Descriptions of Sele’s start last night

DMZ · May 17, 2005 at 1:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

We’ve generally tried to lay off talking about what others write about the Mariners, but in my daily sweep for Mariner-related news, I became confused, and a little frightened.

“Sele’s solid start unable to cool Yanks” — headline

From the article:

Right-hander Aaron Sele did his part Monday night to cool off the Major Leagues’ hottest team.

He held the rampaging Yankees to one run over six innings, departed with a one-run lead, and then watched as a dropped throw at first base — which would have completed a double play and ended the seventh inning — opened the door to a grand slam that saddled the Mariners with a 6-3 loss before 37,814 at Safeco Field.

In the Seattle PI, after a long description of the Martinez/Sexson play:

Before, the crowd saw Seattle starter Aaron Sele at his best (six innings, one run), not to mention a scintillating performance by New York’s Chien-Ming Wang, who was at least as good, maybe even better than he was in earning his first big-league win against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium last week.

Finnigan in the Times is the only one who

notes anything odd —

Sele left after six innings, his best start of the year except for six walks that endangered him most of the evening.

The AP story has the stats and then a quote:

Aaron Sele bounced back from a rough outing last week at Yankee Stadium, where he lasted only 2 2-3 innings and gave up seven runs in a 7-4 loss. He allowed one run and five hits over six innings in this one with five strikeouts and six walks — one intentional.

Sele struck out the side in the sixth, closing out the inning when Derek Jeter whiffed on an inside fastball.

“He was effectively wild,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “He kept a very hot ballclub on the ropes by doing it that way.”

Did I see a different game than everyone last night? Did I fall asleep and dream a different game? I saw Sele nibble and walk the hitters who didn’t tee off on him, barely escape being blown out of the stadium, and then suddenly strike out three hitters in a row at the end.

This is a product of the way stories are written: the event that changed the game is central to the story, and that didn’t involve Sele, so his start gets summarized quickly, and the easy summary is that he only gave up a run and wasn’t part of the final outcome.

It also helps to conceal the fact that Sele looked bad. Fortunately, the Mariner brass may take fan sentiment into account, but they’re also seeing him pitch, and they saw the same game I did.


47 Responses to “Descriptions of Sele’s start last night”

  1. Jeff Sullivan on May 17th, 2005 1:23 pm

    There was an article in one of the papers – I forget which – that said something along the lines of “Sele was at his best last night”, and then followed with a fairly detailed description of how he succeeded by nibbling at the corners all night long, and how he had good location when he missed his spots.

    I sat there thinking, “wait, what?”

  2. Mike Thompson on May 17th, 2005 1:46 pm

    I wondered throughout the game how it would be played up. And saw exactly what I expected.

    That game could have been an absolute disaster if the Yankees didn’t fold up in a couple situations (they, of course, redeemed themselves when Putz came in). Walking six guys will not lead to many victories.

    On the flip side, his struck out numbers were okay and didn’t give up a home run.

    I think I’d still rather see Campillo or Baek (who started last night) in the rotation.

  3. Tad Trammell on May 17th, 2005 1:49 pm

    Its also a product of the way pitchers are evaluated, by both the mainstream media and much of the baseball establishment.

    “Leaving with the lead”, “giving your team a chance to win,” and only giving up one run are what the pitcher is mostly judged on.

    And, absolutely we can look at the start and say that it wasn’t that great, there was a lot of luck involved and most importantly that it is not sustainable over the long term.

    But within the context of the 6 innings he was out there, it was a “good” start, right? There was some skill involved in getting the 18 outs he did get, especially the 5 k’s, and in only giving up one extra base hit. Again though, its not sustainable.

    I don’t share DMZ’s optimism that the M’s brass saw the same game we did. I’m concerned they saw the one in the papers, where Sele “did his job.”

  4. junior on May 17th, 2005 2:04 pm

    “effectively wild” = a) has no idea what he’s doing on the mound; b) can’t throw for shit anymore; or c) both

  5. SteveV on May 17th, 2005 2:06 pm

    #3 Sherrill did his job. Everyone else flubbed it.

  6. Nick on May 17th, 2005 2:11 pm

    Sure the execs saw that same Solid Outing. It’s why they’re calling up Campillo and giving Sele his walking pap…

    Uh, no.

    “Effectively wild.” LMAO 🙂

  7. Rebecca Allen on May 17th, 2005 2:15 pm

    It’s been obvious for several years that Sele’s arm is shot; there’s just nothing to talk about there. I’m more concerned about Putz; Bryan Price has a great reputation, but doesn’t seem to have effectively conveyed to Putz that you can’t just heave 95+mile-an-hour fastballs to MLB hitters and expect to be successful. YOU HAVE TO SHOW THEM SOMETHING ELSE OCCASIONALLY. Why does this seem to be such a mystery?

  8. Jeff on May 17th, 2005 2:23 pm

    I think the distinction here is between measuring past performance and predicting future results. From a past performance point of view, it was a good start. If someone told me my starter would give me 1 run through 6 innings, I’d take it any day no matter how it was accomplished.

    Predicting future results is different. 1 run through 6 innings doesn’t tell the story as much as the 11 baserunners. If you told me my starter would give me 11 baserunners through 6 innings, I’d go find another starter because thats likely going to lead to a lot more than 1 run.

    So newspapers can use terms like “effectively wild” and “giving your team a chance to win” because they’re reporting yesterday’s game. (Though I agree that they should mention the other side of the coin – that it’s not sustainable long term.) But if the organization – GM, manager, pitching coach – start using those terms to predict Sele’s future starts, that’s when you start getting into trouble.

  9. Grizz on May 17th, 2005 2:25 pm

    Sele’s start was the worst possible outcome — not good enough for the M’s to win, not bad enough to yank him from the rotation. Sele looked as lousy as usual, but in fairness, he at least pitched around the right guys — Sheffield (3 BB), A-Rod, Tino (IBB), and Bernie — “selectively wild,” so to speak.

    I suspect Sele is still on the roster mainly because injuries have drained the M’s starting pitching depth. It appears the M’s set up the odd Mateo/Campillo spot start as a way to give them an audition prior to releasing Sele just in case neither proves to be a better alternative. After Mateo and Campillo (and taking Hernandez out of the picture for now), the replacement pool is essentially Baek, who is just back from an elbow injury, and, uh, Villone. The worst case scenario is repeating the 2004 disaster of sending prospects out there whether or not they are ready (or healthy).

  10. JPWood on May 17th, 2005 2:27 pm

    Pat Borzi in the NYTimes got it right though:
    “The Yankees, despite a continuing stream of base runners against Mariners starter Aaron Sele, trailed 2-1…”, after which he tallied the hits and the defensive gems and the walks that made Sele’s “quality start” so K-Mart.
    As for the botched DP, that might have been no more than boredom after watching 115 pitches go by in just 6 innings. Sexson had gone to sleep.

  11. ChrisK on May 17th, 2005 2:33 pm

    I guess 115 pitches in 6 innings qualifies as a good start for this staff. Sure he issued 6 walks and was in trouble much of the evening, but his “intangibles”, “moxie”, and “gamer” mentality was no match for the Yankees.

    Don’t forget that Sele is a 5-Tool pitcher:

    1. Hometown Boy
    2. Ex-Mariner
    3. Has “Intangibles”
    4. Played on 2001 team
    5. Played on a SoCal team (important for any Bavasi signing)

  12. David J Corcoran on May 17th, 2005 2:46 pm

    11: You forgot the 6th tool:

    6. Won a world series

    Frankly, I’m sick of it. Sele’s not even fun to watch. It’s worse than Franklin. He takes about an hour between each pitch, he has no particularly interesting pitches, and he isn’t good. At least when Moyer stinks, you get that awesome breaking junk to watch. Butit is awful to watch Sele. I swear. At least play interesting bad players. Play kids. Enough with this.

  13. Jeremy on May 17th, 2005 2:49 pm

    #12 DJC, about that World Series ring…

    He wasn’t even on the playoff roster for the Angels. Man, if only the Mariners could have done that when they were in the playoffs!

    Yes, I’m bitter. I know this.

  14. just sayin' on May 17th, 2005 2:50 pm

    7th tool: white

  15. Troy on May 17th, 2005 2:53 pm

    I’m with DJC, Sele is much more painful to watch than Franklin. And that has to be a perfect 10 on the difficulty scale, no?

  16. change on May 17th, 2005 2:53 pm

    According to the PI blog, the M’s have just optioned Sherrill and called up Campillo. Maybe this is a sign of things to come!

  17. Evan on May 17th, 2005 3:10 pm

    Except Campillo is just taking Mateo’s place as long reliever while Mateo starts in place of Joel while Joel’s not pitching in Tacoma.

    Sele’s staying. Our rotation is now Moyer, Meche, Franklin, Mateo, and Sele.

  18. Ralph Malph on May 17th, 2005 3:12 pm

    Sele’s still on the edge I would think. While I’d like to see what Campillo can do sooner rather than later, he’ll get his shot before long. It’s not a big deal.

  19. Dead Ball Tim on May 17th, 2005 3:18 pm

    He gets credit for pitching well last night. Six innings and one run is a rarely performed feat for M’s starters this season. I agree though that his best days are behind him and he’s not an ideal starter. In a season thats pretty much dog-chow, his spot in the rotation could be invested in some younger blood with a future. The season is 6 weeks old and thats not usually time enough for big changes to come down though we are starting to see them with Sherrill and Campillo, the temporary shift of Pineiro to AAA, and the desperation catcher from AA, Rene Whathisname. If Sele is kept on it means they just don’t have anyone who can take the spot with skills enough to get 15 outs every other start. But thats just how it looks to me. And I don’t know nuthin’. =)

  20. Tobin on May 17th, 2005 3:28 pm

    How does the one pitcher who actually showed promise and was put into a terrible position and shined, get taken out the next batter and immediately assigned to AAA? Obviously we’re shooting for a #1 pick!!!

  21. Tim on May 17th, 2005 3:31 pm

    #14, what’s up with the racist allegation? Was that a joke or are you serious?

    I fail to see how the M’s have courted only “white” players or even prefered them. I guess that’s why their two best players (Ichiro and Beltre) are not white? The M’s have made some poor rosters moves in the past couple of years, but none of them seem to be related to race. That’s a weak allegation if that’s indeed what you are making.

  22. David J Corcoran on May 17th, 2005 3:43 pm

    #13: He still got the ring…

  23. Evan on May 17th, 2005 3:44 pm

    I think the allegation is that the team values white players, such that they will carry unproductive white players, but not unproductive non-white players.

    This could be disproven if we had a black version of Willie.

  24. Jeremy on May 17th, 2005 3:55 pm

    #22 Corcoran, I know that. I never said he didn’t get his ring. I just said that he wasn’t on the playoff roster. Obviously, he earned the ring because he did pitch during the 2002 season.

    Aaron Sele has a World Series ring and Edgar doesn’t. It figures.

  25. Cliff on May 17th, 2005 3:56 pm

    After watching Sele pitch a couple of weeks ago I think I know why “take three minutes between pitches” Sele is still with us: Mike Hargrove was known as “the human rain delay” when he was up to bat. Maybe Aaron is just a pitching version of Mike?

    note to race comment: The M’s are equal opportunity bench weirdos – remember Luis Ugueto (sp.?). I believe Lou actually spontaneously combusted over that one.

  26. eponymous coward on May 17th, 2005 3:57 pm

    6 IP, 1 ER is the Mariner version of being the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

    Seriously. The post-game commentary on Meche on Sunday was Meche’s 6 IP 4ER was a “good start”.

    I think this is called “defining deviancy down” when it’s used in the social sciences by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan…

  27. Jim Thomsen on May 17th, 2005 4:04 pm

    More quotes, in The News Tribune:

    “Whether Aaron pitched well or poorly, this wasn’t going to be his last start,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “He wasn’t pitching for his job. He was trying to win a game, and he gave us a good effort.”

    I spent about 45 minutes with Sele in the clubhouse last night. He said he and Bryan Price had made some mechanical changes, giving him more of an over-the-top delivery that was intended to make his curveball more effective and place more of his pitches down in the zone. Based on my pitch-by-pitch tally during the game, neither intent was particularly effective. But the fact remains that the M’s are encouraged by how Sele “set up” so many batters with in-and-out, up-and-down changes and curves, then got key punchouts via his topped-out-at-89 fastball. So one suspects he’ll get at least a bew more chances.

  28. Jim Thomsen on May 17th, 2005 4:05 pm


  29. Troy on May 17th, 2005 4:07 pm

    Jim, thanks for the bad news. *Sigh*

  30. jim on May 17th, 2005 4:11 pm

    Once again I think that everyone is missing the point — the Mariners need to keep scoring runs during a game to win. We need blowouts instead of trying to nurse leads with a mediocre pitching staff against a team of boppers. What if Williams’ ball had hit the wall instead of going for a grand slam and only scored three runs — we still only scored ONE run over the last eight innings. Our offense sucks.

  31. Feldor on May 17th, 2005 4:37 pm

    Quinton McCracken is not white. I don’t think the race issue holds much merit. The FO seems to be color blind when it comes poor roster decisions.

  32. J.R. on May 17th, 2005 4:55 pm

    #30 – I don’t know if you can say our offense “sucks”, they have been pretty good over the last week, they need to work on some consistency, but “sucks” is a little strong.

    Aaron Sele, on the other hand sucks.

  33. Brett Farve on May 17th, 2005 5:00 pm

    Great topic (at least the original one). Olivo gets a couple hits in a single game and his bat is “fixed”.

  34. Ralph Malph on May 17th, 2005 5:16 pm

    Charles Gipson and Luis Ugueto are not white.

  35. Pedro on May 17th, 2005 5:25 pm

    Aaron Sele is not the problem with this team, the starters as a whole are the problem. The Mariners do not have a stud other than Felix Hernandez, I don’t thinke anyone wants to see him brought up prematurely. Aaron pitched well last night and deserves some credit for it.

  36. Tom on May 17th, 2005 5:53 pm

    # 35 I agree. All of the starters have pitched like #5 starters at best.

    Sele’s been the worst of those 5, so by the “this turd smells worse than that turd” argument, he’s the goat.

  37. John in L.A. on May 17th, 2005 6:03 pm

    “Our offense sucks”

    Even when our offense was at its worst this season (and it has not sucked lately at all), it was never the part of the team that scared me.

    Even when the team was pitching lights out and the offense couldn’t do anything… it was always, I think, pretty clear that our biggest problem was pitching.

    That said, there are things to be done to improve the offense right now. Starting with that bench.

    But I don’t think our pitching staff is even “mediocore” and I don’t think their failure makes the offense the problem. A little like blaming the victim.

  38. msb on May 17th, 2005 6:26 pm

    I’m sure that if Finnigan hadn’t knocked that coke into Street’s notebook there would have been a much more accurate report in the game story….

    if there has to be a race discussion, how about a separate one on the declining precentage of black players in all of baseball? the percentage of black managers this year (13 percent, four of 30) is higher than that of the total of black players in 2004 (9 percent), down from 30% just 25 years ago.

  39. Jim Thomsen on May 17th, 2005 6:44 pm

    #34 — Neither are Frank White or Rondell White. Rick White is white. As is one-time Mariner Matt White. Bud Black is white, as is the Pixies’ Frank Black. Most of the Browns are brown, especially the excrement-colored Kevin Brown.

  40. iamamarinersfan on May 17th, 2005 6:49 pm

    I am no Sele fan, and i’m definitly not so hot on the idea of him being on the pitching staff permanently. However, I do not think that last nights performance was bad enough to say that it sucked. He was in trouble alot, but he did manage to get out of it. His breaking ball was moving nicely yesterday, and despite whatever luck he may have had, he pitched a quality start. Call it luck if you wish, but this is what you hope for him to do, and if you say that he sucked last night, that is wrong.
    Furthermore, Hargrove said that he was “effectively wild.” This may seem funny, and i truly doubt this was Sele’s intention, but it may have been the case. You commonly see in baseball of all levels pitchers who are perhaps more effective on nights because of their wildness. Nolan Ryan is a perfect example of this, batters feared him, and it helped him strikeout such a ridiculous number of people. Usually this theory applies to power pitchers, and while Sele isn’t one of these, i don’t think that it’s a statement worth laughing at.
    This wasn’t the terrible outing I am reading about here.

  41. David J Corcoran on May 17th, 2005 6:52 pm

    Ah…Matt White. He who fell off the mound. That brings back good memories.

  42. Kelly Gaffney on May 17th, 2005 7:03 pm

    I hate to continue this subject, but the declining numbers of blacks in MLB require an artificial racial classification. Almost all players from the Dominican have predominantly African ancestors. If Vladimir Guerrero isn’t ‘black’ then what exactly does it mean?

  43. ray on May 17th, 2005 7:04 pm

    Hey! Where’s the game thread. The game is about to start.

  44. ray on May 17th, 2005 7:11 pm

    Just a slightly humors post: Every time the Japanese broadcasters say Mateo it sounds like Hey Wait! (in Japanese). Actually it is almost the exact pronunciation. So good first inning for Mateo.

  45. Tom on May 17th, 2005 7:11 pm

    This is completely off topic, but I was wondering if there is a stat (say, a percentrage) for the number of times a player scores with respect to the number of times he gets on base. If so, then could you break down how the M’s players and pitchers are doing?

    For example, last night Sele gave up 11 base runners, but only one scored, which at 9% is a phenomenal rate. For the season he is ~ 36% (27 runs on 24 walks, 1 HBP, and 49 hits). So, what is the expected rate for the average major leaguer, and do certain pitchers fair better over the years than others? I’d guess that high strike out pitchers fair better, but I could be wrong. Thanks.

  46. Jim on May 17th, 2005 10:31 pm

    #38 msb – is there a similar decline in “white” players over the same period? i.e have “black” players lost their positions to other ethnic groups like Hispanics or Asians?
    This isn’t about race, and shame on the idiot who thinks Sele is here because of his Caucasian-ness. More likely his Kitsap County-ness and his GloryDaysness is what’s keeping him here. Bottom line, MLB clubs are scouting globally, and baseball is played predominately in North America, Central/South America, and parts of Asia. Therefore one would expect a representative percentage of players from Central/South America and from Asian countries.
    Here’s another thought – draw up your list of the 10 greatest Mariners of all time. How many are Caucasian – 3? 2? Now draw up a list of the 10 greatest Red Sox since 1979. Hmmm – Yaz, Fisk, Lynn, Dewey, Burleson, Eck, Boggs, Clemens – notice a trend? You might sneak Rice, Pedro, Nomar, and perhaps Manny into this group – and hey, Nomar is a SoCal boy.

  47. Mike Bannan on May 18th, 2005 8:48 am

    [deleted — personal attack]