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

July 24, 2007 at 1:10 PM

Mariners vs. Rangers; game 1 of doubleheader

I share the same feelings as most of you. John Rheinecker? The guy threw 74 pitches in three innings his only other start this year. Today, the M’s let him go seven innings with no earned runs, on 94 pitches. And he’s a lefty at that. This team mashes lefties. Supposedly. No, this was not a positive turn of events. Seattle is only three outs away from defeat, down 2-1 as we enter the bottom of the eighth.
Ryan Feierabend provided five innings of serviceable emergency starting. Gave up only two runs, a few too many extra-base hits. But all in all, some decent work. I fully expect him to be sent down as well “scrapiron” so that Mark Lowe can be recalled. Can’t blame Feierabend for what happened today. So, are the Mariners just a .500 team regressing to the mean? To where their runs-scored/runs against ratio suggests they should be? We’ll find out.
There’s a crazy, drunken fan someplace here at the ballpark that has been screaming at full blast in every at-bat. Unfortunately, he’s next to a stadium loudspeaker that pipes crowd noise here into the indoor pressbox. If Jose Lopez comes up, he goes “Jose! Jose!” after every pitch. He then continues doing it in the next at-bat as Jose Guillen steps up. I will be hearing “Jose! Jose!” in my sleep tonight. I truly hope this guy goes home to his family after Game 1. Listen to the audio of him right here, screaming out something above all other quiet.
I’ll be hearing that and seeing visions of Richie Sexson striking out when it matters. Why do I sense that the eighth inning was this team’s last real chance? Probably because Eric Gagne usually won’t have poor outings back-to-back. He’ll be on in the ninth.
OK, we’re through four innings here with the M’s and Rangers in a 1-1 tie. Seattle has just one hit — a two-out single in the third by Jose Lopez. Scored an unearned run in the first thanks to a two-base boot job by shortstop Michael Young. Ryan Feierabend has done an OK job so far, though he’s allowed three extra-base hits and gave up two of those to back-to-back hitters in the fourth. He’s a fly ball guy and those were some hard hit fly balls.
Some of you have asked me why the front office would re-sign Jose Guillen long-term. You’ve noted that his OPS of .805 is decent but nothing special. Well, I’d tend to argue that an .800 or better OPS is pretty good from a left fielder, which is where I think the M’s would envision Guillen down the road. That leaves room to put a true power-hitting right fielder. Like an Adam Jones. Please stop posting about what Jones did during his September call-up last season. You cannot judge a player based on that. History is littered with young guys being overwhelmed their first time up to the majors. Jones has had a whole other year to hit at Class AAA and is obliterating the ball.
Back to Guillen, I asked manager John McLaren before today’s game about whether he thinks the Guillen he sees now is going to be what the team can bank on. McLaren said no. He fully expects Guillen to produce at a level above where he is right now, since he’s just rounding into form after last year’s Tommy John surgery and a follow-up operation. And that, my friends, would be the key to a Guillen extension and why the team would entertain it.
“I feel that way,” McLaren said. “I feel he’s been getting better and better and better. He’s a clutch hitter…it makes you wonder, going through a whole off-season, where he might be at next year?”
Remember the whole “Moneyball” premise? Well, it’s hardly unique to “Moneyball” but the idea of looking for hidden value? If the Mariners really do feel that Guillen will contribute higher numbers now that he’s more than halfway done his first season after the two surgeries, then they might feel they can get some value out of a long-term signing.
Guillen is not a defensive liability and has a very strong arm that is getting stronger by the day. He looked shaky in right field at times because he was playing hurt — another thing he does well.
“He plays hurt, he plays every day,” McLaren said. “He’s gone through some major surgeries and he’s back.”
So, there you have it. That glance at possible upside is why the Mariners would be interested in a longer deal. Plus, you get a veteran player, who has been through the wars. That does mean something when you’re trying to win now as opposed to three years down the road. Playoff teams tend not to be comprised of guys making the major league minimum and putting up ungodly numbers. Look where the Florida Marlins are with Miguel Cabrera in the lineup. They are a sub-.500 team. To win when it counts and make the playoffs, you usually need a core of veteran performers and a sprinking of young, low-cost talent to round it out. That’s the mix we’re talking about. Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett provided that “mix” for the Marlins in 2003 when they won a World Series with a veteran core of players leading the way.
This Seattle team will already have Jones, Felix Hernandez and other less-salaried types on the roster next year. Does it really need another rookie or a diamond-in-the rough find to replace Guillen? Or are the M’s thinking they’re better off sticking with what they know? My guess is, it will be the latter. And I can’t say I blame them.
I’d like to spend the early part of this post going over lineups, talking baseball and such, but unfortunately, I’ve wasted a good part of today dealing with policing issues on this site. In order to address some of the concerns mentioned to me in emails and on the site, we will attempt to initiate an authorization process sometime in the next day or so. It will involve me having to “authorize” the posts of everyone who comments here. Some regulars will have no trouble getting through, while others may have to have each comment screened until they can prove they are not going to disrupt everyone else on the site. It’s a one-time screening process, so the commenters who are “authorized” won’t have to be screened every time.
As for newcomers, we will have to approve each of you individually. It won’t be like trying to get a visa to a foreign country or anything. Just post something halfway intelligent and you’ll get in.
What I’m trying to say is, be patient. This system will work, but there are always bugs to be worked through. One ground rule though: if you do get authorized to comment and then force me to lift that later on, you’ll be out of commission indefintely. In other words, act nice just to get on the forum and then use it as a license to run amuck and we’ll just close you down. No appeals. That will be it.
The reason? I don’t have the time to spend monitoring the site 24/7. This applies to only a select few of you, but the site is growing and many newcomers are arriving here. You are all welcome to post and contribute. There are no cliques here. But there are certain norms you have to respect and which most of you have done a great job of enforcing on your own.
I’ve got a newspaper job to do and spend a lot of time providing commentary, audio clips and news breaks here. If I’m wasting time chasing after a rogue commenter or two, everything else suffers. That said, thanks to all of you who have helped keep this site strong. Hopefully, these steps will take care of the chaos we’ve seen in recent days.
Some lineup moves to tell you about. Kenji Johjima is playing this afternoon, despite the night game yesterday. The reason? Raul Ibanez and Jose Vidro are getting a rest. Taking those two and Johjima out of the lineup would be asking for trouble. Ichiro is the DH, also getting a quasi-rest.
The lineups:
TEXAS (43-56)
RF Jerry Hairston
SS Michael Young
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Sammy Sosa
CF Marlon Byrd
C Adam Melheuse
LF Brad Wilkerson
2B Desi Relaford
3B Travis Metcalf
LHP John Rheinecker
SEATTLE (54-42)
DH Ichiro
2B Jose Lopez
RF Jose Guillen
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
CF Willie Bloomquist
LF Jason Ellison
LHP Ryan Feierabend
HP Gary Cederstrom
1B Angel Campos
2B Tim Welke (crew chief)
3B Lance Barksdale



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