Week #27 in Review

peter · September 30, 2005 at 9:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends…

–T.S. Eliot, 1925

Vital Signs
Wins: 68. Losses: 91. Games out of first place: 24.

The Angels clinch the division title for the second consecutive year, and the AL West repeats its same finish as 2004. And yes, that’s the Mariners in last place, again. This week they coasted another 2.5 games down the standings. But what’s another 2.5 games at this point, really? The slipped further away from the Rangers and third place, which is now an 11-game gap. According the third order wins, the M’s are 5.6 games below their expected wins. Interestingly, only the Mariners have fewer W3 than the Angels in the division, which will be something to watch in the playoffs.

Runs Scored: 689 (13th in the American League). Batting average: .256 (last). On-base percentage: .318 (last). Slugging percentage: .392 (13th). Home runs: 128 (13th). Bases on balls: 458 (8th). EqA: .258 (13th). The American league average is .268/.329/.425.

Runs allowed: 738 (7th). Staff ERA: 4.49 (8th, tied with Yankees). DIPS ERA: 4.66 (12th). Strikeouts: 875 (last). Bases on balls: 493 (9th). Home runs allowed: 178 (10th, tied with Baltimore). Starters ERA: 4.97 (11th). Relievers ERA: 3.49 (5th, tied with Los Angeles). Defensive efficiency: 70.2% (5th).

It was a run starved week as the Mariners drop four in row for the second time in two weeks. In their six games, they scored 4 runs only once and no more than 2 in four of their games. They went 2-4 against the Tigers and Rangers as they were outscored by a landslide 29-13. The Mariners drew more bases-on-balls than their opponents 23-17, but that’s the only positive in a week where the offense embarrassed itself to the tune of .214/.300/.286 and was out-homered 7-1.

Well, Rene Rivera hit 5 singles in 10 at bats (.500/.500/.500). Seriously, that’s the kind of week it was at the plate for the M’s. Richie Sexson hit the lone home run and went 4-for-15 (.263/.450/.533), drawing 5 walks on the week. Adrian Beltre also drew 5 walks in 24 plate appearances. Jose Lopez continued is double barrage with four more, bringing his double total to 11 on the month, tops in the AL for September.

As revenge for the dishonor of the previous week, King Felix demanded tribute from the boastful Rangers and held them to 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks as he finished the ninth inning for the first time of his career. He also struck out 7. Unfortunately, the Mariners similarly scored only 2 runs and lost the game in 11 innings.

Not-so-much Heroes
Perhaps there was something contagious in the batters box. Or Mariners are just putting bad hitters in the lineup. Greg Dobbs was 3-for-17 (.176/.222/.176) with a walk. Raul Ibanez was 3-for-22 (.136/.240/.182) with a double and 3 walks. Ibanez has seen nearly a .100-point split in his SLG since the All-Star break. Shin-Soo Choo went 0-for-10 with a walk.

Wednesday against Texas Joel Pineiro lasted just 3 innings, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits, including 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. He’s allowed 17 runs over his last 3 starts. Not a good way to end out the season.

Coming to a stadium near you
The 2005 season comes to a close this weekend at home against the recently playoff-eliminated Oakland A’s. Their offense has been particularly challenged as of late, hitting .252/.315/.404 in September (compared to the Mariners’ line of .259/.328/.378). Still, their offense is 5th in the league in scoring runs, and 4th in the league in preventing them. Pitching matchups are Moyer/Saarloos, Harris/Blanton and Felix/Kennedy.

Yes, King Felix is pitching the final game of the season. Do you have your tickets yet?


49 Responses to “Week #27 in Review”

  1. Evan on September 30th, 2005 9:35 am

    This could be a very low-scoring series against Oakland.

    They have better pitching, but we’re sending our three best guys out for these games. And neither team is hitting.

  2. Trev on September 30th, 2005 9:42 am

    Is DIPS ERA park-adjusted?

  3. Benno on September 30th, 2005 9:57 am

    How many innings in total has the King pitched this year? Also, since that 115 pitch outing, has he been abused by the abuse calculations? With the M’s falling like bowling pins, should he even be pitching one last time?

    How about starting Nelson, following him with Hasegawa, and finish up with Thornton. At least give the crown some runs.

  4. John on September 30th, 2005 10:00 am

    “this is how the world ends,
    not with a bang, but a whimper.”
    You forgot the most important part of that line, but truly, how appropriate.

  5. Grizz on September 30th, 2005 10:06 am

    Okay, I hate to bring up a Finnigan article, but he does have sources within the organization. Finnigan claims that Rene Rivera has played “well enough to go to the top of the depth chart” next year. Does anyone within the organization actually believe that Rene Rivera is ready to be the primary catcher next year? Or is this just a lazy Finnigan looking only at a shiny batting average?

  6. Matt Williams on September 30th, 2005 10:13 am

    28 days2 days. Six hours. 42 minutes. 12 seconds. That…is when the world…will end.

    I’m just hoping the engine won’t do too much damage to Safeco when it takes out half our pitching staff.

  7. lefty on September 30th, 2005 10:22 am

    Ryan Franklin said “I still feel sharp. I made 30 starts, I didn’t feel sluggish and I never pitched without my best stuff. I think four games killed my ERA (5.10) this season.”

    Tacoma News Tribune

    Wow… that is third most delusional thing I have read this month. Right after William Bennett claimed that the statement he made regarding lowering the crime rate by aborting black babies was only “taken out of context” and W said “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job”

    4 bad starts? After the first month of the season, I think he had only 4 quality starts. What killed his ERA was that he stunk.

  8. Evan on September 30th, 2005 10:26 am

    Unwanted children are bad for the economy.

    Now that that’s out of the way – Does Franklin not understand the concept of an average? Sure, let’s accept that he was adequate outside of four really bad starts. He was still awful in thoe starts, and that’s four games the team lost because he sucked.

    An adequate pitcher doesn’t do that.

  9. Brian Rust on September 30th, 2005 10:36 am

    I suspect Finnigan’s remark about Rivera is hyperbole. I also give him credit, for while he waxes eloquent about the “spark and energy” Bloomquist brings to the team in his article on the bench, he did not even mention Bloomquist’s name in the article on the infield regulars.

  10. msb on September 30th, 2005 10:36 am

    #3– 88 at Tacoma, 77.1 for Seattle. 159.1 IP.

  11. vj on September 30th, 2005 10:42 am

    Benno, they had a post at Lookout Landing (see link on the right M’s blogosphere) on Felix pitch count after the 9 inning game. According to them, Felix is doing fine.

  12. Adam S on September 30th, 2005 10:44 am

    So I actually counted good, bad, and ugly starts. “Good” was basically the quality start metric (>=6 IP,

  13. Adam S on September 30th, 2005 10:45 am

    Oops, my comment got interpreted as HTML tags and eaten.

    So I actually counted good, bad, and ugly starts. “Good” was basically the quality start metric (>=6 IP, less than or = 3 ER), “Ugly” was ERA of 9, “Bad” was anything in between.

    Franklin had 16 good starts, 6 bad ones, and 8 ugly ones. Post suspension it was 4 good, 2 bad, 3 ugly. Basically you have a 50-50 chance of a good start. By ERA, which I know isn’t a perfect stat, his best months were June (3.93) and April (4.09). Even when he’s good he’s not so good. And none of that accounts for having a great home park or better than average defense behind him.

  14. Matt Williams on September 30th, 2005 10:55 am

    Adam but that’s not fair to break it into months like that because you’re averaging in his bad games. It’s only fair to look at his pitching on a single game instance…or, even better, an inning by inning basis. I mean, he must have had at least a couple dozen scoreless innings this year. Add those together and you have four, maybe five no hitters pitched. Don’t you think a guy who pitched five no-hitters deserves to be pitching in this game?

    Sure, he didn’t get many strikeouts, but look at all those strikes he threw! He just got unlucky and the batter hit them too often, so he couldn’t complete the strikeout. It’s not Franklin’s fault his ERA is so bad, he’s going up there and throwing the ball over the plate just like he’s supposed to, it’s the fact that the umpire is unfairly letting the other team put a guy next to the plate with a stick to block it.

  15. Brian Rust on September 30th, 2005 11:01 am

    On the flip side, Franklin is right about the run support thing. He’d be a 20-game winner if the M’s could just get him a dozen runs a game.

  16. Colm on September 30th, 2005 11:06 am

    Wow. According to those W3 stats several of the teams going to the playoffs are way over their heads.

    We already know the Padres are as weak as a newborn kitten – but sorted by third order wins and losses, they should be 10 games under .500.

    It’s interesting to note that the Braves (+5.6), Angels (+6), Cardinals (+7.5) (!?) and especially the White Sox (+11) have win loss records not supported by their overall performance.

    This is a pretty open post season that’s coming up. There is a lot of mediocrity to go around.

    My money’s on Cleveland, if they get there.

  17. Ralph Malph on September 30th, 2005 11:52 am

    I like Cleveland too, but I have to wonder how their young players will react to the pressure of the playoffs (if they get there). Normally I don’t think that “veteran presence” business means as much as people like to think, but the Indians haven’t reacted well to the pressure of a pennant race, once they played themselves into it.

  18. bookbook on September 30th, 2005 12:05 pm

    Bring in Heaverlo for one start. I used to be waiting for the Heaverlo / Nageotte era to begin.

    Seriously, didn’t Nageotte lead the minors in K’s for a year or two? How did he turn out to not even be a valuable middle reliever?

  19. Felixfastfreight on September 30th, 2005 12:20 pm

    He is a valuble middle reliever. Julio Mateo is just higher on the depth chart becuase the Mariner’s value expirience.
    check out Nageotte’s AAA stats for this year…they’re pretty good if i rembember rightly.

  20. MarinerDan on September 30th, 2005 12:25 pm

    Slugging percentage: .392

    My God, that is awful.

  21. peter on September 30th, 2005 12:39 pm

    You can bet I’m rooting for the Red Sox and Indians this weekend like nobody’s business.

  22. msb on September 30th, 2005 12:40 pm

    Lou’s departure is official

  23. lefty on September 30th, 2005 1:10 pm

    I am rooting for the Sox, the Indians and for the very unlikely return of Lou Pinella to a team with the Compass Rose.

  24. Paul B on September 30th, 2005 1:22 pm

    Franklin is not the problem with the Mariner rotation. Heck, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the rotation this year, and as was pointed out above, when he starts you have about a 50% chance of getting a good outing.

    Look at the rest of the Mariner rotation. The same result is about what you’d expect from Pineiro (although with him it is inning by inning, you never know if the guy coming out of the dugout to start the inning is Joel or his evil twin). Gil Meche? No, thanks.

    Getting rid of Franklin, who’s probably best as a swing man or long reliever and #6 starter, solves nothing by itself. The problem is the front office and whatever bad mojo causes Mariner pitchers to get hurt. I don’t have much confidence that the front office can find quality starting pitchers. Do you?

  25. roger tang on September 30th, 2005 1:50 pm

    Oh, I think we can trust them to find quality pitchers…it’s keeping them healthy that’s the problem. Reduce the injury rate to league average and you get one or two more decent starters into the rotation, which pushes Franklin into the bullpen….that solves some problems right there.

    It’s filling the position players that is getting problematic, and the apalling return from the farm system will continue to hurt the team for a couple more years.

  26. Jon Helfgott on September 30th, 2005 1:53 pm

    Paul B says:

    “I don’t have much confidence that the front office can find quality starting pitchers. Do you?”

    It’s really easy to assume the front office is stupid, but they’re not. They may have different methods of talent evaluation than we do, but they know they have a problem with pitching, they know who the free agents, are, and they generally know who the best ones are. I’d be very surprised if the Ms don’t make a competitive offer to Millwood. They may decide to go after Burnett, which few here would be thrilled with, but the point is they’re definitely looking. I’ll be very surprised if Bavasi doesn’t sign 2 starting pitchers this offseason. Anyone with any track record of success in the majors will be a better option than Meche or Franklin for 2006, so yes, I expect the organization will find starting pitchers to upgrade the staff. Getting rid of Franklin will free up another $2.7 million towards this process.

  27. westfried on September 30th, 2005 1:55 pm

    24: Performance-wise, I’d agree that Franklin is ok… within the context of a proper role. He is a true swingman/long reliever/#6. As such, he has value. (Remember way back when, he was much better as a reliever than as a starter). BUT, as a whining, not-my-fault, I-should-be-a-starter wannabe… he grows tiresome.

    His (self-)perceived value is higher than his actual value, and that causes his worth to drop, in my view.

    Bottom line – as an enthusiastic, great-in-the-clubhouse, whatever-it-takes-to-win swingman (ie, like in 2001, or whenever that was), great. As a grumpy, moody, nobody-scores-for-me, half-my-games-suck starter? Less so.

  28. Aboba on September 30th, 2005 1:59 pm

    Let’s hope Bill Bavasi focuses most of his off season energy on overhauling the starting pitching.

    The problem with the Mariners pitching is that as a group they gave up approximately 70 runs more than would be required to be a .500 ballclub, given their run scoring ability.

    For example, the Twins scored 672 runs, the Mariners 689. But the Twins allowed 655 runs, and the Mariners allowed 738.

    Just replacing Ryan Franklin (110 R in 190.2 IP) with Felix Hernandez over a full season could get you much of the way there (-40 RA). If in addition, you could replace Piniero (118R in 189IP), Gil Meche (92R 142.2IP), Thornton (32R in 55.1IP), and Hasegawa (31R in 66.2IP) with pitchers with an average ERA of 4.50, the team could save another 47 RA (273 – 226).

  29. Adam S on September 30th, 2005 2:04 pm

    The Mariners problem has been bad contracts, leaving no money to spend on starting pitching. Think how much we’ve paid Boone, Olerud, Cirillo/Jarvis, Spiezio, Wilson and Reese to NOT play for us. Taking Franklin to arbitration or even settling in the middle is another step down the same road . He’s a $500,000 player (with off the field issues) who’s going to want $3M because he’s a veteran.

  30. Jon Helfgott on September 30th, 2005 2:06 pm

    28: I’ve argued this in other threads, but finding another bat for either LF or DH is just as glaring a hole. When one thing is very obviously wrong, it’s tempting to overcompensate. Last offseason, the Ms spent a ton on offense and did nothing to the rotation. They courted Pavano and made statements saying they were interested in Odalis Perez, but by the time they signed Sexson and Beltre, the money pretty much ran out. To make the same mistake this offseason and pursue only big-name pitchers would be a huge mistake. If we’re stuck rotating Ibanez, Morse, and Dobbs into the LF/DH spots next year, it’s because somebody messed up big.

  31. Jeff Nye on September 30th, 2005 2:11 pm

    Re: the last line of the entry:

    Yes, yes I do. Club level seats again too, I’m hooked.

    It’ll be a great way to close out this abysmal season with a little hope for the future. Plus, it’s my birthday!

  32. Nick on September 30th, 2005 2:12 pm

    Hargrove on KJR this morning….

    “Piniero has pitched good more often than bad this year…that’s a good sign. He is entering the offseason healthy, so with a good off season program he should come back even stronger next season. We are counting on it.”

  33. DriveByBlogger on September 30th, 2005 2:17 pm

    Yikes- I don’t like to hear “counting on” and “Piniero” in the same thought…

  34. Shoeless Jose on September 30th, 2005 2:21 pm

    The money didn’t run out. It’s not a zero sum game. I think they thought they’d done enough (remember they expected Mads to be healthy and Franklin to be in the pen), and when they saw the offers that pitchers were getting — which seemed outrageous at the time — they decided they didn’t want to get into that if the market corrected itself later. In retrospect, it would appear that was the new market reality, not an abberation, and this year is going to be even worse. Knowing all they know now, they probably would have spent the money last year to get one of those overpriced arms — the money was there, it just seemed like a waste.

    Not to take this off on a dangerous tangent, but thinking about last offseason I sometimes wonder if some of the savvier GMs knew that with the new drugs rules a lot of pitchers would be wearing down more quickly, so pitching was going to become an even more scarce commodity. When talking about ‘roids everybody focused on the hitters but based on who is getting caught it would seem there were a lot of pitchers flying under the radar; being insiders, the GMs might have known that, and the smarter ones would trade on that knowledge. But maybe that’s giving them too much credit.

  35. robbbbbb on September 30th, 2005 2:21 pm

    #33: They have to. Given contract and performance, he’s stuck with the team. That doesn’t mean they won’t come up with a backup plan. And Hargrove has to talk him up at this point.

    Hernandez and Pineiro are definites for the rotation. Past that, Moyer’s a likely maybe, and the M’s need two more starters. They’ll bring in a bunch of guys to compete.

  36. Long Suffering on September 30th, 2005 2:28 pm

    Nobody does, but I don’t see a way around it, I highly doubt he can be moved for anything close to valuable (and no, just freeing up 6M for ’06 isn’t that valuable because you also leave another rotation spot open that needs to be filled). We pretty much have to count on Pineiro to provide value closer to his 04 numbers to compete.

  37. Benno on September 30th, 2005 2:44 pm

    We can only hope that the M’s are counting on Pineiro to start 30 games, pitch 180-200 innings, and end up with an ERA closer to 4 than 5. Which tags him as the 4th or 5th starter on a good team. It still leaves 3 starting pitchers from a full rotation. Millwood would be a good start, as would Burnett. But the M’s will have to pay for it, as if all things are equall, Millwood returns to Cleveland (or have they already decided that he will not return). It seems like he is in a good spot in Cleveland, would he leave if they offer him a decent contract?

  38. MarinerDan on September 30th, 2005 2:46 pm

    While I am all for improving the starting pitching — obviously, it needs to be improved — I can’t believe that that would be a sufficient response to the disaster that was this season. I mean, while the pitching is bad, look at the offensive numbers. Horrible, awful, and sickening:

    Runs Scored: 689 (13th in the American League). Batting average: .256 (last). On-base percentage: .318 (last). Slugging percentage: .392 (13th). Home runs: 128 (13th). Bases on balls: 458 (8th). EqA: .258 (13th). The American league average is .268/.329/.425.

    While it is hard to admit given the monstrous investment in Sexson and Beltre last off-season, our offense probably needs more help than the pitching. We simply cannot run out an Ibanez-Reed-Ichiro outfield again, period. Nor will a Betancourt-Lopez up-the-middle tandem be sufficient (perhaps in a few years, maybe). And while I am not supposed to impugn the wonderful Mr. Beltre anymore, we have to assume that he will not be a strong offensive force either. Catcher? Uh, short of Clement becoming ready, this is a disaster too.

    I guess what I am saying is that I’ve convinced myself this team is at least 2-3 years from contending and ALL aspects of the team must be addressed equally.

  39. Karen on September 30th, 2005 3:18 pm

    Re: Vital Signs.
    Well, look at the good side. At least there’s no talk of whether or not the M’s will be in “danger” of losing 100 games this season…

    Re: #27 and others, about Franklin’s comments about being a starter vs. what he’s best suited for…
    We went through this with John Halama, too, remember? And Piniella was right about him, too. Kept him in the bully as much as possible, because every time he got his chance to start, he’d fall flat on his face (with as many excuses as Frankie has).

  40. hairofthedawg on September 30th, 2005 3:42 pm

    Is post #7 within the guidelines? I like this place but hate to see it trashed by uninformed miscreants. I think it’s obvious about which part of the post I’m speaking and, in case your not, it’s not Franklin.

  41. Evan on September 30th, 2005 4:00 pm

    Franklin’s season really wasn’t that bad…

    …if you only compare him to Jose Lima.

  42. msb on September 30th, 2005 4:17 pm

    according to Pavano’s agent, the Seattle stop on the Carlpalooza tour made a big impression on him, as did the M’s offer (“[the] offer was at least as good, or a little better, as New York’s”)– but he went with NY as a NE boy.

  43. Paul B on September 30th, 2005 4:35 pm

    Regarding the M’s probably being 2 or 3 years away from being competitive… maybe if they had realized that a couple of years ago, they’d be in a lot better position now. Although, with the farm system as empty as it was, maybe not.

    Regarding buying some free agent starting pitchers by throwing money after mediocre pitchers, didn’t the Yankees try that? Pavano has a 4.77 ERA as a starter, and compared to some others they’ve had this year, he looks good. Wright, 5.97. Brown, 6.50. Leiter, 5.33.

    They are in contention in spite of those guys.

  44. Dave in Palo Alto on September 30th, 2005 4:53 pm

    #38 has it right. It’s not just the starting pitching; there are glaring deficits in hitting, catching, outfield power . . . . almost all aspects except defense and the bullpen. To approach the third rail here, if you can get past salary, Griffey would be a huge power upgrade if he could play more than 100 games.

  45. Matt on September 30th, 2005 5:34 pm

    How about maybe Ted Lilly or jarrod Washburn? Both are leftys and are what we need.I am a big Madstrich believer so I think he could claim a spot. And then the last spot give it to a minor leaguer like Foppert or Livingston. Then with the leftover money sign an impact hitter like Konerko.

  46. Matt on September 30th, 2005 5:36 pm

    This all assuming we resign Meche.

  47. Jon Helfgott on September 30th, 2005 6:23 pm

    45-46: I think the Mariners can do better than Washburn. His ERA will drive his cost way up, but he’s a flyball pitcher who doesn’t strike batters out. Career G/F: .74. Career K/9: 5.46.

    Washburn’s age 32-35 seasons aren’t going to be worth the contract he’ll sign this offseason.

    I like Lilly, but is he really a free agent? I’ve read that Toronto has his rights for another year, though he’s not under contract for 2006 yet. Anyone know Lilly’s stats?

  48. Jon Helfgott on September 30th, 2005 6:24 pm

    “Stats” at end of last post is supposed to be “Status.” Anyone know Lilly’s contract status?

  49. Daaaaan on October 1st, 2005 1:41 am