Mariners Musings

Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White

Saturday, April 12, 2003


Unacceptable. Un-freaking-acceptable. David Pinto makes an astute observation about the M's half-offense, one that I'd like get into more detail here over the weekend when I get finally some time to myself. For now, let's talk about Chan Ho Park. I don't think its a stretch calling him easily the biggest free agent bust in baseball history. In 5 innings last night, Park allowed 3 hits and walked 7. His first 7 pitches in the first were balls. He walked the bases loaded in not just the first, but also the second inning. He threw merely 55% of his pitches for strikes, and the M's managed only 1 run off of him. You know, I can excuse the losses to Hudson and Zito, even Washburn and Appier this week. But this is pathetic. Raffy Palmeiro did again what he always does at Safeco. He's got a 1.008 OPS with 11 home runs for his career at Safeco Field. Freddy also went 5 innings, allowed the 4 runs. On the bright side, he struck out 4 and walked only 1. On the not so bright side, the only threw out 60% of his pitches for strikes.

As ugly as it was, it's in the past so let's move on. Today it's young 'uns Ryan Drese and Gil Meche. Mariners, remember the mantra from the evil dojo in The Karate Kid: "Strike first! Strike hard! No mercy, sir!"
|| Peter @ 4/12/2003

Friday, April 11, 2003


The first M's game on free TV on I got to catch a couple of innings, Fullmer's blast deep into the right field seats, pop up after pop up after pop up induced by Washburn and Willie's stand up triple. In his 8 innings (or 24 outs), Washburn struck out 1; there were 5 ground balls and 18 fly balls. In a park like Safeco, that's just not fair. Now for a team with a .679 OPS going into tonight's game, is there anything more sweet to the ears than the name Chan Ho Park? And will Park even make it out of the 3rd inning?
|| Peter @ 4/11/2003

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


Beats me who that imposter was last week, but Jamie Moyer pitched a gem and lowered his ERA by nearly 2/3rds with 7 innings, 4 hits, zero runs, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. The World Champ Angels sure looked sloppy with those pair of errors that scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth. And just when the realization hit me - Yes, that really is DH Mark McLemore batting 3rd - hit slaps a run-scoring single for the first run of the day. Turns out Mac is hitting a career .350 off of Ramon Ortiz, and he finished the day 2 for 4.

Jeff Cirillo watch: .045/.160/.045
Can we trade him to Tampa for Damian Easley yet?

And in the bizarro stat of the day, Pudge Rodriguez walked 5 times, which ties the record for a 9-inning game. Now, what makes this so noteworthy is that Pudge has never walked more than 38 times in any given season of his distinguished career. Lee Sinnins and Aaron Gleeman have already waxed poetic today on how Pudge ranks second among catchers all time in walks below league average, but after yesterday's feat, Pudge is now on pace for 122 free passes. That's Jason Giambi territory there.
|| Peter @ 4/09/2003

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The in-laws are in town for the week, and that cuts into the blogging time.

Off day yesterday for the Mariners. Jamie Moyer is set to throw the first pitch in Safeco in 2003 any second now.

I remember snow days as a young tike were all the rage, as they meant no school. Snow days as an adult baseball have much less appeal. Holy cow, four games were snowed out yesterday. Young Oliver Perez struggled again for the Pads while the still-unbeaten Giants went deep 5 times in that game. Yeah, five home runs for the Giants and not a single one by Barry. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Sheffield and the Joneses clocked three homers in a row in the 6th inning. Quite a day for the long ball.

Last week

Rob Neyer wrote a piece comparing the shortstopian (I wonder if I can make that word mean what I want it to?) feats of Honus Wagner and A-Rod. Conclusion: A-Rod has now surpassed Honus as the greatest shortstop of all time. And today he answers the rebuttals concerning Honus playing a white-man's-only game versus modern baseball, which itself is a great point. To which he answers, should we then discount the accomplishments of pre-2001 players because they weren't playing the best Japanese, on and on. Good arguments, all. However, the hole in the pre-Jackie Robinson argument left behind, I think, is that in Wagner's day a hundred years ago, there were but 8 teams compared to the modern-day 30. And what, there were about 3 starter's in a rotation and bullpen's didn't exist, not in the way we know them today. So while the talent pool for players was quite exclusive, their were far fewer major leaguers and even fewer pitchers (my speculation only, I haven't counted) in 1901. So while it was a white-man's-only game, they had to be the very best white men.

In addition, I think its tough comparing players when one hasn't even possibly played half his career. So I wanted to know how Wagner and A-Rod stack up through the age of 26. Heres the top 5 Runs Created Against Average for shortstops through that age:

Arky Vaughn - 353
Alex Rodriguez - 347
Nomar Garciaparra - 185
Derek Jeter - 158
Bill Dahlen - 129

So where the heck is Honus Wagner? That was my question. Answer: He didn't even play in 100 games as a shortstop until 1903 at the age of 29, his third year with the Pirates. Which means he had some awesome career into his 30s. Now A-Rods only 27 this year, so as good as we've seen him, he's just entering his peak years and the best may be still yet to come. Hands down, with every year A-Rod is leaving Jeter and Nomar in the dust for the immortal company of Wagner and Vaughn. He can easily surpass Vaughn in the next couple of years. But I think we'll have to save the A-Rod vs. Wagner debate for another 10 years or so, if not A-Rod's Hall of Fame enshrinement, barring any Griffey-type meltdown.

|| Peter @ 4/08/2003

Monday, April 07, 2003


Now that's what I like to to see. Freddy pitched 6+ strong innings (it's about bloody time), allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits. The 6 walks and 4 strikeouts is nothing to get excited about, though. The lineup gave Chan Ho Park a good kickin'. All starters had a hit except Boone and Cirillo, who each walked and scored. Olerud had three hits. Edgar homered in the first inning again. While I'm excited to use the words "Edgar" and "infield single" in the same sentence, it comes at an unwelcome price. His bum hamstring is going to keep him out of the rest of the week. Let's pray that's all. Blalock homered, again, for the Rangers, but that was his only hit, dropping his BA to .500.
|| Peter @ 4/07/2003
Pedro's Power Rankings - Week 1
(last year's final ranking in parentheses)

1. Kansas City (27) Bats have only struck out 17 times, best in baseball.
2. NY Yankees (3) Bats picking up where they left off: 1.042 team OPS.
3. (tie) Montreal (14) Team ERA 1.81, best in baseball.
3. (tie) Oakland (7) Durazo: 11 RBI in 15 AB, just what Beane asked for.
5. San Francisco (6) Jose Cruz leads the offense with 16 total bases.
6. Chicago Cubs (18) Lead all baseball with 35 BB and .430 OBP.
7. Minnesota (12) Kyle Lohse 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER.
8. Philadelphia (16) Thome .625 SLG, only 4 RBIs
9. St. Louis (9) Mike Matheny has a bat after all .500/.500/.550.
10. Anaheim (1) Garret Anderson: 5 doubles, 1.343 OPS.
11. Boston (2) Expect a purging of the 'pen if this keeps up.
12. Pittsburgh (25) Reggie was taking lessons from Barry last year as he's hit for the homer cycle: solo, 2 run, 3 run and grand slam.
13. Florida (21) Alex Gonzalez with 4 homers and a 1.732 OPS.
14. Houston (10) Brad Ausmus has a bat, too: 2 HR, 1.433 OPS.
15. Los Angeles (11) Kevin Brown returns! 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER.
16. (tie) Chicago Sox (13) Jose Valentin: .444/.474/1.222, 3 home runs.
16. (tie) Colorado (23) Shawn Chacon pitched a gem: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 8 SO.
18. San Diego (26) Pitching staff given up 29 free passes, worst in baseball.
19. Cleveland (24) Missing Thome: Highest qualifying OPS .791 by Milton "Game Boy" Bradley
20. Baltimore (22) Tony Batista (1.076) only OPS over .700.
21. Toronto (19) Delgado and Hinske each with 10 SO.
22. NY Mets (15) David Cone returns! 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 SO.
23. Texas (17) Hank Blalock for MVP: .550/.609/.900.
24. Seattle (8) Pineiro lowest starter's ERA 4.50, followed by Garcia 5.73, Franklin 6.00, Meche 10.80, & Moyer 12.46.
25. Cincinnati (25) Austin Kearnes 3 HR, 1.350 OPS.
26. Tampa Bay (29) Crawford and Baldelli 1-2 in AL in hits.
27. Milwaukee (28) Eric Young 19 total bases and 1.159 OPS
28. Arizona (4) Only 9 runs in 5 games.
29. Atlanta (5) Team ERA 7.47, worst in baseball. The Braves, for crying out loud!
30. Detroit (30) Bats picking up where they left off: .313 team OPS, 4 runs in 5 games. More like the Detroit Kittens.

Barry Bonds Award
AL - Jason Varitek (Boston) 17 AB, 6 R, 8H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, .471/.571/1.059, 1.630 OPS
NL - Reggie Sanders (Pittsburgh) 14 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 1 BB, .571/600/1.429, 2.029 OPS

Pedro Martinez Award
AL - Runelvys Hernandez (Kansas City) 2-0 W-L, 13 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0.69 ERA
NL - Hideo Nomo (Los Angeles) 1-1 W-L, 16 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 15 SO, 1.69 ERA

Neifi Perez Award
AL - Dmitiri Young (Detroit) 18 AB, 1 H, .056/.056/.056, .111 OPS
NL - Rey Sanchez (NY Mets) 18 AB, 1 H, 2 RBI, 1 CS, 1 BB, .056/.105/.056, .161 OPS

Jose Lima Award
AL - Mark Hendrickson (Toronto) 0-1 W-L, 1.2 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 37.80 ERA
NL - Cal Eldred (St. Louis) 0-0 W-L, 0.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 135.00 ERA

|| Peter @ 4/07/2003

Sunday, April 06, 2003


.528 vs. .361

12 vs. 3

We've already established the gulf between the Mariners and Athletics in the starting rotation. The first numbers above are the slugging percentages of the Rangers and Mariners, respectively, and the second pair is the home runs of the two teams through the first week. Boony and Cammy haven't even come home to swing for the warning track of Safeco yet. The Mariners have maybe a couple average to above average power hitters in their lineup. The Rangers have three superior ones in A-Rod, Juan Gone and Palmeiro, with comparable potential in Blalock and Teixiera. The Rangers clocked four homers last night. What'd I tell you, this lineup can rake (but I'm not talking to you, Einar). Juan Gone knocked Gil Meche for a pair, A-Rod hit #301, and Blalock continued his torrid start with another dinger to go along with 3 singles and 3 ribbies. Meche lasted 5 innings allowing 6 runs (3 of the homers) on 9 hits and a walk. However, most impressively, he did strikeout 6, 4 of them looking. Speaking of striking out looking, John Olerud performed that task 3 times last night. Tell me the last time that happened. Did hell freeze over? And did the normally placid Olerud every have some sharp words for plate umpire Dale Scott the third time. Today, the M's have the chance to take the series in the battle of underachieving aces, Garcia vs. Park.

Oh dear God, I do not want to see the replay on SportsCenter. It would probably make me cry. Griffey's down again, probably for a good chunk of the season, if not all of it, with the same separated shoulder injury as Phil Nevin and Derek Jeter. I swear, there has to be some disgruntled Seattle fan who's into voodoo. How else do you expain Junior's catastrophic luck since going to Cinncinnati? Man, I feel bad for him. That's a huge blow to Cincinnati's hopes for success this year in their new stadium.

For my money, it doesn't get any better in baseball than pitcher's duel, zero for zero, down to the ninth. There was a great one yesterday in Baltimore. Jason Johnson matched Pedro Martinez allowing only one hit and 3 walks in 6.1 innings. Pedro only gave up 4 hits in 8 innings, his only mistake being a triple to Jerry Hairston, Jr., who scored on a ground out. Now, in my opinion one of the ugliest things in baseball is a blown save. The only thing worse is a walk with the bases loaded. So, Jorge Julio, the Orioles' closer, comes into the ninth with a 1-0 lead and proceeds to forget where the plate is: He walks the bases loaded. He manages to strike out 2, but then walks in the tying run with the top of the order coming up, blowing his save and Johnson's win. The Sox, the most prolific offense in baseball through the first 4 games, can't manage another run. Enter Chad Fox. He manages an out while giving up a basehit and two walks. Tony Bastista... 1 out... bases loaded... ninth inning... Fox walks him. Game over. Birds win 2-1. Ugly. Just ugly.

Idiot quote of the day: Larry Stone in this morning's Seattle Times. His weekly Inside Pitch commentary is all about how insignificant the first week of the season is. How hot the Indians were the beginning of last year. How weak the Angels and A's were the beginning of last year. How Tuffy Rhodes knocked 3 homers off Doc Gooden on opening day 1994 and only 5 more the rest of the season. And finally how the Royals are off to a 5-0 start. He then proceeds to state...

"The Royals will be this year's breakout team, the small-market darling that makes General Manager Allard Baird the newest designated genious, replacing Billy Beane."

Excuse me, Stoney. Doesn't that just contradict your entire point? And Allard Baird? We're talking about the same Allard Baird who traded Johnny Damon for Roberto Hernandez? Who Billy Beane fleeced with Neifi Perez for Jermaine Dye? Who will probably give up Carlos Beltran for chump change? Ooooh... I don't think so. Now, growing up in the Midwest the Royals were my favorite team through my impressionable childhood, so I'm as excited as anybody about their start. I can never remember them winning Opening Day, much less even imagining they could win there first five, heck, even 5 in a row these days. All I can say is, enjoy it now because this team is still going to lose 90-100 games.
|| Peter @ 4/06/2003