There are questionable decisions, there are bad decisions, and then there are monumentally poor decisions.
The decision to send Julio Mateo to the minors rather than release Giovanni Carrara falls into that third category — not because it’s going to cost the Mariners a number of games in the standings, but rather because it was such an easy decision to make. Or make that “should have been,” since the clearly wrong choice was made. In all fairness, the effect the last man out of your bullpen has over the course of a season is relatively small. Given that, there might be a case to be made for a marginally weaker pitcher to be kept around if he has “intangibles,” or some other such BS.
That simply isn’t the case here, however. Carrara has been horrible in every sense of the word, allowing a .333 batting average against, 6.99 ERA and 1.81 WHIP to go along with a pathetic 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Mateo, meanwhile, has posted respectable numbers in what should have been his first full season in the majors — .239 batting average against, 4.18 ERA, 1.21 whip and a K:BB ratio of nearly 3:1. There is no logical reason for keeping Carrara over Mateo.
Perhaps the only good thing to come from tonight’s loss is that the underlying awfulness of this move was made all the more blatant. Carrara entered what was, at the time, a winnable one-run game only to serve up a three-run homer to a hitter with a .352 career slugging percentage. Why Melvin continues to pitch his worst reliever is one-run games — this certainly wasn’t the first time Carrara has gotten such work — is beyond me. And Bob? Yeah, those were boos you heard tonight.
Yet another newsflash:
Giovanni Carrara blows. Whoever decided that Julio Mateo should be the one to go should be fined, stripped, tarred, feathered, and then have their chest hairs plucked off with tweezers.
Minor League Highlights for Saturday, June 7
Working frantically to catch up!
Tacoma 1, Las Vegas 0. Forget “career” — LHP Craig Anderson pitched the game of his life, shutting out Las Vegas on five hits (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K). The Rainiers scored their lone run in the 5th on a 2B Jay Pecci sac fly and Anderson did the rest to improve his record to 4-6 on the year. 3B Luis “The Hitting Machine” Figueroa had two hits in two trips, raising his average to .323 on the season.
San Antonio 7, Arkansas 2. Despite my not being there, the Missions managed to win Saturday behind the pitching of LHP Travis Blackley (8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Blackley, who was recently listed at #8 on Baseball America’s “Prospect Hot Sheet,” lowered his ERA to 2.08 and has now won four consecutive starts. 1B A.J. Zapp provided the offense with his league-leading 17th homer of the season, driving in four runs on the night with three hits in four trips. SS Jose Lopez, 3B Justin Leone, CF Jaime Bubela and C Jim Horner all had two hits each, including a double and two RBIs for Bubela.
Lancaster 5, Inland Empire 4 (DH Game #1, 12 innings). Just what you want in the first game of a double header — extra innings! After being held scoreless for six innings, the 66ers scored four runs in the bottom of the 7th to tie things up but allowed a run in the top of the 12th to lose it. Despite pitching quite well in relief, RHP Emiliano Fruto (4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) took the loss. Offensively, 2B Ismael Castro was the only thing worth writing about as he had three of the club’s eight hits, scored once and also drove in a run.
Inland Empire 6, Lancaster 4 (DH Game #2). The 66ers came back in the second game to split the double header, scoring two runs in the 4th and four more in the 5th to make a winner of LHP Glenn Bott (6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR). 3B Hunter Brown led the way with a 2-3 night that included a double, two runs batted in and two runs scored. CF Dustin Delucchi, 1B John Castellano and 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez each also added two hits, and RHP Mike Steele (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) picked up his 15th save.
Wisconsin 12, South Bend 4. Trailing 3-0 after three innings, the Timber Rattlers exploded in the middle innings for three in the 4th, three in the 5th and five in the 6th, then added two more in the 9th for good measure. CF Gary Harris had three hits including a double in five trips, 3B Matt Hagen homered and two others — C Rene Rivera and SS Michael Garciaparra — had two hits each. All that offense was more than enough for LHP Cesar Jimenez (5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) to pick up the win and move to 5-3 on the year.
Apparently, it was National-Write-About-The-Mariners day, and we missed the memo. Our own Derek Zumsteg wrote a very good piece on Edgar Martinez’s candidacy for the hall of fame over at Baseball Prospectus. And yes, Derek’s column is free, so jump on over and give it a look. Rob Neyer wrote a much worse piece about the same subject, where his amazing reliance on MVP voting as a guage of player ability continues. Neyer has spent thousands of words decrying the Baseball Writers Association of America after they’ve given out awards that he doesn’t agree with, but, apparently their opinion matters as long as we let the years pass by first. I don’t have a strong stance on the issue either way, and can see both points of view, but Derek clearly wrote the better piece.
Also, Joe Sheehan tackled the M’s success in his Prospectus Today column, which is for BP Premium subscribers only. However, I don’t think he’ll mind if I mention that he continues to spread the misinformation that Jeff Cirillo needs to be replaced for the Mariners to contend. I’ll attempt to go into further detail at a future date, but the fact is that Cirillo has been a pretty good player for the past two months. Joe also makes a few other points that are simply not true, but I’ll save the debunking for a column you all can actually read. In case you were wondering, though, the Mariners farm system is well stocked and they will have no problems finding tradeable chips to move at the deadline, if Stand Pat decides to make a move this year.
Hey everybody — the Big Board has been updated for the week. There was actually quite a bit of movement recently, with at least one change at every level. And before you send me an email, yes, I realize that there are currently 26 players listed on the M’s active roster. They have yet to make the move needed to make room for lefty Matt White, but seeing as White is scheduled to join the team before tonight’s game they’ll have to make a move in the next five hours or so. Here’s a quick look at the moves:
Seattle: Acquired LHP Matt White
Tacoma: Activated RHP Ken Cloude from the DL, shipped Troy Cate back to Inland Empire, signed 1B J.R. Phillips, released OF Jacques Landry
San Antonio: Placed OF Chris Snelling on the DL (he’ll miss about a month)
Inland Empire: Traded OF Sheldon Fulse, designated OF Cristian Guerrero for assignment, received Cate from Tacoma, received OF Dustin Delucchi from Wisconsin
Wisconsin: Promoted Delucchi to Inland Empire, received OF Carlos Arroyo from Everett
As always, drop us a line if something doesn’t look quite right to you.