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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 16, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Game thread, Mariners vs. Angels, April 16

UPDATE 9:50: : It’s over — Mariners’ lose 5-1; the six-game winning streak is over. Chalk this one up to a bullpen meltdown in the sixth after Corcoran was one strike away from getting out of the jam unscathed. But four hits (three of them infield hits) and one run is not going to cut it on most nights. On the brighter side for Seattle, Jakubauskas handled the pressure of his first major-league start beautifully,and Ichiro became the Japanese hit king (with the only hit of the night to reach the outfield).
UPDate 9:21: They just announced the attendance. Remember when I said that it looked like the crowd was about the same as last night, but maybe a few more? I didn’t know how right I was. Tonight’s attendance was 18,528 — 12 more than last night!!!! It’s only April 16, and that will probably be my best call of the season.
UPDATE 8:45 P.M.: Corcoran just gave up a two-run single to Mike Napoli on an 0-2 pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. Both runs are charged to Jakubauskas, which means he stands to take the loss if the Mariners don’t come back despite his impressing outing. (And there’s another run on a Matthews single. Rough outing for Corcoran.
UPDATE 8;37 P.M.: Jakubauskas was just pulled from the game after giving up a one-out single to Bobby Abreu that left runners on first and third in the sixth. Regardless of the outcome of this inning, or the game, that was an exceptional performance for someone making his first major-league start. Roy Corcoran is in the game, trying to preserve the Mariners’ 1-0 lead.
UPDATE 8:15 P.M.: The Mariners pushed across a run in the fourth,, but squandered a chance for more when Balentien fanned on a full-count pitch with the bases loaded for the final out. The Mariners’ just introduced Mr. Harimoto, whose hits record was broken by Ichiro’s fourth-inning single.
UPDATE 8 P.M.: Jakubauskas showed more poise in the fourth after Rob Johnson dropped a tough foul popup by Torii Hunter that would have been the third out. The ball popped out of his mitt near the photo well after a long run. No error was charged, and I think that was the right call. Naturally, Hunter whacked a double, but Jaku got Kendry Morales to ground out to end the inning. That’s four shutout innings, 51 pitches, 41 strikes. Still 0-0, M’s still hitless.
Check that — Ichiro grounded a single into right leading off the fourth — his 3.086th career hit, surpassing Japan’s hit king, Isao Harimoto. He got a standing ovation from the crowd, which I peg at about the same as last night — 18,000 or so, perhaps a bit more.
UPDATE 7:46 P.M.: Jakubauskas could hardly have been any more impressive through three innings — just the leadoff hit to Figgins in the first, and nothing but outs after that. He has thrown 38 pitches, 30 of them strikes. The Mariners, however, have yet to get a baserunner off Joe Saunders.
UPDATE 7:32 P.M.: Ryan Rowland-Smith might be the Australian Wally Pipp. OK, it’s too early for that, but Jaku was just as impressive in the second as the first, getting the Angels 1-2-3 and blowing it by Gary Matthews Jr. for the final out. He was aided by a superb play from third baseman Adrian Beltre to retire Mike Napoli. Jaku remains a strike-throwing machine: five balls out of 29 pitches thrown so far.
UPDATE 7:20: What a poised and promising first inning for Jakubauskas, who gave up a leadoff single to Chone Figgins but was not fazed. Howie Kendrick hit a double-play ball to short, but Jose Lopez got tangled up in a sliding Figgins and threw off-line to first. Jakubauskas then fanned Bobby Abreu looking and Torii Hunter swinging. I had Jak for 16 pitches — 14 of them strikes. Wow. Nerves? What nerves?
More ominous news for the Angels, by the way. Vlad Guerrero has flown back to Anaheim to see Dr. Lewis Yocum. He has a strained right pectoral muscle that has been bothering him ever since April 2, when he hurt it on a throw. Vlad had DH’d for the first eight games because of the injury. It only hurt him when he threw, but yesterday it was swollen, and now the Angels want to have an MRI and let Dr. Yocum see Guerrero. Suffice it to say, if they lose Guerrero for any period of time, it’s a major, major blow.
Last night’s attendance of 18,516 might have been disappointing, but fans are paying attention to the Mariners.
FSN reported that Wednesday’s game, an 11-3 win over the Angels that featured Ken Griffey Jr.’s 400th homer as a Mariner as well as a grand slam by Ichiro that tied him for the most hits by a Japanese player, had huge ratings.
The live Mariners’ broadcast on Wednesday drew the largest audience in the Seattle market since 2007, recording an 11.0 average Nielsen rating in the Seattle area. It drew a 13.1 peak rating during the final innings. The telecast was the most-watched program in prime time, beating out programs like American Idol, Lost, and Law and Order.
It will be fun to see what Chris Jakubauskas can do in his first major-league start. He should be comfortable throwing to Rob Johnson, who I’m sure caught him in Tacoma last year. In 23 innings behind the plate so far this year, Johnson has allowed three earned runs. His 1.17 catcher’s ERA is lowest in the majors (minimum 20 innings).
If the Mariners win tonight, it will be their best 10-game start in history at 8-2. The previous best is 7-3 in 1980, 1984, 1995, 2001 and 2002. Those seasons resulted in records, respectively, of 59-103, 74-88, 79-66 (in a strike-shortened season), 116-46 and 93-69.
Remember, Ichiro’s next hit will be his 3,086th combined between Japan and Seattle. He is tied with Japan hits leader Isao Harimoto, who will be at Safeco until his mark is surpassed.
Tonight’s lineups
Angels
Chone Figgins 3B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Bobby Abreu LF
Torii Hunter CF
Kendry Morales 1B
Mike Napoli C
Gary Matthews Jr. RF
Juan Rivera DH
Maicer Izturis SS
Joe Saunders LHP
Mariners
Ichiro RF
Endy Chavez CF
Mike Sweeney DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Russ Branyan 1B
Wladimir Balentien LF
Rob Johnson C
Yuniesky Betancourdt SS
Chris Jakubauskas RHP

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