With the Seattle Sounders on hiatus (next match Saturday) and the Mariners at home for a full week for the first time in 2012, all eyes (well, maybe not all eyes, since Safeco Field was more than half empty most games) focused on the local nine. Conclusion: If the weeks to come turn out anything like the week that was, the Mariners summer will be a brutal experience. This was the week that was:
APRIL 16-21, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — The No. 1-ranked Washington men’s crew p dominated the 101st edition of the UW-Cal Dual, sweeping its Bay Area rivals by open water at Redwood Shores, near Berkeley. The Huskies won the Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight, Freshman Eight and Varsity Four events. The Varsity Eight finished the 2,000-meter race in a course-record 5:30, blistering Cal by 10 seconds (75-0 in football terms) and giving UW a 71-29-1 all-time record against the Bears.
- BAD WEEK — The Mariners lost five of six, blew a seven-run lead to Cleveland Tuesday, wasted a 12-strikeout performance by Felix Hernandez Thursday, saw starter Hector Noesi last just 1.1 innings Friday, got “perfecto-ed” by Philip Humber Saturday (a guy who had never thrown a complete game), and gave away a 4-2 lead and lost 7-4 Sunday. From Tuesday through Sunday, the Mariners hit .154 (8×52) with runners in scoring position and left 39 runners stranded. At least the garlic fries didn’t disappoint.
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — Michael Saunders came up in the ninth inning Saturday against Philip Humber of the White Sox and quickly worked the count to 3-0, endangering Humber’s perfect-game bid. Saunders then looked at a strike, (92 mph fastball), swung and missed at a 91 mph four-seam fastball that sailed high, and swung and missed Humber’s 85 mph slider. Humber easily retired two pinch hitters, John Jaso and Brendan Ryan, to complete his gem, after which Saunders admitted, “I swung at ball four.”
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — Former Mariners starter Jamie Moyer (1996-06) threw seven strong innings for Colorado Monday to become, at age 49 years, 150 days, the oldest to win a major league contest as the Rockies beat San Diego 5-3. Moyer also earned his 268th career win, tying Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 34th on the career list. The previous oldest to win: Jack Quinn, 49 years, 70 days, Sept. 13, 1932 . . . Former UW pitcher Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner, fell to 0-2 after allowing five earned runs in 6 innings in a 5-2 loss to Roy Halladay and the Phillies. Lincecum’s ERA soared to an un-Cy-like 10.54.
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW? — Jeff Manto had one of the least distinguished tenures in Mariners history, batting .185 in 21 games in 1996. But he hit a memorable home run, a three-run, Kingdome shot off Graeme Lloyd Aug. 27 that year that sparked Seattle to a 7-4 win over the Yankees. A career .230 hitter, Manto now toils as the White Sox batting coach.
- SUNDAY, April 21 — Coming off an 0-for-27 against Humber, the Mariners take a 4-2 lead on John Danks, shocking because Seattle failed to score a run off him in two games in 2011, but Kevin Millwood can’t stand success, gives it all back, and the Mariners get swept by the White Sox, losing the series finale 7-4. It’s Millwood’s second giveaway in a week The five runs he allows sends his ERA shooting to 7.04. The Mariners follow up their epic blanking Saturday by producing eight hits, but they do it in 35 ABs (.228 BA) and go a Magooish 2-for-13 (.154 BA) with runners in scoring position . . . Miguel Olivo AB Watch: Big Day, 2-for-4, .154.
- SATURDAY, April 20 — Mariners land on the wrong end of history as Philip Humber of the White Sox tosses a perfecto, the 21st in modern baseball history. Humber doesn’t run the count full until the ninth inning, when he goes 3-0 on Michael Saunders, then comes back to whiff him on three pitches. The Mariners have a season on-base percentage of .272, vs. the AL average of .311. Oh, and BTW: The 1962 New York Mets, who went 40-120, had an on-base percentage of .318 . . . Miguel Oliva BA Watch: 0-for-3 in Humber’s perfecto, .111 average.
- FRIDAY, April 19 — With Adam Dunn banging two home runs and driving in five, the Chicago White Sox hose Seattle starter Hector Noesi, who lasts 1.1 innings and allows six earned runs, his ERA shooting from 5.50 to 9.49. Mariners hitters don’t help themselves, going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position . . . Miguel Oliva BA Watch: 0-for-4, .130 . . . Oregon State softball team scores three runs against UW in the sixth inning — without getting a hit (four errors) — and beats the Huskies 4-3 . . . Montana prosecutors set May 3 as the arraignment for ex-WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf, charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of criminal possession of a dangerous drug (by the time Montana and Texas authorities are done with him, we’re betting Leaf gets at least 20 years).
- THURSDAY, April 18— The Mariners waste a superlative, 12-strikeout performance by Felix Hernandez when Brandon League loads the bases in the ninth and allows a two-run single to former Mariner Jack Hannahan, who played 51 games for Seattle in 2009 (first blown save for League since Aug. 23, also against Cleveland). Hernandez collects his 16th career no-decision while throwing seven or more innings and allowing one or fewer runs (these are statistics of which trade demands are made). The Mariners scratch out five hits, including one by C Miguel Olivo, which segues into our Miguel Olivo BA Watch: 1-for-2 (single), .143.
- WEDNESDAY, April 17 — Pigs fly over Safeco Field as Chone Figgins hits his first home run since Opening Day, 2011, sparking the Mariners to a 4-1 win over ex-Mariner Derek Lowe and the Cleveland Indians. Ichiro also goes deep in support of Jason Vargas, who allows one run in a nice, seven-inning effort. First home run by a Mariners leadoff hitter not named Ichiro since Rickey Henderson May 26, 2000 . . . Miguel Olivo BA Watch: 1-for-4 (single), .125 . . . UW hoop Huskies announce a home-and-home series with the UConn Huskies, starting Dec. 29 in either Storrs or Hartford, CT.
- TUESDAY, April 17 — Mariners fall behind 1-0, roar back to take an 8-1 lead, and then gag the whole thing away — thanks to Kevin Millwood — and lose to the Cleveland Indians 9-8, wasting a shocking, four-hit night by Justin Smoak and an equally unfathomable four-walk game by Brendan Ryan . . . Miguel Olivo BA Watch: .111 (please stop calling him “Miggy”) . . . The Seahawks announce a regular-season schedule that features a home game against Matt Flynn’s former club, the Green Bay Packers (Sept. 24, ESPN), Seattle’s first international contest (vs. Buffalo in Toronto Dec. 16), and an opener Sept. 9 at Arizona, which sucks: Seahawks are 1-5 in Arizona since the Cardinals moved into their new stadium in Glendale, and the Seahawks have lost their first road game in each of the past five seasons.
- MONDAY, April 16 — A Texas prosecutor files a motion to revoke Ryan Leaf’s 10-year, drug-related suspension and says he will press for prison time in Texas on grounds of probation violation stemming from a 2010 case when Leaf lived in Texas (should the judge in the case revoke Leaf’s probation, he could be sentenced to 20 years). But there’s a line Texas has to join: Leaf faces four felonies in Montana, on burglary and criminal possession charges, where he’s looking at up to 50 years . . . Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies welcome University of San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell, a 6-9, 240-pound inside scoring threat who won’t be eligible until 2013-14. By bringing Blackwell aboard, Romar has one scholarship to give and has reportedly extended an offer to Anthony Bennett, a 6-7 player from Canada who is also considering Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and UNLV (every player in the country is considering Kentucky) . . . The Seattle Storm selects Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen, touted as an eventual replacement for Swin Cash, traded to Chicago, with the No. 2 overall pick in the WNBA draft. After announcing the pick, Storm coach Brian Alger waves to a cheering crowd stationed outside the team’s Interbay offices (don’t these people have jobs? On second thought, maybe it was a work detail).
TOP 5 NUMBERS
Mariners recorded 50,000th hit in club history Tuesday (Seager), and also the 25,000th run (Smoak). Alas, they came in loss No. 2,962.
Chone Figgins’ leadoff HR Wednesday first by a Mariner not named Ichiro since Rickey Henderson May 26-2000 — 1,912 games ago.
With a single off Felix Hernandez Thursday, Cleveland’s Jack Hannahan (a Mariner in 2009) hiked his career BA against Felix to .500 (8×16).
Hitting’s just not his thing: RBI opportunities for Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo so far in 2012: 44. Actual RBIs by Olivo: 3.
From the bottom of the ninth Friday until the top of the first Sunday, the Mariners sent 32 batters to the plate without getting a hit.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Why The Seattle Mariners Are Ripe To Be Sold
The Seattle Mariners are not repeat NOT for sale. But they could be soon, or in the not-too-distant future for a variety of reasons outlined by Baseball Prospectus, which describes the Mariners as the major league franchise ripest for unloading. Again, the Mariners ARE NOT on the market, but could be for the following reasons . . . MORE
READS OF THE WEEK
- Thiel: Mariners Try To Rebound, Get Swept: Rare as was the perfect game by the White Soxs Philip Humber Saturday, something unusual followed it Sunday at Safeco Field an important game in April . . . MORE
- Thiel: Mariners Perfect Mismatch for Humber: Imagine if hed had his best stuff. As he moved inning by inning toward baseball immortality Saturday, humble Philip Humber couldnt quite see it. I didnt have great stuff until the sixth or seventh inning, he said. Then the ball started coming out of my hand better. . . . MORE
- Thiel: Kings’ Solution Is Vancouver, Then Seattle: Poor David Stern. Despite his best efforts, replete with loans, lawyers, love and a new collective bargaining agreement, he cannot make the NBA work in Sacramento . . . MORE
- Annoyed At Opener: Mariners Offer Free Tickets: Embarrassed by a concessions-stands failure and angry customers on Opening Night Friday at Safeco Field, the Mariners announced Tuesday they will offer free tickets for home games in April or May, as well as a credit at the stands . . . MORE
- Wayback Machine: Roscoe “Torchy” Torrance: Roscoe Torchy Torrance, a volunteer in the Student Army Training Corps at the University of Washington, received orders near the end of October, 1918, to report to the Artillery School at Fort Sill, OK., ASAP, where, following boot camp, he would be deployed to Europe to aid the American cause in World War I . . . MORE
- That Was The Week That Was (April 9-15): After playing eight road games in Tokyo, Oakland and Texas, the Mariners returned to Seattle to commence the home portion of their 162-game struggle with the Athletics for third place in the AL West (so far, so good); the Sounders snapped a 305-minute MLS scoreless streak (the exact running time of Les Miserables), and Shawn Kelley of the Rainiers drew seat 13A on Friday the 13th for a flight from Sea-Tac to Fresno . . . MORE
- “The nice thing for Shekinna this year is we don’t have to force the issue because of who else we have on the team, to immediately start” — Brian Alger, Storm coach, after making Shekinna Stricklen of Tennessee the No. 2 overall pick in the WNBA draft
- “I wish I was a baseball historian. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. As players, we should know more about the game, the history of the game. You need to respect the game and the people that came before you” — Jamie Moyer, former Mariner, after becoming the oldest pitcher to win a major league game at age 49 years, 150 days
- “I’m putting together some good at-bats. I just have to stick with the approach” — Chone Figgins, Mariners, after hitting his first home run in more than a year Wednesday
- “Humber pitched a great ballgame, (White Sox catcher A.J.) Pierzynski did a great job working with him out there and we really never got anything going. He worked ahead all day long. When he did get behind and had to come in, we missed fastballs. It’s a bad combination. But he pitched a heck of a ballgame” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, after Philip Humber’s perfect game against Seattle Saturday
- “Obviously, we wanted to try to get ahead and win the game, but at the same time, you’ve got a guy like Humber battling out there and making pitches and everything going the right way, some things you just can’t do. That’s the first time I’ve been on the same field during a perfect game in pro ball. I’ve never seen anything like that” — Blake Beavan, Mariners starter, and the losing pitcher in Humber’s perfect game
- “I don’t know what my name is doing on that list. It’s so humbling. It’s an awesome feeling” — Philip Humber, after becoming the 21st pitcher to throw a perfect game