Wednesday, September 13, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

[posted in full Sun ~1:54a]

In 25 words or less: The Mariners linescore looks like scattered singles since they didn't score runs in bunches. Whatever works, as long as it's a win.

This one featured Shaun Marcum going up against Gil Meche. Meche hadn't won a game since July 14th in Toronto. The Mariners looked to win the middle game of the series and have a chance win the series if they won the next day as well, a getaway day game before the Mariners go on an 11-game road trip through Kansas City, Texas, and Chicago. The Mariners were trying to stop a two-game losing streak. Doing so would be good to regain some of the momentum they got from the four-game winning streak. A three-game streak the other way to follow that would be highly inopportune. In addition, a win in this game would guarantee the Mariners would finish the season with a record no worse than that of last season. In 2005, the Mariners finished 69-93. With a win here, the Mariners could have their 69th win with 18 games left to play. Only time will tell what it'll look like after 162 games, but first the Mariners had to play out this one.

Frank Catalanotto fell behind 0-2 and flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on a 1-2 pitch. Aaron Hill took an 0-2 curve that just caught the outside corner. Vernon Wells was down 0-2 before taking a 2-2 huge curve for strike three (ninth pitch of at-bat). Meche threw 18 pitches.

Ichiro got too much under a 1-2 pitch, flying out to Catalanotto in the rightfield corner. Adrian Beltre crushed the first pitch, reaching the mounds in the Mariner bullpen in leftcenter.
Yuniesky Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and put a jolt into a 2-2 pitch, nearly homering and nearly flying out to the leftfield corner, but Lind had the ball go off his glove and ran into the wall, giving Betancourt a double. Raul Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full before popping to Wells in shallow rightcenter. Richie Sexson was ahead 2-0 before rolling over a 2-2 pitch and grounding out to third. Marcum threw 22 pitches.

Lyle Overbay walked on four pitches. Troy Glaus scorched the first pitch into the glove of a running Ibañez in left. Bengie Molina bounced a 1-2 breaking ball to third, where Beltre looked to second and threw to first as Overbay got to second. Adam Lind whiffed over an 0-2 curve down and in. Meche threw 13 pitches and had 31 through two.

Ben Broussard had the hitters' counts before flying out to Wells in leftcenter on a full count. Kenji Johjima smacked a single near the leftfield line. Jose Lopez got ahead 2-0 and later stuck a single into right on a perfectly executed hit-and-run, moving Johjima to third. Chris Snelling punched a soft liner over the outstretched glove of Hill at second and into right for a single to score Johjima and move Lopez to second.
Ichiro spanked an 0-2 pitch into left for a single to load the bases. Beltre popped an 0-2 pitch to Catalanotto in shallow right. Betancourt popped the first pitch to Hill in shallow right near the line, navigating his way between Overbay and Catalanotto. Marcum threw 23 pitches and had 47 through two.

Kevin Barker took a 2-2 curve over the inside corner. John McDonald was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and away. Catalanotto one-hopped to the right side (3-1 putout). Meche threw ten pitches and had 41 through three.

Ibañez camped out on his back foot and walloped a first-pitch breaking ball, putting it into the fourth row of seats in centerfield, to the right of the hitters' backdrop.
Sexson had the hitters' counts before grounding out to third. Broussard dumped the first pitch into rightcenter for a single. Johjima poked an 0-2 pitch through the mound and into center for a single to move Broussard to second. Lopez looped a 2-2 pitch for a low popout to second, and Hill threw to second trying to double off Broussard, but it went past and enabled Broussard to scoot to third and Johjima to get to second.

Davis Romero came in for Marcum. Snelling was ahead 2-0 and grounded a 2-2 pitch to first. Romero threw five pitches.

Marcum's line: 2 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 9 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 62 pitches (40 strikes)

Hill rolled a 2-2 pitch through the left side to break up Meche's miniature no-hitter. Wells unloaded on a second-pitch hanging curve, depositing it into the visitors' bullpen in left.
Overbay popped a 2-0 pitch to Ibañez near the leftfield line. Glaus flew out to Ichiro in leftcenter. Molina flew out to a running Snelling near the rightfield corner. Meche threw 17 pitches and had 58 through four.

Ichiro popped an 0-2 pitch to left. Dave Niehaus and Dave Valle had an interesting conversation about home runs back in the day before long foul poles, where you couldn't wrap one around the pole and instead the homer depended on where the ball bounced on the ground. Beltre whiffed on a high 0-2 fastball. Betancourt walked on a 3-1 pitch. Ibañez grounded a 1-2 pitch to short for an easy 6-4 force on Betancourt. Romero threw 15 pitches and had 20 total.

Lind served a 2-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. During that at-bat, Niehaus and Valle talked about who could get to the World Series this season, and Valle mentioned the Yankees and Mets, though both on-air personalities agreed they didn't want to see that series again. Niehaus called it "a boring series." I 100% agree. Barker whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and in. McDonald got behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt (wild pitch) that Johjima blocked, but Lind took off on a delayed steal and barely beat Johjima's throw. McDonald worked the 0-2 count full, popped a ball nearly foul down the leftfield line, then walked on a fastball up and in. Catalanotto popped the second pitch high to second and violently beat his bat head into the ground in frustration. Hill took a second-pitch fastball off the left tricep, loading the bases. Wells bounced the second pitch back to the mound. Meche threw 26 pitches and had 84 through five.

Sexson worked a 1-2 count full before doubling into the leftfield corner. Pitching coach Brad Arnsberg visited the mound again. Broussard laced a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Sexson to third. On the same play, Catalanotto threw home, and the throw one-hopped through Molina, allowing Broussard to scoot to second though Sexson held at third.

Jason Frasor came in for Romero. Johjima popped the first pitch to Wells running into shallow center as the runners held. Lopez bounced high to the left side, and by the time Frasor got the ball, he had no play as Sexson took off on contact and scored as Broussard went to third.
Snelling whiffed on an 0-2 inside fastball. Ichiro foul-tipped a 2-2 fastball into Molina's glove behind the plate. Frasor threw 15 pitches.

Romero's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 30 pitches (19 strikes)

Overbay drilled the first pitch into center for a single. Glaus took a 2-2 curve over the outside corner. Molina lined the first pitch into shallow center for a single to move Overbay to second.

Eric O'Flaherty came in for Meche. Lind flew out to Ibañez near the leftfield corner on a ball that carried a bit toward the foul line. Gregg Zaun was set to pinch-hit for Barker.

Jon Huber came in for O'Flaherty. Zaun took a full-count breaking ball in the dirt to load the bases. Beltre visited the mound. Russ Adams, hitting for McDonald, whiffed on a 1-2 slider. Huber threw 11 pitches.

Meche's line: 5 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 91 pitches (63 strikes)
O'Flaherty's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (2 strikes)

Adams stayed in the game to play second and Hill moved to short. Beltre fouled off three 2-2 pitches before whiffing on a pitch down and away, out of the strike zone. Betancourt grounded to the left side, where the ball got a piece of Glaus' glove and went through (error) to Hill, whose throw to first was barely beaten by Betancourt.

Scott Downs came in for Frasor. Ibañez was up 3-1 but took a full-count breaking ball for strike three. Sexson worked an 0-2 count full and nearly popped a double into the rightfield corner before checking his swing on a breaking ball in the dirt for a walk, moving Betancourt to second. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, fell behind 0-2 and hit a low liner to Wells in center on a 1-2 pitch. Downs threw 17 pitches.

Frasor's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 25 pitches (18 strikes)

Catalanotto grounded out to second. Hill was down 0-2 and tapped a 1-2 pitch in front, where Huber came off the mound and made the play to first. Wells smoked the first pitch up the middle for a single.

George Sherrill came in for Huber. Overbay popped the first pitch to Betancourt backing into shallow center. Sherrill threw one pitch.

Huber's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 19 pitches (12 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)

Johjima was up 2-0 but whiffed on a full-count fastball. Lopez was down 0-2 and bounced a 2-2 pitch to third that took a wicked hop on Glaus, who still fielded it and threw in time to first. Snelling took a 2-1 pitch off the hand, and TJ Bohn came in to run for him. Ichiro whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away.

Downs' line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 37 pitches (20 strikes)

Joel Piñeiro came in for Sherrill and Bohn stayed in to play rightfield. Glaus flung his bat downward in frustration as he popped out to center. Molina whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and off the plate away. Lind whiffed on a low 2-2 breaking ball. Piñeiro threw 12 pitches.

Piñeiro's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 12 pitches (8 strikes)

Jeremy Accardo came in for Downs. Beltre whipped the first pitch, but didn't get enough of it as he lined out to Lind a couple steps short of the leftfield track. Betancourt worked an 0-2 count full before chopping to short. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 but popped a 2-2 pitch to right.

Accardo's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (7 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Piñeiro. Zaun bounced a 1-2 pitch to first (3-1 putout). Adams laced the second pitch past Putz' glove and past a diving Lopez into center for a single. Catalanotto grounded the second pitch to first, where Sexson threw a bit low to second and Betancourt sort of slid into the bag for the out and managed to get off a throw that nearly beat Catalanotto at first. Hill fell behind 0-2 and stung a 2-2 outside-corner fastball into right for a single to move Catalanotto to second. Wells didn't quite get all of a first-pitch fastball, flying out to deep center.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (11 strikes)

Gameball: Ben Broussard.
Guess who's 10-for-28 for the month? Yes, it's true. Broussard had a terrible August as a Mariner, hitting .200 in his first full month wearing Mariner duds. Sadly, four of his 16 hits in August came in the same game, a 4-for-5 doozy in Anaheim. Fast-forward to this month, and he's slugging .607 after a .375 August. One can't help but wonder how Broussard will do over the final 18 games of the season. I'll just be happy if his post-trade line ends up being somewhat respectable, especially given the way he started out as a Mariner. More intriguingly, I'm wondering how he fits into next year's plans for the Mariners, not on offense, but how many times he might spell Richie Sexson at first base or make a spot start in left or rightfield. The homer he hit two nights earlier was his 20th, the most he's hit in a season. I'm wondering what a full season in Seattle would look like for Broussard, since it seems he's no slouch. Twenty-homer pop is something the Mariners can always use in the latter half of their batting order.

Goat: Ichiro.
In the chase for 200 hits, Ichiro got his 193rd of the season with a single in this game. He has 18 games to get seven hits and accomplish what his annual goal. If you assume he gets four at-bats a game, he'll end up with 72 at-bats. So he just has to go 7-for-72 (.097) the rest of the way to get to 200 hits. I think he should be okay for that. Still, what is a realistic goal for Ichiro? Say he gets four at-bats a game for a full 162 games. That totals out to 648 at-bats. Ichiro would only have to hit .309 to get to 200 hits. Over the first five years of his career, Ichiro has averaged about 680 at-bats. If he does that, Ichiro would only have to hit .294 to get 200 hits. However, when you consider that Ichiro was a .332 hitter over his first five years combined, then shouldn't the bar be higher than 200 hits? In a typical season of at-bats for Ichiro and a typical season of batting average, he would get 226 hits. Here's a goal for him: 300 total bases. He's only had it happen in 2001 (316) and 2004 (320), obviously his craziest seasons. With his average number of at-bats, 300 total bases would lead him to a slugging mark of .441 for a season. That'd be behind 2001 and 2004. He has 243 total bases so far in 2006.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 104-40 .722 -- W5
2002 84-60 .583 20 L2
2003 82-62 .569 22 L3
2000 78-66 .542 26 L1
2006 69-75 .479 35 W1
2005 63-81 .438 41 W2
2004 54-90 .375 50 W1

Burnett. Baek. Today.

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