Well, they got exactly what they needed tonight: 7 strong innings from Pineiro and one each from Rhodes and Sasaki. Well, that and a miracle hit from Jeff Cirillo. On a serious note, is there something in the water at Safeco Field? Pineiro’s wife had a baby last week, Rhodes’ wife had a baby this weekend, Giovanni Carrara’s wife just gave birth to twins, and I read today that Carlos Guillen’s wife is expecting any day now. Like they said on the broadcast today, the Mariners lead the league in babies. If Dave Neihaus’ wife is found to be pregnant, then we’ll know something is up.
Pineiro threw 57 pitches to get through the first three innings. He only took 53 to get through the next four. Give him credit for getting seven innings when the M’s needed it, but thats not very smart hitting by the A’s.
Cirillo hadn’t hit a homer anywhere since last June. So he hits one to left, (the hardest part of the park to get the ball out of the yard) off Mark Mulder, and in Safeco Field. Figure that out.
Another good start for Heaverlo down in Tacoma. He should spend at least the first half of the year in AAA, but you have to be encouraged at how well he’s pitching after a year off.
As the biggest Jay Buhner fan this side of his own family, I’m still upset I missed his 300th homer. When he hit #299 earlier in the game, I remember thinking, “Good, now I’ll see #300 tomorrow” (I had tickets for the next night). Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Rizzs and Buhner are talking about Jay’s 300th career homer, hit off Jason Isringhausen at Safeco. I was at that game, and it was tremendous to see. Jay’s explanation for the swing: “I didn’t like to get cheated.” Brings back good memories.
Pineiro just got his first strikeout to end the fifth inning. He’s one of those guys who just amazes you with his inability to miss bats despite having well above average stuff. If there’s a knock I have on Bryan Price (and it doesn’t come close to competing with the good he’s done), its been the inability to translate Garcia and Pineiro from throwers into pitchers.
Rotations for the Oakland series…
Monday: Mark Mulder vs. Joel Pineiro
Tuesday: Ted Lilly vs. Ryan Franklin
Wednesday: Tim Hudson vs. Freddy Garcia
Thursday: John Halama vs. Gil Meche
Are you feeling particularly good about any of these matchups? OK, so Thursday looks like it could be fun for the M’s hitters, but the A’s could just as easily tee off on Meche, too. As Dave mentioned yesterday, they could really use seven innings from Pineiro tonight. Rhodes should be back, which will help, but Hasagawa certainly can’t pitch, Carrara isn’t with the team and Nelson has worked back-to-back games.
As for Tuesday, with the lefty on the mound it might be a good time to give Greg Colbrunn his second start of the season in place of Olerud. Just a thought.
Oh, hey, with respect to booing Rodriguez… I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t even boo him on his first trips back to Seattle, and now it has been three years. Three years, people! Let it go! There isn’t a person alive who would have turned down that contract. Or, perhaps more appropriately, a contract similar in terms of the kind of raise it would give you… obviously none of us are ever going to be offered a $252M contract. At least, I don’t think we are.
Excuse me, Tom Hicks is calling on my private line.
In other minor league news, the M’s signed IF Mickey Lopez and assigned him to Tacoma. Lopez, a switch-hitter, spent last season in the Cubs’ organization and was released this spring. To make room, C Jim Horner was sent down to San Antonio to serve as Scott Maynard’s backup. I know he’s not a prospect, but Horner always seems to get the shaft when it comes to roster moves — he’s put in his time with the organization, but somehow they always manage to find a reason to send him down to the Texas League rather than keep him with the Rainiers. The same thing happened last year when GM Pat Gillick’s personal catcher, Pat Borders, was signed late in the season.
Can we get over this booing thing with Alex Rodriguez? Alex gave us the best five shortstop-seasons this club ever saw, he was a consumate gentleman, he gave generously to Seattle of his pre-free-agency salary and his time. Drafted by the M’s, Alex ignored Scott Boras, who was “advising” him, to sign with the team (Boras wanted Alex to go to college and wait a year to be drafted by a larger, more money-heavy club). Alex ignored Boras again to sign his below-value extension through his arb years and into 2000. When the time came to chose between his avowed desire to play on a contender, to be, Ripken-like, a one-team player through his career, and his desire to make an extra, what, hundred million dollars minimum, Alex chose to take the hundred million dollars. I would ask everyone who boos Alex what decision they would make in his position — except that it doesn’t matter. He’s a symbol now, a symbol of the greed people see in baseball players, and booing him allows fans to feel self-righteous and bonded against that greed.
Meanwhile, Alex’s teammate Carl Everett, he of the child-abuse problems, who tried to start a fight with Jamie Moyer — Jamie! — and had that crotch-grabbing, foul-mouthed tirade for Jamie and has no respect for the game… Carl gets to bat in silence.
Minor League Highlights for Sunday, April 13
Tacoma‘s home game with Las Vegas was rained out. The teams will play a double-header today, with RHPs Jeff Heaverlo and Brian Sweeney scheduled to start for the Rainiers.
San Antonio 8, El Paso 3. Two hits each for CF Michael Curry, 1B AJ Zapp, DH John Lindsey and RF Elpidio Guzman, none of whom are prospects. RHP Chris Wright started and went six solid innings (5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) for the Missions.
Rancho Cocamonga 6, Inland Empire 1. The 66ers had just two hits in the game, one of which was LF Shin-soo Choo’s first homer of the season. RHP Cha Seung Baek, a former hot prospect trying to come back from numerous injuries, lasted only three innings and was hit hard (9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K).
Wisconsin 4, Burlington 0. The big story here was pitching, as LHPs Bobby Livingston and Ryan Rowland-Smith combined on a two-hit shutout for the Timber Rattlers. Livingston pitched the first 5 2/3, allowing both hits, one walk and striking out seven. Rowland-Smith was nearly perfect over the final 3 1/3, with a two-out walk in the ninth the only blemish. Leadoff man CF Gary Harris had three hits in five trips and 2B Corey Harrington was 4-for-4 with a triple.