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June 3, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Cheers and boos

Nice to see such a warm reception for Edgar Martinez at Safeco Field. Looks like he could almost suit up and still hit. Maybe not. Then again, if the Rangers are doing the pitching…
The booing of Bill Bavasi, while not entirely appropriate given the circumstances, is understandable. Fans in Seattle are tired of seeing a team they feel is going nowhere fast. Yes, the M’s are improved. But what are they over the long term? As we mentioned yesterday, there is another shoe that apparently has to drop with Ichiro and until that happens — one way or the other — that future remains uncertain. To the reader who objected about my 0-for-3 comment on Miguel Batista, you have to understand. I was never saying that Batista isn’t a semi-decent third or fourth starter type. We were talking about impact starters. The type who can influence whether a division is won or lost.
Miguel Batista is not one of those starters. Sorry. He pitched OK yesterday, still failing to go seven or more innings. Until he can do that — and at age 36 it’s a little late to be hoping for a change — he’ll remain just what he is. Middle of the rotation filler. Decent, but not impact.
So, the M’s did what they had to do. Their bullpen woes are starting to manifest themselves. But it wasn’t lethal yesterday. When I give credit to Mike Hargrove for managing the bullpen it’s because the M’s have managed to avoid a total collapse on that front given the stresses of 23 games in 23 days with starters fortunate to get beyond six innings. It’s only June, there’s a long way to go. This team needs Felix Hernandez to start going nine innings again or there will be more trouble on that front.
Winning today is imperative for the M’s. A split with a club as bad as the Rangers would not bode well. Even if the M’s don’t catch the Angels, Tigers, or whoever else is going to the playoffs, the optics of the season are still important. As we saw with the booing of Bavasi, fans are not yet convinced this club is headed in the right direction. Beating the Rangers three out of four would be a start. A small start in a very long season still to come.

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