Game 37, Red Sox at Mariners

Jeff · May 15, 2005 at 8:48 am · Filed Under Game Threads 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

In May, I was supposed to be at the Kentucky Derby with Peter, rocking an ice-white suit, sipping a mint julep and rooting for Steinbrenner’s horse to trample its owner. In May, the Mariners were supposed to be proving much better than the 2004 team.

Both happenings have, so far, been overtaken by events.

At this point last season, the M’s were 13-23, just one game worse than the team we’re watching now. Not what any of us had in mind. To watch for today: Manny Ramirez needs one home run to reach 400. Gil Meche has given up one home run in each of his last five starts.

My spreadsheet says: do the math.

Take heart, though: if you miss the Derby, you’re out of luck until next year. If your baseball team gets off to a slow start, there’s plenty of days to turn it around. Today’s as good a day as any.


141 Responses to “Game 37, Red Sox at Mariners”

  1. Jeremy on May 15th, 2005 3:51 pm

    Two out of three against the Red Sox, in front of a lot of fake Red Sox fans in Safeco Field?


  2. Jim on May 15th, 2005 3:59 pm

    Fairly is annoying because of his palindromic banalities. “The Red Sox have so many grand slams because they get a lot of baserunners. You have to get a lot of baserunners to hit a lot of grand slams”. No he didn’t actually say that but it isn’t too hard to imagine. Once you start noticing these things they stick in your head like a bad 80s dance tune.

    And for those who didn’t see the game on TV – you have no idea how close WFB came to being the “next Mariner to hit a home run” before Olivo took up the challenge. About 4 feet from the top of the wall in right-center.

  3. Jim on May 15th, 2005 4:02 pm

    And here’s one for the statistics guys – today’s game saw our weakest hitters doing the most damage against Wakefield, while the power guys looked pretty blech. Is there any trend for weak hitters to have better OPS etc. vs knucklers and for power hitters to have lower OPS?

  4. Bretticus on May 15th, 2005 4:23 pm

    Sele still gets the start tomorrow after they yank Campillo, presumably to come up? Gah, I’m going tomorrow, and if Sele’s getting the start, I’m already disappointed by tomorrow’s automatic loss.

  5. Felixfastfreight on May 15th, 2005 4:33 pm

    Olivo said it himself after the game…he’s stopped trying to re-invent himself and is just trying to use the same aproach that gave him success in Chicago last (and occasional success last year). I noticed in spring training he’d changed the way he held the bat a bit and gone from a very open stance to an almost slightly closed stance. apparently Baylor had suggested it and Olivo was taking any advice these coaches were giving him; and according to Olivo, Baylor finally said ‘go back to what you did before physically and you’ll be fine” and today is what you got…i like it 😉

  6. Felixfastfreight on May 15th, 2005 4:37 pm

    sure enough, Olivo had his old open stance again…it worked. hope he just keeps it up.
    I’ll be pissed if they decided to yank Campillo for Sele and then changed their minds though…with the way this lineup is clicking at the moment, any kind of consisten and reasonably good starting pitching should get us turned around.
    the only thing that i think can turn us around is that last year, however up and down the pitching was, there was absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel offense wise. Ibanez injured, and everyone but Ichiro sucking it up…this year is a different story..forcryinoutloud, we havn’t had a guy close to the leauge lead in home runs since building the Safe and letting A-rod and Grif go…Beltre is just starting to heat up too.

  7. msb on May 15th, 2005 5:00 pm

    Baylor, and it turns out, Kevin Millar. According to Olivo, Millar told him yesterday that he didn’t look like he used to in Chi, and asked him to change his stance & hands, and try it… he watched a bunch of Sox footage and went out with the new/old stance to take bp and hit a 500 foot HR…

    IIRC, when Buhner was sitting in last season, he also stayed on the tv side for the whole game…

  8. TypicalIdiotFan on May 15th, 2005 5:02 pm

    Noel said:

    Someone in a previous day’s thread was complaining that David Ortiz crowds the plate by creeping over the inside line of the batters’ box. Well, he’s not doing it today (and I don’t believe he did it earlier in this series either).

    That was me. I also noted that at the beginning of this series that he wasn’t doing it. Obviously he only does that in Boston where you can take the outside pitches over / off that Green Monster as a more viable hitting approach. In SafeCo field, you’d rather pull the ball if you’re a left hander to the shorter porch in right field. So Ortiz was off his normal chalk-line stance. Interestingly enough, because of that, Ortiz looked terrible against anything low and away, which ne normally tattoos in Boston.

    If anyone is crowding the plate, it’s Ichiro!, as shown in one of the simultaneous slow-motions where they compared Ichiro!’s swing with Johnny Damon’s swing. Ichiro! had his front foot on the inside line of the box as he made contact.

    I wont argue that Ichiro’s stance in the batters box is funky. But his whole swing motion is weird. He’s halfway out of the box by the time he makes contact. Is that cheating up a bit? Yep. But if they’re not going to enforce the catching box rules, why bother enforcing the batters box rules?

    Harry asked:

    And is anyone here surprised at how well Manny has been fielding in this series? Usually he’s a cartoon out there (and I watch him here in Boston, too, and he’s just painful), but he’s made some good plays the past few games.

    Sad part is, what he runs down as “good plays” for Manny are probably more routine for others. Example: He runs down Reed’s hit rather simply then lets Randy Winn’s basehit drop less then a foot in front of him. He was coming in on the ball rather leisurely and couldn’t have stuck his glove out?

    Manny is a piss poor fielder. Anything he does on the run is regarded as a good play for him. For him.

  9. TypicalIdiotFan on May 15th, 2005 5:21 pm

    On another note:

    Great to see Hargrove put Putz in there in the 8th inning. Putz had just had a hell of a deflating moment yesterday but claimed it didn’t bother him. Seems it didn’t. Hargrove put him out there as the setup man to show confidence in the young righty and Putz promptly responded with a 1-2-3 inning and a strikeout, topping 97mph on the gun.

    It’s always good to give your young guys another chance to prove themselves. I noticed that Matty Thornton was up yesterday but never came in. Hargrove is going to give guys chances to prove they belong at the Major League level, and I think tomorrow is Sele’s last chance. If Campillo was held out, it might mean that they plan on bringing him up if Sele blows it.

    In which case Campillo would take Mateo’s place as long man and Sele would be cut. Thats my guess.

  10. LB on May 15th, 2005 5:22 pm

    Really, the M’s caught a couple of huge breaks in the season series with the Red Sox. First, they did not have to face Bronson Arroyo, who has the highest VORP in the Boston rotation. (6 games and done; thanks for the unbalanced schedule, Mr. Selig!) Second, the fact that both Schilling and Wells are on the DL meant that they could take their chances against Jeremi “With an I” Gonzalez, who has a negative VORP in both 2004 and 2005 for a reason. If they couldn’t notch a win in a start by Jeremi, they would be pretty pathetic.

    Now, I fully expect them to roll over and cough up the next three games to NY.

  11. msb on May 15th, 2005 5:24 pm

    and for those wishing a flashback to ’98-99, Jeff Fassero is starting for SF in the ESPN sun night game. His keys to the game? keep that splitter down in the zone…

  12. LB on May 15th, 2005 5:36 pm


    To a large extent, all of the Red Sox outfielders play their positions with their bats rather than their gloves. I realize that VORP is not the be-all and end-all of player evaluation, but it can give you a pretty quick snapshot, and at the moment the M’s and Sox outfielders stack up this way:

    Manny Ramirez 10.9
    Randy Winn 5.6

    Johnny Damon 17.3
    Jeremy Reed 0.2

    Ichiro 18.1
    Trot Nixon 13.1

    (Sorry if that tabular data got all chewed up.)

    The figures are at, but they change every day. Anyway, for a “piss poor” outfielder in a so-so defensive outfield (Damon has great range but a poor arm), VORP suggests that Manny appears to be doing okay carrying his weight on the roster.

  13. Bodhizefa on May 15th, 2005 5:42 pm

    Why is it that Bryan Price is the one with the major league money and major league job, but we send all our pitchers with problems down to AAA? Doesn’t that seem a little weird to you guys?

  14. Phil on May 15th, 2005 5:46 pm

    #110 – Just letting you know for your own info, it’s actually not MLB’s office that creates the schedule. It used to be this couple but they were replaced last year by this guy from Pittsburgh and his “company.” (I think it’s mostly just him.”

    So thanks random Pittsburgh guy 🙂

  15. LB on May 15th, 2005 5:53 pm

    #114: I know, but MLB gave these guys the contract to make the schedule, and stuff rolls downhill…

  16. Jon Wells on May 15th, 2005 6:23 pm

    #22 John in L.A. said “I wonder what the best long-term catcher solution is that we could get for Winn or Ibanez. Could we get a great prospect?”

    John — One thing that should be pointed out is that in the last 3 1/2 years we’ve traded for two (three if you count Wiki) so-called “great” catching prospects. Everyone was in love with Olivo and before that, Ben Davis, when we acquired them. Everyone that is except the organizations that traded them away.

    Obviously those teams saw something in Davis and Olivo that caused them to sour on them (two organizations traded Olivo away, as the Sox got him from Oakland in the Chad Bradford deal). Perhaps it’s time to develop a catcher on our own? Say where’s that Varitek fellow these days? I remember he was gonna be our catcher of the future…

    In any event I sure hope they make that other catching move soon. They aren’t going to let Rene Rivera play at all. He’s just here in case Olivo gets hurt, so until they get a catcher we have to suffer watching Olivo play every game. Sorry, but one day doesn’t convince me that he belongs up in the big leagues at this time. If he puts together a week of hitting .250 and actually catches the ball behind the plate then maybe…

  17. Jon Wells on May 15th, 2005 6:25 pm

    First time I learned that they’d called up Rivera instead of Ryan Christianson is when Niehaus said on the broadcast, “there’s catcher RUBEN Rivera, just called up from Double-A San Antonio…”

  18. Harry on May 15th, 2005 6:52 pm

    “Sad part is, what he runs down as “good plays” for Manny are probably more routine for others. Example: He runs down Reed’s hit rather simply then lets Randy Winn’s basehit drop less then a foot in front of him. He was coming in on the ball rather leisurely and couldn’t have stuck his glove out?

    Manny is a piss poor fielder. Anything he does on the run is regarded as a good play for him. For him.”

    Oh, sure. But I saw several balls that I’m astounded that he successfully fielded. I watch him a lot, and he’s awful, but he looked completely acceptable in the field the past few games. It was just such a shock to me.

  19. Jon Helfgott on May 15th, 2005 7:00 pm

    Another one for the list of Grover’s terrible managerial decisions.

    9th inning, runner on second, 2 out. At bat: Manny Ramirez, on deck, Trot Nixon.

    Manny vs. lefties the past 3 years: .362/.474/.668
    Trot vs. lefties, same time period: .220/.293/.348

    Best pinch-hitting option vs. lefties:
    Payton: .275/.346/.461

    We go ahead and have our lefthanded closer pitch to one of the best hitters in baseball, instead of walking him and pitching to a far inferior hitter to get the final out. This was a lucky win, and if Manny had come through, the loss would’ve been due to Hargrove’s flawed decision-making.

    That being said…WOO! We won a series against the BoSox! Go M’s!

  20. dw on May 15th, 2005 7:23 pm

    We go ahead and have our lefthanded closer pitch to one of the best hitters in baseball, instead of walking him and pitching to a far inferior hitter to get the final out. This was a lucky win, and if Manny had come through, the loss would’ve been due to Hargrove’s flawed decision-making.

    That’s just silly. Put the go-ahead run knowing that Jay Payton would only need a double to get the Bosox the lead (and an outfield single to tie it), which is stastically more probable than Manny hitting the go-ahead home run? If Manny hits the tater, the M’s only need to scratch one run across in three outs to win it. If Payton hits the double you are still at two outs with a runner at second — so he well could score and put the M’s in a far worse situation.

    The expectation is that Every Third Tuesday Eddie will get Manny out. Period. If this were a bullpen scrub out to try and close the game, then you might consider the IBB.

    So, Hargrove managed the situation appropriately. He’s an average manager making average decisions. He’s made some mistakes, but he sure as hell ain’t Bob “sac-bunt while five runs down and grind the rotation into dust” Melvin.

  21. Jon Helfgott on May 15th, 2005 7:52 pm

    It usually takes more than a double to score Manny Ramirez from first (see: Trot Nixon’s double to right in the 7th of the same game). The odds that Manny would have done something to tie the game were much higher than the odds of Payton doing so. Even assuming a double would have scored the go-ahead run, it was a bad move. Based upon past stats against lefties, Manny had a 25% better chance of tying the game than Payton would have (Manny gets a hit every 2.7ABs against lefties, Payton every 3.6ABs), while Payton was 28% more likely to end the game than Manny was. Payton had a better chance to take the lead, but remember, we were playing for 1 out. If Manny had gotten on base, which he does nearly half the time against lefties, Payton would have been up anyway.

    I agree that Grover’s not terrible, and your post definitely made me go back and look at the win expectancy of either strategy again, but I still say it was foolish to pitch to one of the game’s most dangerous lefty killers with a runner in scoring position when we could have pitched to someone who’s merely decent against lefties.

  22. bill on May 15th, 2005 8:15 pm

    Why is it that Bryan Price is the one with the major league money and major league job, but we send all our pitchers with problems down to AAA? Doesn’t that seem a little weird to you guys?

    According to Bavasi on the pregame show, Pineiro will be spending the mornings with Price up at Safeco. The point of ‘sending him down’ was so that they could put someone on the roster so that they’re not short an arm in the bullpen while Joel misses one start.

  23. Metz on May 15th, 2005 10:03 pm

    I was at the game today and there was no way Manny was going to catch the single that fell in front of him. If he goes for that ball he’s got to dive, it actually dropped around 12-15 feet in front of him (much more than a step) and I’m sure the sox have told Manny and probably the entire outfield, to keep everything hit in front of them. They aren’t good enough fielders to make diving catches and the risk of injury isn’t worth the out for them.

    Is there any reason the roof was shut today other than the typical “hey, we’ve got a retractable roof, lets shut it and justify its existance?” It never rained in Seattle during the game, there were no threatening cloud formations and it certainly wasn’t cold.

    Second question, Can you request another seat if they person next to you is a pig? The guy sitting next to us reeked of smoke, proceeded to dump a full bag of peanut shells on the ground 10 minutes after the game started, dumped more trash every inning after that and then proceeded to snort huge wads of flem down his throat every 5 minutes. My wife and I spend innings 4-9 walking to different vantage points around the 100 level because there was no way I was going to sit next that for the entire game. Disgusting and he kept telling his son incorrect M’s stats during the few innings we sat in our seats.

    I’d also say that fully 1/2 the fans at the game were wearing Red Sox caps, jerseys and merchandise at the game. There were some very good natured cheers and boos being exchanged in the stands. It was most enjoyable to see the Safeco fans standing up for their team instead of the usual cheering only when prompted to by the electronic scoreboard.

  24. John in NV on May 15th, 2005 10:10 pm

    Wonder if Jeter realizes that we called up Ruben and that he’ll need to bring his portable locker security system with him to Safeco?

    Also: glad it was good-natured with Bosox fans today; I was at a game with them there last year and the group I was around was obnoxious and profane.

  25. Jim on May 15th, 2005 10:28 pm

    Re: 119 and 120 – who’s to say that they would PH for Nixon? He’s drawn a fair amount of Mariner blood this series. Granted ML managers favor righty/lefty over other factors, but who’s to say that’s the right approach? Back when we had the best bullpen in baseball, it would drive me nuts when Rhodes would come in, blow a couple of guys out of the box, then get removed because he was facing a righty.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Manny’s BA is about .250. Yes he has the slugging/HR/RBI numbers but his odds of solid contact are down right now.

    So, the guy who’s supposed to be our best closer, against a struggling power hitter with a guy that struggles against lefties on deck? Seems like a decent decision based on current trends.

    Fortunately “One-run Eddie” belied his nickname.

  26. Jeff Sullivan on May 15th, 2005 10:49 pm

    who’s to say that they would PH for Nixon?

    Jay Payton was standing in the on deck circle.

  27. John in L.A. on May 15th, 2005 10:52 pm

    Metz –

    I don’t know this for a fact, but I seriously suspect that the roof was closed for the sole purpose of dampening the movement on Wakefield’s knuckleball.

  28. TypicalIdiotFan on May 15th, 2005 11:08 pm

    Another one for the list of Grover’s terrible managerial decisions.

    Trusting your closer can get 3 outs against anybody? Yeah, terrible decision by Hargrove. Just horrid. Should fire him.

  29. LB on May 15th, 2005 11:08 pm

    #28: There is absolutely no way that Terry Francona would have let Nixon face a lefty with the game on the line. Trot is death to RHP (see “Putz, JJ”), but he is absolutely lost when facing LHP. The man is 31 years old and has never shown any indication he can hit LHP, and down a run with 2 outs in the 9th against Everyday Eddie is not the time to try this experiment.

    But why does everyone assume that Jay Payton’s presence in the on deck circle meant that he would have been the batter to hit for Nixon? I think it was a deke. “Walk him, Grover,” says Francona, “and face Trot’s nobody platoon partner, Jay Payton.” Yeah, right.

    Varitek was on the bench for the Wakefield start, as always. He is batting .500/.536/.923 from the RH side of the plate so far this year (small sample space, your mileage may vary, shibboleth, shibboleth, etc.), and it would have been very smart to call Payton back to the dugout, pinch hit Varitek for Nixon and put Payton in RF in the #8 spot in the order in the bottom half of the inning.

  30. TypicalIdiotFan on May 15th, 2005 11:31 pm


    Regardless, the point of the gripe against Hargrove was that he was letting Eddy face Manny. Like that’s the end of the world, especially with two outs, and Guardado’s general success against right handers. Not only that, but he’s your closer. He has to be able to get anybody out. Anybody. There was no reason to pitch around Manny when Guardado was clearly throwing well.

    So I find the “terrible decision by Hargrove” to be laughable.

  31. LB on May 15th, 2005 11:49 pm

    #131: I think we find ourselves in violent agreement. The M’s have to go after Manny, representing the winning run, or face Varitek with Manny standing on 1st. And for some bizzare reason, Manny has been cold against LHP so far this year — small sample size, Eddie’s Mileage May Vary (’cause Barry Zito’s sure did), shibboleth, sibboleth, etc.

    (And I should have said my comment #129 was in response to #126. Getting too late for me to do this coherently.)

    #127: Historically, Wakefield has pitched better indoors than out. No, Safeco’s not SkyDome or a true indoor park, still…. I thought they opened the roof before the game to try to get the advantage against Wakefield.

  32. John in L.A. on May 16th, 2005 12:34 am


    I don’t know Wakefield’s splits, but don’t most knucklers prefer to pitch in the wind? I would think that conventional wisdom would lead the Ms to believe they were better of with the roof closed.

  33. LB on May 16th, 2005 12:53 am


    Wakefield has said that he’s most effective pitching into the wind, which is ironic, since that also means the wind should be blowing baseballs over the fence.

    It may be the currents from HVAC in true indoor parks that make Wakefield’s numbers better inside (or with the roof closed at SkyDome).

    In any case, I think he’d have to be on the M’s staff (or at least in the AL West) for him to pitch enough in Safeco for the roof open/shut numbers to be meaningful. Monday’s Boston Herald has a story that Wakefield hasn’t recorded a W in Seattle since June 1, 1996. Kingdome days!

  34. John in L.A. on May 16th, 2005 1:34 am

    LB… I don’t doubt that you might be right. I’m just wondering if the Mariners might not have been thinking more traditionally.

  35. Adam S on May 16th, 2005 7:37 am

    #123, not sure where you were sitting, but where I was it was sprinkling and turning to rain. And the weather forecast was rain all day. It might have been a passing shower, but I remember at least two games where the Ms thought “oh, it’s not raining that hard” and we wound up getting pretty wet while they waited 20 minutes to start closing the roof.

    Yes, you can be re-seated (though obviously that’s harder when there’s a capacity crowd) or they might move the guy next to you (though being a stinky slob usually isn’t reason enough). Just ask the nearest usher/seating host.

  36. John in NV on May 16th, 2005 8:37 am

    DJC: YES! Santiago surfaces in PI this morning! Bet you are filled with joy…

  37. Ralph Malph on May 16th, 2005 8:52 am

    Jeter won’t need his locker security system. He’s not that Ruben Rivera.

  38. Felixfastfreight on May 16th, 2005 9:40 am

    hey, whether it’s Millar or Baylor, i’ll take 3/4 with 2 R, 2Rbi, single to start a rally, homer to take the lead and a double to finish it off 😉

  39. msb on May 16th, 2005 9:41 am

    #114-115 The couple is trying to get the job back next year; weirdly, this article says that one reason they lost the contract was that the new scheduler avoided the repeater series…. you know, where you play the same team back to back, home and away?

  40. Jesse on May 16th, 2005 11:00 am

    I don’t know if anyone’s still reading this, but a friend sent me this this morning, from a Boston area paper I think:

    The Sox walked Ichiro intentionally in the eighth inning yesterday, giving him a major league-leading eight intentional passes. Kevin Millar said Ichiro flexed when he got to first base and said, “I’m like Barry Bonds.”

  41. John in NV on May 16th, 2005 11:20 am

    He’s not ANY Ruben, he’s a Rene. Part of the “joke.”