Seattle Mariners postsWednesday September 18, 2013
Why Jack Zduriencek is Not Billy Beane
From David Schoenfield's ESPN.com blog, in the post “The Mariners' historically awful defense”:
At this point, it's pretty obvious: Jack Zduriencek is not Billy Beane. Maybe that's unfair to say; maybe no general manager is Billy Beane. As Dave Cameron pointed out on FanGraphs, even the Rays have spent more on big league payroll than the A's the past two seasons and yet the A's have won 10 more games.
You can argue the A's have been lucky — nobody expected Josh Donaldson or Brandon Moss to be this good, or Bartolo Colon to resurface as an elite pitcher. But the A's also have a plan; as Joe Sheehan pointed out this week on his podcast, the A's target a certain type of player (Colon being the big — literally — exception): Players 25 to 29 years old, the age at which they should either break out or have a career year. Look at the current ages of the players they've added in the past two years: Moss (29), Jed Lowrie (29), Yoenis Cespedes (27), Josh Reddick (26), Chris Young (29), John Jaso (29). OK, Seth Smith is now 30 and closer Grant Balfour is 35. Other than Cespedes, those were all players considered disposable by their former teams. Individually, they don't look that impressive; collectively, they're a team.
Now look at who the Mariners added this offseason: Raul Ibanez (41), Aaron Harang (35), Jason Bay (34), Kelly Shoppach (33), Joe Saunders (32), Mike Morse (31), Kendrys Morales (30). That's not a plan. That's a tragedy.
Photo of the Day
I should've written something about Ken Griffey being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame, but I've written a lot about Junior over the years and didn't really have much to add. I'll wait three years for the biggee.
Even so, this was a big day for Mariners fan, including Jon Wells, publisher, editor, etc., of The Grand Salami, the official alternative program for The Seattle Mariners since 1996, who dug deep in his pockets and came up with the dough for this flyover message:
(Click on the image for a better read.)
Longtime readers know how much I agree.
Seattle Mariners: 30th No More
Going to the M's game today with Tim, and it's not just the sunny weather that's got me in a good mood.
Here are the M's OBP/SLG/OPS splits, along with their OPS MLB rank (1-30), since 2010:
- 2010: .298/ .339/ .637 (30th)
- 2011: .292/ .348/ .640 (30th)
- 2012: .296/ .369/ .665 (30th)
- 2013: .310/ .401/ .711 (18th)
That sound you hear in Seattle isn't just Macklemore recording on top of Dick's; it's runs being scored. It's an exhale. It's climbing out of a deep, deep hole.
UPDATE: Oops. The M's scattered six hits over nine innings and lost 4-0. When the opposition went ahead 2-0, the game seemed lost forever. Two runs? How could anyone ever manage that? Kendrys Morales hit a rocket double to the right-field corner with nobody out in the bottom of the 2nd but only managed to get to third because of a wild pitch. After that, five singles: one in the 3rd, one in the 7th, two in the eighth and one in the ninth. Just like old times.
Kyle Seager leads the M's with a .292 average and .356 OBP; Raul Ibanez leads with 24 homeruns.
Stat of the Day
“How bad has Seattle's offense been in recent seasons? The Mariners scored 106 more runs in 2012 than they did in 2010 ... and still finished last in the AL in runs scored.”
-- David Schoenfield, in his post, “Offseason report card: Mariners” on the Sweet Spot blog on ESPN.com. I've written about the Mariners' dismal offense a lot—it's what we have—but eventually we have to break free from this, right? At least Schoenfield thinks so. He predicts the M's break .500 in 2013.
Fences in, Dustin and Justin a year older, the addition of Kendrys and Raul and the subtraction of Chone: so maybe the M's won't finish last in runs in 2013?
King Felix: Perfect
In April, after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, I posted the following chart of teams in the modern era who have thrown perfect games and those who have been perfected against. I've since updated it for Matt Cain's perfecto against Houston in June.
Today I updated it again. See if you can spot the addition:
|Perfect Game Teams||Wins||Losses|
|New York Yankees||3||0|
|Chicago White Sox||3||1|
|Boston Red Sox||1||0|
|San Francisco Giants||1||0|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1||3|
|New York Mets||0||1|
|Toronto Blue Jays||0||1|
|Tampa Bay Rays||0||3|
I was at work when my friend Ben shot me a text message about Felix Hernandez's no-no through 7 2/3. I checked on ESPN.com and realized rather quickly, no, not a no-no. A perfect game. Through 8. So I grabbed my sunglasses and wallet and walked/ran the two blocks down to Buckley's, the sport bars that doubled as McGinty's, Martin Crane's favorite bar on “Frasier.” I wasn't the only guy to file in, either. There was a good dozen new folks there for the top of the ninth. I ordered a beer and before I could finish it, Felix had struck out the first batter, induced the second to ground out to short, and then, improbably, scrotum-tighteningly, went 2-0 on the Rays' No. 9 hitter. I was worried for a second. Then he nailed the guy with a slider (on 2-0!), and never threw another ball, and threw two more strikes, and it was over and the bar erupted. High fives all around.
Expect articles on what it all means. As many perfect games have now been thrown this season as were thrown in the nearly three-quarters of a century between 1882 and 1955. We've now had seven perfect games in the 21st century. The 20th century didn't see its seventh perfect game until Catfish Hunter did it against my Twins in May 1968. It's also the fifth perfect game this decade, which is more perfect games than have been thrown in any decade in baseball history. And we're not even three full years into it.
It's the second perfect game this season at Safeco Field, which also saw a no-hitter in June. Its rep as a pitchers park is growing.
Bummer to be a Rays fan, though. 0-3 in perfect games? All of which happened in the last four years when the team was good.
For what it's worth, Felix's is the first perfect game pitched in August. His 12 Ks are the third-most in any perfect game, behind only Sandy Koufax (14) and Randy Johnson (13).
Most importantly, his is the first perfect game ever thrown by a Seattle Mariner. It's been a pretty shitty year, or 10 years, for the M's and their fans, but the team's rebuilding the right way finally; and this sunny Seattle afternoon at Safeco Field, August 15, 2012, was one helluva bright spot.
Felix Hernandez celebrates after throwing the first perfect game in Mariners history: August 15, 2012
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