Week #8 in Review

peter · May 20, 2005 at 3:43 am · Filed Under Mariners 

It’s May 20. And we all know what that means. In 325 A.D. the first ecumenical gathering of bishops met in Nicaea to hammer out the particulars of orthodox Christianity. In 1861, the commonwealth of Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality in the Civil War. In 1971, the world found out What’s Going On, thanks to Marvin Gaye. And in 2005, by 5 p.m. my semester will be complete. Yeah, and it’s also time to take a look at what happened to the Mariners last week.

And its still not too late to send Busta Rhymes a birthday card.

Vital Signs

On this Friday we find the Mariners 16-24. Rumor has it “one” is the lonliest number, and now the Mariners aren’t quite so lonely in last place. The Mariners now share that distinction with the Oakland Athletics. They dropped one more game back of the Angels and now stand 7 games out of first place. Please don’t jump ship yet. We’ve only played two months of baseball here. The Mariners have been outscored 195-173, and that’s not too shabby at all when you consider the Angels’ run differential of +4 and the Rangers of +3. And those two teams have yet to play New York and Boston. According to third-order-wins, the Mariners are still underperforming by a little less than a game. They should be in second place and the M’s, Angels and A’s are all dead even. Things really aren’t as bad as they may seem.

The offense ranks 10th in the league in runs scored (173), same as last week. Their 29 home runs rank 13th in the league. Their 116 walks rank 10th. The team is hitting .250/.312/.376. Think a lineup of Endy Chavez times nine. Their OBP is 11th in the league, and the SLG is 13th (the Angels, Mariners and A’s occupy the three bottom slots).

Their runs allowed is 9th in the league. The defense is turning 70.6% of balls-in-play into outs, slipping to fifth in the league.

Random stat of the week: Home runs from Seattle first basemen in 2004: 15 in 600 AB. In 2005: 11 in 145 AB.

Break out the bubbly. The Mariners won their first series of the season since a three-game sweep of the Royals in the second week of the season. And they did it against the reigning champ Red Sox. In baseball’s version of reincarnation this week, the Mariners came back with some better karma and split the week against New York and Boston. This has to be seen as a moral victory. Perhaps if the Mariners could play these teams yet again this week, we’d see more improvement. The Mariners nearly matched these offensive powerhouses, being outscored by just 3 runs (35-32), despite being out-homered 10-6 and out-walked 30-14. The Mariners did slug twice as many doubles as their opponents (16-8).

That 14-run outburst on Friday certainly helped.

Raul Ibanez led the team in batting .348/.400/.739 with 3 doubles and a pair of home runs. with 15 total bases.

Saturday against Boston, Ryan Franklin stymied the Sox to just a 1 run, walked 3, but struck out 9 in 5.1 innings. He tossed 110 pitches and didn’t finish the sixth inning, so this isn’t a Cy Young week or anything. Still, Franklin struck out twice as many batters as he had in any other outing this year. The M’s failed to offer much run support and the bullpen imploded, as the the M’s lost the game.

Not-so-much Heroes
Wilson Valdez went 2-for-12 (.167/.231/.250).

Friday against Boston, Joel Pineiro lasted just 3.2 innings. It took him 81 pitches to collect 11 outs, and just half of those pitches he threw for strikes. He walked 4, allowed 2 home runs and struck out none. The Mariners scored 14 runs and won the game. Go figure. He was sent to Tacoma.

Coming to a Stadium Near You

The homestand continues with interleague play beginning this weekend (already?). Like the Christmas decorations at Wal-Mart, interleague play seems to come earlier and earlier each year. Maybe it’s just me. The Mariners host “archrivals” San Diego Friday-Saturday-Sunday. The Padres currently lead the NL West, ranked 3rd in the National League in runs scored and 9th in runs allowed.

The Mariners get a Monday day-off while they travel to the east coast for a three-game set against the heavy slugging Orioles. The O’s are 2nd in the league in runs scored and 6th in the league in runs allowed. Just because the Yankees and Red Sox are leaving town doesn’t mean a reprieve from the heavy-hitting offenses.


47 Responses to “Week #8 in Review”

  1. Bodhizefa on May 20th, 2005 5:24 am

    Just a question for next year’s Seattle team: Has there ever been a World Series outfield where all three guys hit less than 15 homeruns? With Ichiro, Reed, and either Winn or Choo looking to man the gaps in Safeco for a while, it sure does seem like this team has an awful lot of speed and notsomuch thunder. Even if Beltre starts to hit like he can, this is a team that is in need of some slugging. Thing is, there’s not much on the farm except maybe for Jose Lopez (who is playing second base right now in AAA, so it looks like he’s going to take over for Boone next year or maybe even this season if Bret is dealt). But Lopez is likely a couple years away from really having longterm major league success in the power department, and I can’t think of a single shortstop that the M’s could get next off-season that would help them out power-wise either. Not to mention the fact that Olivo couldn’t hit water right now if it rained for 40 days and 40 nights over his head. I’m depressing myself, so it’s time to go now…

  2. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 5:34 am

    Yeah… more home runs. Thats the answer. Heck, look at the wasted space in the lineup with Ichiro in there! He only hits 6 dingers a year fergawdsakes, if he’s lucky.

    I’m not picking on you, Bodhizefa. I’m being unnecessarliy sarcastic. A bad habit. This game really IS all about hitting home runs and preventing them. So why waste at-bats with singles and doubles hitters? While we’re at it, bring the fences in a hundred feet and fill the space with seats. Take the extra income and spend it all on pitching! weeeee!!!!

    Bring Back the Dead Ball!! =)

  3. pensive on May 20th, 2005 6:15 am

    Thankyou Peter. The stat that jumped out here was the base in balls (walks) 14-30. Seems that patience at the plate will pay big dividends. Then again perhaps M’s do not walk as much as opponets simply because opposing pitchers are not afraid of M’s hitters.

  4. petec on May 20th, 2005 7:16 am

    Dead Ball’s sarcasm notwithstanding, this outfield may not only have fewer than 15 HRs out of each outfielder, they may not hit 15 combined. And, yes, this is a huge problem, somewhat offset by having power at first and third (the latter in theory, at least). I think that may be why there are constant calls to move Winn, even if the advocates don’t articulate it. Yes, Winn is a nice player, he hits, plays D, seems like a good guy, etc. But, this teams is crying for a little power from somewhere in the outfield. When Bucky gets back, if he ever does, I’d like to see him get the time at DH and have Ibanez play more LF.

    Don’t look if you don’t want to depress yourself, but Carlos Guillen is having another monster year in Detroit. How different would this offense look without the complete, utter uselessness of the guys at the bottom of the order?

  5. Jeff on May 20th, 2005 7:40 am

    Man, and me without my Nicaea ecumenical gathering t-shirt or the Kentucky bluegrass CD I bought from Rex Chapman. I will, however, send Busta (but not Buster) Rhymes a birthday card.

  6. vj on May 20th, 2005 7:49 am

    Great musical references in this post, I particularly like the Harry Nilsson bit.

  7. Ralph Malph on May 20th, 2005 8:06 am

    Let’s not exaggerate the lack of power in the OF. Winn hit 14 HR’s last year, 11 the year before. I’m guessing once Reed gets established he’ll be a 15 HR guy.

    But I agree this is a lineup without a lot of power.

    I hope to see Bucky in there against lefthanders helping that out before long (with each of Ibanez, Reed and Winn sitting a little bit of the time). And Doyle will knock a few against righthanders, though he’s certainly not a power hitter.

  8. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 8:26 am

    VJ…. point me toward the Harry Nilsson bit… unless its “Things really aren’t as bad as they seem.” If it aint that, I missed it. I’m even wondering if ‘peter’ is old enough to remember that guy! =)

  9. petec on May 20th, 2005 8:32 am

    How can the lack of OF power be exaggerated? Here are the HR numbers:

    Ichiro 3
    Winn 0
    Reed 0

    The entire outfield, combined, is on pace for 12 HRs.

  10. Russ on May 20th, 2005 8:33 am

    Nice review, always helps to put everything into perspective when one is seemingly looking into the abyss.

    I see a lot of calls to trade Boone so that Lopez can come on up and I don’t disagree with the sentiment however, who is going to take him? He has declined the last two seasons and he isn’t going to get better. I’m pretty sure that we aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed either.

  11. Colm on May 20th, 2005 8:41 am


    “Small sample size”. I know we hear that a lot around here, but the fact that Randy Winn has hit 25 home runs over the past two seasons, is probably a better predicter of what he’ll do this year than the fact that he has hit none in 150AB so far in 2005.

    Similarly, the fact that Reed has yet to hit a homer in the big leagues can’t be construed to mean that he never will.

    Granted, these aren’t the ’27 Yankees, or even the ’97 Mariners, but I think they’ll exceed 15 homers easily.

  12. paul mocker on May 20th, 2005 8:45 am

    Anybody know if Biggie Smalls and Fat Boy Slim are related?

  13. peter on May 20th, 2005 8:46 am

    Regarding the walks, the m’s did just face two of the most patient offenses in the game. They aren’t great in that regard themselves, but the contrast certainly points that out.

    And peter is old enough to know what vinyl is and have parents with an extensive collection of said 70’s easy listening plastic.

    And Aimee Mann does a great cover of “One” on the Magnolia soundtrack. (The brand spankin’ new Forgotten Arm from her is quite good, too.)

    You may now return to your regular scheduled Mariner dialogue.

  14. Metz on May 20th, 2005 8:49 am

    Most importantly on May 20th 1964….I was born…

    But seriously….I’m not really concerned about the lack of power in the outfield as long as you make up for it in other spots. There is no rule stating that you have to have a slugging outfield. In fact, having sluggers in other positions means that you have an easier offensive upgrade path because good hitting outfielders are easier to find than the equivalent offense in the infield. That’s truly the knife in the heart on Guillen. Has was a good hitting SS and the M’s punted on him for undisclosed (DUI, Freddy’s party boy, perceived fragility) reasons and got nothing in return. Of course the positions in the infield that you really want unexpected power from (2b, SS, C) are exactly the positions that the M’s are suckiest.

  15. perro on May 20th, 2005 8:55 am

    Those two have an identity complex. Man, which is it — fat or slim?

  16. petec on May 20th, 2005 9:02 am

    OK, let’s say they hit 30 instead of 12. They’re then just terrible rather than horrifyingly abysmal.

  17. msb on May 20th, 2005 9:06 am

    #14– re: Guillen’s “perceived fragility”, fwiw, he’s been having recurring soreness in his repaired right knee:

    “Carlos Guillen sat out the last two games of the Devil Rays series and isn’t a lock to start tonight, either. “I’m hoping,” Trammell said. “This is how it works with him. He’ll just come in and say, ‘I feel good.’ That’s how it’s been. If he says that, he’ll play. But he comes in early, so I usually know by about 3 p.m.”

  18. J.R. on May 20th, 2005 9:25 am

    I heard Bill Krueger talking the other day on Fox Sports NW about how they should put Ibanez in LF and DH Winn more often, because we “need more power in the outfield”. What the hell does that mean? What I don’t get is if you have 3-4 guys who can hit homeruns who are in your line up every day, why does it matter were they play on the field? Winn is a much better fielder the Ibanez, as long as Ibanez is DHing, you still get his power but you avoid his crappy defense.

  19. Dave on May 20th, 2005 9:32 am

    J.R. wins the logical thought of the day award. Good job.

    Seriously, this “we don’t have enough home runs/steals/walks/whatever from X position” is stupid. There are a lot of ways to score runs. An outfield full of Ichiro’s would score a lot more runs than an outfield of Jeromy Burnitz’s, even if they got outhomered 90-15.

    Randy Winn and Ichiro produce runs through their high on base percentages. Jeremy Reed probably will eventually. The key is to have a lineup full of quality players, and at this point, Winn and Ichiro are quality players, and Reed projects to be one in the next few years.

  20. J.R. on May 20th, 2005 9:36 am


    Do I get a ribbon! 🙂

  21. Nick on May 20th, 2005 9:43 am

    Weird stat o’ the day:
    Arizona is 25-17 yet they’ve been outscored 186-203.

    there’s still hope!

  22. Grizz on May 20th, 2005 9:54 am

    #1: ’85 & ’87 Cardinals

  23. Colm on May 20th, 2005 9:57 am


    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard Bill Krueger say. Normally he’s the one commentator likely to say something insightful.

  24. Jeremy on May 20th, 2005 10:09 am

    #22 Grizz, the 1985 and 1987 Cardinals had outfields that hit over a combined 15 home runs.

    1985: Vince Coleman 1 HR, Willie McGee 10 HR, Andy Van Slyke 13

    1987: Willie McGee 11 HR, Vince Coleman 3 HR, Curt Ford 3 HR

  25. Evan on May 20th, 2005 10:12 am

    The only reason swapping Winn and Ibanez ight do some good is if you’re happy with Ibanez’s defense, and then realise that Winn doesn’t hit nearly well enough to be a DH so you replace him.

    Except that I don’t really expect Winn to be a significantly weaker hitter than Ibanez over the season, so it’s a wash.

  26. Jeremy on May 20th, 2005 10:12 am
  27. Jeremy on May 20th, 2005 10:13 am

    So nobody’s confused…

    #26 is a continuation of #24

    Baseball Reference is a godsend.

  28. petec on May 20th, 2005 10:17 am

    An outfield with some power is preferable to getting your power from SS and 2B, due to supply and demand. Power hitting corner OFs aren’t real expensive. Power hitting middle infielders are, since they’re hard to find (A-Rod, Boone). I’d argue that a more traditional lineup with power at the corners and Winn-like OBP from your middle infielders would be less expensive than the opposite.

    It’s not the lack of power from the OF that necessarily bothers me. It’s the lack of power in general.

  29. paul mocker on May 20th, 2005 10:19 am

    Grizz said:
    May 20th, 2005 at 9:54 am
    #1: ‘85 & ‘87 Cardinals

    Nice Work Grizz. Those were great teams because of their speed and they used it well by spraying line drives all over the field.

    The most exciting play I have ever seen in baseball happened in 1985 – Stl versus the Cubs. Coleman and McGee stood on 1st and 2nd. One pitch later, without the ball being put in play, one of them scored and the other player stood on third. How? It was a double-double steal!

    Still I’m amazed. There were no errors on the play. The fielders played it well. Simply, the quickness and elusiveness of these two players produced a run. You felt like they didn’t even need a batter to get them home.

  30. Russ on May 20th, 2005 10:19 am


    You will win a prize from us but baseball traditionalists have turned over in their graves due to the blasphemy.

    Power must come from the outfield or else.

  31. msb on May 20th, 2005 10:30 am

    vaguely on-topic, SI has an article about curses keeping teams from getting to the WS. pathetically, the only thing Luft can come up with to explain the Ms is trading away Lou.

  32. petec on May 20th, 2005 10:42 am

    And, Dave, if you were addressing my comments, I’ll rebut:

    You won’t find an OF of all Ichiros (no apostrophe needed – it’s plural). He’s one of a kind. Good luck finding three of him. And, I wasn’t talking about one position. I was talking about 3. One OF with no power is a given. We also lack power at C and SS, and, apparently at 2B as well.

  33. chili con mateo carne on May 20th, 2005 10:43 am

    It is pathetic because we all that they built the baseball diamonds on ancient Duwamish burial grounds.

  34. Dave on May 20th, 2005 10:50 am

    Good luck finding three of him.

    An outfield of Ichiro, Johnny Damon, and Scott Podsednik would probably be the best in baseball when combining value from offense and defense. They’ve combined to hit four home runs so far this season.

    Ichiro is rare. However, is is certainly possible to be a valuable offensive player and lack home run power.

    The problem with the team is a lack of good hitters, not a lack of home run hitters.

  35. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 10:53 am

    I’m not a stat geek but just to satisfy my own curiosity I’ve concocted my own little stat combo of HR, OPS, and ERA to come up with a quotient I describe as Power & Prevention. Plugging in the stats for this year so far I come up with these short term predictions for the A.L.

    Indians will challenge the Twins for 2nd place in the next few weeks.
    Yanks will take 2nd place from the Sox in about a month.
    Rangers will soon take 1st place from the Angels.

    No idea if my little stat will tell the truth but I’ll have fun tracking it. So far it correctly places the White Sox and Orioles in first place. Two out of three aint bad…

    Bring Back the Dead Ball!!

  36. Adam S on May 20th, 2005 10:59 am

    The problem at C and SS isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of offense at all, even at a replacement level. This team doesn’t need to hit for more power, it just needs to hit (and walk) more.

  37. J.R. on May 20th, 2005 11:08 am

    some pitching would be nice too.

  38. TW on May 20th, 2005 11:28 am

    re 35

    “I’m not a stat geek but just to satisfy my own curiosity I’ve concocted my own little stat combo of HR, OPS, and ERA to come up with a quotient I describe as Power & Prevention.”

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

  39. Dead Ball Tim on May 20th, 2005 11:44 am

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – Hamlet Act III, Scene II


  40. Shoeless Jose on May 20th, 2005 12:39 pm

    Never assign to malevolence what can be explained adequately by incompetence. The Mariners aren’t cursed, they’re just bad. The few years they’ve been good, they just haven’t been good enough.

    What this week tells me is that the AL West is clearly the weakest division in baseball. The Yankees would not be trumpeting their turnaround and win streak if they hadn’t been playing the dregs of the AL West for all of it. We’ll see how they do when they face something better than the 3rd and 4th worst teams in the AL.

  41. wabbles on May 20th, 2005 12:39 pm

    I would make two observations, one stat-based and the other only kinda. The first is that when we hit a homer, we win. I think we are undefeated or darn near. The second is that whenever we do get contributions from the bottom third of the order, we also seem to win. Gee, if we could just hit more homers and get consistent production from the bottom third of the order…..

  42. Dave on May 20th, 2005 12:47 pm

    The first is that when we hit a homer, we win.

    Correlation is not causation.

  43. vj on May 20th, 2005 12:56 pm

    Wabbles, to support Dave’s comment I have unfond memories of that game against the Yankees where we had four homers and lost.

  44. Cliff on May 20th, 2005 2:23 pm

    PI announced this morning that the “M’s are not eliminated yet…” (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/225091_west20.html), but the reporter, sagely nodding his head to the pearls of wisdom coming from the mouth of Grover, failed to ask the critical question: Given that it would take the team playing .600 ball the rest of the season to get to 90 wins (and thus perhaps win the division), exactly how to you plan to do that? With this offense? With these starters struggling to get through 3 innings?

  45. Jim Thomsen on May 20th, 2005 3:40 pm

    From today’s Associated Press wire:

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Hurricane Adrian fizzled over Honduras Friday after slamming into El Salvador’s coast and forcing the evacuation of 23,000 people, officials said.
    The hurricane, first of the eastern Pacific season, caused relatively little damage and no reported deaths. It struck west of El Salvador’s capital overnight with maximum sustained winds of almost 75 mph.
    By midday, the rapidly moving storm had largely broken up over neighboring Honduras, leaving scattered showers, some flooding, blocked roads and the loss of a few shacks.
    In Honduras, “there were no deaths or damage to mourn,” said President Ricardo Maduro. “So we are fortunate. Adrian turned out to have more bark than bite.”

    Maybe Hurricane Richie can do better ….

  46. TW on May 20th, 2005 3:49 pm


    That’s an instant classic.

  47. Bodhizefa on May 21st, 2005 4:13 pm

    Re: Post 19 from Dave

    My problem is not just that our outfielders can’t hit homeruns. It’s that we also have huge holes at shortstop (are we going to get Furcal to hit 20+ homeruns for us?), catcher (of which we have no answer), and second base along with the three outfield slots and DH. I don’t care HOW much OBP you put on the field — without Slugging to drive them in, it means very little. Two power hitters (theorizing, of course, that Beltre re-learns how to go to the opposite field) just isn’t going to cut it. And I haven’t even brought up the bad pitching, which seems like a moot point here. I mentioned the outfield specifically because they’re the easier position to find (as alluded to above). I don’t mind good hitters with nice OBP’s and/or base stealing ability like the three guys you mentioned, but without the Manny’s, the Ortiz’s, the Varitek’s, and all the other decent sluggers, we simply cannot expect to score nearly as many runs. We’re in an extremely bad situation right now, and it’s not going to get much better without a serious answer at shortstop/second base/catcher.