Week #22 in Review

peter · August 26, 2005 at 2:40 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Happy Felix Day!

(We here at USS Mariner choose to look at rosy side of life when we can.)

Vital Signs
Wins: 54. Losses: 72. Games out of first place: 18.5.

The Mariners drop another game in the standings. Again. The Angels widen their AL West lead to 2.5 games. Third place is still a gaping 5 games away. They are 3.4 games below their projected wins according to third-order wins.

Runs Scored: 556 (12th in the American League, tied with Minnesota). Batting average: .256 (last). On-base percentage: .315 (last). Slugging percentage: .397 (13th, thank you, Kansas City). Home runs: 110 (13th, again, thank you, Kansas City). Bases on balls: 352 (9th). EqA: .250 (11th).

Runs allowed: 595 (8th). Staff ERA: 4.55 (10th). DIPS ERA: 4.70 (13th). Strikeouts: 682 (last). Bases on balls: 403 (10th). Home runs allowed: 140 (11th). Starters ERA: 5.12 (11th). Relievers ERA: 3.47 (5th). Defensive efficiency: 70.0% (7th).

The Mariners spoiled a perfect opportunity to gain ground on the slumping Rangers and the ever elusive third place in the division. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Twins and then 2 of 3 from those pesky slugging Texans. I say “slugging” – the Mariners actually outslugged their opponents 9 home runs to 7. Despite this muscle-fest by the M’s, they were still out-scored 34-28. How does this happen, one asks? That’s the difference 18 singles in a week makes. There’s more than one way to get on-base. They drew the same amount of walks as the Twins and Rangers, 19.

For the month of August, Adrian Beltre leads the team in home runs (6), doubles (8) and RBI (23). He is the only starter with an OPS above .800, and it happens to currently rest at a healthy .933. This week, Beltre went 7-for-24 (.292/.320/.583) with 4 doubles and a home run. On Tuesday, Beltre doubled to lead off the seventh inning, starting a 3-run Seattle rally that brought the Mariners within one run. In the 8th, he again doubled, driving in Raul Ibanez and, again, the Mariners were within a run. But with Beltre standing at second, representing the go-ahead run with no outs, the Mariners failed to score again and lost 6-4.

On Thursday, 31-year-old rookie Jeff Harris limited the Rangers to just 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 scoreless innings. He also struck out 2.

Not-so-much Heroes
What happens when The Ignitor no longer ignites? Willie Bloomquist ignites an offense like a sack of soaking wet charcoal ignites my barbecue grill. For the month of August, Bloomquist is “hitting” .245/.258/.309 with 2 bases on balls and 5 extra base hits in a whopping 94 at bats. He has consumed 71 of the Mariners’ outs, which is more outs than Yuniesky Betancourt as seen trips to the plate. This week, Bloomquist went 4-for-26 (.154/.185/.192) with a double and a stolen base. He and Ichiro! both contributed 22 outs each this week. And that’s exactly how you kill an offense. The madness of not only starting Willie Bloomquist, but also batting him second in the order, must stop. Please now, Mr. Hargrove.

Sunday afternoon, Joel Pineiro allowed 8 earned runs on 13 hits and a walk in just 5.2 innings.

Coming to a stadium near you
Things get no easier for the Mariners this week as they play host to the White Sox and Yankess. In addition, they begin a stretch of 13 consecutive games without a day off. The Mariners attempt to not repeat the series of two weeks ago, when the Sox and M’s combined to score 16 runs in a three-game weekend. The Mariners are 2-4 versus Chicago this year. The White Sox are one team with an offense comparable to the Mariners (.248 EqA, 10th in runs scored). Their pitching is the best in the league, leading AL teams with a 3.60 ERA. Tonight is the Hernandez Family Throwdown: Felix versus El Duque. Only they’re not really related. Tomorrow Pineiro versus Contreras. Sunday Moyer versus Garcia.

Monday, the Yankees come to town. Go on, let the hateful spittle fly from your mouth when you say it. Despite shopping hard for Jason Barker to fill their starting rotation at the trade deadline, the Yankees now have the third best record in the AL, according to third order wins. They’re 14-9 in August. And they’re pitching staff has a 3.75 ERA for the month. Overall, their pitching has allowed more runs than the Mariners, but their all-star-at-every-position-except-second-base has scored more runs than every team except the Red Sox. Darth A-Rod has been particularly scorching hot as of late (as is his August habit) with 9 home runs and 7 doubles on the month.

The highlight of week may come Wednesday. If the Mariners hold their current rotation Felix will start against the Bronx Bombers – his first start against a seriously quality offense.


31 Responses to “Week #22 in Review”

  1. G-Man on August 26th, 2005 2:57 pm

    Will there be a pre-Felix meetup at a Sodo watering hole again? I can’t make it tonight, but I can probably get there next Wednesday.

  2. Paul B on August 26th, 2005 3:03 pm

    Idle question, why can’t Morse play second?

    Is it because tall guys (Ripken, ARod, and Morse if his throws were more accurate) can play short but not second?

  3. PositivePaul on August 26th, 2005 3:06 pm

    Someone please make sure to keep el Cartuela away from the Chief, especially if they start walking towards Pioneer Square…

  4. Kulich on August 26th, 2005 3:07 pm

    From what I understand, Wednesday night’s game will be nationally televised on ESPN 2. East Coast fans (like myself) rejoice.

  5. Adam on August 26th, 2005 3:16 pm

    Re: 2

    Bret Boone answers yes.

  6. Evan on August 26th, 2005 3:24 pm

    I think a better answer is that Morse has never before in his life played second in a professional game.

    It could also be that Morse simply isn’t agile enough to play second. There’s a lot of twisting and changing of direction playing second.

  7. feldor on August 26th, 2005 3:27 pm

    It seemed to work okay when Betancourt played second and Morse played short. You lose a little defensively at short, but it’s still a plus at the plate and a plus defensively at second.

  8. Benno on August 26th, 2005 3:30 pm

    Remember, Lopez was sent to Tacoma to work on playing second this year. Its probably a bit more difficult to adjust to second from short than it sounds (turning the DP without having the runner in front). But it would be to his benefit to begin to work on it. It would give him the ability to play more often, and Betancourt sounds like the favorite to stay at short.

    But then, I think I would rather see Morse play short and Betancourt play 2B, than Betancourt at short and Bloomquist at 2B.

  9. Bernard Aboba on August 26th, 2005 3:30 pm

    BTW, I wouldn’t necessarily count on having Bucky available at DH in September. I saw him in Tacoma last week and he does not look comfortable at the plate. He only made good contact once (hit a double), still seems to have a bit of a limp and has put on a substantial amount of weight.

    If I were the Mariners I would be very nervous about how ready Bucky is to play at the Major League level in the near future. I say this with full knowledge that if they don’t offer him a contract next year, someone like Billy Beane might well sign Bucky for a song, get him into a good rehab program, help him lose weight, and then put him in the DH slot where he will produce on a par with Durazo for a few years for barely above the major league minimum.

  10. Zero Gravitas on August 26th, 2005 3:37 pm

    Nice to see Beltre starting to show more production at the plate as the season wears on, and in spite of how badly things are going for the team. I’d be absolutely horrified if he *weren’t* improving by this point. Here’s hoping we get a full year of production at this level next year, right out of the gate.

  11. Rod W. on August 26th, 2005 3:41 pm

    Am I the only one who is starting to have concerns about Ichiro,s offensive production? Sure, he had the grand slam yesterday but it seems that he is a much easier out this year than he has been in the past and once he gets on base, he is not using his speed (i.e. stealing) to put pressure on the defense. He has gotten very ordinary offensively, in my opinion. You can almost predict the weak ground ball to second base.

  12. Dave on August 26th, 2005 3:51 pm

    I don’t want to push Peter’s post any further down, so I won’t give it a new post, but the M’s claimed Francisco Cruceta on waivers from the Indians today. Very nifty pickup. I’m a fan of Cruceta.

  13. Rusty on August 26th, 2005 3:52 pm

    en espanol…

    Feliz Felix Dia!

  14. Grizz on August 26th, 2005 4:02 pm

    Will the M’s keep Cruceta as a starter or move him to the pen?

  15. Mr. Egaas on August 26th, 2005 4:04 pm

    Rotoworld.com has good things to say —

    A fine pickup. Cruceta, who DFA’d to open up a spot for Jason Young on the Indians’ 40-man roster, was 6-4 with a 5.19 ERA, 123 H and 92/32 K/BB in 102 1/3 IP for Triple-A Buffalo. He’s talented enough to develop into a bottom-of-the-rotation starter or a quality middle reliever.

  16. Rusty on August 26th, 2005 4:04 pm

    Dave, can you tell us what you like about him?

  17. paul on August 26th, 2005 4:07 pm

    What is USSM’s view of Snelling’s injury? Was the risk worth the reward? Was he told to play and run at less than 100% speed and aggressiveness? The 05 team was going nowhere. Is 2006 impacted by his injury?

  18. Evan on August 26th, 2005 4:09 pm

    Am I the only one who is starting to have concerns about Ichiro,s offensive production? Sure, he had the grand slam yesterday but it seems that he is a much easier out this year than he has been in the past and once he gets on base, he is not using his speed (i.e. stealing) to put pressure on the defense. He has gotten very ordinary offensively, in my opinion. You can almost predict the weak ground ball to second base.

    Only Vlad and Sheffield are more valuable RFs in the AL this season. He’s not having a great season, for sure, but he’s giving us about as much production relative to his position as Ibanez is.

    He performance has always fluctuated a lot. This season is shaping up to pale in comparison to last season, but it doesn’t look like it will be his weakest.

  19. Dave on August 26th, 2005 4:19 pm

    Dave, can you tell us what you like about him?

    Good arm. When he was in Kinston a few years ago and I saw him regularly, he was throwing 90-94 with movement and had the makings of a very good change-up. He also had an over-the-top curveball with good break, but the problem was that his arm slot was so different on the curve, everyone in the stadium knew it was coming. I know the Indians were working with him to fix that.

    His ERA in Buffalo wasn’t pretty, but his ratios are solid. He’s not going to be an ace, but he’s a good arm to have in the organization, a much better use of a 40 man roster spot than a guy like Masao Kida.

  20. David J Corcoran on August 26th, 2005 4:25 pm

    Will he be assigned to the majors and if so who goes down?

  21. David J Corcoran on August 26th, 2005 4:27 pm

    Ah, Tacoma. Is he a Sept callup possibility?

  22. Dave on August 26th, 2005 4:35 pm

    Yea, he’ll be in the mix to get a look in September.

  23. David J Corcoran on August 26th, 2005 4:37 pm

    very good. Any idea what is option status is for next year? Is he out? Looks like he was purchased in 03 but I could be wrong.

  24. Paul B on August 26th, 2005 4:52 pm

    Only Vlad and Sheffield are more valuable RFs in the AL this season. He’s not having a great season, for sure, but he’s giving us about as much production relative to his position as Ibanez is

    I agree with the comparison, but am disappointed in Ichiro’s season.

    Amongst rightfielders who have enough AB to qualify for batting title, Ichiro’s .784 OPS ranks 12th out of 22. If you limit it to the AL, he’s 5th out of 13. So, just a little above average.

    Al RF’ers with higher OPS than Ichiro are Vlad and Sheffield but also Dye and Monroe in Detroit.

    OTOH, your comparison to Ibanez is apt. If we consider Ibanez to be a left fielder, his .811 OPS would be 6th out of 12 in the AL, and 14th out of 22 overall.

    The above are from ESPN, and for some dumb reason they consider Ibanez to be a firstbaseman.

  25. Dave on August 26th, 2005 4:56 pm

    Jermaine Dye has a .262 EqA. Craig Monroe has a .274 EqA. Both are poor to mediocre defensive outfielders.

    Ichiro has a .278 EqA. He’s a terrific defensive outfielder.

    Ichiro is far, far superior to either of the others you mentioned.

  26. Evan on August 26th, 2005 4:58 pm

    I was using VORP for all comparisons.

  27. Steve Thornton on August 26th, 2005 5:00 pm

    OPS doesn’t take park into account. Ichiro plays in the toughest hitter’s park in the league. VORP has him third in the AL; go with VORP, not OPS, or push his OPS up by 10%.

    The best RF are in the NL nowadays. Suzuki is seventh overall. With a push he could easily finish fifth; with a fade he could end up tenth.

  28. Paul B on August 26th, 2005 6:31 pm

    FWIW, Ichiro’s OPS is 25 points higher at home this year than on the road. I don’t think he would be helped much by playing elsewhere.

    Unless his style of hitting really is changing.

  29. Adam S on August 26th, 2005 8:31 pm

    What’s happened to the Mariners defense? Much of the season the defensive efficiency was the highlight of the weekly summary. After 16 weeks it was 71.7, the past few weeks it’s been near 70.4 (3rd or 4th in the league), this week it’s 70.0 (7th). If my math is right, that means ,approximating by weeks rather than games, a DER of ~61.5 last week and ~66 over the last six weeks.

    Is this random variation, playing Bloomquist and Ibanez, something else?

  30. Dave on August 27th, 2005 7:28 am

    Going from Winn to Ibanez in LF is a significant downgrade.

  31. Adam S on August 27th, 2005 8:01 am

    True, but isn’t going from Morse/Valdez/Bloomquist to Betancourt a serious upgrade? Any easy way to see what the Giants DER is before and after Winn?