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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

March 6, 2007 at 10:32 AM

First spring cut

No, this won’t help the Mariners get that elusive first spring victory. The honor of being the first spring cut of 2007 goes to pitcher Jaime “The Perfect Sleeper” Cerda. I know, it wasn’t worth the time it took to read those two lines. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Here are today’s lineups for the game here in warm (80+ degrees) and sunny Surprise, Ariz., home of the Texas Rangers:
Seattle (0-5)
51 Ichiro Suzuki, CF
7 Jeremy Reed, LF
16 Willie Bloomquist, 3B
44 Richie Sexson, DH
23 Ben Broussard, RF
69 Bryan LaHair, 1B
55 Jamie Burke, C
17 Oswaldo Navarro, 2B
10 Rey Ordonez, SS
————————————
26 Horacio Ramirez, LHP
Texas Rangers (3-1)
7 Kenny Lofton, CF
27 Frank Catalanotto, LF
10 Michael Young, SS
21 Sammy Sosa, DH
9 Hank Blalock, 3B
17 Nelson Cruz, RF
95 Jared Sandberg, 1B
15 Gerald Laird, C
12 Ramon Vazquez, 2B
————————————
45 Jamey Wright, RHP
No, that isn’t the lineup Mike Hargrove would be posting if this was the regular season and he was 0-5. If Hargrove was really trying to win in Arizona, he would not have sent out Bryan LaHair and Tony Torcatto — as loyal reader “Everett fan” correctly points out in the comments thread of the previous post — to bat in the ninth inning on Monday. This really is about evaluation and no, Hargrove is not going to lose his job in spring training, even if he starts 0-15.
So, let’s do some evaluating.
Stats-wise, the team is hitting a collective .269 with a .341 on-base percentage. Something tells me they would take the on-base part in the regular season while wanting the average to jump about 10 points. They are also slugging just .377 and would not want that when games start to count. Thing is, those numbers can change in a hurry since we’ve played only five Cactus League games. And remember, power is the last thing to emerge hitting-wise at spring training.
If we look at the guys expected to be in the starting nine, eight of them for now, since Jose Lopez won’t play until tomorrow, they are a collective 18-for-62 (.290) and I know the team will definitely take that. Anything to be worried about? The only thing that jumps out at me is that Richie Sexson is 0-for-8 and has left a boatload of runners on base. But again, it’s only eight at-bats. At-bats that are coming in exhibition games. Can we conclude anything out of this? No. But if these trends conclude through to the final week of spring I would be:
A: Thrilled that this team will be battling for the title of the AL’s best average
B: Worried about who is going to be supplying the power and driving in runs
So, let’s look to see some trends change as spring progresses. They almost certainly will.
Pitching-wise, the stats can’t be taken seriously either. To date, the arms have posted a collective 4.29 ERA, which is pretty good. The regular starters have a collective 5.62 ERA in five Cactus League games, but that falls to a 4.50 ERA if you count Horacio Ramirez’s performance in the charity game. Again, we are basing this over 10 innings worked by the starters. Get back to me in three weeks. Any trends worth watching? Chris Reitsma has walked five batters in two spring outings, including the charity game. That’s a lot of runners for a set-up man to be putting on. Again, if that trend continues until March 25 or so, I’ll be worried. Also, lefty George Sherrill put three of five batters faced on base in his only Cactus League appearance after getting tagged a bit in the charity game. He says his elbow is feeling better and he’s learning to adjust to the discomfort, but this is also something I’d keep an eye on.
It’s only the first week of games. I’m not saying fans are wrong to be antsy about things, but we really can’t draw any conclusions, statistical or otherwise, just yet. An hour to go until game time. Keep those emails and comments coming in!

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