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Mariners blog

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

June 9, 2007 at 9:15 AM

Happy Weaver Day

Yes, the title is borrowed somewhat from previous U.S.S. Mariner posts, but so what? We all know the topic of the day. Big win in San Diego last night, given that the rest of the AL West contenders kept on doing what they’ve done routinely this month. But it looks like the M’s finally caught a break of sorts. More like the A’s catching a bad one. No, Milton Bradley doesn’t pitch in the starting rotation, but you still need minimal offense to win. He’s not what Vlad Guerrero is to the Angels, but something of the sort.
Seattle didn’t get much of the local credit in San Diego. More like the Padres simply not doing their jobs. No matter. The Mariners used the formula for success they’ve lived and died with all season — big bats and a lights-out bullpen.
Now, how to keep that bullpen going. Well, getting the starters to go seven or — gasp! — eight innings would be a start. Miguel Batista gave it the old college try last night before falling apart in the seventh. Yes, he was squeezed a little. But you don’t walk three batters simply because the umpire missed a pitch or two. And yes, Yuniesky Betancourt made another throwing error that didn’t help him. Hey, Batista did OK. I’m not going to knock his effort. And the Mariners got the job done. They’ve been winning at a .605 clip since that six-game losing streak in April. All I’m interested in here, with these daily exercises and ruminations about pitching, is whether they can keep it up. We still have nearly four months ago.
So, to get back to Tomo Ohka for a second. I didn’t bring him up yesterday because I believe he’s a potential 15-game winner. But let’s face it, how many M’s starters are going to win 15 this season? Exactly. So, to answer a question from “Oso Dorado” in the previous post, this is about seeing whether there’s anyone out there who can do the job better than what the Mariners starters are doing now.
And if Jeff Weaver goes out there later today and yields five runs in five innings, it’s time to consider those alternatives. Why stand around waiting? Same with Horacio Ramirez. Even he doesn’t know when he’s coming back. If Ryan Feierabend is the answer, then why is he is Class AAA right now? And is Feierabend going to do a better job than Ohka? Maybe, maybe not. All I’m saying is, taking a look doesn’t hurt anybody.
I know that “Hal” isn’t impressed with the three outings in 10 that Ohka went at least seven innings. But here’s my point. In the M’s rotation, only Jarrod Washburn has more seven-inning outings. And he’s done it four times in 12 outings — almost the same frequency as Ohka, who does it once ever 3.33 outings.
The rest of the rotation? Felix Hernandez did it twice to start the year, never since.
Cha Seung Baek has done it twice in nine outings. Batista only once in a dozen. Weaver and Ramirez never. So, yes, the three in 10 for Ohka does intrigue me if the object is to find pitchers who can take the heat off this bullpen.
Some interesting observations by “Lance” about using the median figures instead of mean, when it comes to analyzing statistics. I’ll agree that the median way makes Batista look better, as it effectively eliminates a bad beginning in April. But how can we just eliminate an entire month of his season? I’ll agree with Lance that the median would be better if we were dealing with a reliever, or were only a few weeks into a season. But the season is more than one-third complete. We have a pretty good sample size here. And what did Batista in last night, besides his shortstop and the umpire, was the same thing he has done all year — put too many guys on-base.
I know “Lance” is seeking trends. And I will concede his point that Batista has become an effective third — maybe fourth — starter since that bad April beginning. Batista, as we’ve mentioned all year, is what he is. As long as you don’t try to make him out to be more, we’ll all be find.
But here’s a “trend” for you, if you will. Take out his three starts against the last-place Rangers (twice) and Devil Rays (once) and you lose three of his six wins and see the ERA jump a full run to 6.57. See any tendencies there? Any trends? That’s why it’s dangerous to play the selective stat game too often. Anyhow, I’ve enjoyed the debating going on. Thanks for bringing up these points. I’m just throwing a few back for you all to consider. Accept or reject as you like.
Anyway, last night was a good one for the Mariners. They need plenty more. And to answer the question of why Morrow was taken out, consider everything just written above. Manager Mike Hargrove knows there are plenty more games to come on the road this week. He needed to do more than just win this one in San Diego. We’re all going to expect a series win or possible sweep in Chicago this week. To do that, Hargrove can’t be faced with a burned-out Morrow come Tuesday. Happy Weaver Day everybody!

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