Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30; Balentien Shines, but That's It

Boxscore.

Another loss for the Mariners, this time 8-3 to the Indians. Jarrod Washburn had a poor performance, giving up six runs, five earned in only 4.1 innings of something that you couldn't really call work. He struck out seven, but does anyone care? Cha Seung Baek came in and pitched 2.2 innings to give up two runs. I don't really care what RRS did in his inning of work.
The bats were there from their new guys. Wladimir Balentien hit a three run homerun and finished the day 2-4. Jeff Clement pinch hit for Clement and hit a single. The rest of the offence was dormant. Ichiro went 0-4 and saw his already poor average drop to .252. Vidro went 1-4 and struck out twice. He also left three on base. Clement will probably be playing tomorrow. Can't say that I'm really happy with this result. I would've liked to see the Mariners do a bit better in wake of getting rid of Brad Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, Nortan DFA'd

Brad Wilkerson and Greg Nortan were both designated for assignment today to make room for Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement. Wilkerson's locker was emptied out today before the announcement, which arose the suspision that Wlad and or Clement would be on their way up after both were absent from the Rainiers lineup last night.

Wilkerson getting the boot couldn't be that unexpected. He'd been hitting .232/.348/.304 in 56 AB's so far this year. He signed a one year deal worth $3M with $2M in incentives.

I can't really see why Nortan was designated. He'd been hitting .438 in 16 AB's. Nortan isn't sure of what he'll do, meaning that he isn't sure if he'll accept a minor league assignment. Nothing from Wilkerson yet.

As for Clement and Wlad, Balentien will become the starting right fielder for the Mariners with Wilkerson gone. As for Clement, he'll get playing time mainly at DH and some time catching. McLaren wouldn't say that Clement and Vidro would platoon, but Geoff Baker thinks that it will be Vidro against the lefties and Clement against the righties. Johjima and Burke's playing time won't be affected, but Vidro's probably will. Bavasi said that he didn't want to regret not calling them up sooner, so they brought them up now, hopefully for the better.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

4/29 Wilkerson Drinks a Red Bull

Boxscore.

Carlos Silva had another great outing going 7.2 innings, and giving up two runs on seven hits and one walk. He even struck out three. Mark Lowe cleaned up Author Rhodes' mess to get the win. The Mariners beat up Carmona enough to get him out of the game after only six innings. They were able to get to the bullpen early, and put the beatdown on him.

Bead Wilkerson went 3-3. He even walked once. Although he had no RBI's or runs... Adrian Beltre went 2-2 and drove in three. He also hit the key three run homer to put the Mariners over the top. That's producing, Wilkerson got three hits, that's great, but he didn't do anything on the scoreboard. Jose Vidro had a 2-4 night/afternoon and drove in two runs. Production from one of the two is a start.

Clement and Balentien Coming Up Soon?

After hearing yesterday that Jeff Clement was going to be called up soon, today we learn that Clement and Wladimir Balentien could be coming up soon. Can't say that either of those two being called up soon would not be expected.

One problem that had come up was when Jeff Clement's service clock would start. If the team waits untill May 7 or later, than Clement won't reach one full service year in 2008, or something like that. Bill Bavasi says that that won't be an issue, and if the club needs Clement they would call him up. He also said that when both were called up, they both were going to play.

USS Mariner comes in telling us that both Balentien and Clement were not in the Rainiers lineup tonight, and we should do the math. Would the Mariners call up Wlad and Clement tomorrow? Afterall, they pulled Adam Jones out of Winter Ball, like a month before the Erik Bedard trade was completed. Geoff Baker tells us that Wlad was scratched to rest an injured knee, but no excuse for Clement.

No point in trying to make heads or tails of this right now. Both players will be called up sooner than later, and if the Mariners can continue to put up seven runs in a game, there probably isn't too much of a rush to get them up here, but if Wilkerson and Jose/Pepe Vidro can't produce, than they will be up here sooner than later. Seriously sooner than later.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Clement Call Up Soon?

John Hickey is telling us tonight that Jeff Clement may be getting called up to the MLB sometime in the next week.

The move would come as relief to a struggling Mariner offense that is failing to score runs. None of Jose Vidro, Richie Sexson, or Brad Wilkerson are hitting well, or at all, and Vidro is the only one losing playing time because of that. Clement would presumably take over some of the DH duties, and possibly push Vidro even further down the bench behin Greg Nortan, who has hit well in the last couple of games that he has played. Maybe Vidro's time is up here. Designating him for assignment, or just flat out releasing him could be the best option. I'd like to see Clement come up here, but would the Mariners carry all three of Kenji Johjima, Clement and Jamie Burke on their active roster?

That's the question. Clement could back up for Joh and get most of his AB's at DH. But where does that push Jamie Burke, who has been a solid backup to Joh the last year and a month? There's no reason to get rid of him, and if there was, where would he go? To Tacoma? What team would want him? Maybe the Yankees would have interest with Jorge Posada on the DL. Although the Yankees would probably prefer a more glamorous option...

Then there's always the carry two and a half catchers approach, where Joh is still the full time catcher, and Clement is jsut inserted in to the lineup at DH or pinch hitting as much as possible. We'll have to wait a couple more days to see how this turns out.

Joh's Extension Influeneced?

Geoff Baker comes in with this line from his latest post.

Why did the team extend Kenji Johjima for three years? Beats me. Either it has absolutely zero clue about timing, or, as has been suggested to me repeatedly this week, this was a call made by the ownership in Japan.
That made me think too. Bill Bavasi probably has enough brains in him to realize that Jeff Clement is ready to hit at the major league level. But with one year left on his contract, wouldn't he want to make a good impression on his bosses, who are Japanese? This one will be up for debate. Of course Bavasi won't come out and say that he didn't want Joh for the reason mentioned. This will just have to be one of those things that may not get solved anytime soon.

Hatteberg a Fit?

MLBTR: One first baseman who doesn't hit righties well is Richie Sexson. Hatteberg could be a good fit in Seattle.

Would Hatteberg be a fit (1B Scott Hatteberg of the Reds)? Sexson doesn't hit righties terribly well, and Hatteberg has a little bit of pop against them, so of course it's going to seem like a good fit. Any 1B that could hit lefties well would be a good fit. Greg Nortan is a switch hitting 1B who has a .667 AVG against lefties so far this season. Hatteberg is hitting .000 against lefties. He sure is smacking the ball against lefties.

Stats aside, the Mariners are going to have to give up something to get Hatteberg. Greg Nortan is already in the organization. Imeadiate advantage to Nortan. I'm not against Hatteberg, but why give up a mid-prospect for something that you already have?

Poll Results: Which Potential Mariner Free Agent Would You Most Like to be Brought Back?

Some results from our lastest poll for you.

Raul Ibanez 4-57%
Kenji Johjima 3-43%
Jose Vidro 0-0%
Richie Sexson 0-0%

Joh will be back next season, and it looks like most of you would like to see Ibanez to be back also. I'd say that Ibanez stands a chance. Wladimir Balentien would likely take over in right field, leaving left field open. The DH and 1B spots should be open for 2009 also. There's room for him if the Mariners want him back.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Series Preview: SEA @ CLE, 4/29-30-5/1/08

I'm not going to dwell on the past Oakland series because I really don't want to remember much of it, so right on in to Cleveland. Hopefully no snow this time around.

April 29
SEA: Carlos Silva, RHP, 3-0, 2.83 ERA
CLE: Fausto Carmona, RHP, 3-1, 2.89 ERA

What to Watch
Carlos Silva left his last start because of hamstring tightness, but says that he's good to go. He's been the Mariners most consistant pitcher this year other than Felix. If he can continue what he's done then the Mariners should be good. He'll be one of the keys to Tuesday's game. Fausto Carmona will also be the key to an Indians win. He has struggled a bit with control so far this season and will need to find it soon.

April 30
SEA: Jarrod Washburn, LHP, 1-3, 4.03 ERA
CLE: Cliff Lee, LHP, 4-0, 0.28 ERA

What to Watch
Again, starting pitching is the key. Washburn needs to be better, and I don't think that Lee could be. He, like Zach Greinke of the Royals is off to an amazing start. Wash needs to start strong and get back on to the right track. It hasn't seemed like Washburn has had the best of times here in Seattle. Lee has had some success against Seattle, so the Mariners will half to get to him early and often. Two runs won't really cut it. The Indians have an explosive, and probably underrated offense that can't be overlooked.

May 1
SEA: Miguel Batista, RHP, 2-3, 5.26 ERA
CLE: Paul Byrd, RHP, 1-2, 4.85 ERA

What to Watch
Batista left his last start early after a mild groin strain and needs to get back on to his game. Byrd on the other hand is healthy but has had his struggles. If the Mariners can jump on him early, and get moderate success out of Batista, they should have theirselves a win.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Aftermath

What's going to happen now that Kenji Johjima has signed his three year extension? Where does that leave Jeff Clement?

Let's start it off like this: Extending Joh isn't a terrible idea. The money may seem a little high. Jorge Posada signed a four year contract worth $52.4M last Winter. Posada is a few years older than Joh, and is quite a bit better. Posada isn't really a fair model based on that information, but that's about the best that we got. $8M is a lot of money, not much in baseball nowadays, has Joh proved that he is worth that much? I think that he might have. He has a career line of .289/.327/.442 alongside 32 HR and 137 RBI. That would be in 991 AB's over the past two seasons. Pretty decent numbers for a catcher. He also set the record for most hits by a rookie catcher in 2006 with 147. The offense is there. Joh has only comitted nine errors over the last two seasons, only 2 in '07. Not bad defender. One of the most important things in my opinion, is that he knows that Mariners pitching staff.

He's spent the last two seasons catching for pretty much the same crop of pitchers, and have created some chemistry. He knows the pitchers well, therefore he can comunicate with them well. Brining someone new would axe all of the chemistry that has brewed. Even Jeff Clement wouldn't be able to adjust quick enough (if he were to start right now).

Know that I've proved Joh has value, it's time to look at what he takes away from the club. The biggest issue surrounds Jeff Clement. He's ready to hit in the MLB. He might not be quite ready to field and all that, but he can sure hit the ball. It's been widely believed that Clement would take over for Joh after this season. Now that Joh is locked up, presumably in the catcher's spot, for three years, where would Clement play? The Mariners haven't been very fond of moving him to first, an option that makes sense. Bringinig him up to DH would take away AB's from Jose Vidro, which might not allow his option for '09 to vest. Morphing him in to a 1B would be perfect, but I wouldn't want to do that because of the high level of prospect that Clement is as a catcher, something rare, and highly sought after. Clement popped up in trade rumors for Johan Santana and Erik Bedard. I'm sure that he could fetch a high price. Trading him would be a tough pill to swallow, especially after losing another blue-chipper in Adam Jones would be incredibly tough to swallow. Bleeding Blue and Teal brings up Adam Moore, a young catcher with promise, that could be ready come 2011, or '12. The same time that Joh's deal dries up. I like the idea of Moore taking over in a few years, he is solid defensively, but how good defensively does he have to be to even up with Clement's offensive upside? My guess, pretty good. Right now, Moore for Clement doesn't look like a good tradeoff, but would Clement would be able to bring in to the organization would determine that. He definitly could replinish the young pitching prospects lost in the Erik Bedard trade. Or he could get you someone for now. He might be able to get the Mariners a player like Jason Bay of the Pirates. About the same offensive potential as Ibanez, but with better fielding abilities, wayyyyy better, and some speed. Not to mention that he's younger.

Overall, there are mixed reactions to Joh's extension. No matter which way you look at it, there's going to be people unhappy and happy. Let's just try and look at the fact that the Mariners lock up a solid catcher for three years at less than he probably would've commanded on the open market.

Joh Gets Extension

Earlier today, as reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners were giving Kenji Johjima a three year contract extension. Now, Geoff Baker comes in to tell us that the three year extension is worth $24M. No discount there.

Personally, I thought that the Mariners would play Joh out this season and hand over the catching duties to Jeff Clement for next season. I guess that I was wrong. Where does this signing leave Clement? The Mariners don't want to turn him in to a first baseman, although now they might have to now. I don't want to see him wasted as a DH next season. Then again, there's always the option of trading him...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

4/24 Game Thread

Time for another Game Thread. I'm actually starting to like this idea.

8:31 - Top of the fifth, Mariners up 5-1. Washburn pitching against Melvin Mora

8:34 - Mora is at third now after the Nick Markakis single. Washburn's starting to get in to some trouble. Thrown 92 pitches in 5 plus innings

8:38 - Millar grounds in to a double play, Mora scores. 5-2. Aubrey Huff grounds out to end the inning. Washburn's night in probably done

8:41 - Ichiro and Jose Lopez both ground out. Two down

8:43 - Ibanez doubles to center

8:44 - Matt Albers replaces Randor Beird for the Orioles

8:48 - Adrian Beltre walks

8:50 - Vidro grounds out to end the inning. Roy Corcaron comes in to replace Washburn. Him and his nice 0.93 ERA

8:53 - Jay Payton singles, Ramon Hernendez grounded out

8:54 - Payton steals third with Adam Jones, who? Adam Jones, who? batting

8:56 - Jones singles, scoring Payton. One out still, but it's 5-3 now. I also have to mention that Corcaron's ERA just jumoed to 1.80 after that run

8:57 - Nice double play turned, top half of the sixth over

9:00 - Sexson strikesout swinging. What else is new?

9:02 - Joh pops out, Willie grounds out. Inning over

9:06 - Aurthor Rhodes come in to replace Roy Corcaron and gives up a single after an eight pitch battle

9:10 - Rhodes gives up another single to Melvin Mora, and then Nick Markakis gets walked. Rhodes is looking pretty shaky

9:12 - Mark Lowe comes in to replace Rhodes. Probably from crap to crap

9:14 - Mac just got tossed. Would've loved to have seen it!!!

9:16 - Millar hits a sac fly to score Brian Roberts. 5-4

9:18 - Huff hits a single and Mora scores to tie the game. THE MARINERS BULLPEN IS BLOWING EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:21 - Payton flies out, Markakis tagged up to move to third. Two down

9:24 - Lowe walks Hernendez

9:27 - Jones doubles and scores two runs. 7-5 Baltimore. Sean Green is taking over for the ineffective Mark Lowe. Another one blown by the bullpen

9:30 - Luke Scott pinch hits for Brandon Fahay

9:32 - Scott grounds out. Finally one of the worst innings of the season is over, well, half of it anyways......

9:34 - Yuni lines out

9:36 - Jamie Walker replaces Matt Albers for the O's

9:40 - ICHIRO HOMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7-6

9:45 - Lopez singled, but Raul grounded in to a DP. Chad Bradford replaced Walker

9:46 - Beltre strikesout. Inning over

9:49 - Roberts hits a homerun. 8-6. I can't do this much longer.....

9:52 - Mora grounded out, Markakis flies out, two down in the top of the eighth

9:57 - Vidro flies out, one down in bottem of the eighth

9:59 - Sexson lines out. Two down, and I'm done for the night. Goodnight everyone, and hopefully the Mariners can pull something off...

Series Preview: A's @ M's 4/25-27/08

Time to look at the Mariners next series against the Oakland Athletics, and their newest member; Frank Thomas.

April 25
OAK: Dana Eveland, LHP, 2-1, 1.90 ERA
SEA: Miguel Batista, RHP, 2-2, 4.38 ERA

For the Mariners
Watch out for Thomas. He's returning to Oakland, and has some dignity to regain after the Toronto fiasco. He could be a huge threat. Dana Eveland has also looked decent so far this season. He's another one of the young guns showing up early.

For the Athletics
Batista is off to a shaky start, and if they can jump on to him early, than they can get to the used up Mariners bullpen. Batista not getting in to atleast the sixth could be the difference.

April 26
OAK: Justin Duchscherer, RHP, 1-0, 1.80 ERA
SEA: Erik Bedard, LHP, 1-0, 3.27 ERA

For the Mariners
Erik Bedard. Can he come back and be effective? That will be the game decided right there. If he can come out and prove that he is alright, then the M's should be fine.

For the Athletics
If Duchscherer can give them another good start, then they could be set up nicely. If they can get on Bedard early, same thing as if they can get to Batista early. The Mariners need solid production from their starting pitching.

April 27
OAK: Joe Blanton, RHP, 1-4, 4.32 ERA
SEA: Felix Hernendez, RHP, 2-0, 1.67 ERA

For the Mariners
King Felix is close to the throne. He needs another good start to prove it. Joe Blanton is off to a bad start, and the Mariners need to take advantage of that. If they can execute, they will be in a good position to get the W.

For the Athletics
They need a good start from Banton. Nothing good from him, probably no A's win. They will also need to be able to dethrone Felix if they hope to win.

Who would have thought that the A's would be off to a 15-9 start?

Trainer Works #4000

Mariners trainer Rick Griffin will have reached a milestone after tonight. Griffin will spend his 4000th game in the dugout for the Mariners.

Griffin was brought in back in 1983, and 25 years later is still at the same helm that he was at when he started. During his tenure, he has only missed three games. Dave Neihaus is the only person that has seen more Mariners games then Griffin has, and will be inducted in to Cooperstown. Will Griffin?

Thomas Signs With A's

It didn't take long, but Frank Thomas has signed with the Oakland Athletics. He will become the team's DH full-time this season. He signed a one-year deal worth a measly $337K. I guess he doesn't need the money after his payout from the Blue Jays. I'd say that the only reason that he signed for so little with the A's was to finish his career better than what it would have been. Also he signed a wickedly low deal with A's in 2006, and flipped in to 39 homeruns. We won't have to wait long to see him. Hopefully he won't return to that form for the Mariners sake.

Silva Alright-Ish

After leaving yesternight's game, Carlos Silva appears to be alright.

It's not bad,'' Silva said. "It's hard to come out of the game, but sometimes you have to be smart. It's only my fifth start. There's a long way to go.''

McLaren said: "It's nothing serious. He felt something in his leg driving off so we took him out. It doesn't seem to be serious at all...I'm hearing good things from the training room."

Hopefully he's fine. He's been one of the Mariners top pitchers so far this season, and I wouldn't want to see him go down especially this early.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Debate: Should the Mariners Sign Frank Thomas?

Frank Thomas was believed to be close to signing with Oakland, and then a mystery team came in to the picture. That mystery team could be the Mariners, and should it?

How much upside does Thomas bring to the table compared to Jose Vidro, or maybe Jeff Clement? Thomas brings power and patience. That's it. Vidro brings a .290 AVG. That's about it. Clement brings both power and average, but hasn't developed his skills as much yet.

Thomas can still hit the ball hard, but hasn't found much consistancy so far this year. Vidro is only hitting about .200, Thomas .167, but Thomas has been able to provide more power than Vidro has.

Bringing in Frank Thomas makes sense, in the sense that he'll add power that Richie Sexson hasn't. He doesn't have 40 HR power, but 30 looks like a decent number to shoot for. The money won't be much of an issue. He gets paid off like $8M bucks from the Jays, so he'd probably settle for around $5Mish. If Thomas can come in and hit the ball hard and give the Mariners some baserunners, then he's a good signing. Probably the best reason not to sign him is the New York Yankee approach: Get the player so your rivals don't. The A's are known to be interested, and the Rangers are rumored to be. Thomas could add a power boost to either of those two clubs, giving them an advantage that could allow them to gain some ground on the Mariners early.

If Thomas comes in, where does that leave Jose Vidro? Thomas didn't put forth a good enough batting average, the reason for his release used by the Blue Jays, although everyone knows they released him so his option for 2009 wouldn't vest. Could the Mariners say that same thing about Vidro? He has a vesting option for 2009, and I doubt that many would want him back. Maybe releasing Vidro and signing Thomas would be a great move. It would allos more playing time to guys like Willie Bloomquist pinch running. I'm starting to like the idea of Frank Thomas coming here.

April 23; Game Thread

Time for another Game Thread. Yesterday's can be viewed here. It's the top of the seventh, Sean Green is pitching for the Mariners and the score is 2-2.

8:49 - Sean Green strikes out Adam Jones. One down.

8:51 - Green strikes out Ramon Hernendez, two down

8:52 - Green walks Luis Hernendez. Brian Roberts steps in

8:58 - In an 11 pitch epic battle, Roberts grounds out to end the inning.

9:02 - We find out that Carlos Silva leaves the game with an injured leg. I found it funny that he only threw 85 pitches. Richie Sexson struck out again, something different.

9:03 - Joh follows Sexson's suit and strikesout, two down

9:04 - Willie Bloomquist flied out to Nick Markakis to end the inning

9:09 - After an eight pitch battle with Melvin Mora, Green draws the ground out to K-Man (sexson)

9:11 - RRS replaces Sean Green

9:12 - Didn't take long. First pitch seen by Markakis is taken over the right field wall. 3-2 for the O's

9:13 - Kevin Millar grounds out, two down for RRS

9:16 - Luke Scott will strikeout swinging to end the top half of the eighth inning

9:20 - Yuni flies out, Ichiro pops out, two down

9:22 - Jose Lopez flied out to end the inning

9:24 - Huff grounds out, and the coach is visiting RRS

9:27 - Brandon Morrow replaces RRS

9:29 - Morrow strikes out Jones, two out

9:30 - Hernendez grounds out, three down. Mariners losing 3-2 going in to the bottem of the ninth

9:33 - Our old buddy George Sherrill comes in for the save.

9:35 - Raul hits a single. One on for Beltre

9:38 - Beltre lines out, one down

9:40 - Jose Vidro or Pepe struck out, two down

9:42 - That's all folks. Sexson pops out to end the game. Mariners lose 3-2 to the Orioles.

Daniel Cabrera W, 2-0, RRS L, 0-1, George Sherrill S, 7

Morse Done for Season

Mike Morse had "shoulder reconstruction" surgery yesterday morning to repair his shoulder, after getting injured on April 13.

In the meantime, Brad Wilkerson and Willie Bloomquist will split the right field duties for the time being. However, Wilkerson is a little dinged up, meaning that Willie will be getting more playing time. Nothing yet on who will take Morse's roster spot.

Silva Leaves Game

Carlos Silva left his start Wednesday after seven innings and 85 pitches, with tightness in his right thigh. We won't find out untill after the game as to the extent of the injury.

Latest On Thomas

The biggest reason that we've been discussing Frank Thomas so much here, is not only because the A's were close to signing him, but rather the Mariners could be a mystery team with an offer extended to Thomas. This may be cleared up by the morning.

Johjima vs. Clement

Time for another player battle. A while ago, we looked at Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement to see who was a better prospect. I came to the conclusion that Clement would ultimately become the better player. Now that Jeff Clement has proved himself down in AAA, it's time to look at if it will be better to have him up here catching, or to stick with Kenji Johjima.


Jeff Clement is one of the better catching prospects in baseball right now. He is starting to prove that he is good enough defensively to be an everyday catcher in the MLB, but might not be quite ready to take that leap. He is good defensively, but you'd want him to be great defensively, wouldn't you? I wouldn't expect Clement to win the Gold Glove every year, but I'd like him to be better than average. He has a decent arm, and can get down and block the plate pretty well, but I might be being too critical of the situation.

Kenji Johjima has proven during his two years in the bigs that he is a top end catcher. He has comunicated terrifically with the Mariners pitching staff, been a solid consistant hitter, and played solid defence. Joh is pretty much the complete package. He can't run that well, but how many catchers can?

Clement is hitting the cover off of the ball so far this year at AAA. He's hitting .367 in 60 ABs with four HR and 13 RBIs. Joh is hitting .205 with no HR and 5 RBIs in 58 ABs with the Mariners to start the season. Obviously Clement would be the better choice offensively, but the other element, communication is a factor. Joh has worked with the majority of the Mariners pitching staff for the better part of two years now. Clement hasn't. If the Mariners wanted him to catch everyday come tomorrow, then they would be out of luck. Clement has limited catching experience with anyone on the Mariners staff. I know that if you give it a few minutes then he'd be able to pick up on what the pitchers are doing, but why break up what Joh has going with the Mariners pitchers?

The other element that I've mentioned was defence. As I said, Clement is improving and will hopefully become a solid defensive catcher for the M's. Right now, Joh has the upper hand in the defensive category. Now time to debate.

The fact is this: Jeff Clement is ready to play in the Majors. Kenji Johjima is currently struggling. Calling up Clement makes sense, but what will happen once he's up here? Maybe he comes out and is lights out. Which would be a good thing, but would Joh be happy with a backup role? I doubt it. And what if Clement does terrible? What would that do for his confidence? Keeping him at AAA for the time being is probably the best choice for now. Come August/September he should get a call-up, but for now the Mariners should stick with Joh and hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April 22; Game Thread

Got a little time on my hands here so time for a little bit of a game thread from the seventh inning on for today's game.

9:06 - Kenji Johjima up, tied 2-2, with two outs
Joe grounds out to end the inning

9:08 - Pitching change for the M's. Author Rhodes in for Felix Hernendez. He's facing Nick Markakis to start the top of the eighth inning.

9:12 - Millar lined in to a double play, two down for Rhodes

9:16 - Rhodes strikes out Luke Scott to end the inning

9:19 - Yuni hits a double, Ichiro is at the plate

9:21 - Ichiro pops out, one down

9:23 - Lopez flies out to, guess who, Adam Jones. Two out

9:25 - Raul intentially walked, two on, two out

9:27 - Beltre walks, bases juiced for, ugggggggh, Jose Vidro

9:29 - Vidro, or mabye Pepe, to score Raul and Yuni. M's up 4-2

9:31 - New pitcher for O's. Dennis Sarfate

9:33 - Richie Sexson, what else is new, strikes out swinging. End of 8th

9:34 - Sound the AC/DC, JJ Putz is in the game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:37 - Putz gives up a double to Aubrey Huff, cue the AC/DC again, maybe this time it'll help....

9:39 - THUNDER!!!!!!!!!!!! Putz strikes out Adam Jones in their first meeting ever.

9:40 - Nanananaaaaaaananana THUNDER!!!!!!!!!! Ramon Hernendez strikes out swinging

9:44 - After a battle with Jay Payton, Putz draws a groundout. Game Over

Author Rhodes gets the Win, Guthrie takes the Loss for the O's, and JJ got his second Save of the season.

Wilkerson Leaves Game in Fourth

Brad Wilkerson left the game in the fourth inning with a tight hamstring. He was replaced by Willie Bloomquist. This should be minor, but if it's not, Wlad Balentien should be getting a call.

Putz Coming Back

JJ Putz has been activated off of the DL and to make room for JJ, the Mariners sent down RA Dickey.

Putz caming back is great, but why is RA Dickey getting sent down might not be the best idea. Cha Seung Baek has done even less then Dickey has so far this year. Dickey had a pretty bad replacement start for Erik Bedard, but is that enough to base your decision on? Obviously it is. Maybe the M's are still to scared to try seding Baek through waivers. Maybe trading him would make sense.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bavasi Talking About Thomas

Although it might not make sense to some, and makes perfect sense to others, Billy Bavasi will be talking to his scouts about Frank Thomas, one day after his release.

With Jeff Clement tearing it up at AAA with the Rainers, and Jose Vidro (and whatever his twin's name was from the stupid commercial), Richie Sexson (I don't think he has a twin) and Kenji Johjima (He probably doesn't have a secret twin either) blocking all three positions that Clement would probably be playing at with the M's, Thomas doesn't seem like that great of a fit.

Thomas can't play in the field, nor can he run. All he is is a DH. He wouldn't have the same baggage that Barry Bonds would have, but has to be carrying something after what happened with the Jays. I don't think that the money thing would be an issue at all. He gets $8M from the Jays for his release, so he'd come pretty cheaply. Maybe $3-6M for the rest of the season. He wouldn't be happy as a pinch hitter extroadinare, and there isn't anywhere to move Jose Vidro either. If Thomas could do the littlest bit in the field, he might be able to get Richie Sexson going with a little bit of pressure that would come on him. Personally, I don't see him coming here. If he does, that's great, but I just don't see it. Clement is too close and where would the Mariners be able to use him?

Series Preview: O's @ M's April 22-24

The Mariners open a three game set at home against the Orioles.

April 22
BAL: Jeremy Guthrie, RHP, 0-1, 4.38 ERA
SEA: Felix Hernendez, 2-0, 1.47 ERA

Scouting Report:

Orioles: Guthrie has worked to three straight no-decisions, and he's been bailed out of losses by a pair of late Baltimore comebacks. The right-hander worked into the seventh inning for his third straight start his last time out. Guthrie allowed two home runs in his last start and has allowed five this year, the second-highest total in the league.


Mariners: The 22-year-old right-hander became the first starter to pitch a complete game, throwing 115 pitches in a victory over the Athletics. He threw first-pitch strikes with his fastball and retired 13 of 14 batters he faced from the second through sixth innings. His two-seamer has been his bread-and-butter pitch this season.

April 23
BAL: Daniel Cabrera, RHP, 1-0, 5.16 ERA
SEA: Carlos Silva, RHP, 2-0, 2.79 ERA

Scouting Report:

Orioles: Cabrera has pitched to contact much better in his past two starts, allowing hitters to put his heavy fastball in play. The right-hander has also streamlined his delivery and added a slider to complement his curveball and changeup. Cabrera has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his past two starts, winning one and taking a no-decision.

Mariners: The veteran right-hander has been everything the Mariners had hoped for when they signed him to a lucrative multiyear contract during the offseason. He has won his first three decisions and looked especially sharp in his last start, holding the Athletics to four hits and one run over seven innings. He has worked at least seven full innings in all four of his starts this season.

April 24
BAL: Adam Loewan, LHP, 0-1, 6.23 ERA
SEA: TBA (Erik Bedard's Spot)

Scouting Report:
Orioles: Loewen allowed a three-run home run in the first inning of his last start but calmed down to throw five scoreless innings after that. The southpaw has made it through six innings just once in three starts and has walked more batters (12) than he's struck out (11). Loewen made just six starts before an injury wiped out his 2007 season.

Series Review: M's @ Angels 04/18-20/08

Time to look back and reflect.

April 18
April 19
April 20

The Starting Pitching
Was alright, maybe less so. Miguel Batista pitched a solid 7.2 innings of scoreless work on Sunday. Probably his best start of the season. The rest of the pitching was crap. Maybe that's why the Mariners lost the other two games; THEIR STARTING PITCHING SUCKED!!!!

The Bullpen
The bullpen was too inconsistant these last few games. Yesterday's effort wasn't even worth coming out for. RRS and Aurthor Rhodes each struck out the batter that they each faced. RRS got the save. On Saturday the bullpen was decent. Roy Corcaron has been amazing so far this year. Friday's two innings of relief were fine, if RA Dickey didn't Dickey everything up.

The Offence
Sexson and Beltre showed some rare power. The bats didn't come out, but were allright. They'll need more if they hope to beat the powerfull Angels' bats.

The Defence
Mediocre. Good enough to get through without much difficulty. Nothing overthetop, but nothing underthetop either.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Frank Thomas Released

Time for a non-Mariner story here. The Toronto Blue Jays released slugger Frank Thomas, a day after being benched because of 'lack of production'.

Can we honestly call it 'lack of run production'? It's too bad the Riccardi had to do this. It will leave a black mark on the big guy's Hall of Fame career. I hope he catches on somewhere. Could the Mariners use him as a DH? Yes, I think that they probably could. Why not? Throw a couple million bucks at him. Sounds good. If he is still fit enough to play firstbase, then maybe he could light a fire under Richie Sexson's backside. Maybe DFA Vidro and then sign Thomas? What do you think?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Former Catcher Dies

Former Mariners catcher John Marzano was found dead today at the bottem of the stairs in his South Philadelphia home. There has been no known cause of death yet. Many members of the Seattle Mariners organization has been upset by the loss.

Putz Getting Closer

JJ Putz is getting closer to returning to the bullpen, as he threw 41 pitches in a simulated game on Saturday. Putz hopes he can return on Tuesday when he is eligable to return from the disabled list.

Putz had been sidelined with costochondritis, which is inflammation where cartilage attacthes to a rib.

April 19; Poooooooooooooooor

Wow. Two down to the Angels. It's still early in the season, but these games still count. Especially when the Angels are banged up.

Boxscore.

The Good
What was good? Can Adrian Beltre's homer disguise the fact that the Mariners couldn't do anything offensively? Ray Corcaron pitched two scoreless innings. He walked two and stuck out one. Corcaron has been the best Mariner reliever so far this season in my opinion. Other than those two things, it was pretty much all bad/ugly.

The Bad/Ugly
Jarrod Washburn wasn't ugly, but wasn't good. Four runs over six innings of work isn't what the Mariners needed out of Wash. Ichiro had another 0-for day. The Mariners need more out of him. Same with Ibanez, who has cooled off as of late. There isn't anything else really for me to say. It wasn't good. End of story, or rather, end of post.

April 18 Mariners 1 Less then the Angels

It's too bad Richie Sexson can't play like that everyday...

Boxscore.

The Good
Richie Sexson was amazing yesterday. He hit a pair of longballs, and drove in all four of the Mariners runs. He finished the day 2-4, and didn't strike out. He was pretty much the only Mariner awake once they stepped in to the batter's box. The thing about Richie Sexson, it that he's such a streaky player. A good game here, a week later he has a good game. He has little to no consistancy. That may be something that we follow here. There had to be someone on base for the Sexonian to drive in. Adrian Beltre went 2-4 with a double, and scored one run. Jose Vidro scored the other. He went 1-4.

The bullpen was pretty good pitching a combined two innings of relief for replacement starter RA Dickey. Sean Green struck out the only batter that he faced. Aurthor Rhodes pitched one scoreless inning, allowing only one hit and striking out one. Mark Lowe finished the game pitching two thirds, and striking out one. The Mariners pitching was able to contain Vladimir Guerrero, who finished the day, or night rather, 0-2 with a walk and a run.

Raul Ibanez also threw out Torri Hunter at the plate, and has cooled off remarkably these last few days.

The Bad
Jose Lopez made his second error of the season.

The Ugly
RA Dickey was horrid in his start. He lasted six innings, but gave up five runs on 8 hits and a couple walks. He struck out two and didn't give up any homeruns. I expected more from Dickey. He looked really good this Spring, but that can't really be used as a proper measuring stick, but still. The six innings was fine. It's just the five runs that I can't look past. The Mariners got a good showing from their bullpen and Sexson, but when it comes down to it, Dickey's poor start was the difference.

The rest of the Mariners offence, other than Sexson and Beltre, was terrible. Ichiro, Ibanez, and Vidro each had a single, but they were the only other baserunners that the Mariners had. Hitting homeruns is fine, but with one or none on isn't going to get you very far. It's ironic who the two with the most expectations, Beltre and Sexson, pull through, but nobody else can.

I have to mention that Richie Sexson almost sent the game in to extra innings, with a homerun, that Torri Hunter somehow got to. Terrible news for Sexson who was having a solid day at the plate, but that's why the Angels paid hunter $90M bucks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Series Preview: M's @ Angels 04/18-20/08

The Mariners roll in to Anaheim for a series with their rivals, the Angels.

April 18
SEA: RA Dickey, RHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA
LAA: Joe Saunders, LHP, 2-1, 1.27 ERA

Things to Watch

For the Mariners
The key to this game will be RA Dickey, starting in place of the injured Erik Bedard. If his knuckleball can dance like we've been told that it does, then we may be alright. Unknown yet if Jamie Burke or Kenji Johjima will be catching. Burke appears to be somewhat favoured based on we saw during Spring Training, but it was also said that Joh was catching it allright to. It won't be the bullpen, defence, offence or anything else. If Dickey can't do it, then you can probably kiss this game good-bye.

For the Angels
Get to Dickey early. Bottemline. If Dickey is the key to the Mariners winning, then he will probably be the key to the Mariners losing. Potentially of course.

April 19
SEA: Jarrod Washburn, LHP, 1-2, 3.50 ERA
LAA: Ervin Santana, RHP, 2-0, 3.32 ERA

For the Mariners
Washburn will have to be more efficient. He only lasted six innings, throwing 104 pitches Monday against Kansas City. The Mariners can't overwork the bullpen in April, again. Washburn needs atleast seven innings to truly be effective. Washburn has done allright against his former team, going 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA in seven appearences. Washburn will also need some offensive support. He pitched allright Monday, other than only going six, but needs more than a couple runs to reach some sort of a comfort level.

For the Angels
Ervin Santana will have to be good in order for the Angels to get a win. If he isn't, then they probably won't. It's known that if an Angels starter can make it in to the seventh or eighth inning with a lead, then the game is pretty much wrapped up.

April 20
SEA: Miguel Batista, RHP, 1-2, 6.35 ERA
LAA: Dustin Mosely, RHP, 1-1, 7.80 ERA

For the Mariners
Dustin Mosely isn't off to a hot start, and needs to be jumped on early in order for the Mariners to hace success. His 7.80 ERA proves that he'll give up runs, so all that the Mariners have to do is hit him hard, and he'll crack. Miguel Batista said that he had "a dead arm" after his last start, but says that he's fine. Him getting through the game could be crucial.

For the Angels
Almost the opposite as for the Mariners. Mosely has to have a good start, and finish, getting the ball to Scott Sheilds and Francisco Rodriguez. They also will have to get to Miguel Batista early by working the count and making Batista throw a lot of pitches. Both will be crucial to an Angels victory.

.....Brad Wilkerson

The Brad Wilkerson signing is looking like the Mariners 2008 Carl Everett. He's hit .135/.162./289 in 37 AB's. He has only managed five hits, and only one of which was for extra bases (double). He's managed only a run and four RBI. Terrible. I know he only gets like $3M, and isn't known for much ability, but come on. The eight walks and stolen base are the only somewhat encouraging numbers. He's already struck out NINE TIMES in only TWELVE GAMES. Some interesting stats here: Wilkerson has not gotten a hit during a night game, or against a left handed pitcher. Why can't the Mariners firgure it out yet and put someone else in rightfield. Why not give Wladimir Balentien a chance?

April 16 A's 2 M's 4; Felix Pitches Gem

The Mariners got enough offense to get King Felix the win after he pitched a complete game gem.

Box.

The Good
Felix continued to earn his inheritance as King, pitching a complete game gem, allowing only one run on eight hits and a walk. He struck out eight and now has a season ERA of 1.47. Felix is off to the same type of start as last season, except he was on the DL abou this time last season. Felix looked confident out there, something that I haven't seen enough of. Hopefully he can keep it up.

Four runs was enough to win, and that may be all that really matters. The bats didn't exactly come alive, but rather came out because they had to, and then went back to doing whatever it was that they were doing. Adrian Beltre wacked a couple doubles and scored a run while driving in a run. Raul Ibanez continued his solid start going 3-4 scoring two runs and driving in one. Kenji Johjima was 2-4. The Mariners also turned a pair of doubleplays, which is always good.

The Bad
Yuniesky Betancourt has had better days defensively and baserunning...ly. He made an error and was caught stealing once as well. Minimal problems when looking at the whole picture, but when looking at that small picture, it doesn't look that good.

The Ugly
Brad Wilkerson has sucked it up in his short career with the Mariners. Another unacceptable 0-4 performance. Not to mention that he left four men on base. Wilkerson has to be better, or the Mariners need to replace him. Richie Sexson had a better day than Wilkerson, marginally. He went 1-4 and struck out once. He only left three runners on base though.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Morrow Called Up

In maybe not that surprising of a move, the Mariners called up rehabing Brandon Morrow to fill the roster spot that Erik Bedard left. Although JJ Putz is due to come off the the DL soon.

Morrow may not have all of his control back, as he has walked 6 in only 7.1 IP down in West Tennesee (AA). We've been looking at Morrow's stats over his rehab, and none looked overwhelming, but nevertheless were fine. We'll know pretty soon if Morrow is fine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Series Preview: M's @ A's 4/16-17/08

Time for a look at the next two game set for the Mariners against the Athletics.

What to Watch

April 16

SEA: Felix Hernandez, RHP, 1-0, 1.66 ERA
OAK: Joe Blanton, RHP, 1-2, 4.15 ERA

For the Mariners
King Felix has to be King Felix. The A's could be a bit of a surprise this year, and Joe Blanton is a decent pitcher. Felix has had a solid start to the season, similar to the his start of 2007, and that needs to continue. The bullpen has had a lot of work the past few days and could use a day off.

Once again, the bats need to keep rolling. One run, and then eleven. A little bit too inconsistant. If they can put up 4-6 runs, and Felix pitches pretty good, then the M's could pick up a win.

For the Athletics
The A's have to go out and give a solid effort if they hope to win. They have an explosive young team, that's up against an explosive young pitcher.

April 17

SEA: Carlos Silva, RHP, 2-0, 3.27 ERA
OAK: Lenny DiNardo, LHP, 1-0, 6.75 ERA

For the Mariners
Silva needs to do the same as Felix does; save the bullpen. He put up eight innings of work last time around and picked up a win. If Silva can pitch well, then the Mariners have a chance.

Exactly the same for the hitters. Runs+Good Pitching=Wins.

For The Athletics
The A's have to go out with what they have, which isn't much, and try and get something done. Silva pitches to contact, and gave up 11 hits in his last appearance, in which he allowed three runs. The A's will need to hit the ball hard, and hope to get some men on base and score some runs.

Series Review: Royals @ Mariners 4/14-15/08

Time to look back and reflect on the last two day's games.

April 14
April 15

The Mariners didn't do so well against Zach Greinke. Greinke pitched a one run gem, and that pretty much summed that game up for the Mariners. Maybe a couple runs from today's game would've helped them out. They made up for their offence problems in game 2, but they only come out of it with a split.

Jose Guillen was only mediorce in his return, although he wasn't that much of a star to begin with. The Mariners failed to muster up much offence. One run won't cut it. Eleven will though. Maybe spreading those runs out a little may have been a good idea. Adrian Beltre looked good out there.

Overall, a good performance from the Mariners. They got overmatched by Greinke, but they overmatched John Bale.

April 15; KC 6 SEA 11

The Mariners bats carried them to a split with the Royals in the short two game series.

Boxscore.


The Good
The Mariners bats came alive for a nice eleven runs. Ichiro broke out of his sort-of-slump, going 2-4, scoring two runs and walking twice. He added a double and a stolen base. Jose Lopez went 1-2 and drove in a nice four runs. Richie Sexson scored two runs on two walks. More on him later. Willie Bloomquist went 2-2 with 2 BB, scoring two runs and driving in one. Adrian Beltre went 2-5, scoring one run and stealing a base.


Sean Green pitched two scoreless innings of relief striking out three. Mark Lowe pitched two thirds and gave up nothing. Not bad relief today.


The Bad
The only real bad is that Raul Ibanez went 1-5, left five men on base and struck out three times. Not a typical performance from Ibanez compared to what he's done this season. A little bit of a dissapointing game, but that's only one. The rest of his performances will make up for it.


The Ugly
Here's where the post gets beefy. Miguel Batista was pretty awful, only going five innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and a couple walks. One strikeout, not that it matters, or that Batista is a strikeout pitcher. Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched one inning of awfullness, giving up two runs on three hits and one walk. Bloomquist was caught stealing once, and picked off. One or the other fine, but both? Come on Willie. At the end of the day, the Mariners won, and that's all that matters.

Bedard to DL

The Mariners made the expected move, placing lefty Erik Bedard on the 15 Day DL with hip inflammation. The placement is retroactive to April 9th, so he'll only be on the DL for about a week.

"We have said consistently that we were not going to rush Erik back," Mariners manager John McLaren said in a statement before Tuesday's Royals-Mariners game. "At this point, we thought it made the most sense to go ahead and place him on the DL. It should not change when he's available to make his next start, and gives us the ability to add another player in the meantime."

Bedard had been scratched from his past two starts with the hip problems. No word yet on the severity of the injury.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 13; Angels 10 Mariners 5; Morse Injured

After a dismal performance, and maybe a 'we already won the first two' attitude, the M's lost a tough one to the Angels.

Boxscore.


The Good
Greg Nortan is hitting 1.000. That's good, isn't it? 2-2 with an RBI after replacing Mike Morse in right field in the sixth or seventh. Raul Ibanez stayed hot going 2-5 and knocking in three. Ibanez is an interesting player. He doesn't run, or field particularly well, but the guy can hit. He's off to an amazing start with a .327 AVG. Jose Lopez went 2-4 and scored a couple runs. He's also off to a decent start hitting .333. Jose Vidro went 2-4 and saw average get up to .191. That's pretty amazing. I hope he doesn't keep up like this or the Mariners will never be able to resign him. Wait, why would they want to? Richie Sexson didn't strikeout. That's definitely a good thing. He found himself 1-4 with a run and a walk. Pretty good day by Sexson standards. Brad Wilkerson didn't play, also very good.


Roy Corcaron has been nothing but helpful for the M's. He provided two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only one hit. He still is yet to surrender a run this season. In 6.2 IP that's not bad at all. Considering what other Mariners relievers have done... Eric O'Flaherty picked off Adam Kennedy.


The Bad
Ichiro had another poor showing going 0-3. He did, however walk twice and score a run. He also stole his first base of the season in the second. The fact that it's his first is why it's under 'the bad' column. Miguel Cairo proved his ability to hit once again, going 0-3. He walked once and drove in a run. Jamie Burke's 0-4 performance wasn't that great, but once I add the fact that he left 5 on base, doesn't that make you want to puke?

The Ugly
First, let's start with the Morse-Cairo-Burke chunk in the bottem of the lineup. That was gross. If you're going to give three guys a day off on the same game, then fine, but atleast spread them out through the lineup. The three went 1-9, although Nortan took over for Morse and went 2-2, and was a huge hole in the lineup.

Cha Seung Baek's emergency start for Erik Bedard was awful. He pitched only 4.1 and gave up four runs on seven hits and walked two. He did strike out two, but that's hardly a worthwile stat considering he blew the bullpen for 4.2 innings. Eric O'Flaherty can go and dig himself a hole to sleep in. He was awfuller than Baek, if that's even a word. He got lit up for six runs in 2.2 innings of crap. Eight hits, a homerun. Thank goodness he's off the big club.

Pitchers Called-Up/Sent Down; Morse to DL

News out of Mariners camp today as the club made a few roster moves.

We'll start with the pitching. Eric O'Flaherty, who has been awful to start the season with a 20.25 ERA, was sent down to Tacoma. And filling his roster place will be the knuckleballer RA Dickey, who was amazing in Spring, and was the club's final roster cut, who was called up. Aurthor Rhodes was called up to help bolster the bullpen, something that probably should have happened a while ago.

The only position player on the move, was Mike Morse, who after disclocating his shoulder diving for a ball in the sixth inning of yesterday's game, was placed on the 15 Day DL.

There shouldn't be too much of a problem with any of these. The Mariners kick a pitcher who has done poorly down to AAA, and add to a bullpen that is already fatigued. The Morse injury may hurt a little bit, but the Mariners have other players who are capable of pinch hitting.

Poll Results: Who Will Lose Their Job First?

Here are the results from our most recent poll.

Jose Lopez 1-9%
Jose Vidro 1-9%
Richie Sexson 5-45%
Brad Wilkerson 3-27
Miguel Batista 1-9%
Raul Ibanez 0-0%

Looks like you readers think that Sexson and Wilkerson will be the first ones out, and I have to say that I agree with you. I thought that the two Jose's would get a little more love, but atleast Ibanez didn't get any votes. He's off to a solid start isn't he?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Series Preview: M's vs. Kansas City; April 14-15

Kansas City rolls in to town for a short two game set against the Mariners. Which will also mark Jose Guillen's first visit back after signing with KC in the offseason.

Things to Watch

April 14
KC: Zack Greinke, RHP, 2-0, 0.60 ERA
SEA: Jarrod Washburn, LHP, 1-1, 3.00 ERA

For the Royals:
Is Zach Greinke for real? The once highly touted prospect's stock has fallen rediculously over the past couple seasons. Sure, he could be just off to a hot start, but that's where the question comes in; Is he for real? I've nothing aganst Kansas City, but they don't have an offense equal to that of the NY Yankees, or that I've noticed, a superlative defense. They have a good bullpen, but nothing that would blow my mind away. With that in mind, the stats show that Greinke has just pitched really well to start the season. If he can come in and pitch like that again, then the Mariners may be in some trouble. Maybe it's the year that Greinke turns it around.

Jose Guillen probably knows the Mariners pretty well after spending a season here, and things probably have changed, but he would tip the Royals off in any way he could. I just want to say that he may have sort of an inside edge for the Royals in this series. Guillen hasn't been phenomanel at Safeco, and that's hard for a power hitter to do. But the fact that he played half a year under John McLaren makes me think a little bit.

For the Mariners:
Jarrod Washburn seems to be the main variable in an equation equaling Mariners success. He's handled the Royals pretty well in his career, going 8-4 with a 3.36 ERA. His career 15-18 record at Safeco don't quite coincide with the how spacious the park is. Regardless, it's tough to hit homeruns at Safeco, and with Ichiro patrolling center, getting extra bases aren't that easy to come by either. If Washburn can come in and pitched well enough to get in to the seventh inning, with a lead, or not enough of a deffecit that would disable the Mariners a comeback, then the Mariners may have game one in good shape.

The Mariners need to keep the offence rolling. After scoring eight runs in the first two games of their series with the Angels, they have shown that they are capable of scoring. That will need to carry over because the Royals have an explosive young lineup. Two runs probably won't suffice unless Washburn pitches a gem, but atleast 4-5 would allow the Mariners come wiggle room. Although 8 or 9 would be very nice...

April 15
KC: John Bale, LHP, 0-2, 5.84 ERA
SEA: Miguel Batista, RHP, 0-2, 6.00 ERA

For the Royals:
The Royals need to help out their young starter in any way possible, and they could very well do that. It's interesting to watch how young teams respond to the stimuli that is around them. Meaning that this game could be interesting. Bale looks like he could have success, but scoring some early runs and playing solid defence could give him a boost needed to get the win and his ERA down.

For the Mariners:
Pretty much the same. They have to help out Batista by scoring runs early. And the earlier the better. Batista was sort of in an awkward place after starting a couple days previous to getting a save, and then starting again after. That can't be a factor if Batista wants to have success. If he can stay on top of his game, then he'll have success. Focus is a key.

Hopefully Adrian Beltre's latest set back isn't much of a problem. If not, then his fill-in will be a concern. Naturally, Miguel Cairo, Willie Bloomquist or Mike Morse could play third, but none of the three are as good as Beltre defensively or offensively. Getting Beltre back healthy will be a key.

Killer B's Hurting

The Mariners made two scratches prior to today's game.

Erik Bedard, who already has missed one start because of hip inflammation will be missing his schedualed start today as well. No word on what will happen now that he's missed two consecutive starts. The Mariners are saying that they are being very precautiuos, so they might be looked too hard at the injury, but that's good as long as the injury doesn't show up three months from now.

Adrian Beltre was the other scratch, and he will miss today's game with tightness in right hamstring. When I read the title at Geoff Baker's blog, I thought that his thumb injury was coming back, but that doesn't appear to be the case. This injury doesn't seem too major, and Beltre should be back out there again for the next game.

April 12; Mariners 8 Angels 3

Another eight run effort gives the Mariners a chance at a sweep today.

Boxscore.

The Good
Richie Sexson had a very good game hitting his second home run of the season off of Jon Garland in the fifth. He went 2-4 adding a single to his home run. He also a a couple of RBI's. Although he did leave three men on base. Coming up on two weeks in the season and Sexson has two homeruns. I guess it could be worse, but how much better do we need it? He's hitting .244 so far this season, which is an improvement. I keep having to remind myself that it's only two weeks in to the season. Raul Ibanez also hit a homerun, his fifth of the season in the eighth inning. He also went 2-4, adding a triple, something almost unheard of for the sluggish Ibanez. He drove in three and walked once. He only left one man on base. Adrian Beltre had a nice 2-5 showing, hitting a pair of doubles, but struck out twice and left three runners on base. Jose Lopez went 2-5 and scored a couple runs. Yuniesky Betancourt also went 2-4 and scored a run.

Carlos Silva gave the Mariners a solid eight innings of work, allowing three runs on eleven hits. He walked only one, but didn't srtike out any. He did give up a homerun though. Silva is now 2-0 on the season, and has done well so far. His 3.27 ERA to start the season looks somewhat promising. Sean Green didn't blow it in the ninth for the Mariners, holding the Angels to one hit while walking and striking out one. Overall a very good performance from the Mariners pitchers. Only one inning didn't from the relievers is very nice. I'd like to see the 12 hits go down, but the two only let in three, and the Mariners won, so I'm not going to be picky.

The fielding was solid. No errors, and three double plays were turned. Ichiro also had an outfield assist.

The Bad
Ichiro's 1-5 performance isn't bad, but it is closer to bad then good. He struck out once as well. Not very Ichiro-like. He's off to a slow start with a .269 AVG. Ichiro has a nice five year deal now, so there isn't the pressure to perform. He'll probably turn a .300 AVG by the end of this season. It would be nice to see him get over the .350 mark, even nicer to get over .400 and enter Ted Williams territory, but that's a pipedream. Or is it?

Kenji Johjima is off to a terrible start, after being regarded as one of the top offensive catchers in baseball. He had a 1-4 day, which helped him improve his season average to .118. Not what I'd expect from Joh to start the season, with his impending free agency, and the fact that Clement is ready to take over for him.

The Ugly
Brad Wilkerson. Those two words say it all. He did get a hit, but went 1-4, and left three men on base, and struck out once. He's only hitting .161 on the season, and has shown little to know power. I'm not saying that I expected a .400 AVG and 40 HR, but I have no confidance in him right now. He hasn't proved anything to me yet, so why should I?

Friday, April 11, 2008

4/11 "April Baseball, October Intensity"

I had to use this headline for the Mariners 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California. Yes, it is April Baseball, seeing as it's April 11, and it is in fact, baseball that they are playing out there. Not hockey, not soccer, not football either for you, sportally challenged people, but B-A-S-E-B-A-L-L. The October Intensity part I don't quite get. For one, Safeco Field didn't have 50-something thousand people screaming. For two, not many players, or people for that matter have woken up yet and realized, "hey, it's baseball season". Not many players come out of Spring Training and are full of energy. Especially when they go from 80-90 degree weather in Arizona, to 40-50 degree weather in Seattle. I'm sorry MLB.com, but I just don't get the headline. Anyways, now that I've wasted about a minute of your time, and like five minutes of mine, time to the recap. I'm going to do things a little but differently this time and see how it goes.

The Good
The Mariners won, which is always good, is it not? They beat a division rival, and got what could prove to be an important win come September, because it was such an intense game tonight. Raul Ibanez hit a pair of solo jacks off of the good Weaver, who wasn't so good tonight. Ibanez finished the night 3-4 with 3 RBI and a walk. Yuniesky Betancourt hit his first triple of the season. He should have a few by the end of the summer. He has the wheels, but hasn't really used them lately. He finished the day 1-4 with an RBI.

Mark Lowe figured out that he was playing baseball and not the Nintendo version. He pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up only a hit to pick up his first save of the season. Sean Green picked up his second 'hold' of the season. To me, that's a useless stat that some bored old man (who may have been under the influence of something, uhhh peer pressure I mean) thought up to make the title of 'Set-Up Man' seem more attractive. Although it is an important job, why do the need to get holds. I guess it makes sense, but it's just another one of the useless stats that have very little meaning or impact on the game of baseball. It makes Sean Green's 3.38 ERA a week in look better next to two 'holds'.
The Bad
Felix Hernendez' stats. They weren't too bad, but giving up four runs on nine hits in 6.2 IP isn't great. Definitely not quite the typical day in the office for a King.




The defence was, well, not good. Two errors is not a step in the right direction. That adds up to a total of 12 errors so far in 11 games this season. Richie Sexson made a fielding error, and Sean Green made a throwing error. I guess neither of which were game changing moments, but they are moments that don't need to happen. We all know that Sexson isn't very good defensively, or at all, and Green probably isn't the best fielder, but I thought that that was what the off-season and Spring Training were for. Getting better at what you sucked at. I can't think of any other way to put it. Well, I guess there is, but... Errors are just little things that add up. One here, another there. Most people don't think much about it, but they do add up. Now we are looking at a runner at second or third. Or a run scored, that could CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME.

Ichiro had an unIchiro-like game going 1-5 with a double and a run scored. He struck out twice and saw his season average fall to .277. Yes, Ichiro may or may not be human, so he may or may not make mistakes. It's just that he usually has something that makes you think 'man, that guy is good' at each game. He scored a run. He hit a double. I want to here he stole a couple bases. He hit a triple. He gunned out a guy at the plate. He made a fantastic catch in the outfield. The fact is, Ichiro is one of the best to ever put on a jock and adjust it repeatedly over the course of a game. I'll let this game go, but I expect a 5-5 performance tomorrow. I hope you know that I'm kidding about that demand. Although it would be nice.

The Ugly
The attendance. Wow. Only 28,915 showed up to watch the Mariners play a division rival, and two of the best young pitchers in the game (PI thinks so, and so do I). On a Friday night that was a not too chilly around 50-60 degrees. It was clear, so the roof would be open. Beautiful night for baseball. I can't believe that they didn't crack atleast 30,000 tonight. I want to say that it's embarrasing...Here I go. Back to the headline thing. You know what? I'll let you figure out that I'm right, because Safeco was only filled to half capacity, or so. Once again, I have proved someone wrong.

Around the League: April 11, 2008

Today's MLB news and notes.
  • The MLB instituted a new drug policy today. Of significance: there will be an extra 600 tests each year, pn average 3 more per player; more substances were added to the banned list.
  • D'Backs pitcher Doug Davis has began his treatment for cancer. He is now at home after having a cancerous thyroid in his neck removed. Best case scenario is four to six weeks, but with cancer... I really feel bad for this guy.
  • Some scores to pass along. CHC 3 PHI 5; CIN 0 PIT 1; NYY 4 BOS 1; OAK 9 CLE 7; BAL 5 TB 10; MIL 2 NYM 4; ATL 3 WSH 0; FLA 10 HOU 6; TOR 8 TEX 5; MIN 5 KC 0; DET 5 CWS 2; COL 2 ARI 8; STL 8 SF 2; SD 5 LA 4 (7th).

Jimerson DFA'd; Nortan Called Up

This has been tossed around a bit today, but it's all true. Time to round up all of this crap.
  • USSMariner first came out saying that Greg Nortan had been called up.
  • Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider came out after saying that Nortan was with the team, and Jimerson was on the way out. He also mentioned that Jimerson might pass through waivers, allowing the M's to send him to Tacoma.
  • Bob Condotta, filling in for Geoff Baker, comfirming that Nortan has come up, and Jimerson was DFA'd, meaning the M's have 10 days to make a decision on him. He says that he's not sure if he'll accept a demotion to AAA. I can't think of any teams that need a fourth or fifth outfielder. He could catch on somewhere I guess.
  • Now, the Mariners 'Official' Site comes out and confirm, confirms all of this, so Nortan is on the bench, and Jimerson is on his couch.

Series Preview: 4/11-13/08

The LA Angels of Anaheim come in to town in an epic showdown. Maybe if it were September or October.

Probable Starters:
4/11 - Felix Hernandez vs. Jered Weaver
4/12 - Carlos Silva vs. Jon Garland
4/13 - Erik Bedard vs. Joe Saunders

Keys to the Series

Good Starts from the Starters
The M's have had some solid success from their rotation and that needs to keep up. Their bullpen has been a question mark ever since JJ went down. The less they need to use it, especially this early, the better.

Go After Injury Replacements
The Halos are without their top two pitchers, so the Mariners have to take advantage. Saunders will be the only real injury replacement, but I think that you get the point. Garland hasn't faired too well so far with the Angels. Jered Weaver has the tools, but hasn't quite proven it yet. If the Mariners can jump on these guys and get in to the bullpen early, then they will have to deal with Scott Shields and Francisco Rodrigeuz in the eighth and ninth.

Time to Drink a Diet Pepsi
Atleast Brad Wilkerson needs to. His .125 BA in 24 AB's isn't very good. He only has two RBI's and has struck out seven times in eight games. He's also walked seven times though. The Mariners don't expect a .345 BA and 40 HR from Wilkerson, but he needs to wake up and prove he's worth it, or he'll be on the road out.

These Games do Count
Hey, it may be April, but losing a couple games here to the Angels could come back to haunt them come September and the playoff pinch comes in to play.

The Mariners need to go out and put forth a good effort. A little luck probably helps too.

Series Review: M's @ Rays; 4/8-10/08

I've got some catching up to do. First let's look at the Mariners vs. the Rays.

April 8
April 9
April 10

Get Over It
You tell me. Two wins and a blowout? It looks like they got over it, other than yesterday's game, but they will have to get over that too. They looked like they were a team that needed to win, and they did. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

DON'T Take a Breather
The M's came out and put up a solid effort in the first two. Although I don't know what happened in the third game though.

At the end of the day, which is one of the sayings that I cannot stand, the Mariners won two out of the three games. Good-decent effort from everyone. I can't complain.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Around the League: April 9, 2008

I haven't been keeping up with these lately, but I'm back on track. Although posting may become scattered over the next while.
  • The Mets are believed to be close to signing free agent pitcher Claudio Vargas to a minor league deal. He would likely make a few starts at AAA before he gets called up.
  • The Oakland A's designated Dan Johnson for assignment to make room for pitcher Greg Smith who started the A's game against the Blue Jays today. There's a rumor out there that Johnson is close to being acquired by the San Francisco Giants, where he will get many oppurtunities with all of the Giants holes.
  • D'Backs 2B Orlando Hudson wants $15M a season, or Chase Utley money. Will he get it? I doubt it, but he could pickup upwards of $10M in free agency.
  • Some scores to pass along. CLE 5 LAA 9; LAD 3 ARI 4; CHC 6 PIT 4; DET 7 BOS 2; OAK 6 TOR 3; FLA 10 WSH 4; PHI 2 NYM 8; BAL @ TEX PPD; CIN 12 MIL 4; STL 6 HOU 4; NYY 4 KC 0; MIN 12 CWS 5; ATL 6 COL 12; SD 0 SF 1.

Brandon Morrow Rehab Watch; April 9/08

I took a look at Brandon Morrow a few days ago, so it's time for an update.

G: 4 IP: 4.2 W-L: 0-0 S: 0 ERA: 0.00 H: 3 K: 7 BB: 4 WHIP: 1.50

Not too much had changed as of today. He's thrown a couple more innings which is good. I like the seven strikeouts, but am not a huge fan of the walk per inning rate he has going. Don't worry because that will get down. That may be one of the targets that the Mariners have for Morrow before he gets called up. The ERA of 0.00 is good, and his WHIP is alright also. Still, too early, but once he gets to 15-20 IP, then will a decision be made? Or not made?

Injured Hurler Watch

As I may or may not have mentioned in the past, I've said that I was going to expand and go down to the minors and dig up a few things. Today, or more specifically right now, we are going to look at what the Mariners' pitchers coming off of injuries have down with the Tacoma Rainiers (AAA).

Jon Huber
G: 2 IP: 2.1 ERA: 0.00 W-L: 0-0 S: 1 K: 2 BB: 1
Huber is still a little while away from a call-up, but with the Mariners current relief situation, he may be closer than you think. So far, Huber has pitched good, although 2.1 IP isn't the best measuring stick.

Author Rhodes
Status: DL
Rhodes is still out with an arm injury, and will take atleast a couple weeks after his return before the Mariners give him a serious look.

Denny Stark
Status: DL
Stark was brought in a while ago, and probably won't be getting many looks from the big club any time soon.

That's how it's going to look folks. As I do a few of these, they will likely improve, so stay tuned.

April 9; Two In a Row

The M's made it two in a row with their 7-1 win over the Rays. Some solid starting pitching combining with a strong offensive output, and more importantly a mistake free bullpen.

Boxscore.

Game Notes

Jarrod Washburn pitched seven innings, his only blemish being an RBI double to Justin Ruggiano in the third inning. Washburn gave up six hits and walked one, while fanning a pair of Rays. Ryan Rowland-Smith came in and pitched a one hit eighth, striking out one as well. Sean Green had the same line as RRS in his ninth inning appearence.

The offense came out and took the Rays' pitching deep twice. Beltre with a solo shot, and Burke with a three run bomb. Ichiro hit his first two bagger of the season. He finished 1-5 on the day. Beltre went 2-5 with the homerun mentioned. Jamie Burke had a solid day at the plate going 2-3 while driving in three and scoring two. He also drew a walk. Richie Sexson's line really takes away from what was a solid offensive showing throughout the lineup. The Big Strikeout went 0-4, and scored a couple runs on a walk. He struck out three times. Another three K's for Sexson. If he had a hit or two, or atleast a couple RBI's, I'd look past that atrocious stat. Jose Lopez stole his second base of the season.

Miguel Batista will take the mound in the final game of this three game set tomorrow against Edwin Jackson.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mariners Finally Win

Wow. Finally the Mariners pulled their heads out, and W-O-N.


Boxscore.


Game Notes


What a difference one game makes. I'm still somewhat skeptical though. I have to keep reminding myself that it's only just over a week in to the season.


Erik Bedard came out, well pitching. Six innings of work, 3 earned runs, 5 runs allowed. Five hits, four BB's. Roy Corcoran came in and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless work, allowing only one hit and walked one. He also had a pair of strikeouts. His ERA is still 0.00. Ryan Rowland-Smith cam in and finished off the 1.2 innings to get his first save of the season. He had a couple of strikeouts.


Ichiro went 3-5 and scored a pair of runs. Jose Lopez also went 3-5 and scored once, and drove in one. Richie Sexson went 2-4 and brought in three, and DIDN'T STRIKEOUT. Yuni went 2-4 and scored twice. Adrian Beltre went 1-5, and left 7 men on base.

Atleast the boys came out and gave it a good effort. A much needed win, and momentum boost going in to tomorrow's game.

Series Preview: M's @ Rays; 4/8-10/08

Time for a bounce back after a terrible series. Interesting stat: The Orioles are 6-1 and the Marienrs are 2-5 (before today).

Projected Starters:
4/08 - Erik Bedard vs. Matt Garza
4/09 - Jarrod Washburn vs. Andy Sonnanstine
4/10 - Miguel Batista vs. Edwin Jackson

Keys to the Series

Get Over It
The M's have to keep a short memory, and start over again. Maybe we could give them all concussions to forget their most recent memories.

DON'T Take a Breather
The Mariners can't go in to Tampa and think 'let's take it easy because this team sucks'. The Rays have a talented team, that is very energetic. The M's need to go out and put out, not a 'good' effort, but a 'worked-your-butt-off' effort.

Other then that, there's not much else. Better pitching management would be ideal, but let's not live in a fantasy world.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Series Review: M's @ Orioles; 4/4-7/08

Absolutely puke worthy. I almost puked in my Mariners hat and sent it to Bill Bavasi, actually, he hasn't done anything wrong. Mac can take care of it. When I previewed this, I wasn't anticipating such, awfulness.

April 4
April 5
April 6
April 7

Watch Out for the Fearsome Lineup
My sarcasm turned out to hurt someone after all, well 25 I guess. Probably 30 once you add in the coaching staff and whatever else. I can't say that the starters didn't do their jobs. The bullpen was crap.

Put Runs Up Early
Again, the poor bullpen and end result overrules the fact that the Mariners did alright in this category.

Plate Discipline
See above. Richie Sexson struck out a couple less times and walked as well. Moving in the right direction in less ways then more.

Take a Breather
I didn't mean completely give up. I meant relax a little now that Opening Day is done with and the fact that you were playing in Baltimore. Man, maybe a wasn't clear enough in my title.

04.07.08 Mariners 4 Baltinomore 5

Boxscore.

Ichiro and Ibanez hit homeruns. Silva pitched all right. Lookout Landing sums the rest up. Absolutely embarresing. Four game sweep. Disgusting.

Mariners Talking With Felix, Again

Larry Stone comes in to tell us that the Mariners have once again approached Felix Hernendez about a contract extension. That's just about all that I can say really. No numbers have really been thrown around, but it would cover his arbitration years, and maybe beyond. So, with that remark, it would be a 4-7 year deal probably. No Johan Santana money yet, but atleast upwards of $5M a year. I'd look up some comparables, but I really don't feel like it right now.