Game Twenty-Six Recap

Dave · May 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Boo, 11-15.

Let’s start with the one caveat – James Shields is really good. He was my preseason pick for the AL Cy Young award this year, so he’s not some random shlub. Even good offenses don’t do much against him, and well, the Mariners don’t have a good offense.

What are we going to say about the offense? The big move to shake up the line-up was flip-flopping Bradley and Lopez so that Milton was back in the cleanup spot, which was the right call. He rewarded Wak with some really bad at-bats, staring at pitches in the strike zone. Pitch selection is only swinging at hittable pitches, not standing there with the bat on your shoulder and letting the ump ring you up on anything that isn’t right down the middle. He was pulled after his third at-bat, in which he left the bases loaded, and I can’t imagine Wak was very happy with Milton’s performance. His second stint as the cleanup guy might not last much longer than the first.

Can’t lay all the blame on Bradley, of course. Junior looked as hopeless as ever, and really, asking him to hit a guy like James Shields at this point in his career is just remarkably unfair. You don’t invite your friends over to watch your grandfather wrestle a brown bear. This is the baseball version of that. Griffey isn’t a major league player anymore, and he’s going to be continually embarrassed by pitchers of Shields’ quality.

The offense wasn’t the only thing that blew, as the defense was uncharacteristically terrible. Jack Wilson made three ridiculous errors, Figgins added another official one and could have been given a second on a dropped pickoff, Kotchman put a guy on base with a bad throw after a nice dive, and Adam Moore tossed in another passed ball for good measure. The team was only charged with four official errors, but they made seven or eight mistakes in the field, and generally looked like a team that just couldn’t play the game.

In more positive news, let’s talk about the only good thing the M’s had going tonight – Jason Vargas. If you’re not on his bandwagon yet, I don’t know what else you need to be convinced. Going against a really good line-up, he racked up a career high eight strikeouts, constantly fooling Rays hitters with his fastball/change-up combination. He gave up a home run to Evan Longoria, but other than that, he was brilliant, despite the ridiculous lack of support he was getting from his infielders. He may have only pitched 6 2/3 innings, but when you factor in the outs that Wilson and Figgins cost him, he basically threw eight innings of brilliant baseball. I know everyone’s in love with Doug Fister right now, but of the two, Vargas is the one who I’d bet on sustaining his success all year.

Of course, once Vargas came out (and we were treated to a random Brandon League appearance), we got to see the prize of the seven man bullpen and the reason Shawn Kelley is back in Tacoma – Jesus Colome. You know, the guy who is so good that there’s no chance he’d clear waivers, despite the fact that he’s been outright released by different organizations in his career. Colome continued to show the same “skillset” he’s always had – no command of his fastball, no outpitch, and living evidence that throwing 95 doesn’t make you a major league pitcher. Supposedly, the M’s coaching staff thinks they fixed him in spring training, but there’s no reason to believe that – he still sucks, just like he always has, and there’s no reason for him to be on this team.

But hey, Cliff Lee tomorrow, and the M’s only have to figure out how to score runs off Matt Garza. I’m sure that won’t be hard.

Comments

46 Responses to “Game Twenty-Six Recap”

  1. Carson on May 4th, 2010 10:05 pm

    I’m interested to hear about why Milton was removed.

    Strange that the announcers didn’t even speculate.

  2. EMoney on May 4th, 2010 10:10 pm

    Interesting side note:

    The Rays are now 10-1 on the road this season

  3. moyerLIVES on May 4th, 2010 10:12 pm

    So…you yank your most mentally fragile player out of the game for 1 bad AB, but continue to run Griffey out for one clutch AB after another? Doesn’t seem right. It’s got to be the leg again.

  4. CYK on May 4th, 2010 10:16 pm

    How come Sweeney doesn’t hit for Wilson, as he represented the tying run? Wilson sure wasn’t going to jack one out. At least Sweeney had some chance of tying the game. Another mysterious Wak decision.

  5. luckyscrubs on May 4th, 2010 10:16 pm

    I can’t figure out why Griffey continues to bat fifth. There only possible explanation is that Wak doesn’t want to hurt his confidence, but is it too much to ask to create a lineup with our best hitters in key spots? Griffey has no business being in this lineup based on his ability, and since he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon bat him 7th and let him kill rallies down there.

    The offense and defense both look absolutely pathetic right now. I shudder to think where this team would be without its starting pitching.

  6. Marinersmanjk on May 4th, 2010 10:18 pm

    But hey, Cliff Lee tomorrow, and the M’s only have to figure out how to score runs off Matt Garza. I’m sure that won’t be hard.

    Sarcasm? I can’t tell. Garza has shown some signes of brilliance.

  7. hark on May 4th, 2010 10:20 pm

    Sarcasm? I can’t tell. Garza has shown some signes of brilliance.

    I thought this was pretty clearly sarcastic.

  8. jephdood on May 4th, 2010 10:24 pm

    ..the M’s only have to figure out how to score A runs off Matt Garza.

    Made a couple changes above.

  9. CarpCarter on May 4th, 2010 10:24 pm

    How come Sweeney doesn’t hit for Wilson, as he represented the tying run? Wilson sure wasn’t going to jack one out. At least Sweeney had some chance of tying the game. Another mysterious Wak decision.

    Did I just fall in a vat of crazy sauce? Thank god Wak kept Sweeney on the bench. Wilson might have zero pop, but at least he can work a count (now and then) and get a hit (now and then).

    Sweeney is 100% hopeless at this point. The only guy he should be pinch hitting for is the hot dog vendor.

  10. DAMellen on May 4th, 2010 10:27 pm

    Punishing Milton for two ugly at bats while allowing Griffey, Sweeney, and Lopez to look like a trio of Paul Giamatti-Gabourey Sidibe hybrids day in day out is just blatant unfavoritism (that’s a word, right?) and I really think unfavoritism is the exact opposite of what our most emotionally fragile player needs. Through the first month of the season, I’ve really started to queston our management which sucks. I’d sorta gotten used to you know…not questioning our management and it was pretty awesome.

  11. Gomez on May 4th, 2010 10:28 pm

    Assuming his back isn’t still bothering him, Sweeney probably stayed on the bench because they would have needed him to pinch hit for Adam Moore. With both Jack Wilson and Moore coming up, and with only Sweeney, Josh Wilson and Rob Johnson on the bench, the M’s couldn’t pinch hit for both Jack and Adam. They probably went with Jack given he’s hit a few balls well and was probably a better bet to do something at the plate than Moore.

  12. nwade on May 4th, 2010 10:30 pm

    Is there any rule against September call-ups happening in May? I know its wrong and over-reactive, but I think our Minor-Leaguers would be a hell of a lot more fun to watch (witness Pineda and Ackley tonight)!

    Gomez – What? You mean our bench is thin and kinda sucks? If only our team had the money… errrr time… errrr management… errr _???_ to add a different player or two this off-season!

  13. DAMellen on May 4th, 2010 10:40 pm

    An unrelated but positive note: The Ack hit his first homerun! Bring him up!

  14. luckyscrubs on May 4th, 2010 10:44 pm

    On Milton: “We just felt at that time with what went on with the two strikeouts, it was time to get him out of the game.”

    Courtesy of Divish…get the pitchforks out, boys! (Unless there is more to the story then benching him just for striking out twice.)

  15. killer_ewok18 on May 4th, 2010 10:47 pm

    Bradley’s life just is not fair.

  16. CCW on May 4th, 2010 10:48 pm

    I agree on its face pulling Bradley seems ridiculous in light of what the rest of the lineup is doing, but I think in this case we should defer to Wak. You can disagree with his game management, but so far he has been a good Leader of Men. Pulling Bradley was that sort of move, and maybe we should just trust him on it.

  17. visbea on May 4th, 2010 10:49 pm

    I wouldn’t be opposed to slamming Dustin in the DH slot right now. (If it wouldn’t hurt his development)

  18. mgbetsch on May 4th, 2010 10:50 pm

    Well looking on the brightside, maybe if they keep enough of this garbage up, we can win the Anthony Rendon sweepstakes for next year

  19. Seattleguy527 on May 4th, 2010 10:52 pm

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I’m just not a big Bradley fan (and I don’t just mean this year, I’m talking over the course of his career). I’m not saying he’s as bad as Griffey, Sweeney, Byrnes, etc. — he certainly isn’t, but if we’re expecting him to be our savior I think we’re in more trouble than we realize.

  20. RyanHend on May 4th, 2010 10:54 pm

    Well looking on the brightside, maybe if they keep enough of this garbage up, we can win the Anthony Rendon sweepstakes for next year

    The Orioles have that one pretty much wrapped up. I say we go for Harper.

  21. wtnuke on May 4th, 2010 10:58 pm

    You don’t invite your friends over to watch your grandfather wrestle a brown bear.

    And that right there is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks Dave.

  22. mariners2009 on May 4th, 2010 11:04 pm

    Is it possible that Z and Wak’s decision making skills are just reverting back to the mean?

  23. Sports on a Schtick on May 4th, 2010 11:09 pm

    You can disagree with his game management, but so far he has been a good Leader of Men. Pulling Bradley was that sort of move, and maybe we should just trust him on it.

    Wak needs to stop doing things that put the already limited roster in less of a position to succeed.

  24. Marinersmanjk on May 4th, 2010 11:13 pm

    Well looking on the brightside, maybe if they keep enough of this garbage up, we can win the Anthony Rendon sweepstakes for next year

    The Orioles have that one pretty much wrapped up. I say we go for Harper.

    You realize Harper is most likely going to be the first round draft pick this June right? And never say never, we might be able to beat the Orioles. The Nationales are off to a strong start and if they keep it up we might just very well be able to pull off a surprise win.

  25. CCW on May 4th, 2010 11:19 pm

    Are you suggesting that exchanging Bradley for Langerhans in the 6th inning of a 3-run game mattered, from a game-management perspective? No way. I don’t think Bradley is that much better of a hitter than Langerhans right now, especially against righties, and there was only going to be one more AB anyway. Plus, Langerhans is the far superior defender. Nah, the only legitimate complaint about pulling Bradley is that it was somehow unfair, or would hurt his feelings or his confidence or something. And my point is that when it comes to issues like those, I don’t think we have good grounds to judge Wak.

  26. spankystout on May 4th, 2010 11:23 pm

    Pulling Bradley like that is an amateur move Wak! Hopefully he didn’t just light the powder keg. There are other players to punish before Bradley. Bad, bad, bad, bad move.

  27. wtnuke on May 4th, 2010 11:24 pm

    I’m not that interested in a “Leader of Men” so much as a “Manager of Baseball.” These aren’t a bunch of tough-luck kids in a poor neighborhood who are trying to get a GED and get into college. This isn’t an opportunity for them to go on a magical journey of self-exploration and learn about how to succeed in the world. They’re professional athletes making more money than any of us have ever seen. I don’t need a life coach so much as a guy who gets how to win the game of baseball.

  28. Hud67 on May 4th, 2010 11:31 pm

    As we can all see, the team chemistry, practical jokes and hugs are only fun when the team is winning ball games. It is time for both Sweeney and Griffey to go or this season is sunk. This team is not having fun and worse it looks to me like they are giving up.

  29. CCW on May 4th, 2010 11:34 pm

    .210 / .269 / .226. amazing.

  30. JMHawkins on May 4th, 2010 11:37 pm

    You don’t invite your friends over to watch your grandfather wrestle a brown bear.

    Of course not. You charge ‘em admission and give away a Grandpa Bobblehead.

  31. MarinerFanMike03 on May 4th, 2010 11:40 pm

    Wak a great leader of men. A bad winner of games. Back to the basement I go.

    Of course not. You charge ‘em admission and give away a Grandpa Bobblehead.

    Now thats funny.

  32. RustyJohn on May 4th, 2010 11:41 pm

    I think it is a little premature to assume that Wak just pulled Bradley because of the strikeouts- we don’t know what transpired in the clubhouse or dugout after those at bats. After one of the strikeouts, Bradley threw his bat and helmet on the ground hard enough to where the helmet was bouncing around/rolling around and almost hit the ump’s feet. After the last strike out he returned to the dugout and was clearly animated although it was unclear what was said. If this is a situation where Wak pulled Bradley because Bradley was so upset with himself it was effecting his performance and he needed to clear his head, or if he pulled him because Wak was concerned his anger might escalate to the point where he might get run by the ump,then you can’t fault Wak.

    However, if he was pulled just because he struck out and there were other batters (Griffey) who struggled just as much, then the criticism is warranted.

    We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and base our assumptions only on what we see on the field.

  33. MarinerFanMike03 on May 4th, 2010 11:44 pm

    RustyJohn – Dont take away our negativity with rational thought. Its just not fair.

  34. RustyJohn on May 4th, 2010 11:50 pm

    Ten bucks says Wak puts him back in the clean up spot tomorrow though.

  35. Liam on May 5th, 2010 12:07 am

    TNTmariners reporting on a possible Milton Bradley incident before/after Don Wakamatsu pulled him from the game.

    I think some people might lose it too if he’s shown the door before one of Griffey and Sweeney.

  36. samregens on May 5th, 2010 2:00 am

    With regard to Griffey:

    You don’t invite your friends over to watch your grandfather wrestle a brown bear.

    Thanks Dave, I didn’t think anybody could make me smile after these past few terrible games.

    I read somewhere that Ichiro isn’t playing tomorrow. If so, terrible timing again by Wak in my opinion. He’s losing my confidence in him with this series of stupid moves and worse nonmoves.
    Unless Ichiro got injured because Byrnes was a moron (that tag was nasty). Then fuck everything please.

  37. Milendriel on May 5th, 2010 2:13 am

    I have to say it: this is harder to watch than 2008.

    Sure, the 2008 team was utterly putrid, but we knew it’d be bad. We knew Bavasi was hopelessly incompetent. There was also a little bit of train-wreck appeal to watching the team suck (Miguel Cairo at first base was hilarious), and the hope of a GM change was (for some) incentive to root for failure.

    Jack Z has shown he gets it. Between the trades for Gutierrez and Lee, the Branyan signing, the Gutierrez and King Felix extensions, and trading Carlos Silva for an actual Major League player, he’s proven he has an eye for talent and knows how to address the team’s needs.

    That’s what’s so infuriating about watching this team, and Griffey and Sweeney in particular: Jack Z flat-out knows better. I agree with you, Dave, that it’s better for a team to be patient with its bad players than impatient with its good ones, but this is absurd.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that the team is relying too heavily on statistical analysis in this case (and I love stats as much as anyone). Sample size and regression to the mean are of course extremely important when projecting future performance, but I think we tend to gloss over the assumptions inherent in making such projections. For example, BABIP theory for pitchers assumes they’re throwing Major League quality pitches. We assume a certain age-related decay in hitters’ offensive performance. This is where I think scouting has an advantage: it’s not that scouts necessarily see things that stats can’t, but that they aren’t burdened by these assumptions which hold in the aggregate but not always the individual cases.

    Sample size still matters for scouting, of course, but I guarantee if you sent tape of Griffey’s at-bats this season to a bunch of scouts, all the scouting reports you got back would contain the word “finished.” ZIPS, meanwhile, merely bumps its wOBA projection down from the .313 preseason number to .308. I’m still taking the under. It’s not even controversial to say he probably won’t hit a single HR this year, so I’ll go a step further and say he gets zero XBH the rest of the season.

    I just don’t get why Jack Z, with his scouting background, would be so patient with Griffey and Sweeney when it’s obvious to even non-scouts that they’re utterly done. I know Griffey’s not going anywhere–although I would contend that a fan riot from releasing him isn’t much worse than fans simply not showing up to the park if the team is 15 games under .500 in July–but this is pathetic in a way the 2008 season wasn’t. Jack Z is too awesome of a GM to allow this team to punt games for nostalgia’s sake.

  38. Dennisss on May 5th, 2010 6:17 am

    The team obviously is giving Junior more rope than most of us would, but I console myself with the belief that Junior is basically auditioning for his own job at this point. Benching an aging superstar is a delicate task. I would think they may have a certain number of at-bats in mind — 100? 150? — that would be enough that everyone, including die-hard Griffey fans, teammates, and maybe even Griffey himself, should agree that he has been given a fair chance.

    At least I tell myself that, and it makes me feel better.

    Sweeney? Beats me.

  39. msb on May 5th, 2010 7:31 am

    TNTmariners reporting on a possible Milton Bradley incident before/after Don Wakamatsu pulled him from the game.

    Divish posted some late night thoughts after his first reaction to the pulling of Bradley.

    “I think it’s foolish to say if there was a right or a wrong party involved when we don’t know all the details surrounding the event.”

  40. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2010 7:57 am

    RE: Bradley getting pulled

    All I know (and care about) is that Langerhans drove in the 2nd run. Nicely done.

    I don’t believe we should lament the touchy-feely stuff, and claim all we care about is winning– and then, get all touchy feely about Bradley, when the guy who replaced him in the lineup outproduced him in a single at bat.

    I’m still a Bradley fan, and want him back at cleanup tonight, but I liked the move last night. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pulling a guy if he’s having an off night, especially if we’re down to a good team.

    For all I know, Wak and Bradley have an understanding that if Milton gets too critical of himself Wak has his back and will pull him before he embarrasses himself. It’s a delicate thing to convince him that he can bat cleanup without putting too much pressure on himself, and you could clearly see he was frustrated.

    Perhaps no coincidence, this might be a task that needs to be addressed before we can move Bradley to purely a DH role.

    Given Shields was pitching last night, I don’t think it was a bad outcome (with our lineup and the litany of errors we committed). We had 8 hits in the game (same as Tampa). And Vargas truly looked great last night– he had a pretty damned good major league lineup walking to the dugout, shaking their heads, looking out at him with “who the hell IS this guy” mutterances after some strikeouts on his fall-off-the-table changeup.

    Go M’s. (Happy Cliff Lee Day, everybody!)

  41. argh on May 5th, 2010 8:21 am

    Where do we end up with Ken? We’ll see. We have to wait and see. We’ll give it a chance, a little bit more of a chance to produce, like any other player, and see what happens. If it continues, then we’ll have to have some discussions about it.”

    Zduriencik on Griffey’s performance and future. Note the “a little bit more of a chance….” [emphasis added]

  42. GripS on May 5th, 2010 8:34 am

    I’d like to see Josh Wilson in for Jack today…actually make it today AND tomorrow. Send a message that 3 errors in 1 game will not be tolerated.

    Also very impressed with how Langerhans ends up being the savior that prevented Shields from getting a complete game.

  43. BrianL on May 5th, 2010 8:39 am

    I’d like to see Josh Wilson in for Jack today…actually make it today AND tomorrow. Send a message that 3 errors in 1 game will not be tolerated.

    Jack Wilson doesn’t exactly have a reputation of being a player that loses his concentration and routinely makes foolish blunders in the field. Bad games happen to good players from time to time.

    Benching Jack Wilson because he had a rare bad night with the glove seems rather extreme.

  44. mlathrop3 on May 5th, 2010 9:53 am

    An unrelated but positive note: The Ack hit his first homerun! Bring him up!

    This being a Mariner game thread I will have to assume you are talking about his dating activity.

  45. luckyscrubs on May 5th, 2010 10:04 am

    According to Geoff Baker, Milton pulled himself from the game then left the stadium. Things just keep getting worse and worse…

    Article

  46. G-Man on May 5th, 2010 11:04 am

    The article doesn’t specifically say Milton pulled himself, does it? It is not clear as I read it.

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