Mariners Musings

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

Thursday, August 28, 2003

I should have known better

I should have. I really should have known. I really should have seen it coming. But I didn't.

Had you told me on April 1st that by the last week of August the Mariners would be in second place, just a game behind the A's and a game behind the Wild Card-leading Red Sox, I would have been very happy. Ecstatic even. I mean, even I picked the M's to finish third back in March and for the A's to go all the way. The Rally Monkey crushed my dreams last year, and by golly, six months ago I wasn't going to set myself up for disappointment again. But it was not to be.

I should be excited. The Mariners are in the midst a three-team race for two playoff spots. So why am I so glum?

Like a beautiful woman, that beautiful woman who your best friends to no avail try to persuade you is no good for you, the 2003 Mariners swept me off my feet. They had me at "Play ball!" I was smitten, hopelessly surrending my heart with the first pitch. And the sweet nothings whispered in my ear in the spring and early summer are now quickly evaporating into nothingness. Observe:

April 17-10
Offense - 4.89 runs per game, .751 OPS
Defense - 3.85 runs per game

"Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!"

May 19-8
Offense - 6.11 runs per game, .857 OPS
Defense - 4.18 runs per game

"Come live with me and be my love."

June 17-10
Offense - 4.33 runs per game, .719 OPS
Defense - 3.03 runs per game

"How's dinner and a movie sound?"

July 13-14
Offense - 5.00 runs per game, .785 OPS
Defense - 4.33 runs per game

"Why do you always leave the toilet seat up?"

August (thru 8/27) 11-13
Offense - 4.72 runs per game, .719 OPS
Defense - 4.92 runs per game

"I really think we should just be friends. I'm really not getting my needs met. You're no fun anymore. Where's the future?"

Three games in Seattle, the M's out score the Devil Rays 15-14. Coming into the series, the Rays had lost 5 straight and after dropping the series opener, made it 6 losses in a row. And the Mariners lose this series. To Tampa Bay. In late August. It costs two games in the standings as the A's have run off 6 wins in a row.

Jo-El go bullied around last night: 7 innings, 108 pitches, 63% for strikes. The Rays jumped on him for 3 home runs, 5 runs on 7 hits and a walk. The optimist sees Jo-El walked only 1 (and it wasn't in the first inning), but he also just struck out 1. Jo-El seems to have contracted Freddy Garcia Disease. After going 5-0 in July with a 1.44 ERA, he's 0-5 with a 8.31 ERA in August. His Game Scores* for the month read 13-43-35-39-43. Last night was the first time this month he finished the 7th.

*(Game Score. Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.)

When he cried "Uncle," the Rays then took their beatin' sticks to Julio Mateo, who surrendered 3 runs, the first time he's allowed multiple runs in a game since a one-inning stint back on May 21 in Kansas City.

The offense picked up more walks (8) than hits (5 including a Rey Sanchez double) and converted those baserunners into just 4 runs. Every BBWAA writer's favorite clutch hitter, Ichiro, went 0-5, stranding 6. Pitiful.

It gets worse. Now Freddy's command was a bit wobbly (102 pitches, 58% for strikes) but he held the Rays at bay. He struck out the side swinging in the second. But with 2 outs in the top of the ninth. Tie game. Shiggy on the mound. Toby Hall, the #8 hitter in the Ray's lineup, .393 slugging percentage, hits a game-winning home run to left. And that potent combo of Winn, McLemore and Mabry go three up, three down to end the game, end the series with a whimper. So howmany games has Mabry ended? 80-90? It seems like all of them. Shig hadn't allowed 2 runs in a month since May. It was his second homer allowed this week.

And the bats look lost again, against Jorge Sosa of all pitchers. Jorge Sosa, who walks nearly as many batters as he strikes out. Jorge Sosa, who allows a baserunner and a half an inning. Jorge Sosa, who batters clip at a rate of .285. The M's picked just 1 run off of him. Pitiful.

Happy birthday, Lou. Al Martin hit a homer for you.

It's time for some counseling. We need some serious therapy. Otherwise, this relationship is going nowhere. Hey, every couple has it's tough times, right? Till death do us part, right? There's hope for the future. We can turn this around.

Please. Anything to avoid a September of "I want my money back, and give me back my black T-shirt!"

|| Peter @ 8/28/2003

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Stop the boat!

You remember that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, just after the big Pure Imagination number in the room where everything is edible? A nifty little boat, the Wonkatania, meanderingly putters around the bend of the chocolate river. "I want a boat like that," cries Veruca Salt (played in our baseball version of the film by George Steinbrenner). Everyone's having a grand, jolly time, that is, until the boat turns another corner into the before unseen cave. All of sudden our heroes are thrust into the darkness and surrounded by a freakish nightmare of hallucinogenic visions of bugs crawling on people, the wretched nemesis Slugworth, and God knows what else. As a kid watching this, I was truly frightened. I'm still unnerved.

And this, my friends, is the Mariners 2003 season. What a lovely, lazy Sunday drive April and May were. Now it's late August and we've entered the pitch black cave of our worst nightmares, lead by our guide, our own Loki-like Wonka, Pat Gillick.

Thankfully, there's Bob Melvin, our chipper cheerleader, trying to put as much positive spin as he can muster:

"There is never a season when you don't go through bad times," Melvin said. "You try to keep losing streaks at a minimum and we have been able to do that all year. This is our longest one, but it makes you stronger, makes you battle-tested and it definitely gets your attention" (Street, MLB.com)

Said Melvin, "I have to maintain a positive attitude no matter what happens. We are in a low right now, but we'll come out of it. I know we will."

Oh, I know you will Bob. You better, Bob. Please, Bob. The M's, Red Sox and A's are now knotted up for the AL West division/Wild Card. Assuming the Yanks win the East with the best AL record (I don't think that's a stretch at this point and it really doesn't matter who wins the Central) here are the possible playoff scenarios:

M's win the West, Sox win the Wild Card. M's would play Boston in the first round. This would be bad. Pedro could beat them all by himself self in a 5-game series, and Lowe can be downright unhittable at Fenway, as we saw last night.

M's win the West, A's win the Wild Card. M's would play the Central winner. Very good scenario as the M's are 7-2 against the White Sox, 5-4 against KC and 6-3 against Minnesota.

A's win the West, M's win the Wild Card. M's would play the Yankees in the first round. The Mariners have handled the Yankees well this year, and there would be great satisfaction knocking out the Yanks in the first round, but there's that whole pride thing about winning the division.

A's win the West, Sox win the Wild Card. In this case, we should storm the Seattle front office armed with torches and pitchforks.

So boo Sox. Yeah A's, but not too much. Can the Good Ship Mariner be righted with 2 weeks of Devils Rays and Orioles? One can only hope. One can only dream.

In the meantime, Pat Gillick sits in his office, with that impish, beady look in his eye:

"There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of hell a-glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes, the danger must be growing
'Cause the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!

Daddy, I do not want a boat like this!

|| Peter @ 8/26/2003

Monday, August 25, 2003

Pythagorean Rankings: Week 21

(last week's rank in parentheses, followed by runs for and against)

1. Seattle (1) 653-520 Things do not bode well in Mariner Nation: The M's are 10-12 in August with a 4.46 team ERA. That they still have the best run differential in baseball is a testament to just how good they were the opening months. Gil Meche (4.30) is the only starter with an ERA below 5. Joel Pineiro's is 9.00. But there is Mateo and Soriano: 3 BB and 44 SO combined for the month of August thus far. The M's post season odds are down to 75%.

2. (tie) NY Yankees (2) 694-565 Mike Mussina is just a stud. He's 2nd in the league in strikeouts (164), 2nd in WHIP (1.01), 3rd in BAA (.226), 5th in ERA (3.18) and 8th in IP (178.1).

(tie) Atlanta (3) 740-603 Is there nothing Gary Sheffield can't do? He's 5th in the NL in batting (.331), 6th in OBP (.425), 5th in SLG (.609), 6th in homers (33), 3rd in runs (106), 4th in RBI (105). If that weren't enough, he's stolen 16 bases in 19 chances (84%). Still not impressed? He walks not quite twice as much as he strikes out (73:44).

4. Oakland (5) 611-509 I think a good nomination for Disappointment of the Year would be Erubiel Durazo. He's hitting .258/.382/.433 with just 16 homers and 66 RBI. Of course, Jermaine Dye's line of .160/.235/.227 is right up there, too. The guys at BP give them a 55% shot at the playoffs.

5. (tie) Boston (6) 777-664 David Ortiz had to be the best bargain acquisition from last winter. And he's gotten hot at just the right time for the Sox. He's death to right handed pitching (.999 OPS). He hit 4 home runs in all of April, May and June, but has 15 in July and August. With the exception of a poor April, he's posted a .940+ OPS in every other month. The Sox have a 70% chance of playing ball in October.

(tie) Philadelphia (4) 612-523 The Phillies have allowed 99 stolen bases and caught just 18. That’s a success rate of 85% for their opponents, by far the worst in the majors. They better pray the don't have to play Florida for some Wild Card playoff. Jim Thome has a 1.082 OPS with 9 homers this month. Post season chances: 51%.

7. Houston (7) 620-545 Wade Miller is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.16 in 4 starts this month; Tim Redding is 1-3 with an ERA of 3.00. The Astros have won just 5 of their last 13 in series against the Cubs and Reds. They still have 6 games against the Cardinals and also 8 against the Brewers and 6 against the Padres. Post season chances: 30%.

8. San Francisco (8) 592-522 Edgardo Alfonzo has 33 hits in the second half to raise his BA to .255, but just 7 of those have been for extra base hits.Barry's OBP in August is .613, nearly double that of runner up Andres Galarraga at .378.

9. Arizona (12) 570-520 That Curt Schilling has won just 3 of 8 starts despite a 1.71 ERA in the second half and Randy Johnson has won just 2 in 7 with a 3.83 ERA means somebody needs to score some runs. (Cough, cough) Shea Hillenbrand (.670 OPS), Matt Kata (.627), Steve Finley (.670), Craig Counsell (.543). Post season chances: 13%.

10. St. Louis (10) 710-652 Jim Edmonds hasn't been making contact very often lately, but when he does, he makes it matter. He has 23 strikeouts in 72 at bats in the second half and batting just .194 but has an .821 OPS with 9 XBH and 21 BB. That Bo Hart's pretty exciting, eh? First half: .368/.407/.509. Second half: .216/.271/.321. Post season chances: 25%.

11. Los Angeles (11) 448-415 Shawn Green decided to finally start playing baseball: .347/.455/.486 this month. Paul LoDuca decided to stop: .225/.271/.275. Adrian Beltre leads the team with 22 RBI this month, more than twice the next two Dodgers (Green and Burnitz have 10 each). He has an .853 OPS, but just a .291 OBP this month. The team ERA is 2.72 in the second half. Post season chances: 3%.

12. Florida (9) 613-570 The Fish have lost 5 of their last 6 in Colorado and San Francisco, but they could fatten up on the Pirates, Expos and Mets over the next two and a half weeks. Here's Alex Gonzalez OPS month by month: April 1.074, May .903, June .767, July .566, August .564. Post season chances: 24%.

13. Chicago Sox (16) 619-585 The Sox won 6 of 7 this week against the lower half of the AL West. This week, the get the odd couple of the Yankees and Tigers. Carl Everett has a .397 OBP and slugging of .481 as a White Sock. Maggs Ordonez is on pace for his 4th consecutive season with an OPS over .900. He's also on pace for 28 home runs (he's hit just 6 so far in the second half), which would be the first time he missed 30 since his first full season in '98. Post season chances: 50%.

14. Anaheim (14) 621-592 The Angels have a 3.81 ERA in Anahaim, but 4.67 on the road. Only the Terrible Tigers saved the Angels from reaching the basement of the AL West last week. The last team to go from World Series Champs to the basement? The '98 Marlins. But the Angels have done it with nearly the same team. Odds just to play in October, much less defend title: 0.1%.

15. Toronto (13) 716-696 The lowest OPS among the Jays regulars? Chris Woodward .712. That's a pretty solid, consistent lineup. Roy Halladay is just 4-3 the second half with a 3.95 ERA.

16. Chicago Cubs (15) 566-560 When the bench includes Troy O'Leary, Tom Goodwin, Doug Glanville and Tony Womack, Carlos Zambrano (.580 OPS) and Mark Prior (.609) should be more tempting as pinch hitting options. At least Randall Simon is looking good as a Cubbie: .391/.417/.565, 1 homer, 0 sausages. Post season chances: 51%.

17. Minnesota (20) 627-627 Alas, the James Baldwin era is over: 15 innings, 5.40 ERA as a Twinkie. Ron Gardenhire has used only 6 starters all year, and Johan is the only to pull his weight: 2.41 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 9.08 K/9 as a starter. Post season chances: 36%.

18. Colorado (18) 712-715 Todd Helton just smokes the competition: 1st in the NL in runs (116), 2nd in BA (.358), 2nd in OBP (.451), 3rd in SLG (.632), 3rd in RBI (106) and 3rd in BB (86). And while Coors is very good to Todd (1.257 OPS), he ain't too shabby on the road, either (.906).

19. (tie) Baltimore (17) 637-642 The O's are 11-13 in August despite a paltry .703 team OPS this month. You're in big trouble when your biggest offensive threats are Larry Bigbie (.871 OPS this month) and Brook Fordyce (.993).

(tie) Montreal (18) 572-577 The Expos pitching train is on again: Livan Hernandez 0.84 ERA in 4 starts this month, Javier Vazquez 1.38 in 5 starts and Zach Day 1.69 in 4 starts. The team ERA for August is 3.14, nearly as good as their 3.06 May.

21. Kansas City (21) 662-688 Since the break, the Royals team ERA is 5.59, and Tony Pena has used a total of 9 starters. And that's before picking up 31-year-old Brian Anderson today from the Indians. That doesn't bode well. Winning just 2 of 6 in New York and Minnesota is another bad sign. They still have 14 games against the Indians and Tigers, but so do the Twins. Post season chances: 14%.

22. Pittsburgh (22) 604-648 How about that Tike Redman? .311/.347/.567 with 6 doubles, 4 triples and 3 homers this month. And that's a great baseball name. Reggie Sanders is again doing his best Barry Bonds imitation: .378/.453/.838 with 8 homers this month.

23. Cleveland (23) 561-622 Cliff Lee with an 8-inning, 2-run, 0-walk, 7-strikeout performance against the Devil Rays on Thursday. After a .360/.434/.511 performance in AAA Buffalo, Coco Crisp is hitting a measly .196/.248/.330 in August.

24. NY Mets (25) 554-627 After a 6.29 ERA, .337 BAA in 5 starts last month, Steve Trachsel is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA and .198 BAA this month. His ERA is 2.75 for the second half. Jason Phillips much prefers Shea Stadium: .368/.435/.577 in Flushing, .269/.341/.365 on the road.

25. Texas (24) 689-793 The barrage continues as A-Rod launched another 4 homers this week. He had 7 hits, all for extra bases. His second half OPS is now 1.208. The Rangers are 16-7 this month as the pitching staff has a 4.50 ERA. Leading the way are R.A. Dickey (4-0, 3.10 ERA) and John Thomson (4-0, 3.18). Actually, that's it. Four relievers have ERAs below 1.70, but Buck Showalter has used five other starters, whose ERAs range from 6.65 to 8.59.

26. Tampa Bay (26) 578-699 So much for the winning ways: The Rays have dropped 5 straight against Baltimore and Cleveland. You've got to wonder if Joe Kennedy's days are numbered in Tampa. He's 3-10 in 21 starts with a 6.47 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and .308 BAA. He was supposed to be the ace.

27. Milwaukee (28) 568-691 After dropping 4 of 6 two weeks ago in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Brewers played the ingracious hosts by sweeping those same two teams in six games last week. Scott Podsednik (.980 OPS), Geoff Jenkins (.960), Richie Sexson (.944), Brady Clark (.917) and Keith Ginter (.913) all red, red hot this month. But despite that, the Brewers have been outscored 112-88. And opponents have an .825 OPS to their .794.

28. Cincinnati (26) 574-700 What do you get when you take the Reds Opening Day roster and take out Junior, Austin Kearns, Aaron Boone, Barry Larkin and Jose Guillen? A whole lot of ugly. The Reds are scoring just 3.0 runs per game this month with a .606 OPS. Ruben Mateo (.574), Jason LaRue (.568), Ray Olmedo (.576) and Adam Dunn (.588) all regulars with sub-.600 OPS. And Sean Casey at .601 is pretty damn close.

29. San Diego (29) 525-681 Jake Peavy has a 2.66 ERA and 1.16 WHIP this month, striking out 7.75 per 9 innings. Meanwhile, Oliver Perez is striking out 11.60 per 9 innings this month, but also walking 4.5 every 9 innings, and his ERA is 5.36.

30. Detroit (30) 448-722 Despite an 11-game losing streak and a 4-19 August, the Tigers are still 3 games better than the '16 A's through 129 games. Blame Wil Ledezma (10.29 ERA this month in 3 starts), Matt Roney (9.45 ERA in 3 starts), Jeremy Bonderman (6.15 in 5 starts), Nate Cornejo (5.47 ERA in 4 starts) and Mike Maroth (5.46 ERA in 5 starts).

The Mariners, Red Sox and A's are all tied up at this moment for the AL West/Wild Card, so this question is rather complicated. But the Yankees and White Sox top their divisions.
The NL is likewise quite complicated. The Braves and Giants lead their divisions, but the Astros and Cardinals are tied in the Central. The Wild Card, though, would come from the East as the Phillies and Marlins are tied up.

AL - Miguel Tejada (Oakland) 26 AB, 8 R, 12, H, 5 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, .462/.483/1.000, 1.483 OPS
NL - Scott Podsednik (Milwaukee) 23 AB, 11 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SB, .435/.536/.826, 1.362 OPS

AL - Torii Hunter (Minnesota) 22 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .091/.130/.227, .358 OPS
NL - Mike Lowell (Florida) 20 AB, 1 R, 1H, 2 RBI, 1 BB, .050/.095/.050, .145 OPS

AL - Derek Lowe (Boston) 1-0, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 0.68 ERA
NL - Javier Vazquez (Montreal) 1-0, 18.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 17 K, 0.00 ERA (one complete game shutout, followed by another 9 innings of shutout ball, but the Expos couldn't score a single run of the Padres and Rocky Biddle lost it in the 10th)

AL - Rich Harden (Oakland) 0-1, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 8 ER, 7 BB, 2 K, 27.00 ERA
NL - Jason Pearson (St. Louis) 0-0, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 94.50 ERA
|| Peter @ 8/25/2003

One fan's in-game diary

First inning
Is it just me, or is Jon Miller looking more and more like Benjamin Franklin with each broadcast? All he needs are some wire-rimmed glasses and a kite. Guillen's back in the 2-hole. Edgar's out with a bum foot after fouling a wicked ball off his toes yesterday. So that means Mabry's the DH, but in name only. Bob must have forgotten that one must first be a "hitter" to qualify as a "designated hitter." And while we're on the subject of celebreity blook-alikes, is Johnny Damon channeling the spirit of Monkees' drummer Micky Dolenz? Ryan Franklin's been death to righties this year, at least in comparison to the right handers (.220/.251/.342 vs. righties, .287/.357/.508 against the lefties), and that's a good thing against a lineup featuring Nomar and Manny. Double play ball to Sanchez, and all of a sudden my body tenses and my stomach knots. It's just the first inning.

Second inning
I'm pretty confident I've got a higher vertical than Manny Ramirez as he "leaps" for Olerud's long single. Cammie's a third of the way to 2nd by the time Lowe even releases the pitch as he steals second about as easily as one can. I suppose there could be worse things than John Mabry bring the the #1 guy off the bench to give the starters off days: I could have gotten my Dusty Baker wish 9 months ago and Tom Goodwin and Lenny Harris, among other Veteran Presence-types would be Mariners. Trot Nixon rivals Craig Biggio for ugliest helmet in baseball. Sanchez ends the inning again, this time sprinting to the 2nd base side of the infield with a great catch by Olerud on the bounce. With the bases loaded, that could have been a huge inning for the Sox. Six baserunners in 2 innings. No runs. Is it too early to wonder if the baseball gods are smiling upon the M's? Oh yes, far too early.

Third inning
That has to be the worst swing I have ever seen as Dan Wilson goes down on strikes. Nice "D" from Mueller robbing Ichiro. And the Sox score on a weak dribbler by Millar. But really, is just one run on 8 total baserunners really too much to ask?

Fourth inning
Bret Boone doesn't see Lowe's pitches well? In how many at bats, Joe? Eight balls in a row and the M's can be in business. Then again, maybe not. If the Sox win the wild card, this is the ALDS matchup, which is not good for the M's for two (maybe more) reasons: 1) Pedro is certain doom in a 5-game series and 2) Fenway robs our outfield defense as evidenced by Millar's double yesterday and Mueller's double here. That's a routine flyball in Safeco. And now Franklin can't miss a bat for the life of him: 10 hits and the 4th isn't over yet. The blessings of the gods are extended on Manny's drive to the nook in dead center. What the gods giveth, the gods taketh away on David Ortiz' one-armed blast over the monster. Why didn't Gillick pick up the left-handed masher Ortiz last winter? Oh that's right, John Mabry was available. After four innings: Sox 11 hits, M's 1.

Fifth inning
Give me one good reason why John Mabry should be on a major league roster. Recipe to counter 5-run inning? Mabry-Sanchez-Wilson. This is just embarrassing. Ooh... bases loaded for Boonie. You can bet there's nothing on his mind but a Niehaus salami and rye. First pitch: Told you so. Nuts. Two more baserunners for the Sox. Two words: Julio Mateo. Another scoop in the dirt for Olerud on Varitek's DP. Then he robs Damon of a double. Now really, how many runs does he save on defense?

Sixth inning
Three up. Three down. This is just ugly. Finally, Nomar gets sent back to the bench. And Franklin finally gets three up, three down. 9 outs left.

Seventh inning
Holy fly balls, Batman, John Mabry hits a double! And Sanchez singles to put runners on the corners, no outs. I told you these guys were Murderers' Row. Mabry scores on the DP by Wilson. What a minute, is the Red Sox' mascot really Oscar the Grouch? Please tell me Mateo's coming in. And also tell me the relevance of the Babe's called shot to this game, Jon and Joe. Is there really nothing more to say about this game in the 7th? Oh, Curse of the Bambino tie-in. I get it. Whatever. Three up. Three down for Mateo. That's eight Sox in a row. 6 outs left.

Eighth inning
Lowe's at 95 pitches into the 8th. He could very well finish this game. If he's stingy with his pitches this inning. A lead off walk to Boone isn't stingy. Walk to Olerud and goodnight Lowe. Oh, Cammie was robbed. That was a strike like I'm Superman. Joe Morgan on Winn's chopper infield single: "That's what speed'll do for you." Yeah, Mabry swinging at a pitch in his eyes. Varitek had his target set at Mabry's chin. 3 outs left. Eleven straight Sox in a row. Too little, too late.

Ninth inning
Rey "Single Me" Sanchez collects yet another single. He has more than Cirillo now, right? Davis lines into DP. Ugh. Ichiro dribbles out to second. Game over, dude.

Ryan Franklin's line for the evening: 6 innings, 113 laborious pitches (63% for strikes, and most of those were hits), 11 hits and 4 walks, he was lucky to only give up 6 runs. He struck out only 1.

So that makes 5 losses in a row. The invincible Pedro (11-0, 0.96 ERA for his career against the M's) pitches tomorrow. I believe Sammy Coleridge said it best:

Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head,
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

The A's are now a mere game back for the division lead. It doesn't get any closer than this. Raise the alarm to DefCon 4.
|| Peter @ 8/25/2003

Sunday, August 24, 2003


I'm watching Baseball Tonight waiting for the M's/Sox game to start, and they just announced Pedro is making the start tomorrow.
|| Peter @ 8/24/2003


*About yesterday's game, there's not a soul in baseball other than Mike Cameron that could have even gotten a glove on that ball.

*In the 7th inning, with 2 out, Rafael Soriano missed a 3-1 pitch to Bill Mueller--his first base on balls since July 12. It was a streak of 37 consecutive strikeouts without a walk. A major league record? Not quite. Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and Baseball Prospectus reminds me Curt Schilling had a string of at least 47 and probably more just last May. A Mariner record? Well, according to Derek Zumsteg, "I don't know, the stats guys never got back to me."

But the best K/BB ratios in Mariners history? (with at least 40 innings, as Soriano's at 39.2 as of today)

2001 Arthur Rhodes - 6.92
2002 Arthur Rhodes - 6.23
2001 Kazuhiro Sasaki - 5.64
1995 Randy Johnson - 4.52
2001 Norm Charlton - 4.36

Rafael Soriano's 2003 K/BB is currently 7.43.

*One of the greatest strengths of this Mariner team has been its ability to avoid losing streaks. They've lost 3 in a row just three times now this season. The last time the Mariners lost 4 consecutive games? The hideous week of September 9-14, 2002 when the M's dropped all 4 games in a trip to Arlington, then went to Oakland and lost 2 more--the final nails in the coffin of last year's playoff hopes.

*Friday, after fouling off a pair of pitches and working the count 2-2, Jason Varitek homered off of Shigetoshi Hasegawa with 1 out in the 8th inning. It was the first run allowed by Shiggy since June 1 (unless of course you count his All-Star Game meltdown, I guess Fox doesn't care if the stats from the game don't count), a span of 29 innings, which is a new team record. Four of his five earned runs this year have come on homers. His ERA ballooned from 0.62 all the way to 0.76.

*Also on Friday, with 1 out in the 7th, Rey "Single Me" Sanchez tripled the first pitch from Jeff Suppan to right field. It was Rey's first extra base hit as a Mariner, a span of 76 at bats, and his first since a double back on May 29. Rey's "slugging" percentage leaped more than 30 points, all the way to .368.
|| Peter @ 8/24/2003