Saturday, April 17, 2004


Guradado picks up his first save of the year. More to come later, after the Canucks/Flames game (sorry, Sports & B's...) is over.
Many boos were heard upon Jeff Nelson's summoning from the bullpen. That wasn't the fans, though, it was Lincoln with a megaphone.
Scott Spiezio: 2-3, with a double. Been the sparkplug for the offense tonight. Good to see.
Ichiro on third, none out - taking advantage of a bad throw by Laird.

Olerud grounds out.

Edgar pops out.

Boone strikes out.

If you can't rely on the 2-3-4 batters to advance someone 90 feet, then how do you hope to score runs?
Sure enough, it's Wilson who provides the offense with a bases-clearing double. 3-1 M's.

Here's what I'm wondering: yeah, he smashed the ball, but when the pitcher has allowed two consecutive walks and then throws a ball to you on the first pitch, why do you swing on the next offering?
Another walk for Ibanez, on the heels of an Aurilia walk.

Very good AB for Ibanez.

Colby Lewis pitches to Raul Ibanez
Pitch 1: Ball 1
Pitch 2: Strike 1 (looking)
Pitch 3: Ball 2
Pitch 4: Strike 2 (looking)
Pitch 5: Ball 3
Pitch 6: Ball 4
Lousy start...

Deep double, deep fly out, deep fly out.

Not liking Moyer tonight.
Spiezio's in the lineup today, batting fifth. Putz was sent back to Tacoma.
Has anyone else noticed the numbers being put up by crappy catchers? It's not just Dan Wilson. Check it out:

Henry Blanco: .345/.486/.793
Paul LoDuca: .512/.542/.605
Michael Barrett: .313/.361/.688
Mike Matheny: .317/.341/.512
Brad Ausmus: .324/.359/.405
Charles Johnson: .407/.484/.889
Sandy Alomar Jr: .353/.353/.529
Toby Hall: .381/.417/.476
Brent Mayne: .292/.379/.500
Jose Molina: .296/.321/.556
Dan Wilson: .370/.414/.444
Gary Bennett: .375/.412/.625

This is beyond strange; it borders on the unreal. Those numbers are being put up over more than 370 cumulative plate appearances. Looks like we weren't the only ones being victimized by guys like Jose Molina over the first week and a half of the season.
When Pinch-Hitting Goes Awry: 6-3 Phillies, Top 9, Billy Wagner trying to get a save against the Expos.

-J Carroll hit for M Cepicky
-J Carroll flied out to right.
-J Rivera hit for B Wilkerson
-J Rivera struck out swinging.
-L Lopez hit for B Schneider
-L Lopez struck out swinging.
Just when you thought it would end...

Calvin Pickering homered two more times today, in four AB's (he went 4-4 with a double, two homers, and 7 RBI). That means that he has 10 homers in 24 at bats on the year.

Most dominant streak for a hitter in baseball history?

Gotta be up there.
Another re-post:

Fire Bavasi(.) gear can be found here.

The selection is growing by the day, it seems.

Inland Empire did, in fact, defeat Lake Elsinore 3-2, in ten innings (contrary to what I said in my last post; the website had incorrect information). TA Fulmer had a very strong start, striking out eight and not allowing an earned run in six innings, but Cesar Jimenez eventually got the win in relief. Notables:

Juan Gonzalez: 1-5, 1 double
Ismael Castro: 1-5, 1 double
Scott Spiezio: 0-4
Matt Hagen: 0-4
Rene Rivera: 1-3
Michael Garciaparra: pinch-runner
Minor League Wrap-up:

Matt Thornton and Tacoma defeated Tucson 4-3. A three-run seventh put the Rainiers on top, and Scott Atchinson closed the door for his second save. Notables:

Matt Thornton: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 1 HR
Ramon Santiago: 1-4
Hiram Bocachica: 1-2, 2 BB
Jose Lopez: 2-4
Bucky Jacobsen: 1-3
Wiki Gonzalez: 0-3, 1 BB
Justin Leone: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 errors (still struggling, hitting .161)

San Antonio used a six-run second in defeating El Paso 9-8. Gustavo Martinez got the start and was effectively wild for four innings, and Emiliano Fruto picked up a rough five-out save. Notables:

Shin Soo-Choo: 2-5
Greg Dobbs: 1-5
Cristian Guerrero: 2-4

Ryan Feierabend and Wisconsin limited Peoria to six hits as the Timber Rattlers won 5-1. Brian Stitt recorded the cheap save by recording a single out with the bases loaded. Notables:

Josh Womack: 1-5
Adam Jones: 0-2, 2 BB
Wladimir Balentien: 0-4
Oswaldo Navarro: 3-4, 2 doubles

I'm tired of waiting for the Inland Empire box to be published. They beat Lake Elsinore 3-2, with the game-winning run coming in the bottom of the eighth. As soon as it's up, I'll let you know.

Friday, April 16, 2004

You know you're officially an adult when you get summoned for jury duty. Good times. Anyway...

As I begin this post, the game's still going. It's 5-0 Texas in the bottom of the ninth, and Dan Wilson has just reached base for the fourth time on the same night than Chan Ho Park shut us down. Weird game. And there's Cabrera grounding into a double play that just about ends it...yes, Ichiro grounds out to first, and it's over.



It was never supposed to come to this. We were supposed to be worse, but not terrible, and every passing day makes it more difficult to pass it off as a fluke, as bad luck. After showing signs of life against Anaheim, you couldn't help but think that this team had turned the corner, but tonight's effort didn't only do away with that idea, it stepped on it and ground it into the dirt with such force that little pieces of Idea are forever embedded in the sole of the metaphorical shoe.

Who gets shut out despite putting 12 runners on base?

Only 59% of Park's pitches tonight were strikes. In past years, that rate has been 55.8%, 59.4%, and 60.9%. He threw a bunch of strikes in his first two starts this year, but he wasn't hitting his spots tonight. We helped him out.

Park faced 31 batters in the game. Those 31 batters waited on 51 total pitches before swinging. That's not so bad, right? Well, John Olerud was responsible for 15 of those pitches in 4 plate appearances. Take away his performance and you see that the other 27 batters waited on 36 pitches before swinging. In the first inning, Edgar swung at the first pitch after Olerud walked on four straight balls. Despite trailing by five runs in the fifth, Park needed just three pitches to retire Edgar and Olerud. In the seventh, Edgar again swung at the first pitch immediately following an Olerud walk. Six times Mariner batters swung at the first pitch of an at bat; when they didn't, 13 of those 25 "first pitches" were balls. Sure, we got eight hits off the guy, but we couldn't put a rally together because the team was generally undisciplined. Kudos to John Olerud for having the best plan going into the game; at least someone in the lineup was prepared (Wilson was good, too).

I don't know what Molitor is trying to do - make our best hitters more aggressive? - but it isn't working, and he needs to seriously re-think his strategy. I'm not one to place the blame at the feet of a hitting coach, but this is a professional lineup that should be drawing more walks than it is, and by swinging earlier in the count, we're limiting our opportunities at big innings. But I digress; this isn't the first time that Park has frustrated us.

So, what else? Well, Meche was bad. At least, for the first two innings (it must be difficult to pitch, knowing that allowing one run could mean a loss). He allowed two homers and four extra-base hits in all, a trend that needs to stop. His command came and went, but he was the unlucky victim of a big inning that ruined his outing. Still, these big innings aren't anything new for Meche, and you'd like to see the habit fade away over time.

Melvin brought in Kevin Jarvis to pitch the sixth. And the seventh. And the eighth. He didn't allow a run, but this raises a question:

Does Melvin think that Kevin Jarvis is actually talented, or does he believe that a 5-0 deficit in the sixth inning is too large a gap to attempt a comeback? Neither option is particularly rosy. Either Melvin likes Jarvis, and will pitch him often, or he has absolutely no confidence in his lineup's ability to score runs. Now, I don't think this offense will score five runs in the last few innings of a game very often this year, but I also don't think that such a deficit in the sixth inning is a blowout - especially against Chan Ho Park - so where was Ron Villone?

At least JJ Putz saw some action.

Did you know that Raul Ibanez is hitting .242/.316/.364, or that Rich Aurilia has a .300 OBP?

A very, very, very disappointing game, to say the least. Save for Olerud and Wilson, there were absolutely NO positives. Will things improve? There's nowhere to go but up. Still, until now, I didn't think I'd ever consider the possibility that we could be a worse team than Texas.

Tomorrow: Colby Lewis vs. Jamie Moyer. Given that I now have zero confidence in this team's ability to display patience against a wild pitcher, I'm going to predict that Lewis has a strong game and picks up the victory tomorrow in a 6-3 Ranger victory (I'm 7-3 on the year).

Up next: Minor League Wrap-up. Hopefully it will bring some good news to a terrible day.
What was already a disastrous sports day for Jeff has gotten astonishingly worse in the first two innings of this one. ):<

Looks like my prediction was wrong, again.
Jack Cust cleared waivers.

How the hell did that happen?
I don't know how I missed this eight days ago, but everyone should read Michael Wolverton's article on earned runs.

Replacing ERA with RA (or some similar, slightly more complicated metric) would only serve to improve things.
In case you ever needed more convincing that fielding percentage is a misleading and essentially worthless statistic, then here you go:

Kind of hard to believe, but the Mariners are the best defensive team in the AL, committing just three errors in 280 total chances in the first eight games, a .980 fielding percentage.
Oh, and before I forget, many thanks to Jon Wells of Grand Salami for sending me the picture of Leone that's the current header.
After Kennedy hit his homer off the foul pole, I thought to myself, "here we go again."

Well, the good news is that we came out of it with a win. In retrospect, though, I'd rather Franklin have had a rough day, because his surname lends itself to crappy headlines.

Franklin mints win for Mariners against Angels


This is probably what most of Franklin's wins will look like this year.

  • Not many strikeouts

  • Good fortune with balls in play turning into outs

  • At least one home run allowed

  • Supported by an offense that slaps a bunch of singles together

Indeed, this is what our five-run sixth looked like:

(Fly out)
Single (with error)
(Ground out)
(Fly out)

This is a game that we wouldn't win very often, were it to be repeated 10 or 20 times. Franklin won't get by with one strikeout too much. Our offense won't put together five singles in the span of six at bats (not including the leadoff error). In other words, last night pretty much captured the strengths and weaknesses of the team in just a few innings: we have a good contact-hitting lineup with a little speed that will take advantage of extra opportunities, but we don't have any power, and our pitchers rely too much on an inconsistent defense. I feel bad for casting such a dim light on just our second win of the season, but I'd feel a lot better if we had four or five extra-base hits, and Franklin struck out seven batters.

I guess there are two ways to look at Franklin's line: 1) He's one of the rare breeds capable of maintaining a low BABIP, or 2) He got lucky. There isn't any middle ground, so it shouldn't be too hard for you to choose which one to believe. The rest of the season will lend us further insight, but I'm concerned that it will sway too far in favor of option #2.

Here's the good stuff, though. Neither Dan Wilson nor Willie Bloomquist played a significant role in the outcome. We scored six runs despite Ichiro going hitless. Rich Aurilia continued his strong start with a hit and a walk. Raul Ibanez smacked a single and a double. Eddie Guardado threw a shutout inning. We limited Anaheim's 3-through-6 batters to one hit in 13 AB's. See, I'm not always depressing.

Tonight, the Mariners look to stay on the winning side of things by throwing Gil Meche against Chan Ho Park. If ever there were a game in which patience is a virtue, this is the one; Park has had terrible control throughout his career (don't let his 2004 start fool you), putting up a 4.36 BB/9 ratio since he broke into the league. That's where he's vulnerable. Early on, he's picked up a good number of strikeouts by getting ahead in the count, but I'm not buying it; I'm guessing he's back to the "effectively" wild Park of old.

That's bad.

You see, our Mariners are last in the majors in walks drawn. This has all the makings of a maddening game. We can't afford to come out swinging like we did against Hudson and let Park get into his game, because Meche isn't going to shut out the Rangers, and we need all the baserunners we can get (see last night's game). It all starts with Ichiro; he needs to have a patient AB in the first to set the tone for the rest of the game. Making Park throw good pitches should be the game plan, not throwing an over-aggressive lineup out there and swinging and first-ball sinkers in the dirt.

Texas' bullpen has been strong so far, and our hitters don't match up very well with it. If we can chase Park early, then we'll get into the soft underbelly (read: Joaquin Benoit) and should put up a happy number of runs, but swinging early and often from the get-go will let Park work deep into the game and give way to better relievers. Prediction: 6-4, Mariners win. (Yesterday's prediction was wrong; I'm 7-2).
Minor League wrap-up:

Tacoma put on a show and did away with Las Vegas, 14-7. Another rough start for Travis Blackley, but the offense (without Justin Leone) came through in a big way. Notables:

Travis Blackley: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Ramon Santiago: 2-5, 1 BB
Hiram Bocachica: 2-4
Jose Lopez: 3-6, 1 double
Bucky Jacobsen: 1-6

Chris Buglovsky and the Missions held on to beat El Paso 2-1. Jared Hoerman picked up his second save. Notables:

Shin Soo-Choo: 2-4, 2 doubles
Greg Jacobs: 0-4 (Now hitting .600)
Cristian Guerrero: 0-4

King Felix was spectacular as the 66ers defeated Bakersfield 7-1. A five-run seventh was the difference. Notables:

Rafael Soriano: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 HR
Felix Hernandez: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K
Juan Gonzalez: 2-5
Scott Spiezio: 0-2
Matt Hagen: 3-4, 1 double, 1 homer
Rene Rivera: 1-4
Michael Garciaparra: 1-4, 1 triple

Wisconsin shutout Burlington 2-0, in a series marked by stellar pitching. Michael Moorhead picked up the victory with six strong innings. Notables:

Josh Womack: 1-3, 1 double, 1 BB
Adam Jones: 2-3, 1 BB
Wladimir Balentien: 0-4 (4 strikeouts)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Calvin Pickering homered again.

That makes eight in 20 at bats.

Sadly, his one homer in three AB's today actually lowered his ratio on the year.

Good win tonight for the M's; more on that tomorrow morning, when I have some time to write. Franklin recording one strikeout on the night doesn't really please me much, but one run is one run, so kudos to Ryan for shutting down a good lineup.
Thanks to the Optimist for linking to this article. The cash considerations that we got in exchange for Terry Mulholland? A dollar.

Minnesota got bilked.
Mike Scioscia grants us some sympathy.

The name of this website will be changed within the next day or two from Fire Bavasi(.) back to the original LeoneForThird. There are a multitude of reasons for this switch, the most important being that the Fire Bavasi revolution has picked up so much widespread recognition and support that I longer feel that I should continue spearheading the movement. There are more than a dozen bloggers out there who are just as furious with our front office as I am, and so labeling myself as the leader is not only inappropriate, but incorrect as well. Besides, it's time I get back to my roots and remember the player who inspired me to begin blogging in the first place. Justin Leone, this one's for you, and may tonight's two-hit performance be a harbinger of what's to come.

My sincerest apologies for the inconveniece this may cause you other esteemed members of the blogosphere as you update your link. This is a one-time thing, I promise.
Mike Thompson's catching on.
By the way, remember this guy? He was a Mariner, for a few days, before we cut him again. No, this isn't one of those "Well Player A would be a great addition to our bench" posts; I could make a living off doing those. Rather, I just wanted to bring to your attention how well he's doing in this early season for the AAA Omaha Royals:

17 AB
8 H
7 HR
4 BB
4 K

That translates out to a .471/.591/1.706 line.

I'm sorry, but seven home runs in seventeen at bats? That's ridiculous.

Someone needs to give this guy a major league job, pronto.
Well, my friends, I'm afraid that I finally made an inaccurate prediction. The Mariners did not, in fact, win tonight (although they should have), and so I've fallen to 7-1. I'm not going to stop, though. Tomorrow's matchup: Ryan Franklin vs. John Lackey. Should be a high-scoring affair, and I see Anaheim coming away with an 11-9 victory.

Now for more encouraging news: minor league wrap-up!

Tacoma beat Las Vegas 2-1. A two-run fourth stood up, as Clint Nageotte racked up his second AAA victory. Notables:

Clint Nageotte: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
George Sherrill: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
Jamal Strong: 2-3 (think he's ready to replace McCracken yet? What about now? What about now?)
Ramon Santiago: 0-3
Hiram Bocachica: 0-4
Jose Lopez: 0-4
Justin Leone: 2-4

The Missions scored eight runs in the final two innings to defeat El Paso 8-3. Allen Levrault, who snuck into this organization without letting me know, picked up the win in relief. Lance Cormier was the hard luck loser. Notables:

Troy Cate: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 K
Shin Soo-Choo: 2-5
Greg Dobbs: 0-5
Greg Jacobs: 3-4, 2 doubles, 1 homer. Hitting .818 on the year.

Inland Empire held off a ninth inning rally in beating Bakersfield 3-2. Bobby Livingston wound up with the win, and Greg Wear got the save. Notables:

Bobby Livingston: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Juan Gonzalez: 2-4
Ismael Castro: 1-4, 1 double
Michael Garciaparra: 0-3

Wisconsin beat Burlington 1-0 despite managing just two hits. This comes three days after being no-hit by the same team. Thomas Oldham picks up the win, with Brian Stitt recording his second save. Notables:

Josh Womack: 0-4 (Hitting .143)
Adam Jones: 0-4 (Hitting .190)
Wladimir Balentien: 1-3, 1 double

There's only one guy hitting on the entire team, and that's Wlad.
And now Figgins steals third!

And, sure enough, Figgins steals second. With a lousy jump.

Wilson's throw was a one-hopper.

Oh, and admit it: when Wilson came up to the plate to hit for Davis against Percival, you shouted at your TV.

Not only was it an undesirable situation, but now we're left with Danny behind the plate trying to keep the running game in check. Now that Figgins is on first, I'm all but conceding him second base without a challege.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Another one of those comebacks.

Yeah, we tied up the game against Troy Percival. That's terrific. But it was thanks to Hansen, Bloomquist, and Wilson. Edgar, Boone, and Olerud (time to hang up the spikes...) all blew it with two runners in scoring position.

These games ensure that we will get quite a diet of Dannie McCrackquist well through September.

And Melvin leaves Hasegawa in to face Vlad in the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately, he walked him, which is just about the best possible outcome I could imagine.
Bret Boone is heating up.

It sure would be nice if this team would draw walks.

No, those two points aren't necessarily related to each other.
Soriano down, Putz up. Makes sense, as Soriano doesn't have his arm strength back yet. The minute it returns, he will too, so don't fret.
So I'm sitting here watching the Astros trounce the Cardinals. In the bottom of the eighth, with his team leading 8-1, Adam Everett dove for a ball behind second base and made the play to end the inning.

Now, in the top of the ninth, one of the announcers (Dibble?) can't say enough about Everett's impressive grit and hustle, that going all-out and giving 110% effort in blowout games is "championship baseball".

Maybe it's me, but I think that games like this reach a point at which it's just not worth the injury risk to go diving after hits.
Anyone else getting used to losing?

I don't know what's going on with Pineiro and Soriano, but it has to stop, fast. When you put Darin Erstad on base all four times he comes to the plate, you're probably going to lose, because you can't afford to dick around with lousy hitters in front of Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson. Oh well, tomorrow (today?) is another day. Today's matchup:

Freddy Garcia vs. Ramon Ortiz

Prediction: 8-5 Mariners (Yesterday's prediction: 7-3 Anaheim. Score wrong, outcome right, I'm 7-0).

In what was hopefully more encouraging minor league news:

Tacoma rode a five-run fifth to victory over Las Vegas. Bobby Madritsch picked up the victory, with JJ Putz getting his first save of the year. Notables:

Jamal Strong: 3-4, 1 double, 1 BB
Ramon Santiago: 0-3
Hiram Bocachica: 3-5, 1 homer
Jose Lopez: 0-3
Wiki Gonzalez: 1-4, 1 double
Justin Leone: 0-4 (Brilliant!)
Bobby Madritsch: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 homer
JJ Putz: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K

AJ Zapp had a big day as well.

San Antonio beat Midland 8-7. An eighth-inning rally for the Rockhounds fell one run short. Notables:

Shin Soo-Choo: 2-5, 1 double
Greg Dobbs: 2-5
Cristian Guerrero? : 1-5
This roster is a complete yawner.

Inland Empire continued the winning ways for our farm, taking down Bakersfield 7-0. It was a nail-biter until the eighth, when the 66ers exploded for five runs. Notables:

Juan Gonzalez: 1-4
Ismael Castro: 2-4, 1 double (hitting .364)
Matt Hagen: 1-3, 1 double, 1 BB
Rene Rivera: 2-4
Michael Garciaparra: 0-4
Melvin Pizarro: 0.2 IP

Finally, Wisconsin made it 4-0 for the farm yesterday as they beat Burlington 5-3. No no-hitter this time as Wisconsin managed eight hits, to go with two walks. Notables:

Josh Womack: 1-4
Adam Jones: 2-4, 2 doubles
Wladimir Balentien: 1-4, 1 homer

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I leave the room to brush my teeth, with the Mariners up 4-2. I come back with the intention of shutting off the TV and getting to bed, but before I can reach the switch I get the pleasure of watching Ben Molina tie the game with a homer.

What is it with these Molina kids and our pitching?

And now Shane Halter gets a hit. I'm going to sleep before this gets out of control.

Sending Wilson to third on a shallow single to right field?


Gunned down, two out. Danny looked like he never ran before in his life.
Quote ESPN announcer:

"I guarantee you that if Vladimir Guerrero were playing in right field, third base coach Dave Myers would not have sent Winn home."

I don't think this guy is very familiar with Myers' work.
Fortunately, Edgar homered, to make it 2-0 M's...

I'll take it.

Men on 1st and 2nd, none out in the first. Boone at the plate.

So Winn and Ichiro take off on a double-steal?

Ichiro, of course, was thrown out. What ever happened to "never make the first or third out at third base"?

And Boone didn't handle it very well, either, jumping way out of the batter's box. Anyway, being aggressive is fine; an attempted double-steal in that situation with one of the Dannie McCrackquist trio at the plate is justifiable. Not with Boone up there, though. Just ran ourselves out of a real nice situation.
KOMO says that Spiezio is ahead of schedule. If you're a fan of conflicting reports, then you've come to the right place.

Scott Spiezio felt pain in his workout today and went to see the doctor.

GA's deal:

$48m/4yr, including a $3m buyout for the 2009 option. (Source.)

Looks like at least $10m too much, based strictly on the numbers.
Garret Anderson re-signed with Anaheim for four years, with an option fifth. No financial details announced yet.

Here's hoping it's about $15m per year.
Re-post (get used to these):

If you dislike ol' BB in the front office, make a financial contribution to the movement.

Seriously, I didn't set that up.
Last year, all people could do was complain about Jeff Nelson, and how it seemed like every time he came into the game, he'd allow a run or three. Indeed, he was lousy, as he was the fifth-worst ML reliever at preventing inherited runners from scoring and the #2 most overrated reliever. How could this happen, though, when he was among the best relievers in baseball just two years earlier?

Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out: Nelson had a career year in 2001, and he returned to being the normal Jeff Nelson in 2002. So why was last year's perception of Nelson so terrible? Because as a Mariner, he allowed 47.8% of inherited runners to score - significantly above his career total of 28.5%. It wasn't that Nelson was a bad pitcher (he was pretty much the same guy in 2002), but that he pitched poorly in crucial situations. With nobody on base, Nelson was a stud, with a .191 BAA and a .276 OBP. However, when somebody reached, he suddenly started allowing hits, and with runners in scoring position he turned into Dan Serafini; indeed, Nelson's OPS against jumped 376 points when pitching w/RISP, a number that screams "anomaly!" about as loud as anything. Peering through Nelson's career statistics show that he is, in fact, a slightly worse pitcher when there are guys on base, but not nearly as bad as 2003 would suggest. Because of this, I thought Nelson was a good pickup for Texas, as he should be able to lose that flukish inability to pitch with guys in scoring position this year.

Well, I've got some bad news: the Mariners are exhibiting similar traits so far this year. Not in a good way. You may wonder how a team that's on pace for 783 runs - only 12 down from last season - could have a paltry .691 OPS. Let me show you:

Situation BA OBP SLG
None On .230 .254 .336
Runners On .313 .368 .448
RISP .356 .409 .475
Overall .266 .306 .385

The team has hit very well when they get ducks on the pond this year, like nine Magglio Ordonezes. While they're not as bad as their numbers with none on indicate, they're not nearly as good as the others show - they're probably going to settle somewhere in the middle, which will result in fewer runs being scored (no, it won't balance out).

What about our pitchers, then? Surely they've been the early victims of some crazy splits as well, right?


Situation BA OBP SLG
None On .333 .397 .514
Runners On .282 .341 .453
RISP .313 .390 .522
Overall .306 .367 .482

No, not at all. Our staff has been getting beat up irregardless of the situation. Yeah, they're going to get better, but the things we've seen through the first week of the year haven't been flukes - they've been poor pitching against good hitting.

Sorry to start off the day on a depressing note, but given how we've looked so far, I'm not so sure that there's an alternative.
Well whaddya know, Wisconsin was actually no-hit yesterday. Thanks to DC for pointing that out, and I'll try to be more observant in the future.

Tacoma beat Las Vegas 6-4. The Rainiers took the lead in the seventh and the bullpen managed to hold on, with Sherrill getting the save. Notables:

Cha Baek: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3 homers
JJ Putz: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
George Sherrill: 0.1 IP, 1 K
Jamal Strong: 2-5
Ramon Santiago: 1-5
Bucky Jacobsen: 0-4
Justin Leone: 0-5 (all or nothing...)
Hiram Bocachica: 0-2, 2 BB
Wiki Gonzalez: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 homer

ex-Mariner Brian Falkenborg pitched relief for Las Vegas and allowed three runs - two earned - in 4.1 IP. Another ex-Mariner, Antonio Perez, went 1-3 with a walk from the bottom of the lineup.

In Major League news, Rafael Soriano's heater is down, and it could stay there. Not hovering around 90 like it did in Oakland, but it could stick in the low-90s, a few notches below last September. Both Price and Melvin want their ace reliever worrying about location, rather than velocity, but each are also optimistic that he'll kick it up a little bit as he rebuilds arm strength. Keep an eye on this.

From the same article:

The first three home games of the season taught left fielder Raul Ibanez that he probably will have to "cheat" a little when the team returns home next Friday to play the Rangers at Safeco Field.

"I forgot how much space there is in the gap between left and center field," he said. "I always knew it was big, but not THAT big. I'm going to have to shade towards center more than I thought I would."

With our luck so far, the minute Ibanez shades closer to center, more balls will be hit down the left field line.
Say your goodbyes to Ryan Christianson.

NOTES: The Mariners yesterday reacquired RHP Aaron Looper from the Dodgers in exchange for LHP Glenn Bott. To make room for Looper on the 40-man roster, the Mariners said they will request unconditional waivers on C Ryan Christianson, the Mariners' first-round pick in the 1999 June draft. Looper, son of Mariners vice president of player development and scouting Benny Looper, was traded to the Dodgers with LHP Ryan Ketcher on April 3 in exchange for INF Jolbert Cabrera. The Mariners optioned Looper to the Tacoma Rainiers. Bott, 22, made one start with San Antonio this season after going 7-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 31 games last year with Inland Empire. Christianson missed most of 2003 with right elbow tendinitis.

Monday, April 12, 2004

For more on Prior, here's Dusty Baker shooting down speculation. You have to register to read the article.

Today in the minors:

Tacoma's tied with Las Vegas at 3 in the fifth. More on that tomorrow.

San Antonio lost to Midland, 5-2. Tough to muster an attack when you rack up six hits. Two solo homers accounted for the Missions' two runs. Notables:

Shin Soo-Choo: 0-2, 2 BB
Greg Dobbs: 0-4
um...Cristian Guerrero, maybe? 2-4, 1 homer

Our AA roster is full of yawners this year.

Wisconsin was shut out, 3-0, by Dusty Hughes and Burlington. Notables:

Josh Womack: 0-4
Adam Jones: 0-3
Wladimir Balentien: 0-3
Hey, our network is back, for the time being...

And the first thing I noticed is that Mark Prior may need TJ surgery.

Hopefully this is the kind of thing that forces Dusty to become more conservative with his young arms.

Update: hooray for conflicting reports!
Terry Mulholland --> Twins.
So I'm a day late, but even so, yesterday's minor league box scores:

Tacoma fell to Tucson 11-3. The Rainiers fell behind early and the Sidewinders didn't relent. Notables:

Jamal Strong: 1-3, 1 BB
Ramon Santiago: 0-4
Hiram Bocachica: 1-3
Jose Lopez: 0-3, 1 BB
Justin Leone: 3-4, 1 double, 1 homer
Matt Thornton: 4 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

San Antonio vs. Midland was postponed.

Inland Empire fell 5-3 to Lake Elsinore. A four-run sixth put the 66ers behind, and a ninth inning comeback attempt fell short. Notables:

Ismael Castro: 1-4, 1 double, 1 BB
Michael Garciaparra: 1-5
Matt Hagen: 1-3, 1 BB
Rene Rivera: 1-3, 1 homer

Wisconsin had the day off.

On an ML note, I found this quotation funny:

"I hit a boiling point, and I can't remember everything I said. I pointed out what I'd seen and tried to keep it positive. We came off the field and I told 'em, 'Everyone sit down.' And then I let 'em have it."
– Manager Bob Melvin, in the Tacoma News Tribune, on calling a team meeting April 11

Yeah, I'm sure it got chaotic.
What the hell??

I guess Benny wanted his boy back. Aaron Looper is a perfectly serviceable right-handed reliever who could eventually slap together a few Steve Reed-like stat lines. Nice to have? Absolutely, especially when you've got Kevin Jarvis in drastic need of relief in the bullpen.

Worth more than this guy? I'm not so sure. A little over a week ago I remarked that Glenn Bott is eerily similar to Ryan Ketchner; I guess we really really really wanted to get rid of this group of soft-tossing southpaws with astonishing peripherals.

Odds are slim that we wind up regretting sending Ketchner and Bott to LA, but for as bad as I though the original trade was, now it looks even worse. After all, we've essentially created a situation where we're twice as likely to have given up on a successful lefty.

Was LA unware that Looper was on the 40-man, or was that Bavasi's doings?
Scott Spiezio took 40 swings from either side of the plate this weekend and experienced no pain at all. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the sooner we see Wee Willie shout encouraging remarks from the dugout, rather than the infield, the better.
It looks like our network problems are worse than originally feared. That's bad news for this site, as it will be updated infrequently until we get some help, here. If any of you know how to renew about 1500 individual IP addresses onto a school network that refuses to cooperate, let me know.

I'm sure that didn't make a lick of sense. You can see how bad things are getting. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

And Justin Leone homers for Tacoma.

What a day!
San Antonio vs. Midland was postponed today. Tacoma's down early, as Tucson has scored twice in each of the first two innings. Matt Thornton started for the Rainiers and appears to be struggling.
Holy crap!

So, as I posted earlier, I can't get online from my dorm room. Could be down until Tuesday, although the "experts" assure us that it'll be back by tomorrow morning. That's not what's important. I've been watching ESPN (NHL playoff coverage) all afternoon and noticed on the Bottom Line that the M's were losing 4-0 in the fifth. Good times, eh? But wait! Two runs in the sixth and we're showing signs of life. Then, just as Nashville scores to put the nail in Detroit's coffin in Game 3, I notice something scrolling across the bottom of the screen:

Seattle 4 Oakland 4 Top 9th

I couldn't believe it. I had to run over here to the library to see what hapened. Yep, Arthur Lee blew it, the first of what many (not I) believe will be a plethora of blown saves for Rhodes this year. But that's the *good* news. There's a whole lotta bad that could come out of today. Just look at some of the names that show up in the game log during our rallies:

  • Dan Wilson

  • Willie Bloomquist

  • Quinton McCracken

That's right, today's game all but assured that we get a nice helping of Dannie McCraquist over the next few weeks, as they did good things during our run-scoring efforts. Amazing how so much bad can come out of so much good. That Jarvis threw a shutout inning doesn't really help matters.

But really, this is no time to complain, because as of just now, the Mariners have a win.

Seattle 9, Oakland 4

Just the kind of game to get the guys off the slide and onto a nice little hot streak. Our 1-through-4 batters went 8-22 on the day with two walks, four runs, seven RBI, two doubles, and a homer. We're going to need Ichiro and Winn to have strong games if we want to score runs on a consistent basis. Also nice to see Ibanez continue his solid start with a two-hit day. While it's true that the less we see of Wee Willie, the better things are, it's nice to see him contributing when he has to. As for the McCracken sighting, it was the ideal Quinton Experience: pinch-running, with no at bats or outfield defense included. If Q is capable of doing anything right, Melvin found out what it is and used it to the fullest extent this afternoon.

Not a good day for Jamie. This whole "hittable" thing has got to stop, especially when facing a weak lineup like Oakland's that struggles against southpaws. I'm still confident in Moyer's ability to turn it around and have a good year, just like all the rest of you, but it might be time to temper our expectations a little bit and hope for a nice high-3's ERA. Five strikeouts today, so at least we know that he can still miss bats. Hasegawa fanned two in two innings as well, which can only be a good thing.

All in all, it's nice to end that nasty little skid of ours. More importantly, I correctly predicted the outcome of this game, meaning I'm 6-0 (5 games ahead of the Mariners) so far this year. Tomorrow's matchup: Joel Pineiro vs. Kelvim Escobar. Prediction: 7-3 Anaheim. Let's hope I'm wrong this time.
Rather than continue a redundant discussion, I'll point you to David's post from last night regarding extra-base hits and outfield defense.

For once, I'm not going to take him up on the offer to tie extra-base hits allowed to runs allowed. I think.
By the way, congratulations to the Denver Pioneers for winning the NCAA men's ice hockey championship. They surprised everyone who was paying attention, as they were given no chance against UND, Minnesota-Duluth, or Maine. Anyone who withstands more than a minute of a 6-on-3 powerplay at the end of a 1-0 game deserves a hearty round of applause.

On a baseball note, here's hoping my room connection is back up by gametime, so I can resume voicing my rage in a public forum, rather than muttering to myself.
Well, Blogger wouldn't let me (or anyone else, apparently) publish new posts for a while yesterday, and as soon as they did my network went down and I couldn't get online. I still can't, which is why I came to the school library to check out what's going on. Bear with me; until my PC can get on the Internet again I won't be writing much.

Yesterday's minor league results:

Tacoma lost to Tucson 8-4. Not a very strong start for Blackley, as the Rainiers fell behind in the third inning and couldn't come back. Notables:

Travis Blackley: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Jamal Strong: 0-4, 1 BB
Ramon Santiago: 2-5, 1 double
Justin Leone: 0-5 (Argh)
Bucky Jacobsen: 1-4
Jose Lopez: 1-4, 1 homer (2nd on the year)

San Antonio beat Midland 3-2. The Missions scored a run in the top of the ninth to take the lead, and Hoerman held on for the save. Notables:

Shin Soo-Choo: 1-4, 1 triple (had an error)
Glenn Bott: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

San Antonio's roster is boring.

Inland Empire destroyed Lake Elsinore, 16-4. A four-run third inning gave the 66ers the lead and they didn't look back. Notables:

Juan Gonzalez: 2-5
Ismael Castro: 2-5
Rene Rivera: 1-4
Melvin Pizarro: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K (I love that guy)

Wisconsin fell to Clinton 10-3. Feierabend wasn't good. Notables:

Josh Womack: 1-4, 1 triple
Adam Jones: 1-4, 1 double
Wladimir Balentien: 1-4

Today's matchup:

Jamie Moyer vs. Mark Mulder

Prediction: 4-2 Mariners (Yesterday's prediction: 7-2 A's. Score wrong, outcome right, I'm 5-0).

That's right, I'm looking for your 2004 Seattle Mariners to finally join the 29 other teams in the "Win" column.