Friday, August 31, 2007

What my diffenbachia thinks about the M's

Yeah! We're only one game out of the wildcard! In August! We should hoist Bill Bavasi and John McLaren on our leaves and march them around Seattle to honor their glorious achievement! Who would have thought that could be done with only 4 years and an enormous payroll? All Hail Bavasi!

Whoo hoo! Seattle isn't in last place!! Or even third!!! We're on target for a winning season! It doesn't get any better than this.

Now if we all keep thinking positive thoughts, pray to our beloved Mariners superstars (like Rick White) faithfully, and close our eyes REAL tight, I bet we'll even be able to WIN IT ALL!!!! Plus, we'll all get ponies for Christmas this year!! (Finally, some organic fertilizer!)

I'm so proud to be a fan of such a well-run, successful franchise. Who could be luckier than we few?

And shame on all those nasty bloggers and mean old fans with all their STATS and NEGATIVE VIBES when they dare to criticize our heroes! John McLaren is awesome! After all, if we just lost six in a row, then surely we MUST have a six-game winning streak coming up! Then all will be right with the world.

Yeah team!

Hey, why don't we play Bloomie more often?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Spectacular Colossal Failure

The Angels series was extremely disappointing, but tonight is the kind of game that gets a manager fired. Tonight was the most amazing example of manager ineptitude I think I have ever seen.

I'm not second guessing John McLaren here, I questioned every move he made tonight while he was making it, hell I predicted a couple of his idiotic strategies before he did them. This was a brutally managed game. Just abysmal.

Raul Ibanez hit cleanup tonight against a left handed starter. Ibanez is slugging 351 against left handers. He has one homer against lefties in 131 at-bats.

McLaren used Sean Green for three batters and lifted him with the bases empty.

In the middle of a 6 game losing streak, McLaren has given a start to a no-hit, all glove second baseman and tonight a powerless second baseman with the approximate range of the Diet Pepsi machine, all because his best second baseman missed a tag on a terrific pop-slide at second base in a game the team lost 6-0.

Sexson continues to start over Broussard despite a public admission that Sexson is hurt.

I could go on and on about his bullpen usage, but I'll just leave it at this:

Rick "Cock-sucking, Mother-fucking, Furry Blond Fucking Gopher on his Chin-Wearing" White was pitching in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded, while the best reliever in the GOD DAMN LEAGUE hasn't pitched in 6 days. 6 days! 6 Days!!!!!!!!!
What in the name of all that is good and holy is he saving JJ for? WHAT???

Enjoy your half a season of managing, John McLaren. I can't see you getting a shot again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Tuesday night's loss highlights so many weaknesses of the current M's team.

1. Lousy starting pitching. Spicoli couldn't hold a 5 run lead. Despite a recent run of usefulness, he still pretty much sucks.

2. An offense of hackers. You can't really complain about too much about the offense when you score 6 runs, but how did they let Dustin Moseley shut them down for 5 and a third? on 54 pitches?

3. Handing out playing time for all the wrong reasons. Jose Lopez gets benched for presumably missing the tag on Matthews the night before. Bloomquist goes 0 for 3.

4. Terrible left field defense. Guerrero's RBI double to left in should have been an out. It was well hit, but certainly catchable. Ibanez jumped for it, but it wasn't over his head, it was 3 feet to his left. His route was terrible and he is painfully slow. Raul's post AS break success has come mostly against righties. He would make a great platoon DH. Adam Jones continues to kiss pine.

5. General bullpen mismanagement including the Fetish for Veterans. Reitsma, Parrish, and now Rick White. Three pretty bad pitchers that McLaren has let pitch in crucial situations, because they are experienced. Rick White is, without question, the worst pitcher in the bullpen. Its not even close! And there he was, facing Vlad Fucking Guerrero in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. I understand that if Morrow and Green had pitched better, they wouldn't have had to go to White. But the bottom line is that if you manage your pen so that Rick White is the guy you have pitching the most crucial at-bat of the game, then you suck as a manager. And Putz hasn't pitched in 4 days.

This has been a great year for the Mariners. I am rooting like crazy for them. I desparately want a Felix win today so we are still vaguely alive in the West. But this team is badly constructed and poorly run. There is no getting around this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

That was disappointing

I was there, the crowd was very into the game, particularly early. You know, before we got down 6 to zip. Johnny Mac getting tossed definitely got the crowd riled up. That was fun. Not exactly a sea of blue either. It didn't appear that there was any more than there would have been normally. Lots of good non-orchestrated chants throughout the game. A couple of I-chi-ro! one and 3 or 4 Lets! Go! Mariners! Its alwasy nice to see a crowd cheer without being commanded to by the Jumbotron.

Lopez definitely was too nonchalant on the tag of Matthews at second. But Matthews evasion of the tag was awesome. 99% of the time, baserunners just slide into Lopez' tag, especially when they are out by that much. So yes he should have been more agressive there, but baseball is funny that way. If he goes and puts a hard tag on Matthews, that Angels are probably bitching after the game about how unneccesary it was.

Anyway, the pitching matchups get better for us after this game, with Spicoli versus Santana the Lesser tonight and then Felix versus Spicoli's Little Brother on Wednesday.

The only result that is definitive in this series is a sweep by the Angels. Anything else and there is still a lot of baseball left to play. That being said, it would be great to get the next two.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Got your Blue on?

Although part of me resents that the Mariners are orchestrating this (Did someone tell Cardinals fans to wear red to their games? Or KC Chiefs fans? Hardly!) I am so jazzed up for this series that I don't care!

I'm wearing blue today, I'm going to the game tonight, if I could find a rally monkey I'd hang it in effigy!

Go M's!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Not Dead Yet!

41 games to play.

First in the Wildcard race.

2 games behind the Anaheim Chokers of Los Angeleheim, CA


Thursday, August 16, 2007

An homage to good baseball, bad baseball decisions and Tatonka reporting

If you're a regular reader of this blog (and to all five, I salute you!), you'll notice that virtually every post is tinged with a mixture of wonderment and disgust. The former at the M's astonishing August appearance in a pennant race, the latter at the overt and covert blunderings management has perpetrated on the team this entire season.

To that end, I thought I'd capture some of the opinions posted already this season as evidence of these diametrically-opposed attitudes, preluded by the post titles. It's a montage of sentiments, with the authors acknowledged accordingly:

Rey Frickin' Ordonez: Tad posted on this backup-shortstop non-roster tryout when he was on the verge of making the big club after a good spring. Never mind that he was 36, had a career .246 BA, no speed and had been out of baseball for two years at the time. Thankfully, that never happened. Perhaps I should be applauding Bavasi and company for dodging an injury-riddled, no hit, no speed (but good glove) bullet, but that would amount to damning with faint praise.

"Real" baseball today: Jason waxed philosophically about Jeff Weaver, Bill Bavasi and the inter-twined cluelessness of this pair of thick-headed baseball dunderheads.

Our long regional nightmare is over! Tad's post again, this time after a six-game losing streak had just ended, with management heads intact - for now. However, he did laud Hargrove's use of the bullpen in that game. Not every move management (Bavasi, Lincoln, Hargrove) made was questionable this year. Just most of them.

M's cut bait, kinda: Tad talks about the placement of Jeff Weaver on the DL despite anything obvious as to what his "injury" was. Apparently general suckitude is a medical condition.

When will the hurting stop? In an excellent (albeit long) dissertation, Jason points out the laughable notion that Weaver and Batista were "among the top six starters the Mariners targeted this October" (per Bavasi). Though we all agreed that $17M combined for those two hacks bordered on lunacy, I must admit that they have been - remarkably - two of our most consistent starters over the past two months. Regardless, even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while. Bavasi, most assuredly, is a blind squirrel. He'll be known forever in Mariner lore as the biggest dumpster-diver in GM history.

We're saved! The forgettable Jason Davis acquisition is discussed by Jason, who points out that the Mariners have cornered the market on Jasons.

First versus. last: a microcosm: I analyze the flawed components of team Seattle in a single game versus the superior inter-league Padres.

How to Build a Winning Franchise: Part 1, Milwaukee Brewers: A long, long, long post by (who else) Jason comparing the successful rebuilding of the Milwaukee Brewers as opposed to the poorly-constructed, George-Jetson-on-the-treadmill Mariners. Bill, stop this crazy thing!

Giddy? Up: Jason captures the dichotomy mentioned earlier perfectly with his excitement over the team making a move up the standings despite, " ... even if the slumping Sexson fails to recover; even if Rauuuuul can't defeat age or his mystery shoulder injury; even if our DH is Jose Vidro rather than a real MLB starter; and even if we keep throwing awful starters at least 60% of the time--even if all these things continue to be true--then this club looks like it should achieve a .500 record?! Or better???!"

Well, that really sucked: Tad lays out the inept lineup Grover trotted out on a Sunday, to wit:

CF Ichiro
3B Lopez
2B Vidro
LF Ibanez
1B Sexson
RF Broussard
Ca Johjima
SS Betancourt

The no-power, no-defense, no-speed lineup. Station-to-station, baby!

Ok, this is getting serious: 12 games over .500, 3.5 games out of first, and yet Jones languishes in Tacoma, Vidro's fat ass patrols second base and the starting pitching still blows chunks after spots 1-3. Tad's on a roll.

Stop standing still! Written at the trade deadline by Tad. The post title says it all.

The essential problem with the M's as an organization: The Times' Geoff Baker and Tad nail it with respect to management philosophy in this post (and the supporting Times piece). The M's guarantee AB's for slumping and fading veterans while promising youngsters get little or no time to develop. The cycle perpetuates itself as a result. This is the basic problem with the "rebuilding on the fly" strategy.

How to fix the pitching staff: to Morrow! I rant about my favorite topic of recent weeks: sending Morrow down to stretch himself into a starter, then bring him back up in mid-August to bolster the back end of the staff. Naturally, we instead continue to hand the ball to Ho-Ram.

No stupid trades... no stupid tades ...
Addition by nothing

Heartfelt exhortations by Jason and I to Bavaisi, sandwiched around the trade deadline - one not to make ANY moves at the deadline lest he mortgage the future for nothing, the other lauding the team for indeed NOT mortgaging the future for a typically-lame Mariners' deadline deal.

Bavasi still doesn't get it: Despite the desperate need for an offensive sparkplug, the M's kept Jones in the dungeon far too long. Bavasi said, in paraphrase, that young kids can't be counted on in a playoff run. Chris Duncan, Bobby Jenks and F-Rod bely that bit of Bavasi blather, courtesy of this Tad post.

Yay, Richie Sexon! Boo, John McLaren! Heroics on the field, yet managerial stupidity in bringing in the recently-acquired 7th man of a 7-man bullpen with the game on the line - with nearly (and predictably) disastrous results. Tad shrieks, "Boo!"

Cleaning up Bavasi's mistakes: A Jason post discussing who is worse, the terrible Horacio Ramirez or the washed-up 44-going-on-99 David Wells. Ouch.

It's been a great season so far, on the field and here in the Tatonka section of the bleachers. You know where that is - just behind the right field foul pole.

McLaren: "We know why HoRam blows"

In an astounding discovery today at MarinersLabs, Head researcher John McLaren revealed the source of Horacio Ramirez's struggles facing major league hitters:

"What we're looking for is a location of the fastball and a differential of the fastball and changeup," McLaren said. "He's pitched some good games for us. We haven't given up on him. I know a lot of people are down on him. He still believes in himself. 'Chavy' is going to try some things with him and see if we can get him back on track."

Checking the recent logs at's Gameday feature, SuperGenius McLaren is clearly correct in his assertion that HoRam is currently suffering from the malady of too little separation in speed between "fastball" and anything else. I mean, those radar guns were just lying when they detected such speeds as 87-91 (mostly 89) for fastballs, and 77-83 (mostly 83) for offspeed junk. To throw any slower and get the pitches to cross the plate, Ramirez will have to learn a knuckler or an eephus pitch, and fast.

Location? Well, you've got me there, but if Raffy Chaves can fix command issues for guys with hittable, non-major league quality stuff, in only one between-starts session, well, we shouldn't have given up on White Flag so soon. And maybe that Morrow kid could use a little instruction.

Sure, sure, this is McLaren blustering to the press to deflect well-deserved criticism and blame away from HoRam's tender ego, lest we make him ineffective by deriding him. May it never be.

Baseball hell.

The answer, my friend, is HoRam in the wind....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cleaning Up Bavasi's Mistakes

To respond to/build on Tad's excellent post:

Look, David Wells at this point in his career is only the correct answer to the question "Who ate the rest of the pizza? ALL of it??"

Wells, currently 44 years old, melted down for the San Diego Padres this season, to the tune of a 5.54 ERA in 118 2/3 IP. In the puny National League West. It's only that GOOD because he got 12 of his 22 starts in very friendly and spacious Petco Park.

I know, I know...his peripherals say that he's still got something in the tank. 4.86 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 33 BB to 63 SO.

But two things are going on here. First, HoRam sucks SOOOOOOOOO much that in comparison, those numbers look good to us. (Thanks again for the NEAT Soriano-HoRam trade, Bill!)

Second, those crap numbers mask what viewers saw occurring when they watched the 44 year old pitch in several outings this season. He's lost command of his pitches. (Funny thing, too...other peripheral numbers support this view).

Let's start with a number I already reported, but in the wrong form to see just how limp Wells's age 44 season has been:

63 K in 118 2/3 IP can also be stated as 4.6 K/9, which is where Wells has been since 2005 ended; he's not had an inspiring K/9 since 2002, when he was a mere 39 years old. That 33 BB, though, works out to 2.4 BB/9, which is a figure WAY above career, last year, or any other combination of his numbers you want to assemble. I'm not just talking about his final atrocious 5 starts after the All-Star Break. Although he sure looked like he'd lost command by that point. Yelling at umps for not calling pitches was surely born out of his frustration that he could no longer put the ball where he wanted it, over a stretch of over a month...nay, the entire season.

If you're going to walk that many batters, you'd better strike guys out (oops, not Wells), or else induce huge numbers of grounders to wipe them out on the basepaths with plenty of DPs. Well, David Wells has sucked at that prodigiously all season as well (again, NOT just his final month meltdown). He's down in 2007 to 41.7% of his balls in play being grounders, from a career mark just south of 50%. That's a huge drop.

From the perspective of any other GM running a playoff contender, we'd HAVE to conclude that the very large sign on David Wells reads "Just walk away."

However, because Bavasi PLANNED to hand the ball to HoRam every five days, we're ALL in baseball hell...where signing David Wells really isn't much of a gamble. So why not? Sign him up. Maybe he can be the second coming of Tatonka.

At least baseball hell comes with a pennant race, which is more than I expected this season to yield. Go M's!

HoRam = HoRrible

Horacio Ramirez has a 7.38 ERA. He has more walks (32) than strikeouts (31). Opponents are batting .341. against him. He's allowing nearly 2 baserunners an inning. I don't know what more I can say.

What are our options, really though?

We can try Feierabend again. Ugh. Among the other Tacoma starters Jorge Campillo has a 3.31 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 130 innings. Panzer Lehr has a 4.20 ERA and has struck out just 54 in 105. Robert Rohrbaugh looked pretty good in AA and has held his own in T-Town (2.79 ERA, 36 Ks in 61 innings). By the way, I know that ERA isn't the best way to measure a pitcher, especially a minor leaguer, but I'm lazy today, so shoot me.

Some people think David Wells is the answer, and I'd certainly be willing to give him a spin the rest of August to find out.

The bottom line is, we are in a pennant race!!! We can't punt every fifth game.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yay, Richie Sexson! Boo, John McLaren!

Okay, 9th inning monster walk-off shots are so cool! And we absolutely need to win these types of games. Our runs scored/runs against numbers just don't support the record we have put up, so we need to keep winning the close ones.

And lets hope that Big Sexy is back on his game. That we are going to see 8 weeks of awesome from our first baseman. I still don't know why he couldn't have "found his stroke" in a platoon with Broussard, but I hope this is it for Sexy.

On the other hand, both Walt and Jason have wondered why we traded for John Parrish, but I think we all had a "oh, well" attitude about it. After all we are talking about the 7th man in a 7 man bullpen. The long guy, the mop-up guy.

Enter John McLaren, who decides to try Parrish as a situational lefty, trying to protect a 2 run lead against Johan Freaking Santana! One 4 pitch walk, a single, and a sacrifice later, the tying runs are in scoring position with only one down. Nice work Parrish! The only out he got, the Twins were trying to make on purpose!

Why would you trade for a guy with an ERA north of 5, only 36 strikeouts in 43 innings and almost as many walks as strikeouts? And more importantly, why would you use that guy to try and protect a two run lead late? Arggggghhhh!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who's Excited?

Come on, if you aren't jazzed about Hernandez v Santana, Wild Card implications and a chance to pick up half a game on the idle Angels, you are an unfeeling, uncaring, heartless crank. Or you've got dinner plans...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A high point, a Lowe point

The Mariners would be in the playoffs if the season started today. Hurray!

Obviously, the Mariners have done many things right this season. Behind the scenes, however, they've made some puzzling player/personnel moves. Picking up John Parrish would appear to be one of them.

He's a 29 year-old lefty, set to join a bullpen replete with left-handers already: Sherrill, Rowland-Smith (whose name evokes memories of Mr. Miagi's line, "What are you - some kind of girl?") and O'Flaherty. As has been mentioned already, he's coming off the dreaded Tommy John surgery, and has a few fairly good peripherals: 3.52 ERA since the All Star break, .236 B.A. against vs. right-handed hitters, .270 vs. lefties, .252 overall. He has a few pretty bad ones, too: 36/33 K/BB ratio and an overall ERA of 5.40. He seems all right in a shrug-your-shoulders-and-go-meh kind of way - a probable 6th or 7th man in your seven-man bullpen. But it begs the question: why?

The M's have more lefties in the pen than probably every other team in Major League baseball history now. They are the Hunt brothers of MLB, cornering the market on a scarce commodity. Meanwhile, Mark Lowe and his 95 mph fastball gets sent back to Tacoma. Lowe's fastball, had it been utilized sufficiently to strengthen into a 97-98 mph fastball like last year, would have fit like a glove in the setup man role, freeing up Brandon Morrow for more important duty. Speaking of duty, that's what starting pitcher Horacio Ramirez looked like tonight, giving up seven earned runs and five walks in five innings of work. Had the M's heeded my advice (and I'm sure Bavasi furtively peruses this blog daily) and sent Brandon Morrow down to work on converting into a starter, we would be well on our way to seeing the end of Ramirez' reign of terribleness.

It's remarkable that a team run as poorly as Bavasi has orchestrated this year (and, as painfully documented, previous seasons) somehow still sits in the wild card lead and is a mere 2.5 games out of first. He reminds me of Don Knotts' Mr. Furley on Three's Company, who somehow managed to get the girl anyway every few seasons despite the ridiculous bungling. Let's see if Bavasi can bungle the Mariners to the dance this year or not.

The Day We Won the West

Well, just call it a season now, folks. The Mariners, behind supergenius Bill Bavasi, have just pulled off the trade coup of the century, adding that final piece that will push this team over the top to make us not only an ice cold lock for AL West champs this season, but also will propel us through the playoffs and straight to the World Series.

That's right...we just picked up a left hander who represents the final piece of the puzzle.

...what? The guy we got was John Parrish? John Parrish, Mr. "I can't find the plate with both hands?" Mr. "but Tommy John surgery made so many other guys better pitchers!" Mr. "but I was really good as a reliever in AA?"

Never mind. Sorry, nothing to see here. Move along.

Same old Mariners. I'm STILL in baseball hell. Hey, look, now we think Turbo's a second baseman! Wheeeeee!

Hell to the yeah!

A Vidro homer, an Ibanez homer and best of all.....

We are in the playoffs! As of right now, this morning, we are the Wild Card leader. Amazing!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Here's the thing. I don't care. Why?

I don't know for a fact that Bonds cheated. I suspect that he did. If I could place a bet on whether he did or not, I would bet yes, but I don't know. And I can tell myself over and over again, "innocent until proven guilty," but the end result is that I just don't care.

I have the DirecTV Extra Innings package. I could have watched every one of Bonds ABs, but I didn't. I didn't watch last night and I didn't watch the night he hit 755. I watched the game where Maddux pitched but that was more for Mad Dog than for Barry.

I'm not really the other way either. I'm not booing when he bats (though I did when he was here last year), I'm not indignant that a 'roider holds one of baseball's hallowed records. Actually, I believe that PED's or no, Barry Bonds is probably one of the 5 or 10 best players in baseball history and quite possibly the best to play in my lifetime.

But between the steroids and the ongoing investigations and the carefully worded denials and the freakin' flaxseed oil defense and the non-stop relentless coverage by ESPN and others...I just don't care.

There. I said it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

McLaren starting to settle in

So in the last 3 days, we've seen Broussard play first against a righty (with every indication of more of that to come), Adam Jones play left against a lefty, and McLaren bring his right handed setup man into a game in the 5th, because there were two men on and Manny Ramirez at the dish.

And we heard that Vidro might see some time at second if Lopez continues to struggle. This also creates ABs for Jones by the way.

At first I dismissed Geoff Baker's suggestion that some of these moves had to wait until McLaren had had time to get a handle on the clubhouse and such. Isn't that the point of promoting your bench coach? He already knows the team, right?

However with a bunch of these moves starting to come in succession, with a bunch of veteran players being told they need to produce or lose playing time, its starting to appear that this is exactly what happened. McLaren wanted to give guys a chance to produce under his watch and now he's making the moves needed to make this club better.

I like it. I like it a lot. And we are 1/2 of a game out of the playoffs! Woo!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jose Guillen also doesn't get it

Geoff Baker writes here the following, regarding his report that the M's will finally bring Adam Jones up Friday, and how that news "pissed off" RF Jose Guillen:

"I guess they have something to do but this is a totally different league,'' he continued. "I understand he's a good prospect and if they think that he's ready, then hey we'll see.

"He's going to have to come here and prove that to us. Because this team has been good with what we have and I don't think that's what we need...he's a No. 1 prospect and he's going to be here sooner or later somehow, some way, but I just completely don't understand that move right there.

I don't know what they're trying to do. I hope they don't do something stupid to mess with the lineup that we have. Because I believe we have a pretty good one.''

Remember when Junior publicly complained about something that was entirely within Woody Woodward's job as GM to decide? It was after the 1994 season, Buhner's contract was up, and Griffey made it clear that the team HAD to re-sign Bone. Or else. It wasn't quite so clear at the time that locking Buhner up for three more years at what was then a premium ($15.5M/3 years) was such a good idea, but Griffey had such pull that the deal got done. Ken Griffey, Jr., Assistant GM. It all worked out OK, as I recall....

Well, the quote above from Jose Guillen shows us the folly of putting personnel decisions in the hands of athletes. The Kid could get away with it because he was a superstar. Guillen? My initial reaction is "moron." I suppose he gets kudos for, as Geoff Baker points out, making public his true reaction to the move, rather than spouting the company line. But beyond that, what does Jose Guillen know about building a winning ballclub? We're 3 games back of the Angels, one of our best hitters is in AAA, and he doesn't want to make the move because AAA is a different league than MLB?

You know what? That IS the company line!!! I mean, I'd say 'thank goodness Jose Guillen isn't calling the shots around here,' except that the guy who does, Bill Bavasi, has expressed precisely the same sentiment, in public, this week. This entire Mariner organization is maddening.

You know what's going to happen already. Adam Jones will come up (although I'll believe it when I see it, at this point), and no matter how they use him, and no matter how he plays, and no matter how much that helps the offense, he'll get blamed when our crap starting rotation just isn't enough to get us into the playoffs.

I'm in baseball hell.