Saturday, September 09, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

In 25 words or less: There were no Mariner hits until the fifth, but that's when the game quickly turned in their favor.

This one featured Kevin Millwood going up against Cha Seung Baek. Willie Bloomquist got the start at third because Adrian Beltre's wife was in labor, so he flew to Los Angeles. I would have been completely content with Beltre being benched because of his offensive ineptitude of late, but the birth of a newborn son will do as well. Also, the September call-ups were on hand for the Mariners. They are Travis Chick, Francisco Cruceta, Ryan Feierabend, Cesar Jimenez, Greg Dobbs, Oswaldo Navarro, TJ Bohn, and Adam Jones. I have updated the Mariners By the Numbers post to reflect such changes, though I had to go to Yahoo's Mariner roster to get the right numbers. I usually went to the Mariner roster at MLB.com, but I know it can't possibly be right since there's no way Oswaldo Navarro and TJ Bohn are both wearing number 17. This isn't a college football team, this is baseball, so two guys don't need to wear the same number. Anyway, the Mariners were trying to win their third straight game and 11th of 16.

Gary Matthews, Jr. popped the second pitch into shallow rightcenter, where Snelling made a diving catch and got up without any sign of injury. Michael Young took a 2-2 slider over the outside corner. Mark Teixeira fell behind 0-2 and reached on a 1-2 pitch, flying out to Snelling near the rightfield corner. Baek threw 12 pitches.

Ichiro rolled to second on the second pitch. Chris Snelling took a 2-2 slider over the outside corner (the FSNNW Tracer said it was off the corner). Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to Matthews in fairly deep rightcenter on a 2-0 pitch. Millwood threw ten pitches.

Carlos Lee bounced the second pitch to a charging Bloomquist at third. Hank Blalock flew out to Ibañez in deep leftcenter. Mark DeRosa was up 3-1 and poked a full-count pitch barely over the reach of a leaping Lopez and into right for a single. Ian Kinsler was up 3-1 but would whiff on a full-count pitch down and away. Baek threw 18 pitches and had 30 through two.

Raul Ibañez walked on a full-count pitch away. Richie Sexson chopped a 2-0 pitch to Blalock charging in from third as Ibañez moved to second. Ben Broussard took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner. Kenji Johjima looped a weak pop to the feet of Kinsler at second, who made the shoestring catch. Millwood threw 21 pitches and had 31 through two.

Gerald Laird grounded the second pitch to Bloomquist behind the bag at third. Nelson Cruz knocekd a full-count pitch through the left side for a single. Matthews drove the second pitch to the track in leftcenter, and Ibañez ran roughly a mile and got it on the fly as Cruz retreated back to first after having rounded second. Young nubbed the first pitch to short. Baek threw 11 pitches and had 41 through three.

Jose Lopez whiffed brutally at a 1-2 slow curve way off the plate outside. Willie Bloomquist got ahead 2-0 and tapped a 2-2 pitch just foul down the rightfield line and Teixeira pursued the play but first-base umpire Brian Knight set a pick. Teixeira tried holding onto Knight and taking him down as well, but Knight stayed upright and Teixeira badly rolled his left ankle, but he stayed in the game. Bloomquist whiffed on a 2-2 inside fastball. Ichiro whiffed on a high full-count pitch. Millwood struck out the side on 19 pitches and had 50 through three.

Teixeira looped a 2-2 pitch to Ichiro in shallow center. Lee was jammed and lined out to third. Blalock bounced behind the bag to Sexson, who bobbled it and made a toss of high arc to a covering Baek at first, but it was still in time. Baek threw nine pitches and had 50 through four.

Snelling took a 2-2 fastball over the inside corner. Betancourt bounced to short, stopping Millwood's strikeout streak at four hitters. Ibañez flew out to DeRosa in leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch. Millwood threw 14 pitches and had 64 through four.

DeRosa rolled to second on the second pitch and had his bat explode as well as the barrel went past the mound and was avoided by Baek. Kinsler lined out to Ibañez in leftcenter. Laird fell behind 0-2 before rolling over to a ranging Betancourt (throwing on the run, of course) on the left side on a 1-2 pitch. Baek threw ten pitches and had 60 through five.

Sexson waited on a breaking ball and punched it under a diving Blalock and into left for a single and the first Mariner hit of the game. Broussard dumped a 1-2 pitch into center for a single to move Sexson to second. Johjima lined the first pitch near the mounds in the visitors' bullpen beyond the wall in leftcenter.
Lopez chopped a 3-1 pitch high to third, and Blalock couldn't gather himself too well to make a throw, though he made a wild one, but Lopez was safe. Pitching coach Mark Connor visited the mound. Bloomquist popped the first pitch to Cruz near the rightfield line. Ichiro shot the second pitch along the third-base line, but Blalock got to it in front of the bag and threw in time to first as Lopez moved to second. Snelling took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner. Millwood threw 21 pitches and had 85 through five.

Cruz worked an 0-2 count full before whiffing on a pitch off the plate outside. Matthews flew out to Ichiro a couple steps short of the track in center. Young fell behind 0-2 and laced a 2-2 pitch into right for a single. Teixeira barely missed doubling a 2-0 pitch into the rightfield corner. Teixeira had the hitters' counts before bouncing to first on a full count (3-1 putout). Baek threw 24 pitches and had 84 through six.

Betancourt bounced the second pitch to short. Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full before tapping back to the mound. Sexson hit a nice line drive right to Cruz in right on a 2-2 pitch.

Millwood's line: 6 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 102 pitches (65 strikes)

Lee served a single into shallow center. Blalock popped very high to right. DeRosa grounded right to third to start a 5-4-3 double play.

Baek's line: 7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 93 pitches (60 strikes)

Joaquin Benoit came in for Millwood. Broussard flew out to left on the first pitch. Johjima was up 3-1 and nubbed to first on a full count. Lopez chopped the first pitch to third.

Benoit's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (5 strikes)

Joel Piñeiro came in for Baek and TJ Bohn came in to play right for Snelling. Kinsler popped the second pitch high to center. Laird was up 3-0 and popped a 3-1 pitch to Johjima behind the plate. Cruz fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 pitch. Piñeiro threw 12 pitches.

Frank Francisco came in for Benoit. Bloomquist grounded out to short. Ichiro rolled a 1-2 pitch slowly to second but was still thrown out. Bohn worked an 0-2 count for a walk. Connor and Laird visited the mound. Betancourt grounded deep into the hole on the left side on a 1-2 pitch, but Young had too far to run, and his throw to get Bohn at second was late.

John Rheinecker came in for Francisco. Ibañez got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full count to load the bases.

Rick Bauer came in for Rheinecker. Sexson was somewhat miffed at a low-looking second pitch that was called a strike. Sexson crushed the baseball, homering to the greenery in front of the hitters' backdrop beyond the centerfield wall. That's a slam.
Broussard lined a double to the wall in rightfield. Johjima had the hitters' counts before bouncing a 3-1 pitch to third. Bauer threw 13 pitches.

Francisco's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Rheinecker's line: 0 innings, 1 run, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (2 strikes)
Bauer's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (6 strikes)

Matthews slapped a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. Young flew out to Ichiro in fairly deep leftcenter. Teixeira obliterated the second pitch, but he didn't get under it enough as it one-hopped over the wall and off something in the stands and back into the field of play (ground-rule double) as Matthews moved to third. Lee dropped a single into shallow center, scoring Matthews and Teixeira with a little help from Ichiro bobbling the ball (single and error), the throw getting past Betancourt, and Sexson bobbling the ball as well.
Blalock bounced up the middle, where Betancourt fully extended on a dive, and backhand tossed to Betancourt covering second for the out (5-6 fielder's choice on the shift). DeRosa was down 0-2 and flew out to Ibañez in leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch.

Piñeiro's line: 2 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 awlks, 1 strikeout, 32 pitches (22 strikes)

Gameball: Cha Seung Baek.
I'm going to try the reverse Ben Broussard here. Baek will get gameballs every time he goes out there if he keeps doing this. Seven shutout innings of four-hit ball? Against this lineup? He doesn't have great speed, so he's having to do it with some decent junk and some great command. It's the command in his last two starts that has improved leaps and bounds. He took a no-hitter much too long into his start against Boston. He walked five hitters in that start. In his first big-league start of the season, Baek walked three. In these last two starts combined, Baek has walked one hitter, and it wasn't in this game. Baek wasn't a strikeout machine -- he only collected three strikeouts in the game. He walked no one and gave up four hits. He got nine outs via the ground and another nine via the air. No grossly one-sided ratio there. Normally I'd pooh-pooh a performance like this from a late-season call-up because it's September and call-ups get playing time, but there weren't any call-ups in that Texas lineup.

Goat: Chris Snelling.
Kevin Millwood absolutely handled Snelling in this game. All three times he came to the plate, he was caught looking by Millwood, though the handy FSNNW tracer said the 2-2 pitch he took for strike three in the first inning was actually off the plate outside. I think his speed, aggressiveness, line-drive swing, etc., more than make up for what I think is the only negative byproduct of being so patient -- that 2-2 pitch off the corner isn't a ball to everyone or every umpire. I think it's not a stretch to say Snelling might strike out looking more than the normal hitter. Even still, patient hitting, even if it means a called strike three every once in a while after a six-pitch at-bat, is a breath of fresh air compared to the hack-a-thon we've been seeing for most of the 2006 Mariner season. I'd like to know if this whole aggressiveness thing was Jeff Pentland's idea or Mike Hargrove's idea or Bill Bavasi's idea or Ron Hassey's idea or what. I hope it's not organization-wide or anything crazy like that. Like Edgar Martinez once said, patience plays.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 100-40 .714 -- W1
2002 82-58 .586 18 W1
2003 81-59 .579 19 L2
2000 76-64 .543 24 W1
2006 67-73 .479 33 W3
2005 61-79 .436 39 W1
2004 52-88 .371 48 L1

Tejeda. Washburn. Tonight.

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