Thursday, March 27, 2008

GameBlog 3/27: M's at Giants

Never done this before, but I'll pull a Geoff Baker and give some comments throughout the game for those of you who can't watch the game . I'll update this every half inning so keep checking in! I'm trying to see if this is something I want to do during the season. Let me know what you think. (Please excuse any typos or funny sounding sentences. I was typing as fast as I can throughout much of the game, and wasn't able to make sure everything was readable.)

Recap - The good: Yuniesky Betancourt (2-for-2, 2B, BB, HR, 5 RBI, 3 R), R.A. Dickey (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K). The bad: Richie Sexson and Ichiro Suzuki (0-for-4, 2 K each). The ugly: Brandon Morrow (1 IP, 3 BB, 1 ER).

Check back later tonight for a post on the state of the Mariners' roster. How was the game post? I think next time I won't do it backwards. I've never understood why Baker does it like that.

Bottom 9 - Green enters to game for San Francisco's last chance, and ends a quick inning with a strikeout. Game over, Mariners win 7-2.

Top 9 - Jimerson leads off by smoking a ball to straight-away center field, but it is handled easily by Rajai Davis. Sean Green gets up in the 'pen as Huelett flies out to right; 2 outs. Greg Norton is called out on a bang-bang play to conclude a quick inning.

Bottom 8 - Rowland-Smith is back out there. Triunfel got to a ball deep in the hole between short and third. He winged out from shallow left field and just missed getting the runner on a seemingly impossible play. I've read he has the best arm in the entire organization, and I don't doubt that for a second.

RRS is on fire as he strikes out former Mariner Justin Leone for his 4th of the game. Eugenio Velez reaches on a throwing error by Triunfel, but RRS recovers by getting a couple popups to end the inning. His line: 2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 K.

Top 8 - Burke grounds out and here comes Carlos Triunfel. I very excited to see this kid swing the bat. M's broadcaster Dave Simms keeps raving about the defensive play he made the other day, though I've gotten the impression that he's not a great defender overall. He reaches for one and pops out to the second baseman. Jeremy Reed grounds out to end the inning.

Bottom 7 - Ryan Rowland-Smith enters the game to pitch. Joining him are Matt Tuiasosopo and Greg Norton. RRS is probably a lock now that Rhodes has been cut, and Norton is looking like he has a much better chance to make the team after Morrow's outing, but I'll get into that later. RRS gives up a couple singles to start the inning followed by a strikeout on a checkswing by Rajai Davis. He's got a really nice breaker working tonight; down goes Lewis on one of them. Back-to-back strikeouts for RRS; 2 on, 2 out. Durham hits a blooper into right for an RBI single; 7-2 Mariners. RRS gets a called third strike on pinch-hitter Brian Horwitz, stirking out the side.

He looked really good today, despite giving up his first run of the spring on three singles. Two of those hits were dying quails into right, so he was definately effective.

Top 7 - Looks like Mel Stottlymyre is talking to Brandon Morrow about release point in the dugout. Mel seems to be the perfect pitching coach for a guy like Morrow, but only time will tell.

Sexson grounds out to 2nd for the first out. Michael Wilson, who will likely start the year in AA, strikes out for the second out. Morse also is blown away by San Francisco reliever Merkin Valdez. Quick inning; Seattle still leads 7-1.

Bottom 6 - Brandon Morrow enters the game to pitch. Jeremy Reed, Charlton Jimerson and #1 prospect Carlos Triunfel enter the game as well. Morrow is really wild out there, walking Lewis and Durham back-to-back. Make that 3 batters straight as he has given out another free pass to Randy Winn. With three on and no outs Morrow starts rearing back and throwing fastballs down the middle, getting Molina to pop up to center; Lewis tags and scores. Morrow is really looking like a one-dimensional pitcher with his only controllable pitch being his fastball. Luckily he was able to blow three of them by Aaron Rowand before registering another walk. 2 outs, one run in and two on. He continues throwing fastballs down the middle but gets away with it as Rich Aurilia flies out to right-center to retire the side.

I'm not very impressed with Morrow today. He seems healthy enough, hitting 96 on the radar gun, but he is having trouble controlling his pitches, especially his secondary stuff. I think Morrow will probably start the year in AAA, but more on that later.

Top 6 - Another pitching change for San Francisco as 39-year-old right-hander Keiichi Yabu enters the game. Brandon Morrow is up in the bullpen. Tonight will likely determine whether or not Morrow makes this team as he's been struggling as of late. Betancourt walks 4 pitches. Highly touted prospect Michael Saunders pinch hit for the pitcher, putting some really nice swings on the ball. He crushed one out of the park but just foul down the right field line and yanked another one foul and deep. He finally knocked a single in front of right fielder Randy Winn, moving Betancourt to third. I really like Saunders and I think he'll be a big part of outfield sooner than later.

Ichiro lines out to second base and they try to double up Saunders at first. Betancourt catches them sleeping and sneaks home , putting Seattle up 7-0; heads up play by Yuni. The cameras didn't pick it up, but it looks like he bolted home while 1st baseman Rich Aurilia was talking to the pitcher. Lopez follows with an infield single and Tug Huelett pinch runs for him. Raul strikes out to end the inning, stranding two.

Bottom 5 - Dickey is back out there for his 5th inning of work. He threw a knuckleball with some completely unnatural movement to Randy Winn which resulted in a groundout. I think that one danced the most of any so far.

Another quick inning for Dickey. He's looking really great and I haven't seen but one good swing off of him so far. His night is likely done for the evening: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Top 5 - The Giants bring in big lefty Erick Threets. Jose Lopez is out after lining out to 3rd on a 2-0 pitch. Mariners commentator Mike Blowers talked about how Lopez has been taking a lot more pitches since he was put in the 2-hole, so that's a good sign. Ibanez follows by working another count to 3-2 and draws another walk.

Richie Sexson drives a 2-2 pitch hard and deep down the right field line for what seems to be a double, but a late foul calls resets the play. Sexson goes on to foul off a bunch of pitches before striking out on a tough 3-2 pitch down and in for the second out. He does look a lot better swinging the bat theh he did towards the end of last year.

Brad Wilkerson was nailed on the right elbow on an 0-2 pitch. It was a big breaker that we was trying to hang in on and it didn't break enough. Wilkerson left the game for pinch runner Mike Wilson. It's probably nothing serious but with Opening Day right around the corner it was a smart idea to get him out of there. Ibanez grounds out to end the inning.

Bottom 4 - Dickey finally gives up a base hit. Giants catcher Benji Molina did a fantastic job staying on the pitch and knocked a pitch off the ground into left field.

Dickey throws more fastballs than I would have expected. The fact that he can chuck it up to 87 MPH makes it possible for him to throw more than a typical knuckleballer. He blew one by Aaron Rowand on a 3-2 count for the first out. Aurilia grounds into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 4 - Cain blows down Wilkerson for his 6th strikeout of the game. He's looking to have a really nice year, but he'll probably suffer again from a lack of run support. Mike Morse showed some good patience and worked the count to 3-2 and drew the walk. Still no word on what manager John McLaren is going to do with the bench.

Jaime Burke bounces a ball in the SS/3B hole and is picked up by the shortstop Bocock. He tries to spin and get the force at second but throws wide. Morse moves to 3rd and Burke makes it to 2nd. They're giving Burke a basehit with the runners moving up on Bocock's second error of the game.

Betancourt comes up and drives a high pitch into the left-center gap that carries into the first row of seats for a homer. He's looking good tonight and has 5 RBIs already in this ballgame. I think he's poised for another good season and may surprise some people.

Dickey and Ichiro both ground out to second to close out the inning. Seattle up 6-0.

Bottom 3 - Dickey is throwing some really nice pitches. It looks like Seattle has turned him into a 3-pitch pitcher: fastball (mid/high-80s), hard knuckleball (high-70s/low-80s ) and slow knuckleball (low-70s). He had some good action on some balls and breezed through another inning.

Top 3 - Ichiro strikes out for the second time in the ballgame on an inside fastball. Jose Lopez follows by reaching and tapping out to third on a 0-1 pitch. Raul Ibanez works the count to 3-0 and walks on 6 pitches. Sexson drives a 3-1 pitch to deep right-center, but it's pulled in by Winn for the third out.

Bottom 2 - Dickey's throwing some good knuckleballs and mixing it well with his fastball. Rich Aurilia reached on an error when Jose Lopez misplayed a tough short-hop, but Dickey escaped the inning unscathed.

Top 2 - Matt Cain is San Francisco's starting pitcher, by the way, and strikes out Richie Sexson on a very questionable 3-2 fastball. It's Spring Training for the umpires too, I suppose. Brad Wilkerson is next, and turns on a 0-2 pitch and hits it hard through between the 2nd and 1st basemen for a single. Mike Morse is starting at third base tonight, and strikes out swinging on a 1-2 fastball right down the middle. Jaime Burke follows with a nice line drive basehit into left. Runners on first and second with 2 outs.

Yuni Betancourt is up and lines a hard ball into the left-center gap. Wilkerson scores easily, Burke is waived around and is safe on a bad throw. Betancourt comes all the way around as well. They give him a double and he scores on an error. Mariners up 3-0.

Bottom 1 - This is my first look at R.A. Dickey this spring. He walked the first batter Fred Lewis on five pitches, all fastballs in the mid-80s. The knuckleball came out for the second hitter, Ray Durham, and looked pretty good.

Dickey has one hell of a pickoff move. He was close to getting Lewis on the first two attempts and nailed him on his third try. Should Dickey make the team, that pickoff move is going to be really important to him since players are going to love running on his slow stuff.

Durham grounds out on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Dickey throws his first wild knuckler with Randy Winn at the plate, but to his credit Jaime Burke wasn't trying too hard to get it with no runners on. Winn walks. It looks like Dickey is a little wilder when he tries to slow the knuckleball down, something Seattle has been urging him to do. Dickey throws a rare "hard" knuckler. Wow, a wicked looking lofty knuckleball got catcher Benji Molina swinging on a 1-2 pitch for the third out. So far, so good for Dickey.

Top 1 - I came in a little late but the M's went down 1-2-3.

Mariners Lineup:

Ichiro Suzuki, CF
Jose Lopez, 2B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Richie Sexson, 1B
Brad Wilkerson, RF
Mike Morse, 3B
Jaime Burke, C
Yuni Betancourt, SS
R.A. Dickey, SP

Other Mariner Pitchers:
Brandon Morrow, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Sean Green

Giants Lineup:
Lewis, LF
Durham, 2B
Winn, CF
Molina, C
Aurilia, 1B
Castillo, 3B
Bocock, SS
Cain, SP

Other Giant Pitchers:
Threets, Yabu, Valdez, Hennessey, Walker

(no, the Giants players do not have first names.)


Brandon said...

I liked the game post...since i'm stuck in the midwest for the start of the season, i wouldn't mind the occassional game blog. Like you said, it seems like a better idea to post it not backwards...that was a little bit confusing at first. Overall i liked this post.

drivindave said...

Like the post looks like alot of work for you though,I was very impressed with Dickey and RRS tonight wow if we let Dicky slip by us shame on the M's. About Morrow-plain and simple he needs more work and should be sent down to AAA for aslong as necessary,Lowe seems to be back on track so we have a power arm for the 8th.
Again like the post....