Thursday, September 28, 2006


AP photo -- Kevin P. Casey

[posted in full Sun 8 Oct ~2:53p]

In 25 words or less: It looked like a typical game against the A's at the start, then the Mariners roared back, then ended with a whimper.

This one featured Jason Windsor going up against Gil Meche. With Oakland having already taken the AL West division title, six of their regulars were given the night off. This night marked the final television telecast for Ron Fairly, who is stepping out of the Mariner broadcast booth after the season (he didn't do a lot of television this year, but it's still of note). The Mariners hoped to win this game to keep from losing four of five, which is a good way to put a damper on some of your end-of-season goals before heading out to the golf course to shave some strokes off that handicap. Or the Mariner players could spend the offseason much like I did when I was out of school and just run a sports blog, eat Chex Mix, and wonder why you don't have a job. Yes, it's good clean fun.

Hiram Bocachica tapped a 1-2 pitch slowly to third, where Beltre tried the barehand-and-throw play even though he had no chance, and it was well wide of Sexson (error) and went to the tarp, enabling Bocachica to get to second. Marco Scutaro stung the first pitch just inside the first-base bag and toward the corner for a double, scoring Bocachica.
Bobby Kielty got ahead 2-0 and whiffed over a 2-2 curve. Nick Swisher chipped an 0-2 pitch into the leftfield corner and it bounced over the wall into some foul seats for a double, scoring Scutaro.
Dan Johnson flew out to a running Ichiro in shallow leftcenter. Adam Melhuse was up 3-0 before rolling a full-count pitch slowly to second. Meche threw 27 pitches.

Ichiro got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Adrian Beltre got a pitch up and in and was jammed, flying out to Scutaro in shallow center. Kenji Johjima fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 breaking ball over the inside corner. Raul Ibañez nubbed a 2-0 pitch to Perez on the left side. Windsor threw 18 pitches.

D'Angelo Jimenez fell behind 0-2 and walked on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Jeremy Brown lasered the first pitch into Beltre's glove at third. Antonio Perez tagged a 2-0 pitch to the wall in the rightcenter gap for a triple that scored Jimenez from first.
Bocachica popped the first pitch to Snelling in shallow right as Perez held at third. Scutaro took a full-count pitch down and away for a walk. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Kielty rolled out to second. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 48 through two.

Richie Sexson drove an 0-2 pitch to the leftcenter gap, bouncing off the track and wall for a double. Ben Broussard looped an 0-2 pitch to shallow left, but Jimenez ranged way back to catch it. Jose Lopez grounded to short on a 1-2 pitch, moving Sexson to third. Chris Snelling grounded hard to first on the first pitch. Windsor threw 12 pitches and had 30 through two.

Swisher lined out to second. Johnson took a 2-2 pitch over the inside corner. Melhuse ripped the first pitch down the rightfield line and into the corner for a double. Jimenez fouled off four 0-2 pitches and whiffed on a 1-2 change on the outer half. Meche threw 18 pitches and had 66 through three.

Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to fairly deep left. Ichiro tagged a 2-0 pitch down the leftfield line and into the corner, and it rattled around and shot past a diving Swisher and banked around in the corner, enabling Ichiro to get a triple out of it. Beltre flew out to Kielty near the rightfield line on a 3-1 pitch, scoring Ichiro from second.
Johjima flew out to Kielty in rightcenter. Windsor threw 14 pitches and had 44 through three.

Brown grounded to the hole on the left side, where Beltre made a diving stop and threw from a knee in time to first. A Perez was ahead 3-0 before flying out to Lopez in shallow right. Bocachica got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full-count breaking ball down and in. Scutaro got ahead 3-0 and took a 3-1 high fastball, moving Bocachica to second. Chaves visited the mound. Kielty grounded the first pitch to Sexson behind the bag at first. Meche threw 26 pitches and had 92 through four.

Ibañez lined the first pitch into rightfield, and Kielty cut it off from going to the wall, holding Ibañez to a single. Sexson worked an 0-2 count full and clubbed a full-count pitch much like he did in his last at-bat, doubling to the wall in leftcenter, but this time scoring Ibañez from first.
Broussard tagged a 2-2 pitch hard through the right side for a single, but it was hit too hard to score Sexson, who held at third. Windsor got a visit from his pitching coach. Lopez bounced slowly along the left side, where Windsor came off the mound to field it, but he had no play once he got to it as Sexson scored, Broussard moved to second, and Lopez had the single.
Snelling bunted the first pitch softly out in front, where Melhuse pounced and made a wild-looking throw that still got the out at first as Broussard and Lopez moved to third and second. Betancourt rolled out to short on the first pitch, scoring Broussard and moving Lopez to third. MLB.tv cut to commercial break slides for a few seconds before someone at the control room realized the inning wasn't yet over.
Ichiro roped a 2-2 pitch into center for a single after it nearly nailed second-base umpire Mike Reilly. The hit scored Lopez.
Beltre fell behind 0-2 before flying out to shallow right on a 1-2 pitch. Windsor threw 28 pitches and had 72 through four.

Swisher walked on four pitches. Johnson punched the second pitch through the right side for a single, moving Swisher to second. Melhuse fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and away. Jimenez whiffed over an 0-2 curve inside. Brown whiffed on a 1-2 curve down and in. Meche threw 17 pitches and had 109 through five.

Johjima flew out to rightcenter on a 2-0 pitch. Ibañez got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Sexson bounced the first pitch to third for an easy 5-4-3 double play.

Windsor's line: 5 innings, 5 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 81 pitches (47 strikes)

A Perez flew out to Sexson on the right side on a 3-1 pitch. Bocachica bounced a 2-2 pitch to a diving Sexson behind the bag at first, who underhanded in time to a covering Meche at first. Scutaro got ahead 3-1 and took a full-count pitch for strike three.

Meche's line: 6 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts, 125 pitches (74 strikes)

Brad Halsey came in for Windsor. Broussard popped a 1-2 pitch to Kielty near the rightcenter track. Lopez whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball way outside. Snelling worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Betancourt rolled the first pitch to Scutaro in the hole on the right side. Halsey threw 17 pitches.

Joel Piñeiro came in for Meche. Kielty walked on a 3-1 fastball away. Swisher got ahead 3-1 and whiffed over a full-count breaking ball. Johnson bounced a 1-2 pitch to the left side where Beltre tried to toss to second, but couldn't get a hold of it well enough, then threw in time to first as Kielty moved to second. Melhuse got ahead 3-0 and bounced a full-count pitch through the right side for a single, scoring Kielty (Johjima dropped Snelling's throw), and Melhuse went to second on the throw.
Jimenez took a 1-2 fastball over the outside corner.

Piñeiro's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 25 pitches (13 strikes)

Ichiro bounced up the middle to Jimenez. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and flew out to the leftfield track on a 2-2 pitch. Johjima punched a single through the left side. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and chopped a 2-2 pitch near first, and Ibañez beat the throw from Scutaro in shallow rightfield as Johjima moved to second.

Kiko Calero came in for Halsey. Sexson rolled up the middle to Jimenez behind second, who underhanded to Scutaro at the bag for the out on Ibañez.

Halsey's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 33 pitches (21 strikes)
Calero's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)

Jon Huber came in for Piñeiro and TJ Bohn came in to play right. Brown worked a 1-2 count for a walk. A Perez walked on a pitch down and in. Bocachica lined out to left. Scutaro grounded to short to start a 6-4-3 double play.

Huber's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (7 strikes)

Ron Flores came in for Calero. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, popped the second pitch to second. Lopez knocked the second pitch into rightcenter, and it snuck through sliding stop attempts from Bocachica and Kielty for a double. Bohn got ahead 2-0 before popping to Johnson in foul ground near the bag at first. Betancourt ripped the second pitch into the leftfield corner for an easy double that scored Lopez.
Ichiro whiffed on a 2-2 pitch away and in the dirt.

Flores' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (10 strikes)

JJ Putz came in for Huber. Kielty push-bunted the first pitch past the left side of the mound, where Betancourt charged in for it but had no play (single). Swisher knocked a 2-0 pitch into shallow right for a single, moving Kielty to second. Johnson got behind 0-2 and wickedly stung a 2-2 pitch to center that got under Ichiro's glove and through to the wall to score Kielty and Swisher, and Johnson got a triple out of it.
Melhuse foul-tipped an 0-2 fastball into Johjima's glove. Jimenez was intentionally walked. Brown grounded the second pitch to third, where Beltre threw straight home and Johjima stood in front of the plate and blocked it as Johnson sort of pushed him over, but he was out anyway (didn't decide to blast him) as Jimenez moved to second. A Perez whiffed on an 0-2 fastball.

Putz' line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 23 pitches (15 strikes)

Jay Witasick came in for Flores. Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and way off the plate outside. Johjima smacked an 0-2 pitch up the middle, which Scutaro made a nice backhanded sliding stop on, and he threw in time to first. Ibañez whiffed badly over a 2-2 breaking ball in the dirt.

Witasick's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 13 pitches (10 strikes)

George Sherrill came in for Putz. Bocachica got ahead 2-0 and whipped a 2-2 pitch into left for a single. Scutaro got ahead 2-0 and bunted to the right side, where Sherrill came off to field it and threw to first as Bocachica threw to second. Kielty drove a ball out to the centerfield wall for a double, scoring Bocachica.
Swisher was walked intentionally. Johnson fell behind 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to third, where Beltre threw to second for the out on Swisher as Kielty moved to third. Melhuse flew out to center.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (12 strikes)

Huston Street came in for Witasick. Sexson whiffed over an 0-2 breaking ball down and in. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Perez, whiffed over an 0-2 change down and away. Lopez whiffed on a 2-2 pitch.

Street's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 11 pitches (9 strikes)

Gameball: Richie Sexson.
It wasn't a six-RBI day for Sexson in this one, and it wasn't even a multi-homer game. He merely went 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. As a matter of fact, the 12 doubles he's hit in September have been the most he's hit in any month, and beats the pants off his previous high for a month this season, which was seven. The six homers he's hit in September rank behind the eight-homer June and the nine-homer July. Though the homer production has dropped a bit from Sexson, it's the new onslaught of doubles (more likely fly balls that are going off walls and barely missing being homers) that is keeping his slugging percentage high. He's sitting with a .498 slugging percentage after this game. The last time he had consecutive hitless games, he was slugging .444 (August 2nd). At the All-Star break, he was slugging .418. He came into the month of June slugging .355. In short, it's been a pretty insane second half for the tall one. I've enjoyed another season of mammoth homers, and I just hope next season's a little more consistent, but that's what I'm hoping for out of the whole team.

Goat: Gil Meche.
Three runs, not so bad. Six hits, not so bad. Seven strikeouts, decent. Six innings, passable. Five walks? Terrible. The fact the Mariners had a 5-3 lead when Meche left the game was a minor miracle. At the same time, you have to figure he was facing a lineup that didn't have Frank Thomas in it, and considering the season he's had, his inclusion in the lineup makes the offense a whole lot better and a whole lot harder lineup to face pitchingwise. Still, it was the A's inability to punch across the walks that preserved the Mariners' lead until the incredibly bad events occurred in the top of the ninth inning. In any event, any time Meche walks five hitters, there's no way he's going to get a gameball from me, even if he throws a complete game. If he walks five guys in a game, there's a good chance he'll end up in this part of the game post, and that's exactly where he is after this game. Quite a team to watch, these guys. The Mariners have hitters that are taught not to walk, and therefore don't draw enough walks. Then the pitchers walk too many hitters. The walk party is supposed to go the other way.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 114-45 .717 -- W4
2002 92-67 .579 22 L1
2003 90-69 .566 24 L2
2000 89-70 .560 25 L1
2006 76-83 .478 38 L2
2005 68-91 .428 46 W1
2004 62-97 .390 52 L1

Padilla. Feierabend. Tomorrow.

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