Mariners v Orioles!
Tuesday, 7:05, RHP Freddy Garcia v RHP Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera’s only 22, a big guy: 6’3 230#. Freddy Garcia is, by measure, one of the most effective starterse in baseball. He hasn’t had two months like this since… well, before 2002. He ended last year on fire and he’s just kept going.
Wednesday, 7:05, RHP Ryan Franklin v LHP Eric Bedard. Ummm.. yup.
Thursday, 7:05, RHP Gil Meche v RHP Rodrigo Lopez (? Really?) Lopez would be moving out of the bullpen to make this start.
Baltimore’s been having problems with their rotation all year, they’re one of the worst units in the majors. The Mariners will match up a cryptic ace who baffles me and two guys who are decent candidates for immediate replacement by our better AAA starters.
Meanwhile, the Mariners will feature an offense that is, and I mean this sincerely, the laughingstock of the American League, a potential Superfund site. You know how we had to shut down Gasworks for a while and remove all that contaminated soil? In the off-season they’re going to so a Level 4 decontamination on Safeco Field, including the locker rooms and front offices, to get this start out and keep it from affecting future teams. The Orioles feature an offense you could make a reasonable argument is playing over their heads, but one that is scoring a ton of runs and beating up opposing pitching.
Seriously — park-adjusted, the Mariners have two players that are at or above average for their position: Dan Wilson and Scott Spiezio. This team has got to start hitting at some point, don’t they? Don’t they?
Baltimore also has a pretty good bullpen, where the Mariners… don’t so much.
And now, a brief paragraph for people who know what this is:
A twelve-ounce beer bottle fits Jakobâ€™s hand exactly, his big hands envoloping the barrell almost entirely at rest, the neck a perfect handle in movement. Jakob had a brief, fiery death of a relationship with a woman who fit his build almost as well. Their physical relationship sparked and fired along Jakobâ€™s nerves for months. Sitting in a bar, sitting in his bar, Jakob couldnâ€™t help but think of her as he watched the bottle of Black Butte Porter turn under thumb-and-forefinger in his palm.
Scott Spiezio thinks he knows why the M’s aren’t scoring runs:
“I don’t think we’re really a home-run team,” Spiezio said. “We’re more a doubles team. I think our biggest problem is not getting runners in when they’re in scoring position. That’s what we’ve struggled with.”
I think everyone will agree that the M’s are not a home run team. But, what about his other two assertions? Is this a “doubles team”? And are they really having problems getitng runners in when they are in scoring position?
1. Not really, no. The team is a better doubles team than a home run team, much in the same way that hemmorhoids are better than colonoscopies. They are dead last in homers, and a whopping 8th in the AL in doubles. Of course, they are two ahead of 10th place Chicago, so it isn’t like the M’s are whacking extra base hits all over the place.
2. Well, no. As a team, with RISP, they are hitting .266/.358/.386, having scored 120 runs in 308 at-bats. Their opponents, in the same situations, are hitting .251/.333/.401, but have only scored 107 runs in 342 at-bats. Their numbers with RISP are actually better than their numbers with none on, which stand at a paltry .260/.319/.361.
The problem isn’t that the team is getting runners in scoring position and not driving them in. It’s that they just aren’t getting people in scoring position often enough, because, well, their hitters suck. And, on the rare occasion that they do get someone into scoring position, you can count on Bunting Bob to give up an out, allowing the team to walk our good hitter to get to our crappy ones. For what its worth, Edgar Martinez has 12 walks with RISP, compared to just 31 at-bats.
So, it looks like Spiezio’s career as an analyst isn’t off to a great start, considering he made three points, only one of which was true, and that insight was apparent to any random six year old walking the streets of Seattle. I would tell him to stick to what he’s good at, but honestly, I’m not sure what that is.
I like that Thiel has the stones to come out and say that this season is indeed not just bad, but a historically awful collapse.
I would take issue with one thing, though:
At about $81 million, the Mariners have a top 10 payroll that made no provision for power.
They did make provisions for power: they thought Ibanez, Spiezio, and Aurilia were going to be power bats in the lineup, and they’re not.
Now, if its not too much to ask, could someone at one of the local dailies go after this bunting nonsense? We’ll even provide the run expectancy charts and show why Melvin’s willingness to give up outs has cost the team in crucial situations where they cannot afford to give up outs. This Buntfest 2004 just can’t continue to go on unchallenged.