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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 30, 2008 9:20 AM

In support of pitchers

Posted by Geoff Baker

Just coming off of this morning's Talkin' Baseball gig on the Mitch in the Morning Show on KJR 950 AM. Scanning the stats pages, I see the Mariners at No. 2 behind Oakland among AL starting rotations when it comes to ERA, at 3.48. I see them at No. 2 behind the Angels in innings pitched at 161 1/3 -- and that's in both leagues. They are No. 4 in strikeouts among AL starters, at 107, trailing only Boston, Toronto and Oakland. That's important, because we keep hearing about how defense is hurting this team, so the ability of pitchers to notch outs independent of fielders helps that problem.

These stats are everything and more along the lines of what this team hoped for. Here's the problem. Those other teams I've mentioned in the above paragraphs, with the exception of Toronto, have records of 17-11 (A's), 17-11 (Angels) and 16-12 (Red Sox). Then, you have Seattle put-putting along at 13-14. Yes, the Mariners should have a better record. Would have one if the bullpen hadn't been rocked so hard by injury early on. Might even be in first place. But the M's aren't and the offense is why.

How bad is it? The M's are 12th in on-base percentage and 11th in batting average. So, they aren't getting on-base and they aren't driving guys in with hits the few times they do get on. They are also only ninth in slugging percentage, which means the few hits they are getting with runners on base are likely only driving in a run at a time. The M's sit an impressive sixth in runs scored overall, but don't let that number fool you because it's largely the result of what we saw last night. One big outing covering up for an otherwise dismal performance. Seattle has had seven games where it has scored seven runs or more to inflate the offensive numbers.

But in the vast majority of games, the offensive output has been dismal.

The M's have actually scored four runs or less in 16 of their 27 games. That's a recipe for losing, since AL teams are averaging 4.5 runs per contest. In fact, Seattle is only 4-12 over that stretch. In seven of those games, the M's have actually scored three runs or less. That Seattle actually won four of those games and hasn't plunged off the proverbial cliff as of yet is a testament to the starting rotation. But you can see where the problem lies.

What do the M's need? Guys who can hit. More importantly, hit for some power. I'm talking about on-base-plus slugging percentage here. Let's face it, this team is never going the win the AL walks title. So, it will have to up its on-base percentage via hitting. And the second component of that, driving in multiple runs via extra-base hits, will come from slugging.

The M's currently have five players who are above league average in terms of OPS. Here are their park-weighted, OPS+ scores, with 100 being league average and anything higher a percentage above average (166 being 66 percent above average):

Adrian Beltre 166
Raul Ibanez 131
Yuniesky Betancourt 109
Jose Lopez 104
Richie Sexson 104

Yes, Sexson made the list, which is why I'm not as down on him as some of you. No, he still is not producing what the team needs, but he does have needed power. On a team as short on power as this one, you can't jettison Sexson. He is supplying some extra-base production. So are the two middle infielders, better than they were a week ago.

Here is the biggest problem:

Jose Vidro 67
Brad Wilkerson 84

So, when we media keep singling these guys out, it's not because we don't like their faces. I actually like both guys. They are pros and believe me, they both know what's going on. It's just that you can't have such below average power from two power positions. There are batting averages on this team that are above or right near the slugging percentages of Seattle's designated hitter and right fielder and we're a month into the season. And remember, Vidro generates a lot of his OPS, traditionally, through on-base numbers and not slugging. If his OPS has dipped this low, alarm bells should be ringing throughout Mariners HQ. Even with lower than average DH power last year, Vidro still had an above average OPS. Not anymore.

So, these are the two problem areas that have to be addressed. Kenji Johjima has been brutal, but he's a catcher, so it's not as devastating. He will have to get his numbers up, or else it will be akin to Rene Rivera playing 130 games, but that can wait a bit.

The other two areas can't. Not when the two minor leaguers about to be called up, Jeff Clement and Wlad Balentien, will see the bulk of their playing time in the two spots killing Seattle's offense. Yes, I said killing. These two spots are killing this team. Clement and Balentien have above average OPS numbers in AAA. Even if that only translates to league average OPS stats in the majors (a score of around 100, something like Lopez has put up), the offense will be better for it.

No, you don't hand them jobs for life. Make them work for it. Get the most out of them. And out of Vidro, Wilkerson and whoever else is left. Juggle them all around if you have to. But do something. The status quo isn't working. The M's have their top three starters lined up for Yankee Stadium this weekend against a New York team that will be missing Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada due to injury. Seattle is 10-5 this year when holding other teams to four runs or fewer. That means, Seattle wins only two thirds of those games, but loses three quarters of the time (remember that 4-12 stat?) when it's the team scoring four or less. Not a good exchange rate. It would be a shame for the M's if they throw three potential quality starts away this weekend by losing a bunch of 2-1 or 3-2 games.

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Posted by scrapiron

9:24 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Uh, the pink elephant in the room is production vs. right handed pitchers. Against lefties this team is the best in the American League.

VS. RH (A.L. RANK)
AVG .240 (14th), OBP .308(14th), SLG .371(13th), OPS .678(13th)
VS.LH (A.L. RANK)
AVG .321(1st), OBP .384(2nd), SLG .497(1st), .OPS .874(1st)

As far as Vidro, as long as a left hander is up, he's doing fine this year. It looks like Pepe Vidro has forgotten how to hit from the other side of the plate though:

2008 Jose Vidro (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
vs. RH .174/.250/.261/.511
vs. LH .318/.333/.545/.879

And for those discounting Jeff Clements' AAA stats, let's look at his 2007 MLB numbers. I realize it's only 15 ABs vs. RH, but it was against major league pitching.
2007 Jeff Clement (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
vs. RH .400/.500/.867/1.313
And his numbers at AAA continue on this same trend. The dude rakes righties. We need him now.


Posted by Adam

9:32 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I'm confused, X, because you've previously minimized the importance of OBP. Why does it matter now when you argue against Patterson?

If you look at Patterson's numbers, you'll see that he's a victim of a BABIP below .200. His LD rate is similar to his career rate, so it's not because he's losing power. Indeed, his slugging is the highest it's been in five years.

And it's not because he isn't being patient at the plate. He's drawn a walk every 10.5 ABs, a rate that would put him fourth among our regulars.

And he's only struck out six times, a huge improvement over previous years.

Since his BABIP is about 100 points less than his average over the past few years, I think it's safe to assume that he's just a victim of balls not finding holes. And that would explain the low OBP.


And, let's not forget the importance of defense and baserunning. He's very good at both.

Posted by scrapiron

9:39 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I like the idea of calling up Balentien, but I still don't like the idea of Bloomquist as our fourth outfielder. How about calling up Reed at the same time to be the fourth outfielder and defensive sub? Reed is actually out-performing Balentien in Tacoma in everything except power.

2008 Tacoma vs. RH
Balentien .255/.339/.686/1.025
Reed .375/.446/.547/.993

As an added bonus, the two combined don't make as much as Brad Wilkerson. DFA Wilkerson and this is a wash, budget-wise.

It's time to quit wasting a roster spot on Cairo, who never plays, and call up a true outfielder.

Posted by magwhich

9:42 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Cairo plays, he played last night. we probably dont win the game if he doesnt come in and pinch run...

Posted by Mike

9:44 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Nice post Geoff. While I agree with you about DH and RF a team should be able to count on more than a 104 OPS+ from a first baseman. That's an acceptable number at a premium fielding position but you still need much more out of first base. That was why many of us thought Vidro's 109 OPS+ last year was not that good because we got nothing else from him.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

9:44 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Geoff: I don't trust McLaren to platoon the right people. THAT is a big problem.

His decision making is not even based in basic statistical knowledge. He also screwed himself when he dumped Jimerson in favor of a 12th pitcher. I understand WHY they needed a 12th pitcher at the time, but why dump a guy who plays OF regularly (even if it's AAA over the years) for a converted IF who can't hit and keep his statistical, slower twin?

I see Mac likes Pinch running for people? But why would he not dump Cairo in favor of Jimerson for that role? My point is we DFA'd Jimerson when we didn't need to. Further reason why Mac has no idea how to structure his bench and platoon people.

Shoot, the guy he kept (Cairo) has all of 5 PAs this year.

Wow...and I thought Grover was bad (Roberto Petigine anybody?).

Quick note: I am not saying Jimerson is the answer to our problems, but y'all see my point. He was up with the team, was a fast guy who could play all 3 OF spots and as he's shown at AAA over the years could most likely outhit Willie (for what it's worth).

Posted by Adam

9:45 AM, Apr 30, 2008

And can we start to give Beltre some props? He's the best 3rd baseman in the AL this year (just this year, folks).

I know X likes to rip on Beltre because he only has 11 RBI, but here's the thing: Beltre's OBP with RISP is .382 with 9 walks. With men on, it is .385 with 10 walks. And he's got 16 walks for the entire season. He has only 34 plate appearances w/RISP, and 58 with the bases empty, yet he's got more walks w/RISP.

In other words, teams recognize that they can pitch around Beltre w/men on. They know he's the best bat in this lineup, and therefore pitch him accordingly.

Let's be very glad that we have a stud like Beltre. I'll be very happy if we can re-sign him.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

9:46 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Magwhich...Cairo isn't that fast and shouldn't be the PR option to begin with.

Posted by Paul

9:47 AM, Apr 30, 2008

"Clement and Balentien have above average OPS numbers in AAA. Even if that only translates to league average OPS stats in the majors (a score of around 100, something like Lopez has put up), the offense will be better for it."

This is the long and short of it. Even average major leaguers would be a marked improvement over the current Wilkerson/Vidro/Johjima trio. By playing Clement and Balentien most days for two of those three rally-killers, the M's should be able to sustain innings and improve with RISP. Those two won't both come up and be saviors, but they don't have to be. Just be average, and the team can finally win some games where the starters give up 1,2 or 3 runs. That would sure be nice.

Posted by Adam

9:48 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Mike - good point re: Sexson. Before last night's game, he was 9th or 10th out of 14 AL 1Bs in OPS. A 104 OPS+ from a 1B isn't that great if he's not a good glove.

So it is safe to say Sexson is a below-average 1B.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

9:49 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Adam, I have been on the Beltre bandwagon since day one. I knew he wouldn't hit 40+ HRs again, but he offers so much more than people give him credit for.

For years, when people find out I'm a lifelong Mariners fan, they snicker and then ask me how that Beltre signing worked out (as you can tell, I live in SoCal). I laugh and point out that the Dodgers screwed up AND we got a great deal.

Problem with Beltre is people notice the statistical anomaly which is his 40+ HR year. What they don't pay attention to is his glove and the fact he's a solid offensive contributor and among the top 3B in the game.

If management deserves props for anything, it's signing Adrian Beltre.

Posted by seattlelawgirl

9:50 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Great blog. I have so many thoughts I'm sure I'll forget half of them! In no particular order:

- It's frustrating to go from being a team with one of the best bullpens in baseball, to ... well, this year. I expect the BP to improve, I'm not a doomsdayer, but man that's been tough!

- It also sucks to go from being a team that has an *excellent* record in close games, to being a team that wins almost none of those match-ups.

- Signing Griffey, or any other player his age, would be a HUGE mistake - and would not surprise me one bit about this FO. Griffey is old, he's *not* going to get any better, he's almost certainly going to get worse, so let it go already. Nostalgia doesn't win games.

- Same goes for Bonds re: the age thing.

- I LOVED Sandy's blog post from DetectOVision. I have long said the M's act like both the farm team for the rest of the majors (since we suck at development and trade all our hottest young prospects away) and like the retirement home, too - Everett, Henderson, etc. etc. etc. Enough already!

- Our starting pitching is GREAT. If we could produce offensively at the league AVERAGE, we'd be over .500 by a bit, I think. And contending.

- It's definitely time to call up Clement and Balentien. The veterans have had a full month to light it up, and they haven't done it. How long are we going to wait - until we're completely out of contention?

Go M's!

Posted by ethan

9:51 AM, Apr 30, 2008

i really dont think our coaching staff, management, ownership and "paid consultants living in Ohio -sitting on their fat asses" ..even care about any of these stats. i think John McLaren wakes up, has a continental breakfast at the hotel, comes to the ballpark and hopes everything "jells."

Posted by magwhich

9:52 AM, Apr 30, 2008

why dont we dump cairo and just bring up Conway already?? doesnt he have like 20 steals this year?

Posted by Paul

9:57 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Magwhich, the sarcasm was on, right? I sure hope so. We had a 3-run lead before Cairo came in to PR for Richie. Cairo's just as useless when he does play as when he doesn't.

Posted by Lance

10:04 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Edit: since I originally posted this two minutes before Geoff was about to post a new blog entry it seemd ok to re-enter onto the new entry, especially as it all pertained to comments Geoff made on the radio show.


Good show with Mitch, Geoff. I was especially glad to see the two of you get Jeff Clement's name right this time. And, even at the point where Mitch still seemed confused on it you set him straight.

If we're going to call this guy up to do some slugging for us I think we should all be able to say his name right. I'm glad you are now.

Also, a couple of thoughts from your show. I understand what you're saying about Yuni's regressing at pitch selection. I'm just wondering, if they give him a shot at hitting #3, would he actually focus better. Much like Jose focused much better when he was moved from #8 to #2. Yuni could be under strict orders that if he continue to swing at bad pitches back down to #9 he goes again. Make any sense? Isn't it worth just such a brief experiment?

And, I was surprised to here you say that if the team goes to eleven pitchers again Baek would be the one sent packing. Of course, he can't be sent to AAA without clearing waivers. And, I can't imagine all 29 teams would pass on him.

Which leads me to my next question. Can the team ask waivers on a guy without actually DFAing him? Then, if he doesn't clear pull him back? If he does clear, then you can send the guy down without losing him. Just wondered if that's possible. I think it is.

My choice would be to send down Brandon Morrow. Right now he is your weakest link. Then, if an injury occurs or someone else starts stinking up the place he can be be brought back. I mean, don't we really want to have our 25 best guys on the roster, potential and all hoped for dreams aside?

Posted by seavet

10:05 AM, Apr 30, 2008

An additional plus factor for Beltre: on a team with several Latin players, he is a leader in work ethic, attitude and support for his teammates. He said the right things when interviewedlast night after the game, and said them convincingly. He's a huge asset to this team, in my opinion.

How many of you feel Griffey and Bonds are at the same stage in their respective careers? If you want to compare Griffey to Bonds at 38--I don't--that would make Griffey a spectacular pickup. As of today, Griffey does not equal Bonds.

Posted by Ryan

10:06 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Magwhich,

Who the hell is Conway?? I'm sorry if someone else posted this, but we were already ahead when Cairo came in the game. He can't run, but he's faster than Sexson.

Posted by Donovan

10:13 AM, Apr 30, 2008

The picture is pretty clear isn't it? Even the bloggers are unusually lucid and consistent on the proper course of action (once you filter out some of the raw emotion and the chronic malcontent posters who think everyone associated with the team is an incompetent idiot who should be killed first, then released/fired). I haven't read any posts in a long time who thinks Clement and Wlad should spend the rest of the season in AAA.

The problem is clear, and a possible fix is clear, available, and low risk. It isn't that you just get rid of all underperforming players, it's that you quit relying exclusively on them. Bring in some young talent, see what they can contribute, and maybe it sparks the stagnant older guys a bit too. Get the most possible out of everybody, as Geoff says. That's how successful teams operate.

Of course it is always possible that calling up some new guys won't jump start the offense. Things get more complicated then, but that's why we need to get going now with the changes. If you wait for June to start Plan B, there is little chance of coming up with a Plan C.

Posted by magwhich

10:14 AM, Apr 30, 2008

the cairo comment was sarcasm. obviously he has no use on the bench is my point. anyone could of PR with a 3 run lead.

Posted by Novice

10:20 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Does anyone else think that Maclaren is followng advice from his associates and asst. gm's? I dont think theres anyway he has the tools to make the desicions without veteran leadership?

Posted by Donovan

10:23 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I honestly think the reluctance to properly recognize Beltre is in no small part because that would be tantamount to admitting that Bavasi made a great free agent signing. I think that is a lot for many embittered fans to swallow - even thought it's a fact. He's on track for a monster year. Re-signing him should be a huge priority.

Posted by Paul

10:33 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I was hoping that was sarcasm...figured so.

Yes, Beltre has been one of the most consistent hiters on the team so far and last year. His one monster year aside with the Dodgers, he's been improving and is just entering his prime years. Let's lock him up for the next few for sure. He does swing at some disguisting pitches sometimes, but with a few improved hitters behind him in the lineup, maybe he won't feel like he HAS to clear the bases every at-bat anymore and can settle down at the plate a bit. Regardless, I'll take the type of year he's having all the way into October.

Posted by Adam

10:38 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Beltre has been worth every penny - so good job Bavasi. And the Ichiro extension was a good move - so good job Bavasi.

And up until this year, Bavasi has been putting together good, cheap bullpens. This year's pen isn't awful, but I think he got a little fast and loose with our best relievers (Soriano, Sherrill).

I thought the Guillen signing was a good one. And bringing Raul back was a plus.


Other than that, I'm having trouble giving Bavasi too many props...

Posted by Kyle

10:48 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I have never understood this loyalty to veterens. I know sports doesn't work like the real world, but shouldn't it at least be logical.

Person A currently has the job and is drastically underperforming, and has been a for a long time (including last year).

Person B holds a position below Person A (aka Triple A vs. the Bigs) and is not only performing, but exceeding anyone's expectations.

At what point does Person B take a major morale/confidence hit and is thinking..."What do I have to do to get promoted?"

Clement and Balentin have proven they can play. LET THEM PLAY! I guarantee it will not only change things up, but increase fan interest as well. These pitchers care about their record. They'll never say it, but Silva and Hernandez should be a combined 11-0 right now. That is sick. Instead, they are 5-1 with a tone of no decisions. Step up Management and do the right thing here!

Posted by M Dogg

10:48 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Posted by Big Ebu

10:56 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Lance

I believe the answer to your question is “YES”, but you can only do this once for a player. If you pull him back and later put him on waivers again, then you can not pull him back a second time if he gets claimed. This is what typically happens in early August when teams put many players on waivers for potential August trades.

I would doubt that a player being pulled off waivers would be publicized, so it is possible that the Mariners have already tried to waive Baek and did pull him back because he got claimed. Not sure how you could verify that happened.

Posted by Bill

10:58 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Wow, look what happens when the players are publicly challenged, or when they are put on notice that their job is potentially in danger!


I didn't watch the game last night, but it's interesting to read the in-game blog after the fact. It sounds as if this one could have easily turned into a McLaren special: A 3-2 loss.


Hopefully they can build some momentum and get the bats going...and infuse some youth and energy into the lineup!

Posted by scrapiron

11:02 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Beltre has the third best OPS among all third baseman, and is first in the AL, a full 80 points above the second best AL third baseman. A great cleanup hitter, I would have re-signed him long before Johjima.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:23 AM, Apr 30, 2008

There's a nightmare scenario that I'm surprised you haven't brought up yet, Geoff, and it's actually about the current strength of the team - starting pitching.

What if the offense gets shored up EXACTLY when the pitching slumps?

We've all taken as a given (well, ok, I've done so) that the pitching will continue to be lights-out. But these guys are human. What if there's a stretch where Felix goes 4, 5 or 6 innings instead of 7+? What if Silva gets rocked a couple times? What if all the scary hand-waving about Bedard's endurance comes true? What if Jarrod and Miguel... um... continue to be Jarrod and Miguel?

I can just see it... Clement and Wlad come up, produce league-average offense, the team wins a few more of these close games than they have been... and then the starting pitching becomes mere mortals, only 5th or 6th in the league in ERA and innings pitched instead of the top. We'd be just about back to where we'd started.

And of course, insert standard rant about Mac not knowing how to manage a bullpen here. The closest we have to a long man and a reliable stopper in the pen are Baek (has looked great, but largely untested this year) and Dickey (in AAA for reasons known only to God and Bavasi). Everyone else in the pen not named JJ is... well, mortal. If the starters faltered, I don't think the pen could patch it for long, based on the merry-go-round we had covering for Bedard.

I'm hoping for the best here. All indications are that whatever Mel and Norm are doing to get 7+ innings out of the starters, it's working (barring injury, or pitchers whose names start with J). Maybe everything will click in May and a month from now it will be fine. I just can't shake the feeling that the rotation will come back to earth at exactly the wrong time.

Posted by Novice

11:26 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Maclaren sure doesnt seem as in depth with the third base signals as he used to be. In the past he hade such passion for the signals, and now it hardly reflects how the team plays. Does he even know the signals?

Posted by Karl from Kent

11:30 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Geoff, last year at this time everyone was singing the praises of Vidro because of his .300+ batting average. Now, everyone acts like he's tanked. I'm not defending Vidro -- he sucked then, he sucks now -- but he's been BETTER this season despite the difference in batting average. He has more extra-base hits, RBI and look at his number with runners in scoring position. His AVG, OBP, OPS were better last year because of a handful of extra singles . (And those extra singles didn't do anything to score more runs -- he has the same number of runs scored this year as last year). Through this time last year, he was on base (H+BB) 35 times. This year, it's 27, but this year he has four more extra-base hits. So, which is better? Again, not defending Vidro, just tired of people not looking at the big picture.

Posted by wrmike

11:35 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Exactly what is BABIP and how is it calculated?

Posted by onlooker

11:43 AM, Apr 30, 2008

There's often been a strange ambiguity in the Ms front office....

I mean, why send all those players out for Bedard and then try to make do with a stop-gap in right field? Especially when our offense has struggled since last season with most of the same crew.

I welcome seeing Clement and Balentien. We frequently don't seem to trust or groom some of the kids. Mike Morse and Cha Seung Baek are classic examples. When a guy is close to major -league caliber, you need to give them a shot or move them, instead of running out of options or giving them the last spots on the roster so as to not lose them.

Posted by Nat

11:55 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Chris-- where did that come from? Why concern yourself with problems that haven't come up yet? Not even on the horizon as far as I can telll.
Sure, Washburn and Batista are...as you said, Washburn and Batista. Well, there was no surprise there coming out of ST.

As far as Bedard, Felix, and Silva go- they all look good, no one hiding injuries, and as you said, Baek and Dickey ready to sub as needed. Why borrow trouble? Even should the rookies come up and do well, seems like there are a few other obvious potholes on the road to contention as it is.

Posted by Merrill

11:56 AM, Apr 30, 2008

wrmike, it's Batting Average on Balls In Play.

Thus:

(Hits minus Home Runs) divided by (At Bats minus Strikeouts).

I think.

The idea is to try to figure out the percentage of balls batted into the field of play (where defenders lurk--thus taking out HRs) that end up being hits. The revolutionary nature of it is supposedly that it's pretty random, even for the best pitchers and hitters.

I say "supposedly" because I think there are likely to be other, unmeasurable, factors at work.

However, all other things equal (just like in the real world!), if a guy's BA is high but his BABIP is well above league average (which, if I remember right, is about .290 over the past few years), then a person could argue that his BA is likely to drop as his lucky streak fades and his BABIP drops down to the mean--or that his BA, even if sustained over the course of an entire season, is likely more a result of good luck than a repeatable skill.

You can thank Mr. Voros B McCracken (sorry, made up the "B") for that lil' head-scratcher.

Posted by Ben

12:00 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Well looks good for us going into NY on the pitching side of things - we have Bedard, Felix and Silva taking the mound (barring crankiness or minor injuries).

One guy who is not replaceable but needs to hit is Ichiro. Vidro, Wilkerson, Sexson and Johjima all have backups to push them - but there is no one to push Ichiro. I know he slumps early most years, but we need him to get on base and start his supposed campaign for 80 steals this year.

Also, Geoff - i think you meant to title your last entry "Batter Late Than Never" - because puns are oh so clever.

Posted by greyguy3

12:04 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Our starting pitching has been awesome. I hope the people who consider starting pitching to be the overwhelming factor in how well a team does are noting that despite it, we're so far only ~.500.

It would probably help to normalize your stats by position, I'm thinking that Lopez's 104 is great for a 2nd baseman, and that Sexson's 104 sucks for a 1st baseman, especially one who isn't a good feilder.

Posted by Merrill

12:09 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Chris, I think we can count on that happening. All pitchers in all seasons go through rough patches.

Leaving out baserunning speed (Jimerson) and acumen (this is supposed to be Cairo's skill set--apparently, his ONLY one), we might say we have four elements, to drastically simplify: offense/hitting, defense, starting pitching, and relief.

I'd say we are highly likely to improve in relief and offense (dunno how Balentien's defense compares to Wilkerson's but it likely couldn't be worse), enough to nicely complement the "good" starting pitching that it's looking more and more likely is not a mirage, and something we can perhaps expect/count on all season.

And perhaps even enough to compensate when the inevitable hiccups occur.

And they ARE inevitable.

Posted by Novice

12:11 PM, Apr 30, 2008

theres gonna be a bloodbath between Mclaren and Perlazzo if wilkerson doesnt start hitting with authority. It almost seems like with Stottlemeyer on board the hitting has gotten worse.

Posted by Anthony

12:17 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Could Jr. come home? I know it's just a rumor at this point, but MSNBC sports is reporting that Ken Griffey Jr. "wouldn't mind being traded." I say the Ms should take a good look. Vidro isn't doing so well at DH.

Posted by M Dogg

12:19 PM, Apr 30, 2008

" It almost seems like with Stottlemeyer on board the hitting has gotten worse."

Why would the pitching coach (Stottlemeyer) have any effect on the hitting?

Posted by ricofoy

12:52 PM, Apr 30, 2008

M's just released Wilkerson..about time.
Clement and Wlad are on their way to the show.

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Aug 19, 08 - 04:52 PM
Game thread, Mariners vs. White Sox, 8-19

Aug 19, 08 - 04:08 PM
Love this cartoon

Aug 19, 08 - 09:08 AM
Nah, on second thought

Aug 18, 08 - 08:56 PM
Same as it ever was

Aug 18, 08 - 04:45 PM
Game thread, Mariners vs. White Sox, 8-18

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