The Mariners trail 3-0 as we enter the seventh. Jason Vargas notched two outs in the sixth, but also yielded a pair of singles. Brandon Morrow came on from there and gave up an RBI single to Nolan Reimold. This isn’t quite what the M’s had in mind for Morrow when he was drafted three years ago. Speaking of the draft, the Mariners took high school catcher Steven Baron with their 33rd overall pick. There had been talk the M’s had reached a pre-draft deal with Baron.
5:44 p.m.: Make it a 2-0 lead for the Orioles after five innings, with Nolan Reimold taking Jason Vargas over the center field fence for a solo shot in the fifth. I kept waiting to see whether Franklin Gutierrez would make one of those spectacular leaping grabs. He nearly did. The offense is asleep once again, Brad Bergesen has retired eight in a row and 11 of the last 12 hitters he’s faced.
Vargas has to do a better job than that. He was cruising through four, looking at maybe a sinx or seven-inning game. He seemed to hit a wall in that fifth, yielding three straight hits after getting the first out of the inning — and that came on a long fly ball. He was doing well until entering the fifth but just ran his pitch count up. Brandon Morrow is warming up in the bullpen. Haven’t seen him in many games. Might not see him in many more. He’s too valuable to be used as a middle-innings mop-up guy.
5:31 p.m.: The Mariners just took high school shortstop Nick Franklin with their 27th overall pick. How fast can he be ready?
5:23 p.m.: Three runners in three innings, all stranded by the Mariners so far. Ichiro got a one-out single in the third, but Russell Branyan struck out and Adrian Beltre grounded out. So, it’s still 1-0, O’s in the lead. That was a heads-up play by first baseman Branyan in the bottom of the second to throw out Matt Wieters at second after a bunch of Mariners had allowed his pop-up to drop in on the infield grass.
4:51 p.m.: Jason Vargas keeps getting mulligans on these Baltimore Orioles long balls. The Mariners trail 1-0 after an inning of play, but it could have been far worse. Melvin Mora appeared to hit a two-run homer in the first, but left fielder Endy Chavez immediately complained that he’d been interfered with by a fan who leaned over the wall and struck his glove.
So, for the second time in less than a week, the O’s had a homer taken off the board against Vargas by a video replay review. This one confirmed the interference and an out call was made.
Too bad the Chicago Cubs couldn’t have used that argument in the 2003 NLCS “Bartman” game.
4:24 p.m.: We’re underway after a slight delay of 17 minutes.
Just noticed that DMZ over at the USS Mariner site continues to be confused about my thinking that Erik Bedard will get Type A free-agent status. First, let me clear up confusion some of their readers apparently have:
No, seasons are not weighted differently according to how recent they are. Both years, in this case, 2008 and 2009 will be given equal weight.
Second, DMZ doesn’t quite understand how Bedard can come close to the .722 winning percentage he had in 2007. Well, I’ll try to help. He’s already at .700 for a team that’s cost him wins with a lack of hitting. He’s on-pace for 14 wins total, one more than in his very good 2007 season. So, even if he’s slightly down in strikeouts, he might not lose that much ground in that one category since there are not a ton of AL pitchers notching 185+ strikeouts in any given season.
I initially misunderstood what DMZ wrote, thinking he doubted Bedard could win eight games all season as opposed to eight more games from now until the end. That’s a legitimate concern. As of right now, even with offensive struggles, he’s on pace to win nine more. So, I’m just going off what’s been happening.
No. Bedard might not match his winning percentage from 2007. But he has a good shot at matching his wins total.
And he doesn’t have to entirely match his 2007 numbers to have a shot at “treading water” with last year. He can fall just short in some categories and still not get passed by other pitchers. That’s going to depend on how they do. As I mentioned with the strikeouts totals, if only a handful of guys whiff 150+ batters each year, it won’t matter much if Bedard drops from 221 to 185 in Ks. If there’s not a bunch of guys up at that level, he might not fall much.
And Bedard stands to gain ground in ERA, in games pitched and innings worked. So, it’s highly possible he will end up with better numbers — in what the rankings judge — than he did in 2007 as long as he finishes the season.
As you know from our earlier comments thread, I’ve already given in on the Cliff Lee point — Lee is actually doing better in the key categories than I first thought and will most likely stay ahead of Bedard since his 2008 season was so good. But there are other pitchers who will be passed by Bedard — that’s a given. Some might catch him from behind, but not enough to knock him out of the top 20 percent.
Whether he’s second-to-last, last, or first on the Type A list makes no difference. It all counts. And right now, from looking at it reasonably, the odds that enough pitchers will catch him are slim indeed.
June 9, 2009 at 6:09 PM