Game Report, M’s over Royals 7-5
“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…
(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.