Week 4

DMZ · April 30, 2006 at 9:29 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

4-2 on the week.

The good news: Ichiro hitting a ton of singles. Adrian Freaking Beltre 6-20 with a home run! A home run! Woo-hoo!

Willie Bloomquist hit .364 for the week (on-base percentage? .364. Slugging percentage? .364.) Not to make too big of a deal about this, but the major league on-base percentage is about .340-.350. If he can hit .364, more power to him. Actually, more power would be nice.

Putz continues to be absolutely lights-out, which is good if you’ve seen Guardado lately, because Eddie’s been looking bad.

The bad news: Guardado’s 4.50 ERA doesn’t do his work this week justice. He’s looking awfully shaky for a proven veteran closer, and giving up a dinger every other time out makes those three-run leads a little more precarious than they should be. Fortunately, using him with three run leads means that it’s hard to blow.

Some other dudes didn’t hit. Pineiro got shelled. Sherill took three appearances to get three outs — and faced only four batters.

What’s it all get us?
The team’s hanging on. 11-15 isn’t so bad with everyone in the AL West stumbling off the line. It’s certainly not something they can’t recover from.

And, in the “it doesn’t feel like a Tuesday” comment of the week — it doesn’t feel like they’re 11-15. They’re still a bizarre team to watch, where any given night it seems like you’re going to see 3-4 players give outstanding performances and play their heart out and another 3-4 make you wince, and you can’t predict which ones are going to show up that night. It’s frustrating but I feel like if Hargrove just once would look around the clubhouse before the game and pick the right lineup, great things would happen.

Coming up: the road trip continues through Minnesota, we face Chicago in Chicago, and then the team’s back hom to face Cleveland.

Also, that you can vote for the All-Stars so soon is ridiculous.


43 Responses to “Week 4”

  1. seattlesundevil on April 30th, 2006 9:40 pm

    “Also, that you can vote for the All-Stars so soon is ridiculous.”

    Thank You! I have no idea why people think they can make an all-star team one month into the season, this is how studs become snubs…

  2. noel on April 30th, 2006 9:45 pm

    Jeremy Reed must be feeling a little shell-shocked right now. I’m sure he envisioned himself as an everyday player. That injury sure didn’t help him either. I wonder if Grover might make Willie the everyday CF if Jeremy doesn’t start hitting soon? Especially as Willie can steal, ‘n all. Grover likes aggressive running, right?

    Free Willie!… with every purchase. Maybe we can trade him for some other kind of roster filler.

  3. noel on April 30th, 2006 9:46 pm

    Oh, and vote JJ for closer. ASA-freaking-P.

  4. shaunmc on April 30th, 2006 10:10 pm

    I was under the impression that the average OBP was about 320-330? Regardless, that’s about as empty of a batting average as empty can be.

  5. shaunmc on April 30th, 2006 10:14 pm

    Nevermind the OBP thing. I stand by my point on WFB’s sparkling average, though.

  6. wabbles on April 30th, 2006 11:42 pm

    All-Star voting? Ummmmmm, isn’t that in ……July? Yeah, I’m wondering if Eddie is done. I feel like I’m watching Cliffhanger Slocumb. It’s interesting to see what this team can do when people start hitting. And I wondered the same thing about Hargrove. That game where he pinch-ran WFB, had him steal and then had him come home for the winning run is one of the few freaking times I’ve seen guy actually manage since he’s been here. But I like what I’ve seen lately.

  7. DMZ on April 30th, 2006 11:55 pm

    Here’s the thing about voting for All-Star candidates now:

    If you’re voting for “best players from All-Star Game to All-Star Game” it’s too early.
    If you’re voting for “best players of 2006” it’s too early.
    etc etc

    The only way it’s not too early is if you’re voting on some kind of 3-year rolling average, and if that’s your criteria, that’s fine — it meant Cal Ripken got that last All-Star game, and I thought that was awesome.

    But really… at least give the season a couple of months. Voting is so dominated by people voting down home-team lines anyway that it’s worth giving people who take it seriously the chance to better evaluate rookies like Johjima who, if you haven’t heard, I’m a big fan of.

  8. BelaXadux on May 1st, 2006 4:30 am

    To keep his OBP at .364, Willie’ll have to hit about .354—which he just might do if Grover continues to hand-pick his favorite lefties to bat against so he can keep going 2-for-5. Which if so probably helps the team a bit. *gulpp*

  9. darrylzero on May 1st, 2006 8:11 am

    Note to self: getting swept at home by the Tigers in April will probably make your April record look pretty bad. Considering a couple of those Boston games really could have gone either way, it’s getting absolutely wrecked by Detroit’s pitching that really stands out as the main explanation for the fact that we’re not essentially tied with the rest of the division.

    If only I had a little more confidence that was a fluke…

  10. leetinsleyfanclub on May 1st, 2006 8:16 am

    Is anyone else worried about Jeremy Reed? Is he hurt? Or has Hargrove’s platooning killed his already shaky confidence? He looks terrible up there. I’m hoping it’s due to his wrist. Otherwise, I think we have another bust from the Freddy trade.

  11. Matthew Carruth on May 1st, 2006 8:54 am

    9. Note that Detroit then went on to paste Minnesota like 38-1 in a 3 game set. They’re hot. We ran into them at a bad time. I still feel this is a true .500 team meaning we end up with 81 +/- ~5 wins.

  12. Evan on May 1st, 2006 9:07 am

    On paper the team looks like a .500 team. But when I watch them play, I’m generally surprised when they win, and not when they don’t.

    They’re like the opposite of one of those big-hitting teams of which people say “they always have a chance” or “they’re never out of it”. I no longer expect the M’s to come back from a deficit. I no longer expect the M’s to hold a lead.

    That said, I’ve only had a chance to watch losses so far this season, so my perception may be somewhat skewed.

  13. Jim Thomsen on May 1st, 2006 9:11 am

    And I bet some dope-smoker in the M’s front office is thinking: “You know, we should have traded Jeremy Reed for Bronson Arroyo, currently lights-out for the Reds, when we had the chance.”

  14. Paul B on May 1st, 2006 9:14 am

    The M’s offense, 2006 version, still has too many holes in it for this team to be any good. Well, maybe a good manager could get them to .500, but that would be a stretch.

    The AL median OBP is about .340 (7 teams higher, 7 lower), and the M’s OBP is .315.

    Here are the M’s leaders so far:
    Petagine: .455
    Susuki: .353
    Ibanez: .345
    Bloomquist: .345
    Everett: .343
    Johjima: .341

    That two of those are Blommquist and Everett, does not bode well, and one other is a pinch-hitter who gets an at bat in some games. that leaves Ichiro, Raul and Kenji to serve as the offense.

    Here’s the flotsam:

    Sexson: .308
    Lawton: .300
    Lopez: .300
    Rivera: .286
    Beltre: .284
    Betancourt: .280
    Reed: .250

    OK, Sexson should revert to form, his OBP was .369 last season. Maybe warmer weather will help him, unless this is an early sign of aging.

    I love watching Lopez hit, and he is already exceeding expectations, but he’s not going to get on base a lot. Betancourt is doing about as well as could be expected. That leaves Beltre (was this week a fluke or a turnaround?) and Reed (how is Adam Jones doing?)

    Anyway, my point is, there are still too many holes in this offense (even compared to 2005) for this team to win a lot of games this season.

  15. DanO on May 1st, 2006 9:23 am

    13–The thought has certainly crossed my mind, particularly since Arroyo now has two more home runs than Reed does.

  16. msb on May 1st, 2006 9:43 am

    well now they visit the Twins, reeling from Detroit’s pasting of their pitching, and see Young Scott Baker, known best for this thus far…

  17. Evan on May 1st, 2006 10:03 am

    We could platoon Arroyo with Carl at DH.

  18. Dave in Palo Alto on May 1st, 2006 10:12 am

    All Star voting, like Soviet elections of yore, is all about process and participation. The selection component is incidental, in Russia it was predetermined, in All-Star voting, subservient to the marketing function of the ballot. If the point was to select the most deserving, MLB would return the vote to the teams.

    Give the people what they want: Davey Lopes, etc.

  19. Milorad V on May 1st, 2006 10:32 am

    For discussion: Should we refrain from using the name King Felix until such time as his presence on the mound fills our minds and statsheets with reverential awe? He seems like Prospect Felix thus far…I’m all for the coronation when the time is right. It just ain’t right now.

  20. joser on May 1st, 2006 10:41 am

    They’re like the opposite of one of those big-hitting teams of which people say “they always have a chance” or “they’re never out of it”. I no longer expect the M’s to come back from a deficit. I no longer expect the M’s to hold a lead.

    That’s exactly how I felt about last year’s team. This year’s team actually has battled back from a deficit and won games. They’ve traded leads and not gone and hung their heads in the dugout. The Boston series was a great example of that, even if they only won one game — they could easily have won another two, and were in them right up to the last out.

    That said, I’ve only had a chance to watch losses so far this season, so my perception may be somewhat skewed.

    Well, there you go. This isn’t a great team, and if it manages a .500 season it has probably lived up to its potential. But it’s much better than last year’s team.

  21. sojourner on May 1st, 2006 11:10 am

    ESPN was running down the highs and lows, their opinion, of April this weekend and one of the big three disappointments was Johjima not knowing AL hitters and generally holding back the pitching staff and Felix in particular. Any truth to that as you guys see it?

  22. joser on May 1st, 2006 11:12 am

    You know, this is really the M’s chance to make up games on what was already a weak division, what with all the injuries to key starters (Harden and Street for the A’s, Colon for the Angels, Texas… does Texas have pitchers? At least Mench finally figured out his shoes were too small).

  23. DMZ on May 1st, 2006 11:15 am

    Yeah, Johjima’s holding back the pitching staff. What a load of hooey.

  24. msb on May 1st, 2006 11:32 am

    I was poking around, and found this tidbit on his player card from ESPN NEWS: April 30. SKINNY: Johjima sat out Sunday’s game as has become his custom to rest on day games that follow night games.

    wow. what an unusual custom, a starting catcher taking the day off after a night game.

  25. Brian Rust on May 1st, 2006 12:55 pm

    All other weirdness beside, any week in which the M’s take two series is good. For now, the statistic I’m watching is GB, at 2.5 still a number we can deal with. Hope may not spring eternal, but it springs for now.

  26. Adam S on May 1st, 2006 12:57 pm

    If ESPN’s numbers are right, the Mariners have played the toughest schedule in the AL so far — http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/rpi?sortColumn=sos. They’ve played a bunch of .500 teams plus the Tigers and White Sox who have the two best records in the AL.

    So even if they continue this level of play (and the offense CAN’T underachieve all season, can it?), the W-L should get better as the schedule evens out. June features 5 against the Twins, 3 against the Padres, 3 against the Devil Rays and 4 against the Orioles (who are .500 now but I doubt they will be in 3 weeks).

  27. Karen on May 1st, 2006 1:16 pm

    RE: the rest of the road trip, and Cleveland at home: Now THAT’S the bizarro division in the AL! The parity in the AL East and the AL West is good for teams like the D-Rays and the Mariners, makes them look better on paper anyway… 😉

    Two of the 3 AL Central teams upcoming are struggling. As for the 3rd, maybe King Felix will get a fire lit under him pitching in front (and a day after) his hero.

  28. Ralph Malph on May 1st, 2006 1:36 pm

    It’s not unusual for a catcher to sit in day games after a night game.

  29. msb on May 1st, 2006 1:39 pm

    tell that to ESPN 🙂

  30. Paul B on May 1st, 2006 1:42 pm

    I don’t know how ESPN could say that Kenji is holding back the M’s pitching.

    Unless Eddie’s struggles are all because the catcher doesn’t speak English? Oh, that must be it.

    Seriously, the M’s have a team ERA of 4.58, which, while not great, is good enough for 5th in the AL. It’s almost identical to the M’s team ERA in 2005.

  31. msb on May 1st, 2006 2:00 pm

    maybe this is related to the question someone asked a week or so back about hearing Jayson Stark say on KJR that a scout had mentioned that Kenji isn’t calling for the fastball with his fastball pitchers?

  32. Evan on May 1st, 2006 2:10 pm

    Kenji only has one fastball pitcher. Felix. Everyone else throws junk.

  33. msb on May 1st, 2006 2:12 pm

    according to the person who asked the question back on the 17th, Meche was included as one of those fastball pitchers…

  34. Evan on May 1st, 2006 2:19 pm

    I was watching the Orioles’ feed for Moyer’s start, and the announcer mocked Buck Martinex for calling what Jamie was throwing a fastball. “Maybe a straightball” would be a better name for it.

    That’s much how I feel about Meche’s fastball. It’s not slow like Jamie’s, but it’s distinguishing characteristic is not that it’s fast – it’s that it’s straight.

  35. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on May 1st, 2006 2:28 pm

    (Hopefully not covered in another thread), but the PI has an interesting article about the possibility the Felix is tipping his pitches. I want to believe it is true, even if the article offers nothing to support how so many different teams have the same scouting report on him this early in the season.

  36. Hdizz on May 1st, 2006 3:10 pm

    The Myth of Groundball Pitchers, according to Jon Weisman.

  37. Hdizz on May 1st, 2006 3:10 pm
  38. Benno on May 1st, 2006 3:20 pm

    I was one of the people who mentioned the fastball issue and Kenji. And the comment was made about both Felix and Meche, though in the analysts (Stark??) defense, I’m sure he doesn’t know as much about the M’s as the locals. Meche’s fast/suckball not being a good pitch probably isn’t well know to him because the M’s haven’t been a story for a few years. But he was refering to an AL scout’s observation. To be honest, Felix should be using the fastball most of the time. 97mph is a weapon to be used, no matter how good his curve or changeup is.

  39. Evan on May 1st, 2006 3:30 pm

    I was under the impression that the average OBP was about 320-330?

    Just to jump backward in the thread, the league average batting line is usually something like .260/.340/.440.

    97mph is a weapon to be used, no matter how good his curve or changeup is.

    Tell that to Matt Thornton.

  40. msb on May 1st, 2006 3:33 pm

    FWIW, from the Times on friday:

    “It seems our problems have mostly been in the first two innings, eating up 20 to 30 pitches in each, in too many games,” Hargrove said. “Fifteen is the norm, and the more under that you can be, the better. After those early-inning troubles, we settle down and go to 10 to 15 pitches innings a lot of times.”

    In the area of pitch selection and the way it might lead to higher pitch counts, there apparently will be a constant focus on the Mariners’ new catcher, Kenji Johjima.

    It stands to reason that although there are mixed ratings on Johjima, he can’t be doing too badly his first time around the league. The team ERA and the starters’ ERA, in particular, are acceptable.

    There seems to be an undercurrent of concern that Johjima still uses more of a Japanese style, in which offspeed pitches are featured equally with fastballs, if not more so.

    It was most noticeable with Felix Hernandez in his first few starts.

    “This is a kid who throws 97 [mph], with movement,” one scout said. “Why is he throwing the No. 8 hitter a change, curve, change? With his stuff, he can blow guys away. It’s the best way, if you can do it. And he can do it.”

    But Hargrove countered: “It’s not that we necessarily need more fastballs, but that we need to pitch ahead [in the count] more.”

    Pitching coach Rafael Chaves, who preached reliance on a two-seam fastball for quicker outs in camp, has not seen a problem with the balance of power/offspeed pitches.

    “I’m seeing enough fastballs, enough two-seamers. We’ll continue to emphasize it,” Chaves said. “Overall, they’re throwing enough fastballs. You can’t overdo them, but you must pitch according to the situation. At times the situation is for a fastball; other times it calls for other pitches.

    “You always wish the number of pitches was less — that’s behind the whole idea of getting deeper into games, best for everyone, best for the team. We’ve had too many games where the starter has been only five, six innings. But on the other hand, there haven’t been any at two, three innings and that’s important; two or three games like that in a week can crush a staff, put a bullpen back for a long time.”

    Chaves rates this as an acceptable start for his pitching staff.

    “For the most part the starters are holding us in games, and for the most part the bullpen has done its job,” he said. “You’re never satisfied, but I’m pleased with the effort.”

  41. eponymous coward on May 1st, 2006 4:56 pm

    Actually, for me, it DOES feel like they are 11-15, deservedly so. They’ve just yo-yo’ed a lot and still haven’t really “clicked”.

    I suspect they’ll have a decent hot stretch at some point that will decoy us into thinking they are good, but I still haven’t seen anything that changes my assessment of .500 ± 5 games.

  42. Rick L on May 1st, 2006 7:09 pm

    Bigred’s predictions yesterday afternoon seem to be coming true. (see 161 in last night’s game.

  43. Rick L on May 1st, 2006 7:10 pm

    All the aggressive baserunning foes will have a field day with that one.

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