Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Raul Bangs Out Another Win 

For some reason, when Ibanez steps up to the plate, I hear the terrible William Hung version of "She Bangs" in my head. Yes, I know I should probably seek help, but Raul Ibanez, He Bangs!

Two big home runs to right in the 7th and 9th innings, and the M's beat the A's 2-1 for the second straight night! For those of you scoring at home, that's 4 straight wins in the Scott Spiezio Era, and we are now 6-8 and just two games out of first place. And that's three straight wins over the A's where we beat up their bullpen. We just have to keep it close against the A's and they'll falter.

That is the third straight game with a home run for Ibanez, who apparently needs his own section in the dictionary under "streaky." Remember how he ended Spring with hits in 11 consecutive at bats?

Raul Ibanez was one of three big bats added this offseason to spark the Mariners offense, and for the third straight game, his home run(s) gave the M's the lead in a tight, low-scoring game. And with the M's pitching coming around, and the other bats cool, this streak couldn't come at a better time.

Meanwhile, Ryan Franklin survived an uncharacteristic bout of wildness, to put up an outstanding 7 inning, one run performance that was just what the M's needed on a night when their bullpen was taxed and their offense was stymied by excellent pitching from Rich Harden.

2 walks and a single in the first inning. A solo shot from Damian Miller in the second inning. Three more walks in the third inning. A double in the fourth. And absolutely nothing in the fifth, sixth, and seventh. One run, three hits, five walks over seven innings. And kudos to Ron Villone who picks up the win with two nearly perfect innings

Of course, Rich Harden was even more masterful, completely dominating M's hitters most of the way, striking out nine in seven innings. Our only threat came in the third with runners on second and third and one out, but John Olerud popped out weakly to left and Boone struck out swinging. But then came Raul Ibanez, leading off the seventh and ripping the ball to right. All four of Ibanez' home runs have gone to right field, as you would expect in Safeco.

So don't let the other bloggers tell you that this is some sort of fluke. Raul Ibanez LIKES hitting in Safeco (1172 OPS at home so far), and will be successful hitting bombs to right field all year long.

He Bangs!

Today's picks:
Cardinals (Morris) -112 over Astros (Redding)
Devil Rays (Abbott) +135 over Orioles (Riley)
Tigers (Cornejo) +165 over Twins (Radke)

Money to date: $418 (picking dog/favorite = +328/+90, 10-12, 10-6) - 4 for 4 yesterday for a nice $485 boost as Willis, Sheets, Rogers and Suppan got the job done!

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