10 Things I Didn’t Know 10 Minutes Ago

April 25, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 41 Comments 

Yes, I’m stealing Dave Studeman’s column idea, but it’s a good one, and he’s a good guy, so I don’t think he’ll kill me. And, besides, a lot of these things I didn’t know came from browsing the new THT stats database. If you were around last year, you know that I love the THT pitching stats, and the new updates make a good thing even better.

Anyways, on to the things I didn’t know.

1. King Felix, who was Bad Felix more oftan than Good Felix, ranks 2nd in the AL in xFIP, 3rd in GB%, and 1st in strikeout rate among starting pitchers. While overcoming some issues with slighlty decreased velocity, a lack of command, and some apparent conditioning problems, he’s still been about as good a pitcher as you’ll find in the American League. All hail the King.

2. Jose Contreras and Mark Buehrle are each stranding 91 percent of the runners they put on base. That’s absurd. It’s also totally unsustainable. If they don’t start missing a few more bats, they’re going to see those ERA’s rise in a hurry.

3. Joel Pineiro’s inducing groundballs from 56.4 percent of the batters he faces, good for 8th in the AL. Groundball machine Jake Westbrook, who was the only pitcher in the AL to post a GB% higher than 56.0 in 2005, is right behind him at 56.0 percent. Pineiro’s 47.3 GB% last year wasn’t bad, and points out that this is probably not going to continue, but if he can sustain a GB rate near 56 percent, he’ll be significantly improved over the Pineiro we saw last year.

4. J.J. Putz has been something like the best reliever in baseball so far. Seriously. 1.7 BB/G, 15.8 K/G, 62.5% of his batters faced hitting ground balls leading to a 1.58 FIP and a ridiculous 1.32 xFIP. Twins uberprospect Francisco Liriano is the only guy in the AL who is even close to Putz so far.

5. You think the M’s offense has been frustrating? The A’s are hitting .223/.302/.393 as a team, despite Eric Chavez finally showing up to play in the first month of the year. Ickity ick.

6. The top 5 outmakers in the American League to date: 1. Ichiro 2. Lopez 3. Sexson 4. Beltre 5. Peralta. Yes, the four guys who have made the most outs in the AL so far all play for the hometown nine. Fantastic.

7. Think Adrian Beltre’s been frustrating? Casey Kotchman, who many analysts (including me) have been heaping praises on for years, is hitting .155/.210/.172. As a first baseman. Then there is Rondell White, who at 10 for 67, is hitting .149/.157/.164.

8. Albert Pujols has 22 hits. 12 of those are home runs, another 4 are doubles, and only 6 are singles. Thus, he’s slugging .969. He’s also only struck out 7 times in 83 at-bats. He’s off to the kind of start that leads to one of those best-five-seasons-of-all-time kind of performances.

9. Only 19.3% of Cliff Lee’s batters faced are hitting groundballs to end their at-bats. That’s an absurdly low number. Despite that, he’s not giving up home runs. There’s no way he can continue to give up that many fly balls and keep them all in the yard.

10. Julio Mateo: 13.9% GB rate, 26.3 LD%, 5.1 BB/G, 4.4 K/G. He’s not throwing strikes, missing bats, and almost every ball hit off him is a fly ball or a line drive. Everyone wants to talk about Eddie Guardado being finished, but I’m not sure Julio Mateo is ever going to be an effective major league pitcher again. He’s done.

How to lose the DH in a game

April 25, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 44 Comments 

Some readers have been confused a Hargrove post-game comment that if they hadn’t scored the winning run, he’d have lost the DH if they’d pinch-hit for Betancourt.

This is not the result of pinch-running for Everett with Bloomquist. Bloomquist then becomes the new DH. No harm done. This is in the rules (it’s rule 6.10):

A runner may be substituted for the Designated Hitter and the runner assumes the role of Designated Hitter.

The you do lose the DH if the DH moves to the field.

Once a Designated Hitter assumes a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

Side wacky note: Once a pinch hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

Presumably — and I’m not sure what Hargrove’s strategy would have been, but he wasn’t required to do anything — would to have move Bloomquist to short, and as Bloomquist had pinch-run for the DH, forfeit the DH.

However, some people who’ve emailed seem to believe Hargrove’s comment was “if the game had gone on, I’d have lost the DH”. That’s not the case, if that’s what he said — something else would have had to have happened.

Game 21, White Sox at Mariners

April 24, 2006 · Filed Under Game Threads · 377 Comments 

RHP Jon Garland v LHP Jamie Moyer, 7:05, FSN for TV.

I’m a little curious if Ozzie, who’s got a temper and has some old-time opinions on how to play the game, will find an opportunity to plunk Carl Everett following their war of words. Almost every manager this wouldn’t even be a possibility, but Ozzie? He might go for it.

The two teams have had almost totally different seasons so far. The former World Champions, who I advised people to bet wouldn’t get to 91 wins, have 13 already (gulp). The Mariners, who I thought would be a .500 team, have been nearly as bad as the White Sox have been good. The White Sox have allowed 22 fewer runs and scored 19 more than the Mariners (in two fewer games).

The Mariners, btw, are 0-6 in one run games so far. Ow.

Week 3

April 24, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 72 Comments 

One win in a week. The Mariners are 7-13 and at the bottom of the division, and they’re both much worse and much better than that. What’s wrong? Dave wrote that up.

As fans, I think we watch the games too closely some times: it’s easy to watch Meche struggle and think “When will it end?” even when, by some miracle, he gets out of a game only giving up three runs or something. That’s a small victory, even as we can be unsettled knowing that given the same kind of performance, the next time he probably gives up seven and is yanked before the third inning. Not that Meche isn’t a bad pitcher. Because he is.

The team hasn’t been that bad. To look at the positive:

Carl Everett hit really well last week overall. Betancourt’s charging the ball. In a particularly good sign, Ichiro hit like Ichiro! Even Beltre hit .333 (with no power).

The bullpen’s been strong: Rafael Soriano continues to impress, Sherill had a week of being lights-out and not lit-up.

I know it’s easy to say this about every week (“…a couple hits drop in, we get that call from the ump on Tuesday, and Ibanez snags that line drive on Thursday to stop the rally, we’re 5-2…”) but three losses by a run, two losses by two runs — this wasn’t a week when the team got routed over and over.

That said — if they keep playing like we’ve seen so far, they’re not the .500 team I’d hoped for. They’re a 70-win team, and that would cost a lot of people their jobs (and not necc. the right people). The team’s off to a strange start, but they’re not 100-loss bad. They’re better than this.

That’s something.

Whats wrong with the M’s?

April 24, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 82 Comments 

After getting swept by the Tigers, at home, and looking inept for most of the weekend, the local dailies have busted out the doom and gloom.

Steve Kelly’s latest ramblings.

Another Awful April, from John Hickey.

Art Thiel writes off the M’s.

They’re all basically the same article. The M’s suck, it’s the same as always, the young kids aren’t ready, we miss Lou, yada yada yada.

None of it actually looks at why the M’s are 7-13 and struggling to score runs consistently. So, as a service to those who care about the answer more than hearing themselves complain, here’s what is actually wrong with the Seattle Mariners:

Ichiro, .253/.333/.313
Sexson, .227/.293/.400
Beltre, .186/.279/.200

That’s it. That’s the extent of what’s wrong with the team. The wailing and gnashing of teeth about how terrible these guys are and how awful this season is boils down to three former all-stars hitting like middle infielders.

If you think Ichiro, Sexson, and Beltre are all going to be the worst players in the league at their position, then yes, this team is terrible, and everyone deserves to get run out of town.

But I’m pretty sure that no one believes Ichiro, Sexson, and Beltre are going to hit this badly all year long, and the rest of the team has been just fine.

Calm down, local media.

Roster Shuffling

April 23, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 56 Comments 

Here’s a day for you:

Joe Borchard DFA’d.

Clint Nageotte called up from Tacoma.

Clint Nageotte has one bad inning.

Clint Nageotte optioned to Tacoma.

According to Jason Churchill, Bobby Livingston will be coming up from Tacoma to take the empty roster spot. Churchill is also speculating that Livingston will join the M’s rotation shortly with rumors of a Joel Pineiro trade in the works.

I can’t get any confirmation of the Pineiro stuff, so while I trust Jason, take it with a grain of salt for now.

But, yea, the Tacoma Shuttle is back.

Comments down

April 23, 2006 · Filed Under Site information · Comments Off on Comments down 


Update, 6:43: up

Game 20, Tigers at M’s

April 23, 2006 · Filed Under Game Threads · 362 Comments 

King Felix vs. Detroit’s youngster, Justin Verlander. Both have struggled so far this season, though Verlander did pitch seven scoreless in his first start of the year. FSN and KOMO, you know the drill.

Would you believe I’m going to see King Felix pitch in person for the first time ever today? Wild. Anyway, gotta get going.

Game 19, Tigers at Mariners

April 22, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 239 Comments 

Nate Robertson v. Gil Meche. Neither pitcher is off to what one would call a good start, unless one were a member of the opposing team. But it’s a lovely Saturday evening in Seattle — as a wise man once said, a beautiful night out for baseball.

Game 18, Tigers at Mariners

April 21, 2006 · Filed Under Mariners · 275 Comments 

Lefty Maroth v lefty Washburn, 7:05 FSN. This means we’ll likely see the not-a-platoon platoon with Bloomquist in center field and the backup infielder in Tacoma (well, that’s not entirely fair– you just put Reed in center and move Bloomquist in)(unless Bloomquist gets injured)(“Oh I wish” is not an appropriate response to that last parenthetical).

I disagree with the platoon arrangement not because I particularly think Reed’s a better hitter against lefties, or degrading the defense is that massive.

It’s that you don’t really know if a player’s truly vulnerable to one side or another for a while. It’s not as if Reed came up through the minors with scouting reports that said he was going to need a platoon partner, or was easily neutralized by left-handers.

It’s that if he’s not hitting against left-handers, he’s certainly not going to improve if he only sees them once every month. I’d like to see at least three seasons of being vulnerable to lefties before I write him off, especially since there’s nothing obvious in his approach that breaks down.

There are many left-handed players who were thought to be helpless against lefties because they did poorly in their rookie year (or even their second year), and later became good hitters who didn’t require platoon partners. If fear of Reed not hitting means he never grows, that’s a loss for the team and Reed.

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