This Is Getting Fun

Dave · July 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

51-44 after a couple more one run wins. No, the win 2-1 plan isn’t going to work long term, but wins are wins, and the M’s are getting the games they badly need. Now, if the Twins could just go ahead and do a number on the Angels, that’d be nice.

How about Ryan Langerhans, by the way? Another hit and an HBP today, plus a couple more nice catches in center field. It really is amazing that he languished in Triple-A to start the season. Every team in baseball could use a good defensive outfielder who understands the strike zone and has some power. He’s close to a league average major league player, and the M’s got him for free. These are the kinds of pickups that good teams make.

The guy playing next to Langerhans, though? Less impressive. And no, I don’t mean Ichiro. Whether the M’s decide to go for it or not, they should still move Wladimir Balentien to someone who wants to give him a chance to learn how to hit something besides a fastball. He’s just totally lost on soft stuff, and even against a LH pitcher, he looked abysmal trying to hit anything that moves. With Langerhans here and Saunders coming, Balentien doesn’t have a future in this organization. Offer him to the Pirates for Ian Snell or the Nationals for Josh Willingham or something.

David Aardsma, June + July: 21 innings, 7 walks, 29 K. Yeah, he still gives up a lot of scary fly balls, but a 4.00 K/BB rate with no platoon split? That’s a relief ace.

And finally, Washburn. What else is there to say? Keep pitching well, Jarrod. It’s only good news for us.


98 Responses to “This Is Getting Fun”

  1. CMC_Stags on July 23rd, 2009 5:16 pm

    I believe that Balentien plays good defense, he finished the year playing a lot of center last year.

    Playing a position doesn’t mean you are good at it. For reference please see Chris Shelton’s time in Tacoma “playing” 3B this year.

    Wlad’s played less than a total season worth of games in the field and most people believe that you need multiple seasons of fielding data to remove most of the noise. That being said, the data we have so far shows that he’s not a “good” defender. In his ~80 games worth of playing time in RF/LF he is 1.3 runs above the average corner outfielder (according to Fangraphs UZR). In 25 starts in CF his UZR is -2.1 which puts him on pace to be -13 runs over a full season.

    Is there any trade value for Sweeney?

    No. He’s old, he’s been hurt often, and he hasn’t hit. The M’s options are to keep him on the 25, stash him on the DL and let him hang out around the club, or DFA him.

  2. JEidem on July 23rd, 2009 5:16 pm

    Balentien for Snell… PLEASE?! That’d be awesome.

  3. Wood Dog on July 23rd, 2009 5:20 pm

    Is this right? I am reading that Snell is “refusing” to come back and play in the majors for the Pirates? He’d rather ride a bus and sleep in motels than play for the Pirates? WOW. Not THAT is a sign of a well run organization that players want to play for.

  4. bilbo27 on July 23rd, 2009 5:28 pm

    Something interesting to consider that I personally hadn’t realized. The M’s have only played 43 home games this year thus far. That’s fewest in the AL. Rangers have played 52 thus far and Angels are at 45. For the Halos it doesn’t seem to make much of any difference in terms of their wins whether they are home or away. But for Texas and the M’s it does. Griffey has also been a decent hitter at Safeco this season.

    Anyways the important thing, the M’s have 38 more home games to play. If they keep their current winning percentage at home (58%) and .500 on the road that puts them at 22.1 wins at home and 14.5 wins on the road (29 total left on the road) the rest of the way; so about 37-ish total wins thus the M’s finishing at 88 wins. It’s maddening how close this team is to being a playoff contender and yet, not quite there. Amazing job by JZ though. 🙂

    If only the M’s could take a mulligan on May. Or heck, I’d settle for a mulligan on the decision to use Morrow on those back to back blown save losses in Texas. 😉

  5. lewis458 on July 23rd, 2009 5:36 pm

    Isn’t Balentien EXACTLY the type of guy you use to swindle other teams? Kinda like YB, but far tastier? He has scintillating raw talent, he hasn’t made all that many MLB PAs, and his minor league lines are pretty appealing for their age/level combinations.

    He seems like the type of guy other teams can really sell themselves on, and with Pittsburgh’s situation with Snell, you’d think we could at LEAST make that deal. Maybe even package Clement and get back Tabata and Lincoln.

    But, that being said, I seem to recall Pittsburgh’s moves being pretty roundly supported by smarter analysts, up to obviously being swindled out of LaRoche because they’re fed up with him (kinda like Snell!). They got back a killer haul for a grossly overvalued McLouth, and got younger/more upside/cheaper with Morgan for Milledge, along with getting a closer-esque reliever in Joel Hanrahan for older/I-don’t-know-what-value-he-has Sean Burnett.

    Speaking of Lastings Milledge, maybe we should be trying to target Elijah Dukes… Coming here, he couldn’t be any further away from his troubles in Florida. And just think of the upside!

  6. et_blankenship on July 23rd, 2009 5:48 pm

    Whenever a fly ball is hit to the vicinity of CF and I expect to see Gutierrez gliding over to make the catch, but then it’s the Langerhans, the downgrade is noticeable despite the fact he gets good jumps on fly balls, runs solid routes and covers plenty of ground with his long strides.

    It’s just a testament to how freaking good Gutierrez really is.

  7. coreyjro on July 23rd, 2009 5:53 pm

    Beginning to look like the Mariners are going to be a contender. They have 22 games left against the worst 3 teams in the AL. I’m expecting some interesting moves coming shortly.

  8. Dogham on July 23rd, 2009 6:16 pm

    I would like to see the M’s package Balentien and Tuiososopo (He’s not going to be our savior, so let’s get something good for him) to the Pirates for SS Jack Wilson and P Ian Snell. Instant upgrade, then all we need to do is find a catcher with some pop.

  9. The Ancient Mariner on July 23rd, 2009 6:31 pm

    lewis458, note my links above: there are those who liked the McLouth deal for Pittsburgh, but mostly in the scouting community (those who see real upside to Locke and Hernandez); Dave didn’t think the Bucs got enough for someone they had no particular reason to deal, and his opinion was pretty representative, iirc. As for Morgan, that deal only makes sense for Pittsburgh if you think there’s a real chance that Milledge can be fixed — and there are many out there who find that proposition pretty dubious. I suspect we can get Snell for a below-value price, if Zduriencik wants him, because their org has soured on him — but I don’t see them selling low on someone like Tabata.

    And bilbo, just because a statement isn’t complimentary or polite doesn’t mean it’s necessarily disrespectful. Most of us have times when we’re being condescending snots, and need to be called on it (me no less than anyone else and more than some, to be sure).

  10. juneau_fan on July 23rd, 2009 6:41 pm

    I wish I’d saved this ranting post in Baker’s blog that was pure, pure gold. All about how all of Zduriencik’s moves were awful, because, Langerhans for example, wasn’t even good enough to play on the big league Nationals! There was also something about getting the A’s cast-offs.

    I don’t usually slag on other blogs, but this was such an example of just glancing out the window while driving by at 90 MPH to form opinions.

    It then went into my old favorite, how we gotta get a big bat, some pop in the lineup, a stud, blah, blah, blah.

  11. The Ancient Mariner on July 23rd, 2009 6:48 pm

    juneau, was that Baker, or one of the commenters over there?

  12. henryv on July 23rd, 2009 7:17 pm

    Lets not jump the gun on considering ourselves out-and-out buyers. Getting rid of Wlad the Stumbler would be dandy, but we’re still 5 out and we’re still chasing 2 teams.

    But we’ve got a closer who will eventually come back to earth, and probably blow a couple or three more saves this season.

    And to be honest, I think Ichiro will probably come back down a little too.

    However, we do have the weakest schedule in the AL West (not that it really matters THAT much, because it really isn’t that much different from LAA and TEX), and we do have more home games than the rest of the AL West.

    18%… 85-88 wins… So close, yet…

  13. The Ancient Mariner on July 23rd, 2009 7:23 pm

    That’s why Dave’s been arguing that we should buy and sell at the same time; which, if Churchill’s tweet is right, sounds like what the FO’s on about.

  14. Lauren, token chick on July 23rd, 2009 7:27 pm

    Yessss! 3-0 Twins in Anaheim.

  15. tmac9311 on July 23rd, 2009 7:30 pm

    Snell is a must if you ask me, everything i read on him is he is a low buy player. He could start for us right now let alone once Bedard and Wash are dealt.

    Any chance something like Wash/Erik/Wladmir/Corocan/Lowe brings back Hardy/Snell and possibly Sanchez? Could we give the Brewers Wash/Wlad/Lowe for Hardy and take Bill Hall’s contract? Would they go for that?

  16. henryv on July 23rd, 2009 7:32 pm

    Its an interesting hand to play poker with… We’re not like Pitt or Baltimore, where everyone knows they want to sell…

    We can walk away from a deal… But you know there are some teams that are looking at Bedard and Washburn longingly, and thinking about their rotation every day.

    If Boston can’t land Halladay, they might come calling. They just watched the Yankees whiz by, and that can’t feel good. The Rockies and Giants can be played against each other.

    And there is Phillie too.

  17. 1000N on July 23rd, 2009 7:48 pm

    I was checking on something else and happened to notice that the M’s were 2 1/2 back of the Angels on May 25. Since that date, the M’s have played .625 ball. They’ve lost 3 games in the standings since then because the Angels have played .667 ball. Neither percentage seems sustainable for either team.

  18. EagleBonesFalconHawk on July 23rd, 2009 7:54 pm

    Twins beat that LAA ass!

  19. juneau_fan on July 23rd, 2009 8:28 pm

    Sorry, The Ancient Mariner, wandered off. It wasn’t Baker making the comment, but one of his posters. I should hope that Baker realizes that a team may be poorly managed.

  20. Sodomojostrikesback on July 23rd, 2009 8:37 pm

    Making a move to get Snell would be a bit premature until we can see how well RRS has recovered. Now if there is a plan to trade Bedard, then bringing in Snell would make sense. But a trade involving Bedard, assuming the M’s are still in contention, would probably have to net us a high end prospect, and more importantly in the context of this season, an established hitter. Not so much a big bopper, but another guti level player who can hold his own at the plate.

  21. Breadbaker on July 23rd, 2009 8:42 pm

    At 4:40 pm this afternoon, there was a line of about six people getting tickets at Safeco. I was in that line. We’ll be sitting right behind where Guti ought to be playing.

    I’m bringing a book because I’m getting there in time to get my bobblehead.

  22. GoMariners on July 23rd, 2009 9:28 pm

    It really is getitng fun, Dave. I just wish that we were closer to a playoff spot than what we are right now.

  23. EricL on July 23rd, 2009 9:51 pm

    I’m not optimistic at all about our chances of making the playoffs. But this team is fun to watch. I happen to appreciate low scoring games a lot more than 10-8 slugfests.

    To illustrate the point, the average game in MLB this year has 9.18 runs. Mariner games have 8.01. When was the last time a team averaged under 8 total runs scored in their games throughout a season?

    Close, tense, and exciting. And I love good defense.

  24. EricL on July 23rd, 2009 9:52 pm

    Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve got a bet on with my brother-in-law such that I get a beer for every game they win this season over 64.

  25. Snarf15 on July 23rd, 2009 10:09 pm

    Time for Nathan to shut down those Angels.

  26. wescottr on July 23rd, 2009 10:20 pm

    We are all huge Joe Nathan fans right now

  27. JR Ewing on July 23rd, 2009 10:37 pm

    Don’t forget about the wild card, seems to me the Mariners are closer to that than the lead in the AL west.

  28. BillyJive on July 23rd, 2009 10:39 pm

    I believe the homeplate umpire in this game hates the Mariners!!!
    2 strikes called balls..this game should be over!!

  29. joser on July 23rd, 2009 10:40 pm

    Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve got a bet on with my brother-in-law such that I get a beer for every game they win this season over 64.

    I sure hope you’e not expected to drink them in one sitting.

  30. sodomojo2459 on July 23rd, 2009 10:41 pm

    No kidding. I can’t believe that Angels tied that game up. Bloop hits, luck hits, missed calls by the ump and it’s tied. Is there a luckier team in baseball than the Angels?

  31. seacard on July 23rd, 2009 10:42 pm

    Incredible bounce on the Kendrick “hit”

  32. BillyJive on July 23rd, 2009 10:43 pm

    I can’t believe I’m staying up late to watch extra innings…

    Um…Go Twins!!

  33. joser on July 23rd, 2009 10:43 pm

    Inning summary over at Yahoo

    – B. Abreu walked
    – B. Abreu flied out to deep center
    – K. Morales hit by pitch, B. Abreu to second


  34. Scottdids on July 23rd, 2009 10:46 pm

    If this game to goes to the Angels, is anyone NOT convinced that its time to sell? I mean everything seems to be going their way. 5.5 games out with 65ish games to play, and with another team to jump over.. as well as the M’s are playing, I don’t see it happening.

  35. mlathrop3 on July 23rd, 2009 10:55 pm

    the Angels are not in our outfield…

  36. BillyJive on July 23rd, 2009 10:56 pm

    Fuck! Unbelievable!

  37. GoMariners on July 23rd, 2009 10:57 pm

    Angels just won again… 4.5 out of the wild card and 5.5 out of first place in the AL West.

  38. griffin on July 23rd, 2009 11:01 pm

    fuckin angels… never gonna catch up if they keep this up..


  39. MsofEnchantment on July 23rd, 2009 11:12 pm

    Sigh…by the end of the weekend I hope to have made up some ground. With any luck, the halos will lose three straight and we’ll sweep the tribe…but after two winnable games we have to go against Cliff Lee, Ricky Romero, and maybe Halladay.

    That could be the 3 game stretch that determines the season.

  40. TomTuttle on July 23rd, 2009 11:26 pm

    I would like to propose that the Angels are forced to make either Mike Hargrove or John McLaren their manager, effective immediately.

    All in favor, say “aye”.

  41. mw3 on July 23rd, 2009 11:44 pm

    I hate everything about the Angels. The way they win is even more annoying than the way the M’s win. Lets hope another epic collapse is coming to an Angels season near you.

  42. Big Bob on July 23rd, 2009 11:52 pm

    Sigh…by the end of the weekend I hope to have made up some ground. With any luck, the halos will lose three straight and we’ll sweep the tribe…but after two winnable games we have to go against Cliff Lee, Ricky Romero, and maybe Halladay.

    That could be the 3 game stretch that determines the season.

    Well then lets hope that Halladay is pitching far far away in the NL East by then. The M’s can sweep the tribe if they can get a good start out of hyphen. The Jays aren’t very scary to play anymore. Maybe the Angels will lose a game again this year….. DEATH TO THE RALLY MONKEY!!

  43. Big Bob on July 23rd, 2009 11:53 pm

    Sigh…by the end of the weekend I hope to have made up some ground. With any luck, the halos will lose three straight and we’ll sweep the tribe…but after two winnable games we have to go against Cliff Lee, Ricky Romero, and maybe Halladay.

    That could be the 3 game stretch that determines the season.

    The Angels are winning with smoke and mirrors, they will lose eventually….

  44. bilbo27 on July 24th, 2009 12:26 am

    Did anyone else watch the final out of Buehele’s perfecto? The White Sox announcer was beyond awful, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!” It reminded me strongly of Gollum when he finally got the ring at the end of Return of the King. Sounded almost exactly like it. What kind of call is that for such a momentous occasion?

    I kind of feel sorry for the White Sox fans having to listen to that every day. Thank goodness for Dave Niehaus and Rick Rizzs. Heck, even Sims is better than that guy.

  45. MKT on July 24th, 2009 2:30 am

    I don’t know much about the Pirates but 15 straight (I think) years of losing baseball doesn’t seem to qualify as a well run organization. Maybe things are changing though.

    I think they’re up to 16 straight years now, and after 2009 is over they’ll be at 17, which I believe sets a new major league record for consecutive seasons below .500 (the Phillies were below .500 from 1933-1948).

    The Mariners early years … err, decades … were abysmal, but even they managed only 14 straight sub-.500 seasons, before breaking through in 1991.

    But at least Pirates fans can look back on better days, the Bonds years, the We Are Family championship, Honus Wagner, etc. M’s fans in the early years had nothing to look back on, nothing to look forward to, and not all that much to watch in the present either. Boy those were the bad old days. Much better now.

  46. Plim on July 24th, 2009 6:42 am

    The Angels are winning with smoke and mirrors, they will lose eventually….

    Or they will get healthy and pull away while our smoke and mirrors fade away.

    It’s funny that everyone wants to write them off because one of their hits bounced off a base. What about the other 13? Were they smoke and mirrors too?

    I do wonder if some of their hits don’t come as a result of having so many men on base and so many runners moving all the time.

  47. busplunger on July 24th, 2009 7:14 am

    bilbo27: that’s the notorious Hawk Harrelson on the call (Heave the Hawk!). He’s indescribably awful.

    I live in Chicago and I literally can’t watch more than five seconds of a Sox broadcast without getting angry and annoyed. If they’re playing the M’s I’ll watch the entire game on mute.

  48. joser on July 24th, 2009 11:25 am

    The Angels are winning with smoke and mirrors, they will lose eventually….

    By Pythagoras, the Angels are 3 games luckier than they should be. The Mariners are now 5 games luckier than they should be. The Angels aren’t great, but they’re probably a .530, 85 win team. The M’s are a .500, 81 win team. That’s the reality that’s staring Zduriencik in the face (and, unlike Bavasi in ’07, he undoubtedly understands that).

    But hey, if you want to be the glass-half-full kind of guy, that win over Detroit pushed the M’s past them in the wild card race. Now just Tampa Bay, Texas, and Boston to overcome. How hard could that be?

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