Tuesday, April 04, 2006

One in a row

There is no shame in losing (even the best teams will do so dozens of times in a season), nor in losing the home opener, nor on Opening Day. Congrats to Kenji Johjima and Roberto Petagine for their auspicious beginnings with the M's.

Actually, if you're a Halos fan, you probably have to be a little concerned with the difficulty that they had in defeating the Mariners yesterday.

Today, we draw a tougher opposing pitcher than we did yesterday afternoon. John Lackey broke out in a big way in 2005, and although he doesn't pack high-90's heat, there is no reason to expect that he'll fall back to Earth just yet. (BTW, over/under on the number of times Rick Rizzs and Ron Fairly comment on Lackey's height...15.) Bartolo Colon might be the big man on the Angels' staff, but Lackey's their ace this season.

This stands to be a difficult season for the Mariners regarding Joel Pineiro, our starter for the game this evening. He's in the final year of a contract that could have been a bargain, but wasn't due to injury/ineffectiveness. He is only 27 years old, and there's always that lingering chance that he'll one day finally overcome years of shoulder woes and return to his promising earlier form. Does he turn into Dave Fleming this season, torching any chance of the Mariners achieving the greatness of Tad's .500 prediction? Or does Joel end up looking improved, both from a stuff/velocity standpoint and from a statistical standpoint?

In the latter case, what should the Mariners seek to do with the pitcher? He's actually got one more season under the Mariners' control, as he'll be eligible for arbitration after this season. If he wins a dozen games this season and posts an ERA around 4.00, does that make him someone to resign, just in case he's not really toast? Do the Mariners view non-tendering Pineiro as an option? Can we hope he gets hot and then trade him for something shiny?

We begin to find out the preliminary answers to that question today.

Go M's!


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