Saturday, April 21, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (5-7, 1-2 road) at Los Angeles ANGELS of Anaheim (7-9, 6-2 home), 6:05p, CW-11 KSTW/MLB.tv
Horacio Ramirez (1-0) vs. Bartolo Colon (0-0)
The Angels snapped a six-game losing streak yesterday with a win over the Mariners. The Mariners had their losing streak extended as a result, making it four straight including the one game we'd all like to forget (the Felix game). What's disturbing about the last four losses is that all of them had the Mariners either getting into a big hole early, giving away a big inning, or at least facing a deficit of four runs or more at some point. Basically, at some point in each of the last four games, the Mariners have let the game get out of hand. The Mariners need to win a few games here and there to keep .500 within reach now that they're two games below it and look visibly worse off then they did last week.
I did the whole post without some one-liner about Bartolo Colon's weight or how much I still hate the Rafael Soriano trade. That took restraint.
In 25 words or less: Meat Loaf might say two out of three Miguel Batista starts ain't good.
This one featured Miguel Batista going up against Joe Saunders. The Mariners had the chance to either climb back to .500 or lose their fourth straight and drop to two games below .500, which would match their second-worst 12-game start in the new century (2004 was one game worse). Of course, with a game in Anaheim, folks in the Northwest don't have it so bad because they know they'll get the Daves and Mike Blowers on the telecast, but MLB.tv viewers like myself stand a decent chance of having to put up with the FSN West crew of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler at some point during the series, and that's never good. All told, this game took place two days After Felix, and there really hasn't been too much to cheer about in Marinerland since. Surely a win over a division rival to snap a three-game winning streak would chip away some of the uneasiness from knowing Felix won't be on the mound throwing until he's doing exactly that. Of course, there was always the possibility the Mariners could lose. Four straight losses starting with the Felix game would be a decent start toward the Mariners' season falling off the face of the earth. Let's hope that ends soon.
Saunders' line: 6 innings, 0 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 92 pitches (50 strikes)
Batista's line: 6 innings, 6 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 102 pitches (65 strikes)
Speier's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 7 pitches (6 strikes)
Morrow's line: 2 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeouts, 38 pitches (24 strikes)
Carrasco's line: 1 1/3 inning, 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 31 pitches (19 strikes)
Rodriguez' line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (6 strikes)
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 9-3 .750 -- W2
2002 9-3 .750 -- W6
2000 8-4 .667 1 W3
2003 6-6 .500 3 W2
2005 6-6 .500 3 W1
2006 6-6 .500 3 W1
2007 5-7 .417 4 L4
2004 4-8 .333 5 W2
Ramirez. Colon. Tonight.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Seattle MARINERS (5-6, 1-1 road) at Los Angeles ANGELS of Anaheim (6-9, 5-2 home), 7:05p, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Miguel Batista (1-1) vs. Joe Saunders (1-0)
The good news is that the Mariners are taking on a team that has lost six straight. The bad news is that the Mariners have lost three straight themselves. The good news is that if the Mariners somehow sweep this series from the Angels, it only helps put some cushion between them and their red-wearing division rivals, even considering it is early in the season. Three games is three games, and Oakland is the only team in the AL West that's above .500 right now. Bury the Angels, I say!
[initial placeholder -- sometimes there are the games you're glad you don't see right away...]
In 25 words or less: How much damage can you do with 12 pitches? Julio Mateo has the answer.
This one featured Johan Santana going up against Jarrod Washburn. The Mariners needed a win to avoid not only a sweep of the series by the Twins, but also to avoid falling below the .500 mark for the first time in the 2007 campaign. Of course, the game was taking place less than 24 hours after the air was taken out of the sails of Marinerville when Felix Hernandez walked off the mound due to right elbow tightness, an injury that will apparently put him on the shelf for at least two starts. Mariner fans are well aware of the trials and tribulations involving so many pitching prospects over the years that have run into a bottomless reservoir of arm injuries; we've seen them all, and everyone is hoping Felix doesn't come down with a ruptured labrum or a torn shoulder capsule or a (insert injury here). Would the Mariners be able to pick themselves up off the mat and deliver a win?
Washburn's line: 6 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 99 pitches (59 strikes)
Mateo's line: 1/3 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (6 strikes)
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (3 strikes)
Santana's line: 7 innings, 2 runs (1 earned), 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 96 pitches (65 strikes)
Reitsma's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
Crain's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 12 pitches (8 strikes)
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 7 pitches (6 strikes)
Nathan's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 9 pitches (6 strikes)
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 8-3 .727 -- W1
2002 8-3 .727 -- W5
2000 7-4 .636 1 W2
2003 5-6 .455 3 W1
2005 5-6 .455 3 L2
2006 5-6 .455 3 L1
2005 5-6 .455 3 L3
2004 3-8 .273 5 W1
Batista. Saunders. Tonight.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Minnesota TWINS (9-5, 3-1 road) at Seattle MARINERS (5-5, 4-4 home), 3:35p, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Johan Santana (2-1) vs. Jarrod Washburn (0-1)
I seriously thought about pulling the normal ballpark picture that I put on these gameday posts and just getting some random picture of a broom, because that's where this is all going. If there was any one game the Mariners were going to win in this series, it was going to be the game where Felix Hernandez was the starter. If there was going to be one Mariner win in this series, it wasn't going to be with their fifth starter (Jeff Weaver) on the mound, and it sure as hell wasn't going to be the game with Johan Santana throwing for the Twins.
Weirder things have happened in the baseball world than the Mariners possibly beating Santana, sure. Then again, we never in our worst nightmares saw Felix Hernandez walking off the mound while facing his fifth batter in the first inning, did we?
For those who only follow baseball and aren't too keen on rooting for teams in other sports, it's moments like Felix walking off the mound last night that I'm glad I follow other sports. If not for the Canucks having the chance to close out their first-round series against Dallas tonight, this Felix thing would have me absolutely bummed. If all I had to look forward to today was a ballgame the day after one of the top five worst moments in recent Mariner history, I'd be a bit of a wreck right now. Go Canucks Go!
[initial partial post...I could talk about this all night, but 12-hour workdays are a hindrance]
In 25 words or less: It looks like a one-run loss in the boxscore, but it feels a lot worse if you saw the top of the first.
This one featured Carlos Silva going up against Felix Hernandez. Unless you were going to be at the game, this game was appointment television for anyone with even a passing interest in the Mariners. Yes, it was Felix Hernandez on the mound, he of the 0.00 ERA in two starts so far this season, two starts in which he was nearly unhittable. Sure, I knew that Mariner hitters in the past had had trouble with Carlos Silva since he was one of those sinkerballers against whom the Mariner coaching staff would gameplan the "swing early" philosophy, so Silva would have the chance of a 75-pitch complete game. Still, if ever there was a time in which even the best night of Carlos Silva's life could end up with him taking a loss, it was this night, with Felix coming off two incredible starts. The two starts for Felix weren't against chop-liver teams either, with Oakland being a key division rival who always seems to whup Mariner behind, and Boston, who was some thump in their lineup. Enter Minnesota, who has a lineup with the reigning MVP in New West's own Justin Morneau as well as all-badass catcher Joe Mauer, who may end up being the new generation's Rafael Palmeiro, i.e., Guy Who Beats the Crap Out of the Mariners (GWBCOM).
How would Felix fare? Umm...I guess I'll just give him an incomplete for this start. I'm also hoping there's another start very soon for him on the horizon, because right now we have no idea.
Luis Castillo quickly fell behind 0-2 but worked the count full before scorching a line drive toward the leftcenter gap that may have gone for extra bases if not for Ibañez racing over to cut it off and keep Castillo at first. Jason Tyner poked a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single to move Castillo to second. Joe Mauer walked on a low 3-1 fastball, loading the bases and making me wonder if it wasn't going to be too good a night for Felix. Johjima and pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Mike Cuddyer took a first-pitch slider in the dirt a foot outside, and it got past Johjima, scoring Castillo and moving Tyner and Mauer to third and second, respectively.
»» TWINS 1, MARINERS 0
Cuddyer chopped a 1-2 pitch to second to score Tyner and move Mauer to third. Fans of productive outs cheered this play.
»» TWINS 2, MARINERS 0
Justin Morneau took a ball to make it 3-1 when Hernandez signaled something to the dugout, bringing out Hargrove and the trainers, and before we knew it, he was on his way to the dugout as everyone's night went to s%*&.
Jake Woods came in for Hernandez. Morneau took the next pitch for a ball low and away, walking as a result (charged to Hernandez). Mike Redmond reached down and away and looped a single into shallow left, scoring Mauer and moving Morneau to second.
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 0
Jason Kubel hammered a 3-1 pitch into the leftcenter gap that looked like it might get down, but Ichiro was able to run it down and hold the runners in place, waking up the crowd a bit and helping temper some of the sheer horror from just minutes before. Luis Rodriguez took a low 3-1 pitch in the dirt, loading the bases. Jason Bartlett lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow center, but Ichiro raced in to make the catch just above his shoetops. Woods threw 18 pitches.
Hernandez' line: 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (12 strikes)
Was that not the worst half-inning in recent Mariner history?
Ichiro served a hard line drive right into the glove of Bartlett at short. Adrian Beltre was ahead 3-0 and walked on a full-count pitch down and away. Jose Vidro got too much top half, bouncing into a 4-6-3 double play. Silva threw 13 pitches.
Castillo flew out to left on the first pitch. Tyner took an 0-2 pitch off the right bicep, then took first base. Mauer got ahead 3-0 before walking on a full-count pitch inside. Cuddyer took the first pitch for a ball and the double steal was on, and it was successful as Johjima's throw was high and late to third. Cuddyer got ahead 2-0 before chopping a 2-2 pitch over the mound, where Lopez fielded it, but Tyner was hung up between third and home (after Mauer ran to third) and was run back to third base, which was occupied (4-2 in the books). Morneau blistered the first pitch into rightfield for a single to score Mauer and Cuddyer.
»» TWINS 5, MARINERS 0
Redmond flew out to right on the first pitch. Woods threw 18 pitches and had 36 total.
I have hockey on television at the same time I'm watching this game, and I have to say, every time I think those Enzyte ads can't get any more insane, they got even more insane. They've easily obliterated any previous double-entendre-per-commercial ratio.
Raul Ibañez rolled out to second. Richie Sexson was up 3-0 but whiffed on a full count. Ben Broussard whiffed badly on a 2-2 pitch that was about a foot outside and low. Silva threw 15 pitches and had 28 through two.
Brad Adam on FSNNW came on the air before the third inning to tell viewers all across the region that Hernandez left the game feeling tightness in his right elbow and that his exit from the game was precautionary. I wish it wasn't an elbow, personally.
Kubel flew out to right on the first pitch. Rodriguez flew out routinely to Ichiro in leftcenter. Bartlett hit a soft liner to Ichiro on a 2-0 count. Woods threw seven pitches and had 43 total.
Kenji Johjima looped the second pitch into shallow left for a single to continue his torrid start. Yuniesky Betancourt lined out right into the glove of Castillo at second on the second pitch. Jose Lopez got behind 0-2 and rolled a 2-2 pitch to short, but it was slow enough to keep a double play from being turned as Johjima was forced out at second (6-4) as Lopez reached. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and flew out to Kubel on the leftfield line on a 1-2 pitch. Silva threw 13 pitches and had 41 through three.
Castillo spanked a groundball single through the left side. Tyner one-hopped the second pitch to Lopez to start an easy 4-6-3 double play. Mauer whiffed on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Woods threw ten pitches and had 53 total.
Beltre whiffed badly on an 0-2 pitch about half a foot off the plate outside. Vidro laced the second pitch over Castillo at second and into right for a single. Ibañez worked a 1-2 count full and just got under a pitch (with Vidro taking off), flying out to fairly deep right. Sexson couldn't check his swing on a 2-2 pitch down and away. Silva threw 16 pitches and had 57 through four.
Cuddyer punched a 1-2 pitch into shallow right that just barely got over a diving Sexson (who looked like he may have landed on his left shoulder...that left shoulder), and Cuddyer raced all the way to second (ruled a double) as Broussard ran in to field the ball. Morneau laid the bat on an 0-2 pitch, flying out to left (Ibañez decoyed like he couldn't find the ball, to no avail) as Cuddyer had to scurry back to second after he'd taken off with the pitch. Redmond drilled a line drive to center that had some carry as Ichiro stayed put but then had to leap to make the catch, holding Cuddyer at second. Kubel popped the second pitch to Broussard in shallow right, who called off the right side of the Mariner infield to make the catch. Woods threw 13 pitches and had 66 total.
Broussard singled up the middle on the first pitch. Johjima flew out high to Mauer (calling off Redmond, who quickly had to scurry away) behind the plate on the first pitch. Betancourt bounced the second pitch to short to start what would have been a 6-4-3 double play if not for Betancourt's speed (Broussard was out at second). Lopez bounced to Rodriguez behind the bag at third, who slid to his right to make the play and threw to first, where Morneau made a nice pick, making the play reek of Web Gem. Needless to say, Rodriguez was due up to lead off the next half-inning for the Twins. Silva threw six pitches and had 63 through five.
Rodriguez flew out to Ichiro in shallow center on a 2-0 pitch. Bartlett grounded a 1-2 pitch behind the bag at third, where Beltre went to his right to make yet another play look easy, keeping his feet and slinging the ball across the diamond to get Bartlett at first. Castillo flew out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Woods threw 13 pitches and had 79 total.
Woods' line: 5 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 79 pitches (49 strikes)
Ichiro grazed the second pitch nearly off the ground and dumped it into shallow left for a single. Beltre looped a pitch into shallow center that Tyner went after, though he faked catching it and let it drop as Ichiro was just quick enough to get to second in time to beat a possible force play on what was a single. Vidro popped a 3-1 pitch high to left. Ibañez rode the second pitch all the way to the track in center in front of the 405-foot marker, where Tyner hauled it in and Ichiro tagged and moved to third. Sexson took a first-pitch ball, then Ron Gardenhire and the infield met with Silva on the mound. Sexson promptly pulled his hands in and lined the next pitch into the third row of seats to score Ichiro and Beltre.
»» TWINS 5, MARINERS 3
Broussard tagged a grounder to first (3-1 putout). Silva threw 17 pitches and had 80 through six.
Tyner nubbed back to the mound. Mauer worked a 1-2 count full but lined out to left. Cuddyer popped the first pitch to Johjima in front of the Mariner dugout. Sherrill threw 11 pitches.
Johjima hit a sinking liner on an 0-2 pitch, and it went into left, where Kubel made an attempt on a sliding catch, but it went in and out of Kubel's mitt as Ichiro had the single. Betancourt popped high to second on the first pitch. Lopez lasered a 2-0 pitch through the left side for a single, moving Johjima to second. Immediately, Gardenhire popped up out of the visitors' dugout.
Dennys Reyes came in for Silva. Ichiro punched the second pitch through the left side for a single to load the bases. Gardenhire came to the mound again.
Matt Guerrier came in for Reyes. Beltre whiffed on a 1-2 slider in the dirt away. Vidro scorched a 2-0 liner to the right side, but Morneau leaped and reached above his head to spear it and kill the rally. Guerrier threw seven pitches.
Silva's line: 6 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 87 pitches (56 strikes)
Reyes' line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (2 strikes)
Guerrier's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 7 pitches (4 strikes)
Morneau was down 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch for a broken-bat groundout to third (a bit of a shift was on). Redmond popped to Broussard near the rightfield line on the first pitch. Kubel whiffed on a 1-2 pitch down over the outside corner. Sherrill threw ten pitches and had 21 total.
Sherrill's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 21 pitches (15 strikes)
Juan Rincon came in for Guerrier. Ibañez got down 0-2 and put a charge into a 1-2 pitch, but merely flew out to fairly deep leftcenter. Sexson worked a 1-2 count for a walk. Broussard flew out to center on an 0-2 pitch. Johjima lined out to Bartlett at short, who went to a knee to make the catch to his backhand side. Rincon threw 17 pitches.
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Rodriguez fell behind 0-2 and got under a 1-2 pitch, flying out to right. Bartlett flew out high to center on the first pitch. Castillo weakly popped the second pitch to Beltre on the infield grass on the left side. Mateo threw
Mateo's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 9 pitches (8 strikes)
Joe Nathan came in for Rincon. Betancourt worked an 0-2 count full before lining a single into shallow center. Lopez tapped the second pitch over the middle, where Castillo fielded and underhanded to Bartlett covering second, who tagged the bag at second, but Lopez beat out the double play (Betancourt was out 4-6). Ichiro got ahead 2-0, bringing Redmond to the mound for a short chat. Ichiro popped a 3-0 pitch (swinging?) high to Castillo on the infield dirt on the right side. Beltre quickly got behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to short, where Bartlett made a diving stop, but bobbled the transfer to his throwing hand, so there was to be no forceout of Lopez at second (ruled a single). Vidro stung a single past Morneau at first, and Lopez scored easily. Both Lopez and third-base Carlos Garcia waved Beltre home after they saw Cuddyer misplay the ball, but Cuddyer hit his relay man, and the ball got home quickly, nailing Beltre by about seven feet. The play really wasn't close at all.
»» TWINS 5, MARINERS 4
Nathan's line: 1 inning, 1 run, 3 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 24 pitches (15 strikes)
Gameball: Jake Woods.
Given the circumstances, he could have done a whole lot worse. I'd have to believe that if you're in the bullpen and you know Felix Hernandez is starting that day, you're probably thinking the only guys out of the bullpen that might actually have to warm up and appear in the game are maybe George Sherrill and JJ Putz. That's it. Moreover, if you're Jake Woods, the long relief guy/garbagetime guy #2 (Brandon Morrow is #1), you're more than likely thinking you're the absolute last guy that's going to pitch on a day that Felix is on the mound. Woods came into the game and inherited a 3-1 count on Justin Morneau and walked him (Felix was tagged with it), and he was shaky for that inning as well as the second before he settled down and ate up innings through the sixth. For basically being an emergency starter in this game, he did quite well, with the bonus of actually keeping the Mariners in the game, though with the score 5-0 and with what transpired in the top of the first, this game felt psychologically out of reach until Richie Sexson made it 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth. In sum, Woods ate up innings and it could have been a lot worse, and he saved a good portion of the bullpen except for maybe George Sherrill.
Goat: Raul Ibañez.
The Mariners' most consistent hitter of the 2006 season is hitting a mere .205 so far (it's still early), but he went 0-for-4 in this game. He led off innings twice, so he can't be nailed there for not driving in runs. On a more encouraging note, he hit three fly balls that were quite long and probably two of them would have left other more hitter-friendly ballparks. Sure, it's warning-track power or so, but one has to have the feeling that he's close to putting those pitches over the wall. Once that happens, it makes the lineup even more dangerous since the top third tonight was 6-for-14 with a walk and an RBI. Oddly, Ibañez was the only Mariner hitter in the lineup that went hitless on the night. Ibañez should right the ship soon, though. I don't think it'll take too long. If it does, the season is sunk. The season might be sunk anyway (see first inning), but having it happen due to Ibañez doing crappy would be unexpected, I'd have to say. Let's have Ibañez hit 50 homers or something. That'd be dandy, if not just completely unrealistic.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 7-3 .700 -- L1
2002 7-3 .700 -- W4
2000 6-4 .600 1 W1
2005 5-5 .500 2 L1
2006 5-5 .500 2 W2
2007 5-5 .500 2 L2
2003 4-6 .400 3 L3
2004 2-8 .200 5 L1
Santana. Washburn. Today.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Minnesota TWINS (8-5, 2-1 road) at Seattle MARINERS (5-4, 4-3 home), 7:05p, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Carlos Silva (2-0) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-0)
It's another Felix Hernandez start, so if you had other prior plans, just cancel them because there's always a chance for something special to happen with Felix on the mound. When I saw the Mariners were facing the Twins for this series, I was hoping Johan Santana would come up on the same day Felix did, but alas, that was not to be the case. Oh well. I guess this gives the Mariners a better chance to win, especially after the drubbing last night.
[initial partial post]
In 25 words or less: The fact that Jeff Weaver's pitching like a fifth starter wouldn't be so bad if he weren't getting paid $8 million.
This one featured starting pitchers rejected by the Angels, Ramon Ortiz and Jeff Weaver. Ortiz looked to bring back some nostalgia with a dash of his Pedro Lite days, where Jeff Weaver looked to be as good as he was about seven years ago, when the Mariners should have actually had him. With a win in this game, the Mariners had a chance to jump to three games above .500. While that doesn't seem like such a big thing, keep in mind the Mariners haven't been that far above .500 since the final day of the 2003 season. Yes, technically, they haven't been that good in four years. We all remember the 2003 season, the one with the 42-19 start and the agonizing 51-50 finish. Who can forget the key acquisition of Rey Sanchez? Who remembers Jeff Nelson popping off about management, then getting traded for Armando Benitez, and management saying there was no correlation between Nelson's comments and the trade? Who remembers Giovanni Carrara's amazing tenure in a Mariner uniform? Who remembers the last time Joel Piñeiro was any good? Yes, all of those things occurred during the 2003 season.
Luis Castillo was ahead 3-1, fouled off a full-count pitch to the left side (Ibañez nearly made a sliding catch), then foul-tipped an inner-half fastball into Johjima's glove for strike three. Jason Tyner was up 2-0 and later doubled into the gap in rightcenter. Joe Mauer poked a 2-2 pitch just inside the third-base bag and down the leftfield line for a double that scored Tyner.
»» TWINS 1, MARINERS 0
Mike Cuddyer cranked an 0-2 pitch toward the leftfield corner, where Ibañez tried to make a leaping catch at the wall but was unsuccessful, resulting in a triple that scored Mauer.
»» TWINS 2, MARINERS 0
Justin Morneau grounded the first pitch to a drawn-in Lopez on the right side for a 4-3 putout with Cuddyer holding at third. Torii Hunter lined out to left on the first pitch. Weaver threw 22 pitches.
Ichiro gave a ride to the first pitch once again, putting it into the first row of seats in rightcenter. Impressive.
»» TWINS 2, MARINERS 1
Adrian Beltre bounced out to the third baseman Rodriguez on the left side on a play moving to his left. Jose Vidro rolled a ball through the left side that got just past the reach of Bartlett at short for a single. Raul Ibañez grouned back to the mound to start a 1-6-3 double play. Ortiz threw eight pitches.
Jason Kubel worked an 0-2 count full before popping foul to the left side, where Ibañez ran all the way over to make a sliding catch. Luis Rodriguez got ahead 3-1 before popping a full-count pitch to Beltre in foul ground just in front of the seats on the left side. Jason Bartlett popped an 0-2 pitch to Guillen running into very shallow right. Weaver threw 16 pitches and had 38 through two.
Richie Sexson grounded hard to third as the roof at the Safe was just about to completely close. Jose Guillen took a 2-2 pitch off his right hand, instantly bringing the trainer out from the dugout (Guillen would make his way to first base). Kenji Johjima grounded the second pitch to third to start a 5-4-3 double play. Ortiz threw ten pitches and had 18 through two.
Castillo chopped back to the mound. Tyner roped a double off the base of the wall in rightfield. Mauer lined a 1-2 pitch that Lopez took on the short hop, then he threw to first. Cuddyer took an 0-2 sidearm pitch from Weaver that barely missed outside, then took the next pitch over the inner half. Weaver threw 15 pitches and had 53 through three.
Yuniesky Betancourt grounded to third on a full count. Jose Lopez bounced the first pitch to third. Ichiro had both hitters' counts before shooting a hot grounder to third, where Rodriguez dove to his left, then threw out Ichiro (not some catcher) from the seat of his pants. Ortiz threw 13 pitches and had 31 through three.
Morneau shot a wormburner to Betancourt on the first-base side of second base for a groundout. Hunter blistered the first pitch that one-hopped off the track and wall in left for a double. Kubel rolled the second pitch to second, moving Hunter to third. Rodriguez grounded hard to first on the second pitch. Weaver threw eight pitches and had 61 through four.
Beltre rolled over on the second pitch, grounding out to third. Vidro hit what looked like a normal fly ball, but it took Hunter to the centerfield track, where Hunter casually caught it one-handed, over the shoulder. Ibañez chopped an 0-2 pitch over the mound, and Bartlett charged it behind the mound to throw out Ibañez at first. Ortiz threw eight pitches and had 39 through four.
Bartlett chopped the first pitch that took a bad hop over Betancourt at short for a single. Castillo had both hitters' counts before stroking a full-count pitch through a wide-open right side (Bartlett went with the pitch) for a single that moved Bartlett to third. Tyner punched a 1-2 sidearm pitch through the right side for a single that scored Bartlett. This drew a mound visit from Johjima.
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 1
Mauer bunted (WHAT?!!?!!?!) the first pitch along the third-base line, where Johjima came out to field it and threw in time to first as the runners moved to third and second. Cuddyer whiffed on an 0-2 pitch that was about a foot outside. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound due to a certain MVP hitter that was coming to the plate. Morneau was intentionally walked to load the bases. Hunter fell behind 0-2, then Weaver dropped down sidearm on the 1-2 offering, serving up an absolute meatball up in the zone that Hunter obliterated, and the ball came down somewhere in the visitors' bullpen. Rye bread, mustard, grandma, and larger-than-normal salamis come to mind.
»» TWINS 7, MARINERS 1
Kubel shot the second pitch over Ichiro's head and to the centerfield wall for a double because when it rains, it pours. Rodriguez grounded the second pitch to Sexson on the right side for a 3-1 putout, after which Weaver spiked the ball into the infield grass in disgust. Weaver threw 28 pitches and had 89 through five.
Sexson stuck a line drive past Rodriguez at third and into the leftfield corner for a double. Guillen fell behind 0-2 and threw the bat out on a 1-2 pitch, not quite poking it over Castillo at second, who instead climbed the ladder to spear the liner, though Sexson got back to second in time to avoid being doubled off. Johjima worked an 0-2 count full before flying out to shallow left. Betancourt worked a 1-2 count full before bouncing out to third. Ortiz threw 23 pitches and had 62 through five.
Bartlett rolled over the second pitch, grounding out to third. Castillo hit a chopper that led Sexson to the first-base bag. Tyner rolled the second pitch to second. Weaver threw seven pitches and had 96 through six.
Weaver's line: 6 innings, 7 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 96 pitches (64 strikes)
Lopez stroked a long fly ball that went into the visitors' bullpen. Really. Lopez hit a homer. I can't believe it.
»» TWINS 7, MARINERS 2
Ichiro was ahead 3-0 but popped a 3-1 pitch to Tyner in foul ground on the left side, who was nearly taken out at the knees by Bartlett moving over from short. Beltre reached a bit outside, nubbing a 2-2 pitch to second. Vidro broke his bat on a 2-0 pitch, hitting a low liner that landed into shallow leftcenter for a single. Ibañez hit the second pitch for a fly to shallow center that Hunter just barely missed (the ball bounced under his glove and his chest may have landed on it as well), enabling Vidro to scoot to second as Ibañez reached on the single. Sexson fouled the first pitch off the inside of his left ankle and ended up dribbling the second pitch to third for a groundout. Ortiz threw 21 pitches and had 83 through six.
Sean White came in for Weaver. Mauer sent a long liner that went off the track in leftcenter, then Ibañez overran the ball, resulting in Mauer ending up on third as he is fleet-footed for a catcher (scored as a double and an error on Ibañez). Cuddyer tapped to a drawn-in Betancourt on the right side as Mauer held at third. Morneau bounced the first pitch to a drawn-in Betancourt as Cuddyer again had to hold at third. Hunter bounced out to third. White threw 12 pitches.
In the field, Hunter left the game, Tyner moved from left to center, and Josh Rabe came in to play left. Guillen popped high to Castillo moving into shallow right. Johjima rolled out to short. Betancourt punched a grounder into center for a single. Lopez lined the first pitch into left for a single to move Betancourt to second. Ichiro nicely lined a 2-0 pitch, but it ended up in the glove of Tyner in center. Ortiz threw nine pitches and had 92 through seven.
Ortiz' line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 8 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 92 pitches (58 strikes)
Kubel hit a weak broken-bat liner that Ibañez caught on the run in shallow left. Rodriguez whipped a single into right. Bartlett got ahead 3-0 and drilled a high 3-1 pitch into left for a double that moved Rodriguez to third, who was nearly picked off of third by Beltre after the relay came back to the infield. Castillo got ahead 3-1 and walked on a low full-count pitch to load the bases. Tyner flew out to shallow center on a 1-2 pitch as the runners had to hold (too shallow and Ichiro has an arm). Mauer gave a ride to the second pitch, reaching the leftfield wall on one hop for a double that scored Rodriguez and Bartlett and moved Castillo to third.
»» TWINS 9, MARINERS 2
Cuddyer bounced a single that got past Betancourt, scoring Castillo from third and Mauer from second.
»» TWINS 11, MARINERS 2
Morneau took a 2-1 pitch that was about three feet outside and went off Johjima's glove, enabling Cuddyer to move to second. Morneau walked on a low 3-1 pitch. Rabe popped an 0-2 pitch to Sexson in foul ground on the right side. White threw 30 pitches and had 42 total.
White's line: 2 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 42 pitches (24 strikes)
Dennys Reyes came in for Ortiz. Beltre bounced a single through the left side. Vidro smoked a line drive on the first pitch, but Rabe made a shoestring catch. Ibañez bounced the second pitch to short to start a 6-4-3 double play that featured some turning mid-air action by Castillo on the turn. Reyes threw four pitches.
Reyes' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 4 pitches (3 strikes)
Chris Reitsma came in for White. Kubel rolled out to a charging Betancourt at short. Rodriguez got ahead 2-0 before flying out to Ichiro in rightcenter. Bartlett got ahead 3-0 and grounded a 3-1 pitch to third on which Beltre made a nice play to his left which I can't really describe at the moment; kind of a slide, gather, and throw. Reitsma threw 13 pitches.
Reitsma's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (6 strikes)
Pat Neshek came in for Reyes. Sexson walked on a full-count pitch inside. Guillen lasered an 0-2 pitch that nearly vaporized Neshek on its way into centerfield for a single that moved Sexson to second. Johjima worked a 1-2 count full but finally whiffed on the tenth pitch of the at-bat, a changeup. Ben Broussard, hitting for Betancourt, put a decent charge into the first pitch, sending it to deep leftcenter for a flyout, moving Sexson to third and Guillen to second. Lopez whiffed on an 0-2 pitch over the outside corner.
Neshek's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 24 pitches (17 strikes)
Gameball: Jose Vidro.
Okay, so the obvious gameball would go to Jose Lopez for going 2-for-4 with a homer. The Lopez homer was his first since September 24th of last season (a span of 13 games), and it's only his second homer since June 2nd of last season (a span of 107 games). The homer and hit by Lopez were both toward the left side, so maybe he's gotten back to driving the ball toward the left side instead of popping and grounding out to the right side; maybe he can get back to the strengths that made him an All-Star last year before his power fell off the face of the earth after June (i.e., after Hargrove moved him to the third slot in the lineup to get Beltre going at the second slot). Oh, this is Vidro's paragraph...after a great day on Sunday, Vidro collected two more singles as well as a healthy warning-track fly to deep center. I'm just finding it ironic that I railed against the fact that Vidro's on this team and hitting third (goat paragraph after Saturday's game), then he goes nuts the next day. It's grand stuff, really.
Goat: Jeff Weaver.
The delusions of grandeur were all too true because they were coming off the bat of Torii Hunter. Did Weaver miss with that slider, or did he miss with that slider? That was a no-doubter the moment it jumped off Hunter's bat, not that a hanging slider shouldn't be just that. The fifth started with the bad-hop single that got by Betancourt. A pitcher should be able to pitch past that, sure. Weaver immediately fell behind the next hitter, Castillo, who singled. Tyner singled to make it a 3-1 game, then for some awful reason, Ron Gardenhire made Mauer bunt (successfully), then Weaver struck out Cuddyer. Morneau was the next hitter, and he was walked to load the bases with two out, and that's when Weaver hung the slider to put the game out of reach. Weaver gave up a double to the next hitter for good measure before getting the third out. It's kinda weird because they strategically went about things the right way by walking Morneau with first base open and two out. Still, I cringed as soon as Weaver dropped down sidearmed to throw that pitch to Hunter. It just seemed doomed from the start. I guess the point here is, this offense might be better than the one from last season, but if the starting pitcher gives up seven runs, they don't have that great a chance to win.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 7-2 .778 -- W3
2002 6-3 .667 1 W3
2000 5-4 .556 2 L1
2005 5-4 .556 2 W3
2007 5-4 .556 2 L1
2003 4-5 .444 3 L2
2006 4-5 .444 3 W1
2004 2-7 .222 5 W1
Silva. Hernandez. Tonight.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Minnesota TWINS (7-5, 1-1 road) at Seattle MARINERS (5-3, 4-2 home), 7:05p, FSNNW/MLB.tv
Ramon Ortiz (2-0) vs. Jeff Weaver (0-1)
This game featuring a starting pitching matchup featuring once-decent pitchers rejected by the Angels could easily be a sequel to the 2005 Rob Zombie-directed flick The Devil's Rejects (this would, in turn, make the game the third in a trilogy with the first film being House of 1000 Corpses). If I went to this game, given the Ortiz/Weaver matchup, if there were any remote chance of seeing Rob Zombie at the game (there isn't), that'd probably be the most eventful thing of the night unless Weaver threw a perfect game, Jose Vidro hit for the cycle (watching him leg out a triple might be painful to watch), or Jose Lopez hit a home run (zing!).
This three-game series with the Twins are also the last three in the homestand before an all-AL West seven-game road trip. The trip wouldn't be so bad if it were just two cities, but it's three, so the math is unkind. It's three with the Angels followed by two each in Texas and Oakland. This also means travel is ugly for the team, and it means for everyone following the team that there won't just be two day games next week, there will be three. There's your Sunday day game, which is old hat, but there are weekday specials untelevised to the northwest on Tuesday (Texas) and Thursday (Oakland). You could make those games a businessperson's special and play hooky for half your shift those days, but you'd only be able to listen to the game or watch it. If weather cooperates, you could crank up your radio headset and mow the lawn or put that addition on your house. If not (forecast says probably not), pay your taxes if you haven't already.
Monday, April 16, 2007
[initial partial post...the off day Monday will be catch-up day]
In 25 words or less: In a defensive struggle at Qwest Field, the Seahawks used two Shaun Alexander rushing touchdowns to defeat the Dallas Cowboys.
This one featured Brandon McCarthy going up against Horacio Ramirez. After losing to Kevin Millwood in the opener, the Mariners won on Saturday night and this game was the rubber game of the series with the Mariners having a chance to win their second series of the season out of three total series. Also, the Mariners had a chance to match this season's high-water mark of two games above .500. This game was the first non-postponed start of the season for the Mariners' fourth starter, Horacio Ramirez. Yes, it was time for the home fans to see exactly what their team got back for Rafael Soriano in the now-infamous trade from last offseason. For those curious, I pass along a link to Rafael Soriano's game log, which shows he got touched up in one outing (and against the Nationals, no less), but held opponents scoreless in his five other appearances. In the world of bats, the Mariner offense hadn't really gotten on track lately, with Ichiro grabbing a fair share of headlines for futility, and I piled on Jose Vidro in the goat paragraph on Saturday night.
In observance of Jackie Robinson Day, Adrian Beltre, Jose Lopez, and Jason Ellison wore the number 42 on their backs (Miguel Batista and Arthur Rhodes did as well, but didn't appear in the game). I thought it was a nice touch that everyone that switched to number 42 for the occasion didn't wear a last name on their back.
McCarthy's line: 2 innings, 6 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 56 pitches (39 strikes)
Loe's line: 3 innings, 4 runs (2 earned), 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 62 pitches (36 strikes)
Ramirez' line: 6 innings, 5 runs (1 earned), 7 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 106 pitches (65 strikes)
Chen's line: 2 innings, 4 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 49 pitches (32 strikes)
Mateo's line: 2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 27 pitches (19 strikes)
Feldman's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Putz' line: 1 inning, 1 run, 1 hit, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 22 pitches (16 strikes)
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 6-2 .750 -- W2
2000 5-3 .625 1 W1
2002 5-3 .625 1 W2
2007 5-3 .625 1 W2
2003 4-4 .500 2 L1
2005 4-4 .500 2 W2
2006 3-5 .375 3 L4
2004 1-7 .125 5 L1
Ortiz. Weaver. Tomorrow.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Texas RANGERS (5-6, 1-4 road) at Seattle MARINERS (4-3, 3-2 home), 1:05p, CW-11 KSTW/MLB.tv
Brandon McCarthy (1-1) vs. Horacio Ramirez (0-0)
Hey, look! The Mariners start Sunday atop the AL West division by a half-game over the 6-6 Angels. Sure, if the Mariners had played the same number of games as everyone else in the division, it'd probably be a lot different, but we'll take this. A win today would give the Mariners two series wins in three series and it'd put them two games above .500 for the first time since they were 2-0 earlier this season after winning their first two games against Oakland. Not long ago, I know.
Also, it'll be the first start in the books for Horacio Ramirez. Let's hope he does better in the environs in Seattle than he "did" (again, not in the books) in the snow in Cleveland. He should, right? After all, what would Bill Bavasi look like if he traded Rafael Soriano for this Ramirez guy and Ramirez did horrible? Okay, I'm being sarcastic.
Get your taxes done if you haven't already. And yes, the numbers post will be updated to reflect the observance of the efforts of a certain Mister Robinson.