Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Notes from July 5th

So I said hi to Ichiro yesterday.

I was in a local Starbucks, and see a guy in line who, I think to myself, looks vaguely like Ichiro. Wait a minute...the Mariners are in town...that IS Ichiro!

So, I went up to him--he was with someone I assumed was with the team (maybe a translator or travel secretary?)--and told he had a good game yesterday, that I was a big fan from Seattle. He said thanks, and got his latte. I know that sounds lame now, but you don't just run into international superstar baseball players from Seattle every day, especially not in Kansas City.

I went to the game again last night. Beltre's home run was a good start, but things went downhill from there. I can report firsthand that what everyone says about Gil Meche is true: great stuff, inconsistent command. His curve was knee-buckling when it was on, but he couldn't throw it for strikes consistently (leaving him behind in the count) and his fastball was up and over the middle (leaving the ball right in KC's hitters wheelhouses). It was a bad combination that the M's couldn't recover from.

Randy Winn looks lost at the plate, even though he did end up with two hits, including a double. He's swinging at bad pitches and looking at good ones. Richie Sexson doesn't look much better, though he also had a similar night. Everybody's going to get some hits in a game where your team swats 14 of them, unless, of course, your name is Pat Borders.

I was really excited to see Snelling up to pinch-hit for Borders in the 8th. Then Buddy Bell made a pitching change, and Snelling got immediately replaced by Scott Spiezio, never taking a pitch. Maybe next time, Chris.

One great thing about baseball is that anything, no matter how unlikely, can happen. I grumbled at the game's start that Hargrove, for some stupid reason, is trying to keep Willie Bloomquist in the starting lineup at all costs. "He can't hit," I said. Well, Willie went 3-3 with a double and a walk. He still may be a 25th-man quality player over the long haul, but he did his part yesterday.

In fact, the difference in this game was mostly in the timing of each team's hitting. The M's finished with more total bases + walks, but KC made the most of their baserunners. They scored four runs in the second with two outs--both strikeouts, no less--with the bottom of the order. If J.J. Putz gets his groundball out first when he enters in the 6th, the run doesn't score (Putz gave up two consecutive flyballs that allowed Shane Costa to move from second to third, then score).

Oh, and I caught a Randy Winn foul ball in the eighth.

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