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Mariners blog

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

August 29, 2007 at 9:59 PM

Figuring it all out

In case you didn’t hear it earlier, here’s a nice reminder I got today via voicemail from an avid local baseball fan about the things we sometimes forget about. I was worried about whether or not I was adequately articulating my points on Adam Jones, Rick White, Richie Sexson and others. Seems I forgot about what matters to some folks. For all the doom and gloom today, have a listen to that clip. It’s bound to bring a smile to your face as you try to forget all the “screaming” drives hit off Mariners pitching by the Angels…
Here’s an early review of the M’s flop of a showdown at the AL West summit from ESPN.com.
OK, let’s try to answer some queries/comments about this disaster of a series just ended.
To “No Name” I think most of us realize by now that calling Felix Hernandez an “ace” is ridiculous. He’s only 21. If the Mariners’ front office seriously believed he could carry this team like Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Kelvim Escobar or John Lackey, it deserves to be pink-slipped tout de suite (that’s french for right away). On the positive side of things, Hernandez just posted his second consecutive season of double-digit win totals. None of the above pitchers had done that by age 21.
To “BGR” I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with me. What’s Rick White proved so far? I’ll throw this back at you. What’s he not proved the past two days that Sean Green or Brandon Morrow has? The answer? You know it. And this isn’t a White versus Morrow/Green argument. Morrow and Green have been great this year considering what should have been expected. This is all about trying to make the bullpen better heading into September. You heard me whine about it ad nauseum before July 31. Another arm was needed. An experienced, shutdown, eighth-inning arm. Chris Reitsma was supposed to be that guy, but he got hurt. Rafael Soriano got traded. Hey, even if it duplicated what some people thought the team already had, what was the harm? Was White the best guy out there? No. He was the best guy the M’s wanted to pick up without spending anything in money/talent in return. So far, he’s pitched out of a high leverage jam, had a grounder get through the left side in another one last night and did some not-so-great mop-up duty today. If White turns out to not be the guy the M’s need, that’s fine. I never campaigned for him and couldn’t care less (got the expression right this time) either way. But it doesn’t negate the need in the first place.
Just a side note, some of you completely misinterpreted what I wrote about John McLaren “playing with fire” last night by going with limited sample sizes of young pitchers versus veteran hitters. I wasn’t blaming the pitchers — Green and Eric O’Flaherty — for being young. I was blaming the manager for going with sample sizes that were too small and collected off pitchers without enough time in the big leagues for their head-to-head numbers to mean anything against established, dangerous hitters like Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson.
To “byebeyeIbanez”, uh, I have to disagree the team needs “to go young” in September when it is tied for the wild-card lead with New York right now. You don’t start experimenting with inexperienced youth when you are winning (for the most part) and in contention, which the M’s still are. Unless you are really desperate at a position. Do you really want to bench Raul Ibanez, hitting .406 in August with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.223? Or bench Jose Vidro, hitting .383 with a .932 OPS since the All-Star-Break? Why would you do that? Because you think some Class AAA call-up might be able to do the same thing? But you’ve already got guys doing it. The time to make this move was on July 1, when Ibanez and Vidro were invisible and looked like their careers might be done. Not now that they’re on fire just when you need it.
To “jk”, who commented that the M’s were outmanaged in this series, yes, I’ll buy that argument. Mike Goff left Miguel Batista in a little too long in the first game, John McLaren made the wrong gambles instead of the “safe” moves in the middle contest and today…well today was more about Seattle’s wounded psyche than managing. But I’ll give you that the M’s did not “outmanage” the Angels in any of the three games. Edge to the Angels.
For “KemoSabe” yeah, I’m also sick of the “nobody expected them to be here” line as well. I sure didn’t expect them to be contending this late. Picked the M’s to finish third at about 78-82 wins, I believe. But if they’re going to get everyone all riled up by sticking around until now, they might as well step up and finish the job. If they were good enough to get here in the first place, then they’re good enough not to get swept at home in their biggest series in years. I don’t think anyone’s prior expectations matter at this point. It’s a cheap copout if they try to use it. I haven’t seen the M’s use that excuse yet, in their defense. They’d better not.
To “g” the Times provides me with more than adequate hotel accomodations, as does every major newspaper with their beat writers. I prefer to stay at Marriott chain or affiliated hotels like Renaissance. Most of the writers single out a preferred chain so they can collect points for free stays. Once you reach a high status by staying so many nights per year, you become eligible for price discounts and room upgrades, which makes it win-win situation for the paper and reporter. A beat writer spending three or four months of the year on the road requires comfortable accomodations more so than the reporter who spends two nights a year away from Seattle. Anyone can do the $29 per night motel stint once or twice and eat three meals a day at McDonald’s a couple of times. But when you live away from home a third of the year, you need things like a decent gym, access to half-decent restaurants, certain services and office-equipped facilities in the room. After all, it’s not a vacation. It’s your life. We get those at our hotels.
To “Quinault” I agree with you that players do indeed have to earn their playing time. What to do now? Ben Broussard should play at least twice a week, maybe more, until Richie Sexson gets going like he was earlier this month. Sexson dropped off a cliff again this past week. His .284 on-base average this month and .723 OPS are not enough to justify playing him every day. He looked to have regressed to previous form in the biggest series of the year. I was all for riding Sexson out of his slump earlier in the month, but not at any cost. Sexson had been showing improvement. Now, he’s stuck in neutral again. I’d play him tomorrow and if he has a big game, play him again. If not, go back to Broussard.
That’s about it for tonight. A long day for everyone, I know.

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