Mariners Musings

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

Saturday, September 20, 2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   95 59  --

Oakland 92 63 3.5

Boston 89 65 6.0

Seattle 89 66 6.5

Hold up... the fat lady has something caught in her throat.

7 games of Cammie left

5 - combination of A's wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Division Title.
|| Peter @ 9/20/2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   95 58  --

Oakland 92 62 3.5

Boston 90 63 5.0

Seattle 88 66 7.5

"I felt it was definitely an important game," Franklin said. "Whenever the season's over, I'll let you know how important it was. I can't say right now." (AP)

8 games of Cammie left

5 - combination of A's wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Division Title.

7 - combination of Red Sox wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Wild Card.
|| Peter @ 9/20/2003

Friday, September 19, 2003

The hunt for blue October

My power is back on.
NY Yankees   94 58  --

Oakland 92 61 2.5

Boston 89 63 5.0

Seattle 87 66 7.5

Looks like Shiggy's turned back into a pumpkin
9 games of Cammie left.

5 - combination of A's wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Division Title.

8 - combination of Red Sox wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Wild Card.
|| Peter @ 9/19/2003

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   94 58  --

Oakland 92 61 2.5

Boston 88 63 5.5

Seattle 87 65 7.0

Just one more win and Moyer becomes only the 5th 40-year-old to win 20 games.

10 games of Cammie left

6 - combination of A's wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Division Title.

10 - combination of Red Sox wins and Mariners losses that will eliminate the Mariners from the Wild Card.
|| Peter @ 9/18/2003

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Pythagorean Rankings: Week 24

(last week's ranks in parentheses, followed by runs for and against)
[ed note: All numbers are through Sunday's games. I had wanted to spice up the comments a bit this week with BP stats, but interuptions and an internet connection up and down like a yo-yo leave it half-finished and it's already Wednesday, and I know I won't be able to touch it this evening. So here it is for posterity's sake. Week 25 should be back to somewhat normal. I think.]

1. Seattle (1) 734-585 Best defensive efficiency (percentage of balls in play turned into outs) at .731. The M's have the best bullpen in terms of supporting their starters (0.81). Bret Boone leads the AL 2B in Value Over Replacement at 62.9. Postseason odds: 23%.

2. Oakland (4) 712-583 Second best defensive efficiency at .730. Second in bullpen support (0.42). Tim Hudson second in VORP for pitchers at 67.3. Post season odds: 95%.

3. Houston (4) 737-616 Post season odds: 72%.

4. Boston (3) 897-752 Manny Ramirez leads the AL in Equivalent Average at .339. Bill Mueller tops AL 3B in VORP with 58.7. Post season odds: 83%.

5. Atlanta (2) 834-703 Marcus Giles leads the NL 2B in VORP at 61.2. Javy Lopez leads at catcher with a VORP of 69.8.

6. NY Yankees (7) 803-681 Only Texas has a worse defense (at least in terms of balls in play): .694. Nick Johnson in 2nd in the AL in EQA at .337. Jorge Posada leads the AL catchers with a VORP of 50.8. Down at Triple-A Columbus, Fernando Seguignol posted a .346 EQA, equal to .295 in the majors, the best such mark in the minor leagues this year. Post season odds: 99%.

7. Philadelphia (6) 735-637 Post season odds: 33%.

8. San Francisco (8) 670-588 You know who leads the NL with a .423 EQA.

9. Florida (11) 694-627 Mark Redman ranks 2nd among Pitcher Abuse Points with an average of 7790. Post season odds: 55%.

10. Chicago Sox (9) 718-652 Estaban Loiaza leads all pitcher in Value Over Replacement at 71.3. Post season odds: 39%.

11. Los Angeles (12) 537-489 Post season odds: 9%.

12. St. Louis (10) 799-749 Scott Rolen leads NL 3B in VORP at 50.3. Jim Edmonds is the top offfensive centerfielder in the NL with a VORP of 51.3.

13. Arizona (12) 658-621 In Support Neutral Value Added, four pitchers have been worth four or more wins above average: Loiaza, Hudson, Pedro and … Brandon Webb (4.3). He also ranks as the steadiest starter in baseball. He deserves a shot at the NL Cy Young.

14. Toronto (12) Carlos Delgado leads AL 1B in VORP at 62.9. Greg Myers has been the 3rd best catcher in the AL this year with a VORP of 30.8. Vernon Wells is the top centerfielder in the AL with a VORP of 56.8.

15. Chicago Cubs (16) 660-636 Dusty Baker's Cubs are the most abused pitching staff in baseball with an average score of 3487. Shawn Estes trails all pitchers in VORP at -25.0. Post season odds: 30%.

16. Minnesota (17) 727-706 Post season odds: 61%.

17. Montreal (18) 670-665 Javier Vazquez ranks at the top among Pitcher Abuse Points (with an average of 7825).

18. Anaheim (15) 689-685

19. Kansas City (19) 754-768

20. Colorado (21) 778-810 Clint Hurdle's Rockie pitching staff is the least abused in baseball, with an average score of 108. Then again, the Rockies should include contract incentives for pitchers that actually reach a pitch count in Coors Field. Todd Helton leads the NL 1B in VORP at 54.8.

21. Baltimore (20) 697-732

22. Pittsburgh (22) 687-739

23. Cleveland (23) 650-722

24. NY Mets (24) 613-711

25. Tampa Bay (26) 667-785

26. Milwaukee (27) 660-786 Glendon Rusch second from the bottom in pitcher VORP at -21.4

27. Texas (25) 760-909 Worst defense in baseball with .689 effeciency. Alex Rodriguez leads the AL in both Equivalent Runs (120.4) and Runs Above Position (72.6).

28. San Diego (28) 608-765 Mark Loretta is second among NL 2B with a 52.4 VORP. That's better than Jeff Kent, Jose Vidro and Ray Durham.

29. Cincinnati (29) 650-820

30. Detroit (30) 514-832

Minnesota at New York
Boston at Oakland
Houston at Atlanta
Florida at San Francisco

AL - Nick Johnson (NY Yankees) 25 AB, 8 R, 11 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 2 SB, .440/.563/.680, 1.243 OPS
NL - Adrian Beltre (Los Angeles) 29 AB, 4 R, 15 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, .517/.533/.828, 1.361 OPS

AL - Freddy Garcia (Seattle) 1-1, 15.0 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 12 SO, 0.60 ERA
NL - Wilson Alvarez (Los Angeles) 2-0, 16.0 IP, 12 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 0.56 ERA

AL - Kevin Cash (Toronto) 22 AB, 1 H, .045/.087/.045, .132 OPS
Jeremy Burnitz (Los Angeles) 23 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB, .043/.043/.174, .271 OPS

AL - Gary Knotts (Detroit) 0-1, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 21.60 ERA
NL - Shane Reynolds (Atlanta) 0-1, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 1 SO, 47.25 ERA
|| Peter @ 9/17/2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   94 57  --

Oakland 91 61 3.5

Boston 88 62 5.5

Seattle 86 65 8.0

Who was responsible for the Laynce Nix scouting report?
11 games left
|| Peter @ 9/17/2003

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

For the sake of momentum (shall we try this again?)

Now where did I leave off? That is, before I was rudely interrupted by a fickle-as-a-woman internet connection whose provider will remain unnamed (but rhymes with "Komkast"). Oh yes, I was about to express myself in song:
Oh, for the sake of momentum
I've allowed my fears to get larger than life
And it's brought me to my current agendum
Whereupon I deny fulfillment has yet to arrive

And I know life is getting shorter
I can't bring myself to set the scene
Even when it's approaching torture
I've got my routine

But I can't confront the doubts I have
I can't admit that maybe the past was bad
And so, for the sake of momentum
I'm condemning the future to death
So it can match the past.

--from "Momentum" by Aimee Mann

Yeah, yeah. Where was I? Oh yes, pontificating the usefulness of pitching around Raffie Palmiero. So leading by 2 in the 6th inning, 1 out, runner at second, Raffie's already hit one homer, Melvin gives him first base so Jo-El can pitch to rookie Lance Nix. And Pineiro, who had dominated the Rangers for just 3 runs over his previous 23 innings against them, melted like a box of crayons in the Texas heat. A Nix RBI-single and a Teixeira home run later and a 2-run lead is a 2-run deficit. What's there to say?

Well, that the offense should have tee'd off against Colby Lewis. I mean, there's not much difference between hitting Colby Lewis and hitting in T-ball. Lewis has a 7.67 ERA in 115 innings this year. And that's after this 4-run, 6-inning "gem." According to BP's Value Over Replacement Level for pitchers, Lewis is the worst pitcher in the American League, rating negative 19.8. According to Lee Sinnins' Runs Saved Against Average, Lewis is again the worst pitcher in the AL by allowing 33 more runs than an average pitcher given his IP. But sadly no, not even Colby could bring out the Mariners bats. They converted 9 hits and 2 walks off Lewis into just 4 runs. The Rangers, on the other hand, scored there 6 runs on 8 Pineiro baserunners. That's an efficient offense.

That's also the second game in a row arguably lost on Intentional Base on Balls. I hate IBB's. It's a cowardly play. It's a last resort. Like when the option is pitching to Barry Bonds in an extra-inning tie game. Or pitching to Barry Bonds in an extra-inning tie game two nights later. It can be an effective weapon to escape an offense's biggest bat. It can also be a crutch, giving up a base when the odds are always in the pitcher's favor of recording the out. On average, the odds are in the pitcher's favor 2:3. Even with a poor pitcher against a great hitter the odds are never even 1:2. I hate to be picky (well, maybe not) but the right-handed Pineiro, who though struggling the second half had had excellent success against the Rangers up to this point, against the left-handed Palmeiro with two outs: I say let Pineiro finish the inning. Was Melvin's vote of no-confidence enough to shake Pineiro's resolve enough to finally let the Rangers pounce? Who knows.

Melvin did have this to say:
"Sure, it hurts and it feels bad, but I think by far we lead the league in fewest intentional walks. It's just a guy that kills us, probably more than anybody in the league" (Andriessen, P-I)

Well, I'll do the homework for you, Bob:
1.  Seattle      22

2. Chicago Sox 26
3. Los Angeles 29
4. Detroit 31
5. St. Louis
San Francisco 32

So it's not a huge margin, but it is the least in baseball, and while I am a picky critic, on this front, Bob, I am very thankful. Let's just not lose any more games because of it. For the love of everything holy.

Rumor has it Billy Beane's Big Deadline Acquisition Jose Guillen is out for the rest of the year with a busted hand bone. One would assume then that recently benched Terrence "Magellan" Long (.247/.292/.390) will once again roam (and we mean that literally) the offensively-challenged outfield pasture in Oakland. Before the peasants begin rejoicing throughout Puget Sound, let's pause and remember that the A's are 19-7 since Mark Mulder hit the DL, and this injury just may render the A's invincible.

So once upon at time, we'll call it 1992, the Mariners signed a certain Dominican 16-year-old as an undrafted amateur free agent. The A's would snag Miguel Tejada the next year from this same island that, as we may remember from Moneyball, hitters "don't walk off." Well, two years later at the age of 18 this certain Mariner hitter debuted in Peoria. In 167 at bats, our hero collected 41 hits but made it to second base on just four those hits. So while he batted .246, he slugged just .299. He walked 14 times and struck out 46 times.

The next year found him once again at the Rookie-level Peoria where he hit .332 in 184 at bats. He collected 61 hits this year, including 18 doubles, 4 triples and 4 homers, for a slugging percentage of .538. His plate discipline also improved, if only slightly, walking 23 times and striking out 52 times. This earned our young hitter a promotion to Single-A Wisconsin. In his first full professional season at the age of 20, he hit .322 in 485 at bats, hitting 34 doubles, 2 triples and 18 homers for a SLG of .511. He scored 89 runs and drove in 93 while walking 52 times and striking out 108.

Despite my powers over the internet, I have yet to find just how between 1996 and 1997 the Twins obtained David Ortiz from the Mariners, but the Seattle front office should rue the day. My first guess is the Rule V draft, but I'm no expert when it comes to minor league transactions. After being shuffled through three levels of the Twins' system, hitting over .320 with SLG's over .550 at both New Britain and Fort Myers, the 21-year-old Ortiz earned a 49-AB cup-o-coffee with the Twins. Granted, this is 1997, and if memory serves me well, I imagine Aaron Gleeman could have played for the '97 incarnation of the Twins, and he was, what, maybe 12 in '97?

After six years of part-time service, last winter the Twins non-tendered the 26-year-old left-handed slugger who in 1477 major league at bats had put together a serviceable, if not intimidating line of .266/.348/.461.

On January 15, the Mariners filled their role of left-handed pinch hitter with John Mabry for $600,000.

Exactly one week to the day, the Red Sox picked up David Ortiz for the bargain price of $1.25 mil.

In 98 AB, John Mabry has hit .224/.339/.378 with 9 extra base hits and 15 RBI. Mabry has 2 Win Shares through last Wednesday.

In 410 AB, David Ortiz has hit .288/.368/.588 with setting career highs in doubles (38), home runs (27) and RBI (93). He currently ranks 2nd in the AL in slugging and 5th in OPS. Ortiz has 14 Win Shares.

Now, is that worth the extra $625,000? Can you just imagine what difference David Ortiz as 10th man might have meant to the Mariners season? If rest is to blame for yet another second half swoon, than the Mariners would do well to take Theo Epstein's "Building a Better Bench 101" this winter.

On top of that, I don't see any John Mabry Fan Club with T-shirts carrying quotes quite like this. Priceless.

Of the Mariners second-half offensive woes, many words have been spent. But Ichiro, Boone, Cameron, Olerud and the rest are not the only ones to blame. The guys preventing the runs have been slacking off as well:
          Pre-AS Post-AS %Diff

Jamie 3.02 4.39 +45%
Freddy 4.41 5.37 +21%
Franklin 3.75 3.36 -10%
Jo-El 3.28 5.04 +54%
Gil 3.61 4.66 +29%

Only Ryan Franklin has improved the second half, but he has a 3-5 record in 8 second-half starts to show for it. In fact, among the 10 AL ERA leaders, only Franklin has a losing record. Moyer and Pineiro, in particular, have been leaking runs nearly 50% more often. It was hard to imagine Freddy haivng a worse second half, but he has. And raise your hand if you expected Gil Meche to even make it through the first half in the rotation, much less improve on that spectacular run.

And would someone, anyone, please score Ryan Franlin some runs? Ryan Franklin ranks #73 out 97 among qualifying starters in run support at 3.59 runs per game. Detroit's Nate Cornejo brings up the rear at 3.28, while Derek Lowe tops the list at 6.97.

Over at another Musings blog, Tim's 8-ball reads "All signs point to yes." And if the question is "Will the Red Sox choke again?" or "Will the Sox overtake the Yankees?" then I'm down with that. However, he then compares the Sox scedule with the M's:
"Clearly the remaining schedule is in the Red Sox favor. Using this information, Baseball Prospectus' current playoff odds give the Red Sox a 79% chance of winning the wild card to Seattle's 13.1% chance."

So break out the rally caps, rosary beads, prayer shawls and lucky underwear: It's miracle time. There're 12 games left. The M's are just mostly dead, not all dead.

Forgive me if the optimism runs a little high today. Maybe I'm just a little giddy from the premeire of Carnivale and it's boast of an age when Magic ruled Reason. I'm a sucker for mythic struggles of good versus evil historical dramas involving carnies. And being a native Oklahoman, I'm completely hooked on the Okie Christ-figure. Who doesn't love this stuff?

Also noteworthy in today's baseball blogosphere, the aforementioned Mr. Gleeman christens Mr. K Rafael Soriano as "The Next Johan Santana."
"I think Santana and Soriano are among a handful of the most valuable pitching "properties" in baseball right now, but I also think there's a good chance you'll be seeing a "Free Rafael Soriano" campaign on this blog next season."

I just hope it doesn't come to that and the Mariners actually can discover just how great they've got it with Soriano by spring training
|| Peter @ 9/16/2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   93 57  --

Oakland 99 60 2.5

Boston 87 62 5.5

Seattle 86 64 7.0

The fat lady's warming up.
12 games left
|| Peter @ 9/16/2003

Monday, September 15, 2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   92 57  --

Oakland 90 60 2.5

Boston 86 62 5.5

Seattle 86 63 6.0

For cryin' out loud, somebody score some runs for Franklin.
13 games left
|| Peter @ 9/15/2003

Sunday, September 14, 2003

The hunt for blue October

NY Yankees   92 56  --

Oakland 89 60 3.5

Boston 86 61 5.5

Seattle 86 62 6.0

Take that, K-Rod
14 games left
|| Peter @ 9/14/2003