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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 15, 2008 9:48 AM

Offensive showing

Posted by Geoff Baker

Want to begin today in a better mood? Looks like Jeff Weaver finally found work. And no, it's not with the Mariners! An incentive-laden deal with the Brewers. See? I told you your mood would pick up.

That's about as good as it gets, I'm afraid. Yes, there is a double-entendre to the headline above. Two weeks into the season and the Mariners are a 6-8 club largely because of the inconsistency we saw from the bats last night in that loss to the Royals. I'm tempted to say it was just a case of a hot pitcher shutting Seattle down. It happens. Thing is, it seems to happen to the M's a lot. Happened against Joe Saunders the day before, not to mention Edwin Jackson last week. For all that talk of throwing in the towel by the manager that dominated some of the blog discussion here yesterday, the Seattle players themselves don't inspire a whole lot of confidence in regards to their ability to come back when they fall behind by multiple runs.

In fact, the M's haven't won a game this season in which they've trailed by two or more. They are now 0-5 in that regard. For me, that's a worrisome trend. And when that happens, the paper trail usually leads us back to the offense.

For all of the good things to be said about Seattle's starting pitching so far, the bats have not followed suit. The M's have already produced eight "quality starts" (at least six innings pitched, three earned runs or less allowed) 14 games into the season. Last year, it took them 20 games to reach that total. Seattle starters are also second in the AL with 88 innings pitched (a third of an inning behind the Los Angeles Angels) and third in the league with a 3.58 earned run average.

That's quality pitching.

Offensively, things don't look all that bad cumulatively. Seattle sits fifth of 14 teams with 62 runs scored. Scoring runs and not allowing them is all that matters, right Pythagorean fans? Well, over 162 games it does tend to balance out the quirks a little better than after only 14 games. But don't be fooled. Not all 4.4 runs per game starts are created equally. In fact, take away the 16 runs put up by the M's the first two games of the Angels series, and Seattle is averaging just 3.8 runs per contest over its other dozen games. Seattle's on-base percentage is down to ninth in the league. Batting average is only 11th.

On the other hand, the M's have the league's second-highest walk total and by far the best walks-to-strikeouts ratio.

So, what does that tell us? The walks and low strikeout numbers tell us the M's are being more selective at the plate. But the poor average and on-base percentage tells us the M's aren't doing enough with the hittable pitches they do get as a result of having worked counts in their favor.

That's my split-second analysis of what is admittedly a very small sample size worth of data.

Culprits? We've already named several and Jose Vidro, Brad Wilkerson and Kenji Johjima remain at the forefront. But the truth is, Ichiro could be doing a lot more than he's done so far. A .684 OPS is not what you need out of your leadoff hitter. Ichiro is not getting on base the way he traditionally does. When he does get on-base, there have been times where not enough is happening afterwards. Mariners manager John McLaren talked all winter about how he'd like to see Ichiro steal more. There have been a few situations already, including last night, where I'd have prefered to see Ichiro steal second base rather than wait for Jose Lopez to bunt him over, or execute a hit-and-run.

The M's as a team have only six stolen bases so far. They have been caught four times. That's a poor rate of success and not enough swiped bags overall. Not for a team that has this much trouble scoring runs. Seattle has upped its bunting prowess already over what it was doing last season. But the thing is, a bunt gives the other team a valuable out. There are certain situations where bunts are called for. But I remember one in Baltimore where Lopez laid it down with two on, none out in a tie game with two of the quickest guys on the team -- Ichiro and Yuniesky Betancourt -- on base. Seems like a waste of basepath skill right there. Ichiro has just one stolen base this season, Betancourt has none.

For all of the talk this winter about those two having to do more on the bases, they have come up short thus far. Especially for a team as inconsistent at scoring runs as the M's have been.

Guess what? It's early. I know, broken record time. And after seven years of watching Ichiro, knowing he's had his share of slow starts -- including last season -- I do not expect a sub.-700 OPS to last. But Vidro, Wilkerson and Johjima are not the only culprits on an offense that has been downright offensive at times. The M's are not going to slug their way to a title. The way you combat offensive inconsistency is by manufacturing runs through the smaller stuff, like getting runners over and grabbing extra bases.

There have been too many instances this year where the M's get runners on and do nothing with them. That part will have to change, or games will, in fact, seem over when Seattle falls behind 3-0 in the second or third inning. The good news? It's only been two weeks. Let's see whether any changes start to occur, beginning this afternoon against the Royals and John Bale. John Bale! There's a ghost from my Blue Jays past. Took him a long time, but seems like he's finally putting things together. No better time for the M's to start manufacturing those runs.

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Posted by GW

9:53 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Geoff,

Any word on Chris Reitsma's status? Is he or has he returned to continue with the M's? Thanks for the great job you do!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:01 AM, Apr 15, 2008

The base stealing / baserunning is doubly on Ichiro b/c he's always given the green light. So I don't scratch my head about Mac so much with him as much as I do turning J-Lo into all-bunts-all-the-time-regardless-of-situation.

At what point do you start swapping in the bench to try to find a hot bat? And/or call up Clement and Wlad? Can the Ms afford to wait 2 to 3 more weeks for the regulars to heat up?

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

10:12 AM, Apr 15, 2008

I hate to say it but it might be time to call up Clement and let him DH and play Catcher one or two games a week.

Why couldn't Clement play DH against RH, Norton DH against Lefties and bench/release Vidro?

Posted by scrapiron

10:13 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Thank you for mentioning the basestealing issue. I've brought this up since spring training. McLaren said he wanted to be more agressive on the basepaths and predicted 80 steals for Ichiro, 20 for Yuni. So far the score is Ichiro 1, Yuni 0 while Mac falls in love with Lopez and the hit and run play.

Until Lopez is a career .300 hitter I like my odds with the stolen base over the hit and run. The hit and run is a fine play, but shouldn't be your first choice.

Does Yuni have the green light? He didn't steal any bases in ST either.

Posted by scrapiron

10:22 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Beady Eye - You might be on to something. They called up Norton because he was leading Tacoma with a .409 AVG.

Now Clement is hitting .421 with a 1.195 OPS. His catching may not be ready, but I don't know how much longer you can ignore his bat.

Posted by Coop

10:24 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Guillen gave a nice waive to the fans in Right Field last night upon entering the game during the bottom of the 1st. I know he is off to a slow start (sub .200) and he fits into our already extended free swingers club, but I miss his presence, his fire in the lineup.

Posted by daddydriz

10:26 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Chris' question is dead-on: When is it time to pull the plug from the lifeless corpses of Wilkerson and Vidro and do something different? End of April? Mid-May? Will the M's be buried too deep by then?

While Johjima is not helping, if there is even average production from your right-fielder and your DH, the production from your catcher is a bonus, not a requirement.

So, when/if the plug is pulled, the limited options seem to be:

Wlad
Clement
Bonds
Griffey

Anyone else? The M's seem to have painted themselves into a corner on offense. I used to be an anti-Bonds person, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Maybe we are not there yet, but the time is coming if improvement is not forthcoming.

Posted by mike

10:31 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Washburn solid, but Mariners fall. This is a headline from the Mariners Website. Solid! Where was he solid? What I can't understand is why does Mariners management think so highly of Washburn? He has had two consecutive losing seasons and is embarking on number 3. The Angels dumped him because he was a loser. He always finds a way to lose in a crucial situation. Lefty or not he should be gone. I think the trial period for both Washburn and Sexson should be over. The Mariners could find almost anybody in their Minor league system that can do as well. Wilkerson has not impressed anyone either. Are the Mariners going wait until the season is lost before moving these under performers?

Posted by Jeremy

10:33 AM, Apr 15, 2008

I realize that Ichiro needs to continue to improve on the stealing bases side. But, it seems like everytime he does run on the pitcher the guy batting just swings to protect the runner. Ichiro is fast enough to not always have a hit and run situation as the standard. We seem to keep hitting into double plays, maybe it is just me (i don't know).

I will say that i am in no way worried about Vidro and Johjima. Both are proven major league hitters and will come around. Wilkerson however has always been subpar. I say let Morse go out there more often (regardless of who is pitching) and let him get his hot bat going again and work to improve his outfield abilities.

Posted by JP

10:44 AM, Apr 15, 2008

uh, Morse is on the DL....

Posted by cesame

10:48 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Agree with the players not overcoming deficits. This team folds like a wet paper bag.

And I hate to say it but Ichiro is slowly starting to remind me of Shaun Alexander. Got paid and now you don't see full effort. I thought it was odd when he didn't leg out a grounder he hit that ended up being a dp, but yesterday he hits a sharp grounder to first and he legs that out to prevent the dp. I thought it was just odd. I think he'll pull it together though.

Posted by Jeremy

10:48 AM, Apr 15, 2008

uh, Morse is on the DL....

ooops...that'll teach me not to pay attention...my bad sorry 'bout that.

How 'bout this then, just get wilkerson out of the lineup. That would do wonders for my team spirit.

Posted by Stu

10:59 AM, Apr 15, 2008

How about the lethargic, starbucks-drinking fans get off there a** and throw a few boo's toward this pathetic team. "Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd, the Mariners suck, but we don't care because we have our coffee and rally fries". F**kin mariner fans.

Posted by J

11:02 AM, Apr 15, 2008

WOW...I think Stu needs a decaf.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:03 AM, Apr 15, 2008

mike - i call 3 runs 3 hits over 6 innings pretty reasonable. not quite solid - the olivo homerun was a mistake pitch - but certainly enough to keep the Ms in the game. It was 3-1 when he left, IIRC. Debate a 4-run deficit in midgame all you like, but any team even pretending to go to October can produce 2 to 3 runs at home and have the bullpen hold it there.

daddydriz - why are you calling Griffey an option for this year? Is he actively being shopped by the Reds (whose record is only % points better than the Ms)? I'd always thought he was only someone to go after for 09.

This team is so close! If they can keep the good plate discipline and starting pitchingthey've shown, and get their head in the game (ugh, cliche) on the defense and baserunning, and find one more RBI guy from somewhere (not like Raul last week but just a more consistent #5 / #6) ... maybe they can win in spite of Mac's bullpen and bench management. ;)

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:04 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Stu - Absence speaks louder than boos. Last night's game was the 3rd smallest home crowd ever.

Posted by PayClayBennett

11:05 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Geoff,

They don't come back because they have no magic - have not had any magic since 2001. I went to that frigid Greinke domination last night and they, as a group, instill zero confidence that they can do anything - period. Olivo killed that Washburn pitch, it almost appeared as if he called for that pitch himself - murdered it.

Once it was 3-0, you felt it was over and that was only the second inning. Someone needs to enlighten me on where this magic, this comeback attitude, this never say never, never out of it mindset is going to come from? Nowhere - it does not exist. No Tino heroics, no Buhner and Edgar bombs, no Griffeys scoring from 1st on a double down the line - nothing. Pancake flat is what Bavasi's M's have always been.

6-8 is a blessing - this team could be 3-11 as you mentioned yesterday - and they should be.

And GW - hopefully Reitsma got a job flipping burgers, cuz he's certainly not any good with a baseball.

EOF finally got his - got that ERA up to 20, but I suppose that was just unlucky, huh Adam? LOL - I'm teasing you, I'm gald he truly did choke against the Angels though, that way the unlucky argumnet disappeared real fast.

No consistent hitting, no bench and weak bullpen....sounds like 3rd place in the West to me, with about 74-75 wins.

Can we start the GM search talk now?

And right on Howie Schultz...way to come of hiding Osama!! You fight big guy, you give it every last ounce of effort you got - the city deserves it and you need it. Love the soap opera that is Seattle sports....the Sonics dilemma is a joke, Husky football and basketball are in a huge rut, the Seahawks are aging and this is probably the worst off-season they have since Ruskell showed up, the Mariners are what they are, despite the incredible optimism of some of you and the new soccer team got named the Sounders....again. Nothing pretty going on.....

Posted by kevin_ess

11:05 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Yeah, Stu. Booing our players is what's going to turn this team around. Finally some logic! Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

Posted by joe

11:13 AM, Apr 15, 2008

"the Seattle players themselves don't inspire a whole lot of confidence in regards to their ability to come back when they fall behind by multiple runs."
.
maybe they are just following the example of their fearless leader McClaren. Down by a few runs? Just quit.

Posted by joe

11:18 AM, Apr 15, 2008

What could be a good solution? Our offense is offensive, yes, but do you feel that an infusion of youth is the solution? Maybe a trade to bring in a proven bat? Or do we just wait it out like last year's Sexson debacle?
.
I wouldn't mind seing Clement's left handed bat up here, especially with Vidro and Joh struggling. Giving Clement a few starts at catcher and DH, just might light a fire under their bats.
.
I also wouldn't mind seeing The Kid back in an M's uni

Posted by Adam

11:25 AM, Apr 15, 2008

EOF finally got his - got that ERA up to 20, but I suppose that was just unlucky, huh Adam? LOL - I'm teasing you, I'm gald he truly did choke against the Angels though, that way the unlucky argumnet disappeared real fast.


PayClay - Hilarious, except you completely misstated my argument - for the 800th time, he was unlucky in his outing against Tampa Bay. Get it?

Nevertheless, EOF didn't pitch as bad as his ERA suggests. It's not a hard principle to understand once you grasp how inadequate ERA is to judge a pitcher.

Posted by Stu

11:34 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Truck in 10,000 Philly fans, give them M's gear, and pay them in beer to rain boo's down upon this team. May not make them better, but will make me feel better.

.....and call up Clement.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:34 AM, Apr 15, 2008

If anyone is going to the game today, I suggest a huge banner above the hand-operated scoreboard (i.e. in direct sightline of home dugout) saying "Refuse To Snooze".

Posted by downinthegroove

11:38 AM, Apr 15, 2008

This team is not close. That is as stupid as comparing Ichiro to S.Alexander....Give me a break.

Even if the team does come around it just doesn't have any punch.

It's gotta be hard to steal when you are the only player on a team that is expected to run. Ichiro has never been a great base stealer, just good.

It is early but it is clear that expectations were much higher than potential.

Sad day when a 3 run deficit against the Royals is insurmountable.

Kind of makes you worry when we face a Beckett or Verlander.....

Posted by arthur

11:46 AM, Apr 15, 2008

Right, Adam...but not for the reason you suggest.

EOF pitched even WORSE than his stats showed in that last fling against the Angels, allowing two inherited runs to score IN ADDITION to the half-dozen or so he got "credit" for in his ERA.

But I certainly agree with the common theme in this blog -- McLaren doesn't seem to have a clue. He really did just simply give up on Sunday.

Posted by Howard Shultz

12:10 PM, Apr 15, 2008

I will sue the Cubs to get Lou Piniella back

Posted by THE ENTIRE BLOG

12:12 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Adam, everyone here knows exactly where you stand on ERA, and EOF's performance in TAMPA. You've made that abundantly clear. For the 800th time, we all get it! Not everyone is going to agree. You can't singlehandedly change that. Stop beating us to death with it already. To continuously keep stating the same thing over and over and over again just de-values your opinion here. Since you feel so strongly about ERA, and seem to have unlimited energy as to keep posting the same argument 800 times, you should petition MLB, Bud Selig, The Elias Sports Bureu, The AP, Fox Sports, The MLBPA, The Guiness Book of World Records, The Umpires Union, NATO, ETC; ETC; to have it changed.

Posted by Michael K.

12:14 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Washburn has an ERA of 3.50.........I'd say that is certainly solid. For crying out loud......he's our 4th starter!

This offense stinks and you can call out the Manager and the players all you want but it is our ridiculous FO that has left us with Vidro, Sexson, and WIlkerson and their .200 and below averages in the 5,6, and 7 holes. Don't expect to win many slugfests with that oder.

Not to mention the fact that one of our best hitters (Beltre) is banged up. Then you take a look at the bench and it looks like a who's who of AA rejects.

We can cry about pitching, defense, and baserunning all day long but it is this atrocious offense that has us in trouble.

Posted by oregongal

12:25 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Kind of ironic, but the Weaver link in Geoff's comment goes to a Dodger story where they're talking about how much more patient LA is at the plate this year, yet it hasn't led to more victories.

Posted by Luke

12:35 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Geoff, any chance we will see Clement and/or Balentien within a month if Wilkerson and Vidro continue to struggle?

Posted by scottM

12:36 PM, Apr 15, 2008

from Michael K: "our ridiculous FO that has left us with Vidro, Sexson, and WIlkerson and their .200 and below averages in the 5,6, and 7 holes. Don't expect to win many slugfests with that oder."

Did you mean "order" or "odor", Michael? Pretty funny accidental pun, since Vidro and Wilkerson have stunk up the month of April. Sexson looked like his old free swinging putrid self last night, but as a whole, he is showing promise this season, (but should be kept in that 6 hole).

Posted by KSTEINS

12:49 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Everything is going right for this team except the offense and Eric O'Flaherty. Now that EO is gone, we just need the offense to get it together. They go as Ichiro goes and Ichiro has put together too good of a resume to not believe that he'll have a torrid Summer and when that happens, having all this starting pitching will start to pay off. We only have ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY EIGHT more games to go. Lets not panic.

Posted by griz

12:50 PM, Apr 15, 2008

If enough fans support it, is there any chance that Lincoln will change his mind about Bonds? Offer an incentive-laden deal- we can replace Vidro's bat and at the same time keep his option for 2009 from vesting. Do it!

Posted by Ben

1:01 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Wilkerson isn't hitting great - but the past few games he's been alright. Look at David Ortiz or a lot of the Detroit hitters. It's only been a couple weeks. He'll more than likely hit around his career average is my guess.

We'll be fine as long as Beltre and Bedard are healthy.

Although i do agree with Geoff - we can't have Ichiro hitting at .260 for very long. But i'm sure he too will get out of the funk soon.

Bringing up a bunch of minor leaguers is more than likely not going to boost our teams hopes though.

Posted by downinthegroove

1:04 PM, Apr 15, 2008

So who exactly on our roster can post Ortiz numbers?

Even if they do start to hit there are not any hitters that instill confidence.

Posted by john

1:05 PM, Apr 15, 2008

its hard to watch this team play. The offense just stinks. The one thing that guillen did bring us (besides the 100 RBI) was some damn fire. ive been watching ichi for 7 years now, and have never seen him give any sign of emotion. he must be a joy to follow as a teammate. "well if our superstar doesn't look like he cares then i don't have to either." who else will step up on this team and lead? bedard? seems to be a little reclusive yeah? how bout raul? nah. sexson? cant lead from the back. beltre? doubt it. And oh does our manager look like someone who inspires!! The sad thing for me, being a fan, is that i just don't believe they are going to win. Deep down in my gut i am always suprised to see us win. its sad.

Posted by NB

1:07 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Mr. The Entire Blog,

Adam can take care of himself but I just wanted to point out that maybe if people stopped bringing up his arguments and joking about them maybe he'd stop responding to them.

Also ERA is idiotic. If he has to say it a million times to get people to understand that, then fine.

Posted by Choska

1:24 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Folks, stop blaming the players. Vidro, Wilkerson, Sexson are not bad guys. I believe they are trying their best.

The problem is that they are no longer capable of being major league hitters. They aren't going to "heat up." They are done.

The problem is that management doesn't understand that guys get old and their skills decline. So, instead of having a roster full of young farm hands we can call up to help, we have nothing but other team's scraps.

(Yes, I know Jones is struggling right now. But good teams are patient with their young guys because they need experience to compliment their skills. He'll come around.)

So, don't boo Sexson or any of the other Mariners. They are doing their best. The blame rests on the management team that put this team together, and put some guys out there who aren't capable of succeeding.

Posted by mike

1:24 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Just like Mariners management there are persons on this Blog who support the losers that are keeping this team down. I say get rid of Washburn and some run to his defense. How about Richie or maybe bring back Jeff Weaver or Horacio Ramirez. What is needed is to permanently get rid of the losers that are under performing and give some one else a chance before it is wait till next year time again.

Posted by Poe

1:27 PM, Apr 15, 2008

I love our guys, especially Betancourt his enthusiasm is fun to watch. One thing I don't see though is positive body language. I mean you watch the Red Sox, Yankees Mets any playoff team and they have an aura about them a confidence. They always look like they expect to comeback in a game they always look like they know they are going to win and if they lose they still walk tall. Our Mariners don't seem to have that. Most of them look scared or tired. maybe we need a team shrink

Posted by scrapiron

1:29 PM, Apr 15, 2008

A's lost today. So we can gain a game on first with a win today.

Posted by downinthegroove

1:31 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Or some talented players.

I love it. Don't blame the player for not performing and making millions at the same time....

You could get away with that philosophy in any other business right?

Problem is we have a solid infield minus 1st.

OF is solid at CF and LF is a DH waiting to happen....

Clement does not want to DH and I don't blame him. Wlad is going to struggle but could be brought up.

If it is win now then some major changes are in store....

Posted by THE ENTIRE BLOG

1:32 PM, Apr 15, 2008

NB,


Q. Why do you think people do that, with regards to his arguments?

A. Because they have become a Joke.

You can't just eradicate ERA off the blog. It is the current system in place. Just because people use it or refer to it, doesn't mean they don't understand it's flaws.

Here's an example: In this country we speak English. It is our established language, and the system currently in place. Until that changes, people will always use it. If you want Spanish, then petition the Government to change it. But you can't tell people to stop speaking English just because you don't like it and believe you have a flawless argument stating your case.

Posted by Adam

1:37 PM, Apr 15, 2008

THE ENTIRE BLOG (good handle, by the way): Let's make a deal. I'll stop bringing up the point I made re: EOF's Tampa outing when you (namely, THE ENTIRE BLOG) stops mischaracterizing my argument about EOF's performance this year.

Deal?

Posted by downinthegroove

1:39 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Easy tiger,

Adam is awesome on this blog and people need to realize there is more to being a fan than just passion and emotion.

He makes great points and unfortunately people don't listen to reason.

And English is not the official language so take that junk to the bullpen. I think your political reference would be intelligent if it was reversed as to include Spanish. But then again you would have to listen to Reason.

Problem is people pick up on a blog but don't read the entire thread so they make a ignorant snap judgement. Unfortunately in Adam's case is that he has had to make the same point 200 times to 200 different people because they are too lazy to take the time and read.

Win now or go Tacoma!

Posted by Adam

1:41 PM, Apr 15, 2008

NB: It's not that people bring up my argument re: EOF, but rather that they always get it wrong (deliberately or otherwise).

TEB: ERA isn't a very good stat to judge pitchers. It just isn't. Why in the world would we judge a pitcher with a stat influenced by defense, bullpen, ballpark, weather, and luck (all of which the pitcher has ZERO control over)? Just because ERA is a traditional stat doesn't mean it is a good one.

Posted by THE ENTIRE BLOG

1:43 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Adam,

DEAL!

Posted by Paul

1:43 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Hey Mike, you think Washburn needs to be replaced? I challenge you to name five #4 starters out there with better resumes than Washburn. Was he pegged too high when he was brought in as a #2 starter? For sure. Was he the best #3 starter in the league? Not quite. But given this team's investment in some underperforming offensive players, I find it amazing that you attack a starting pitcher that contributes to this team's only absolute strength.

You would've had a lot of help insulting Sexson last year. Or Weaver or Ramirez. We were all screaming about that. But to lump a starting pitcher with a winning career record and a career ERA around 4 (3.50 this year) in the same category as Ramirez and Weaver, given how they pitched last year? That's nuts.

And you should definitely get your facts straight. "The Angels dumped him because he was a loser." Oh yeah? So his 75-57 record as a Halo makes him a "loser"? Nice try.

Posted by Paul

1:53 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Adam and NB. I don't disagree that ERA is not a perfect indicator of performance. That's why W-L record is always discussed relatively equally when assessing postseason awards and accolades, and other stats exist as well.

That being said, it's a pretty good indicator of the quality of a pitcher. Obviously, the larger the sample-size, the more accurate that indicator is. Obviously, if everyone on this discussion board had the time, resources...not to mention desire....to "scout" all of the pitchers on every team, pitch-by-pitch, we could probably have a much more meaningful discussion about the merits of each pitcher's strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. But lacking the time, resources, and desire to do so, I don't consider it lazy or irrelevant to rely on ERA.

When you get into the nitty-gritty of the quality of a particular pitcher, obviously hits, walks, K's, HR's, HBP, inherited runners scored, etc. all help paint a more complete pitcher, and you can definitely find some indicators of quality that don't show up in ERA. But when comparing one pitcher to another, especially when they're on the same staff with the same general conditions (like defense, weather, ballpark), ERA is definitely a usable and valid statistic.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by Merrill

1:59 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Hi, Adam,

I think ERA is a lot better than wins and losses. WHIP is even better. ERA may not be great, but at least ERA+ tries to even out the ballpark factors, even if, as I have gone into in the past at nauseating length, I would like to know more about how exactly they go about eveing that out.

What do you think are the best ways to judge pitchers?

I think even the clunky ol' ERA has its uses, and that over a large sample size, the ballpark, weather, defense (less so), and other factors likely tend to even out. I also think it's a measure of mettle to deal with factors.

For example the mental toughness Bedard showed in the first start by just dealing with the ump's Incredible Shrinking Zone rather than fighting it and getting upset.

Posted by JJ

2:02 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Hey Paul...I challenge you to name five #4 starters that make more money than Washburn....yeah, think not

Posted by JJ

2:07 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Let me put Washburn's performances into grade-school terms, so you Washburn lovers can understand. If the M's score 1 run, Washburn will give up 2. If M's score 5 runs, Washburn will give up 6. If M's score 3 runs, Washburn will give up 4. If M's score 8 runs, Washburn will give up 9. If M's score 4 runs, Washburn will give up 5.....shall I keep going? And on and on and on....pitching just good enough to lose every time he takes the hill.

Posted by Paul

2:16 PM, Apr 15, 2008

JJ,

I fail to see your point in the context of this discussion... Mike thinks we should get rid of Washburn because he's "a loser". I disagree. I think he's an excellent #4 pitcher , which is a tribute to the quality and depth of our starting pitchers. If we were discussing the best VALUE for a #4 pitcher, I would be certain several exist, depending on how you assessed that.

But I don't blame a guy like Washburn for cashing in on career success. Good for him and anyone else that can convince a team they're worth $9 mill a year.

Posted by NB

2:20 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Agreed,

Washburn is very overpaid and four years was way longer than it needed to be. But he's not a bad pitcher. He's also not as overpaid as his right handed twin Carlos Silva. At least we didn't get suckered....into.....that........oh.

Posted by mike

2:20 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Well Paul I base my comments on what happens. Not on statistics. Not on what has happened 3 or 4 years ago. But what is actually happening in recent memory. Since Washburn has come over from the Angels he is a loser. And it is my opinion. You notice I said it ismy opinion. And I believe that based on recent performance he will continue to be a loser. I bet on his next start especially if it is against a quality team he will pull a typical Washburn and give up a bunch of runs in one inning at a crucial point in time when getting one out would have saved the game. He can't get the crucial out when it is needed.

Posted by Paul

2:22 PM, Apr 15, 2008

So JJ, you don't see the point in pointing a finger at the offense when Washburn loses a 2-1 game? That's Washburn's fault? And is it his fault when the bullpen blows the game last when he's in line for a win? There are clearly flaws in his game (my biggest complaint would be his inability to pitch into the 7th or 8th inning with consistency), but to absolve the offense of responsibility in the well-pitched game seems awfully harsh on the pitcher.

And there's definitely no need for you to condescend me or anyone else here by putting things into "grade-school terms" for me so I can understand. That's absurd.

Posted by NB

2:27 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Mike,

Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluate a pitcher. Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluate a pitcher. Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluate a pitcher. I am a USSM robot. Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluate a pitcher. Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluate a pitcher. Wins and losses are a bad way to evaluat......

Posted by mike

2:32 PM, Apr 15, 2008

So tell me NB what pitcher with 300 losses is in Cooperstown?

Posted by john

2:35 PM, Apr 15, 2008

choska-
"They are doing their best"? we cant get frustrated or boo them b/c they are doing their best? And people wonder why seattle gets made fun of so easily. So soft. Please be nice to the millionaires who cant do their jobs, b/c they are really nice people. Come on. this is supposed to be a playoff team! Sometimes booing is the only way to let the manager/FO know that its putting out a crap product.

Posted by NB

2:38 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Mike,

Off the top of my head Cy Young pops to mind. Walter Johnson had 279.

Posted by Ben

2:49 PM, Apr 15, 2008

"...the poor average and on-base percentage tells us the M's aren't doing enough with the hittable pitches they do get as a result of having worked counts in their favor."

We should also point out how many men have been LOB through the first two weeks, including times with multiple runners on, and runners in scoring position!

I think these stats are a reflection on Wilkerson and Vidro.

Any idea on how much time they get before a change is made?

My guess is after the first 21 games we'll see a change with those guys...

Posted by daddydriz

2:59 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Chris, I think Grif is in play because the Reds know they are going to lose him after this season, and would prefer to (a) get something in return and (b) save some salary. While I would prefer to wait and get him as a FA, this season very much needs to be salvaged.

Posted by mike

3:04 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Yes NB but Cy Young won 511 and Walter Johnson had 416 wins. Wahburn will be lucky if he pitches in 200 total.

Posted by downinthegroove

3:13 PM, Apr 15, 2008

So when does Washburn win his first game if he always loses by a run? He does have a egg in the win column right?

And I mean career wise because apparently he always has lost by one run.

Always.

W and L are not always indicative of starters..

Anyone remember Fleming?

Posted by Pete

3:21 PM, Apr 15, 2008

It may be cases of hot pitchers, but the offense just isn't good. The sign of a bad offense is a suspicious frequency of running into "hot pitchers."

"We god dominated.... Dang, that guy must have been HOT!"

Posted by mike

3:29 PM, Apr 15, 2008

No don't remeber Fleming. The bottom line is who would you rather have on last year's team Washburn or Batista/ Not to say Batista is great. But he did have 16 wins. Case closed. If you want to have starting pitchers on the team with losing records I guess that is your opinion. So be it. But the fact is winning pitchers get you to the playoffs. Not losers.

Posted by downinthegroove

3:49 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Great comment.

We need to get rid of Silva. Losing record.
Morrow. Losing record. He's out.
Feierbrand. Losing record. He's out.
Re-sign HoRam. He won. 7.16 ERA was sweet.

And Fleming was the stud for ONE year here if you knew the teams history....

He also went by Dave.

Posted by NB

3:50 PM, Apr 15, 2008

Mike,

Oh so you meant name a pitcher with 300 losses in Cooperstown that DOESN'T have a major season end award named after him. My bad.

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