Week #26 in Review

peter · September 23, 2005 at 8:09 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Nine more games until the off-season. Normally this news would depress me. This year it doesn’t. That’s what depresses me.

Vital Signs
Wins: 66. Losses: 87. Games out of first place: 21.5.

The Angels are on a 6-game win streak. The Mariners were swept by the Rangers. Not that it really matters at this point, but the M’s drop another 4.5 games in the standings in just a week. Third place is now 9 games away. So the Rangers have nearly the chance of catching the A’s that the Mariners do of escaping last place. And on the list of likely things to happen, escaping last place isn’t there for the M’s. According the third order wins, the M’s are playing nearly 6 games below what we would expect. Thus, the loss column looks a bit worse than it actually should.

Runs Scored: 676 (12th in the American League, nearly 200 fewer runs than the leading Red Sox). Batting average: .258 (last). On-base percentage: .318 (last). Slugging percentage: .396 (tied with Minnesota and Kansas City for last). Home runs: 127 (13th). Bases on balls: 435 (8th). EqA: .250 (tied with Chicago at 11th). The American league average is .268/.329/.425.

Runs allowed: 709 (7th). Staff ERA: 4.48 (7th, tied with Yankees). DIPS ERA: 4.67 (12th). Strikeouts: 835 (last). Bases on balls: 476 (9th). Home runs allowed: 171 (11th). Starters ERA: 5.00 (11th). Relievers ERA: 3.37 (4th). Defensive efficiency: 70.2% (7th).

The M’s suffered a four-game sweep against the Bunyan-esque Rangers. It was the fifth time this season the Mariners had lost four games in a row. They then split a four-game set against the Blue Jays. All six of the losses were by margins of either 1 or 2 runs, which makes for a heart-breaking week. The M’s were out-scored 40-34 over the past seven days. While the Mariners collected nearly as many extra-base hits as the Rangers and Jays (22-23), they were out-slugged 12 home runs to 5. But they drew more bases on balls, 22-20.

Richie Sexson went 9-for-27 (.333/.419/.704) with a pair of home runs, a pair of doubles, a triple and four walks. In what is sure to make the very short highlight reel of the Mariners’ 2005 season, Sexson dramatically ended Monday’s game with a ninth inning grand slam on the first pitch from Miguel Batista, which turned a 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead and eventual victory for the M’s on Monday night against the Blue Jays. Jose Lopez also went 7-for-19 (.368/.429/.737) with four doubles and a home run. Sunday in an 8-6 loss to Texas, Lopez doubled twice scoring two of Mariners’ runs and driving in another two.

The bullpen brigade of Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Gil Meche, Rafael Soriano, Julio Mateo and Matt Thornton combined to pitch 12.1 innings this week, allowing just 3 hits between them, without giving up a run. Soriano allowed the only walk, and they all struck out 9.

Not-so-much Heroes
While Raul Ibanez led the team with five bases on balls, he reached base just five other times on the week, all singles. He went 5-for-28 (.179/.303/.179) accounting for 23 of the Mariners’ outs. In Saturday’s 8-7 loss to the Rangers, Ibanez went 0-for-5, striking out looking with Yuniesky Betancourt in scoring position in the first inning and the second inning.

I’d like to hear one good reason why Ryan Franklin even makes road trips to Texas. Between 2002 and 2004, Franklin made 5 starts in Arlington and allowed 26 runs in 25.1 innings, including 5 home runs. This season, Franklin has made 3 starts and allowed 20 earned runs in 13.1 innings, including 6 home runs. Sunday, Franklin allowed 4 home runs to the Rangers in 4 innings. His line for the day – 4.0 – 6 – 7 – 7 – 4 – 4 – 4.

Coming to a stadium near you
Tonight the Mariners begin a three-game series in Detroit. September has been far from kind to the Tigers. They have lost their last 7 games, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Royals. That has to be humiliating. The plane has crashed into the mountain in Motown. The Tigers are 4-18 in September and 25-41 since the All-Star break. Detroit is 10th in the league in scoring and 10th in runs allowed. Pitching matchups are Franklin/Douglass, Moyer/Grilli and Meche/Maroth.

Tuesday, the Mariners mercifully play their last series with Texas. The Rangers have won 11 of 16 games against the Mariners this season. After sweeping the Mariners, the Rangers were swept themselves by the Angels. They are 11-9 in September. They are third in the league in runs scored but 12th in runs allowed.

Next Felix start should be Tuesday, when he can take his revenge on those dastardly Rangers.


44 Responses to “Week #26 in Review”

  1. Dave on September 23rd, 2005 8:57 am

    Peter’s alive! Or, he’s figured out how to post from the grave.

  2. rcc on September 23rd, 2005 9:40 am

    The dismal performance of the M’s this year makes any hope of contention further removed. In addition to speculating which players will return next year we should also consider who the M’s will jettison for prospects before the 2006 trading deadline. My guess it will be Raul Ibanez and Eddie Guardado.

  3. Deacon Blues on September 23rd, 2005 9:43 am

    I completely agree about Franklin in Texas. He has a lifetime ERA in Texas of, like, 1000.00. Don’t you think that would be a good time to give the ball to Nageotte or something?

  4. Ralph Malph on September 23rd, 2005 9:47 am

    The 2006 trading deadline is pretty far ahead to be looking.

  5. Ralph Malph on September 23rd, 2005 9:49 am

    I don’t understand why Franklin is even on the team at this point. I’d rather see Jeff Nelson starting. Heck, I’d rather see Greg Dobbs starting.

  6. Mike L on September 23rd, 2005 9:54 am

    OK why would we start talking about next year’s trading deadline now?

  7. Russ on September 23rd, 2005 10:20 am

    Why is Nageotte held in such esteem? He doesn’t appear to have done anything of note in the last year of service. This year he has a 6.75 ERA in 4 innings.

    I’d be in favor of never, ever seeing him again if only to never, ever hear people talk of his profuse…I can’t say it. If his sweating is all Dave can bother to find out about him, it says volumes.

    He is just a prospect with little chance of being anything more than a roster spot.

  8. NYGuy on September 23rd, 2005 10:30 am

    You seem to be ignoring park effects. This means that the hitting is merely below average and the pitching sucks, instead of the other way around. Le3t’s hope that the pitching the last 2 years was just a bad dream. Next Piniero and Meche grow up to be the great pitchers we thought they were, Moyer has something left in the tank, King Felix is the real deal and Harris or Madritch come back strong. Then they can be next year’s Whitesox, winning with pitching defense and speed (If they realize that Ibanez must go for extra COMPETENT relief help). It could hapen!

  9. Dave on September 23rd, 2005 10:31 am

    Why do people continue to refuse to acknowledge any kind of performance that they haven’t personally withnessed?

    “I’ve seen Clint Nageotte sweat and pitch badly, therefore he must be totally uselesss.”

    Come on people.

  10. jtopps on September 23rd, 2005 10:34 am

    Remember when we played the Tigers last time and they were playing about .500 ball? Now they are as bad as us, record-wise atleast.

    Its interesting that we all keep talking about how bad the Mariners’ pitching is and if we could get some good starters for next year, we have a chance to be a half-decent team. Just looking at the stats, the Mariner’s offense is the thing that is really lacking. A sad testament to how bad the Mariners were that even after signing two “sluggers” that we are still last or close to last in nearly every major offensive category. Thanks again Pat Gillick…

    But I guess a lot of the offense is locked up and looking (hoping?) to improve next year, where as the pitching is in flux.

  11. Montresor on September 23rd, 2005 10:50 am

    It feels like the offense has improved. It is more likely a perception though. I cannot grab the stats myself, I’m at work ;). What are the offensive numbers through the year, by month, or by call ups.

    I guess I’m looking and wishfully hoping for some sign of improvement.

  12. Ralph Malph on September 23rd, 2005 11:00 am

    This morning’s P-I:

    Bobby Madritsch was scheduled to throw his first full bullpen session off a mound Thursday. But his left shoulder came up hurting. “It’s just the second setback in four months,” Madritsch said. “It’ll be OK I hope.” …

    Has anyone heard more than this? This is not encouraging.

  13. jtopps on September 23rd, 2005 11:05 am

    I saw that too. Injuries take time to heal and Madritsch seems like the kind of guy who will work at getting better. Maybe he is trying to come back too soon? The optimist in me says atleast he will have the whole offseason to get better…

  14. Knuckles on September 23rd, 2005 11:12 am

    Seeing as how successful the moniker of ‘Doyle’ was with Doyle, you really ought to come up with one for Madritsch. If it worked once (until someone broke the seal), it could work again.

  15. Deanna on September 23rd, 2005 11:22 am

    My personal codename for Madritsch the last few months has been “Bowflex”, but I’m not sure we’d want to put that in general usage.

  16. msb on September 23rd, 2005 11:22 am

    #12 — Ralph Malph said:

    This morning’s P-I:

    “Bobby Madritsch was scheduled to throw his first full bullpen session off a mound Thursday. But his left shoulder came up hurting. “It’s just the second setback in four months,” Madritsch said. “It’ll be OK I hope.”

    Has anyone heard more than this? This is not encouraging.

    remember, in the early part of his rehab they had actually atrapped his arm to his side, and it was June when he was allowed to start working it, so long as he didn’t take the arm higher than his shoulder — I imagine all the muscles & ligaments will take a long time to get stretched back out. At the beginning of Sept. he was hoping to be given permission to start lifting weights…

  17. realityrick on September 23rd, 2005 11:24 am

    #10 I agree this offense is more the culprit than the pitching although both are very, very bad. One item i don’t hear much about is the total lack of base on balls from this offense. Other than Richie Sexson nobody on this team ever even seems to consider the walk. Maybe it’s because our hitting is so bad that opposing pitches just lay the ball in forcing us to swing and make outs rather than allowing otherwise dismal hitters to get on via the walk. I’ve noticed that none of our younger players get far into the count–is this what is being taught to our minor leaguers–complete disdain for the walk? This is where our teams of just a few years ago excelled–Edgar, Jay, Maclemore, Olerud all had wonderful on base percentages and now it’s just the opposite lead by Mr. “I refuse to walk because I don’t want to” Ichiro. I truly hope that Ichiro is just bored and can become rejuvenated over the winter because this has been a weak, weak year for him. Why, oh why does he no longer run? Why, oh why does no one ask him or Hargrove? Pitchers hardly even throw to first when he’s on because they know he’s not a threat. And don’t mention his stolen base total–when did he last steal a meaningful base?

  18. Xteve X on September 23rd, 2005 12:06 pm

    I agree that the offense has been horribly subpar.

    My personal take on the offensive woes is that other than Sexson, there just isn’t a single hitter on the Mariners roster that is a bona fide HR threat every time they come to bat. Even guys like Beltre and Ibanez are more line drive hitters than guys who put the ball into the seats. The Ms stubborn adherence to their smallball philosophy has demonstrated to me the old axiom that if you play for one run, you’ll only score one run.

    The Angels and Indians aren’t the greatest teams in the AL, but if you look at that lineup there’s multiple guys that pitching staffs need to worry about, not just one or two guys.

    The other thing that I think has absolutely killed this year’s offense is the lack of a real #2 hitter to put between Ichiro and Ibanez. Bloomquist was a friggin joke there and I’m not sure that Reed has enough power to stick there either.

    I’m afraid I don’t have the answers to fix it all, but I do know that there’s very little in the free agent market for starting pitching next year, and even if we were able to land a Millwood or even an improved Kevin Brown as Dave posted yesterday, it’s not going to help when the offense can barely score 3 runs on a good day. This team needs an infusion of power hitting, especially in the outfield.

  19. Chris S. on September 23rd, 2005 12:38 pm

    17 – When did he last steal a meaningful base? Uh, how about his most recent stolen base, when it was 7-7 in the bottom of the 6th. He stole third, then scored on Reed’s single to make it 8-7 in a game the M’s eventually won 10-9.

    Or the one right before that, when, in a 1-0 game, he stole 2nd with 2 outs. The M’s eventually won 8-1.

    Selective memory is delicious, but fattening. There are issues with Ichiro’s game, for sure, but chastising him for being 5th in the league in steals seems silly.

  20. Ralph Malph on September 23rd, 2005 12:51 pm

    The last two posts are interesting — one says the problem is a lack of OBP, the other says the problem is a lack of power. Sadly, they’re both right.

    The problem with hitters who don’t walk isn’t that they don’t want to walk. It’s that they don’t have the strike zone judgment to lay off bad pitches. I don’t think that’s bad coaching, they don’t have the batting eye.

  21. Paul B on September 23rd, 2005 12:52 pm

    Some debate about which is worse, the M’s offense or the M’s pitching. My conclusion is the offense is worse. Even with the impact of Safeco on the overall numbers. Here’s why:

    Runs scored on the Road, M’s are 11th in the AL.

    ERA on the Road, M’s are 8th in the AL.

  22. chico ruiz on September 23rd, 2005 1:39 pm

    #21–It’s an interesting point, but I bet if you split the bullpen from the starting pitching, it would be a bit more revealing. I think the priorities this off-season are clearly starting pitching #1 and a left handed bat for the middle of the order #2. Obviously both of the above will be necessary to avoid a third year like the past two.

  23. Adam S on September 23rd, 2005 1:41 pm

    The relief pitching has been better than the offense, and is the bright spot on the team. The offense has been better than the starting pitching.

    Psychologically, I think the offense feels better because we see some expect/hope that Ichiro, Reed, Beltre, and Lopez have underperformed and will improve next year while the pitchers, aside getting 20 more starts from King Felix, looks to be the same or worse.

  24. chico ruiz on September 23rd, 2005 1:52 pm

    Speaking of left-handed bats, I wonder if Dave and/or the other posters would opine on who the M’s should go after this offseason. There are some older guys out there like Brian Giles, but I’d bet there are some potential DH types languishing on NL rosters who might give us a chance for two or three years of production in their prime.
    (No, I’m not asking for a Ryan Howard thread……)Any thoughts???

  25. Gary on September 23rd, 2005 1:55 pm

    Anybody out there know Baylor’s batting philosophy? Reed’s dramatic downsurge from his minor league walk rates could reflect exhortations from the batting coach to be more Garrett Anderson aggressive at the plate. On the other hand, Betancourt recently has evinced a surprising unreluctance to take a walk.

    If Baylor varies his message depending on the hitter (i.e. isn’t programmatic) then maybe he’s keeping a fairly low profile until he’s sure he understands a particular hitter. It could take a long time to understand all hitters of a team that’s had such a large turnover.

    Any thoughts anybody? I’d like to think someone could help Beltre become comfortable at the plate by, say, the beginning of next year.

  26. Gary on September 23rd, 2005 1:59 pm

    Oh, and while I’m at it, or perhaps in lieu of answering my question (#25 above), I would like to see a Baylor discussion thread if there’s enough information on his teaching methods to make the discussion germane.

  27. Rusty on September 23rd, 2005 2:20 pm

    As for left handed bats, what about Roberto Petagine. He was vastly underutilized by the BoSox this year spending most of his time carving up AAA pitching and then pinch-hitting off the bench. It would mean starting Raul in left for most of the year but I think we can afford that if it means having two bats like Ibanez and Petagine in the lineup.

    I confess I don’t know anything about the contract situation between Petagine and the Red Sox. I am assuming it was a 1 year deal but perhaps it wasn’t.

  28. Paul B on September 23rd, 2005 2:45 pm

    Removing Sele’s 21 starts and ERA of 5.66 would lower the M’s average starter ERA from 5. Even if you replaced him with a Jeff Harris who I assume is replacement level (4.89).

    My point is that the starting pitching is bad, but not quite as bad as it looks at first glance.

  29. Paul B on September 23rd, 2005 2:49 pm

    I don’t think it matters whether a newly signed hitter was left or right handed. What the M’s need is to turn one or more of the positions that are empty offensively into a plus.

    Since the M’s seem to be set in around the infield, that means catcher, center field, and then either left or DH (assuming Ibanez is one or the other). If they can find a really good hitter for one of those slots, then I don’t care if they are right or left handed.

    Wonder what it would take, other than assuming his huge salary, to get Delgado away from Florida?

  30. Gomez on September 23rd, 2005 2:57 pm

    Paul, the reason having a lefty power bat matters is because Safeco’s RF fence, like Yankee Stadium’s RF fence, is easier for a batter to clear than the deeper LF fence, so it’s to our advantage to have a lefty power bat in the lineup.

    And it would take uprooting Seattle and moving it to the Florida Keys to get Delgado to play for us. He, like many, plays near the Atlantic because it’s closer to home.

  31. NYGuy on September 23rd, 2005 3:12 pm

    Junior might be available for something like Reed, a prospect and a starting pitcher. Is that what you want? He’s a lefty with pop (in his knee sometimes).
    Piazza might be interesting, he could righty DH and catch about 50 games.

  32. Todd on September 23rd, 2005 3:40 pm

    A USA Today article actually mentioned that the M’s would go after Griffey if he was healthy.

  33. The Other Tom on September 23rd, 2005 3:41 pm

    I can’t really see the M’s giving Piazza a contract. Maybe a 1 year $1 million deal or something, but look at his stats over the past couple of years:

    2000 .324/.398/.614/1.012 (avg/obp/slg/ops);
    2001 .300/.384/.573/.957
    2002 .280/.359/.544/.903
    2003 .286/.377/.483/.860
    2004 .266/.362/.444/.806
    2005 .257/.329/.448/.777

    I’d expect him to put up .245/.310/.380/.690 he played half his 2006 games at Safeco. Certainly better than what we got from the catcher position this year, but might not be entirely better than what Torrealba/Ojeda-backup might give us next year. And definitely worse than what we should get from DH next year. So Piazza might not be horrible, and he could have a come back year, but I’d doubt it and certainly wouldn’t want the M’s to pay much for it.

  34. JMB on September 23rd, 2005 4:19 pm

    Game thread up…

  35. ray on September 23rd, 2005 7:12 pm

    What a week: The M’s sweep the Angels, the Rangers sweep the M’s, The Angels sweep the Rangers. If this were the first week and a half, it would be some crazy baseball but it’s near the end so it just looks pathetic.

  36. Shoeless Jose on September 23rd, 2005 8:52 pm

    Yeah, back towards the start of the season the M’s swept KC, KC swept the Yankees (really!) and then the Yanks arrived and swept the M’s.

  37. Bela Txadux on September 23rd, 2005 9:04 pm

    Six wins fewer than expected . . . Yep, that’s just exactly what this team looks and plays like. I’ll be glad for this season to be _over_.

  38. Noel on September 23rd, 2005 10:35 pm

    Why is Dave Hansen still on the roster?? He’s 2-19 (2 singles) in September, 0-15 since Sept 2nd. Veteran leadership and grit, I guess.

  39. Replacement Level Poster on September 24th, 2005 4:22 am

    Cost per Marginal Win:
    CLE $825,455
    TB $974,962
    FLO $980,902
    PIT $1,005,398
    MIL $1,022,914
    MIN $1,041,129
    TEX $1,154,713
    OAK $1,203,436
    SDP $1,223,563
    SL $1,326,743
    CIN $1,394,717
    BAL $1,470,181
    HOU $1,543,710
    DET $1,642,393
    CHA $1,651,526
    ATL $1,725,369
    SFG $1,736,301
    MON $1,782,473
    LAD $1,903,198
    CHN $2,033,663
    ANA $2,122,919
    TOR $2,225,508
    PHI $2,267,892
    BOS $2,406,852
    COL $2,940,473
    NYA $3,354,846
    NYN $3,940,222
    KC $4,171,170
    SEA $5,077,488
    ARI $25,575,313

    We spent the second most for each marginal win in all of baseball, thats bad. Not as bad as Arizona which was 5 times worse than us! That is poor management. Hopefully with lots of money coming off they payroll this year the correct decisions will be made and the Mariners will get more for their money.

  40. Replacement Level Poster on September 24th, 2005 4:25 am

    My mistake, that was for last year. See silly errors like that is why I am only a replacement level poster…

  41. Adam S on September 24th, 2005 8:49 am

    Griffey? Why would anyone give up three prospects for 36-year old Ken Griffey, Jr. and his huge, backloaded contract? Even in his “heathly” season, he missed the last three weeks with an injury.

    I guess if the Reds paid his salary, I’d be happy to have Griffey. But if the Reds have to pay his salary, they might as well keep him. OK, there’s a middle ground, but I still wouldn’t give up inexpensive prospects for him.

  42. Shoeless Jose on September 24th, 2005 10:43 am

    We had a whole thread on Griffey just a couple of months ago.

    The people who pine for Griffey to return to the M’s are, metaphorically speaking, like middle-aged guys with beer bellies and comb-overs and too much cologne cruising highschool parking lots hoping they can score with the cheerleaders like they did when they were on the football team decades ago.

    It’s over. It was great while it lasted, but it’s gone, it’s not coming back, and even trying to recreate it will be embarassing for everone involed. Move on.

  43. bookbook on September 24th, 2005 10:28 pm

    I’ve seen posts that the M’s will field a better team at the beginning of 2006 than 2004 or 2005 so we should be encouraged. I admit there’s some validity to this perspective.

    However, there was considerably more reason to think that the M’s were good teams at the time than there is now. In ’04, we didn’t expect Boone et al to fall apart on offense, and had no idea the pitching staff was heading towards shambles. On the bright side we played some young studs towards the end of the year and saw the promise of things to come (Bucky, Reed, Olivo, Madritsch).
    Heading into ’05 we added top hitters Sexson and Beltre. We didn’t know yet that Olivo would completely wash out, Bucky and Madritsch would miss the season, Reed would turn out to be a below league average hitter (at least in the first full year of his ML career), and Meche and Piniero would finish losing every last bit of “future ace” luster. On the bright side, our line-up now consists of young guys who can’t hit.
    Heading into ‘O6 we know that there’s no hope for the pitching staff of ’06. There aren’t even viable free agents for a rebuilding team to target (other than Kevin Brown, the foundation of the next good M’s team.) The only plus hitting prospect the team has had since A-Rod has convinced most of us that his body simply can’t hold together. Beltre has discouraged us, and Ichiro may be, perish the thought, showing signs of age-related decline. Yes, this team is likely to be better than the ’04 or ’05 versions. But I say that just because hope springs eternal (and I have a bias towards cheaper bad teams over more expensive bad teams).

    If you offered 100 people the option of the ’04, ’05, or ’06 teams going into the season without any foreknowledge of what would follow, more than 75 would pick the ’06 version third. (I say this without knowing what will happen this offseason. Bavasi et al would have to pull some serious rabbits from hats to change my perspective on this.)

  44. NYGuy on September 25th, 2005 8:58 am

    #33 You’re missing the point on Piazza. As a mostly DH he wouldn’t have the wear and tear of catching. He hit much better this year in the first 2 weeks after coming off the DL, where he was twice this season. And as for DH, he is now better than Ibanez. Who were you expecting him to have to be better than? Are the M’s traqding for Delgado? What is his price? I don’t think the M’s have it.