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In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Friday, July 30, 2004

 

Desperate Times make for Desperate Blogging

A blogosphere welcome to House that Edgar Built, apparently the newest Mariners blogger.

I guess thsre's nothing like desperation to roust that inner blogger hiding in all of us.

 

Square Pegs, Rounded Corners, and Vestigial Penguin Wings

Over at 6-4-2, Rob McMillin has his commentary on last night's game with the Mariners.

Rob discusses the play in the bottom of the 12th inning, when Guerrero dropped a ball into center field in front of Randy Winn, with Garret Anderson on first base and no outs. Anderson advanced to third, while Guerrero got caught in a rundown between first and second.

Rob offers two explanations for Guerrero's actions. His first offering is that it was a blunder by Guerrero. This, of course, is the best explanation.

Rob, showing his unfamiliarity with the Mariners, also offers a second explanation, viz., that Guerrero deliberately gave himself up by continuing on to second base In this scenario, Guerrero knew that the creaky-legged Anderson was going to be gunned down at third, so Guerrero tried, and succeeded, in drawing the play to himelf.

It's a nice theory, and we can give Rob a bye here because he blogs the Angels/Dodgers, not the Mariners. But regular Mariner watchers will immediately spot that that Rob's second scenario is not tenable. I do grant that the scenario may make sense with most center fielders. But, we're talking about Randy Winn here - the guy whose arm has as much to do with throwing as a penguin's wing has to do with flying.

How bad is Randy Winn's arm? So bad that Scott Hatteberg, of all players tags up on Randy Winn. From first base. So bad that he doesn't bother making a play on gimpy Garrett Anderson going from first to third on a ball that drops in front of Winn. So bad that sometime this season some opponent's third base coach will be forced to leave the game because of shoulder stiffness from signalling runners to keep going on balls hit to center field.

The Mariners broadcast had a good shot of the play as it unfolded, and I'm sure that in the clubhouse Eddie Guardado began rehearsing his postgame profanities as Anderson rounded second. Because we all knew the Angels were going to have a runner on third with nobody out.

But then Guerrero gifted us with an out, and Madritsch was one-third of the way home.

And that play really was a turning point - both for the game and for Madritsch. Prior to that Madritsch still looked like a rookie. He was pitching in and out of trouble, was having a hard time controlling his pitches, and generally looked scared and nervous.

From that point on though, Madritsch was in control, as if he knew what he was doing, and as if he knew he belonged out there and the mound was his. You could see it in his face, you could see it in his pitches, and you could see it in the results.

So, when Guerrero turned the corner at first base tonight, he may have also helped Madritsch turn the corner as a pitcher.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

 

Introducing the Teflon Manager

Bob Melvin really knows how to play with people's heads. There we were in the top of the 9th in last night's game, Leone having hot a two run homer to get the Mariners back within one. But Sherrill gives up a homer to Chavez, and the Mariners are down two going into the ninth as Dotel comes in to close the game for the A's.

Dotel promply hits Olivo leading off the 9th, and the Mariners appear to have a chance. I ratchet forward in the batting order to see who we've got coming up who might be able to get us back to at least a tie. Let's see, Leone's up, so that looks OK. Justin's already hit one home run in the game. After Leone is Bloomquist, then the top of the order.

Ahh, of course, we'll get to see Jacobsen up to pinchhit. He's a good fastball hitter, he can tie the game with one swing, and he's got a good eye so if Dotel doesn't challenge him he'll take the walk and we'll have Ichiro up with men on first and second and one down.

But, noooooo. Melvin will have none of that nonsense. After Leone strikes out, we see the not-so-confident Bloomquist striding to the plate.

Bloomquist digs in, and takes a few practice swings as Dotel begins his motion. Dotel comes out of his stretch and blows a 95 mph fastball past Bloomquist. Bloomquist steps back from the plate, purses his lips, and exhales a deep breath. I swear I saw a thought balloon over his head – "what the #$%#$^$ am I doing here?"

Dotel looks in, and he knows the "fear factor" synapses in Bloomquist's brain are working overtime. Meanwhile, Bloomquist, with grave misgivings, stands in again, realizing that he doesn't stand a chance of touching the ball if he doesn't start his swing as soon as Dotel releases the ball. Next pitch is another fastball. Bloomquist waves at it, and, Glory Be, he actually makes contact, hitting a weak foul ball. Bloomquist screws up his courage and gets ready for the next pitch.

Dotel, looks in and he chuckles to himself inaudibly, knowing those first two pitches added a couple of extra kinks to Bloomquist's short curly ones. Next comes the slider, breaking four or five inches off the plate. Bloomquist waves at it and trudges back to the dugout.

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I was going to make a post about the idiocies in Melvin's statements about why he didn't pinchhit for Bloomquist in the top of the 9th inning in yesterday's game, but Jeff Shaw at San Shin already has it covered. And far better than I would have done, thank you very much.

So, I will content myself by reminding readers that Melvin has a tradition of assuming facts that not only aren't in evidence, they're facts that don't even exist. In honor of a former President who took similar liberties, I suggest we call Melvin the Teflon Manager - there's no need to do research if you can just make up the facts that you want to have to back up your position.

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While I'm writing this I'm listening to the game in the bottom of the 8th inning, as Hasegawa gives up a home run to Byrnes to tie the game. Melvin then brings in Myers as the left-hander to face the lefty Chavez. But, as I pointed out after yesterday's game, Chavez is actually hitting lefties far better than righties this year. Melvin got burned on this yesterday, but he's back at it again today. And the strategy fails as Chavez works Myers for the walk.

As I've mentioned before regarding Melvin, you can lead a man to data, but you can't make him think.

 

The Underassistant West Coast Promo Man

    I'm sittin' here thinking just how sharp I am …
If the Mariners want to salvage something from this season, they should immediately get in the market for Kris Benson, then make sure this woman sits in the Mariners wives section every night.

Combine that with Mark Kotsay's Wife photo night, and that's a promo that would make even the most jaded Edgar bobblehead nod.

Of course, since the Mariners are slapping Edgar on every bit of promo junk they can come up with this year, they'll probably just PhotoShop Edgar's head on to Charlotte Dodd's body. But that still wouldn't be as creepy as the Edgar bears.

 

Live in LegoVision

Corey Koskie got drilled three times in Twins-White Sox game last night. Maybe you saw the hightlights on Baseball Tonight, but you didn't see them in LegoVision. Complete with the brawl that the networks didn't show. Ben Davis gets it started, throwing slurs at both the Twins and Canada. The villainous Darth Thomas appears. Don Zimmer makes a cameo appearance.

And we learn that Spiderman is a Twins fan.

 

Doing the Chavy Cha-Cha

An interesting note from the Oakland A's this year is the emergence of Eric Chavez as a potent bat against left-handed pitching. Prior to this year, Chavez could be effectively neutralized by having him face a lefthander in critical game situatioons. The table below shows Chavez' lefty-rightly splits for the last three seasons.
   Eric Chavez Lefty-Righty Batting Splits 

vs. Left vs. Right
=================== ===================
Year AVG OBP SLG AVG OBP SLG
---- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
2002 0.209 0.261 0.362 0.301 0.379 0.571
2003 0.220 0.271 0.403 0.312 0.387 0.567
2004 0.316 0.414 0.558 0.238 0.390 0.463
In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Chavez was slowly getting better against left handed pitching, but in 2004 to date he has turned into a lefty masher, as George Sherrill learned tonight. Meanwhile, his output against righties has declined greatly this year, though his OBP versus righties is higher.

Additional time will be needed to know if this is just a small sample size fluke. His progress over the last few seasons suggests this may not be entirely a fluke, though it's reasonable to expect his outut againts lefties to go down a bit over the rest of this year. Meanwhile, it's a good bet that Chavez' output against righthanded will be higher over the rest of this season.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

 

More Attacks on Fortress Cirillo

A couple of days ago I posted Dan Wilson's batting statistics for the year, and surmised that we might witness an assault by Dan on the Cirillo line.

But I completely overlooked another player who is also challenging the Cirillo Line - Scott Spiezio. And, unlike Wilson, Spiezio was signed specifically to bring more offense. So let's take a look at how our Spiezio is doing in comparison to the Cirillo line.

The topmost chart, below, shows Spiezio's monthly batting splits. This is the same chart that I put up for Wilson. The second chart shows Spiezio's offensive stats as of the end of each month in this season (through games of July 26 for the July).

Spiezio 2004 batting stats through July 26

Just like Dan, Spiezio is also putting together a nice little run at the offensive line put up by the guy whose bat he was supposted to replace. The biggest problem that Spiezio faces is Melvin's increasing tendency to bench him in favor of Leone. So while he has really started sucking in July, he's not getting enough at bats to seriously drag down his season numbers.

Take heart, though, you Spiezio fans. If Spiezio doesn't make it this year, he's got two more years left on his contract to get the job done!

Any my heartfelt apologies to Spiezio for overlooking him previously.

Monday, July 26, 2004

 

Mommas! Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Pitch for the Mariners

From Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports/Sporting News:
Mariners righthander Joel Pineiro may have a torn elbow ligament that could require ligament-transplant surgery which would sideline him for 12 to 18 months, according to a source with knowledge of the pitcher's condition.

Pineiro, 25, is expected to be sidelined for a significant period of time, but a final determination on his condition has not been made.
It appears I might soon be adding Piñiero's name to the Dishonor Roll of pitchers who have blown out their arms under the Mariners' tutelage.

I suppose the only good news is that it will probably be Tommy John surgery, which has good chancees for a full recovery in about two years time.

--------------------------

Update:Rosenthal's report has been updated as follows:
Mariners righthander Joel Pineiro will be sidelined for a significant period of time with an elbow injury, but he will not require ligament-transplant surgery, according to a source with knowledge of the pitcher's condition.

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