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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 17, 2008 11:05 PM

M's back over .500

Posted by Geoff Baker

a's2 027.jpg

Brandon Morrow, above, closes out a perfect ninth inning to complete an 8-1 win by Seattle over the Oakland A's.

Something is seriously wrong with the baseball universe. At least, when it comes to taking pitches, drawing walks and generating runs. The Mariners have spent much of the past decade free-swinging their way to oblivion while the A's sat back and worked opposing pitchers to death.

That wasn't the case here this week. The Mariners turned that entire scenario in reverse, sweeping a two-game series from the A's with Thursday night's victory providing the capper. It was the A's swinging away early and often on strike-thrower Carlos Silva, who lasted seven innings for the fourth consecutive time this season. Oakland couldn't hit a thing off Silva or Felix Hernandez the night before.

Seattle, meanwhile, drew four more walks before the game was even three innings old. Three of those came in a five-run third inning that knocked Oakland starter Lenny DiNardo from the game. One walk, by Kenji Johjima of all people, Mr. I-Never-Saw-a-Pitch-I-Couldn't-Hack-At, forced home a critical third run that frame. What's going on here?

"To be real honest with you, the last two games, the offense has made the big difference,'' Silva told me afterwards. "They always give me the lead. After they scored those runs, I felt more relaxed. I was throwing the fastball right there. They made the big difference. I wasn't afraid to make mistakes because I knew I had a big lead. If I made a mistake, let's go, give me another batter. That's it.''

Hear more of what Silva said right here in this audio clip.


The Mariners already have eight outings of at least seven innings or more by starters so far this season. That's about what they accomplished in the first two months of last season. This season is not yet three weeks old. You're seeing a bit of why Silva was brought here. A guy who throws seven innings per night to go 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA is a little more valuable than the five or six-inning pitcher who does it and relies on his bullpen for help.

Remember, Silva had as many seven-inning or more outings last year, 12 in all, as Hernandez did.

"It means a lot,'' Mariners manager John McLaren said of that seven-inning capability. "It means you don't have to overuse your bullpen. When your guys are fresh, they've got better velocity, better stuff.''

McLaren joked afterwards about having to scramble to find ways to use his relievers. He probably doesn't want to tempt fate by kidding around like that, but it is very unusual for this team to find itself in such a predicament. Morrow looked good in retiring the side in the ninth. Got his fastball up to 98 mph, threw a slider for a strike after falling behind 1-0 in a count and later used several change-ups to keep the A's off-balance.

"That was something I've been working on, so I was happy to be able to throw that coming in,'' Morrow said. "I think the change-up's going to be great for sure.''

When you bring heat the way Morrow can, any change of pace that can land in the strike zone is going to give hitters fits.

Raul Ibanez had his second straight three-hit night. That's the sixth time he's done that consecutively in his career. His fourth three-hit night this season. He's batting .343 and looking locked-in.

Ibanez knows just how valuable it is to have starters who can go deeper than what we saw in 2006.

"Those guys did a phenomenal job,'' Ibanez said of Hernandez and Silva. "They worked fast, they pounded the strike zone and they forced a very patient team to swing the bat.''

And swing it they did. Only damper of the evening? Jose Vidro, just before he laced that two-run single in the third, fouled a pitch off his leg. He shook off the pain and came through, but was sporting a serious-sized ice pack on the leg afterwards. Let's see what his status is tomorrow.

Other than that, the M's continue to work the count, connect when they have to and are getting the kind of starting pitching that won't need five-run innings to win games. The bullpen is also as rested as it's been all year heading to Anaheim. Let's see how that plays out. As far as they're concerned, though, they could not have started off this trip any better.


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Posted by PRchef

9:37 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Geez you're fast Geoff.

Any word on the link for this week's segment on the radio?

Posted by bikeman

9:39 PM, Apr 17, 2008

The Pythag is now 92 wins and gaining.

Posted by Mr. X

9:40 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Thanks for the great blog again Geoff. For further proof that this has become the "go to" Mariner blog, just see the weepy, embarassing post made the other day on U.S.S. Mariner (Five years of USSM, but should have been called U.S.S. Mariner writer emotionally capsizes).

Posted by scottM

9:49 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Silva! What a workhorse.

And, once again, my eyes keep seeing Raul making good plays in LF. He ran a very long ways to catch that foul ball, and another in the gap. Where's the big defensive liability? And at what point will the statistics verify that he is doing a solid job out there?

Vidro also seems to be heating up at the plate (along with Johjima). If Bedard comes on and Wilkerson decides to join the party, this team will be in fine shape.

Three big games in Anaheim. Would love to win two of three and be leading this division!

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

9:50 PM, Apr 17, 2008

King Silva!

The "punchless" lineup put up quite a few runs. ;-)

Great job, M's. On to LAAAAAAAA!

Posted by KingMe

9:53 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Posted by U.S.S. Moron

10:11 PM, Apr 17, 2008

I've run the numbers, and they prove conclusively that Silva's record is only 1-2 right now. It is a statistical impossibility for me to be wrong.

Posted by NB

10:18 PM, Apr 17, 2008

X,

Wow man. Just wow. How about you write hundreds of thousands of interesting words about the Mariners. Devote thousands of hours studying the game and the team. Offer up all that research for free. Then maybe you'll have something to say about USSM. I don't agree with everything said there but the way you continue to outright attack them unprovoked is yet another reason why your opinion holds so little value for me. Do you feel like because you are on the internet you can feel big and say whatever you want? Are you just trolling for responses?

It's just really pathetic and getting really old to hear lame insults thrown about just because there are no consequences for your words.


\soapbox

Posted by PRchef

10:38 PM, Apr 17, 2008

KingMe

You're awesome!

Thanks

Posted by -k

10:39 PM, Apr 17, 2008

NB - I'm not going to defend X or any of the of the USSM haters around here. I'm not sure why USSM is the object of that hate, since the problem exists here on this site with the likes of AK, Adam, Faceplant, and many others, include USSM, who refuse to admit that this is a good team.

They seem to think that the M's are garbage, and are making every effort to "prove" that point to anyone who will listen. It has gotten old and annoying. Why is so much effort effort being put forth to find everything wrong with this team? It's not perfect, but neither is any toher team in MLB. there's alot to be optimistic about, and the M's are a very fun team to watch.

So when you ask why all the hate is directed USSM's way, you should also ask why so many are directly hate at the M's. And don't say that these people don't hate the team bcause they're dedicated. Dedication has nothing to do with this. When over 90% of the 100's of posts from all these people i'm talking about are overwhelmingly negative; that's hate. Like it or not.

Posted by PRchef

10:42 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Ooops!

I checked out the link but it is still an ad (as noted by a previous blogger)

Thanks for trying KingMe

Posted by aaron

10:46 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Silva worth every penny...wow that was quick!

Posted by NB

11:00 PM, Apr 17, 2008

k-

I really think your confusing frustration with hate. This team has existed for 31 years and has verrrrrrry little success to show in that time. We've watched our expansion brethren the Blue Jays win two world series, the Diamondback have won one, the freaking Marlins have won TWO, and last year we watched the Rockies make it for the first time. All the while we've watched some of the greatest players of the last twenty years (A-rod, Griffey, Johnson, Martinez) spend their primes here and we have not even a World Series appearance to show for it.

That doesn't sit well. To see how the team has been mismanaged since 2001, clinging to seventy year old ideas while all around them the competition is using new technology and thought to their advantage, gutting the farm system and the bullpen for the likes of Horacio Ramirez and Eduardo Perez, signing Washburn to a 4 year contract, the fetish with Bloomquist, etc.

That doesn't mean I don't LOVE this team. The Mariners have been my team since I was born and this current team has probably three of my favorite fifteen Mariner players ever (Felix, Beltre and Ichiro), nonetheless I can't help but shake the feeling that any success that the team has this year is overcoming unnecessary obstacles put in its way by poor management. But I watch them religiously every night and I love so many things about this team, from Felix last night to little things like how Kenji always double clutches the throw back to the pitcher when a pitch he thought was a strike is called a ball.

What you call hate I call love, what you call negative I call analytical and unbiased.

My (internet) name is NB and I love baseball and I love the Seattle Mariners. God have mercy on my soul.

Posted by Adam

11:01 PM, Apr 17, 2008

-k - Obviously you feel the need to put words into my mouth. Would you please direct us to any post where I said the team was garbage? Or anything resembling garbage?


Thank you for your quick reply!

Posted by Mariner's Fan in Hawaii

11:05 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Ok seriously...I am starting to forget about this guy Butter...Batter...Bedard...whatever his name is...LOL.

Yes I know its early but you cant help but think DAMN this Silva aquisition is paying off nicely...the little inning-eater.

Posted by Adam

11:05 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Geoff - great point re: taking pitches. The Mariners were the worst in baseball last year at taking pitches and drawing walks, and that's always been an organizational cornerstone for the A's. Very bizarre indeed.

Let's hope the Mariners can keep it up. They'll need to in order to compensate for the lack of power in that lineup. It's the singles-happy Mariners, back for more!

Posted by M's Fan in Hawaii

11:10 PM, Apr 17, 2008

"X,

Wow man. Just wow. How about you write hundreds of thousands of interesting words about the Mariners. Devote thousands of hours studying the game and the team. Offer up all that research for free. Then maybe you'll have something to say about USSM. I don't agree with everything said there but the way you continue to outright attack them unprovoked is yet another reason why your opinion holds so little value for me. Do you feel like because you are on the internet you can feel big and say whatever you want? Are you just trolling for responses?

It's just really pathetic and getting really old to hear lame insults thrown about just because there are no consequences for your words.


\soapbox"

Ok not that I really care but didnt you just post this NB to get a response from X? Aren't those questions meant for that end result? I dont know NB and I dont care either way if you respond to me but hey its an opinion he has. If you dont like what the man has to say then dont read his posts.

This team is up to the challenge of this weekend series. And the best part is I get Fox Sports West on cable so I can catch the games!!

Posted by Bill

11:15 PM, Apr 17, 2008

I was a little nervous when the M's brought Morrow in but he pitched well. I didn't see every pitch but from those I saw it looked like his control was good tonight, and he was throwing offspeed pitches. I didn't see the game other than Morrow pitching the 9th, but glad to see the team taking care of teams they should beat, and handily, too. Great job, Silva.

Posted by Adam

11:15 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Silva's line this year:

29 IP, 27 H, 11K, 6 BB, 10 R.

Before tonight (have to wait for tomorrow for updated numbers), his peripheral stats looked pretty similar to last year. He's giving up a few less line drives, but his ground ball rate was down, and his K and BB rates were pretty similar. One big difference is that he's getting almost twice as many infield popups, and he's stranding a bunch more runners. Small sample sizes apply. His FIP and xFIP are a bit worse than last year (those stats try to remove defense and to normalize HR rates), but his ERA is a point lower.

Because Silva doesn't K many hitters, he has to rely on hitters hitting the ball to his defenders. So far, he's been pretty fortunate in that regard.


This isn't meant to be a hating post (wouldn't want to offend -k), but the way he's pitched this year isn't much different from last, if at all, yet his ERA is much better. So while we have to love the work he's done so far, we shouldn't expect this to continue. He's good, but not this good.

Posted by oregongal

11:21 PM, Apr 17, 2008

It used to be that the blog only got nasty when the M's lost, but it seems now like it's pretty much daily.

Some people are tired of people who don't show enough positivity for the team.

Some people are tired of people telling them the right way to be fans.

Some people are tired of people using a variety of names to make the same point, or corrupting real names to make fun of others.

I used to look forward to reading what was here. There are still lots of commenters I enjoy, some I usually agree with, some I usually disagree with. More and more, though, I think of coming here and decide to spend my Internet time somewhere else where name calling isn't allowed, and a semblance of discussion prevails. There are lots of places to talk baseball.

I'll be back periodically, but instead of just dropping out of sight, I wanted to wish my baseball buddies well. Even if I don't post here, you'll know I'm hanging on every Mariner pitch and reading Geoff's stuff everyday. Aloha and go M's.

Posted by Adam

11:21 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Oh - and Jeff Clement had two hits (1 2B), two walks, and two runs scored tonight. He's hitting .417 and his OPS is probably over 1.200 now.


But Vidro got a hit tonight!!!

Posted by GDC

11:32 PM, Apr 17, 2008

Considering how well the M's are playing right now, who do you think will get sent down when Bedard, Morse and J.J. come off the DL?

It looks like Rhodes to me.

Posted by Maui Mariner

12:26 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Aloha oi oregongal a hui hou. I have to agree with you and have come to the same conclusion.
Really a shame.
I reallt enjoy Geoff's pieces so I will have to come back for that.
For the team, Go M's

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:54 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Realistically, the starters against Anaheim will not do what King Felix and Duke Carlos did against Oakland this week. But if the offense keeps its same approach, and a rested bullpen steps up... who knows?

Silva's off to a great start - I don't care if it's b/c of the teams he's matched against, or the defense behind him, or his career numbers, or any other sputtering someone wants to put up to try to explain why he shouldn't be doing as well as he is. That signing's looking better and better.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:58 AM, Apr 18, 2008

OGal and Maui got chased off? Ugh.

Seriously, where's the "Changes to comment functionality that will allow us to better-control the content." that's been supposedly in the works? That'd go a long way to retaining the bloggers who actually want to play nice.

Posted by Jim Lundquist

4:50 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Any word on Bedard?

Posted by Merrill

5:00 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I'm really disappointed to see you go, Oregongal (not that you're reading this, or anything). You have a lot to offer this blog, and I hope you will reconsider. You, too, Maui.

One of the reasons I enjoy this blog so much is the wide variance of opinion and perspective.

I speculate that there just isn't the manpower to properly police the blog, and I would also hate to see "deleted--off-topic" after a poster's name.

Oregongal has made far more eloquent appeals for civility in the past, and I and Donovan and others I'm forgetting (sorry) have made the same appeal, but, for what it's worth, can we please be civil, respect differing opinions and perspectives, and stop personalized sniping? (Not that I don't love a good snipe hunt...)

And avoid extremism and mischaracterization of others' opinions?

I'm all for argument. Arguing and reading others' arguments has been very enjoyable and edifying. And I must add that the civility here far outweighs that I've seen on other non-baseball blogs.

However...

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

5:16 AM, Apr 18, 2008

is it a cliche to say "mojo", or is that term just for latte-moms and garlic-fry dads? no matter. the m's look fantastic. ibanez is downright scary. the pitching is top flight. and everyone has learned to take a pitch! what an idea.

i just want to advocate for continuing to play bloomquist. last night he had 2 walks, a steal, a run, and hit into a fielder's choice that would have been a double play had wilkerson been the one slogging down to first. like i said in a previous post, bloomquist may never be an all star, but he brings speed, defensive prowess, intelligent at-bats, and very respectable offensive productivity. plust the guy has a history with the team, he's universally loved, and he's someone that fans actually want to see. i propose we give him the starting job in RF and see what he can do. we know what wilkerson cannot do--contribute--so we have nothing to lose.

Posted by putzy

6:10 AM, Apr 18, 2008

hey adam, how about the Brandon Morrow ! This kid can pitch !

Posted by Stat Prof

7:06 AM, Apr 18, 2008

What is frustrating is for the Ms to have a good performance and the pessimists come out and point out all the reasons why the Ms shouldn't be doing as well as they are. Lets not forget that all these new age stats are associated with results, not causal. They may predict performance but not with certainty. What really counts is actual results.

You can pick all you want and find "reasons" why the Ms aren't really 9-8 and only one game behind the Angels, but that is where they are. Win this series, and they will be tied with the Angels. That's what matters.

Some "glass half full" types might find reasons that with any luck, the M's should be 11-6 (Like Putz doesn't get hurt, etc.) What is, is.

Posted by Merrill

7:13 AM, Apr 18, 2008

yeah, putzy, that changeup thing is good news. And Geoff said, if I remember right, he's also got a slider or some other pitch.

That's three pitches--no reason a fourth can't come down the pipe in another year or two, and no reason he can't be stretched out to starter's pitch counts then, too.

Geoff, whatever happened to the links to the other M's-related sites?

And any chance this latest obnoxious behavior when we post might "fix itself"?

Posted by ricofoy

7:16 AM, Apr 18, 2008

At this point in the season, I'd have to say I was dead wrong about the Silva signing. I don't care what his peripheral stats are...without him they're in the cellar. Maybe they paid too much, although like some else mentioned, the way salaries are going it probably won't seem that way in a couple years.
On the other hand, I see AJ got the winning hit and Georgie got the win for the O's. lol
And I guess I'm in the minority but the only time this board comes alive are when some of the folks here throw out comments that fire other people up.
I might get pissed, I might laugh but at least I'm not bored. If X, Adam, AKM and some of the other so-called haters left the board, we'd be left with the baseball blog version of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
Fuhgebaboudit!

Posted by stango

7:49 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I LOVE the M's, as do all of you. Dave and Derek from USSM LOVE the M's, as do all of you. I have learned a lot about baseball from them and their commenters, just as I have here. It is a source of information written by guys who do not have clubhouse access, which allows them to be a little more "free-swinging", so to speak. This is a source of info by a guy with clubhouse access, and I love Geoff's positivity. I REALLY hate the gutless-hide-behind-your-computer name-calling in here though.

If you are denying yourself the info held within both sites (and others), then you are only denying yourself. It's true that USSM is much more negative than Geoff, but they're usually right about what they're upset about: signing Sexson instead of Vlad, the Vidro trade, the Washburn signing (he's good for a #4 starter, but we paid him to be a #2), the free swinging last year, our bench, arguing against our strong attempt to sign Zito (thank you Giants!), among many other things.

Things they are constantly positively glowing about: the awesomeness of Ichiro, The King, Beltre, JJ, and some of the players we've traded away, or lost (which then makes them get negative). It was actually USSM's recommendation of Geoff's work (whom they often disagree with, and that's ok) that brought me in here last year.

Disagreeing is ok, it doesn't mean that someone you disagree with is a jerk or an idiot.

I didn't get to see the game last night, as I was in class, but I listened to some of it on my breaks. Sounds like a great performance, and the A's sound like they have a pathetic offense.

I hope Dickey brings what he brought to Spring Training tonight.

Go M's!!!

Posted by Mr. X

7:57 AM, Apr 18, 2008

NB, if you want to defend the other website, feel free. But when I'm getting ready to watch a game, I'm always hopeful when the first pitch is thrown out. Even with incompetence at every level and no leadership on the field. (Kenji showed great leadership his first year here, but I think someone had a conversation with him about it.)

All you have to do is look at the latest "game day" post over there to see why that site is disliked by many. They really nailed that one, right? One man outfield? (Thanks to Scott for being the voice of reason on this topic) Silva versus the "lefty heavy" lineup? Lefties got 2 hits and zero RBI last night. I do like chicken, but I don't like chicken little. I may disagree with Geoff at times, but overall, his posts are positive and informative. You can't say the same about USSM.

Some may like the "inside baseball" posts like the breakdown post, but I really don't need to hear someone's personal problems or complaints on a baseball website. Tell your shrink. Call Mom. Or leave, what a novel concept.

As far as the emotional breakdown itself goes, it's really not a surprise. It's been proven over and over that having a regular paying job, a family to support, and not spending time worrying about things you can't change increases a person's happiness. I don't fault him for being bitter and unhappy, I would be too in his situation. Maybe he should get off his rear end and do something about it. If this gig isn't paying, then maybe he should do the manly thing and move on, grow up. God knows, we don't need any more tax-drains than necessary out there.

Posted by xweb

8:03 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Y'all need to chill out.A negative comment about the team, a player, management, or the coaches is fair game, even if you don't agree with it. What would get moderated is personal attacks against other posters, and in those terms, this blog is great--you very rarely see the sort of flamewar garbage that's rampant in many forums.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they should be censored.

U.S.S. Moron - LOL, good one.

Posted by Mr. X

8:11 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Stango just hit on another one, the Vidro trade. Looking at last year, there is nobody who can credibly argue that it was a bad trade for the Mariners. We gave up nothing for him, and he hit (singles) well. I don't think he's the best person for the job, but he's better than what we've had in recent history. (Perez, Broussard, and Everett in one year alone, minus Cabrera and Choo, and they're worried about a nobody like Snelling?). The overly emotional response to it "over there" was disgusting, embarassing, and childish.

Posted by statboysdad

8:13 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Our oitching with Bedard back is one of the top 4-5 in the MLB..You laugh about Silva but he was brought over for the fit he has in a pitchers park. He is doing what he knows how to do best, mix up pitches and get the ball in play. Our defense is what makes hime look good. I see Felix w/20, Silva w/13-15, Bedard w/16-17 wins. With Putts back we are awsome.

I still want to see a chage in Right and 1st base..we have Vlad and Morse that should be playing...

Go Mariners at the break be up by 7-8..

Posted by Adam

8:17 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Re: Silva - just because I think he's due for a regression doesn't mean I'm pessimistic or a hater or something. Honestly, who here thought he'd be pitching this well? Very few. Consider yourself all pessimists.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/stats/players/index.php?lastName=silva

Silva is throwing fewer ground balls (a bad thing) striking out fewer hitters, and walking more than last year. His LD and HR rates are about the same. So he's pitching just a bit worse than last year, yet his ERA is almost a run and a half lower. That shouldn't continue.

He's the same pitcher, but his numbers are much better. Either his 30+ starts last year were a fluke, or his 4 starts this year aren't representative. It's much more likely that the latter is true.

Iif it makes anyone feel better, I am confident Ichiro, Wilkerson, and Johjima will get better, using the same sort of analysis.

Posted by birdman

8:29 AM, Apr 18, 2008

George Sherrill - scoreless 10th and Adam Jones had game-winning hit in bottom of inning.
Thanks Seattle!

Posted by Jim Lundquist

8:35 AM, Apr 18, 2008

You forgot to mention George Sherrill also got the win. I am still upset with how we mortgaged our future to get Erik Bedard. We would no doubt have the same 9-8 record had we not made the Bedard trade. Most likely would be better if we still had Sherrill for the back end. Maybe, I am a glass half empty guy, but I prefer building the right way, and not throwing our prospects away for a guy that may or may not have a degenerative hip.

Posted by stango

8:37 AM, Apr 18, 2008

X, you're right about what we gave up for Vidro, sort of. The fact that he's the best DH we've had since Edgar speaks volumes, though. If we still had Fruto (I think he was in the Futures game last year, but not sure) he would be helpful to our BP right now, and wouldn't you rather have Snelling right now than Wilky? Snelling is, admittedly, a 4th OF (for about 2.5 mil less), but what's Wilkerson?

The problem with Vidro is not that he can't hit (singles), but for 8.5 mil, we have a guy w/no power who can't field and it has hamstrung the M's ability to shift things around a bit. He has to DH or nothing, because he's the worst fielder on the team, and that's not even mentioning his speed. When my 8.5 mil DH comes up with runners on, I should be excited, but I'm not. He's not a black hole, though, that's for sure.

If we didn't have Vidro, we could DH Raul and/or Richie, and get Wlad up here. That's just one suggestion, but I think that team would be better than this one, that's all. I don't want another AJ situation where a guy has to learn how to play in the bigs in the middle of a pennant race. I'd rather give Wlad more of the season to figure it out. It'll never happen since we're paying so much for a singles hitter w/no speed to let him rot on the bench.

That said, the M's do have a great shot to win this division, and with their rotation, have a great shot at winning at least one round in the playoffs. I just want us to be even better.

Posted by Everett fan

8:56 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Quick comment on Raul's defense - when he gets to a ball, he has a nice glove. His weakness is his speed; his strengths are his savy and anticipation.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

8:58 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Oregongal and Maui Mariner: I'll miss you and hope you reconsider. I agree with Merrill and enjoy reading the variety of thoughts expressed here.

Meanwhile, it was fun to see the M's sweep in Oakland. Here's hoping we have a King Dickie pitcher to go along with King Felix and King Silva ... or should it be King R.A. and King Carlos to be consistent with King Felix?! ;-)

(I had to submit this three times. I hope it doesn't appear three times!)

Posted by Stat Prof

9:12 AM, Apr 18, 2008

It's comments like this that drive me nuts:

So he's pitching just a bit worse than last year, yet his ERA is almost a run and a half lower. That shouldn't continue.

How can he be pitching worse than last year when his results are better. Don't confuse cause with effects!

Its these kinds of comments that drive me nuts. Results are results are results are what the game is about. They represent an elitist view that says, "you are too dumb and shallow" to understand that he really isn't doing well. Stats like he quoted are predictive, not determinative.

Posted by joe

9:13 AM, Apr 18, 2008

to quote Ice Cube "Today was a good day"

Posted by -k

9:14 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Wow, i sure got everyone fired up last night! First off, i'm sad to see Ogal and Maui go, but i totally understand. I've left this Blog (as a contributer) many times, but i did keep reading. I just keep coming back because i can't get enough M's coverage, and this place often needs a voice of reason to counter all the extremists.

Adam - I might be remember wrong, but i believe you did use that word in your arguments against the Bedard trade.

Everyone else who was offended that i used the word "Hate" - What can i say? I just called it like i see it. Adam hasn't has one positive thing to say about the M's in over a year now. That's not frustration, that's hate. Case in point, Silva. No one expects him to undefeated all year, or be a staff ace. He was brought in to eat innings, the same way Aaron Sele was years ago. Silva has done that. He's been exactly what the team wanted him to be. Yet Adam's only comments are arguments about how it's all luck and he isn't that good. Seriously, you can't accept that he's contributing to the team?

I'm all for negative comments. As i said before, this team is not perfect. I've been asking for a Bavasi firing for over 2 years. I think the team is mismanaged, especially the bench and the lack of playing time for guys like WillieB who can play anywhere on the field. What i was asking for was for people to be rational. To take the good with the bad.

The necessity for so many people who post on this blog to only offer all-or-nothing opinions is annoying. This isn't a glass-half empty vs glass-half-full issue. It's a glass-overflowing vs glass-bone-dry issue. Yes, i tend to take offense more with those who are extremely negative. Even if every player on this team was under 27 and had all-star potential they'd still find reasons to complain. it makes me wonder how they manage to go through life and not be suicidal. it literally makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Posted by Mike

9:16 AM, Apr 18, 2008

What I don't understand is the need for people to come to this blog to trash another blog.

Posted by joe

9:20 AM, Apr 18, 2008

just browsing through this post a bit...Damn! I swear if some of these "fans" had a sweet ass Playboy bunny sittin on their lap they would still have somethin to whine about....
.
"yeah she be fine an all, but she does have a feckle on her left butt cheek"
.
Some of you are just funny as all hell...
.
And their wives say they ain't never satisfied LOL
.
that is...if they got one
.
sometimes you just gotta accept the good boys...accept it..enjoy it fools

Posted by scottM

9:21 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I'm sorry to hear you feel that way, OregonGal. Like most open blogs, this one seems to attract its fair share of trollers. However, I don't include AKM'sFan, NB, ChrisInBothell, Mr.X, Adam, Drlo, Ricofoy or the other passionate regulars as blog trolls. It's actually been cool to see a mosaic of personalities emerge over time here. When ChrisInBothell goes at AKM'sFan for being an Eyeore, he is making an apt observation, IMHO. AKM'sFan seems to relish that role. Mr.X never went to charm school, but I love his pull-no-punches dry wit.

I'm no stathead, but I have learned a great deal in this blog about how to be a more observant baseball fan and to consider new ways to judge performance. That said, I also try to use my own eyes to ascertain talent. For example, while so many were painting Adam Jones as the next messiah, I never saw the consistent athletic poise of a young Griffey, Jr. in AJ. That factor had a good deal to do with why I favored the Bedard trade.

I also have never been sold that Raul "sucks" in LF. Someone recently said they didn't want every good play by Raul pointed out. However, when, night after night, he continues to make the very most of his average range by executing solid play after solid play, this blog seems to be the ideal venue to refute what has been too widely accepted.

Civility is a virtue, and your polite requests in that regard have always been appreciated, OG. However, this is also the place for people to argue the M's. Argumentation and debate is fine, if civil. GEOFF's opinions and all of our comments are fair game. This is a public forum, so, of course, the quality of the discourse will vary. I like the back-and-forth, and, frankly, enjoy this blog more than any of the others I've visited.

You just gotta learn to appreciate the twisted love here, OG!!

Posted by Magwhich

9:29 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Why is Conway leaving, is she heading back to Hawaii?

Posted by Mike

9:29 AM, Apr 18, 2008

k- I think Adam has said a lot of good things about the Ms. After the Angel starters went down I think he even said he thought the Ms were now favorites in the west.

As for Silva, I hope he keeps it up but it is just a few games. If Willie Bloomquist hits a home run in two consecutive games he isn't suddenly Babe Ruth. Likewise for Silva. All Adam is doing is looking at available data and trying to determine if Silva will keep getting the same results. That's not hate. Unless Silva has developed a new skill (more mph, a new pitch or better control) his results will most likely end up closer to what he has done than what he is doing.

Posted by Merrill

9:38 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Adam has also counseled patience with the regulars and the M's in general when they weren't going great earlier on, and with Wilkerson in particular.

He calls it like he sees it, and although I don't always agree, I read his posts (and most others) with appreciation.

Posted by yo mama

9:41 AM, Apr 18, 2008

the new "skill" that Silva has developed, is a superior defense and he doesn't play on a frickin flat top rug anymore....DUH!

Posted by Merrill

9:43 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Walla Walla Girl, this is working for me: I post, hit "back," then reload that page (even though it has my post in the comment box and the same Captcha code as before).

Then I have the new page, with my post added.

Posted by bikeman

9:47 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I feel sorry for Geoff Baker he has to put up with all this

Posted by thatgirl

9:50 AM, Apr 18, 2008

All I know is that last night’s game was FUN to watch. Silva, regardless of what his yearly stats end up like, pitched an awesome game. He kept pounding the strike zone with quality pitches and had great presence and pace on the mound. Coupled with the "walk-parade" and key hits from the 2-9 part of the lineup (Ichiro decided in the 6th it was time to join the party and his slap hits weren't cutting it), it just was like a 'perfect storm' of how the game should be played. Especially with the makeup of the M's being more base hit vs. long ball oriented (I know Raul and Beltre are our HR guys until Richie gets going…). And tonight we usher in the era (no pun intended) of RAD-ball! I'm sensing Mac's faux pas of beginning the year with 11 vs. 12 pitchers has now been laid to rest. GO M’S!!

Maui and O-gal please don't go, you are much appreciated.

Posted by -k

9:57 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I need to add that i've picked on Adam in my posts here because: 1) He's one of the articulate and well written of the examples I could have chosen, 2) he's the most active, and thus the most visible and 3) i've noticed that he's mature enough to handle it.

Ok, so i've taken using him as an example too far. I was trying to make a point. I still feels that he exemplifies the problem i was addressing: extremism.

There are better examples in this blogosphere, and remember that i've been asking for moderation, so there's no need to point out every minuscule counterexample. it's not worth your effort, as i've already admitted to the faults of my argument.

Posted by ricofoy

10:01 AM, Apr 18, 2008

What the hell does Geoff have to put up with? He posts his piece and let's everyone have at it. Christ, it's not like he's refereeing a steel cage match. Besides, he's got the hockey mentality so I'm pretty sure he enjoys it when people mix it up.
I bet Hickey with the PI would kill for this level of participation.

Posted by Mike

10:06 AM, Apr 18, 2008

k-Fair enough. But still frustration doesn't equal hatred. I love the Ms. I tend to have a similar outlook to Adam. I think they'll win 83-85 games this year. I'm upset because I think there are moves we should have made and some we could still make to push that closer to 90.

Posted by Mariner Moose

10:08 AM, Apr 18, 2008

I now officially dub ADAM as the most pessimistic and negative Mariner fan ever. I use the term "fan" loosely. I compare Adam's dedication and love to the Mariners to Paris Hilton 's dedication to rehab and church. Adam's fanhood is in definite doubt. All ADAM does is spew negativity about the Mariners. I believe Adam will only be happy when all of the Mariners perform badly, because then ADAM can say "I told you so"

ADAM: The Mariners Fuc#in won ejnjoy it DUDE!!!...get over yourself. So sick of seeing your negativity!!! Didn't your mom ever tell you..."if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" ??

.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

10:10 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Thanks for the tip, Merrill.

Posted by Merrill

10:15 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Mariner Moose, are you serious or being facetious?

That was by far the most negative post of the thread.

You're welcome, Walla Walla Washington Gal!

Posted by Donovan

10:16 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Since big picture comments on the Mariners are a flavor du jour here, I'll air out one of my pet theories. When the M's moved from the Kingdome to Safeco in 99, they faced an identify crisis. To that point in the team's history, their limited success was based on a power game - HRs and (in the singular persona of Randy Johnson) power pitching. That suited the Kingdome, which (in addition to being a soulless, Godforsaken tomb of a stadium) was a hitter's ballpark. Safeco was best suited to an old-fashioned, all-around team built on pitching, defense, speed, and on base percentage. We have never really fielded a team optimized for Safeco. You can blame the managers we have had, who were not small ball and pitching kind of guys, you can blame Gillick and Bavasi for not getting all the right pieces, you can even blame the fans, who still (for reasons I will never understand) think the answer to their prayers is a declining Jr. ending his career in Seattle.

I'd much rather watch a pitcher's battle than a homerun derby, so I was happy when we built a real ballpark, not an expensive joke like they put up in Cleveland or Texas. I have been frustrated by the failure of the club to field a team that was suited to the place, however. Finally, this year, I think we are moving in the right direction. If it gels (get well soon Eric), this rotation will be far and away the most formidable in M's history, and easily among the very top in MLB this year. The batting order is stacked with guys who have the potential to hit for high average, and, through some miracle, as a team, we are actually becoming selective in our approach, thus boosting our team OBP. It's like a basketball team that suddenly figures out that you can make freethrows and win 5 extra games a season. Just being patient can boost your offense without getting any better at hitting. It's free money.

There are still glaring weaknesses. Our defense has significant holes, we have almost no speed, and we don't have enough consistent power, even for my small ball tastes.

I guess my point is that I feel positive about this team, because for the first time ever, they are moving in the direction that I thought they should have 8 years ago. Whether that is a happy coincidence or evidence of some slow-developing plan in action, I'm not sure. I'm hoping it works, we have a great season, and it encourages more positive evolution. The fact that our Division is really bad this year doesn't hurt our chances. Them's the breaks. There have been other years where the opposite was true.

Posted by evan

10:20 AM, Apr 18, 2008

-k, you are seriously a glutton for punishment. This blog has way to many trolls to put yourself out there like that. Plus, what you're asking for will never happen. Remember Geoff's post about how seattle fans aren't like other fans? He was right about this group fans. They're not like fans of other cities. The refuse to be happy. Even though they try and blame to the m's, the fact remains that they CHOOSE to be unhappy.

The fact that you used to the word hate is a interesting one. It's an emotion filled word. I's guess that you chose it specifically to elicit the types of extremist responses you were frowning upon. it's a convenient way to prove your point, especially around here where people don't realize when they're being manipulated.

Also, using Adam as your example was also an interesting choice. He's extreme, yes, but hardly the poster child for being irrational. AK and faceplant would have been much more logical choices. Both are much "extremists" as you call them, and both are much more irrational. Plus neither of those two actually offer anything to this blog that can remotely be considered constructive or worthwhile. I'm guessing again this choice was a done on purpose. Calling out either of those 2 would have been received with a "finally" by most of the contributers here, whereas calling out Adam will get much more attention and generate many more responses.

You really do like to "stir-the-pot" don't you? We should team up. it would make this blog a lot more fun.

Posted by Mike

10:22 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Donovan--Great post. Although I do think the teams early in this century were pretty well built for Safeco, especially defensively. Cameron, Ichiro and some combination of McLemore, Winn and to a lesser extent Stan Javier made the outfield a place where doubles went to die.

Posted by Adam

10:23 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat Prof - I could not disagree more. Better results do NOT mean better performance. There are a lot of variables (defense, ballpark, bullpen, luck) that are completely outside a pitcher's control. He may perform very well, yet his results may not mirror that performance. I really don't think this is a controversial point. I've brought up EOF's outing against Tampa last week as a perfect example of this. He hit a batter's jersey with pitch (bad luck), allowed a seeing-eye single (bad luck), and gave up a tapper to the mound. Nobody hit him hard, and he missed with one pitch. And yet he gave up three runs. And just watching that game, you can't tell me he pitched as bad as a 27.00 ERA would suggest. And as such, ERA is not a good stat for evaluation or prediction.

And as you pointed out, I am trying to predict Silva's performance going forward. Given the fact that he's not pitching any better than he did last year, I have to assume we'll start to see the same results as he had last year. Surely you would agree that 30+ starts is a better sample size than 4. If he's pitching the same in both samples, yet the results are different, surely we would agree that his results the 30+ starts are more reliable.


And I don't understand why statistical analysis is "elitist." It is, after all, the new kid on the block. ERA and Wins are still the Rockefellers and Kennedys of the analytical world, if you catch the metaphor. What is elitist about appealing to independent, hard data to make an argument, rather than relying on one's own observation or sticking with "established" stats? Isn't it arrogant to cling to your own beliefs and just dismiss an analytical platform that appeals to hard data, rather than observational data?

-k - With regards to the Bedard trade, it was always my position that this team was not good enough to contend with the Angels even with Bedard. That was more a commendation of the Angels than a condemnation of the Mariners. I always maintained that the 2008 Mariners would be better than the 2007 Mariners, but not good enough. If you think that is negative, I can't really help you.

And perhaps you missed the grief I got for daring to argue that EOF's performance was better than his results against Tampa the other week.

Not sure how it makes me an extremist (I've yet to make any judgment about Vidro, Sexson, Lopez, Wilkerson, Ichiro, or Johjima - or the team in general), but there you go.


And I don't mind good debate (which is why I enjoy Merrill, even though we almost never agree). What I don't enjoy is people misstating my arguments to pimp their own. I also HATE straw men arguments. So I will respond to those folks. Call it a weakness, perhaps it is the former lawyer in me, but I won't stand for it. However, there are more than a few here who engage in good debate and disagree with me all the time - more power to them.

If we want to become more educated baseball fans, there's no better way to do it than through spirited debate.

Posted by Donovan

10:33 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Mike - you have a point, but those teams had no pitching, which has to be the cornerstone of any team not built on the long ball.

Not that I think he needs my help, but you can put my glass half full, silver lining, the sun will come up tomorrow, why can't we all just get along, but I kind of like the rain, Polyanna ass in Adam's corner. I often disagree with him, but I also learn from his posts, and I respect that fact that he always gives rational reasons for his opinions.

It's just a game you know? Entertainment? In the long run, what happens on the baseball field has very little to do with my emotional well-being. I'm just tuned in to have a good time. The journey is just as important as the destination, and frame of mind determines whether the journey is fun or a grind. I enjoy a good argument (much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn't). Arguing about baseball can be fun, but anonymous insult slinging isn't. I've got no time for that.

Posted by Merrill

10:35 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Speaking of which, Adam, maybe "yo mama" at 9:41 is making a good point, even if in a rude, condescending manner (I cried, o I cried!)....

Posted by kingk

10:41 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat Prof...correct the misuse of this knowledge is abhorrent and annoying...Pessimistic and ultimately downright stupid...Of course though bera means nothing...Adam reminds me of the guy in Close encounters when the ship appears and everyone is either awestruck, frightened, dazled, there is the one pencil necked geek running around with pen and paper scribbling and yelling "5 semi-tones followed by one long blast..." Miisssing everything else around him...

Posted by kingk

10:44 AM, Apr 18, 2008

This system of posting is about the worst anywhere...You can't see what you typed and as a result i am making spelling errors which are a pain to go back and correct Please fix this site....

Posted by scottM

10:45 AM, Apr 18, 2008

"If we want to become more educated baseball fans, there's no better way to do it than through spirited debate."

Well said, Adam.

I know it's too early to call the next three games a BIG series, but if the M's can take two of three without JJ and with their 4, 5 and x-factor knuckleballer, I think it will go a long way toward solidifying a confident, win-each-series attitude. Last week several people here reamed McLaren for throwing in the towel with Baek/EOF against the Angels. Both teams have serious injury concerns. This is the kind of three game stretch that will tell a great deal about the '08 Mariners. This is no time for complacency or conceding anything.

Show us what you got, M's!!!


Posted by -k

10:46 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Evan - ssssshhhhhhh... How do you expect me to "stir-the-pot" with you stirring in the opposite direction? if you want us to team up, then come on board. Join in keep it going. Don't start by removing my daily dose of fun. now what issue should we tackle next?

Posted by Merrill

10:54 AM, Apr 18, 2008

"You can't see what you typed"???

What are you talking about? You don't have to post what you type until after you correct it. (I still make mistakes all the time, but that's beside the point, eh?)

Posted by arthur

10:59 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Back to baseball instead of rants about each other...

Silva DOES indeed have a "new skill" -- if I recall correctly Mel worked with him on a new grip so he has an improved cutter and better split, and also seems to be throwing more inside, again due to Mel's prompts (as he has done with others). And, why would people assume he has reached his ceiling? he has just turned 29 and is a horse. He works hard. Many pitchers reach their peak much later. Remember Jamie Moyer? Previous stats aren't absoute assurance of future performance. He won't go undefeated, but he may just be one of the best #3 pitchers in baseball.

Posted by Mike

11:01 AM, Apr 18, 2008

"Speaking of which, Adam, maybe "yo mama" at 9:41 is making a good point, even if in a rude, condescending manner (I cried, o I cried!)...."

You know Merrill, I was just writing a long post about how considering other points of view contributes enormously to the enjoyment of the game. It's actually what led me to embracing a lot of the newer statistical analysis. And I was going to use yo mama's points as evidence of this.

Of course I then tried to look up last year's DER numbers to find out more about Minnesota's defense but alas I couldn't find it.

Posted by Adam

11:12 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Merrill, yo mama

I don't think it's a better defense. Minnesota's defense in 2007 had a better defensive efficiency rate (rate of balls in play turned into outs) than Seattle.

http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=204048

Further, although you expect more balls in play to get through for hits on artificial turf, the Twins nonetheless beat the Mariners in this regard.

So I don't think Silva isn't benefitting from improved defense.

Posted by Merrill

11:15 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Good points, Arthur.

I agree with you verra much, Mike. ("... considering other points of view contributes enormously to the enjoyment of the game.")

Posted by Merrill

11:20 AM, Apr 18, 2008

There ya go, Mike--Adam found 'em for ya.

But if we accept that BABIP is all about luck, then why wouldn't DER involve luck equally?

Posted by Simon

11:27 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat prof,

If I can speak on Adam's behalf for a moment, he has never said that he wants anyone on the Mariners to fail. I am sure that he, like all of us here, would be overjoyed if the Ms finished the year with 95 wins and won the division. And if Silva ends up with a record of 18-9 in doing that - great!

However, it is a relevant question to ask how likely it is that Silva will continue to pitch at this level. Adam looks at certain indicators of pitching ability, like GB % and SO rates, to see if he can explain the difference. If, for example, Silva had developed a new pitch, or was making a conscious effort to pitch down in the zone, that would be reason to expect that he might improve. In Silva's case, he's doing pretty much the same as he has done in previous years. And given that we have several years of data to look at, it's pretty reasonable then to expect his results to stay similar.

Of course, he is on a new team and pitching in a different park, so that will have some effect. However, the Ms' defense is not good (in spite of what some here like to think), so that is likely to hurt Silva's numbers more than help them.

Over the last four years as a starter, he has won between 9 and 14 games and finished with an ERA between 3.44 and 5.94 (yes, I know, ERA and wins are not good indicators of ability - I'm just using them because they are so commonly used). That is quite a bit of variation, but with no indication of Silva doing something different, why would we expect him to suddenly produce a full season with 15+ wins and an ERA under 3?

You ask, "How can he pitch worse when the results are better?" Consider this hypothetical situation:

Felix is pitching and gives up a couple of bloop singles off the end of the bat, one walk, one guy reaches on an error and then he gives up a pop fly, which given a strong wind out to right that day and short fence in that stadium, just goes for a home run. All of those guys score, so Felix give up 5 runs and takes the loss.

Washburn scatters 12 hits, several of which are line drives straight to the outfielders. Beltre makes a fabulous play to get Wash out of a jam. He gives up 3 runs on 12 hits, with 3 walks and just 2 strike outs. He gets the win.

Who pitched better? Felix gave up more runs and got the loss, but most people would admit that he pitched better. So while results are dfeinitely what matters for the team, you cannot say that results are always indicative of one player's performance. There are simply too many variables.

All in all, I'm thrilled at how Silva is pitching. After last year's Weaver/HoRam debacle, it is a refreshing change. Do I think Silva will keep pitching this well? Most likely not. It is just not reasonable based on his pitching fundatmentals and his past record. Will I celebrate if he does keep this up? You betcha!

Oh, and Oregongal and Maui - please don't go! We need to keep voices of reason here!

Posted by Mike

11:28 AM, Apr 18, 2008

arthur--You are right of course. Nothing predicts future performance absolutely. But certainly prior performance is the best predictor of possible performance that we have. And by prior performance I don't neccesarily mean results.

Generally pitchers succeed by avoiding bats, not walking people and throwing ground balls. Silva is doing these at about his normal rate. He's stranding about 85% of the runners he allows to reach base where his career and the league average is in the 70% range. This does not appear to be a repeatable skill. His BABIP is down slightly too. Maybe this is because of playing on grass vs turf or maybe the Ms defense has improved to the point of being better than Minnesota's of '07. Or maybe this is just too small a sample size to make any kind of concrete statement.

Whatever the reason, here's hoping we are still having this discussion later in the summer. I like Silva more than many in the SABR community largely because as Geoff points out, he does eat innings. I'd rather have a #3 go 7 or 8 than 5 or 6.

Posted by Stat Prof

11:35 AM, Apr 18, 2008

Adam said

"What is elitist about appealing to independent, hard data to make an argument, rather than relying on one's own observation or sticking with "established" stats? Isn't it arrogant to cling to your own beliefs and just dismiss an analytical platform that appeals to hard data, rather than observational data?"

It's elitist when you minimize or denigrate the opinions of those who prefer to take on a different point of view.

As a statistician I have a lot of questions about the validity and reliability of these new statistics. All are attempts to predict the future based on past performance. Again, I think they are useful, but to say that performance is worse when the outcome measures that matter (teams wins) say otherwise is what I object to. If you wish to say his peripheral numbers indicate a likelihood that his future performance will decline rather than he is pitching worse than last year, I can understand your point of view. But to say he is pitching worse sounds like an elitist comment to me (like you guys are so dumb that you only rely on wins and losses). It may not be what you mean, but that's what it sounds like.

Posted by Merrill

11:38 AM, Apr 18, 2008

But Simon--don't two improved pitches plus pitching insidemore (see arthur, who is referring to ST stuff) equal one new pitch plus pitching down in the zone more???

Posted by Mike

11:41 AM, Apr 18, 2008

"But if we accept that BABIP is all about luck, then why wouldn't DER involve luck equally?"

Great question Merrill. I don't think BABIP is all about luck. For instance a groundball pitcher will likely have a higher BABIP than a flyball pitcher, who gives up fewer singles but more extra base hits. Now BABIP CAN be about luck if a pitcher is lucky enough to have a defense that can turn more batted balls into outs.

What I don't know and haven't studied is whether better pitchers tend to have better BABIP than bad pitchers. I would assume yes. I would also assume that what is more telling about BABIP is that if a particular pitcher posts a much higher or lower number than their history would indicate and that if their peripheral numbers were similar then you could either assume they were lucky or that defense was a factor.

But your question has spurred me to start looking at this. I've always wondered if you could learn more by looking at OPS for BIP.

Posted by Adam

12:54 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat Prof - If you would show me where I minimized or denigrated any opinions others, be my guest.


Further, I have to take issue with a couple of your comments. First, you say:

If you wish to say his peripheral numbers indicate a likelihood that his future performance will decline rather than he is pitching worse than last year, I can understand your point of view.

Here's what I said:

...but the way he's pitched this year isn't much different from last, if at all, yet his ERA is much better. So while we have to love the work he's done so far, we shouldn't expect this to continue.

...

...So he's pitching just a bit worse than last year, yet his ERA is almost a run and a half lower. That shouldn't continue.

He's the same pitcher, but his numbers are much better. Either his 30+ starts last year were a fluke, or his 4 starts this year aren't representative. It's much more likely that the latter is true.

Perhaps you don't like my phrasing, but am I not trying to argue that, given his peripheral numbers, his future performance will decline?

But to say he is pitching worse sounds like an elitist comment to me (like you guys are so dumb that you only rely on wins and losses).

He isn't pitching better than he was last year. His K rate is down, his BB rate is down, his groundball rate is down, and his other peripherals are the same. There literally isn't a thing he's doing better this year than last other than infield flys and stranding runners, both of which are not repeatable skills. It's perfectly fair to say he's pitching worse than last year. If you disagree, fine.

And it's not elitist to make such a conclusion. Others may disagree with me, but that doesn't make my comments elitist. If anything, your attacks on me are the elitist arguments being made. I don't believe in results-based analysis, and I should have every right to argue against it. It doesn't make me elitist. Your straw man, on the other hand, raises some questions.

Posted by Adam

12:59 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Sorry - his BB rate is up. He's walking more and striking out fewer.

Posted by Ned

1:01 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Woohoo! First place in the Pythagorean standings:

W1-L1
Mariners 9.6-7.4
Angels 9.3-7.7
Athletics 8.3-8.7
Rangers 7.3-8.7

http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/standings.php

Posted by arthur

1:58 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Adam:

"There literally isn't a thing he's doing better this year than last other than infield flys and stranding runners, both of which are not repeatable skills."

What is your authority for saying in such abolute terms that these are not repeatable -- perhaps he is bearing down with runners on and will continue to do so, and his pitching inside is creating more infield flies.

Posted by Stat Prof

2:09 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Adam - I can't accept the concept that results don't matter. He has a lower ERA, has won all his decisiions and has 3 quality starts. To me performance is results. It does not matter how many GBs, FBs, etc. a guy has. If you eat the innings, prevent the runs, and win the game, how can you be pitching poorly.

If you want to say that these numbers indicate that this level of performance is unlikely to continue, that's fine, but I can't accept the claim that his pitching thus far has been worse than last year.

Posted by Ziasudra

2:12 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat-prof - sounds good to me.
You've all heard the computer-speak, "garbage in, garbage out." There is a real, undiscussed, variation on that: "Here's my answer; I'll select some inputs to get what I wan't." Don't confuse me with YOUR facts, my mind is made up (using MY facts.)

Posted by Dawkins

2:21 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat Prof, I understand what Adam's trying to say, and it makes perfect sense.

Silva's good performance so far has been based upon luck (as Adam said, LOB% and infield flys). Being lucky on variables outside one's control does not equate with good pitching.

And we'll see why when he regresses.

Posted by Adam

2:29 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Stat Prof - All 7 IP, 3 R outings are not created equal. I'm sure you've followed the game long enough to know that certain plays here and there throughout the game can effect the outcome. A line drive hit right at someone, a bouncing ball that finds a hole, a LF who can't get to a catchable ball in the gap, a questionable ball four, a leaky bullpen - all are outside the control of a pitcher. Is it fair to judge his performance based on these factors?

It is perfectly within reason to imagine a scenario where a pitcher who goes six innings and gives up four runs and takes the loss may have pitched better than one who went seven innings, gave up three runs, and got the win.

That's why ERA and Wins are not good stats for evaluating or predicting performance.

Posted by Adam

2:33 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Arthur - I am trying to respond to you, but I can't get the comment to post. This format REALLY stinks.

Posted by Adam

2:41 PM, Apr 18, 2008

arthur - let me amend that a bit: Both skills are GENERALLY not repeatable.

Here's an article re: LOB%:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/ten-things-i-didnt-know-a-couple-of-weeks-ago/

Here's the relative portion:

20% of the difference in LOB% between pitchers can be explained by their difference in xFIP. The other 80% is probably due to things like "clutch pitching" or pure randomness.

So better pitchers strand more runners. Not real hard to understand why, and it's not really related to bearing down with men on - they are just better at getting outs.

That leaves 80% as pure randomness or "clutchnes." With regards to Silva, he's never been "clutch" with men on base. Over the past four years, his highest LOB% was 74.6, not a huge deviation from the average rate of about 70% which would suggest a special skill. This year, he's at 83.9% LOB, which is WAY out of the ordinary for him. Perhaps he developed some skill over the offseason to strand runners, but I doubt it. That number should come down, and when it does, you should see his ERA go up.

If you doubt this phenomenon, check Washburn's 2005 and 2006 seasons.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/player/index.php?lastName=Washburn

You will note that his ERA was almost a full run and a half higher in 2006 than in 2005. You will also note that his K and BB rates were identical, his GB % was almost identical, and there were no other substantial changes in his performance.

Now look at his LOB%. It's the only outlier. In 2005, when it was WAY above normal, his ERA went down. In 2006, when it returned to normal, his ERA went up.


Posted by Adam

2:41 PM, Apr 18, 2008

As for infield flies, I am trying to find the article I found about it not being repeatable, but having trouble. Some pitchers may have this skill, but not Silva. The last three years, his IF fly rate was about 6.5%.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/stats/players/index.php?lastName=silva

This year, it is more than twice that amount. Again, maybe he's changed something over the offseason, but I doubt it.

Posted by Ziasudra

4:17 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Well, Adam, your last post illustrates my point: "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up."
"Silva can't be pitching better, because my statistics say he isn't." (paraphrase) And don't bother to reply, because I won't.

Posted by Faceplant

5:11 PM, Apr 18, 2008

K,

"I'm not going to defend X or any of the of the USSM haters around here. I'm not sure why USSM is the object of that hate, since the problem exists here on this site with the likes of AK, Adam, Faceplant, and many others, include USSM, who refuse to admit that this is a good team."

When have I ever said this is a bad team? You're problem isn't that I won't say this is a good team. Your problem is that I don't agree with you.

That said, this isn't a bad team. It's not a great one, but it isn't a bad one.

Posted by Faceplant

5:26 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"It's elitist when you minimize or denigrate the opinions of those who prefer to take on a different point of view."


Yet, it's the evans, and resins, and Mr. X that are the ones constantly displaying that trait. Just today I'm called irrational and extremist? Please. Many people here need to look in a freakin' mirror.

Posted by Adam

6:29 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Ziasudra - LOL. I can't argue with that "logic," can I?

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