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April 15, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Angels, April 15

42 Chone Figgins 3B
42 Howie Kendrick 2B
42 Bobby Abreu RF
42 Vladimir Guerrero Dh
42 Torii Hunter CF
42 Robb Quinlan 1B
42 Juan Rivera LF
42 Jeff Mathis C
42 Erick Aybar SS
42 Jered Weaver P
42 Ichiro RF
42 Endy Chavez LF
42 Ken Griffey Jr. DH
42 Adrian Beltre 3B
42 Russell Branyan 1B
42 Jose Lopez 2B
42 Kenji Johjima C
42 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
42 Franklin Gutierrez CF
42 Jarrod Washburn LHP
Colleague Jerry Brewer and I just spotted two fans sitting below us wearing “Jakubauskas” Mariner jerseys. I’m guessing it’s Chris’s parents. They’ll have a chance to see him start tomorrow in place of Ryan Rowland-Smith, placed on the DL with triceps tendinitis.
Yes, everyone is wearing No. 42 today, in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. This is the 62nd anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. I’ll have more on that, and some great thoughts from Ken Griffey Jr., on my Hot Stone League Blog — as soon as I have time to type them up.
The big news today is the unveiling of the Mariners’ All-World defensive outfield — Ichiro, Gutierrez and Chavez.
“It will be special,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “I’ve been looking forward to it. It’s part of what Jack (Zduriencik) had in his master plan going into this winter, that we could improve the defense for our pitching, and it’s worked out well so far.”
One other interesting note is that Kenji Johjima is behind the plate after Washburn worked eight shutout innings in his first 2009 start with Rob Johnson behind the plate.
Oh, and Ichiro needs three hits to surpass Japanese record holder Isao Harimoto’s 3,085. Harimoto is in attendance tonight, and said he expects Ichiro to waste no time passing him. Ichiro has 3,083 hits between Japan (1,278) and the Mariners (1,805).
UPDATE: 7:20 P.M.: Ichiro got a nice ovation from the smallish crowd. He swung at the first pitch from Jered Weaver and lined softly to shortstop.
Another scoreless inning for Washburn in the first, by the way. He’s now pitched nine innings of shutout ball this season.
UPDATE 7:44 P.M.: Washburn continues to roll along, retiring the first nine batters through three innings (as Silva did yesterday). A rejuvenated Washburn really changes the outlook for this team, if he can maintain this improvement. However, I predict he will eventually give up a run this season.
UPDATE 7:55: Well, that’s the Ichiro we know and love, lining a single to center with one out in the third (after Gutierrez was thrown out stealing). One more hit to tie Harimoto.
Ritz, to address the Grady Sizemore question: He has an African American father, and is listed as African-American in surveys by major-league baseball (as is Derek Jeter, who always comes from mixed parentage). So any one “flipping me some crap” doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
UPDATE 8:12: Washburn continues to roll along with four perfect innings. Meanwhile, the Mariners just pushed across a run on a double by Russell Branyan on a routine fly to center that Torii Hunter completely lost in the lights, allowing it to drop in front of him. Jose Lopez dropped down a perfect sacrifice, and Kenji Johjima bounced a single up the middle to score him. Johjima appeared to hurt his leg — can’t tell how or precisely where — but he stayed in the game. (After watching Johjima jog to third on Betancourt’s double, Rob Johnson just replaced him as a pinch-runner. And Johnson was thrown out heading to the plate on Gutierrez’s grounder to third). It’s a blown opportunity, but Washburn only needs one run, right?
UPDATE 8:23 P.M. The Washburn magic has been interrupted. Vlad delivered a clean single leading off the fifth, and then Hunter, who had a mammoth homer off Silva, ripped another one, a two-run blast to left-center. 2-1 Angels.
(I’m going to go a little lighter on the updates now as I write my game story for tomorrow’s paper).
UPDATE 8:35: OK, I had to come back for this — a homer by Endy Chavez (he had one all of last season in 270 at-bats, and 17 previous in his career) and then the biggy, No. 400 as a Mariner, No. 613 overall, by Ken Griffey. Yes, he came out for a curtain call.3-2 M’s after five.
Now, talk amongst yourselves.
UPDATE 8:44: Official paid attendance: 18,516.
UPDATE 8:46: Johjima left the game with tightness in his right hamstring, the Mariners said. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow.
UPDATE 9:27: That was some clutch relief pitching by rookie Shawn Kelley in the seventh. That, folks, is how you earn the manager’s confidence to continue to bring you into the game in crucial situations. And how about Rob Johnson, who just singled home two runs to open up a 7-3 Seattle lead. For a guy who didn’t come into the game until the fourth inning, he’s sure insinuated himself into a load of action.
UPDATE 9:36: ICHI SALAMI!!! How’s that for a flair for the dramatic, tying the Japanese hit record with a grand slam.
UPDATE 10:04: It’s over, another impressive win by the Mariners — maybe the most impressive yet, but certainly the most eventful, I’d say. Final score: 11-3. Mariners record: 7-2, best in the American League. Oh, six wins in a row.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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