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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 26, 2008 10:21 PM

Norton, Bedard deliver

Posted by Geoff Baker

ath0426 020.jpg

The last thing a team needs is to see J.J. Putz coming in a game with Seattle ahead by four. Even though Putz walked a pair, loading the bases with one out and yielding a two-run single to Daric Barton in the ninth, you still got the feeling the Oakland Athletics had no shot. At least, if you're an M's fan, you prayed they didn't. Come on, though. Even after Putz wild-pitched the tying run into scoring position, or went 3-0 in the count on Kurt Suzuki, who out there really believed he was going to blow a four-run lead? Even after he walked the bases loaded on his 33rd pitch of the inning to bring up veteran Mike Sweeney (who'd homered his last at-bat). Geez, I'm sweating just writing this. Sure, Putz made things interesting. I'm curious to know what the problem was. Seemed to be his release point as he kept missing high. Putz had plenty of room to play with. He seems to tighten up and do better when there's no room for error. In the end, despite the sweating, the Mariners took home a 5-3 win. The A's were dominated by the starting work of Erik Bedard, outclassed when it counted by Arthur Rhodes and damaged big-time by the bat of Greg Norton.

Quite a night for Norton, now batting .500 on the season and 1.000 in the minds of Mariners fans after delivering three hits, three RBI and a run scored. All in a spot start replacing struggling DH Jose Vidro, who'd hit just 2-for-15 (.135) on the current homestand. Nothing like a wakeup call to get guys going. Thing is, Norton could get another start after this.

"I was just able to get some decent swings on some balls,'' Norton said. "As bench players, we do a lot of extra work and we try to stay ready for when we're needed.''

Mariners manager John McLaren said he wants to keep Norton "in the mix'' going forward, but emphasized the team has not lost confidence in Vidro. We'll see. Vidro has to step it up.

McLaren raved about the work by Bedard. He said Putz seemed a little rusty still from his injury layoff and that his rhythm was off. Going forward, he said, the team will be getting Putz regular work even if it has to be in non-save situations.

Mariners catcher Jamie Burke said Bedard's biggest weapon was his two-seam fastball inside on righty hitters. The pitch kept breaking back over the plate for called strikes.

"It backs them off the plate and it comes right back across the inner half,'' he said. "As a hitter, that's a tough pitch to handle, especially from a lefty into a righty. We’re bailing out of there, the next thing you know, it comes back across the plate.''

Bedard said he was surprised to be able to get so deep in the game so quickly. He was a bit tired heading into the seventh, but full value for the 95 pitches he threw. It's about 10 more than the M's had expected to see him throw and they got him out of there when Oakland put two on. Rhodes, as you know, did a good job bailing Seattle out of a bases loaded jam after that by striking out Ryan Sweeney.

Rhodes said it was huge to have Bedard come through like that one day after long reliever Cha Seung Baek was taxed by Miguel Batista's one-inning outing.

"He stepped it up,'' Rhodes said of Bedard. "He brought his A-game tonight and did a pretty good job.''

Indeed he did.

The M's needed this win in a big way. They gain a game on both the Angels and the A's and sit three back in the AL West. Better than losing this one and facing the possibility of dropping six games out tomorrow. Like I said, a big win. Even if it is only April.

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Posted by rc

9:11 PM, Apr 26, 2008

JJ should be in when it's a save situation. The energy just is not the same with a 4 run lead. Pretty sure we won't see him tommorrow. That one would have hurt to lose. Hope to see more of Norton, and a call up for Jimerson would't hurt my feelings either, sound like he's doing well in Tacoma. Cairo could easily be sent down the road.

Posted by HummBaby

9:11 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Here's an idea to get Wilkerson's bat out of the lineup, as long as Mac insists in leaving the veteran in right field. Let the pitcher hit for himself, and the DH (Norton) can hit for Wilkerson. :-) Don't laugh...I'm sure it would be an improvement.

Posted by Jeff

9:12 PM, Apr 26, 2008

C'mon Geoff, you don't really think that Norton will get another start, even though he deserves it, do you? This team has shown over and again that they are more concerned about the fragile egos of its veterans, and maintaining clubhouse camraderie than they are putting out the best product on the field.

Posted by PayClayBennett

9:17 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Agreed - never put your closer in unless it's a save sitch. Period. Look at the stats....it's a no-no and every good manager should know that.

Norton had a good game, he should get another start - but it's Sexson and Wilkerson that need a kick in the butt, Vidro has at least had a couple of clutch knocks recently.

Sexson and Wilkerson suck, and thise are 2 positions that should be putting up numbers....

Sexson's career is basically over....he's a sub - .200 hitter with no indication of being consistent - none.

Nice work Bedard, expect similar numbers when/if you can pitch.

JJ should not have been in there.

Clay Bennett is a horse's backside.

Go M's.

Posted by alpenfan

9:18 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Norton for President!
Vidro and Wilkerson to the rest home!

Posted by scottM

9:20 PM, Apr 26, 2008

On the Norton front, McLaren should play him at the DH until he cools off. That WILL send a message to Vidro, assuming he ever gets another chance.

GEOFF, after tonight, can you give ANY rational reason why Norton doesn't stay in the DH spot?

Sir Erikkkkkkkkkkkk!!!

Posted by skiba

9:38 PM, Apr 26, 2008

While I agree that in the past this team has shown an unwillingness to disturb the veteran egos, we also have not seen a manager put jobs on the line the way that Mac did today. Norton did a fine job filling in today and I like having him on this team. He is not, however, the answer to our DH situation. The message that he sent tonight was a good one though. If you cant produce we will find someone who can.

Vidro to the Bench! Bonds for DH!

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

9:48 PM, Apr 26, 2008

It was terrific to see Bedard pitch well today. And it was fantastic to see Norton making the most of his opportunity. Give it up for Bedard and Norton!!!

I was confident that The Big Guy would come through, even though it was way more 'interesting' than anticipated.

Norton--hope to see you back in the lineup tomorrow!

Go M's.

Posted by staboysdad

10:02 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Bedard is for real...Norton deserves the DH/1st until he cools off..Putts needed the work and gain confidence from his time off (no harm no foul).
Vidro, Wilkerson, Sexson (2 out of 3) need to go away...Bring up Vlad for Right and Clement..Again keep Burke for pinch hitting, his bat has been hot for over a year too! The message has been sent, good job Norton. Come monday lets see what the 3 "VWS" did over the weekend for stats. Bavasi this is a good start but lets finish the moves!!! (note: if the A's are out of it in July The Big H would be available then too guys!!

Posted by Court Assembled

10:10 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Mariner fans assemble King Felix, Duke Silva, Sir Erik have come to save the day. Good Times!

P.S. Count Batista and Lord Washburn need to slay the dragon and become apart of the legend. Prince Aumont is swiftly on the way.

Posted by Thomas

10:22 PM, Apr 26, 2008

NO way in heck will Norton start tomorrow. It'll be VIDRO. I guarantee IT! Isn't it amazing what can be achieved when you make a change and give a guy an opportunity. I hope somebody wakes up and does something about RF. I still can't believe Clement is still wasting away in AAA. The one thing I remember scouts saying when he was drafted was that his bat was MLB ready, but his catching wasn't.

Posted by Donovan

10:34 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Cur·mudg·eon (kər-mŭj'ən)
n. An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions.

Jeff, Thomas - Ever hear that word before? Do you hear it often? Blame Bavasi all you want for the roster construction (though repeating the same sophomoric insults over and over here gets kind of boring), but you can't blame Mac for giving his first string a month to get it together. That's SOP for all teams. Now he's clearly giving other guys a chance to see what they can do. I don't really see your beef. Not questioning your right to free speech or anything, but it kinda seems like you brought your anger into the season with you - about Mac anyway. I think he's done OK with what he was given to work with. If the flawed veterans he has can't produce, I have no doubt that the flawed rookies in Tacoma will get their shot. There are still 137 games to go.

That was a great performance by Bedard coming off the DL. Old guy Arthur Rhodes was nails, and the defense was solid. Big hits by Ichiro, Yuni, and especially Norton, who by the way IS a 12-yr. veteran, so those who fear Mac is youth-phobic can relax. I'm shocked nobody wants to cut JJ! I mean he had a bad game!

The offense on this team needs help, but with a healthy rotation, this team is always going to be in games and is not going to go on long losing streaks. That much I feel good about.

Posted by scottM

10:59 PM, Apr 26, 2008

"The offense on this team needs help, but with a healthy rotation, this team is always going to be in games and is not going to go on long losing streaks."

Well put, Donovan.


Sir Erikkkkkkkkk!

Posted by Aaron

11:11 PM, Apr 26, 2008

Agreed donavan....If we continue to work out were those holes are ie ..rf and dh, this team will be a contender no doubt about it! I like Mclaren showing the vets that no job is safe..you produce or we put in someone who can...that should light a fire under some butts...maybe some extra BP gets done....love Mclaren having some stones!!!! Step in the right direction for sure!

Posted by dawn2

11:31 PM, Apr 26, 2008

It looks like Manager McLaren finally realize that the veering off course of the USS Mariner ship must be corrected by benching non-productive hitters like Vidro with Greg Norton. Jeremy Reed was in RF in recent Tacoma games and has shown to be a slick fielding outfielder. Should he continue to hit well in Tacoma, it would be great to bring him up to replace non-productive Brad Wilkerson in RF. The moves should be the trend towards improving the 85% remaining games in this season and improve the Mariners' chances of winning the West if the pitching continues to hold up.

Posted by bikeman

12:00 AM, Apr 27, 2008

If it were up to USSMariner, our rotation would be:

1. Felix Hernandez
2. Miguel Batista
3. Jarrod Washburn
4. Bartolo Colon
5. Ryan Rowland-Smith

Yeah genius all right.


Posted by Bill

12:33 AM, Apr 27, 2008

So happy to see the M's win tonight. Great hit by Norton to give them a 4 run lead. Don't really know why Mac allowed Putz to pitch the 9th instead of Morrow (or why he needed to burn 5 pitchers in the game). But it's a win. Glad to see Bedard pitching well.

Posted by Choska

12:51 AM, Apr 27, 2008

bikeman,

you are completely wrong about the USS Mariner's guys position on the rotation.

they stated that they liked bedard, but they thought we paid far too high a price for too little return.

so far the evidence backs them up. any one see that jones made a GREAT catch in center tonight, while sherill is among the league leaders in saves.

in terms of the specifics of your comment, they have commented favorably about batista as a 5th starter. they also recognize that washburn is a good innings eater. they DID suggest going after Edwin Jackson from TB who has 20 Ks in 30 IPs, who is also limiting hitters to .207. he is also under contract for $407k this year.

who would you rather have. jones, sherill and jackson, or bedard and his weak hips?

Posted by John

2:57 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Agreed on Sexson. The guy is done. He's a mental midget at home. He just seems so tight that it's a wonder he can walk to the plate. Plus, I do think his bat speed has deteriorated. I actually feel sorry for him - sort of. Considering the money he's getting paid, though, he's not going to be hurting if he is washed up. So I don't feel too bad.

Norton is a huge improvement on Vidro - obviously, but I wouldn't expect him to keep it up. His career average is .253, and when a guy has played as many years as he has, I wouldn't expect him to deviate too much from that. He did have a nice year at Tampa a couple of years ago, but I would expect him to settle in at .260 with frequent playing time. That said, it's nice to have a guy with some pop at DH. It's not a great solution, but it will do until the M's figure out that they might as well get Clement's bat in the lineup now that they've dedicated three more years to Johjima.
Why Clement is still in the minors "learning" to catch while the M's have the two-headed mini-clone in Bloomy and Cairo is beyond me.

Posted by BradA

3:54 AM, Apr 27, 2008

wow, I got to admit that it saddens me more people feel obligated to post when we lose rather than when we win. At the least I would hope its an even mix. come on Seattle, aren't we fans first?

Posted by David

4:08 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Part of me thinks there is a bigger plan, and they're keeping some of these guys around as trade for later...possibly for Griffey. At least that's my hope...I really hope they are looking at some batters out there! Dont want Bonds!!! But we need offense, BAD!!!!

Posted by putzy

4:44 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Johnson is getting most of the work at Catcher and Clement is getting most of the work at DH...

Posted by Jeff

5:20 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Donavan,

Actually no, I have nevef been referred to as a curmudgeon. But I liked your phoentic spelling and definition, it adds some academic content to the blog. Plus I learned a polysyllabic word. It should be the word fo the day, and since it is 12:00am Sunday morning, we will make it the word of the day for Sunday.

I am sorry that you take this blog so seriously, I personally find the somewhat snide/absurd remarks funny. Personally, I could do without the profanity and abusive ad hominem attacks (personal attacks).

I never said anything about Bavasi or McLaren. I simply said that the M's have shown an unwillingness to find a hot bat and ride it. I hope McLaren proves me wrong and keeps Norton in the lineup. I hope he proves me wrong and puts some others in the lineup, and gets creative with the lineup. The definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results."

Posted by Babu

6:08 AM, Apr 27, 2008

So nice to see Bedard pitching the way he can -- despite a bit of rustiness. (And perhaps a quality of "aceness" is the ability to pitch really well even when one is a bit rusty?) And great to see Rhodes come back from a poor last outing.

Let's hope McLaren keeps the pressure on his batters to perform. Some of these guys need to suffer the same fate as Wally Pipp -- not that we necessarily have a Lou Gehrig waiting in the wings (or in Tacoma) but they do need to be pushed and replaced if they don't respond.

Posted by daddydriz

6:55 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Let's give McLaren some credit here for benching Vidro. Most people (myself included) believe that you need to give guys 4-6 weeks coming into a new year to prove they have don't have it anymore. McLaren is doing just that.

Best case scenario for the M's--this lights a fire under Vidro's derriere (just like the AJ callup did last year), he performs to his career numbers, and Norton becomes a valuable bench player. Worst case--VIdro truly is done, and Norton gets most of the PT at DH while keeping the spot warm for Jr. The bench is significantly weakened, but that can be solved later in the year.

C'mon folks. Be glass half full for a change. This could be the start of a nice litte run for the M's. Let's enjoy it. It's baseball.

Posted by ricofoy

6:59 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Well put, Jeff. Both your initial comment and your reply. Here's one for you Donovan.
condescending ...kon-duh-sen-ding
showing or implying a usually patronizing descent from dignity or superiority.
Ever hear that word before? Do you hear it often?
Because that describes you to a tee.


Posted by Chuck

7:01 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Yeah, Bedard is the ace. He has stopped a 4 game losing streak and now a 2 game losing streak. Thats what aces do and thats what we didn't have last year--hence so many losing streaks.

Posted by M's Fan

7:57 AM, Apr 27, 2008

"Jeremy Reed was in RF in recent Tacoma games and has shown to be a slick fielding outfielder. Should he continue to hit well in Tacoma, it would be great to bring him up to replace non-productive Brad Wilkerson in RF."
This will happen. It will be in September, when Wilky is batting .080 but it will happen. I would love to be proven wrong on this prediction, but history says otherwise.

Posted by bikeman

7:58 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Choska,

Didn't you read Dave's offseason plan?

http://ussmariner.com/2007/10/30/daves-offseason-plan-v2007/

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:34 AM, Apr 27, 2008

"This game is about winning. It's not about me being everybody's best friend. It's me doing best for the Seattle Mariners and for the ballclub."

Who is this guy and what has he done with John McLaren?

Here's hoping the correct actions back this up. So far so good, from this game - not just Norton but seeing Burke in there as well. If Norton is in there again today I'll believe it. Doubly so if I see Burke again... or, wow, maybe even someone for Wilky too.

And it's a very good thing that Bedard had the As as his game to shake the rust off, and not a better-hitting team. Let's hope the rotation has settled, that he can rest up and get into a rhythm. He of all people needs to go 7 innings consistently, so that we don't tap out the bullpen right at the start of a series.

I'm having less and less problems with seeing Arthur out there. See, that's how you use a veteran - sparingly, in set roles, in pressure situations, and only when he can actually perform.

Speaking of shaking rust off - yes, statistically, closers should be kept for saves only, b/c they feed off of the intensity. Isn't it a good thing JJ loaded the bases, then, to get him that close game he needs to do his job? ;) ;) Seriously, though, I had no problem seeing him in there. He's only just back and needs the real-game work to stay sharp. At least, until this team a) wins enough at all and b) is getting decent leads in the 9th inning often enough, that you can start going to Lowe / RRS.

Even with Norton doing so well in his first real Ms game: Free Clement.

Posted by chris huber

8:41 AM, Apr 27, 2008

"who would you rather have. jones, sherill and jackson, or bedard and his weak hips?"

I would rather have Bedard in a heartbeat. I like Jones and Sherill, and there's no guarantee that we would have been able to get Jackson anyways, so that's a mute point. As we saw last night, Bedard is one of the games top five pitchers out there. He's by far the best pitcher the M's have had on their roster since the Big Unit.

Oh by the way, Nirvana has a killer song called "curmudgeon." Check it out!!!


Posted by Ziasudra

8:42 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Sexson's hit came when he swung at the first pitch, down the middle of the plate. Then he reverted to form, looking at strikes and swinging at balls. Very frustrating.
Clement has been catching at AAA. Hansen has endorsed his catching - any of you know more about catching than Hansen? If so you could make a lot of money from a lot of teams. . . .
Burke looks tired - last year may have been it for him. Clements could take some of the toll off him.
This was the first time I saw Bedard (vacation the other starts), and I was impressed - if that was the real Eric, the trade was a steal.
We need a RF - Wilks got credit for a hit on a squibler - he was badly overmatched, as on most of his recent AB's. What's the matter with replacing a lefty RF with another lefty RF (Reed)?
Willie has been a long-time favorite of mine, but he's not a long-term answer. I would like to see Clement, Reed, and Jimerson called up (until Vlad is healthy) to replace Vidro, Wilks and Cairo.
PS - I think the reason JJ wasn't sharp was the extra two runs in the 8th - no adrenalin surge.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:45 AM, Apr 27, 2008

And trying to be positive as we look ahead...

Assume Ms win today (Happy Felix Day!) and a LAA loss today puts the Ms 2 back of both OAK and LAA.

The ideal situation would be to sweep CLE and have OAK and LAA split their series, so that by the time all that's done the Ms are up by one.

More realistic would be either OAK or LAA winning 3-1 and Ms losing series 1-2 (i.e. Ms pitching goes against a real offense), putting the Ms... 4 back?

And the nightmare is being 7 back of the Angels by Friday... but c'mon, what are the odds...

So I'm going to bet that by this time next week, the Ms are not too far off where they are now in the West.

Which to me means, it's not so much what the standings are in the first week of May, but how we got there. Will McLaren's newly expressed "perform or sit" turn into action? Will the rotation actually, um, rotate once? Will the team win because of Mac and their offense, or in spite of it?

Posted by PayClayBennett

8:47 AM, Apr 27, 2008

John - your point on Norton's career average is the same logic that should have been used to NOT sign Wilkerson. Was he all of the sudden going to be a .300/25/100 guy? No, he stinks now just as he did then and he should be elsewhere. Vidro hit .300+ last year, he can do it again. Does he need a message? Yes - and he's getting one. Go Nrton, but your flame has only been for one game....

Sexson.....well, I already beat on him earlier...he's done as a productive baseball player and they need to cut their loss on him and see if someone will pick him up and compensate for some of his Seattle gas price salary. Clement can play 1, right?

Go M's -

Posted by local

8:54 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Mac has to nut up if he is going to be an effective mgr. Why leave JJ in the game when it's obvious to everyone he did not have it going. A good leader has to do whats best for the TEAM and not worry about how JJ feels about it.

The same can be said with "down and away" Richie. You want to strike Sexton out you throw down and away and it works everytime. The DH and Wilkerson are stinking it up right now. They need to sit. Give some of these hungry young guys a shot at it. Mac needs to do his job !

Posted by James from Walla Walla

9:04 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Hey Geoff,

Injury update Please!!

Any news on Balentien and his injury?

Did Bedard comment on how his hip is feeling?

How are Batista and Silva's legs doing?

How is Morse's shoulder doing?


Again I would like to raise the issue, has Ichiro forgotten how to bunt. Has he got one basehit bunting this year? I think I saw him try once so far this year and it went foul. Point being, when we had a base runner on 1st. ninth inning, no outs. Ichiro hits into a double play?? I thought it was a "No Brainer" to try and advance the runner! He used to be the "Best Bunter I Ever Saw". Thoughts?

Finally, I am taken back by the three year deal given to Johjima. It seems to me to be the worst timing. We have two top catching prospects at AAA. And, his hitting has yet to come around. Thoughts??

Posted by Babu

9:26 AM, Apr 27, 2008

James,

Geoff has had a couple of posts on the Johjima signing -- also on Morse's injury. Meanwhile, Balentien is not yet back in the lineup for Tacoma; the team has suggested he'll be held out until the Tucson series is over.

Happy Felix Day to all of us -- and R.A. Dickey pitches for Tacoma today.

Posted by JR

10:19 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Thoughts...Bye Bye Ritchie, Vidro, Hello Clement at DH or Norton. I agree no J.J. in that situation. Raul at 1st base??? Should be if you produce you play, if not, have a seat. These guys are getting huge amounts of money to strike out twice a game and hit .200.

Posted by Corey Miller

10:19 AM, Apr 27, 2008

So when is SOMEONE going to capitalize on the Happy Felix Day and start selling shirts outside of Safeco when he pitches...lol

Posted by Joe Borowski

10:47 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Is it just me, or JJ looking more and more like Joe Borowski?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:02 AM, Apr 27, 2008

It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day!
Hip hip hooray It's Felix Day!
It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day!
Glory hallelujah It's Felix Day!

I'm a mariner fan and I can't complain
Just gimme Felix, 2 runs and I'll go insane!

It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day!
Let's go out to the park... It's-a-Felix-Daaaaaaaay!

Posted by Donovan

11:13 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Morning Jeff - Excellent response. I really don't think I'm on the serious side of the spectrum here, and I always think humor improves any message, be it positive or critical. Presumably you detected the tongue in my cheek when I responded to your earlier post. What I don't think adds anything to the blog is repeating the same acidic snide accusations over and over and over, no matter what is actually happening on the field. Put another way, does your definition of insanity include repeating the definition of insanity 100 times a year?

Last night Mac sat the slumping Vidro, and Norton had a big game. Mac even talked about his intention to do more of that pre-game. So why do anything but cheer him for that? People who have been howling for some changes to the lineup should be happy and give Mac some credit. Why the need for multiple posts both during and after the game negating the positive action and predicting it won't be allowed to happen again? To my ears that reads like the anti-management message is the most important thing, not the game, which I find a little curmudgeonly. I have no problem with strident calls of "Finally!" or "Keep Norton in the DH!" That's a positive message. If Norton does go back to the pine, then I would fully expect and join in a negative reaction here. But why ignore something good that just happened and get snarky about something that hasn't happened yet? It isn't funny. It's just mean-spirited.

Mostly, I think Mac has not gotten a fair shake from many here, and I was using your posts (which were far from unique in tone) to make that point. Because of frustration over the last several years of poor play, he came into his first full season with 2 strikes against him in some sections of the fanbase. I'm not sure what people think he could have done differently once Sexson, Vidro, and Wilk were put on the roster. Sat them down without a few weeks to show what they can do? Now that would have been stupid. Either you leave them off the team or you play them the first month. I don't see anything in between, and I don't think Mac had anything to say about those three being on his roster. Bavasi alone is the one who should and will answer for his free agent signings, but he and Mac always get lumped together here. Maybe that's because Bill hired Mac too, I don't know.

In any case - no attack on your person intended. I know you are a serious fan, as is my good friend Ricofoy. I enjoy this blog, and I spend a lot of time here. Just trying to make a positive contribution. Peace.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:29 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Bikeman-and I thought Bill Bavasi was the worst GM in the league. That plan would have been a disaster with Geoff Jenkins for $8 million, no thanks. I guess I should be happy we went after Silva instead of Colon.

RRS has a below average fastball with no movement. RRS has one plus pitch, he wouldn't last as a starter without another pitch.

I'm not a believer Norton is even s short-term solution at DH. I'm glad they at least took the pro-hitter out of the line-up for once.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:40 AM, Apr 27, 2008

I don't agree with Geoff at all. To say criticism on the manager is not being open-minded and flexible is basically saying his opinion of Maclaren not being accountable for his decisions is open-minded. I don't buy it. Geoff has a right to his opinion, this is his blog, so I just have to accept it.

I watched Joe Girardi yesterday walk Travis Hafner to load the bases and face the best hitter on the team. Complete stupid decision on Girardi's part and he's made quite a few bad moves this year. I watch a lot of baseball, and I realize all managers aren't perfect and make mistakes. However, McLaren consistently makes mistakes. He will make the right decision, but it's rare.

Posted by scottM

11:49 AM, Apr 27, 2008

Don't you want somebody to blame?
Don't you need somebody to flame?

Big game, big game
Get online to complain

And the bloggers go insane
If Felix is pitching lame

Don't you want somebody to blame?
Don't you need somebody to flame?

But when he wins a no-no game
No one shows up to complain

No need to argue in vain
cuz, it's Felix Day, again!

Don't you want somebody to blame?
Don't you need somebody to flame?

Posted by jeff in SoCal

11:56 AM, Apr 27, 2008

The consensus of opinion seems to be that Cairo belongs in Egypt.
How about continuing the "closer by committee" experiment now that Putz is back? It is good for pitchers to have closing experience. No one in the committee (including Putz) should have to pitch more than one of the last three innings.

Posted by James from Walla Walla

12:10 PM, Apr 27, 2008

Donovan,

I agree generally with your comments on McLaren.
He still has to continue to prove himself in my estimation. I get upset when he tells us something and then doesn't live up to what he stated. Case in point. We need to bunt more, put the game in motion, he says. Lopez is the only one bunting. I get so frustrated when we keep grounding into double plays. He says Morse has made the team. He will platoon in RF, then he sits on the bench for 10 days while Wilkerson stinks it up.
A number of games late I watch as a real important runner gets on 1st. base. It a player with the speed of a Vidro, Sexon, or Johjima. Does he pinch run Cairo, or Bloomquest?? Not very often!
Friday night he finally pinch ran for Sexson, after waiting one out. It seemed like it took Ichiro 2 weeks before he stole a base? Some how the Mariner play to date is not what I thought he ment by bunting more and putting the game in motion.
Small ball as so many call it.

I played Fast Pitch Softball for 7-8 years. We would scratch and claw for runs anyway we could. Especially, against a really good pitcher or one that is on his game that night. That is the point of view I come from. It was good to see the double steal the other night. Also, Lopez's delayed steal from 1st after a foul ball was great, exciting!!

I just want honesty in our manager!

Posted by Donovan

1:13 PM, Apr 27, 2008

James - Fair enough. Mac and the team haven't delivered on all the promises. There have been some positives that you have to attribute to coaching - like a dramatic improvement overall in team patience at the plate. I even heard one sportscaster suggest the M's are being too patient, encouraging opposing pitchers to throw first pitch strikes every time. I too have been disappointed that the bench hasn't been used more (except for injuries), and in the lack of running game.

Obviously, Mac's preference is to give his starters a few weeks to sort themselves out their own way. Some don't agree with that, but I don't think it is unreasonable, IF there is a limit. I'm quite confident that there is a limit, and a couple of guys are close to it. The phenomenon of players needing a few weeks to get their game up to speed is frustrating for fans, but hardly limited to the M's. I can even recall Ichiro saying that he likes to take some time to get his baserunning rhythm before he starts stealing. In the last week or so, we've seen him start to step it up a bit. The jury is still out.

Bottom line - If Vidro and Wilk and Sexson can't perform, we don't have a good plan B for the offense. Lots of people here pointed that out before the season. Relying on guys like Norton, Clement, and Balantien is a plan B, but it's a risky one. I don't blame Mac for trying everything to get at least one or two of those guys going. At least Lopez has answered his critics. Lots of people were ready to cut him loose before the season. I still think Sexson will have a more typical year for him with 100 RBIs and 25+ HRs. I'm much less sanguine on Wilkerson, and I think Vidro is better used as a PH. I'm certain we will see Clement up in the near future, and I hope he tears it up. RF is my big concern.

Posted by greyguy3

7:01 AM, Apr 28, 2008

"Personally, I could do without the profanity and abusive ad hominem attacks (personal attacks)."

An "ad hominem" is actually not the same thing as a personal attack. It is a logical fallacy whereby an argument is claimed to be wrong because it was associated with someone (or something) who was considered bad. For example, Hitler was bad, and Hitler liked Moby Dick, so Moby Dick is bad.

"never put your closer in unless it's a save sitch. Period. Look at the stats....it's a no-no and every good manager should know that."

I disagree. It would actually be better to use your best reliever in any situation where you needed your best pitching. There isn't anything magic about the 9th inning. If the bases are loaded with no outs in the 6th, that may well be the decisive moment of the game and it would make more sense to use your best reliever then.

Posted by Jason

12:03 PM, Apr 28, 2008

Agreed - never put your closer in unless it's a save sitch. Period. Look at the stats....it's a no-no and every good manager should know that.

No, JJ is your best reliever. By a long shot. He SHOULD be used when it's most important. Not when you're up by 3 runs and he only has to get 3 outs. It's a waste of a valuable resource. Even Bobby Ayala managed to get 3 outs before 3 runs were scored most of the time.

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