Joe Saunders Thought Train

Jeff Sullivan · July 31, 2013 at 10:06 am · Filed Under Mariners 

(1) Last night, the Mariners got clobbered by the Red Sox, and Joe Saunders caused something of a little stir later on when he fielded questions from the media. Saunders was the Mariners’ starter and he lasted just five innings, and in the post-game interview he said things like “I was throwing good pitches. I wasn’t getting much help.” and “We didn’t get our breaks. They got some breaks.” Saunders declined to go into further detail, but he went off the normal grid to seemingly take a jab at the umpiring and at his teammates, and he defended his own effort, despite the nine hits and six runs. Anything out of the ordinary in a post-game interview is likely to get attention, because the ordinary is empty and mindless. Saunders knew enough to stop himself.

(2) The first inning, of course, was sloppy defensively. Brad Miller committed an error on a routine grounder, and he fumbled an attempted bare-hand later on when gloving the ball probably would’ve worked just fine. Henry Blanco failed to catch a perfectly catchable pitch, and a run scored on the passed ball. Everyone knew the defense did Saunders no favors, and he also threw some borderline pitches throughout that came back as non-strikes. There were a handful of Saunders pitches that easily could’ve gone the other way, and at least once, Saunders expressed his frustration:



(3) On the other hand, the Red Sox didn’t get to pitch to a way more generous strike zone, and their pitchers allowed two runs. Saunders didn’t have a single obvious strike called a ball, and he did get the benefit of the doubt on a few borderline pitches. You’re never going to get the benefit of the doubt on all of them. Additionally, Saunders threw some decidedly poor pitches, like the one Dustin Pedroia hit out, and as for breaks, the Red Sox made two outs on the basepaths while Saunders was on the mound. In the second, Jose Iglesias hit a ball off the wall and was thrown out trying for second, and then trying for first. In the fourth, Pedroia was thrown out trying to stretch a single. That’s two times the Red Sox made outs on hits off Joe Saunders.

(4) So Saunders was frustrated, and he voiced as much, and he selectively remembered things that would make him look better. Yes, he had some reasons to complain, but he also had some reasons not to, and generally veteran leaders are supposed to be more stable and calm. Saunders threw some good pitches, and he threw some bad pitches. He didn’t get some breaks, and he did get other breaks. It was, like he said, just one of those nights.

(5) So basically Saunders was like anyone else. We all selectively remember things to make ourselves look better, all of the time, and when we’re frustrated we have less control over what we say and what we keep to ourselves. Typically, we keep our frustrations penned in, but sometimes the gates open up and things spill out. It’s fine if Saunders wants to be critical of the umpires, and it’s not like he hates his young Mariner teammates. Quote from the linked article: “I’d like to stay here. I love playing here. I think we have a good thing going with these guys.” Miller knows he messed up, Saunders knows he shouldn’t have said anything, and there won’t be a single hard feeling because these emotions are gone as soon as they’re put in the air. The consequences and significance of what Saunders said are nothing. He felt like a normal person and he’s allowed to be frustrated when he gives up six runs in five innings. Nothing has been revealed about his personality; nothing has been revealed about his psychology. Certainly, nothing has been revealed about his pitching. He’s Joe Saunders. He needs a bigger share of the breaks to be really good.

(6) In conclusion, whatever. You have now spent this time reading about Joe Saunders on the day of the trade deadline. Not reading about Joe Saunders rumors. Reading just about Joe Saunders.


7 Responses to “Joe Saunders Thought Train”

  1. jak924 on July 31st, 2013 10:33 am

    Saunders is just another washed-up vet. Unload him now.

  2. kaleyk on July 31st, 2013 11:55 am

    “Unload him now”
    And replace with whom??? It’s easy to fire someone….not so easy to replace that someone.

  3. deflep78 on July 31st, 2013 12:26 pm

    Paxton appears at least OK at this point and he would be more interesting to watch than Launch Pad Joe.

  4. scraps on July 31st, 2013 12:55 pm

    Jeff writes thoughtfully. Go to the comments, expecting thoughtfulness, and the first comment… sigh.

  5. Westside guy on July 31st, 2013 1:20 pm

    I said this previously, but:

    Isn’t the mantra we keep hearing regarding the value of having veterans on the team that they’ve been through it all before, know how to shake it off when something doesn’t go their way, etc.? Joe Saunders isn’t sounding very veteran-like, in that case, if an error behind him or a couple calls by the ump caused him to lose his ability to pitch.

  6. Gary Gramson on July 31st, 2013 2:29 pm

    That defense in the first was really frustrating and not up to MLB standards at all. Franklin trying a bare hand when it was a catcher running? That’s not a very heady play.

    Also, those catchers who are supposed to be on the roster because of their defense should have blocked that pitch. Saunders was bad, but the defense kept him on the field longer than he should have been.

  7. Jon on July 31st, 2013 2:38 pm

    Saunders should not have said what he said. He seemed to figure that out and stopped himself from making it worse. Assuming he made his own private apologies to players and coaches, or is otherwise viewed as a good teammate who just had a bad day, this should blow over. If not, he’ll likely be gone at the first opportunity.

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