Game Eight Recap

Dave · April 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Boo, 2-6.

One of the great things about baseball is how different each game can be. Even with historical averages giving us a reasonable expectation of what might occur over long periods of time, on any given night, anything can happen. Good players can perform poorly while scrubs play the role of hero. Each game offers the promise of uniqueness.

This is part of why this first week (plus) has been so lame. There’s nothing interesting about this offense not scoring runs. 1-2-3 innings, lots of weak contact, and DHs stranding runners… we’ve seen all this far too frequently. It’s not new or different. It’s the same, and it sucks.

This isn’t to encourage you to freak out or throw in the towel. In the end, it’s still just eight games, and these guys are going to hit eventually. But until they do, the games are boring, and these recaps aren’t going to be all that interesting either. You don’t need me to tell you why the M’s lost tonight.

As for Hyphen, he had a bit of a strange night. Threw strikes for the first three innings, letting the A’s make easy outs, and then lost his command to start the 4th, walking three straight batters. But, then, as quickly as it left, he got it back, and got out of the inning with minimal effort. He ran into some more command problems in the 7th, but again, it came right back, and he managed to go fairly deep in the game despite a highly abnormal five walks. Generally, when you see five BBs in the box score, a guy was really struggling the whole night, but that wasn’t the case tonight.

I’ll probably talk about this more in the next day or two, but I’m officially ready to be done with the Bradley-as-LF experiment. He’s not running around with a piano on his back like Raul was, but he’s not exactly fast, he doesn’t take great routes, and the effort level leaves too much to be desired. You could probably live with the miscues if the M’s had a lumbering slugger at DH, but they don’t – they have the worst DH combination in baseball. At this point, the logical move is to move Milton to DH full time and find a new left fielder, as there’s no point in having a left fielder who can’t field and a designated hitter who can’t hit. The longer the team stalls on making that decision, the fewer games they’ll win this season.

Jack Wilson – you’re a nice fielder and all, but you kind of suck at hitting. Stop swinging at the first pitch all the time. You’re just giving the pitchers quicker outs. Take some pitches. It won’t kill you.

Felix Day on Friday. Can’t get here fast enough.


84 Responses to “Game Eight Recap”

  1. profmac on April 12th, 2010 9:40 pm

    What about dropping Sweeney and signing Jermaine Dye to play left field? He’s still out there, and is a pretty good hitter. And, Im sure he could probably be gotten for less than an arm and a leg at this point.

  2. coasty141 on April 12th, 2010 9:41 pm

    So if the team has a high opinion of Sweeney doesn’t he have to come in to hit for Johnson in the 7th? Was Moore unavailable? That made no sense to me. Sweeney has no defensive value yet not enough offensive value to hit for Rob Johnson in a critical part of the game. Weird-o-rama

  3. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2010 9:43 pm

    PS- I’m not sure about all the Langerhans talk. It seems they already made that decision– to carry 5 outfielders, and not 6 (Bradley, DTFT, Ichiro!, Byrnes, and Griffey-in-a-pinch). Oh wait, I mean 6 instead of 7 (forgot about Tui).

    Sure, he’ll be up if somebody gets hurt. But I just don’t see a guy on the bench being dropped for a different guy on the bench.

    Langerhans has a better chance, I think, if they make a move with Byrnes.

    (Sweeney reminds me of the girlfriend that a guy’s group of friends can’t stand– mainly ’cause they don’t think she’s young and pretty enough for him. They spend all their time talking about how he’s gonna dump her any day now, y’know, ’cause they would… “I don’t know what he sees in her!?”)

  4. Liam on April 12th, 2010 9:49 pm

    What about dropping Sweeney and signing Jermaine Dye to play left field?

    His UZR the last three years is around -20. Whatever value he still has left with the bat is going to be erased in the other half of the inning. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he may have recently turned down $4M offer from the Nationals.

  5. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2010 9:50 pm


  6. JMHawkins on April 12th, 2010 10:04 pm

    Either way, adding Langerhans to a no-offense team and adding a win is not going to help anything. So the M’s will win 73 instead of 72 games. Nothing to get excited about.

    If you really think the M’s are a 73 win team, then you put Saunders in LF, move Bradley to DH, DFA Sweeney, trade Lopez for prospects and make Tui your full-time 3B (or 2B and swap Figgins back to Third, whichever you prefer).

    If you think they’re competing for the West, then you make the move to add the win, because you might need it at the end of September.

    I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic switch. I do think the offense will improve, and go from terrible to a little below average. I still think this is a great defensive and average offensive team. The bulk of the moves they’ve made still make sense and for those moves, it’s only been eight freakin’ games, chill out.

    But there are a handful of moves that don’t make sense. Moves that don’t make sense have a shorter rope. Moves like keeping two aging DH’s who can’t play the field at all any more, plus one injury-prone outfielder who profiles better as a DH at this point in his career and shouldn’t play the field. For moves like that, it’s been eight freakin’ games! Do something already!

  7. luckyscrubs on April 12th, 2010 10:31 pm

    So if the team has a high opinion of Sweeney doesn’t he have to come in to hit for Johnson in the 7th? Was Moore unavailable? That made no sense to me. Sweeney has no defensive value yet not enough offensive value to hit for Rob Johnson in a critical part of the game. Weird-o-rama

    Good point. My biggest fear of Sweeney making the team was that it would be impossible to get rid of him. If Sweeney isn’t even a lock to start against lefties, and isn’t used as a key pitch hitter, then what role does he really have on this team?

  8. jld on April 12th, 2010 10:36 pm

    I think Wak may have learned his lesson with pinch hitting for a catcher the other day when Moore subsequently took a pitch in the lumberyard.

  9. Liam on April 12th, 2010 10:41 pm

    Don Wakamatsu doesn’t pinch hit that often. You’ll also remember the scare the team had last week when Ryan Langerhans pinch hit for Rob Johnson and then Adam Moore got hurt the next inning. (It took him a couple minutes to shake it off, but he did stay in the game)

  10. greymstreet on April 12th, 2010 10:49 pm

    The importance of chemistry, per Mike Sweeney:

    “The atmosphere’s the same as last year, it’s just that the results are different.”

    Art Thiel

  11. KaminaAyato on April 12th, 2010 11:03 pm

    I am not getting off the bandwagon. But being at today’s game was a bit frustrating to say the least. (Only good point was that I got to see the entire game, got to my bowling league on time and help my team win the league with a 690.)


    The one thing that scares me is that as good as the baseball gods blessed us last year, they will just as much curse us this year. In other words, we will just get unlucky. That regardless of how good the roster was constructed, we will continue to roll snake eyes no matter how many times we try.

    For those asking for one bat – if you’re wanting a better offense, you need more than one bat. For the love of God stop with the Adrian Gonzalez talk.

    Going back to the Cliff Lee trade, when I first saw it, my first thought wasn’t actually that we were going to try and win now. My thought was that Dr Z traded 2 prospects that he didn’t draft for 2 prospects that he will draft + a rental of a Cy Young for a year.

    Even with the additions, my expectations for this year was somewhere where we finished last year plus a game or two. At worst, .500.

    I won’t lie though, I was still excited for this year. And while I still am, the start has tempered them with the thought that perhaps things aren’t in the cards.

    What bothers me is that because things went so well even though things went terribly wrong with injuries and the like, the average fan will start criticizing the FO for the unlucky performance while ignoring the “lucky” performance from last year.

    BP said that b/c of the signings and trades the M’s were trying to turn things around in 2 years instead of 3. I’m beginning to think that the plan all along was that it will be 3, but if cards continued to fall in the right place, it could have been 2.

  12. Chris_From_Bothell on April 12th, 2010 11:06 pm

    As I commented in another post earlier today: do you think this team can get to 20 wins by about a month from now? If not, then yeah, waittilnextyear, etc. If 18 more wins in the next 29-30 games seems reasonable to you, then all’s not lost.

    If they can’t be at 20 wins by mid-May, about 45 wins by July 1st, 75 or so by end of August… basically, if they can’t rack up about 15 wins a month for 6 months, they can’t get to the 90 games they need to win the West at a minimum.

    So yeah, on the one hand it’s only 8 freakin games.

    On the other hand, in about 3 – 4 weeks it becomes a hell of a lot harder to make up for lost time.

    Also: when Vargas or Fister or Snell lays an egg on the mound, we can comfort ourselves by saying “Hey, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard should be back soon, just hold it together…”. But when the hitters aren’t hitting, it’s not like we have an Adrian Gonzalez or a Prince Fielder coming off the DL in 3 weeks or so to rescue them… swapping in newer, more talented people seems to inspire more hope than trusting the projections and BABIPs and muttering something about “the good kind of regression” for the umpteenth time.

  13. Dave on April 12th, 2010 11:26 pm

    We’re only muttering about regression because of people who are freaking out about eight games. Or people who are encouraging people to freak out about eight games, like yourself.

  14. KaminaAyato on April 12th, 2010 11:27 pm

    I’m not saying all is lost. But I’m also saying that I won’t be surprised if the lack of production somehow stays (or doesn’t improve to expected) the entire year no matter how many cards Z pulls from his sleeve.

    I’m just expanding my range of expected outcomes. The projections and BABIP you mention give me a calculated hope rather than just blind faith. It’s just that variance and standard deviation get in the way.

    And that is just, well… life. And that, I could live with.

  15. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2010 11:32 pm

    I think a better goal (than needing to be at any particular number of wins in May) is to write off what’s already happened, and try to play 2 games over .500 a month, on average, from here on out.

    We’d finish the season 6 games over .500, or 84-78. That’s about what folks expected coming into the season.

    And, it should be within shouting distance of contention in the A.L. West.

    Maybe we can’t do it, sure. But it’s not an unreachable goal. If some breaks go our way, we can do better, or if they go against us, we can do worse. That’s baseball.

  16. Chris_From_Bothell on April 12th, 2010 11:50 pm

    Well, you mutter about regression, I’ll mutter about the offense and current starters not named Felix or Ryan, and we’ll see what we’re both muttering in a month.

    Hopefully, in a month, neither of us will have cause to be muttering “hey, c’mon, it’s only been 5 freakin weeks, there’s still over 100 more games to play, and Cliff and Erik only just got back, give them more time, the offense will come around and blah blah BABIP blah…”.

    I wouldn’t call it freaking out over 8 games. More like a raised eyebrow and a concerned noise.

    Despite any glass-half-empty feeling I might have at the moment, I assure you it will all go away when I take my son to a game for the first time this season a little less than 18 hours from now, because even a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day a lot of other places. And when everything goes well, this team has the potential to be a lot more entertaining on defense and on the basepaths than it has been in a long time.

  17. Gomez on April 12th, 2010 11:57 pm

    Some notes: Milton Bradley does not have a line drive this season. Jose Lopez has zero hits on groundballs and flyballs. (MLB GB average is usually around the .230-.240 range, with flyball AVGs fluctuating but definitely higher than zero). The team as a whole is well below the usual average on groundball hits (.195).

    This is by no means a powerful offense waiting to bust out, but they definitely ran into some negative variance these first eight games. To answer the question, “Will they ever get any better?”… well, yes.

  18. Brendan on April 13th, 2010 2:08 am

    First off, I find the general trend of common opinion to be quite funny here. Everyone seems ready to tear Jack Z a new one, and a lot of you were anointing him a saint just a few months back, while ignoring this whole time that NOBODY with a reasonable expectation of this team thought they’d be significantly better than a .500 club.

    Second, a baseball team has its share of ups and downs. You can’t make sweeping changes after eight games. There’s nothing “wrong” with this team that we didn’t already know about. We knew the offense would suck, and we knew the pitching would be a little light without Bedard/Lee. Yet there seems to be a lot of people here that are incapable of seeing that there are a wide range of plausible results of an eight game sample. If this stretch of games happened in June, there’d be a lot less animosity. With regards to the current mess, we all know they’ll homer more than once every three games, and they’re going to score more than 2.6 runs a game. Rough spells happen.

    Third, I love Langerhans, I really do, but freaking out about the half win or so his month long demotion to Triple A will cost is just silly. I’m not happy Sweeney’s on the roster either, but I think perception is a bit overblown with regards to how much he really costs us. I’m no huge believer in clubhouse chemistry, but if there was ever a time where a couple of extra hugs did some good around the clubhouse it might be now. Langerhans will be back, Sweeney probably won’t last the year, let’s all just calm down.

  19. Mister Baseball on April 13th, 2010 3:25 am

    I am not in a panic. This team is playing a bit under my expectation, but not terribly so.

    They are not a good team. They had one of the worst offenses in MLB last year, and they did nothing significant to improve that. Other parts of the team might look kind of interesting and shiney – but that is similar to noticing the nicely polished deck rail while plunging into the deep.

    Why expect a different outcome?

  20. spankystout on April 13th, 2010 4:00 am

    Jack Z is saint! What he has done with what he inherited is absolutely amazing! I’m one of the discouraged masses right now. What I see (subjective as hell, I know) doesn’t look like a team that will be able to compete for a playoff spot.
    Lee and Bedard can’t help a non-existent offense. Not all our offensive players are guarantees. Injuries, age and attitude were all legitimate concerns going into this year. Many things were known to have to “click” for the M’s to be contenders.
    Both sides calm down. Grab a drink, and root against our second favorite team. Anyone playing the Yankees! (joking I have to watch the M’s even if it like nails on a chalkboard)

  21. pinball1973 on April 13th, 2010 5:32 am

    Without a winning streak of 3-4 games soon, I will be so bummed out that anything less than being a game out of 1st will likely cheer me not at all, since I’ll expect them to fail.

    C’mon guys.

  22. speedomike on April 13th, 2010 5:38 am

    Pretty pathetic when Dave can have the recap up seconds after the game is over.

    I’m stepping away from the M’s for a few days. It’s too early to get overly frustrated, but I am not liking what I’m seeing.

  23. Tom C on April 13th, 2010 5:58 am

    I hope our low BABIP doesn’t have anything to do with the A’s defense being good, because then it wouldn’t just be a flukey thing.

    (And I hate the A’s almost as much as the Angels and the upstart Rangers).

  24. Coach24 on April 13th, 2010 8:29 am

    I know Griffey blew it with a runner on 3rd in a close game. That said, he smoked a foul ball and hit another to deep right center off of a couple of Mid 90’s FB’s from Baily. Hopefully this means he is starting to get in rythm and seing the ball better rather than just a decent AB.

  25. Ironone on April 13th, 2010 8:39 am

    Too soon to panic for me……..normally I just watch and reserve judgement for about 20 games……would I want I different early result?, sure- are there wholesale changes that will make a huge difference in the season win total that could be reasonably made now?……I don’t think so. We can tinker…..but this team was built with certain things in mind, with certain constraints……

  26. Beefy on April 13th, 2010 9:10 am

    I love the Mariners, and yes I’m starting to panic. So what… I’m a fan and I’m allowed to. How pathetic is it when we’re pumped about Griffey fouling off some baseballs? New year, same story for the Mariners. Milton Bradley looks like the same guy he was in Chicago, Griffey should have retired 3 years ago, and disgusting doesn’t even begin to describe our overall offense. Does Wak know that he can give his batters the take sign at the beginning of an at bat? So frustrating…

  27. poetfiend on April 13th, 2010 9:11 am

    It was glorious indeed for all to see
    the reunion of greats join with Randy.
    A win would’ve been better to seal this great show.
    Why, oh why did they invite little O?

  28. sgreen13 on April 13th, 2010 9:26 am

    I’m still of the mindset that the offense, while bad, is not going continue this way. Again with Ichiro and Figgins both getting on base (which they will eventually given both of thier stats over the years) the person in the 3 hole , be it Guti, Casey, or anyone else is going to see some fastballs that are hittable. Pitchers are going to try to eliminate the running game and will stop throwing the breaking ball. I’m hoping this happens soon while Guti is still swinging a hot bat because I believe right now he’s not going to miss many of those pitches. In the future I think Kotchman would be better suited for that role because he’ll take high pitches and might have better bat control for a hit and run. Plus being a lefty he’ll get a chance to shoot the hole created by someone covering first, and possibly the second baseman covering the steal. I think this was pretty clearly illustrated in game 1 of the season when with Figgins on Casey got some good pitches to hit and drove in some runs.

  29. Typical Idiot Fan on April 13th, 2010 9:53 am

    I hope our low BABIP doesn’t have anything to do with the A’s defense being good, because then it wouldn’t just be a flukey thing.


    Based on the early returns on defensive metrics (no UZR yet), the A’s are 10th in baseball on defense (M’s 3rd). Oakland’s defense very well could have a ton to do with the Mariners BABIP woes, seeing as how we’ve played them 5 of the 8 games so far.

  30. Arron on April 13th, 2010 10:30 am

    Biggest frustration for me is easily Rob Johnson…he is God awful…nice dropped third strike that cost 2 runs…he shouldn’t even be allowed to catch in the bullpen…Moore needs to step up big time and take the job away…I can’t stand to watch Johnson another game…quickly joining the Yuni-list of most-hated Mariners of all time.

  31. Celadus on April 13th, 2010 10:46 am

    I note with mild interest that after game 8, the M’s OBP is one point higher than their slugging percentage. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that eight games into a season. Possibly done a number of times in the 1900-1918 era.

  32. sgreen13 on April 13th, 2010 10:52 am

    Between Rob Johnson, and Jack Wilson we are giving away 6+ ABs/game. As I said before I do think the top of the order can produce, but there is a lot of pressure on them, and without someone consistant at the bottom we are going to see Ichiro come up an awful lot with 0 on and 2 out. At least Moore has the chance of some pop. With Bradley/Kotchman/Griffey at the 6 or 7 hole they should walk enough to warrant having even an uproven power bat behind them to get a couple of shots at doubles or 2 run HR’s which I think Moore is more capable of than Johnson. Besides that how is the staff going to know if they like Moore behind the plate if he’s never there?

  33. mlathrop3 on April 13th, 2010 11:02 am

    Kotchman actually hit the ball pretty hard last night, just right at people. That webgem at first was also fandiddly.

    Guti is looking real comfortable at the plate, which is great to see as I had my doubts on offensive improvement from last year. I think he is going to put up one of those Torii Hunter in his prime types of seasons.

    I’m an optimist so I can’t really comment on anything else… other than that Rob Johnson better get that home run he hit out of his mind soon. Those lazy fly balls to left center aren’t going to cut it.

  34. Dave Spiwak on April 13th, 2010 12:28 pm

    Uh – Jack Wilson has the third highest average of the regulars.

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