The Mariners touched down (briefly) into last place in the AL West, thanks in part to a pair of eye gouges delivered courtesy former left fielder Raul Ibanez, and the Sounders saw their five-match winning streak end in front of the season’s largest crowd at CenturyLink Field. On top of that, John Jaso reminded us for one day of one of the more colorful antiques in franchise history, Bob “Scrap Iron” Stinson. That Was The Week That Was:
MAY 7-13, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — Ranked No. 1 by US Rowing, the Washington men’s crew program swept all four races at the Pac-12 Championships Sunday Lake Natoma, CA. It marked the 35th conference title for UW, which has won the event five times in the past six years. In the varsity eight race, UW scored an eight-second victory over second-place California, clocking 5:43.50. UW also won the second varsity eight race, the varsity four and the freshman four. UW women earned a silver medal in its varsity eight race.
- BAD WEEK — SS Brendan Ryan of the Mariners ended the week batting .144 after going a Ray Oyler-ish 2-for-23 withfive strikeouts. An exasperated manager Eric Wedge, who moved Ryan to the No. 2 hole in an attempt to get him going, said, “I know he’s a lot better than what we’ve seen. But he needs to go up there and compete. He’s 30 years old, not 25 years old. He needs to figure out how to get himself going.”
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — John Jaso’s game-opening ground out Wednesday not only marked the first time in 34 years (1978, Scrap Iron Stinson) that Seattle used a catcher to lead off a game, the really odd thing was that lefty Jaso did so against a left hander, Detroit’s Drew Smyly.
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — Former University of Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel (1999-03), fired by UCLA at the end of the 2011 season, signed on as TV analyst with the Pac-12 Network, due to launch in the fall. Neuheisel joined former USC All-America football player Ronnie Lott and former Stanford and Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders as the network’s initial on-air hires.
- WHERE ARE THEY NOW? — Jaso hit leadoff for the Mariners Wednesday against the Tigers, the first backstop to do so since Stinson in 1978 (two games). Today, Scrap Iron is a baseball and golf instructor in the Orlando area.
- SUNDAY, May 13 — Party crasher Kevin Millwood, aided by two home runs and three double plays, spoils Andy Pettite’s return to New York, pitching the Mariners to a 6-2 victory after Seattle lost the first two games of the three-game series by identical scores. Millwood, entering with a nearly 9.00 ERA at Yankee Stadium, allows just three hits in 7.0 innings and records his 2,000th career strikeout. Casper Wells and Justin Smoak hit two-run homers and Jesus Montero wears pink shoes in honor of Mother’s Day . . . From UW swimmer Ariana Kukors finishes second in the 200 individual medley at the Charlotte (NC.) Ultra Swim, a tuneup for the Olympic Trials. She clocks 2:11.09 . . . Comcastic? With the Mariners about to beat the Yankees, Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood customers lose Comcast cable and internet service (for four friggin’ hours). A call to Comcast connects to a recorded voice, which advises that “real-time” updates on the “outage” can be found on the company’s website. But how do you access the website if cable service is on the fritz? Twits.
- SATURDAY, May 12 — Raul Ibanez homers against the Mariners (Hector Noesi) for the second day in a row and, also for the second day in a row, the Yankees pound the Mariners 6-2. Once again, Seattle can do nothing (0-for-5) with runners in scoring position, Ichiro providing a prime example, whiffing with two on to end the eighth inning. The loss, coupled with the Angels’ win, sends the Mariners to last place in the AL West for the first time in 2012 . . . The Sounders’ five-game winning streak comes to an end at the hands of Real Salt Lake in front of a season-high 39,312 at The Clink. Real Salt Lake didn’t even need to make a save to record the win over a Seattle side playing its fifth match in 15 days — and the fatigue showed.
- FRIDAY May 11 — Former Mariner Raul Ibanez (1996-00, 2006-08) rips a three-run homer off one-time teammate Felix Hernandez, lifting the Yankees to a 6-2 win over Seattle. The Mariners receive home runs from Dustin Ackley (third pitch of the game) and Jesus Montero, but Ibanez’s shot is all Hiroki Kuroda needs to beat the Mariners, who leave two on in the second and the bases full in the fifth. Stats That Smart: Mariners go 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-12 with men on base.
- THURSDAY, May 10 — On a day remarkably absent of news, sports talk shows buzz over the lame hitting of Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak (2-for-20 during the six-game homestand), suggesting Smoak would be better off playing for AAA Tacoma until he straightens himself out. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik disagrees, saying, “He’s gone down to Triple A, whether it was with Texas or with us, and he tore up Triple A. He’s not going to accomplish a thing there. He needs to be here. We’ve seen something really good things from him from both sides of the plate.”
- WEDNESDAY, May 9 — Coming off the bench for the second half, Fredy Montero scores two goals to lead the Sounders to their fifth consecutive victory, a 2-0 decision over FC Dallas. Seattle improves to 7-1-1, extending the best start in franchise history. Of Montero, Dallas coach Schellas Huyndman says, “He’s a difference maker. He’s a shark. He’s a finisher” . . . So is Jason Jaso, who delivers his third game-winning RBI of the season, lifting the Mariners to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. Jason Vargas allows one earned run over 8.0 innings, but gets no help from Justin Smoak, who goes 0-for-3, lowering his batting average to .173 (all-time Seattle worst: Ray Oyler, 1969 Pilots: .165) . . .
- TUESDAY, May 8 — Mariners leave the bases loaded in the ninth and lose to Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers 6-4. Kevin Millwood, Seattle’s No. 5 starter and a bad one at that (at least to this point in the season) barely gets out of the second inning and winds up yielding five earned runs to remain winless (0-4) in Mariner togs . . . Former WSU QB Ryan Leaf, shackled hand and foot, appears in court in Great Falls, MT., and pleads guilty to burglary, theft and drug charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors who recommend that Leaf spend nine months in a secure treatment facility. Prosecutors also recommend a five-year prison sentence.
- MONDAY, May 7 — After former Mariner Doug Fister handcuffs the Mariners for most of eight innings, Seattle breaks through against Octavio Dotel in the ninth, scoring three runs for an improbable 3-2 victory. The Mariners win on a walk-off sacrifice fly by John Jaso, the first time the Mariners have won on a walk-off sac fly since Sept. 14, 2007 vs. Tampa Bay (Jose Guillen) . . . Seahawks sign eight of their 2012 draft choices, including No. 1 Bruce Irvin, who gets, according to former NFL executive and salary-cap analyst Andrew Brandt, $9.3 million over four years with a signing bonus of more than $5 million.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
When John Jaso batted leadoff Wednesday, it marked the first time in 34 years that a Mariners catcher did that. Bob Stinson did it twice in 1978.
0-for-30: Mariners with RISP over a four-game span; 0-for-26: Length of SS Brendan Ryan’s batting skid before he snapped it Friday.
In their first preseason game, the Storm, minus Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson Tanisha Wright, committed 39 turnovers in an 86-60 loss to Tulsa.
2-for-20 vs. Justin Smoak’s batting stats during a six-game home stand at Safeco Field before went 6-for-12 in three games in New York.
2: Home runs by former Mariner Raul Ibanez over the weekend in a pair of 6-2 wins over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
READS OF THE WEEK
- Thiel: Tired Sounders Fall Again To Salt Lake: Even in soccer, where goals are distributed with frequency nearly equal to Willy Wonkas Golden Tickets, four consecutive shutouts in a row is a highly respectable stretch of defense . . . MORE
- Thiel: Seahawks Draftee Irvin Passes The Speed Test: Searching for meaning on the first the first day of rookies padless football practice against air is barely more productive than looking for life on the moon from ones porch. But one thing was plain Friday at Seahawks headquarters, even without a telescope the scouts werent lying: Bruce Irvin is meteor-fast . . . MORE
- Thiel: Every Team Profitable In Three Years, Says Stern: In case you wonder why a smart guy like Chris Hansen would invest $290 million in a project that supports a money-losing industry like the NBA, David Stern offered over the weekend a partial explanation . . . MORE
- Wayback Machine: Red Killefer’s 1924 Seattle Indians: During the years (1989-99) Ken Griffey Jr. patrolled center field in the Kingdome, the Mariners kept a running tally of the almost-absurd number of left fielders who played adjacent to the 10-time All-Star. A couple of dozen ultimately did so, starting with Greg Pee Wee Briley (April 3, 1989) and ending with Shane Monahan (Oct. 3, 1999). The Mariners never did find the right solution in left during Griffeys prime . . . MORE
- That Was The Week That Was (April 30-May 6): The Seattle Sounders went north, the Seattle Mariners mostly headed south, and reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, his compass headings particularly askew, went northeast when they should have gone southwest in a wild Week That Was. Also, in a landmark quote, brain fart, as uttered by a Seattle athlete, made the public prints for the first time in our memory. That Was The Week That Was . . . MORE
- “It’s hard to describe that feeling, unless you’re in it. You still got a lot of work to do, you’ve got to finish it off, but the feeling after you do come back and win is a fantastic feeling. You really feel good for your players, who were out there battling and working to win the ballgame” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, after his ball club rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the ninth inning and beat Detroit Monday, 3-2
- “I don’t really get more energy from it, or anything like that — just the way I am, I guess. I just treat it like any other game, and I’ve kind of taught myself to do it. I try not to get too high or too low. I just try to keep it as level as possible. If I didn’t get it done there, it wouldn’t have mattered. I would have waited on my next at-bat” — John Jaso, Mariners catcher, after delivering his third game-winning RBI of the season Wednesday against Detroit
- “We had a great battle today. We scored two goals and we got three points, which was super important for us” — Fredy Montero, Seattle striker, after scoring two goals in a 2-0 Sounders win over F.C. Dallas
- “I’ve led a great life as a coach. I have no regrets about what took place in my career as a coach. I just believe that this is a chance to embark in something fresh and exciting, and like anybody else, we all look forward to new challenges” — Rick Neuheisel, former UW football coach, after taking an announcing job with the Pac-12 Network
- “That was a mistake. I tried to throw a sinker, the ball didn’t move and stayed in the middle of the plate. One pitch, game over” — Felix Hernandez, Seattle ace, on the home run ball he threw to former Mariner Raul Ibanez Friday