April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I know this is boring, but… very well said. I have nothing to add.

Mabry for Colbrunn doesn’t many any sort of sense, and no way should Carrara be pitching in that situation.

April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I haven’t seen every game this year, so it is possible Melvin has managed a worse game strategically, but I’m going to assume that this is his first truly awful game as a rookie manager. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he could be trying out the whole manage-by-gut-feeling theory. Hopefully, after a few more instances where it goes terribly wrong, he’ll just start making the wise choices and tell his feelings to take a hike. I’m really not sure the last two innings could have been handled much worse.

Top of the 8th:

Acevedo comes in the game and gives up a home run to Boone, than walks Martinez and gives up a hard single to Cameron. At this point, it is rather apparent that Acevedo has nothing this evening and with Chris Hammond warming up, its only a matter of time before Joe Torre makes a move. With lefty-mashing Greg Colbrunn due up, Torre is likely to let Acevedo face one more batter.

At this point, Melvin makes the worst substitution possible. He removes Greg Colbrunn (career .290/.340/.461 hitter) for John Mabry (career .271/.324/.407 hitter). The career totals actually understate the difference, as Colbrunn has been much better than his total numbers the past three years. Regardless, this isn’t the worst part of the move. By inserting Mabry into the game, Melvin has invited Joe Torre to bring Chris Hammond in to pitch, giving the Yankees a better pitcher on the mound in a crucial situation.

It gets even better. You know what John Mabry has done vs left-handers the past 3 years? In 65 at-bats, he’s hit .123/.159/.185 for a robust .344 OPS. Those numbers would make Mabry one of the worst hitting pitchers in major league baseball. Even Jeff Cirillo would call that stretch a slump. Had he left Colbrunn in, Acevedo would have likely faced him. Colbrunn hit .317/.398/.531 versus righthanders the past three seasons. Had they gone to Hammond, all the better. Colbrunn whacks them to the tune of .313/.387/.566, including a .368 average vs lefties last season.

Essentially, Bob Melvin pinch hit the equivalent of Joel Pineiro for the equivalent of Edgar Martinez. At no point should a major league manager take such a leave of his senses to where any gut feeling would override the obvious fact that this is simply a horrible tactical move. This is probably the single worst managerial substitution I have ever seen.

Predictably, Mabry went on to fly out to left. Honestly, I was just thrilled he didn’t hit into a double play.

We rally, get a few runs, and now trail by one.

Bottom of the 8th:

You’re down by one run in Yankee Stadium. Jeff Nelson hasn’t pitched in two days. Arthur Rhodes threw 5 pitches yesterday and had the day off before. In the past 7 days, he’s thrown 2 1/3 innings. Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched an inning yesterday, but had 4 days off before that, and is clearly available. So, Bob Melvin goes with Giovanni Carrara.

Coming into the game, the league was hitting .286/.368/.367 against Carrara and he’d allowed 20 baserunners in 13 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA hides the fact that he simply has been an average reliever to this point, and he’s the fourth or fifth guy in the bullpen, depending on how much you like Julio Mateo. Predictably, Carrara gets hit, gives up 3 runs, and we have to use Hasegawa anyways. We then score what would have been the game tying run off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th, but end up losing by 3.

On Tuesday, Melvin used his 1st and 3rd best relievers to protect a 6 run lead. On Wednesday, he used his 5th and 3rd best relievers while down by 1 run. Come from behind wins count just the same as wins where you protect the lead. Saving your best relievers for games where you have the lead is an easy way to throw away several games in the standings.

Its just one game. Melvin’s only been a manager for a month. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes. The important thing that needs to come out of this game is for Bob Melvin to realize he made mistakes, and he made them in bunches, and it cost the Mariners a very winable ballgame. If this makes him a better manager down the line, than its worth it. If Bob Melvin continues to pinch hit John Mabry for Greg Colbrunn in critical situations and use his bullpen as inefficiently as possible, the Mariners already tough odds of reaching the playoffs will become nearly impossible to overcome.

April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Its official; We’re managed by an idiot.

John Mabry just pinch hit for Greg Colbrunn. I have no words for this stupidity.

April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

It’s actually Moyer vs. Pettitte, but it’s going to be M’s bullpen vs. Pettitte pretty quickly here as Moyer is getting shelled in the first inning. 5-0 already and he’s thrown around 40 pitches. Man, the M’s really needed to score a run in the top of the 1st when they had Ichiro on 3rd with nobody out… expected runs for that situation are 1.349. Ouch.

April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Moyer v Mussina tonight, should be a good game. Moyer historically has been excellent against Soriano, but Soriano hits for good power against him — 3 of his 4 hits are HR, which makes his line v. Moyer something like .200/.200/.600. Meanwhile, park-adjusted, the M’s rank 9th offensively (Yankees, 1st), 12th in starting pitching (Yankees, 1st) — with Moyer and Meche both in the Top 30 pitchers. They’re 4th in bullpen strength (Yankees, 14th).

On the Safeway Million Dollar Magic contest: Buhner, Alex Rodriguez, and Olerud are the only M’s to hit for the cycle, as far as I remember. So, some calculations: that’s about 4,000 games in Mariner team history, 1977-2002, so if you figure that’s representative, the chances that someone will win the contest is about 1/1,000 every game. So every game, Safeway’s punting $1,000 just on that. Now, figure that Safeway does 80 quadrillion jillion club card sales every day, and your chances are actually 0/1,000 of winning.

April 30, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Minor League Highlights for Super Tuesday, April 29

Tacoma 4, Fresno 1. LHP Craig Anderson, he of the 80 MPH fastball, won his second straight start with a very good outing (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). After a rough start to the season, Anderson has lowered his ERA to 3.62 and allowed just nine hits and three runs over his last two outings. C Pat Borders continued his remarkable year at the plate with three hits in four trips, including his 5th homer of the season. The ageless one — he turns 40 next month — is hitting an eye-popping .370/.417/.796 on the season, making you wonder what sort of numbers Edgar Martinez could post against Pacific Coast League pitching. CF Adrian Myers and 3B Luis Figueroa each had two hits for the Rainiers.

San Antonio 5, Tulsa 3. RF Elpidio Guzman, signed out of the Angels organization this winter, had three hits including his 2nd homer of the year, stole a base, drove in two and scored four of San Antonio’s five runs. RHP Chris Wright (6 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K) pushed his record to 3-1 with the win and was followed by four relievers, including RHP Jared Hoerman (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) who picked up his 6th save. In a story I should have picked up on earlier — sorry, I’ve been distracted by Wisconsin’s recent exploits — the red hot Missions have now won 11 straight games and are looking to challenge their Texas League record 13-game streak, a mark they set two years ago.

Inland Empire‘s game in San Jose was rained out, leading to a double header between the two teams today. LHP Jared Thomas is scheduled to start the first game, followed by RHP Cha Seung Baek in the second.

Wisconsin 5, Clinton 1. The Timber Rattlers continued their winning ways to pick up their 7th consecutive victory, but this time didn’t need extra innings or a late comeback to do it. C Rene Rivera, who homered twice on Monday, led the offense with a three-run homer in the 4th that proved to be more than enough for LHP Bobby Livingston (6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and RHP Rene Cortez (2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Livingston picked up his second win of the year and Cortez was credited with his first save. In a balanced offensive attack Wisconsin had eight hits in the game, each by a different player.

As you might have guessed, the entire farm system — not to mention the big club — is playing some pretty good baseball right now. San Antonio has won 11 straight, Wisconsin seven straight, Tacoma five out of six and Inland Empire four of five. Going back a week to April 23rd, the minor league clubs have won 23 of 24. Add in the Mariners and the entire organization has won 29 of its last 31 games. Wow!

April 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Watching Edgar this year, I have this strange feeling that he’s going to have a sort of 2002 Barry Bonds-lite type of season — really high batting average, tons of walks, power but not playing every day. I know it’s really early, but can’t you see him winding up at something like .350/.480/.550 with close to 100 walks and only 350 or so at-bats? I dunno, maybe it’s just me. Hey, maybe he can win another batting title this season.

April 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Couldn’t really ask for a much more impressive performance from Gil Meche. Facing the Yankees, in Yankee Stadium, with Roger Clemens taking the hill when you aren’t pitching. After tonight, he ranks 5th in the AL in ERA, 7th in strikeouts, and 2nd in K/9. Not a bad first month. It is, however, still just one month. For comparison, as of today, your American League Cy Young Winner is Esteban Loaiza.

Don’t look now (okay, go ahead and look), but the Mariners now have the 4th best record in baseball. Considering their early season schedule, that’s impressive.

April 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

That’s good to hear about Nageotte, not because I was worried about his strikeout rate but rather because it should better for him in the long-run. He needs to have command of his fastball, and throwing fewer sliders now should be better on his arm. Incidentally, if I remember correctly Chaves was the one in the M’s organization who really pushed for Rafael Soriano to be moved from the outfield to the mound.

Possible bad omen for tonight’s game: It was 17 years ago to the day that Roger Clemens, then a member of the Red Sox and tonight’s starter for the Yankees, struck out 20 Mariners in Boston. Hmm.

April 29, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

A quick followup on Clint Nageotte, for those who may be worried that his strikeout numbers aren’t near what they were a year ago. San Antonio’s pitching coach, Rafael Chaves, has told Nageotte he wants more fastballs and less sliders. Similar to what the Mariners did with Jeff Heaverlo, they feel that he needs more confidence in his fastball and don’t want him always going back to the slider when he needs an out. Nageotte only threw a handful of sliders last night, and they accounted for 3 of the 4 strikeouts. His command of his fastball is making big strides, though. He’s going to take a step or two back in strikeout rate this year, but it will likely be good for his development in the long run.

Also, the Appleton Post-Crescent has a good story on Jon Nelson today. 23-year-old first baseman in low-A with his BB/K ratios aren’t usually on track for the major leagues, but Nelson could be the rare exception.

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