Saturday, April 19, 2008

Seattle Mariners Game 18: Angels 5 Richie Sexson 4

Dickey's first start in two years didn't start off quite as well as I think he would have liked. The first 3 Angels batters reached base. 2 on singles and one on a walk. Bases loaded+nobody out+first inning= recipe for disaster. He then struck out Anderson for the first out of the game. But still, bases loaded with only 1 out and guys like Torii Hunter waiting to hit. Hunter got down 2 strikes to Dickey and it was starting to look like he just might get out of this mess unscathed. A ground ball for a DP would end the inning. But instead of sticking with his knuckleball he decided to try and get fancy and throw a fast ball inside. It wasn't inside enough and Hunter drove the ball to left field for a bases clearing double. Oh vey! Should have stayed with the knuckler R.A. But in his defense this was his first start in a very long time and he was asked to do it against our biggest rivals in their stadium. I am certain nerves had a lot to do with his first inning of work and that bad pitch to Hunter was probably more about being afraid to make a mistake than anything else. He should have stuck with what was working for him with Hunter and he didn't and it hurt him in the end. He really settled down after that first inning though. He went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks and 2 k's. Really not a terrible outing from a guy who is trying to make his way back in the big leagues with a fancy new pitch on his resume. If Dickey gets another start, I bet he doesn't make that same mistake he made to Torri Hunter on this night.

The bullpen did their part in trying to keep the boys in this game and give them a chance to come back and win. Green, Rhodes and Lowe pitched 3 scoreless innings to keep the Angels at only 5 runs.

Offense? Well other than Richie Sexson who I will get to in a minute there was NO offense from these guys. Lopez, Johjima, Bloomquist and Betancourt all went without hits. No one had a walk in this game, no one seemed to have the patience to wait for the pitch. Some of the seemed liked they just wanted to hack at everything and anything. That my friends will NOT get you base runners.
Sexson certainly did his part tonight to try to help his team win a baseball game. In the 2nd inning he launched a solo shot off of Saunders making it only a 2 run ball game. When the 7th inning came around and no one else had done anything to add to the Mariners 1 run, Richie once again took matters into his own hands. With 2 on base he launched a 3 run homer off of Saunders to make it a 1 run ball game. 5-4 Angels in the 7th inning. Richie gave his team a chance, Richie made this a ballgame. But once again no one else had an answer. And so came the 9th inning. 2 out, 1 on and Richie Sexson at the plate. It was only fitting that he was the one with the final shot at putting some more runs on the board in this game. He got his shot alright. Richie launched a ball to the deepest part of the park off of Angels closer Francisco Rodríguez. But Gold Glove center fielder Torii Hunter made a spectacular play and robbed Richie of what would have been his 3rd HR of the game and a 6-5 lead for the Mariners. Absolute robbery and a heartbreaking loss for the M's. But perhaps the start of something great for Richie. So much has been made of his struggles of last year. Maybe this was the kind of game he needed to kickstart a monster season. Maybe we will see many more games like this where Richie tries to carry his team.

What was nearly Richie's night to be the hero was actually Torii Hunters from the start. He went 3-4 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI's and of course the game saving catch off the bat of Richie Sexson. Richie's night to be the hero will come, but tonight was Torii's night.

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