Credit Stealing

Dave · April 26, 2007 at 7:37 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Predictably, the analysis of last night’s game is showering Jarrod Washburn with praise. Washburn himself called it “one of the best games I’ve ever pitched”. Mike Hargrove said he didn’t “know that he left a ball out over the plate all night long.” Geoff Baker talks about how this is the “prototype the Mariners envisioned for the mound staff.”

In this Mariner-centric analytical universe, the results on the field are dominated by the influences of the Mariners players. In this case, since Jarrod Washburn threw a complete game shutout, he’s getting credit for having pitched a great ballgame, with few hints that other people factored into the outcome as well.

In reality, Jarrod Washburn was a witness to the A’s shutting themselves out. They ran out a line-up that would have trouble scoring against a PCL pitching staff, then proceeded to hack their way into easy outs. There’s not a pitcher in the major leagues that would have struggled to shut down last night’s A’s team. Their offense is a mess.

However, that’s not how mainstream baseball analysis works. For whatever reason, it’s not good enough to note that the competition imploded upon themselves. Instead, we’re required to shower our guys in accolades, because clearly they were responsible.

Jarrod Washburn was throwing the same 86 MPH below average fastball he throws every game. He threw it over the plate, just like always, and the opposing hitters put it in play, just like always. This was the same stuff, and the same location, he has every time he takes the mound. Good hitters tee off on his below average fastball, while bad hitters get themselves out.

Unless the Mariners play the A’s every game the rest of the year, you won’t see that approach to pitching achieve those results again. The A’s shut themselves out last night. Jarrod Washburn just happened to be the scheduled pitcher.

Comments

192 Responses to “Credit Stealing”

  1. PeterCampbell on April 26th, 2007 7:41 am

    Washburn himself would agree. In the ESPN game recap that was initially posted (what is up now appears to be a shorter version), Washburn was quoted to the effect of saying that he didn’t do anything different than any other day he pitches, and like any other day he pitches, the ball was put in play. Sometimes, Washburn said, those balls in play cause hits (he actually seemed to imply that this happens more often than not). Just not this day.

  2. Dave on April 26th, 2007 7:47 am

    Baker has that quote in his write-up.

    “I’m a contact pitcher,” Washburn said. “I don’t strike out guys. I rely on my defense, which played exceptionally behind me tonight. Sometimes the hits fall in, and sometimes we can make a play on them.”

    Of course, he also said:

    “It’s one of the best games I’ve ever pitched,” said Washburn, who had gone nine innings twice previously in his career. “I wouldn’t say it’s the best stuff I’ve ever had or anything like that. I was by no means dominating. I was just able to make them mis-hit the ball.”

    You had a lot less to do with them mis-hitting the ball then you think you did, Jarrod.

  3. phil333 on April 26th, 2007 7:47 am

    We’re lucky Weaver wasn’t scheduled last night.

  4. mickey on April 26th, 2007 7:49 am

    So I guess you would be happier if the Mariners lost? Sure comes across that way.

  5. Dave on April 26th, 2007 7:50 am

    Why am I not allowed to be happy that the team won without believing lies about why they won? Do I have to be ignorant in order to be a fan?

  6. msb on April 26th, 2007 7:53 am

    of course, even if it is true, you can’t really expect that Washburn would stand up and say, ‘boy am I lucky that Bob Geren had to send out that bunch of stiffs to face me, and that they whiffed on everything’; it would be a rare human that wouldn’t allow themselves a little bit of self-congratulation after a year of humiliation.

  7. Dave on April 26th, 2007 7:55 am

    Sure – I’m not criticizing Washburn for giving himself credit. That’s human nature.

  8. Mere Tantalisers on April 26th, 2007 7:56 am

    He left a lot of pitches over the plate, see the Chavez single that preceded Piazza’s DP.

    What stood out to me is that he “induced” a lot more ground balls than he normally does, and not just in this game but in all four of his starts. He’s only pitched 27 innings so far, I know, but if it keeps up, at what point can you say that he’s a neutral pitcher?

    Of course, two of those starts did come against Oakland…

  9. Till on April 26th, 2007 7:58 am

    I am not sure I follow why you think Oakland’s lineup yesterday was so bad. Granted they were without Swisher last night, but had beat Baltimore the previous two games. Are Stewart, Ellis, Chavez, Piazza, and Crosby really AAA hitters? They may have not been smart in their approach against Washburn but those are major-league quality hitters in my book.

  10. em on April 26th, 2007 7:59 am

    but ‘burn’s ERA is 2.96 after three decisions (as in, sub-3.00; the stuff TORs are made of!)

  11. Dave on April 26th, 2007 8:04 am

    I am not sure I follow why you think Oakland’s lineup yesterday was so bad. Granted they were without Swisher last night, but had beat Baltimore the previous two games. Are Stewart, Ellis, Chavez, Piazza, and Crosby really AAA hitters? They may have not been smart in their approach against Washburn but those are major-league quality hitters in my book.

    How big is your book of quality hitters?

    Stewart is hitting .229/.281/.349 this year for an OPS+ of 76.
    Ellis is hitting .230/.300/.295 for an OPS+ of 68.
    Chavez is hitting .271/.315/.400 for an OPS+ of 99.
    Piazza is hitting .250/.310/.363 for an OPS+ of 88.
    Crosby is hitting .227/.261/.333 for an OPS+ of 65.

    As a team, the A’s are hitting .228/.308/.340 for an OPS+ of 82. And that includes Swisher (157 OPS+) and Bradley (122 OPS+).

    The A’s line-up from last night was abysmal.

  12. DKJ on April 26th, 2007 8:08 am

    Dave, I predicted your entry today to myself as I came to work. Why? Because your analysis of Washburn’s history gives you a well-supported conviction that he is, over time and on the whole, not a high quality player.

    However, the tone of your post suggests he had nothing whatsoever to do with the victory last night. You are well aware that the biggest chump in the world comes through from time to time. Always this is a balance of extraordinary effort and extraordinary luck. Balance is the word, I guess.

    So, from a communications point of view, the summary of your post would be “this is why I am still correct about Washburn.” It has an ad hominem quality that does not do you credit.

    And to my inexpert eyes, Washburn at least deserves credit for not screwing up when the As happened to offer him an opportunity to succeed.

    You and your colleagues are great at keeping the tone of this blog civil. You have pointed out that even Bavasi is a good fellow, though you have well-stated reasons for believing he is not a good GM.

    I would tend to give Washburn his due for last night without questioning your expert opinion of his work over time.

  13. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 8:15 am

    I would also credit the Home Plate umpire for allowing both Washburn and Blanton to pitch complete games while allowing exceptionally few baserunners. He was fair, no doubt, but, while not quite Eric Gregg, he had a strike zone that was quite favorable to the pitchers.

  14. msb on April 26th, 2007 8:17 am

    um, is this one of those technical baseball terms? and is this what is ailing Oakland at the moment?

    “[Pujols'] played previously with ouchies, but he’s always hit,” La Russa said.

  15. Till on April 26th, 2007 8:19 am

    Ok, Dave, I now think I got your point, although I am not convinced it is justified to imply that the lineup is AAA quality in general. Do you judge the players from the “small” (is it still small?) sample of 21 or from their career/projection numbers. After all:

    Josh Barfield .117/.159/.200
    Michael Young .188/.216/.318
    Mike Cameron .205/.287/.253
    Carlos Delgado .193/.261/.277
    Ed Encarnacion .182/.270/.197

    I don’t think your comments were ad hominem though, hopefully the A’s stay in their slump for another game today. Go Miguel Batista for another shutout, let the A’s take a beating this year from us!

  16. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 8:20 am

    Boy, Dave, you’ve got to fend of the emotionalism early today, eh?

    Washburn did what a decent #3.5 – 4 starter should do (too bad he’s our #2 guy!). He didn’t make more mistakes than usual to a line-up that stinks, but can still hit a mistake once in a while (at least I think they can). Dave is right. Baek would have looked like a Cy Young candidate last night with what the A’s were running out there. I think there were good, even great, defensive plays to keep trouble innings in check. That has little to do with Washburn. But even this scrub team fouled a few here and there that made you wonder at times. I’ve been surprised at how many games we’ve been in with Washburn on the mound this year, and that’s all I really expect of the guy in the long run. To keep us close if possible. Unlike last year, I am glad we see the A’s as many times as we do.

    By the way, did anybody think Washburn was working faster than normal? I actually thought his tempo was pretty decent, though the other team not doing anything with his mediocre pitches’ll do that, I suppose.

  17. Dave on April 26th, 2007 8:21 am

    However, the tone of your post suggests he had nothing whatsoever to do with the victory last night. You are well aware that the biggest chump in the world comes through from time to time. Always this is a balance of extraordinary effort and extraordinary luck. Balance is the word, I guess.

    If I was going to parse out the credit for last night’s performance, it would be something like 70% Oakland, 20% Washburn, and 10% defense.

    So, from a communications point of view, the summary of your post would be “this is why I am still correct about Washburn.” It has an ad hominem quality that does not do you credit.

    I re-read the post, and I can’t see that at all. I don’t make one claim about Washburn’s talent level anywhere in the post. The post is about last night’s game, not Washburn’s talent level.

    And to my inexpert eyes, Washburn at least deserves credit for not screwing up when the As happened to offer him an opportunity to succeed.

    Sure. I’m not saying Washburn pitched badly. He pitched just like he always does, so he gets some of the credit for the performance. The A’s just get most of it.

  18. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 8:27 am

    By the way, Dave, your final description of what kind of game we might have last night in the game thread post was spooky in how accurate it turned out to be.

  19. Dave on April 26th, 2007 8:27 am

    Ok, Dave, I now think I got your point, although I am not convinced it is justified to imply that the lineup is AAA quality in general. Do you judge the players from the “small” (is it still small?) sample of 21 or from their career/projection numbers. After all:

    The Triple-A comment was hyperbole. Obviously, their line-up is better than most of what we’d find in the PCL. But it was a very, very poor major league line-up.

    And yes, the proper analysis would be to use a true talent evaluation rather than a player’s early season line. So, here are the MARCEL projections for Stewart/Ellis/Chavez/Piazza/Crosby:

    Stewart: .283/.342/.408
    Ellis: .278/.347/.434
    Chavez: .264/.354/.419
    Piazza: .264/.334/.454
    Crosby: .255/.327/.415

    That’s still pretty terrible.

  20. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 8:28 am

    Remember when Pineiro had that complete game victory at Minnesota last year. The M’s and the press corps were gushing. Dave, I believe it was Dave, pointed out that the result was not an indication of the talent of the pitcher. Now, Washburn is better than the Red Sox’s new bullpen guy, but the same principle applies. I was happy that the M’s won, but I do not think that Washburn will become something better than what he has been over the last four to five years.

  21. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 8:31 am

    #20, at least we don’t have to hear endless speculation about Washburn “turning a corner.” That’s what I couldn’t stand about Pineiro and Meche in years past. It was maddening, and at least everybody seems to be merely focused on Washburn having a good game, not becoming a challenge to Felix as our #1 starter or something.

  22. urchman on April 26th, 2007 8:32 am

    Well said, Dave. Washburn last night had the same average or slightly below average stuff he normally has, he just faced a lineup of chumps. And I agree with your assertions about the tendency for fans to attribute positive outcomes to good efforts by players on their team as opposed to lousy efforts by the opponent’s team. Washburn & the M’s are still a below average team, and the A’s (particularly their offense) are just further below average.

  23. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 8:37 am

    I wonder how “good” Washburn may appear to be this year given the fact that the AL West fields nothing but below average lineups. Is LAA’s the best? Also, if BRW (Batista, Ramirez, Weaver) can’t turn in good results against the AL Wes, how sad would that be?

  24. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 8:38 am

    Oops, “West.”

  25. Safeco Hobo on April 26th, 2007 8:48 am

    Nothing like a Baek start with a good outing from Morrow, a rain out, and Washburn shutout to forget how absolutely awful the pitching was just a week ago. I’m calling it right now…Today Batista throws his standard stuff, A’s get themselves out again, M’s put up a few and win something like 4-2 or whatever….Then Friday morning stories about “M’s pitching starting to turn around after slow start”. Good thing we have HoRam and Weaver to bring everyone back to reality!

  26. skeetpeterson on April 26th, 2007 8:48 am

    It really is obvious that you want the M’s to lose. Now before you post back or delete this due to someone questioning your command, actually think about it. It is possible that over time you have needed to write so much stuff to keep your site fresh that you just turn to bashing them every chance you get. Honestly you remind me of a Skip Bayliss, you just spout rediculous posts to create a buzz. Why not just end this web site that lets readers know you don’t root for the Mariners, well other than King Felix (and no, you didn’t make that nickname up) and the glass structure Christopher Snelling.

  27. colm on April 26th, 2007 8:49 am

    it would be about as sad as it is predictable…

  28. colm on April 26th, 2007 8:51 am

    Hey Skeet: Who did come up with the “King Felix” nickname?

  29. skeetpeterson on April 26th, 2007 8:56 am

    Well, people in the dugout were calling him that back when he was in Everett in 2003. And they were calling him that back in the Venezuelan summer league from what I’ve been told.

  30. carcinogen on April 26th, 2007 8:58 am

    Dave said:

    I re-read the post, and I can’t see that at all. I don’t make one claim about Washburn’s talent level anywhere in the post. The post is about last night’s game, not Washburn’s talent level.

    But see:

    Jarrod Washburn was throwing the same 86 MPH crap he throws every game. He threw it over the plate, just like always, and the opposing hitters put it in play, just like always. This was the same stuff, and the same location, he has every time he takes the mound. Good hitters tee off on his below average fastball, while bad hitters get themselves out.

    (italics mine)

    Dave, I personally don’t give a damn if the post was ad hominem, but I could see how others might take that passage as having that quality. I agree with the other posters that from a Ms perspective, these are absolutely games we should be winning, and we did…let’s not break out the champagne over it.

  31. TheEmrys on April 26th, 2007 9:00 am

    You must think that people on this site only follow players on the major-league roster…….

    Also, Felix would have had a perfect game if he pitched last night….. 2 strikeout shutout? Has there ever been fewer strikeouts in a CG SO?

  32. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 9:04 am

    Apart from the absence of Swisher, this is the same Oakland lineup that just ended the Orioles winning streak with a two-game series sweep, beating Eric Bedard in the opener.

  33. Rick L on April 26th, 2007 9:08 am

    So does this mean you expect the A’s to go on a long losing streak, fall out of first place, and wind up in the cellar?

    And how many runs would this A’s linup score against Weaver?

  34. WhyOWhy on April 26th, 2007 9:08 am

    I guess we’ll test Dave’s hypothesis — to paraphrase, that any marginally adequate big-league pitcher can dominate the A’s current lineup — this afternoon.

    If Batista gets bombed, Washburn may deserve a little more credit than we believe?

  35. nfreakct on April 26th, 2007 9:09 am

    Is a two game sweep in baseball suppose to be impressive? This is the game where Chad Durbin yesterday somehow got 9 strikeouts on the Chicago White Sox (basically fluky things can happen).

    I think when Dave wrote about 86 MPH crap he was just implying that an 86 MPH fastball is not exactly a plus plus pitch.

  36. carcinogen on April 26th, 2007 9:12 am

    26: now that is just uncalled for. Your line of logic is eerily similar to Dick Cheney’s at this point. Sorry, I don’t mean to take the comments political, but you certainly have to see the similarities.

    Further, its just not accurate. This blog is about getting close to the truth about what’s really going on out there on the baseball field. Thus, if the Ms win….but not in a sustainable fashion, we should as fans raise a red flag. Of course we’re happy about winning, and we want the team to win more. Yes there is a bias towards certain types of decisions made by Bavasi, et al., but that bias stems from a mountain of statistical evidence.

    An analogy seems apt. If a guy with a gun fights a guy with a knife 100 times, some of those times the guy with the knife is going to win. But, who would you bet on? We just want the Ms to be the one with the gun…last night Jarrod won with a knife.

  37. Gomez on April 26th, 2007 9:12 am

    Why am I not allowed to be happy that the team won without believing lies about why they won?

    You sure don’t sound happy, Dave.

  38. Rick L on April 26th, 2007 9:16 am

    “The difference is that he stayed out of the middle of the plate,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “He stayed on the corners. Either up and away, or down and in. I don’t know that he left a ball out over the plate all night long. Blanton did twice.”

    Isn’t this the opposite of how you are supposed to pitch? I always thought it was up and in and down and away.

  39. awolfgang on April 26th, 2007 9:17 am

    No, If Batista gets bombed we should cut him and then sue to get his contract nulled and make him return any money we already paid him.

  40. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 9:19 am

    #35-

    No, but it indicates that this AAA-caliber lineup is coming off a stretch where it scored enough runs to beat a hot team in back-to-back games on the road.

    So I think Dave’s point is somewhat uncharitable.

  41. thedrobber on April 26th, 2007 9:20 am

    Dave, of course you’re right, but it’s a needlessly cynical post. Sure, Washburn benefitted from a mediocre at best A’s line-up. But, do we ever rationalize a 4-hit Ichiro day by saying, “Oh, well, it was against shitty pitching. Jeff Manto would’ve done the same thing,”? Washburn got 27 batters out. Regardless of the circumstances, he threw strikes and took advantage of the A’s mediocrity. Good Felix couldn’t have done any better. To ask the media to harp on the A’s inept offense rather than Washburn’s complete gam shutout is a little silly.

  42. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 9:23 am

    Felix’s “result” would not have been better, but the skill and talent used to achieve that result would have been. And such skill and talent could be mearused by the eye (his pitches simply looked better) and statistical analysis (K to BB ratio).

  43. awolfgang on April 26th, 2007 9:24 am

    If the first base ump makes the correct call, then Washburn gets replaced by J.J. to pitch to Piazza, and then we don’t have a CG nor SHO, and probably a lot less hype, since you won’t see him walking off the field with all the high-fives and hugs at the end of the game. We see that, and it plays with our human emotions, not our rational minds, which Dave is trying to do. Keep it up Dave.

  44. AuburnM on April 26th, 2007 9:27 am

    Oh, come on! Yes Oakland’s lineup was weak, but Washburn’s breaking ball was sharp and he spotted his 86mph fastball. (Remind me, how hard does Moyer throw?) He threw strikes while keeping the ball out of the middle of the zone.

    Washburn is a solid, dependable #3 starter. We are lucky to have him.

  45. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 9:27 am

    I am seriously getting annoyed. Do you guys know what ad hominem means? It literally means “against the man” but as a logical fallacy describes argumentation that focuses on the character or an attribute of the person you are arguing against, rather than the substance of the argument. It does not stand for – “you are being mean” or “gosh, them’s harsh words.” You are complaining about Dave’s tone. Fine, you aren’t the first, but he isn’t making ad hominem attacks.

    Please, please, please stop mis-using that term in this context. At best, you can argue that Dave was actually supporting his point that Washburn’s stuff was the same as always, but he made no argument that Washburn was ugly, couldn’t spell, or had a troubled family life to support his claim that he pitched no differently than normal. Instead, he supported his point that Washburn pitched no differently than normal, by saying how he pitched the same as he normally does. It’s not about how many adjectives he throws on a substantive point. In order to be ad hominem, he’d have to say something unrelated to the argument to support his point, and it would probably have to be about Washburn the man, not Washburn the pitcher.

    This would be ad hominem – “I think Soccer is not a sport. Why look at that Beckham guy, he’s a pansy!” See? The supporting sentence has nothing to do with the substance of my assertion.

  46. Uncle Ted on April 26th, 2007 9:29 am

    Dave, I think you misunderstand Washburn’s comment.

    “It’s one of the best games I’ve ever pitched,” said Washburn, who had gone nine innings twice previously in his career. “I wouldn’t say it’s the best stuff I’ve ever had or anything like that. I was by no means dominating. I was just able to make them mis-hit the ball.”

    In english we sometimes use language that is ambiguous between attributions of responsibility (often involving praise and blame) and attributions of mere causation. In order to charitibly interpret this quote as consistent with the previous one we must assume that Washburn means the latter. So, “best games i’ve ever pitched” should be read like “best things that ever happened to me” It was the game that was best, not the pitching. “I was just able to make them mis-hit the ball” Jarrod clearly means merely that his will was causally implicated in the chain of events that lead to the A’s missing the ball. Whether he is praisworthy for his actions or not, this seems hard to deny. I should say that I never realized how sophisticated a thinker Washburn is.

  47. em on April 26th, 2007 9:29 am

    Me thinks that more than a few are missing the point of the post:

    Washburn wasn’t as good as his line, and therefore our expectations for his performances should not be altered based on the results of this one game. It is ludicrous of the media to insinuate that somehow we had a different Washburn last night, or that we should hope for that same result in the future.

    After last night Washurn = Washburn. After last night, Washburn

  48. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 9:29 am

    44

    Washburn may be a useful starting pitcher, but for the price the M’s are paying him, they are most definitely not “lucky” to have him.

  49. sdlamm on April 26th, 2007 9:31 am

    Dave
    I agree with your post and completely understand the desire for more accurate analysis from the local press corps. Thanks.

  50. em on April 26th, 2007 9:32 am

    I hate it when only half my post actually posts.

    The short and skinny is that Wasburn’s performance ≠ results. The only thing that changed about Washburn was the quality of the opposition, and we should not expect similar results against better teams. This is not an emotional argument. It is reality making sure we keep the game in perspective, otherwise, you are do for a letdown.

  51. pygmalion on April 26th, 2007 9:33 am

    “King” Nickname: Read this blog enough and you will in fact find a post – not that long ago – where the true origin of the name is discussed.

    Not being happy: Maybe Dave is unhappy because the team on the field isn’t very good, the team management behaves irrationally, and the fans and media say crazy things and are only slowly gaining the ability to think in an adult fashion about the Mariners.

    Being a fan doesn’t mean saying your team is good when it isn’t, and it might mean being cranky when the ignorance of others is conspiring to make it seem as if the changes needed to make the team good aren’t really needed.

    The question is: Why aren’t you unhappy?

  52. mark s. on April 26th, 2007 9:33 am

    So Batista has a chance to look like a real pitcher today?

  53. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 9:39 am

    I think the “able to make them mis-hit” part is my biggest problem. Pitchers have little control over what the ball does when contact is made. Sure they can affect the liklihood that the ball will be hit on the ground or in the air. There is some repeatable skill there based on velocity, control and type of pitch. I don’t think Washburn did all that much to influence those things last night, however. In other words, he didn’t make them do anything. They just couldn’t manage to do anything themselves.

    It’s like taking on a weak early round opponent in a Tennis tournament, and expecting the player to then be able to dominate the subsequent rounds against tougher competition. Why would you? Good teams magnify a pitcher’s flaws. Bad ones gloss over them.

  54. Hooligan on April 26th, 2007 9:41 am

    Batista, at least, has an arsenal that is capable of getting good big leaugue hitters out. It might be like wishing for the wind not to blow, but if he ever gains control, he’ll be pretty good.

    Washburn is a mediocre pitcher who gets the most out of his mediocrity, and kudos to him for that. I just doubt that he used his weekly “I’m not a shutout pitcher, my stuff isn’t flashy, I rely on the offense” quote when he was negotiating his contract.

  55. Evan on April 26th, 2007 9:42 am

    You sure don’t sound happy, Dave.

    Well he’s not universally happy, no. He’s probably rather annoyed that Washburn’s being given credit for this, which will inflate the team’s impression of him and reduce the chances of him being evaluated correctly in future.

    Dave’s right – basically any pitcher with some control (able to throw strikes) would have produced a similar result last night. This was a perfect opportunity for Mateo to succeed. Or Ryan Franklin. Or any pitcher that doesn’t have a huge problem with walks.

    Washburn has below average stuff; this is objectively true.

  56. AuburnM on April 26th, 2007 9:43 am

    I get it: winning is bad because it will only prolong the Hargrove/Bavasi era and you are all convinced that those guys can’t succeed and must go.

    Sorry guys. I want to win now. We all know this is the last chance for Hargrove/Bavasi. I am rooting for them to succeed, not fail.

  57. thedrobber on April 26th, 2007 9:43 am

    Wow. I think people are missing one of the key points of Dave’s post: that we should be upset that the local media decided to take the predictable “great outing by Washburn” angle, rather than the “Washburn only pitched well because he faced a crappy line-up” angle. In a perfect world, local media would look deeper into why a specific result occured. However, have you ever seen local newspapers dismiss a pitching outing with a spectacular result from a local player? No, and it’s unrealistic to think that they ever will.

  58. Ben Ramm on April 26th, 2007 9:51 am

    To the Dave haters:

    Dave, Derek, et al. were writing this way ten years ago on the usenet forum. It’s not about keeping it fresh, it’s about challenging those who ask you, the fans, to drink the Kool-Aid.

    For what it’s worth, Dave used to drink the Kool-Aid. He would defend Piniella as a high school kid. And, that part of the history may be relevant. There’s nothing like the disillusionment that comes from people who want the so-called experts to do well, and find those so-called experts making mistakes that are obvious to the outsider. It’s frustrating to think that the degree of my amusement and entertainment depends upon the decisions of fools.

    In a sense, I’m unhappy that they won last night because it provides support for continued bad planning and bad preparation, e.g., well if Washburn can just find what he had in Oakland that night, we’ll be set. But, he didn’t have anything in Oakland. So, when the Mariners lose in the future because they’ve kept doing what they’ve been doing, the unhappiness from losses in the future will outweigh the happiness of a win now. Sure, I wish I could live in the moment, but if I knew that every time I found a dollar on the sidewalk, I’d be beaten about the head and neck the next day, I’d be less happy about finding dollar bills on the sidewalk. Deluding myself into thinking I won’t get smacked doesn’t diminish the pain, it simply makes it inexplicable. So, if that’s you’re thing…

  59. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 9:51 am

    rather than the “Washburn only pitched well because he faced a crappy line-up” angle.

    That’s the part I don’t agree with. We can agree that he benefited from the lack of pop in the lineup, but again other pitchers have faced a similar A’s lineup with less success. Washbrun deserves a lot more credit than Dave and others are giving him, because he went out there and did the things he needed to do to take advantage of the situation.

    If he goes out against the Red Sox later in the season and gets knocked around, will Dave then post that really it’s only 20% Washburn’s fault and 70% due to the Sox’s lineup being really good?

  60. davepaisley on April 26th, 2007 9:52 am

    Let’s face it, here, blog favorites (for instance Ichiro), can do no wrong and unfavored sons, (Washburn) can do no right. Excuses are made when the former fail to deliver, and nothing but scorn is forthcoming even if the latter do well.

    Dave even takes time out today from driving merrily down the road to make a detour onto the sidewalk to sideswipe Washburn. If the M’s were having a parade for Washburn, Dave would surely find a way to make it rain.

    The fact is, given the same effort, night in, night out, the results will vary depending on a wide variety of factors. This is probably as good as Washburn ever gets – in terms of results – and he even freely admits it. Taken as a whole, I think it’s reasonable to say that Washburn felt he had a decent combination of performance, defensive support and good fortune to get that CG.

    However, Dave seems particularly irked by Washburn’s apparent personal claim of “the best I’ve ever pitched”. If he had said, “the best game in which I have pitched”, it would probably have more accurately reflected his true feeling on the matter. However, post-game interviews don’t lend themselves to contorted grammatical constructs, and ideas flow freely without the ability to edit on the fly, such as one can do in even a blog comment. So, I think it’s only fair to be charitable and not read more into the comment than is there. But the words, “Dave”, “charitable” and “Washburn” can apparently never coexist in the same sentence (until now).

    Nobody is talking about the real tragedy here, the win means at least six more weeks of Hargrove.

  61. davepaisley on April 26th, 2007 9:53 am

    “it’s about challenging those who ask you, the fans, to drink the Kool-Aid”

    Let’s face it, there’s USSM Kool-Aid too. Plenty of evidence of that in this thread.

  62. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 9:53 am

    #56 – Auburn, no, I don’t think anybody will be upset on balance if the team is winning. I was happy we won last night. That doesn’t mean we have to pretend Washburn is primarily responsible for that outcome. A person who chooses to employ analytical skills can manage to hold both positions without being less of a fan.

    If Washburn threw up that performance against a bad offense in the last game of the World Series, my reactions would be, probably in this order:

    1. Complete happiness that we finally won a World Series!

    2. Repeat #1 for 3-4 weeks

    3. Realization that Washburn is still a mediocre #3-4 starter, who probably doesn’t deserve the credit for winning that game, but will leverage it into a fat contract with (I hope!) another team.

    St. Louis was probably happy Weaver helped them in the WS, and I know they were glad they won it, but they still realized what kind of pitcher they were dealing with when they ended up not resigning him.

  63. SpokaneMsFan on April 26th, 2007 9:57 am

    56:
    I think there is pretty good evidence that has been fairly thoroughly documented on this site as to why we don’t think Hargrove/Bavasi can succeed. But I don’t see how this particular thread has anything to do with that, or that Dave in any way implied he didn’t enjoy watching the M’s shutout the A’s or wanted them to lose. I think the main point is that the local media in no way takes a realistic approach in it’s reporting, especially when it comes to giving praise to someone who more or less just did their job and it might be worth someone (eg Dave) pointing out that there’s sometimes a lot more going on than meets the eye at first glance (ie stat line.) (Please note this is my own take on the thread.)

  64. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 10:01 am

    He’s probably rather annoyed that Washburn’s being given credit for this, which will inflate the team’s impression of him and reduce the chances of him being evaluated correctly in future.

    Seven words: Joel Pineiro, AL Player of the Week.

    a perfect world, local media would look deeper into why a specific result occured.

    There’s even some hints from Washburn’s quotes that this wasn’t quite so dominating.

    BTW, I guess this means Felix pitched HIS Opening Day shutout against a bad lineup…

  65. em on April 26th, 2007 10:02 am

    Why did this post become a “Dave is unhappy” theme, anyhow? I think we all need a group hug. Come on now, huddle up.

  66. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 10:02 am

    Let’s face it, here, blog favorites (for instance Ichiro), can do no wrong and unfavored sons, (Washburn) can do no right . .

    You don’t know what you are talking about. I had a prolonged discussion about how I thought Ichiro was a better player than Ricky Henderson with Dave some months ago. I was probably wrong (though the argument was a lot closer than Dave would agree), but, like so many of the topics (and even challenges) I’ve received to my viewpoints since I’ve come here, it led me to research and learn more. I hope others get that too. That’s a good thing. Dave’s also bucked the trend in saying he think Ichiro has a less accurate arm than most people think. So, yeah, you pretty much don’t have a claim there. It also happens to be the case that Ichiro is a great player and Washburn is not. That might factor into things a bit.

    I think the story that Ben Ramm mentioned about Dave in high school is telling. I was ignorant about a lot of baseball things before coming here. I am better educated and still learning since I began visiting regularly. I think that’s one of the main goals of this blog. It may even be that Dave and Derek remember what it was like to not really know a lot about baseball and hope you’ll become better versed on the subject.

  67. cougs129 on April 26th, 2007 10:02 am

    Ok, I am confused here a guy goes out and throws a 3 hitter against a major league lineup, and you still rag on him. This would be one of those times where a positive post would be appropriate.

  68. em on April 26th, 2007 10:03 am

    Oakland’s opening day lineup was better than last nights.

  69. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 10:04 am

    St. Louis was probably happy Weaver helped them in the WS, and I know they were glad they won it, but they still realized what kind of pitcher they were dealing with when they ended up not resigning him.

    Um, St. Louis offered a 2 year contract at something like 5-6 million a year. Weaver turned it down for a one year at a higher rate. Whoops.

  70. TheEmrys on April 26th, 2007 10:07 am

    Let’s face it, here, blog favorites (for instance Ichiro), can do no wrong and unfavored sons, (Washburn) can do no right. Excuses are made when the former fail to deliver, and nothing but scorn is forthcoming even if the latter do well.

    The difference here, is that there are statistics and results that quantify Washburn as an un-good pitcher and Ichiro a well-above average player (fielder and batter must be combined). They both have very long track records that show elements of their worth.

    No one disputes that Ichiro has had a slow start. Last year he had a slow start. However, he will also have months where he hits over .400 and it works out to an excellent player. Contrast this with Washburn. He hasn’t exactly started out lighting anything on fire. His tenure has not been worth the contract he was awarded. His worth and value are not equal to Ichiro’s. Ichiro is a favorite here because his value (performance per dollar, if you will) is high for this team. Washburn’s value, is low.

  71. AuburnM on April 26th, 2007 10:07 am

    I’m a simple guy. Winning is good. Losing is bad. When our #2 pitcher throws a 3 hit CG shutout on the road against our chief division rival and gets his ERA under 4.0 I’m happy. Call me crazy.

    If we win, Hargrove and Bavasi stay; if we lose, they go.

    Baseball is a simple game. You hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball.

  72. 88fingerslukee on April 26th, 2007 10:08 am

    Ok, I am confused here a guy goes out and throws a 3 hitter against a major league lineup, and you still rag on him. This would be one of those times where a positive post would be appropriate.

    It’s not the 3-hitter he’s talking about. It’s the fact that people will associate this with Washburn being the reason the 3 hitter was thrown. Washburn had little to do with how the A’s hit his pitches. He just wen up there and tossed BP fastballs that the A’s beat into the ground. That’s not an appropriate positive post time, that’s appropriate to point out that Washburn is not better (statistically or otherwise) than the other stiffs in our rotation (with the huge exception of Felix of course).

  73. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 10:12 am

    #69 – where’s the whoops? Everything I said was true. Plus I think the offer was slightly more than $5mill guaranteed, then incentives. So, yeah, they realized what Weaver was not worth.

  74. Grizz on April 26th, 2007 10:13 am

    John Hickey, P-I, May 23, 2005:

    Enter Lazarus.
    After a couple of starts in which he got knocked around like a batting practice pitcher, Aaron Sele has found resurrection.

    The right-hander turned in the most dominant game thrown by a Seattle starting pitcher this season yesterday in beating the San Diego Padres 5-0 before 41,017 fans at Safeco Field.

    There are times when pitching is art. Sele was Monet yesterday, painting the corners with just about everything he threw.

    Or, as the Padres’ Dave Roberts said, “Today he was almost perfect.”

    Two months later, Lazarus was released.

  75. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:15 am

    Here’s my question: Can’t a person be happy with the results of last nights game, but yet realistic enough to realize that this was a “non-repeatable” performance from Washburn?

    In terms of what the general media writes or doesn’t write about it, I could really care less. They are seeking to inform the masses and the masses (whether we like it or not) care about the bottom line. I am happy with the win, I’ll take them wherever we can get them. I also realize that this sort of performance is not the norm for Washburn, nor is it any indicator or future performances. Can’t we leave it at that?

  76. AuburnM on April 26th, 2007 10:15 am

    #74

    Washburn aint Sele. He has been a solid, if unspectacular performer for several years.

    He may flame out sometime in the future, but for today how about we be happy?

  77. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 10:15 am

    #70 – Ichiro hasn’t had a slow start – his BA/OBP/SLG! is .313 / .362 / .516 His OPS+ is currently 145

  78. nfreakct on April 26th, 2007 10:16 am

    #71 – So basically… you don’t care if the process is unsustainable and the results are unlikely to be repeated as long as the results in the short-term end up the way you want?

    This is like trying to get rich spending all your money on the lottery every month. On the off chance you do win the jackpot doesn’t mean what you were doing previously was smart.

  79. lokiforever on April 26th, 2007 10:18 am

    I feel Washburn’s self assessment was a good one — generally postiive, but careful not to give himself too much credit. He knows he didn’t show up with electric stuf, miraculously one day. The balls in play were converted to outs. He’s more optimistic than Dave (it’s human nature) but less optimistic than Baker.

  80. em on April 26th, 2007 10:18 am

    Baseball is a simple game to the uninitiated. How well you hit, catch and throw is weighed and measured against your peers, against your wallet, and against fan expectations. Yogiberrasqe-colloquialisms do not invoke the same passion, in this evolved community, as a properly calculated xFIP. We have transcended the Old School and become an enlightened audience equipped with magic tools that can see into the past and into the future with ever-increasing clarity and precision.

    Baseball is a simple game? You Pagan.

  81. msb on April 26th, 2007 10:19 am

    St. Louis was probably happy Weaver helped them in the WS, and I know they were glad they won it, but they still realized what kind of pitcher they were dealing with when they ended up not resigning him.

    of coursem they did try to re-sign him:

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan 24, 2007

    The Cardinals probably will learn this week whether their two-year offer to free-agent pitcher Jeff Weaver is enough to keep the righthander in their starting rotation three months after he became a cog in their World Series championship push.

    General manager Walt Jocketty and agent Scott Boras furthered their negotiations last weekend, with the club apparently tweaking the contract’s average annual value while holding firm on its two-year framework. Jocketty insisted Tuesday that he remains hopeful of retaining Weaver as a projected No. 2 starter but conceded the club’s modified offer fell a distance from Boras’ demands.

    “We’re still optimistic, but we haven’t had a conversation in the last couple days,” Jocketty said late Tuesday afternoon. “It’s not resolved by any stretch. But we’re hopeful. I think we’ll know a lot more in the next few days.”

  82. lokiforever on April 26th, 2007 10:19 am

    Er- It’s human nature to be optimisitc about one’s own success….it’s not necessarily human nature to more optimistic than Dave.

  83. colm on April 26th, 2007 10:20 am

    I’m reluctant to rag Washburn, who seems like a pleasant enough young man, because he pitched about as well as we can expect him to pitch. What we need to grasp is that the next time he goes out and logs a line like 2K, 2BB, 26 balls in play, he is EXTREMELY unlikely to get a complete game shut out. He’s more likely to record: 6IP, 7 or 8 hits, 3 or 4 runs.

    I’d criticise his contract; I’d disagree with anyone asserting that last night means Washburn is somehow in the #1 starter class; but I wouldn’t criticise Washburn for being Washburn. That’s like criticising the Seattle sky for being grey.

    So yay to the M’s for winning, and let’s not get too excited about the prospects for continuing dominance from Washburn.

  84. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:20 am

    Jocketty insisted Tuesday that he remains hopeful of retaining Weaver as a projected No. 2 starter

    And you thought we have problems. LOL.

  85. Beniitec on April 26th, 2007 10:20 am

    While I’m in total agreement with your comments Dave, I have to disagree with your sarcasm again. Regardless of what the lineup for the other team was last night, and regardless of how much they are struggling, let’s just smile and enjoy a win for today… Let’s get one thing straight, last year they couldn’t even get a win like this if they sacrificed a chicken. We won in Oakland, and it was a shutout. No one is denying the facts you’re shooting out there. And if we’re really being honest, let’s mention that just about every team that we’ve played thus far has been cold — up until they played the Mariners. The Angel’s bats were cold…then they killed our pitching. The Twins the same. I fully expected Washburn to get lit up and he didn’t. Could we say that the odds were with Washburn and the Mariners last night? Or maybe say Washburn took advantage of their “slumping” swings? Or shoot… he got real lucky last night, and we’ll take it. Let’s hope Washburn gets some confidence from this and gets on a winning streak against the rest of the teams he pitches against…

    I know, I know… it’s the REAL mariner fan in me. Looking for hope in hopelessness.

  86. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 10:22 am

    of coursem they did try to re-sign him:

    Never said they didn’t, but the rumor is his deal was heavily incentive-filled and “not competitive” with the M’s offer.

  87. Paul B on April 26th, 2007 10:22 am

    67: If you have some positive observation to make, make it. I for one would like to read it, if it is based in reality. If, on the other hand, you want cheerleading, you might check out some of the traditional media.

    The frustrating thing (can’t speak for others, but for me) is that this team could easily have been a good team. Could have been so much more.

    As it is, this roster is a .500 ballclub (assuming they solve the problems of the #4 and #5 starters by finding replacement level AAAA pitchers, and that Felix comes back healthy) which Grover will cleverly manage into a .470 ballclub.

    In the AL West, that will be good enough to stay close to contention most of the season, if not all of the season.

    But Bavasi had a chance in the offseason to make this into a good club, one that could easily have walked away with this weak division. Even with Grover’s mismanagement.

  88. Karen on April 26th, 2007 10:22 am

    RE: #57. “Wow. I think people are missing one of the key points of Dave’s post: that we should be upset that the local media decided to take the predictable ‘great outing by Washburn’ angle. In a perfect world, local media would look deeper into why a specific result occurred. However, have you ever seen local newspapers dismiss a pitching outing with a spectacular result from a local player? No, and it’s unrealistic to think that they ever will.”

    I, for one, am glad that the local media are focussing on Washburn and not the crappy A’s offense.

    I wouldn’t want any as-yet-not-written columns making fun of that A’s crappy offense finding its way into the A’s clubhouse on their bulletin board, and possibly shaking that crappy offense into some sort of angry 800-lb gorilla ready to beat the brains out of the Mariners for the remaining 15 games they play together…like they did last year…

    Be careful for what you ask for…you just might get it.

  89. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 10:22 am

    He just wen[t] up there and tossed BP fastballs that the A’s beat into the ground.

    That’s just not true. If he were throwing BP fastballs, he’d have gotten clobbered. He might not be a great pitcher, but he put the ball where he needed to at the speed he needed to in order to secure a three-hit shutout.

    Again, Oakland was coming off a two-game sweep over a previously hot Orioles team on the road. The lineup has been known to hit Major League pitching.

    And again I ask, if Washburn goes out later in the season and gets shelled by the Red Sox, will that also be 70% due to the Sox lineup and just 20% due to Washburn’s effort? Or is he one of the guys who gets all of the credit for losing and none for winning?

  90. Dave on April 26th, 2007 10:23 am

    This post isn’t even about Washburn – it’s about people’s reactions to Washburn’s start.

    Back in 2005, Jamie Moyer had a four game stretch against the A’s, Yankees, and Red Sox (April 30th – May 18th) where he got destroyed. He pitched 13 2/3 innings in those four starts, giving up 22 runs for an ERA of 14.80. People were calling for his release and saying that the end had finally arrived. I pointed out that it was the opponent making Moyer look bad, and not any real lack of skill – he’d faced a bunch of great offenses, on the road, in a row.

    Moyer, predictably, rebounded to be exactly what Jamie Moyer always was, and the reaction to those poundings proved unfounded.

    I’m not making any comments about Washburn’s start last night – I’m making comments about the reaction to Washburn’s start last night.

  91. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:24 am

    The frustrating thing (can’t speak for others, but for me) is that this team could easily have been a good team. Could have been so much more.

    More like should’ve been much more. When your team payroll exceeds $100 million, I tend to expect more than mediocrity for the money. The M’s did the equivalent of spending $20 on a Big Mac, basically. No matter how much money you spent to acquire it, at the end of the day it’s still a Big Mac.

  92. MrIncognito on April 26th, 2007 10:24 am

    Just in case y’all were wondering what an A’s fan thought, Dave’s analysis was spot on. That was a dreadful lineup we ran out last night. Our offence has been terrible all year, and we were missing our three best hitters (think M’s lineup without Ichiro, Johjima, and Beltre). If someone shut you guys down with Bloomquist, Ellison, and Adam Jones in the lineup, you wouldn’t talk about what devestating 84 mph fastballs the other team’s starter was throwing.

  93. DoesntCompute on April 26th, 2007 10:25 am

    I have been reading this blog for several years now and I want to provide a quick tutorial on the USS Mariner:
    1) The authors here love the M’s. They are probably bigger fans than most anyone who reads this blog. They spend countless hours following this team, researching, talking to baseball people, and writing about this team. There is nobody who wants the M’s to win more than the authors of this site.
    2) The authors feel that Bavasi is a poor GM and Hargrove is a poor manager. They believe that the M’s would be better off with a change in management. This does not mean that the authors want the M’s to loose so that there will be a change in management. See item #1 above. Such firings are viewed as the silver lining if/when the M’s do have a poor season.
    3) The authors feel that Washburn is an adequate pitcher, Weaver is a poor pitcher, and Felix is going to be a great one.
    4) The authors believe that well reasoned arguments should be respected and poorly thought out arguments that lack support should be challenged. If you persist in making weakly supported arguments, you can expect that they will get testy. By making such arguments, you are wasting their time, the reader’s time, and lowering the quality of USS Mariner.
    5) In line with #4, the authors will usually provide statistical support for their reasoning. If they do not provide such support in a given post, it is likely that they have done so in a prior post. For example, Dave has previously laid out all the reasons he believes Washburn to be an average pitcher. He is not going to lay out the same reasons in every post about Washburn because that would be wasting everyone’s time.
    6) The author’s will call bull on stuff that isn’t true. They will do this to comments on this blog, local columns, and the national media. They call it like they see it and admit when they realize they have been wrong. They are not going to jump on the bandwagon of, “Washburn is an ace pitcher” when the numbers don’t support it and they aren’t going to join the crowd jumping off the cliff when things aren’t as bad as it seems.
    7) They care whether you like them or not but not as much as many want them to. From what I can tell, they are decent people who like you and me care if other people like them. That said, they understand that people are going to get offended over the stupidest things and have learned to shrug it off because there is simply nothing they can do about it.
    8) The authors know a lot about baseball in general and the M’s specifically. While they are not always correct, they are pretty close most of the time. Dave dang near predicted Felix’s last start and was spot on about how last night’s game was going to go down. They have baseball contacts that most of us can only dream about. If you check your attitude and your preconceived notions at the door it is likely that you will learn something while being here.

  94. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:27 am

    I’m not making any comments about Washburn’s start last night – I’m making comments about the reaction to Washburn’s start last night.

    Ok – I understand that. But, in all actuality, did you expect any different from the print media? I certainly didn’t. Complaining about it seems like screaming at the wind to me. It is what it is. The way that the mass media reports something doesn’t change the reality of the situation. If people need enlightenment, they certainly know where to go to find it.

  95. msb on April 26th, 2007 10:28 am

    Never said they didn’t, but the rumor is his deal was heavily incentive-filled and “not competitive” with the M’s offer.

    oh I don’t think it was just a rumor, but the Cards also said going into the off-seson that their budget wasn’t going to go up in 2007, and so that wouldn’t allow them to offer any pitcher big money

  96. colm on April 26th, 2007 10:29 am

    Dave, I think it’s your use of the word “crap” that set off this argument.

    It may be an accurate description of Washburn’s stuff, but it seems perjorative and changes people’s perceptions of your post from being a fair criticism of the misleading coverage, to being a peevish attack on Washburn.

  97. em on April 26th, 2007 10:29 am

    Holding the media accountable is as much our responsibility as holding management responsible.

  98. Grizz on April 26th, 2007 10:30 am

    Washburn aint Sele.

    Well, you’re missing the point, but in any event, you might want to visit baseball-reference.com and compare Sele and Washburn, especially their performances through age 32.

  99. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:31 am

    #96 – But Washburn does throw crap. There’s only two ways that Washburn succeeds, really. A) If he’s spot on in locating his crap or B) if the team he’s facing is so inept that they can’t punish him for not consistently doing A. I think last night’s performance is along the lines of scenario B, in my opinion.

  100. Dave on April 26th, 2007 10:32 am

    Okay, I changed crap to “below average fastball”. If that makes people feel better and understand the point of the post, great.

  101. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:34 am

    Holding the media accountable is as much our responsibility as holding management responsible.

    What media outlet (print, TV or radio) is realistically going to make those assertions though? How do you think the rapport between the M’s beat writer and the players would be if they decided to make these assertions (whether true or not)?

  102. Dave on April 26th, 2007 10:34 am

    Ok – I understand that. But, in all actuality, did you expect any different from the print media? I certainly didn’t. Complaining about it seems like screaming at the wind to me. It is what it is. The way that the mass media reports something doesn’t change the reality of the situation. If people need enlightenment, they certainly know where to go to find it.

    I’m not complaining about the media’s coverage of it – I’m simply presenting what I feel is the more accurate response to last night’s game. Washburn pitched just like he always does, and the A’s offense sucks.

    To me, that’s the reality of last night’s game. Since there are a whole lot of stories out there saying that Washburn pitched great, I figured I’d provide one story that says “or, maybe this happened instead.”

  103. JMHawkins on April 26th, 2007 10:35 am

    I’m not making any comments about Washburn’s start last night – I’m making comments about the reaction to Washburn’s start last night.

    Or, to continue the movie quote meme from yesterday:

    Local Media: Got ‘im! We got ‘im!
    Dave: Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.
    `

  104. AQ on April 26th, 2007 10:36 am

    #102 – That makes sense then. And it’s the way that I saw the game as well. I felt that Washburn was doing what Washburn does in 95% of his outings. He simply faced a weak lineup.

  105. Pete on April 26th, 2007 10:36 am

    Dave,

    Do you predict a similar result tonight with Batista?

  106. em on April 26th, 2007 10:39 am

    Do we really think that it is anti-M’s to identify the root cause behind an effect?

    Would it be so bad if an M’s beat writer came out and said “Oakland sucks right now”?

  107. Dave on April 26th, 2007 10:40 am

    I’m not a prediction guy. Last night’s off-hand comment about the score and time of the game being close to what actually happened doesn’t prove that I knew it ahead of time. I noted a potential possibility, and that potential possibility occurred. That scenario wasn’t any less possible when I wrote it then if Washburn and Blanton had shown up hungover and were unable to hit the strike zone, resulting in an 4 hour game that took four hours.

    The A’s might tee off on Batista today. It’s unlikely, since their offense is still terrible, but with a contact pitcher on the mound, anything is possible. Batista could “look awesome” and shut down the A’s offense, or they could slap a bunch of singles through the hole and everyone could complain about how badly he pitched.

    If the A’s go up hacking at the first pitch like they did last night, however, then yes, I expect Batista to do pretty well today. Of course, the outcome of the game shouldn’t change your opinion of that comment one way or another. I’m just talking about likelyhoods.

  108. Churchill on April 26th, 2007 10:41 am

    Unbelievable reaction.

    No, not the media to Washburn’s CGSHO, but the readers here to Dave’s analysis.

  109. F-Rod on April 26th, 2007 10:50 am

    Its pretty simple…J-Wash is a good but not great pitcher…He is a cross between Jaime Moyer and Aaron Sele. All of these guys seem to not be that good by their “stuff” and “peripherals.” But they get the job done better than 65% of starters in the league. They should never be praised as aces. But they are smart and will do a good job over the long haul. The man pitched a good game and should be praised for his work (with the caviet of knowing he was not as dominant as the line suggests). Dave’s strong dislike for his style of pitching makes him refer to Washburn’s stuff as “crap.” This kind of statement is no better than the people who praise his work as wonderfull. The truth lies in between, and I feel like we will continue to see Dave and others here bash him when he fails and call him lucky when he wins.

    One thing that I don’t get about a lot of people on this site is their love for walks as hitters but a preference for K/BB ratio for pitchers. It seems to me that Washburn is a similar pitcher to that of the Snelling type of hitter who walks a lot with out much power. J-Wash walks few without strikeouts.

  110. scraps on April 26th, 2007 10:52 am

    This would be one of those times where a positive post would be appropriate.

    (A representative soundbite among many on this thread.)

    More than any comment thread I’ve yet seen, this one reinforces the point that a lot of people — more than I expected here — would rather be happy than be smarter, to the point that they’ll essentially insist you can only be one or the other.

    The approach of this blog is well established. A post like Dave’s today can hardly come as a surprise; indeed, several of the people who object to it are clearly not surprised by it. So what I wonder is: If you think that one good game is a time when only a positive post is appropriate, what are you doing here?

  111. S1lent on April 26th, 2007 10:52 am

    We all know Washburn doesn’t have great stuff. That doesn’t mean he can’t pitch a good game. Since when did a pitcher have to have nasty stuff to pitch a good game? Washburn’s control seemed spot on last night and he did a great job at getting the hitters behind 0-1.

    Does this mean that had he gone up against the Yankees, he’d still have pitched a shutout? Of course not. But I think he’d have pitched a good game.

  112. scraps on April 26th, 2007 10:55 am

    Also, if there’s one name I would like a moratorium on when defending pitchers, it’s Jamie Moyer. Every time someone wants to defend a junkballer, Moyer gets cited. You know why? Because he’s just about the only example that can be used. Moyer is a freak of nature like Randy Johnson, except instead of very nearly the best fastball ever, Moyer has very nearly the best command ever. If you keep hoping the latest set of junkballers are going to turn into Jamie Moyer, you will lose for the rest of your life.

  113. Gomez on April 26th, 2007 10:57 am

    My last comment was just a wisecrack, nothing more. I know how Dave rolls.

    FWIW, I completely agree with the assessment of Washburn’s performance, which was one of those things where you look back after watching 8 innings of the game and go, “What? He’s throwing a shutout? Really?” It was, by and large, a case of the A’s failing more than Washburn succeeding. If it does anything for Jarrod’s confidence, then great, but he’s no different as a pitcher than he’s been this season or the last couple years.

  114. DMZ on April 26th, 2007 10:59 am

    I’m curious why the defense doesn’t get praised. It was the same with Franklin’s low-K successful starts, where he’d have 30 balls put into play and only 4 would go for hits, and after the game it was Franklin that would get all the credit.

    You have to acknowledge that when the ball’s being hit and the end result is few hits, it’s the other eight guys with gloves that deserve the lion’s share of the credit.

  115. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:00 am

    DMZ, note Washburn praised the defense in his quote above. He probably has a fairly informed perspective. ;)

  116. jbabious on April 26th, 2007 11:00 am

    DAVE (USSM),

    I love the website but…It seems like it is nearly impossible for you guys to give ANY credit where credit is due (Washburn in this case) unless it is aimed at one of the Ms players you have already projected favorably and have always loved. Case in point, in the past Doyle could do no wrong in your eyes as a Mariner…often times same case applies for Felix. Does Washburn have to pitch a shutout three hitter against an all-star lineup for the game to be a valid success?

  117. F-Rod on April 26th, 2007 11:01 am

    Is it a stone cold fact that Moyer has had a better career than Washburn? They look pretty similar to me.

  118. em on April 26th, 2007 11:02 am

    scraps, as much as I hate to admit it, is dead on. People just can’t get over the idea that you don’t have to “pitch a good game” to get a “good result”.

    When I was in college, I was trying out for our Dision I team. I led the camp in ERA, but didn’t make the team that year because my arm fell off. Even though I kept getting people out with below average stuff, my coaches didn’t think I would be effective during the regular season, and they were right. To make the team, I had to rehabilitate back to 85MPH from 65MPH. But think about that for a moment – I was getting Division I hitters, with aluminum bats, out with 65MPH heat. Now, I had some “stuff”, if you will. I could make a pitch move laterally and horizontally at the same time – but my opposition during tryouts wasn’t the same as playing against the best of the WAC or Pac 10. My coaches had perspective. Results were not the primary indicator of my ability.

  119. DMZ on April 26th, 2007 11:04 am

    Boy, that’s absolutely not true – we talked about Snelling’s flaws as a player here repeatedly. But whatever.

    On Washburn’s praise – I certainly do appreciate his hat tip, but what I meant is that we don’t really see that called out in the game stories — unless there’s a clearly spectacular play to point to and say “Ichiro climbed a wall to make a great catch on a line drive and end a rally” the significance of getting that many outs doesn’t get the same play as whether Washburn was working in or out over the plate.

  120. awolfgang on April 26th, 2007 11:05 am

    Beltre gets all the credit, off-foot in stride DP was just nasty.

  121. Nuss on April 26th, 2007 11:06 am

    113: All I know is, it’s nice to watch another team miserable flail away the way the Mariners do most of the time when mediocre pitchers are on the mound.

    114: No joke. Beltre’s plays in the 9th were spectacular.

    I will say this: I agree, for the most part, with Dave’s analysis. But I do think Washburn pitched better last night than he has in most of his starts. He consistently kept his fastball away from the middle of the plate, and his sliders were down and away to the lefties.

    Now, would a better lineup have been more patient and waited for that pitch of the heart of the plate that will inevitably come from Washburn if you wait long enough for it? Sure, and I think that’s why Dave’s trying to give us some perspective for when he goes out and gives up four runs in six innings to the White Sox on Tuesday.

    But Washburn I think deserves a little more than 20 percent of the credit for putting the ball in places where the A’s were likely to get themselves out early in the count.

  122. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:08 am

    It seems to me that Washburn is a similar pitcher to that of the Snelling type of hitter who walks a lot with out much power. J-Wash walks few without strikeouts.

    Well, actually, not so much.

    League average BB/ 9 IP, AL 2006: 3.2
    Washburn: 2.65
    Jon Garland (5th in the AL): 1.75

    His control isn’t particularly impressive in that regard, and Jamie Moyer these days is really a 3-4 on a good team- and is BETTER than Washburn.

  123. Dave on April 26th, 2007 11:09 am

    I think we’ve said a lot of good things about Raul Ibanez’s performance the last few years, and we were obviously against that signing (and subsequent extension) when it took place. I went from hating Randy Winn when he arrived to being one of his biggest supporters, as his outfield defensve proved to be extremely valuable while he was here. My opinion on J.J. Putz did a complete 180 after he debuted his splitter and became a legit relief ace.

    Do I ride guys like Washburn, Sexson, and Vidro harder than guys like Felix, Ichiro, and Betancourt? I’m sure I do. But guys like Washburn, Sexson, and Vidro are the reasons this team has been finishing in last place the last few years. I’d rather be harsh to the guys causing the losing than the guys who are actually contributing to the team winning ballgames.

  124. JMHawkins on April 26th, 2007 11:10 am

    Agreed that Oak Land’s offense was the largest contributing factor (“tonight’s performance featured the Oakland A’s in the role of the 2005 Seattle Mariners. Tune in tomorrow night for the thrilling conclusion of our miniseries, when Miguel Batista quest stars as Cy Young.”).

    But, Mere Tantalizers did mention something that I haven’t seen a response to.

    What stood out to me is that he “induced” a lot more ground balls than he normally does, and not just in this game but in all four of his starts. He’s only pitched 27 innings so far, I know, but if it keeps up, at what point can you say that he’s a neutral pitcher?

    Historically, Washburn’s about a 41% GB guy, but this year he’s been 57% so far through 27 1/3 IP. Dave Studeman at THT mentioned some research about “when it’s real” trying to decide how many games a trend has to last before you can assume it represents a real change in underlying talent. He referenced another article in a different emag, which I may have to subscribe to, and the nubmers he quoted were more for hitters than pitchers.

    Curious to see if this continues, or if it’s back to fly balls as the season wears on.

  125. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:10 am

    Because he’s just about the only example that can be used. Moyer is a freak of nature like Randy Johnson, except instead of very nearly the best fastball ever, Moyer has very nearly the best command ever.

    Um, David Wells has better BB/9 ratios than Moyer, if we’re discussing LH junkballers. It’s not really very close.

  126. Evan on April 26th, 2007 11:12 am

    Ok – I understand that. But, in all actuality, did you expect any different from the print media? I certainly didn’t.

    Just because you expect people to suck is no reason for you to be resigned to it. If no one opints out how dumb the accolades are, then the accolades wil persist.

  127. wabbles on April 26th, 2007 11:14 am

    I agree with you. The problem is that, despite all that, Washburn’s still our best starting pitcher whose first name doesn’t rhyme with helix. I actually look forward to him pitching, given the other 3/5′s of the rotation. And that’s sad.

  128. Dave on April 26th, 2007 11:15 am

    Also, here’s a question for everyone that I think illustrates what I’m trying to say.

    When Beltre chases a slider low and away for strike three, is your reaction that Beltre chased a bad pitch, exposing himself as a flawed hitter, or that the pitcher has a nasty breaking ball and threw a great pitch?

    I’m guessing that 99% of us blame Beltre for the strikeout in that situation. He’s the one who keeps swinging at that same pitch, regardless of the fact that he should know he can’t hit it.

    So, if it’s the Mariners hitters who get themselves out, why isn’t it the A’s hitters getting themselves out? Why do Mariner pitchers get more credit/blame for their performances than opposing pitchers?

  129. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 11:15 am

    Do I ride guys like Washburn, Sexson, and Vidro harder than guys like Felix, Ichiro, and Betancourt? I’m sure I do. But guys like Washburn, Sexson, and Vidro are the reasons this team has been finishing in last place the last few years.

    Guys like Vidro, maybe, but as we all know Vidro himself is new this season. He never got much of a chance from the beginning here, because of how he was acquired (and who he was traded for).

  130. bermanator on April 26th, 2007 11:17 am

    When Beltre chases a slider low and away for strike three, is your reaction that Beltre chased a bad pitch, exposing himself as a flawed hitter, or that the pitcher has a nasty breaking ball and threw a great pitch?

    My reaction is both. The pitcher gets credit for putting the ball where Beltre will chase it (they have scouting reports, I assume), and Beltre gets the blame for actually doing so.

    If you’re a pitcher and you know Beltre will chase the slider when he’s behind in the count, and therefore you throw him a pitch where he’s likely to reach for it and miss, don’t you deserve more than 20% of the credit for putting the ball in the right place to get the out?

  131. AQ on April 26th, 2007 11:18 am

    Guys like Vidro, maybe, but as we all know Vidro himself is new this season. He never got much of a chance from the beginning here, because of how he was acquired (and who he was traded for).

    Vidro doesn’t get much of a chance because he’ll be no more better than a league average DH in the absolute best case scenario. His numbers would be barely passable for a 2B, if he were still playing 2B. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that the M’s vastly overpaid in terms of salary.

  132. awolfgang on April 26th, 2007 11:18 am

    Cause we are biased homer fans with eye shades on being drawn by the baseball mavericks known as Bill and Mike.

  133. Dave on April 26th, 2007 11:18 am

    Guys like Vidro, maybe, but as we all know Vidro himself is new this season. He never got much of a chance from the beginning here, because of how he was acquired (and who he was traded for).

    I’m certain that our dislike of Jose Vidro is intensified by the fact that he was traded for Doyle and makes way too much money.

    Even with those factors removed, though, he’s still a terrible player who has no business hitting 3rd in a major league line-up.

  134. mpriest13 on April 26th, 2007 11:21 am

    This is getting a little stupid. If you watch ANY MLB game there are good pitches that are hit hard and mistakes that are popped up. Can we for once give the M’s a little credit when they do something good.

  135. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:25 am

    So, if it’s the Mariners hitters who get themselves out, why isn’t it the A’s hitters getting themselves out? Why do Mariner pitchers get more credit/blame for their performances than opposing pitchers?

    To do this jeopardy style, What is group attribution error?

    We’re more likely to assume hitters are in control of what they swing at in an atbat, at than we are to realize that pitchers cannot “pitch to contact” successfully on the long term without decent stuff (consider it the Ryan Franklin fallacy)… though the research is starting to come out that will dispel that belief.

  136. scraps on April 26th, 2007 11:26 am

    David Wells is a Moyer-like junkballer?? Seriously, I thought Wells threw much harder than Moyer.

  137. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:27 am

    I think people tend to not understand what being a “contact” pitcher means. A lot of the damage against flyball pitchers come off of home runs, though some come off of doubles and triples. Flyball pitchers (as opposed to strikeout pitchers w/ flyball tendancies) tend to regress toward their true ability, since 11.8% of all flyballs leave the park, however if such a pitcher gets lucky, and don’t give up home runs, or give up less (lets say half) of the “expected” home runs, they can look really good, even w/o a lot of strikeouts, especially if the outfield defense is doing its job, and/or the pitcher is getting a lot of infield flies. A flyball pitcher can “look” as good if not better than a groundball pitcher with similar strikeout and walk rates. For some guys this may indicate “some” skill, but for most it’s good fortune. On the flip, a few extra flyballs clear the fences and the same pitcher can look much worse than their true talent. Also, a good defense (and deep park) can help even further by limiting the damage of non-HR flyballs turning into a bunch of doubles and triples. Think Ryan Franklin’s ’03 season. He was a 5+ ERA true talent pitcher, putting up gaudy numbers because he had good defense and got lucky (well, I can’t verify this at the second, but I highly suspect so) on Homeruns.

  138. scraps on April 26th, 2007 11:27 am

    Can we for once give the M’s a little credit when they do something good

    Dave did give the M’s a little credit: 30%.

  139. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:30 am

    Well, per fangraphs, he had a 11.1% HR/F that year. I’d hardly call that “lucky”, but it still goes to show how much his defense helped him.

  140. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:30 am

    Yup, a .249 babip would indicate it was the outfield defense.

  141. Tuomas on April 26th, 2007 11:32 am

    DAVE (USSM),

    I love the website but…It seems like it is nearly impossible for you guys to give ANY credit where credit is due (Washburn in this case) unless it is aimed at one of the Ms players you have already projected favorably and have always loved. Case in point, in the past Doyle could do no wrong in your eyes as a Mariner…often times same case applies for Felix. Does Washburn have to pitch a shutout three hitter against an all-star lineup for the game to be a valid success?

    I’m not Dave, but I’ll do my best.

    Why is credit due to Washburn? The only thing you can say about his performance is that he threw the ball over the plate.

    It has been demonstrated that, minus Swisher and Bradley, the heart of the order for the As is bad. Contrast Stewart, Ellis, Crosby, Piazza and Chavez with any other lineup in the AL, other than the Mariner’s own. I’d take the Rays first five hitters over the first five from the As.

    Washburn threw his fastball over the plate and let the defense make plays. There’s nothing wrong with this strategy, but I don’t see how you can give him an incredible amount of credit for it. He’s not like Webb or Felix, with an incredible tendency to get GBOs. Of his twenty-seven outs, two were strikeouts. That’s not good.

    If Washburn had this pitching performance against an All-Star quality lineup, I’d be shocked, but not fooled. Washburn is doing two things right now better than he ever has in the past; getting grounders and infield flies.

    GB% IF%
    51.8% 18.2%

    That represents a 12% and 6% jump over his averages from the last three years. He’s also allowing fewer homers than he has in the last three years. This isn’t a great Jarrod Washburn, this is a lucky Jarrod Washburn. He’s a very good 5th starter.

    Doyle never really got a chance to do much wrong. Felix has received his share of criticism, but we’re talking about a twenty-year-old with incredible potential, so there’s really not much to criticize.

  142. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:32 am

    Nobody is a Moyer-like junkballer, except Moyer.

  143. hcoguy on April 26th, 2007 11:34 am

    This is ridiculous. I rarely post but feel compelled to point out the absurdity of the commments from the kool-aid drinkers.

    First off, its apparent that they put a lot of time and effort in their fifty word posts by their effective use of spelling, grammar, and statistical analysis. These, my friends, are the true, gritty M’s fans.

    Second, they stick to their guns even when presented with tangible, conflicting data. Once again, real M’s lemmings, I mean fans should never be distracted by sabremetric lies and those negative realists who only pray for rain and glooom and the Mariners to lose.

    Third, their happiness is directly tied to win-loss record, which would be a depressing thing in light of recent years. However, these scrappy fans actually exceed their happiness/win-loss ratio and are happy more often than those nerdy statheads who praise backup catcher Jamie Burke for a strikeout of all things but call for Washburn’s immediate DFA due to his complete game “shutout.”

    Oh wait, NOBODY is calling for Washburn’s head? I’m sorry, I guess I got swayed by all the straw flying around.

    I like when Wash throws strikes and not balls because of our defense, not because he makes bats miss or hit right at a glove. So I give him a thumbs up for that and a tip of the hat to the umpire and by God I will pray this happens 29 more times or so this season but hoping and expecting are two entirely different things so I will not be surprised when Washburn has ugly games when we remake some with Cleveland and play the east. And I will continue to get my analysis here where it is more often correct than not.

  144. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:36 am

    Guys like Vidro, maybe, but as we all know Vidro himself is new this season. He never got much of a chance from the beginning here, because of how he was acquired (and who he was traded for).

    Why does Vidro DESERVE a chance? He’s older than Snelling, also has injury problems, is considerably more expensive, has less defensive value than Snelling, and there’s no evidence he’s a better hitter the last two years. Just on the face of it, all the evidence shows the Mariners traded for a lesser hitter because Hargrove has a fetish for veterans, and Bavasi had extra cash.

  145. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:36 am

    Hmm, that is very high GB% for Washburn, I’d expect regression to occur there, unless he’s throwing a bunch more sinkers, but even then. I saw him in his game against Johan Santana, and thought several of his pitches looked like 2-seamers (sinking), but a lot of what he threw looked like typical Washburn, high 80′s 4-seamers, up in the zone, high 70′s slider, and a mid-high 70′s changeup.

  146. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:40 am

    Wells tops out at 88-89. That’s a very “eh” fastball- I’ve seen HoRam throw 90.

  147. Red Apple on April 26th, 2007 11:41 am

    Does this mean that had [Washburn] gone up against the Yankees, he’d still have pitched a shutout? Of course not. But I think he’d have pitched a good game.

    Dave has stated clearly that Washburn had nothing at all special last night, so you’re making a great leap of faith.

    Washburn may be our “#2 guy,” but that speaks volumes to the dropoff after Felix, not to Washburn’s abilities. Realistically, I see Washburn as a #3 on most teams. My opinion is that Dave might be a little harsh on him by saying he’s a #4 elsewhere, but he’s better informed than I…he could probably name off the starters (and their tendencies) for most teams, whereas I certainly couldn’t.

    I wonder what kind of pitcher Washburn might be if he weren’t so firmly set on pitching up in the zone and letting the outfielders chase down his mistakes. Granted, he’d lose some pace off his fastball, but inducing grounders…well, we all know how hard it is to hit a grounder over the outfield wall.

  148. Dave on April 26th, 2007 11:41 am

    The GB thing is almost certainly just noise from a small sample. He’s allowed 83 balls in play, with 43 of those going on the ground. At his established GB% rate, we’d have expected 33 of them to go on the ground.

    10 extra ground balls over four starts is well within the margin of error. I’d expect he’ll end the year with approximately a 40% GB rate again.

  149. Nick on April 26th, 2007 11:42 am

    This goes back to posts 128 -130 . . .

    Why is it the other team’s Washburn’s, i.e., mediocre pitchers, are so much more effective at exploiting the holes in our hitters swings, ala Beltre and the low-and-away slider or Sexson and anything other than a thigh-high fastball?

  150. Tuomas on April 26th, 2007 11:42 am

    One other interesting stat: over the last three years, Wash’s HR/G has fluctuated between 1 and 1.2, and his HR/F has been between 10 and 12 percent. This year, he’s at .71 HR/G and 7.7 HR/F.

  151. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 11:42 am

    Also, you generally don’t see high (or even above average) IF/F with high GB% pitchers. Also his 8.4% LD% so far this year, is gonna go up, and at least so far he’s strikeout less batters, and walking more (than the last 3 years). He’s coming back to earth no matter how you cut it.

  152. Tuomas on April 26th, 2007 11:44 am

    Dave: I agree. I was trying to demonstrate that his game was more the result of good defense, luck and a crappy opposing offense than any hidden talent he has.

  153. harry on April 26th, 2007 11:52 am

    108: agreed. I think most fans want to just relish wins yesterday and hope for wins tomorrow, and failure to unquestioningly relish a win is somehow just being a jerk. This skeet person needs to realize that the sort of quality analysis at USSM is about relishing wins, but thinking about how to get future wins, and relishing good decisions to obtain that future.

    Washburn’s win last night was not a demonstration of repeatable skill. It was a lucky night, where he got the calls, or got the A’s chasing pitches that were the same junk the Twins did not fall for. You can’t expect that to keep up.

    The lamentation is not about the M’s winning: it’s about temporary success blinding them to the actual rot in the team.

  154. msb on April 26th, 2007 11:52 am

    please excuse a visit from the real world, but Katie Morris died yesterday. Now, if you want to see a happy Mariners fan, check out Katie’s Make A Wish visit to Safeco last year …

  155. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 11:54 am

    Nobody is a Moyer-like junkballer, except Moyer.

    Well, yes, but Wells also throws plenty of offspeed stuff. Nobody’s going to mistake him for King Felix, unless they think he ATE him.

  156. terry on April 26th, 2007 11:56 am

    All we needed were four more quick losses…. dammit Beane-you’re a jerk.

  157. Jeff Nye on April 26th, 2007 12:08 pm

    *steam rising from ears*

    Please, do all of us a favor. If you’re going to post about how mean Dave is, or how negative this blog is; the P-I blog is that way. —>

    Note that that does not mean that dissenting opinions are not welcome here; they are. This blog’s long-time readership is not as homogenous as some newer posters make it out to be.

    But the entire POINT of Dave’s post (in my opinion anyway, please correct me if I’m misrepresenting your intent Dave) is that honesty and accuracy in player evaluation is one of the HUGE problems with this franchise right now, and the media does not help at all by giving Washburn credit for a pitching “performance” that had less to do with his pitching talent and more to do with the poor quality of hitters he was facing.

    Does that mean that we’re not happy that the Mariners won a game? Of course not. We wouldn’t spend time on this blog if we weren’t interested in the fortunes of this team. We simply want to be able to talk, intelligently and honestly, about what gets the team to those results, and the fact that the media finds “dominating pitching performances” to be good storylines and thus push that angle as hard as they can, justified or not, interferes with that by getting people to “drink the kool-aid” and clouding their judgement about what really won the Mariners the game last night.

    It distresses me that I’m feeling compelled to make these types of posts more and more often, despite not being any sort of moderator for this site (I’d like to make that clear, this is just my stance as a fan of this blog).

    We’re here to discuss the Seattle Mariners in a candid and involved fashion; if you’re here to do the same, great. If you’re here to make personal attacks against people who do a lot of hard work creating this space for us to have these conversations, then don’t click that little gray button down at the bottom of the page.

    You can disagree all you want, in a civil and reasoned manner, but this is not the P-I blog. Please conduct yourselves accordingly.

  158. argh on April 26th, 2007 12:08 pm

    dammit Beane-you’re a jerk

    By contributing to Grover’s longevity in Seattle, Beane probably did more for the Atheletics’ 2007 prospects than anything short of getting a couple of free picks from Boston’s 25 man roster. Man’s dumb like a fox.

  159. kenarneson on April 26th, 2007 12:09 pm

    Interesting discussion. I’ll throw in my A’s fan perspective of the game:

    1) Yes, the A’s offense sucks right now. It was compounded by the fact due to injury, that A’s had four left-handed bats in the lineup against Washburn, when they’d normally just have one. The names Buck, Johnson and Putnam would normally be Kielty, Swisher, and Bradley. There was a huge platoon disadvantage in this game for the A’s.

    2) The umpire had a generous strike zone. That helped Blanton, too, but Washburn did a better job exploiting it. He hit the (wide) corners more consistently with his fastballs, and he was also able to throw his curveball for strikes on any count, keeping the A’s off balance. The walk is an important weapon for the A’s, but Washburn + umpire made that weapon unavailable last night. The A’s had to win by making contact, and making a lot of contact is not really the A’s M.O.

    3) Whenever the A’s did make good contact, the Mariners made some superb defensive plays.

    Of those three points, only #3 is something Mariners fans should reasonably expect to happen regularly. The M’s defense is indeed very good. But the opposing lineup (A’s or otherwise) won’t always be that bad, the umpire won’t always be that generous, and Washburn won’t always have such good control.

  160. John09 on April 26th, 2007 12:17 pm

    I’m not sure I agree with the Vidro/Snelling comparisons. Snelling has had such limited continuous MLB experience that it’s hard to compare them. Vidro, on the other hand, has a nice history when healthy. And in watching him this year, I’m impressed with his swing and approach. I think if he stays healthy, he’ll have a good year. And in having him DH, his likelihood of getting hurt is much less.
    I enjoyed watching Snelling hit as much as the rest of you, he looked so solid and had patience that most of our team doesn’t have. But realistically, given his history how much can you expect out of him?
    Vidro, however, has a similar feel when he’s hitting. In crucial AB’s this year, he’s one of the few guys who I think will present a challenge to the pitcher.
    I wonder if he was hitting 2nd, if we’d look at him differently. Beltre certainly isn’t a #2 hitter, regardless if his numbers improved hitting in that slot last year. Watching him hit is painful, knowing he can’t recognize pitches,and watching him flail at horrible pitches and foul off hittable ones. So, if we move Beltre down to sixth or seventh and move everyone else up, doesn’t Vidro look like a nice #2, instead of an inadequate #3?
    And then people wouldn’t complain about him so much?

  161. Brian Rust on April 26th, 2007 12:18 pm

    The probability of a pitcher with a “true” .3976 GB/FB ratio, inducing 43 (or more) GB on 83 BIP = .00986. If JW’s performance is truly/merely random, it’s a 1-in-100 event. FWIW.

  162. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 12:23 pm

    The R=50% for GB% is ~50 batted balls (IIRC). I still think it’s (mostly) noise. Has anyone said he’s throwing more 2-seamers this year?

  163. Dave on April 26th, 2007 12:23 pm

    Washburn doesn’t have a .39 GB/FB rate. That would make him the most extreme flyball pitcher on the planet.

    GB% isn’t GB/FB rate, but GB/BIP rate.

  164. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 12:25 pm

    I found an old spreadsheet with GB% regressions in it for 04-06, it’s 57 batted balls.

  165. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 12:29 pm

    I second #157′s comment. Poor player evaluation is what caused the M’s to hang onto Pineiro and Meche, believing that they were better than they actually were. The M’s and the local media always thought that those two were as good as their best looking appearances, which was simply the wrong assumption. And Jeff Weaver is not as good as his WS start.

  166. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 12:30 pm

    Guys like Vidro, maybe, but as we all know Vidro himself is new this season. He never got much of a chance from the beginning here, because of how he was acquired (and who he was traded for).

    Yeah, well he isn’t helping his cause by being a DH batting third with 2 home runs, 7 RBI’s, a slugging % of .388 and the speed of dead turtle. He does have more patience at the plate (4! walks!) than most of the line-up, and I’ve heard that aspect of his game praised here.

    You know it’s funny. You say “he didn’t get much of a chance here” as if USSM can possibly have any effect on how he performs. It’s silly because, USSM evaluates moves as good or bad (often with some variance between what the site contributors think), and the player performs without ever reading that evaluation. The fact that Vidro is slow and has hit no doubles or triples this season is something completely outside of USSM’s control. The fact that we knew he and Sexson were going to be doubled up without any problem last night is not the blog’s fault. It validates some of the pre-season opinions of him, though. Likewise, when HoRam and Weaver suck ass, USSM is not to blame for not givig them a chance. You should be giving USSM credit for on-spot analysis. And as often as Dave or Derek are right about player evaluation, they merit more than “gosh you guys aren’t giving credit” objections to their informed opinions. At least come armed with something to back up your objection. It’s a dodge as old as the web to blame people for not being nice or open-minded in order to avoid taking on the substantive point.

  167. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 12:31 pm

    I sorry about all the bold on that last one!

  168. Tek Jansen on April 26th, 2007 12:33 pm

    I will disagree with 160. I imagine most clubs are happy to see the M’s field a lineup with Vidro at DH batting third. And they wouldn’t mind seeing him bat second. He is another example of the M’s problem with player evaluation.

  169. DKJ on April 26th, 2007 12:38 pm

    A moment to defend my use of language.

    An ad hominem judgment is based on the person involved, not the facts of the situation.

    Pitcher X threw a three-hit shut out – let’s say (to keep it hypothetical) against a PCL team. Nice accomplishment. (Who among would not be proud?)

    Pitcher Y threw a three-hit shut out against a PCL team. No accomplishment at all, because Pitcher Y did it.

    However, I did not accuse Dave of making an ad hominem judgment, but remarked that his post had an ad hominem quality.

    You guys live by the minutiae of numbers, and some of us by the minutiae of words.

    Still a privilege to participate in this discussion.

  170. bakomariner on April 26th, 2007 12:38 pm

    snelling is gone…vidro is here to stay, whether we like it or not…get over it…it’s like pining over a girlfriend that’s left you…you have to move on or you will only make it worse…and sound pathetic…

  171. hcoguy on April 26th, 2007 12:43 pm

    capitalization and punctuation are gone, rambling mutterings are here to stay…

  172. eponymous coward on April 26th, 2007 12:49 pm

    snelling is gone…vidro is here to stay, whether we like it or not…get over it…it’s like pining over a girlfriend that’s left you…you have to move on or you will only make it worse…and sound pathetic…

    So that means we should be thrilled that Bavasi and Hargrove think Vidro deserves a full time job as a DH batting 3rd, and that they got rid of a better player?

    Personally, I’m all ready for “moving on”, which will happen when Bavasi and Hargrove are no longer employed by the Seattle Mariners and have “moved on”.

  173. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 26th, 2007 12:50 pm

    #169 – Even to make a judgment about an ad hominem quality, I believe you have to point to something said about Washburn that is not performance related. All I saw were supporting statements that referenced the type, speed, qaulity and location of his pitches – those are not character judgments unrelated to his substantive point, nor do they near such a judgment so as to have an ad hominem quality.

    Although Dave’s changed his modifying language from “crappy” to “below average” the bottom line is some people are uncomfortable with the notion that the pitcher – especially in a low-run or shut-out ball game – may have less to do with the outcome than is popularly believed. That discomfort is probably worth a good discussion, and it’s a shame that we aren’t talking about tangible things Washburn did last night that might challenge Dave’s point (if such things exist). Instead we’re arguing about tone. Can anybody point to some evidence last night (consisting of more than – he looked comfortable, or he only gave up three hits!) to support a claim that Dave’s full of it? I’d really like to hear something like that, because the discussion would probably be interesting.

  174. Xteve X on April 26th, 2007 1:17 pm

    For what it’s worth, I think your analysis of last night’s results were right on the money Dave. C’mon folks, Oakland’s offense is terrible. Do you really expect Jarrod Washburn to repeat last night’s performance against the Yankees or the Red Sox? Of course not. Last night Washburn pitched as he usually does and it didn’t come back to bite the Mariners. That is not something for which Washburn should be praised. If anything it’s a “Whew…glad he didn’t kill us again last night.” I don’t see how that sentiment qualifies Dave as a hater. Perhaps like Rizzs he should limit his comments to glorious gushing praise only so as not to offend? Whatever.

  175. The Ancient Mariner on April 26th, 2007 1:29 pm

    And what is an “ad hominem quality,” anyway? Is there any more content to that whatsoever than “I don’t like your tone”? This is getting seriously close to Alice-in-Wonderland Humpty-Dumpty “words mean what I tell them to mean” here.

    I should also note the following, w/r/t the discussion above re: Moyer’s control: among recent pitchers, the best career BB/9 belongs to Dan Quisenberry (1.397), followed by Bob Tewksbury (1.454), Brad Radke (1.634), Bret Saberhagen (1.654), Rick Reed (1.659) Jon Lieber (1.712), Greg Maddux (1.837), David Wells (1.856), Ben Sheets (1.883), LaMarr Hoyt (1.915), Billy Swift (1.929), Brian Anderson (1.961), Doug Jones (1.970), Curt Schilling (1.990), Roy Oswalt (2.009), Greg Swindell (2.019), Dennis Eckersley (2.022), Mike Mussina (2.023), Mark Buehrle (2.057), and so on; Jamie’s career BB/9 is 2.550, below (among others) Jeff Weaver (2.457). All of which is to say, Jamie’s control is good, but hardly historic.

    But wait! you say–that includes his bad years! What about his peak? Well, the best recent season is Carlos Silva’s utterly insane 0.430 BB/9 in ’05; none of Jamie’s seasons makes the top 7 for BB/9 in the last 15 years (or top 100 overall, though that list is loaded with pre-1900 seasons), nor has he ever posted the best BB/9 in baseball for a season.

  176. Brian Rust on April 26th, 2007 1:29 pm

    Dave, you’re right, my mistake. Corrected, then:

    The probability of a pitcher with a “true” .3976 GB/BIP ratio, inducing 43 (or more) GB on 83 BIP = .00986. If JW’s performance is truly/merely random, it’s a 1-in-100 event. FWIW.

  177. planB on April 26th, 2007 1:30 pm

    fwiw, I totally understand and share the sentiment

  178. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 1:34 pm

    FWIW, I believe, there is a class of pitchers, in the -1 SD to average gb% range that pitch above what would be expected, based on pure averages. It’s probably a selection bias, (since unsuccessful guys won’t make it), but in that range, pitchers have lower HR/F, lower LD/Airball (resulting in averagish LD%), and lower IF/F than the rest of the population. I suspect it’s (mostly) guys with good stuff who fit that mold, like Johan Santana. LD% correlates to K% at ~R=-.2 for qualified pitchers, IF/F correlates to r=.09, and HR/F r=-.10. The 0.09 (nor -.1, nor -.2) are not predictive, and the .09 and -.1 could easily be noise, but if you look at the -1 to 0 SD GB% group, it’s R=-.21 for LD/Air, .13 for IF/F, and -.19 for HR/F. .

  179. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 1:35 pm

    Oh, and Washburn does not have “good stuff” or high k%, I was just pointing out, not all flyball pitchers are the same (an Eric Milton Flyball a Johan Santana Flyball)

  180. chrisisasavage on April 26th, 2007 1:36 pm

    Wow, Word press mangled that. I meant (an Eric Milton Flyball DOES NOT EQUAL A Johan Santana Flyball)

  181. John09 on April 26th, 2007 2:04 pm

    Reply to #168:
    Vidro currently hitting .309 with career .301 avg. albeit not too much power.
    Here are the AL #2 hitters with their avg. You say most GM’s are happy to see Vidro at #3 in our order and I agree with that, but I doubt that’s true if he hits #2.
    LAA-Cabrera .259
    Oak-Ellis .226
    Tex- Catalanatto .154
    Sea-Beltre .219
    TB-Harris .324 (career .238)
    Bos-Youkilis .246
    NYY-Jeter .316
    Bal-Mora .257
    Tor-Lind .286
    KC-Grudzielanek .271
    Minn-Punto .191
    Cleve-Blake .200
    Det- Polanco .360 (career .301)
    CHW-Iguchi .259
    I’d take maybe two or three of these guys over Vidro hitting second. I don’t know what his salary compared to the guys listed, but if he stays healthy I think he looks good.

  182. colm on April 26th, 2007 3:09 pm

    John09

    I don’t understand your logic on at least three levels:

    1. Using batting average as the sole measure to quantify value?
    2. Comparing Vidro to a bunch of #2 hitters none of whom is a full time DH?
    Or strangest:
    3. Suggesting hitting Vidro second when there are faster moving tectonic plates.

  183. Graham on April 26th, 2007 3:11 pm

    The only reason Washburn is hitting well is because batters aren’t hitting line drives off him. He’s something like 3 standard deviations below the normal LD/BIA.

  184. Graham on April 26th, 2007 3:12 pm

    John, I would take everyone but Harris and possibly Punto over Vidro batting second.

  185. John09 on April 26th, 2007 3:32 pm

    Reply to #182:
    My logic at the three levels you mentioned:
    1-I realize listing only BA as a sole measure is not valid, however, I don’t have the time to type in all that makes value. However, in my opinion if you look at the BA’s of these guys you can see that Vidro isn’t the black hole he’s made out to be on this site. The BA is an indicator, I don’t know what his OPS is compared to the other guys. My hunch is he’s in the middle, but I guess I shouldn’t say that since this site isn’t about hunches (that’s a good thing).
    2-I’m comparing him to other #2 hitters because I think that’s where he should hit. What does it matter that he’s a DH?
    3-I have nothing to say to that, he is terribly slow. However, I don’t think it’s real important. How many more bases will Beltre steal than Vidro?
    My point was to show that Vidro shouldn’t be the whipping boy he is on this site. Just watch his AB’s and you realize this guy understands how to hit. Are you happy Beltre is hitting second?

  186. The Ancient Mariner on April 26th, 2007 3:48 pm

    I understand how to hit, too; it doesn’t mean I have the ability to execute my understanding well enough to succeed as a major-league hitter. Ditto for Vidro these days.

  187. John09 on April 26th, 2007 4:10 pm

    186-
    That’s great you know how to hit. I don’t know you well enough to say more about that.
    Not succeeding this year? Depends on your defintion of success, he was able to execute his understanding today into getting multiple hits and hitting one off the wall for a two-out RBI double which as a Mariner fan you realize have been few and far between for the team. I realize one game doesn’t a season make, but you have to look at what he does, in addition to what he doesn’t.
    That’s enough about Vidro for me. We’ll see how it goes this year for him, I’ll be pulling for him.

  188. mln on April 26th, 2007 4:15 pm

    This thread is turning into a USSM group therapy session.

    Everybody take a deep breath and repeat: Serenity Now….

  189. terry on April 26th, 2007 5:55 pm

    Show of hands….

    Reach for the sky is you’re satisfied with your DH putting up this line: .299/.338/.388 OPS: .726;

    For context, last year the average DH did this: .261/.356/.485; OPS: .841. So far this year, league average for DH is this: .260/.351/.433; OPS: .784.

    Vidro not only isn’t in the middle of the other guys, he’s significantly below average (that’s NOT a good thing). Vidro pretty much is a blackhole. He’s a one tool guy so far…he hits for average.

  190. Goose on April 26th, 2007 6:00 pm

    Wow. The quality of the member comments at this place has gone down alot. Sad.

  191. colm on April 26th, 2007 10:16 pm

    Thanks John. In response I’d say that:
    1. If you had the time to type in all his other numbers as Terry has done, he’d look a lot less valuable than his .309 batting average.
    2. It still makes no sense to me for you to compare him to a bunch of #2 hitters when Vidro’s not the #2 hitter on the Mariners, and none of those guys is a DH. Why not compare him to a selection of #7 hitters because that’s where a lot of posters on this sit would hit him?
    3. You’re probably right. Batting order doesn’t matter much. Which makes your comparison in point 2 all the more baffling. That said… Dave Cameron has already raised the point on this blog that Vidro’s skillset as a beat-the-ball-on-the-ground/run-like-a-tractor hitter makes it likely that he’ll ground into a great many double-plays this season. Batting him behind a high OBP player like Ichiro would increase that total even further.

  192. The Ancient Mariner on April 27th, 2007 8:40 am

    Hey, I’ll be rooting for Vidro, too; but he’s not hitting for significant power, he’s not drawing walks, and he has no value in the field or on the basepaths because if he were any slower, he’d be going backward. At this point, taken as a whole, the guy’s a replacement-level player who’s costing us big money. Snelling? Heck, as much as I’ve been a fan of his since I watched him for Everett, this isn’t about Snelling; I’d rather Bavasi had dealt Snelling for a box of Froot Loops (well, Fruto Loops) and anointed Bryan LaHair the DH–we’d be better off.

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