Saturday, September 23, 2006
In 25 words or less: The big inning paid a visit to the Mariners, and a hamstring injury revisited Jose Contreras.
This one featured Gil Meche going up against Jose Contreras. Willie Bloomquist got the start at shortstop due to Yuniesky Betancourt still recovering from being hit on the knee by a pitch the night before. The Mariners looked to win their fourth straight and guarantee a non-losing series in Chicago for the weekend. A win on this night would also make it six wins in eight games. Furthermore, a win would get the Mariners to within four games of .500, a place they haven't been since the 116th game of the season (August 12th), which also functions as the third loss in the season-killing 11-game losing streak. Coming into the game, the Mariners had to go 8-1 to finish above .500, 7-2 to finish at .500, and 3-6 to make my 77-win preseason prediction look good. Though the following game piece does contain the in-game description of Contreras suffering the hamstring injury, an evil part of me wishes it was a groin pull so I could try to tie in some one-liner involving former Mariner and White Sox pitching coach Nardi Contreras, but I'm just not feeling too witty right now.
Originally I had a congratulatory note for Eric O'Flaherty for his first win in the big leagues. I'd seen it as such on ESPN's bottom line, but couldn't corroborate it with MLB.com's Gameday or with boxscores of ESPN.com and Yahoo. Everyone else had Emiliano Fruto getting credit for the win. After some digging, all I can come up with is that Fruto won due to Rule 10.19(c)(1).
Ichiro stroked the first pitch into rightcenter for a single. Adrian Beltre fell behind 0-2 before spanking a 1-2 liner at Iguchi's feet, and the second baseman put his glove down to catch it. Kenji Johjima rolled the second pitch to short to start a 6-4-3 double play. Contreras threw eight pitches.
Scott Podsednik was ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a high 2-2 fastball. Tadahito Iguchi nearly homered down the rightfield line on the first pitch, but bounced the second pitch to third, where Beltre threw to first, but Sexson uncharacteristically muffed the catch (error), enabling Iguchi to get to second. Jermaine Dye bounced to Lopez on the other side of second, and he got the out at first as Iguchi moved to third. Jim Thome nubbed a 1-2 pitch to where Betancourt normally would be, but the defense had been shifted, so the single scored Iguchi.
»» WHITE SOX 1, MARINERS 0
Paul Konerko flew out high and somewhat deep to Ichiro in rightcenter on the first pitch. Meche threw 17 pitches.
Raul Ibañez lasered a single through the right side. Richie Sexson took a 1-2 forkball in the dirt away that was blocked by Pierzynski but bounced far enough in front to move Ibañez to second. Sexson reached down to tag a low full-count breaking ball, lining it just over the centerfield fence. When he crossed the plate, it marked his 100th RBI of the season and his sixth 100-RBI season of his career.
»» MARINERS 2, WHITE SOX 1
Ben Broussard poked an outside pitch just over the head of Fields and into shallow left for a single. Jose Lopez whiffed on an 0-2 forkball over the outside corner. Chris Snelling looped a single into shallow leftcenter, and Broussard made a turn and broke for third as Podsednik came up throwing, and his throw got past, so Broussard was safe and Snelling got to second. Willie Bloomquist lined the second pitch into center for a single, scoring Broussard and moving Snelling to third (he moved back toward second while seeing the ball go into centerfield).
»» MARINERS 3, WHITE SOX 1
Ichiro served an 0-2 pitch into rightcenter for a single to score Snelling and Bloomquist, the latter of whom scored from first on a single thanks to some defensive lackadaisicality.
»» MARINERS 5, WHITE SOX 1
Beltre took the first pitch inside as Ichiro stole second base for his 42nd of the season and 36th straight without getting caught. Beltre whiffed on an 0-2 forkball inside. Johjima got ahead 2-0 before checkswinging on a full-count pitch and nubbing it to the right side, where Konerko fielded it and tossed toward what was going to be a covering Contreras (error), but Contreras pulled up and tumbled in a heap, reaggravating his right hamstring injury as Ichiro scored and Johjima reached second. Contreras left the game, and he had a pretty bad limp coming off the field, though he did so under his own power.
»» MARINERS 6, WHITE SOX 1
Brandon McCarthy came in for Contreras. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 high fastball. McCarthy threw five pitches.
Contreras' line: 1 2/3 innings, 6 runs, 7 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 42 pitches (28 strikes)
AJ Pierzynski drove the second pitch to rightfield, rolling it to the wall for a double. Josh Fields nubbed an 0-2 curve to second, moving Pierzynski to third. Juan Uribe smacked the second pitch, lining out to right, but Pierzynski tagged and scored.
»» MARINERS 6, WHITE SOX 2
Brian Anderson got ahead 2-0 and ended up flying out to Snelling in foul ground near the rightfield corner. Meche threw 12 pitches and had 29 through two.
Sexson got ahead 2-0 and absolutely crushed a full-count pitch about 16 rows or so into the leftfield seats. Crushed.
»» MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 2
Broussard lined out to second on a 2-0 pitch. Lopez bounced a 1-2 curve to second. Snelling walked on four pitches. Bloomquist waved at an 0-2 pitch. McCarthy threw 21 pitches and had 26 total.
Podsednik bounced a 1-2 pitch to second. Iguchi was up 2-0 before taking a full-count deathly belt-high curve over the inner half. Dye walked on a full-count breaking ball down and off the plate away. Thome was ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a full-count fastball in the dirt. Meche threw 24 pitches and had 53 through three.
Ichiro tapped an 0-2 pitch to the right side, where McCarthy came off the mound to field it and underhand to first. Beltre grounded a 1-2 breaking ball to Fields behind the bag at third, who made the long throw over to first in time (picked by Konerko). Johjima drove a 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single. Ibañez bulleted the second pitch through the right side for a single, moving Johjima to second. Sexson had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch low and away, loading the bases. Pitching coach Don Cooper visited the mound. Broussard got ahead 2-0 but whiffed on a 2-2 low breaking ball. McCarthy threw 27 pitches and had 53 total.
Konerko rolled out to short. Pierzynski grounded hard to second. Fields walked on a high full-count fastball. Uribe unloaded on a hanging slider, putting it seven rows into the seats in left.
»» MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 4
Anderson fell behind 0-2 and took a 1-2 curve over the inside corner. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 74 through four.
Lopez was ahead 3-1 before reaching down to plunk a full-count fastball into center for a single. Snelling bunted the first pitch (too) hard to third, and Lopez had to stay at second. Bloomquist worked a 1-2 count full before taking a curve over the outside corner that he thought was a ball. Ichiro was intentionally walked.
Dustin Hermanson came in for McCarthy. Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 low breaking ball. Hermanson threw four pitches.
McCarthy's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 70 pitches (40 strikes)
Podsednik hit a pop fly to left that landed at the base of the wall in leftcenter for a double. Iguchi slapped at an outside 1-2 pitch and lined out to a charging and diving Snelling. Dye dumped the first pitch into right for a single to score Podsednik. Rafael Chaves visited the mound.
»» MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 5
Thome got ahead 3-0 before walking on a full-count high fastball to move Dye to second. Konerko reached outside and smacked a double to the wall in right, scoring Dye and moving Thome to third.
»» MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 6
Eric O'Flaherty came in for Meche. Pierzynski popped a 2-2 pitch high to Johjima a couple feet in front of the plate.
Emiliano Fruto came in for O'Flaherty. Fields fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to short to end the huge jam. Fruto threw four pitches.
Meche's line: 4 1/3 innings, 6 runs (5 earned), 6 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 92 pitches (54 strikes)
O'Flaherty's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 5 pitches (3 strikes)
Johjima was nicked on the left elbow, which is conveniently covered with a piece of body armor. Ibañez watched with a 1-0 count as a pickoff throw got past Konerko, but it went off the first-base umpire so Johjima couldn't advance to second. Ibañez got ahead 2-0 and slapped a 2-2 pitch for a flyout to left. Sexson whiffed on a low 2-2 breaking ball.
Matt Thornton came in for Hermanson. Broussard drove a 1-2 pitch into the gap in rightcenter for a double to score Johjima.
»» MARINERS 8, WHITE SOX 6
Lopez grounded an 0-2 pitch to the left side that hit Broussard on his way to third. Thornton threw seven pitches.
Hermanson's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 19 pitches (12 strikes)
Uribe took a 1-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Anderson drove the second pitch to left, but Ibañez caught it just short of the track. Podsednik gronuded the second pitch down the first-base line to Sexson, who gloved it and dove, then rose to his fours and tagged the bag with his glove. Fruto threw nine pitches and had 13 total.
Snelling got ahead 2-0 before foul-tipping a 2-2 fastball into Pierzynski's glove behind the plate. Bloomquist flew out lazily to right. Ichiro grounded a 2-2 pitch to second.
Thornton's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (14 strikes)
Iguchi showed bunt on the first pitch and instead took was nicked right above the left knee while trying to jump out of the way, though there was a debate as to whether he'd pulled back the bunt or not. He didn't, and Iguchi's at-bat continued with an 0-1 count. Iguchi fell behind 0-2 and flew out to center on a 1-2 pitch. Dye got ahead 2-0 but whiffed on a full-count breaking ball down over the inside corner. Thome walked on a full-count fastball inside. Konerko took a mishandled first-pitch breaking ball that skimmed across his left-elbow body armor, moving Thome to second.
George Sherrill came in for Fruto. Joe Crede, hitting for Pierzynski, bounced to short for a 6-4 force on Konerko at second.
Fruto's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 31 pitches (20 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)
David Riske came in for Thornton and Sandy Alomar, Jr. came in to catch. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whipped a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Johjima bounced to third, where Fields threw to second for the out on Beltre, but Iguchi's throw to first was very high (error) and bounced into the camera well, allowing Johjima to move to second.
Neal Cotts came in for Riske. Ibañez bounced the first pitch to second, moving Johjima to third. Sexson was intentionally walked. Broussard had the hitters' counts before taking a pitch around the tailbone to load the bases. Lopez drove the second pitch into leftcenter for a single, scoring Johjima and Sexson and moving Broussard to third. TJ Bohn was announced as a pinch-hitter for Snelling.
»» MARINERS 10, WHITE SOX 6
Charlie Haeger came in for Cotts. Bohn whiffed on a high 2-2 breaking ball. Haeger threw five pitches.
Riske's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (7 strikes)
Cotts' line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (3 strikes)
Jon Huber came in for Sherrill. Fields grounded a second-pitch slider to third. Uribe bounced the second pitch to short. Anderson got ahead 2-0 and whiffed badly on a full-count breaking ball in the dirt away, though Johjima tagged Anderson before the latter could figure out what to do.
Huber's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
Bloomquist had the hitters' counts before taking a 3-1 knuckleball up and in. Ichiro watched a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner, though Bloomquist stole second base, barely getting his left hand on the bag before Uribe could tag him. Beltre walked on four pitches. Johjima fell behind 0-2 and looped a 1-2 pitch to Iguchi just past the dirt into shallow center with the infield fly rule called. Ibañez banged a 2-0 pitch through the right side for a single that scored Bloomquist and moved Beltre to second.
»» MARINERS 11, WHITE SOX 6
Sexson whiffed on a 1-2 high knuckleball.
Haeger's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 31 pitches (15 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Huber. Podsednik took a 1-2 fastball at thigh level over the inside corner. Iguchi rolled a 2-0 pitch to second. Dye whiffed on a 2-2 fastball.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 15 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Richie Sexson.
That first home run he hit in this game was a fairly typical-looking Sexson homer. That second homer, however, was truly a thing of beauty. Usually, Sexson has a fairly short follow-through after hitting the ball, but that wasn't the case after he smacked homer number two. A textbook Sexson homer doesn't necessarily look like it's going to leave the yard once it makes contact with Sexson's bat unless you've gotten used to what a yardball looks like when it leaves the bat of Big Richie. However, I've never seen Sexson just unload on a ball like he did on that homer in the third. Goodness, that thing was rocked. Sexson last went hitless in consecutive games on August 1st and 2nd. Since then, he is 56-for-162 (.346) with 17 doubles, eight homers, 29 RBIs, 23 walks, and 38 strikeouts. His slugging percentage? It's .599, which is better than any single month for him this season, and that .599 is over a span of about a month and a half. To really make that stat nuts, you can say that Sexson is slugging .649 in September. This game also ensured his sixth career 100-RBI season, so congrats on that.
Goat: Gil Meche.
The funny and/or maddening thing about this is that I thought Meche really had his curveball working early on in the game. He needed better command of his fastball, though, which was wandering a bit outside the strike zone. The way Meche's curve is working doesn't necessarily indicate how well he's doing as a whole on the mound (I did just talk about his fastball), and it certainly didn't translate into results as he walked three hitters in his short outing and he wasn't too efficient in terms of pitch count. He went to full counts on the final three hitters he faced in the third inning en route to a 24-pitch inning. He threw 21 pitches in the fourth as well. I've maintained that I'd be all for the Mariners gutting the four-fifths of their rotation not named Hernandez. Of course, no one else would be stupid enough to take the contract of Jarrod Washburn, and I realize that, so they should gut the other three-fifths of the rotation. What I'm trying to say is that even with some smidgens of improvement from Meche, I still don't want him back for 2007. Of course, if the Mariners hold a gun to my head and say I need to choose between Joel Piñeiro and Meche, I'm taking Meche every time. I'll be infuriated if I see Piñeiro in a Mariner uniform next season.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 110-44 .714 -- W4
2002 88-66 .571 22 L2
2003 88-66 .571 22 W1
2000 86-68 .558 24 L2
2006 75-79 .487 35 W4
2005 67-87 .435 43 W1
2004 59-95 .383 51 L1
Hernandez. Buehrle. Today.
Friday, September 22, 2006
In 25 words or less: For as back-and-forth as this season's been, shutting out the world champions and threatening their playoff hopes is a bit fun.
This one featured Jake Woods going up against Javier Vazquez. A win in this game would take the Mariners to five games under .500, a place they haven't been since the final game of a four-game winning streak about two weeks ago. A win in this game would also make it five wins in seven games. Coming into the game, the Mariners would have had to finish 9-1 in their final ten games for an over-.500 record. They needed an 8-2 finish to get an 81-81 season and a 4-6 finish to make my 77-win preseason prediction look clairvoyant, surely paving the way for me to prognosticate my way to endless riches. Most likely, though, I'll just keep doing this blog thing. In other news, Ryan Feierabend hadn't pitched in a game since last Saturday, and quite frankly, I need my fix. Perhaps with a usual five- or six-inning start by Woods in this game, I'd get that Feierabend outing. Surely the White Sox would muster up some pennant-race jump and tag Mariner pitching, right?
Ichiro whiffed on a knee-high 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Adrian Beltre flew out to Dye in rightcenter on the second pitch. Kenji Johjima whiffed on a letter-high 0-2 fastball. Vazquez threw 11 pitches.
Pablo Ozuna was down 0-2 before driving a 2-2 pitch into the leftcenter gap and to the wall for a double. Tadahito Iguchi was up 2-0 before whiffing on a full-count fastball over the inner half. Jermaine Dye rolled a 2-2 pitch to second to move Ozuna to third. Jim Thome rolled a 1-2 curveball to where Lopez usually plays second, and Lopez had to charge all the way over from his shifted position to make the play and get the out at first. Woods threw 21 pitches.
Raul Ibañez was ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a full-count breaking ball. Richie Sexson lined a full-count pitch into center for a single. Ben Broussard took a full-count tailing fastball at the knees. Yuniesky Betancourt was down 0-2 before serving a 1-2 pitch into center for a single, moving Sexson to second. Chris Snelling popped a 3-1 pitch to the left side, where it looked like Uribe was going to move over to catch it, but he and Crede had a low-speed collision and the ball dropped between them (error on Uribe), allowing Sexson to score, Betancourt to reach third, and Snelling to get to second.
»» MARINERS 1, WHITE SOX 0
Lopez took a 1-2 fastball down the pipe. Vazquez threw 33 pitches and had 44 through two.
Paul Konerko got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a full-count offspeed pitch off the plate outside. Joe Crede was ahead 3-0 but had his bat explode, bouncing a full-count pitch to third. AJ Pierzynski looped the second pitch to shallow leftcenter, where Ibañez attempted the sliding catch, but had it go off the end of his glove and under him (single), but probably would have only trapped it anyway. Juan Uribe flew out to Ibañez near the leftfield line. Woods threw 18 pitches and had 39 through two.
Ichiro was behind 0-2 before popping a 1-2 pitch to Konerko halfway down the first-base line. Beltre whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and in. Johjima whiffed on a 2-2 belt-high fastball over the outside corner. Vazquez threw 18 pitches and had 62 through three.
Brian Anderson got ahead 2-0 and chopped past the mound and a charging Lopez couldn't get a grip on a barehand attempt. Ozuna whiffed on a second-pitch breaking ball, and Johjima gunned straight to Lopez at second, who started a high-speed rundown of Anderson, who was hung out to dry between first and second (2-4-3-6). Ozuna took the next pitch, an 0-2 fastball to the earhole that knocked off his helmet. Both managers were addressed by the umpires. Iguchi had the hitters' counts before bouncing a 3-1 pitch along the right side, where Sexson got it and tagged Iguchi coming down the line, moving Ozuna to second. Dye was up 2-0 before flying out to Ichiro a couple strides short of the track in leftcenter. Woods threw 16 pitches and had 55 through three.
Rob Mackowiak came in to play leftfield for Ozuna. Ibañez tapped a 1-2 pitch back to the mound. Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 offspeed pitch down and away. Broussard slapped the second pitch near the track in leftfield for a base hit, but he tried stretching it into a double and was unsuccessful as the throw from Mackowiak got him (7-4). Vazquez threw 11 pitches and had 73 through four.
Thome rolled out to where Lopez would usually be playing second, but Betancourt fielded the ball there on the shift. Konerko tapped past the mound, and Lopez ranged to his backhand side behind the bag at second and managed to get enough on the throw for the out at first on Konerko. Crede lined off of Woods, who knocked it down and threw it to first in plenty of time. Woods threw 12 pitches and had 67 through four.
Betancourt bounced the second pitch to short. Snelling fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 breaking ball over the outside corner. Lopez whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt. Vazquez threw 11 pitches and had 84 through five.
Pierzynski hit a weak low-lining pop to Betancourt at short on the second pitch. Uribe drove the second pitch to left, bouncing and rolling a double to the wall. Anderson scorched the second pitch right into Sexson's glove at first. Mackowiak whiffed on a high 2-2 breaking ball. Woods threw 11 pitches and had 78 through five.
Ichiro dumped the second pitch into shallow rightcenter for a single. Beltre grounded hard to second on the first pitch for an easy 4-6-3 double play. Johjima was ahead 3-1 but flew out high to short on a full count. Vazquez threw nine pitches and had 93 through six.
Iguchi fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball down and away. Dye grounded to short on the second pitch. Thome looped a single in front of Snelling in right, and it took a weird hop over his right shoulder and past for a double. Konerko got ahead 2-0 and bounced along the third-base line to Beltre. Woods threw 16 pitches and had 94 through six.
Ibañez blasted a homer four rows into the seats in rightcenter.
»» MARINERS 2, WHITE SOX 0
Sexson got ahead 2-0 but bounced out to short. Broussard fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 low breaking ball. Betancourt broke his bat on a 2-0 pitch, grounding to Crede behind the bag at third. Vazquez threw 15 pitches and had 108 through seven.
Crede was behind 0-2 and bounced a 1-2 pitch to second. Pierzynski flew out to fairly deep center on the second pitch. Uribe lined out to left on the first pitch.
Woods' line: 7 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 104 pitches (63 strikes)
Snelling couldn't check his swing on an 0-2 pitch down and away. Lopez poked a single into shallow right on the first pitch. Ichiro grounded hard to first, where Konerko threw somewhat high to second, and Uribe was a bit above the neighborhood, so the neighborhood play didn't fly and everyone was safe (Lopez to second). Beltre lashed a single through the left side to load the bases. Pitching coach Don Cooper visited the mound. Johjima walked on a full-count fastball away that forced Lopez across.
»» MARINERS 3, WHITE SOX 0
Neal Cotts came in for Vazquez. Ibañez punched a single through the right side (with the aid of Johjima screening Konerko from the ball), scoring Ichiro and Beltre and moving Johjima to third.
»» MARINERS 5, WHITE SOX 0
Mike MacDougal came in for Cotts. Sexson bounced a 2-0 pitch to short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. MacDougal threw three pitches.
Vazquez' line: 7 1/3 innings, 5 runs (3 earned), 7 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts, 125 pitches (82 strikes)
Cotts' line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (2 strikes)
MacDougal's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (1 strike)
Joel Piñeiro came in for Woods and TJ Bohn came in to play rightfield. Jerry Owens, hitting for Anderson, tapped an 0-2 pitch back to the mound. Mackowiak bounced to second on the second pitch. Iguchi bounced a full-count pitch back to the mound. Piñeiro threw 11 pitches.
Boone Logan came in for MacDougal. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, bounced a 1-2 pitch to the left of the mound, where Logan came off and threw to first as Perez stumbled out of the box and slid headfirst about 20 feet down the line in a moment of pure hilarity. Betancourt took a first-pitch fastball off the right kneecap as he tried to jump away, and the pitch basically took his legs out from under him. Mike Hargrove, Carlos Garcia, and trainer Rick Griffin attended to Betancourt immediately and he walked off the field under his own power, though with a limp. Willie Bloomquist ran for Betancourt. Bohn flew out to leftcenter on the second pitch. Lopez walked on four pitches to move Bloomquist to second. Ichiro had the hitters' counts before walking on a 3-1 pitch to load the bases.
David Riske came in for Logan. Beltre clobbered the first pitch four rows into the seats in leftcenter. Ain't life grand?
»» MARINERS 9, WHITE SOX 0
Johjima flew out high to center on the second pitch. Riske threw three pitches.
Logan's line: 2/3 inning, 3 runs, 0 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (5 strikes)
Riske's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 pitches (3 strikes)
Bloomquist stayed in to play short. Ryan Sweeney, hitting for Dye, got ahead 2-0 and ended up rolling to short. Alex Cintron, hitting for Thome, fell behind 0-2 and hit a low liner to the feet of Bloomquist, who moved to the hole and reached down and caught it on the fly on a 1-2 pitch. Ross Gload, hitting for Konerko, whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball down and in.
Piñeiro's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 26 pitches (19 strikes)
Gameball: Jake Woods.
This would qualify as one of the this-may-never-happen-again gameballs, but before I delve more into that, it can't be a good night if you're a fan of the defending champion White Sox. Minnesota and Detroit lost ahead of them on this night and Javier Vazquez got into the eighth and struck out 12 Mariner hitters, but the White Sox were shut out by Woods. The Mariners don't have any Randy Johnsons, Curt Schillings, Roy Halladays, Johan Santanas, or anyone like that (yet). Woods will never be anywhere close to any of those guys. If you're Chicago playing your 153rd game of the season and you need to gain ground in a playoff race and you're getting shut out by a not-always-consistent lefty that was put on waivers by the Angels after last season, well, that can't be good. Meanwhile, with their outings in the last turn through the rotation, Woods and Cha Seung Baek have made some strong cases (for one game, at least) for a shot at next year's rotation, whether I like it or not. In any event, this was Woods' sixth start of the season and he got through seven innings, with his previous long being 5 2/3 innings in his first start.
Goat: Chris Snelling.
Snelling has had his good nights, and he's had his bad nights. I'm just glad he's lasted through a whole 28 games without incident or horrific freak injury. It's by far his longest stint in the Majors after lasting 15 games last season and eight games back in 2002. It's things like the fact that he's lasted this long without injury that I look upon when he has a night like this one, where he was 0-for-3 and struck out twice. Granted, this was a night in which Javier Vazquez piled up 12 strikeouts and everything, but Snelling looked pretty overmatched at the plate. While it could have been the goodness of Vazquez that could have been the cause, it could also be due to any number of conflicting thoughts, such as the aggressive mantra of Jeff Pentland clashing with his tendency to take pitches and work the count. In 12 games in August, he hit .371, but in 16 games so far in September, Snelling is hitting an icky .200. Sadly, his September slugging mark is less than half of his August slugging mark.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 109-44 .712 -- W3
2002 88-65 .575 21 L1
2003 87-66 .569 22 L1
2000 86-67 .562 23 L1
2006 74-79 .484 35 W3
2005 66-87 .431 43 L1
2004 59-94 .386 50 W3
Meche. Contreras. Tonight.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
In 25 words or less: 'Twas a good night for Cha Seung Baek and a bad one for Ian Kinsler. Now they're four wins better than last year.
This one featured Cha Seung Baek going up against Robinson Tejeda. The Mariners were trying to win the series in Arlington. A win would also get them their third in four games and their fourth in six games. Coming into the game, the Mariners needed a 10-1 finish to end the season with a winning record, a 9-2 record to end with a .500 record, and a 5-6 record to make my 77-win preseason prediction look good. Ian Kinsler was wired for sound by the Ranger telecast for the game. The Rockettes were at the Ballpark on this night. The Mariners were to play the White Sox in Chicago the next day to start a four-game series. For the second year in a row, I'm almost glad the Mariners aren't in a pennant race because of their travel and semi-crazy schedule. Last year, they were graced with an 11-games-in-11-days road trip in mid-September that took them through Texas, Toronto, and Detroit. This year, it's yet another 11-games-in-11-days jaunt, though not geographically as bad with Kansas City, Texas, and Chicago on the docket. I know Seattle's geographic isolation makes the travel more burdensome than it is with other teams, but do these crazy-long road trips really have to be in mid-September? I think 2005 was the first year of the unbalanced schedule where they spread the intradivisional games out, and if this were still the case, the Mariners wouldn't go further than Texas for the last half of September (or most of April). I'm just going to rue the day when the Mariners are two games out of first place in early September and then have to go on a 12-games-in-12-days trip to the east coast.
Ichiro got ahead 3-1 before stroking a double into centerfield that got to the wall (Matthews was shaded toward leftcenter). Adrian Beltre flew out just short of the rightfield track on the first pitch. Kenji Johjima had the hitters' counts before flying out a step short of the rightfield track on a 3-1 pitch, scoring Ichiro from third.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Raul Ibañez worked an 0-2 count full and lined out to first on a breaking ball. Tejeda threw 19 pitches.
Gary Matthews, Jr. had the hitters' counts and flew out to Ibañez in leftcenter on a 3-1 pitch. Michael Young flew out to pretty deep center. Mark Teixeira walked on a full-count pitch in the dirt that got away from Johjima and rolled to the backstop. Lee had a 3-0 count go full and popped high to Betancourt behind the mound. Baek threw 24 pitches.
Richie Sexson popped an 0-2 pitch to Young moving toward the leftfield line. Ben Broussard flew out to Young in shallow left on the first pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt bounced the second pitch up the middle for a single. Jose Lopez walked on a 3-1 fastball down and away, moving Betancourt to second. Willie Bloomquist walked on an inside 3-1 pitch, loading the bases. Ichiro flew out high to Cruz in rightcenter on the second pitch. Tejeda threw 18 pitches and had 37 through two.
Hank Blalock tapped the second pitch back to the mound. Mark DeRosa looped the second pitch to Lopez in shallow center. Ian Kinsler whipped the second pitch through the left side for a single. Gerald Laird popped to Sexson in foul ground on the right side almost behind the plate. Baek threw nine pitches and had 33 through two.
Beltre flew out high to Teixeira in foul ground behind the bag at first. Johjima bounced gently to the left side, where DeRosa charged from third and decided to put it in his pocket as Johjima came away with the single. Ibañez got ahead 3-0 but whiffed on a high full-count fastball and Johjima was sent back to first after having stolen second because Laird was nailed by the backswing of Ibañez and had no shot at throwing out Johjima. The Texas television crew had a live interview going with manager Buck Showalter during the inning, and Showalter was giving signs at the same time. The crew remarked that Showalter multitasked well, to which Showalter replied it was kind of easy since Johjima wasn't running from first. In a moment of hilarity, Johjima took off on the next pitch. Sexson hit a bullet and one-hopped to the leftfield wall for a double to move Johjima to third. Broussard was ahead 2-0 before grounding to second, where Kinsler was eaten up on a backhand attempt as it went off his glove and into the outfield, scoring Johjima and Sexson.
»» MARINERS 3, RANGERS 0
Betancourt popped to shallow right. Tejeda threw 23 pitches and had 60 through three.
Nelson Cruz bounced out to third. Matthews bounced slowly on the first pitch to Lopez charging in from second. Young spanked a 2-2 pitch over Bloomquist and it bounced off the track and wall for a double. Teixeira flew out high to Lopez in shallow right on the first pitch. Baek threw 11 pitches and had 44 through three.
Lopez bounced a 2-2 pitch over the mound, and Young's best effort to charge and throw on the run was futile as Lopez came away with the single. Bloomquist flew out to Matthews in rightcenter in front of the Ranger bullpen on a 2-2 pitch. Ichiro flew out to Matthews in leftcenter on the second pitch. Beltre knocked the second pitch through the left side for a single. Johjima flew out to center on the first pitch. Tejeda threw 18 pitches and had 78 through four.
Lee whiffed on an 0-2 belt-high pitch over the outer half. Blalock rolled the second pitch to Sexson behind the bag at first. DeRosa whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball. Baek threw nine pitches and had 53 through four.
Ibañez unloaded on the second pitch, depositing it into the first row of seats just to the right of the hitters' backdrop in centerfield.
»» MARINERS 4, RANGERS 0
Sexson worked an 0-2 count full and rolled over on a pitch, grounding out to third. Broussard flew out high to short. Betancourt drove a double that bounced off the track and wall in center, akin to the Ibañez home run in terms of placement, except with warning-track power. Lopez got ahead 2-0 and ended up grounding to Kinsler in the right-side hole, but the Ranger second baseman was shorthopped by the ball as it went off the heel of his glove (error, his second of the game), scoring Betancourt.
»» MARINERS 5, RANGERS 0
Bloomquist split his bat on an 0-2 grounder to short, which Young turned into a 6-4 force of Lopez.
Tejeda's line: 5 innings, 5 runs (2 earned), 8 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 100 pitches (62 strikes)
Kinsler fouled off three 0-2 pitches before taking the next one, a breaking ball, belt high and over the plate. Laird took a 2-2 fastball off the left side of his chest. Trainers attended to Laird, who stayed in the game. Cruz was down 0-2 and crushed a hanging 1-2 curve eight rows into the leftfield seats above the scoreboard/wall.
»» MARINERS 5, RANGERS 2
Matthews flew out high to center on a 1-2 pitch. Young worked an 0-2 count full but whiffed on a belly-high breaking ball. Baek threw 28 pitches and had 81 through five.
Nick Masset came in for Tejeda. Ichiro rolled the first pitch to short. Beltre served a 3-1 pitch into left for a single. Johjima grounded the first pitch to short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. Masset threw seven pitches.
Teixeira flew out to Ichiro in shallow center on a 2-2 pitch. Lee whiffed on an 0-2 knee-high breaking ball. Blalock popped an 0-2 pitch very high to Beltre, who had to move out of his shifted position and more toward his regular one before making the catch. Baek threw 12 pitches and had 93 through six.
Ibañez was up 2-0 but ended up rolling a curve to second. Sexson flew out high to right on a 2-0 pitch. Broussard walked on a 3-1 pitch up and away. Betancourt had a swinging bunt toward third on which DeRosa came up empty on a charge-and-barehand attempt and Betancourt legged out the single, moving Broussard to second. Lopez worked a 1-2 count full and looped into shallow center, where it landed between Matthews and Kinsler on some miscommunication, but Matthews picked it up and got Betancourt by five feet at home, though Broussard scored ahead of him. Masset threw 22 pitches and had 29 total.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 2
Masset's line: 2 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 29 pitches (14 strikes)
DeRosa grounded the first pitch to Beltre behind the bag at third. Kinsler bounced the second pitch to short. Laird bounced near the third-base line, where Baek came over to field it, but Baek's throw was wide of first and went into foul ground down the rightfield side, enabling Laird to move to second.
Jon Huber came in for Laird. Cruz popped very very high to Beltre coming in near the plate in foul ground on the left side.
Baek's line: 6 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 103 pitches (72 strikes)
Huber's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)
Scott Feldman came in for Masset. Bloomquist bunted the first pitch out in front, and Feldman came off the mound to make the play to first. Ichiro was up 2-0 and grounded a 2-2 pitch to second. Beltre grounded hard DeRosa behind the bag at third. Feldman threw 12 pitches.
Feldman's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (8 strikes)
Joel Piñeiro came in for Huber. Matthews whiffed on a low 0-2 breaking ball. Young grounded the second pitch back to the mound, where Piñeiro tried to get his left leg out of the way, but had it go off of him, but right to Sexson, who went to the bag for the out. Teixeira rolled a 1-2 pitch to first (3-1 putout). Piñeiro threw nine pitches.
Ron Mahay came in for Feldman. Johjima rolled to second on the second pitch. Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 fastball. Sexson was up 3-0 and took a full-count pitch in the dirt. Broussard bounced the first pitch to second. Mahay threw
Mahay's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (9 strikes)
Lee stroked the second pitch near the leftfield corner, reaching the wall on two hops for a double.
George Sherrill came in for Piñeiro. Blalock was up 2-0 before slapping a single to left to score Lee.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 3
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. DeRosa whiffed on an 0-2 letter-high fastball. Kinsler poked the second pitch into shallow right for a single, moving Blalock to second. Laird whiffed on an 0-2 letter-high fastball. Cruz whiffed on a 1-2 letter-high fastball as Putz struck out the side.
Piñeiro's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 11 pitches (9 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (2 strikes)
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 12 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Cha Seung Baek.
I still contend that I don't want to see him in next year's rotation, but I'll give credit where it's due here. He's had six starts since his call-up about a month ago, and when he's been good, he's been very good. Three of the six starts have been great. Two starts (his first two) were mediocre to below-average, though I'm sure some would argue those starts in his favor, for example, Rick Rizzs would probably say "he did his job, he kept his team in the game," or some built-in excuse like that. Baek walked eight hitters combined in those two games, but he hasn't walked eight hitters total in the four starts since. The only out-and-out horrible start he had was the start before this one, a week ago in Toronto, where he didn't get out of the fourth and gave up six runs on seven hits and walked three. Since Baek obviously isn't getting by with speed or a breaking ball of death like a Felix Hernandez curve, a Mark Lowe slider, a Jon Huber slider, or even a Jamie Moyer change, Baek is having to get by with pinpoint-as-possible control and late movement on his pitches, and that combination here seemed to befuddle the Rangers, whom he seems to do well against as he's had two wins against them this season and had a hand in ending their postseason hopes down the stretch in 2004.
Goat: George Sherrill.
He threw four pitches and allowed an RBI single to the only hitter he faced (Hank Blalock), so he has the highest crap-per-time ratio of the team on this night. It's not that he sucked horribly or something, it's just that sometimes the role Mike Hargrove has him in doesn't allow Sherrill to dig himself out of giving up hits (and possibly getting the goat) if he's only facing one hitter. You could argue Sherrill getting the gameball since the hit he gave up inflated Joel Piñeiro's ERA even further. The only 0-fers in the lineup were Ben Broussard and Willie Bloomquist, but even both of them managed to draw walks, so they weren't completely inept on offense. Those two and Piñeiro were the only other players I had in mind for this particular goating. As for Sherrill, he has an ERA of 3.76 for the season in 38 1/3 innings and 67 games, and he's struck out 42 to go with 24 walks, which isn't quite a 2-to-1 ratio, but he's been very solid this season. He's been great for the bullpen, which hopefully can be depended upon for some jolly sunshine happiness in 2007.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 108-44 .711 -- W2
2002 88-64 .579 20 W4
2003 87-65 .572 21 W1
2000 86-66 .566 22 W8
2006 73-79 .480 35 W2
2005 66-86 .434 42 W1
2004 58-94 .382 50 W2
Woods. Vazquez. Tonight.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
[posted in full Thu ~2:54a]
In 25 words or less: A comeback and some shining moments from unlikely sources. It may be meaningless, but it was fun to watch.
This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Edinson Volquez. I didn't exactly look forward to the game, knowing that Washburn is an unabashed flyball pitcher and what was formerly known as The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas is a launching pad. The Mariners had lost four of their last six and six of nine coming into this game. They wanted to win this game to give themselves a chance to win the series, which would be nice after they had just split a four-game series in Kansas City. As much as I bash the Rangers for going away from the red-colored look on their uniforms (from their playoff years, a look since ripped off almost wholesale by the Angels), the road vests really aren't that bad. They're the ones with "TEXAS" across the front and the number in the lower right. What I can't stand are the home vests with the "T" way high on the right side on the front and the number way down low on the left. That's a lack of balance, people. The Colorado Rockies telepathically heeded my hint on some of their uniforms and evened out the numbers and the interlocking "CR" logo and now they look classy. Until changes are made, there are teams like the Rangers and Indians that troll around with these horribly unbalanced uniforms.
Ichiro grounded out to short. Adrian Beltre got ahead 3-0 before bouncing a full-count pitch softly up the middle, but Young moved over to prevent the base hit, and he made the throw to first. Kenji Johjima crushed a 3-1 pitch two-thirds of the way up the leftfield seats, and the ball bounced high off a seat and toward the back row.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Raul Ibañez knocked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Richie Sexson just got under one, flying out a mile high to center. Volquez threw 23 pitches.
Gary Matthews, Jr. had the hitters' counts before cranking a full-count pitch eight rows into the leftfield seats above the in-wall scoreboard.
»» RANGERS 1, MARINERS 1
Michael Young walked on four pitches, and Washburn appeared to have trouble with the mound on ball three, coming off a bit awkwardly. Mark Teixeira flew out to Snelling in rightcenter. Carlos Lee watched the first pitch as Young got a monster jump and stole second easily. Lee rolled a 2-2 pitch to second, moving Young to third. Mark DeRosa walked on a full-count low fastball. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Hank Blalock fell behind 0-2 before bouncing a 1-2 pitch through the left side (and the shift) for a single to easily score DeRosa.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 1
Rod Barajas was behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball down over the outside corner. Washburn threw 35 pitches.
Ben Broussard flew out to left on the second pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to right on the second pitch. Chris Snelling got ahead 2-0 and walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Willie Bloomquist was up 2-0 and semi-tomahawked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single to move Snelling to second. Ichiro had the hitters' counts before poking a 3-1 pitch through the right side to score Snelling and move Bloomquist to third.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 2
Beltre took a 2-0 pitch and Ichiro took off and stole his 34th straight base. Beltre walked on four pitches to load the bases. Johjima flew out to Teixeira in foul ground on the right side. Volquez threw 28 pitches and had 51 through two.
Ian Kinsler worked an 0-2 count full before hitting a low liner to a running Ibañez in left. Nelson Cruz grounded hard to second on the first pitch. Matthews worked a 1-2 count full before grounding back to the mound off of a leg of Washburn and toward the third-base line, where Washburn raced over in pursuit but had no play (single). Young bounced an 0-2 pitch slowly to Betancourt charging in from short. Washburn threw 16 pitches and had 51 through two.
Ibañez lined out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson was up 2-0 before walking on a full count. Broussard gave the ball a good ride and flew out to Matthews just short of the centerfield track. Betancourt bounced to short for a 6-4 force on Sexson. Volquez threw 16 pitches and had 67 through three.
Teixeira was ahead 3-0 and obliterated a full-count pitch, blasting it near where Jose Canseco reached the then-Target advertisement in leftcenter years ago.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 2
Lee had the hitters' counts before flying out to left on a 3-1 pitch. DeRosa fell behind 0-2 and fouled off a 1-2 pitch, and Washburn had trouble after the follow-through (he'd caught a spike on the previous pitch), coming up a bit lame and favoring his right calf. The training staff attended to Washburn, who then left the game for what was later revealed to be a strained right calf.
Cesar Jimenez came in for Washburn and inherited the 1-2 count. DeRosa doubled off the leftfield scoreboard/wall on the 2-2 pitch. Blalock worked a 1-2 count full and completely avoided the shift by reaching down and lofting a fly ball into the third row of seats in rightfield for his first homer since August 21st.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 2
Barajas flew out to Sexson near the first-base camera well on a 2-0 pitch. Kinsler golfed the first pitch just barely over the leftfield wall near the corner for a homer.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 2
Cruz flew out to shallow center on a 2-2 pitch. Jimenez threw 18 pitches.
Washburn's line: 2 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 66 pitches (38 strikes)
Snelling was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 low slider. Bloomquist was up 2-0 before wedging a single into shallow center. Ichiro slashed a single into center with Bloomquist on the run from first, and the latter got to third. Beltre took a second pitch low and away, and Ichiro stole second easily as the throw was wide of second, getting into center as Ichiro moved to third. Beltre grounded out to third, scoring Ichiro.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 3
Johjima popped to Teixeira near the first-base bag. Volquez threw 17 pitches and had 84 through four.
Matthews knocked the second pitch into left for a single. Young grounded to the left side, where Beltre quickly started a 5-4-3 double play. Teixeira flew out high to center on the second pitch.
Jimenez' line: 1 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 26 pitches (15 strikes)
Ibañez poked the second pitch past a diving Teixeira into rightfield for a single. Sexson grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to DeRosa behind the bag at third, whose throw to first was barely beat by Sexson as Ibañez moved to second.
John Rheinecker came in for Volquez. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Betancourt rolled a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a single that scored Ibañez and moved Sexson to second.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 5
Snelling grounded to second for a 4-6 fielder's choice as Sexson moved to third. Bloomquist was ahead 3-1 and popped out to Cruz in shallow right.
Volquez' line: 4 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 8 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 91 pitches (49 strikes)
Rheinecker's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Emiliano Fruto came in for Jimenez. Lee walked on four pitches. DeRosa took an 0-2 pitch way outside, and it got away from Johjima, enabling Lee to scoot to second. DeRosa took a 1-2 breaking ball for strike three. Blalock rolled out to second as Lee moved to third. Barajas was ahead 2-0 and looped a full-count pitch into right for a single to score Lee.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 5
Kinsler was ahead 2-0 and tapped back to the mound. Fruto threw 24 pitches.
Josh Rupe came in for Rheinecker. Ichiro flew out lazily to center on a 2-2 pitch. Beltre lined out to center on an 0-2 pitch. Johjima stung a 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Ibañez bounced the second pitch to first, but Teixeira had it go off his foot and roll away (error), and the Rangers had no play as Johjima moved to third. Sexson was ahead 3-0 and walked on a full-count, the eighth pitch of the at-bat, to load the bases. Perez bounced a 2-2 pitch to third.
Rupe's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 28 pitches (19 strikes)
Cruz whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt and lost the grip on his bat, nearly taking out a police officer down the third-base line.
Matthews rolled a 1-2 pitch past the mound, where Bloomquist charged and barely got the out at first on the speedy Matthews.
Young popped a 2-0 pitch to Snelling near the rightfield corner. Fruto threw 11 pitches and had 35 total.
Frank Francisco came in for Rupe. Betancourt popped to Barajas a few feet from the plate. Snelling rolled to first on a full count. Bloomquist dumped the second pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Ichiro rolled to first on the second pitch.
Francisco's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
fell behind 0-2 and tapped a 1-2 swinging bunt in front of the plate, and Fruto got to it and threw in time to first. Lee bounced to short on the second pitch. DeRosa whiffed on a nice 2-2 breaking ball off the plate away.
Fruto's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 48 pitches (29 strikes)
Wes Littleton came in for Francisco. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch away. Johjima flew out to center on the first pitch. Ibañez grounded hard to the left-side hole, where Young moved over to make the play, but the ball went off the heel of his glove and rolled away (scored a single). Sexson tapped the second pitch back to the mound.
Littleton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (9 strikes)
George Sherrill came in for Fruto. Blalock fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball away.
Jon Huber came in for Sherrill. Barajas rolled slowly toward third, where Beltre charged and did the barehand throw thing, and Barajas was out by a mile since he runs like a catcher. Kinsler bounced out to third. Huber threw four pitches.
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 4 pitches (3 strikes)
Akinori Otsuka came in for Littleton. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Perez, grounded back to the mound, where Otsuka got a glove on it and gathered himself to throw to first, but the throw was shotputted and bounced past Teixeira into foul ground (error), allowing Dobbs to scurry all the way to third. Betancourt whiffed on a full-count pitch in the dirt, the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Snelling worked a 1-2 count full before taking a breaking ball that must have caught the outside corner. Bloomquist bounced a 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Johjima.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 6
Ichiro took the second pitch in the dirt as Bloomquist stole second. Ichiro was ahead 2-0 and ripped a single past Kinsler and into center to score Bloomquist. Yes, that's Ichiro hitting with a runner in scoring position. Amazing.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 7
Beltre blistered the second pitch toward the leftfield corner for a hard single, moving Ichiro to second. Johjima rolled the first pitch to short, where Young shoveled to second for the force on Beltre.
Otsuka's line: 1 inning, 2 runs (unearned), 3 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 30 pitches (21 strikes)
Cruz popped a 3-1 pitch to Snelling in shallow right. Matthews grounded hard to first. Young rolled out to short.
Huber's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
CJ Wilson came in for Otsuka. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 high fastball. Sexson walked on a full-count breaking ball down and in. Mike Morse, hitting for Dobbs, knocked an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Sexson to second. Jose Lopez came in to run for Sexson. Betancourt smacked the second pitch hard to first, where Teixeira knocked the grounder down, picked it up, and ran to the first-base bag as Lopez and Morse moved to third and second. Adam Jones was announced as the pinch-hitter for Snelling.
Joaquin Benoit came in for Wilson. Jones rolled the first pitch past the mound and up the middle for a single to score Lopez and Morse. Mucho confidence for the young'un. Nice job.
»» MARINERS 9, RANGERS 7
Bloomquist split his bat and dumped the second pitch into shallow rightcenter for a single, moving Jones to third. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and flew out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Benoit threw ten pitches.
Wilson's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
Benoit's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Huber. Teixeira fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 2-2 pitch to second. Eric Young, hitting for Hairston, chopped high along the third-base line, where Putz came off the mound to field it, then threw wide of first and into foul ground, enabling Young to get to second. DeRosa bounced the second pitch to first, moving Young to third. Blalock whiffed brutally on a high 0-2 fastball.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Willie Bloomquist.
Well, my hands are pretty much tied here. Bloomquist went 4-for-4 on September 3rd, and I said he'd never probably never go 4-for-4 again. He wasn't 4-for-4 at any point in this game (he flew out to end the fifth in his third at-bat), so in a way I'm still right. Of course, the reason I'm tossing the gameball his way is that generally when you stick Bloomquist into the ninth slot in the lineup for a spot start to give Jose Lopez some rest, you don't expect to get a 5-for-6 night with a double and an RBI. The RBI single was a big one as it cut the Mariners' deficit to 7-6 with two outs in the top of the ninth. Ichiro was the next hitter and tied the game with a single. As much as I hate to admit it, it's nights like these that keep Bloomquist in a Mariner uniform. I don't necessarily like that fact, but I can't argue with the results when they come up like this. It doesn't happen every night he's out there, sure, but when it does, it's great. When he's not hitting, I can't get on him too much about his defense because he's passable there and isn't horrific.
Goat: Cesar Jimenez.
Along with Francisco Cruceta, I'm hoping Jimenez is impressing Rafael Chaves and Mike Hargrove with his stuff in some of the bullpen sessions, because if they base their opinions mainly on what's happening during the games, then these two guys aren't doing too well. Granted, Jimenez had to enter the game in a bit of a rush, what with Jarrod Washburn having left the game with the strained right calf. Jimenez inherited the 1-2 count on Mark DeRosa and yielded a ringing double, and two runs crossed the plate before he could get two outs to end the third inning. If there's a positive in all this, it's that Jimenez faced the minimum three hitters in the fourth and had a double play turned behind him. So it's not all horrible. If Hargrove would have pulled him after the third inning, then there wouldn't be many positives, but the fourth gives something to build from. Out of the call-ups, I think Ryan Feierabend and Jon Huber have impressed the most. Though he was called up a bit earlier than the main group of minor-leaguers, Eric O'Flaherty also seems to fit as a semi-serviceable lefty in the bullpen.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 107-44 .709 -- W1
2002 87-64 .576 20 W3
2003 86-65 .570 21 L3
2000 85-66 .563 22 W7
2006 72-79 .477 35 W1
2005 65-86 .430 42 L1
2004 57-94 .377 50 W1
Baek. Tejeda. Tonight.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
[posted in full Thu ~2:14a]
In 25 words or less: A .500 season isn't mathematically out of the question, but in reality, it's out of the question.
This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Kevin Millwood. Hernandez was making his first start in eight days and came in having thrown 174 innings for the season, with the team heavily intent on keeping him under 200 innings. The Mariners were still trying to win consecutive games for the first time since their four-game streak a week and a half earlier. They had failed on two previous occasions, leaving single wins on the schedule. Before the win the night before, the Mariners had lost five of their last seven games. The Mariners came in seven games ahead of the pace of the 2005 team and had already guaranteed a better season record than that team. They also hoped to get over .500, but such a feat would have required the Mariners to go 11-2 in their final 13 games. A 12-3 finish would get them to a .500 record for the season. Nonetheless, the team had already assured themselves of the best season recordwise since 2003's 93-69 team. Lest we forget, that team was the second straight 93-win Mariner team to miss the playoffs.
Ichiro rolled a 2-2 pitch to first. Adrian Beltre one-hopped the rightfield wall, but the ball came back quickly to Cruz, who gunned straight to second, where Young turned and threw to Teixeira since Beltre veered a little too far from first as he only got a single out of it and was nearly thrown out. Kenji Johjima lined out to a running Lee in left on the second pitch. Raul Ibañez got ahead 2-0 before walking on a full-count pitch up and away, moving Beltre to second. Richie Sexson flew out to Cruz in rightcenter on the second pitch. Millwood threw 19 pitches.
Gary Matthews, Jr. bounced the second pitch to short. Michael Young softly grounded a 1-2 pitch to short. Mark Teixeira failed to check his swing on a 1-2 breaking ball down and in. Hernandez threw 11 pitches.
Ben Broussard flew out to Matthews in leftcenter on the second pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to fairly deep center on the second pitch. Chris Snelling fell behind 0-2 before taking a 1-2 belly-high fastball for strike three. Millwood threw eight pitches and had 27 through two.
Carlos Lee took a 2-2 knee-high fastball. Hank Blalock was ahead 2-0 before taking a 2-2 slider over the outside corner. Mark DeRosa walked on four pitches. Ian Kinsler singled the second pitch through the left side to move DeRosa to second. Gerald Laird got ahead 3-0 but whiffed on a full-count curve low and off the plate outside. Hernandez threw 22 pitches and had 33 through two.
Jose Lopez flew out to Matthews in rightcenter on a 2-2 pitch. Ichiro popped the second pitch to Teixeira in foul ground on the right side. Beltre got ahead 2-0 and grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to short, where Young snagged it and did a spin move before throwing to first. Millwood threw 12 pitches and had 39 through three.
Nelson Cruz chopped the second pitch high to the left side, where Beltre snatched it out of the air and threw in time to first. Matthews hit a hard grounder to third on a 3-1 pitch, and it ate him up, though it was scored a single. Young poked a ball toward the rightfield corner for a double, moving Matthews to third. Teixeira took a 2-2 fastball over the inner half. Lee stroked a hanging first-pitch breaking ball to the wall in leftcenter for a double to score Matthews and Young.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 0
Blalock bounced a double into the rightfield corner to score Lee.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 0
DeRosa took an 0-2 belt-high fastball for strike three. Hernandez threw 22 pitches and had 55 through three.
Johjima flew out to fairly deep left on a 2-2 pitch. Ibañez lined the first pitch to Lee a step short of the leftfield track. Sexson took a low full-count fastball on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Broussard took a 2-2 mother of a curve for strike three. Millwood threw 21 pitches and had 60 through four.
Kinsler bounced a 2-2 pitch to third. Laird fell behind 0-2 before taking a 2-2 pitch over the outer half. Cruz bounced a 2-0 pitch to third. Hernandez threw 15 pitches and had 70 through four.
Betancourt got down 0-2 before bouncing a 1-2 pitch to short. Snelling grounded a 2-2 pitch to first. Lopez grounded the second pitch to a sliding Kinsler up the middle. Millwood threw 13 pitches and had 73 through five.
Matthews got ahead 3-1 before drilling a single to rightfield on a full count. Young worked a 1-2 count for a walk to move Matthews to second. Teixeira bounced the first pitch to Lopez in the right-side hole, who threw to second to try to get the out, but it was low and Betancourt had it go past (fielder's choice, E6), enabling Matthews to score. On the same play, Betancourt caught up to the ball and tried to throw out Matthews at home, but that was late, then Johjima threw to third to catch Young trying to advance.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 0
Lee whiffed on a high 1-2 fastball. Blalock smacked a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Teixeira to second. Chaves visited the mound. DeRosa got ahead 2-0 and took a 2-2 curve over the inside corner.
Hernandez' line: 5 innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts, 98 pitches (60 strikes)
Ichiro worked a 1-2 count full before popping to Teixeira near the first-base coaches' box. Beltre laced a 1-2 line drive to the right side, but Kinsler climbed the ladder and speared it. Johjima bounced the second pitch to third. Millwood threw 13 pitches and had 86 through six.
Travis Chick came in for Hernandez. Kinsler flew out to center on the second pitch. Laird walked on four pitches. Cruz got ahead 3-1 before taking a full-count 58-foot pitch to move Laird to second. Matthews flew out to left on a full count. Young grounded the second pitch deep in the hole on the left side, where Betancourt nearly threw Young out at first, but the bases were now loaded. Chaves visited the mound. Teixeira had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 low pitch, forcing Laird across.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 0
Lee popped to Sexson halfway down the first-base line. Chick threw 30 pitches.
Ibañez lined a ball into centerfield that Matthews had go off his glove and toward the wall for a double for the Mariners' second hit of the game. Sexson rolled a 2-2 pitch slowly to DeRosa charging in from third, and Sexson was able to leg it out as Ibañez got to third. Broussard took a 1-2 pitch under his elbows for strike three. Betancourt popped the second pitch to deep rightfield to score Ibañez.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 1
Snelling knocked the first pitch into left for a single to move Sexson to second. Pitching coach Mark Connor visited the mound. Lopez worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball inside.
Blalock walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. DeRosa bounced the first pitch to Beltre just fair near the third-base bag, who threw a bit up the line to first, but Sexson stepped back and tagged DeRosa coming down the line at first as Blalock moved to second. Kinsler walked on a 3-1 pitch inside. Laird was ahead 2-0 before popping to Betancourt in shallow left on a full count.
Eric O'Flaherty came in for Chick. Cruz roped a homer four rows into the seats in left, exponentially increasing Chick's ERA.
»» RANGERS 8, MARINERS 1
Matthews blistered the first pitch into center for a single. Young took the second pitch inside and it got through Johjima to the backstop, moving Matthews to second. Young worked a 1-2 count full before flying out to Snelling at the rightfield track. O'Flaherty threw 11 pitches.
Chick's line: 1 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 1 hit, 5 walks, 0 strikeouts, 47 pitches (18 strikes)
Rick Bauer came in for Millwood. Ichiro was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch to second, where Young backhanded and threw to first in time. Beltre lashed the second pitch into center for a single. Johjima grounded hard to third on the first pitch, and it turned into a 5-4-3 double play.
Bauer's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (6 strikes)
Teixeira worked a 1-2 count full but whiffed on an inside pitch. Lee stroked the first pitch into left for a single. Blalock was up 2-0 and flew out to Lopez on the right side. DeRosa rolled a 2-0 pitch to short. O'Flaherty threw 14 pitches and had 25 total.
O'Flaherty's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 25 pitches (14 strikes)
CJ Wilson came in for Bauer. Ibañez fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson mashed the second pitch to the wall in the deepest part of rightcenter for a double. Eduardo Perez was announced as a pinch-hitter for Broussard.
Scott Feldman came in for Wilson. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Perez, bounced the second pitch to short. Betancourt grounded a 2-2 pitch to third.
Wilson's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 6 pitches (4 strikes)
Feldman's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (5 strikes)
Gameball: Richie Sexson.
The bad thing is that he's been stuck on 29 homers since September 8th. The good news is that he's slugging .613 for the month, which would be his highest for any month this season if it held up. How is he slugging so high without the homers? His previous high for doubles in a month was seven (twice) until this month, in which he so far has nine. In addition, he's 23-for-62 at the plate this month, good for a stellar .371 clip, his best for a month since the .304 August. In a somewhat related note, August 1st and 2nd were the last time Sexson went hitless in consecutive games. Since then, he's gone 51-for-147 (.347) with 16 doubles, six homers, 26 RBIs, 17 walks, and 37 strikeouts. His season batting average after the game on August 2nd was .223. He had another 0-for-4 three days later to bump him back down to .221. He's at .256 after this game, which is incredible. He was at .218 at the All-Star break and his average was below .220 for only the next game and has been above ever since. This was a guy that was hitting .198 as late as May 24th, which was 48 games into the Mariners' season.
Goat: Travis Chick.
Somebody more evil might suggest that based on this performance, the Mariners traded Eddie Guardado to the Reds and got someone younger who does about the same thing that Guardado did just before he left Seattle. One thing's for sure -- this outing was the polar opposite of the one from five nights earlier, when Chick tossed three shutout innings of four-hit ball, walking one and striking out one. In this game, he was nowhere near as good and/or lucky, going 1 2/3 innings and giving up three runs on one hit. The main problem was that he walked as many hitters (five) as he got outs. He threw 29 balls and 18 strikes in his 47 total pitches. If I were him, I almost think I'd have wanted the bad outing to come in my big-league debut and the good outing to come next rather than the way it's unfolded. Surely this doesn't leave too good a taste in the mouths of Mike Hargrove or Rafael Chaves. On another note, there are certain pitchers whose deliveries make me really uncomfortable and/or cringe, and Chick has joined that club. He doesn't look like he's doing too much with his legs during his motion. The whole thing seems slow except for the arm, and it just looks like a shoulder exploder to me, but that's just what I think.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 106-44 .707 -- L4
2002 86-64 .573 20 W2
2003 86-64 .573 20 L2
2000 84-66 .560 22 W6
2006 71-79 .473 35 L1
2005 65-85 .433 41 W1
2004 56-94 .373 50 L3
Washburn. Volquez. Tonight.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
[drive-by-drive stuff posted Fri ~2:06a]
There was definitely improvement, that's for sure. The defense didn't have to shoulder anywhere near as much of the load as they did in Detroit last week, but they still had to pick up the offense more than any Seahawk fans would expect or like.
After last week, it was safe to say Matt Hasselbeck had a great day even though the offense was out of sorts. Though the offense showed signs of clicking today, it still is nowhere close to what it was last season. Hasselbeck's completion percentage was under 50% after the 83.3%*** showing last week, though that's not all his fault because dropped passes reared their ugly head(s) again. The drops need to disappear next week, not just for the good of the season as a whole, but because the Giants are coming in next week, and they can't lose yards to butterfingers, alligator arms, or having the ball bounce off shoulder pads or their backs when the receivers forget they're supposed to turn around. The drops must disappear, pronto.
[***corrected, I thought he was 21-for-28, but he was 25-for-30]
Hasselbeck only completed 12 passes out of 27, and the distribution wasn't too great. Darrell Jackson got five catches and 127 yards (monster game) and Bobby Engram caught four for 51 yards, but only one other wide receiver or tight end caught a pass, and that was Nate Burleson, who only caught one pass himself. Jackson dropped a pass at one point and Burleson muffed a great Hasselbeck toss on a 3rd-and-19 catch he should have had. The Burleson play ushered in a three-and-out on the possession that came right after Neil Rackers hit the crossbar on a 51-yard field-goal attempt toward the end of the first quarter. Also, Hasselbeck threw two picks. Gerald Hayes made a dive and picked a 3rd-and-3 pass intended for Itula Mili on a possession where the Seahawks should have built upon their 14-0 lead before the half. The second pick came on the first play from scrimmage after Bryant Johnson caught the 40-yard touchdown pass to bring the Cardinals to what would eventually be the final score of 21-10. Luckily the Cardinals turned the ball over four plays after they got it.
The passing game wasn't overly sharp, but the good thing was that unlike last week, the running game existed. Shaun Alexander didn't break 100 yards, but he ran for the one touchdown and other than that, his biggest run of the day was the one that sealed the deal, a 13-yard run on 3rd-and-7 on the second play after the two-minute warning. The next play was Hasselbeck taking a knee, and that was it. Twenty-six carries, 89 yards, and a touchdown for Alexander. It's not immaculate, but it'll do. Also getting almost unprecedented love in the playcalling was Mack Strong, who carried three times for 30 yards and the deceptive touchdown that surprised exactly everybody because it didn't go to Alexander. Mo Morris also got some plays, rushing four times for 25 yards as well as catching a 27-yard pass. Morris had more receiving yards than Burleson in this game.
The return game wasn't as bright as it was last week as Willie Ponder only had one return, and Jimmy Williams didn't break a return of longer than ten yards. The real concern on special teams right now has to do with the kicking plays, and not necessarily with Josh Brown. JP Darche's placement on the injured reserve for the hip injury changes the kick snapper to Derek Rackley, who was quickly brought in. Still, Josh Brown needs not only to deal with a new snapper in Rackley, he also has to get used to rookie punter Ryan Plackemeier holding his kicks instead of the sure-handed Tom Rouen. So, last week multiple field-goal attempts were blocked, one was blocked today, and hopefully none will be blocked next week. In the punting realm, Plackemeier has great potential and a booming leg that was shwon off last week. This week was okay, though the worst part definitely was the untimely 14-yard punt late in the fourth quarter that gave the Cardinals the ball on their own 30-yard line when it should have pinned them deep.
Now to the defense. The Seahawks held the Cardinals to 191 net yards through the air, which isn't too bad considering the Cardinals are trying to win their games through the air with some Edgerrin James on the side. They held Arizona to 65 net yards on the ground, which is pretty good stuff. James rushed 18 times for 64 yards and caught seven passes for 33 yards. Still, the Bryant Johnson 40-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter brought back painful memories of games two and/or three years ago in Baltimore and Minnesota. For the good news, though, the Seahawks sacked Kurt Warner five times, with Leroy Hill, Ken Hamlin, Julian Peterson, Darryl Tapp (on 3rd-and-15 on Arizona's last possession), and Grant Wistrom all ringing the bell. Also, Michael Boulware came up with a pick on the final play of the first quarter. The Seahawks should have turned that into a 21-0 lead, but the ensuing drive ended with the block of the field goal. Of course, it's not just the sack numbers that should tell you the Seahawks were getting to Warner for most of the day -- Arizona fumbled five times, and Warner had four of those. Unfortunately the Seahawks only recovered one fumble, and that was Lofa Tatupu bailing Hasselbeck out of the interception just a few plays earlier in the fourth quarter.
The bad thing I have to say about the defense relates to Arizona converting six of 14 plays on third down. They didn't convert in the first quarter. They converted on a 3rd-and-2 early in the second quarter after Ken Hamlin got called for interfering with Anquan Boldin. They converted a 3rd-and-10 just before the half on a Boldin catch for 11 yards right before Kurt Warner fumbled and left Neil Rackers with a 53-yard try as the clock ran out. Arizona got the ball to open the second half and converted another 3rd-and-10 on a 13-yard play underneath to Obafemi Ayanbadejo. Early in the fourth quarter, Warner hit Boldin for nine yards on a 3rd-and-8 from midfield, then later in the drive hit Bryant Johnson on a 3rd-and-9 from the Seattle 40 for the touchdown catch. Warner hit Larry Fitzgerald for 14 yards on a 3rd-and-10 on their next possession (the next play was the Tatupu fumble recovery). The final Arizona third-down conversion came on a 3rd-and-1, and Warner moved the chains on a sneak with that one.
To sum up that last paragraph, the Cardinals were able to move the chains on third down when they needed two (Hamlin penalty), ten, ten, eight, nine, ten, and one yard. The sneak by Warner I can let slide, and I need to see replay of the Hamlin penalty, which was iffy. The other five plays, though, all came on 3rd-and-long, and "long" was eight to ten yards.
What to conclude? The Seahawks are still top dog in the NFC West, and that's good. The defense still looks great. The offense looked better and more like itself, though the full brunt of offense will be inflicted in time on some unlucky team yet to be determined. Hasselbeck only got sacked three times this week as opposed to five, so a muffled hurrah for the offensive line, who also held up a little better so that a running game could register on the radar this week.
Just off hand, though, the two things I really need to see next week (other than the offense going much more nuts) are the elimination of dropped passes and a drastic cutback of the opposition converting on 3rd-and-long plays. These 2006 Seahawks need to be more like the team from 2005, not the ones from 2003 and 2004. The third-down plays and dropped passes reek of those teams (mostly the 2004 edition), and they're problems that I hoped wouldn't come back in any way, shape, or form, but they've leaked into the train of thought, and now they have to be dealt with accordingly. Though I haven't brought it up yet, it should come up in the drive-by-drive stuff to end this post, but the untimely penalties gotta go too.
The bottom line is that I don't want to have to pay the carpet-cleaning bills next week (read: vomit) that would come as a byproduct of Jeremy Shockey, Amani Toomer, and Plaxico Burress running all over the field. So, the Seahawks need to just prevent most of that from happening.
Also, Deion Branch will be a go for Week 3 against the Giants. If it's DJ Hackett that's the odd man out to bring Branch to the roster, then I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the contributions of Big Play DJ on this team, and it'll be a shame that he'd get cut before facing the Giants, especially after the big catch he had against the same team last season. I hope it's not Hackett that's going, but I've come to terms with that probably being the case. Thanks, DJ.
»» 1st Seattle possession (from SEA 20)
Best play: Darrell Jackson on a deep ball for a gain of 47 on 3rd-and-12 from the Seattle 18
Worst play: Matt Hasselbeck sacked for a loss of 10 on the first snap of the game
Result: Shaun Alexander to the right side for a 2-yard touchdown run
***SEAHAWKS 7, CARDINALS 0
»» 1st Arizona possession (from AZ 47 on rekick after a Darryl Tapp offside negated a Kelly Jennings fumble recovery; DD Lewis had forced the fumble)
Best play: Ken Hamlin hits Kurt Warner after the latter had fumbled a snap on 3rd-and-8
Worst play: a short pass to Edgerrin James on the first play, I guess (it was a three-and-out, so it's slim pickings)
Result: punt (three and out)
»» 2nd Seattle possession (from SEA 26)
Best play: Jackson got behind the Arizona secondary for a 49-yard touchdown reception on the right side
Worst play: I guess it's Alexander getting snuffed trying to cut back to the right after a sweep attempt to the left; two yards were lost on 2nd-and-10
Result: the Jackson touchdown
***SEAHAWKS 14, CARDINALS 0
»» 2nd Arizona possession (from AZ 27)
Best play: Kelly Jennings read a pass to Anquan Boldin on 3rd-and-4 that went incomplete, the only time Arizona had a third down on the drive
Worst play: kind of a weak call, but Lofa Tatupu was flagged for an elbow to a helmet, making it an automatic first down instead of a 3rd-and-10
Result: Neil Rackers hits the crossbar on a 51-yard field-goal attempt
»» 3rd Seattle possession (from SEA 41)
Best play: on 3rd-and-19, Nate Burleson bobbles and drops a deep ball that he should have had
Worst play: on 2nd-and-13, Hasselbeck rolled right, tripped, and was sacked for a loss of six...the Burleson play is only the best because it was the only play on the three-and-out where there was no negative yardage
»» 3rd Arizona possession (from AZ 31)
Only play: Warner had Adam Bergen wide open deep, but Michael Boulware picked it off
Result: Seattle ball
»» 4th Seattle possession (from SEA 38)
Best play: on a 3rd-and-10, Hasselbeck got Engram on a crossing route for 18 yards across midfield to the Arizona 33
Worst play: a 1st-and-10 play where Hasselbeck threw a bullet over the middle and nobody was there, possibly signaling miscommunication
Result: 30-yard Josh Brown field-goal attempt is blocked
»» 4th Arizona possession (from AZ 8)
Best play: on 3rd-and-17, Julian Peterson rolled up Warner on a backside blitz for a loss of nine
Worst play: the call on Hamlin's interference instead being called pass interference (he was covering Larry Fitzgerald); this nullified not only what would have been Seattle ball, it was also a 3rd-and-2 play
»» 5th Seattle possession (from SEA 36)
Best play: on the first play from scrimmage, Jackson for an 8-yard catch
Worst play: on 3rd-and-1, Mack Strong dropped a short pass
»» 5th Arizona possession (from AZ 21)
Best play: a pass to Troy Walters on the left side was caught, but he was stopped short of the chains on 3rd-and-8, though the Seahawks would have been able to accept an Arizona illegal formation penalty if it got worse
Worst play: the only other play for positive yardage, a four-yard stretch play for James
»» 6th Seattle possession (from SEA 38)
Best play: on the first play, Engram was wide open across midfield for a 25-yard gain
Worst play: Gerald Hayes picked off a pass intended for Itula Mili on 3rd-and-3
Result: three-and-out, but the out was an interception instead of a punt
»» 6th Arizona possession (from AZ 21)
Best play: James was hit in the backfield and only got a yard on a delayed handoff on first down
Worst play: on their only third down of the drive (3rd-and-10), Boldin gets 11 yards down the right sideline
Result: Rackers was wide left on a 53-yard field-goal attempt after Warner had a snap go behind him on the previous play and fell on the ball but had no way to stop the clock
»» 7th Arizona possession (from AZ 24)
Best play: on first down, the defense stuffed James on a stretch play to the right for no gain
Worst play: on 3rd-and-10, the Seahawks brought a four-man rush, but Warner found Obafemi Ayanbadejo underneath for a gain of 13 and a first down
»» 7th Seattle possession (from SEA 2)
Best play: Burleson caught the ball on the first play from scrimmage, but apparently he didn't have both feet in bounds
Worst play: Alexander was hit in the backfield for a one-yard loss on 2nd-and-10
»» 8th Arizona possession (from SEA 42 though Ryan Plackemeier was lit up on the play and no flags were thrown)
Best play: on 3rd-and-4, Fitzgerald tried to make a sliding catch, but the ball fell incomplete, and the defense kept good pressure on Warner during the play
Worst play: Boldin broke a tackle on a slant and got 11 yards on the first play from scrimmage to get into Rackers' field-goal range immediately
Result: Rackers good from 43 yards
***SEAHAWKS 14, CARDINALS 3
»» 8th Seattle possession (from SEA 26)
Best play: Burleson actually had a catch, going for seven yards on 2nd-and-20
Worst play: Engram was wide open down the middle, but Hasselbeck threw over his head
»» 9th Arizona possession (from SEA 46)
Best play: on 2nd-and-20, the defense brought a five-man rush and Warner threw a slant pass to the right side behind its intended receiver
Worst play: James caught an underneath flare pass for seven yards on 3rd-and-20, the only positive yardage on that possession.
4th quarter during following possession
»» 9th Seattle possession (from SEA 20)
Best play: on 3rd-and-6 from the Seattle 24, Hasselbeck audibled and looked like a genius when Strong got loose for 13 yards and a first down
Worst play: on the second play from scrimmage, Alexander dropped a short pass on 2nd-and-6
Result: Strong on a 3-yard dive through the middle into the end zone when everyone and their mother thought Alexander would get it
***SEAHAWKS 21, CARDINALS 3
»» 10th Arizona possession (from AZ 28)
Best play: on 2nd-and-8, Marcus Trufant had decent coverage on Fitzgerald on a sideline pass following a Warner pumpfake
Worst play: on 3rd-and-9, the Seahawks rush four men and Bryant Johnson catches between the safeties for a 40-yard touchdown reception
Result: Arizona touchdown
***SEAHAWKS 21, CARDINALS 10
»» 10th Seattle possession (from SEA 20)
Only play: Hasselbeck underthrows to Jackson and is intercepted by Adrian Wilson
Result: Arizona ball
»» 11th Arizona possession (from AZ 47)
Best play: Bergen catches a ten-yard pass before Kelly Herndon forces the fumble and Tatupu recovers it
Worst play: the Seahawks blitz on 3rd-and-10 and a pass to Fitzgerald is tipped by Trufant but still hauled in by Fitzgerald for a gain of 14 and a first down
Result: Seattle ball
»» 11th Seattle possession (from SEA 29)
Best play: on first down, Mo Morris hit a gap on the left side and kept rolling for 16 yards
Worst play: on 3rd-and-7, Morris appeared unaware of a pitchback on a four-receiver set, and Hasselbeck fell on the fumble
Result: 14-yard punt by Plackemeier
»» 12th Arizona possession (from AZ 30)
Best play: on 3rd-and-15, Tapp wraps up Warner for a loss of seven to basically end the game
Worst play: first play from scrimmage, James got five yards to set up an easier second-down try
Result: punt, as Dennis Green threw up the white flag
»» 12th Seattle possession (from SEA 35)
Best play: on 3rd-and-7, Alexander got through the left side for 13 yards to seal the deal
Worst play: Alexander only got one yard on the first play from scrimmage, but this is nitpicking
Result: Hasselbeck takes a knee, then the game clock shows zeroes
...and there you have it.
Giants. Seahawks. Next Sunday.
[actual post Mon ~8:09a]
In 25 words or less: The Mariners doubled up the Royals on the scoreboard, and that brings to mind the obligatory Sir Mix-A-Lot reference.
This one featured Gil Meche going up against Runelvys Hernandez. One can be a headcase on the mound, the other can fight his catcher in the dugout, though the one behind the plate in this game isn't the same guy. This game went for about two hours until everyone in the Pacific Northwest turned their televisions over to the Cardinals/Seahawks game. I picked up the second half of this game later in the night, which is truly the wonderful thing about MLB.tv. As much as being able to see Mariner footage well after it happens is great, it's too bad we can't get Mariner wins on demand before they happen. You can watch them after they happen, sure, but for now you can only pull up games from 2005 and 2006, and I'm implying a ridiculous telepathic connection thing right now, so I'm completely insane. Anyway, this game saw the Mariners trying to come away with a split in Kansas City. A loss here would make it six losses in eight games, and that's bad. A win would make it five of eight, which is less bad.
Ichiro popped the second pitch high to a charging Costa in rightfield. Adrian Beltre worked an 0-2 count full but rolled out to third. Kenji Johjima tapped a 2-0 pitch to the mound that went off Hernandez' glove but went to Grudzielanek, who threw over with plenty of time. Hernandez threw 12 pitches.
David DeJesus grounded the second pitch hard to a drawn-in Beltre at third. Esteban German whiffed on a 2-2 curve down and off the plate away. Mark Grudzielanek poked a single past the reach of Lopez and into center for a single. Emil Brown put a jolt in the second pitch, which had homerun distance but was foul by about three feet. Brown walked on a 3-1 pitch, moving Grudzielanek to second. Ryan Shealy got ahead 2-0 and Johjima visited the mound. Shealy had the hitters' counts before blistereing a full-count pitch to left, barely missing a homer (it went off the in-play wire mesh fence above the wall), but it went for a double that scored Grudzielanek and Brown.
»» ROYALS 2, MARINERS 0
Shane Costa popped an 0-2 pitch to shallow left. Meche threw 29 pitches.
Raul Ibañez whiffed on a 1-2 fastball. Richie Sexson popped the second pitch to Phillips to the right of the screen behind the plate. Ben Broussard whiffed on a low full-count breaking ball, though he worked the at-bat for 11 pitches. Hernandez threw 17 pitches and had 29 through two.
Angel Berroa slapped the first pitch into right for a single. Joey Gathright pop-bunted the first pitch right to Meche, which is where Ron Fairly mentions his favorite play, which is to let it drop and go for the double play since the infield fly rule won't be called. Paul Phillips fought off the second pitch, pushing it through the right side for a single on a nicely-executed hit-and-run, moving Berroa to third. DeJesus bounced to first, and Sexson blocked him from reaching first as Berroa scored and Phillips moved to second.
»» ROYALS 3, MARINERS 0
German rolled out to short. Meche threw ten pitches and had 39 through two.
Yuniesky Betancourt scorched a double just over the reach of a leaping German and into the leftfield corner for his first hit of the series. Chris Snelling grounded the second pitch to Shealy behind the bag at first to move Betancourt to third. Jose Lopez popped the second pitch to deep rightcenter, far enough to plate Betancourt from third.
»» ROYALS 3, MARINERS 1
Ichiro smoked a single through the right side. Beltre popped a full-count pitch very high to Grudzielanek moving into shallow right. Hernandez threw 19 pitches and had 48 through three.
Grudzielanek had the hitters' counts and rolled a 3-1 pitch past the mound and into center for a single. Brown was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch right to Betancourt at short to start an easy 6-4-3 double play. Shealy walked on a 3-1 pitch. Costa punched a single barely over the reach of a leaping Betancourt and into leftcenter for a single to move Shealy to second. Berroa whiffed on an 0-2 curve down over the outside corner. Meche threw 11 pitches and had 59 through three.
Johjima was down 0-2 and popped a 2-2 pitch to Berroa on the leftfield grass. Ibañez blistered a single past a diving Shealy and through the right side for a single. Sexson flew out high to right on a 1-2 pitch. Broussard walked on a low-and-inside full-count pitch, moving Ibañez to second. Betancourt whiffed on a 1-2 pitch. Hernandez threw 23 pitches and had 71 through four.
Gathright fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 curve over the outside corner. Phillips lined the first pitch into rightcenter and rolled it past Ichiro and toward the wall for a double. DeJesus was nicked on the right elbow with an 0-2 curve. Around this point, the AFLAC Trivia Question sparked a fun discussion between Dave Niehaus and Ron Fairly different methods of stealing signs. German dug out a hanging 2-2 curve, putting it into center for a single to score Phillips and move DeJesus to second.
»» ROYALS 4, MARINERS 1
Grudzielanek grounded the second pitch to Beltre at third, who stopped for a second and froze DeJesus in front of him, but then threw to Lopez at second, who tagged the bag and dropped the ball as he was preparing to make the throw (5-4 putout). The play ended with DeJesus and Grudzielanek on third and first. Brown tapped a 3-1 pitch back to the mound. Meche threw 21 pitches and had 80 through four.
Snelling served a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Lopez flew out to shallow center on the first pitch. Ichiro took a 2-2 pitch on the right calf/shin, moving Snelling to second and bringing trainer Rick Griffin out of the dugout. Ichiro stayed in the game after a short test trot. Beltre knocked the first pitch into shallow left for a single to load the bases. Johjima took the second pitch off the body armor on his left elbow, forcing Snelling across.
»» ROYALS 4, MARINERS 2
Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 breaking ball up and away. Sexson bounced a 2-2 pitch (eight pitch of the at-bat) up the middle for a single to score Ichiro and Beltre.
»» ROYALS 4, MARINERS 4
Todd Wellemeyer came in for Hernandez. Broussard was down 0-2 and took a 1-2 pitch that went off Phillips' shin guard and away (wild pitch), moving Johjima and Sexson to third and Sexson. Broussard grounded a 2-2 pitch to the right-side hole that nearly ate up Grudzielanek, but he gathered himself and got the out at first. Wellemeyer threw four pitches.
Hernandez' line: 4 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 101 pitches (66 strikes)
Shealy was down 0-2 and nubbed a 2-2 curve to short. Costa stroked the first pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Berroa lasered the second pitch into Sexson's glove at first. Gathright whiffed on a 2-1 pitch and Costa took off from second and Johjima threw behind Betancourt instead of to second (where he was going), and the ball went into center, allowing Costa to run all the way home.
»» ROYALS 5, MARINERS 4
Gathright bounced to the right side, where Meche got the ball and blocked Gathright from getting to first. Meche threw 15 pitches and had 95 through five.
Betancourt shot the second pitch that nearly took Wellemeyer out at the legs, but it merely went into center for a single. Snelling flew out to DeJesus in leftcenter on the first pitch. Lopez punched the second pitch through the right side for a single to move Betancourt to third. Ichiro was down 0-2 before rolling a 1-2 pitch to the left-side hole, where Berroa tossed to Grudzielanek at second for the out, but Lopez took out Grudzielanek with the slide, so no double play as Betancourt scored.
»» ROYALS 5, MARINERS 5
Beltre took a 1-1 pitch in the dirt and to the backstop that moved Ichiro to second. Beltre took a 3-1 pitch down and away. Johjima whiffed on an 0-2 offspeed pitch that hung a bit.
Wellemeyer's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 23 pitches (15 strikes)
Phillips checkswung and nubbed the second pitch back to the mound. DeJesus worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to Ichiro in rightcenter. German was ahead 2-0 but ended up lining out to right on a full count.
Meche's line: 6 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 9 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 109 pitches (67 strikes)
Jimmy Gobble came in for Wellemeyer. Ibañez slapped the first pitch into the leftfield corner for a double. Sexson whiffed on a full-count offspeed pitch away. Eduardo Perez was announced as the pinch-hitter for Broussard.
Joel Peralta came in for Gobble. Perez scooped a single itno center to score Ibañez.
»» MARINERS 6, ROYALS 5
Betancourt flew out to center on an 0-2 pitch as Gathright pumpfaked Perez back to first. Snelling fell behind 0-2 and rode a 2-2 pitch that just kept carrying and ended up over the centerfield wall.
»» MARINERS 8, ROYALS 5
Lopez grounded the second pitch through the mound, where it fired to Grudzielanek, who then threw to first.
Gobble's line: 1/3 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 7 pitches (4 strikes)
Peralta's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (12 strikes)
Emiliano Fruto came in for Meche. Grudzielanek popped the first pitch to rightcenter, where Ichiro made the catch. Brown had the hitters' counts before rolling a 3-1 pitch out to short. Shealy lined out to Ichiro running toward the track in center.
Fruto's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (5 strikes)
Joselo Diaz came in for Peralta. Ichiro scooted a ball toward the middle that Grudzielanek got to on the backhand side, but it got a piece of his glove and rolled past, but it was scored a single anyway. Beltre popped out to second on the first pitch. Johjima unloaded on the second pitch, homering into a fountain in leftcenter. The Japanese connection scored the runs on this one.
»» ROYALS 10, MARINERS 5
Ibañez had the hitters' counts before rolling out to second on a 3-1 pitch. Sexson punched a full-count pitch off the mound and into center for a single. Perez bounced a full-count pitch to third, and German made a nice charge-and-throw play on the run.
Diaz' line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 23 pitches (12 strikes)
George Sherrill came in for Fruto and TJ Bohn came in to play rightfield. Costa flew out to Ibañez in foul ground down the leftfield line. Berroa popped to Lopez heading toward the line in right. Gathright worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a fastball.
Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (6 strikes)
Andrew Sisco came in for Diaz. Betancourt took a 2-2 pitch fastball at the knees that he thought was low. Bohn whiffed on a 1-2 low breaking ball. Lopez flew out to Costa in rightcenter on a 3-1 pitch.
Sisco's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 14 pitches (8 strikes)
Jon Huber came in for Sherrill and Bloomquist came in to play center. Phillips flew out to center. DeJesus took a 2-2 breaking ball over the outer half. German whiffed on an 0-2 breaking ball.
Huber's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
Gameball: Chris Snelling.
He led off with a single in the fifth and homered in the seventh to make a 6-5 Mariner lead into an 8-5 Mariner lead. The homer was his first since his two-homer game in Seattle against the Angels. The Aussie's batting average is at .300. He's also on base at a .398 clip and has a slugging percentage of .543. He has three homers in the 25 games he's played. There's no way in hell Snelling would ever be healthy enough for 150 games, but if you took that homer rate, he'd end up with 18 homers for a season. He'd also end up with 122 hits, 36 doubles, six triples, and 48 RBIs, 45 walks, and (drum roll) 125 strikeouts. I know him for walks, not strikeouts. If he ended up with 125 strikeouts, well, 125 strikeouts would be blatantly Cameronesque or Sexsonesque. Anyway, if there were any way the Mariners could get 100 to 110 games out of Snelling next season, that would be quite optimal. If he could stay healthy for most of a season, it'd be great for this team. All I can think about is all those at-bats that were spent on Greg Dobbs, and wishing Snelling was up instead.
Goat: Ben Broussard.
Every other starter in the Mariner lineup in this game had a hit. That fact alone means it was a great day for the Mariners at the plate, though Broussard is the odd man out. He wasn't completely bereft of decentness, though, as he managed an 11-pitch strikeout in the second inning, a six-pitch walk in the fourth, and a five-pitch at-bat leading to a groundout in the fifth. The point is, he wasn't pulling the hack-happy stuff that most of the lineup has for the year and that has been drilled into their heads (that whole "aggressiveness" thing). Stuff like his first at-bat are what keeps a starting pitcher from lasting for two or three more hitters, and unfortunately the Mariners haven't been putting too much stock in plate discipline this season. It seems as though it's been working for Kenji Johjima and Yuniesky Betancourt, and it's all that Ichiro knows. However, I don't think hack-happiness isn't quite as compatible with of beneficial to an Adrian Beltre, and as the year's gone on, a Jose Lopez as well.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 106-43 .711 -- L3
2003 86-63 .577 20 L1
2002 85-64 .570 21 W1
2000 83-66 .557 23 W5
2006 71-78 .477 35 W1
2005 64-85 .430 42 L4
2004 56-93 .376 50 L2
Hernandez. Millwood. Monday.