Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ichi No

Not sure what is more frustrating:
1. Watching Ichiro put on the brakes early and let a ball drop right in front of him with the bases loaded and two out in the 6th inning of a 5-1 game.  That allowed two runs to score on the play instead of ending the inning (two more runs came in, so that's four "earned" runs due to that one terrible play).
2. Sims and Blowers refusing to call him on it. 

Watching the replay you can only assume Ichiro was afraid of running into Figgins, who was drifting into right field on the play.  We've seen lesser OF like Buhner make sliding catches on that same play countless times over the years.  Instead a half-ass effort lets the Royals back into the game and erases a nice outing from RRS.  Ichiro owes him a steak.

Reality Check

So the M's are a game under .500 as we near the close of the first month.  If I'm being honest, that's really all I hoped they would do - just avoid an April collapse.

Cliff Lee is set to start on Friday and in four short weeks, Erik Bedard will trot out there and see just how good his surgeon is.

But what bugs me is that April's schedule was really a cream puff.  Oakland, Texas, Detroit, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Chicago: a combined 52-70 record.  May brings 12 games vs. Tampa and the Angels combined, with a merciful stop in Baltimore and a stretch of Toronto, SD, and Det at home.  May isn't a bear of a schedule, but it's certainly tougher than April.

Their next nine games (after KC) will say a lot about where this team is headed with a home stand featuring three vs. Tex, TB, and the Angels, respectively.  Go 4-5 and you should probably be happy.  6-3 would be sweet. But I really fear a 2-7 and suddenly we're back to talking about "must-wins" in mid-May.

By my count, the Lee/Felix two headed monster will pitch in two games of the Texas series and two games of the TB series, but Anaheim will get out of town without facing either of them.  While it would be nice to beat up on Anaheim, it's entirely possible the M's take two of three from Texas, two of three from Tampa and you're in a position where your 3-5 guys in the rotation just need to eek out one win vs. Anaheim to call it a relatively successful home stand at 5-4.

But whoo-boy wouldn't it be sweet to rattle off a little 7-2 home stand and start raising some eyebrows outside the northwest.  If Vargas and Fister can keep the magic alive, it's certainly not out of the question.

June?  At Mil, StL, and NYY.  May better be awesome for the M's.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Interesting... I feel like I should make bolder predictions (see post below).  A split in these next two games, and it almost sounds like I have a damned clue what I'm talking about.

So some random thoughts and interesting developments...

The bullpen owes Doug Fister a steak.

Speaking of Douggie - When Cliff Lee comes back, who gets bumped from the rotation?  Fister suddenly appears way more desirable than Ian Snell right now. The outing this evening by Vargas and Snell's next start vs. Chicago are going to go a long way towards answering that question.

Fister is using his fastball at almost twice the rate he did last year and using his change less than 1/3 of the rate he did last year.  His fastball really isn't anything special at 88-89 ish, but he must have his location dialed in while he's really keeping hitters off balance with his off speed stuff, using the change far more sparingly.  Really small sample, yes but still - it's like an entirely different pitcher.

Going the other way is Snell.  He's relying less and less on his fastball which, by the way has averaged 92.9, 92.5, 91.8, and now 90.6 over the last four years. Yikes.  Once a fastball, slider pitcher he has turned into a fastball, change-up pitcher and the results pretty much speak for themselves.  If he was mediocre and pitched into the 6th and 7th inning routinely it would be one thing, but being marginal and rarely getting out of the 5th inning makes it both tough to win games and it's taxing on the bullpen.  Folks are holding on to his nice little run in 06-07 coupled with his dazzling AAA stats in 2009 - but I'd say the experiment is just about over for Snell.  He will need a couple of solid outings to keep his heel in the door.

By my crude count, when Lee returns, it'll be in Vargas' slot - but I'm not sure that means much long term.

Lastly, Casey Kotchman. Why not him?  Why not now?  Ah, Jesse Jackson phraseology...

Go Mariners

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Just a little something to keep us all optimistic.  On April 14th, 2009, Boston was 2-6.  They finished with 95 wins.  On April 15th, 2009, San Francisco was 2-6 and they finished with 88 wins.  Good teams start poorly sometimes.

M's have 7 more games on this home stand.  Felix will pitch twice.  Go 5-2 and suddenly they're at .500 with Cliff Lee only a week or so away and Bedard not far after that (fingers crossed).

There's reason to be optimistic.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Yes, it's the alcohol content of Amstel beer.  But it's also the HR/FB rate of the Mariners to date. 

Three point nine percent.

Time to bring free weights back into that revamped weight room.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bullpen Tapped Out In Second Game

Tough loss tonight for the M's.  Turns out you can't pitch out of a jam against nearly every batter you face for two innings without giving up a run.  Have to be a little concerned with the M's bullpen when they handed this game to Texeira and we're cool with him losing it.  A little early in the season to run out of options in the bullpen.  Texeira was as lucky as he was unlucky tonight.  In the end he lost the game on a terrible 0-2 pitch.  Good pitchers don't get beat on 0-2 counts.  Hopefully he is better next time out.