Game Report, M’s over Royals 7-5

DMZ · August 27, 2004 at 11:20 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

“Japan Night” at the ballpark.
( 日本夜 at Safeco Field) (hopefully you have the Japanese character set and that worked)

This is going to sound dumb, but this is one of my favorite themed nights:

  • Bilingual player announcements
  • Biographical reels of Japanese players with career notes
  • Super-young highlights of Ichiro! acting emotional, before he adopted the on-field assassin attitude

It’s cool to see the Mariners give Japanese baseball some respect, when every year we seem to have the same xenophobic debate over whether first-year players from Japan should qualify for the same award first-year players from every other country and background qualify for.

Anyway… Overheard at the Ballpark, 8-27-04.
“Can you imagine raising that kid?” — woman on the size of Bucky Jacobsen

Olivo got the coveted exclamation point on my scorecard tonight — and then two more: HR! in the 5th (how that got measured at 397 and Lopez’s at 392 is beyond me) and HR!! in the 6th. Olivo isn’t a young Dan Wilson, and it’s important for us to remember that. This is one of Olivo’s big strengths… power. Olivo also has a little speed on the basepaths, and a good arm for shutting down the running game. He’s not good at the kind of pitch-blocking goalie work you may be used to out of your catcher, especially the agile young version of Dan Wilson. But that’s a tradeoff worth making: Olivo rocks. I can’t believe we got him and Reed.

On a larger point, though — this is how you win huge ball games. You manufacture runs by hitting home runs and breaking open big innings against your opponent. Ron Fairly may speculate “How many times do we see a team play for one run and get more than that?” but the real questions are “How many times do we see the M’s play for one run and get none?” along with “How many times do we see the M’s hit a home run and not score?”

Also, blown error calls by the Safeco scorer again.

One of our huge complaints this season is that the M’s were built almost entirely around singles, a one-dimensional team if we ever saw one. Seeing the team do different things makes me happy. You would hope that giving the manager more options would make him more effective but… honestly, I doubt it. Melvin would probably be most effective with a lineup of 2 .300-hitting singles guys, followed by two mashers, and then a bunch of modestly effective switch hitters. Actually, they should all be switch hitters. Sometimes if you’re committed to a manager you have to build part of the team to protect their weakness, like the Mariners did with the effective Piniella bullpens.

Part of the respect given to Earl Weaver is due to the fact that he won with all kinds of teams. Young, old, power-hitting with no speed, speed and less power, every year he’d sort out how he could give himself the best chance to win and then tear up the league.

Given what we’ve seen in Melvin’s two years here, is there any evidence that he’s strategically adaptable, and can play with next year’s team which (we hope) will feature some good free agent acquisitions with disparate talent sets, a mix of good players, temporaries, and modestly talented young stopgaps who will require nursing?

I don’t see it. I don’t know who that manager would be, as I sit here typing, but it’s going to require an adaptable artist, and Melvin is a conventional player’s manager.

It’s so great to look at my scorecard and see a run of squares marked in as HRs. What a great game. And quick, too, unlike last night’s death march.

Can we start seriously talking about Meche as a reliever? Here’s another game where Meche came out looking strong, though not racking up the Ks so much, and then in the fifth after about pitch 75, he starts to get roooocked.

Actually… let’s look that up. How are opposing batters hitting Meche?
Pitches 1-15: .319/.407/.511 (ow)
16-30: .286/.375/429 (better)
31-45: .327/.365/.571 (oooowwww)
46-60: .205/.373/.282 (that’s pretty nice)
61-75: .306/.340/.551 (wince)
76-90: .268/.318/.463 (huh?)
91-105: .308/.379/.500 (yow)

Okay, so that doesn’t do anything for my point at all. Looking at his two year composite, though, which doubles the sample size… and using OPS because I’m getting lazy…
1-15 .716
16-30 .716
31-45 .713
46-60 .640
61-75 .785
76-90 .938
(at which point he continues to get rocked and gets pulled).

Meche as reliever allows the team to use him in long relief, make the most of his stuff by applying it in situations where today we’re stuck with Hasegawa, gives them a multi-inning reliever that probably will serve them in the swing roll Villone was in, and also allows them to keep his workload extremely low per-game while allowing Meche the chance to work regularly but around his health, making sure he’s healthy.

Then maybe you try to start him again next year.

By the way — back to my regular seats, M’s win, good game. They should pay me to sit in my regular seats and not move around.


14 Responses to “Game Report, M’s over Royals 7-5”

  1. adam on August 27th, 2004 11:49 pm

    I’m split on if Meche should see time in the bullpen. On one hand injury risk ‘probably’ is lower if he sees the fewer innings in the pen.

    However, he’s young and this could stunt his growth when it comes to pitching strategy(but if he gets hurt again it doesn’t really matter, so…..).

    The other problem is it seems like Meche in the bullpen isn’t being considered, kind’ve like the Ichiro must always stay in rightfield even though it might benefit the team more if they use him in centerfield.

    Our managment doesn’t appear to the be very creative.

    Personally, I’d shut Meche down for this year and hope he comes back strong for spring training and for a long next year hopefully in the Seattle Mariner’s rotation.

  2. random guy on August 28th, 2004 3:48 am

    I was confused at how meches pitch count got up so high but I guess alot of guys were fowling everything off. Its not like he had control problems.. heck he should of drilled one of them.

  3. John on August 28th, 2004 6:59 am

    Your comment about Japanese ROY candidates contains a rather obvious straw man. Those who object to considering certain players from Japan as rookies do not do so because they (the objectors) are xenophobes. If they did, they would object to ANY Japanese player under ANY circumstances. They object because they consider Japanese major league service as a disqualifier. If your comment were valid, then a Japanese player who never played in Japanes major league baseball would still be considered not to be a qualified candidate.

  4. Stanley on August 28th, 2004 7:36 am

    I have to admit I am getting very tired of your comment on Meche. He has shown better starter stuff than any of our so called bright prospects and if that means it would burn his arm sooner than later, I still would rather to have him as a starter for two years then wasting his talent in a long relief roll in bull pen. I like the kid, but the kid is not the only bright young pitcher on earth. I would use him now and next year before his arbitration is done. After that, he has to prove he can remain healthy to earn big bucks. I just don’t get it what is such a big concern now for a 2 million dollar bargain like Meche? And lets face it, there is no way to decide if he would burn his arms or not

  5. Jeff on August 28th, 2004 7:41 am

    I believe we need Meche as a starter next year. I don’t think it unusual (at least that’s what Ron Fairley tells me) that Meche gets rocked deeper in the game or the third time through the line-up. We have to hope he develops & is able to fight through guys fouling off his pitches in the 5-7 inning. Personnaly I think the only way the Mariners will be successful next year is to run the young pitchers out there the rest of this year get them some work in the winter, and then let them compete in the Spring for jobs. I don’t see a lot of can’t miss pitching prospects but I see 7 or 8 guys who might make it & we have hope a few of them develop fast. I think very few pitchers come up to the majors the first time as starters and are there to stay……..It takes some time and the only good thing about this disastor of 04 is we are getting to see some of these guys pitch.

    It would be nice to go out and buy some veteran pitching but lets face it we need some offense. I would like to see them move Ibanez to 1st Winn to right and either go get a CF or move Ichiro to Center and get somebody who can hit & has an arm in right. Maybe Reed can be trade bait or a 4th outfielder. Then we’ve got to go get a 3rd baseman who can hit 25-30 HR @year. I like Dent & think he deserves a shot at DH but the guy needs to spend more time in the weight room and less time in the buffee line. He’s 20-30 lbs over weight his feet move at first base like they are glued to the ground. You take that excess flab off that big frame and he would move better & his knee problems would go away. I think if they got two all-star caliber players you could roll the dice with the pitching see what develops in the first half of the year and go from there. It’s not a world seris plan but I think it’s something the Mariners can afford and might work.

  6. austinspace on August 28th, 2004 8:23 am


  7. Jon Wells on August 28th, 2004 9:04 am

    Yes, Dent. By popular demand, Bucky Jacobsen is changing his last name to Dent. The M’s are holding a ceremony before tomorrow’s game vs. Kansas City. The marketing people feel it could sell an extra 500 or 600 tickets…

  8. Dan on August 28th, 2004 10:11 am


    Thanks for the laugh. Remind me how Meche is putting up better numbers than Madritsch. Let me just put this in perspective, in madritsch’s last start, he gets hit for 4 in the 6th. Somehow, inexplicably, melvin leaves him in for the 7th inning. What does he do?

    1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts. And his pitch count was over 100. The chances meche will give you that extra inning, that he’ll still have something in the tank late in the game and still have the confidence to strike out two guys after getting roughed up a bit, is somewhere around 0.

  9. The REAL Trent on August 28th, 2004 10:28 am

    Meche as a starter unless we pick someone else up. Who else would start? Blackley? Nageotte? Thorton? No way.

  10. Paul Covert on August 28th, 2004 12:40 pm

    Real Trent– yes, I see the point; but I think the argument on the other side is that what we need to do is not necessarily win as many games as we can in ’05, but rather try to assemble the pieces for a serious contending team in ’06. If (hypothetically) Meche could be either a 4.25-ERA starter or a 2.25-ERA setup man, then I’d say the latter would be more likely to contribute to a championship.

    I’m not personally ready to give up on Meche as a starter, mind you; but sooner or later the time could come. And only when we’re ready to contend does the question “who is there that’s better?” become relevant (in my view).

  11. DMZ on August 28th, 2004 1:35 pm

    That’s precisely my thought on Meche. Meche can have great stuff some times, no one denies that. But he’s not a workhorse suited to starting. If that was the case, he’d be an ace starter right now. Instead he ran out of gas last year in-game and in-season and even now seems to hit a wall at some point in the game.

    I guess I don’t understand why anyone would argue in favor of putting a player in a role where they’re not suited: would we want Ibanez playing shortstop if it meant he would be much less effective defensively and would break down?

    That Meche is paid a lot and is deep into his service time doesn’t matter so much to me. If the team can find a way to make him an effective contributor, they should do so.

    And one of the reasons I want to see Meche in a role like that is that it’s a good chance to get him a lot of work within the limits of his healthy and stamina. The hope would be that at some point in the future, he’d be able to consistently throw more pitches more effectively and you could start him.

    Also… this is a whole can of trouble, but do teams have a moral obligation to protect the health of their players in the same way that any other employer does? The injury risk of players, especially pitchers, is unpredictable and depends as much on mechanics, the player’s body, and chance as it does straight pitch counts. And yet the Mariners really ran Meche through the gauntlet after he came back from his second surgery after he made the team. Would a slower timetable have helped? Does a team owe it to their players to be cautious in their rehabs?

    We’re never going to know if Meche would have been better off if he’d been on a shorter leash when he came back. I suspect no — almost no one’s ever come back from labrum surgery like Meche has, and unlike Tommy John surgery, we just don’t know what the timetables for slow and fast recoveries are. That’s bad for Meche, of course.

    As to who would start, though — if Meche stinks as a starter but would make a good swingman, and your choice to replace him in the rotation is someone who might also stink in the rotation, well… you’re not giving up much.

  12. matt bjorke on August 28th, 2004 2:42 pm

    I know it sounds crazy but why not audition Meche as a closer. He certainly has better stuff than Putz. Or does the team simply want a new slogan like “J.J. Putz it away again” We know how those marketing wheels are always turning.

  13. sjm on August 28th, 2004 4:47 pm

    DMZ, do you have to make so many dumb comments in one? “THAT MECHE IS PAID A LOT” since when? He is 1.95 million this year and prob 2 million to 2.5 next year. That is a bargain. And your other comment about him falling off last year. For your information, 2003 WAS the first year he came back from surgeries. So on a realistic way, that was his first full year in MLB. If you don’t understand why he is in a starter role, perhaps you should stop watching baseball. Try WNBA, that might fit you better.

  14. DMZ on August 28th, 2004 4:54 pm

    Aaaaaaaand it’s the first comment that makes me regret having comments. Congrats, “sjm” you’re the first person to make personal attacks on the comments board. Yayyyyy for “sjm”.

    I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to baseball in the last couple of years, but starters with Meche’s level of performance aren’t getting $2m.

    And to his years back — what the are you talking about? If you’re sympathetic to Meche because he was weak and run down in the second half of 2004, doesn’t that bolster my argument that they shouldn’t have run him out there in the rotation all year long without a break? Doesn’t agreeing with me that it took him a very long time to recover mean that even now, ensuring that he has a light workload make sense?