Thoughts from the first two games
Dave · April 5, 2006 at 10:42 am · Filed Under Mariners
Since I was blessed with some extraordinary seats for last night’s shindig, I’ve got a few more thoughts than normal about what we’ve seen the first 48 hours of the season. They’re all pretty disconnected, though, so let’s just do a notes column, shall we?
If Hargrove is going to have his #2 man bunt that often, I’d rather get Jose Lopez out of there.
Beltre looks just like he did last year. He’s still struggling with pitch recognition and appears to be guessing, rather than reacting, to what is coming out of the pitcher’s hand. A guy with his swing should never have an 88 MPH fastball thrown by him.
Kenji’s got a few different swings. His homer on Tuesday was an entirely different swing than his homer on Monday.
Betancourt actually got caught moving early at shortstop, which was the first time I’d ever seen him break the wrong way on a ball. He had shifted his body weight towards the third base hole on a grounder up the middle, and it cost him what should have been an out. He’s still a fantastic defender, though.
Joel, at this point, is a junkballer extraordinaire. He’s essentially abandoned the four seamer, throwing almost exclusively two seam fastballs in the 88-90 range and throwing an awful lot of off speed stuff. His change-up was fantastic yesterday. You can forget any thoughts of him being a power pitcher. He’s basically turned himself into a poor man’s Brad Radke.
Rafael Soriano is being used almost perfectly by Hargrove. He’s the best reliever on the team, and he’s coming in to get starters out of tough situations in the middle innings. That’s fantastic. He looks like he’s almost back to where he was when he was the best reliever in the AL.
J.J. Putz just needs to vary his pitches more. On Monday, he threw something like 14 consecutive four seam fastballs, all 94-96. On Tuesday, he came in and just kept firing off four seam fastballs until Juan Rivera put one over the wall. After that, he busted out the split finger, and threw it about 80 percent of the time for the rest of the inning, having no problems. As a one pitch guy, he’s useless. Mixing in the splitter, he’s okay. Throw more splitters, J.J.
The Angels offense looks pretty mediocre right now, but when they add Dallas McPherson, Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, and Kendry Morales at some point during the year, it’s going to get better in a hurry.
The M’s new aggressive baserunning has led to some of the worst decisions I’ve seen on the basepaths. Getting the extra base is not worth getting gunned down over. This is going to be a source of angst on the blog for the entire year, I think.
Jeremy Reed is pulling his head when trying to pull the inside fastball. That should be something Pentland can correct pretty quick. A good first test for the hitting coach.
1-1 against Bartolo Colon and John Lackey, competitive both games, and Felix hasn’t even pitched yet? That’s about as good a start as you could possibly hope for.