Saturday, June 13, 2009


The Seattle Mariners, at the .500 mark, were trying to get above .500 for the first time since May 7th. The problem was that they would have to take down the Colorado Rockies, a very hot team. They had Jarrod Washburn going up against Ubaldo Jimenez, and on this night, Ubaldo was beautiful, though not quite in a Jay Buhner kind of way. For the Mariners, it was a come-from-ahead loss. Rob Johnson played for the first time in a week, and news came down that Erik Bedard had left shoulder inflammation (stay healthy so they can trade you, dammit), so Brandon Morrow was going to go on a 60-pitch count and start the second game of the series. Lee Pelekoudas was on KJR airwaves earlier in the day and deflected the idea of sending Morrow to AAA to stretch him out when all signs seemed to be pointing in that direction. He mentioned something about getting Morrow stretched out at the big-league level, and it appears the Bedard injury would give them a reason to do exactly that.

At the 61-game mark, the Mariners are 30-31, five games worse than the 2007 team, but better than all the other Bavasi-run Mariner teams -- two better than the 2006 team, four better than the 2005 team, five better than the 2004 team, and eight better than last year. The mark is four games worse than the 2000 team, eight worse than the 2002 team, 12 worse than the 2003 team, and 18 worse than the 2001 team.

Mariner hitting went 8-for-33 in the game, walking four times and striking out three times. Yuniesky Betancourt and Rob Johnson collected two hits apiece. Adrian Beltre and Johnson doubled, and Russell Branyan homered to account for the Mariners' extra-base output. The team was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners. Ichiro went 1-for-5 to sink his batting average down to .356. I think the last game he failed to reach base was the first game of the doubleheader in Chicago on April 28th (with a quick perusal of his game logs), which would be a string of 41 straight games. Ichiro is still on pace for a 241-hit season. He's basically going to have to get hurt again or go on a David Ortiz/Adrian Beltre-type dive to not get to his ninth straight 200-hit season.

Seattle's starting pitching will be covered below. Miguel Batista was the only man out of the bullpen, and he threw the seventh and eighth. He gave up an unearned run, walked two, and struck out three. He faced nine hitters to get six outs. The unearned run was due to Rob Johnson overthrowing to second on a stolen base by Troy Tulowitzki, who went to third as a result. Batista finished the job by burying a pitch and bouncing it past Johnson to score the run. Johnson was also tagged with a passed ball in the game, so I don't have him listed in the gameballs despite his two hits.

1) Yuniesky Betancourt
The Mariners' shortstop has only been back for three games since his whatever-the-hell-it-was with Don Wakamatsu, but it was his first multi-hit game since May 26th. He didn't play for a week, but in the span after that game, he's only gone 7-for-39 (.179). Naturally, you're going to lose the swing a bit if you're benched for a week. To be fair, though Ronny Cedeno was a very adequate replacement, going 1-for-13 in his place. Does versatility mean anything at all if you can't hit at all? Cedeno hung another 0-for-4 in this game by the way, and he's now hitting .139. Even if you're sick of Betancourt's lack of work ethic and the falloff of his defensive skills over the past couple years, you have to admit he's the lesser of two evils right now between him and Cedeno. You can't bust on Betancourt for not watching pitches in this game. He saw 14 pitches in four plate appearances in this game, whereas Jose Lopez saw eight in his four plate appearances and went 0-for-4. The 1-3 hitters in the Mariner lineup all saw more pitches than Betancourt, but none of the others did. In the Colorado lineup, Ian Stewart and the pitcher were the only hitters to see less than 14 pitches in their at-bats.

2) Russell Branyan
The guy's having some kind of season. He homered and walked twice. That sends the on-base percentage through the effin' roof. Okay, it put .006 onto his on-base percentage, bumping it to .419. Branyan is now hitting .319 on the season and slugging .628 (he picked up .014 on that in this game). Branyan homered four times in April and has matched that already after 10 games in June. I need to go back through all the boxscores and see how many of his homers are solo shots, though. Granted, the only guy that would have been on base for that home run would have been Ichiro, but it just jumps out at me when I look at Branyan's game logs and see that he hit seven homers in the month of May but only had 13 RBIs. He hit four homers in April and drove in 10 runs. So far in June it's four homers and seven RBIs. This month, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is getting a little more hitter-friendly. After a 16/6 ratio in April and a 31/16 ratio in May, he's struck out ten times and walked nine times in June. It's not bad. He hasn't gotten his whiff on yet in June.

3) Endy Chavez
I just buried Ronny Cedeno in the Betancourt paragraph, but the only guy having just as bad a month as him at the plate was Chavez. The Mariners' leftfielder helped right the ship a bit with a 1-for-3 night, along with a walk. This marks his second straight 1-for-3 game. Actual honest-to-God hitting has been pretty rare for the Mariners as of late. Balentien is 1-for-12 with three walks so far in June. Cedeno is 1-for-20 with a walk in June, though he really only played leftfield in this game (man, they need Franklin Gutierrez to heal from that bruised knee). Lastly, Chavez is now 3-for-22 in June, but was 1-for-16 just two days earlier. Between Chavez and Gutierrez, it's like neither of those guys is grabbing the bull by the horns in terms of offense, which is too bad because Chavez managed to find some holes in April and Balentien has shown flashes of power potential and not-too-bad defense (except for the one horrible game-costing play). The Mariners have managed to get Beltre and Lopez warmed up a bit lately, but if they can just get the odd hit out of whoever's playing left, it's going to help bigtime.

Jarrod Washburn
It was a night where Washburn got bit hard by his mistakes. He walked three hitters, all of which came around to score. He hit two batters with pitches, and one of them came around to score. That's four runs, which matches what the Mariners scored in the game. By way of comparison, Ubaldo Jimenez walked four Mariners on the night and zero of those walks came around to score. That's more of an indictment on inconsistent Mariner hitting than it is praise for Ubaldo Jimenez throwing a complete game with his jarring, arm-exploding delivery. I could harp on Washburn for only going six innings when the Mariners need all hands on deck for Morrow's 60-pitch outing on Saturday, but the team has an off day on Monday, and Batista's probably the only guy that won't be able to come out of the bullpen on Saturday. It should be all hands on deck with the bullpen on Saturday, but I think we'll see Morrow, then Jakubauskas, then Sean White, then hopefully David Aardsma. Anyway, Washburn definitely didn't have his worst outing, but it definitely wasn't his best. Still, his worst outing is much more preferable over Carlos Silva's average start.

The Morrow is today. Hopefully he gets closer to reclamation and doesn't lose it upstairs.

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