August 31, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  


The broadcast of today’s game just showed a *brand new* seating section installed overnight. No joke: I was there yesterday, no seating section, and watching the game today, there it was. I have no idea how they pulled this off. It looks like it essentially replaces the beer garden, which would mean the team has decided to sacrifice one of the few things that made Safeco Field unique and cool in order to sell a couple hundred more tickets/game… if it’s permanent. There’s no information on this on the M’s site, it’s not on the seating charts, Ticketmaster won’t sell you a ticket there.

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

Illustrated Whupping

For those of our readers who weren’t able to see the game today, here’s a quick visual reference for today’s game:

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

Also, you’ll note my experiments with adding comments didn’t get us comments yet. We’re not sure if it’s a feature we want to add, for a couple of reasons, but I still plan on giving it a whirl if I get over the technical/etc barriers. Or maybe setting up a forum (“I was a minor league baseball player for a small mid-western team…”). In any event, we’re all about reader service here at the U.S.S. Mariner, as long as reader service includes writing about the Mariners a lot.

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

Depending on where you look, Meche or Franklin gets the start tonight (Meche in the vast majority of spots). Against the Orioles, will the obviously tired and worn pitcher look good, or is there a point where leaving pitches up means even the Orioles hit you? And I can’t find the possibly-magical phrase I posted a couple of times that (may have) resulted in Meche having a couple of nice starts. So– I hope that Meche comes out and looks like April Meche, keeps the ball out of the stands, and racks up some good Ks. I hope that Meche is not, as it appears, worn down and in need of rest or worse.

Some people have asked why I hashed on McLemore, since he’s hitting well in August (superficially) to the tune of .312/.330/.323. Out of the guys on the bench — Mabry, McLemore, etc — Mark had the name that Jason and I started playing with while we were at the game, and fit well perfectly into a well-known poem. Like this town’s support for post-good Wilson, I don’t understand why McLemore has a contingent of people who are such big fans. Since coming to Seattle:

2000 .245/.353/.316

2001 .286/.384/.406

2002 .270/.380/.395

2003 .231/.312/.321

His career line is .259/.349/.342. When he’s hitting, McLemore provides quality on-base work and no power, and for the last couple of years, the only position he can play with the glove is LF, and left-fielders as a group hit .283/.340/.457. I’d agree that 40 points of OBP are worth punting 50 points of SLG.

That’s not my point, though — in the last couple of years, McLemore at his best has been an average-hitting average-fielding left-fielder with declining speed, and who can in an emergency play some ugly infield defense. This year, he’s been plain bad. In fact…

$6m .206/.282/.272

$3m .231/.312/.321

$0 .247/.317/.317

If you’ve been hanging out for a while, you know how much it pains me to say this, but… Bloomquist, being young and able to play infield defense at a couple of positions, is the pick of the litter if you’re shopping for bench players.

It’s interesting then that people *hate* Cirillo. They want him released to prove some point, they’re convinced he’s a clubhouse cancer, while the difference of $3m makes McLemore immune to criticism and another $3m makes Bloomquist the apple of our eye. And please, no more emails about how good Bloomquist’s was hitting while the regular 3b — I’m not buying that there’s some difference between playing 3b at .330/.402/.426 and playing SS .176/.263/.235 or LF .179/.233/.214. Moving right along, though —

We have also heard from a reasonably reliable source sympathetic to the pitcher that Garcia does not party any more than other players, and never before game days. I haven’t figured out if that should scare me w/r/t other players, or if much of this was a feedback loop: once Freddy got nailed with his party reputation, people noticed him at the clubs and talked about it, and that led to more people looking out for him, and since Freddy had the reputation, the story would become ‘oh, Freddy and X were out… Freddy’s always out, blah blah blah’.

At the same time, the volume, and some of where it was coming from… I think perhaps this report’s a little sympathetic to Garcia, and the entire truth of party spectrum/night-life is never going to be known to some dude like me.

And none of that resolves the work ethic issues and Price’s agonized comments over trying to work with him over that year of sustained awfulness. I don’t know what happens to him this off-season: Freddy’s contract is huge for what he’s done, and the M’s have many choices approaching ready (though if Meche’s arm falls off before the end of the season, they’ll also have an additional need). If the team doesn’t offer him arb, though, they don’t get the draft pick(s) when he signs elsewhere… but then Freddy’s going to have a choice between accepting arbitration, which at worst would cut his salary a little (there are limits to how much arbitration can reduce salary) and keep him in the organization for only another year, or jumping ship and seeking his fortune elsewhere.

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

On a non-Mariners note, how wacky is the NL Wild Card race right now? Houston, Philadelphia, Florida, St. Louis and Montreal are all tied for the lead, then you’ve got Arizona one game back and Chicago and LA only 1.5 games back. That’s 8 teams within 1.5 games of the top spot. As I’m fond of saying, “The Wild Card makes for exciting baseball.” And as Derek is fond of responding, “And meaningless division races.”

August 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

The Veteran

by Derek Zumsteg, with help from Jason, and with obvious apologies to Poe

Once upon a game day bright and sunny, while the Mariners took fan money,

As I puzzled working over statistics like a drunk sophomore,

While my thoughts grew thick, there came a sound quick,

Like scratching of a great bird, on my office door.

‘Tis the cat,’ I sighed, ‘scratching at my office door –

Only the cat, and nothing more.’

So clearly I remember it was in sunny July,

And my home office sunlight fried.

The M’s were losing, and I was choosing

Something else that could my mind occupy –

Some missed statistic that I could classify

And I resigned myself to failure with a sigh.

And the creep of premonition, the cold spine of dark suspicion

Ran through me, wondering of reader’s revenge sworn;

I picked up my softball bat and readied myself saying

‘Tis the cat wanting in, outside my office door –

Madeline the cat wanting in, outside my office door –

Only Mad Cat, and nothing more.’

I opened the door, and no cat looked up, mewing

And back into the office I turned, setting down the bat once more.

But then again I heard a scratching, further inside than before.

I grabbed my bat and threw open the closet door

And I fell back in shock to see a uniformed veteran of years before

Standing there, behind the office closet door

He stood, and smiled, and I swore.

Then this white zombie took a seat and put up his feet,

And though I tried, it’s not something you can ignore

‘Though I don’t know you, I’m sure you’re a wise player.

Who is the man who goes oh-for-four,

Not part of our young core?’

Quote the veteran, ‘McLemore.’

‘Who’s the man who cannot score,

Not even with a saucy whore?

Who makes the fans awfully sore

As bad as shitty players of lore,

Reminder of the M’s of yore?’

Quote the veteran, ‘McLemore.’

‘Runs as if his tendon’s tore,

Offers defensive adventures galore,

His jerseys go unsold in our team store,

Ground balls go by him by the score,

He plays like an arthritic boar?’

Quote the veteran, ‘McLemore.’

‘Who’s the man who can’t hit anymore,

His deterioration past restore,

The team’s bad bench he underscores,

His play forces thoughts of blood, and gore

Every day harder to ignore?’

Quote the veteran, ‘McLemore.’

What yields the bat of McLemore?

Only outs, and nothing more.

To the Mariners we implore

Hear a city’s tortured roar —

‘Trade him now to Baltimore.

Or send him to a foreign shore,

So we must watch him nevermore.’

August 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  


Out of first place for the first time in just over four months.

What is there to be done? It’s been a total collapse this month. The pitching staff has a 4.71 ERA for August, though to me that really doesn’t explain how bad things have been — the five starters have a collective ERA of 5.79, if I’m reading this correctly, which I think I am. Oh, and don’t forget 34 homers allowed in 25 games, either.

Offensively things have been better, but not much. They’re scoring 4.72 runs per game on .279/.339/.388 hitting, the former which sounds pretty good but the latter which looks pretty bad. They haven’t been walking as much this month, either, with their walk total falling below 10% of their at-bats (yes, that includes Tuesday night’s walk-o-rama against Tampa Bay). Power hitting has dropped off as well — roughly 26% of their hits have gone for extra bases this month, compared to nearly 32% for the first four months of the season.

I dunno. It’s pretty ridiculous at this point to suggest drastic moves like releasing McLemore and Mabry, because we all know those things aren’t going to happen. On the pitching side of things, they appear to be pretty much stuck with what they have. The good news there is that there should be no way all five starters can pitch this poorly for another month, though at the same time I think you could probably make a pretty compelling argument why any one of them easily could.

In any event, I’m not optimistic.

August 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

On the fleeting nature of random stats: while I reported here earlier that Baseball Prospectus’ Postseason Odds Report had the M’s winning a playoff berth what, 80% of the time, they’re now down to a 41% chance at the division title and a 20% chance at the wild card, which means there’s a 40% chance I’ll have paid the M’s a huge ‘handling’ fee for my playoff strip that would have been better spent playing poker, say.

Oakland: 59% division title, 14% wild card berth

Boston: 17% division title, 52% wild card berth

To toss out some more cliches, though — there’s no point in this exercise. The Mariners and Oakland play six games between now and the end of the season, and when these two teams get together you can throw out the projections. The Mariners control their own destiny. And so on and such and such.

Matt Stairs Watch: Matt Stairs is not a Mariner

Tony Clark Watch: ah, what’s the point?

August 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Just as a service note, I’m screwing around with possibly adding comments today. I’d add RSS, but it looks like it would require an additional investment of $ by me, and frankly, the in/out money ratio on this blog is currently running… well, I’m getting a “div 0” error. So if you see a comments link, feel free to give them a whirl. And if you don’t, well… you get what you pay for. The cliches are free.

August 28, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Somebody just posted on our comments section — hey! we’ve got comments! [ed. note: had] — about perhaps putting Soriano in the rotation to shake things up. I like it. I had been reluctant about this before, when things were going well and he was tearing it up in relief, but now it seems like a good idea. I don’t know how long you can keep running out the same five starters when none of them have been effective for basically the last month. I wouldn’t be averse to trying Mateo, either.

Now the question becomes: Who do you yank from the rotation? My nominations would be Meche and/or Franklin.

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