Saturday, September 30, 2006


AP photo -- Kevin P. Casey

[posted in full Sun 8 Oct ~3:22p]

In 25 words or less: I'm not sure whether to call these games fall-from-ahead losses, but the Mariners have had too many lately.

This one featured Vicente Padilla going up against Ryan Feierabend. For Feierabend, it was his second start in the big leagues. It was Fan Appreciation Night at Safeco Field. News came down that Mark Lowe would be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow. MLB.tv pulled a jack move and showed the intro to Athletics/Angels, then switched over correctly to Rangers/Mariners right before the first pitch. The Mariners were hoping not to lose their third straight game, because that would just be bad. Nearing the end of the season, it's generally bad to lose five of six games, and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth as you're left wondering what could've been, though the Mariners have been doing that ever since the horrid 11-game losing streak. The Mariners were also seeking a win to meet my preseason expectation for the team, which I had pegged at 77 wins. So, the Mariners were gunning for lucky number 77.

Gary Matthews, Jr. got ahead 3-1 before hitting a low liner to shallow rightcenter on a full count. Michael Young laced the second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double, his 51st of the season, a new Ranger single-season record. Mark Teixeira was down 0-2 and foul-tipped a 1-2 fastball up and in into Johjima's glove. Carlos Lee worked an 0-2 count full (fouling a 2-2 pitch off his toe and tumbling to the ground in a heap in the process) before lasering a pitch back to Feierabend, who reached up with the glove while falling to the ground. Feierabend threw 22 pitches.

Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and pushed a 2-2 pitch deep into the right-side hole, where Kinsler ranged over to spin and make a throw to second, but Ichiro barely legged out the single. Adrian Beltre hadn't taken a pitch when Padilla faked a throw to first (a no-no for a righty) and was called for a balk, moving Ichiro to second. Beltre laid wood on an 0-2 pitch, putting it just over the rightfield wall near the corner.
Kenji Johjima popped the first pitch to DeRosa near the third-base line. Raul Ibañez walked on a full-count pitch that was low. Richie Sexson was ahead 2-0 and grounded the full-count pitch hard to the left-side hole, where Arias ranged and made a nice play, gloving the ball and making a quick throw to second to force out Ibañez, and Sexson beat out the throw to first that would have made it a double play. Ben Broussard looped a pitch into shallow right, where Cruz slid too early trying to make the catch and had it drop and get past him for a double that moved Sexson to third. Jose Lopez worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball. Padilla threw 37 pitches.

Mark DeRosa walked on four pitches. Ian Kinsler had an 0-1 count on him when Feierabend caught DeRosa leaning off of first (1-3-6 putout). Kinsler parachuted an 0-2 pitch into shallow right in front of Snelling for a single. Rod Barajas walked on four pitches, moving Kinsler to second. Nelson Cruz worked a 1-2 count for a walk to load the bases. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves hurriedly jogged out to the mound. Joaquin Arias bounced an 0-2 pitch to third, where Beltre threw home for the force on Kinsler and Johjima had no other play and the bases remained loaded. Matthews had the hitters' counts before chopping a 3-1 pitch high to third. Feierabend threw 27 pitches and had 49 through two.

Chris Snelling rode the first pitch into the leftcenter gap, but it was caught on the run by Matthews. Yuniesky Betancourt popped the second pitch to Matthews in shallow center. Ichiro got ahead 2-0 but bounced to first, where Teixeira underhanded to the covering Padilla, but Padilla had the ball hit the heel of his glove and roll away (error), enabling Ichiro to reach first. Beltre walked on a 3-1 breaking ball low and away, moving Ichiro to second. Johjima was down 0-2 and foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch into Barajas' glove. Padilla threw 18 pitches and had 55 through two.

Young was up 3-1 and flew out to Snelling at the rightfield track on a full count. Teixeira whiffed on an 0-2 change. Lee flew out to Betancourt in shallow left on the second pitch. Feierabend threw 12 pitches and had 61 through three.

Ibañez smacked a single past the reach of a diving Kinsler and through the right side for a single. Sexson stroked a 3-1 pitch to the wall in rightcenter for a double, scoring Ibañez from first thanks to a less-than-good throw home.
Broussard popped the second pitch to Arias in shallow left. Lopez lined the second pitch hard in front of Cruz for a single, moving Sexson to third. Snelling had a 3-0 count but whiffed on a full-count fastball over the outer half. Betancourt fell behind 0-2 and foul-tipped a 2-2 pitch into Barajas' glove. Padilla threw 23 pitches and had 78 through three.

DeRosa poked the first pitch through the mound and into center for a single. Kinsler grounded hard to third on a 1-2 pitch, and Beltre tried turning two, but only got the first out (6-4 putout) as Kinsler reached. Barajas popped the second pitch to fairly deep center. Cruz hadn't had a pitch thrown to him when Feierabend got called for a balk, moving Kinsler to second. Cruz bounced a ball through the left side for a single, scoring Kinsler as the throw home was late.
Arias grounded the first pitch very hard to short, where it nearly ate up Betancourt, but he came up with it and threw to second for the force on Cruz. Feierabend threw 11 pitches and had 72 through four.

Ichiro lined a 2-0 pitch to a charging and sliding Lee in shallow left. Beltre flew out high to right on an 0-2 pitch. Johjima grounded hard to a diving DeRosa behind the bag at third, who managed to make the throw in time to first. Padilla threw seven pitches and had 85 through four.

Matthews whiffed on a 2-2 change way off the plate outside. Young got ahead 3-1 and fouled off four full-count pitches before lining out to center. Teixeira tagged a 2-0 pitch inside the third-base bag and toward the angled wall in foul ground for a double. Lee dumped the first pitch into shallow center for a single to score Teixeira.
DeRosa popped a 2-2 pitch to Betancourt near the back of the mound. Feierabend threw 24 pitches and had 96 through five.

Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and bounced up the middle to Arias, who threw to first. Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 inside fastball. Broussard worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Lopez took a 2-1 pitch way outside and Broussard stole second. Lopez walked on a 3-1 pitch outside, making the steal a bit moot. Snelling took a 1-2 belt-high fastball for strike three. Padilla threw 17 pitches and had 112 through five.

Feierabend came out to warm up, but then a call went to the bullpen.

Emiliano Fruto came in for Feierabend. Kinsler walked on four pitches. Barajas reached and chopped the second pitch through the right side on a hit-and-run, moving Kinsler to third. Cruz whiffed on a 1-2 fastball over the outer half. Arias poked the first pitch inside the third-base bag and toward the angled wall in foul ground, scoring Kinsler and moving moving Barajas to second.
Matthews fell behind 0-2 and flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter as the runners held. Young tagged a double into the leftcenter gap, easily scoring Barajas and Arias.
Teixeira looped a 1-2 pitch in foul ground to the left side, where Beltre ran all the way over and got turned around by the stands and had the ball in his glove before it fell out. Teixeira worked the 1-2 count full and whiffed on a breaking ball away. Fruto threw 25 pitches.

Feierabend's line: 5 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 96 pitches (59 strikes)

Betancourt rolled the first pitch to second. Ichiro had the hitters' counts and stroked a 3-1 pitch into the rightcenter gap, rolling it to the wall for a triple.

Scott Feldman came in for Padilla. Beltre flew out to deep center on a 3-1 pitch, scoring Ichiro from third.
Johjima fell behind 0-2 and singled up the middle under a diving Arias on a 1-2 pitch.

John Rheinecker came in for Feldman. Ibañez flew out to deep right on the second pitch.

Padilla's line: 5 1/3 inning, 4 runs, 7 hits, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts, 118 pitches (69 strikes)
Feldman's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (6 strikes)
Rheinecker's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (2 strikes)

Lee walked on a 3-1 pitch down andd away. DeRosa was down 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch down and in as Lee stole second. DeRosa took a 2-2 pitch to the left shoulder. At this point, multiple infielders were making separate visits to the mound in a hilarious display of stall tactics before Mike Hargrove came to the mound.

Jon Huber came in for Fruto. Kinsler bunted in front of the plate, where Huber ran over to field the ball but lost his footing (single), and he threw to first, but it was too late as the bases were loaded. Barajas ripped a 2-0 pitch right into Beltre's glove as he went to a knee to make the catch. Cruz grounded a 2-0 pitch toward the left-side hole to Betancourt, who bobbled a bit and turned and threw to short, but it led Lopez off the bag at second as everyone was safe and Lee scored, with the bases remaining loaded.
Arias flew out to very shallow right as the runners held. Matthews took a first pitch that went off Johjima's glove and rolled past, but DeRosa held at third. Matthews flew out to left on a 2-0 pitch. Huber threw 15 pitches.

Fruto's line: 1 inning, 4 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 38 pitches (20 strikes)

Frank Francisco came in for Rheinecker. Sexson fought off the first pitch, poking it through the right side for a single. Broussard flew out to a running Cruz in rightcenter, who was nearly taken out at the legs by Matthews, who slid away from the ball at the last second. Lopez grounded the first pitch into the right-side hole, where Kinsler made a diving stop and threw to second for the force on Sexson, though it too too much time to get Lopez at first, who beat the throw. Snelling took the first pitch in the dirt inside, and it got away far enough to move Lopez to second. Snelling grounded hard to Teixeira behind the bag at first.

Francisco's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (7 strikes)

Young popped the second pitch to Snelling barely on the foul side of the rightfield line. Teixeira flew out to left. Lee grounded an 0-2 pitch to second, where Lopez bobbled and booted it multiple times and had no play (error). DeRosa flew out to deep right on the second pitch. Huber threw ten pitches and had 25 total.

Huber's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 25 pitches (14 strikes)

Wes Littleton came in for Francisco. Betancourt grounded an 0-2 pitch deep into the hole on the right side, and despite Arias' best efforts and throw, Betancourt legged out the single. Ichiro flew out to deep left on a 1-2 pitch. Beltre bounced a 2-0 pitch to third, moving Betancourt to second. Johjima chopped the second pitch to short, and Teixeira had a not-too-bad pick of the throw to first. Littleton threw 12 pitches.

Joel Piñeiro came in for Huber. Kinsler flew out deep to left on the second pitch. Barajas tapped to third. Cruz bounced out to third.

Piñeiro's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (5 strikes)

Ibañez drove a long fly ball to the covered equipment tunnel in rightcenter.
Sexson chopped a full-count pitch high to third.

CJ Wilson came in for Littleton. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and in. Lopez rolled softly to short.

Littleton's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
Wilson's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (6 strikes)

Gameball: Jon Huber.
How impressive has this guy been? Granted, I hope his arm doesn't explode from throwing all those sliders, but my, what a slider it is. I like my chances in 2007 if I'm in the seventh or eighth against a tough lineup and I can sandwich George Sherrill between Huber and Mark Lowe. That is, if you don't make Lowe a starter. I'm very open to the idea of Lowe becoming a starter, and also the idea of Rafael Soriano becoming a starter again, but that's a discussion for another time. Huber has racked up 15 appearances since his call-up, with the first outing coming on August 30th. He's given up only two earned runs for a sparkling ERA of 1.23. I was somewhat surprised to see the strikeout-to-walk ratio to be a little worse than I thought it'd be, but in any event, it's 11 strikeouts to six walks, not quite 2-to-1, which is surprising considering the slider, but on the other end, you can't argue with the fact that Huber is just plain getting outs. He got six flyouts in this game, but before that, he'd gotten 22 groundouts and six flyouts, which is very impressive.

Goat: Emiliano Fruto.
Ryan Feierabend left the game with a 3-2 lead. His chances of picking up his first Major League win would have been much greater if the Mariners would have quickly piled up some runs. The offense didn't do that in the bottom of the fifth. Feierabend's chances for a win also would have been a lot greater if it wasn't Fruto that headed to the mound for the sixth inning. Fruto set the game ablaze, facing nine hitters over an inning-plus and retiring only three. There were also three hits and two walks. It just wasn't good. Just really not good. His command, or lack thereof, is just maddening at times. At times he's looked pretty good like he would have some potential, and at other times he's looekd completely discombobulated in terms of control and command, and even with the heat that he throws, it means nothing without control and command, though you could say the same thing about any young pitcher out there who can throw heat. I only dish this out because I like Fruto and I think he could be meaningful in the Mariners' future plans, but not by throwing the ball all over the place. He knows how to throw, now he just has to learn how to pitch.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 115-45 .719 -- W5
2002 93-67 .581 22 W1
2003 91-69 .569 24 W1
2000 89-71 .556 26 L2
2006 76-84 .475 39 L3
2005 69-91 .431 46 W2
2004 63-97 .394 52 W1

Millwood. Hernandez. Today.

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