Follow us:

Mariners blog

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

September 15, 2007 at 4:43 PM

The Yankees lose…thuuuhhh..Yankees lose!.

Well, that was a quick hook for Horacio Ramirez, down 4-0 after one inning. Guess they had Jorge Campillo ready to go all along. When you yank a guy after four batters, there’s usually a backup plan waiting to go. For “BGR” no, I’m not necessarily talking about McLaren and Bavasi when I speak of those who want to make this 2007 season summary a veterans’ versus kids debate. Was Brandon Morrow a “veteran”? No, he was a college player with a whiff of Class A ball under his belt when the M’s made him their setup man. Does that get ignored in this debate because it’s a square peg that won’t fit in a round hole? It shouldn’t. But wait a minute, if there’s a veterans conspiracy, how could Morrow get that chance? How did Cha-Seung Baek get to join the starting rotation for nearly two months? At Jeff Weaver’s expense at one point, right? Wasn’t Baek young and relatively unproven?
Ok, we’ll ignore those cases. Sean Green, Eric O’Flaherty, Ryan Rowland-Smith? All veterans, I guess. Oh wait, I forgot, they were victimized by the conspiracy because the team went out and brought in some veteran relievers from elsewhere, right? Never mind the fact that there are rarely any good, young relievers available via trade after July 31. But yes, the M’s were guilty of bringing in Rick White and John Parrish.
Should we bother to point out why they did this? Well, in their absolute foolishness, they worried that a bullpen supported by such young arms — having never been through the stress of a playoff run or arm strain of a full major league season — just might not hold up. Well, guess what? Do I really have to keep pointing out the obvious? OK, I will. The arms in the bullpen did not hold up. Now, we can do one of two things:
We can twist ourselves into pretzels grasping for excuses, explanations, comparisons with older players and all types of theories to justify the conspiracy angle…or…we can simply say, hey, maybe on this one occasion, the folks running the team were actually right. I know it hurts to do it, but just take a deep breath and try it. The team guessed right. The bullpen arms did not hold up. That means, of course, that those who believed they would hold up were wrong about that. It hurts to be wrong, sometimes, I know. We’ve all been there. But this bullpen just wasn’t going to hold up with so many arms not used to throwing so many innings under this kind of pressure. Not with this starting rotation, that’s for sure.
And no, this isn’t a defense of John McLaren. Only a defense against some of the level of argumentation I’ve seen on this site and throughout the Seattle blogosphere the past three weeks. We can jump all over the Mariners for their stance on Richie Sexson, blast away at Bill Bavasi for the Horacio Ramirez deal and maybe get on McLaren for sticking with his starters at this point in the season and a handful of in-game moves.
But this season was lost because the starting pitching wasn’t good enough. Period. Plain and simple. And unless the M’s acquired another starter before July 31, or an impact set-up man to make the bullpen even better, and more durable than it already was — so it could “shorten the game” — this season was always doomed to turn out this way. You can argue the opposite until you’re blue in the face. But look at the standings. This is how the season turned out.
Not because Adam Jones is on the bench in favor of two guys hitting .300 since he came up. Not because of the extra few runs Jones might have saved the defense over a six-week period. Or the fact that White and Parrish were not the bullpen answers. (They clearly weren’t, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to find the answers in the first place). Or the fact that Ryan Feierabend didn’t start tonight. This season turned out the way it did because of a starting rotation that went a month without a guy pitching eight good innings during the most critical time of the year.
That’s why. If you want a conspiracy, you’re better off digging through the Mike Hargrove files. I’m all for constructive criticism of the team and there’s plenty that will be criticized when this season ends. But this whole “veterans” versus “kids” blame is getting comical. Keep dishing it out if you want. But try to at least get serious with some of the points. If you’re going to argue that Adam Jones was the difference, spell out why in something other than a math formula. Demonstrate where Raul Ibanez’s defense lost games. I can show you where his bat won games over the past six weeks.
Otherwise, enjoy the rest of tonight’s game. If the M’s can keep it at most a 10-run gap by the sixth and get Tampa Bay’s bullpen in there, they’ll have a shot.
There you go, optimists. The Yankees got obliterated, 10-1 by the Red Sox this afternoon. A win tonight over the Devil Rays and the Mariners will be four out in the loss column. Am I getting excited? No. Not yet, anyway. Get to three back with two weeks to go and I might get what “Cubby” would describe as a little “tingling” sensation. But there are 15 days to go. Realistically, a four-game sweep of the D-Rays is a must. But hey, one step at a time, right?
For those of you who want to lump the 2007 season into a simplistic “veterans versus young guys” debate, you’ll enjoy this story on Jacob Ellsbury of the Red Sox. Heck, even if you just like to read about talented young ballplayers, you’ll like it. But just remember: If Manny Ramirez was healthy, he’d be starting in left field.
Also, even though free agent J.D. Drew has been a bust, manager Terry Francona isn’t bumping him from the lineup to insert Ellsbury. As the New York Times writer puts it: “Starting Ellsbury over Drew would be a bold move by Francona, and he seems disinclined to make it.”
J.D. Drew’s numbers: .768 on-base-plus slugging percentage (OPS) for the season, .778 in the second half.
Raul Ibanez: .801 for the season, .864 in second-half
Jose Vidro: .794 for the season, .932 in second-half
So, if Drew doesn’t have to step aside and clear room for a very good call-up, why should Vidro or Ibanez? Or is Terry Francona as “out of touch” as some of you think John McLaren is on this one topic?
Anyway, I do enjoy this debate, as it takes so many twists and turns with each passing week…



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 ►