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

July 29, 2007 at 9:40 PM

M’s take three of four

NOTE: (12:45 p.m.) New blog post coming within the hour…someone pointed out below that I goofed on Jered Weaver’s projected year-end stats and they are right. It should read 11-8, 3.68. Obviously a bit of a difference from what I had. Sorry about that. Still three very good starters the M’s are going up against, just not as good as i have below…on to the post…
That might just have been the thriller of the year this afternoon, a 14-10 win for the Mariners that clinched their four-game series with the Oakland A’s. A good thing, too, since the Angels also won, so the gap remains four games between them and Seattle. Now comes this year’s biggest showdown to date, beginning tomorrow night, with Los Angeles. Seattle has got to win this series, no two ways about it. Drop two of three, and the gap becomes five games. You can argue with me until you are blue in the face, but if the M’s end this series down five, they will spend the rest of the season trying to catch up. Like it or not, they still haven’t caught up since falling eight back a month ago.
Anyway, back to what happened today. Not the prettiest of wins in what should have been a cakewalk for the M’s. But they all count. We’ll see how they do against the Angels. No, I am not encouraged by what I saw the last two days. Seattle ran up against an inferior team and needed J.J. Putz today because the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead. The one thing that did please me today was the offense finally finding some firepower. Jose Guillen is playing like a man possessed right now — just in time for an Angels visit. Kenji Johjima also seems to be showing signs of shaking off that month-long slump he’s been in.
But the bottom line? The M’s have not played good baseball for more than a week. They now have the top team in the AL West coming to town, with their three best starting pitchers. A team that just swept the Detroit Tigers. No breaks for the Mariners to come. Here are their projections for the three Angels starters this series by season’s end:
Kelvim Escobar 17-6, 2.91 ERA
John Lackey 19-9, 3.27 ERA
Jered Weaver 18-7, 3.05 ERA
Big Three anyone? Let’s see how they compare to the 2002 Oakland A’s trio that gave birth to the term “Big Three”:
Barry Zito 23-5, 2.75
Mark Mulder 19-7, 3.47
Tim Hudson 15-9, 2.98
Got them beat in ERA, not in wins. But a formidable trio no matter how you slice it. The M’s have got to play better baseball to have a shot in this series. Sean Green in the eighth is the best this team has if it doesn’t want to use George Sherrill against more than just lefties. No, Green isn’t dominant against lefties. But barring a trade or Sherrill, he’s the guy you stick with.
As for the Jarrod Washburn stuff of earlier today, obviously he could have won the game had the bullpen held the lead. But no, five innings isn’t going to get a starter the win on many an occasion. To reply to one reader’s suggestion that I wrote what I did earlier to fill some content quota, will you please think before you write? Sorry, but I actually do believe what I wrote. The fact that Ted Lilly and Jarrod Washburn had almost identical records and ERAs had plenty to do with it. So does the fact that I believe Washburn has much more to offer, as did Lilly in 2006. To the person who suggests the Blue Jays couldn’t wait to have Lilly back, look, you weren’t there. The fact that a desperate J.P. Ricciardi wanted Lilly back (cracking the whip to get his coaches to fall into line) had little to do with what went on between Lilly and the coaching staff between 2004-2006. If you think Ricciardi cares about what his coaches want, check out his track record of firings and turnovers since 2001. All in the name of barely .500 baseball. Please. Ricciardi would sign his great nemesis, Carlos Delgado, back in a heartbeat if he thought it would get him a few more wins.
To “Sammy”, hey, what’s going on? Why the overly-sensitive response? You have been posting here for a long time. Do you think I’m making snide, backdoor comments against the saber community all of a sudden? All I did was state the obvious. That this Lilly-Washburn thing wasn’t scientific. Please. Don’t go looking for boogeymen where they don’t exit. No one is saying you live in your mother’s basement. I’m allowed to have a hunch on my own blog.
By the way, Lilly was 10-11 with a 4.64 ERA when he had his Aug. 21 fight with John Gibbons. He wound up lowering that ERA to 4.31 so, yes, he did turn things around after the fisticuffs. The initial comparison I made between Lilly and Washburn was using numbers from late July because that’s where we are now. Lilly messed around three more weeks before the fight with Gibbons. In other words, there is still hope for Washburn. LOL!
Hey, the team has won three in a row and I know some of you don’t want my pessimism. You know what? It doesn’t matter what I say. We’re going to know in three days whether or not this M’s thrill ride will continue much longer. Take two of three from the Angels, drawing to within three games of first place, and I’ll be a buyer. Drop two of three, falling five back? Hey, then it’s not in your hands any more and three more head-to-head games are out the window. Get some sleep. Three big nights lie ahead.

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