May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Ichiro has a 12-game hitting streak.

Hey, I’m just looking for positives here.

Last year, the Marlins fired Jeff Torborg when the team had a 15-21 record — and that was a team with expectations quite a bit lower than those of the 2004 M’s. After replacing him with Jack McKeon, they posted the best record in baseball the rest of the way. The Mariners are currently 12-22 heading into three games in New York.

So, um, make of that what you will. Personally, I still can’t believe they picked up Melvin’s 2005 option. Sparky Anderson, anyone? Earl Weaver?

May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Good news, everyone! The Mariners have a new jersey deal available in the team store:

With the new portable, all-natural one-size-fits-all hat, fans can show their continued support for the team while maintaining their pride. Wear it on the streets or at the game, it’s a look that says: “We suck!”

May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

It’s time to play Outsmart The Manager! Opposing American League managers play this every time Seattle comes to town, and now you can play in the comfort of your own home. Best of all, its free. Just follow the situation below, correctly identify how to outwit the opposing manager, and win yourself a ballgame. So easy, even a child could do it, and often does. Now, let’s play Outsmart The Manager.

Your team has a 1-0 lead in the 8th inning of a home game. Your closer has been dynamite this year, but because we’ve got the difficulty level set to “by the book” you want to save him until the 9th inning. The rest of your bullpen is spotty, but luckily, the #9, #1, and #2 hitters are due up, none of whom are threats to hit a home run. To make it even harder on you, we’re forcing you to start the inning with a retread that the other team couldn’t find room for, and making him left-handed, giving the platoon advantage to the opposing manager in case either of the first two batters get on base.

The inning starts ominously, as you’re ancient scrub gives up a single to the worst hitter in baseball, then watches an infield single by the leadoff hitter push the tying run into scoring position with nobody out. Now, you have to make your first decision:

Your left-handed pitcher gets beaten to a pulp by right-handed hitters. They hit .320/.377/.553 against him last year. The next batter due up is a switch hitter who is significantly stronger against left-handed pitching, and he’s followed by a right-hander who has been a lefty masher his entire career, and even despite his recent decline in performance still mashes them at all-star rates. Behind those two, however, awaits a near automatic out against southpaws and a player who couldn’t hit them at all last year.

The latest run expectancy charts show that, on average, teams with runners at 1st and 2nd base and nobody out score 1.51 runs per inning, and the expectancy with your lefty reliever facing two lefty mashers is likely even higher. If you can just somehow manage to get through the next two hitters without allowing the run to score, your chances of success are much higher. You don’t have any right-handed setup men you trust, however. What do you do?

The correct answer, obviously, is abso-freaking-lutely nothing. Because, by doing nothing, your opposing manager is going to bunt with his first lefty masher, despite the gigantic favorable matchup. The sacrifice moves runners into second and third with one out, actually lowering the other team’s expected ability to score to 1.42. In reality, the sacrifice harmed your opponent even more than an “average” opportunity, because he has gotten himself halfway to the two wimps who can’t hit their way out of a left-handed paperbag without the run coming in to tie the game.

So, now, you’re faced with a lefty masher at the plate, 1 out, and runners on second and third. The next two batters are easy outs against southpaws. A walk not only sets up the double play, the force at home, and allows you to bypass lefty-masher #2 completely, taking the bat away from both of the team’s two best options in this situation. What do you do?

If you didn’t answer “Put The Man On”, give yourself an electric shock of 100,000 volts. And, while you are at it, go take up curling, because this is clearly not your game. For the rest of you sane people who walked the lefty masher, congratulations, you’ve now completed your task. The average run expectancy of the initial situation was 1.52, and even after loading the bases and getting through the heart of the order with the lead, you’ve only raised it to 1.54, and now get to bring in your lefty specialist to go after the two hacks. As a bonus, you get to make a force at the plate on any ball not hit to the outfield, and can turn an inning ending double play on a ball up the middle.

Oh, but you worry that your opposing manager might pinch-hit for one of his two weak hitters, bringing in a slugger with no value other than to beat up southpaw relievers? Relax, this is easy mode, where the opposing organization doesn’t have enough foresight to anticipate this kind of situation, and has loaded their bench up with guys who can’t hit southpaws any better than you can. Despite the fact that they’re going to continually need a right-handed hitter who can come off the bench in crucial situations, they’ve decided to get by without one. So, rest assured, your LOOGY will get to face his two easy outs.

So, sit on your hands and enjoy. Groundball to third, out at the plate, two down. Strikeout, inning over. By making just two simple decisions, including the first one to do absolutely nothing and let the opposing manager reduce his own chance of scoring by employing a useless bunt, you’ve Outsmarted The Manager. Next time, give your kids a chance, as it appears the software is confused and bewildered and consistently getting beaten. Perhaps he needs an easier opponent?

Oh, but you don’t want your kids learning the disappointment of losing just yet? Have no fear, as we’ve built in a code to make sure that the manager does not learn from his past mistakes. If he bunted last week and it failed to bring any success, don’t worry, he’ll bunt again. And again. You can set your clock to it, because we’ve set the artificial intelligence so low that we feel bad referring to it as intelligence. So, let your children play this game with confidence knowing that, following the easy instructions of “do nothing!”, they too will win, as the opposing manager beats himself, over and over and over.

Postage and handling extra. Operators are standing by. Get yours now before everyone else has already Outsmarted The Manager.

May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I’m not sure you could have a more fitting end to this series than a shutout. Johan Santana is a good pitcher, but this offense is absolutely terrible. Some numbers for the series:

AB: 115

H: 36

BB: 5 (one intentional)

XBH: 2

BA: .313

OBP: .336

SLG: .357

They averaged 3 runs on 12 hits per game. The team is likely to chalk this up to poor clutch hitting or some such nonsense, not understanding how a team can hit .313 and struggle to score. This series is example A in the case study of batting average being overrated, as the M’s showed a complete inability to get on base or drive the ball. Not surprising to anyone smart enough to spell MENSA, much less get admitted, they also struggled to score runs.

The Mariners executed their offseason plan, acquiring players they value through their antiquated analytical means. We’re seeing the results of that, as this team is perhaps the worst we’ve been forced to watch since 1992. Never thought we’d yearn for the days of Pete O’Brien, did you?

May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Well, we have trade candidate numero uno. From today’s Everett Herald:

Closer Eddie Guardado was asked by a Minneapolis columnist Tuesday whether, if he had it to do over, he’d have signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent. “I’m not going to lie,” Guardado said. “No.”

Guardado just may have more value than anyone on the team right now, Freddy Garcia included. His contract is reasonable for any contender, he’s not a rent-a-player, and I’d imagine he’d gladly waive his right to not be traded until June 1st (free agents cannot be traded without consent until 90 days into the first season of their new contract). He’s professed his love for Minnesota and now his regret for signing here, and the Twins could certainly use him coming out of the bullpen. A little deferral of some money to keep Carl Pohlad rich and toss us Michael Cuddyer and, congratulations Minnesota, Everyday Eddie is coming home.

May 13, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Remembering that I don’t particularly care what managers say to the media, as they are often just spouting things without thinking to try to get the reporters to go away, this is still the stupidest thing Melvin has ever said.

“A lot of times a home run is actually a rally killer in that situation,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said.

Here’s a few numbers for you regarding the offense the past two games.

87 plate appearances. 28 hits. .333 batting average.

1 walk. 1 sacrifice. .333 on base percentage.

26 singles. 1 triple. 1 home run. .392 slugging percentage.

RBI’s per single: 0.15. RBI’s per extra base hit: 2.50.

The Mariners of the last two days are exactly the type of hitter this team values. High average singles hitters who don’t walk or hit for power. The line-up has basically been nine Ichiros, and its worked out to average 4.5 runs/game. Against Carlos Silva and Brad Radke.

If you want to score runs, you need patient hitters who can drive the ball. You don’t necessarily need nine of them, but they should be the core of your line-up, and you should understand that they are the force that drives your offense. Building a line-up of slap hitting hacks, well, it leads to crap like we see right now.

The next time someone tells you that these are good hitters just in a funk, punch them in the nose. They’re playing exactly the style of ball they were built to play, and the style that the organization believes is winning baseball. And if they can watch these past two games and not see that they are just flat out wrong, they all need to find another line of work.