Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The walkover loss dropped the Mariners' season record to 68-64 after 132 games. This pace is five games off the 2007 pace, but five better than the 2006 pace, 12 better than the 2005 pace, 17 better than the 2004 pace, and 18 better than last year's pace. Records of other new-millennium Mariner teams at loss number 64: 75-64 in 2000, 116-46 in 2001, 72-46 in 2002, 69-46 in 2003, 32-46 in 2004, 33-46 in 2005, 42-46 in 2006, 54-46 in 2007, and 24-46 last year.
Seattle hitting went 3-for-29 on the night, walking four times and striking out seven times. The team has gone 4-for-57 in the past two games. They went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded six runners in all. Josh Wilson hit a meaningless double in the sixth, which was the only extra-base hit for the Mariners on the night. The three Mariner hits belonged to Josh Wilson, Mike Sweeney, and Jack Wilson. The four walks were drawn by Jose Lopez, sweeney, Bill Hall, and Ryan Langerhans. Multi-strikeout Mariners were Franklin Gutierrez and Hall.
As for the pitching, it was not a good night. The starting pitcher will be covered below. Chris Jakubauskas, in his first start since being recalled from Tacoma, threw the sixth and seventh innings. He came in with the Angels already having a 7-0 lead. He threw a 1-2-3 sixth before succumbing to the reality of facing the Angels in the seventh. He walked Torii Hunter on four pitches to lead off the seventh, then Vladimir Guerrero reached down and destroyed a pitch, sending it a few rows above the Jackie Robinson marker in the leftfield bleachers. One out later, Kendry Morales doubled and was driven in by a Howie Kendrick single to account for the final margin. Jakubauskas gave up three runs on three hits in two innings, walking one and striking out one. He got three groundouts and one flyout, faced nine hitters to get six outs, and threw 24 strikes out of 40 pitches. From there, Randy Messenger threw a 1-2-3 eighth (seven of 12 pitches for strikes), and Mark Lowe threw a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two (seven of nine pitches for strikes).
1) Mike Sweeney
You know, it didn't hit me until now that the Zack Greinke one-hitter snapped Sweeney's seven-game hitting streak. That said, it appears Sweeney's not done yet, as he's started the hit parade once again. In the first inning with two out and Jose Lopez on first, Sweeney singled to push Lopez to second. Hall walked behind him to load the bases, and the inning ended with Jack Hannahan grounding out to end the only Mariners' scoring threat of the game, which was scoreless at that point. Over the last nine games, Sweeney is now 17-for-51 (.333) with five doubles, one home run (slugging .431), seven RBIs, three walks, and four strikeouts. I like how Sweeney is doing and everything, but this is really too bad. Why? Can you imagine how much fun we'd be having right now if Sweeney was the one who was getting banged up and Ken Griffey Jr. instead was the designated hitter who was tearing things up? Okay, I wouldn't be jazzed about Sweeney having to sit out due to injury, but this would be quite the time for Griffey to hit well for a week or two and go out on a pretty good note. All that said, Sweeney is now a .265 hitter on the year, which has been pretty good given his limited action. He also helped Dustin Ackley get acclimated to big-league batting practice, so Sweeney is all kinds of awesome.
2) Josh Wilson
Let's set the scene. It's the bottom of the sixth. There is one out. Josh Wilson is stepping up to the plate. Joe Saunders is on the mound. The Angels are ahead 7-0. On the second pitch, Josh Wilson hits a double that is completely meaningless. End of scene. You know, this is the second straight game post that's been real trouble to write since the hitters are doing basically nothing, so bear with me here. Since landing back on the big club on August 13th, Josh Wilson has gone 16-for-54 (.296) with three doubles and three home runs (slugging .519) with eight RBIs. Part of me almost misses the days when the Mariners first acquired him even though he was a completely awful hitter and I thought he was a hack and I called him the 2009 model of Luis Ugueto. That also coincides with the team also being pretty good. Anyway, how dare I doubt the talent evaluation skills of Jack Zduriencik and crew. Since he seems like the epitome of a spare part, I seriously doubt he's on this team next year, but he could get quite a bit of time somewhere else.
3) Jack Wilson
...and he made a diving stop too! In addition to the completely meaningless diving stop, Jack Wilson hit a single. I'll set the scene. Safeco Field was filled with a sparse crowd of 18959 and sounded cavernous what with all the bored fans. The bottom of the fifth inning was about to begin, and Jack Wilson stepped into the batters' box against Joe Saunders. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Jack Wilson singled into leftfield, and a smattering of cheers and handclapping echoed throughout Safeco Field. Seconds later, the ballpark echoed again with near silence since for some reason the acoustics in there really do not do a good job of amplifying crowd noise at all, and it's even worse when there's a sparse crowd. The crowd noise at Safeco Field is like the anti-Qwest Field. Anyway, since coming back from his hamstring injury, Jack Wilson has gone 5-for-26 (.192) with one double and one home run (slugging .346). Yeah, he's not really hitting, but I guess it could be worse. We could be watching Ronny Cedeno out there every single night. Yeah, I don't miss Cedeno in the least. Enjoy Pittsburgh, Ronny.
Well, we're witness to growing pains, only this isn't anywhere near as enjoyable as the '80s sitcom. No, these growing pains star Luke French, who definitely had his worst start as a Mariner. It's really too bad since he seemed to have settled into a groove where his starts would go about five or six innings, and he'd give up three or four runs. What happened this time? He escaped a two on, one out jam in the second, but it all started coming apart at the seams in the third. Chone Figgins led off with a single, then French put a baseball to Bobby Abreu's rear end. French got ahead 0-2 on Torii Hunter, but wild-pitched the runners to second. Hunter then sac-flew Figgins home (beating the Hall throw to the plate) and moving Abreu to third. Then Vladimir Guerrero clobbered a pitch, sending it to the right of the Mariner bullpen fence and into the mass of inebriation beyond the centerfield wall. A Juan Rivera single, Kendry Morales double, and a Howie Kendrick groundout made it 4-0. French threw a 1-2-3 fourth inning before he was roughed up again in the fifth. Hunter led off with a double, Guerrero had mercy and only chose a single this time, but then Rivera was the hitman this time, homering to put the game out of reach at 7-0. Someday French could be a semi-dependable fourth starter, but sometimes he's going to have games like this. He gave up seven runs on 10 hits, walking none and striking out three in his five innings of work. He got four groundouts to eight flyouts, faced 26 hitters to get 15 outs, and threw 66 strikes out of 96 pitches.
Can the Iron Fister give a hearty jab to the Angels? Yeah, probably not. An evil part of me hopes for a sweep just so I never have to hear the broadcast crew try to convince people that the Mariners are still in the playoff race.