Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Say what?

Three games over .500 for the first time since 2003?

To put it in perspective, the following occured that year:

Oscar for best movie: Return of the King. Peter Jackson has since been embroiled in a lawsuit over accounting practices with respect to profits over Fellowship of the Ring and has been replaced as director of the upcoming movie, The Hobbit.

The Iraq war began on March 20, 2003, and presently has lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II.

Roger Clemens reached the milestone marks of 300 wins and 4,000 strikeouts. He has since retired three times.

Barry Bonds swiped his 500th base, hit 45 homers and won his 6th NL MVP award. He's tagged 88 home runs since then, the same number Tino Martinez hit during his entire Mariner tenure. He's also injected 88 different spots on his hiney with - ahem - vitamin supplements.

Buddy Ebsen died at the ripe old age of 95. Funny that despite a career that lasted nearly 70 years, he was best known as the simple-minded rube grandfather from The Beverly Hillbillies.

You get the picture. 2003 was a long time ago. The M's have had longer periods of futility, but four years seems like an eternity. This cobbled-together, band-aided group of up-and-comers and dumpster-dives has performed better than one could reasonably expect to this point in the season.

One is tempted to offer at least tepid words resembling congratulatory sentiments to Messrs. Bavasi and Hargrove for the results. One would be highly premature to do so. The starting pitching is still a mess and many of the hitters are performing well above expectations. Sounds like my fantasy team.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the M's will stay within the periphery of the race for the A.L. West through the first half of the season. That's the most I can muster right now.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Brief Tribute to Batgirl

As many of you probably already know, one of the very best MLB-team-oriented blogs on the planet, Batgirl, has come to an end. This is sad news, to be sure, for those of us (even non-Twins fans) who frequented the endlessly witty blog. The gimmicks (Legovision!) weren't gimmicky, the community of posters was as good as you find, and the constantly innovative and creative blogging about the team through good and bad was always worthwhile.

We can't hope to aspire to the kind of quality that Batgirl brought to blogging...at least, not until I get kicked off the authorship of Tatonka...but there is no question that she was one of many influences that got us blogging in the first place.

Indeed, I cannot offer as powerful a tribute here as has already been accumulated in hundreds of responses to Batgirl's announcement that she is done blogging, so go read through those, and add your two cents as well.

We salute you, Batgirl, and you will be missed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How to Build a Winning Franchise: Part 1, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are of course a team that we love to hate, given that Milwaukee stole the Seattle Pilots in order to create this monstrosity. All of the horrible seasons for Milwaukee baseball fans is karmic retribution for their remorseless theft, and they deserve plenty more where that came from.

So we’re not remotely sad that after 28 pathetic seasons in the AL, and then the last 9 plus seasons in the easier NL, the Brew Crew has been able to muster only a single sustained run of winning, in which half of the 12 winning (.500 or better) seasons in franchise history occurred in the early 1980s. This run culminated in winning the AL East in the strike year of 1981, losing the ALDS to the Yankees, and then winning the American League pennant in 1982 by trouncing the California Angels in the ALDS, only to lose to Whitey Herzog’s St. Louis Cardinals in a World Series that was at the same time close and exciting, and yet filled with blowouts. (The Brew Crew won their games 10-0, 13-1, and 7-5, but lost it all in the heartbreaking later innings of Game 7).

That’s it for the Brewers. Outside of 1981-2, they’ve NEVER been to the playoffs. They’re not a model of anything in baseball outside of “how to splash a mascot into a beer stein” or “how to have a mascot race,” which are both the same kind of minor-league that Milwaukee deserves.

Yet it is precisely because of the Brewers’ history of ineptness that Seattle fans, or fans of equally poorly-run organizations, might look to the Brewers for some instruction on how to build a winning team. You may not have noticed, but like the Cleveland Indians in Major League, the Brewers are suddenly a contender. Moreover, as of this writing they possess a 6 ½ game lead over both the Houston Astros and the Chicago €ub$, sporting a 28-17 record. We’re over one-quarter of the way through the 2007 championship season, and the Brewers are for real in the NL Central.

So how have they done it? As a “small market” team (their 2007 payroll is clear up to ~$71M, nearly double what it was just two seasons ago; the 2007 Forbes figures of franchise value mark the Brewers as the fifth-least valuable MLB franchise around, at only $287M), the Brewers under GM Doug Melvin have steadily accumulated the major league roster through the farm system, trades, and limited, minor free agent signings. The Brewers have not had the resources to compete for the stars on the open market, but they have enjoyed good fortune in their prospect development. Let’s look at the various pieces of the team to get a blueprint (a purpleprint?) of how it’s done:

Almost the entire batting order represents shrewd drafting and luck (a combination that is necessary with prospects; they just don’t always pan out, no matter how “can’t miss” they are). Except for the catcher (Johnny Estrada, acquired in a six-player trade last winter) and the third basemen (where it’s a good thing that top prospect Ryan Braun is on the way, because this is the one sucking chest wound for the current offense), all of the everyday starters have been drafted and developed by the Brewers. Even wily veteran left-fielder Geoff Jenkins was a first-round draft pick by Milwaukee in 1995; center-fielder Bill Hall was selected in the sixth round in 1998, and then Corey Hart (2000), J.J. Hardy (2001), Prince Fielder (2002), and Rickie Weeks (2003) came along in the last decade. The last three players mentioned, now the good three-quarters of the infield, were all top-10 overall draft picks. Add in bench player Tony Gwynn, Jr., and it is evident that the Brewers have done a top-notch job of building an offense through the amateur draft.

This, of course, is the result of all those years of sucking. You don’t get back-to-back-to-back top-10 selections unless your team sucks ass for a long, long time. Way to go, Milwaukee! (Seattle’s rapidly approaching that marker, by the way.)

Meanwhile, the pitching staff is almost entirely built out of other teams’ castoffs. The big exception is SP Ben Sheets, who was another top-10 pick, this time in the 1999 draft (quick: name a year in which the Brewers did NOT select in the top 10). Sheets has had injury problems throughout his career, but when healthy he’s an ace atop the starting rotation. Of the other twelve pitchers who have faced batters for Milwaukee in 2007, seven (7!!) were acquired by trade, two more via the waiver wire, and only two signed as free agents.

Indeed, the big deviation from the pattern of building from within was a Tatonka-like signing of free-agent starter Jeff Suppan on Christmas Eve 2006. I thought little of Soup coming into the season, and wouldn’t have wanted to add him to the Mariners roster (although I must admit that I would have preferred him to the guys we DID acquire, but that’s COMPLETELY another story). But that signing (4 years, $42 million, plus club option on 2011) brought in a 12-year veteran with World Series experience and a career of league-average ERA. So far in 2007, he’s posted a shiny 3.49 ERA while facing 280 batters in 10 games. That’s been best on the Brewers’ staff, and he leads the team with 6 wins.

Like drafting and the limited free agent purchases, Melvin’s trades have generally worked out, as well. Key players Johnny Estrada, Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, Claudio Vargas, and Francisco Cordero were all acquired by trade, as were lesser players such as Kevin Mench, Tony Graffanino, Gabe Gross, Brian Shouse, Carlos Villanueva, and Greg Aquino. The future was never mortgaged to get these guys—even when trading quality players like Richie Sexson or Lyle Overbay—and as well as Cordero has pitched thus far in 2007, none of these acquisitions are superstars who might be expected to lead a team to a pennant. Yet they’re contributing to a team that suggests, all of a sudden, that Doug Melvin is many, many standard deviations higher than Bill Bavasi in [insert pretty much any baseball- or intellect-related category here].

So how has this team performed on the field? With 218 runs scored and 192 runs allowed, the Brewers are 8th in MLB in offense (3rd in the NL, behind the Mets and Phillies), and 10th in the majors in pitching (7th in the NL). Honestly, that’s a dream outcome for a team built in this fashion. You can never COUNT on even the Delmon Youngs or Alex Gordons of the world to be ready to pound major-league pitching at any particular time. (This is why both Griffey and A-Rod were so special for us: you COULD count on them to be stars right away.) And indeed, it has taken players like Weeks and Hardy some development time and growing pains in the majors before they got to the point they’re at now. Some of the waiting has been offset by the diamond-in-the-rough discovery that is Bill Hall, who was never expected to perform as well as he has. But now that the waiting appears to be over for these players (I’ll say appears: remember how young Jose Lopez was hitting just one year ago?), they are not only carrying the very productive Brewer offense, but are also young and inexpensive to employ, so they have turned into that most valuable commodity in the world of baseball: solid contributors under the team’s control cheaply for their most productive seasons.

Alright, so if this is the model that is the 2007 Milwaukee Brewers, what can the Mariners front office learn here? Our offense differs considerably from Milwaukee’s. Only Jose Lopez was developed from within the organization, while seven of the nine everyday starters were brought in as free agents (two from Japan, one from Cuba, and the rest from the majors). And of course, Turbo was acquired by trade. That unit is scoring runs at a lower rate than Milwaukee’s offense, to the tune of only 4.4 runs per game (compared to the Brewers’ rate of 4.8). Had Seattle played as many games thus far as Milwaukee, we ought to rank in the middle of the pack in offense.

So far, only Kenji Johjima, Ichiro! Suzuki, and Jose Guillen have performed above average (as measured by OPS+; check out Baseball-Reference.com), whereas only two Brewers starters (the two-headed 3B ToCraigNy CounsGraffaellenino, and RF Corey Hart) have performed below average.

League-average offense would probably be acceptable, if only we could offset that with awesome pitching and defense. After all, the Brewers are getting by with slightly above league-average pitching to go with their excellent hitting. But alas, our hitting is the STRENGTH of the team. Like the Brew Crew, every single starter but one was signed as a free agent or acquired in trade. Unlike the Brewers, however, it would have been pretty challenging to construct a worse starting rotation than the one the Mariners are running out there. (Way to go, M’s!) Seattle is coughing up over 5 runs per game, putting us about 5th or 6th worst in the entire major leagues. (We appear to be in the middle of the pack, if you look at runs allowed totals, but that is an artifact of the week of snowouts earlier this season.)

So, if Milwaukee’s success could inspire us to believe in these here Mariners, giving in to that temptation would be a rather foolish mistake. Our team has neither been constructed like the Brewers (our key players are on the wrong side of the aging curve because they’ve been acquired via free agency rather than developed in-house), nor is it really performing anything like Milwuakee’s team. Our drafting over the last decade has been, well, atrocious. Trades have returned less than we’ve given away. Free agents routinely have failed to pan out. Indeed, the one lesson we MIGHT learn from the Brewers, “hire a competent GM and give him the organization’s backing,” is not one that the decision-makers associated with the M’s appear to be willing to learn.

To be sure, no matter how doomed we are, I’ll never root for the Brewers. But we’re doomed.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Tatonka's Favorite Mariners Series #4: Jay Buhner


It’s hard to quantify Jay Buhner. Oh, sure, he accomplished some significant statistical milestones as the right fielder of the Mariners in the 1980s and 90s. He launched 310 HR (all but three with Seattle), drove in 965 runs, and posted a .359 On Base Percentage for his career. All while possessing one of the finest RF arms in the game.

But Bone was all about personality. He was balding, he was funny, and he was by all accounts a true force in the clubhouse. He was able to puke on demand, and apparently used this talent when newer players were on the training table receiving treatment. He was a true locker room cutup, but also a fiery team leader. At one point in 1995 (September 9th to be exact), the Mariners took over the wild card lead and the team re-organized the AL pennants in order of wild card standings, rather than divisional ones. This lasted all of one night as a furious Bone insisted they be put back. He wanted the team to focus on winning the division. As we all remember, the Mariners won their division that year and finished a game BEHIND the Yankees for the wild card. But all of these stories pale in comparison to Buhner’s lasting legacy as a Mariner, being the inspiration for one of the great marketing schemes of all time—Buhner Buzz Cut Night.

Somewhere I have photographic evidence of the personal impact of the first such event. When it was announced, all of us responded with such phrases as “that’s cool,” and “We’ve gotta go.” In the end, everyone else chickened out, and Brian came to the inaugural Buzz Cut Night to witness me and some 500 other fans have our heads shaved outside the Kingdome on the 19th of May, 1994. In exchange for lopping off our hair, we got free tickets above the rightfield wall to cheer on our beloved Bone. A few years later, Tad, who had shaved his head for other reasons, did participate in the event, getting a high-five from Bone as he waited in line. Because Bone didn’t merely lend his name to the event. He actually shaved a few heads himself every year and spent hours outside talking to and encouraging the participants.

Two stories come out of my experience. First of all, I had fairly long locks at that point--past shoulder length--and although my hair wasn’t the longest that got buzzed, I did lose a lot of hair all at once. My appearance was so transformed that when I got home and saw my infant daughter, she was terrified of me, and wouldn’t let me hold her for a good couple of days.

But it was worth it. We got an exciting ballgame against the visiting Rangers. Seattle was down 4-0 by the top of the third, but then clawed back with a run in the third and two more in the fifth against Kevin Brown. Still down 4-3 in the ninth, we had the top of the order up, so even one baserunner would guarantee that Buhner, hitting fourth, would get to come to the plate. Two quick outs ensued, but then Cris Carpenter walked both Griffey and Buhner, and was relieved by Matt Whiteside. Game over—Mariners win 5-4 on a Mike (Rickey) Blowers walk-off walk.

Yeah! That victory put the M’s only 2 ½ back of the AL West-leading Rangers, with three more to play in the Dome that weekend against them.

This sequence of events led to my second story regarding Buzz Cut Night. You know that baseball players are superstitious…well, I figured that my presence with shaved head in the right field seats made a difference in the outcome, so I went back the next night. And the next. And the next. I saw that entire four-game series, always in the bleachers above the 23-foot wall in right. And we swept Texas!

Indeed, we put a hurting on the Rangers; that second night saw a 19-2 destruction of Texas, giving the Big Unit the win. I was there, and so was Bone, who went 4-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI. Another rout ensued on Saturday, as Buhner hit a HR to lead the M’s to a 13-2 victory. Finally, a “close” 8-2 game on Sunday saw young Roger Salkeld (remember him?) defeat the venerable Bruce Hurst. That game put Seattle in first place, half a game up on both the California Angels and the Texas Rangers. Whoo hoo!

If you’re a baseball fan, you have to like Jay Buhner. And if you’re a Seattle fan, he also represents one of the greatest trades in club history…Buhner came to Seattle from the Yankees in exchange for Digger, er, Kenny Phelps. We loved Phelps, to be sure, but any way you tally it up, this trade was a steal for the M’s. Phelps would play a little over a year for the Yankees before they flipped him to Oakland for the immortal Scott Holcomb. Phelps hit a total of 17 HR for the Bombers in that time. Of course the trade was immortalized on Seinfeld, when Frank Costanza, on being told by George Steinbrenner that his son might be dead, blurted out “What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for!!??”

So, sure, Bone was a great ballplayer. He had those three peak seasons just at the right time to contribute to the rise of the Mariners as a contender. 1995-7 saw him crush 40+ HR each season, and he got MVP votes in all three seasons.

But more importantly, he’s one of the best reasons to love the M’s, and he’s fourth on our list of Tatonka’s Favorite Mariners.

Friday, May 18, 2007

First versus last: a microcosm

Generally speaking, there isn't all that much difference between the top teams and the cellar-dwellars when considered within the construction of a single game.

Watching the M's square off against the Padres tonight, one is reminded why the Mariners have been bottom feeders for three straight years while San Diego seeemingly has competed in the NL West since Ray Kroc was hiring greasy burger-flippers at the Golden Arches. Soft-throwing Chris Young tossed a smart, efficient game, throwing 105 pitches, his team up 4-1 when he was removed with two outs in the sixth. Miguel Batista, on the other hand, pitched what might be called another "gritty" outing, throwing 118 pitches in 6 2/3 innings (four typical consecutive Batista outings: gritty, gritty, bang, bang!). His stat line wasn't all that bad: 6 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K's. And yet, another dispiriting loss for the books.


Starting pitching: The Padres understand the correct way to build a starting staff, manifesting ongoing success year after year. Chris Young is a solid #2 starter, acquired in a salary dump/injury dump move by proactive management. He may throw softer than my sister, but his 3.11 ERA and 38 K's in 46 1/3 innings says it all. Meaningwhile, Batista represents the M's #3 starter, acquired in a panicky move by Buh-bye-vasi via overpaying in a thin market. Decent game tonight notwithstanding, his ERA nearly touched 7.00 before the game started and he has just over half the K's of Young. The difference between a #2 and #3 starter should be incremental - not three standard deviations.

Relief pitching: San Diego: 1 2/3 IP, 0 ER's, 3 K's. Seattle: 2 1/3 IP, 4 ER's, 1 K. 'Nuff said.

Hitting: The game tonight was kinda close for a while, but the M's stranded baserunners with regularity. The big hit was non-existent. Meanwhile, the Padres made the most of their opportunities. Quod erat demonstratum: 11 hits for San Diego, 10 for Seattle. Close game? Nyet. 8-1, Padres.

Fielding: Both teams made an error, yet the gaffe by Beltre directly led to a four-run inning, whereas Cameron's was harmless. Bad teams have that kind of negative karma.

Intangibles: I certainly wouldn't call the bullpen rested, but leaving Reitsma in to get hammered when Davis, White and O'Flaherty were available seemed dubious. Putting the game in motion (four steals) was good, but getting virtually nothing out of it - not even by manufacturing runs with "small ball" - was most certainly not. Lastly, bad teams let good players beat them (Mike Cameron: 2/5, 2 RBI's), bad players get key hits (Russell Branyan: 3-run dinger) and slumping nobodies break out (Kevin Kouzmanoff: 1/2, 2 RBI's).

A fat pitch here, a big hit there, a bad decision here and there - it adds up to a typical night in Mariner-land. Wave bye-bye to .500, M's fans.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We're saved!!!!


Now the M's are GONNA WIN!!

Jason Davis is gonna put us OVER THE TOP. He shores up the sole weakness of the unstoppable M's...not enough JASONS on the team. We had two before (J.J.'s second "J" stands for the best name ever, of course), but with THREE JASONS, other teams will cower before our mighty JASONNESS.

We'll leave the rest of the American League West behind us. The other teams might as well just give us the division now. The only teams in the entire AL that MIGHT challenge us are the Blue Jays and the Twins, as revealed by the following expert analysis:

Number of Jasons on major-league roster: BOS 1, BAL 1, NYY 1, TOR 3, DET 1, CLE 1, CWS 0, MIN 3, KC 2, LAA 0, OAK 1, TEX 0, SEA 3.

Clearly, then, Seattle, Minnesota, and Toronto are on target to win their divisions, while the Royals will win the Wild Card. We're goin' to the playoffs, M's fans!!!!!!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Horrible Quality Starts

With Batista not making it out of the third last night, I wondered how many games our starters had given us no chance to win at all. Everyone is familiar with the "Quality Start" stat, I am interested in the Horrible Quality Start (HQS). I am defining it as going less than 5 innings and giving up 5 or more runs. My thought process being that if you go at least 5, no matter how awful, at least you haven't trashed the bullpen, and if you give up 4 or less, even if its only over 2 or 3 innings, at least the team is still in the game. With me?

So the M's have 6 HQS, 2 each from Batista, HoRam and Weaver the Elder (and suckier). Within our division only Texas has more, with 8. The Angels have just 3 and the A's none. None!

But we're even worse on a percentage basis because of all the rainouts (snowouts). The Angels 3 HQS came over 37 games (8%) while ours came over just 32 (19%). We're only 3 percentage points behind the Rangers(22%).

We're 16-16 and just two and a half games out of first place. But we can't really hope to contend punting 1 out of every 5 starts. Our offense just isn't that good.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

When will the hurting stop?

I haven't posted much recently, and that's probably for the best. I'm truly, truly disgusted by the Mariners organization. But I still have the urge to respond to the disaster that is Bill Bavasi's leadership of a team that I care about, so here's this week's rant:

Hey, fellow Seattle sports fans! Remember this little gem from the P-I on 31 January, 2007:

Weaver and Batista were among the top six starters the Mariners targeted back in October, Bavasi said.

"If you told me we were going to get two of these guys, I would have been very, very happy," he said. "And I am happy."

Let's just take us a gander at two of the "top six" starting pitchers targeted by Bill Bavasi in the offseason, shall we?

Number One (sadly, not the cool, cat-owning villainous head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Ernst Stavro Blofeld, unless maybe it's the pathetic Telly Savalas version):

Jeff Weaver
0-6, FOURTEEN POINT THREE TWO e.r.a., despite only 4 HR allowed in 22 IP.

Number Two (sadly, not the funny spoof of a villain's henchman playing a savvy second fiddle to Mike Myers's spoof of Blofeld in the Austin Powers series):

Miguel Batista 3-3 (I'm assuming that the M's can't recover from the touchdown he coughed up to the Yankees tonight), 6.52 ERA, with decent peripherals (10 BB/22 K, averaging nearly 6 IP/G), but...ugh.

Really? THESE were your INTENDED targets this offseason? Serious? And I'm supposed to support this franchise without question.

Look, I went to a game at Bell South Park AT&T Field in Chattanooga last night, and I had more fun there, for eight bucks (yeah, I splurged for seats three rows from the field), with impending rain at any time (no roof!), and with zero real major league prospects in sight, than I have had at any point this season rooting for these Mariners. (Hey, come to think of it, the zero real major league prospects line might work at the Safe...nahh, they usually play a major league opponent...). I've been following the minors more and more closely in the last couple of years, and I'll be perfectly happy waiting out the stupidity of Bavasi & Co. while finding other things to occupy my time.

Does that make me a poor fan? I guess that after over 20 straight years of pretty rabid M's-fan-ness, I just can't take the incompetence any more. I love the game of baseball, and I'll continue to follow it. I'll even continue to root for the M's, write blog entries (less and less frequently, it seems...the Mariners are just sucking the life right out of my fandom), and watch them when I can (without giving them any more money...they'd just waste it, and I can do that on my own).

The thing is, there is this huge disconnect between the talent on the team, and the record through 32 games. We're at .500, and that must be good, right? Entering today, that put us in the company of only 6 other AL teams. The average fan is probably pretty happy with a .500 record in a weak division, and they are likely getting excited about the apparent signs of life.


Folks, we have two legitimate major league starting pitchers. One's hurt. The other one is a tick above league average, in the long run. Plus, we have Number One, and Number Two. Those are perfect euphemisms, I think. Even if everything goes right the rest of the way, we have no hope.

I can hear it now: What do you mean we have no hope? Not only are we a contender right now, but look! The Brewers are doing well! See...evidence that crappy teams like the Mariners can rise from the cesspool of decades of incompetence, and challenge for the division crown!


I'll do a series of posts on what competent organizations have done to build winning teams, and we'll go ahead and start with Milwaukee, but I would submit that of all the mistakes that Bavasi has made, the biggest ones have to do with his seeming inability to evaluate talent--his primary job as GM. The quote about Weaver and Batista is just the tip of the iceberg there, and no amount of him being a "good guy" redeems him in this situation. He can be a good guy and a crappy GM, and...this just in: he is! In a cage match between Bill Bavasi and Wayne Krivsky in which victory would be awarded for the first hint of a positive move toward building a winning major league club, we'd end up with a locked cage and two moldy skeletons. But they'd be really NICE skeletons.

M's cut bait, kinda

So the Mariners put Jeff Weaver on the DL instead of just cutting him. Generally the Bavasi regime has been pretty quick to dump a guy once its clear he's done. Boone, Olerud, Everett and others have all gotten their walking papers, maybe not as quickly as we would have liked, but pretty quickly.

That makes this move a little strange, because I don't think anyone thinks there is anything wrong with Weaver. Here's the word from Billy Bavs:

Jeff is a guy that won't complain about anything and just takes the baseball. It become obvious to us when he needed to reach back for that little something extra, his arm strength just wasn't there.

Hmmm. I don't think there has been anything to reach back for in quite a while.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bad, Bad Weekend

To-do list:

1. Let the tying run come to the plate in a game you led by 7 runs? Check.

2. Go 7 innings plus without a hit or a walk? Check.

3. Let pitchers named Rasner, Proctor, Henn, Farnsworth (Hey, someone I've heard of!), and Bruney combine on a 4 hit shutout against you? Check.

4. Have a player picked up on a domestic violence charge? Check.

5. Push the return date of young phenom out another week? Check.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Its a beautiful thing

AL West W L % GB Home Away Div Streak
LA Angels 16 11 .593 --- 11-3 5-8 8-4 Won 4
Seattle 11 10 .524 2 7-6 4-4 7-5 Won 2
Oakland 13 13 .500 2 1/2 6-7 7-6 6-8 Won 1
Texas 10 16 .385 5 1/2 6-5 4-11 3-7 Lost 3


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Next 19

I think its okay to be a little excited that we finished April 10-10. Its okay to be excited that we are getting the King back this week. But we need to temper that enthusiasm a little bit, beucase we just went 5-1 against Texas, Oakland and KC, all teams below the .500 mark.

Our next 19 games are against the following opponents: Chicago, Boston, New York, LA, Detroit, San Diego. That's 4 playoff teams from last year, the 2005 World Series Champs and the team with the best record in baseball.

The only saving grace is that we get the Yankees for 7 games and they are struggling, with a record of 9-14. But no one expects them to play that way for long.

The 19 game stretch opens with a two game set against Chicago, a one day stay in Boston, then 4 in Yankee Stadium. At one point they will play 3 games in 3 days in 3 different cities! The M's are going to have some more weird scheduling issues like that in order to make up the 6 games they have lost to weather so far. Neat.

Again, we should enjoy being .500 for as long as we can. Who knows how long it will last?