Seattle Mariners postsThursday June 04, 2015
Quote: 'It'd Be Nice to Get Excited About a Trade Like This...'
“It'd be nice to get excited about a trade like this. After all, the offense has been terrible, the rotation is banged up, and these two players do fill needs. But after a series of Mariner games that just felt so exhaustingly Mariners, this trade feels the same. Exhausting. It embodies everything about this current front office that hasn't worked over the past several years, and yet here we are, trying it again. Jack Zduriencik has a blueprint that he believes will result in success, but it never really has.”
-- Scott Weber, “Mariners trade for Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno,” on the LookoutLanding site.
I was at one of those exhausting games, Tuesday night, with my friend Jim, who predicted the outcome. We had a 25-year-old pitcher making his Major League debut, Mike Montgomery, and when the M's put him ahead 2-1 in the sixth, Jim mused about the wonderful possibility that we would see this kid get a “W.” For a second. Then he said, “But we need more runs. Because you know who is waiting for us in the 9th.” Right, our closer with the 6.75 ERA, Fernando Rodney. Sure enough, facing a weak Yankees squad, Rodney gave up a walk, a fly out, a strikeout, a single, a double to tie it, then a ground out. But we didn't see the groundout. As soon as the Yankees tied it we left the park. Yanks won 5-3 in 11 innings. Thanks for the Kyle Seager bobblehead, M's.
Anyway, I'm done with Zduriencik. He keeps giving up something (Cliff Lee, Michael Pineda) to net us nothing (Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero). I like Seager but we overpaid for him. We overpaid for and oversigned Robinson Cano. That signing is looking like a disaster sooner that I thought it would. With Zdurienck I keep going back to that great exchange from “Apocalypse Now.”
Zduriencik: Are my methods unsound?
Me: I don't see ... any method ... at all, sir.
In other news, The New York Times, of all papers, tracks the most cursed cities in Major League sports. Seattle is 13th but only because the Seahawks won the Super Bowl a year ago. The Mariners? They're one of only two MLB franchises to never go to the World Series.
How Many M's Team Records Will Fall to King Felix This Season?
Felix on the mound last September: It's good to be the King.
This weekend, I was doing the kind of thing you do while waiting for Opening Day—looking over the Mariners team records—and it occurred to me that King Felix is poised to break many of the M’s career pitching records this year.
He already owns two: ERA (3.07), which he could obviously lose with a string of bad seasons, and wild pitches (116), which I found surprising. I always thought of him as a control pitcher, yet he’s led the league in this category (in 2009), and already has more WPs than Randy Johnson did during his entire career: 109.
This year, and barring problems, four more M's team records should fall to him. In each, the number he needs to break the record is less than the number he put up last season:
|Stat||Pitcher||Record||Felix's #||To break||F's '14 #|
|Games started||Jamie Moyer||323||303||21||34|
|Hits allowed||Jamie Moyer||2,100||1839||262||170|
|Complete games||Mike Moore||56||23||34||0|
And could it be five records? He needs 21 wins to break Jamie Moyer's career mark. That doesn’t sound like an impossibility but would in fact tie Moyer for the M’s single-season record; 19 is Felix’s career high. But he could do it; he’s pitching for a better team now; wins should come easier. If the creek don’t rise.
Hits allowed will also be his by 2016. He’s crawling, not running, to walks, so that one may forever stay Randy’s. So will shutouts. Meanwhile Mike Moore gets to keep his name in the Mariners record books for all eternity, since no one in our current era will pitch 57 complete games again.
SLIDESHOW: The Last Seattle Mariners Game of 2014
SLIDESHOW: A few weeks ago my friend Jeff contacted me to see if P and I wanted to go with his family to the last M's game of the year. The team was back and forth in the wild card race at the time so we thought, “Sure, why not? You never know.” (Pictured: Kyle Seager at the plate today.)
Earlier in the week, after a bad string of losses, it looked like the season was over. But then the M's began to win again and the Oakland A's began to falter. And after last night's 2-1 victory, we were only 1 game back with 1 to play. Meaning an Oakland loss and an M's victory today would force a one-game playoff with the A's tomorrow. Meaning today's game was the first meaningful Game 162 the M's had played since 2001. Hence the crowds.
Of course the whole proposition was still iffy. If the A's lost and we won, we would still have that one-game playoff tomorrow. If we won that, we would face KC in the one-game wild-card playoff on Tuesday. If we won that, then and only then would we be in the best-of-5 playoffs. (Pictured: the view from our seats: Section 342, Row 3.)
And here's the motley crew. People were sitting in P's and my seats when we arrived. Different people were sitting in the Sheas' seats when they arrived. There was great confusion about just where (or what) Section 342 was.
On the plus side, we had King Felix on the mound. And for a time it looked good. We were up 1-0, then 2-0, then 4-0. Felix kept mowing 'em down: 7 strikeouts after 3 innings.
Unfortunately, the only time I've ever wanted anyone in Texas to win anything, and they weren't helping. They were losing. Big.
By the fifth inning it was official. Word spread around the stadium and there was polite applause for the M's good effort this season. The Seattle way.
Then slowly, as if in a paegant, the M's exited to applause. First, Felix. He came out after 5 1/3, with the M's up 4-0, bowed all around, and was gone.
Two batters later, it was Robinson Cano's turn. He went 1-3 and was replaced by Brad Miller at second base. Even Austin Jackson, who never really did much for us, was ceremoniously relieved after a single in the 6th. Which player stuck it out?
My man Kyle Seager played through the long shadows of the afternoon. Too bad he ended the season poorly: OPSes of .699 and .719 in the last two months. Even so, he's still the second-best position player on the team.
After the 4-1 victory, the players tossed gifts to the fans. But as a loveable loser once said, “If only McCovey had hit the ball three feet higher!” I.e., If only Felix had won in Toronto last week. If only Fernando Rodney hadn't walked four A's in the 10th a few weeks back. If only we had more guys who could hit .300. Or .275. Or .250.
But as more famous loveable losers once said: Wait till next year. *FIN*
Hey Kids, Help Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon! What's YOUR 2014 Mariners Lineup Look Like?
Yesterday I tweet-riffed (tweefed?) when I saw that Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon had Kyle Seager, the second-best hitter on the team, batting sixth, behind such stalwarts as Chris Denorfia (.209), Kendrys Morales (.221) and Corey Hart (.197).
I wasn't the only one. From David Schoenfeld, a Seattle native, in his post, “Ten Questions for the Stretch Run”:
Look, Lloyd McClendon doesn't have a lot of great options once he gets past Cano and Kyle Seager, especially with the somewhat hot Dustin Ackley out with a sprained ankle. But why was he hitting Seager sixth Sunday? OK, Jon Lester, lefty-lefty matchup, I see that. Seager is still one of his better hitters against left-handers (not that he's great with a .255/.306/.385 line). Plus, Lester is actually a reverse platoon, so batting Chris Denorfia (.203 with the Mariners) and Corey Hart (.201 on the season) in the second and fifth spots and moving Seager down is one of worst decisions I've seen all season. There is zero logic behind it. None. ...
M's lost 4-0. They're now a game back in the Wild Card hunt.
Schoenfeld's right: McClendon doesn't have a lot of great options, but he does have better ones. Example: I know he hasn't played long—35 games, 99 at-bats—but Chris Taylor may have the best batting eye on the team. At least, within this small sample size, he's leading the team in walks/at-bats ratio. Yep, better than Robinson Cano. When he plays, he's usually batting eighth or ninth. But why not second? Sure, righty/righty, lefty/lefty if you go Jackson, Taylor, Cano, Seager. But do you have to mix it up that much when you have so few options?
Go something like this maybe?
- Jackson, CF (R)
- Taylor, SS (R)
- Cano, 2B (L)
- Seager, 3B (L)
- Zunino, C (R)
- Saunders, RF (L)
- Ackley, LF (L)
Then pick your poison for DH and 1B—two positions, by the way, that should be batting much higher in the order. If we just had anyone good in them.
I don't know. What's your Sept. 2014 Mariners lineup look like?
I like this line from David Schoenfield's post, “Hisashi Iwakuma is one of baseball's best”:
Iwakuma needed to shut down the Braves [yesterday] because [Mariners manager Lloyd] McClendon threw out one of the sorriest lineups you'll see with Bloomquist, Chavez and Stefen Romero, who entered the game batting .204/.256/.345, in the cleanup spot.
Yep, that was three of our top four. Willie Bloomquist (.559 OPS going into the game) led off, followed by Endy Chavez (.501 OPS) in the No. 2 spot, followed by the $240 million dollar man, then Romero hitting clean-up (.601 OPS). Well, no wonder he hit clean-up! That .601 OPS is stellar next to everyone else's!
I mentioned this yesterday on Facebook but might as well repeat it here: If there's anything dumber than the Mariners leading off with Bloomquist it's the Braves intentionally walking him in the 3rd with a man on second. But of course that got them Chavez. And that ended the inning.
My friend Jim is quite down on McClendon, and in this regard I tend to agree. His lineups are abysmal. But we still won the game, 2-0, thanks to Prince Hisashi, heir to King Felix. The M's are now three games over .500, and if the season ended today they'd be in the playoffs. When as the last time we could say that on June 5?
Schoenfield concludes this way:
Iwakuma joined the Seattle rotation on July 2, 2012. Here are the AL ERA leaders among starters since then:
Iwakuma — 2.66
Max Scherzer -- 2.88
Felix Hernandez -- 2.94
Yu Darvish -- 3.04
Alex Cobb -- 3.05
Chris Sale -- 3.08
David Price -- 3.22
James Shields -- 3.23