Follow us:

Mariners blog

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

August 14, 2007 at 9:53 PM

M’s, Ramirez pounded 11-3; hear audio

Just got back from the clubhouse. I can see that a few of you didn’t like my comments about how Horacio Ramirez “has to turn things around soon, or the M’s have to look elsewhere.”
If you think I’m being foolish, what’s your solution? Has Ryan Feierabend gotten any better than when he was happy to last five innings against the Texas Rangers? Is he a one-game solution, destined to be lit-up the next? Anyone else down on the farm knocking your socks off? Jake Woods is not on the 40-man roster any more.
When I made the suggestion the team do something pitching-wise (foremost a starter, secondly a dependable veteran set-up guy) at the trade deadline, plenty of you complained about how the M’s couldn’t possibly “waste” a top prospect on Matt Morris (would it have taken a top prospect to get him?) or another starting pitcher upgrade. So, now, you laugh when I suggest Ramirez may get another start. I’m looking around and I don’t see an immediate solution unless the Mariners go get Jose Contreras in a trade, or sign a very old looking David Wells (just what you want, a failing NL guy). Are they solutions? Who knows? They are what’s left for teams that did not do anything by July 31.
I’m just being realistic here. I assume the M’s have a fallback plan other than losing every five days, right? So, if they do, then I’ll assume they’re convinced Ramirez is on the verge of being turned around, or else they have a guy waiting in the wings. Either way, there are a bunch of road games and pretty good teams looming in the distance. They had better figure it out quick.
You may be happy to know that manager John McLaren wouldn’t give us a straight answer tonight when we asked about Ramirez’s immediate future. Wanted to sleep on it first.
“Horacio had problems locating,” McLaren said. “His release point seemed like it was all over the place.”
But then he threw in: “We’ve got to get him going. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
So, what does that mean? Is Ramirez staying in the rotation or done? I have no idea what it means other than the fact that McLaren will be thinking about something other than his pillow when he goes to bed. Listen to the audio of his entire post-game press conference right here and figure it out for yourselves because you’ve got me. I have no idea.
It was McLaren’s shortest post-gamer yet. He didn’t run out or anything. We just had nothing to ask him. All we wanted to know about was Ramirez and his future. He wanted to sleep on it. End of story.
Kenji Johjima came up with this quote when I asked what was different about Ramirez’s outing tonight.
“I don’t think I saw anything different than from the past,” Johjima said.
Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
Trouble is, Johjima was being serious. He was trying to describe how Ramirez often gets himself into trouble.
“He had great movement with his fastball today but he couldn’t locate it, especially early in the count,” Johjima added. “When you see a pitcher like him, you need to get that first pitch strike and he wasn’t able to get it today and that’s what cost him the loss.”
And what about Ramirez himself? Couldn’t spot his two-seam fastball. Fell behind hitters. Couldn’t catch any breaks. Gave the opposing hitters lots of them.
“I think right now it feels like everything is going wrong for me,” Ramirez said. “If I make a mistake, it gets hit. If I make a good pitch, it gets through the infield. I guess it’s up to me to just weather the storm and try to figure things out.”
Hear the audio right here for all the gory details.
Here are some dismal stats. How about the Twins entering with a .239 batting average and just 30 runs in 12 games in August, before pounding out 18 hits and 11 runs here? How about Jason Bartlett, he of the .339 slugging percentage and three home runs coming in, smashing a deep double and a key homer off Ramirez? Minnesota just scored more runs in this one game than it had in the past five.
Ramirez has given up 40 per cent of his runs in the first two innings, when opponents have hit .380 off him. But when you think about it, that’s not all that unusual. He’s only lasting about four or five innings per night, so it makes sense that a huge bulk of his runs would come in the first two frames — since they often represent 50 per cent of the innings he pitches in a contest.
Anyway, the world didn’t end tonight, so just relax. The M’s didn’t lose any ground and were beaten for only the second time in eight games. That’s pretty darned good. They didn’t just blow a 2-0 lead in the ninth, they were flat-out hammered into the ground. It happens.
As for Ramirez, I happen to like the guy. Seems like a nice person, is anything but a jerk and I hope he turns things around. I really do because he’s having a really rough go of it right now. I’d like nothing more than to see him come back next season and win the same number of games with an ERA half of what it is right now. Do that and the fans will forgive him.
But the same rules apply to Ramirez, nice guy or not, as with others we’ve taken to task in this space — like Richie Sexson, Raul Ibanez, Jeff Weaver, Jose Vidro, Jose Lopez and anyone else who’s lost some playing time because of non-performance this season. You have to earn your playing time on a team with aspirations of making the playoffs. Ramirez hasn’t done that. The team has gotten by with his poor outings until now, but we’ve seen this past week how difficult gaining ground will be from here on in.
I think we’ve reached the point this season where another option is needed. Obviously, that’s the case. The question is, have the M’s positioned themselves to have those options available?



No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►