Week #9 in Review
Legend has it that REM’s 1991 album was named one afternoon when the record label got sick of waiting for the band to come up with a title. Drummer Bill Berry picked up the phone, nodded, looked to his bandmates and said: “we’re Out of Time.”
This morning, so was Peter White, who tapped me to put the finishing touches on the post you are currently reading.
“Jeff,” he says. “I’ve got this almost done, but I have to leave the country on secret business. The post is basically finished. It just needs some spicy color.”
“Peter,” says I, “this looks fine to me as is. And besides that, color, being a visual concept, cannot possibly be ‘spicy.'”
He was most insistent. So I agreed. And as payment for my agreeance, I get the best of all possible worlds: Peter does 99 percent of the work, I add a sentence or two, and I get to play off anything you don’t like with “oh yeah, Peter wrote that part.”
Hope you enjoy. If anything tastes spicy or looks colorful, that was me.
On this Friday we find the Mariners 18-28. First the good news: The Mariners are not in last place. Now the bad news: They slipped another game-and-a-half behind the leader. They are now 8.5 games behind the Rangers and Angels. The Rangers have been feeding off perhaps the weakest part of their schedule at taken 6 in a row from from Houston and Kansas City. If you think the Mariners aren’t doing so hot, you should check out the Astros and Royals. Yech. And on another positive note, according the third-order
wins, the Mariners are 2 wins behind where the Mariners should be.
The offense ranks 12th in the league, scoring 189 runs, just one behind the Angels and Royals. Their 33 home runs rank 13th in the league and their 127 walks rank 9th in the league. Meanwhile, their .306 on-base percentage ranks 12th and their .376 slugging percentage is also 12th.
The defense has allowed 215 runs, ranked 8th in the league. The gloves are turning 71.2% of balls in play into outs, good for 2nd in the league. The pitching staff is looking league average, with an overall ERA of 4.53. The starters have been well below average with a 5.23 ERA, while the bullpen has remained a strength with a 2.97.
So basically, the team’s strengths boil down to “can catch the ball” and “can usually get outs late in games.” Those are good things, but unless they are complemented with “can hit rotating horsehide spheroid to an uninhabited locale between white lines,” they’re looking at a whole lot of weeks like this one.
It was a 2-4 week. Things looked sharp at the beginning of the week as the Mariners took 2 of 3 from San Diego. However, that Baltimore series was just brutal. Overall, the Mariners were outscored just 20-16. They were out-homered 6-4 (I could have sworn Rafael Palmeiro hit more home runs than that) and out-walked 18-11. But check out that .265 OBP. The M’s were making outs like they were going out of style.
On the minus side, all the free-swinging from players that can’t hit is driving Mike Hargrove crazy. So crazy that he’s already pled in the media for his hitters to be more selective. On the plus side, at least they’re losing quickly, so if Hargrove enjoys golf, he can get in more of it on the road.
Jeremy Reed finally had the week we’ve all been waiting for. He led the team hitting .368/.429/.632 with a pair of doubles and his first major league home run. Reed was promptly rewarded by a caller to Thursday’s postgame show suggesting the M’s bench him in favor of Doyle.
[As a sidenote, there is no more depressing spectacle than listening to the postgame show on radio. It’s like a netherworld of random opposite-of-true observations. Sometime, I will endure one, in the interests of science, to document the atrocities in a post. Maybe we’ll ask Evil Rick Rizzs to liveblog it.]
Proving that even blind squirrels can find nuts, Aaron Sele pitched 9 scoreless innings last Friday against the Padres. Of course, his defense played a large part by making 24 of those 27 outs for him.
The next time you get down on this rotation, consider this: how bad would they be performing in front of a below-average defensive team? Then shudder.
I’ve been thinking about writing a post about how I can no longer for Bret Boone as an All-Star with a good conscience, and this week gives me more reason (not that one single week should make or break an All-Star). He went 3-for-22.
To think that, just a year ago, Mariner Musings mused about Boone’s Hall of Fame chances.
True, we concluded “Slim and none — and slim just left town.” But watching Bret treat ground balls like the Corbin Bernsen character in Major League makes it seem stunning that the question was ever raised.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa hadn’t made an appearance in over a week. It showed Thursday night as he pitched one inning and gave up a 2-run home run to Miguel Tejada in the 8th inning, essentially ending the game.
Remind me why we have a 12-man pitching staff, but no right-handed bench bat that wouldn’t be better off just praying for a walk.
Coming to a Stadium Near You
On the road to Tampa Bay. Yeah. Back to Seattle for Toronto.