Sunday, December 7, 2008

Signs that winter is coming

---The days get shorter and colder. (Boo to 4:00 sunsets)

---Christmas music blares from retail stores, to the point where a day doesn't go by without one becoming subjugated to the wonderful, artistic majesty of Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."

---Hollywood starts releasing less crappy movies.

---For four days in December, general managers and agents from all walks of life in baseball convene in a crowded hotel lobby to discuss trades, sign free agents, and get sloshed on cheap cocktails.

Yes, the Winter Meetings are mere hours away, and your humble author will be here at "Rime" each day, covering the latest moves/rumor-mongering. I don't expect the Mariners to be in play for any of the A-list free agents...for that matter, I really don't know what to expect from the Mariners. Jack Zduriencik hasn't tipped his hand either way on whether he wants to blow up the team and write off the next 2-3 years entirely, or retool for '09 in preparation for a possible run in '10.

Anxiety. That about sums up the general feeling I have towards the next three-and-a-half days. Anxious about the possibility of shopping Beltre or Putz. Anxious about the upcoming Rule 5 draftees. Anxious to see which agent/GM will inevitably end up drinking too much egg nog spiked with rum and say things he will later regret.

More than anxiety, though, are two things I have not felt about the Mariners in a long, long time: faith and hope. Faith that, whatever may come, Zduriencik has a clear plan and vision. Hope that he improves the team, even if it means saying goodbye to some of my favorite players. Faith that, at the end of this winter, the team will be in a better position than it was at the beginning. Hope that Z-man will put Seattle back on the baseball map. Faith that he will.

Harvey Dent once said, "the night is darkest just before the dawn." 2008 was the darkest part of the night in Mariner-land, but Zduriencik and his forward-thinking crew have brought us a new dawn. Even as the sun outside becomes a rarer and rarer sight with each passing day (seriously, boo to 4:00 sunsets), brighter days are ahead for baseball.

Go Z-man. Go Mariners. Don't let us down.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Russell Branyan--new Mariner

Per Geoff Baker. No word on the financial terms, but I can almost guarantee it's a one-year deal.

Branyan is your prototypical feast-or-famine slugger. He can mash the ball, but his strikeout rates are almost Jack Cust-esque. Still, the left-handed power potential is there, and he'll be a massive improvement over the three-ring circus of Sexon, Cairo and LaHair at 1B. Plus, he can play a little 3B in a pinch. He can't hit lefties to save his life, so there will have to be some kind of platoon at 1B/DH.

I like this move a lot. Branyan is obviously not in the team's future plans, but he's the perfect one-year stopgap--someone who can give decent production for next-to-nothing while the team searches for a long-term answer. As Zduriencik's first on-the-field move this winter, this gets a solid nod of approval from me.

UPDATE: ESPN is saying one year, $1.4 million with performance incentives, which is around the amount I was expecting. There is almost no downside to this move at all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ibanez offered arbitration

We all knew this was coming, but Larry LaRue makes it official: Raul Ibanez has been offered arbitration by the Mariners. As we all know, this should be the most obvious move, but given the Jose Guillen disaster last year, some may have been holding their breath. It's nice to know we now have a front office group who can actually tie their shoelaces together without tripping down the stairs.

This is pretty much a win-win for the M's. If Ibanez accepts---extremely unlikely, given that several teams are interested in giving him a multi-year deal--the team can sit him at DH and have a decently good bat for one not-too-expensive year. If he declines, they get two Type A draft picks, and we know how much Zduriencik loves drafts.

From a personal perspective, I'll miss Ibanez---his cool goatee, the "RAUUUUUUULLL" chants at Safeco, even his comic mishaps in the outfield were endearing in their own way---but from a baseball perspective, this move makes too much sense. Godspeed, Raul.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I hate Carlos Silva and I hope he gets ass cancer

Not that you didn't already know that.

Larry LaRue has the "big" story on Silva, as the man seemingly gained close to 30 pounds over the course of the season.

Let that sink in for a moment. A baseball player, spending upwards of six months playing almost daily in a grueling schedule, somehow managed to gain 30 pounds.

How bad was El Gordo this year? Let me count the ways:

--5.92 tRA, good for 16th-worst in the league.

--blamed his shitty pitching on injuries and bad defense (the latter part is actually somewhat true, what with Yuni air-mailing throws into the stands, but still.)

--threatened to throw teammates into the wall, which is exactly the quality you want in a clubhouse leader, because real leaders scream and cuss and threaten teammates with physical violence.

--gained nearly 30 pounds.

And the best part of all this? He's still owed $36 million over the next three years. Bill Bavasi, this is your legacy.

Bring me Solo and the Wookie! They will all pay for this outrage!

More moving and shaking

Geoff Baker has some bits and pieces worth looking into, as Zduriencik and Wakamatsu continue to shape the coaching staff. Mel Stottlemyre is out as pitching coach (yay!), and Dom Chiti is, reportedly, in. Like most of the other new hires, I know nothing of the guy. Norm Charlton is also out as bullpen coach (yay!).

It's been a pretty slow news cycle in the past few weeks, and I haven't been as regular in my posting as I'd like to be. Nonetheless, things should start picking up once the winter meetings and Rule 5 Draft begin in a couple weeks. I'll also be unveiling my own "Top 10 Sports Stories of 2008" series soon. Look for it around mid-December.

In the meantime, have a happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy my random video of the day:

Saturday, November 22, 2008


P.J. Carlesimo, coach of the Artist Formerly Known As The Seattle SuperSonics, has been given the pink slip after an atrocious 1-12 start (via ESPN.)

I haven't been following any basketball ever since The Debacle That Shall Remain Nameless Here, but found this amusing nonetheless.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Larry Stone on Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Stone is one of my favorite local writers, and his recent article on ESPN has some good stuff. It mostly confirms the new change in direction that Zduriencik is making, and conveys well the feeling of hope that many fans, myself included, share.

Seattle Mariners put their new hope in leadership

New name

It goes without saying that I never was satisfied with my original name for this blog, being something that I came up with on a whim at three in the morning after too much coffee and cigarettes. But thanks to the input of the fabulous miscreants of the Oscar Gamble League, this blog is hereby christened "Rime of the Anguished Mariner", a not-so-subtle reference to the famous poem. Hat tips to Onur and Tyler for the suggestions.

I welcome our new anguished overlords.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wakamatsu named new manager

After whittling the list of managerial candidates down to seven, most of them unknowns with no major-leauge managing experience, the Mariners today announced Don Wakamatsu as their new field general, thus continuing the recent tradition of bringing in guys with unspellable names.

Wakamatsu formerly served as bench coach of the A's and is generally known as a quiet, mild-mannered man, the type of personality that players tend to gravitate towards more nowadays. There's not a whole lot more out there on the guy, other than various snippets about how he likes to thoroughly prepare himself before every series--touring the stadium on road trips, scouting the opposing pitchers, etc. Sounds like basic stuff, but it's a nice change of pace from the McLaren-type "well, we're just going to play good baseball and see what happens" drivel.

Overall, another solid move by Zduriencik, who in recent weeks has quickly allayed fears that the front office changes will be just another "meet the old boss, same as the old boss" situation. He clearly has a plan and a vision, and slowly-but-surely that plan is starting to come into focus. I greatly look forward to seeing what changes he will eventually make on the field, because the off-field moves have been greatly encouraging so far.

Welcome to Seattle, Wakamatsu. If Jarrod Washburn asks you for a personal catcher, don't be afraid to tell him to piss off.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A sad day for the sports blogosphere

"Fire Joe Morgan", one of my personal favorite blogs, has closed up shop.

FJM gained fame (and notoriety) over the years with its critiques, criticisms and downright bitch-slappings of poorly written sports articles. Bill Plaschke, Jon Heyman, Steve Phillips, Colin Cowherd, Tim McCarver and, of course, the titular Joe Morgan were among the site's favorite whipping boys. But what really separated this blog from other run-of-the-mill "fire ____" sites was the hilarious and razor-sharp wit of Ken Tremendous, who in real life is known as Micharl Schur, one of the comic geniuses behind the American version of "The Office." I humbly present this as one of his greatest articles.

FJM will be sorely missed, but we'll always have the memories. And the food metaphors.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daily Hits--November 12

Tim Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award despite playing on a crappy Giants team. To think the Mariners had a chance to draft him. So it goes. Brandon Morrow is still awesome.

As for the Manager of the Year awards, those went to Joe Maddon and Lou Piniella. So the Rays continue to pile up the hardware--Maddon joins ROY Evan Longoria and Executive of Year Andrew Friedman as the latest to pick up an award.

What else......the Yankees signed Damaso Marte to a 3Y/12M extension. The Manny rumor-mongering continues, as reports have the Dodgers guaranteeing him $45M over two years, with a 3rd-year option.

It's a pretty slow news day, so let me leave you off with this.

Look for my "Review of 2008" series to resume sometime tonight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daily Hits--November 10

There was other stuff happening today besides the Holliday trade, you know.

Evan Longoria, Geovanny Soto take ROY honors: Both excellent choices, if I may say so. Alexi Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury finished 2nd and 3rd in the AL voting. Joey Votto and Jair Jurrjens were runners-up in the NL.

The Hoffman era ends unceremoniously in San Diego (via Buster Olney): The Padres pulled their contract offer to Trevor Hoffman, thus making him a free agent. Hoffman was apparently unwilling to take a $3M pay cut despite being 76 years old. The Padres, after an awful season, are hellbent on slashing their payroll (their primary motivation for pimping out Jake Peavy). Hoffman will catch on to another team (the Indians, Mets and Cardinals, among others, are reportedly shopping for a closer this winter), but it's going to feel weird not seeing him in a San Diego uniform.

Marlins trade Scott Olsen, Josh Willingham to Washington for bag of marbles (via ESPN): Color me meh. Scott Olsen sucks, but Josh Willingham is a decent hitter who can play a little defense. For that, the Marlins got....Emilio Bonifacio, a slap-hitter with zero power and little plate disclipine. They also got two minor-league pitchers I know nothing about. Keep chopping wood, Florida.

Holliday In The Sun

The Oakland A's strike in the first major move of this offseason, getting Matt Holliday from Colorado in exchange for a duo of prospects and Huston Street. At first glance, this might be an odd move for Beane to make, considering he spent most of last season dumping his veterans. But upon further inspection, it's practically a win-win for him--he can flip Holliday for more prospects at the deadline, or he can pocket the draft picks at seasons' end, since Holliday is almost guaranteed to be a Type A free agent.

Matt Holliday is a stud, Coors Field be damned. His 4.88 WPA (Win Probability Added, which is park-adjusted) ranked 8th in the league in '08. His .417 wOBA (weighted On Base Average, which is also park-adjusted) and 123 wOBA+ ranked 6th and 8th, respectively. The A's suddenly have a legitimate bat in the lineup.

As for the Rockies' haul, Carlos Gonzalez is a power-outfielder prospect with decent upside, Greg Smith is a young flyball pitcher with decent upside (provided he's surrounded by a good defense) and Street is Street. Rumor has it that Colorado is also looking to flip Street for a couple more prospects. If they manage to pull that off, the trade will look much better on their side than it currently does.

Billy Beane, if nothing else, can always be counted on to make the offseason interesting.

2008 Review: Felix Hernandez

The pitching rotation, while presumably a weakness back in the spring, now is actually shaping up to be the team's biggest strength going into '09 year, thanks to the emergence of guys like Ryan Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow. Example #332,659 why throwing $48 million at one pitcher and gutting the farm system for another is a stupid, stupid idea.

Anyway, let's get on to the reviews, separated into three categories: the good, the bad/ugly, and what to expect going forward. All stats are provided courtesy of Fangraphs and StatCorner.

Felix Hernandez

The Good: His traditional stats suggest that Felix has taken another step forward: 3.45 ERA, 175 strikeouts, and a slightly lower home run rate. Also, he hit a grand slam off Johan Santana, further cementing his awesomeness. However....

The Bad: ....his peripheral stats suggest that his progress has at best stagnated, and at worst has regressed. Felix's walk rate was way up (3.59 BB/9, compared with 2.51 from '07), his FIP was slightly up (3.80 from 3.75), and his tRA was up as well (4.45 from 4.02). What is most concerning is his severe drop in groundballs, as this chart demonstrates:

That's an 8% drop in groundballs (from 60% to 52%) and a sharp rise in flyballs (23% to 29%). That is a problem.

What could be the culprit? After watching him for most of the year, and looking at the data, the answer should be obvious: Felix throws too many damn fastballs. Fangraphs has him throwing the fastball 65.9% of the time, compared to 57%. The fastball also happens to be his worst pitch, as it is the one with the least movement on it. In other words, Felix has too much confidence in his fastball. The batters know this, and they're sitting on it, which can partially explain those annoying early-inning jams he always seems to get himself into.

Going forward: With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth I have admittedly succumbed to, it's easy to forget that Felix is still only 22, and has already had a better start to his career than many HOF pitchers had (Randy Johnson, anyone?). With that in mind, he still has much to learn about the game and some maturing left to do.

The ceiling on King Felix is literally endless, and we've seen brief, fleeting glimpses of what he's really capable off. When Felix is mixing his pitches and hitting his spots, there is not a single batter in the world that can touch him. It's just a matter of him trusting his stuff more. Don't be afraid to throw pitches that bend, Felix.

I was planning on using this one post to cover the whole rotation, but Felix's entry alone was large enough that I'm letting it stand alone. I'll cover the rest of the rotation tomorrow.

Back from the dead.....again

This time, I'm sticking around.

This abortion of a season is finally behind us, and with a new GM comes new hope. Jack Zduriencik is highly regarded as one of the better scouting minds in the league, and he was largely responsible for the enviable pipeline of young talent in Milwaukee. One of his first moves as GM, in fact, involved canning former scouting director Bob Fontaine (who was one of the few bright spots in the Bavasi regime) and bringing over two guys from Milwaukee, Tom McNamara and Tony Blengino (who happens to be a card-carrying SABR member).

So in spite of the dismal six months we just endured, I'm excited about the upcoming offseason, and looking forward to seeing what direction Zduriencik takes the team. I'll be here all winter documenting the latest Hot Stove action. First, I will be starting a player-by-player review of 2008, starting with the rotation.

Look forward to it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Game 128 Belated Live Blog: A's at M's

Yes, I know the game is already over, but I haven't seen it. Thanks to Archives, I can!

Ryan Feierabend takes the mound for the M's today, in his second start of the year. His first start against Minnesota wasn't so hot, as he got rocked pretty hard. The most worrisome part, however, was his average fastball was 86, while in the minors it stayed around 89-90. An 86-mph fastball with next-to-no movement is cannon fodder for big league hitters. If Feierabend ever hopes to sustain an MLB career, he must re-discover that fastball.

Top of 1st

Mark Ellis whiffs on a sweet breaking ball. So far, so good. Feierabend is a very fast worker. I love pitchers who work fast--anyone who's watched Steve Traschel pitch knows what I'm talking about. Adrian Beltre almost makes another awesome play, but the throw was wide. Feier's fastball is around 88-90, which means he's already proving me wrong. I love being proven wrong in a good way. He hangs one badly to Frank Thomas, who comes within inches of a home run. Thomas can only hopelessly watch as Feier paints a changeup in the black.

2 strikeouts, 1 groundball. Good work, soldier.

Bottom of 1st

Gio Gonzalez will surely be the next pitcher to make the M's lineup look like a Little League lineup. Ichiro walks, which now makes 12 walks in 14 1/3 innings for Gonzalez. Why the fuck is Yuni batting second? Apparently to strike out on 3 pitches. Nice one, Yuni. Here comes Beltre. He flies out to right. Ibanez gets called on strikes, and the inning ends without incident.

1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 1 flyball.

Top of 2nd

Kurt Suzuki takes Ibanez all the way to the wall. Too close for comfort. Miguel Fucking Cairo gets an unassisted putout. Another grounder to Lopez makes this an easy inning.

1 flyball, 2 groundballs.

Bottom of 2nd

Jesus, it's the 2nd inning and FSN is already going to the sideline reporter with a boring story. Damn it woman, stop talking. Oh yeah, and Jose Lopez grounded out. Mark Ellis is replaced with Eric Patterson for some reason. He then proceeds to field a weak grounder from Balentien. Two down. Jeff Clement strikes out. Just another typical inning in Mariner Land.

2 groundballs, 1 strikeout

Top of 3rd

Daric Barton squirts one past Jose Lopez for a single (how many times has that happened this year?). Pennington? Is Chad Pennington really that desperate for work? At any rate, he strikes out. Stick to football, Chad. Eric Patterson (Ellis' replacement) lines out weakly to Betancourt. On the next batter, Betancourt just watches as Crosby lines one up the middle. Feier is really in trouble now as Emil Brown gets plunked in the foot. Bases loaded. The Big Hurt up. Feier is up to 60 pitches already. STRIKE THREE!!! Bullet, consider yourself dodged.

1 groundball, 2 strikeouts, 1 HBP, 2 line drives.

Bottom of 3rd

And now Jack Cust is out of the game. What gives? LaHair misses badly on a pitch in the dirt. MFC grounds out (if you can't figure out by this point what "MFC" means, you haven't been paying attention). Ichiro finally breaks up the no-hitter. Yuni singles up the middle, on the first pitch of course, but Beltre renders it for naught. To put this in better perspective: two guys named Greg Smith and Gio Gonzalez (and a couple of anonymous relievers) have held the Mariners scoreless for 12 straight innings.

1 strikeout, 2 groundballs, 2 line drives.

Top of 4th

According to the broadcasters, Cust is out with "blurred vision." Insert your own hangover joke here. Suzuki grounds out to Beltre.

What just happened? Rajai Davis--Rajai Davis? Home run? Damn it all. 1-0 A's. Gonzalez becomes strikeout victim #5. A Barton groundout ends this unholy inning.

1 strikeout, 2 groundballs, 1 flyball.

Bottom of 4th

Ibanez walks! False hope! Or not! Jose Lopez! Double to the wall! Ibanez scores! Gratuitous use of exclamation points ensue!

Barton drops a ball and Balentien is safe at first. Do I feel a pulse? I do! Clement with a 2-run double. 3-1 M's. WHY THE FUCK IS LAHAIR BUNTING? And....MFC with a motherfucking squeeze.Ichiro K's. Inning over. 4-1 M's.

1 walk, 2 flyballs, 3 groundballs, 2 wasted outs on bunts. I fucking hate bunting.

Top of 5th

Whoo! Beltre with yet another awesome dive-for-the-ball-and-fire-from-one-knee play. Don't ever leave us, Adrian. Yuni fields a lazy pop-up. Crosby doubles pat Beltre, a rare occurance. Sean "Bionic Arm" Green warming up. A flyout to Ichiro ends it.

2 groundballs, 1 infield fly, 1 flyball.

Bottom of 5th

Yuni with a double that had no business being a double. Good baserunning--not something I say very often about Yuni, unfortunately. Beltre walks. If Riggleman makes Ibanez bunt I'm going to......throw a soft object at my computer screen. Fortunately he doesn't, but Ibanez strikes out anyway. Beltre continues to be awesome, breaking up the double play with a hard slide into second. Lopez safe at first. Balentien K's, and on we go.

2 groundballs, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk.

Top of 6th

Feierabend is done for the night. Final numbers:

5 innings
93 pitches
20 batters faced
5 strikeouts (25%)
1 HBP (5%)
8 groundballs (40%)
3 flyballs (15%)
2 line drives (10%)
1 home run (5%)
1 infield flyball (5%)

Helluva lot better performance tonight than his last start, even if it was against the atrocious A's offense. Even more encouraging, his fastball stayed consistently in the 88-90 range. If I get the chance, I'll pull his PITCHf/x data and take a deeper look. For now, back to the game.

Sean Green is in. And.....he plunks Frank Thomas on the 2nd pitch. And AGAIN, he hits Suzuki. Christ, Green is all over the place tonight. Patterson smacks a grounder through the hole into right, and the bases are juiced. Jose Lopez bobbles a grounder, thus botching the double play, so they have to settle for the force at second. Thomas scores. 4-2 M's. Barton with an RBI double. 4-3 M's. Dear God, please make it stop. Out comes Riggleman, and Green will hit the showers after recording just one out. Sean Green is leading the league with 61 relief appearances--perhaps the workload is starting to catch up with him now? If I'm Riggleman, I just let him take it easy for the final month; no need to overwork a guy in the stretch run of a lost season.

I digress. Cesar Jimenez in. A bloop flyball drops into no-man's land in right, and 2 runs score easily. 5-4 A's. The A's attempt a bunt. Bob Geren is arguing that MFC didn't hold on to the ball at first. From the replay, it looks rather inconclusive--but what does it matter anyway? Just end this abortion of an inning. Beltre obliges with my wishes.

Final (ugly) line for Sean Green:

5 batters faced
2 groundballs
1 line drive
A whole lot of angst and gnashing of the teeth

Bottom of 6th

Clement flies out. LaHair laces a single to right-center. MFC doubles. Interest in this game waning. Oh wait, Ichiro is up. Interest is rising. He grounds out to short, scoring LaHair--essentially a glorified sac bunt. 5-5 M's. Yuni flies out to right.

2 flyballs, 2 groundballs, 1 line drive.

Top of 7th

Roy Corcoran is in now.

You know, for being a tie game going into the late innings, this game is pretty fucking boring. Three up, three down. Whatever.

Bottom of 7th

Beltre's body language is obvious--his shoulder is killing him. He likely hurt it earlier on the slide that broke up the double-play; now it looks like he can barely swing the bat. And as I type that, he muscles a double into the right-center gap. God, you're awesome. He moves to 3rd on an Ibanez groundout. Lopez! RBI single! 6-5 M's!

Jeff Clement! RBI double! 7-5 M's!

Top of 8th

Blah blah blah the A's suck blah blah blah I hate the Wave blah blah blah

Bottom of 8th

Nothing happened.

Top of 9th

J.J. Putz coming in. Confidence level: Medium-low. He walks the first batter after an epic duel. Crosby flies out to center. Emil Brown bounces a grounder past a belly-flopping Yuni. 1st and 2nd, 1 out. Dammit, Putz. But, lo! Frank Thomas grounds into a double-play, and the baseball gods smile down on Seattle, and it was good.

Final score: Seattle 7, Oakland 5

Time for bed, methinks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Game 127 Live Blog: A's at M's

Now that I actually have a free day, let's do a live-blog. Today's matchup:

Greg Smith versus Ryan Rowland-Smith.

The Mariners must finish 17-19 to avoid the ignominious distinction of being the first team to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll. Sounds fun.


Cairo--1B (puke)
Johjima--C (?)
Clement--DH (?)

My beer of choice tonight is Henry Weihnard's Blue Boar. Hardly a great beer, but it's cheap and goes down easy. The Mariners don't deserve quality beer anyway.

Top of 1st
7:10 Here we go. Beer #1. Mark Ellis fouls out to Miguel fuckin' Cairo. Bobby Crosby grounds out to Beltre.

7:14 RR-S cruises through the first after only 9 pitches. I thought the A's were supposed to be selfish walk machines who take a lot of selfish, lazy walks?

Bottom of 1st

I'll take this minute to talk about Greg Smith a bit, using the awesome Fangraphs. He doesn't really miss bats and gives up a lot of home runs and line drives depsite being the beneficiary of a .256 BABIP. In other words, he'll throw a 2-hitter against the M's tonight.

7:20 And as I type that, he strikes out Ibanez. Awesome.

Top of 2nd

Frank Thomas is not immune to the charms of the Aussie.

7:25 Kurt Suzuki, unfortunately, is.

7:28 Cust draws a walk, and RRS is in trouble early.

7:29 Dear God, this beer sucks. That's 7 bucks I'll never get back.

7:32 RRS escapes the inning with a strikeout. This inning has been brought to you by Foster's, possibly the only beer that tastes worse than what I'm having right now. Well, except for Budweiser.

Bottom of 2nd

Beltre comes within inches of a home run. Whee!

7:41 I've got pizza on the way. Anything to take away the taste of fermented dog piss in my mouth.

7:42 Balentien takes a walk? That sound you hear is the locust horde approaching.

7:44 Annnnd Johjima grounds into a double-play. Whatever I'm feeling right now is the opposite of surprise.

Top of 3rd

Rowland-Smith is up to 51 pitches already? Oh yeah, there was a double play.

Bottom of 3rd

Rick Rizzs, the M's radio broadcaster, is still expressing amazement that Yuniesky Betancourt actually walked a couple games ago--and so am I, frankly. He has 9 this year. That's right, n-i-n-e.

7:56 Ichiro!

7:59 The rally fizzles out, and I'm stepping out for a smoke. Be back in 5.

Top of 4th

Looks like I missed nothing. Well, except for Kurt Suzuki's hit. Pizza is here!

8:07 RRS is doing quite well tonight. A Cust strikeout ends the threat.

Bottom of 4th

Jose Lopez draws a rare walk. Do I smell a double play coming up?

8:17 Well, I was half-right. But with Johjima up, who knows?

8:19 And Wlad gets picked off first. Just another day of work for the Mariners.

Top of 5th

Adrian Beltre continues to be awesome.

Bottom of 5th

What happens when you get one of the league's worst offenses facing off against another of the league's worst offenses? You get a really fucking boring game. Beer #3.

Top of 6th

Emil Brown single-handedly ends this scoreless tie. 1-0 A's. Blah, need more beer.

8:34 Holy shit, something actually happened in this game. Frank Thomas gets the boot for arguing a strike call.

8:41 At 95 pitches, Rowland-Smith has probably thrown his last inning.

Bottom of 6th


8:44 I hate you Miguel Fucking Cairo. I hate you so much.

8:49 Yet another potential rally fizzles. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Top of 7th

RRS is still pitching? Color me surprised. Sean Green and Cesar Jimenez up in the pen.

8:59 Nice catch, Cairo. I still hate you.

9:02 RRS escapes the inning with a strikeout, making that 6, and he's certainly done for the night. This was a pretty damn good performance, the home-run notwithstanding. For a guy who wasn't in the Mariners' long-term plans at the beginning of the season, Ryan Rowland-Smith is making it extremely hard for them to keep him out of the rotation in '09.

Bottom of 7th

Nothing happened this inning. Moving on.

Top of 8th

Sean Green in. Nothing happened again.

Bottom of 8th

Dear God, please just end this game quickly and painlessly.

9:27 Is something happening? Two runners on for Beltre.

9:29 Never mind. Back to the hammock.

Top of 9th

Jeremy Reed, who pinch-hit in the 8th, is in at first base.

9:37 Jimenez in for Green. Why the fuck is Reed playing first again?

9:39 A's now up 2-0, an insurmountable lead for the M's.

9:41 Lopez, Balentien and Johjima up in the bottom half. Bring on the Rally Fries! (Don't really bring on the Rally Fries).

Bottom of 9th

Lopez gets gift-wrapped an infield hit, and Bryan LaHair is pinch-hitting for Wlad.

9:46 The game now rests in Tug Hulett's hands. Man, we are screwed.

Now it is in Clement's hands.

9:50 Now it is in Betancourt's hands.

9:52 Story of my life. Betancourt grounds into a double play.

Final Score: Oakland 2, Seattle 0

I'm going to drink more now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Melancholy, true melancholy

In case you haven't noticed, this hasn't been kept up for, oh, the past 4 months. Considering how the Mariners' season went, can you blame a guy?

Anyway, we're coming up on the last month of the season, and even with Seattle the laughingstock of baseball, there's still many interesting stories going on in baseball. Will the Rays keep up their improbable run? How will the NL West turn out? Will Hank Steinbrenner Force-choke Brian Cashman in front of TV cameras? Stay tuned.

I promise that I'll be more semi-regular with this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oh yeah, the other games

  • Kansas City 5, Detroit 4 (11 innings): The Tigers' bullpen has to be a major concern right now. Justin Verlander has having a fine game until getting chased in the 7th, and then they blew threw 5 relievers before eventually giving up the game in extra innings. For all the talk about Detroit's offense, this is by far their biggest Achilles heel.
  • Arizona 4, Cincinnati 2: Brandon Webb was as awesome as always. 3 solo homers by his offense certainly didn't hurt him either. As far as I can tell, Dusty Baker didn't really do anything dumb last night.
  • Milwaukee 4, Chicago Cubs 3 (10 innings): Fukudome! Mr. Most Epic Name in the History of Baseballs had a delicious debut with 3 hits and a home run that sent the game into extra innings. Alas, it was all for naught. Carlos Zambrano left the game early with arm troubles. Surprisingly enough, Ben Sheets did not.
  • Cleveland 10, Chicago White Sox 8: C.C. Sabathia got rocked (bad news for my fantasy team), but Mark Buehrle got rocked even harder, while Jim Thome was the one-man show for Chicago. Now comes the obligatory time to tell everyone that Ozzie Guillen is a ginormous douchebag.
  • Washington 11, Philadelphia 6: Yeah, the Phillies' bullpen sucks. I will not be the least bit surprised to see them fall to around .500 this year, nor will I be surprised if Washington finishes around .500.
  • New York Mets 7, Florida 2: Mark Hendrickson was the Marlins' Opening Day starter? Really? Johan Santana was pretty good.
  • Tampa Bay 6, Baltimore 2: Not that beating the O's is anything to brag about (hell, even Eric Hinske got a home run here), but the Rays are going to be tons of fun to watch this year.
  • L.A. Dodgers 5, San Francisco 0: How's that "Barry-free" atmosphere thing working out for you, Giants?
  • Minnesota 3, L.A. Angels 2: The game was about as boring as it sounds.
  • Pittsburgh 12, Atlanta 11 (12 innings): It's never good when you get lit up by the Pirates, much less Xavier Nady (4-5, 2 HRs). Glavine was flawless through 5, but the bullpen sucked.
  • San Diego 4, Houston 0: I'm going to say it right now: The Mariners are the AL version of the Padres. Good pitching, bad offense, play in a pitchers' park, etc. And if they don't get good performance from their pitching, they sure as hell won't come back with a power-laden lineup.

Yesterday's Gritty, Gutty Heroes: Xavier Nady (4-5, 2 HRs), Jake Peavy (7 IP, 4 K, 0 ER)

Yesterday's Worthless, Gutless Chokers: Tom Gordon (1/3 IP, 5 ER, choker), Mark Buehrle (1 2/3 IP, 7 ER, gutless)

That's all for now. Enjoy today's games.

Game 1 recap

So we're 1-0, and first place in the AL West. Now comes our obligatory 80-81 finish. Couple notes about last night's game:

  • Erik Bedard looked.....alright. He allowed lots of baserunners, threw lots of pitches and was gone after five, but other than that, he was just fine.
  • Jose Lopez looked.....awful. He had a couple of booted balls at 2B that any halfway decent defender could've picked up. Then there was that whole "stealing 3rd" thing...
  • Home plate umpire Jim Joyces' strike zone was about the size of an actual baseball last night. Bedard was not getting any calls on the inside corner. Neither was Millwood, for that matter.

There were some encouraging signs last night--the pitching was solid, especially--but I have some lingering concerns. Our offense is still anemic, and our defense still sucks. Nevertheless, we're in first place, so I'll take it for now.

Monday, March 31, 2008


Welcome to "The Melancholy of a Mariners Fan", which can be easily shortened to TMoaMF for your convenience. I'm sure it will catch on.

Anyway, this is where I will digest and regurgitate baseball news (mostly Mariners, for obvious reasons), sports news and dick jokes. One main feature will be my nightly recaps, where I will take each and every game and break them down into turds of wisdom. Are you excited yet?

In case you don't get out much, today is Opening Day, the greatest day of the year. Of course, the only game I really care about (the others mostly exist only for my fantasy pleasure) is the Mariners/Rangers. Erik Bedard begins his quest to justify being traded for Adam Jones, while Kevin Millwood continues his quest to show that, yes, he's still in the league. My pants are tingling in anticipation.

I will be back later tonight to recap each game. While you're at it, do check out my favorite sites to the right of this post. They are much funnier than I am.