Friday Is Coming

Dave · June 2, 2009 at 10:13 am · Filed Under Mariners 

For those of you who are tired of watching this offense flail away, you might only have to wait a few more days.

The next two nights, the Orioles throw right-handers at the M’s. Tonight, it’s a guy who struggles to throw strikes, and tomorrow, it’s a sinkerball guy. Don’t expect any big offensive surges in either game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team drop either or both of these games, even with Bedard going tonight. Thursday brings an off day before the Twins come into town for the weekend.

Usually, when teams make significant shifts in how they’re approaching a given season, it happens after a day off at home. These breaks in the schedule give the front office and the coaching staff a chance to sit down together and come up with a revised plan without worrying about that night’s game. They don’t get that many opportunities to have these kinds of organizational meetings, especially during the part of the season where buy-or-sell decisions are needing to be made sooner than later.

To top it off, the Rainiers return home for a four game homestand today, and will be in Tacoma through Friday. They go to Vegas on Saturday, and are then traveling through the middle of the month. When the big league club has an off day and Tacoma is at home, you’ll often see quite a few of the upper management guys at Cheney Stadium.

It’s a perfect storm for making some changes. The M’s rank second to last in baseball in production from their designated hitters, while Jeff Clement and Chris Shelton are destroying the PCL. Michael Saunders continues to impress with his offensive improvement, while Endy Chavez and Wladimir Balentien aren’t providing much of an obstacle at the moment.

Even if Zduriencik doesn’t want to pull the plug on 2009 yet, the team has options in Tacoma. Unless the M’s go nuts against Baltimore the next couple of days, I’d expect to see some changes made on Friday.


69 Responses to “Friday Is Coming”

  1. kenshabby on June 2nd, 2009 2:55 pm

    Seriously, the anti-Wakamatsu stupidity around here is ridiculous. Batting orders don’t really matter. Wak’s probably the best manager we’ve ever had.

    Just don’t leave Chuck Cottier out of the discussion.

  2. mwb on June 2nd, 2009 3:00 pm

    Maybe we should just let the pitchers hit for themselves.

    I’ve heard many times how much this club plays like an NL club. Maybe it really is time to go all the way. Don’t forget, Felix has established himself as a legit power hitter.

  3. Breadbaker on June 2nd, 2009 3:26 pm

    If we had taglines on our comments, mine would be “Free Jeff Clement!”

  4. Slippery Elmer on June 2nd, 2009 3:33 pm

    I hope Griffey doesn’t go anywhere just quite yet, ’cause I’m driving across the state to see him for the last time on Saturday.

    However, I will have my first-ever front-row seat to see Felix on Friday, and I doubt he will be moved, anyway. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few fresh faces surrounding him.

    But hands off Griffey until Sunday!

  5. Alaskan on June 2nd, 2009 3:55 pm

    I, for one, would much rather see a Shelton/Clement DH platoon than the one we have currently. However, given that Carp and Moore are new to AAA, Saunders just reached 50 games, and the DH pair are blocked by the “clubhouse leadership”, I won’t be holding my breath for the weekend. If something happens I’ll be thrilled though. C’mon, Jack!

  6. bilbo27 on June 2nd, 2009 4:01 pm

    Holy cow Jr just got bumped up to the top 3 in the all-star voting for AL outfielders (Hamilton just went on the DL and is expected to be out for two months).

    On one hand this will be completley wrong on so many levels if he makes the all-star team. On the other hand, am I the only one who wouldn’t mind seeing him there one more time in a Mariners uniform and maybe in the home run derby?

  7. gintzdog on June 2nd, 2009 4:21 pm

    Unfortunately, the manager and league decide who will replace injured players on the all-star roster. So, unless Griffey moves into the top three of the voting (at this point, he would likely need to pass Ichiro! because he is so far behind Hamilton), he would need to be chosen by the manager/league. As cool as it may be for us to see him at the game in a Mariner uniform, it will only happen with the fan vote.

  8. SequimRealEstate on June 2nd, 2009 4:36 pm

    Slippery Elmer Griffey is not going anywhere. He has his Bobble Head Night on Friday, August 7. I wonder if he would be willing to go the DL route and still have influence in the club house.

  9. SequimRealEstate on June 2nd, 2009 4:37 pm

    joser, Russell Branyan is batting second in tonights light up. Different to say the least.

  10. Joe C on June 2nd, 2009 4:49 pm

    Based on the lineup over at the TNT, I’d argue that Wakamatsu has set it up with Ichiro essentially batting third, with Chavez 8th and Guitierrez 9th in front of him. As stated above, Ichiro is followed by Branyan who is essentially be batting cleanup (in the two hole) if Chavez and Guitierrez can be like a 1-2 out of the bottom of the lineup.

  11. Steve Nelson on June 2nd, 2009 5:01 pm
    for me at least, why not bat Ichiro 1st and Branyan 2nd?

    Because this lineup doesn’t have enough lefties as it is, and putting two of them together just makes it easier for opposing managers to get good matchups with late inning relievers? You certainly could make a case for batting Branyan 3rd, however. Just remember (as scottiedawg already said) that as long as you avoid some basic mistakes, lineup order just doesn’t make a lot of difference (this is covered in The Book, but there’s a quick summary here).

    And batting second tonight for your Seattle Mariners is first baseman Russell Branyan.

  12. guschiggins on June 2nd, 2009 5:25 pm

    >>for me at least, why not bat Ichiro 1st and Branyan 2nd? <<

    Ah hah! I knew Wakamatsu would listen if I put up a good argument – almost the exact lineup I was thinking about except for Chavez hitting where Griffey Jr would.

    I’ve always disagreed with the whole “batting order doesn’t matter” argument – you want guys who get on base in front of guys with more power and you generally want your 2 best hitters hitting 1-2. With the current Mariners, there is no reason why Ichiro and Branyan shouldn’t be back to back (Ichiro generally doesn’t seem to be bothered by most LH specialists and Branyan is doing well against LHPs at least this year)


  13. Mike Honcho on June 2nd, 2009 5:43 pm

    Also, can we stop with the stupid nicknames?

    Zduriencik. Wakamatsu. Neither is that hard to type.

    Does that mean “Tui,” “Yuni,” “Junior,” “Griff,” “Joh,” “Gar,” and “Doyle” are off limits?

  14. bilbo27 on June 2nd, 2009 6:01 pm

    I have a question for everybody. What do people think of moving Griffy to left 4 or so days a week (against righties) and DH’ing Clement more or less everyday?

    Obviously the downside is the awful defense. The upside is getting Clement some time in the big leagues (whether he produces or not). Another plus is we get another lefty in the lineup. In addition to that, it ups Griffey’s injury risk, while simultaneously making him and a lot of casual fans happy. Thus at some point Griffey would inevitably need a DL stint opening up more playing time for someone later in the season and simulateously keeping everyone happy. And if Clement were to actually produce, it would even make the offense better to perhaps even out the lack of defense provided by Griffey.


  15. eb on June 2nd, 2009 6:23 pm

    May as well get the only two guys hitting in our line up as many AB’s as possible. I wish we could bat Rob Johnson 10th.

  16. bilbo27 on June 2nd, 2009 6:38 pm

    Wow: Ichiro, Branyan, Beltre, Griffey, Lopez, Yuni, Johnson, Endy, Fankie.

    This is pure genius on Wak’s part. Other than the first inning, this is his effective batting order: Endy, Frankie, Ichiro, Branyan, Beltre, Griffey, Lopez, Yuni, Johnson.

    So many people get their wish at seeing Ichiro more or less batting 3rd, but without having to move him out of the spot he’s o-so comfortable in. In addition, now opposing pitchers will be forced to pitch more to Ichiro and Branyan than before. Griffey will continue to be pitched around, but that is ok because Lopez does better with people on base anyways.

    Given that Wak has said they are not going to play small ball with Branyan (told to Branyan), it seems that Wak is thinking along the same lines, that Ichiro is now batting a pseudo 3rd and Endy is now his “lead off” hitter.

    Wak just continues to impress me more and more. The M’s front office sure made up for their Bavasi/various managers gaff with hiring JZ and with JZ’s managerial pick in Wak.

  17. joser on June 2nd, 2009 6:59 pm

    Does that mean “Tui,” “Yuni,” “Junior,” “Griff,” “Joh,” “Gar,” and “Doyle” are off limits?

    Spell names correctly, don’t make up something silly to cover for your inability to either remember, look it up, or add it to your spell-check. Nicknames that are in general circulation are fine, while tolerance for random inventions depends on them being, well, inventive.

  18. joser on June 2nd, 2009 7:01 pm

    joser, Russell Branyan is batting second in tonights light up. Different to say the least.

    Ok, so we now have irrefutable evidence that:
    1. Wakamatsu reads USSMariner, and
    2. He hates me.

    That seems like an acceptable tradeoff.

  19. Mark Oh on June 2nd, 2009 11:56 pm

    I wonder what we would fetch for Beltre? Is Rasmus even an option? Bedard could be a gem, and I really don’t care what we get for Washburn. The players that I think could bite us in the ass for trading are Yuni and Jose Lopez. In the end, if we could get a small ransom for Bedard and a useful player or two for Beltre I think we a better team, in the long run.
    On the topic of the nicknames; it is nice to have a site where grammar is a consideration. Having said that, when we ridicule people for being colloquial we sound like dicks. I really don’t mind being a dick though.

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