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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 20, 2008 6:20 PM

M's salvage finale

Posted by Geoff Baker

angells3 030.jpg

Sorry for the re-posting delay. I'm at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, waiting for my flight to leave in about 45 minutes. As you might imagine, it was a relieved clubhouse. That was quite the nervy ninth inning, with Ryan Rowland-Smith striking out Garret Anderson (above) with the bases loaded in a 4-2 game. But the Mariners prevailed, finish 3-2 on this trip and get back to .500.

Now, they get an off-day and head home with a chance to pad their record a bit.

In all, they survived this early-season test. Manager John McLaren did not confirm that J.J. Putz is coming off the DL on Tuesday. But he was talking like a mna who knows it's going to happen.

"When we see the big boy coming in from left field, we'll be feeling real good to be honest with you,'' McLaren said of Putz. "But I'd like to say the committee did a nice job while he was gone. They held together pretty good. That's a tough thing to ask young guys to toe the rubber with the game on the line in the ninth inning.''

McLaren was especially impressed with Rowland-Smith, particularly with how he handled Anderson in the final at-bat and the very last pitch.

"He threw some really nice pitches to Anderson,'' McLaren said. "I don’t know if 'froze' was the right word but it was a nasty pitch because Garret is one of the most respected hitters on their ballclub, if not the league. He's not an easy out by any means.''


angells3 033.jpg

No, he isn't. Thought we might see Torii Hunter come up in that situation. He has better splits against lefties, though he hasn't felt all that great since that game-ending catch the other night. Maybe that had something to do with the decision not to pinch-hit for Anderson. Though taking Anderson out of the game, with his track record, would not be an easy thing for any manager to do. Not sure how Hunter does as a pinch-hitter (am at the airport writing this quickly).

The big news afterwards? Miguel Batista says a new discovery is what led him to toss 7 2/3 scoreless innings and strike out eight.

Batista won't say what the discovery was. He isn't sure it's going to work again. But he sounds excited about it. He should be. His velocity wasn't there today, but the Angels were still swining through his pitches all afternoon.

"I might have found something that I wish I might have found years ago in my career,'' Batista said. "I don't know if I'm right yet. It's going to take me at least four or five more starts to figure out if it's going to be able to work as good as I believe it might work.

"And if it does, I might be able to pitch another five years.''

Wow. I'll tell you what. If Batista just became another seven-inning starter on this staff, the season will be a lot more interesting indeed. But let's hold off on the champagne just yet.

On offense, this team needs the day off to regroup. Brad Wilkerson needed that two-hit day. Jose Vidro did look look very good. Ichiro finally seemed to get untracked a bit. Lots of work needed. But we're still only three weeks in. A team can afford to stay at .500 for several months while it works out quirks. The M's have avoided long losing streaks after the Baltimore debacle. Today's win was mighty important. Especially in the standings. Much better to be two games out than four.

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Posted by scottM

3:42 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Again, clutch VS choke.

Clutch: can you say Ryan Rowland Smith in down under over and outback!!!!!

Take note, Adam.

Posted by Frankie

3:45 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Maybe the team is trying to give me a heart attack...

Posted by Sharon

3:47 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I could do without those kinds of fireworks! Yikes that was close!

Posted by jeffrey Slottow

3:49 PM, Apr 20, 2008

A great win against a team that I expect will play in the World Series.

Posted by Corey Miller

3:53 PM, Apr 20, 2008

So our 5 gets the win today...and we go into the next series with Felix and Carlos...and Dickey gets another shot. Not a bad way to start a series.

1 of 3 was the minimum the Ms needed and they got it.

Posted by Nat

4:03 PM, Apr 20, 2008

SB Kevin- and I bet Batista will be right there helping Silva teach 'em - for the last one and two third innings Miquel must have been holding his breath!!

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

4:08 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Nice job today Batista!

Richie Sexon looked very dialed in this weekend.Good sign, no?

Good road trip.

GO MARINERS!!!

Posted by Ruby

4:09 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Have we signed Frank Thomas yet?

Posted by Luby

4:10 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Forget Thomas

Posted by dart93

4:11 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Great game.

Am I the only one who thinks Mike Blowers is horrible? He is supposedly a color commentator and most of the time he is mute. He has very little insight into the game. I would expect more from a former ballplayer.

Also, his dislike for Ichiro is palpable. Ichiro had a pretty big hit today with a triple driving in a run and Blowers still says nothing. Does Blowers just resent that a Japanese player is the most popular Mariner? Some racism mixed with envy?

FIRE MIKE BLOWERS!

Posted by Arturo Bandini

4:13 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Just started reading the blog, cool I like it. Great picture of Garrett striking out (for the 2nd time) that check swing call was a sham.

The M's are in a good space right now. They go home for 6 games against Baltimore and Oakland. They should be able to take at least 4 of those games, hopefully more. The Mariners should finish April above .500. Which will be pretty cool since their top two pitchers, Bedard and Putz have been on the shelf for the majority of the month. Not bad at all.

I agree with Geoff, our offense could use a sparkplug. Who or where that spark will come from is an enigma. I will say, that it looks like Ichiro is about to break out of his slump. Sexson is driving the ball very well, he barely missed two homers this series. Sexaon provided most of the offense in this LA series. With those two heating up, it just might be the spark that ignites this offense. I hope so.

Any word on when Putz and Bedard will return? What about Frank Thomas? Is their any inclination to get him signed to replace Vidro?

GO MARINERS!!!

Posted by Dodge

4:15 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Thin grounds for racism - lets keep it clean. Agreed Blowers is not exactly chatty, which is sometimes a plus, remember Dave Valle? Talk about no insight into the game! Mr. Faith and good. Maybe he is a better choice than the likes of Valle.

Posted by Mr. X

4:18 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Does Blowers just resent that a Japanese player is the most popular Mariner? Some racism mixed with envy?"

Says the person who looks at Ichiro and sees a "Japanese player." Very enlightened of you.

Posted by BA

4:22 PM, Apr 20, 2008


Let Thomas be someone else's headache, he is not needed just another DH / 1B type which this team has too many. There are some young bats in Tacoma that offer much more promise than an over the hill Thomas.

Posted by Jr

4:22 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I like Mike Blowers. Don't like chatty color commentators. Nice win. Why did Mac leave Lowe in so long. Mac drives me nuts. Keep it up Ritchie.

Posted by Sr

4:25 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Well said Jr.

Posted by kranky

4:36 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Here's the thing. The team has 2 problems right now: (1) the bullpen is shaky; (2) the offense is doubtful.

Putz is getting healthy, which will more or less fix the bullpen. But what is the plan for the offense? There isn't one, other than wait for the old guys to "come around." McLaren needs to start thinking Clement, Balentien, Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, someone who will hit the ball hard.

Posted by BrettJMiller

4:39 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Mike Blowers played professional baseball in Japan. He clearly hates the Japanese.

Posted by Cheery

4:42 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Clement and Balentien, but forget Thomas and Bonds we don't need such troubles - and Bonds is out of drugs so what good can he possibly do us. He is a blot on baseball, if ever there was one, 762 needs a footnote of shame not a check from a descent team and city.

Posted by Rhett J Butler

4:46 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Does living in Germany count as a basis for clear prejudice against Germans? I have never heard such nonsense, give me some evidence of racism otherwise keep your slander to yourself.

Posted by kranky

4:49 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Cheery, I like that Freudian slip, a "descent" team.

Thomas and Bonds aren't my first choice either. I've said before that McLaren inherited Lou's problem of not letting the young guns play to prove themselves. I think Clement would be a good choice.

But if McLaren is going to go with an old guy like Vidro why not go for an old guy who can actually crush the ball? The Ms lack power hitters. Barry can still hit for power, the last I saw, without the clear or the cream. Just his presence in the lineup alone would be far better than Vidro (or Wilkerson).

Posted by Sig Menchel

4:50 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Geoff,

When can we see Jeff Clement as the DH? Vidro is awful now. Even when his average was higher, his power numbers were inadequate for a DH.

Sig in Bellevue

Posted by ChicoV

4:51 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Once again nice starting pitching, these guys are keeping us in the game against a tough teams. We now have Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas to think about. This lineup needs a kick in a big way. Wilkerson AND Vidro providing no pop won't work forever.

Posted by ChicoV

4:53 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Once again nice starting pitching, these guys are keeping us in the game against a tough teams. We now have Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas to think about. This lineup needs a kick in a big way. Wilkerson AND Vidro providing no pop won't work forever.

Posted by Cheery

4:54 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Typo, Freud had nothing to do with it. Bonds should be banned from baseball. To even consider him is an ethical failure - just self interest ethics than care for the good of the game. Lets forget Bonds, he is over the hill and probably could crush anything except a cushion. Thomas is just more of the same, forget about it.

Posted by Little V

4:59 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Clement to DH / Balentien to RF - we don't need anymore washed-up has beens, especially one who has so sullied the game with his abuse of performance enhancing drugs. Forget about it!

Posted by Faceplant

5:00 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Clutch: can you say Ryan Rowland Smith in down under over and outback!!!!!"

The irony of course is that it was Mark Lowe who's clutchiness everyone was raving about when he was first called up to Seattle a few years ago. "He has no fear!" they all said.

I wonder if he forgot how to be clutch?

Posted by kranky

5:02 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Cheery, how about getting Junior back to be DH?

Its a shame it won't actually happen, but it should.

Posted by Cheery

5:10 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Kranky, call me sentimental, but I think I can agree with you when it comes to Junior. As long as we do not have to give up a proverbial "arm and a leg" but seriously we might be able to pick him up without giving up too much potential. Maybe Baek with Reed or Morse would fetch him. At any rate, I like the idea - Junior for Hall of Fame as a Mariner! Also there is the moral factor, he has always been an honest and clean player. So I say yes, Kranky, yes.

Posted by Faceplant

5:20 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Lets forget Bonds, he is over the hill and probably could crush anything except a cushion."

You realize you are talking about the same guy who posted a 1.045 OPS last year. I'd say he can still hit. And his swing is tailer made for this ballpark.


"Clement to DH / Balentien to RF - we don't need anymore washed-up has beens, especially one who has so sullied the game with his abuse of performance enhancing drugs. "

Like Mike Morse? Oh... wait. What about David Bell? People are so outraged about Bonds steroid use that they don't want him anywhere near the team. Then you hear those same people talk about how much they miss Jose Guillens bat in the lineup? Nobody sees the hypocrisy? Should Guillen be banned from baseball? Ryan Franklin? It's annoying how Bonds get's held to such a higher standard than any of his peers. Bonds didn't cheat any more or less than anyone else that did steroids.


Look I'm not a fan of Barry Bonds the person. I am a fan of winning. That's what matters.

Posted by seamariners85

5:21 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Just getting back from the game.. What a nail biter. I was in the lower section of the upperdeck even with the batters boxes, and it was pretty obvious on Anderson's check swing that he went. Dont know if the ump at third was napping or what, he took a couple seconds to actually make the call. I think everyone in the place knew it was a swing but him.

Posted by kranky

5:22 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Cheery, you're sentimental!

But even a cranky old guy like me is right there with you. Junior's contract with the Reds runs out after this year, but they'd only trade him if he wanted the trade to happen. It seems unlikely it would ever come together.

Posted by Nat

5:27 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Cheery, it's simple logic. Jr.'s on record saying he would like to play in Seattle his last year. He obviously was not considering this his last year. Thus, he will not be here this year!

Some people love the idea of bringing Bonds aboard, and now we can add Thomas to the mix. But it ain't gonna happen b/c this FO is not going to sign them! So speculate all you want guys, it's still not gonna happen.

I'd just as soon see Clement, and Vlad when he's knee is healthy and he's ready. That doesn't appear to be right now.

Posted by Cheery

5:29 PM, Apr 20, 2008


Every organization has its beloved players, they have stuck with the fans through thick and thin, delivered in the clutch, and thrilled up with their play while remaining loyal to the home team. Seattle's beloved players include Edgar, Moyer, Buhner, and, of course, Junior. These guys put the team on the map - built the Safe - with their play, they gave us thrills without performance enhancing drugs, relying on their skills and steady play delivered with joy and good will. Such are the basis of beloved players. The current Mariners have two such players,in my opinion, Ichiro and Raul, it is for this reason they should be given more patience by the fans. They deserve our respect and we are grateful for their gifts of the game to us. There may be others in the making among the current team, certainly Felix and possibly others. Time it will tell. But it would be lovely to add Junior to Mariner blue again and let him work his magic on our beloved team - Junior is a beloved player and I am grateful to have had the chance to enjoy him in Seattle. How about the Once and Future Junior!

Posted by Faceplant

5:38 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Speaking of Griffey he hit the game winning single today sealing a 4-3 victory over the Brewers. Who'd he hit the single off of? None other than Soloman Torres. Now there's a blast from the past!

Posted by Nat

5:39 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"I wonder if he forgot how to be clutch?"

Faceplant, I was thinking something along that line too. I guess that's why closers usually start out being 7th and 8th inning guys for awhile first to work up to that. I bet Lowe will be a fine closer sometime in the near future...

RRS was certainly clutch today though! Hope his ma was watching!

Posted by kranky

5:41 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I was right, Cheery, you are sentimental.

I'm still fuming over the Ms trading Phil Bradley. That was in what, 1987 or 88? The curse of Phil Bradley meant the Ms did not have a left fielder they held on to for more than one season until they brought Raul back from KC.

(BTW, Raul is exhibit no. 1 on how Lou never let young guys play to establish themselves. Its amazing Raul likes Seattle at all the way Lou keep him on the bench.)

Posted by Cheery

5:43 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Winning is all that matters!" Where were you when they taught sportsmanship? Honesty and integrity? Lets keep in mind that there is more to life than winning, its how you play the game. We would do well to avoid the likes of Bonds, he is the most outrageous example of steroids use in sports and his play under the influence of such performance enhancing drugs is a debasement on the game - a game that has long taught moral and ethical values via sportsmanship in American culture. If someone tells you to stoop so low as to win at any price then you have become a prostitute of life. Is that what you want? Let's win with "beloved players" in the right way.

Posted by scottM

5:45 PM, Apr 20, 2008

The flip side of RRS's clutch performance is twofold.

Choke One: of course Lowe couldn't find the strike zone giving up three walks in the ninth.

Choke Two: all the M's batters who had an opportunity to blow this game wide open, but failed to deliver. (Our pathetic RISP performance belonged to more than just Wilkerson.)

The latter was more annoying than Lowe's erratic pitching.

Actually, Lowe's great flip to Sexson for out #2 may have been the key play in the bottom of the ninth. And, Faceplant, he did seem to be more clutch before his injury the first season he came up in '06. I think the young bullpen really benefited last season from JJ's example of consistent "clutch" leadership. I don't see Lowe falling apart now like O'Flaherty did, but I do see RRS taking a bigger role in the late innings. I'm more worried about Green than Lowe, actually.

Posted by TimsHead

5:48 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I don't like the idea of Bonds coming -- unless you love the idea of a guy who wants his own entourage and section of the clubhouse all to himself. Would you want Barry babysitting your kids? No? Then you shouldn't want the impact he has on your team either.

Thomas would probably play nice and fit in at first. I think it takes him a while to wear out his welcome. And Sammy Sosa is still available ... corked bats aside, he's a more pleasant personality.

A return of Jr. would be wonderful, but I can't help but feel it's a pipedream. With the current stance of the FO, Jr. will only come back ceremonially ... for one day to retire a Mariner. As much as we all would prefer him playing in the uniform, I would be shocked to see it happen.

Back to reality ... please please PLEASE tell me Putz will be good to go soon!

Posted by Batter Up!!!

5:54 PM, Apr 20, 2008

RRS was certainly the epitome of Clutch!

Did you see him in the post-game interview on FSN? You have to love this guy’s attitude...

Lowe = Choke RRS = Clutch

Excellent point on Lowes flip to Richie but his pitching was choke.

Posted by Faceplan

5:58 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Excellent point on Lowes flip to Richie but his pitching was choke."

Uh, or maybe it was because Lowe is coming off of not pitching for a couple of years, and still hasn't recovered for arm surgery. I assure you Lowe isn't scared. It's pretty funny how Lowe used to be the epitome of clutch, and now he's attacked for "choking" or "not being able to handle the pressure".

Posted by Paul

6:00 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Jim Street at MLB.com says JJ is "expected" to be activated before our next game on Tuesday.

Remember that Bedard gets his pre-start bullpen session on Tuesday too, and he's eligible to return on Thursday, right on schedule. He had no soreness after throwing yesterday, so I'm thinking he's good to go too....

here's hoping!

Posted by Get Griffey

6:02 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Faceplant @ 5:20-

Mike Morse, David Bell, Jose Guillen. Three players who did NOT break the beloved homerun record of Hank Aaron.

Three players who did NOT get up on a podium after getting caught cheating and tell the world that it must have been some other B Bonds whose drug test was positive.

Posted by Nat

6:04 PM, Apr 20, 2008

TimsHead- McLaren said something about JJ being ready mid-week. Or did I just imagine that?!

Batter Up!!! -From watching Lowe before in '06 and from everything I've heard him say in interviews, I think Lowe has the kind of makeup that he will come back strong next time. We know he has the stuff to get hitters out. He'll learn from watching RRS get the job done today.

Posted by NB

6:08 PM, Apr 20, 2008

So if the ump calls RRS' 3-2 slider a ball is he a choker? Where's the line between clutch and choke and if it's dependent on an umpire's call is there a chance that it's a kind of BS?

Posted by Faceplant

6:20 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"We would do well to avoid the likes of Bonds, he is the most outrageous example of steroids use in sports and his play under the influence of such performance enhancing drugs is a debasement on the game"


Then someone please tell me how all of this vitriol is reserved exclusively for Bonds. Why is Jose Guillen not subjected to the same treatment? Or David Bell? Or everyones new favorite player Mike Morse?

Bonds isn't a poster boy, but then again neither was Jose Guillen who everyone seems to universally miss.


"a game that has long taught moral and ethical values via sportsmanship in American culture."

That must explain why Ty Cobb is one of the most revered and celebrated players to ever put on a uniform?

From Wikipedia,

"Cobb had never had an easy time being a father and husband. His children had found him to be demanding, yet also capable of kindness and extreme warmth. Cobb had expected his boys to be exceptional athletes, especially baseball players. Cobb, Jr. flunked out of Princeton,[71] where he had played on the varsity tennis team much to the dismay of Cobb, Sr.[72][73] The elder Cobb subsequently traveled to the Princeton campus and beat his son with a whip to ensure against future academic failure."


And...


"During Cobb's career, he was involved in numerous fights, both on and off the field, and several profanity-laced shouting matches. For example, Cobb and umpire Billy Evans arranged to settle their in-game differences with a fistfight, to be conducted under the grandstand after the game. Members of both teams were spectators, and broke up the scuffle after Cobb had knocked Evans down, pinned him, and began choking him. Cobb once slapped a black elevator operator for being "uppity." When a black night watchman intervened, Cobb pulled out a knife and stabbed him (The matter was later settled out of court).[17]

"Sure, I fought," said an unrepentant Cobb in a revealing quote. "I had to fight all my life just to survive. They were all against me. Tried every dirty trick to cut me down, but I beat the bastards and left them in the ditch."

Yeah, moral and ethical values.

The double standard held by many is really glaring.

Posted by Faceplant

6:26 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Mike Morse, David Bell, Jose Guillen. Three players who did NOT break the beloved homerun record of Hank Aaron."

So what? Does that mean they are any less of a cheater than Barry Bonds? Why is it that Roger Clemens isn't subjected to this same treatment, at least not nearly to the extent Bonds is? Clemens holds many records also, as well as amazing personal accomplishements.

"By the end of the 2005 season, Clemens had won seven Cy Young Awards (he won the AL award in 1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, and 2001, and the National League award in 2004), an MVP and two pitching triple crowns. With his 2004 win, he joined Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martínez as the only pitchers to win it in both leagues and became the oldest pitcher to ever win the Cy Young. He has also won The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award five times, was named an All-Star 11 times, and won the All-Star MVP in 1986."


Yet if the Mariners signed Clemens tomorrow, I doubt we would hear anything even close to what people are saying about Bonds right now.

I think Bonds is an ass. But people here are holding him to a completely different standard. And it's glaringly obvious.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:28 PM, Apr 20, 2008

still hasn't recovered for arm surgery.....

Throwing as many balls as he did in a save situation, you may well be right, and if so why is he in the lineup. I was not attacking anyone. He came very close to blowing a very hard fought needed win.

Rhodes did his job and he's coming off surgery also.

If he can't throw strikes he should not be in the game. Especially a critical one.

I'm sure he learned and I hope he is clutch in his next appearance.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

6:28 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I personally apologize to Mariner Nation for predicting a sweep.

Great job today Miggy, RRS and Sexson. I still have a hard time with pitch counts in this day and age. 110 is not too much. Let the guy go to 130.

What do you folks think will happen when Bedard and Putz come back. Who's going down. My prediction is Lowe and Baek. If Baek is out of options, he will have to clear waivers I think, or just trade him.

Anyone convinced on Wilkerson with his two doubles today? He hit that last one pretty well, but I'm still not a believer. He weekly grounded out to second with the bases loaded....I just don't think you can have such a lack of punch out of both your DH and RF.

Another solid effort by Willie today too. Like I said, if Wilks isn't going to hit HR's and he's going to make bonehead plays in RF like yesterday, you may as well go with Willie, Willie/Wlad and/or Willie/Norton.

Big win today.....nice job!

Posted by scottM

6:30 PM, Apr 20, 2008

NB. Lowe came in and couldn't find the strike zone. Maybe one or two of the pitches during those three walks might have been called a strike. He was erratic during a clutch inning. Nearly losing a four run shut-out bid is what most people would consider a choke job.

RRS had the batter punched out when Anderson couldn't hold up. He didn't get the call. The called third strike was clearly a strike over the plate. RRS was painting the zone. He came in with the bases loaded, two outs and the clean-up hitter at the plate. Then he was dialing strikes. This can't be attributed to luck.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

6:31 PM, Apr 20, 2008

That 2-2 'check swing' non-strike call was HORRIBLE. He definitely went around. At least it didn't bite us.

Thank you, as always, Geoff for all your fine work and for the tour of Angels Stadium.

Posted by Sea08Mariners

6:31 PM, Apr 20, 2008

After watching the game today live in LA it seems to me that the real problems with the Mariners is their inconsitancy with their offense. They pulled out a good W today to end the roadtrip on but it is hard to put confidence in a team that seems to be so streaky. There will be nights that we score 1 or 2 runs and it seems like this is happening too much these days. I understand that good pitching beats good hitting, but I dont feel like we have faced that great of pitching so far this season. The angels seem to have a tight knit group who gets along and have fun on the field, the mariners on the other hand seem to be pressing at times and in my opinion have to many veteran/washed up players...its time to get clement and balentine up asap. I know it is a very long season and we are off to a "decent" start but I do no see this team making the playoffs with the lineup that is in place right now. The starting pitching is doing their job its time for the offense and bullpen to step up! GO M's!

Posted by Faceplant

6:34 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"So if the ump calls RRS' 3-2 slider a ball is he a choker? Where's the line between clutch and choke and if it's dependent on an umpire's call is there a chance that it's a kind of BS?"

Exactly NB. I remember when people railed on A-Rod, saying he choked under the pressure of the playoffs. That he couldn't carry a team when it actually mattered.

Never mind the fact that in 2000 with the Mariners A-Rod put up a .371/.421/.600 line in the playoffs. In 2004 in the playoffs he put up a .320/.414/.600 line. Never mind the fact that his career post season OPS is .856. Not spectacular, but not poor either.

And then I remember when people loved the signing of Scott Speiezio because he was just sooooo clutch! Yeah, that turned out well didn't it.

Posted by kranky

6:35 PM, Apr 20, 2008

My point remains that the offense needs a jolt.

I like Morse, but he's hurt. He owned up to his steroid violation like a man. He should be allowed to show what he can do, once he gets healthy.

I like Bonds. The guy can't be cheating anymore with the testing in place. He won't be sullying the Ms with illegal substances. I realize that the Ms aren't going to sign him, but I still say he's a better choice than Vidro/Wilkerson.

Since Phil Bradley is no longer available, my answer is to call up the hottest hitting youngster and let him show what he can do. I think that's Clement right now.

Posted by Faceplant

6:40 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"NB. Lowe came in and couldn't find the strike zone. Maybe one or two of the pitches during those three walks might have been called a strike. He was erratic during a clutch inning. Nearly losing a four run shut-out bid is what most people would consider a choke job."

So you are saying that Lowe folded because he couldn't handle the pressure? Isn't it funny how two years ago people couldn't stop talking about how fearless the Clutch Lowe was? Then did you ever stop to think that maybe tonights poor performance by Lowe had absolutely nothing to do with the pressure of the situation?


"Then he was dialing strikes. This can't be attributed to luck."

That's irrelevant. You are dodging NB's question. If the Ump calls that pitch a ball does that mean that RRS choked? What if he breaks Andersons bat only to have the weakly hit ball find a hole? Would that make RRS unclutch, or a choker?

Posted by glmuskie

6:41 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Those comments by Batista are bizarre. And very intriguing. Coming from some 3rd or 4th year player, I'd dismiss it. but from such a level-headed veteran?... wow.

There is such a thing as a plateau leap, even for veteran players. Moyer is one. Putz jumped 5 levels when Guardado showed him how to grip the split.

Only thing I can think of from Batista is, some kind of knuckle-curve or changeup that's particularly effective. What else could he be speaking about that would allow him to pitch for another 5 years?? Anyone?

Posted by Faceplant

6:48 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I also have to ask, what is it about Garrett Anderson that makes people think he is some star hitter? Garrett Anderson has been mediocre hitter for four years now.

Torii Hunter has ripped lefties to the tune of a .912 OPS over the last three years. That shouldn't have been a tough decision for Scoscia

Posted by grant

6:53 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Miguel Batista is wearing garters...that or he is breathing through his eyelids like one of those Aztec lizards...or is it Mayan? I can never keep those two straight.

Posted by helpFelix

7:05 PM, Apr 20, 2008

This is a NO BRAINER!

Thomas would NOT be a platoon DH with Vidro!!! Vidro would become our bench 300 switch-hitter, and PHer, and will periodically give Lopez & Sexson a break here and there.

We land Thomas for a "pro-rated" league minimum, AND before the Toronto game today the baseball analysts were mentioning that the "new" team signing Thomas would NOT be obligated at all for the 2009 vested option on Thomas! This is the PERFECT situation to add a CHEAP power bat for our DH, and justifies benching Vidro to prevent his 2009 option from vesting!

We'll get Thomas for $350-370k for the rest of this year!

WOW!

I heard the A's and TB are interested too, BUT Thomas has the say in where he goes after the 48 hour waiver period. From what I read, nobody can claim him off of waiver's, because of how things worked out with his situation...but after 48 hours he can sign an agreement with any team he chooses.

Both A's and TB already have 2 guys that they've been using in the DH spot, so I foresee Thomas platooning for those 2 teams. Seattle would pretty much be a gauranteed 100% DH slot for him.

MLB.com is reporting that Bavasi has already commented & interested in Thomas!

STAY TUNED!!!

Posted by Nat

7:09 PM, Apr 20, 2008

glmuskie- I missed the post-game. What did Batista say?

Posted by B_A_

7:17 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Great win for the M's! Good to see Sexson hitting again and the impressive performance for Batista.

Anybody else excited for the possible opportunity to sign Frank Thomas as our DH?!? Put Vidro on the bench and have a great pinch hitter? Maybe he's not "Big Hurt" anymore, but the guy hit 26 bombs and had 96 RBI's last year...WHY NOT?!?

Posted by Get Griffey

7:21 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Facplant- you apparently missed(or chose to ignore) my second point on my 6:02 post so I will say it again.

“Faceplant @ 5:20-

Mike Morse, David Bell, Jose Guillen. Three players who did NOT break the beloved homerun record of Hank Aaron.

Three players who did NOT get up on a podium after getting caught cheating and tell the world that it must have been some other B Bonds whose drug test was positive.”

My first point reinforced my second, it was not a standalone reason for the anger.

By this I mean that he broke a record that people loved and thus was made an even bigger star which made the second point more enraging to fans. Instead of apologizing (like most players) he went and did what I said in my second point, thus angering people more.

Posted by B_A

7:23 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Great win for the M's! Good to see Sexson hitting again and the impressive performance for Batista.

Anybody else excited for the possible opportunity to sign Frank Thomas as our DH?!? Put Vidro on the bench and have a great pinch hitter? Maybe he's not "Big Hurt" anymore, but the guy hit 26 bombs and had 96 RBI's last year...WHY NOT?!?

Posted by Get Griffey

7:24 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Which is why people are madder at him then other players whether it is rationale to be or not

Posted by Nat

7:33 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Did anyone hear the remarks Batista made in the post-game that glmuskie was referring to?

Posted by Faceplant

7:40 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Three players who did NOT get up on a podium after getting caught cheating and tell the world that it must have been some other B Bonds whose drug test was positive.”

By this I mean that he broke a record that people loved and thus was made an even bigger star which made the second point more enraging to fans. Instead of apologizing (like most players) he went and did what I said in my second point, thus angering people more. "

Like most players? Of all the players named in the Mitchell report, and of those players who's names were leaked as a result of other investigations only a tiny fraction have ever admitted to doing steroids, let along apologized for it.

Guillen denied doing steroids. Ryan Franklin denied using steroids. Roger Clemens obviously denied doing steroids. He went to capital hill in order to deny it to congress for christs sake.

The reason you are angry at Bonds is because he broke a HR record, and because he denied he did steroids on a podium rather than in a statement released through his agent.

Sorry, but this is just a blatant double standard IMO. Bonds is not any more of a cheater than anyone else who did steroids, and should not be treated as such.

Posted by ricofoy

7:45 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I have the best idea of all. Let's sign Thomas AND Bonds. Hell, sign Sosa too. Then they can trot out Mr. 500, 600 and 700. Lord have mercy.

.

Posted by Faceplant

7:49 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"I have the best idea of all. Let's sign Thomas AND Bonds. Hell, sign Sosa too. Then they can trot out Mr. 500, 600 and 700. Lord have mercy."

There isn't a person alive who could deny that Bonds (or Thomas) for that matter wouldn't help this offense, and this team. That's whats so annoying. We get to watch the offense struggle to score runs, while players who could make an immediate impact are sitting at home looking for a job.

Posted by daddydriz

7:50 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Good comments about Bonds, faceplant. Why is it assumed that he will get to bring an entourage and receive two lockers and a barcalounger? Can't the M's just tell him, "Look, if you want to play ball, here are the ground rules, take 'em or leave 'em"? Who cares if he is nasty to the media? They'll get tired of the story after a while, and move onto the next scandal.

I also think Bonds is an ass. But lots of teams have won with one or two asses in the clubhouse. Heck, Bret Boone was reputed to be an ass, and he may have had something else in common with Bonds, too. Who wouldn't love to be reliving the 2001 season again?

Bottom line--if you can get Bonds for a $6M, incentive-laden contract that has lots of personal behavior clauses, where's the downside? If he acts up, terminate the contract. If he doesn't perform, cut him.

Posted by scottM

8:06 PM, Apr 20, 2008

OK, Faceplant and NB. Baseball isn't always filled with a black or white/ clutch or choke binary. Most of the time, the situation is neither, more of a gray area, in other words featuring some gradation of significance to the outcome of the game.

Sometimes we don't know what the significant moments are. The most important run for the M's today was the third one because we won 4-2. At the time, no-one knew that the third run was the significant run. Yet once Lowe had the game winning run at the plate, everyone watching knew it was the most significant run of the game. This gradated extreme can be called a clutch situation for the batter and pitcher.

Lowe took a sizable lead into the ninth, and over many pitches, he showed he either wasn't up to the pressure today, or simply couldn't throw strikes. He's paid well and expected to perform, but he didn't perform up to the high pressure expectations of his two-thirds inning of work.

Last night, Jerrod Washburn got burned on what should have been a strike three call. With new life, the batter hits a three run single that cost us the game. Sure it was a "clutch" hit, but Washburn didn't choke. Remember Rick White against Cleveland last season. That, again, was UNDENIABLY a pitcher choking in a clutch situation.

To the specific question, had the ump called ball four on that obvious strike by RRS, then it would not have been a choke by the Aussie, but getting hosed by the umps on two horrible calls during the same at bat. One run would have waled in, and McLaren would have had to decide in a 4-3 game to stay with RRS for the next batter, or go to the next reliever
(Baek?). Let's hope he would have stayed with RRS. It would have been an even greater clutch situation because a base on balls would have tied the game.

I think the reason there are no good statistical models for 'clutchness" has to do with the many gray areas involved in making such calculations and determining such situations. Wilkerson failed to deliver in a moderately clutch situation today, with the bases loaded and a two run lead, but, twice with two outs and no one on, he hit two doubles that proved to be meaningless to the outcome.

Just because it isn't easily calculated doesn't mean that Lowe and RRS weren't in high clutch/choke situations. If you were an Angels fan, would you say that Anderson choked in that last at bat? Guerrero only got a hard-earned walk and not a hit. Was that a semi-choke by him? Morrow gave up that 3-2 nine pitch walk with two men on, but didn't give Guerrero a game winning hit. The situation was definitely clutch for both Morrow and Guerrero, but the outcome was difficult to judge. I'd call it close to a draw, with slight advantage to Guerrero.

Bottom line, Lowe nearly choked up the four run lead while RRS came through in the clutch. IMHO, when statistical analysis and computer simulations kill off the lovely gray areas of the game, it will be time to take up a different pastime.

Posted by Donovan

8:09 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Faceplant - I find your arguments in defense of Barry Bonds completely uncompelling. The fact that he cheated in order to challenge the all-time greats of the game and make himself immortal makes him fundamentally different than a guy who cheated just in order to keep his job. He is and should be held to a higher standard. People can shrug off a coworker who lies to cover up an illicit affair, but they can't tolerate it when the President of the country does it. That's a complete double standard, and certainly not "fair", but it goes with the territory. Bonds brought that higher standard on himself. Ultimately, for me, it isn't that Barry used steroids, but that he isn't man enough to admit it. Furthermore, if he had played honest his whole career, he would have been a very different player. A great hitter, yes, but not a challenger to Aaron. His immortal legacy is a fraud, and he will never come clean. For me, that crosses a line that can't be ignored. I don't want him on my team, and I don't care what baseball abilities he still has. This is bigger than winning the World Series for me, and I'm not alone.

You are quite right that Roger Clemens is in the same category, but I disagree that people view Roger so differently. I don't believe that Roger or Barry will ever get a whiff of the HoF. They'll be eternal pariahs like Pete Rose, and they both deserve it. Again, not because they cheated (like so many others), but because they have both been willing to commit felony perjury to protect the lie that their reputations are built on. Their stature makes their transgressions more intolerable. I have a lot more respect for Mike Morse, frankly.

Finally, I have no idea what point you were making about Ty Cobb. It has been well documented that he was a domestic abuser, violent rascist, all-around creep, possibly even a murderer. I've never heard anyone cite Cobb's character in a positive way. Do you really think that his behavior would be tolerated if he played today instead of 100 years ago? Today he'd be in prison. Not sure how this relates to Bonds.

I respect your right to have a different opinion about Bonds, but for me, if you offered me a guaranteed Series appearance with Bonds on the team or a guaranteed miss of the playoffs without him, i wouldn't hesitate. I'd take 2nd place, and feel good about it.

Posted by Plantface

8:10 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Lets sign every washed up steroid sucker, corked bat slinger, and hurt maker we can find out there. Maybe we could have a true old timers game - team in this case. Why is Bonds not signed? Why is Sosa not signed? Why was Thomas let go? These are reasonable questions, which Bavasi must ask himself. If he is allowed to sign these bums, we get all that we deserve and it won't be winning.

Posted by Faceplant

8:12 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Anyway, in non-Bonds related comments it's good to hear that it appears Wlad is going to be fine. I was at the game, and he didn't look good when coming off the field. That was some aggressive defensive play.

Also, don't look now but my second favorite whipping boy from last year is having quite a good start to the season. Sexson is posting a higher walk rate than he's ever had, and he's hitting the snot out of the ball when he makes contact. I think the walk rate will probably come down, but his BABIP suggests he's due to hit a few more singles blunting the impact. Let's pray he can keep this up the whole year, because this team sorely needs Sexson's power.

Posted by bonds no thanks

8:19 PM, Apr 20, 2008

when my 6 year old sone asked about why people didn't like Bonds last year, my response was b/c it is pretty clear that he cheated to get where he was, and it isn't ok to cheat to get where you want, even if it makes you very good.

I would just love to try to explain to him why it would be ok for us to chear him on if he were to wear a Mariners uniform. "son, when i said it wasn't ok to cheat, i only meant if that is for the other team. "

Those that are willing to overlook bonds actions to get 20+ homeruns at DH need a 6 year old son to talk to in order to screw their head on right at what is really important here.

Posted by scottM

8:23 PM, Apr 20, 2008

What is worse, an individual, such as Barry Bonds, lying and cheating to enhance his performance, or the Commissioner of a League going along with blatant lies of a new owner to poach an established team from a City that resisted being blackmailed for a new venue?

What is worse, a Commissioner who will turn a blind eye to the steroid use behind the highly lucrative home run race of McGuire and Sosa, or the players who took the steroids?

Professional sports are the only legally sanctioned Cartels allowed in American industry. Why is it that the Commissioners of these monopoly associations are so often beyond reproach.

The game is tainted and trying to clean up its act. There should be blanket amnesty with a justifiable asterisk to the last twenty years of record. But if there is going to be amnesty, as there effectively is today, why not bring in Barry Bonds to hit for the M's?

Posted by Adam

8:25 PM, Apr 20, 2008

ScottM - so what happens the next time Lowe thrives in a pressure situation and RRS blows a pressure situation?

Are you going to take back what you said tonight?


There's no point in making any argument based on one game.

Perhaps RRS was so "clutch" because simply Anderson isn't a good hitter against lefties (he's not). Perhaps Lowe choked because he was having an off day. Perhaps Morrow choked because Vlad is a good hitter who is tough to K.

Perhaps baseball happened...

Posted by Faceplant

8:38 PM, Apr 20, 2008

"Faceplant - I find your arguments in defense of Barry Bonds completely uncompelling. The fact that he cheated in order to challenge the all-time greats of the game and make himself immortal makes him fundamentally different than a guy who cheated just in order to keep his job. He is and should be held to a higher standard."

Nonsense. He cheated in order to gain a competetive advantage. The exact same reason that the majority of players cheat.


"People can shrug off a coworker who lies to cover up an illicit affair, but they can't tolerate it when the President of the country does it."

And those people would be hypocrites.


"Bonds brought that higher standard on himself."

He brought it on himself by being more talented than most steroid users? If he had dogged it and merely been an average player he wouldn't be held to the same high standard?


"Ultimately, for me, it isn't that Barry used steroids, but that he isn't man enough to admit it."

Almost nobody named in the Mitchell report admitted to steroid use. Bonds is not alone in his denials. Far from it.


"Furthermore, if he had played honest his whole career, he would have been a very different player. A great hitter, yes, but not a challenger to Aaron."

First of all there is no way anybody could know this. It's all subjective opinion. An opinion that, oddly enough, isn't shared by Hank Aaron.


"I don't want him on my team, and I don't care what baseball abilities he still has. This is bigger than winning the World Series for me, and I'm not alone."

Fair enough. I just do not draw a distinction between good baseball players that cheat, and bad baseball players that cheat. The offense is equal whether you are Barry Bonds or Jay Gibbons.


"but because they have both been willing to commit felony perjury to protect the lie that their reputations are built on. "

Again, if this is the case, why is it that you've never expressed these sentiments toward Jose Guillen who not only denied doing steroids, but is currently appealing the 15 suspension he recieved for using steroids.

Is there really any difference between someone who lies to a grand jury about steroid use, and someone who lies to the public. Or to baseball investigators? Or to the Mitchell Report? Only a tiny fraction of ballplayers that have been linked to steroids has ever admitted it.


"Finally, I have no idea what point you were making about Ty Cobb."

Because I was responding to this statement...

"...a game that has long taught moral and ethical values via sportsmanship in American culture. "

Any game that "long taught moral and ethical values via sportsmanship" would NEVER have embraced, and celebrated someone like Ty Cobb. That was the point.


"I respect your right to have a different opinion about Bonds, but for me, if you offered me a guaranteed Series appearance with Bonds on the team or a guaranteed miss of the playoffs without him, i wouldn't hesitate. I'd take 2nd place, and feel good about it."

That's fair enough. I just don't think that way.

Posted by scottM

8:51 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Take back what, Adam? If you read my earlier post, I said that I didn't see Lowe's lack of clutch performance today as indicative that he would repeatedly "choke" like O'Flaherty has done this April. I said that I was more worried about Green. JJ Putz "choked" in the outing where he hurt his ribs and lost the game for us. It takes more than one screw up to call someone a choker or consistent clutch performer.

From what I've seen over time, JJ Putz is a great clutch performer. From what I've seen of Wilkerson this April, he looks like a "choker."

Actually, this single baseball game is a pretty good one to help us define more precisely what is meant by a clutch/choke situation and the gradations of significance at that moment.

I think the onus needs to be on the statheads to show that there is no such thing as "clutch/choke" when situations like tonight strongly suggest otherwise. Just because you can't clearly define or measure all the gray area variables, or get into what is going on inside the players, doesn't mean there is no such thing as "clutchness" or someone who is a routine "choker."

Work harder at your numbers.

Posted by bonds no thanks

9:21 PM, Apr 20, 2008

nothing like justifying what bonds did by pointing the finger at someone/something else and saying that they were worse and he just did what everyone else was doing.

insert something about "if so and so jumped off a bridge" here.

bonds cheated and i don't condone it.

if you do, i am sure you can find 100 ways to justify it just so the team you support can be a little better....

Posted by Donovan

9:22 PM, Apr 20, 2008

One last clarification about my earlier post on Bonds. I wasn't necessarily offering a moral justification for people treating Bonds differently than other players, rather an explanation. Nobody is really going to get worked up too much about a guy who has little or no lasting impact on the game (like Jose Guillen). This doesn't make his transgression less, but it does make him less of a lightning rod, and I think that's understandable. Guys like Bonds and Clemens get more money, hero worship and benefits from the game, so it is not completely unfair that they are expected to be shining examples. One thing about Bonds and Clemens though - They have publicly denied their actions and (I believe) lied far more aggressively and egregiously than most other suspected or accused dopers. That compounds their guilt. Isn't it interesting how often the fall of public figures is ultimately due not to the crime but the cover up? Everybody does the wrong thing from time to time, but people who have any character don't spend their life lying to avoid responsibility for it. Clemens probably will never take the heat that Bonds has, because his behavior really wasn't highlighted to most fans until after he threw the last pitch of his career. Bonds' case has been in the spotlight for years, and every time he stood up and lied or cried or tried to turn the tables on his accusers, he soiled himself even more. If he had slunk off into retirement prior to breaking the HR record, I think people would have largely left him alone, like McGwire. When he insisted on denying reality and making his run at Aaron's record, he invited the microscope and the harsh judgment. I think the public reaction is completely understandable, even if it is hypocritical for people to ignore some other players who have managed to stay out of the spotlight.

I've posted here before that I supported blanket amnesty for MLB juicers, Bonds included, but only those who publicly admit the extent of what they did and cooperate with league efforts to clean things up. I also have said I think the league (via the commissioner) should publicly acknowledge their complicity in the whole issue. I'm not naive enough to think this will ever happen, but that would satisfy me.

Partly my strong views on this issue is shaped by having to watch the virtual destruction of cycling, another sport I love. Cycling fans can no longer trust that any performance they see is honest, and many have quit watching. It's sad. I think baseball will survive this period, but it is shameful that the owners have not been held accountable. I agree with Faceplant on that point.

Anyway, I think the

Posted by JJ

9:34 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Why are you guys bashing Mike Blowers?....yeah, he's not the greatest....but come on ...Dave Sims???? Am I the only one who thinks this guy is a complete idiot?? Not only does he look like an alien, his little quips that he thinks are so funny...are just falt out annoying as hell. I turn down the sound and listen to Neihaus, as soon as Sims comes on.....he is so F'ing annoying

Posted by RRS

9:36 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Hey how about giving Johnny Mac some credit for brining in RRS in quickly after the walk by Morrow??

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:48 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Batista is enough of a renaissance man, from all that I've read about his non-baseball stuff, that when he thinks he's had an "aha!" moment about himself, he's really got my attention. Timing's good for such too, with JJ coming back, so there isn't the urgency to shove him into the 9th inning.

Mac was... um... charitable in saying the committee did well. I suppose he was rounding up and not counting EOF. RRS, Corcoran and the occasional Lowe/GReen seemed alright. Still. Will be nice to see JJ again, if for no other reason than to be only worried about the offense and defense. ;) ;)

Holding Yuni out, and then using him as they did, was actually smart. That's more like it.

Nothing's changed on my opinion of Wilkerson. Hope that knee of Wlad's heals quickly.

The more I think about FAs available like Thomas, Sosa and Bonds, the more I think it would just perpetuate the FO's belief that the answer to all problems is automatically a veteran. Wlad and Clement should be up here to break the cycle of dependence on imported vets. What are Wlad or Clement are going to learn much more about in AAA, that they wouldn't get from a couple games a week at the ML level, more if they perform well? What is hitting against AAAA guys on rehab assignments and minor-leaguers going to teach them about how to be the Next Great Thing for the Ms? What kind of professional instruction and personal attention do they get in the minors that they won't get from The Major League Hitting and Fielding Instructors of A Major League Ballclub? Couldn't time Wlad spends comparing notes with Jeremy Reed be better spent comparing notes with Raul and Ichiro? Shouldn't Clement be watching how Raul, Ichiro, Beltre, Sexson go about their BP instead of AAA guys still figuring it out, and (if he's even going to be a catcher) working with ML pitchers? If they do need that kind of seasoning in AAA still, then they're not the next great hopes for the org anyway.

Can you imagine if the reasoning applied to Wlad and Clement were applied in Boston? Bucholz wouldn't have had a no-hitter, Ellsbury wouldn't be a household name in the northeast, Papelbon would be doing 7th and 8th inning cleanup work and be touted as "promising". ;) ;)

Posted by Bill

10:31 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Didn't get to see much of the game today, but I did catch a little of the drama in the 9th. Why was Rhodes taken out after just 1 batter in the 8th? By doing his job against the one batter he faced doesn't he earn the right to start the 9th? Or was it a lefty/righty thing?


Thank god JJ's coming back and people can't get back into their "roles." The more Mac has to manage the bullpen the more worried I get. Just because he announces to the media there was going to be a closer by committee doesn't mean that if he found something that works he couldn't stick with it.


I would rather see the M's sign Bonds than Thomas if they go after one of those guys. They're both asses, but as far as pure talent goes (hitting or otherwise) Bonds is way better...even before he was juiced.*


Are they going to have to moves guys around when JJ and Erik come off the DL? They need to do better than Wilkerson out there. I think Corcoran deserves to stay up here. Maybe it's the end of the road for Baek.

Posted by Mike_GH

10:43 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Morrow was following Mac's plan to be careful with Vlad. They could afford to walk him. RRS was the original plan to pitch to Anderson. Morrow did not choke. He followed the plan.

Posted by ice

10:52 PM, Apr 20, 2008

I wouldn't put Baek on waivers when LAA is looking for someone to put in their #5 slot instead of Moseley.

Corcoran has options.

Posted by Bill

11:02 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Of all the pitchers out there are the Angels licking their chops in hopes of the M's letting go of Cha Seung Baek? If that's the case then trade him.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:03 PM, Apr 20, 2008

scottM - I appreciate the sentiment of what you're saying about statheads needing to prove/disprove clutchiness or chokiness. :) But IIRC, clutchiness was actually investigated by some statheads in "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball" (look up title on amazon). They evaluated performances of a sample of players over several years in some common clutch situations - 2 out, tying run on base sorts of things - and found that in general, a players' overall stats were as indicative or more indicative of what they'd do in a "clutch" situation, than their stats of what they did just in those situations. So it's been looked at.

But then again, you don't have a lifetime memory of the 7 times out of 10 that a guy strikes out, you remember the double down the line that scored everybody. So I'm fine with "clutch" the same way I'm fine with "hope". :)

Posted by ice

11:27 PM, Apr 20, 2008

Couldn't be much worse, if at all than Moseley.

The point is why even force a trade or waiver? Let's wait to see how Putz feels the day after he is brought into a game. Moving Corcoran down allows the Ms to do this.

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:18 AM, Apr 21, 2008

I too like Mike Blowers. Wish several other "color anouncers" would be more thoughtful and shut up occasionally.

"most of the time he is mute." Ya, and that's OK.

Posted by putzy

7:46 AM, Apr 21, 2008

yes !

Posted by Stat Prof

7:54 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Guillen -- ditto. I don't want him back. Glad he's gone, but I wish we had Wlad in RF instead of Wilkerson.

As for Morse. He owned up to it. Said he made a big mistake. Actually paid the penalty twice when residual steroids were found in his system (the levels found were consistent with that claim)

He's been clean, and I have no problem with him. It's called taking responsibility.

Posted by Stat Prof

7:58 AM, Apr 21, 2008

my previous post left out the top in which I said i didn't want Franklin back on the Ms roster because he didn't take responsibility for steroid use, and that I was disappointed to hear that Bell was implicated.

I also suspect that Boonie was a steroid user.

Posted by Ben

9:19 AM, Apr 21, 2008

We should put up a "quality start" counter at Safeco like they have "K" cards that the flip down every time someone strikes out.

It can be the Geoff Baker Quality Start counter. Miguel Batista just notched another one.

Posted by ricofoy

9:20 AM, Apr 21, 2008

It's a sad commentary on the Mariner's FO when horsetrader Hank Steinbrenner is a voice of reason. Of course, Morrow is no Joba but still.
"I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now," Steinbrenner told the New York Times. "There is no question about it, you don't have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don't do that. You have to be an idiot to do that."
He probably wasn't referring to Bavasi when he said that, but he could have been. After all, Bavasi and IDIOT go hand in hand.

Posted by b

9:21 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Twenty games in, yes, there are serious problems with the offense, defense, and bullpen. Yet here are two interesting notes that do show improvements in problems areas from last year.

The Ms, as a team, have the fewest strikeouts in the AL.

The Ms are the only team to have two pitchers in the top 10 for innings pitched (Felix and Carlos).

Yes, yes, it is early, only 12 percent of the season played so far. Still, the ability to have starters go deep in games and for batters to be more patient (and making more contact) should help a lot this year.

Posted by Mike

9:34 AM, Apr 21, 2008

"a game that has long taught moral and ethical values via sportsmanship in American culture."

Really? I think it would be more accurate to say "reflected" American culture. Seeing that it took until 1947 for an African-American ballplayer to be allowed to play I'm not sure we can point to this as a teaching moment of ethics or values.

I think the steroids era also reflected the time. The fans wanted home runs ("Chicks dig the long ball"). The owners wanted fans and we were all happy to quietly look the other way.

Barry Bonds is certainly an ass. But his success didnh't make him any more or less of a cheater than lesser players. And I think we Mariner fams ought to be a little more circumspect about criticizing steroid users since we've cheered so many. One of our best players from our 2001 magical season appeared at spring training MUCH bigger and stronger than before. I remember the press reporting of his intense offseason regime. His success was attrributed to this newfound power and the defensive stance he took with two strikes.

The steroid issue is a lot thornier than many of us want to believe.

Oh, and I think "clutch" is an overrated concept. In my mind's eye Doug Strange is the greatest clutch hitter in Mariner history. Of course I only remember one at bat.

Posted by ricofoy

9:51 AM, Apr 21, 2008

AJ would have caught that one..

Ex-Mariner Adam Jones made three outstanding catches in center field against the Yankees, including a diving stab of a line drive by Derek Jeter.

Posted by scottM

10:06 AM, Apr 21, 2008

I appreciate you comment Chris from Bothell. I do think there are obvious clutch/choke situations, but some are less identifiable. For example, compare the expectations for Ichiro in April 2008 VS the expectations for Wilkerson. Ichiro can hit a very substandard .250 for the month, and the fans and management, because of his history, will step back an suggest that this performance is inconsistent and that statistically he is bound to come around.

On the other hand, we don't have much of a track record for Wilkerson. He had a good year three years ago with another team. He's injury prone. He has fairly big shoes to fill stepping in for Jose Guillen with his 99 rbis, and overall solid play last year. With so much to prove, every at-bat for Wilkerson with the M's has, FOR HIM, been a high prove-your-worth clutch/choke situation. So far not-so-good.

Bottom line, clutch/choke situations are not always easy to define, but by your argument I would say that there is a time in every major leaguer's career when they come up to the Bigs where every bat for them is a clutch/choke situation. The established players usually have proven their worth and "clutchness" to be in the big leagues, so, when in obvious high stakes situations, tend to know how to handle that pressure. If the marginal players consistently don't produce in those situations, then, guess what, they get cut and sent down. This mechanism might help to explain why it looks as though overall performance is the best predictor of clutch performance. The poor stats, over time, get weeded out by nature of the process.

For example, take the M's DH problem since 2006. Carl Everett's .200 ba got weeded out and a platoon of Perez/Broussard took his place and provided a slight upgrade, but not enough for the expectations of the position. In 2007, Jose Vidro takes their place, another statistical upgrading occurs, but it's still powerlite. Vidro, of course, knows that the pressure is on him to perform. Every one of his at bats, FOR HIM, becomes more clutch, assuming he want to continue to earn big money with the M's. In theory, the management is looking for optimization. This, it seems, will skew the statistical analysis we are discussing toward clutch performers, in general.

Its the same in the bullpen. EOF gets demoted for choking, JJ rewarded for clutchness. The general stats get skewed by those management decisions.

So if most every player entering the Bigs must prove a clutch ability to hit, field and/or pitch under pressure just to earn a roster spot, then it makes sense that there would be a correlation between overall performance and clutch performance. It doesn't disprove the concept of clutch/choke.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

10:14 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Donovan,

Outstanding post last night at 8:06pm regarding Bonds. I couldn't agree with you more!

The 'Big Hurt' hasn't ever been brought into steroid allegations has he? If not, sign him. Besides the HR and RBI #'s he put up last year, he is a career .301 hitter. That's as good as Turbo with power. Why not? Do it.

Posted by Usesomelogic

10:23 AM, Apr 21, 2008

This team NEEDS some offense. We have one of, if not THE best rotation in MLB. If Vidro is not going to hit in the #2 spot in the line-up we need something more from our DH. Or if we keep him we need more production from RF.

If this team get's a Left Handed bat with Power to hit in the #5 spot, and brings up Wlad to hit in the 7 or 8 spot, this team would be one of the strongest in Baseball.

It's time to waive (or trade if possible) Vidro & WIlkerson. Bring up Wlad and go get Griffey. They can split time as DH and RF.

If not Griffey, I think you take a chance with Bonds, I don't think he'll be a cancer at all for this season. Plus he will come out with something to prove (that all other teams made a big mistake by not picking him up). It's a perfect scenario for this team and I would then put some money on this team to make the playoffs. That;s all we have to do, then find me a team with a better 1-2-3...

Posted by Mike

10:30 AM, Apr 21, 2008

It's 4 years old but here is some info on "clutch."

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2656

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:35 AM, Apr 21, 2008

scottM - "So if most every player entering the Bigs must prove a clutch ability to hit, field and/or pitch under pressure just to earn a roster spot, then it makes sense that there would be a correlation between overall performance and clutch performance. It doesn't disprove the concept of clutch/choke."

No, not really, because your scenario only applies for the first few weeks that a player is on a club (whether it's a AAA callup or first time with that team from another team).

It's almost like you're creating a variant of clutch, then. There's clutch for the team (measured at the inning / game / postseason sort of level). But then there's "clutch/choke" relative only to the individual player.

Which IMO is based on answering 2 questions: a) is their offense significantly better than league average and b) did they NOT do anything egregiously negative that sticks out (strike 3, out 3 w/RISP, fielding error that allows go-ahead run).

It's harder to measure this kind of thing historically, because it also starts getting into a subjective measure of what the new guy is supposed to be able to do, what their predecessor did, and most subjectively of all, plays that aren't scored as errors but are tactically not ideal. E.g. A "run didn't score, ball fielded cleanly, but throw was late / offline / non-existent" sort of thing, that allows a runner to be on 2nd or 3rd when a superior fielder would hold them to first or gun 'em down. It's hard to comb through past #s and look for plays that aren't errors, but "shoulda been"...

Which then means you rely on their historical average (or translated version of AAA #s, if they're called up) to try to establish how they should perform.

Posted by Chris

10:40 AM, Apr 21, 2008

What are getting from right field? Why not bring up Balentin and play him everyday. Wilkerson needs to go, Morse is out, any power WB brings is more than we are getting now!

Posted by scrapiron

10:41 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Why not call up Jeff Clement, and let him be the personal catcher for Felix and Wash? Johjima will be the personal catcher for Bedard, Batista and Silva. That way, Johjima gets the majority of the catching duties but Clement still gets to develop as a catcher. On days when they aren't catching they are the DH. So the bat stays fresh while resting the catcher knees.

Vidro then becomes a nice switch hitting bat off the bench. The only loser in all this would be Burke, who has done a great job as a backup catcher, but will never be the hitter that Clement is.

Posted by ricofoy

10:48 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Not only wasn't Thomas implicated in the steroid scandal but he was the only player calling for drug testing when all the cheating was going on. I'll always respect him for that. On the other hand, he's also a selfish player, more concerned with his personal stats than the team. His name Big Hurt used to mean that he punished the opposing pitcher, now it means he get's his feelings hurt every time he perceives that he's been slighted. Couple that with the fact that his swing is slowing and he runs like he has 2 cinder blocks on his feet and I say NO WAY! It's 50-50 whether he scores from 2nd on a double.
When you got a kid with a 1200 ops in the minors, bring him up and let him have at it.

Posted by NB

11:09 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Raul for DH. Adam Jones for Left......or, um Corey Patterson for Left.....wait, Wlad for Left!

Posted by Faceplant

1:14 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"if you do, i am sure you can find 100 ways to justify it just so the team you support can be a little better...."

Knock it off. I never said that I condoned what Bonds did. You are either not comprehending what I wrote, or you are deliberately lying and puting words into my mouth.

Posted by Faceplant

1:19 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"One thing about Bonds and Clemens though - They have publicly denied their actions and (I believe) lied far more aggressively and egregiously than most other suspected or accused dopers."

I understand, and largely agree with everything you wrote except this. I don't see the difference between a guy denying he did steroids in a statement through his agent, or a guy denying it repeatedly to congress. They both are lying. Lying about it once, is just as bad as lying about it repeatedly.

That said, I also should not have used Mike Morse as an example. I actually admire how he owned up to what he did. It doesn't make him any less of a cheater, but he admitted to it and his apology was heartfelt. I admire that he was man enough to own up to his mistakes and he deserves to be treated with respect for that and not disdain.

Posted by Faceplant

1:23 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"The more I think about FAs available like Thomas, Sosa and Bonds, the more I think it would just perpetuate the FO's belief that the answer to all problems is automatically a veteran."

I was always against this organizations reliance on "veterans", and I still am. But people need to look at this in context. There is a difference between a veteran who had a reputation or being a good player, and a veteran who actually still IS a good player. And there is a difference between signing said veteran to a 3 year contract, and a one year contract.

Veterans aren't the problem. It's the organizations use of veterans that is the problem. Signing an old player to a one year incentive laden contract is not a bad thing.

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