Tuesday, September 12, 2006


AP photo -- Jim Bryant

[posted in full Sun ~12:21a]

In 25 words or less: I'm no expert on baseball or anything, but usually if you spot the opposing team a five-run lead through four innings, you don't win.

This one featured Ted Lilly going up against Jake Woods. Pregame ceremonies took place in remembrance for the fifth anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Adrian Beltre returned to the lineup after tending to his wife and newborn son. Mike Morse got the start in rightfield against the lefthanded starting pitcher. Needless to say, a lefty on the mound also meant Eduardo Perez in the DH slot. Chants of "let's go, Blue Jays" and "go Jays go" were heard among the masses at Safeco Field during the game. Late in the game, some of the Blue Jay chants were interwoven with the chants of Mariner fans. It's far from a rivalry, but there's a whole different feeling over at the ballpark when the Blue Jays come in and the fans come down from Canada. Of course, the feeling was more prevalent when the Mariners were terrible and the Blue Jays were on top of the baseball world. I swear sometimes the Kingdome seemed like it was full with a majority of Blue Jay fans in those days. I was at the ballpark the day Rickey Henderson was traded to Toronto for Steve Karsay, and it was my first taste of the rich-get-richer trade deadline semi-surprise feeling.

Reed Johnson took an 0-2 breaking ball off his back (right) foot. Frank Catalanotto bunted the first pitch, but it eventually rolled foul. Catalanotto bunted the next pitch to the left side, where Beltre made the charge-plant-and-throw move that's patented by him, and the bunt moved Johnson to second. Vernon Wells worked a 1-2 count full and tagged a single through the left side that easily scored Johnson.
Troy Glaus whiffed on a full-count pitch and Wells stole second thanks to a Johjima throw that was very wide into the runner, and Wells took third on the throw that went into center. Bengie Molina reached way down to loop an 0-2 pitch into shallow center for a single to score Wells.
Lyle Overbay flew out to deep center on the second pitch. Woods threw 22 pitches.

Ichiro bounced to second on the second pitch. Adrian Beltre was jammed but dumped the second pitch into shallow right for a single to snap an 0-for-22 slump. Yuniesky Betancourt bounced the second pitch hard to second, where Hill knocked it down but didn't field it cleanly, nullifying a chance at a double play, though he went to second to get the lead runner (Beltre, 4-6 fielder's choice). Raul Ibañez couldn't check a swing on a 2-2 outside pitch. Lilly threw 11 pitches.

Aaron Hill popped the second pitch high to Morse in rightcenter. Adam Lind was up 2-0 and later dumped a single into shallow center. John McDonald was ahead 2-0 and whiffed over a 2-2 inside change. Johnson bounced the second pitch to short to force out Lind at first. Woods threw 13 pitches and had 35 through two.

Richie Sexson was ahead 2-0 before getting under a pitch and popping up high to Wells in leftcenter. Eduardo Perez whiffed on an 0-2 high fastball. Kenji Johjima bounced the second pitch to Glaus at the third-base bag. Lilly threw nine pitches and had 20 through two.

Catalanotto was up 2-0 and flew out to left on a full count. Wells blasted a 1-1 pitch foul down the leftfield line that had home-run distance. Wells took a 1-2 fastball over the inside corner. Glaus was ahead 2-0 and took a 2-2 pitch for strike three. Woods threw 20 pitches and had 55 through three.

Jose Lopez dumped a 2-2 pitch over Overbay and into shallow right for a single. Mike Morse two-hopped to short to start a 6-4-3 double play. Ichiro was up 2-0 and bounced a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Lilly threw 14 pitches and had 34 through three.

Molina bounced an 0-2 pitch to third, where Beltre barehanded and threw in time to first (ho-hum). Overbay stung a 2-0 pitch down the rightfield line and off the angled wall in front of the stands for a double. Hill walked on four pitches. Lind looped the second pitch into shallow rightcenter for a single ot score Overbay.
McDonald fouled off a squeeze bunt on the first pitch, and his at-bat ended with a squeeze bunt on a 2-1 count, bunting in front and executing it successfully as Hill scored and McDonald was out (1-3 putout).
Johnson served a 2-0 hanging breaking ball into shallow right for a single that easily scored Lind. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound for a visit.
Catalanotto watched a 1-1 pitch going by as well as Johnson getting gunned down on a delayed steal despite another high Johjima throw to second (2-6 putout). Woods threw 21 pitches and had 76 through four.

Beltre was up 3-0 and popped a full-count pitch to Overbay moving back down the rightfield line. Betancourt whiffed on a 1-2 high fastball. Ibañez had the hitters' counts before popping high to short on a full count. Lilly threw 18 pitches and had 52 through four.

Catalanotto was ahead 2-0 before punching a single through the left side. Wells bounced the first pitch to third to start what was almost a 5-4-3 double play, but Wells beat out the throw to first. Glaus got ahead 2-0 before rolling a 2-2 pitch up the middle to start an easy 6-3 double play. Woods threw ten pitches and had 86 through five.

Sexson fell behind 0-2, took a 2-2 curve barely off the outside corner, then managed to draw a walk. Perez whiffed on an 0-2 fastball up and away. Johjima blistered the second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double to move Sexson to third. Lopez took an 0-2 pitch inside and in the dirt that got to the backstop past Molina, and Sexson was able to score as Johjima moved to second.
Lopez slowly bounced the next pitch (1-2) to second as Johjima scored.
Morse dumped a single into leftcenter. Ichiro reached and tapped an 0-2 pitch back to the mound. Lilly threw 22 pitches and had 74 through five.

Molina roped the first pitch into the leftfield corner for a double. Overbay chopped a 2-2 pitch to first, where Sexson looked to third but pulled back and tossed to Woods covering first as Molina reached third. Hill was intentionally walked. Lind got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full-count breaking ball away to load the bases.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Woods. Gregg Zaun, hitting for McDonald, bounced the first pitch to first, where Sexson threw straight home for the out on Molina, and Johjima threw back to Sexson at first for the usual 3-2-3 double play. Fruto threw one pitch.

Woods' line: 5 1/3 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 104 pitches (62 strikes)

Hill moved over to short, and Russ Adams came in to play second. Beltre turned too early and fouled into the suite level deep down the third-base side, then reached outside on a 1-2 pitch to bounce out to short. Betancourt fell behind 1-2 and took a fastball over the inside corner. Ibañez walked on an up-and-in 3-1 fastball. Sexson bounced the second pitch to third. Lilly threw 17 pitches and had 91 through six.

Johnson walked on four pitches. Catalanotto grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to Sexson, who knocked it down with the heel of his glove, picked it up, and stepped on first for the out as Johnson scooted to second (a cleanly fielded ball is a possible double play). Wells drilled a 1-2 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double to score Johnson.
Glaus watched with an 0-1 count as Fruto did a spin move and picked off Wells at second (2-4). Glaus fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball inside. Fruto threw 17 pitches and had 18 total.

Perez grounded an 0-2 pitch to second. Johjima fisted an 0-2 weak liner up the middle that was caught by Adams. Lopez was down 0-2 and reached on a 2-2 pitch up and away, popping out to Overbay in foul ground down the rightfield line (tenth pitch of at-bat).

Lilly's line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 108 pitches (74 strikes)

Molina clobbered the second pitch to deep left, but Ibañez made a leaping catch in front of the wall below the manual scoreboard, spiking the padding in the wall in the process. Overbay took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner. Hill popped a 2-0 pitch to Lopez in shallow right.

Fruto's line: 2 2/3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 29 pitches (18 strikes)

Brandon League came in for Lilly. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Morse, rolled the first pitch to short. Ichiro couldn't check a swing on a 1-2 breaking ball inside. Beltre chopped the first pitch to short. League threw six pitches.

League's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 108 pitches (74 strikes)

Cesar Jimenez, making his big-league debut, came in for Fruto and TJ Bohn came in to play rightfield. Lind flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter on a 1-2 pitch. Adams took a 2-2 quick breaking ball over the outside corner. Johnson was down 0-2 and looped a 2-2 pitch into shallow center, where Ichiro slid on one knee to snag the ball just over the grass.

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

Jeremy Accardo came in for League, Johnson moved to left, and Alex Rios came in to play rightfield. Betancourt whiffed on an 0-2 fastball down and in. Ibañez was up 2-0 and drove a full-count low-and-outside pitch to the leftcenter gap for a double. Sexson bounced to third, moving Ibañez to third. Ben Broussard, hitting for Perez, fouled a pitch that got a good piece of plate umpire Kerwin Danley, and then he waved at a 1-2 fastball up and away.

Accardo's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (13 strikes)

Gameball: Raul Ibañez.
For the month of September, he is 10-for-39 (.256). He hasn't homered yet this month and has a mere four RBIs. He's struck out and walked six times each. Though the broadcast crew will laud Ibañez for being a consistent hitter, on a month-by-month basis and based on batting average alone, he's back-and-forth. He had a .301 April, a .237 May, a .326 June, a .253 July, and a .296 August. Notice a zig-zag pattern there? Unfortunately, if the pattern holds up, September will be one of the down months. Ten games in for Ibañez, it looks like that's going to hold true. That doesn't mean things can't still change. Of course, he's got to get a little bit warmer for the last 19 games of the season to bump up his numbers. When the rest of the season's completely meaningless, it's time to pad some stats. Most importantly, I'm hoping he can hit three more homers so he can get to 30. That'd be a heck of a milestone for him. If you would have told me right after the Mariners signed Ibañez before the 2004 season that he'd hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, I'd have said you were on crack. Now I'd just be happy he proved me wrong.

Goat: Jake Woods.
This was his fifth start after ascending to the rotation in Joel Piñeiro's spot. His first two starts were fairly good for having just come out of the bullpen. He combined for 10 2/3 innings, one run, eight hits, four walks, and six strikeouts. That translates out to a 0.84 ERA, which of course wasn't going to hold up. Still, even with the subsequent starts and getting used to the every-five-days thing, he still hasn't gotten deeper into a game than he did in his first start, which was the 5 2/3 innings in Anaheim. In his last three starts, he's gone 14 1/3 innings and given up 12 runs on 21 hits, and he's walked seven and struck out eight. He has an ERA of 7.53 over that three-start span. Frankly, I'm just hoping the honeymoon ends so people stop thinking that Jake Woods and Cha Seung Baek might be worthy for rotation spots next year. I think if that's even a thought, next year's rotation is going to be pretty horrible. Still, if I have to make a choice between seeing Woods pitching and seeing Joel Piñeiro pitching, I'll take Woods.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 103-40 .720 -- W4
2002 84-59 .587 19 L1
2003 82-61 .573 21 L2
2000 78-65 .545 25 W2
2006 68-75 .476 35 L2
2005 62-81 .434 41 W1
2004 53-90 .371 50 L1

Marcum. Meche. Tonight.

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