Tuesday, September 05, 2006


AP photo -- Duane Burleson

In 25 words or less: For the second straight day, the Mariners got starting pitching that was both good and bad at the same time. Also, the bats disappeared.

This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Nate Robertson. The Mariners hoped to end their losing streak at a single game. A loss in this one would make it a stretch of four losses in five games for the Mariners, something that would definitely flag the momentum of that six-game winning streak and seven wins in eight tries. It would harken back more to that whole 11-game losing streak and 12 of 13 span that happened not too long ago. What a team this has been. They've been one of maddening inconsistency, one of incredible teasing, one that follows displays of great baseball with some incredibly bad baseball. It's like there's never any in-between with this team. They're always in a stretch, it seems like. They do everything in bunches. This isn't your regular team that might have a streak here and there and have a couple weeks where they win or lose in ones or twos -- it's always one extreme or the other for this team. Just weird.

Ichiro rolled a 2-2 pitch to first. Jose Lopez was up 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch. Adrian Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and in. Raul Ibañez was down 0-2 and watched as Lopez took second on a delayed steal as Santiago came over too late from short to cover. Ibañez poked a 1-2 pitch over the head of Santiago for a single to score Lopez.
Richie Sexson smacked the second pitch to right for a single, moving Ibañez to second. Eduardo Perez took a 3-1 pitch down and away, loading the bases. Pitching coach Chuck Hernandez visited the mound. Kenji Johjima grounded a 1-2 pitch to third, where Inge went to the bag for the force on Sexson. Robertson threw 29 pitches.

Curtis Granderson flew out to center on a 2-2 pitch. Craig Monroe shot a 2-0 pitch past Beltre and through to left for a single. Marcus Thames nubbed the second pitch to first, where Sexson somewhat gingerly stepped on the bag as Granderson moved to second. Magglio Ordoñez smacked the second pitch, putting it off the top of the old leftfield wall, but over the current one. There goes that lead.
Ivan Rodriguez flew out to very deep center. Washburn threw 15 pitches.

Yuniesky Betancourt punched an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Willie Bloomquist flew out to fairly deep right on the first pitch. Ichiro bounced the second pitch to the right side, where Shelton ranged over from first but muffed it as he thought about going to second and Bloomquist and Ichiro was safe (error). Lopez bounced the second pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play. Robertson threw nine pitches and had 38 through two.

Omar Infante bounced the second pitch up the middle, where Lopez moved over and had the ball bounce off his knee (error). Brandon Inge whiffed on the second pitch up and away, and Infante was gunned down horribly at second by Johjima on a failed hit-and-run. Inge whiffed on the next pitch, an 0-2 high fastball. Chris Shelton flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Washburn threw 11 pitches and had 26 through two.

Beltre whiffed badly on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Ibañez was behind 0-2 and chopped a 1-2 pitch to second. Sexson was down 0-2 and smoked a 1-2 pitch that reached the rightcenter scoreboard on one hop for a double. Perez bounced the second pitch to short, and Sexson tried to kinda screen it and hop over it, but Santiago was still able to field it cleanly and throw in time to first. Robertson threw 15 pitches and had 53 through three.

Ramon Santiago popped the first pitch lazily to center. Granderson took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Monroe flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter on the second pitch. Washburn threw eight pitches and had 34 through three.

Johjima bounced a second-pitch change to Inge behind the bag at third. Betancourt weakly lined out to third on a shoestring catch by Inge, but the umpire didn't call a catch, so Inge made a lnog off-balance throw from somewhere behind the coaches' box that would have gotten Betancourt anyway. Betancourt worked a 1-2 count full and flew out to Ordoñez near the rightfield corner. Robertson threw ten pitches and had 63 through four.

Thames was down 0-2 and foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into Johjima's glove behind the plate. Ordoñez lined the first pitch right to Ichiro in center. Rodriguez one-hopped the second pitch to second. Washburn threw eight pitches and had 42 through four.

Ichiro grounded out to second. Lopez nubbed up the first-base line, and Rodriguez came out from behind the plate to barehand it and throw to first, but Lopez barely beat the throw for a single. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 low breaking ball. Ibañez lined the second pitch into the rightcenter gap for a single, moving Lopez to third, though he came hard around third, fell down, and crawled/slid back. Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before grounding out to third. Robertson threw 19 pitches and had 82 through five.

Infante popped to right on the second pitch. Inge popped the second pitch to Bloomquist in shallow rightcenter. Shelton worked an 0-2 count full before popping to Ichiro in shallow center. Washburn threw 12 pitches and had 54 through five.

Perez rolled the first pitch to short. Johjima bounced the second pitch up the middle to Infante. Betancourt slashed a 2-0 pitch into center for a single. Bloomquist tapped the first pitch to second. Robertson threw seven pitches and had 89 through six.

Santiago lined out to left, where Ibañez came in and made a running catch. Granderson worked a 1-2 count full before popping high to Ibañez on the foul side of the leftfield line, and he slowed up before he could be taken out by the thigh-high fence separating the stands from the field of play. Monroe popped out to Sexson in front of the first-base dugout railing. Washburn threw 12 pitches and had 66 through six.

Ichiro popped the first pitch to Granderson on the run in center. Lopez lined the second pitch into center for a single. Beltre was down 0-2 and foul-tipped a head-high 1-2 pitch into Rodriguez' glove behind the plate (that's four). Ibañez fisted a 1-2 pitch to shallow right, where Ordoñez lumbered inward and made a sliding catch.

Robertson's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 8 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 101 pitches (70 strikes)

Thames pounded the first pitch into the leftcenter gap and to the wall for a double. Ordoñez bounced out to first, moving Thames to third. Rodriguez was intentionally walked. Infante worked a 1-2 count full before doubling toward the leftfield corner on the ninth pitch, scoring Thames and Infante. Yup. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound.
Inge flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter on a 2-0 pitch. Shelton took a 3-1 pitch away for a walk. Santiago punched the first pitch through the left side for a single to score Infante and move Shelton to second. No throw from Ibañez, but who really cares at this point?
Granderson knocked the second pitch through the right side for a single to score Shelton, who beat the throw home from Bloomquist and move Santiago to third, who beat a throw to third from Johjima.

Sean Green came in for Washburn. Monroe popped the first pitch to Bloomquist a step short of the rightfield track. Green threw one pitch.

Washburn's line: 6 2/3 innings, 6 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 95 pitches (56 strikes)

Jason Grilli came in for Robertson. Sexson popped very high to Santiago behind the mound. Ben Broussard, hitting for Perez, reached for an outside 1-2 pitch and lined out to second. Johjima flew out to fairly deep center. Grilli threw 11 pitches.

Thames whiffed on a low 1-2 pitch. Alexis Gomez, hitting for Ordoñez, was up 3-1 before rolling a full-count pitch to short. Rodriguez looped the first pitch into center for a single. Infante tapped the first pitch to second, where Lopez tossed over to Betancourt for the force.

Green's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (9 strikes)

Betancourt bounced an 0-2 pitch to short. Chris Snelling, hitting for Bloomquist, was ahead 2-0 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Santiago in shallow left. Ichiro looped a single into leftcenter. Lopez took the first pitch and Ichiro took second without a throw (catcher's indifference). Lopez rolled a single through the left side to score Ichiro.

Todd Jones came in for Grilli. Beltre popped the first pitch to left.

Grilli's line: 1 2/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 26 pitches (17 strikes)
Jones' line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
He's having a pretty good road trip. Through four games, he's 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles, a homer, and two RBIs. He has a modest three-game hitting streak and has multiple hits in each of the last two games. He's walked three times and struck out only twice, though everyone knows the strikeouts will eventually come out on top by a large margin before the end of the month and season. Lost in the screwiness of August, what with the 11-game losing streak and Ichiro hitting .233 for the month was that Sexson hit a very surprising .304, besting his June by 49 points. He was also on base at a .379 clip, 60 points better than his June mark. However, he slugged .511, which is behind both July (.567) and June (.539). For the record, Sexson's best career month is August with a .290 average, .376 on-base percentage, and .550 slugging mark. His Septembers tend to be those of the .273 average, .359 on-base, and .542 slugging variety. Now for some randoms. Fifteen of his 28 homers this season have been solo shots. Twenty-six of his 90 RBIs have come with runners in scoring position and two outs. Sexson hasn't homered on any 0-2 pitches all season, which isn't surprising, but he hasn't homered on any 2-0 pitches either (proof), and that is.

Goat: Adrian Beltre.
Ichiro fisted a single into centerfield in his final at-bat of this game, sparing him of further goatness because he would have been hitless in 14 at-bats, but he snapped that string at 13. Jarrod Washburn got what in a way was a similar fate that Felix Hernandez got the day before in terms of having a pretty decent pitching performance overall but ending up buried in the game and especially the boxscore -- he set down 14 straight Detroit hitters at one point, but bookended that with shakiness, and he fell off in the seventh. For Beltre, however, this is the worst we've seen out of him at the plate for quite a while. He looked like he couldn't see anything at the plate and he was just swinging at everything. He struck out for a golden sombrero in this one (four times) and the only time he didn't strike out was when Todd Jones was brought in for his easiest relief appearance ever and got Beltre to pop out on the first pitch to end the game. Head-high pitches, breaking balls in the dirt low and away, it was a litany of wild swings at bad pitches. When he got the second strike in an at-bat in this game, he was able to prolong the at-bat only twice without striking out. By prolonging, I mean taking a ball or fouling off a pitch.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 98-39 .715 -- W2
2002 80-57 .584 18 W1
2003 80-57 .584 18 W3
2000 74-63 .540 24 L1
2006 64-73 .467 34 L2
2005 59-78 .431 39 W1
2004 51-86 .372 47 L6

Woods. Bonderman. Tonight.

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