Saturday, September 16, 2006


AP photo -- Ed Zurga

In 25 words or less: Two Mariner pitchers threw four innings each in this game. The wrong one got the start.

This one featured Joel Piñeiro going up against Mark Redman. MLB.tv didn't join in for this one until one pitch into Raul Ibañez' at-bat in the first inning (17 pitches into the game), which is right up there with the Gameday-associated Flash add-on that crashes and subsequently does so to my browsers every so often. Amazingly, this was Piñeiro's first time ever pitching in Kansas City. In another Piñeiro-related note, someone in the Mariner hierarchy thought something of Piñeiro's last few relief appearances and handed him a rotation spot for the rest of the season, which I'm hoping is to showcase him so someone else will pick him up and get him out of Seattle. They just brought up a bunch of young guys and they've got way more upside that Piñeiro (who has way more downside), yet they give the innings to Piñeiro. Go figure. Mike Morse (as opposed to TJ Bohn) got the obligatory start in rightfield against the lefthanded starting pitcher. The Mariners looked to have their first winning streak since their four-gamer about a week before. Similarly, they hoped to avoid losing five of seven, which would happen with a loss in this one.

Ichiro singled into center on a 3-1 pitch. Adrian Beltre was up 3-1 before grounding a full-count pitch to third, moving Ichiro to second. Kenji Johjima laced a double over the reach of German at third and toward the leftfield corner for a single that scored Ichiro.
Raul Ibañez grounded a 1-2 pitch to the hole on the right side, where Grudzielanek started what would have been a 4-6-3 double play had Ibañez not been safe at first. Richie Sexson grounded hard to third on the second pitch, and German threw to second for the out on Ibañez. Redman threw 21 pitches.

David DeJesus worked a 1-2 count full before smacking a single into shallow center. Esteban German failed to check his swing on a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Mark Grudzielanek grounded the second pitch to Lopez in the right-side hole, who started a 4-6-3 double play. Piñeiro threw 14 pitches.

Eduardo Perez bounced the second pitch back up the middle for a single. Jose Lopez bounced the second pitch to short to start what was almost a 6-4-3 double play, but Lopez barely beat out the throw to first. Mike Morse rolled an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single to move Perez to second. Willie Bloomquist bounced the second pitch to third to start a 5-4-3 double play, though Bloomquist looked like he might have been more safe than Lopez was on his near-double play, but this goes in the books as a double play. Redman threw nine pitches and had 30 through two.

Mike Sweeney split his bat on the second pitch, bouncing past the mound to Lopez racing to the other side of second base, who threw in time to first. Ryan Shealy flew out to Morse jogging toward the rightfield corner on a 1-2 pitch. Shane Costa bounced to second on a 1-2 pitch. Piñeiro threw ten pitches and had 24 through two.

Ichiro served the second pitch into left for a single, his 200th hit of the season. Beltre watched as a pickoff throw to first went wide and into foul territory, moving Ichiro to second. Beltre fouled off a 2-2 pitch on which Ichiro looked to have had third base stolen. Beltre ended up taking a full-count breaking ball to the thigh. Johjima was ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a full-count pitch, and a high throw went to third to try to get Ichiro, but the ball came loose and Ichiro had his 40th straight successful stolen base to break Willie Wilson's American League record (Beltre also took second). Ibañez hacked on a 3-0 count and flew out to center, deep enough to score Ichiro from third. This was Ichiro's 100th run scored for the season.
Sexson bounced the second pitch to German behind the bag at third. Redman threw 22 pitches and had 52 through three.

Paul Bako grounded the first pitch off of Piñeiro's glove, slowing it down, but Lopez behind it made the play to first. Angel Berroa was up 2-0 before walking on a full-count pitch up and in. Joey Gathright laid the wood on an outside-corner first pitch, lofting it over the wall in leftcenter for his first big-league homer. He didn't have a homer in his Tampa Bay days, and that's news to me.
DeJesus tapped the second pitch back to the mound. German rolled the first pitch to short. Piñeiro threw 12 pitches and had 36 through three.

Perez fell behind 0-2 before whiffing on a 2-2 pitch. Lopez walked on a low 3-1 pitch. Morse bounced a 1-2 pitch right to short for an easy 6-4-3 double play. Redman threw 15 pitches and had 67 through four.

Grudzielanek bounced the second pitch off the mound into center for a single. Sweeney poked a 2-2 pitch to Lopez, who ran at Grudzielanek on his way to second, then tried throwing to first to get Sweeney, but that part of it was late (he could have gone to Bloomquist for the double play, and Sweeney is slow). Shealy was down 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch off his elbow, moving Sweeney to second. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Costa shot the first pitch through toward the rightfield corner and it rolled slowly for a triple to score both Sweeney and Shealy (the latter from first).
Bako whiffed on a 2-2 slider down and in. Berroa slapped an 0-2 pitch into right for a single to score Costa.
Gathright fell behind 0-2 and had a swinging bunt out in front on a 1-2 pitch and beat it out for a single, moving Berroa to second. DeJesus drilled the second pitch off the track and wall near the rightfield corner, scoring both Berroa and Gathright, the latter of whom beat the relay throw home that put DeJesus on third (scored a double).
German grounded the second pitch off the front of the mound, and Lopez made a nice charge-and-throw play on the run to get the out at first. Piñeiro threw 28 pitches and had 64 through four.

Piñeiro's line: 4 innings, 7 runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 64 pitches (44 strikes)

Bloomquist hit the second pitch for a sinking liner to left that was caught by a diving DeJesus. Ichiro popped the second pitch to the track in center. Beltre skipped the first pitch off the mound, and Grudzielanek made a diving backhanded stop and valitant effort to throw to first, but it was late (single). Johjima bounced the second pitch to short for a 6-4 force of Beltre at second. Redman threw seven pitches and had 74 through five.

Ryan Feierabend came in for Piñeiro. Grudzielanek smoked a 2-0 pitch right into Feierabend's glove. Sweeney was up 3-1 and flew out to Ichiro a few steps in front of the centerfield track on a full count. Shealy had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 breaking ball down and in. Costa watched as Shealy was nearly picked off of first, but Sexson had moved away from the bag and had to reach bag for a tag attempt. Shealy stroked a 1-2 pitch, but flew out to Morse in rightcenter. Feierabend threw 18 pitches.

Ibañez flew out high to Gathright a few steps short of the centerfield track. Sexson on a 2-2 pitch flew out to Gathright in deep center. Perez drove the second pitch to a busy Gathright a few steps short of the centerfield track. Redman threw ten pitches and had 84 through six.

Bako tapped a 2-2 pitch back to Feierabend. Berroa whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and in that bounced away, though Berroa thought he'd fouled it off and stood in the batters' box as Johjima ran down the ball, walked over, and tagged him. Gathright lined the first pitch to Lopez, who caught it near his shoes. Feierabend threw 15 pitches and had 33 total.

Lopez whiffed on a 2-2 change. Morse grounded the first pitch hard behind the bag at third, and it ate up German, going off his glove for a single. Bloomquist bunted (for a hit, I hope) the first pitch along the left side, but Bako got to the ball and threw to first as Morse went to second. Ichiro flew out to left on the second pitch. Redman threw nine pitches and had 93 through seven.

DeJesus bounced a 2-2 pitch behind the bag at first, where Sexson got to it and had his momentum going away from the play, then lobbed it over (could have put more juice on it) to a covering Feierabend, who stepped on the bag barely in time. German was down 0-2 and rolled a 2-2 pitch slowly up the middle and Lopez got to it and made a leaping throw to first that was way over Sexson, but German didn't advance and would have had the single anyway. Grudzielanek lined the first pitch to right, and Morse was gunshy about throwing to first to double off German. Sweeney grounded the second pitch to short, where Bloomquist tossed to Lopez at second for the force on German. Feierabend threw 14 pitches and had 47 total.

Beltre rolled the second pitch to second, but Grudzielanek bobbled it (error) and Beltre legged it out. Johjima walked on four pitches, moving Beltre to second. Ibañez bounced the second pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play that moved Beltre to third. Sexson popped the first pitch near the tarp down the rightfield line, and it bounced near Shealy, who had overrun the ball and was over there in time. Sexson whiffed on a low full-count breaking ball that got away from Bako (2-3 putout). Redman threw 15 pitches and had 108 through eight.

Shealy took an 0-2 fastball over the inside corner. Costa popped the second pitch to left. Bako rolled an easy grounder to Lopez, who sat behind it and took his glove up too quickly as the ball rolled through his legs (error) into rightfield. Berroa scorched an 0-2 pitch right into Beltre's glove.

Feierabend's line: 4 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 58 pitches (38 strikes)

Perez looped a foul pop toward the first-base coaches' box, where Shealy made a diving catch. Lopez bounced an 0-2 pitch deep in the left-side hole, where Berroa backhanded it and threw, but Lopez beat it out for a single. Morse rocked a 2-2 pitch, doubling to the centerfield wall to score Lopez. Pitching coach Bob McClure visited the mound.
Bloomquist popped to Shealy behind the bag at first. Ichiro reached and slapped a 1-2 pitch toward the leftfield corner for a single to score Morse. Manager Buddy Bell came to the mound and drew the ire of the Kansas City crowd. Redman got the ovation.

Joe Nelson came in for Redman. Beltre whiffed on an 0-2 fastball.

Redman's line: 8 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 10 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 126 pitches (78 strikes)
Nelson's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 3 pitches (3 strikes)

Gameball: Ryan Feierabend.
This season, we've been introduced to the Mark Lowe slider, the Jon Huber slider, and now the Feierabend vulcan-grip breaking ball. Whereas fellow call-up Francisco Cruceta has gotten lit up in his two big-league appearances this season, Feierabend has done the complete opposite. He's given up one hit and walked one hitter in six innings of work. He's struck out four and gotten six groundouts and eight flyouts. His first big-league appearance consisted of two perfect innings (the eighth and ninth) in the final game of the Toronto series three days earlier. Of course, that was a 10-0 Mariner loss where no runs were scored after the fourth inning. His outing today was very solid, though for the pitching staff as a whole, it was the second straight game where there was a reliever in very long relief (Jake Woods went six innings in the second game of the series). The last time a Mariner starting pitcher got past the fifth inning was Gil Meche on Tuesday in Toronto. The last time a Mariner starter got through six was Jarrod Washburn, who went six in the 13-inning game in Arlington last Saturday. Even with an expanded roster, that'll do a number on a bullpen.

Goat: Joel Piñeiro.
I certainly don't need to see any more out of the guy. My mind's already made up. Apparently the Mariners were swayed by his relief appearances. His last start was on August 15th in Oakland. In his seven relief appearances since, he gave up six runs and 13 hits in 16 1/3 innings (3.31 ERA). In the same span, he walked six hitters (all six in August, oddly) and struck out 14. He got 17 groundouts and 18 flyouts and gave up one homer. Still, his season ERA sits at 6.02. It was on July 27th of 2004 when Piñeiro was put onto the disabled list with a strained flexor bundle in his right elbow that has given his career a complete 180-degree turn. I don't see him throwing a 94mph fastball ever again, and since he'd learned how to get hitters out over the years and had that fastball dialed down several miles per hour when he came back, it took one tool out of his arsenal. He might be trying to reinvent himself as a sinkerballer, but with how much he's being paid (a cool $6.8 million this season) and the youth movement of arms that is waiting in the wings, this team better not end up with him in uniform next season. His career isn't completely out of the realm of salvation, but I'd say his career in Seattle is.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 106-42 .716 -- L2
2003 86-62 .581 20 W4
2002 84-64 .568 22 L6
2000 82-66 .554 24 W4
2006 70-78 .473 36 L1
2005 64-84 .432 42 L3
2004 56-92 .378 50 L1

Meche. Hernandez. Tomorrow.

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