Game 49, Mariners at Devil Rays

May 29, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 374 Comments 

RHP Joel Pineiro v RHP Doug Waechter. Televised on FSN and FSN-HD.

Normally, I’d try to offer some kind of interesting tidbit or something to think about, but only a couple minutes ago I made it back from a 75-mile bike ride, and I’m all grimy, euphoric, cold, and in pain, so I have some things to tend to before the game starts.

I think Pineiro is seriously injured, and he’s going to have Tommy John/rotator cuff surgery before the season’s over. If he doesn’t go under the knife, he’ll go through the season without improving at all from the wild, erratic-velocity Pineiro we’ve seen so far. I have no inside information or medical background, so feel free to discard that prediction.

Game 48, Mariners at Devil Rays

May 28, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 145 Comments 

RHP Aaron Sele v LHP Tony Fossas. Casey Fossum, sorry, sorry. 3:15, radio only.

It’s a stunning day out. No television coverage, Sele coming off a complete-game start… even if you don’t get out to enjoy the sun, take the radio out in the backyard, or on the balcony, enjoy a beer or some iced tea. And please, don’t tell anyone outside of Seattle how nice it’s been this week.

Also: if you’re reading this outside of Seattle, it’s been nasty here. You get so used to the horrible weather that you can’t handle a sunny day with temperatures over 70. It’s awful. Don’t move here. Thank you.

Jeff, by the way is here.

Game 47, Mariners at Devil Rays

May 27, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 262 Comments 

RHP Gil Meche v LHP Mark Hendrickson. 4:05, FSNW for TV.

Also, since this gets asked every game thread — it’s Darnell Coles in the booth with Rizzs.

This series appears like it’s perfectly timed. After a brutal schedule against other AL East teams, finally a rest against a patsy. The Mariners are 18-28, we’ve got a rotation that’s in deep trouble, a bunch of automatic outs in the lineup, and the big question is whether there’s a 2004-style dismantling in the team’s near future. You would think that Tampa would be a tonic for this battered squad.

It’s not so simple. Park-adjusted, the Devil Rays offense ranks 7th in the majors, the Mariners 24th. Their pitching, though, has been awful awful awful. If you think the Mariners are bad, the Devil Rays are giving up another full run each game, and even if you want to give Safeco some credit, there’s no way that gap isn’t wide. And their starters — 5.82 ERA, 38 HR in 48 games and 262 IP. 129 walks to 151 strikeouts. That their bullpen (4.95 ERA) offers any improvement is a horrible comment on how bad their pitching’s been.

However, particularly relevant to tonight’s matchup, the current Mariner splits
v. LHP: .225/.285/.334
v. RHP: .254/.312/.388

Last time I looked at this, I suggested that opposing teams should consider calling up anyone left-handed from their AAA teams to make spot starts against the Mariners. At this point, I would consider having my right-handed starters throw left-handed to turn the Mariners into the harmless (but cute) basket of kittens that shows up against southpaws.

The counter-argument, of course, is that the team can’t hit either way. 30 points of OBP? Who cares? Have the right-handed groundskeeper relieve, they’ll get themselves out.

Or, to put this another way: against left-handers, the Mariners are nine Royce Claytons, hoping to be nine Adam Everetts. They’re nine Kazou Matsuis.

Against right-handers, they’re nine Chone Figgins. Sure, there’s a bump in OBP and a bigger bump in power, but it’s the difference between a team that scores three runs runs most games (3.3 average or something similar) and possibly four, five a game (Chone Figgins has a RC27 of 4.6, which isn’t the best comp, but it’ll do). One’s awful and the other’s below average, so your choice is “is this lefty’s ERA more than a run and change over the right-hander I was going to spot here?

If you’re Tampa, it’s unlikely any left-handed option would be that bad, given how awful their starters are. I’d throw a left-handed kitchen sink at the Mariners if I was them.

More Beltre depressingness

May 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 42 Comments 

Nate Silver, at Baseball Prospectus (subscription article), looks at players who are blowing away or hugely underperforming their PECOTA projections. Beltre’s one:

Beltre’s revised EqA estimate is at .263, which is almost exactly at the baseline he’d established between 2001 and 2003, when his growth appeared to have stagnated. I see absolutely no reason to take anything other than the Occam’s Razor explanation: Beltre’s 2004 was one of the biggest one-year flukes in baseball history.


Super-reader Paul Covert notes in the Week 9 review comments that

Hardball Times’ Batting Stats show Beltre with an above-average Line Drive Percentage of .207, which suggests that he’s been hitting better than his numbers show thus far. Unfortunately, Reed’s LD% of .118 is much less encouraging.

I still want to believe there’s hope. But having spent some quality time looking for signs of hope while writing the PI bit, I haven’t been able to take the leap. His performance so far’s been so abjectly bad it’s like I’m entirely turned around from my previous burning optimism about the signing. When you’re hoping he’ll come around to have a season that’s merely bad, that’s tough.

Week #9 in Review

May 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 24 Comments 

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.

Vital Signs
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
, 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.

Not-so-much Heroes
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.

Mariner color men: fight! fight!

May 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 10 Comments 

Last night ended John Marzano’s brief stint working alongside Rick Rizzs. While Rizzs didn’t seem to know what to do with Marzano at times, and Marzano stepped on Rizzs pretty frequently, that’s to be expected for a short stint like this.

I posted this on yesterday’s game thread, but here’s what Marzano said about his brawl with Paul O’Neill:

Tim Davis was pitching. The ball wasn’t even that close, and he started mouthing off like he was going to go out there and beat up Tim Davis. I said ‘Well, I’m right here, you don’t have to go that far’ and that’s when we got into it.

That is some quality color commentary, and a long ways off the clean-and-wonderful Mariner image we often get pushed on us.

Marzano provided a lot of insight and in particular he seemed to be pretty good about guessing pitching approaches (“I’d feed Olivo a change here”). He’s also a big believer in confidence and its viral-like properties, and timely hitting.

Part of what made it interesting was the novelty, I think — if a color man’s got a couple topics they like to wear to death, over three games it’s not that annoying. Over a couple of games, it’s not a big problem.

I’d love to have the Mariners do more of this. Of course, I think they should have Mike Curto do games, or at least rotate in so Fairly doesn’t ever have to do play-by-play.

So kudos to the team for bring Marzano in. It was a worthwhile change, and it made this awful series better.

Doyle interview at Lookout Landing

May 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 20 Comments 

Lookout Landing’s got a long interview in two parts with Doyle for your listening pleasure, check it out.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve come out of the gate real fast. There’ve been a couple at-bats I’ve wasted…”



Also, he thinks he’s striking out too much.

18 walks, 22 strikeouts.

Good stuff: talking about having to teach himself to walk four times

First part’s got a lot of nuts-and-bolts stuff, while the second part features Doyle in the Outback, his intro to the game, the incident at third.

I will point out that the interview starts out with Devin calling Doyle “a little outfielder for the Tacoma Rainiers”.

Site tweaking and comments

May 26, 2005 · Filed Under Site information · Comments Off on Site tweaking and comments 

Edited: that’s over with, sorry for any inconvenience

Game 46, Mariners at Orioles

May 26, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 231 Comments 

I just got back from the dentist’s office, where they ended up shooting my mouth so full of numbing agents I can’t feel half my nose (that’s not a joke). I hope this will increase my enjoyment of this game.

RHP Ryan Franklin v RHP Daniel Cabrera
4:05, KSTW (11) for TV.

It is my great hope that as Sele tossed his complete-game shutout after I wrote a PI article fingering him as the worst in a stinky rotation, Beltre will tear it up for the remainder of the year after today’s examination of his ill start.

As this question seems to come up repeatedly in every thread, let me say that it’s John Marzano in the booth, offering a weird mix of insight and worn-to-transparency cliche.

Hitter’s meeting, PI bit

May 26, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 87 Comments 

Hargrove shares our pain. He and Baylor held a meeting to talk about trying to be more selective, get your pitch and drive it or walk — from the PI:

Manager Mike Hargrove said he called the meeting specifically to address the dearth of walks.

“There are certain hitters on any club who aren’t going to draw a lot of walks,” Hargrove said. “We’ve got our share of those. So we’ve got two, three, four guys who should swing most of the time.

“I’m not going to name names, but we had guys tonight swinging at three pitches out of the strike zone,” Hargrove said.

Holy mackeral! I don’t know how effective this is going to be, but I think we can agree that at least Hargrove’s watching the same team we are. Though… only three? Did he mean “clearly out of the strike zone”?

This week’s column in the PI is on the different starts of the two big off-season signings, and my increasing despair over Beltre’s start. Check it out, or don’t… no pressure.

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