g88 | too little, too late … once again

Mariners 2 | Rangers 3

Millwood scattered hits (he gave up 8 of the Rangers 9 total) but kept them in it.
The bp, as per usual of late, was great.

Holland, as per usual (except for that 21-run salute back in May) had them stymied – giving up only FOUR hits over SEVEN plus innings. The M’s had SEVEN hits to the Rangers NINE – trouble was, TWO of theirs were for extra bases and NONE of the M’s hits were.

The rally was good to see but, a convergence of mis-cues on a Saunders grounder that flummoxed Michael Young accounted for only one run scoring with two outs, instead of two runs scoring with only one out. You can’t assume that if one play is executed differently that the rest of the game would play out the same but, had Smoak and Datz been confident that he would score (which, in hind sight, they both agree he would have) then Jaso would have been the one to score on the subsequent wild pitch and the result, at worst, would have been extries.

woulda, coulda, shoulda.

M’s have a 5-6 record in the season series with the Rangers, but have outscored them by 59-45. Granted, the 21-run rout skews those totals but, even if you remove it from the equation, the M’s are hanging with them scoring 38 to the Rangers 37….

in M’s losses to the Rangers – one by 6, three by 2 and two by 1
in M’s wins over the Rangers – one by 13, one by 7, one by 5, one by 2, one by 1

M’s re-signed David Pauley…
he joined the Rainiers today.

July … sorta made me cry

July Tid-Bits
  • 17 will get you 20 – the 17 game losing streak gave the M’s a 6-20 mark for the month of July
  • Still last in nearly every major offensive category
  • And, even the pitching fell apart – 2nd highest ERA in the AL
  • -54 run differential for the month, -67 overall
OK, we all know the sad story about the abysmal offense as a whole so, let’s focus on the successes, shall we?  Two Mariners batted .300+ in the month of July…
they would be: Dustin (.308) and Mike (.349) each with a triple and Dustin also led the team in doubles (8) and homers (3).
Usually, we’ve at least got pitching to brag about.  Not this month.  The M’s starters combined for a 5-16 record.  Newbie, Blake Beavan performed the best of the rotation, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.03ERA.  Felix and Fister each had sub-4 ERA’s, but, for them not too stellar (poor Doug – 0-4 through really no fault of his own).  And then there’s Jason … who just flat out imploded in July.
Brandon only had 7 appearances in July – converting 3 of 4 save opportunities (one blown, but got the win) and posting a 1.79 ERA for the month.  He has recovered nicely from that rough patch in May, lowering his overall ERA to just a smidge over 3, while most of the other relievers saw their ERAs go the wrong direction in July.
One offensive area the M’s excelled at in July – thievery!
Ichiro, Guti, Brendan and Chone combined for 22 stolen bases.
M’s had 27 total in July – tied for 3rd in the AL
No question about the hitting star…
Dustin Ackley! (see above)
The pitcher is less clear, I’ll call it a tie between a couple “B’s”…
Brandon and Blake.  The closer helped the M’s to 4  of their 6 victories (3 saves and a win) and the rookie only notched one win (vs the Pads) but, showed a LOT of poise against some good to great teams –
Angels, Rangers and Red Sox.

It’s always sad to see guys go but, I understand the reasoning.  Best of luck to Doug Fister and David Pauley with the Tiggers and Erik Bedard with the Red Sox.  Here’s hoping they all pitch well, stay healthy and really contribute to their new teams – who both appear likely headed for post season play!

Definitely glad to turn the Calendar to August!

bye-bye David and Doug

It was announced earlier this morning that the Mariners have acquired LHP Charlie Furbush, OF Casper Wells, INF Francisco Martinez and a PTBNL from Detroit for RHP’s Doug Fister and David Pauley

Jack Z was on with John Clayton on 710 ESPN and had the following to say about the players acquired…

Most recently has pitched out of the Tiger bullpen but, has been a starter throughout college (LSU) and in pro-ball (moved very quickly in the minors from A to AAA).  His fastball is up to 93, good breaking ball and nice change up.  The M’s are going to give him a chance to start (will be on the 25-man and in uniform by Sunday) and the worst case is he’s a lefty out of the ‘pen.

Have been seeking a right-handed hitter since …. forever.  He has hit well vs. left-handers, has a nice ratio of extra base hits, can run and throw and needs a chance to play.  Tough guy.

20 year old, 5-tool player currently playing in AA.  Very athletic with good size and the kind of frame to add weight.  Real upside, Tigers 4th best prospect at the start of the season – Tigers didn’t want to give him up – been talking for 2 weeks.

“a pretty significant part of the deal” – they like all the possibilites – to be named on or before Aug 20th
(some speculation I’ve read, is that the PTBNL may be one of the following who were signed by the Tigers last August 17th and can’t be traded for a year … 3B Nick Castellanos, RHP Chance Ruffin, LHP Drew Smyly) 

Also, Jack said David and Doug he personally wished them well in going to a contending team and told them they’d have a great time with Jim Leyland.  He felt it was a “good, old-fashioned” trade that was a win-win.

May Day, May Day!

May Totals
  • 15 wins – 11 losses
  • 2.82 ERA – FIRST in the MAJORS
  • .228 BA – LAST in the MAJORS
  • 20 -11 since April 26th (best record in the Majors during that stretch)
  • +4 run differential – at least it’s positive, first time since April 2010
You wonder … they REALLY posted a winning month?
They are dead last in: BA, BB, RBI, R and HR.  I was especially surprised to see that they went from first to worst in the walk category.  While there are those who have picked up their average pretty significantly (Ryan, Kennedy, Cust and Olivo) everyone else (except Jack Wilson) have dropped significantly.  As a conciliation, they do have the second fewest GDIP and are top six in sac hits and sac flys (as evidenced in the Yankee series).
Now HERE is where they shine!
The rotation had quite a roll in mid-May – at one point they had NINE straight starts of at least SEVEN innings pitched and giving up less than TWO runs.  All stayed on turn (‘cept for the slight weather issue in, where else? Cleveland).  Felix made SIX starts, the others made FIVE.  All posted an ERA under FOUR for the month, Michael was under THREE and Erik (on fire!) under TWO.
After some serious downs, it’s been nothing but up.
Brandon ran into a little pot hole (OK, it was more like a crater) when he lost a game in a non-save situation and then blew THREE saves in-a-row.  But, Wedge stuck with him and he has recovered very nicely.  He has pitched EIGHT innings since the last blown save, has not given up a run, walked TWO and chalked up SIX saves in as many opportunities and as May ended he was the league leader in saves.
The rest of the pen, well … can you say stellar?  Wright, Laffey and Pauley have been pitching out of their minds – all threw double-digit innings in May and posted 2.19, 1.74 and 0.56 ERAs respectively.  Chris Ray has also come around nicely after a shaky start to the season and, the new guy, Jeff Gray has proven useful as well.
The defense overall has improved….
Nothing super spectacular, just solid.  They posted the third fewes errors for the month and were tied for fourth in most double plays turned.  Michael did a great job filling in defensively for Guti ~ but man-oh-man does it feel good and comforting to have him back in his rightful place in centerfield.
Base running pretty solid as well…
M’s had 43 stolen bases in May, just above league average.  They seem to do a pretty good job of going first to third when they get the opportunity and don’t often make silly mistakes (like last year).  Still waiting for a run on a squeeze play though – one of my favorites.
David Pauley
How can anyone not pick him?  In SIXTEEN innings pitched he allowed TWELVE hits, NO walks, ONE run and picked up TWO holds and FOUR wins.  Nice little resurgence for the journeyman.  And, even though he’s already pitched 33 innings, he should be okay, because prepared for the season as a starter.
Brendan Ryan
Pleased as punch to award it to him ~ I’ve been pulling for him to contribute ON the field because I love what he’s about OFF the field (reminds me a bit of Jay Buhner).  Brendan really stepped up his game this month, both defensively and offensively.  He’s been playing solid shortstop and raised his batting average about 90 points – he had an ELEVEN game hitting streak (just broken on June 1st).  He was tied for team lead in batting average and tied for second in team RBI.  There is no doubt he leads the team in energy and accountability.
Honorable Mentions
~ Jack Cust – hit his first home run, led the team in doubles for the month and hit a respectable .272
~ Justin Smoak – although his average dropped way down, he still lead the team in RBI and homers
~ The Entire Bullpen – Brandon for righting himself, everyone else for being generally awesome.

Well, it’s been a month of Sundays and then some…

Whadaya know? the M’s aren’t last in every offensive category…
Thank you Minnesota Twins!  In fact, they aren’t last on their own in any offensive category (they are, however, in a 3-way tie for last in triples).  Okay, so they’re hardly lighting the world on fire with their bats, with their highest AL ranking in any major offensive category being 9th (in 2B and OBP).

But hey, here’s a new one – they lead the MAJORS in walks (with NINE of the bases-loaded variety)!  Who saw that coming?

The mound presence is generally good to great…
The staff is a tad better than league average in most pitching categories (e.g., ERA, QS, BB, SO).  Overall, the starters are doing better than the relievers, although the bullpen is really rounding into form of late.  They have had a couple of double-digit scoreless innings streaks already and Brandon is holding down the fort for the DA just fine – 7 for 7 in save opportunities.  David Pauley and Jamey Wright have been nothing short of stellar and Aaron Laffey has also been a nice surprise. Tom “the bartender” Wilhelmsen has had some nice moments, but needs to be more consistent.

The blemishes have been Josh Lueke and Chris Ray.  Josh struggled so much, he’s already in Tacoma where, hopefully, he’ll get the work and experience he needs to get back to the big club.  Ray hasn’t pitched since April 11th and has an ERA north of 14.

The defense has been disappointing, to say the least…
Outfield – let’s just say they miss Franklin Gutierrez.  A LOT (btw – he played in his first rehab start in Tacoma tonight and had a triple in a 12-6 win!), here’s hoping he’ll be back soon.  Ichiro hasn’t been his usual stellar self in the field (sun balls are the killer) and Michael’s still learning.  Mlton can run a ball down decently and his arm strength is OK, but his accuracy leaves a bit to be desired.

Infield – Justin gets high marks, he’s been doing great.  Jack looks great at times and like he’s still adjusting in others.  Brendan (much as I love his personality) has been a bit of a disappointment – he’s made some good plays but he’s also booted some pretty routine ones.  Same can be said of Figgy at third.  Miggy has been OK behind the plate and seems to work with the pitchers fairly well.  It’s fun to see him block the plate with a runner barreling home.

Running the bases – I don’t recall a lot of stupid outs on the bases (like last year) but there hasn’t been as much running as I’d like to see either.

Really hoping they start pulling things together in this area.  It’s one thing not to score runs in bunches (we all knew that was doubtful) but it’s quite another to not play well in the field – this group is MORE than capable.  Here’s to marked improvement as we move through the spring.

Aside from the aforementioned bullpen stars (Brandon, David, Aaron, Jamey) here are my April stars…

Michael Pineda… 
He’s been WAY more than we could have hoped for this early.  Not only has he been the M’s best pitcher so far (yes – besting Felix!) at 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA, he’s the 4th pitcher in Major League history win 4 consecutive starts in April!  And, he’s done it with such poise, certainly not looking much like a rookie.

Justin Smoak…  
He was off to a good start before the terrible personal tragedy of his father’s death.  When he came back, it was almost like he’d never left.  Having not yet lost a parent, it’s hard to imagine what he’s going through at such a young age – to lose someone so close, who had such a large part in the development of the skills he used to attain his dream – pretty incomprehensible.  But, so far, he seems to have been able to channel his love and grief in a direction that has helped his team and honored his father.  More than commendable.

ST26 | vs. Rangers

Mariners 4 | Rangers 5

French gave up a lot of hits (NINE) in FIVE innings allowing THREE runs, ONE walk and ZERO K’s.  The “W’s” (Wilhelmsen and Wright) continued to cruise through spring and the “P’s” (Pauley and Patterson) each gave up ONE run (Patterson’s coming in the 10th as the winning run for the Rangers)

Figgy hit his first homer of the spring in the first inning with Ichiro on base.  Bradley singled, moved to second when Cust grounded out and scored on Langerhans single.  Then the lull began, as only TWO player reached base (and NONE scored) until Seager homered in the 8th to tie the game at four.

DEFENSE LOOKING SOLID (even the backups)
Heard most of the game on the radio today (a rarity) and the guys seemed pretty pumped about the D.  Only ONE double play, but Moore recorded a pick-off and Josh Wilson made some nifty plays at 2B.


ST15 | vs. Cubbies

Mariners 5 | Cubs 3

giving up TWO runs and THREE walks but, he did get through 4.1 innings and the rest of the staff only gave up ONE more run.  Pauley issued ONE walk but, ended up striking out the side in his ONE inning of work.

THREE stolen bases today and TWO double plays!