Mariners Musings

Musings about, um... well, the Seattle Mariners as well as a love affair with this game baseball. By Peter J. White

Saturday, June 07, 2003


In response to some apparently disparaging remarks I may have made against our excellent third baseman [ed. note: The sarcasm may be a little thick there], I received the following email:

Here's the problem with replacing Cirillo...

Much of Mariner nation looks at Cirillo's awful stats and says "same old Jeff."

What they fail to see is that .620 OPS is badly skewed by a 1-28 start. Since he broke out of his slump, he has a .740 OPS, and an OBP close to .350. His OPS is slightly below average, but, as we know, on-base percentage is more important than slugging. The above-average OBP makes up for the below-average SLG in order to make him an average singles hitter at 3B... When the M's have a middle of the order guy at 2B, you could say that it's a fair tradeoff for the excellent glovework the M's receive.

There is no player on the M's that would justify benching Cirillo.

- Dave S.

I don't know, Dave, as I recall, Edgar has some 3B on his resume, right? In all seriousness, though, thanks for the email Dave, and you do make an excellent point. The M’s carry an anomaly in Bret Boone: Second basemen just do not hit a home run every 14 at bats. So indeed, the Mariners can afford a little less offensive from, say, third base. Maybe even left field, as Randy Winn isn’t exactly Barry Bonds or Manny Ramirez.

My question, Dave, is when did Cirillo break out of his slump, or more to the point, what should we accept as his baseline? True, in April his line was .171/.275/.273. Just horrible. It’s hard to imagine, but that’s worse than the April that most of the Tigers’ starting lineup had. May was much better, as many point out: .306/.351/.389.

Interestingly, his season OBP peaked on May 15 at .325. Since May 15, Cirillo is 11 for 47 with 3 doubles and 4 walks, or a line of .234/.294/.297. (I don’t have time to look up if he had any sacrifices, and that would change that, but just a smidge). So really, Jeff had a good first two weeks of May, and he’s now 3 weeks removed from his 2-week hot streak. Sure, he broke out of an early season slump, but he’s lucky his current troubles have been overshadowed by the winning streak and the vengeance that Bret Boone has attacked AL pitchers with lately.

I (and anyone else, for that matter) can bitch and moan as much as I want about carrying guys like Cirillo (.636 OPS), Willie Bloomquist (.485), Mark McLemore (.681) and Dan Wilson (.623). But the fact of the matter is the Giants last year were mere outs away from winning the World Series and their postseason bench included Shawon Dunston (.536), Pedro Feliz (.617), Tom Goodwin (.659) and Tsuyoshi Shinjo (.664). Of course it helps if you have Barry Bonds, too. The winning Angels had Benjie Molina (.596) as their starting catcher. The 2001 Diamondbacks won the World Series despite starting Tony Womack (.652) at short. And 2000 Yankees had Scott Brosius (.673) at third.

Even the 2001 Mariners won 116 games with Carlos Guillen (.689) and Tom Lampkin (.657). The bottom line and lesson learned is every team has their crummy hitters. The great teams balance them with great hitters, fitting the offense, the defense, the strengths, the weaknesses all together like a jigsaw puzzle.
|| Peter @ 6/07/2003

I will be congenial in welcoming Matt White to the M’s. Matt, we’re friendly a bunch until you blow a lead. For now, I direct my look of bewilderment towards Mr. Gillick. Is there anything more wasteful on the 25-man roster of a competitive/championship-caliber team than a Rule V draftee? I’m sorry, Mr. Ugueto, you’ll have to speak up a little louder next time as I’m a trifle deaf in this ear. I’m sure a couple major league teams would love to stock their bullpen with the arms the M’s have loaded in Tacoma and San Antonio. At least if White doesn’t pan out he can go back to the Sox rather than eat away a roster spot through September. Maybe at least he’ll be the excuse to make Giovanni disappear.

Bob had a good take on this in last night's Game Chatter, though other reports I've read aren't as flattering of Fulse.

Pat Gillick is celebrated as the GM who brought Arthur Rhodes, John Olerud, Bret Boone, Ichiro, among others to Seattle. Let us not forget that Mr. Gillick is also responsible for such “among others” as Giovanni Carrara, Jose Offerman, James Baldwin and Al Martin.
|| Peter @ 6/07/2003

Maybe I’m bitter because I want to win them all. “But you can’t win them all,” says the voice inside of my head, in most other cases known as Reason. All right, whatever.

Maybe I’m bitter because I hate waste. Stranding the bases loaded to start not just the first inning, but also the second: That is waste.

Having thrown 13 innings the day before in a double-header loss to the Brewers, the Mets bullpen was a weakness to be exploited. The Mission: Knock out Seo early. And after the first two innings, the consolation of not scoring was that Seo had already thrown nearly 40 pitches. Alas, it was not to be.

The eighth inning provided an opportunity of redemption for the offense as Cammie led off with a single and Winn followed with his second ground rule double of the day. Down 3-1, runners at second and third, no out, and who should our hero be this day? Jeff Cirillo? Not quite. He flied out to right. One down. Ben Davis? A ground out to short. But that scores Cammie and it is 3-2. With Winn, representing the tying run at second base, Edgar swaggers to the plate. (Humor me; I didn’t get to watch the game, so this is how I imagine the drama.) Art Howe, all too well familiar with M’s offensive artillery, knows first base is not as open as he would like with Ichiro on deck. And Edgar grounds out to first. On to the ninth, and we all know the rest of the story.

19 runners stranded, and every one in the lineup was in on that action. 1-13 with runners in scoring position.

And that’s a shame for Franklin’s sake. He did his job: 7 innings, 102 pitches, 67% for strikes, zero walks, 5 K’s and just 5 hits. Unfortunately, two of them went over the outfield wall.

As an example of how pitch count stats can lie, take a look at Jae Weong Seo’s line. A cursory glance shows he threw 110 pitches, 68 strikes, or 61%. Don’t blink, because if you do, you’ll miss a couple lines down where it also shows “IBB - J Olerud (By J Seo), I Suzuki (By J Seo).” So really, Jae threw 68 strikes on 102 pitches, same as Frankie, 67% for strikes. A nice pitcher's duel of a night.

You know, I had just noticed that Jason Phillips is one Met with a very respectable .373 OBP, only with a less-than-impressive .397 SLG to go with it. So what does he do? He hits a home run.

If you are curious about run support for the M’s starters, here’s how they now currently rank in the AL:

1. Freddy Garcia 7.88 runs/game
10. Gil Meche 6.98
15. Jamie Moyer 6.29
20. Ryan Franklin 5.73
24. Joel Pineiro 5.40

Tonight, Freddy takes the hill, and I expect 10 runs in the first inning. For the Mariners, that is.
|| Peter @ 6/07/2003

Friday, June 06, 2003


Somebody forgot to tell the guys this game started at 7:05. But I suppose when you haven't trailed in a game in over a week, you can afford to not show up until about, say, 9:30, just in time for the 9th inning. Half the Mariners hits came in the ninth, the first 5 batters reached base and most importantly, trailing by 2 runs, the first 3 baserunners crossed home plate in dramatic fashion. David Cameron's take is, well, you just have to read if for your self.

Jo-El went 6 innings, throwing 109 pitches, 67% for strikes, yet still walked 4. And two of those walks came around to score. Control has been nagging at him all season and he's currently ranked 2nd in the AL in walks. For the season, he's walking 4 batters every 9 innings, which isn't at all pretty. Last year, his rate was 2.5.

In addition to Cammie's winning home run, Boonie also went deep for his 17th. Have I mentioned lately just how hot Boonie's been? In the past week, he is hitting .423/.483/.846 with 3 homers. He has hit 10 homers in his last 17 games. He is now ranked 2nd in the AL in slugging and runs scored, 3rd in home runs, and 4th in both OPS and RBI. And with 21 AB in the Close and Late scenario (7th inning and beyond with the game tied or difference of one run), he's hitting .381/.458/.952.

And didn't you just love how Kaz decided to make the game really thrilling in the bottom half of the ninth? Oh thank goodness for overzealous Phillie fans. It looked like a tie game on Michaels' bloop double down the left field line with Perez cruising around 2nd and 3rd all the way home. That is, until the fan thought he could have a souvenir. Man, what an idiot. Kids, let that be a lesson to you. If you want a baseball really, really bad, just go down to your local K-Mart. They're fairly inexpensive. Do not, however, under any circumstances reach over the rail from your front row field level seats to touch a fair ball when your team is down by a run in the 9th inning. Otherwise, your foolish behavior will bring your great embarrassment on national television, as well as great scorn in your local community, since the fact that your home team lost by a run is your own fault.

Ichiro's exchange with reporters regarding the play is priceless:
"He wouldn't have scored," Ichiro said flatly. "If he'd tried, there would have been one out and a man on second."
When a couple of reporters talking to him started to chuckle, Ichiro jumped right back in.
"Why are you laughing?" he asked.

I caught the highlights on Baseball Tonight last evening and then watched Dibbs and Captain Kurk answer the question: "Are the M's the best team in baseball?" Don't ask me that question until October. The same was being said of the Yankees last month, and look at them. I just want to enjoy the current ride and see it last until the final pitch of the final at bat in October. We've still got a long way to go.

David Locke wrote a piece in the P-I the other day that just made my toes curl. The M's could wrap up the division on June 19? Two weeks? Come on. Just how long have you followed baseball, Dave? The AL West wrapped up before the All-Star break? Today the Athletics wake up 7 games out of first, the Angels 10.5, and Texas 15. No other 2nd place team is 7 games out. No other 3rd place team is down by 10.5. Only Detroit and San Diego are in last place by more than 15 games. So the M's are separating themselves from the pack like nobody else right now, even the Braves. But you don't even have to go back a year to know how fast lead a vanish in this division. A look at Neyer's Pyathorean Standings (nice new pic, by the way Rob), and the A's and Angels are just under their projections, while the M's are a game over. At this point it's fair to compare the M's and A's as they've both played the very same teams thus far. The Angels and Rangers, by the end of the season, will have seen the same schedule but are taken a different road to get there. They haven't played the underbelly of the AL, that is, the Central yet. You think they could get hot in home/away series against Cleveland/Detroit/KC/Chicago? Anaheim has been playing without their "sparkplug" (whatever that means) Darin Erstad to this point. What if the Rangers could turn one of their sluggers into a decent pitcher? And what key ingredient will Billy Beane add to the A's mix along with Rich Haren by the trade deadline?

Oh my friends, the only expiration date on the AL West is September 28. The fun hasn't even started yet.

On to Shea Stadium and Mets, where it would be just embarrassing to see this streak end. The matchups supposedly are Franklin (3.47 ERA, .745 OPS against) against Jae Weong Seo (3.07, .702). With Hee Seop Choi and Xavier Nady presently floundering, Seo is my new NL ROY candidate. If he only had an offense behind him, his won-loss record would get him the attention he deserves. Saturday it looks to be Freddy (5.50, .760) against Al Leiter (4.35, .758), and on Sunday Jamie (3.21, .679), looking for his 10th win, against Mike Bacsik (27.00, 1.500 in just 3 innings in 2003). MLB.com says New York's starter is TBA, so it could be David Letterman. You just never know with these things.
|| Peter @ 6/06/2003

Thursday, June 05, 2003


David Pinto takes notice of one of the M's keys to success: Yes sirree, that's Ichiro at .371, Carlos at .374, Boonie at .386, Olerud at .394, and Cammie at .386.

And that's the Edgar-less version of the lineup. He presently ranks 6th in the AL at .424. The Mariners are currently tied with Red Sox for 1st among all teams in OBP at .358. I say it's pretty impressive when slots 1-6 of the lineup are getting on-base at a +37% clip.
|| Peter @ 6/05/2003

It appears my favorite funny has been taking shots at the Rally Monkey all this week. Did I read somewhere that Darby Conley is an avid Red Sox fan? Go get 'em Bucky.
|| Peter @ 6/05/2003

I received the following email late last evening...

RE: your point about Colbrunn pinch hitting. I think the M's need to clarify a mistaken impression that they have: i.e. Colbrunn can't hit RHPs.

Look at his numbers over the past 3 years vs LH and RH:

vs. LHP 953 OPS
vs. RHP 929 OPS

Pretty impressive. What the M's should be doing is figuring out how to get Colbrunn to play a decent 3B---the runs we lose by not having Cirillo there could be overcome by replacing a 630 OPS bat with a 930 one.


Thanks for the email, Aditya, and a great observation. From 2000-2002, Colbrunn has hit .313/.387/.566 in 288 at bats against lefties and .317/.398/.531 in 309 at bats against righties. In fact, every single offensive stat here is nearly identical whether the pitcher is left-handed or right-handed. So, where Bob, comes this impression that Colbrunn is for left-handed pitching only? A little more investigating is warranted.

In 2000...
vs. LHP .285/.385/.489 in 137 at bats
vs. RHP .333/.420/.547 in 192 at bats

In 2001...
vs. LHP .235/.297/.529 in 34 at bats
vs. RHP .317/.411/.476 in 63 at bats

In 2002...
vs. LHP .368/.414/.667 in 117 at bats
vs. RHP .259/.298/.537 in 54 at bats

What's odd is his 2002. He didn't see much action for the '01 World Champ D-backs, but in both 2000 and 2001 he saw more at bats from righties than lefties and hit those righties quite a bit better. So why did Bob & Bob (Brenly/Melvin) decide to limit him only to left-handed pitching last year? Did he suffer some debilitating injury in 2001 that rendered him useless against right-handers? His on-base against RHP last year isn't pretty, but he still hit for power. He absolutely creamed LHP, and we all knew that. So where, oh where, comes the illusion that he's a one-dimensional hitter?

As for moving him to 3B... Which is really more costly - the $6.85 mil all-glove-no-hit third baseman we have, or the all-hit-no-glove bench guy who comes at the price of $750 thou and a #1 draft pick? I don't see the M's doing anything with Cirillo and his pinky .620 OPS because of his glove. But come on, is there any excuse for Colbrunn not to be seeing 10-15 at bats per week?
|| Peter @ 6/05/2003
(through games of 6/4; short form)
39 wins - 117 Win Shares

Bret Boone 15.5
Edgar Martinez 12.1
Ichiro 10.9
Mike Cameron 9.9
Carlos Guillen 9.0
Randy Winn 8.7
John Olerud 8.2
Shiggy Hasegawa 4.3
Ben Davis 4.3
Jamie Moyer 4.2
Gil Meche 4.1
Kaz Sasaki 3.5
Ryan Franklin 3.1
Jeff Cirillo 3.1
Mark McLemore 3.1
Jeff Nelson 2.9
Dan Wilson 2.8
Arthur Rhodes 2.3
Joel Pineiro 2.1
Greg Colbrunn 1.0
John Mabry 0.9
Willie Bloomquist 0.5
Rafael Soriano 0.4
Pat Borders 0.2
Julio Mateo 0.1
Giovanni Carrara 0
Freddy Garcia 0
|| Peter @ 6/05/2003

Now that was a "little ball" game if I ever saw one. Of the first four runs the M's scored off of Padilla, three were on sac flies, and one was a passed ball. Olerud was the only Mariner batter with an RBI hit, and saved both of those for the seventh and eighth innings, and they blew the lead wide open. He finished the night with three hits and four RBI.

Mark McLemore must have read my rant from yesterday as he doubled, tripled and walked. And to correct a mistake from yesterday, apparently I misread the ESPN page for Mac and typed his stats as a left and right-handed batter. Strike that. Reverse it. He has a 1.083 OPS in 12 at bats against lefties and a .639 OPS in 98 at bats now against righties.

Meanwhile, Ichiro muscled 4 singles and brought his OPS north .800 for the first time this year.

Just as Padilla was lucky not to give up hits with runners on base, so was Gil, as he allowed 9 baserunners (on 5 hits and 4 walks) with 2 wild pitches, only 3 K's and a Jim Thome blast. But when the smoke had cleared after 6 innings, the Phillies had only put 2 runs on the board. He threw 103 pitches, 60% for strikes. The bullpen quartet of Carrara (who finally pitched a decent inning), Rhodes, Nelson and Kaz effeciently setdown the Phils with 5 combined strikeouts in their 3 innings.
|| Peter @ 6/05/2003

Wednesday, June 04, 2003


Don't try preaching plate discipline to Jamie Moyer. First at bat, first pitch: Hacking, strike one. Second pitch: Hacking, foul ball. Third pitch: Hacking, infield hit to shortstop. There are a lot of distasteful things about interleague play. But seeing a 40-year-old AL pitcher leg out an infield single? That's fun to see. That's worth the price of admission alone. On the mound, Jamie mastered the Phillies with 109 pitches in 7 innings (65% for strikes). He allowed only 4 baserunners (4 hits, 0 walks), no runs, and struck out 8. With 9 wins on June 3, he's now on pace for 26.

At the plate, Boonie continued his tear with 3 hits, one a home run. In the last 6 games, Bonnie is hitting .429/.467/.964 with 4 home runs. Makes you wonder if Bret's return to his 2001 form has anything to do with family bragging rights. Despite Aaron's hot start, Bret leads the home run race 16-13 and leads in OPS .999-.837.

Winn collected 3 more singles, Cameron walked 3 times, as the Mariners offensive machine made it 7 wins in a row, and 17 in their last 21.

If we going to talk about wasted space on the roster, look no further than Mark McLemore. Last night, he went 0 for 5, struck out 3 times and stranded 6 runners on base. His line for the year now looks like .217/.303/.340. His splits are something like this...

Mac vs. LHP - .191/.278/.309 in 94 AB
Mac vs. RHP - .417/.500/.583 in only 12 AB

Before you get too excited, from 2000-2002, he saw only 179 at bats against right-handed pitchers for a .652 OPS. Throw in fellow super-sub Willile Bloomquist, who's hitting .173/.254/.231, and we've got ourselves redundancy on the bench. And that in itself wouldn't be at all bad, if those clones on the bench were David Ortiz and Kevin Millar, or Dustin Mohr and Bobby Kielty. No, the M's have redundant outmakers on the bench, and come Sept/Oct we'll see just how costly it will be carrying both or even one of them.

My one question from the game comes from the Mariners half of the 8th inning. The M's are up by 4, it's Jamie's turn to bat. Naturally, he's done his night's work and time for a pinch hitter. So against the right-hander Carlos Silva, Bob calls upon the services of righty Greg Colbrunn (.500/.556/.500 in 8 at bats against righties). Granted, this assignment probably would have gone to John Mabry a week ago. Even Carlos Guillen (on the bench last night) is a switch hitter. But my thought is Edgar is pinch-hitting weapon #1. Now that he's a pinch hitter for a couple of weeks, here are his platoon splits...

Edgar vs. RHP - .325/.382/.624 in 117 at bats
Edgar vs. LHP - .333/.500/.614 in 57 at bats

Forget freakin' platoon splits. It doesn't matter who's on the mound. Edgar hits everybody. The pitcher could kick the ball to the plate and Edgar would smack it around the yard. Perhaps with a 4 spot in the 8th, Bob just figured to give our superhero a night off.

In the spirit of the Corleone family (you know, keep you friends close, and your enemies closer), I've been checking out a great Phillies blog, The 700 Level, who has a very flattering series preview.
|| Peter @ 6/04/2003

Tuesday, June 03, 2003


If you are just joining us from the P-I, and you are looking for nothing more than the Dan Wilson stuff, you can find my original rebuttal of BP here. It seems Mr. Zumsteg yesterday has posted a life and times of Dan Wilson in a Seattle uniform at USS Mariner. I will chalk this one up to coincidence as the probability of Derek Zumsteg actually reading what I write and feeling the need to comment is still a bit a far fetched to me. As the internet makes nearly all things possible, then I feel the need to make additional thoughts.

Believe you me, I not among the camp clamoring for Dan Wilson sainthood. I'm not for retiring his number. And I laughed when the Seattle media last year pined for an All-Star vote for Dan because he was hitting .300 through May. A look at Prospectus's Value Over Replacement Level stat for catchers, Wilson ranks 23rd at -1.7 among 34 AL catchers. He's behind such sluggers as Brent Mayne (-0.3), Robert Machado (-0.2) and Toby Hall (1.1) Just in case you're wondering, Ben Davis is 7th on that list at 5.7. Wilson's Marginal Lineup Value rate is -0.178. In other words, he costs the M's that many runs per game when he is in the lineup. Correct me if I'm wrong in understanding/communicating this, Derek. On the other hand Davis, makes a positive contribution of 0.138 runs per game. There is no doubt Ben Davis deserves a shot at more than a 50/50 platoon, if nothing more than the addition-by-subtraction principle.

Back to the Catchers VORP list, and my point that Wilson isn't the worst candidate for a catcher job: Among the AL West starting catchers, Ramon Hernandez of the A's is 3rd on the list at 9.7, Ben Molina of Anaheim dead-even with Wilson at -1.2 and Texas' Einar Diaz is 29th at -3.3. So at best, Wilson is the 3rd worst starting catcher in the AL West. Things could be worse: We could be sending Einar Diaz behind the plate 5 times a week.

I concede that Wilson isn't worth the $7 mil for '03 and '04. At some point, somebody in the Mariners' front office has to take responsibility for where the money is going. I don't want to hear whining about budgetary constraints come the end of July when the A's are nipping at our heels. Not when Kaz Sasaki tops the payroll and Jeff Cirillo is making more than Edgar and Shiggy combined. Not when John Olerud "earns" more than Ichiro and Freddy Garcia more than 10x Joel Pineiro. And especially not when the fiercest competition down south in the Bay Area is working with half the financial resources.

On that note, yesterday I took my brand-spanking-new Prince William Regional Library card and apprehended a copy of Moneyball. Yeah, I'm about a month behind the rest of the baseball world, but I'm getting there. Was it Will Carroll that made the comment that baseball is now split in two camps--those that have read it and those that haven't? Well, whoever said it, I'll be entering the realm of those that have read it, just as soon as I finish Summerland.
|| Peter @ 6/03/2003
GO VOTE: The Third Basemen
AL - There are several great young names on the AL ballot: Blalock, Chavez, Glaus, Hinske, Huff, Cirillo... bwahahaha. Sorry, I just couldn't help that. Blalock's too young to be starting the All-Star game, though if April and May are any measure of his future potential, he will certainly have his shot in the future. The same goes for 2002 ROY Hinske and Huff, though he's now thriving in the outfield of Tropicana. So, it comes down to the Athletics' Eric Chavez and the Angels' Troy Glaus:

Chavez - .280/.347/.516 with 92 home runs and 63 RCAA
Glaus - .261/.374/.529 with 118 home runs and 86 RCAA

Glaus has never hit for average, but he does draw a 100 walks a year. He edges Chavez in every other category, so my vote goes to Troy Glaus.

NL - This is an interesting group. There are the has-beens: Castilla, Ramirez, Tatis and Williams. There are the can-they-ever-meet-expectations: Bellhorn, Beltre, Burroughs, Larson. Then they are your legitimate (maybe) All-Star contenders:

Edgardo Alfonzo - .294/.383/.472 with 58 homers and 83 RCAA
Mike Lowell - .277/.343/.464 with 64 homers and 31 RCAA
Scott Rolen - .283/.368/.516 with 82 homers and 79 RCAA

Alfonzo is a converted 2B with just a year under his belt at the hot corner. Lowell, well, he does not quite measure up to the other two. His slugging nearly matches Alfonzo as he has hit more home runs, but his OBP trails by a good margin as does his overall run production. Alfonzo has the lead in batting average (whoop-de-doo) and on-base, while Rolen has slugged a good 40 points higher thanks to about 25 more homers. It's a toss up and I go with Alfonzo. If you count this year, Rolen has discovered something of a renaissance in St. Louis while I'm not really sure what Eddie's doing in San Francisco. I don't think he does either. Alfonzo's career year was 2000 and Rolen's will likely be 2003.

If you are picking the worst, my advice is Joe Randa of KC (.280/.331/.417 with 39 home runs and -46 RCAA) and Vinny Castilla of Atlanta (.240/.280/.384 with 43 home runs and -87 RCAA).

In review:
AL: C-Posada, 1B-Giambi, 2B-Boone, 3B-Glaus
NL: C-Piazza, 1B-Helton, 2B-Kent, 3B-Alfonzo
|| Peter @ 6/03/2003

Monday, June 02, 2003


Tomorrow begins interleague play with a first ever 3-game set in the sarcophagus known as Veteran Stadium. The Mariners currently rank 5th in runs scored while the Phillies are 12th. The Phillies are 3rd in runs allowed and the Mariners are 5th. It is going to be the Mariners hot hot offense against the Phillies hot hot pitching. The matchups look like Moyer (3.55 ERA, .709 OPS against) vs. Millwood (2.93, .626) tonight, Meche (3.11, .688) vs. Vicente Padilla (4.21, .755) Wednesday and Pineiro (3.86, .706) vs. Brandon Duckworth (5.81, .897) on Thursday. Tonight should be the game to watch as the M's 16-2 record in series openers takes on one of the NL's premeir pitchers in Millwood.

The M's offense is handicapped without Edgar in the lineup in these NL parks. But where really could you put Edgar on the field at this point in his career? Moot point. It really is the best move as I'd rather see Edgar sit out a week now then see him do something that costs his lineup presence in August in September.

Meanwhile, the M's pitching gets a break in that instead of pitching to a lineup of 9 professional hitters, they will be facing 8 hitters and a pitcher, 7 if you take out David Bell, and 6 if Marlon Byrd (.212/.292/.294) is in the lineup.

My interest in these series has now a personal vestment. I have a college buddy, PA native and Phillie fanatic, and he is in my fantasy baseball league. If the M's take the series, he gives me Bret Boone in exchange for Jose Cruz. And if the Phils win the series, he gives me Johnny Damon for Barry Bonds. That won't be too much of a fleecing, will it?
|| Peter @ 6/02/2003

Following the 4-game sweep of the AL Central-leading Twins and the Braves 10-4 loss, the M's now boast the major league's best record. "How sweet it is!" Makes me wonder what NY Vinnie is up to these day. The Mariners just flat out-muscled the Twins in the series, out-hitting them 55-29 and out-scoring them 30-13.

I suppose there's nothing to build Freddy's shattered confidence than run support. The M's have scored 24 runs now in his last two starts. Freddy now ranks second behind David Wells in the majors with an average run support of 7.88 runs per game. With six singles and a triple to start the game, the M's led 6-0 before The Gambler even recorded an out. Freddy pitched respectably with 106 pitches over 7 innings, 59% for strikes, 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, with 7 K's. Nelson followed with a strong 8th inning with 2 K's and Hasegawa gave up another homer in the 9th to see his ERA skyrocket to 1.21.

Every starter had a hit in first inning save Wilson and Bloomquist, who finished the day a combined 1 for 8. Edgar fell a triple short of the cycle, and Boonie also went deep. So between them, the nearly have as many homers as the Dodgers.
|| Peter @ 6/02/2003
(last week's rank in parentheses)

1. Seattle (4) Five Mariners with .900+ OPS in May: Cameron (1.016, 15 XBH, 9 walks), Boone (.996, 7 homers), Ichiro (.973, 44 hits), Edgar (.970, 10 homers), Guillen (.941). Six, if we count Colbrunn (.925) in 23 AB.
2. Oakland (1) Anyone pick Eric Byrnes to lead the offense? .356/.405/.625 with 37 hits, 10 2B, 3 3B, 4 homers in May.
3. NY Yankees (6) So Contreras gave up just 2 hits in 7 innings in his first start against Detroit. So, does he get a medal or something for that? The Yanks are just 13-15 in Yankee Stadium this year.
4. (tie) Philadelphia (9) You know, I complain all I want about Jeff Cirillo this year (.241/.311/.317) but, like Lou said, he is better than David Bell (.214/.298/.299).
(tie) St. Louis (2) Three Cardinals with 1.000+ OPS in May: Pujols (1.101, 12 2B and 10 HR), Rolens (1.030, 11 2B, 10 BB), and Drew (1.056, 6 HR in 68 AB).
6. Atlanta (8) John Smoltz on pace for 58 saves (which would break the record of 57) and has a 0.92 ERA and 11.66 K/9 and 9.5 K/BB.
7. San Francisco (12) Benny Santiago .997 OPS with 6 homers in May.
8. Toronto (13) Cory Lidle 5-1, 2.98 ERA and Roy Halladay 6-0, 3.22 ERA in May.
9. Los Angeles (2) Meanwhile, Kevin Brown 5-0, 1.02 ERA in May. Only the Tigers (167) have scored fewer runs than the Dodgers (204).
10. Montreal (10) Vlad .345/.461/.536 and Orlando Cabrera .343/.430/.569 in May.
11. Chicago Cubs (11) With his major-league-leading 100 Ks, Kerry Wood on pace for 295. His career high is 233 in his rookie season.
12. Houston (15) Lance Berkman .208/.337/.319, 2 HR, 4 RBI in April; .308/.423/.514, 5 HR, 25 RBI in May.
13. Baltimore (16) From 1999-2002, Melvin Mora 249/.334/.388, with a home run every 42 at bats. In 2003, he's hitting .350/.455/.599 with a home run every 19 at bats.
14. Anaheim (14) Troy Glaus 1.047 OPS with 7 HR and 19 BB in May.
15. Minnesota (10) Kyle Lohse 2-1 with a 1.97 ERA in May.
16. Boston (11) Bill Mueller hitting .418/.454/.648 with 13 2B in May.
17. Colorado (18) The Rocks are 21-8 at home. That's a better winning percentage than the Mariners or Braves. On the road, they are 6-22, or worse than the Tigers.
18. Arizona (19) I remember when Matt Williams was a part of that Clark/Mitchell tandem in the late 80's, early 90's with the Giants. Kevin Mitchell last saw major league action in 1998, Will Clark in 2000. In 2003, the Diamondbacks owe Williams $10 mil for 134 at bats of .246/.327/.403. Someone remind me why.
19. Florida (20) In just 41 at bats in May, Brian Banks hit .268/.354/.659 with 4 HR and 13 RBI, both second on the team.
20. Kansas City (17) Good luck packaging Joe Randa (.225/.291/.396) in a Beltran deal.
21. Pittsburgh (23) Brian Giles getting back on track with a .304/.444/.557 May.
22. Chicago Sox (22) As a team, the Sox hit a paltry .241/.310/.377 in May. And so much for folding in the month of May: Loaiza had a 2.65 ERA.
23. Texas (21) Hank Blalock hitting .340/.389/.580 with 26 RBI and Carl Everett .385/.458/.744 with 25 RBI with runners in scoring position.
24. NY Mets (24) Jeromy Burnitz hitting .379/.419/.759, 3 HR since coming of the DL. And that does not include a double and homer yesterday.
25. Cincinnati (25) Junior Griffey hitting .286/.407/.673 with 5 homers since coming off the DL. The pitching is getting better, maybe: 5.99 ERA in April, 5.33 in May.
26. Milwaukee (26) Brooks Kieschnick hitting .417/.417/.667 and giving up a line of .290/.333/.452.
27. Cleveland (28) Again, not much to jump up and down about: C.C. Sabathia 4-0 with 1.91 ERA in May.
28. Tampa Bay (27) Aubrey Huff hit 1.011 OPS with 10 homers in May.
29. San Diego (29) As a team, the Pads hit .253/.320/.376 in May. In comparison, the Tigers hit .242/.309/.379. The Pads are on very thin ice.
30. Detroit (30) Dmitri Young in April: .182/.250/.312 with 4 XBH and 7 RBI. Dmitri Young in May: .355/.417/.636 with 15 XBH and 25 RBI.

AL - Melvin Mora (Baltimore) 23 AB, 8 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 6 BB, .522/.621/.870, 1.490 OPS
NL - Albert Pujols (St. Louis) 24 AB, 6 R, 12 H, 5 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, .500/.567/.833, 1.400 OPS

AL - Joel Pineiro (Seattle) 1-0, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 0.00 ERA
NL - Josh Fogg (Pittsburgh) 1-0, 13 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 6 K, 0.69 ERA

AL - Ken Harvey (Kansas City) 23 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 1 BB, .130/.167/.130, .297 OPS
NL - David Bell (Philadelphia) 20 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 RBI, 2 BB, .050/.125/.050, .175 OPS

AL - John Burkett (Boston) 0-1, 2 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 36.00 ERA
NL - Odalis Perez (Los Angeles) 0-1, 3 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 27.00 ERA
|| Peter @ 6/02/2003

Sunday, June 01, 2003


Before I dig into that, BP radio now has Will Carroll's interview with Rob Neyer (of ESPN) and Rany Jazayerli (of BP), together of Rob & Rany on the Royals. Don't miss.

Onto the the Indians/Dodgers/Mariners Triple Play... Wee-oo, wee-ooo. D-Zum, you have just been busted by the Pessimist Police. Alright, it's a given, it is a real stretch to come up with any good news coming out of Cleveland these days. But the Dodgers pitchers have been otherworldly the past two weeks with a 10-game win streak to boot. Instead, we read about their historically pansy offense and the crumbs of their farm system.

Meanwhile, our blessed Mariners are kicking butt and taking names, opening a 5-game lead over Oakland. They currently rank 4th in runs (behind the those 3 AL East teams) in the AL, tied with the Yankees for first in OBP in the AL, 5th in OPS. The pitching is 2nd in the AL in runs allowed (behind Oakland). But no, D-Zum let's us know that Freddy was merely mediocre this past week, nobody has noticed Pineiro's struggles because of Freddy, Carrera does indeed suck, as does Willie B. Where comest thou venom?

Lastly, there's the Dan Wilson rant. Hey, I'm the first to admit he's no Mike Piazza, but he's no Brad Ausmus either. Or Benjie Molina, either. Dan Wilson's production is average for catcher, better than replacement level, which is a lot more than a lot of teams can say. Compare Dan Wilson 2002 with the AL league average catcher:

Dan Wilson - .295/.326/.396
Average AL Catcher - .250/.305/.374

And over the last 3 years...
Dan Wilson - .268/.309/.382
Average AL Catcher - .255/.314/.394

He's right there in the mean: No better, no worse. Now at 34, it's not going be getting better. Assuming Wilson, Davis, and Borders were the only M's who got at bats as catchers last year, they combined for 591 at bats: Wilson 61%, Davis 38%, Borders 1%. This year, they break down like this, in 194 AB: Wilson 55%, Davis 45% and Borders, well, he's just had 1 AB. So Melvin has been using Davis just a little more often than Lou did last year. That surprises me in that the M's brought in Davis to eventually replace Wilson. I was expecting more of a 50/50 split for this year, and expect maybe a 60/40-72/25 split in 2004, the last year of Wilson's current contract. I definitely don't see that Wilson is a useless part that should be replaced by Pat Borders. Pat Borders who at the age of 40 boasts a .292 career OBP. Pat Borders who the last time saw 250 AB, Forrest Gump topped the box office. Pat Borders who over the last 4 years has seen 44 major league at bats. Where's the respect for Dan the Man?

Then there's the whole platoon advantage, or lack thereof between Wilson and Davis...

against lefties (2003)
Wilson - .356/.408/.511 in 45 ABs
Davis - .321/.367/.750 in 28 ABs

against righties
Wilson - .180/.206/.230 in 61 ABs
Davis - .255/.293/.436 in 55 ABs

As we can see, against the lefties, Wilson gets on base and hits for power thanks to a high average. In fewer at bats, Davis just smokes the tar out of lefties. Of his 9 hits, 3 have been doubles and 3 home runs. Now righties must be Dan's kryptonite, because he's just horrible, while Davis is adequate. Obviously, you don't want to see Wilson in the lineup against a righthanded pitcher, and you'd rather have Davis's power against the lefthanders, so yeah, I'd like to see Big Ben get more time behind the plate. But come on guys, Dan Wilson isn't that bad.
|| Peter @ 6/01/2003