Good News from the Weekend

marc w · April 12, 2010 at 12:34 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Sooooo, the Mariners had a hard time on the opening road trip. Today’s 9-2 loss was disheartening, and I don’t want to dwell on it (Snell got hammered, end of analysis). The problem of course is that there just isn’t a whole lot else to dwell on; the season’s too young, and you can only replay the Gutierrez catch from Saturday so many times (I’ve had to recharge my iPhone solely because I was replaying that highlight too much). If you’re feeling frustrated with the team in general, or if you’re fed up with the latest bizarre miscue (TWO catchers interference calls in one game? What?), think of the following:

1) Chad Cordero’s rehab is going quite nicely, thank you. Last year, I put Cordero in the same category as Jeff Zimmerman – nice stories of ex-All Stars who were attempting comebacks, but who faced overwhelming odds. Well, The Chief’s looking pretty good. The sample sizes are tiny, but visually, Cordero’s throwing extremely well. He’s getting strikeouts and ground balls (in 3 IP, he’s yet to allow a ball in the air), and he actually touched 90MPH today. Cordero averaged 90.1 MPH with his deceptive FB in 2007, and he’s getting surprisingly close to that benchmark. He could replace his ex-teammate Jesus Colome, though the M’s need a spot for Jack Hannahan, and thus Cordero may need to wait.

2) The West Tennessee rotation has looked outstanding, and consensus top prospect Michael Pineda hasn’t pitched yet (he gets the start tomorrow evening). Today was Mauricio Robles turn, and he went 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball with 5 strikeouts and 6 groundouts to 2 air outs. He threw 82 pitches and seemed to tire a bit in the 4th and 5th innings, but the result was encouraging for a guy who’d looked great in the spring. Some fans may look at the line and complain that Robles looks like another Erik Bedard, but the rest of us will rejoice that Robles’ results look like another Erik Bedard. My condolences to Jacksonville, who, having faced Robles today, will attempt to figure out Michael Pineda tomorrow. Woooo Pineda day!

3) Luke French’s change-up appears more effective this year than in 2009. After a remarkably easy looking start against a righty-heavy line-up on Friday, everyone was talking about French’s change. You’ll recall that French’s outpitch in 2009 was his slider – a pitch that was 5.3 runs above average last year (1.93 runs per 100 pitches). The slider helped him hold lefties to 3.60 FIP, along with an 18:5 K:BB ratio. But his mushy change-up allowed righties to pummel him: his FIP against righties was 6.08. That’s why it was notable that French held a line-up of 7 righties scoreless on Friday night, and why it was so encouraging to see French use his change to set up his below average fastball – he got several swinging strikes on fastballs after starting hitters off with low change-ups. This profile still faces long odds in the majors (where hitters are less likely to be late on 89 MPH fastballs because they’ve seen a few 79 MPH change-ups), but if French can keep righties off-balance, he looks a lot more like Jason Vargas, and while that’s less good than looking like Felix Hernandez, it means he could add some value to the M’s in 2010.


10 Responses to “Good News from the Weekend”

  1. TomTuttle on April 12th, 2010 1:17 am

    At the very least no one should panic/complain about who is running the organization (Z and Wak).

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out though if we are going to be ready for primetime in 2010 or not.

  2. terry on April 12th, 2010 6:02 am

    I won $10 on a scratch off ticket Saturday.

  3. Chris_From_Bothell on April 12th, 2010 7:32 am

    Um, yeah. Acceptable bright-side-silver-lining-filler for the first week of the season. I hope you won’t have to reach like this in a month or so.

    Happy Hyphen Day! I hope he feeds off of the Opening Day crowd and goes 8 innings. Aussie aussie aussie, oi oi oi!

  4. jonw on April 12th, 2010 9:41 am

    Somebody help me keep this positive, tell me Brandon League is really a late inning specialist that will help this team. Tell me his fast ball is more than underwhelming that it does move a little.

    Somebody “sample size” me or something because from what I have seen he looks really hittable.

    Tell me I’m wrong people

    On the very bright side I’m taking the whole family to opening day Seattle. Pray the rain stays away and we have an open roof victory.

  5. marc w on April 12th, 2010 9:43 am

    Touche Chris. I hope so too.

    Pineda day is already over, as Diamond Jaxx game started at 8am pacific time.
    The Donkey went 3 1/3 IP, allowing one hit, walking 2, and striking out 6. He threw 66 pitches.

    Unfortunately, the Diamond Jaxx only have one hit themselves, and it’s now scoreless in the 7th.

  6. argh on April 12th, 2010 11:15 am

    I gotta laugh — a 38 year old reliever is looking good coming out of rehab and Luke French may be as good as Jason Vargas, is the good news? I knew this weekend sucked but that really puts it in perspective.

  7. Chris_From_Bothell on April 12th, 2010 11:26 am

    jonw – You’re wrong. Small sample size. 😉

    Seriously, here’s a very simplistic way I looked at it this morning:

    To keep the math simple, assume the Mariners need 90 wins to win the AL West.

    90 wins in 6 months (handwave about those 3 games in October…) means the Ms need to win 15 games a month over the course of the season. If they’re far off track of that, then they’re further and further behind.

    Building off of that: they’d need to be at 45 wins by July 1st in order to get to 90 wins by just playing .500 ball the rest of the way. So if they’re not even at 40 wins by the beginning of July it’s going to be tough. Especially since the tougher parts of their schedule are right before and right after the All-Star Break.

    And if you accept that logic, then I can do it one more time and think that getting to 40 wins by beginning of July is a stretch if they’re not even at 20 wins by mid-May.

    Therefore, my back-of-napkin sort of checkpoints for whether to continue to “Believe Big”:

    – 20 wins by May 17th
    – 40 wins by July 2nd
    – 60 wins by Aug 2nd (the biggest test, since their longest stretch with no off day is after the All-Star Break)
    – 75 wins by Sept 2nd

    And finally, to get 20 wins by May 17th, they need to get 18 wins in their next 30 games (counting today). I.e. for about the next month they need to be playing .600 ball. And there’s at least 5 Felix starts and probably one Cliff start in among that lot. If we’re lucky, perhaps even 5 innings / 100 pitches of bedard. There’s an off day every week. And there’s 2 of the longest homestands of the year.

    So, therefore, ipso facto and ad reductum ad nauseam:

    Woooo! Playoffs!!

  8. jullberg on April 12th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Honestly (and I’m not quitting on this season yet) I’m looking at this season as a success if we see a lot of guys step up into our “core” for the future. Obviously we have Felix, Gutz, Ichiro, and Figgins as our core, with Ackley and Saunders not far behind. I’d love to see some young pitchers really step up their game, possibly out of the Robles, Pineda, Cleto crowd and watch a our pitching depth in the minors really shine. If we miss the playoffs but watch our organization take a step up for the future, I’ll be very happy. If we make the playoffs and our system regresses, I’ll be happy, but it will be kinda bittersweet. I’m more interested in things like Robles development than I am of one bad road stretch.

  9. luckyscrubs on April 12th, 2010 1:20 pm

    More good news: Langerhans cleared waivers!!!

  10. Shawnuel on April 12th, 2010 1:41 pm


    Cordero is 28 years old (carry the one next time)….just turned on March 18. He had 47 saves just a few seasons ago. I’d say his steady return to form is sufficient reason for optimism.

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