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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 14, 2008 3:19 PM

Finally, a 12-man pitching staff

Posted by Geoff Baker

You've all heard the news by now, that Eric O'Flaherty was indeed optioned to the minors, going to Class AA West Tennessee to find his game again. Coming up will be R.A. Dickey and Arthur Rhodes. Mike Morse goes on the DL. Expect to see Rhodes used as the second bullpen lefty. Can't imagine the Mariners would put him in the eighth inning role right away. John McLaren will address the media in an hour or so and the clubhouse doors haven't opened yet. So, until then, it's all guesswork.

Some of you continue to harp on the semantics of what I wrote about McLaren's decision to stick with O'Flaherty after yesterday's fifth inning. Again, here's the entirety of what was said. You don't burn a bunch of bullpen arms after five innings of a 4-0 game. Once it became a 7-0 game, what's the harm in riding O'Flaherty all the way? Even at 7-2 or 7-3 going to the seventh, the game is pretty much a done deal. O'Flaherty was the second lefty and it was his job to go multiple innings if needed. In a 4-0 game in the middle innings, with the M's trailing, he was needed in that capacity. You don't use three pitchers to do the job of one guy in a game getting out of hand. At 4-0 through five, it was starting to get that way. At 7-0 through five-plus, it was out of hand.

This has nothing to do with any pre-season predictions by me. It's merely smart baseball when you have a bullpen that's undermanned.

Want to criticize McLaren for sticking with an 11-man pitching staff, leading to him being undermanned? By all means. Heck, I've done it. With that extra arm now in there, decisions like yesterday's won't have to be made every day. But if you've used up your only real long man as a starter and you pull your second longish type after only one inning, you may have to burn your entire bullpen worth of one-inning guys to finish a game you're probably going to lose in any event. Even if the M's were to have won yesterday's game, emptying the bullpen to do it would have been nuts. Yes, it was important for the M's to sweep. But not if they were to leave themselves exposed the rest of the week by doing so. They can sweep the next series. The sooner they start sweeping, the better their record will get. Funny how that works.

For some of you, last time, it doesn't matter that you played ball from Little League on up. This is not Little League. Anyhow, my Mariners playoff predictions aside, I thought this entire 11-man pitching staff idea was flawed from the get-go -- even before J.J. Putz went down. Once Putz was injured, I could not believe the staff stayed at 11. That's finally been corrected. And the team did not sustain lethal damage in getting to this point. Yes, a sweep and a 7-6 record would have been preferable to 6-7. If it helps you feel any better, the team's Pythagorean expectation based on runs-for/runs-against is now 7-6. So, according to that (tongue firmly planted in cheek) it's all gravy from here.

We'll point out the very serious problems when they become very serious. On April 14, the most serious problem was sticking with an 11-man pitching staff. The problem has been rectified. We'll see on April 15 whether any other moves need to be made short-term.

NOTE (3:49 p.m.): To answer a question from Mariners 2008 down below in the comments thread, indeed I do think McLaren is trying to avoid a repeat of last season's bullpen collapse. He's already on-record, along with Norm Charlton, saying that former manager Mike Hargrove managed last year's bullpen like a guy trying to save his job rather than do what was best for the pen's long-term health. But even if last season's bullpen collapse did not occur, most managers in his situation would have handled it the way he did yesterday by riding O'Flaherty into the ground and saving his other arms.

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Posted by Dan

3:42 PM, Apr 14, 2008

My concern isn't about 3 relievers and a backup outfielder. Bedard needs to be healthy and pitching for this team to have a shot at any post season. I'll take this news (I really always thought Dickey should have been on this team anyways) if it is followed by Bedard being out for one more start and then pitching the rest of the season.

Posted by kawalski

3:42 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I like the moves. And can see the logic with what JMac did yesterday. Though during the game, it was tough watching it all unfold only to realize he was actually saving the bullpen and not torching it for the sake of 1 game. It will be interesting to see what happens when everyone is healthy again. Will JMac stay with the 12 man staff or go back down to 11?

Posted by Mariners_2008

3:48 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Do you think McLaren is trying to avoid last year's collapse by keeping the bullpen fresh in the early going?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:05 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Again, here's the point (speaking for myself):

4th inning: Baek fine, 2 runs.
Start of 5th: 2 runners on, O'F in.
Middle of 5th: 2 runs in, 4-0 game.

It is at THAT point that I am 2nd-guessing Mac. Leaving in a snakebit pitcher like O'F with the game 4-0 and only half over, was giving up. Making it clear O'F was done for the day when the top of the 5th was over, and switching to one more reliever would have given the offense a chance to rally against the one team they most need to pile up wins against. Leaving in the arm with the worst record, "long man" or otherwise, was waving the white flag. RRS couldn't do 4? Corcoran couldn't do 4? A sweep of the one team you need to beat most of all this year, is worth it. (If the Ms can't beat the Royals without needing their full bullpen, they have larger problems...)

4 innings to get 4 runs, at home, was still possible. You're misunderstanding by saying it's about leaving O'F in once it was 7-0. O'F shouldn't have been in the 6th.

Mac apparently thinks 4 runs in mid-game is insurmountable, and is therefore a game that you can then use to a) preserve the rest of the bullpen for those scary Royals and As, and b) as an experiment to be extra-super-double sure that the guy whose ERA is almost bigger than his age, needs more work in the minors.

That was the point.

It's all academic now, as the right moves were made to get some extra arms in. Hopefully that's enough to right the ship. Especially interested to see Dickey succeed, with his skillset and backstory. And overall, would be nice to see the Ms on a roll when they go into Anaheim this weekend.

Posted by oregongal

4:09 PM, Apr 14, 2008

So this means we go into Jackie Robinson Day with an African-American player on the team. The Mariners sure show how baseball has changed in the last 20 years. One African-American player at a time, but players from 14 different countries.

Geoff, do you know who's going to wear #42 tomorrow?

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

4:13 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Couldn't agree more Chris. There's just no excuse for waiving the white flag like that. Even if our offense stayed anemic and we fell short, at least it would have been a game until the 9th. Do you think the Redsox would concede a game to the NYY at Fenway during the 5th inning? I just don't feel like Mac has any fight in him. This was, in my opinion, a truly pathetic call by Mac.

Posted by Ziasudra

4:14 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Oregongal - naughty-naughty. The only important color on a team is the color of their uniforms. Mariner Blue! Anything else is out of place (racist). You know better. . . .

Posted by oregongal

4:14 PM, Apr 14, 2008

The only reason I questioned leaving EOF in yesterday (because I understood the long relief thing) was that Mac seemed big in spring training about "sending a message" to the Angels. You could also make the argument that a win against the Angels is worth more than a win against a non-division, almost certainly noncontending for the wild card, rival in KC. I forgot that Mac says lots of things that contradict what he does later.

Posted by oregongal

4:20 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Jackie Robinson Day is a very important landmark, not just for baseball but for sports and America. Adrian Beltre talked about how much it means to him, even though he's Latino. Jimerson was thrilled at the idea of being able to wear his number. He also said it was hard to look around and see how few African-Americans there are in baseball. MLB is spending a lot of resources to attract more African-Americans to the game. Jackie Robinson is one of my heroes and I don't see anything that honors him, or that talks about his legacy, as racist.

On the other hand, we've opened up MLB to players from all over the world. I'm proud that the Mariners have a great international scouting organization. (If we didn't, we'd be in trouble.) I don't see that as racist either.

Posted by Anthony

4:20 PM, Apr 14, 2008

You guys all need to quit over-analyzing each and every game. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. Throwing out Cha Seung Baek who hadn't pitched in like 9 days was pretty much already a sign that the M's were content with taking 2 out of 3, the sweep would've been just gravy at that point. Sometimes it's more important to give guys work, try to fix some problems (like EOF, get him going) then to win a game. Obviously you want to win, but let's face it, Baek on 9 days rest against the Angels?! That was a loss as soon as Bedard was scratched, quit kidding yourselves.

Posted by cesame

4:20 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Glad the M's finally wised up and made the necessary moves. There's still roster moves to be made though.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:20 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Thanks TM, OGal... was starting to wonder if I'd lost what little command of English that I have...

Posted by john

4:21 PM, Apr 14, 2008

tallahassee
and this is why Mac is a big league manager (sloppy one at best) and you are talking on a newspaper blog. you cant hope in baseball. the M's were not going to come back yesterday, so you save your arms for the next day.

Posted by markus

4:24 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I hope that OF can get it back together. I sure hope that Rhodes still has it, because we could use it. Words can't express how much I hope that Dickey isn't going to be in the rotation anytime soon or for any stretches of time (not a knock on Dickey, just hoping that Bedard is healthy). I still think they need to get a real back up OF to push Wilkerson and to replace Cairo on the bench. Morse isn't an OF, but he can play the IF enough and put the ball in play enough to be an asset off the bench. There's got to be somebody else that can actually hit a little. I don't see how Bloomquiro is helping this team, especially if Beltre's hammy doesn't heal quickly. A 12 man bullpen is a step in the right direction, but I think there's still some important tweaking to be made.

Posted by TimsHead

4:30 PM, Apr 14, 2008

As a bona fide member of the RA Dickey Fan Club (I don't think Dickeyheads is a good name, so I'm open to others), I'm pretty happy with this news. Except for Morse going on DL, obviously. But I do hope for Rhodes' sake (and ours) his comeback goes well. He's been a warrior and a valuable player for this franchise, so nice to see him have an opportunity.

On the other side of the coin, I agree with those who say it seemed like keeping EOF in at 4-0 when he clearly doesn't have his stuff was a veritable white flag. To be honest, Baek didn't seem nearly as spent as OF did after just a few batters. (But hey, sabermetric types say he has a great slider, so that's worth something, in some alternate universe.) Corcoran seemed plenty strong for his innings, maybe more. Today you get the cavalry with RA and Arthur, Lowe and RRS are well rested, so yesterday does seem like a concession.

BTW, the Royals are NOT a joke this year. They have some great young bats and the pitching staff is bringing it. So winning these two would mean more than most years. Getting some momentum before the A's would also be good.

Posted by Pokenour

4:32 PM, Apr 14, 2008

While McLaren's on field decision concerning leaving EOF in the game yesterday can be explained, there remains the important observation that an eleven man pitching staff was a poor idea in the first place. Yes that has been aptly noted here, but reasons for it have not been well investigated. Perhaps the blame falls on Bavasi who may have been urging McLaren to carry the two out of options players - Baek and Morse - as well as retaining his translator infielder Cairo and "never use" Jimerson on the bench. Point is it was a horrible bench composition and a poor bullpen formulation from the get go. Even if Bavasi was behind it for some trade option, McLaren should have had the huevos to standup to his boss and opt for the best bench and bullpen combination necessary to win. In my opinion, at least four games have been lost because of poor on field management related to the terrible bench composition and bullpen makeup. Certainly having some inkling of Bedard's hip problem from Tampa and EOF early season troubles, you would have thought that McLaren would have had the foresight to bring up Dickey some days ago. Indeed, he should have call for him to be available when it became clear that he was going to have to burn Baek as a starter on Sunday. Proactive management wins games and there are no throwaway games against one's division particularly the Angels. With a sweep, the Ms had a chance to send the Angels a message - we are not the same old doormat and we can do to you what you have been doing to us the past few seasons. McLaren might think of the psychology of challenging for the division, but of course, I have seen nothing from him that appears to reflect beyond sitting back and watching the game.

Many others have ask about the pitching coaches and their role in the decision making, it would be nice to see if Mel and the Sheriff have any role in the process, but I suspect they would hold the line and keep true with McLaren, afterall he is the boss. So the failed management of the bullpen falls directly on McLaren. He also surely responsible for the travesty in the outfield yesterday. In his spring remarks about Morse, he suggested that he was an adventure in the outfield, but surely yesterday was more of an adventure in error than anyone might have expected excepting McLaren. Yet some commentators have belittled Baek's pitching for giving up four earned runs, when in fact, had he any kind of reasonable outfielder in right, there would have been no earned runs charged to Baek. Each one of the "hits" to right could have been caught by a good defensive outfielder.

It is sad to loose a player with the potential hitting prowess of Morse, but if you choose to keep a second utility player such as Cairo, then you have to make the hard choice and give yourself a decent chance to win a suitable supporting cast. McLaren has failed to acknowledge his obligation to win rather than coach his players - he strokes them as a bench couch rather than meets them as a professional who is concerned with performance first and confidence later. It is time he let his new bench coach do his old job, he should reach back in his memory of supporting Lou and take a page from his old boss. Perform or get an ass kicking - bench sitting stint. Lou did not give up on games, he did not accept defeat, and he had no love of loosing. Get with McLaren!

Posted by corndog

4:34 PM, Apr 14, 2008

TimsHead No! That's not a good name! LOL! How about The RADicals?

Posted by ptldguy

4:42 PM, Apr 14, 2008

It's called "taking one for the team" guys. Some times a pitcher has to stay out there and get lit up. Geoff knows what he's talking about. Go M'S!

Posted by Pokenour

4:47 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Apologies - my conclusion should have been
"Get with it McLaren!"

Posted by Bum Knee McGee

4:47 PM, Apr 14, 2008

You said it Geoff. It's about time we got 12 pitchers!!! Do you think they finally saw the light, or is this just because Morse got hurt and Jimerson's already gone?

Posted by markus

4:48 PM, Apr 14, 2008

The only reason he had to 'take one for the team' is because when it was obvious that EOF didn't have his best stuff he was left without help. I don't understand how you aren't trying to get outs when you are only down by 4 after five innings! That, by definition, is giving in. The game wasn't out of reach until EOF was abandoned out there on the mound.

Posted by Paul

4:51 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I'm actually thrilled about these roster moves. This was the most glaring flaw in the compositon of the team - the poorly conceived 11-man bullpen. Cairo still seems to be dead weight, but that aside, this is about as solid as this team is going to be until they decide to call up a youngster - Balentien, later in the year if/when Wilkerson doesn't start to perform...soon. On the heels of a bad game, poor managing and a couple of injuries, this is a real bright spot and reason for renewed optimism today. Good call, management, if not a bit late. I'll take it!

Posted by cesame

4:52 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I think everybody understands why EOF was in there, they just don't agree with the decision. I would be one of those people.

I don't like the fact that McLaren thinks it's OK to just hand one to the Angels when they are supposed to be the M's main competition. I understand why he did it, I just don't like it. Maybe when you've won the division a few years like the Angels have, but not when you're trying to dethrone them.

I'm ready to put it behind me though and focus on KC today.

Posted by Zach

4:54 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Geoff, any word on if/when Morrow will make his return?

Posted by Pokenour

5:07 PM, Apr 14, 2008

For many there is the idea that baseball has social and moral lessons to be imparted to our society. Certainly these are manifest in team play, but the notion that EOF took a knock for the team is not the same thing as slumping hitter failing to move quickly enough to get out of the way of an inside pitch - thereby taking one for the team. In this case, EOF was hardly taking one for the team when the Ms were down by only four to begin the fifth inning. Four runs is a common outcome in the American League, use your best effort to hold them there and you have a good chance to come back and win.


It seems to me that McLaren had options - options on game day to bring someone up, options to use his relatively rested pen, options to win a winnable game - certainly he knew he could make these moves to the 12 man staff for today's game so he could have used some of his bullpen without having EOF "take one for the team." It seems to me that McLaren took one alright, in giving it to the Angels. Ought we to teach our children to throw in the towel when the slightest adversity knocks on our door?

Posted by macdoubter

5:10 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Geoff, I appreciate you responding in an effort to defend your spin on Mac's decision making in yesterday's game.

But what will you say if the same white flag comes out tonight or tomorrow--that it's better to save resources for division-foe A's? Or to make up for a bad decision in the A's series--it's what's needed to save up for a crucial series in LA? If Mac doesn't start managing better, you'll have to come up a lot of creative excuses for Mac's poor performances.

And to those who are bothered by we who "over analyze" this "one" game loss to the Angels: M's lost 13 of 19 last season and finshed in second place by less than 10 games. The season before, the M's chances of winning the division were spoiled by their record against the A's. We play our division foes 19 times-so every single game does matter.

I'll trade 1-2 losses aganst the Royals for a sweep of a division rival any day!

Posted by Babu

5:12 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Ziasudra, if you had called out the blogger who called Geoff a "lousy Canuck" for racism, I'd have been right with you. But calling out Oregongal for wanting to be sure that Jackie Robinson and his heroic struggle AGAINST racism are honored seems rather odd to me. Good on you, Oregongal; I, too, hope that someone in Mariner blue will wear 42 tomorrow.

Posted by SDF Mariner

5:23 PM, Apr 14, 2008

This is the best possible move at this time to fix our pitching staff. If anything, this is the team we should have started off the season with if Rhodes had been 100% healthy from day 1.

However, we now have a backup catcher and 3 backup infielders. With Ibanez and Wilkerson clunking around in the outfield, we need to have someone who can play defense for them in the 8th or 9th of a tight game. I know you say Jason Ellison was a waste on our roster in 2007, but he served a much more important role than Miguel Cairo.

Our bench needs to be Burke (backup catcher), Bloomquist (pinch runner/infielder), Norton (pinch hitter/infielder), and Reed (pinch runner/outfielder). Miguel Cairo's only "purpose" on this team is that he's possibly a mentor to Lopez and Betancourt? We lead the league in errors so I don't know that his veteran leadership is keeping the infielders on their toes........

Posted by Mr. X

5:30 PM, Apr 14, 2008

As a black man, I believe that we still have a long way to go when people are still counting how many of whatever color players are on a team. It just makes me shake my head in disbelief. The person who looks at a team and just sees baseball players is the one who "gets it."

Everyone else who likes to add the hyphens that divide us are the ones who cause more problems (racially) than anyone else in this country.

No surprises about the roster moves. We'll see how this version works out, and go from there. I'm hoping that O'Flaherty does regain his confidence, and not just because he's a "Gillick Guy", but because he seems like a good kid.

Bavasi handicaps us almost every year by carrying guys who are just out of options. He's done it before, but he did it with at least 3 guys this year. He has no concept of excellence. How about putting the best players on the active roster? Novel concept.

Posted by Cliff Diver X

5:33 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Geoff is from Canada where giving up is acceptable. Yo Chris form Bothell said it perfectly. McClaren QUIT, he let down his team, he said Yo guys, I dont think you can muster 4 runs I QUIT McClaren let down the fans...but I don't expect a hack wannabe football player from canada to grasp that concept

Posted by Pete

5:33 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I agree with keeping O'Flaherty in the game yesterday. At that point you just ride it out, and McLaren did just that.

Unfortunately, that's one of the few moves I've liked from the manager all season.

Posted by oregongal

5:39 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Mr. X, I respect your opinion and I wish we were there. But we're not, and at least here in Oregon, that means bad things still happen to nonAnglos for no other reason than their skin color. I freely admit I may be doing it all wrong, but I'm just trying to help my nieces and grandkids get to a better world than their parents are growing up in.

Posted by Pokenour

5:43 PM, Apr 14, 2008


Down by four in fifth, EOF has just failed to hold inherited runners, so lets tough it out and give up three more runs and why not three more, ten is a nice number. Whose confidence is built with this debacle? What purpose does it serve? Perhaps we should have a baseball rule, sorta playing the percentages, down by four in five throw in the towel.

Maybe we could save the bullpen by forfeiting such games.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

5:59 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I'm one of those who understands why Mac left EOF in, but I do NOT agree with his decision to do so and give up on the game.

Moving on, I like the roster moves!!! And personally, I hope Guillen plays well and enjoys his return to Safeco.

Let's go, M's!

Posted by BandwagonJumper

6:00 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Is one of the reasons Mac when with an 11 man pitching staff out of spring training because we didn't have enough quality bench players so he decided to keep one for each type of situation which only come up every so often more so towards the end of the year rather than the beginning?

The other thought is Mac and the FO were trying to keep all the players in the orginization they could so we had some depth in the minors to call up if needed instead of putting the best team together and not having any backup.

Posted by oregongal

6:06 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I agree about the original bench makeup being somewhat dependent on who had options and trying to keep everyone (though I still think risking Dickey was silly). I also think they thought it would work because Mel said the starters would be going deeper this year, which would mean less dependency on the pen.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:06 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Well said Chris from Bothel1, Mac Quit ! Enough said.

Why did he pitch to Bad Vlad w/1st open? Not Smart.

I hope AR is ready and not being pushed. He has way too much heart to tell you he is not ready!

Dickey is unique and should be a major contributor.

I miss you soooooooooo much Lou!

Posted by Stat Prof

6:11 PM, Apr 14, 2008

You were in the fifth inning, and you just lost your primary long reliever (because he started) and your other long reliever is in the game and getting slapped around. If you pull your second long reliever, you now have to spend all of your one inning guys, and make some of them unavailable for the next couple of games. If they weren't so short handed,maybe you can deal with it by taking out OF would make sense, but that isn't where they were.

Posted by Mr. X

6:19 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I'm not sure how keeping track of how many of this color or that color each team has makes the world a better place. I didn't even realize that Jimerson was the only black man on the team until I read your post. It just doesn't cross my mind, ever. I suppose that some people do just so that they can tell their children to look up that person as a role model, but my children have been taught who real heroes are.

I'd love to see some real progress. Like if Ichiro and Sexson both wore Jackie's number and nobody batted an eye. I think Jackie would enjoy that too. The race hustlers might complain, but fewer and fewer people are taking them seriously, which is a very good thing.

Posted by kranky

6:19 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I for one do not miss Lou, because you have Lou Jr. sitting in the dugout right now. Lou wouldn't play young talent and Mac won't either, which is why its going to so hard for the Ms to really take off. A young guy smoking it up will light a fire under those old verterans, absent a Guillen type to kick some fanny.

This team needs (1) a young guy like Clement or Wladimir to come up and just hit like mad to start an inferno; or (2) Mark McLemore to come back as a motivational coach to get the old tired horses out of the barn; or (3) both of the above.

Posted by oregongal

6:25 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Mr. X, the team did a story on Jimerson, that's how I knew. And I didn't mean to imply that a post on here has anything to do with improving the world. I don't share what I do in the rest of my life. My choice of heroes has nothing to do with skin color, but with actions and I'm more worried about kids' safety than their heroes.

Posted by Pokenour

6:25 PM, Apr 14, 2008


When did EOF become the a long reliever? How did he prepare for such a role? Who among management even designated him long reliever? McLaren made no effort to prepare for this game, just how long a flight is it from Colorado Springs? Dickey in the pen at the outset of this game, EOF going the other way, based on past performances. Foresight! Foresight! Foresight! Foresight! It what managers are paid to have when planning a game strategy, but again you are down by four in the fifth with no foresight to plan for such circumstances - no long reliever in the pen. However, didn't RRS spend time as a starter in winter ball? Where was he when EOF went back out there to give up six? At the end of the day, McLaren was finally forced to expand his bullpen to twelve - why not try and win with the idea you will have some fresh arms in the morning? Why is it necessary to throw in the towel when options remain? But the best option should have been made earlier in the day, recalling Dickey when you knew that your one long man was going to make a spot start. Of course, you need a manager who can look forward and assess needs and opportunities. It used to be said that Sparky Anderson, began anticipating his late inning moves at the outset of the game, he had strategic command and he won games without giving up.

Posted by macdoubter

6:27 PM, Apr 14, 2008

"Maybe we could save the bullpen by forfeiting such games."

LOL!!!

So many of us have written so much cricism in response to the Mac-Baker-quit-in-the-middle-of-the-game philosophy, but hats off to you Pokenour! Very clever, very funny. The funniest thing I've read after M's blunder in a long time.

Posted by scottM

6:29 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I saw the first few innings of the game yesterday with Baek pitching. I thought he looked good. Richie Sexson came a few inches from catcing Guerrero's foul ball in the dugout for out #3. The next pitch was one of those ugly way-outside pitches stroked to RF for two RBI's. No way Morse (or Ichiro in RF) catch that dying quail.

Baek only had 85 pitches when he was pulled in the fifth. Why wasn't he allowed to get out of his own jam, rather than be replaced by the much more suspect arm of Eric O'Flaherty? EO gave up those 2 runs, then several more of his own.

Hypothetically, if Baek gets out of the jam, he pitches into the sixth, then is relieved by one of the more reliable '08 arms in RRS or Corcoran––with Lowe to close.

If Baek blows those two (or more) runs, THEN consider putting EO in to pitch.

In other words, why was that the time or place to put EO in the game at all? This is a different criticism of McLaren's use of the Bullpen than the one which argues that EO was kept in too long.

Also, this is an example of where ERA as a stat gets skewed (as Adam suggests). Baek wasn't given the chance to clean up his own mess and the shakiest arm in the Bullpen cost him an extra ERA of 4 runs for the game (8 over nine innings instead of the 4 Baek deserves through the bad luck on Guerrero's at bat).

Posted by PS

6:33 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Yes, but the ERA stat evens out a little bit when a pitcher like Baek gets yanked after loading the bases with only an out, only to have a reliever come in and clean up his mess and spare him runs.

Posted by Zach C

6:41 PM, Apr 14, 2008

its cold and rainy again, looks like we're in for another slow day offensively

prove me wrong Ms...

Posted by oregongal

6:42 PM, Apr 14, 2008

I was a little surprised Baek was in that long, since he hasn't been pitching and keeping his arm strength up. I think Mac probably wanted him to go 5, get the win (since he was pitching fine), but when things started getting out of hand, he really didn't have much choice but to pull him. 85 pitches is quite a bit for a reliever. It's almost to Washburn's fall-off point.

Posted by Nat

6:43 PM, Apr 14, 2008

kranky, yeah, I like your idea about getting Mark McLemore up here as a coach!

And Mr.X, I I like the thought of Ichiro and Beltre and Rhodes all wearing #42 as well. I'm glad MLB is celebrating Jackie Robinson tomorrow.

With the roster moves today it brings some excitement and momentum to the game. I've heard that Greinke is dominating and I'm hopeful the M's can rise to the challenge.They've had problems over the years in hitting against good young pitchers. Anybody know who, if any of the M's batters have hit against him?

Posted by ethan

6:48 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Mr X,
theyre not called HYPHENS. theyre called MODIFIERS. we all have them. except Euromutts, who gave up their rich and ancient heritage, language and culture to pursue material possessions.
we live in a politically conscious, fully functioning multiethnic state because of our modifiers and proud nationality. (Read: unlike former Yugoslavia, Croatia, Serbia, etc..) and that nationality is not defined by race...TODAY. it was for many years when a single shared nationality was built on and defined by violent white racial nationalism.
so i see Jackie Robinson Day as a form of national pride. a celebration of what is possible.

Posted by Rod

7:00 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Mr. X, well stated sir. The only colors that count on this team is Mariner Blue. For others to infer that there is a racist undertone in this organization, or in MLB for that matter, simply from a head count of minorities, shows a ignorance that I cannot ignore. I fully believe that when a Major League roster is being created, not a single team in this league gives a rats behind as to what the color a players skin happens to be. Shame on those who jump at the chance to play the race card. Jackie Robinson's accomplishments are truly amazing, and something to forever be honored. But to try and infer racism due to a lack of Affirmative Action in MLB is truly ridiculous. Let a players skills be the only thing we judge, and leave the race card at the door.

Posted by oregongal

7:28 PM, Apr 14, 2008

Rod--I didn't know anyone inferred MLB was racist. I didn't imply it and I haven't heard anyone but Sheffield say anything like that.

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