For Comparison

Dave · April 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Angels are also 1-3 after four games. They were playing at home.

They have scored 12 runs, half of those coming on opening day.

Brandon Wood, the guy they are counting on to replace Chone Figgins at third base, is 1 for 12 with 5 strikeouts, looking just as lost as he always has in the big leagues.

Jeff Mathis, he of the projected .281 wOBA, has started three of the first four games behind the plate, while Mike Napoli (projected .367 wOBA) sits and watches. Napoli is the Angels second or third best hitter, and he has four plate appearances so far.

None of their four starters have pitched beyond the 6th inning. Joe Saunders got pounded, and Ervin Santana’s average fastball in his first start was 93.5 MPH, up from last year but still down 1.5 MPH over his breakout 2008 season. Joel Pineiro walked three batters in his first start since shifting back to the AL – he only walked three batters in one start all of last year.

Their new $7 million setup man, Fernando Rodney, gave up four runs last night, and is now sporting an ERA of 18.00.

Breakout star hitter Kendry Morales is 3 for 17 with no walks and one extra base hit.

If you’re freaking out about how bad the Mariners have looked, and how many players are off to poor starts, and how this is the end of the world, then I guess you also think that the Angels are toast as well. If you think its too early to count Anaheim out, and that they’ll start playing better soon, well, then, yeah, don’t forget to apply that feeling to the home town nine as well.


36 Responses to “For Comparison”

  1. msb on April 8th, 2010 10:25 pm

    You sunny optimist, you.

  2. Liam on April 8th, 2010 10:30 pm

    If baseball wasn’t a zero sum game, I’d swear every one was struggling.

  3. Griffin Cooper on April 8th, 2010 10:44 pm

    I’m extremely glad that the Angels and Rangers are getting off to the same crappy starts that we are – we might have a pretty rough month, but that’s not going to be a season-killer if we don’t fall too far behind the rest of the division.

  4. marc w on April 8th, 2010 10:48 pm

    And don’t forget Texas, which suffered a crushing loss today to Toronto after CJ Wilson pitched brilliantly for 7 innings. Toronto is abysmal, and they just won the series against Texas thanks to 4 home runs from zombie Vernon Wells. So yeah, what Dave said.

    This division is every bit as winnable as it was a week ago.

  5. lamlor on April 8th, 2010 10:49 pm

    Are we really comparing the slow start of the team that has won the division like every year this century with the team that hasn’t made the playoffs in the last eight years?

    That is an optimistic viewpoint. Maybe as optimistic as some have of Grandpa Griffey hitting 20 HR’s for us as our lead DH.

    Keep the faith my friends.

  6. wabbles on April 8th, 2010 10:59 pm

    Well, I guess it’s a matter of perspective. The other family’s misbehaving child is a monster, your is just cranky or misunderstood. Yeah, the Angels might be screwed this year but I don’t care about the Angels, I care about the Mariners. And so far they look…cranky. But yeah, let’s wait until Bradley starts hitting (he will, and he’s already fielding well) and the bullpen gets sorted out, etc. If the AL West turns out to be a battle of punch drunk heavyweights, we’ve got a chance. If someone overachieves, well…we still can play for pride.

  7. aaron1122 on April 9th, 2010 12:57 am

    It’s good to put it in perspective like that…. All to often we in Seattle tend to lose it….

  8. spankystout on April 9th, 2010 1:14 am

    Thanks for the consolation. But I would rather have a struggling, high-upside in Kendry Morales over Kotch. Santana’s 1.5mph discrepancy over Snell’s command. They can keep Joel “el pinata” Pineiro, and Scioscia is choosing to not play an offensive threat in Napoli.
    Overall these problems seem arbitrary in “comparison.”

  9. DaveValleDrinkNight on April 9th, 2010 2:39 am

    Relax for f@#%s sake!

    Does anyone here think that the A’s are going to win the Division based on the last three days?

    The answer should be no.

  10. Breadbaker on April 9th, 2010 4:27 am

    I have friends who are Phillies fans who were worried when they were 2-0. The M’s strengths were the same before the season started and their weaknesses were the same as well. Our team wasn’t constructed specifically to do well in Oakland, it was constructed to do well in Safeco and we haven’t played there yet. Tomorrow we can be 2-3 and a game out of first place. BFD.

  11. flashbeak on April 9th, 2010 5:28 am

    I would be slightly more optimistic if we lost 3 out of 4 to the Twins.

  12. heyoka on April 9th, 2010 5:38 am

    1-3 !!!

    sell sell sell

    there’s always next year

  13. shmup-o on April 9th, 2010 5:47 am

    Just think of the M’s in the West as the UW in Pac-10 basketball this year. No one is going to run away with the thing, so just keep plugging away.

  14. LongTimeFan on April 9th, 2010 6:57 am

    I just posted this under the Game 4 Recap, but it fits better here:

    For those that are contemplating leaping off the bandwagon this early, take a little comfort in the fact that every other team is starting out relatively slow as well, and I mean EVERYONE.

    I don’t remember if I have ever seen a season start with only 1 team remaining undefeated after just the opening series. That one team is of course the Giants, not exactly a lock to win 100 games this year. Let’s just see how this first month plays out, but again the start to this season seems to reflect an unusual amount of parity around the majors, at least in the first week.

  15. Paul B on April 9th, 2010 7:30 am

    Year after year it always seemed like the Mariners could never get a win in Oakland.

    Last year was an exception.

  16. CCW on April 9th, 2010 8:18 am

    Certainly, some people are blowing the 3 losses out of proportion, but I’m willing to bet that 95% of the people here feel exactly the same as you, Dave. We understand that the season is long, that this is a small sample, that Cliff Lee is coming back, etc. etc. The hypothetical foolish fan who is blowing this out of proportion is essentially a media-created straw man.

    The fact is, though, that this is a place where people discuss the Mariners in granular detail, and when they lose, we naturally discuss the losing. In this case, we are simply applying concerns we have had for months to the specific facts at hand. No new ground is really being covered. We’ve all discussed Sweeney, Griffey, and Langerhans before, generally. We’ve discussed Wak’s sometimes strange bullpen usage, and his reticence to pinch-hit. We’ve discussed the team’s strengths and weaknesses ad nauseum, while the whole time pining to see an actual game so we can apply the general to the specific.

    Now that the season as started, and the M’s have lost three in a row, it is not blowing anything out of proportion to focus on the negative parts of this team. It is simply what we do.

  17. georgmi on April 9th, 2010 8:55 am

    Hey, hey! It’s still mathematically possible for us to finish the season at 159-3. I’d take that.

  18. mlathrop3 on April 9th, 2010 9:00 am

    Each team that was favored by Vegas won in our 4 game series with Oakland. We were only favored on Felix Day. Interesting.

  19. LongTimeFan on April 9th, 2010 9:14 am

    So I wonder what Vegas would project the Mariners 2010 record to be?

  20. JMHawkins on April 9th, 2010 9:16 am


    Might as well face it, we’re doomed. All doomed. No hope. Can’t expect to win with a team like this. No power bat. Nobody for the three hole. Bunch of fifth starters in the rotation. Team doesn’t scare anybody. And I seem to have lost my tail again. It’s probably too much trouble, but if someone should find it, please pin it back on.


    On the other hand, two Designated Huggers and suboptimal bullpen usage. Dropping 3 of 4 to start the season just highlights the organiztional head-scratchers. It’s light years better than the Bavasi-Hargrove-McLaren era, but why can’t it be perfect?

  21. codybond31 on April 9th, 2010 10:20 am

    Yeah, Yeah Yeah. Don’t over-react about the offense… Really? Why not?

    It’s well bellow average, and I could live with that, if we did have 3 Felix’s with a healthy Lee and Bedard. Oh and not to mention a stud glove at 3B like Beltre.

    But we don’t.

    Lee was terrible with Cleveland a couple years ago after the EXACT same injury. Bedard, no one knows what we can expect. So we Got 1 Felix and 4 5th starters. Scary.

    Also, did anyone notice that Bradley SHOULD have caught that 3rd out in the game 3 game winner hit by Suzuki? It went off his glove. Or Ichiro, or Wilson’s ugly errors? Even Guti booted one yesterday.

    So what is this team right now?

    Average Starting Pitching
    Average Bullpen
    Good but not great, Defense
    Triple-A offense

    And you really think we are going to just improve all 4 areas and right the ship? It’s not a 4 game sample, its based on spring and the recent careers of our roster.

    I love ole’ fashioned 3-2 wins. But minus Felix Day! we are going to be underdogs every game.

    And it’s not Jack Z’s fault. He had (has) a mess to work with. And No we shouldn’t have overpaid for the likes of Jason Bay, it just is what it is, so get used to it…

  22. Gomez on April 9th, 2010 10:38 am

    Perfect response, Dave.

    It’s four games, folks! Readers should know that’s a very small sample size from which to judge or project a 162 game season.

  23. lamlor on April 9th, 2010 10:53 am

    codybond31- Well said. That was my point up above, but you worded it more clearly.

    It isn’t about the 1-3 start, but it is more of a reflection of how this team really is based on the things you mentioned. I still say 81 wins.

    People have to remember one thing; This team is built to compete and not contend. There is a big difference.

  24. SBG on April 9th, 2010 11:04 am

    Well, the Angels were playing the 2010 World Champions, so there’s that.

  25. Shanfan on April 9th, 2010 11:09 am

    I’m disappointed after every loss of every season so I’m disappointed right now, but there’s no reason for pessimism yet. This team has a meager offense, and when a meager offense slumps it’s downright stinky. This is like last May when it struggled – it was horrendous, then it got back to being just wimpy and we were fine. It’ll get back to being meager from currently pathetic. And give the A’s pitchers some credit. What this team relies on is pitching and defense which has also slumped out of the gate. Those should get back to superior soon enough.

    The whole team looks a bit disjointed right now in all aspects of the game. Spring training had crummy weather, a lot of new players, position switches, and rehabbing. They still need time to gel. This team is really at the end of an eight-week road trip. They’ve gone from Arizona to Albuquerque to one game across the bay in nasty weather in San Francisco to four games in Oakland – never an Eden – and now off to Texas. I’ll be optimistic if we take just one game down there. While it might resemble a trademark March of the Zombies road-trip of the Hargrove/McLaren Era, coming home 1-6 or 2-5 would still be no reason to panic. This is a different team and a different era. Let’s get home to Safeco, get energized again, and start firing on a few cylinders at least. If we’re still struggling at the end of those ten days then we can re-evaluate this team. Until then, Believe Big! (And be happy it’s not 2008.)

  26. jefffrane on April 9th, 2010 11:59 am

    Selfishly, I hope the team gets fired up before the 25th of April. I have great seats for US Cellular Field. However, I will not be carrying a Rally Fries sign under any circumstances.

  27. behappy on April 9th, 2010 12:16 pm

    Seriously, come on people. Some of the best Baseball seasons are when the team comes out of the gate slow. What’s more exciting than watching a team struggle in April and May but, then start to turn it around in June and July. Then come Sept. we are passing the final trun at full speed. Only to win at Oakland in the last series of the year. That’s exciting baseball to me.

    We all knew this was going to be a dog fight and the first time we get bit half of you start crying. Come one people, this team is not the ’01 Mariners we are not going to win 116 games or even 100 but, what we want to repeat is the ’95 Mariners. A team that will struggle most of the year only to put it together the last month of the season for a deep playoff run.

    That is what I am hoping for. And why not? This is Baseball. If you can’t hope and dream during a baseball season you shouldn’t be a fan. You have two choices embrace this team for what is it and believe in them. Or stand on the sidelines and act like you know-it-all.

  28. lamlor on April 9th, 2010 12:44 pm


    You say, “That is what I am hoping for. And why not? This is Baseball. If you can’t hope and dream during a baseball season you shouldn’t be a fan. You have two choices embrace this team for what is it and believe in them. Or stand on the sidelines and act like you know-it-all.”

    You would make a great owner. Tell your fan-base that no matter where we finish year after year after year keep supporting us with your unwavering support. Pay for us to be in business and make millions. Build us a half-a-billion dollar stadium. But don’t question the fact we haven’t smelled the playoffs in eight years or you will be labeled a ‘know-it-all’.

    I am sure the fans in KC, Pitt, SD, & Baltimore all will agree with you. I guess it is not fair to compare us with those four teams. After all, each of those four teams have actually made a world series appearance since we have been a MLB team.

    Sorry, but I guess I am just another one of those people who stand on the sidelines and act like I know-it-all.

  29. eponymous coward on April 9th, 2010 12:44 pm

    As an exercise, let’s say the Mariners limp through April at 10-13, as Dave pointed out happened to the Angels last year- not doing a total faceplant, just not playing very well.

    Let’s say post-May 1, the M’s play 90-win baseball the rest of the year, with a healthy Lee and Bedard kicking in.

    That puts the M’s at 87 wins. The bad news is nobody’s won the AL West with that low a number of wins in a non-strike season since the AL went to three divisions (the Texas Rangers won with 88 wins in 1998). The good news is just a tiny bit of luck or improved play gets us to 90 wins, and who knows, maybe this is the year the AL West mimics the NL West.

    Dave’s right. It’s not time to panic yet. If we faceplant April to the tune of 6-17 or something like that, though, then you can start with the sackcloth and ashes, rending of garments and lamentations bit- because the Mariners would be looking at having to play ~95-win baseball the rest of the year to have a shot, and this offense just isn’t that good.

  30. codybond31 on April 9th, 2010 12:57 pm

    ahh haha. Comparing this team to the 1995 team that started slow and finished strong? What a joke!

    Of the key components of the 95 team (Unit, KG24, Edgar, Buhner), we have 1 of 4 (Felix to Unit).

    I agree with eponymous. We don’t have the horses to wait til mid-May or June to really hit our stride and play catch-up. And Sorry, the Angels and Rangers do.

  31. Jeremariner on April 9th, 2010 1:49 pm

    Three of the last four games have been tied going into the ninth inning. Those were all very winnable games, and would have been even more winnable had we started the season at home. If a few small details had gone our way — like hitters playing to their abilities, which will come around — we could have easily been looking at a 3-1 start.

    It all goes back to the Mariners being an annoying ballclub. The kind that can screw up and look weak on paper, but can still somehow squeeze enough runs out of thin air to baffle the opposition. It’s tedious watching them lose close game after close game, but remember how good a problem that is to have compared to the other way of losing.

  32. eponymous coward on April 9th, 2010 2:12 pm

    I agree with eponymous. We don’t have the horses to wait til mid-May or June to really hit our stride and play catch-up.

    Uh, I think my point is “don’t panic after 4 games; panic if we are in a deep hole by May Day”.

    That being said, the 1995 Mariners did something that no other team in baseball history did: come from 13 down on August 24. Even the 1951 Giants beat that one.

  33. PackBob on April 9th, 2010 2:25 pm

    If the team had hit anywhere near what they normally should, even with mediocre hitting rather than wretched hitting, they could easily have won 3 of 4. I don’t expect Ichiro to continue at a .250 pace, and expect Bradley to get more than 1 hit every 13 AB. Maybe the next close calls on steals will go their way.

    Too bad, though, I was really hoping for 648 RBIs out of Kotchman after what he showed that first game.

  34. djw on April 9th, 2010 3:13 pm

    People have to remember one thing; This team is built to compete and not contend. There is a big difference.

    Perhaps I’m dense, but this distinction makes absolutely no sense to me. Both would imply a team capable of winning at least a similar number of games as the other teams in the division (or teams competing (contending?) for the wild card). My trusty thesaurus lists both words for each other. Do they have some special meaning I need sports cliche decoder ring to translate or something?

  35. Plaws on April 9th, 2010 3:34 pm

    I’m glad to see Gutierrez start off hot at .429/.500/.571 and even hit 3rd in half the games so far. By what I understand I don’t expect either to continue quite as much. There’s the hot regular list. Lopez is hitting close to expected and is also the only regular on that list, though rate projections are all higher than his stats. Among the players expected to be in the top 4 of the order most nights (sans the Spider that catches all the flies), a group with both history and projections of higher than average OBP, Ichiro is leading in the stat at .200/.333/.200, then Bradley: .077/.294/.308, Figgins: .200/.278/.200, Kotchman: .143/.200/.143. That’s a .292 OBP combined. Anyone expect that to continue for the group? I’m ecstatic the games have been so close with the main strength in the order falling on their faces. This team is capable of scoring much more than people give them credit for. Ichiro will likely have many more opportunities to steal a base than he’s had in years with so many patient hitters behind him. We know what Figgins can do too. This top 4, while lacking in power, seems very strong to me in their ability to get on base and score. Our present 5th hitters (Griffey/Sweeney) are harder to be sure about, but Lopez and Guti at 6th and 7th are pretty good for the spots in the order. They will score plenty of runs against teams that aren’t so stifling with defense.

    Something to think about that makes this team different than any other before is Zduriencik’s constant search for improvements. He’s not afraid to make a move midseason and if there proves to be a need he’ll address it. The proof of that last year was truly heartening to witness. I noticed that anytime last year where people saw a real need to improve something Zduriencik was already all over it. If it does get to the point that a change should be made I’m sure he’ll already have the brands in the fire. I’m not worried about this offense being to weak to win. Not saying it’ll lead the league in many categories, but I don’t expect it to trail either.

  36. behappy on April 9th, 2010 4:30 pm


    All I am saying is this is Baseball, lets have some fun. I have been a Mariners fan since the mid 80’s so I understand that rooting for a shitty team is no fun. I wish I was a fan of a team that contends year after year. But, I am lucky enough to bleed Mariner blue. Lets just wait till August before we give up all hope.

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