Saturday, April 14, 2007
In 25 words or less: Miguel Batista writes a different storyline altogether for his second Mariner start, a polar opposite of the first.
This one featured Vicente Padilla going up against Miguel Batista. I don't know if something's changed this year or what, but I was able to get this Fox telecast on MLB.tv, which is good because the game going over the air in Hawaii was Houston/Philadelphia. It was also a Jamie Burke day behind the plate as he was catching the day game after Kenji Johjima's night game. I have to give a big hooray to baseball for starting the weekend Fox telecasts earlier than friggin' June. It's something that's been years overdue. Sure, it's Fox baseball coverage, but weekend free-TV baseball telecasts have been woven into the fabric of Americana for decades now, and I know that if I didn't have cable, I'd be ticked that the telecasts didn't start until June. I do remember life without cable -- I waited four weeks to get it when I moved into my current place, and boy, that was rough (I should add I didn't have internet either). Of course, now I'm spoiled and get ticked about things like having to punch four numbers into the remote to get a channel since they threw a bunch of HD channels into the 1000s.
Kenny Lofton punched the second pitch past the mound and into center for a single. Frank Catalanotto flew out to Ibañez in leftcenter on the second pitch. Michael Young fell behind 0-2 and took a 2-2 pitch for strike three, though Lofton was off with the pitch and easily stole second. Mark Teixeira popped very high to Beltre at third. Batista threw 16 pitches.
Ichiro popped up harmlessly to Lofton in shallow center with Kinsler nearly colliding with him on his way from the infield. Adrian Beltre rocked the first pitch for a Safeco Field fly ball, taking Sosa to the track in right. Jose Vidro grounded a 2-2 pitch to Blalock's left for a standard groundout. Padilla threw nine pitches.
Sammy Sosa was down 0-2 and rolled a 2-2 pitch to short. Hank Blalock whiffed on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Brad Wilkerson drove a 2-2 pitch to Ibañez in fairly deep leftcenter, who ran it down. Batista threw 15 pitches and had 31 through two.
Sun in Seattle is special. Sun in Hawaii is like the snow in the movie Fargo.
Raul Ibañez poked the ball just out of the reach of an outstretched Kinsler and into center for a single. Richie Sexson didn't get much for contact, popping to center, where Lofton made a sliding catch to hold Ibañez at first. Jose Guillen had both hitters' counts before taking a full-count pitch that sent Lofton a handful of strides short of the centerfield warning track. Yuniesky Betancourt swung at a much-too-high pitch, flying out to Kinsler on the infield grass. Padilla threw 16 pitches and had 25 through two.
Gerald Laird bounced a 3-1 pitch to Beltre behind the bag at third. Ian Kinsler took a low 3-1 pitch for a strike and ended up taking a high full-count breaking ball for a walk. Lofton checkswung at the first pitch but tapped it to the mound, where Batista threw to second, but Betancourt's throw to first couldn't beat the speedy-but-old Lofton. Catalanotto was up 2-0 and called time late with a 2-2 count on which Lofton would have had second base stolen easily. Catalanotto popped a full-count pitch to shallow left, where Ibañez charged in to make the sliding catch. Batista threw 20 pitches and had 51 through three.
Jose Lopez rolled a grounder up the middle for a single. Jamie Burke poked a 2-2 pitch down the rightfield line and into the corner for a double to move Lopez to second. Ichiro took the first pitch in his body armor covering the right elbow, loading the bases with nobody out. Beltre nubbed the second pitch toward the left side, where Blalock couldn't cleanly field it and it bounced away (error), allowing Lopez to score and the bases to remain loaded.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Vidro grounded the first pitch slowly to the right side for what looked like a tailor-made double-play ball, where Kinsler charged it but lost his footing and had the ball go off him and into rightfield (error), scoring Burke and Ichiro and moving Beltre to third.
»» MARINERS 3, RANGERS 0
Ibañez dumped a 2-2 pitch into shallow leftfield, where Wilkerson made a diving and rolling catch (it looked awkward), and Beltre tagged and scored on the play as Vidro stayed at first.
»» MARINERS 4, RANGERS 0
Sexson was ahead 3-1 and walked on an outside full-count pitch. Guillen was jammed on an 0-2 pitch, popping out to Young behind the bag at second. Betancourt got behind 0-2 and whiffed over a 2-2 breaking ball down over the outside corner. Padilla threw 34 pitches and had 59 through three.
Young was nailed with the first pitch, resulting in warnings for Batista and both benches. Teixeira bounced the second pitch to the right side, where Sexson threw a bit high to a covering Batista, and he had it roll a few feet away, resulting in everyone being safe. Sosa's first pitch got away from Burke behind the plate, but not far enough to advance runners. Sosa popped a 1-2 pitch to Guillen, who made the running catch near the rightfield line, but Young tagged and moved to third (Teixeira remained at first). Blalock slow-rolled the first pitch to second for a textbook 4-6-3 double play. Batista threw nine pitches and had 60 through four.
It's weird how quickly the top of the fourth became ominous and how quickly it was over. Baseball's a weird game sometimes.
Lopez swung at a too-inside first pitch, grounding out to a drawn-in Blalock at third. Burke grounded the second pitch to short. Ichiro bounced a 2-0 pitch through the right side for a single to snap an 0-for-14 slump. Beltre cranked a high 0-2 pitch into the visitors' bullpen in leftcenter, scoring Ichiro.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 0
Vidro golfed the second pitch to left for a flyout. Padilla threw 11 pitches and had 70 through four.
Wilkerson fell behind 0-2 and drove a 2-2 pitch into the third row of rightfield seats.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 1
Laird popped to Ichiro a few strides short of the track in front of the mass of inebriation in leftcenter as the roof began to close over the field at the Safe. Kinsler grounded routinely to short, though Sexson had to make the scoop at first. Lofton worked a 1-2 count full and tapped a ball back to the mound, where Batista got a glove on the ball, but it rolled behind the mound, enabling Lofton to reach first base. Catalanotto watched the second pitch go by as Lofton took off on the second pitch and had second base stolen easily. However, Catalanotto popped out on the next pitch (2-0), taking Guillen to the track in right. Batista threw 22 pitches and had 82 through five.
Ibañez rolled the first pitch up the middle, where Kinsler made a nice backhand play, then threw out Ibañez at first. Sexson walked on a high 3-1 pitch. Guillen got under the second pitch, flying out to Lofton in center as Sexson held at first. Betancourt was ahead 2-0 but later was jammed and popped out to shallow left. Padilla threw 12 pitches and had 82 through five.
Young was down 0-2 and whiffed over a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Teixeira lined the second pitch that one-hopped in the rightfield corner and went over the wall for a ground-rule double. Sosa rocked the second pitch and did the Sosa hop, but this time it wasn't warning-track power, it was a homer into the third row of rightfield seats, scoring Teixeira.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 3
Blalock got ahead 2-0 and whiffed on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Wilkerson got behind 0-2 and bounced a 2-2 pitch to Lopez on the right side. Batista threw 18 pitches and had 100 through six.
Lopez singled into center on the first pitch. Burke bounced out to short, though Lopez took off with the pitch, so there was only a 6-3 groundout. Ichiro scorched the second pitch for a low liner into right, but Sosa charged and made a sliding catch (of course, Lopez held at second). Beltre took a 2-0 pitch for a ball, and Laird came up throwing from behind the plate and nearly picked Lopez off of second. Beltre walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away. Vidro grounded to the right side, where Teixeira fielded the ball but had to run it to the bag to beat a sliding Vidro since Padilla wasn't running to cover the first-base bag. Padilla threw 15 pitches and had 97 through six.
Padilla's line: 6 innings, 6 runs (4 earned), 6 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 97 pitches (58 strikes)
Laird was up 3-1 but ended up grounding a full-count pitch hard to third, where Beltre took it in the chest and threw in time to first. This is where Eric Karros delivered the unsettling news that Beltre doesn't wear a cup in the field. Karros a few seconds later said, "his tools are unparalleled." Kinsler got ahead 3-1 but ended up taking a full-count pitch over the outside corner for strike three.
George Sherrill came in for Batista. Lofton worked a 1-2 count full and popped out to left. Sherrill threw seven pitches.
Well, I think it's fair to say Batista rebounded from his abhorrent previous start.
Batista's line: 6 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 112 pitches (66 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (4 strikes)
CJ Wilson came in for Padilla. Ibañez took a 1-2 breaking ball down over the outer half. Sexson had a 3-0 count and took a full-count pitch inside. Guillen smoked the second pitch high to rightfield, where Sosa went back for it, but it barely got over the fence for Guillen's first homer as a Mariner, scoring Sexson.
»» MARINERS 8, RANGERS 3
Betancourt grounded the first pitch to Young in the hole on the left side, who made the play to first. Lopez tapped the second pitch out in front, where Wilson came out to field it, but his throw to first pulled Teixeira off the bag (error), and Teixeira couldn't get his foot down quite in time. Burke bounced the second pitch to third for a 5-4 force of Lopez at second. Wilson threw 18 pitches.
Wilson's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 18 pitches (10 strikes)
Jason Ellison came in to play right for Guillen. Matt Kata came in to hit for Catalanotto. Mike Hargrove then came to the mound with the hook.
Chris Reitsma came in for Sherrill. Kata fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 change away. Young was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 pitch. Teixeira was ahead 3-1 and walked on a full-count pitch away. Sosa got too much top-half, grounding to short for a 6-4 forceout of Teixeira at second. Reitsma threw 20 pitches.
Reitsma's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (11 strikes)
Scott Feldman came in for Wilson. Ichiro popped the first pitch to Lofton in shallow leftcenter. Beltre rolled a 2-0 pitch under a diving Young into leftcenter for a single. Vidro lined out to shallow left on the first pitch. As the Fox crew went to Ken Rosenthal for some Ichiro-related rumors, a graphic popped up on the screen with the title of "Honey Nut Ichiros," which is both ingenious and a reach. Ibañez popped out to shallow left. Feldman threw nine pitches.
Feldman's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (5 strikes)
Brandon Morrow came in for Reitsma. Blalock parachuted a single into shallow center. Wilkerson bunted on the first pitch to try and get aboard, but it went foul. Wilkerson was up 3-1 foul-tipped a full-count 94mph fastball into Burke's glove behind the plate. Laird took a 2-2 pitch down over the outside corner on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Kinsler was ahead 3-1 and whiffed on a full-count fastball.
Morrow's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 25 pitches (16 strikes)
Gameball: Miguel Batista.
After his first start, it would have been pretty hard for Batista to do much worse. This was his second start, another one against a division rival, and he actually looked like a half-competent pitcher out there. I would have settled for Batista getting into the sixth and giving up four runs, but he did better than that here, getting into the seventh and giving up three runs. He gave up eight groundouts against seven flyouts, though two fly balls did leave the field of play. Two home runs could be a lot worse if there were a bunch of people on base, but he only walked one batter and gave up five hits, so the damage was minimal. With this start, Batista shaved 6.69 runs off his ERA, bringing it down to a pedestrian 8.74 after two outings as a Mariner. Will this be the best start he has as a Mariner? I hope it isn't, though part of me wants to say it might be. I'm hoping this is merely a solid Batista outing, maybe an 8.5 on a 10 scale. I haven't watched enough Miguel Batista outings to know what a vintage Batista outing is, but if it's like this one, it's not too bad. He obviously wasn't too flashy, but he got the job done -- I'll settle for that after five years of no Mariners in the playoffs.
Goat: Jose Vidro.
If I was eating something or enjoying a beverage during the Fox telecast when Willie Bloomquist introduced the Mariner lineup and intro'd Vidro as a career .300 hitter from both sides of the plate, I'd have spit out the food/drink of the moment as a result, even with that being true. Vidro last hit .300 in 2003, if anyone was wondering. He hit .300 for five straight seasons from 1999-2003. He might pan out with this team, he might not. One thing I do know is that I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the guy batting third. I'd bump him down to fifth, so one through five would be Ichiro/Beltre/Ibañez/Sexson/Vidro/Guillen, etc. It would satisfy Mike Hargrove's lefty/righty thing. One could look at the boxscore today and think I'm full of crap since Beltre went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs today, but I doubt anyone out there is going to think Beltre will see more good pitches to hit if Vidro is hitting behind him as opposed to Ibañez. If Beltre warmed up and he gets intentionally walked to send a .143-hitting Vidro to the plate, how does that help the Mariners? Yes, I know it's only been seven games and I know Beltre's only hitting .192 himself.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 5-2 .714 -- W1
2000 4-3 .571 1 L1
2002 4-3 .571 1 W1
2003 4-3 .571 1 W2
2007 4-3 .571 1 W1
2005 3-4 .429 2 W1
2006 3-4 .429 2 L3
2004 1-6 .143 4 L1
Hey, I've got more time to rant today...
Multi-hit games in this one belonged to Adrian Beltre, who had a homer and a single to balloon his batting average to .192, and Jose Lopez, whose led off both the third and sixth innings with singles. The third inning, of course, ended up being a four-run inning thanks to the Rangers' defensive non-prowess. The Mariners' 8-9-1-2 hitters combined to go 6-for-16 with three RBIs (all Beltre's), one walk, and the quartet scored six of the Mariners' eight runs on the day. The two remaining runs scored on Jose Guillen's homer, which scored Richie Sexson. I don't know if the Rangers had a game plan to not let Sexson beat them or what, but he walked three times in his 0-for-1 game. Of course, if Sexson is walking three times, that means he isn't striking out three times. If he can pound the ball and manage to be more patient, that'd be great for everyone, though that of course depends on who's hitting behind him, and for this game, Guillen did crank the one homer. Also, big congratulations to Jamie Burke on his first Mariner hit, providing almost as much excitement as Rene Rivera has in his entire tenure as a Mariner.
I've already written about Batista above, so now I'll get to the bullpen. George Sherrill, Chris Reitsma, and Brandon Morrow pitched got the last seven outs of the game and gave up only one hit and one walk, striking out five. Reitsma's walk came with two out, so that could have been worse (i.e., leadoff), but two of his three outs came via the strikeout. Morrow gave up a leadoff single, but struck out the next three hitters he faced to end the game. I have to say that although I don't really agree with the fact that Morrow is with the big club right now, I actually like that Hargrove is using him in fairly low-stress situations so his confidence doesn't get shattered if he takes some lumps here and there. The only time he's really gotten touched up this season was in the pasting in Boston, where Jeff Weaver had already let the game get out of hand. Lastly, George Sherrill was going to come out to start the eighth, but Hargrove yanked him. I know Sherrill can go way more than one hitter, but Hargrove decided long ago that Sherrill is his current Paul Assenmacher, so Sherrill's kinda been typecast by his manager. At least he's doing well in the role.
McCarthy. Ramirez. Tomorrow.
Texas RANGERS (5-5, 1-3 road) at Seattle MARINERS (3-3, 2-2 home), 12:55p, FOX/MLB.tv
Vicente Padilla (0-2) vs. Miguel Batista (0-1)
Like yesterday's game, the game will actually be played since Safeco Field features a retractable roof. Unlike yesterday's game, the Mariners will put Miguel Batista on the mound, who can't possibly do worse than he did in his last start, right? I'd sure hope not. Let's hope not, because until he gets his first win, every loss digs him a hole that makes it harder for him to be the .500-at-best pitcher that a lot of us hope he is.
Another thing to look out for is that a loss would drop the Mariners below .500. Though that may not seem like too big of a deal, the Mariners actually haven't been under .500 yet this season. Amazing, yes, but not so amazing if they lose this game.
[initial partial post]
In 25 words or less: Most of the time, I'm not thinking Jarrod Washburn is going to beat Kevin Millwood. This game was no exception.
This one featured Kevin Millwood going up against Jarrod Washburn. With the Mariners returning to Seattle, there was assurance that the Mariners would actually be playing games. The Mariners came into this game having played five games in the 2007 season. However, the Mariners also had a combined five games postponed due to inclement weather -- the four-game series in Cleveland, and a single game in Boston. How long such a layoff will affect the Mariners remains to be seen. Coming into this game, the only Mariner hitters in the starting lineup hitting above .250 were Jose Guillen (.267) and Kenji Johjima (.286). Granted, the Mariners had only played five games and three of those games were against pitchers who aren't exactly chop liver -- Rich Harden, Josh Beckett, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Meanwhile, the Mariners' starting rotation isn't in too good a shape in most areas non-Felix. Jarrod Washburn had a not-too-bad first start against Oakland, and his second start would be in this game. Miguel Batista was an abomination in his first start, as was Jeff Weaver. Horacio Ramirez was shaky in his first appearance, though it was snowing and the game was later wiped from the books, so I'll say we're inconclusive on Ramirez.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. fell behind 0-2 and flew out to center on a 2-2 count. Ian Kinsler whiffed over a quite high 2-2 fastball. Michael Young dumped a 2-1 pitch just inside the rightfield line that Guillen probably should have had; it went for a single. Mark Teixeira was ahead 3-1 and ended up grounding out to third. Washburn threw 21 pitches.
Ichiro flew out to Hairston in rightcenter on the second pitch. Adrian Beltre flew out to fairly deep leftcenter. Jose Vidro lined an 0-2 pitch into shallow center that shorthopped Hairston for a single. Raul Ibañez pulled a high-and-inside pitch down the rightfield line and into the corner for a double to move Vidro to third. Richie Sexson whiffed over a full-count breaking ball. Millwood threw 17 pitches.
Sammy Sosa took a 2-2 fastball over the outside corner and walked back to the dugout. Hank Blalock fell behind 0-2 and popped a 1-2 pitch high to Beltre to the left of the mound. Nelson Cruz fell behind 0-2 and popped a 2-2 pitch to the rightfield rolled-up tarp that was run down by Sexson. Washburn threw 15 pitches and had 36 through two.
Jose Guillen popped a 2-2 pitch to short. Kenji Johjima poked an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single. Yuniesky Betancourt lined the first pitch right to Kinsler at second, who threw to first to double off Johjima. Millwood threw nine pitches and had 26 through two.
Gerald Laird popped a 2-2 pitch high to Lopez moving backward into shallow rightcenter. Matt Kata was down 0-2 and dropped a 1-2 pitch into shallow rightcenter for a single. Hairston walked on four pitches. Kinsler broke his bat, grounding hard to the left side, where Beltre dove for it, had a bit of trouble coming up with it, then threw from a knee to first, but it was a bit wide and late and bounced away from Sexson, allowing Kata to score and Hairston to move to third (ruled a hit).
»» RANGERS 1, MARINERS 0
Young tapped the second pitch back to the mound and Washburn threw wide to second, where Betancourt had to reach across his body while sliding to tag second, causing the throw to first to be late and allowing Hairston to score and Kinsler to move to second.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 0
Teixeira grounded a 2-0 pitch to third. Washburn threw 20 pitches and had 56 through three.
Little did we know at the time how vital the Mariners' failure to turn two double plays would be.
Jose Lopez lined the first pitch to first, where Teixeira climbed the ladder and made a leaping catch. Ichiro whiffed over an 0-2 curve in the dirt. Beltre flew out to the rightfield track on the second pitch. Millwood threw seven pitches and had 33 through three.
Sosa singled to right on the first pitch. Blalock bounced to short, where Betancourt started what should have been a 6-4-3 double play, but apparently Blalock beat the Lopez throw to first. Cruz bounced the second pitch to short for what really was a 6-4-3 double play. Washburn threw six pitches and had 62 through four.
Vidro worked an 0-2 count for a walk (amazingly). Ibañez was down 0-2 before flying out to shallow left on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson popped to Cruz near the rightfield line on a 2-2 count. Guillen bounced to third on the second pitch for a 5-4 force of Vidro at second. Millwood threw 18 pitches and had 51 through four.
Laird was down 0-2 and whiffed over a 1-2 breaking ball. Kata grounded the first pitch to Beltre a step away from the bag at third. Hairston stung an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Kinsler took full advantage of Washburn's high pitch and flyball out fetish, crushing a high 2-0 pitch over the manual scoreboard in leftfield.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 0
Young dropped a single into shallow center. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Teixeira popped a 2-0 pitch to Sexson in front of the first-base camera well. Washburn threw 19 pitches and had 81 through five.
Johjima smoked the first pitch into left for a single. Betancourt tagged the second pitch up the middle for a single, moving Johjima to second. Lopez was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch hard to third to start a 5-4-3 double play. Ichiro had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch inside. Beltre popped the second pitch to Cruz near the rightfield line. Millwood 14 pitches and had 65 through five.
Sosa tapped a 1-2 pitch to the mound. Blalock couldn't check his swing on a 2-2 pitch away. Cruz grounded a 3-1 pitch to short. Washburn threw 18 pitches and had 99 through six.
Okay, it happened again -- did anyone else out there have problems with MLB.tv completely missing the first hitter when coming back after a commercial break? I think two of Sosa's at-bats were completely missed when MLB.tv came back from a break. Hopefully they do realize that people shell out good money to see these games and the least we can ask for is to see the game feed that people in the teams' markets see.
Washburn's line: 6 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 7 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 99 pitches (61 strikes)
Vidro popped an 0-2 pitch to Hairston in leftcenter. Ibañez chopped a 1-2 pitch over the mound, and Kinsler ranged over to try to glove it to Young for a throw to first, but Young couldn't cleanly come up with it and it was probably a foolish idea anyway, and it was definitely a single. Sexson blistered the first pitch past Cruz and to the wall in rightcenter for a double and the relay throw home was a bit into the runner, though Laird nearly reached back and tagged Ibañez as he went by, but Ibañez barely beat the throw.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 1
Guillen flew out to shallow center. Johjima was nicked by a 1-1 pitch that traveled a bit too far inside. Betancourt dribbled the second pitch to short, and Betancourt couldn't quite beat the throw to first. Millwood threw 17 pitches and had 82 through six.
Millwood's line: 6 innings, 1 run, 7 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 82 pitches (56 strikes)
Julio Mateo came in for Washburn. Laird took an 0-2 pitch to the leftcenter track, where Ichiro ran it down. Kata served a 2-2 pitch into shallow center for a single. Hairston took Ibañez one step away from the leftfield wall, but it ended in a flyout. Kinsler worked a 1-2 count for a walk to move Kata to second. Young fell behind 0-2 and whiffed over a 2-2 breaking ball. Mateo threw 24 pitches.
Joaquin Benoit came in for Millwood. Lopez chopped the second pitch over a leaping Kinsler and into right for a single. Ichiro got behind 0-2 and whiffed badly over a 1-2 breaking ball down and away. Beltre put good wood on the second pitch, cranking it to deep center for a double to score Lopez. Benoit got a mound visit from the pitching coach.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 2
Vidro whiffed over a 1-2 breaking ball down over the outer half. Ibañez grounded hard to second on the first pitch.
Benoit's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
Teixeira flew out to fairly deep right on an 0-2 pitch. Sosa put a jolt into the first pitch and did somewhat of a Sosa Hop, but it was merely warning track power as Ibañez was able to make the catch in left.
George Sherrill came in for Mateo. Blalock grounded the second pitch hard to first, where Sexson dove to his left to make the play and slid in time into the bag at first, somewhat precariously as Blalock ran past.
Mateo's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 28 pitches (19 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (2 strikes)
Akinori Otsuka came in for Benoit. Sexson had the hitters' counts and grounded to Young's backhand side on a full count, and Young made the play to first. Guillen waved at and foul-tipped a 1-2 pitch into Laird's glove behind the plate for strike three. Johjima drilled a 2-1 pitch to the leftfield wall for a double. Betancourt grounded to short on the second pitch.
Otsuka's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (9 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Sherrill. Cruz was ahead 3-1 but whiffed on full-count heat. Laird flew out to right on the first pitch. Kata worked a 1-2 count full and lined a fastball into the first row of seats in rightfield. If JJ won't give up his runs in save situations, they've got to come from somewhere...
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 2
Hairston whiffed on an 0-2 offspeed pitch.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
Eric Gagne came in for Otsuka. Ben Broussard, hitting for Lopez, was ahead 2-0 and laid the bat out to get a 2-2 change and dropped it into rightcenter for a single. Ichiro got behind 0-2, and Broussard was lifted for pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist. Ichiro whiffed on a 1-2 pitch for his second three-strikeout game of the week (though a nice stat that Dave Sims brought up, it was actually two three-strikeout games, not three). Beltre grounded hard to third to start a 5-4-3 double play.
Gagne's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
Gameball: Kenji Johjima.
It's early, as I keep saying, but a certain Mariner catcher is hitting .412. This game saw him go 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, and he was hit once by a Kevin Millwood pitch. However, it doesn't say much for the Mariners' night offensively if Johjima gets aboard four times and didn't drive in any runs or come around to score himself. He didn't score despite both Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez scratching out a hit apiece behind Johjima in the batting order. Again, I must stress that we're only six games into the season, but in the last three games, Johjima is 6-for-8 (.667) with three doubles. Amazingly, he's driven in only one run in this season, but that's more of a damning assessment of the hitters ahead of Johjima. As for Johjima version 2007, I have to say I'm a big fan of less balls not getting blocked as well as Felix Hernandez being completely dominant instead of dominant every once in a while. I remember when catcher was a completely dead offensive position for the Mariners, and now it's a real treat to see it contribute. As for going for the obvious gameball, I'm obviously not banking on Johjima going 3-for-3 very often, and I didn't want to write a paragraph about, gasp!, Julio Mateo.
You know and I know and everyone knows that Ichiro's a big part of this offense. When he's in an 0-for-12 stretch, that's not so good. His game log reads almost like night and day -- he went 4-for-10 with a triple, walk, one little strikeout, and a couple of RBIs, but after the Cleveland non-series, he's 0-for-12 with one walk and eight strikeouts. He struck out three times in the Felix/Daisuke game and three times in this game, one that doesn't deserve a name. Ichiro is a fast runner, this we know. That's what makes it worse when he's striking out -- if he's striking out, that means he's making outs without making contact, and that means he can't use his speed to beat out the occasional slow roller for an infield single to plant the seeds for a rally. I know there's no way in hell this keeps up for a prolonged amount of time, and I know Ichiro at some point will get incredibly hot. That said, this is Ichiro's walk year (contractually -- he never walks at the plate), and he'll be a lot easier to let go if he hits more like Brian Hunter like he's done lately instead of Ichiro. The main reason I don't want to think about Ichiro leaving is because this team needed a legitimate leadoff hitter for such a long time before he got here, and it won't take long to feel the pinch after he's gone, if it comes to that.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 4-2 .667 -- L1
2000 4-2 .667 -- W1
2002 3-3 .500 1 L2
2003 3-3 .500 1 W1
2006 3-3 .500 1 L2
2007 3-3 .500 1 L1
2005 2-4 .333 2 L2
2004 1-5 .167 3 W1
Padilla. Batista. Today.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Texas RANGERS (4-5, 0-3 road) at Seattle MARINERS (3-2, 2-1 home), 7:05p, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Kevin Millwood (1-1) vs. Jarrod Washburn (0-0)
You know what the best part about the Mariners returning to Seattle is? All the games will actually be played. Every other team in the AL West has played at least nine games, and the Mariners have only been able to play five to completion. On the other hand, this is probably the only way the Mariners could be one half-game off of the division lead on the morning of April 13th.
The Mariners return to Seattle, and it's another home series against a division rival. The other two matchups in the series are Padilla/Batista and McCarthy/Ramirez, and I don't know if any of these pitching matchups really favor the Mariners. Usually I'd lean toward saying that if the Mariners win one game, it's decent given the matchups, but on the other hand, Texas is a division rival and the Mariners are at home. I'm hoping for two out of three, though I think one of three is semi-realistic.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (3-2, 1-1 road) at Boston RED SOX (4-4, 1-1 home), 1:05p, MLB.tv
Jarrod Washburn (0-0) vs. Tim Wakefield (0-1)
I've said on more than one occasion here that it's too bad Felix Hernandez can't start every day. Sitting in front of your television/radio/computer and taking time out to take part in Felixmania is great, and I'm loving it so far, but unfortunately it can only account for one-fifth, or 20%, of the season. Ron Fairly would tell you that there's still 80% of the season where Hernandez isn't making a start.
That's what today is. As great as it is to bask in the glow of Felix one-hitting the Red Sox on national and international television, we get the great gift of Jarrod Washburn starting the next night to give us a cold backhanded slap back to reality. Flyball pitcher plus Fenway equals...I'm not thinking it's good.
Anyway, the Mariners can get back to this season's high-water mark of two games over .500 with a win in this game.
But wait...I've checked the Weather Channel forecast again...I'm seeing 38 degrees with rain and wind at game time, and that's with an 80% chance of precipitation. Let's hope they manage to play this one.
[initial placeholder -- my plan to watch the archive feed of this game after Game 1 of Stars/Canucks was completely foiled when the hockey game went four overtimes. Unfortunately, I have to work in the morning. I totally will watch this game in the very near future though]
In 25 words or less: I was expecting a decent pitchers' duel, but I wasn't quite expecting Felix to do this. Wow.
This one featured Felix Hernandez going up against Daisuke Matsuzaka. I've heard the ESPN2 feed was blacked out in some areas, and that totally included Hawaii, and I have no idea why. It's not like some other channel was carrying the game. That probably left me with Angels or Dodgers if I'd needed by baseball fix on the tube at the time.
Matsuzaka's line: 7 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 103 pitches (64 strikes)
Romero's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (4 strikes)
Piñeiro's line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 18 pitches (13 strikes)
Hernandez' line: 9 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 111 pitches (69 strikes)
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 4-1 .800 -- W3
2000 3-2 .600 1 L1
2002 3-2 .600 1 L1
2006 3-2 .600 1 L1
2007 3-2 .600 1 W1
2003 2-3 .400 2 L1
2005 2-3 .400 2 L1
2004 0-5 .000 4 L5
Washburn. Wakefield. Tonight.
After a four-overtime game, I've got very little energy to try and write up a game piece or something close to it. All I know is that if the Canucks could have just held onto a two-goal lead in the third period, they could have saved everyone a whole lot of time. Still, I have to say it's pretty cool that I just sat through the sixth-longest game in NHL history and my team still won.
I listen online to all the Canucks' games. I was DVRing the Versus feed as it went along, tacking on another hour to the recording time as the overtimes piled up. The third overtime ended slightly before midnight Pacific time, and my digital cable grid had many many programs showing that were of course being preempted by the hockey game, which I have no problem with. At midnight Pacific time, my digital cable grid showed "Paid Program." The game had its intermission after the third overtime, and I turned the television up to hear the musings of the Versus studio crew, and they were talking about how much ice time the defensemen in the game were logging. Ken Hitchcock's mega-mug was then on the screen talking about defense, then the feed cut away for...(wait for it)...SUPREME PILATES. I wish I was lying about this, but I'm not. The game feed never returned. Such bullcrap. I know I get the feeling ESPN takes things for granted sometimes, but if the NHL were still on ESPN, there's no way a four-overtime game would have gotten preempted for a paid program. No way.
Probably more on this game later. Big tip of the cap to Roberto Luongo and his 72 saves.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (2-2, 0-1 road) at Boston RED SOX (4-3, 1-0 home), 4:05p, FSNNW/ESPN2/MLB.tv
Felix Hernandez (1-0) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0)
There's little doubt by now you've heard the whole nation talk about the home debut of Daisuke Matsuzaka, sometimes even with the caveat that (as Karl Ravech said on Baseball Tonight) hey, don't sleep on Felix Hernandez either. Needless to say, Mariner fans are hoping Felix can dazzle and steal some of the spotlight away from Daisuke. More importantly, this is a chance for Felix to basically tell the nation that he's learned from last year and has (I wish I had a better term here) re-arrived with undisputable awesomeness.
More importantly, Felix should be able to curb something disturbing about the first four games so far -- two of the Mariners' four starting pitchers have been completely drubbed (count the Horacio Ramirez non-start in the snow if you want; I didn't).
Oh yeah, also important is the weather forecast, which says it'll be mostly cloudy and 43 degrees. They might play this game all the way through as well!
[initial partial post, not that there's too much more to say about the game since it sucked]
In 25 words or less: This game was out of doubt for about 15 minutes, leaving me wonder whether watching it live or archived was worse.
This one featured Jeff Weaver going up against Josh Beckett in the home opener for the Red Sox. MLB.tv feed was that of NESN on the Boston side, since the game wasn't televised back to Seattle. Jake Woods was called back up from Tacoma and Arthur Rhodes was placed onto the disabled list. The Mariners hadn't played a game to its completion since last Wednesday, so it was anyone's guess as to how the Mariners would come out and play after nearly a week off. Unfortunately for the Mariners, their first game after a long layoff would see them facing Josh Beckett as opposed to some hack pitcher. How would they end up doing? Would there be offense? Would there be decent pitching? Would Adrian Beltre recover from three errors that totally got vaporized from the books after that Cleveland non-game in the snow? Would the Mariners' number-three hitter not go 0-for-4 and totally have a batting average of .067 after the game, making me wonder when some kind of lineup change is going to happen because I don't see him producing in that slot?
Ichiro whiffed badly on a 2-2 fastball high and away. Adrian Beltre popped the second pitch high to Lugo on the fringe of the infield grass. Jose Vidro worked an 0-2 count full before bouncing out to first (3-1 putout). Beckett threw 16 pitches.
Julio Lugo walked on four pitches, signaling a great start for Weaver. Kevin Youkilis had the hitters' counts before singling the other way on a full count into rightfield with Lugo taking off from first, though he only got to second. David Ortiz took the first pitch way down and in, and it was nicely blocked by Johjima behind the plate. Ortiz was ahead 3-0 before poking a 3-1 pitch over Lopez in the hole on the right side for a single to load the bases. Manny Ramirez (obligatory second-most all-time grand slam graphic shown on screen) dumped a 3-1 pitch into shallow center that Ichiro had to play on the shorthop, moving everyone up 90 feet, which means Lugo scored. Ichiro airmailed the throw home, and it really wasn't close to home, but luckily no one advanced further.
»» RED SOX 1, MARINERS 0
JD Drew got ahead 2-0 and popped a full-count pitch to Ichiro on the track near the 420-foot marker in rightcenter, scoring Youkilis from third and moving Ortiz to third (Ramirez remained at first).
»» RED SOX 2, MARINERS 0
Mike Lowell popped weakly behind the bag at first, where Sexson lost the ball in the sun and dropped between Lopez and Sexson, but Sexson grabbed the ball and threw to Betancourt at second to force out Ramirez, who was caught (the fly wasn't really high enough for an infield fly rule call). Jason Varitek had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count pitch down and in to reload the bases. Coco Crisp had a 3-0 count go full before stinging a double along the rightfield line that went off a fan in the seats and ruled a double. Ortiz and Lowell were ruled to have scored, and Varitek was put on third.
»» RED SOX 4, MARINERS 0
Dustin Pedroia flew out to Ibañez on the leftfield track on a 1-2 pitch to mercifully end the inning. Weaver threw a meager 47 pitches.
It's sure nice to have your hopes for a Mariner win dashed in the very first inning. Just grand.
Raul Ibañez nubbed a 3-1 pitch along the first-base line, where Beckett came over to field it and tag Ibañez running down the line. Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 belly-high fastball. Jose Guillen grounded to short on the second pitch. Beckett threw 11 pitches and had 27 through two.
Lugo got ahead 3-1 and doubled into the leftfield corner on a full count. Youkilis rolled the second pitch to the base of the wall under the 310-foot marker in leftfield for a double, easily scoring Lugo.
»» RED SOX 5, MARINERS 0
Ortiz fell behind 0-2 and ended up whiffing over a 2-2 tailing fastball over the inside corner, probably his best pitch of the day. Ramirez fell victim to Weaver dropping down sidearmed, flying out to Ibañez on the leftfield line on a 2-2 pitch. Drew simply laid the bat on the first pitch, and it carried and carried over the wall in deep center.
»» RED SOX 7, MARINERS 0
Lowell drove the second pitch, but flew out to Ichiro short of the track in leftcenter.
Weaver's line: 2 innings, 7 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 70 pitches (38 strikes)
There was obviously a Dunkin' Donuts ad in Japanese on the rotating sign behind the plate. I guess the problem is that if I see a drawing of a styrofoam cup with steam coming from it and it has Japanese characters next to it, I'm thinking it's some sort of ramen/cup o'noodles sort of thing as opposed to the notorious Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
Kenji Johjima roped a Fenway-style single that one-hopped off the track and off the in-wall metal scoreboard in leftfield. Yuiniesky Betancourt dumped a fly ball into the rightfield corner that never got past Drew, but he got a double out of it, moving Johjima to third. Lopez grounded the second pitch to second, scoring Johjima and moving Betancourt to third.
»» RED SOX 7, MARINERS 1
Ichiro took two strikes, fouled off a pitch, then whiffed on a low fastball barely off the plate outside. Beltre was up 2-0 but couldn't get all of a 2-2 pitch, flying out to Crisp in leftcenter. Beckett threw 18 pitches and had 45 through three.
The top of the third featured in-booth guest Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, who was away from the White Sox booth for an Opening Day celebration of the AL pennant-winning 1967 Red Sox team. Luckily, Harrelson proved to be considerably less of an infuriating on-air personality when a guest rather than a play-by-play guy. Oh, and if any Mariner fan didn't think it was over after the first inning, they had to admit it by this point in the ballgame.
Jake Woods came in for Weaver. Varitek got ahead 3-0 and parachuted a 3-1 pitch in front of Ibañez in left for a single. Crisp flew out high to Ichiro in leftcenter. Pedroia had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and in (welcome back to the bigs, Woods! You just walked the number-nine hitter!). Lugo poked a 1-2 pitch to Beltre at third, but a wicked hop ate him up and the ball went into leftfield for a single, scoring Varitek (whom the Ibañez throw had hit, error), and Pedroia and Lugo went to third and second, respectively, on the Ibañez error.
»» RED SOX 8, MARINERS 1
Youkilis fell behind 0-2 and stung a 1-2 pitch toward Beltre at third, who knocked it down and had enough time to throw to first to get Youkilis. Ortiz grounded into the shift as Betancourt on the first-base side of the second-base side moved over to field the ball but went to his backside and threw from basically a sitting position to get Ortiz at first. Woods threw 26 pitches.
Proof that Canuck playoff fever has taken over me: while typing this, I've had to correct myself multiple times for typing in "Luongo" instead of "Lugo."
Vidro grounded hard to short on a 2-2 pitch. Ibañez flew out to left on the second pitch. Sexson flew out very high to center on the first pitch. Beckett threw a mere eight pitches and had 53 through four.
Ramirez took a 3-1 fastball away for a walk. Drew grounded a 2-2 pitch to short for what should have been a 6-4-3 double play, but Betancourt played it to his left and sidesaddled it a bit too much, and it bounced away, and everyone was safe (error). Lowell lined the first pitch, bouncing it once off the leftfield track and off the wall/scoreboard for a double to score Ramirez and move Drew to third.
»» RED SOX 9, MARINERS 1
Varitek looped a single into shallow rightcenter, scoring Drew and Lowell. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves made an obligatory visit to the mound.
»» RED SOX 11, MARINERS 1
Crisp badly rolled over on a 2-2 pitch, grounding to third for a 5-4 forceout of Varitek. Pedroia popped the second pitch to Betancourt in very shallow center. Lugo walked on four pitches, moving Crisp to second. Youkilis had a 3-1 count but ended up lining out to right on a full count.
Woods' line: 2 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 4 hits, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 56 pitches (29 strikes)
Three more runs? I'm almost glad I'm watching this later in the night on archived feed, or I'd somehow be more disinterested. Is it bad that out of the four games the Mariners will have played to completion, two of them will have been stinkers?
Guillen fouled off the first pitch, took the second pitch for a strike, and whiffed at a third-pitch fastball. Johjima grounded the second pitch to Lowell past the bag at third. Betancourt rolled the second pitch to short. Beckett threw a paltry seven pitches and had 60 through five.
Brandon Morrow came in for Woods. Ortiz got ahead 3-1 and walked on a full-count fastball that got away from Morrow to the tune of a few feet outside and to the backstop. Eric Hinske, hitting for Ramirez, walked on four pitches, moving Ortiz to second. Wily Mo Peña, hitting for Drew, took a 3-0 pitch that grazed the inflated uniform of a turning-away Peña, loading the bases. Lowell was down 0-2 and grounded a 1-2 pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play, on which Ortiz scored and Hinske moved to third.
»» RED SOX 12, MARINERS 1
Varitek was up 3-1 and ended up going the other way with a full-count pitch, doubling into the leftfield corner to score Hinske easily.
»» RED SOX 13, MARINERS 1
Crisp flew out to Ichiro in rightcenter on the first pitch.
Morrow's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 27 pitches (11 strikes)
Sheesh, and we thought Morrow was shaky in his first outing back at the Safe. My goodness, what was this game for Morrow? He was all over the place, not that it helped that he'd seen every Mariner pitcher before him in the afternoon completely suck and throw pitches all over the place.
Alex Cora came in to play short for Lugo, Hinske stayed in to play left, and Peña stayed in to play right. Lopez took three straight pitches, all strikes. Ichiro was mowed down, whiffing late at a 2-2 fastball. Beltre got down 0-2 before whiffing on a 1-2 collar-high fastball inside. Beckett threw 12 pitches and had 72 through six.
Jason Ellison came in to play center for Ichiro, Willie Bloomquist came in to play third for Beltre, and Julio Mateo came in for Morrow. Pedroia took the second pitch to the warning track in front of the Boston bullpen (rightfield), but Guillen was able to run all the way back to make the catch. Cora lined out to Sexson at first on the first pitch. Youkilis fell behind 0-2 and boomed a 2-2 pitch that nearly cleared the Monster in left, and he was able to barely beat out a throw from Ibañez to get himself a double. Doug Mirabelli, hitting for Ortiz, fell to 0-2 before waving at a 2-2 breaking ball off the plate and low (the first-base umpire rung him up).
Mateo's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (10 strikes)
Vidro chopped to Cora at short past the edge of the leftfield grass, who planted and threw in time to get Vidro at first. Ibañez bounced a 1-2 pitch to first (3-1 putout). Sexson whiffed on a 2-2 fastball as Beckett retired the final 15 batters he faced.
Beckett's line: 7 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts, 84 pitches (61 strikes)
Chris Reitsma came in for Mateo. Hinske was ahead 2-0 and ended up with a one-hopper off the leftfield scoreboard for a double (MLB.com shorted the at-bat by one pitch). Peña tapped the first pitch to second, where Lopez held Hinske at bay before throwing to first. Lowell swung on a high full-count pitch, flying out to Ibañez in center, and Ibañez was surprised Hinske took off from third, and his throw home was late. Remy in the booth was surprised they sent Hinske, but whatever, it's inconsequential since Boston had the game in the bag anyway.
»» RED SOX 14, MARINERS 1
Varitek tapped a ball down the third-base line that Reitsma came off the mound to field, fire, and get Varitek at first.
Reitsma's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 16 pitches (9 strikes)
The semi-uncomfortable conversation between Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy in the booth about Remy looking like Robert Goulet made me wish Will Ferrell was there in his full Goulet garb to do his impression. GOU-let!
Brendan Donnelly came in for Beckett. Guillen took a first-pitch strike, then swung at the next two pitches. On his way to the dugout, Guillen jawed at Donnelly, took off his helmet, then took a couple steps toward the mound, at which point both benches emptied. The incident in the past that may have helped ignite this was that Guillen may have been the guy (when he played for Washington in a Nationals/Angels game) who tipped off Frank Robinson to call time and investigate Donnelly's glove for pine tar. Guillen was tossed from the game by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi at this point. Johjima had a 1-1 count (no inside pitches, and he whiffed horribly over the second pitch) when he was hit in the thigh, at which point Donnelly was tossed by Cuzzi as well.
Hideki Okajima came in for Donnelly, at which point the broadcast booth said that Boston manager Terry Francona had been tossed as well, though he didn't immediately leave the dugout, which was because someone in the press box had bad information as Francona was never actually tossed. Betancourt swung at a high 3-1 pitch, flying out to Peña near the rightfield line. Lopez whiffed on a 1-2 pitch well down and away.
Donnelly's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
Okajima's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (5 strikes)
I almost have to thank whoever incited that Guillen/Donnelly spat, since that was really the only eventful thing to happen since the first two innings since the game hadn't really had anything remotely suspenseful since those first couple innings. At this point, I also wondered who I could possibly nominate for the Gameball.
Ben Broussard came in to play right for Guillen, Jamie Burke came in to catch for Johjima, and JJ Putz came in for Reitsma to get in some work. Crisp was ahead 2-0 and on a 2-2 pitch hit a low liner to shallow left, but Ibañez came in to make a sliding catch. Pedroia rolled a 1-2 pitch to short. Cora rolled a 2-2 pitch to Lopez on the right side, who ranged way to his left to make the play.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 14 pitches (9 strikes)
Mike Timlin came in for Okajima. Ellison tossed away his bat after a 3-0 pitch he thought was ball four, but it was called a strike. On a 3-1 pitch, Ellison parachuted a ball down the rightfield line that dropped between three fielders for a single. Bloomquist watched the second pitch as Ellison took second on indifference. Bloomquist whiffed late at a 2-2 fastball down over the outside corner. Vidro flew out to Crisp in fairly deep center. Ibañez was ahead 3-1 and walked on a full count to delay the inevitable fate of the game. Sexson bashed the second pitch high off the far end (center) of the Monster for a double that scored Ellison and Ibañez.
»» RED SOX 14, MARINERS 3
Broussard dealt a mercy killing to the game, flying out to right (though with warning-track power) on the first pitch.
Timlin's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 24 pitches (14 strikes)
Gameball: JJ Putz.
When the guy I pick for the gameball is a guy that merely threw a 1-2-3 ninth with his team down 11 runs, that pretty much lets you know what kind of game it was for the Mariners. I could have picked Richie Sexson, but he did strike out twice and the two RBIs were pretty inconsequential (not that the entire Putz inning wasn't inconsequential). Still, there aren't many places to go for the gameball in this one, especially considering the Mariners only scratched out two hits in Josh Beckett's seven innings (Johjima and Betancourt). Also, my usual gameball fallback in a crap game like this is to pick the middle reliever that eats up the most innings but doesn't give up a ton of runs and give up even more runs to put the game way way out of reach. Sure, I just gave the gameball to Putz since I usually do pick a Mariner player for both the Gameball and Goat paragraphs, but maybe the gameball here should just go to the weather in Boston for not being a complete snowstorm and therefore being suitable to play an actual game to completion. I forgot what that was like.
Goat: Jeff Weaver.
It was as easy to pick a goat for this game as it was hard to select a gameball. Rarely do I let myself pick obvious gameballs, but for the goat, I'll pick whoever, and this time it's all too obvious. Weaver needed all of 47 pitches to get through the first inning, and he was all over the place. The entire Boston starting lineup went to the plate in the first inning, and the Red Sox led by four at the end of the carnage. Weaver wasn't done yet, though, as he also came out for the second inning and gave up three more runs. The bad news about the Mariners having not played a full game since last Wednesday was that the team might come out rusty when they returned to playing again (that could certainly be said for the bats in this game, though Beckett threw a whale of a game). The good news is that the bullpen had more than enough rest to soak up innings after a starting pitching performance such as this, and they'd had enough time to recoup from Miguel Batista's atrocious performance last Wednesday as well.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2000 3-1 .750 -- W3
2001 3-1 .750 -- W2
2002 3-1 .750 -- W3
2006 3-1 .750 -- W3
2003 2-2 .500 1 W2
2005 2-2 .500 1 W1
2007 2-2 .500 1 L2
2004 0-4 .000 2 L4
Hernandez. Matsuzaka. Tonight.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (2-1, 0-0 road) at Boston RED SOX (3-3, 0-0 home), 11:05a, MLB.tv
Jeff Weaver (0-0) vs. Josh Beckett (1-0)
I'd have to say it looks like this game might actually take place. As I type this, the hour-by-hour forecast at the Weather Channel's site says it'll be partly cloudy and 44 degrees at game time. We'll believe that when we see it. The Mariners haven't had a game count in the standings since Wednesday.
For all their waiting, what do the Mariners get? They get to throw their fifth starter up against Josh Beckett. Great. At least the whole snowstorm set up what hopefully is a bitchin' Felix/Daisuke matchup.
What's the goal for the series? As long as they don't get swept, I'll be fine with it. Two of three would be a steal. The best chance they have is in the Felix game, and the Mariners have to weather Matsuzaka to do it or hope he struggles and they get to the bullpen (i.e., Joel Piñeiro). I can't see the Mariners winning the final game of the series because (1) Jarrod Washburn will be throwing in Fenway, and (2) Tim Wakefield could easily stifle the Mariners, whose only hope would then be for Mike Blowers to climb down from the broadcast booth and crush some knuckleballs.
Anyway, it's the fourth game of the season for the Red Sox and the seventh game for the Red Sox. Hey, the Mariners are only a game back of the division lead, and I don't even want to ask myself how or why the Angels are 5-2 (all home games).
Monday, April 09, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (2-1, 0-0 road) at Cleveland INDIANS (2-1, 0-0 home), 1:05p, FSNNW/MLB.tv; 20min later, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Jeff Weaver (0-0) vs. CC Sabathia (1-0)
Felix Hernandez (1-0) vs. Fausto Carmona (0-0)
Maybe the third time's a charm here. Maybe the third time they try to play a doubleheader, they might get the games played. At this point, I'm hoping for even just one of these games to be played.
I just looked over at the Weather Channel website, and during the game hours, it looks like the forecast is for "few snow showers." That could mean anything.
The best thing about all of this, though, is that the Mariners play a day game Tuesday in Boston. I've got more than a feeling that the Mariners will be completely spent if they actually play this doubleheader and then have to high-tail it to Boston and get themselves together to play in Boston's home opener. As for the rest of that series -- Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Wakefield, oh my!
I'm almost resigned to the possibility of this doubleheader not being played at all. Maybe that's all it'll take for it to actually be played.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I figure it's time to lend some space to the phenomenon that has wiped away three days of baseball, completely pwning what was to be a four-game series in Cleveland.
For example, from its Wikipedia page (not involving "The Informer")...
-- "Snow is precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds."
-- "...many regions of the Arctic and Antarctic receive very little precipitation and therefore experience little snowfall despite the bitter cold (cold air, unlike warm air, cannot take away much water vapor from the sea)."
-- "A snowflake is an aggregate of ice crystals that forms while falling in and below a cloud."
-- "There are, broadly, two possible explanations for the symmetry of snowflakes."
-- "A common estimate is that a snowflake can appear in 10158 forms, under the estimate that a snowflake has 100 attributes that can vary, resulting in 100 factorial forms."
It looks like I'll have to actually do practical stuff today or something. That's terrible. Looks like I'll have to watch Blackhawks/Stars and listen to Canucks/Coyotes later.
Seattle MARINERS (2-1, 0-0 road) at Cleveland INDIANS (2-1, 0-0 home), 10:05a, FSNNW/MLB.tv; 20min later, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Jeff Weaver (0-0) vs. CC Sabathia (1-0)
Felix Hernandez (1-0) vs. Fausto Carmona (0-0)
Okay. Maybe the games will actually take place this time.
It's a true doubleheader this time, none of that day-night crap. Yes, it'll be six solid hours or so of pure baseball madness, if the weather cooperates.
After what happened with Victor Martinez, I'm a bit scared about having Felix throw in this weather.
All in all, we haven't seen the Mariners actually play a game that counted since Wednesday. Incredible.