Friday, April 14, 2006

5-5 Diagnostics

Now that the Mariners have faced three teams, three GOOD teams, it's time to take another sample from the Diagnostics pool.

1) George Sherrill > 50 IP?
Well, he's certainly on pace for that, in spite of his role being still somewhat undefined. While I missed yesterday's performance, I hear he did pretty well (bookended a Victor Martinez double with two strikeouts). He's always been a slow starter, and like I keep saying, wait until he gets his confidence up. Lookin' good so far -- he's certainly getting on track, and he's not being limited to LOOGY use. Good thing for the M's, bad thing for their opponents. The "Free George Sherrill" campaign continues to be successful.

2) Where does Lopez start the season (a.k.a. how much playing time does Willie Bloomquist get)?
Well, the wheel is starting to squeak, folks. Yep. Willie Bloomquist is getting antsy. Lopez seems to be getting back on track after Hargrove made the idiotic move of replacing Lopez with Bloomquist in the starting lineup. I don't hate Willie Bloomquist, in spite of what my sister and several of my coworkers believe. I hate him in the starting lineup. If he needs the occasional start, fine. Especially if someone gets hurt and it takes awhile to get the spare part from Tacoma. But you just don't replace one of your hottest hitters with a hitter that cannot blackmail someone to get on base. It's not coincidence that the M's are 0-2 when Bloomquist replaces one of the M's hottest hitters in the starting lineup.

3) Kenji Johjima and Rafael Chaves -- any noticable impact on the pitchers?
I'm still somewhat unsure about this one. There seems to be some discussion about Kenji's catching style adversely affecting the pitching staff's ability to get the strike calls from umpires. Chavvy's rapport with Felix didn't seem to help him make the adjustment between his first somewhat shaky start, and yesterday's performance which was even worse. I'll let y'all comment on this one. I see a little bit of impact, but not a whole lot.

4) How will the "Hinge Players" bounce back?
  • Ichiro: His home run yesterday, and 3-4 the game before helps him steer away from the Mendoza line. Off to a slow start, but he's had a decent couple of games recently.
  • Beltre: Yuck. Yuck. YUUUUCK!!! Okay, his defense hasn't flown south. Unfortunately his bat has. Teh stinkage! Nowhere near bouncing back. He and KJ need to swap spots in the lineup NOW!
  • Reed: It's a very, very good thing his wrist wasn't broken. An 8-game hitting streak certainly helps, and a .286 average is about what I expected. He's doing fine. Didn't seem to be affected by Hargrove's idiotic decision to bench him in favor of Bloomquist the other day.
  • Pineiro: Not impressed so far. His K:BB ratio is good, but he's getting hit. A lot. At least he's able to eat some innings. I wouldn't give him credit, though, for bouncing back quite yet.
  • Meche: Yuck. Yuck. YUUUUUCK! "Sully" points out this morning the debate between Meche and Beltre as "Most Hated Mariner." Maybe I'm being unfair for seeing a huge gap between the two, in favor of Beltre, and maybe I should loathe Beltre more. Especially since, in spite of his pitching, the M's are 2-0 in Meche's starts, and we only have to see Meche every 5th day. But still -- he's lucky if he can pitch 5 innings. Harris, the M's best option at long relief, was just sent down. There is some hope, though. Strangely enough, Meche seems to do fine pitching against Boston. Looking at his splits, though, he sucks in Fenway.
5) Will PositivePaul miss Ryan Franklin?
The answer is still no. But if Meche continues to pitch poorly through 4 innings, I'd rather have a pitcher that pitches poorly for 1-2 innings, and pitches OK for 4-5. Even if he's a whiner.

So there you go. Any other observations? I probably should add a Diagnostic that relates to Hargrove, since I find myself complaining about him. A lot.


At 4/14/2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Snave said...

I think the team is off to a very good start, considering the level of competition they have faced. Let's think about winning a few games at Fenway!

1) I think Sherrill looked GREAT last night in the 9-5 win. I think he has nasty stuff, and last night it was on display. His performance should have done lots for his confidence, and for Grover's confidence in him. And Putz looked great too... whew! His splitter sure is coming along nicely. Would I be going out on a limb if I suggest that Putz might be able to become the team's closer, or that Sherrill might? Maybe come July, we might be able to get a valuable part or two for Guardado... not that Eddie is not valuable, but others could gradually become more so, IMHO. If the rest of the pen is still doing great by July, and Eddie is o.k., I might not be averse to trading him for a decent starting pitcher. If he's "lights-out", I'd rather keep him, but if not... ?

2) Lopez has been great. Let Bloomquist squeak, but he will not be as good as Lopez is now. Jose is showing a good eye at the plate, picking good pitches to drive. That's something Bloomquist isn't nearly as good at, and Hargrove appears to be very aware of it. Good for Grover!

3) I think there has been an impact on the bullpen so far. They all seem to be morphing from the poor crew we saw in spring training into a pretty cohesive unit. As for the rotation, Felix hasn't found a groove yet, but I think he will sooner or later, and hopefully Chaves can help him find it sooner. I don't know if he will have any luck with Meche and Pineiro, I hope sp. It's excruciating watching these guys take 100+ pitches to get through five innings...

4) I think Ichiro, Ibanez and Sexson will be fine, and I believe Everett is showing a good eye at the plate so far.

I agree about Reed, his glove is worth keeping him in the lineup for, but I think his hitting will continue to improve. Tough luck last night though, fanning with the bases loaded... ick. But I think his good glove in CF will help the pitchers.

Beltre is a total mystery on offense, but he's another excellent defender. I know they didn't sign him for his glove alone, but I wouldn't care if they moved him farther down in the order to 7th or 8th. I love his defense.

Meche and Pineiro are frustrating. Joel is definitely getting lit up. I find myself thinking it was a shame we didn't succeed in trading him to Pittsburgh, if there was actually talk of doing that. Meche also has good stuff, but when I think of him and Pineiro, I put them in the same league with Matt Thornton. Underachievers all. I for one will be hoping the team can make a move or two to acquire starting pitching at the trading deadline, as I see the rotation as the team's weakest part at this point.

I don't miss Franklin at all. I say "Good riddance" and I hope the door didn't hit him in the butt on the way out of town. As for Hargrove, I give him a point or two for his minimal use of Bloomquist so far, and for keeping Felix at a 100-pitch limit. About other things, I'm not so sure.

At 4/14/2006 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be a AA or AAA blog, but nonetheless, it got mentioned on Ballbug today.

At 4/14/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger Citizen K said...

Hola, amigos. It's been a long time since I rapped at ya.

Believe it or not, Citizen K has been following the M's this season, in a limited fashion of course.

This season being my 20th in Washington, I felt it was only right for me to return to my circa-1986 roots as a semi-educated baseball fan. Hence, I am only listening to portions of the games. Gone are the days (hello, high school) when I would stay up late at night with my yellow to cach the final innings of yet another M's loss (with "the Kid" and "the Unit" often providing the only incentives.) Now I only listen to the games while I drive home from work (if they're in Eastern time,) or prepare supper for the wife/kids. I feel the games are much more enjoyable without the constant Internet analysis and commentary--it's like being a "kid" again.

Anyhow, I agree with the assessment of Lopez/Will-Blo. Jose is showing a hint of his potential. Word is he's actually becoming a hitter, rather than an undisciplined hacker. Of course, as Red Fairley said on Thursday, he's still "one of the best high fastball hitters on the team," but that's not all bad.

I must say, the starting pitching has been mostly poor. Moyer had a good game tonight--it's good to see him thrive on the road, especially in an apparent "hitter's park." I agree that Felix will come around. He was incredible as a rookie, and it would be an incredible surprise to me if he doesn't pick it up in a month or two. He's never before begun a season at the Major League level, so he has the benefit of the doubt, IMO.

Agreed, Snave--Reed also is showing flashes of his previously incredible potential. I can't believe the M's finally got "the Golden Boy" Joe Borchard (AKA "The Man Who Makes The Mariners The Most Legitimate NBA Team In MLB,") but here's to Reed keeping that starting position. Perhaps he needed having his old Soxmate to compete with was good for him. In any case, his rookie struggles seem to be on the wane, which is great news; if he can provide a measurably better bat than could Mike Cameron (who Dave Niehaus referenced in some random M's ideology-boosting contest the other night--as in a female contestant happened to have the last name of Cameron and Dave said "and we call her 'Cammy,'") play good defense, and steal a few bases, the M's should be in great shape.

That's all I have time for at the moment. Happy Easter, all. Agreed with PosiPaul--remember that Jesus died for you; claim His sacrifice and attain eternal life. It's yours through the Son. Peace, out.

At 4/14/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger Citizen K said...

(despite the two or three obvious lapses in editing skills...)

At 4/15/2006 6:16 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Hey, COOL! A Citizen K sighting!

Hope you're not too swamped with everything, man. You're obviously getting enough of a glimpse to be completely unoblivious to the Mariners, yet not so steeped in the ideology that it's consuming you (like it is me...).

Take care, my friend, and I hope to see you 'round these parts this summer as things, hopefully, cool down for ya.


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