Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Game 128 Belated Live Blog: A's at M's

Yes, I know the game is already over, but I haven't seen it. Thanks to Archives, I can!

Ryan Feierabend takes the mound for the M's today, in his second start of the year. His first start against Minnesota wasn't so hot, as he got rocked pretty hard. The most worrisome part, however, was his average fastball was 86, while in the minors it stayed around 89-90. An 86-mph fastball with next-to-no movement is cannon fodder for big league hitters. If Feierabend ever hopes to sustain an MLB career, he must re-discover that fastball.

Top of 1st

Mark Ellis whiffs on a sweet breaking ball. So far, so good. Feierabend is a very fast worker. I love pitchers who work fast--anyone who's watched Steve Traschel pitch knows what I'm talking about. Adrian Beltre almost makes another awesome play, but the throw was wide. Feier's fastball is around 88-90, which means he's already proving me wrong. I love being proven wrong in a good way. He hangs one badly to Frank Thomas, who comes within inches of a home run. Thomas can only hopelessly watch as Feier paints a changeup in the black.

2 strikeouts, 1 groundball. Good work, soldier.

Bottom of 1st

Gio Gonzalez will surely be the next pitcher to make the M's lineup look like a Little League lineup. Ichiro walks, which now makes 12 walks in 14 1/3 innings for Gonzalez. Why the fuck is Yuni batting second? Apparently to strike out on 3 pitches. Nice one, Yuni. Here comes Beltre. He flies out to right. Ibanez gets called on strikes, and the inning ends without incident.

1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 1 flyball.

Top of 2nd

Kurt Suzuki takes Ibanez all the way to the wall. Too close for comfort. Miguel Fucking Cairo gets an unassisted putout. Another grounder to Lopez makes this an easy inning.

1 flyball, 2 groundballs.

Bottom of 2nd

Jesus, it's the 2nd inning and FSN is already going to the sideline reporter with a boring story. Damn it woman, stop talking. Oh yeah, and Jose Lopez grounded out. Mark Ellis is replaced with Eric Patterson for some reason. He then proceeds to field a weak grounder from Balentien. Two down. Jeff Clement strikes out. Just another typical inning in Mariner Land.

2 groundballs, 1 strikeout

Top of 3rd

Daric Barton squirts one past Jose Lopez for a single (how many times has that happened this year?). Pennington? Is Chad Pennington really that desperate for work? At any rate, he strikes out. Stick to football, Chad. Eric Patterson (Ellis' replacement) lines out weakly to Betancourt. On the next batter, Betancourt just watches as Crosby lines one up the middle. Feier is really in trouble now as Emil Brown gets plunked in the foot. Bases loaded. The Big Hurt up. Feier is up to 60 pitches already. STRIKE THREE!!! Bullet, consider yourself dodged.

1 groundball, 2 strikeouts, 1 HBP, 2 line drives.

Bottom of 3rd

And now Jack Cust is out of the game. What gives? LaHair misses badly on a pitch in the dirt. MFC grounds out (if you can't figure out by this point what "MFC" means, you haven't been paying attention). Ichiro finally breaks up the no-hitter. Yuni singles up the middle, on the first pitch of course, but Beltre renders it for naught. To put this in better perspective: two guys named Greg Smith and Gio Gonzalez (and a couple of anonymous relievers) have held the Mariners scoreless for 12 straight innings.

1 strikeout, 2 groundballs, 2 line drives.

Top of 4th

According to the broadcasters, Cust is out with "blurred vision." Insert your own hangover joke here. Suzuki grounds out to Beltre.

What just happened? Rajai Davis--Rajai Davis? Home run? Damn it all. 1-0 A's. Gonzalez becomes strikeout victim #5. A Barton groundout ends this unholy inning.

1 strikeout, 2 groundballs, 1 flyball.

Bottom of 4th

Ibanez walks! False hope! Or not! Jose Lopez! Double to the wall! Ibanez scores! Gratuitous use of exclamation points ensue!

Barton drops a ball and Balentien is safe at first. Do I feel a pulse? I do! Clement with a 2-run double. 3-1 M's. WHY THE FUCK IS LAHAIR BUNTING? And....MFC with a motherfucking squeeze.Ichiro K's. Inning over. 4-1 M's.

1 walk, 2 flyballs, 3 groundballs, 2 wasted outs on bunts. I fucking hate bunting.

Top of 5th

Whoo! Beltre with yet another awesome dive-for-the-ball-and-fire-from-one-knee play. Don't ever leave us, Adrian. Yuni fields a lazy pop-up. Crosby doubles pat Beltre, a rare occurance. Sean "Bionic Arm" Green warming up. A flyout to Ichiro ends it.

2 groundballs, 1 infield fly, 1 flyball.

Bottom of 5th

Yuni with a double that had no business being a double. Good baserunning--not something I say very often about Yuni, unfortunately. Beltre walks. If Riggleman makes Ibanez bunt I'm going to......throw a soft object at my computer screen. Fortunately he doesn't, but Ibanez strikes out anyway. Beltre continues to be awesome, breaking up the double play with a hard slide into second. Lopez safe at first. Balentien K's, and on we go.

2 groundballs, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk.

Top of 6th

Feierabend is done for the night. Final numbers:

5 innings
93 pitches
20 batters faced
5 strikeouts (25%)
1 HBP (5%)
8 groundballs (40%)
3 flyballs (15%)
2 line drives (10%)
1 home run (5%)
1 infield flyball (5%)

Helluva lot better performance tonight than his last start, even if it was against the atrocious A's offense. Even more encouraging, his fastball stayed consistently in the 88-90 range. If I get the chance, I'll pull his PITCHf/x data and take a deeper look. For now, back to the game.

Sean Green is in. And.....he plunks Frank Thomas on the 2nd pitch. And AGAIN, he hits Suzuki. Christ, Green is all over the place tonight. Patterson smacks a grounder through the hole into right, and the bases are juiced. Jose Lopez bobbles a grounder, thus botching the double play, so they have to settle for the force at second. Thomas scores. 4-2 M's. Barton with an RBI double. 4-3 M's. Dear God, please make it stop. Out comes Riggleman, and Green will hit the showers after recording just one out. Sean Green is leading the league with 61 relief appearances--perhaps the workload is starting to catch up with him now? If I'm Riggleman, I just let him take it easy for the final month; no need to overwork a guy in the stretch run of a lost season.

I digress. Cesar Jimenez in. A bloop flyball drops into no-man's land in right, and 2 runs score easily. 5-4 A's. The A's attempt a bunt. Bob Geren is arguing that MFC didn't hold on to the ball at first. From the replay, it looks rather inconclusive--but what does it matter anyway? Just end this abortion of an inning. Beltre obliges with my wishes.

Final (ugly) line for Sean Green:

5 batters faced
2 groundballs
1 line drive
A whole lot of angst and gnashing of the teeth

Bottom of 6th

Clement flies out. LaHair laces a single to right-center. MFC doubles. Interest in this game waning. Oh wait, Ichiro is up. Interest is rising. He grounds out to short, scoring LaHair--essentially a glorified sac bunt. 5-5 M's. Yuni flies out to right.

2 flyballs, 2 groundballs, 1 line drive.

Top of 7th

Roy Corcoran is in now.

You know, for being a tie game going into the late innings, this game is pretty fucking boring. Three up, three down. Whatever.

Bottom of 7th

Beltre's body language is obvious--his shoulder is killing him. He likely hurt it earlier on the slide that broke up the double-play; now it looks like he can barely swing the bat. And as I type that, he muscles a double into the right-center gap. God, you're awesome. He moves to 3rd on an Ibanez groundout. Lopez! RBI single! 6-5 M's!

Jeff Clement! RBI double! 7-5 M's!

Top of 8th

Blah blah blah the A's suck blah blah blah I hate the Wave blah blah blah

Bottom of 8th

Nothing happened.

Top of 9th

J.J. Putz coming in. Confidence level: Medium-low. He walks the first batter after an epic duel. Crosby flies out to center. Emil Brown bounces a grounder past a belly-flopping Yuni. 1st and 2nd, 1 out. Dammit, Putz. But, lo! Frank Thomas grounds into a double-play, and the baseball gods smile down on Seattle, and it was good.

Final score: Seattle 7, Oakland 5

Time for bed, methinks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Game 127 Live Blog: A's at M's

Now that I actually have a free day, let's do a live-blog. Today's matchup:

Greg Smith versus Ryan Rowland-Smith.

The Mariners must finish 17-19 to avoid the ignominious distinction of being the first team to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll. Sounds fun.


Cairo--1B (puke)
Johjima--C (?)
Clement--DH (?)

My beer of choice tonight is Henry Weihnard's Blue Boar. Hardly a great beer, but it's cheap and goes down easy. The Mariners don't deserve quality beer anyway.

Top of 1st
7:10 Here we go. Beer #1. Mark Ellis fouls out to Miguel fuckin' Cairo. Bobby Crosby grounds out to Beltre.

7:14 RR-S cruises through the first after only 9 pitches. I thought the A's were supposed to be selfish walk machines who take a lot of selfish, lazy walks?

Bottom of 1st

I'll take this minute to talk about Greg Smith a bit, using the awesome Fangraphs. He doesn't really miss bats and gives up a lot of home runs and line drives depsite being the beneficiary of a .256 BABIP. In other words, he'll throw a 2-hitter against the M's tonight.

7:20 And as I type that, he strikes out Ibanez. Awesome.

Top of 2nd

Frank Thomas is not immune to the charms of the Aussie.

7:25 Kurt Suzuki, unfortunately, is.

7:28 Cust draws a walk, and RRS is in trouble early.

7:29 Dear God, this beer sucks. That's 7 bucks I'll never get back.

7:32 RRS escapes the inning with a strikeout. This inning has been brought to you by Foster's, possibly the only beer that tastes worse than what I'm having right now. Well, except for Budweiser.

Bottom of 2nd

Beltre comes within inches of a home run. Whee!

7:41 I've got pizza on the way. Anything to take away the taste of fermented dog piss in my mouth.

7:42 Balentien takes a walk? That sound you hear is the locust horde approaching.

7:44 Annnnd Johjima grounds into a double-play. Whatever I'm feeling right now is the opposite of surprise.

Top of 3rd

Rowland-Smith is up to 51 pitches already? Oh yeah, there was a double play.

Bottom of 3rd

Rick Rizzs, the M's radio broadcaster, is still expressing amazement that Yuniesky Betancourt actually walked a couple games ago--and so am I, frankly. He has 9 this year. That's right, n-i-n-e.

7:56 Ichiro!

7:59 The rally fizzles out, and I'm stepping out for a smoke. Be back in 5.

Top of 4th

Looks like I missed nothing. Well, except for Kurt Suzuki's hit. Pizza is here!

8:07 RRS is doing quite well tonight. A Cust strikeout ends the threat.

Bottom of 4th

Jose Lopez draws a rare walk. Do I smell a double play coming up?

8:17 Well, I was half-right. But with Johjima up, who knows?

8:19 And Wlad gets picked off first. Just another day of work for the Mariners.

Top of 5th

Adrian Beltre continues to be awesome.

Bottom of 5th

What happens when you get one of the league's worst offenses facing off against another of the league's worst offenses? You get a really fucking boring game. Beer #3.

Top of 6th

Emil Brown single-handedly ends this scoreless tie. 1-0 A's. Blah, need more beer.

8:34 Holy shit, something actually happened in this game. Frank Thomas gets the boot for arguing a strike call.

8:41 At 95 pitches, Rowland-Smith has probably thrown his last inning.

Bottom of 6th


8:44 I hate you Miguel Fucking Cairo. I hate you so much.

8:49 Yet another potential rally fizzles. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Top of 7th

RRS is still pitching? Color me surprised. Sean Green and Cesar Jimenez up in the pen.

8:59 Nice catch, Cairo. I still hate you.

9:02 RRS escapes the inning with a strikeout, making that 6, and he's certainly done for the night. This was a pretty damn good performance, the home-run notwithstanding. For a guy who wasn't in the Mariners' long-term plans at the beginning of the season, Ryan Rowland-Smith is making it extremely hard for them to keep him out of the rotation in '09.

Bottom of 7th

Nothing happened this inning. Moving on.

Top of 8th

Sean Green in. Nothing happened again.

Bottom of 8th

Dear God, please just end this game quickly and painlessly.

9:27 Is something happening? Two runners on for Beltre.

9:29 Never mind. Back to the hammock.

Top of 9th

Jeremy Reed, who pinch-hit in the 8th, is in at first base.

9:37 Jimenez in for Green. Why the fuck is Reed playing first again?

9:39 A's now up 2-0, an insurmountable lead for the M's.

9:41 Lopez, Balentien and Johjima up in the bottom half. Bring on the Rally Fries! (Don't really bring on the Rally Fries).

Bottom of 9th

Lopez gets gift-wrapped an infield hit, and Bryan LaHair is pinch-hitting for Wlad.

9:46 The game now rests in Tug Hulett's hands. Man, we are screwed.

Now it is in Clement's hands.

9:50 Now it is in Betancourt's hands.

9:52 Story of my life. Betancourt grounds into a double play.

Final Score: Oakland 2, Seattle 0

I'm going to drink more now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Melancholy, true melancholy

In case you haven't noticed, this hasn't been kept up for, oh, the past 4 months. Considering how the Mariners' season went, can you blame a guy?

Anyway, we're coming up on the last month of the season, and even with Seattle the laughingstock of baseball, there's still many interesting stories going on in baseball. Will the Rays keep up their improbable run? How will the NL West turn out? Will Hank Steinbrenner Force-choke Brian Cashman in front of TV cameras? Stay tuned.

I promise that I'll be more semi-regular with this.