Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Evil Epiphany

You know, now we're descending to the level of truly bad teams. Let's take a quick look at the terrain down here at the bottom of the majors:

Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Cool hat, lots of minor league prospects of note (including the reprehensible bat launching Delmon Young). The Rays have never experienced any kind of success at the major league level, but at least that's been their plan? 21-31 record, on their own personal five-game losing streak.

Kansas City Royals - Yikes. This franchise is taking on water as we speak. Their GM, Allard Baird, chose to sign a bunch of nondescript veterans to one-year contracts (Doug Mientkiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek, Reggie Sanders, Mark Redman, etc.) rather than look to the future. The future IS potentially a little brighter in KC than their current 13-37 record, as the Royals own such talents as Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Justin Huber, but they have traditionally blocked and slowed prospects for no apparent reason.

Washington Nationals - The team with no owner for the last several seasons finally has one, or at least potentially has one. The most interesting this team has been (other than its remarkable first half in 2005, leading the NL East briefly) was last week when starting "catcher" Matt LeCroy couldn't throw out any opposing Astros on the basepaths, and forced Frank Robinson to replace him defensively with Robert Fick. Robinson cried during the press conference after the game, and commentators were wondering why that was. Let me say it again: Robert Fick came in as a DEFENSIVE replacement.

Florida Marlins - Their payroll prevents this team from having anyone paid like Adrian Beltre or Richie Sexson. But, despicable current owner or no, they've won two World Series titles since their creation in 1991, and the kids up on the big-league club right now are impressing. Still, their 17-33 record was expected.

Pittsburgh Pirates - I went out on a quick run to the grocery store yesterday, not really paying attention to my schizophrenic garb. As it happens, I was wearing a Pirates T-shirt and a Mariners hat. The person who noticed this asked me about how the Pirates were doing this year. Sad. The Pirates are a team with a little positive history from the pre-Tatonka decades, but nothing exciting in the last few years. Like the Royals, their management has been very reluctant to allow prospects to contribute, so this season has mostly been a positive in that direction, with pitching prospects aplenty in the rotation. Still, 18-34.

Chicago Cubs - This team has an offense worse than ours, and a manager reputed for shredding talented pitchers' arms. It also has a Curse, and a long history, and a great historic ballpark, and devoted fans all over the place. Admit it, you'd like to have a Seattle-based cable superstation broadcasting Mariners' games to the entire nation. This season, though, the Cubs have been exposed at 20-31 as posers.

There you have it, the worst teams in 2006. Now, by comparison, our M's stand out as the BEST team in this group, with a stellar .407 winning percentage. But this is what we've been reduced to...we're the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, minus hope for the future (plus a great stadium). We're the Cubbies, without the huge fan base that embraces suckitude. We're the Royals or Pirates, without the prospects and without any plan for acquiring any. We're the Nationals with an owner.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

6 in a row

I was planning on giving Hargrove props for the lineup tonight. Lopez dropped to third. Beltre hitting second, Petagine a spot start against a tough righty pitcher. I like it a lot.

Then he has Reed running in the eighth. Down two runs. Predictably, he gets thrown out. Rally over.

Fire Mike Hargrove!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Piling on

Dear Grover:

Please explain to me in small words, so I'll understand, why you can use JJ Putz trailing by 2 in the 8th, but never in extra innings of a tie ball game?

Your "Friend,"


Fire Mike Hargrove!

Now. With as terrible as the M's are playing, they still have a shot in the West. If you replace Hargrove and the team goes on a little run, then you can make a deal at the deadline to replace whomever is still sucking the most from among Everett, Reed, Beltre and Sexson. My list of gripes against Grover is long and I don't want to make this a megapost but here are the top 5.

1. The ridiculous agressive baserunning. If you are the Angels and have a lineup of good, smart baserunners you can have push for the extra base. For the 2006 Mariners, it just ain't working. How many more triple plays does it take?

2. The Bunting! Especially Lopez. He's by some measures your most valuable hitter and you are having him give up outs to set up Sexson, Everett and Beltre. Insane.

3. The "Closer." Even though he refuses to call Putz the closer, he is treating him like one, refusing to let him pitch in a tie game on the road. He is letting the definition of a save define his bullpen usage, rather than using his top guys when he needs them.

4. The 12 man pen. The twelfth guy in the pen, whom Hargrove insists he needs, has just plain sucked. Whether it was Harris or Nageotte or Livingston, this player has added no value. As bad as the M's offense is, they could have used some more bats on the bench this season, which brings us to:

5. The Set line-up. If you are the 95 Indians, a set lineup is a fine idea. If you are the 2006 Mariners and you have the middle of your order hovering around the Mendoza line, its suicide. Beltre and Sexson are struggling big-time! They could use a day off! Everett and Ibanez are way on the wrong side of 30, they could use a day off! Japanese players often need a lot of rest in their first season stateside, because of the longer season, the inceased travel, the cultural adjustments. Find Johjima more than a day off every couple of weeks! Argggh!

John McGrath has a fine piece in the TNT calling for Hargrove's head. A couple more oughta do the trick.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Report Card

As I see them, here are the current grades as of yesterday's games (26 May), with the 22-28 Mariners nearly 1/3 of the way through the 2006 season:

Catcher – A-

RH Kenji Johjima (276/337/414, 752 OPS, 25 RC, 6 WS), $5.43 M, 5th among AL C in THT’s Win Shares

The catcher position has been anchored by a very solid Kenji Johjima, who has pretty much answered all of the questions directed at him during the offseason. His homerun power has been a tiny bit less than we hoped, but overall, this is a HUGE improvement from 2005’s parade of idiots.

First Base – D-

RH Richie “Big Sexy” Sexson (209/282/368, 650, 21, 3), $13.0 M, 10th among AL 1b in WS

Well, what can we say about Big Sexy? He’s struggled to do anything worthwhile this season, and if he’s not nursing a secret injury, then this qualifies as a disaster. But at least he’s a well-paid disaster! A 650 OPS wouldn’t be acceptable for someone who CAN play defense, but with his contract, we’re pretty much stuck wishfully hoping that Sexson can return to his historical form, with an OPS north of 900.

Second Base – A

RH Jose C. Lopez (286/316/488, 804, 40, 10), $0.3 M, 1st among AL 2b in WS

Second base was made out to be a “competition” by Mike Hargrove in Spring Training, but no fans actually believed that the Mariners would give the job to anyone other than Lopez. Even his biggest detractors can’t currently say that he’s the team’s problem, as indeed, the young man has blossomed into a fine 1/3 of the season second sacker. Can he keep this level of production up? Hard to say, but since he’s only 23 years old, things look pretty good at second for the M’s

Third Base – F

RH Adrian Beltre (214/282/287, 569, 10, 0), $12.9 M, 16th among AL 3b in WS

Yikes. I applauded this signing when it happened. I agreed with everyone else that last season was simply an aberration, a step down from what we could legitimately expect from Beltre. And then this season he has gotten worse, far worse. The man is Jeff Cirillo, part deux. Tatonka. I’m not giving up just yet, but yeesh. Look at those stats. He’s just turned 27, so he ought to be entering his prime years, and yet…good Lord, he sucks. Zero win shares puts him so far down the list of AL 3b that TWO Angels and THREE Royals third basemen rank ahead of him in 2006 WS.

Shortstop – C-

RH Yuniesky Betancourt (272/286/392, 678, 17, 3), $0.3 M, 9th among AL SS in WS

YuBet has not exactly been as advertised this year…sure, his fielding WS approach his value at the plate (1.4 to 1.7), and I don’t know if he “looks” as flashy this season as he did most of last season in the field, but his fielding WS are ninth among AL SS, well back of one Carlos Guillen, and less than half the fielding WS value of leader Jhonny (can’t spell my own first name) Peralta. The good news is that we weren’t expecting much out of shortstop this season. The bad news is that’s exactly what we’re getting.

Left Field – B+

LH Raul Ibanez (265/326/445, 771, 31, 6), $4.9 M, 14th among AL OF

I’ll apologize again here to Gillvasi, who’s signing of Ibanez I roundly criticized at the time. This has been a value free agent signing for the entire contract. On the one hand, I hope that Ibanez’s good run does not turn into a ridiculous contract extension. On the other hand, I was wrong before…. Raul is NOT the problem with the Mariners miserable teams during the last couple of seasons.

Centerfield – F

RH Willie Bloomquist (270/338/286, 624, 8, 2), $0.6 M, 44th among AL OF

LH Jeremy Reed (225/267/387, 654, 9, 1), $0.4 M, 51st among AL OF

What a nightmare! I have to list Wee Willie first because Reed has SO sucked thus far this season. Regression from last year’s none-too-impressive campaign is rather disappointing for young Mr. Reed. I’m already on the Adam Jones bandwagon; join me! (The 21-year-old shortstop convert is hitting 244/279/445 in Tacoma right now, with 7 HR and 5 SB.) In Bloomquist and Reed, we seem to have a capable pinch-runner and a decent fifth outfielder. That makes for a problem as a tag-team starting centerfielder.

Right Field – B+

LH Ichiro! Suzuki (313/364/379, 743, 33, 6), $12.5 M, 11th among AL OF

Ichiro! is less awesome than he has been, but he’s still solidly on the fringe of the elite outfielders in baseball. He’s dependent on his speed, but since that’s still there, this is not yet a position that we need to think about upgrading soon.

Designated Hitter – D+

S Carl Everett (260/342/422, 764, 22, 3), $3.4 M, 7th among AL DH

It’s nearly Memorial Day, and Jurassic Carl has failed to cause any serious altercations or injuries in the clubhouse. I say that’s an unmitigated victory for the M’s, even if $3 M could have been saved by going with Roberto Petagine instead. However, if your DH is only generating 3 WS through 1/3 of the season, that’s (quick napkin calculation) only about 3 wins different than a freely-available AAAA player could produce. Not a value pick. Not the problem with our M’s, but not in the same universe as the solution, and if his contract extends beyond 2006, this is a stupid, stupid signing. Oh, wait—it’s already stupid.

Rotation – B-

RH Gil Meche (4.40 ERA, 49 K, 26 BB, 7 HR, 4.41 FIP, 4 Win Shares), $3.7 M, 21st AL SP

LH Jamie Moyer (3.66, 39, 18, 6, 4.01, 4), $5.5 M, 24th AL SP

LH Jarrod Washburn (4.04, 28, 15, 8, 4.74, 4), $7.5 M, 25th AL SP

RH Joel Pineiro (5.25, 27, 19, 10, 5.48, 2), $6.3 M, 45th AL SP

RH Felix Hernandez (5.59, 59, 22, 10, 4.76, 0), $0.3 M, 66th AL SP

B- as in: not so bad. Meche is pitching just about how his Defense Independent stats say he should be, and the King can only get better, but the rest of the rotation is poised to fall apart EVEN further than they already have. Frankly, I expected to find the staff in worse shape according to rankings: arguably, with the 21st, 24th, and 25th American League starters (ranked by THT Win Shares), the Mariners have effectively had zero ace starters but a staff anchored by three #2 guys, followed by a true #4 starter in Pineiro, and a struggling rook who has nowhere to go but up as the #5 guy. Thus, according to WS, or ERA, or whatever way you want to rank them, this isn’t a bad regular-season staff. It wouldn’t win any championships, but replace Joel with a real #1 and you have a pretty solid staff.

Bullpen – B

RH J.J. Putz (3.33, 36, 6, 1, 1.73, 4), $0.4 M, 9th AL RP by Win Shares

RH Rafael Soriano (2.73, 29, 9, 3, 3.70, 3), $0.5 M, 18th AL RP

LH George Sherrill (2.57, 16, 11, 0, 3.02, 2), $0.3 M, 24th AL RP

LH Eddie Guardado (4.86, 17, 8, 4, 5.68, 1), $6.3 M, 53rd AL RP

RH Julio Mateo (5.74, 12, 9, 3, 5.65, 1), $0.6 M, 61st AL RP

LH Jake Woods (6.97, 19, 15, 4, 6.02, 0), $0.3 M

RH Sean Green (6.10, 6, 6, 1, 5.29, 0), $0.3 M

Three quality relievers is enough to form a solid bullpen, and although I’m not sold on Putz’s long-term grasp on the adjective “quality,” nevertheless we’ve got the young, cheap makings of a fine ‘pen in Soriano and Sherrill. Guardado is a broken-down version of his younger self, while the rest of the staff (and I’ve left off Fruto, Harris, etc.) is simply AAA flotsam and jetsam rotating through the pen. As they’ve played out thus far, the pen is also not the problem with the team.

Overall On-Field Stats:

The Mariners’ offense is tenth in the league in runs scored per game, at 4.52. League average is close to 5 runs/game, so that’s pretty limp. Meanwhile, the pitching staff ranks seventh (average) in the league by allowing 4.98 runs/game (with a 4.68 ERA; the other 0.3 r/g are unearned). We’re right around the expected wins that should result from having scored 226 and allowed 249 runs, so assuming that no major changes occur in the makeup of the team for the rest of the season, it would take a rebound by the infield corners (not unlikely) to improve in the standings.

The good news here is that the Angels are experiencing massive suckitude as well in 2006, and neither the Rangers nor the A’s have really pulled away from the pack just yet. But that’s not really going to help us at all.

Manager – C

Mike Hargrove makes baffling decisions, but he’s one of many many non-entities as a major league manager. I don’t honestly think he’s hurting or helping the club, so we’ll just give the Human Rain Delay a C and move on.

Coaches – D

Jeff Pentland and Rafael Chaves are supposed to maintain the batting and pitching effectiveness, respectively, of the team’s players. Given the utter inability of Pentland to help Beltre and Sexy and Reed, I would say that he has started off his career as Mariners hitting coach in rocky fashion. Conversely, I’d give Chaves at least a C+ for his efforts thus far, since he’s got Meche pitching at what for him is an above-average level, and I would think that some of the credit has to go to him. King Felix’s struggles were predictable, in hindsight, and I feel that the Mariners’ staff is handling him appropriately, so there you go.

GM – D

Bill Bavasi has been a Behring-sized blight on the Mariners organization, although he has made one or two good moves. You know, it’s pretty sad when the current head of the team’s personnel moves makes you long for a good solid Woody Woodward. Yikes. Can’t wait until Bavasi is fired, but then again, who to replace him with? Will the Mariner front office choose yet another Good Old Boy to run the team poorly? The farm system is pretty weak, with only Adam Jones and Jeff Clement standing out as definite help for the big club in the near future. There are building blocks here, but the long-term health of the pitching staff is a huge question mark, King Felix notwithstanding, while the pathetic batting performances of some of the high-salary players make hitting the immediate priority. Sad.

What? You're still reading? Shame on you! Well, let's end this dissection of the team with the following optimistic note: as poorly as the team has hit, and as discouraging as some elements of Mariner fandom are right now, we're not in last place (thanks Anaheim), AND despite our troubles so far, the pitching staff has us on pace for something closer to 71-72 wins than the pessimistic 68 that I predicted for this season's team. Oh, what, I was only off by 3-4 out of 162? Well, it's, uhh, early. Yeah, that's it. We'll get better. We're good enough, we're smart enough, and darn it, people...ugh.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Live Game Report: O's 2, M's 0


Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Big Inning

Despite our Managers bunt happy, rally-killin' ways, we have been putting up some big innings lately. A six run job yesterday, 5 runs on Monday and the big 8 run inning on Sunday. If Beltre and Sexson actually start contributing (as they did last night), we might get an offense worth talking about!

Good to see JJ get run out there for the ninth. Truly, I don't care who gets the 3 run saves, they are not that valuable and would be a fine spot for Eddie if Hargrove was so inclined. I'm just glad that the one bad outing didn't automatically change how Hargrove thinks of his pecking order in the pen.

I know I keep harping on this, but if Hargrove is so concerned about the workload of the pen (and the broadcast guys made it sound like no one was available in the pen at all) he might consider using them for longer stints. Like the 2+ Green went last night. See how well that worked!

I'm at the game today, so live game report tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

That got ugly in a hurry

The M's end their 4 game winning streak in style! Joel gives up 4 runs in the first and then after the M's battle back to within a run, JJ and Jake Woods give up 9 in the ninth. Yowch!

Putz pitched in all three games of the Padre series and then got one night off before getting run back out there. Not suprisingly he was off his game. I actually don't have a problem with pitching JJ here (he's been great and his workload has gone down since he's been the "closer") as much as I do Sherrill and Soriano going 2/3 of an inning a piece. Knowing that Eddie had pitched the night before and that JJ had pitched 3 of the last 4 games, Grover still let his two set up guys go less than an inning each. Guh!

I don't think the Sexson salami from Monday is a sign of anything to come either. He went 0-for-4 Tuesday with 3 K's. Two of the K's were the exact same sequence:
1. Take 3 balls and get a 3-0 count.
2. Take strike 1 right down the middle.
3. Swing mightily and miss at a ball out of the zone.
4. Take strike 3 on the outside corner, bitch to the ump.

The good news? Texas and Oakland both lost, so the M's remain just 3 games back in the West.

Monday, May 22, 2006

LIve Game Report: M's 10, Padres 8

Nice crowd for Sunday's game, the loudest I've heard this year. It was Little League Day though, so draw your own conclusions.

Man, Mike Cameron can play CF. He ran down a couple of balls that I thought were doubles. He makes them look routine. I loved Junior, but Cammy is the best defensive outfielder the M's have ever had.

Felix, oh Felix. He could not throw strikes with his curveball, so he fell behind batter after batter and had to throw fastballs. I didn't chart him, but there were a couple of sequences where he threw 5,6,7 fastballs in a row. If guys are waiting on Felix's fastball, they can hit it it seems. His velocity was good, 95-97, but he doesn't seem to be able to survive as a one pitch pitcher. I saw very few change-ups yesterday as well.

Hargrove tried his best to blow the big inning by having Johjima sacrifice and Betancourt squeeze. Johjima bunted foul, then singled in a run on the next pitch, and Yuniesky beat out the bunt after a little bit of a bobble by Blum. So Hargrove didn't give away those two outs that he tried to and was rewarded with an 8 run inning. You just can't sacrfice in the second inning! Its crazy! Get hits! Score runs!

My daughter's new favorite player is Jeremy Reed. For some reason she loved the graphic: I feel the need, the need for Reed.

Jurassic Carl's favorite subjects in school: Math and Science. I am not making this up.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bye Bye Matt, we hardly knew ya

Matt Lawton was released by the M's Saturday. Morse was brought up despite "hitting" 227/278/417 in T-town. Ostensibly, this is to give the M's more flexibility with Beltre and Bloomquist both hurting, as Morse could play third for AB and theoretically can cover all the infield and left field as well.

Of course, under Hargrove, the bench only matters when a guy gets hurt because, other than the Willie/Reed platoon/non-platoon, the starters play every day. Even when said starters are hitting .205.

Lawton never really got a chance here, but he didn't do much with the 27 at-bats he got. Most damning was his lack of extra-base hits, managing only 7 singles in his brief Mariner career. Of course those 27 ABs are a hell of a lot more than Borchard got, and quite a bit more than Petagine has gotten. Did I mention the Richie is hitting .205? No, he doesn't need a day off! He's our cleanup hitter!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Obligatory Interleague Play Rant

Interleague play has returned.


This is the single worst innovation of Bud Selig's career as the Mouth of Sauron. Why oh why can't we do away with meaningless in-season interleague games? These feel like exhibitions. I don't get any particular enjoyment out of seeing the Mariners play the Padres. Again. Ggguh! If I really want to see the stars from the National League, I'll, I dunno, use such science-fictional technology as the television, or perhaps that internet thingy I'm hearing so much about.

Good Lord this is stupid. OK, rant over.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Life Wasted

"You're always saying that there's something wrong,..../I'm starting to believe it's your plan all along,..."

Well, at least we got smacked around last night by the AL West's first-place team. What's that? The win over the M's PUT the Athletics in first? And their 20-19 record only TIES them with the Texas Rangers for first? And the entire division blows??

Yes, yes, and yes. Get this: every single AL West team has a losing HOME record. I know, I know, it's not even Memorial Day yet (ahhh, but that's only a little over a week away), but this is eerie. The only decent teams in the entire American League are Boston and New York. I still refuse to acknowledge the White Sox as a legitimate team, although they're sporting the best record in the AL (well, tied with Detroit, who can't really be for real, can they? Can they?).

All of this means that we Mariners fans can latch on to EXACTLY that sense of "youneverknow" sort of wishful thinking that pre-Tatonka M's fans made an annual part of their baseball fandom. The M's would hang around for a month, two, or even three, and be within a perfectly reasonable number of games of first place in the division...only to completely collapse in August and September (or what's worse, to continue playing horribly while the good teams finally put everything together and pulled away from the pack).

"Oh I erased it,... A life wasted,.../I'm never going back again."

Monday, May 15, 2006


The M's hit 9 homers this weekend in taking 2 of 3 from the Angels. It took them 10 games to hit their first 9 homers of the year...

They slugged .524! Beltre homered! And Sexson and Everett! And multiple homers for Yuniesky and Reed. Its an explosion...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sunshine and Beer

There are few things better than weekday afternoons at the Safe. The weather was perfect, 7 buck tickets were plentiful, allowing you to stand in the CF picnic area for less than cost of a beer!

It was a well pitched game from Moyer and Kazmir. I'm not sure I've ever seen a 1-0 game where the run scored on a balk.

The rowdy drinking crowd in center has turned on Beltre big time. He was booed lustily and got more than a few "you suck" comments shouted his way by my fellow beer drinkers.

After AB ended the game, we stood there chatting, finishing off the last sips of beer, enjoying the remains of the day. Elderly usher type came up and gave us an amazing line.

You fellas don't have to go home, but you do have to leave.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Return of the King

Put the 70's Elvis pictures away! (It's a reference to the current weight of El Cartauela and another prominent "King')

Felix had control last night. He was not perfect by any means, but he had control. Its a start.

The Schedule Turns

Through Sunday, the Mariners had played 33 games, going 13-20. 19 of those games were against the 6 teams that were in first or second place in their divisions, leaving only 14 against the other 8 teams.

14 of their games came against the first place teams, none against last place teams. Of course there are only two other last place teams, since the M's are one of them, but they have only had 3 against Anaheim (the worst non-Mariner team in the division).

The next 18 games feature no first place teams, and only two teams over .500 in Oakland and San Diego.

I'm not saying the M's haven't played poorly. They have. But they might be a little better in May than they were in April.

Back in Action

What's this? I get REALLY busy for a few weeks, and the M's go in the tank?


In any case, nothing interesting or fancy today, but I'll be back with my usual curmudgeonly insights on a regular basis for most of our own personal hell that is Mariner fandom.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mariners Week in Review: May 1-7

2-5 for the week. Bleah. A win against the Twins on Monday ran their winning streak to 3 in a row, tying the season's best. But then they get beat by Santana, dropped two to the White Sox and then 2 of three at home to the Indians. 13-20, last place, on pace for a 64-98 season. Dark, dark, dark.

23 paltry runs drops them back into 11th place in the AL at 137. 12th in OBP, 12th in SLG, 13th(!) in HR, but still #1 in steals and up to 2nd in percentage at 78%. It feels like they are running smarter and the SB percentage bears that out.

Ibanez leads the team with a 902 OPS for the week. Matt Lawton made some hay as the left side of a CF platoon hitting 385 with a few walks. All singles though as he slugs 385 for the week Third for the week? Adrian Beltre at 762. That's actually not all that great, but we takes the positive signs for the A-Train where we gets them. AB managed to slug 439 without any homers. The list of no-so-much hitters is long and distinguished, including YuBet's 136 average, Ichiro's 258 OBP and Sexson's pathetic 125/160/292. Richie's hitting 195 for the season, so if you want to blame someone, there he is.

Good pitching again this week, 29 runs taking us to 155 for the year, still 8th. The M's are within 7 runs of 4th place though, so the pitching is definitely solid. The Mariners still lead the league in K's (thank you Felix) but are 11th in walks (also thank you Felix).

Joel Piniero got the wins this week(!), twirling a couple of gems. He didn't walk anybody in nearly two full games of work. Great control, ground balls, keep it in the ballpark. Works for me. Washburn also had two solid starts, Jamie was Jamie and the King was bad again.

The pen was shaky again this week. Eddie blew another save and lost the closer job. Soriano, Woods and Sherrill all struggled a little bit especially on the control side (6 BB in 6 and 2/3 total innings). JJ continues to dazzle, picking up a save while striking out 2 guys in 4 batters.

I don't know what to make of things here. Surely the offense should pick up right? Sexson and Ichiro have to hit better. Lopez is the only guy likely to hit worse over the rest of the season, even Beltre and Reed should play better than they are. But won't the pitching just regress back to the bad level we thought it would be?? Safeco is keeping Meche respectable, Joel seems like a time bomb waiting to explode. Will the league figure out JJ's splitter? Who closes then? Washburn and Moyer should be able to pitch at their current levels or maybe a little worse and the King has substantial room for improvement so who knows? If the offense doesn't turn soon though, Hargrove and Bavasi aren't going to be around to see if the pitching holds up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well, that hurt.

Down 4-1, our boys rally in the 8th to take a 5-4 lead. Anecdotally it feels like that never happened last year. I know that it did, but it feels like this team is more capable of a 4 run rally despite being 10th in the AL in offense.

And then Eddie blows another save in the 9th. Another 2 out homer actually, just like Boston and home against the Sox. Brilliant. I gotta think even Hargrove will take him out of ninth innings for a while and try to let him work things out in less dire circumstances. Or not.

Weird note, Cliff Politte intentionally walked Ibanez in the 8th to get to Sexson. What was interesting was that the he hit 79 on the gun on one toss to the catcher. I immediately thought of two things here. First, big league pitchers play catch at 80 mph! And that's faster than a Jamie Moyer change-up.

Playoffs?! Don't tell me about Playoffs

Browsing through Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report this morning (subscription Required). They have the M's at 11% to win the division at this point and just under 1% to win the wild card for a 12% playoff chance! I gotta admit that is better than I thought!

Imagine how the odds would look if our 25 million dollar corners were hitting!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mariners Week in Review: April 24-30

4 and 2 makes for the first winning week of the season and brings their season record to 11-15. Two out of three from the White Sox was very impressive, winning in 11 after Eddie blew another save, Joel getting hammered in the second game and beating Mark Beurhle in the rubber game.After dropping the first game to the Orioles, they rebounded nicely to take that series as well, coming back in both weekend games. The Mariner’s are actually only two games back in the AL West, though I expect someone will catch fire here pretty quickly.

26 runs scored to brings the M’s to 114 and up one slot to 10th in the AL. Again they are 10th despite being below 10th in average, OBP and Slugging. They continue to lead the league in steals (and triples!) while being 4th in steal percentage. So it is possible that despite some really brutal outs, the crazy running may be helping the offense a bit.

Ichiro is your hitting star for the week with a line of 400/428/480, raising his season numbers to 287/315/391. Lopez and Ibanez also had good weeks slugging 625 and 615 respectively. Those two are your season long slugging leaders as well at 491 for Lopez and 505 for Ibanez (Excluding Petagine of course, who despite slugging .750 for the year has only gotten 11 PA’s). Willie Ballgame continues to crank out singles, hitting 4 in 11 Abs this week after 3 for 10 last week. He has neither walked nor rapped an extra base hit in that span. Two more steals also to run his consecutive steals streak to 17. The boy can run. Beltre finally hit a homer and actually slugged 350 for the week. Oh My!

The not so good performances belong to Reed, who went 0 for the week despite not playing against lefties. Kenji and Richie continued their struggles, Johjima managing just two singles for the week and Sexson three. Richie has not hit a homer since the granny in Cleveland two weeks ago. Ouch.

The M’s allowed 31 runs to bring them to 126, 13 of them in the blowout loss to the White Sox on Tuesday. They hold steady at 8th in AL in runs allowed. The M’s lead the league in K/s per nine at 7.44 tough they are only 8th in K/BB ratio. Need to cut donw on the walks a bit to continue to be effective.

The M’s got good starts in 3 of their 4 wins, two from Jamie and one from Washburn. Felix’s one start was not very good, 5 IP, 10H, 4 R, 2BB, 2SO. He was in trouble every inning but the 5th. The offense got their biggest inning of the year, a six run outburst to get the King a cheap win. Meche and Joel got beat up pretty good in the two losses. Two of Meche’s runs were unearned if you pay attention to those sorts of things.

The pen was not quite as dominant as usual as Woods, Soriano and Eddie all got touched up a little bit. Woods and Soriano at least threw strikes getting 5 and 4 Ks for the week without any walks. Eddie got two saves while blowing another, but did not look good all week. Baserunners and missed corners galore! Putz and Sherrill continue to be effective and Bobby Livingston came up to poke more holes in the “We need 12 pitchers” theory, getting lit up for 4 runs in his only appearance. The heaviest work load for the week was Putz at 5 innings in 3 appearances. Woods was next at 4 and 1/3. Sherrill threw one inning. Over 4 appearances. Mateo less than 3 innings. We have enough pitchers.

Nageotte went down after his terrible appearance Sunday, Livingston came up and got shelled as I mentioned. Mateo went on the DL on Sunday with tendonitis and Sean Green who was closing in T-town came up to take his place. 3 more days to figure out what to do with Borchard, hopefully he clears waivers and heads to Tacoma. A Borchard/Bloomquist platoon in center may not be too far from happening actually.

Two two-game series’ this week in Minnesota and Chicago, then home for 3 against