July in Review (and then some)

JMB · July 31, 2006 at 10:19 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Record: 11-13
Overall: 52-53, 3.5 games back of Oakland

Hitting: .255/.308/.391 (AVG/OBP/SLG), 4.21 runs/game
Pitching: 119 runs allowed, 4.46 ERA

(Major) Roster Moves
In: CF Adam Jones, DH Eduardo Perez, DH Ben Broussard
Out: “DH” Carl Everett, DH Roberto Petagine, OF Jeremy Reed

The Good
People may harp on the M’s for failing to make a big splash at the trading deadline, but swapping out Carl Everett’s rotting carcass for the platoon tandem of Perez and Broussard is one of the best moves they could have made. This pair not only provides a great deal more offense, but strengthens the bench as well. It also means the horror flick “Carl Everett’s 2007 Option,” rated R for grotesque batting performance, will not be playing at a stadium near you.

The most surprising development of the month has to be the emergence of Mark Lowe as a dominant reliever. Despite not having pitched above AA, Lowe has been unflappable since he arrived, sporting an 11:3 K:BB ratio and no runs allowed in ten innings. Perhaps even more surprising is Mike Hargrove’s willingness to use Lowe in late-game, high-leverage situations despite the hurler’s lack of experience.

Ichiro! hit .317 for the month, posting a .384 OBP while stealing nine bases without being caught. Yuniesky Betancourt also had a big month, hitting .374 to push his season mark over .300 and getting on base at a .387 clip.

The Bad
After hitting a robust .287/.343/.497 in June, the offense as a whole fell off dramatically. Jose Lopez (.263/.322/.263) and Kenji Johjima (.250/.280/.361) in particular had very poor months.

Jeremy Reed’s wrist injury put the M’s in the unfortunate position of rushing prospect Adam Jones to the majors. While clearly talented, Jones has been overmatched at the plate and is still learning to play the position. Without a viable option on the roster, Willie Bloomquist was also given four starts in CF.

In the course of a year, Julio Mateo has gone from above-average reliever to long reliever to being a guy you don’t want to see in the game at almost any cost. And yet, Hargrove continues to use him late in close games at the expense of his more talented relievers. Mateo lost three games in July while allowing close to two runners per inning.

Injuries to Rafael Soriano and Chris Snelling have left us shaking our heads, wondering if these two players will ever live up to their potential in the major leagues.

The Ugly
After ending June with a bit of momentum and a 41-40 record, the M’s dropped six straight at home to Colorado, Anaheim, and Detroit, getting blanked once and scoring a lone run on three occasions. That slide put them back in a hole they then struggled to climb out of all month.

Gil Meche, Jamie Moyer, and Joel Pineiro combined to start 15 games, throw 85.2 innings, and post a 6.62 ERA with 21 homers allowed. Oddly, each pitcher allowed exactly 21 earned runs for the month.

Going Forward
The M’s have a better run differential than either Oakland or Texas, trailing only Anaheim, er, Los Angeles, in the division by that metric. They also trail in the actual standings, meaning there’s still work to be done.

Despite their history of second-half surges and current division lead, Oakland doesn’t scare me—they’re injury-prone up and down the lineup and are getting very little production outside of Nick Swisher and Frank Thomas (and the Big Hurt isn’t exactly the model of health). The rotation is good, but they’re still too reliant on the health of Rich Harden and the performance of Esteban Loaiza.

Texas helped itself in a big way with the acquisition of Carlos Lee, but was unable to bolster a thin starting rotation. Off-season acquisition Adam Eaton, who has missed the entire year with an injury, made his 2006 debut last week but subsequently missed his next start due to food poisoning. He could be a boost down the stretch, but it’s not as if his career is full of healthy and/or dominant seasons.

That brings us to the aforementioned Angels, who despite their early-season struggles are the class of the division. Their top-notch farm system has already contributed this year, with more help on the way if needed. Further, even without Bartolo Colon they have the best rotation in the division, a rotation which should be strong enough to cover for their supposedly weak offense… an offense which has scored more runs, incidentally, than either Seattle’s or Oakland’s.


58 Responses to “July in Review (and then some)”

  1. Rain Delay on August 1st, 2006 12:17 pm

    Most likely because Torrealba isn’t having to bad of a season.

  2. Death On A Pale Horse on August 1st, 2006 12:43 pm

    Rivera is an oddity, though; they seem to really like him for no obvious reason. If they wanted to replace him, they could just DFA him and put Quiroz back on the roster, surely?

  3. JMB on August 1st, 2006 12:51 pm

    As they’re fond of telling us on the broadcasts, Johjima’s started the most games of any AL catcher (or some stat like that). We’re also coming up on the number of games he’s “used to” playing in Japan, right? 130?

  4. Max Power on August 1st, 2006 12:57 pm

    Rivera is an oddity, though; they seem to really like him for no obvious reason. If they wanted to replace him, they could just DFA him and put Quiroz back on the roster, surely?

    i don’t know anything about him, but he’s 22, doesn’t play very often and last year in a similar number of PAs (small) he put up some fairly impressive numbers. his minor league stats don’t look that impressive so maybe it’s just putting a high value on the small number of appearances last year.

  5. idahowriter on August 1st, 2006 2:19 pm

    And in the “Where Are They Now” category for July, the Phillies DFA Ryan “I’m a Starter, Dammit!” Franklin.

  6. kcw2 on August 1st, 2006 3:03 pm

    re Doyle: FWIW, I heard some of the Tacoma game on the radio today, and he was playing right field.


  7. msb on August 1st, 2006 3:14 pm

    Cheito is available after all…. (08-01)(AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers designated OF Jose Cruz Jr. for assignment on Tuesday to make room for their trade deadline acquisitions.

  8. Evan on August 1st, 2006 3:19 pm

    25 – Sure, Dave, but run differential has the same problem, so their relative merits stand.

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