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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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April 10, 2008 2:53 PM

M's blown out in finale

Posted by Geoff Baker


The crowd reacts in celebration as Richie Sexson, pictured above, takes a called third strike from Trever Miller to end today's game.

An ugly finish to this game for the M's, who trailed only 1-0 heading into the sixth, but gave up a run that frame and five more in the seventh to lose 7-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Seattle managed just two hits over eight innings against the Rays' fifth starter. A disappointing performance today. Manager John McLaren told me before the game he was looking for some momentum heading into this weekend's series with the Angels.

He told us afterwards: "It was not a good road trip. But we did win the series. The Baltimore series really set us back. Now, we've got to go home, get a good winning streak going out there.''

I think any momentum the Mariners gained in winning here the last two nights went out the window today. They looked flat. Swung into quick and easy outs and did not jump on starter Edwin Jackson when they had some chances in the early innings. Unimpressive showing today. Too many hitters not carrying their weight. Yes, it's early. But a few guys have to get going. Kenji Johjima looked terrible today.

Johjima is batting .071 and is the midst of an 0-for-22 slump. He can't remember ever battling thorugh anything like this.

"As of right now,'' he said, through an interpreter, "I think I'm trying to hit everything, which is impossible to do even when you're in the right groove.''

We asked Johjima if he needed one good game of solid contact to get over the hump.

"Just one hit,'' he said. "That's what I need. And it's tough to bring out that hit when you're in this situation.''

I spoke to hitting coach Jeff Pentland about what's going on with his hitters. There are three of them -- Johjima, Brad Wilkerson and Jose Vidro -- batting .139 or worse. The Mariners are well below the usual average of .300 when it comes to balls they bat into-play actually going for hits. I asked Pentland about that and whether he felt his players were being victimized by hitting balls right at where defenders are standing.

He agreed that might have been the case in the first week of the season. Not so much lately.

"We're not squaring it up,'' Pentland said. "My whole philosophy is, put the fat part of the bat on the ball.''

And that hasn't happened. You saw all of those harmless tappers to infielders today. Pentland mentioned all the bats getting broken by Orioles pitchers in Baltimore the last series.

"Those are things that are not really the m.o. of our ballclub,'' Pentland said. "We're a put-it-into-play type of team.''

Pentland also said that better pitch selection will be crucial to his team going forward. The M's, as we know, are free-swingers and don't always wait for their pitch. Some positive signs on that front? The M's entered today tied with Chicago for the AL lead in walks, then got four more against Rays starter Jackson. And the Elias Sports Bureau says Seattle began the day leading the league with the best walks-to-strikeouts ratio. They won't do that all year, but the message seems to be slowly seeping in. They are being more selective at the plate -- at least more patient.

Let's see if that starts translating to hits. This team needs some. The Angels are coming to town and the pitching matchups appear to favor Seattle. That won't matter if the M's can't score runs. They scored 13 here in the first two games of this series, but have just 27 in their eight other games.

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Posted by Nat

12:14 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I'll be at the game tomorrow night and hoping it will be a good one. The HH blog is a bit underwhelmed over this series with the home team.

Re: HH= not worth the effort of a response.

Posted by joe

12:15 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Looked like the Mariners were already on the plane, looking at the Angels series

Posted by Adam

12:23 PM, Apr 10, 2008

John - the first problem is that your evaluation is results-based. Just because EOF gave up three runs doesn't necessarily mean he pitched poorly.

Again, the HBP was an inside fastball under the hands (as they had been pitching Pena all series) that nicked his loose jersey.

Upton's single was a jam-job that he fisted to the right of our super defensive 1B. It scored two runs. If it's hit a foot to the right, there is little damage.

Hinske hit a weak tapper to the pitcher.

Then an IBB to Gomes to load the bases.

Thanks to Corcoran, all three (Pena, Upton, Gomes) scored.

Sorry, I have real trouble seeing how EOF pitched poorly, results be damned.

Posted by Robert

12:30 PM, Apr 10, 2008


I think Ron Washington (the Texas Rangers skipper) stole my thunder awhile back when he said the Mariners in recent years are an team which plays like individuals. I couldn't agree more. No team gets less out of more. Except for last year when we had a guy like Jose Guillen who wouldn't stand for that woe is me & every man for himself type of attitude which has plagued this team for years. Yes, the Mariners have improved their starting pitching but their mindset offensively has reverted back to that every man for himself attitude. And until that changes they won't win...period!!!!!!

Posted by Samuel L. Jackson

12:33 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Release or trade Vidro, Cairo, and Sexson. Call up Norton and Balentein (unless a trade can bring something better). Have Ibanez or Morse move to first and put Morse or Balentein in left and platoon the DH between Norton/Ibanez and Morse/ Balentein. With the extra spot, bring up a pitcher. That would give us better speed in the outfield and on the basepaths and provide more pop in this line up.

Posted by Adam

12:34 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Hey Samuel - why don't we wait a while before making drastic roster changes?

It's only been 10 games...

Posted by Samuel L. Jackson

12:37 PM, Apr 10, 2008

It's been 172 games. Worse than last year.

Posted by joe

12:41 PM, Apr 10, 2008

ADAM: a pitcher's job is to get outs and prevent runs from scoring, don't matter how ya look at it O'Flaherty pitched poorly. He compunded the trouble Batista got into, he was not part of the solution he was part of the problem. He has pitched poorly all year. Period.

Posted by Adam

12:45 PM, Apr 10, 2008

joe: Bull. You tell me one thing O'Flaherty did wrong today.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:51 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Adam - Didn't see the game, so if O'F was making his pitches (as you seem to be saying), then to me the question is whether Mac made the right call bringing him in instead of Corcoran or even Lowe. Is O'F the right choice, given how much work he's had thus far, given the poor results he's had thus far, and given a R/L/R matchup?

If this was a soft landing, then Mac might have been giving up too early. I know down 4 runs is insurmountable for this offense, so far, but for most teams, isn't 2 innings to make up 4 runs a rally, not a time to start swapping guys out?

Posted by Samuel L. Jackson

12:53 PM, Apr 10, 2008

EOF hit a batter and gave up a single. Those are two things he did wrong today. Whether you are pitching inside or not, you can't come in and hit the first batter. The single is a single no matter what. Would you say Upton failed because he was jammed and didn't hit the ball solid or do you say he did a great job of driving in two runs? EOF didn't get the job done. I don't believe we send him down though.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:54 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Looking forward to tomorrow night's game regardless of flat play so far. 2 games back going into the weekend, a chance to cut it to just one game back, maybe even pull even in time for the following weekend's series against the Angels on the road.

The starting pitching just needs to be lights-out. And the power bats in the offense need to catch fire. And O'Flaherty needs to catch a cold.

Posted by SpokaneFan

12:55 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I think it was a team effort. Batista didn't have a bad outing. Our bats certainly didn't do him any favors. 3 hits all game just isn't going to work. We need consistency. O'Flaherty came into a situation in which Mac shouldn't even have put him in. I know RRS pitched 2 straight days but O'Flaherty needs to pitch in a less crucial situation. We can't have our pitcher lead off by hitting a lefty then giving up a single. It's a long season but there are definately things that could signal trouble. Our bats have to produce better and our pen needs to step it up. Having J.J. back will help but we need to 1.) Score enough runs to have him come in and 2.) Secure the lead long enough to get to J.J.

Posted by Merrill

12:59 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Sorry, here's a response that's partially from the end of the last thread:

Richie's a .260 guy when he's clubbing the lights out of the ball. Most power hitters are. Wilky's like that, too.

.270 would be a dream season, unless he suffers a power drop.

Adam, I made a couple of long-winded posts late in the "Two in a Row" thread, which were actually my season posting debuts.

I moved outside the Big City. Took a while to get the Internet connection going in the new place. I went to Internet shops and lurked along, but never commented. Too many dang kids playing video games online and yelling to each other from across the room.

At least these local shops are smart enough to provide headphones instead of the outrageous cacaphony you sometimes get otherwise....

Samuel, I don't think we'll see anything drastic until mid-May at the earliest, unless the wheels REALLY fall off. A 2-5 road trip stinks up a storm, and they really looked terrible today, even live according to Geoff, but they've won two of three series.

I don't buy the "172 games" roll. I know it's attractive to roll with that idea, but we've got entirely different circumstances here. Richie's doing a lot better, and based on that, Raul's recent surge, and Joh's puzzling slump, I fully expect him, Raul, and Johjima to produce over the course of the season. I don't know about Wilky and Vidro, though.

And so far, Adam, you're right about Sherrill. I thought that RRS and EOF could pick up right where he left off, but I was wrong. So far. I still think that will bear out as the season unfolds.

I know you hope I'm right about that, too.

Also, Jimenez and Feierabend may not exactly be ready for Prime Time, but I think with them and Rhodes (maybe), that we've still got uncommon lefty depth.

Posted by David Gee

1:00 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Has Batista at any point in the last two seasons pitched into the seventh inning and NOT fallen apart? He had an otherwise decent outing ruined today because he just can not get more out of himself than six innings. It seems like they should just take him out after six unless the M's have a big lead.

Posted by Adam

1:00 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Samuel - You are completely wrong. Completely wrong. All singles are not equal. All hit batters are not equal. They had been pitching inside on Pena all series. O'Flaherty made his pitch, perhaps a bit inside of where he wanted it, and it nicked Pena's loose jersey. That's not a mistake, that's bad luck.

And yes, luck does happen. EOF made exactly the pitch he wanted to against Upton a fastball on the hands. It jammed Upton. I guess good on Upton for putting the ball in play, but EOF could have done nothing more. He put the ball EXACTLY where he wanted it, and it found a hole.

Just because a ball finds a hole doesn't mean it's failure by EOF. It's part of the game - and if you judge a pitcher on results, without looking at the details, you are going to come to an improper conclusion.

This is exactly why ERA is such a ridiculous stat. EOF gave up three runs, but he pitched much better than if he had allowed three line-drives that all were hit right to Beltre, for example. In the latter case, he wouldn't have given up any runs, but he pitched more poorly than he did today.

But you watch, Mac will overreact and bring up Rhodes, and send EOF down the first chance he gets, even though EOF is the better pitcher.

Posted by David Gee

1:05 PM, Apr 10, 2008

The M's had better not screw up this upcoming series against the Angels. There's no excuse for being two games behind those guys when their top two starting pitchers are out. Man, I hate the Angels.

Posted by PayClayBennett

1:09 PM, Apr 10, 2008

EOF stinks so far this season fellas - why are we even arguing this? Not just today, but all season.

And Adam, yes, it has only been 10 games, but the same sucks who sucked last year suck again. Wilkerson, Sexson and Cairo could all disappear, be replaced with Clement, Balentein and Morrow and the only diff you would see would be positive results.

Sexson will not crest .220 all season and if he has another solid series against the Angels, he'll be mored around .200 all season as he either has no idea how to hit consistently or he has no ability or talent to make adjustments and improve his productivity. As Samuel said, his slide is 172 games and there is no sign of it improving.

These are fine examples of a GM who overspends for free agents whose teams do not want them or refuse to pay them and watches them perform at a mediocre level while using up his roster spots that would in other instances be used to try guys who can play. Bill Bavasi has built a team of never-has-beens and some of your people are surprised they're not winning.

He replaced Guillen with garbage and he killed the bullpen with Sherrill leaving and Morrow not looking the same.

As for Mac - dude appears to be clueless and running this roster the way he is, he will on the employment line by June. How many games in a row you gonna let EOF give up the game and how about those pinch hitters today? I know it was 7-0 in the 9th, but Bloomquist and Cairo? He might as well have walked out to the mound and tossed a white towel at the pitcher.

This team is not as good as last year - period and the only thing that can save them is drop-dead pitching. Until the bullpen gets cleaned up, that will not happen.

Very happy with the starters so far, the one hot spot on the club. Bedard is surprisingly hittable so far, hopefully he can turn the screws a little as he gets locked in.

10 games - hosed away 3 of them already Adam. Last year trailing the Angels by 6 games in September, I'm sure they would have liked to have a couple of those hosed games starts now, every game means something and these jokers do not look improved at all. Seriously, Sexson is pitiful. Every squirrel finds a nut now and then, lucky for Richie, he finds one about 20% of the time....for $14M annually...I want that gig.

Boys better get it together quick.....

P.S. The technical aspect of this blog sucks - been nice about it before, but having to redo your posts every time is for Windows 3.1 days....can we move ahead a little ST? I happen to work for a company who would be happy to help.....

Posted by Adam

1:10 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Merrill - yeah, I do hope you are right, because Rhodes or Jimenez or Feierabend are not the answer.

Sherrill is a very good pitcher, and it made our pen worse when we lost him. So far, that's painfully clear, but I am hoping EOF and RRS can do the job.

Posted by Ben

1:13 PM, Apr 10, 2008

We won 2 of 3 against these guys on the road. I think the mariners can be happy with that. Sure today was a terrible game, but they won the series - and some of that was due to Washburn pitching very well, amazingly enough.

Now we have Felix, Silva and Bedard going into the Angels series at Home.

And yes - hopefully Johjima can start hitting - same with Vidro, Wilkerson, Morse and so forth. And hopefully Sexson can look like Road Sexson at home (minus today's game).

Posted by Adam

1:17 PM, Apr 10, 2008

PayClay - I am aware that Sexson and Vidro aren't any good. I spent much of the offseason arguing as much.

That said, the time to replace those guys was during the offseason. Now that we are ten games in, as much as I hate to say this, they have to at least let this play out for three or four weeks before making any judgments.

While I am all for looking at recent performance (two or three year splits) to evaluate a player, I've seen enough from Sexson to at least give him a bit more time. He is seeing more pitches, which is vital. As for Vidro - well, I'd like to see us sign Bonds today. Can't really root for him.

Wilkerson and Johjima don't even fall into this category; both are really underperforming and should rebound.

Posted by PayClayBennett

1:18 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Adam, what happened with those 2 runners, the not same single and not same HBP? His job is no baserunners. If he creates a mess, he will not get a chance to clean it up and so far this year, he has been great at creating messes and none of them have been cleaned up. Sure, I don't want Rhodes either, but no one can change EOF's results but he himself.

It's ok for some of us to be mad at him, he has stunk like doo doo all of can't even argue that. He has given up at least 1 run in 5 of his 6 appearances....I don't care how, that is what he has done...stats before today's game:

3.7 0 1 0 2 3 14.73 2.73

That WHIP is disgusting, even if he has only thrown 3 and 2/3s.

C'mon Adam, your support is commendable, but there is no defense for those ugly facts.

I don't have a solution to argue, Eric just needs to get his s___ together.

Posted by PayClayBennett

1:25 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I hear ya Adam, we're stuck with the millionaires - like I said, I have no solution. At least none that realistic.

Wilkerson is a lifetime .250 guy with occasional power - we're getting what we were going to get with him.

Johjima - not sure what to say, but he's got little time on his contract and Clement can't wait to be a Major Leaguer, so I'm guessing he will remove the plug soon.

Forgot about Vidro - put him back in the 2 hole and let him hit .320 and move some runners - not sure what else anyone expected him to do. If there wasn't satisfaction with Vidro after last season, the expectations are obviously way too high, LOL. I expect the same this year, but I think he needs to be put in the same place - not at the bottom where Sexson, Wilkerson, Johjima and company are never on base.

I gots no answers, only complaints and whines man - but EOF is at the top of my whippin' list right now...I didn't expect them to hit, but I expected the pen and the starters to be nails....

By the way, Clay Bennett is a moron and he's the last spanker I want to see get paid

Posted by Adam

1:33 PM, Apr 10, 2008

You will notice that my praise for EOF is only limited to today's game. He took a step forward today, not a step back.

Posted by oregongal

1:36 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I heard part of Shannon Drayer's comments on the radio after the game today. She talked to Pentland who said Joh is his #1 project when they get home. Tampa doesn't have the batting cages to work with hitters, or something. Anyway, Joh himself says he's always been a streak hitter and he's just looking for one good hit. Right now, he says, he's looking to hit every ball thrown to him, even though he knows it's a bad mindset and can't even be done.

I'm a big Burke lover, but Kenji's our catcher and you have to let him work through this or we lose a big piece of the team over the season. The adage is that hitting trails pitching coming out of spring training. It's certainly true for the M's.

As long as the whole offense is flailing, there just aren't places to let guys like EOF (or the hitters themselves) have a soft landing.

I wouldn't say the Angels games are crucial to the success of the season, but if don't take the series with the starting pitching we've got, it will be demoralizing.

Posted by ms my team

1:37 PM, Apr 10, 2008

One might think that a bunt with 2 on and no outs,might help with run support instead of 4 double plays,thats what I have for them this year.

Posted by sjazzdude

1:40 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Contrary to what others might think, I am a fan of Morse and Bloomquist. They need the play time to prove that they are an integral part of this team. Bloomquist is so versatile, the only positions he can't play are pitcher and catcher. With his speed, he a threat to steal bases.

If, and when Bloomquist does play, I would like to see him lead off instead of Ichiro. Then have Ichiro hit in the two-spot. With Bloomquist's legs and Ichiro's speed, I would think there would be a lot more opportunities to score with at least a runner at third with one out, or runners at the corners with no outs.

Bloomquist is not a power hitter, and he shouldn't try to be. With his speed he needs to spray the ball around the field. However, how is he going to do that when McLaren won't even play him.

Posted by K-Man

1:48 PM, Apr 10, 2008

It's way too early to be giving up on anyone, although I have to say I'm really starting to worry about Wilkerson. This looks like a classic case of NL guy in over his head in the AL. I still have nighmares about Cirillo and Aurillia!

The pitching matchups definitely favor us for this weekend series with the LAAAs, and the weather will be a lot warmer than it was for the opening Safeco series.

I like our chances.

Posted by Merrill

1:51 PM, Apr 10, 2008

PayClay, I will despise Howard Shulz until my dying day. I wonder if the recent e-mail revelation of intent, coupled with their extravagant request from the legislature designed to be turned down, can do any good toward breaking the initial sale contract? I really doubt it, but the buyout cash is there... question is, where were all these genius benefactors when Shulzy sold our team to those naughty scheming Okies?

Well, back to the M's... Wilky hit 20 HR in either two-thirds or three-quarters of a season last year. It's reasonable to expect him to hit 25-30 if healthy all year. I like Lopez in the two spot, and were Vidro and Joh actually hitting, they'd be, with Yuni, a really dangerous bottom of the order.

Will Vidro ever hit again? We'll see...

Posted by K-Man

2:04 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Re: Wilkerson.
Thanks for the encouraging words, Merrill. I'm aware of his history, and am not faulting anyone for signing him, but he looks really lost at the plate, IMO. I hope he snaps out of it soon.

Vidro has a history as well, and given that I can't imagine that he won't start hitting again very soon.

Posted by Higbie

2:10 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I think Joh's slump has more to do with the Conways or lack thereof than anything else.

Posted by Merrill

2:18 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Hey, well, I aim to please... and now I aim to get some sleep. G'nite, all...

Posted by Donovan

2:35 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Due to the intervention of my day job, I was unable to track the game today, but I'm enjoying watching Adam try to (almost) singlehandedly be the voice of reason on this blog today. You are doing very well by the way Adam, but like the defenders of the Alamo, you are doomed by sheer numbers. The lynch mob will probably have to reach all the way down to AA to field a lineup for the Angels series, because there aren't enough healthy call-ups available in Tacoma to appease their disgust with the big leaguers.

Very few baseball teams come out of the gate in April and dominate their way to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the 2001 M's were one of the exceptions, and maybe that, along with the last 5 years of futility, has shaped the way M's fans view a season. Either you dominate from day 1 or you suck I guess. Most championship teams are defined by how they react to adversity, not by avoiding adversity. This team is a long shot to be a champion - no rational person has said differently - but they are a legitimate contender. Holding their confidence together and picking each other up is critical. When it comes to the manager, the most important part of his job is not making lineup decisions, it is managing egos and psyches on his team. This is true of all head coaches in pro sports. Keeping players positive and helping them work out of slumps. That is what pro coaches do. They don't teach the game to big leaguers. The Hollywood version of the crusty manager who runs around kicking asses and sitting starters down whenever they screw up is BS. I dare anybody to name a successful manager in their lifetime who fit that mold.

Here are some factoids/lessons I think are interesting after this disappointing road trip:

- Richie now leads the team with 9 walks in 10 games. That projects to 145 for the year. That isn't going to threaten Bonds' 2004 record of 232, but it would not only be a record for Sexson, it would more than double his average # as a Mariner. Last year he only had 51! He has made a major change to his approach. Let's hope that continues and pays off with better pitches to hit. The reason he is a ML ballplayer is that he has historically hit mistake pitches a long way. Last year nobody threw mistakes to him because they didn't have to to get him out.

- Morse cannot hit right handers. He just can't. Unfortunately, neither can Wilk. This is a big problem, and platooning cannot address it. Kenji is struggling right now, but he is not the biggest problem we have offensively. Right field is. Oh yeah, Morse is a lousy outfielder. I wish it were not true, but that doesn't make it not true.

- The bullpen is doing fine, with the exception of EOF, and he's not that far off. Adam is right about him today. He was a little unlucky. Coming on the heels of his last two starts, it looks like a trend, but I'm not convinced. I think he will be fine and our BP will be fine once we get Putz back. Relief pitching is all about confidence, and knowing JJ has the 9th is huge for every other guy who goes out before him.

- The key deficiency in our team this year is consistent hitting. We don't have it right now. Since we have no power, we have to be consistent. The good news is that April is historically the worst month for most hitters. The is both time for and likelihood of improvement. The M's season comes down to whether we can score enough runs to win. The pitching is plenty good enough and so is the defense.

Posted by hopless fan

2:41 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Time to make some change! bring up the young talents and make some trade. They looked like a train-wrecked out there. Fire Mc! I guess they won't do anything until Angels sweep us this weekend. I have tickets for the game tomorow but I don't think I'm going to go. Anyone wanna buy my tickets???

Posted by Griffey24

2:50 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Bloomquist is a AAAA player...the fact that he's a local product who has been with the team for so long is likely the only reason he is still with the big club.
What good is speed if you can't get on base? Bloomquist at leadoff? Are you kidding me? I really like Ichiro as a #2 hitter, but he's also our best leadoff hitter, so unless we find someone else to bat leadoff, Ichiro will stay put.

Posted by oregongal

2:54 PM, Apr 10, 2008

From yesterday's 6-4-2 a blog that covers Angels/Dodgers:

Vlad Guerrero hit into two more double plays, only one of which will be recorded on Baseball-Reference's AL leaderboard because it was a lineout. Dear God, has he forgotten over the winter that GIDP's are a Bad Thing?

Update: Vlad also leads the majors in GIDPs.

Not to single him out, but the Angels have the second most GIDPs in the majors after the Twins.

This offense cannot long survive without Howie Kendrick. Izturis and Aybar in the same lineup is like giving the opposition a half-day off, with the caveat that today Aybar somehow managed to accumulate his thirteenth multi-hit major league game today. Such things are flukes, as his .100 average going into today's game attests.

Also making whistling noises to the cellar: Casey Kotchman, Maicer Izturis, and Jeff Mathis.

And of course, we've got Felix, Silva, and Bedard going this weekend. Should be a good series.

Posted by Griffey24

2:56 PM, Apr 10, 2008

PayClay (and others who didn't read my post on the previous thread):
He is what he is. 2005 and 2006 HR-RBI totals:

Everyone (including Sexson) agrees he had a bad 2007 season. What makes you think the M's would just give up on him and cut him? His track record outside of last year is what their asking from him this year. And if Richie is indeed done, who's going to outproduce him at 1B in 2008? You were spot on, Clay, when you said you had no answers, just complaints and whines. I'll take your bet on "Sexson will not crest .220 this season"...he has in every other full season in his career.

But track record > 1 year only goes so far as last year for many in the crowd, I suppose.

Posted by oregongal

2:56 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Again screwed up the italics. The whole thing down to my comment about our pitchers is from 6-4-2.

Posted by Squatch

3:29 PM, Apr 10, 2008

look for ADAM at the game tomorrow night, he'll be the teenager with the " I HEART O"FLAHERTY"

Posted by Faceplant

3:38 PM, Apr 10, 2008

"Just because a ball finds a hole doesn't mean it's failure by EOF. It's part of the game - and if you judge a pitcher on results, without looking at the details, you are going to come to an improper conclusion."

That's exactly right, and it's something a lot of people don't understand. It was like when Sean Green was really struggling at the end of last year. Most of the hits he was allowing were on groundballs. When you are an extreme groundballer that is going to happen. Of course it all evens out in the end, but you can execute everything perfect, even getting the grounder that you wanted, and it will still find a hole.

Plus... It's been a freakin' week. If EOF is sucking eggs in a month, then I'll start worrying.

Posted by PayClayBennett

3:39 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Griff - Just calling them how I see them and I think we can put a wager on Sexson's batting average. What I see is a pattern, progressing toward Richie being out of baseball or getting special invites to camp every season.

The Buhner comparison is interesting, but something about Bone gave you confidence when he had that open stance at the plate. It would be interesting to compare their totals over the years and see how that shakes down. Buhner also had a number of studs to pick him up during the "glory" years and Sexson doesn't have that going for him with this club. The Mariners outfield will hit less bombs than any starting 3 in MLB.

Anyway, as for the wager - I'm in Phoenix, 15 minutes north of the Peoria Spring Training Complex - I come up at least 4 times a year - including once in the summer. If Sexson is hitting under .220 as of August 1 - you're buying a game for PayClay @ Safeco in August or September. If he's .221 or better, it's on me.

Posted by Michael K.

3:42 PM, Apr 10, 2008

This thread is hilarious. We had two hits through 8 innings and there are people talking about the pitching! Unless Bautista and EOF threw a goose egg we were going to lose this game.

Get used to didn't take a genius to look at this middle of the batting order in the off season and see that we were going to struggle.

Posted by Mike

3:43 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Sigh. Thanks to both Adam & Donovan for being voices of reason.

EOF might truly stink it up next time. Today he was unlucky.

Posted by Zach C

3:55 PM, Apr 10, 2008

wow no one has commented on batista's performance. I think you guys are getting a little spoiled, three of those runs shouldnt have scored- the second run was out when he stole 2nd (thats what I saw, but the ump didn't i guess), and bullpens are suposed to prevent those last two runners from scoring. so really he only gave up 1 legitimate run. do you guys realize how good this rotation is...if only we could figure out how to score some runs and tighten up the bullpen, this team would have a chance to win every night

Posted by dr

3:59 PM, Apr 10, 2008

EOF did not pitch well today. He hasn't pitched well, really, this year. You can like the guy; hell, you can LOVE the guy; go date him. But today we saw a continuation of his lack of confidence. This is a young kid. He may well regain his "stuff" but to argue, ad nauseum, about the degree to which his pitches were wonderful-just-bad-luck gets ya nowhere. Right now - which guys looks better on the mound? RRS or EOF? It's a rhetorical question. EOF took a whuppin' early in this year, and he's lost "something" - confidence, I suspect. Give him time.

As for the offense, I agree with those who feel like we've been watching this same lack of timely hitting forever. Actually, we have. I also understand the posters who say it's early. It is. Plus, if I assume last year's offense/this year's offense will be essentially the same, then the season would truly be done for us. So, I'm hoping for better results as more games pile up and the weather improves. But remember, games like today are the ones where nobody rises to the occasion in terms of scoring. I'm hoping KJ, BW, RS and JV will improve, but even if they do, will it be enough? That's why they play the games.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

4:38 PM, Apr 10, 2008

EOF = Rhodes
EOF > Ramirez
EOF >> Feirabend

Right now folks, unless Arthur is ready and able to throw hard, EOF is who we are going to keep on the ML roster. He made his pitches and didn't "hit" Pena. Pena's jersey got hit, NOT Pena the man. THAT is a shame.

Corcoran comes in and walks a batter and then surrenders a hit. Runs score, game pretty much over. Corcoran DID make up for it by getting the next hitters out though.

EOF HAS MLB experience so for those saying he has none, please look at stats before saying that. I am frustrated with him too but unless Arthur is ready and THROWING HARD, he is not an improvement over EOF.

Mac could NOT burn RRS again today. I also do not understand giving up and sending up his weak hitters (the Boom Boom twins - Cairo & Willie) when I'd take my chances with Betancourt and Lopez. Maybe it would be futile, but heck why do it to begin with?


I am frustrated but I would definitely dump Baek for Dickey right now and then dump Cairo for Norton if they want to take baby steps.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

4:44 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Hey, didn't Morrow stink it up during the opening weeks of 2007? I say let EOF right the course AND THEN if he can't get it together by May, send him down.

Until then, we don't have better options on the farm and Arthur is equal unless he can get his velocity and control back to par. Arthur's enemy is age right now. Eric's is bad luck today and confidence issues. Mac misused him when he was really bad.

Also, if people want to hold EOF responsible for failing to do his job, why did Corcoran come in and immediately walk a batter and give up those additional runs?

I am not defending the kid, but we need to see this as what it is...EOF = bad luck today, let's hope he starts to put it together asap.

Posted by Jim Anderson

4:54 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I thought the TV analysis of Johjima's stance was spot-on. The guy's so far back in the box, he can wipe the sweat off the catcher's mask. Time to move up and quit pulling everything to the shortstop.

Posted by Digger

5:13 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Hey Geoff--

Don't you think tomorrow's news will be about what the
Mariners do to shore up the bullpen?

Was Jimerson's cameo todayhis going-away present? Is Rhodes ready? Do they move Batista to the pen and let Dickey be the 5th starter? Morrow is still walking guys--what is the requirement he has to hit to escape Tennessee? Since McLaren can't ever find a situation where he is comfortable with Baek, isn't he a goner?

What's gonna happen tomorrow?

Posted by John

5:16 PM, Apr 10, 2008

I think EOF is a fine lefty, but certainly against Baltimore, no one can argue that he was pitching well there. I'm not saying he can't pitch better ... he obviously did last year. What I don't like is McClaren declaring spots for guys (Richie is OUR first baseman, EOF is OUR setup lefty guy, Vidro is OUR DH) despite how they play. The bench on this team is redundant with no lefty or power, and when you have an uncreative manager like McClaren running things, injuries like the one to Putz result in chaos. Meanwhile, the Angels lose their closer and two of their top starters and continue to find ways to win because they aren't locked into specific roles or ideas on how to succeed. I don't have a problem with EOF being on this team, I just think there needs to more thinking outside of the box.

Posted by Faceplant

5:27 PM, Apr 10, 2008

""We're not squaring it up,'' Pentland said. "My whole philosophy is, put the fat part of the bat on the ball.''"

Sorry, but this quote just made me chuckle. His philosophy is to put the fat part of the bat on the ball? As opposed to other hitting coaches who prefer you hit the ball with the handle? LOL!

Posted by Faceplant

5:29 PM, Apr 10, 2008

"Would you say Upton failed because he was jammed and didn't hit the ball solid or do you say he did a great job of driving in two runs? EOF didn't get the job done."

I say Upton got jammed, and the RBI's he collected were a result of luck. In that instance EOF won. He may not have got the result, but he executed his pitch, and became the victim of bad luck. Luck plays a big factor in baseball.

Posted by Faceplant

5:55 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Contrary to what others might think, I am a fan of "Morse and Bloomquist. They need the play time to prove that they are an integral part of this team."

Maybe you could make that argument about Morse (even though I would disagree with that argument) but not Bloomquist. Bloomquist has been in the majors for 7 years. We know what he can do, and he isn't a starter.

"If, and when Bloomquist does play, I would like to see him lead off instead of Ichiro. Then have Ichiro hit in the two-spot. With Bloomquist's legs and Ichiro's speed, I would think there would be a lot more opportunities to score with at least a runner at third with one out, or runners at the corners with no outs."

You have to be able to get on base in order be driven in. Sorry, but I don't want Bloomquist and his career .313 OBP anywhere near the leadoff spot.

"Bloomquist is not a power hitter, and he shouldn't try to be. With his speed he needs to spray the ball around the field. However, how is he going to do that when McLaren won't even play him."

I think the real question is, 'How is he going to do that when he is a poor hitter'.

"Morse cannot hit right handers. He just can't. Unfortunately, neither can Wilk."

I know people are frustrated with Wilkerson, but at least give him a chance. YES he's had reverse platoon splits in the past, but it isn't much of one. His career OPS against RHP isn't that much lower than his career OPS against LHP.

Posted by Bobby Ayala

6:37 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Watching Baseball Tonight on espn just now, they started talking about Bonds and Seattle -- and Mariners ownership has continued to say "not gonna happen". Not surprising. I don't really want them to sign Bonds, but I wouldn't hate it either.

Maybe we can send Baek and Cairo (hah -- at least Baek, then) to Chicago for Crede? He could make a decent DH for us, assuming he's over his injury problems. The White Sox have too much depth at the posistion, and he'll be a free agent next season.

Posted by Adam

6:46 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Actually, Squatch, I'll be at home here in Spokane with my 7 year-old son watching the game and wearing my "I HEART RATIONAL THOUGHT" t-shirt.

It's worn and faded, but still fits...

Posted by oregongal

7:01 PM, Apr 10, 2008

Adam, I'm glad you stick around. I watched baseball for almost 40 before learning much about sabermetrics (though I've known about Bill James since 1986). I dove into it last year and found many, many studies and results that fit nicely with what I've seen all those years. I figure I'm at about a 6th grade level of understanding the numbers, but I love the outlook.

I'm not sure you should be allowed to let your son grow up as a Mariner fan, though. That might be abusive. ;)

Posted by Adam

10:02 PM, Apr 10, 2008

oregongal - LOL. He's already got "the Mariners suck!" in his vernacular. So I have trained him well.

Posted by oregongal

11:14 PM, Apr 10, 2008

As long as he has the tools to defend himself!

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:24 AM, Apr 11, 2008

Hey Griffey24, was 2007 not a full year for Richie?

"I'll take your bet on "Sexson will not crest .220 this season"...he has in every other full season in his career."


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