Hey, also, where are all these big changes we were promised? It’s been a week since Finnegan’s piece in the Times, and two weeks since the piece in the News Tribune. So far all we’ve seen is the McCracken-Nageotte swap — color me unimpressed.
So, three games and Nageotte still hasn’t pitched. After Mateo’s long outing on 5/27, he’s only thrown 10 pitches in the past three days, so I’m sure he’s fully available again. Nageotte will go back to Tacoma tomorrow (the team is back in Seattle Monday), Jamal Strong will make his way to Seattle to take the roster spot he should have had all season, and Nageotte’s service time clock will have begun ticking for no reason at all.
Jon Rauch is being run out of the White Sox organization. They’ve come out in public and said “anyone interested in Jon Rauch should call us.” See, he left the stadium early after a bad start, possibly (Rauch maintains) because of a misunderstanding and possibly (the White Sox say) because he didn’t want to talk to the GM after his outing.
The M’s should be calling. Now, we can debate on Rauch’s possible future value and potential, whether he can complete his comeback from labrum surgery, but here’s the problem in a nutshell:
Clint Nageotte’s been called up for.. however long he’s up. This means the Rainiers rotation is patched up and features Scott Maynard, who’s throwing the knuckler as a pitcher. Maynard is the guy you may remember last year was an infielder (ed: catcher, actually) of not much note. Faced with being released, Maynard said “Hey, check this out” and now he’s filling in the rotation in Tacoma. The Mariners don’t have a lot of options for filling in their minor-league rotation, which probably only matters to Rainiers fans, but becomes important if we’re going to start jettisoning guys out of the major league rotation (trade, or suspicious injury.. whatever), because Tacoma still has to field a team.
And if the White Sox are really willing to toss Rauch, well — in AAA Charlotte the dude was 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA, in 50 innings of work he walked 18 guys, struck out 40, and… well, he gave up 7 home runs. But Tacoma would help with that.
My point is that Rauch is all upside. You stick him in AAA to fill the rotation, even if he is only going 5 innings a start, or long relief, or whatever. And if he returns to being the monster prospect some people saw a couple of years ago, you win there, too.
Two things on today’s broadcast:
The Rizzs-Henderson blasting of diving into first was the first multi-minute commentary that I’ve heard from this year that was entirely, verifiably true.
I discovered that I own a fan that somehow totally obliterates Dave Henderson’s voice, except when he raises quite a bit to make some weird point. It’s really quite pleasant to run while I watch the game. I get a nice breeze in the room and the quality of commentary improves dramatically.
Manager Second-Guessing of the Night: Terry Francona
In the bottom of the 8th, Hasegawa relives Mateo.
McCarty doubles (again with the doubles)
Men on second and third, Gabe Kapler-R is set to bat against Hasegawa. Kapler v RHP this year: .234/.270/.298, three year .268/.334/.393
Opposing hitters v. Hasegawa this year (3-year)
RHB: .300/.383/.420 (.228/285/.362)
LHB: .237/.326/.368 (.252/.326/.351)
What you make of that matchup depends on your taste, I guess.
Melvin has the M’s best reliever warm in Guardado. This is startling in itself, but it’s still likely that he wouldn’t bring in Guardado until you’ve got a lefty up. Meanwhile, Hasegawa’s been craptabulous this year and Aurilia’s been put in at short, sooo the defense just took a step back, too.
After Kapler, due up is Pokey Reese-R, who’s helpless against righties and average against lefties, then Mark Bellhorn-B, who’s been getting on base (.246/.387/.408) well this year, followed by Youklis-R and Ortiz-L.
I think you leave Kapler in there and see what happens. Hasegawa’s leaving the ball out to be hit, as he has most of this season, under double-plus pressure not to walk the bases loaded, and Kapler can make contact and maybe drive it (how come Kapler’s never hit for the kind of power everyone thought he would? That dude is freaking ripped, he could throw the ball farther than he hits it.)
Instead, Damon bats for Kapler, Melvin brings Guardado in (“He’s learning! Yayyy!”)
Now, it doesn’t work out as well as we’d like, but it’s weird to see Melvin put his best reliever out there when he really needed his best pitcher out there.
Other notes from this game:
Using Ron Villone, Classic Swingman, in the LOOGY role is ridiculous, especially when Myers was up later so heee was available.
Generally speaking, when people propose rules changes to baseball I roll my eyes. The rules we have, ignored and battered as they are, work well enough. We should enforce them as they’re written and then see about adding on (which I understand makes me a super-conservative on that).
That said, I’m starting to come around on Bill James’ suggestions to improve baseball, particularly those around limiting in-game substitutions — that pitchers, say, should have to face at least two batters before they can be removed. This constant five-six ptichers/game strategy of Melvin’s was old last year and it’s torture this year as the team loses.
For one, it’s dumb. If you’re to the point where you’re selecting pitchers based on their ability to get one-sided batters out, you’re in trouble already. Plus churning through them like this risks disaster with each swap. Every time you bring a pitcher in, you don’t really know what they’ll be throwing that day, and there’s a significant chance you won’t be getting the idealized guy you thought you were bringing in. Relieving a pitcher who is cruising or dealing some filthy cards to secure an unknown marginal advantage for one batter is short-sighted and dumb.
For two, if we’re going to lose, could we at least be quick about it? I know the Mariner hitters have been pitching in towards this goal, but they can’t carry the load alone.