Game Forty-Two Recap

Dave · May 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Yay, 16-26.

Livan Hernandez has a 1.62 ERA. Ty Wigginton, Kelly Johnson, and Jose Bautista are in a three way tie for second in the majors in home runs. Jose Lopez leads the world in UZR. You can now add this line-up scoring 15 runs in five innings to the list of things that make you just shake your head and laugh.

Mike Sweeney… he’ll get a post of his own next week.

How about Josh Bard? No, he’s not an all-star or anything, but I’d suggest that the M’s may have found their starting catcher, at least as long as they’re still playing for 2010. Another couple of well struck balls and a walk, plus no annoying passed balls or other defensive problems I knew I shouldn’t have written that sentence while the game was still going. And we should note that he has a history of major league success – just under 1,800 career plate appearances, during which he’s been worth seven wins over a replacement level player. That’s 2.3 wins per full season. He’s on the downside of his career, so we shouldn’t expect him to play that well, but it’s not like he’s been a scrub for years and is having the best run of his life. He’s a switch hitter with some patience and power, and given the alternatives, that makes him the best catcher in this organization right now.

Cliff Lee is running a 31:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season. Yeah, the Padres got a few balls to find holes and put up a couple of runs on him, but he’s easily one of the five best pitchers alive right now. He’s just so, so good.

Enjoy this one – you won’t see many more of those this year. Unless Wade LeBlanc ends up pitching against them again.


42 Responses to “Game Forty-Two Recap”

  1. Outside Corner on May 21st, 2010 10:30 pm

    Forget the Kraken, release the Sweeney!!

  2. KaminaAyato on May 21st, 2010 10:31 pm

    What if Sweeney IS the Kraken?

  3. G-Man on May 21st, 2010 10:31 pm

    So I hope this means Bard gets most of the starts and Moore goes to AAA when healthy.

    Might as well ride Sweeney for all he’s worth and let Jr. start once a week and PH occasionally.

    But management has done little else I’ve wanted this year, so I’d better quit dreaming.

  4. Diehard on May 21st, 2010 10:36 pm

    Hey I hope this is the awakening! I’m not expecting them to drop 15 on teams on a regular basis but if they can score around 4-5 runs a game, this pitching will allow them to win a lot of ballgames. Bard has been a nice shot in the arm and it’s a lot better than watching Robo Rob out there every night.

  5. MrZDevotee on May 21st, 2010 10:37 pm

    Even if Bard plays replacement level ball this season, that’s an UPGRADE over what we’ve been getting. And a sigh of relief.

    And I feel much more comfortable with Adam Moore learning the “pro game” from an actual major leaguer at this level.

    (PS- I think we’ve found a new nickname for Sweeney… K-R-A-K-E-N!)

  6. Axtell on May 21st, 2010 10:39 pm

    Anyone else see Lopez’s line tonight?

    0-5, 15 pitches seen.

    When does this guy’s rope end?

  7. Breadbaker on May 21st, 2010 10:42 pm

    True, Axtell. Lopez’s line tonight was the easiest “which of these numbers is unlike the others” you’ll ever see.

  8. scottg02 on May 21st, 2010 10:47 pm

    As Dave mentioned, Lopez is leading the world in UZR. As long as that’s the case he probably has a pretty long rope, though tonight’s performance at the plate coupled with his error certainly don’t help his cause.

  9. Lefebvre Belebvre on May 21st, 2010 10:50 pm

    I believe Sweeney replied tonight to Dave’s headline on this site a few weeks ago that “Mike Sweeney is an Idiot” and to every single one of you that have ripped him all year while getting about 3 AB’s a week.

    And his response is “Stick it!”

    For all the grief Baker gets on this site. I believe he is the only one I heard saying give Sweeney an extended look before cutting him.

    Huzzah for Baker!

  10. Carson on May 21st, 2010 10:52 pm

    Hey, Geoff.

  11. Diehard on May 21st, 2010 10:52 pm

    Anyone else see Lopez’s line tonight?

    0-5, 15 pitches seen.

    When does this guy’s rope end?

    When Ackley comes up, then bye bye Lopez. GMZ needs to ship him off the KC so Lopez can be with his DP buddy Yuni.

  12. Westside guy on May 21st, 2010 11:00 pm

    Lately Sweeney’s looked REAL good. I think I’ve had him all wrong. As a matter of fact, he deserves a Griffey-like triumphant return to his old team. A straight-up one-for-one trade for Greinke sounds fair to me, seeing how great Sweeney is and adding in all that leadership mojo… Z needs to get Moore on the phone post-haste!

  13. Kazinski on May 21st, 2010 11:01 pm

    Sweeney had a great night, but lets not get too exited. He got the start because there was a lefty on the mound, and I would expect that he’ll get most of the starts against lefty’s for the next couple of weeks, and maybe a start or two a week against RH pitching. Lets not forget that Sweeney (or Griffey) at DH means Bradley in LF, and Saunders on the bench.

    I hope Sweeney does get more ABs going forward, but he’s not going to be like Edgar Martinez at DH, playing everyday against all comers.

    Sweeney got a lot of undeserved heat on this blog, on posts and in the comments. I say undeserved because its all been based on 53 at bats going into tonight. He is a waste of a roster spot when he plays that little, but it isn’t his fault he hasn’t been playing.

  14. Leroy Stanton on May 21st, 2010 11:05 pm

    Very well said, Kazinski.

  15. Westside guy on May 21st, 2010 11:07 pm

    Speaking seriously – one thing that’s really bugged me about how this season has played out has been with Lee. Despite his agent’s talk about exploring free agency, Lee has always seemed very loyal and predisposed to love whatever team he’s currently on – he hated leaving Cleveland, then he hated leaving Philly. If the M’s were doing a better job, we might’ve had a bit of an inside track to keeping him for a while. But unless we really do pull off that “25 wins in a row” and somehow win this division, I can’t see him wanting to come back. A pitcher that good has every expectation to play for a winner. It’s too bad cuz the guy is simply AWESOME.

  16. scraps on May 21st, 2010 11:08 pm

    I say undeserved because its all been based on 53 at bats going into tonight.

    And Sweeney’s last five seasons.

  17. MarinerFanMike03 on May 21st, 2010 11:13 pm

    Getting rid of Lopez (whose UZR at third base is the highest in the bigs) for Ackley just doesn’t make any sense.

  18. erik.randall on May 21st, 2010 11:20 pm

    Let’s not get too hasty with the told you sos and Mike Sweeney. He has been hot as of late, but we are talking less than 100 at bats here. Enjoy it why it lasts, but there is no real reason to think he will continue at his current pace. That said, he still can hit the ball hard.

  19. jordan on May 21st, 2010 11:24 pm

    Every dog has its day.

  20. UW James on May 21st, 2010 11:33 pm

    My take on Sweeney, at least he’s not pulling a Jr. at the plate. He’s hit the ball hard his entire career and at least his bat speed isn’t visibly slower that my 16yr old niece can notice it compared to every other player on our roster…

    The UZR of Lopez simply blows my mind.

    Cliff Lee WILL yield some great prospects come July if we’re still in the same boat.

    Either way I’ll take the M’s scoring 15 runs any night, because really any team in the MLB is a worthy opponent for the M’s at this point.

  21. spankystout on May 21st, 2010 11:49 pm

    Wow. Just save a few of those runs for later. I know they will be needed.

  22. Kazinski on May 21st, 2010 11:54 pm

    I say undeserved because its all been based on 53 at bats going into tonight.

    And Sweeney’s last five seasons.

    I was loud and clear all through the spring that whatever Sweeney did, it shouldn’t be enough to make the roster, and I stand by that. But once a player makes the roster, then he at least deserves a chance to play enough to justify the decision. It wasn’t like he was taking AB’s from Lou Gehrig.

  23. Rboyle0628 on May 21st, 2010 11:56 pm

    My two cents on Sweeney… I’m not a huge fan of his, just making that point. But, I don’t think he is a horrible guy to be on the team. I hate saying this right now but I could live with him playing everyday more than Junior and I say that as I sit underneath my autographed picture of him. I think Sweeney will put up decent numbers, I was looking at his stats from last season, he had a couple bad months but I don’t think he was as horrible as we make him to be.

    There are many players I would rather have than him, absolutely. But, given the cards we are holding right now I can live with Sweeney playing. I don’t think he is the answer, but I think he could probably still hold his own more or less, maybe, just maybe even surprise us a little.

  24. Liam on May 21st, 2010 11:58 pm

    For all the grief Baker gets on this site. I believe he is the only one I heard saying give Sweeney an extended look before cutting him.

    This is the part that I don’t get. People are saying that the team needs to give Griffey/Sweeney an extended look by playing them everyday in order to make a determination on their production level (Nevermind that they are part of a platoon and the injury history). Griffey got an extended look last year and so did Mike Sweeney. It’s almost like a government bureaucracy, where it takes years to acknowledge there’s a problem and to do something about. Replacement level performance for years and people are still undecided. (Maybe it’s the positional adjustment that people aren’t aware of)

  25. opiate82 on May 22nd, 2010 12:29 am

    My Dad believes Sweeney’s problems so far this season were due to lack of playing time. He has stood by the fact that if Sweeney got more at bats he’d be doing better.

    I argued that Sweeney was able to destroy Triple-A pitching but wilted against major league pitching.

    Definitely not ready to say he was right and I was wrong (cause I still think I’m right) but I guess I’ll have to listen to the “I told you so’s” for a few days at least (which I’m fine with as long as the M’s score 10+ runs a game).

  26. Breadbaker on May 22nd, 2010 12:36 am

    Can anyone show me a reputable saberists who would tell you that anyone’s two-month UZR is meaningful? That is a rhetorical question.

    Cesar Gutierrez once went 7-for-7 in a game. He had as much of a shot at being Ichiro as Mike Sweeney does of being Edgar at the same age.

  27. egreenlaw9 on May 22nd, 2010 12:51 am

    In regards to the Kraken…

    I think he’ll be a bit more patient when he’s starting (which, I agree, should only come against southpaws). Knowing he has at least 5 AB’s ahead of him, it’s to his and the team’s benefit to work the count.

    When he’s coming off the bench to pinch hit – I think I’m correct in saying that most professional PH guys like – and are more produxtive – swinging early in the count.

    I think he might be okay as our southpaw DH.

  28. Liam on May 22nd, 2010 12:54 am


    Just point your father to the lineups this past week. After Mike Sweeney hit a home run in three consecutive games, he was starting on the bench the next three. Why? Because his back was hurting, which should come as no surprise given his track record. (Enter in his name)

    This is a guy that can’t physically play everyday anymore and so you see the problem for those arguing that he needs to in order to hit.

  29. LongDistance on May 22nd, 2010 1:19 am

    I’m sorry. This game sucked. The Ms pitching… c’mon… sucked. But the Ps pitching sucked worse.

    Wade LeBlanc: eight runs on six hits in three innings. LeBlanc is setting a pattern for himself at Safeco. This is the sort of thing that got him an all expenses paid vacation to Portland last year. And now, with this mess, he’s doubled his ERA. And then to this triple layer turd cake, Ramos applied the frosting (somebody should invent an algorithm for calculating his ERA). Bud Black must have felt thoughtful. Even the way the Ms are playing these days, isn’t enough to guarantee LeBlanc a win. eeeeeesh… nasty thing for Bud to have to contemplate.

    Thus, the Ms bats didn’t freaking suddenly improve. They just got served batting practice.

    The Ps sucked. The Ps sucked. But us too (just forget about the hits for a moment… take the blinders off the eyes, and it becomes clear).

    This was a pitcher’s duel. In the opposite direction. Something like 20 runs on 30 hits. I would call this mess fungo, and not calculate it into any prediction/expectation concerning the rest of the season.

    The Ms aren’t going to run into meltdown situations like this very often. And… no… they will not scrape their way back even towards mediocrity with the current lineup.

    Somethings gotta give. Still.

  30. ajmitch1 on May 22nd, 2010 1:50 am

    One of the few nights when we’ll see our offense look better than Cliff Lee’s pitching.

  31. RRS for Prez on May 22nd, 2010 2:11 am

    It’s not the current lineup that’ll scrape them back to mediocrity. It’s the starting pitching. The lineup just needs to have the MLB equivalent of a pulse.

  32. K.Easley45 on May 22nd, 2010 7:43 am

    Sweeney had to outrageously exceed expectations with his performance in ST to even make the squad, and now it seems like he is on the verge of playing himself into the starting lineup. I tip my hat to the guy!

    He was hitting pretty well to end last season. I have a weird hunch this productivity isn’t a fluke…

  33. Dennisss on May 22nd, 2010 8:24 am

    I’m sorry. This game sucked.

    I respectfully disagree. This game was a blast.

    As for the lineup, this is not the same sorry lineup we saw in Baltimore and Tampa Bay. Bradley’s back, Bard/Sweeney played instead of Johnson/Griffey, and all the starters other than Jack Wilson are healthy. It’s not great, but it’s better. Now, if we could just do something about third base…

  34. beef on May 22nd, 2010 8:36 am

    isn’t it we can live with one or the other at this point? it’s really having both sweeney and junior that is the drag. two non-fielding DHs limit Wak’s options. (along with a list of other things.)

  35. abcd on May 22nd, 2010 8:40 am

    We should enjoy Cliff Lee too, I’m not sure he is one of the 5 best in the league but he is in the discussion. It is ashame that this is a wasted year for him, and that the M’s are gonna lose him next year.

  36. rmarshall on May 22nd, 2010 9:40 am

    and all the starters other than Jack Wilson are healthy

    And we are better off with Josh at shortstop anyway. He has been much more productive than Jack. Josh .353 OBP, Jack .275

  37. Chris_From_Bothell on May 22nd, 2010 10:07 am

    And we are better off with Josh at shortstop anyway. He has been much more productive than Jack. Josh .353 OBP, Jack .275

    Yep. Josh is no great shakes with the glove, but then I haven’t seen Jack’s legendary defense on display in his entire time as an M either, apart from a couple of highlight reel OOZ plays. Jack’s injury history and light bat trump whatever he supposedly brings on defense, that he hasn’t brought as an M yet.

    I’m fine with Josh unless something better comes along.

  38. Dennisss on May 22nd, 2010 10:14 am

    Careful there rmarshall. There is a big difference between

    he has been much more productive than Jack


    we are better off with Josh at shortstop anyway

    going forward. Looking at some basic stats on Fangraphs, Jack has historically been the better player – he is close to an average major league player due largely to his defense, while Josh aspires to be replacement level.

    Unless you think Josh got really good all of the sudden, Jack is a better bet.

  39. Jon S. on May 22nd, 2010 10:34 am

    Hey, all. One quick thought. Sweeney should start against righties more often because of his career-long reverse platoon split. His career wOBA is about thirty points higher against righties than lefties. I’m not saying we should necessarily expect better results if he sees righties more, I’m just saying we shouldn’t expect a normal platoon split from him at all.

  40. rmarshall on May 22nd, 2010 10:59 am

    Dennisss..I agree that Jack has been better historically but he hasn’t played more than 106 games in a season since 2007. Injuries seem to have taken their toll and I don’t believe he will be the player that he was. His offensive numbers in 08,09 and early this season are unispiring. His 1BB/14K is Betancourt like.

  41. KenPhelpsglasses on May 22nd, 2010 11:15 am

    Wak made it clear that Jr. was going to get a start in Tampa. What he didn’t plan on Sweeney hitting an HR in 3 straight games.

    So then he had a spin problem.

    How is he going to try and make the ridiculous decision to bench Sweeney when he was on a HR tear? Perhaps when Wak got the injury report from the trainer he said Sweeney’s back was a little sore.

    Sweeney was last Sunday surprised when a reporter told him that was Wak’s reason for starting Jr.

    After that it was reported Sweeney even asked Wak to let him play before this homestand.

    We know either Wak wanted to play Griffey, or he was being ordered to before MB came back. Now we know why since Sweeney and MB are supposedly going to get all the DH starts.

    From what I remember from playing, batting practice sessions are a lot more wear and tear on a back, and Sweeney was allowed to do that.

    Yes he has had injury issues in the past. So many players get written off because of things out of their control.

    Like Jayson Werth and of course Vlad. I think the Dodgers would have him now instead of Manny right now and the Angels Vlad instead of Matsui.

  42. mlathrop3 on May 22nd, 2010 4:40 pm

    I didn’t watch the game last night. The box score in the paper this morning was a nice way to start my day that’s for sure.

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