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

July 19, 2007 at 10:04 PM

Mariners generating interest

Let me tell you, the folks talking baseball here in Toronto are very interested in figuring out just what thin air the Mariners have popped out of. Nobody saw this team coming in Seattle, so imagine what it’s like out east, in another country. Did a radio interview tonight on the Fan 590, a national all-sports station, and they were very curious about Miguel Batista. The only time he started for the Blue Jays, in 2004, turned a bit sour towards the end. Too many baserunners, too many starts ending in the sixth inning, not enough wins. So, what’s changed, they asked me? Well, I replied, not a whole lot in some areas. Still allows plenty of baserunners, still rarely goes seven innings.
But here’s the thing: he also rarely allows all those runners to score. In fact, it’s getting very uncommon to see Batista allow more than two earned runs per start.
In six of the last seven games, he’s allowed two runs or less.
That one game in which he allowed more than two runs, he allowed three.
Now, that’s what we call effective pitching.
Want to know the guy Batista replaced in Toronto’s rotation in 2004? Here he is, Mr. “Man Crush” Kelvim Escobar himself. Improved to 11-3 with a 2.85 earned run average by shutting out the Devil Rays for 7 2/3 innings today. That’s a full run less than C.C. Sabathia’s ERA with the Indians, though he improved to 13-4 today and knocked the Mariners 1 1/2 games out in the wild-card hunt.
Escobar is a second-half arm to watch out for and a darkhorse contender for the Cy Young Award. By the way, I’ll be voting for MVP this year, so you don’t have to worry about me stuffing the ballot box for Escobar. Angels now two up on the M’s in the AL West.
Yes, the Blue Jays allowed Escobar to walk away as a free agent for one million more per season and one extra year in Anaheim. And the fans here wonder why Toronto still can’t overtake the Yankees and Red Sox when it matters.
So, yeah, I told the radio host all about Batista and J.J. Putz. Mentioned George Sherrill being perhaps the best situational lefty in baseball and the best such lefty who also faces righties (not sure that’s a category). Told them to watch out for Sean Green. They were talking up the Mariners pretty good on the Blue Jays’ post-game report out of Yankee Stadium tonight after Dustin McGowan (that sideburned kid the M’s took out in the series opener last month at Safeco Field) had manhandled the New Yorkers (told you that was some good pitching the M’s swept aside). All of the reports on the Mariners were glowing, with them classified as a “very good” baseball team and a real challenge for a Blue Jays team that is much better at home than on the road.
I’ll be doing three straight broadcast interviews tomorrow. To this blog’s Canadian fans up in British Columbia, who’ve written in here on occasion, you can hear me talk some M’s on TSN’s Off the Record show tomorrow. I’ll also be on Sun Television’s The Grill Room and on the Chuck Swirsky Show on The Fan 590 radio later on. Lots of media interest here in the Mariners.
Been reading through the comments section:
Yes, I’ve seen all those stories decrying the lack of available arms. Happens every year before somebody caves on their demands and some deals go through. But I’ll admit, it’s pretty thin out there.
Yes, “Buzzie” Bavasi reads this blog. Still an avid baseball fan and a whiz at the computer.
To “Chris from Duvall” yes, I do think we’ll see more lineup tinkering from John McLaren. He has to know what he’s got going for him heading into August. Ben Broussard and Richie Sexson will be folks to keep an eye on. Jose Vidro, who has turned it on doubles-wise of late, is one to watch as well.
To “Twin Cities Mariner” Joe Nathan is indeed an intriguing name. I think we’ll see some more movement in another week or so when, as you mentioned, certain teams will know exactly what their chances are going forward.
Nathan Lane? A great actor. But so’s Robert Downey Jr. Any takers for that?
I’m tired. It’s been a long day of travel, a short night last night. So, I’m off to bed. Hope you all enjoyed the off-day.

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