Boy, this is really getting ugly. Seven homers? I had to wait to post this until after the Royals had finished batting, for fear that they’d hit another one while I was typing. Beltran’s second homer was a truly magnificent blast, hitting the windows of the Hit-it-Here Cafe in right field.
Double play and the game is, mercifully, over.
For all you standardized test fans out there…
Raul Ibanez : Safeco Field :: Mike Cameron : Comiskey Park
If Truly Terrible Freddy has evolved into Permanently Terrible Freddy, what should be done?
There’s the tried and true sports radio reaction, which is sending him to Tacoma to work out his problems. This is suggested every time anyone slumps for any length of time, weather its possible or not. Unfortunately, I can’t think of one instance where optioning a former major league all-star to the minors has helped said players confidence. It didn’t work with Brett Tomko and it won’t work with Freddy Garcia.
There’s the Lou Piniella method, which would involve a short trip to the bullpen. This has promise. Garcia’s been awesome vs righties (.542 OPS allowed) and awful versus lefties (.903 OPS allowed). If Melvin could spot him for two or three innings against a string of righties, he could run up a pretty nice streak over a few weeks. This would, at worst, get the fans off his back, and provide the M’s with a particularly nasty long reliever.
There’s also the Tony Batista method, which is to call him a sunk cost and put him on waivers, hoping some team will latch onto his potential and save us the $5 million he’s still due this year. If you don’t think you can fix him this year, this idea has merit. You’re clearly not offering him arbitration next fall unless he completely turns his act around, and signing him to a long term deal is likely the furthest thing from Pat Gillick’s mind. It would take an awful large swallowing of pride to release your opening day starter before June 1st, though. If Gillick thought he could take the $5 million he’d save from someone claiming Garcia’s contract and use it to get another starting pitcher, it might be worth it. The odds of this happening are slim and none, however.
Realistically, I think we live with it for another 3 or 4 starts before they make a decision. Really, though, a pounding by the Royas at Safeco Field. It doesn’t get a whole lot lower than this. Truly Terrible Freddy, indeed.
Fox does a lot to try and make game more dramatic, from the Transformers-like sound effects to the Annual Disastrous Dave and Ron Try to Broadcast from the Camera Pit Game, but watching Garcon Garcia serve up hits today, I think that the commentary with Tim the Taciturn Teenager has got to be a low point in Mariner television history.
Ron: So Timmy, you play baseball?
Dave: Ah, indeed, baseball is the sport of youth, and it’s no wonder you might find yourself on a baseball field, playing or watching on this beautiful evening. What position do you play?
Dave: Ah, pitching, the most challenging of all positions. I’ll bet you’re an intellectual pitcher, a thinker, like Jamie Moyer.
Tim: I guess.
Ron: That girl sitting to your right on the phone waving at the camera and shouting “I’m on TV!!” when we put you on, is that your girlfriend?
Dave: Ah, spring, when a young pitcher’s thoughts turn to baseball and the love of a good lady, or a girl, if I may say so, in your case, you’re a young boy yet, and I don’t think you’re going out with the ladies, are the two of you having a good night?
Also, you’ll remember that they were trying out the “tipping” theory late last season, supposedly solved it, and it didn’t help. I think Freddy isn’t tipping his pitches, he’s getting tipped just for throwing them. “Hey, Freddy, thanks for the double, here’s a little something for yourself,.”
Well, it appears Truly Terrible Freddy ™ is rearing his ugly head once again tonight. As Dave (Neihaus, not Cameron) correctly pointed out in the first inning, Garcia’s pitching fell into a pattern — get ahead of the hitter, then nibble-nibble-nibble. Sure enough, he got ahead of 5 of 7 hitters 0-1. And as usual, his stuff certainly appears to be there, particularly his curve. In case you’re not able to watch the game tonight, they’ve also had Garcia move to the extreme 1B side of the rubber. I would assume this is supposed to make it easier for him to jam left-handed batters, but someone better versed in the nuances of pitching might be able to correct me. This strikes me as one of those moves that really doesn’t make any sort of tangible difference — like when a team announces they’ve discovered their struggling pitcher was tipping his pitches, or that they’ve found a slight hitch in his mechanics — but is rather supposed to give the pitcher a mental advantage, i.e., “They found something wrong and we fixed it, so now I can get back to pitching like I should be.”
And yet he’s pitching like absolute crap. Two homers and two walks through the first two innings, and the Royals are knocking the ball over the park.
OK, who had May 21st in the “when will someone suggest that Freddy’s tipping his pitches” pool? Ron Fairly just wondered aloud, “The way the Royals are hitting the ball, it’s almost as if they know what’s coming. Nobody’s getting fooled up there. Now, is Freddy tipping his pitches? I don’t think so, but…”
A reader writes:
“I assume you are familiar with the voicemail segments on KJR in Seattle. (If not, let me know and I’ll explain.) A recent caller describes himself as “Helium Harry.” His bit is to imitate someone speaking after taking a hit of helium. His calls have been uniformly hilarious and much anticipated- at least until the last two. He is basically reading from your postings to the U.S.S. Mariner. Today it was the bit involving Jim Forman (or his functional equivalent) reporting on Freaky Freddy, which had both of us laughing out loud when reading it.
“Two possibilities arise: You are Helium Harry, in which case, nice work, but why not plug the U.S.S. Mariner? Helium Harry is plagerizing/stealing your work without giving any credit. I thought about writing KJR, but decided that should be your decision.”
– I am not Helium Harry
– I’m flattered to be ripped off
– anyone ripping us off for purposes of making themselves popular on sports talk radio must have some serious problems
– it’s low
I emailed them and asked if they’d look into this, we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I would encourage people to complain to KJR at email@example.com or just call in if they hear stuff like this go on.
Hey everybody, Jason here. I updated the Big Board a few minutes ago, as the M’s shifted quite a few players around in the past week: OF Christian Guerrero was claimed off waivers from the Brewers and assigned to Inland Empire, LHP Matt Thornton moved from Inland Empire to San Antonio, and there were also a couple of changes at Wisconsin. I also changed the position of a few players, trying to be more specific with where guys are playing this year. For example, I changed Jay Pecci from “IF” to “SS,” because that’s where he’s spent all his time so far. Check it out. I try to update the Big Board at least once a week, but as always, if you see something amiss, a link doesn’t work, or you just have a comment, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Oh, and one more quick thing. We mentioned a few weeks ago that SS Michael Garciaparra, who has been a huge disappointment this year (unless you’re David Cameron, in which case you expected this), will most likely be demoted from Wisconsin to Everett once short-season ball starts up in June. I’ve been focusing on how bad his hitting has been, but he hasn’t exactly been solid in the field either — Nomar’s brother has already made 16 errors in just 39 games at short, which projects to roughly 60 over the course of a full Major League season. As if you needed one more reason to believe he’ll be sent down, the Aquasox have a Michael Garciaparra bobblehead promotion scheduled for July 19th.
Minor League Highlights for Super Tuesday, May 20
Tacoma 3, Sacramento 2 (DH Game #1). RHP Ken Cloude (4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) kept the Rainiers in the game for four innings before handing things over to the bullpen, with the win going to RHP Aaron Looper (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) and the save to fellow RHP Aaron Taylor (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K). 3B Luis Figueroa had a pair of hits and scored once, while DH Adrian Myers chipped in with his 2nd homer of the year.
Sacramento 9, Tacoma 6 (DH Game #2). Sacramento jumped all over Tacoma pitching in the second game, scoring in five of seven innings to split the double header. RHP Scott Atchison, getting a spot start, was the primary victim (3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and took the loss, though RHP Allan Simpson didn’t fare any better (1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR). At the plate, 2B/CF Chad Meyers and LF/RF Jacques Landry each had a pair of singles, and DH Adrian Myers homered again to give him three on the year. 3B Luis Figueroa added an RBI double, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
Assuming it doesn’t rain, you might want to think about getting to Cheney Stadium tonight as the two teams square off again. The scheduled starters are RHPs Rafael Soriano and Rich Harden, arguably the top two pitching prospects in Seattle and Oakland’s minor league systems, so it should be a good one. Game time is 6:05pm. If you can’t make it, you can always listen online by following this link. Rainiers play-by-plan man Mike Curto is one of our two favorite minor league broadcasters here at the U.S.S. Mariner (don’t worry Pat, you’re the other one).
San Antonio 12, El Paso 6. SS Jose Lopez, 3B Justin Leone and LF Jaime Bubela each had three hits, leading a 17-hit attack which featured three doubles (two for Lopez, one for Leone), a triple (Bubela) and a homer (Leone again). Leone drove in four runs and Lopez three, and 2B Luis Ugueto and RF Chris Snelling each added a pair of hits. RHP Clint Nageotte was unable to take advantage of all this offense, as he was roughed up and failed to get out of the 5th inning (4 2/3 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 B, 5 K). RHP Gustavo Martinez (1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) picked up the win, and RHP Jared Hoerman (1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 I) his 10th save.
Lake Elsinore 2, Inland Empire 1. LHP Ryan Ketchner pitched well yet again (6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), running his K:BB ratio to a remarkable 53:6, but was saddled with the loss thanks to a lack of run support. The 66ers did outhit Lake Elsinore 7-4, but scored their only run when DH Richard Pohle knocked in SS Jay Pecci in the 4th. Pohle had two hits in the game, as did RF Greg Jacobs. LHP Glenn Bott takes the hill today, looking for his first win of the year despite a 3.23 ERA.
Peoria 2, Wisconsin 0. RHP T.A. Fulmer had yet another good start (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K), but left with the scored tied at zero only to see RHP Renee Cortez cough up two runs in the bottom of the 8th (1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). Fulmer, who lowered his ERA to 2.59, has allowed just two earned runs in his last 23 innings and none in his last 14. The real culprit, however was an offense which managed just five hits and no walks. 2B Tim Merrit had two of those hits including a double, and RF Tomoshi Aoki had a pair of singles. The loss ended Wisconsin’s winning streak at seven games.