It's the final meeting between the two bitter rivals. The tension is palpable. It's like Average Joes vs. Globo-Gym ... yes, I watched Dodgeball yesterday --- Oh, I don't think I'm a lot dumber than you thought that I think that I thought that I was once.
Anyway lets get down to business. Today's starter Wade LeBlanc is, well, according to my Padres compadres -- "not good, not good at all."
LeBlanc pitched in five games last season (21 1/3 innings) and gave up 29 hits, 19 runs and seven homers.
This year he's thrown 3 innings and given up three earned runs on three hits. Sounds good for the offensively challenged Mariners.
Washburn with a 1-2-3 inning including a strikeout of Scott Hairston, who slams his helmet to the ground. I don't know that Hairston is good enough to be tossing his helmet.
And following what I said earlier, Ichiro hits a solo homer to right off of LeBlanc on a 1-1 pitch. It was an 85 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate. That's going to get hit out often. The M's continue to rough him up as Beltre singles up the middle and Mike Sweeney rips a double off the wall in right-center. LeBlanc did get Lopez to pop up to get two outs, but fell behind Gutierrez and then Bud Black called for an intentional walk and that move does not work well as Rob Johnson - my fellow Montanan - unloads the bases with a double to the gap. The pitch? Well, mlb.com has it as an 83 mph change-up. But if his fastball is 86-87 is 83 really a change-up?
LeBlanc then walked Ronny Cedeno, he of the .128 batting average. Cedeno has like four walks in this series. If I were the pitching coach, I'd fine a pitcher $1000 for walking Cedeno.
Wade LeBlanc gets out of the inning, but he'll be headed back to Triple A Portland very soon. He can have a beer at the Kingston or Marathon Taverna and then hit Henry's up after 10 p.m. for happy hour.
Washburn gets in mild trouble after a bloop single to Adrian Gonzalez and a two-out walk to Kyle Blanks - who is the size of a sasquatch. But he gets out with a strikeout of Edgar Gonzalez.
LeBlanc is Le Gone after giving up a single to Ichiro and walking Russell Branyan. Don't worry Wade, Portland is beautiful this time of year. I was just down there last weekend.
Well that wasn't dull. Washburn gets in a bit of a jam with runners on second and third with one out. But he gets a called third strike on Scott Hairston. It was a questionable call. The ball did seem a little out and up. Hairston took exception and said something to home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, who tossed him quickly. Bud Black came out and got tossed pretty quickly as well. Maybe neither wanted to sit through this game.
Tony Gwynn Lite, er Tony Gwynn Jr. is in the game now for the Pads.
Well, Josh Banks won't get the $1,000 fine since he struck out Cedeno.
Ichiro is now 3-for-3 today with a single to right. I remember thinking that starting the season on the disabled list might make it a little more difficult for him to get 200 in a season. I was very wrong. He now has 103 hits this season. Mike Sweeney is also 3-for-3 on the day.
Moo: I guess Sweeney is playing to keep him fresh. Griffey's knee is sore and they wanted to get Sweeney some ABs. My guess is that Carp could be sent back to Tacoma in a week or so.
Quickly, a moment of silence for the passing of two formidable figures of my youth. Earlier today Farah Fawcett passed away from a long bout with cancer. Now it is being reported that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson has also died after going into cardiac arrest.
John McGrath mentioned the old baseball joke in the 1980s of "What do (insert player's name) and Michael Jackson have in common? They both wear a glove on their hand for no apparent reason.
Anyway, I know it's not baseball, but the passing of Jackson is big news. I think "Thriller" came out when I was in third grade. Even in Montana, we heard of Michael Jackson.
As for the game, the Mariners have gotten hits off of Banks, but no runs. Thank you Wade LeBlanc.
Oh that tricky Don Wakamatsu, who calls a one-out suicide squeeze with Gutierrez on third and Cedeno at the plate. I was thinking about the possibility. Apparently the Padres and whoever has taken over the managing duties didn't see it as such.
And then Wlad Balentien absolutely hammers a homer into the left field upper deck, that's big boy power. Hopefully he can do it more than once a month. But that's what tantalizes you with Balentien, when you see him do something like that. Of course, he did strikeout off LeBlanc in the first inning.
The Padres had hit some hard shots off of Washburn that were caught, unfortunately Chase Headley's shot to center was caught by someone in the CF beer garden. The sober fellow tossed the ball back into play. He's done after six with Chris Jakubauskas in for him. Washburn allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Well, Chris Jakubauskas has had better outings. He came in allowed a solo shot to the lesser of the Gonzalez brothers, a ground rule double to Henry Blanco and a walk to Everth Cabrera. Wak had seen enough at that and pulled Jakubuaskas for Mark Lowe, who eventually cleaned up the mess without allowing a run, including getting Kevin Kouzmanoff with the bases loaded.
Mark Lowe with a solid inning of work.
The Mariners tack on a few more runs with Mike Sweeney collecting his fourth hit of the day. Ichiro and Sweeney each have four hits today.
the human game delay Miguel Batista is in and as long as he doesn't have any base runners it should go by quickly. And it does for once. Thanks to an unreal play by Ronny CEdeno at short.