the ball loose from Napoli's glove. The ball went behind the plate toward the first-base side, and Napoli went to retrieve it. Johjima tried scoring too, but Napoli threw to a covering Lackey for the out. Lopez ended up on second after all the madness.
Betancourt took the second pitch in the dirt and to the backstop to move Lopez to third. Betancourt ended up lining out to shallow center on a 2-0 pitch. Lackey threw 17 pitches and had 75 through four.

Izturis bounced an 0-2 pitch into the left-side hole, where Betancourt made yet another difficult play look easy as he ranged, planted, and threw in time to first as per usual. Cabrera bounced the second pitch gently to short. Guerrero walked on a full-count pitch down and away. Rivera popped the second pitch very high to shallow left. Woods threw 13 pitches and had 85 through five.

Ichiro weakly popped to Kendrick moving back into shallow right. Snelling spanked a single into shallow rightcenter. Beltre went to a knee to foul off an 0-2 breaking ball before whiffing horribly on the next pitch, a breaker in the dirt away. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 fastball. Lackey threw 15 pitches and had 90 through five.

Anderson got ahead 3-0 and just plain golfed a meaty up-in-the-zone fastball into the fourth row of rightfield seats.
Quinlan was ahead 3-0 before dumping a 3-1 pitch into the gap in rightcenter that Ichiro couldn't quite get to, and though he gunned straight to second to try to get Quinlan, the throw was a bit late as Quinlan stood on second with a double.

Joel Piñeiro came in for Woods. Adam Kennedy, hitting for Salmon, whiffed badly on a 1-2 fastball way up and away. Kendrick smacked a double into the leftfield corner to score Quinlan.
Napoli whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Izturis bounced the second pitch to first (3-1 putout). Piñeiro threw 15 pitches.

Woods' line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 95 pitches (58 strikes)

Sexson stuck the first pitch into leftcenter for a single. Broussard whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball down and in. Johjima dumped a single just past Cabrera trying to make an over-the-shoulder catch, and Johjima got the single out of it, but Sexson made an ill-advised attempt to take third and was gunned down by Rivera from center (Johjima moved to second on that throw). Lopez looped the second pitch along the rightfield line, where Guerrero made the running catch. Lackey threw nine pitches and had 99 through six.

Cabrera popped an 0-2 pitch high to short. Guerrero blistered the first pitch over the reach of the glove of Ibañez and off the wall for a double. Rivera bounced the first pitch off the side of the mound and into center to score Guerrero, who drew a throw from Ichiro that wasn't exactly that great, and it enabled Rivera to move to second.
Anderson was intentionally walked. Quinlan bounced the first pitch to Sexson behind the bag at first (3-1 putout) to move Rivera to third. Kennedy was also intentionally walked, loading the bases. Kendrick fell behind 0-2 before flying out to Ichiro in center on a 1-2 pitch. Piñeiro threw 18 pitches and had 33 total.

Betancourt popped the second pitch to Guerrero along the rightfield line, much like Lopez did to end the sixth. Ichiro looped the first pitch into shallow left for a single.

Scot Shields came in for Lackey. Snelling whiffed on a pitch and Ichiro stole second on it. Snelling inadvertently checkswung and bounced a 2-2 pitch along the third-base line, where Napoli came from behind the plate and threw to first for the out as Ichiro moved to third. Mike Hargrove came out to have a word with the plate umpire Crawford. However, Napoli reacted as if he would have picked up the ball in foul ground, but when no call was made, Napoli threw to first for the out. Beltre bounced the second pitch to short. Shields threw seven pitches.

Lackey's line: 6 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 9 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 102 pitches (67 strikes)

Napoli flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter. Izturis whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball away. Cabrera rolled the second pitch through the mound and into center for a single. Guerrero flew out to Ichiro in center on the first pitch.

Piñeiro's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 42 pitches (27 strikes)

Ibañez whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Sexson was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 breaking ball away and just above the dirt. Broussard grounded the second pitch hard to first (3-1 putout).

Shields' line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (12 strikes)

Eric O'Flaherty came in for Piñeiro. Reggie Willits, hitting for Rivera, walked on a 3-1 pitch. Andesron grounded the second pitch to second to move Willits to second. Quinlan was intentionally walked. Kennedy got ahead 2-0 before flying out to center on a full count.

Jon Huber, making his Major League debut, came in for O'Flaherty. Kendrick whiffed on an 0-2 slider low and away. Huber threw three pitches.

O'Flaherty's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (7 strikes)

Francisco Rodriguez came in for Shields. Johjima took an inside pitch that barely got the belly of his jersey, much less of a nick than what Sexson took earlier in the game. Willie Bloomquist came in to run for Johjima. Lopez rolled right to short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. Betancourt got ahead 3-0, took a 3-1 pitch that barely caught the inside corner, then rolled to short.

Rodriguez' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (6 strikes)

Gameball: Kenji Johjima.
So ends the month of August for Kenji Johjima, who went 27-for-81 (.333) over the 25 games he played, though there was a short stretch where Rene Rivera inexplicably started a few consecutive days behind the plate. His only better hitting month this season unsurprisingly was June, when he hit .345 with an on-base mark of .382 and a slug mark of .643. The latter is thanks to the eight doubles, a triple, and five homers he hit in June. In August, Johjima was on base at a .349 clip and slugged .420, considerably lower than the June numbers, though still fairly good. His extra-base hitting was way off in comparison with the June numbers. He hit only four doubles and one homer in August. Johjima was 3-for-3 with an RBI, making it his seventh three-hit game of the season, one of which was a four-hit game. In odd news, Johjima has the highest number of his hits with an 0-1 count (22-for-49, .449). He's 25-for-68 (.368) on the first pitch, 9-for-30 (.300) on an 0-2 count, 12-for-41 (.293) on a 1-2 count, 11-for-48 (.229) on 2-2, and 4-for-28 (.143) on a full count. The worst thing about all these numbers is that the ball has to be put in play, of course. Unfortunately, MLB.com or Yahoo doesn't have readily available stats on how often someone like Richie Sexson will foul off a 3-1 fastball that was grooved.

Goat: Adrian Beltre.
Beltre went 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts in this game, and unlike the night before, all the defensive glitz from the left side of the infield went to Yuniesky Betancourt instead. Like Johjima, Beltre had his second-best month across the board, falling behind only his month of June. He hit 28-for-101 (.277) in August (.324 in June). He got on base at a .342 clip and slugged .554 thanks to seven doubles and seven homers. By comparison, he had an on-base mark of .387 and slugged .611 in that crazy June. A slightly odd fact is that Beltre has never had his number of strikeouts increase from month to month. Every month, he strikes out the same number of times or less than he did the month before. With a month to go, Beltre is hitting .265 with 16 homers and 60 RBIs. He's on base at a .330 average and slugs .444. His homers should top his marks from last year, and so should all those percentage numbers. The RBIs will more than likely be down because of his horrendous start this season and also the fact that went he was crazy-nuts in June, he was hitting second in the lineup.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 95-38 .714 -- W1
2002 78-55 .586 17 L2
2003 77-56 .579 18 L1
2000 72-61 .541 23 L1
2006 63-70 .474 32 L1
2005 57-76 .429 38 W1
2004 51-82 .383 44 L2

Meche. Shields. Tomorrow.

/ Click for main page

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Click for Sports and B's 

home page