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April 20, 2007 at 4:34 PM

Morrow rumors, other nonsense

The rain has stopped here in Anaheim, so there’s a chance they’ll play tonight despite the forecast for more rain later on. I’m 0-4 as far as seeing road games played this year so hopefully the streak ends now.
There is a silly rumor on the Web that Brandon Morrow will start next week in Texas. The Mariners have spent all afternoon trying to shoot it down, which anybody with even an iota of common sense would have already done on their own. Morrow has pitched three innings in three weeks. How exactly is he supposed to start a game three days from now? Sure, he’d be good for an inning and two-thirds, maybe. Then what?
This is the type of stuff where a little less excitement and a little more use of cerebral energy would come in handy.
I’m not going to get into a whole debate about why using J.J. Putz in yesterday’s seventh inning would never happen. Trust me, it wouldn’t. I had a little more patience when it came to explaining why using Chris Reitsma for that one batter in the seventh would not be done by most managers but that patience is quickly wearing thin. You don’t take a game one batter at a time in the seventh inning. Not in the month of April. In the last two weeks of a pennant race, maybe, but I have news for some of you (especially the ruder ones): this ain’t a pennant race. A lot of you have made impassioned pleas to the contrary, but it boils down to this: the real choice Hargrove had was between Julio Mateo and Morrow.
Morrow has allowed three hits and three walks in his three innings of work. Even the night he struck out the side, he still put the first batter on. With the bases loaded and no room for error, I can fully understand hesitation in sending him out there. I also can better understand the frustration of folks writing in to this site wondering what Morrow is doing up here.
That, I can agree with. If the present situation continues, with Reitsma pitching very well and Putz having had time to recuperate from his elbow woes I would hope Morrow gets sent somewhere where he can get more pitching time in. He was up here because of the bullpen’s uncertain situation. But no one envisioned we would get to nearly three weeks into the season without an eighth or ninth inning save opportunity.
For those of you writing in to call me a “homer” in your emails and on this site — for trying to point out that yesterday’s call was not the slam-dunk some of you think it was — either start breathing into a paper bag or do some homework and you will see how laughable that suggestion is. I mean, some of you were ripping me last week for being too hard on a 5-3 team. What’s next? One of you going to call me “Pocket Lint”?
Let’s get this straight. The one thing we’re not going to do is use this site to second guess every single move the Mariners make on any given night, just because the move did not work out. We will analyze various decisions, without necessarily demanding a head on a platter or suggesting our way is the only way.
I gave you my take on the decision to wave home Beltre two nights ago and told you I disagreed with it. I also don’t like the way the Mariners went about their off-season in many regards.
But I’m not going to sit here and rip the manager because his pitcher failed to execute a slider yesterday. Yes, he could have gone with Morrow. And if Morrow had come in and walked home the tying run, I know some of you would be getting all over Hargrove for that. He made a move and it did not work out. End of story. I don’t care what Mateo did last season. This is 2007 and he was pitching well of late. And no, I wasn’t here to witness all of it firsthand, which is why my every reference to Mateo and Hargrove is not jaded in a bright shade of yellow. I am trying to look at this situation objectively. If the bases are loaded and it’s a toss-up between Mateo and a kid out of college ball allowing two runners per inning, plenty of managers would go with the hot-handed veteran who had not allowed a run in four straight outings. And no, there are not bundles of managers who would pitch their set-up man in the seventh and use their situational lefty to work the entire eighth inning with just one southpaw due up.
So, that’s it. If he uses Mateo in that situation again and the slider doesn’t work out once again, then we can all get into questioning wisdom and such. For now, keep arguing if you want, but I’m going to tell you about tonight’s game. Seriously, I don’t mind an intelligent discussion and some of you do make them, even if you don’t persuade me. But this foaming at the mouth by some of you has to stop.
Eric O’Flaherty is up and will be added to the roster tonight if the game is played. Talked to him moments ago and he’s thrilled to be back. He did some closing down in Tacoma and really wants to earn a late-inning, situational role in the big-leagues.
Vlad Guerrero hitting third tonight. Just Seattle’s luck, a team that’s scored just 6 runs in 16 games (make that 16 runs in six games — they aren’t that bad) gets its catalyst back.



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