Friday, September 15, 2006


AP photo -- Ed Zurga

[posted in full Sun ~3:55a]

In 25 words or less: Bad starting pitching prevents the winningest Mariner season since 2003 despite fifteen hits from the offense.

This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Odalis Perez. Eduardo Perez got the obligatory start against the lefthanded starting pitcher. On the Mariner telecast, Ron Fairly made a rare appearance as the color man. Dave Henderson and Dave Valle must not be too fond of Kansas City barbecue or something. Or maybe they're avoiding it for health reasons. If Rizzs and Valle were paired in this series and barbecue came up in the conversation, there would be no looking back. In related news, I'm not a big fan of barbecue sauce and most things barbecue, but you can bet that if I had a chance to munch on some authentic Kansas City barbecue, I'd do it. In a related note, I had some crab cakes when I was in Virginia last winter, and unless the crab meat is just there for texture when you top it off with some sauce or something, I'm not much of a fan of it. You don't have to top Ivar's clam chowder. By the way, Zippy's chili is to Hawaii what Ivar's clam chowder or anything from Dick's is to western Washington.

Ichiro laced the second pitch into right for a single. Adrian Beltre blistered the second pitch into center for a single, moving Ichiro to second. Yuniesky Betancourt grounded hard to third, leading Keppinger to the bag at third, who then threw to Grudzielanek for the second out, and Beltre took out Grudzielanek with his slide (5-4) to stop any triple play chance. Raul Ibañez was up 2-0 before drilling a 2-2 pitch into right for a single to move Betancourt to second. Richie Sexson looped the second pitch into left for a single that scored Betancourt and moved Ibañez to second.
Eduardo Perez couldn't check his swing on a 2-2 slider down and in. O Perez threw 18 pitches.

David DeJesus tapped a comebacker that Washburn reached up to glove, but it went out of his glove and slowed down too much for Lopez to make a play at first (single). Esteban German lined out to left. Mark Grudzielanek went the other way and singled into right on the second pitch to move DeJesus to third. Emil Brown whiffed on an 0-2 fastball. Ryan Shealy flew out to center. Washburn threw 16 pitches.

Kenji Johjima lined the first pitch into right for a single. Jose Lopez singled just in front of Costa in rightfield on a 2-2 pitch, moving Johjima to third. Willie Bloomquist grounded to third, and Johjima was hung up between third and home and was eventually tagged (5-2-5), though Lopez reached third and Bloomquist snuck over to second ont he play. Ichiro bounced the second pitch to Shealy near the bag at first, but Perez didn't come over to cover the bag (nor did Shealy run over to first to get the attainable out), so Lopez scored and Bloomquist moved to second. Ichiro had his third RBI in his last 112 at-bats.
Beltre lined out to right on an 0-2 pitch, though Bloomquist was able to tag and score.
Betancourt tagged an 0-2 pitch near the leftfield corner for a double (largely thanks to Brown not running over too quickly for the ball) to move Ichiro to third. Ibañez flew out to Costa just short of the rightfield track on the first pitch. O Perez threw 18 pitches and had 36 through two.

John Buck had the hitters' counts before flying out to Bloomquist on the track in rightcenter. Shane Costa fell behind 0-2 but ripped a hanging breaking ball toward the rightfield corner on which Costa was able to leg out a double on a late throw from Bloomquist. Jeff Keppinger bounced an 0-2 pitch to third, where Beltre backed up, gloved the ball, and did a spin move before throwing to first as Costa moved to third. Angel Berroa was down 0-2 and popped a hanging 2-2 breaking ball to Bloomquist near the rightfield line. Washburn threw 18 pitches and had 34 through two.

Sexson popped a 2-0 pitch very high to second. E Perez got ahead 3-1 before bouncing to Keppinger behind the bag at third. Johjima flew out to shallow center. O Perez threw 12 pitches and had 48 through three.

DeJesus fisted the first pitch for a roller to second. German knocked a single past the reach of Betancourt and into center. Grudzielanek stung a double into the leftfield corner, but the relay came back home quickly to get German by about eight feet (7-6-2). Brown singled into rightfield on the first pitch past a diving Sexson, and Bloomquist threw all the way home (late), enabling Brown to scoot to second. Ron Fairly at this point said that in some cases, you have to give the other team what they earned, alluding to Bloomquist's throw letting Brown move to second.
Shealy rode a 2-0 pitch that took Ichiro further and further back until he had no room and the ball hit the grass beyond the centerfield wall.
Buck was down 0-2 and tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound as Buck was not only out, he appeared to trip coming out of the box, possibly over his bat. Washburn threw 17 pitches and had 51 through three.

Lopez was ahead 3-1 and flew out to shallow center on a full count. Bloomquist was ahead 2-0 and tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound that got to O Perez, but it went off his ankles and was booted (error) as he tried without success to field the ball and Bloomquist reached first. Ichiro drove a 1-2 hanging inside breaking ball and wrapped it around the rightfield foul pole about eight rows deep for a homer.
Beltre worked a 1-2 count full before popping to Grudzielanek backing into shallow right. Betancourt reached on the second pitch, hitting a low liner into the glove of Grudzielanek at second. O Perez threw 25 pitches and had 73 through four.

Costa roped a 3-1 pitch into center for a single. Keppinger was jammed and grounded the second pitch to third, where Beltre threw in time to second, but the throw back to first was a bit in the dirt as Keppinger reached base at first. Berroa grounded hard to third to start a 5-4-3 double play. Washburn threw 11 pitches and had 62 through four.

Ibañez whiffed on a low 0-2 breaking ball. Sexson worked an 0-2 count full before whiffing on a knee-high fastball. E Perez flew out to DeJesus at the centerfield track. O Perez threw 14 pitches and had 87 through five.

DeJesus smacked a high 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. German worked a 1-2 count full before driving a ball to the centerfield track that rolled to the wall for a double to score DeJesus. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound.
Grudzielanek bounced the second pitch to second, moving German to third. Brown walked on a 3-1 neck-high fastball.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Washburn. Shealy lined a homer six rows into the leftfield seats next to the visitors' bullpen.
Buck grounded hard to third on the second pitch. Costa whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball. Fruto threw ten pitches.

Washburn's line: 4 1/3 innings, 6 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 79 pitches (47 strikes)

Johjima drilled a 2-2 pitch into left for a single.

Scott Dohmann came in for O Perez. Lopez worked an 0-2 count for a walk to move Johjima to second. Bloomquist bunted along the right side, where Dohmann came off the mound to throw to first as Johjima and Lopez moved to third and second. Ichiro was intentionally walked to load the bases. Beltre smoked an 0-2 pitch to left to score Johjima, and the cutoff throw came in, and Ichiro was hung up between second and third, but that rundown was stopped when Lopez broke home and Grudizelanek threw home and nailed Lopez trying to score. Ichiro and Beltre were on third and second at the end of the play.
Betancourt whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball.

O Perez' line: 5 innings, 6 runs (5 earned), 10 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 92 pitches (59 strikes)
Dohmann's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (12 strikes)

Keppinger bounced the first pitch to third. Berroa whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and in. DeJesus took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Fruto threw 12 pitches and had 22 total.

Ibañez slapped the second pitch for a liner that fell in front of Brown in leftfield for a single. Sexson flew out to right on a 1-2 pitch. E Perez blistered the second pitch off Keppinger's glove at third and into left for a single to move Ibañez to second.

Joel Peralta came in for Gobble. Johjima grounded the second pitch hard to third to start a 5-4-3 double play. Peralta threw two pitches.

Gobble's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (6 strikes)

German lined a 3-1 pitch to fairly deep right. Grudzielanek bounced deep into the hole on the left side, where Betancourt ranged way over and threw across his body, but it pulled Sexson off the bag a bit (ruled as error). Brown popped a 1-2 pitch to Johjima behind the plate and to the left side. Shealy was up 2-0 before popping out to Ichiro in shallow center.

Fruto's line: 2 2/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 38 pitches (23 strikes)

Joey Gathright came in to play center and DeJesus moved over to right. Lopez flew out to right on the first pitch. Chris Snelling, hitting for Bloomquist, had the hitters' counts before whiffing on a full-count fastball down the pipe. Ichiro had a 3-0 count go full before grounding to Shealy behind the bag at first.

Peralta's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (9 strikes)

Eric O'Flaherty came in for Fruto and Snelling stayed in to play rightfield. Buck poked a 2-2 pitch through the right side for a single, and Paul Phillips came in to run for him. Costa bunted the first pitch back toward the mound, and O'Flaherty came off to throw to first as Phillips moved to second. Keppinger took the second pitch in the dirt and to the backstop, moving Phillips to third. Keppinger took one more ball before being intentionally walked.

Jon Huber came in for O'Flaherty. Berroa squeeze-bunted a 1-1 pitch back to the mound and Phillips scored as Johjima had no play afterward.
DeJesus chopped the second pitch high to first (3-1 putout) as Keppinger and Berroa went to third and second. German lofted a ball into the rightcenter gap for a triple that scored Keppinger and Berroa.
Grudzielanek bounced out to second.

O'Flaherty's line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches (5 strikes)
Huber's line: 2/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)

Joe Nelson came in for Peralta and Phillips stayed in to catch. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and golfed a 2-2 pitch that just kept carrying until it was two rows into the seats just inside the leftfield foul pole.
Betancourt walked on a 3-1 pitch. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and Nelson drew a visit from pitching coach McClure. Ibañez popped a 3-1 pitch to Berroa moving into shallow left. Sexson watched the second pitch as Betancourt took second on catcher's indifference. Sexson flew out to center on a full count. Ben Broussard, hitting for Perez, dumped a 1-2 pitch into rightcenter for a single to score Betancourt.
Johjima whiffed on the second pitch as Broussard took second on catcher's indifference. Johjima was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball.

Nelson's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 33 pitches (18 strikes)

Gameball: Ichiro.
He helped anchor the top of the Mariner lineup in this one. The top four wearing Seattle uniforms combined to go 9-for-17 with four runs scored, two homers, six RBIs, two walks, and two strikeouts. That's quite a day that those top four rarely have in the same game. That's what makes it all the more unnerving when the team cranks out 15 hits and ends up losing 10-8. All told, Ichiro had his best day in quite a while, going 3-for-4 with a walk and a homer and driving in three runs. The homer and walk were his first since August 29th, a bit over two weeks. This was his second three-hit game in five days. Before that, his last three-hit game was on July 25th, but that happens when you have a .233 month like Ichiro did in August, a month which cut 22 points off his season batting average, 25 points off his on-base percentage, and 29 points off his slugging percentage. So far in September, Ichiro is 16-for-61 (.262) with a homer, two doubles, and three RBIs. He's struck out seven times and hasn't walked at all, not even intentionally. Why would someone want to intentionally walk Ichiro right now?

Goat: Jarrod Washburn.
Yes, it's the second time in three starts in which Washburn has given up six runs. He gave up six runs on ten hits in this one and couldn't get out of the fifth inning. Interestingly, he got seven groundouts and four flyouts when he was in, which flies in the face of his usual flyout-happy routine. Though he's had some of the more decent starts the rotation has had this season, he's always liable to have a game like this pop up. It's pretty apparent to everyone that the Washburn signing was a mistake in itself and that the contract was an ever bigger mistake. The only reason everyone's penciling Washburn in as a starting pitcher next season is due to the fact no one else is stupid enough to take on that deal. If it weren't for the deal, however, I nuke the rotation next spring of everyone not named Felix Hernandez. One interesting thing about Washburn, however, is that while most players on the team were having their best individual months in June, Washburn had an ERA of 7.57 in the month, giving up seven, one, six, five, and four runs in his five starts.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 106-40 .726 -- W7
2002 84-62 .575 22 L4
2003 84-62 .575 22 W2
2000 80-66 .548 26 W2
2006 69-77 .473 37 L2
2005 64-82 .438 42 L1
2004 55-91 .377 51 L1

Cruceta. Hudson. Tonight.

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