Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 year in review

From a Seattle sports perspective, not the best.

The year started off with the highest of all expectations for the Mariners, potential World Series representation.  Instead we finished as one of the worst teams in all of major league baseball.  Felix Hernandez did win the Cy Young award, so we do have that going for us as we enter 2011.  We do better as a team in odd years anyway.

The Seahawks went out and hired a coach with ADHD in the hopes his energy would rub off on the players and turn into some wins.  That too did not turn out to be true either.  Between injuries and a QB controversy, who knows what 2011 will bring for the Seachickens.  I am smelling a draft day trade-up!

The way I see it, we can only go up from here.  The Mariners should finish closer to .500 once our youngsters start to click and build some momentum as the spring months roll into summer.  The Seachickens will do their homework and draft the best player possible with whatever spot falls to them, maybe a QB or a potential hidden gem of a RB in a year of weak running backs.

Good luck to our sports teams in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve football, gotta love it!

My family and I did not make the pilgrimage to Missoula this year for Christmas.  Since we did not, I was unable to attend the 22nd annual football game held every year on Christmas Eve.  This year, the long tradition received some much needed publicity as I have always felt this tradition is beyond cool.

Many friends texted me throughout the holiday weekend informing me that we made the local newspaper, the Missoulian.  Here is a link to the well written article.  As far as the physical print of the story goes, it made the front page!  How cool is that?! (The article states 23 years, but 1988 is the starting point, but perhaps my math is off)

Way to go gents with keeping the tradition alive!

Things wrong with sports: NFC West

I had the “luxury” of watching some of the Seahawk’s game this past Sunday versus Atlanta.  I started my viewing experience as halftime was drawing to a close.  Within seconds I was able to witness Matt Hasselback get smacked in the face, fall down, and then fumble in the end zone.  On the next possession, Matt threw an interception.  Several plays later, the Falcons scored.  So, within about 4 minutes of the third quarter, what was a somewhat close game based on score was turning into a run away affair. 

Why is this “wrong” for sports?  Because the winner of the NFC West is going to be below .500.  The fact that the New Orleans Saints are going to be the away team and traveling to 7-9 (Seattle, St. Louis, AZ) is kind of disgusting to me.  I realize that this will be the start of the “second season”, so anything is possible where the Saints could not get off the bus and the Seahawks advance to the second round.  That is one nice thing about the playoffs, it can be seen as a fresh start. 

I obviously started this post prior to the Tampa Bay game and the ever exciting “flex” game on NBC between St. Louis and Seattle this coming Sunday.  I cannot believe the winner of the NFC west will have a losing record.

So the debate in Seattle is whether the playoffs are actually worth it.  Meaning, lose on Sunday and get a 13th pick in April, win and get the 21st pick (or something like that).  I am not a fan of losing for draft position.  It has been proven that even the best draft position can still have teams drafting the wrong player.  I give you Rick Mirer as my evidence.  If we do make the playoffs, we could upset the Saints, but who is actually going to predict that outcome.  I feel that this years team, even with a near winning record, is worse than last years team. 

To that end, I still wish the Seachickens good luck in Sunday’s contest, they are going to need it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome back…Miguel Olivo?

I am honestly questioning this move some.  It has been awhile since he last played in Safeco, but he was a horrible hitter in this park.  If you look at what he did outside of Coors Field, that trend continues.  I think he batted .211 outside of the mile high city.  So, what makes us think he will do well in not so friendly Safeco the second time around?

Catchers seem to be our position of frustration.  No matter what, he seem to have countless issues with this role.  Rob Johnson had a hard time holding onto the ball, as well as hitting.  Adam Moore is young and unproven and also inconsistent.  Perhaps Miguel will surprise me, but I am not holding my breath.

In other moves, we signed Jake Cust to a 1-year deal.  This should be interesting, as he does have some power.  I hope that is able to shine for the Mariners in 2011.

With that, the winter meetings draw to a close for the Mariners. Onto the rest of the hot stove league. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Bye Bye Lopez, and other notes on the Hot Stove

The Mariners have taken the initiative to trade away Lopez for a potential young arm from Colorado, Chaz Roe.  I do not know much about Chaz, but the word on the street is that he is not MLB ready. 

I view this trade as a positive.  It allows for movement on the infield.  Matt Tuiasosopo can take over at 3rd.  If that does not work out, Figgins can move over there and Ackley takes over at second base.  Of course, this all depends if we keep Figgins around.  He had his worst career last year as a professional, if we traded him, I would not miss him.  However, I think that would mean we carry his salary while he plays elsewhere.  That really puts a damper on adding room to your salary budget. 

Another positive, Chaz is young and was a previous first round pick.  That does not automatically say he will be good, but it does provide some promise. 

Ryan Rowland-Smith is gone.  He has a horrendous 2010 season, after such a promising 2009.  I like RRS, and hope the Aussie is able to land on his feat with a team that help him get back in track.  My wife and I met him at a signing back in 2009, probably one of the nicest people I met in professional sports.

We are bringing back Bedard!  He is signed to a non-guaranteed contract for 2011.  Everyone says he is healthy, so we will see how he competes for a starting job in the Spring.

Overall, a pretty good start to the Hot Stove season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MLB Prediction results: NL West

Predictions:                               Actual:

LAD San Fran
AZ San Diego
Colorado Colorado
San Fran LAD
San Diego AZ

Almost a completely inverted view of the division.  I would love to place quotes from my March posting about this division, but I am not.  I do not want to lose any of the humor that is my dismal prediction of the NL West.

Grade, D.  My saving grace was the Colorado Rockies and ex-Osprey Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB Prediction results: NL Central

Predicted:                                  Actual:

Chicago Cincinnati
St. Louis St. Louis
Milwaukee Milwaukee
Cincinnati Houston
Houston Chicago
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

Let's just begin with the cop out phrase from the post in March:

“I will say the top 4 teams in the central could produce a race this year that comes down to the final week of the season.”

Not the best phrase, but it does attempt to clear my selections and have Cincy in first…just kidding.  I have another great phrase in my paragraph about the Reds:

“Could Cincinnati be the next team to give the Cardinals a run for their money?”

I think they did.  Put in the surprise MVP of Votto and you have a quality team to start the 2011 season. 

Being the grader for this exercise, I will give myself a “C”.  Why?  Because I felt I came somewhat close.  See if I ever put the Cubs first again!

MLB Prediction results: NL East

My prediction:                            Actual Results:

Atlanta Philadelphia
Philadelphia Atlanta
Florida Florida
NYM NYM
Washington Washington

I really thought Atlanta had what it took to overtake Philly.  The injured and inconsistent Jair Jurrjens did little to help Atlanta’s pitching this year.  Jason Heyward, as predicted, was a bright spot for Atlanta and will continue to have a rich career.  As far as Philly goes, I have a cop out statement on them as well:

“This team is solid, all around. I picked Atlanta just to be different, but there is no reason why the Phillies should not repeat as NL East champs, and perhaps once again represent the NL in the World Series.”

That run on sentence turned out to be only partial true. As far as my grade goes, I am going with a “B”.  I feel I represented this division as accurately as possible.

MLB Prediction results: AL West

What I predicted:                       Actual results: 

LA Texas
Seattle Oakland
Texas LA
Oakland Seattle

Oh boy, where do I begin.  The Mariners were by far, the worst team in baseball this year.  I have never seen a team predicted to go to the World Series have such a bad season.  My cop out statement from my March post is a dandy.

“The Rangers are set to take over this division as well, especially if they get their pitching squared away.”

I could not have said it better today. 

My grade, “F”.  For missing all spots and for putting too much faith in my team. 

MLB Prediction results: AL Central

What I predicted:                       Actual Results:

Minnesota Minnesota
Detroit Chicago
Chicago Detroit
Cleveland Cleveland
KC KC

Much better than the AL East for sure.  Here is a link to my post back in March.  I do make comment that this would be a 2 horse race for first and sure enough it was.  Detroit tried to make it interested but finished 13 games back when it was all said and done.  In reading through my post in March, nothing really strikes me as noteworthy.  I do mention Austin Jackson as the starter in CF for Detroit, but I think a blind monkey could have predicted that.  I will say, Austin is going to be a good pickup in Fantasy Baseball, as he becomes more comfortable at the plate as he lowers his strikeout totals.

I give myself a “B” for hitting 4 out of 5. 

MLB Prediction results: AL East

Okay, I can now take the time to grade my ability to predict the standings for the MLB 2010 Season. First, we start with the AL East.

What I predicted:                       The True Outcome: 

Boston Tampa Bay
NY NYY
Tampa Bay Boston
Baltimore Toronto
Toronto Baltimore

Talk about way off.  However, I did make note that Tampa Bay “will make a big push to try and knock out both the Sox and Yankees.”  I give that sentence partial credit.  Of course, that is a cop out phrase.  I have to give myself a grad of D. 

Next, AL Central

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter driving

After a long Thanksgiving week drive that saw the full spectrum of weather, the Jeep was able to achieve it’s highest recorded gas mileage of 24.7.  Why is this so special, allow me to elaborate.

It is November, and I drove in “Full Time” four wheel about 75% of the drive.  Keep in mind, in the Jeep Liberty, Full time is more like allowing the front wheels to engage as necessary.  (From the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip)  This is contrasted by “Part time” which locks the front differential so the front and rear wheels rotate at the same speed.  We also had a Thule roof cargo carrier on the car which does supply a fair amount of drag.  The Thule also plays a the role of a sail around Livingston.  As mentioned in my previous post, the EGR valve is still disabled.

I would have to say, with all things considered, I am pretty pleased with the 2.4 MPG’s that we gained on this journey.

We did this same trip last year (with roof rack) and were able to achieve 22.3 MPG.  Last year, the roads were dry for 98% of that that journey.  Needless to say, I did not go into four wheel drive but only once on that trip.  So the gain alone from having the EGR valve in a non working state is fairly large.  I am really curious is this will help out on MPG’s when towing.

All in all, a great trip to see family. 

Ackley MVP of AFL

Dustin Ackley was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.  Here is a quote on his statistics during his MVP run.  (The Mariner article can be found here).

“He won the AFL batting title with a .424 average, but that was far from all he accomplished. He also topped the league in on-base percentage (.581), slugging (.758), OPS (1.338) and runs scored (28), all while also going a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts.” 

I hope he can ride this momentum into the Spring and make the team.  We all know this offense could use someone like this.  I realize he won’t be on a team of potential young all stars as he was in Arizona, but he still should see some quality pitches and put himself into a position to score.

Now onto the following announcement.  “Starting at second base, Dustin Ackley!” 

Woohoo Cy Young!

Due to work and Thanksgiving travel, I was unable to get this post out in a reasonable amount of time.

Congrats to Felix!  Wins will be the largest controversy to come out of this vote, but Felix did dominate all major pitching categories, with the exception of K’s.  Jared Weaver took home that crown for the 2010 season with 1 more than Felix could muster. 

A few analysis are calling this a revolutionary vote due to the fact that 21 voters put pitching stats ahead of wins.  I am not sure if this will be a revolution for future contests, but it does present an interesting argument.   

Here is the article on the Mariner’s website for you to read.  One point that I did not realize.  Santana in 2004 was the only other Cy Young winner since 1998 to be left out from the All Star game.  (All Star rosters expanded in 1998).

Congratulations Felix! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Davie Niehaus, 1935-2010

The Mariner family suffered a great loss today.  The original broadcaster and last member of the 1977 inaugural year died today from a heart attack.  His voice and his enthusiasm for this team will be missed. 

It would have been nice for an original member to see the Mariners achieve a title, but those days are a long ways away.  He did call some very magic moments in the franchise short history.  Here is a link to the Mariners article.

Here is what Griffey had to say of Dave’s passing.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Slowing down my pace

It has been awhile since my last post, nearly 3 weeks.  I have not had much to write about, especially with regards to Seattle sports.  The M’s were eliminated from the playoffs on June 1st, and Seachickens could win the NFC West with a 7-9 record.  I guess, all this borders on a fair weather fan.

In other news, I recorded my highest MPG with my Jeep CRD since using GasCubby (2 years this month) to record fuel mileage, 24.1 MPG.  I have to thank the fact I would not pass emissions as the reason why.  My EGR valve failed about 1 month ago.  Ever since my engine stopped recirculating hot exhaust gases back into my engine, I have seen a 2-4 MPG jump for my driving style.

Now, there are ways to do this in a green manner.  You can purchase a new CPU unit from these guys that reprograms your computer to trick the EGR valve into not working.  It also performs a wide array of other features to help maximize the engine.  This could be something I will do once I replace my EGR in the near future.  For now, I am loving this increase in MGP and the engine even feels more responsive.  Lucky for me, I passed emissions in August, just prior to this failure.  What I would normally see is somewhere between 19-20 MPG for hybrid highway/city driving.  I would like to see how I do towing, but that will have to wait until next Spring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We have a new manager!

Mixed results around the area, probably because we have had 5 since I have lived in the Seattle area (3 years).  Eric Wedge,even though the record may not say so, had success in Cleveland.  At least he won games and came very close to the World Series .  I am excited, but I am always excited for something like this.  I don’t think Don Wak was a bad manager, just not a good fit. 

A lot of people around here blame the front office for how bad we are.  I am not sure I necessary agree.  We had success with this same group of owners in 1995. 1997, 2000 and 2001.  We now have a GM that is trying everything he can to put together a winning team.  I feel it’s the mindset with seasons like 1995 put into the memory banks of fans that feel we should be competing every year.  I would love to see us contending every year, but that alone has its set of challenges that I do not think we are ready to tackle.  Here is to an above .500 team in 2011.  After all, it’s an odd year, we seem to do our best.

Here’s to a successful start to the hot stove league for the Mariner organization. 

To root for the Rangers or not

Of course I dislike the Yankees like any intelligent person, but to root for a team within the Mariner division seems weird to me too.  I guess at the end of the day, I do not like the Yankees so my decision has been made for me.

The one true downside of this and to show how crappy the Mariner history has become.  If the Rangers make it to the World Series, the Mariners will be the only AL team to not appear in the series.  Ugh, sad stat.

Friday, October 01, 2010

PlayOn, now for iPhone and iTouch

Wondering how you can watch Frontline from PBS on your iPhone?  How can you catch up on episodes of Jersey Shore?  (Yeah, I know, I “went there” so sue me).  Well, now you can with the PlayOn streaming service for your PC. 

Don’t know about PlayOn?  Click here to find out more.  You can stream to your Wii, PS3 and XBOX 360 in addition to iTouch and iPhones.  It’s fairly simple.  You can stream from your YouTube, Hulu, and NetFlix accounts as well as watch media from MTV, PGA tour, ComedyCentral, etc.  The list is very extensive and will continue to grow and improve.  Here is a link to what is currently available

Once you install it, you have 14 days before you have to buy.  They just improved the channel selection and the streaming service, sadly that came at a price.  It was $40 up until September 30th, it has since jumped to a one time payment of $80.  Yes, that is a one time payment if you plan to use this solution for a very long time.  Otherwise it is $40 for the first year, and $20 every year there after.

So, on the iPhone you open your browser on your internal Wi-Fi network and point the address to “m.playon.tv”.  It loads an icon on your iPhone desktop and that is all.  You can begin watching shows in a matter of minutes.  If you want to mess with Firewall rules on your router, you can configure your media server to be available anywhere you might end up with internet access. 

I don’t use this service a lot, but it is a very cool toy.  Perhaps once I acquire an iPad, it will be a great way to watch some of these shows. 

In the latest version, they added a way to self promote what you are watching with Playon by integrating with all major social networking players. 

I have played with this more on my iPhone than I ever did on the Wii.  I have to say, I like it, even on that small of a screen. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Going to be self promoting, watch out!

As if social networking did not do this enough for me, I am forced to manually post my blog to Facebook.  Yes, you heard me, forced!

The synch between blogger and Facebook works when it wants.  Appears to really have a mind of it’s own.  Awhile back I could manually force an update to appear in Facebook, but apparently that functionality has disappeared. 

So, I am now forced to put my blogger blight manually into Facebook for all to read.  I am sure that now, since I have said something, the upload process will magically work.  Of course, you could just subscribe to my RSS feed and I would not be put into this situation. 

Trying to expand beyond my three loyal readers.  (No offense to the two of you since I represent the third)

A year of change in Cy Young voting

As my 3 loyal readers know, I have been supporting Felix (for obvious reasons) to win the AL Cy Young award.  Last night was a HUGE night for all 3 major contenders for the award.  CC, Felix and David all had huge games.  With Felix probably not starting on Sunday, still TBD, and the Yankees and Rays working on playoff rotations, that may have been the final start for all 3.  Here is how the statistics fall with AL ranks.

Stat

Felix

David

CC

IP’s 1st (249.2) 8th (207.2) 2nd (237.2)
CG 3rd (6) T-13th (2) T-13th (2)
ERA 1st (2.27) 3rd (2.73) 7th (3.18)
QS 1st (30) T-3rd (25) 2nd (26)
K’s 1st (232) 8th (187) 5th (197)
Opp BA 1st  (.212) 5th (.222) 12th (.239)
WHIP 2nd (1.06) 12th (1.20) 9th (1.19)
Wins T-16th (13) T-2nd (19) 1st (21)

This is going to be tough.  Statically, Felix cannot be caught.  He may drop to 2nd on K’s as Weaver will have 1 more start.  To be honest, the “hybrid” solution to this problem appears to be Price.  Regardless of how this goes, all 3 of these pitchers have had amazing seasons.  I hope that 2010 will be a changing point in the voting for Cy Young as I do not feel wins should carry a heavy weight, but does need to be considered.  Having a discrepancy of 6 or 8 wins is going to weigh on the minds of voters.  If Felix had 16 or more wins, this would NOT be a debate. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ActiveSync for Hotmail

It was announced toward the middle of summer that is was coming and as of August 29th-ish, it is here.  I have been using it for a couple of days and have enjoyed it so far.  Also, the contacts that I have accumulated all these years in Hotmail are now on my iPhone.

For those of you looking into how to accomplish this, here are some simple configuration entries.  (On the iPhone, set this up as an Exchange account)

 

Filed Settings
Server/URL m.hotmail.com
Username (Full email address)
Domain Leave blank
SSL Enable this
Certificate Accept if prompted
Mail, Contacts, Calendar All can enabled

You could setup Hotmail before as a Mail account, but it would not synch.  So, I had to double delete email and it would not synch over contacts either.

Friday, September 24, 2010

200 hits, 10 years running…

Ichiro did it.  He set a major league record by recording 200 or more hits in 10 consecutive seasons.  (Peter Rose had 10 seasons of 200 or more hits in his career, not consecutively)

Sports Talk radio in Seattle has centered around the price that Ichiro commands and if he is worthy.  The argument is: He is paid 18 Million dollars for singles.  However, I feel he does more than just singles.  He does what you want a leadoff hitter to do, get on base and steals bases.  He has stolen 30 or more in 9 of his 10 seasons,  When you have someone that is able to get on base, the other members of that batting order should deliver.  From 2001 to 2008, he had over 100 runs during that stretch.  He does not hit a lot of doubles and triples which is somewhat surprising for someone with his speed. I think Ichiro should be remembered as one of the best lead off hitters in MLB, however, I do not agree with his price tag.  If he was to put up more HR and RBI’s, then the $18 million might be a decent price tag given today’s market.

Another bright spot in the 1-0 defeat yesterday, Felix pitched a complete game.  Sure, it was not a shutout, but a great pitching performance on a day when CC was roughed up by the Rays for 7 earned runs.   We have just over a week of “Cy Young” play left.  It should be an interesting race for that award in the AL.  I would love to see Felix take the prize with David Price as the runner up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Egg laying, 101

Nice job Seahawks!  Way to go into Mile High and lay a huge egg on the field.  I did not see all the game, but caught enough of it to see the week 1 performance was in the very distance past.  Turnovers and mistakes were the main dishes being served.

The Seahawks egg, came only 24 hours after the Huskies laid one against the Cornhuskers.  I am not a UW fan, but to see the Heisman candidate Locker perform that poorly may have sealed his fate with an early exit in the race.

The third egg, the Grizzlies.  WTF?  It would have been fantastic to go into the red turf and spoil the conference opener for EWU.  However, with what seemed like a comedy of errors and lack of follow through, the Eagles walked away with a large victory.  I am not one for rankings as I feel the Griz should never be given the #1 tag. As long as we still make the playoffs and work our way towards Chattanooga (or wherever it has moved) I am okay with this.  Not happy, but okay. 

Let’s hope the Griz and Seachickens end the month on a positive note.  The Seachickens come home to face the mighty Chargers.  The Grizzlies welcome Sac State to Washington Grizzly stadium for homecoming. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

What if Felix had 19 wins, then what?

So, let’s say the roles were reversed.  CC is leading in all major statistical categories and Felix has the 19 wins.  Would I feel that CC would deserve the Cy Young?

Great question.  I would like to think my baseball objective eye would kick in.  However, I know my Mariner biased nature, or rather anti-Yankee nature, would kick in and I would build a case for Felix.  I will be willing to say that moving forward from the 2010 season, I have a better view on who truly deserves the Cy Young.  I was a person that thought record should have a weight to it in the voting.  In doing all this digging of information around Felix and other pitchers in the AL, I have taken away a much more objective viewpoint. 

Currently, the debate involves a player that I admire and have followed for his career.  But, all this statistic gathering has been entertaining.  In conjunction to my pre-season predictions (scroll down).  I will add an AL Cy Young prediction in August moving forward.  Eventually, one day, I will dare to tackle the NL Cy Young race. 

My iPhone 4 case has arrived and the lame AppleTV

It actually arrived about a week ago.  This is the free case that Apple was so willing to ship to all those fools who purchased an iPhone 4 during “Antennagate”.  I found the antenna issues to be totally blow out of proportion.  However, Apple’s response to this was not easy to come by either.  I have yet to be disappointed with this phone.  I have strapped a lot of my life to some of the applications this device provides, so switching platforms for me is going to be challenging.  Of course, Apple is fully aware of this “dilemma”.

My case is the Speck checker one.  I threw away the packaging prior to this blog, so I apologize for the lack of proper model.  In the “free case” app, it is your bottom option.  Overall, it is not bad, good hardened rubber shell.  The only downside is that due to the rigid nature, it is difficult to remove the phone for proper cleaning.  Other than that it offers a nice grip with some limited drop protection.

I see the new AppleTV to be a total bust of a device.  It is solely for streaming.  Why could they not expand on the successful AppleTV with storage and turn that into a media center?  Technically, it is a media center that chats with another device (your computer) to stream content.  How very “green” of Apple to require 2 electronic devices to stream Netflix content to your TV.  For those of us that already have a TiVo, this new device offers nothing new.  Sure, the small compact size is nice, but that is where the positives draw to a close in this bloggers opinion.  This is my first look at this device, and most likely my last.  If that changes, I will be sure to update my 3 regular readers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Seattle, we have a problem

Besides the fire sale of players going on at Seahawks headquarters, and the lack of offense the Mariners provide, we are going to miss out on the Cy Young.

Felix has been on fire, playing for a bad team. I have pounded my fist on this blog and I will do it again. 

Felix is 11-10 at the time of this writing.  Of his 11 wins, 7 are at home, while 4 have been on the road.  Of the 10 loses, 6 have been on the road and the other 4 in pitcher friendly Safeco.  Of his 4 road wins, 2 were against the Yankees.  How well did he pitching in “homer friendly” Yankee stadium?  Well, I will tell you:  17 IP, 6 H, 1 CG, 0 ER, and 22K’s.  And by the way, 5 days after beating the Yankees, he beat the Red Sox with 1 ER and 8 K’s.  Felix has started in 30 games and only has 21 decisions.  Of his nine no-decisions, he left with the game tied or with a lead in seven of those games.  Of those seven, the Mariners won two.  The two games where he left in a losing position was when the team rallied to win, his first two starts of the year. 

Let’s compare that to CC, the lead runner in the Cy Young if wins were actually the only number that “mattered”.  At the time of this blog, he is 19-5, nothing to sneeze at.  All 5 loses have been on the road.  Of his wins, 8 have been on the road. CC has appeared in 29 games, so it is rather impressive to have a decision in 24 of those games.  

Why does this matter?  Well, it really shouldn’t.  The days of having pitchers throwing complete games every other day are long gone.  You have designated pitchers for long relief, setup, and closer.  This combination means that a “team” in involved in providing W’s in the win column, not one individual.  Not only is there a fleet of pitchers to provide team support to a starter, but there is also a defense and an offense.  Plus, in the AL, pitchers do not bat!  My goal here is tell the writers to NOT hang their hat on one stat.  Putting W’s aside, how do these two compare.

Stat

Felix

Rank in AL

CC

Rank in AL

IP’s 219.1 1st 202.2 2nd
CG 5 3rd 2 10th
ERA 2.25 1st 3.02 5th
QS 27 1st 23 2nd
Ks 209 1st 165 7th
Opp BA .219 3rd .239 13th
Wins 11 T-7th 19 1st
WHIP 1.09 3rd 1.20 13th

(QS = Quality starts).  For those of you unaware, WHIP is walks and hits per innings pitched. 

If you put your hand over the win column, Felix is the clear choice for the Cy Young.  Take a look at the teams.  The Yankees have 32 more wins than the Mariners, 32!  That has to play into this decision somehow.

I think the most telling stat of dominate pitching is the K count.  Felix has been battling with Jared Weaver for this title and currently has a 2K lead.  That is the one stat that clearly shows how a pitcher can dominate his opponent at the plate. 

My fear, CC wins the Cy Young.  This decision should have impact on future votes as wins could be argued as the least important stat to a pitcher’s overall ability to pitch successfully.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Are we lucky to have Dustin Ackley?

In case you have not heard, Stephen Strasburg is on his way to Tommy John surgery.  Yes, this is serious, but a lot of guys are able to come back from this and continue to pitch well.  The best example could be Chris Carpenter.  If I recall correctly, his Cy Young aware was post Tommy John surgery. 

A lot of Mariner fans were disappointed to see the M’s sweep the A’s to conclude the 2008 season.  If we had not done that, we would have drafted Strasburg.  Instead, we swept the A’s and drafted Dustin Ackley.  Dustin, in all likelihood, will be called up on September 1st.  It would be interesting to see how Dustin performs.  Of course, we can never truly compare a pitcher to a hitter.

In case you missed it, here is the article.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1,000 strikeouts

On what was a long road trip for the Mariners, they did end on a high note.  Felix became the third youngest pitcher to reach the 1,000 strikeout mark.  The only pitchers younger than Hernandez, who is 24 years and 139 days old, to reach the milestone since '52 are Bert Blyleven (23 years, 121 days) and Dwight Gooden (23 years, 249 days).

The trivia question portion of this stat will always be the victim, David Ortiz.

Other great trivia victim’s:

1. Pete Rose’s record hit breaking Ty Cobb’s mark was off of Eric Show of the Padres

2. Hank Aaron’s 715 home run was off of Dodger pitcher Al Downing. Braves reliever Tom House caught the ball. 

3. “The shot heard ‘round the world” was hit off of Brooklyn's Ralph Blanca at the Polo grounds. 

4. Nolan Ryan’s 5,000 strikeout came at the expense of Rickey Henderson

5. The other guy in WHAM was Andrew Ridgeley.

Of course there are several more, but those are just a few.  Congratulation Felix!

18 game regular season…really?

I am not sure where the division will be on this topic.  I am a fan, and I am not for this.  I cannot imagine that players are going to be too thrilled about this as this is an obvious way for the league to cash in on even more revenue.  So, does football now go all the way up to baseball’s spring training?

For those of you that missed the announcement, here is a link.  I am sure that most fans, if you polled the nation, would be excited about 2 more games for their team.  Especially those that live for fantasy football.  I will add, I am for shortening the preseason from 4 to 2 games.  Perhaps since I am a fan of a team that seems to always be hurt, the less preseason games they have to hurt themselves, the better.  Plus, I think lowering the preseason total will force a team to form a cohesive unit a bit faster to be prepared for week 1 of the regular season.  My ideal schedule would be to have 2 preseason games and 16 regular season games. 

This is not set to begin until the start of the 2012 season.  I am sure this will be good for the league, however, I am not sure this will be good for football.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fantasy Football, a billion dollar industry

On talk radio, some talking head was chatting about how the world of Fantasy Football is out of control.  The billion dollar figure comes from publications, software, and advertisements.  This does not include side gambling and entry fees that some leagues introduce. 

Other ways this is getting out of control is the fact you buy insurance for players on your team.  Let say you draft Brady and you have some sort of payment in your draft.  Either an entry fee or a cost to draft someone in the early rounds.  If Brady is out for 6 or more week, you can guarantee the reimbursement of your entry fee and/or any cost to acquire Brady.

There are also litigation sites that are cashing in this industry in a big way.  Fantasy Football is a biased setup, period.  The commissioner will have a team in the league.  So, if you dislike the way a trade occurred, you can pay $15 to have a lawyer and some of his judge partners mediate your dispute.  You can also pay $100 (or some flat amount) for a season of disputes.  Smart thinking by someone, and pretty easy cash flow.

I have enjoyed fantasy football for many years now.  However, I tend to stay away once entry fees are thrust upon the managers.  However, I would never pay for the above two services.  Kind of wish I got in on the ground level with some of this stuff.  But, with this being a billion dollar industry for about 4 months of actual work, there is enough money for everyone.

Cy Young Watch 2010

Okay, I have nothing better do this baseball season that hold out for remote chance that Felix’s consistency is rewarded,  Here is a side-by-side comparison with whom I see being the front runners in the AL.

Stat

Felix Hernandez

CC Sabathia

David Price

Wins 9 17 15
Games Started 27 27 24
Quality Starts 24 22 18
Innings Pitched 197.0 187.2 157.2
ERA 2.51 3.02 2.97
CG 5 2 2
SHO 1 0 1
Opp. AVG .228 .243 .229
Strikeouts 183 151 146

As much of a challenge it is for me, I have to take a step back from these stats.  Felix is better than both of these pitchers in every category besides wins. Will that be enough assuming he finished just as strong?  If the Mariners win the rest of his starts there will be no doubt he deserves it.  I would like to see the Cy Young winner with at least 12 to 14 wins, so the stat does matter to some degree, however should not have the most “weight” tied to it. 

As the season draws to a close I will continue to follow this race.   

Thursday, August 19, 2010

September 1st

Since my baseball season has been over for awhile now, this is the date that we look forward to the most.  On this date, major league teams can expand their rosters and call up a slew of AAA and/or AA players for some big league experience.  Kick the tires to see how people will perform on the big stage. 

I would like to see three Tacoma players make it to Safeco for the final month of the season.  They are Dustin Ackley, Michael Pineda and Josh Lueke. 

Dustin has a higher batting average in AAA then he did in AA.  Dustin is currently being pushed since he was picked directly after Stephen Strasburg.  He could be a nice face for this franchise. 

Pineda is pitching well in the minors.  He packs a fastball that could reach mid-90’s.  His delivery is the big question mark around his longevity. He was named the clubs Minor League pitcher of the year in 2009.  Here is what Baseball intellect had to say on Michael: “When Pineda was on the mound, he was dominant. He struck out 28.6% of the batters he faced, while walking just 3.6%. He put up an ERA of 2.84. And he did this in High Desert, one the worst parks a pitcher could pitch in.”

Our wildcard is Josh Lueke.  He has a checkered past that involves a rape claim while in the Rangers minor league organization.  I have mixed feelings on this.  As a player, he is dominating minor league hitters.  Averaging around 1.5 K’s per inning.  He is going to be a PR nightmare.  The Mariners would open the door to protests and public ridicule once he arrives in Seattle.  He obviously has the talent.  Perhaps, with his outstanding numbers, they use him as trade bait for some quality hitting, time will only tell. 

I know there are several other players in our organization that deserve a chance this September.  Stay tuned as next month approaches. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blogger imports into Facebook, kind of ugly

I noticed a steep limitation with regards to how tables import from Blogger to Facebook, as in they don’t.  So, if you want to see my full analysis of why I think Felix deserves a shot at the Cy Young, you have to actually visit the blog site and not rely upon Facebook.

Hmm, it might be time to drop that import..things to consider.

Should Felix be considered for the Cy Young again?

I think it’s time to admit, especially after last years voting, wins are not as important as everyone thinks.  Zach Greinke had 16 wins to Felix’s 19.  But Zach bested Felix in ERA (2.16 vs. 2.49), complete games (6 vs. 2) and strikeouts (242 vs. 217).  In looking at this, it is apparent voters looked at a more overall picture rather than solely on wins.  Felix did best Zach in innings pitched (238.2 vs. 229.1) and in opponent batting average (.227 vs. .230).  A stat that I like, Quality starts, Felix took the prize with 29 vs. Zack’s 26. 

That takes me to the 2010 season.  At the time of this writing, here is how Felix looks in the AL.

Stat Numbers Current Rank
ERA 2.62 3rd
Innings pitched 189.0 1st
Strike Outs 172 2nd
Complete Games 5 2nd
Shutouts 1 T-2nd
Quality Starts 23 1st
Games Started 26 1st
Wins 8 38th

Take out wins, and you are building a VERY strong case for Felix to yet again, be in the running for the Cy Young.  Understanding that there are still 6 weeks left in the season, anything can happen.  If you look at who is first in some of these categories, I think it makes my point.

ERA.  Clay Buchholz is the leader with a 2.49 mark,  However, he only has 126.1 innings pitched, 20 starts, 1 complete game, 1 shutout, and 13 quality starts. 

Strike outs.  Jared Weaver of the Angels leads with 182.  He does have a decent ERA with a 2.87 and started in 25 games.  However, he does not have a complete game or a shutout, has 26 less innings than Felix and 20 quality starts. 

Complete Games.  Cliff Lee leads with 7.  His ERA has climbed to 2.77 and has 20 less innings than Felix.  He also trails Felix in strikeouts with 147 and has 15 quality starts.

Wins.  We have a 3 way tie with CC Sabathia, David Price, and Carl Pavano all with 15.  Pavano is out with his higher ERA of 3.27, 168 Innings, 97 strikeouts and 17 quality starts but does have 5 complete games and 2 shutouts.  Sabathia is not a bad pick here. He stands with a 3.14 ERA, 134 strikeouts, only 2 complete games and no shutouts, but does have 20 quality starts.  The real front runner for the Cy Young, I think, is David Price.  David has a 2.85 ERA, 141 strikeouts, 2 complete games with 1 shutout and 18 quality starts. 

Felix numbers, again covering up the W column, are consistent from last year.  In 2009, he started in 34 games, and 29 of those where defined as quality starts.  So far this year, 26 and 23.  I think that shows amazing depth into games and is a stat that will set him a part from the competition.  Looking at the whole picture, I feel that Felix needs to considered.  I know his 8 wins are a cause a lot of alarm to many people out there.  If he could somehow get to 14 wins with this crappy offense, and keep the other numbers consistent, he should be a shoe in.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching up is hard to do

I have been avoiding the Mariners for a bit.  It was getting too embarrassing to watch as we would do a better job of connecting in the dugout then on the field. 

I hate to say it, but I predicted the firing of Don.  Of course, I only said this to myself, but the minute after Jack Z gave Don Wak the dreaded “vote of confidence” I knew his career in Seattle was over.  Whenever this happens, the person be applied this vote is going to axed.  Either within days or at the conclusion of a season.  But no matter what, a vote of confidence is a death sentence.

What needs to happen now?  Not really sure.  The season has been over since about May so you might was well give some prospects the opportunity to perform at the major league level in September. 

I hope to regain some interest soon, but watching them play right now is a painful process. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More disturbing stats

Jose Lopez is on pace to lead the team with 68 RBIs.  Yes, 6 frickin 8.  As of this writing, today, there are 6 players in the majors with 68 or more RBI’s.

Franklin Gutierrez and Milton Bradley are set to lead the team with 15 HR’s.  Some players hit 15 HR’s in two months!

The team is set to have the lowest run total in franchise history (non strike years) with 538 runs.  The 1977 expansion team had more runs.

This is what I am talking about.  The morale of this city when it comes to baseball might be at an all time low.  Perhaps Branyon becomes sell bait on July 31st for more hitting prospects.  I would not mind if Aardsma took a hike as well so we can find another Putz-like closer.  At least when JJ entered the game, the crowd sang “Thunderstruck”.

Bring up Dustin Ackley in September and I will probably buy a ticket.

Why do I even care anymore?

This baseball season is dragging.  We cannot get out of our own way.  Most games, if they only went 5 innings, we would be unstoppable.  However, last time I checked, there are at least 9 innings per game.  It is also a guarantee that when we load the bases, no one will score, regardless of how many outs.

Are there any bright spots?  Not really.  We have a couple of “4 or 5” starters that are leading our team in ERA.  David Pauley is 0-2 but with only a 2.40 ERA.  Jason Vargas is 6-4 in 18 appearances with a ERA of 2.97.  A bit on more on Vargas, he had one horrible game against Detroit on July 3rd (4.1 IP and 6 ER).  If you remove that one game, his ERA is lowered to 2.75 which would put him second in the AL behind….Cliff Lee.  Keeping that bad game in there, he is 7th in AL with Felix at #5 with a 2.88 ERA and Doug Fister 17th with a 3.56 ERA.  However, the combined record of these 3 “top 20” pitchers is 16-16.  Way to provide run support!  If Felix and/or Vargas had any run support in the 28 games, they would have to be in the conversation for Cy Young. 

Do we need to spend more money to bring in more talent?  Here is how the playoff years compare to the Jack Z years:

Year Payroll Rank for Year
1995 34,241,533 11th
1997 39,667,628 15th
2000 59,215,000 15th
2001 74,720,834 11th

 

2010 86,510,000 14th
2009 98,904,166 10th

Not much difference in terms of our overall ranking.  Obviously the game has change a bit over the last 15 years as the lowest salary in 2019 is the Pittsburgh Pirates with a salary of 34,943,000.  Almost an exact match for what would have been the 11th highest paid team in 1995.  But no, I do not think we need to spend more.  We need to be smarter shoppers, which is an element that makes Jack Z so appealing. 

As most of you know, I had high hopes for this year.  Sure, we were missing a big bat, but other teams around the league have had success with small ball.  As obvious as this prediction may seem, Don Wak will be gone at season’s end.  I am sure there will be a campaign to bring Lou back, which I will not support.

Team leadership and cohesiveness seem to be large holes within this organization.  Jack Z is allowed at least 4 perhaps as much as 6 years to work on this team before his job is in jeopardy.  We need a strong leader in the clubhouse as well as on the field.  Before long Ichiro is going to ask to be traded and the one piece that fans actually do go the Safeco Field to see, will be missing.  

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Don't trade Lee just yet!

As of now, Lee is pitching Friday. This also happens to be a game that we are attending. The rumors are really starting to heat up! It almost makes you wonder if this is a tryout for the Yankees...like he needs one.

Monday, July 05, 2010

iBlogger vs. Windows Live Writer

Well, silly me.  I tried to post a second iPhone blog and it appears after my initial iPhone blog.  Apparently iBlogger on my phone uses some other timestamp than the time on my phone. 

In case you missed it, here is a link to the post

Sunday, July 04, 2010

iPhone 4

I has been two days now of iPhone 4 use.  I was able to upgrade from iPhone 3G to the 4, so the experience improvements over the past two years are rather large.

I try to use Safari on my phone for a few items.  One of those items is my fantasy baseball page.  On the 3G, this was a 40-50 second load on Wi-Fi.  With my new phone, it is 8-10 second load.  I am actually able to make roster changes and view my matchup scores in the time it would take to only view my roster.  Great improvement on surfing. 

I have not done too much with the multitasking, but that does appear to work very well.

The video has been a lot of fun.  Just took a few sample videos of my son and loved the outcome.  The camera is leaps and bounds better than before.  How is it leaps and bounds?  I can actually get the phone out of my pocket, unlock it, open the camera application and take a picture all before my old phone would even open the camera application from a non-locked state. 

I have not had the antenna, but I try to use headphones whenever possible. 

I will be getting a case.  Not because I don’t think the phone is weak or fragile, but like every other iPhone, it is hard to handle without some sort of grip or texture to cling to. 

All in all, pretty pleased I have the phone.  Anything is going to be great when you wait 2 years to upgrade. 

iPhone 4 continued

Sorry for the grammar nightmare in my previous post. Thanks to all that powered through.

I failed to discuss the retina display. Side-by-side with my old phone there is a night and day difference. The clarity of text and the vibrant images are well worth the upgrade.

I also forgot battery life. As always, my 3G is turned off. I also lower my brightness a titch and turn off wi-fi discovery. So far, some improvement. I have yet to experience a full work day with it, but I am close to 3 days before a charge is needed.

I will keep you posted as I uncover more features with this piece of technology.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Catching up

I know, it has been awhile.  I have not written about my thoughts on anything for some time.  As far as the Mariners go, they win more when I don’t talk about them.  Yes, I am a bit superstitious when it comes to this stuff.  I thought I would take this 0-2 slide on the road as an opportunity.

Cliff Lee, where do you begin.  He is pitching lights out right now.  Either raising his trading stock or actually trying to make the Mariners competitive.  It was nice having his around for a couple of months and getting a chance to see him pitch. Good luck, wherever you land.  I heard the bankrupt Rangers are in the market.  Seeing that money is an issue for them, if he goes to Texas, we just may get stuck holding the bill, however Texas does have a nice farm system. 

Erik Bedard is set to return this week.  He has had 2 very successful rehab starts in the minors and appears to be well on his way to a successful return from labrum surgery.  Perhaps we will see him on Friday at Safeco.

The offense continues to struggle, but appears to be doing better of late. I think we will be a decent team from here to the end of September, but the month of May and early June really put us in a large hole.

Perhaps with Bedard being healthy in his return, losing Cliff Lee will not hurt as bad.  Only 28 days until the trade deadline!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Way to go Bud Selig

Let me begin by stating that I am not a fan of Bud Selig.  But, when given an opportunity to change a call made in a game, I feel that he chose correctly.

I spent my time last week talking about Griffey.  I see that Armando Galarraga will pitch tonight, first time since the almost perfect game, which is why I am doing this today. 

The day after the event, I had a lunch with a coworker who was passionate about having Selig reverse the call because “it was the right thing to do”.  I disagreed.  Where do you draw the line?  That blown call affected history (still a big deal), and not the outcome of the game.  About 5 hours later, a blown call has the Mariners beating the Twins in 10 innings rather than having the Twins bat at the top of the 11th.  That blown call actually affected an outcome of a game.  When you start to reverse calls, you start down a path that is very slippery slope.  The manner in which Jim Joyce, Armando, Jim Leyland and Tiger fans reacted the following day was extremely respectful.  Also, keep in mind, Joyce immediately apologized to Armando in person after watching the replay.  They gave a standing ovation to the umpires as they entered the field the following day.  They also gave Armando a standing ovation with he delivered the lineup card. 

What started me thinking about this again, happened today on Sports radio.  A radio host had his 40th birthday party over the past weekend.  He was addressed by someone that said “I know you don’t want to talk shop, but your viewpoint on Selig was dead wrong.  You have never been more wrong.”  (FYI, I share the same viewpoint as the radio host).  The individual used examples of how Selig could sent an example for kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.  The real example for kids is how everyone reacted.  Joyce immediately recognized his fault and apologized for it.  I would much rather have my child learn a lesson of telling someone that you were wrong, rather than some Pollyanna viewpoint on life. 

For those of you that have not seen what occurred during the game following, here you go.

Is Stephen Strasburg the next Ben McDonald?

I have my concerns.  Sure, the Nationals have done a great job of limiting his innings, but will that be enough? MLB.com is littered with Stephen Strasburg advertising, they are cashing in on this as much as the Nationals.  It is my hope that his arm is able to withstand the hype. 

I recall similar hype (in a non-internet era) surrounding LSU graduate Ben McDonald.  Ben McDonald won the 1990 Rookie of the year award for the AL by going 8-5.  He would not finish above .500 again until 1994 when he would have his best season (record wise) at 14-7.  All-in-all, he had a 9 year career between the Orioles and Brewers ending his career with a 78-70 mark and a 3.91 ERA.  Not horrible numbers, but the hype and hysteria surrounding him in 1989 put him in the hall of fame before he began. 

I followed Tim Lincecum as he worked his way through the Giants org.  He entered with little fanfare, and had a mediocre rookie season, statistically speaking.  After capturing two Cy Young awards, I would think it is safe to say that he has arrived.

Is Stephen Cooperstown bound?  We won’t know for hopefully a very long time as he is only 21 years old.  If his minor league numbers transition over to the majors, the NL has a lot to worry about.  He is leaving behind a 7-2 mark with a 1.30 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 11 games. 

Good luck tonight Stephen, it would be cool to be there!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thank you number 24

With some surprise, Griffey decided to hang them up for good yesterday afternoon.  I do not agree with the timing of this move, but apparently it does seem to be for the best.  Was it planned to call is quits 23 years to the day he was drafted into the Mariner organization?  It seems that way, but I am not sure we will ever know the answer.

He will be a first ballot hall of famer.  Apparently, a journey to Cooperstown in five years might be in order for my family.  Yesterday was a different feeling for me.  It seemed that when Griffey retired, so did my childhood.  He was the last of my 3 idols to still be playing the game he loved.  Largent ended his hall of fame career in an injury plagued 1989 season.  Once the X-man departed Seattle, my interest faded as his career ended with a 7 year journey to 4 different teams.  But Griffey, he was always there.  Even if he did play for the Reds and half a season with the White Sox.  His charisma was part of it, but he was also so damn good in his first run in Seattle.  Safeco will always be the house that Griffey built.  For those of that don’t know the whole story, he (rather the 1995 team) is responsible for saving baseball in Seattle.

I think some people wonder why Seattle has such a love affair with him, and 1995 in particular.  My brother was in Tampa Bay in the mid-90’s.  Sporting good stores were selling shirts that said “Tampa Bay Mariners”.  The Mariners were going nowhere fast.  In fact, he brought one back to me.  Then 1995 hit.  They were 13 games out of first in early August.  They fought for two solid months to have a playoff game against Anaheim (then called the California Angels).  This was the first year of the wild card and the Mariners were lucky enough to face a 5 game set against the Yankees.  It was a format of 2-3, not sure why the Mariners got 3 straight at home, but who really cares.  After falling 0-2, the M’s came back to defeat the evil empire on what is by far the greatest play in Seattle sports history

Griffey’s legacy is more than just the 1995 season.  He was the first Mariner MVP in 1997, as well leading the AL in home runs for 4 seasons.  And how can we forget his countless amazing plays in centerfield.  All in all, he was, and continues to be, the face of this franchise.  He is the greatest player to ever wear a Mariner uniform.

As Griffey flies off into the Floridian sunset, it is time for this region to put the 1995 season behind us.  We can always look back on what was the best season ever with fond memories, but it’s time to make some new ones.  We have since tried in 1997 and most notably in 2001.  However, the magic that was the 1995 season can only be replaced with a World Series crown. 

In honor of his retirement, I am wearing my Cooperstown Collection Griffey jersey with my hat on backwards.  Cheers to a great career.

Monday, May 24, 2010

6-9

That is the Mariner record when we send Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez to the mount.  In the offseason, we had dreams of that number being closer to 15-0.  With Felix coming off a near Cy Young year, and Cliff Lee being Cliff Lee. 

I missed a few games recently, frankly, because I have better things to do.  Felix gave us 7 strong yesterday before the bullpen decided to throw batting practice.  I will sound like a broken record, but starting pitching has been the only shining light this season has offered.  We have shown signs of greatness at the plate, and in April our pen could keep things together. But getting all 3 of these items to work together is a larger challenge than what we realize.

Mike Sweeney, due to his hot hitting of late, played the field yesterday for the first time this season.  For someone like myself asking for him to go in April, he has been one person that really seems to be making an effort. 

June could be exciting time for the Mariners as we will see what Jack Z decided to do with Cliff Lee.  The bidding war for Lee will increase as June completes as more teams will see where they stand for the second half push.  I think at this point, we could be sellers rather than buyers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Missed Friday’s game, but the offense did not

Sweeney has been coming through like mad recently.  He is a batting around .412 in the last week, and raising his HR total to 5.  Saturday nights game was not nearly as exciting as we lost yet another 1 run game.  The Mariners are 5-14 in one run games.  Not a good stat.

On a bright note, Ian Snell did pitch 5 strong innings last night.  The reason this is a bright note, he started in place of Ryan Rowland-Smith.  RRS has been moved to the pen until he can work out what has been killing him.

Even Figgins now has an average over .200.  Things are starting to look up, and guess what.  It is Sunday and Griffey has not retired.  I think it is only fair to have him finish the season.  All these nah sayers want him gone early, but I do not agree.  Sure, are still way below .500, but I would like to think we are on the up and up. 

Look for May to be the worst of it, I hope.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What do we do?

I talked yesterday about how Cliff Lee will probably not going to be a Mariner by the end of June.  Now the talk on the radio is asking for Griffey to retire this weekend.  My stance on this is mixed. 

I felt that his exit from the 2009 season was perfect.  His teammates carried him around the field, it was as if he was being provided a great avenue to say his goodbye.  But then he resigned.  I was happy because I truly thought his presence was beneficial.  I do not think he needs to retire to turn this year around.  Try to fix the other hitters before you force him to retire. 

Here is the breakdown…Griffey is batting .182, the 5th worst on the team.  How have the offseason signings done?

Figgins .185
Kotchman .183
Bradley .214
Sweeney .244

Sweeney has come “alive” in the last few outings.  Figgins has not lived up to any of his potential. Kotchman is batting .067 in May with 0 RBIs.  As much as Griffey has underperformed, he is not alone. 

Having Griffey maintain this death spiral of batting is not going to help the club.  But outside of Ichiro and Gutierrez, not many are.  Oh, and let’s not forget the bullpen.  They have blown a couple on their own. It seems that when the offense finally clicks, the pen blows it.  We have more on this team to fix than just Griffey. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are we wasting money or just poor planning?

The Mariners starting rotation is turning out to be one of the best in all of baseball.  Sure, Ryan Rowland-Smith is not meeting expectations, but the other 4 are, and in some cases exceeding them.  However, we are the worst offensive team in the majors, or damn near. 

The talk is now surrounding trading Lee.  He is a free agent comes seasons end, but is pitching out of his mind.  However, his run support for the last 5 games has been horrible. 

April 30th, 0 runs

May 5th, 3 runs

May 11th, 5 runs, his first win

May 16th, 1 run

I hate to say it, but he is not long for this world in Seattle.  I think he is a superstar pitcher and deserves some offense.  I don’t think we throw in the towel yet on this season.  I feel there would be other ways to bring in bats without dropping one of the best offseason pickups in Mariner’s history.

From a bullpen perspective, we are average.  It should be noted, the pen has done it’s fair share to blow leads.  Dare I say, I miss Brandon Morrow?  Nah!  Of course, if we did not put our pitchers into so many 1 run situations, perhaps the pen would look a bit better. 

Not exactly sure how to fix this situation, perhaps trading Lee is our only option at this point.  If we do any moves, I would think we would do them in June, and not wait until the end of July.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Should he stay or should he go?

The rumor is that Griffey will be gone by months end.  There was a blog post yesterday that stirred up a lot of talk on the sports radio scene. 

It needs to be noted that the Mariners are not bad because of one player.  Sure, his numbers and lack of a home run are nothing to write home about, but who on this team can?  Gutierrez is about the only one that comes to mind.  It is apparent that his bat speed is not where it should be and his knees are still bothering him even after his off-season surgery.  Is this the right move?  To release him, that would be a black eye to this ball club.  If he made a choice to step down and retire early, that would be the only graceful way to move on. 

This team has it’s problems.  Milton Bradley is seeking counseling and Mike Sweeney has not shown any signs from his time in Arizona.  If it was me, I would release Milton and Mike, or perhaps try to trade.  We do lack a power bat, but we knew this going into the season. 

As far as what this potential mid-season move would do to his career, I think nothing.  He has had an outstanding career both in Seattle and abroad.  It would be a disappointment for sure, but I don’t think we need to pin all our team issues on him.  If the Mariners are asking him to step down, Jack and company have a plan.  Not sure if we will ever know for sure what that plan is, but there is something there.  You don’t release/ask a player to leave without having a “what now?” idea.  Especially with the impact Griffey has had on this city.  Either they have someone they want to target in the minors, or a DH trade in the works. 

A lot of people in the northwest are holding their breath until the end of May.

Monday, May 03, 2010

One of the most embarrassing series sweeps…ever

Cliff Lee and Doug Fister pitched two outstanding games  Fister pitched 8 scoreless while Lee pitched 7 scoreless.  In support, the M’s gave them 1 run for those 2 games.  Felix had an odd outing and did not look like the Felix that we have all come to know and love. 

On Friday, Lee made his long awaited debut.  The game went into the 10th in a 0-0 tie.  We had the bases loaded in the 10th and 11th with no outs, and did not score one run. 

For Doug Fister on Sunday, bases loaded in a 1-1 9th, and did not score a runner.  Not only was the offense stagnant, but the pen gave up the tying run in the top of the 9th.  For the 3 game set, we scored a grand total of four runs in 32 innings.  David Aardsma, Mark Lowe and Brandon League did not look like their usual selves either.  Their flaws seem so minor compared to the four runs and leaving 27 runners on base.  To rub more salt in the wound, this was the first sweep in Safeco by the Rangers. 

We have on tap the hottest team in the majors in Tampa Bay, followed by the division rival Angels.  Should be an interesting 6 games, stay tuned as we hope to turn things around in May. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Safeco gates open early for Lee debut

If you have not noticed, this city is excited. 

Look for Snell to be most likely the odd man out of the rotation and into the pen.  Snell has struggled this year and had a inconsistent Spring, which is okay, but he has yet to rebound.

Bring on the Rangers. This should be a great game in what is turning out to be a division that anyone can win.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cliff Lee to start on Friday

For what should be a near sell out on Friday against the Rangers, Cliff Lee will make his Mariner debut.  For those Texas fans that read this blog, Ian Kinsler will also be returning for the Rangers.  We hope the bats also show up to welcome Cliff Lee.  Texas will be throwing the hot Colby Lewis at the Mariners.  This could be a great game to watch. 

Last night, we saw how a bull pen can ruin a great start.  Zack Grienke had us on the ropes for 7 innings.  It was not until the call to pen was made that the Mariners were able to get something going.  Also had a bit of luck with a bad bounce, but who counts that.

We are only a few days away from May.  With wins today and Friday, we achieve my wish of .500 for April.

I am starting to wonder about Mike Sweeney.  He is not getting the at bats he probably deserves based on his performance from March.  In fact, I would say he is on the verge of being released.  Mike is someone that could be released.  Griffey is not doing much better, and is still homerless at the time of this blog.  But the ramifications the Mariners would face would be catastrophic if they chose to let him go.  Pitching has been pretty good this season given the fact they have received little to no run support.

Bring on May!  With Bedard on track to return in June, it could be a great summer for Mariner baseball.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Take us home!

We are not a road team this year.  With only 2 wins on the road, we are making it pretty obvious we prefer the “safe” confines of Safeco Field.

Felix was not lights out, in fact Kyle Davies was lights out as the Mariners were hitless until the 6th.  But, on a positive note, this was Felix’s 18th straight quality start.  Felix is able to keep the Mariners in games, but the offense seems to sputter.  We left eight men on base, batting a magical 1-9 with runners in scoring position. 

There is a great line from the Mariner write up.  “Chone Figgins is the current poster child for the run-challenged offense.”  I think that about sums it up.  Figgins went 0-4 while striking out 3 times, and leaving Ichiro stranded in scoring position twice.  He is also in a huge hitting funk, batting 2-for-31. 

I am hoping that we can take the last two from KC.  Snell vs. Grienke tonight, with both pitchers looking for their first win.  If Snell can keep us close, we will see how the offense does against last years Cy Young winner.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The return of Cliff Lee

After a horrible time in Chicago, we move to the great Midwest community of Kansas City for a three game set.  We will not have the chance to see a Felix/Zach matchup as Felix goes today, while Zach goes tomorrow.

On a bright note, Lee pitched 6 innings of shutout ball in Tacoma on Sunday.  This is promising news as he should get the start on Saturday or Sunday in Seattle.  It would be my hope that Safeco Field be sold out, but probably not likely.  A lot of people are excited to see what Lee can bring to this team. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

iPhone app update: Yahoo Fantasy Baseball app

Okay, this app is officially worthless.  There is currently no way to add/drop players with this application.  The larger issue for me is the lack of a lineup indicator.  You have no way to tell who is starting and who is not.  With these short coming, along with how slow this application loads, using the Safari browser ends up being more effective.

The app is free, and you pay for what you receive.  Let’s hope that more development is being put worth to work these issues out.  I would have thought that a “starter” indicator would have been a priority for version 1.0…silly me.

I promise not to do any more updates on this current version.  Once the next version has been released and my issues are resolved, I will update everyone.

*******UPDATE*******

Major typo. The original blog was correct, just not the title.  The MLB app I enjoy for radio and my 1 free TV game. 

Awesome homestand

When this all started, we were 2-5, we now leave for Chicago at 9-7. 

Felix pitched his 17th straight “quality start”, a club record.  I missed most of the game, but was able to catch the eventful fourth.  Tui’s hustle was able to keep a rally alive and help us produce our only runs for the game.  Even Jack Wilson was able to show us he can hit when he wants to. 

Glad to see Felix climb into the W column as Zach Grienke has a nice goose egg working for him.  As far as the battle of last years Cy Young finalists, Zach is not living up to his end of the bargain.  I had concerns of this hangover, but still selected him in my fantasy draft.  Playing for the Royals is a challenging spot to be in, probably why he led the AL in complete games last season.  Zach is not on his game at this point in the season.  I hope that last year was not a fluke.  Zach pitched on Wednesday and could take the mound on Monday which may be a Felix/Zach matchup for the first game of that series.  Zach’s last start was good, but the pen ended up blowing the W for him. 

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Starting to click

I figured the news of Cliff Lee’s 5 game suspension being rescinded was a good time to post on our recent home success. 

Offensively, we seem to be getting the job done.  Before the home stand, Ichiro was around .225 or so, now he is around .315.  Casey Kotchman is also performing well and leading the team in home runs with 3.  How about Doug Fister?  He struggled in his season debut in Oakland, but has come alive with back-to-back wins.  Brandon League has also been a nice addition to the pen.

We have worked our way up to a .500 record at 7-7.  This looked like a difficult task a week ago, but we seem to be getting back on track.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh boy, not this again

It was the Spring of 2008, the Mariners were coming off of a late push in 2007 for the post season that fell short by a week.  So, all the analysis thought we had a chance in 2008 to make the post season.  Instead, we lost 101 games and had the second worst record in baseball. 

Starting off 2-6 does not make good baseball.  We are second-to-last in the AL in runs with 21 (Orioles are at 20).  We have played 8 games, only 2 other teams have played 8 games, Twins and A’s.  Oakland is first in runs and the Twins are third.  So teams that have played one, in some case two, less games than us are scoring more. 

Jack Z did wonders for us in the postseason, I have blogged constantly about it; However, I did say, we are missing a big bat. Milton Bradley, I guess, is the big bat with his 1 HR.  As at team, we have 3 HR’s.  I am all for small ball, teams have been successful with getting people on and moving them around.  The key to the last sentence is getting people on.  We are 11th in hits, with 55, in the AL.  That puts 3 teams worse than us (Orioles, White Sox and Indians).  To put that into context, the top 3 teams in hits are either leading or in second in their respective divisions; The Tigers, A’s and Twins.  I find it frustrating, the team I had finishing last in a what should be a competitive AL West, is leading the way.  I realize the season is young and being 4 games behind .500 is not a huge amount.  But right now, I don’t see the momentum shift or that hitters edge creeping up in our lineup.  Both of our wins have come in the top of the 9th, and when we were trailing or tied. 

As far as pitching goes, it is hard to have all of this on your shoulders.  Ryan Rowland-Smith had 1 bad inning today, and that was it.  That one bad inning cost him the game because we are not seeing the ball.  Both of King Felix’s starts have ended in no decision’s as we cannot produce any run support for our pitchers. 

We need to finish April at .500.  This “thing” we are in cannot get worse, it needs to get better.

iPhone app update: Yahoo Fantasy baseball and iPad demo

Okay, after a week of use, here is an update on this application.

No way to tell who is starting.  This is a challenge since, obviously, pitchers change daily. Also, on offense, Yahoo generally puts a carrot (^) for those that make the lineup that day.  If you have a player set to “day-to-day”, you need to make adjustments.  Or, if an injury happens and a player is put in a DL position, it does not say on the application. 

They performed an update last week, but I still do not see a way to drop and add players.  Two days after the application was updated, it would crash on me every time I tried to open it.  I uninstalled/reinstalled and it now works, but again, not a good sign of the applications stability.  And no, nothing changed on my phone over those 2 days. 

The application appears to be just a “check in” application.  You still need full web browser access to make any decent changes.  The application is free, so really nothing lost.  But they do have some room for improvement.

This past weekend, I happened to be in an Apple store, so I had to try the iPad.  Overall, a fun toy.  The MLB application rules, I really enjoyed that.  Games that looked fun on the iPhone (driving games) actually become legit time killers with this screen.  I liked it.  Not sure if I will own one. 

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Back-to-back one run defeats

Well, not exactly how I saw the first 3 games going.  The good thing is that we are still early in the season.  I would hope that the M’s can have a .500 month for April.  I would love to see something a bit over, but right now, I will take .500. 

Missed most of the game, but that is back-to-back defeats in the bottom of the 10th and 9th respectively.  That is a bit disconcerting after we pulled out a top of 9th inning win in game one of this series. 

After today’s mid-day contest, we jet down to Arlington.  I am concerned when walking into that ballpark.  I am mostly concerned if our pitching staff with be able to hold up against the bats of Texas. 

Home opener is the 12th….I just may take that day off!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Our magic number is 161

i saw moments from early on and then the last 2 innings. 

Felix appeared to be cruising until he his pitch count started to climb around 90, then the excitement happened.  Hats off to Mariner new comers Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman.  Figgins, like he did for Anaheim, never lets the opponents rest when he is on the base pad.  Kotchman accounted for 4 of the 5 runs, Rob Johnson having a solo home run to account for the 5th run.  It was also nice to see Ardsma picking up right where he left off last year with a solid save. 

A great start to the season.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Opening day!

Assuming the rain stays away, the Mariners play later tonight in Oakland!  Felix vs. Ben Sheets. 

Watched yesterday’s rain shortened exhibition game against the Giants.  Overall, we looked pretty good.  Vargas did well in his final tune up for the season.  We also were able to see one of our hot pitching prospects, Michael Pineda.  He is 6’5” and is said to have a fastball that could reach 99 mph.   He will begin his professional career in West Tennessee and you could see him in the rotation by 2011, but most likely 2012.  

The ad campaign for the Mariner season has a fair amount of pressure associated with it.  These are not the fun ads that you will be  seeing on FSN, but more of a general ad to promote the season.  There is a lot of talk about October going on, but we still have a long road to go down before we get there.  I will be putting out the positive vibe and doing what I can to make sure that October becomes reality. 

Friday, April 02, 2010

iPhone app: Yahoo fantasy baseball

I am currently disappointed with version 1.0.  However, in the “coming soon” section, most of be gripes will be gone.

Currently, you cannot browse available players on the free agent market.  This is going to be an issue fairly early in the season.  I prefer apps over the website in fantasy sports as they load much quicker and are more responsive. 

The other shortcoming, is the lack of seeing the league page.  It would be nice to see the transactions that have occurred and the trash talk that was on the message board.  Along those same lines, it would be nice to post to the league’s message board. 

I am still happy with the app for what I need it to do in my immediate future.  Assuming that 1.2 or whatever the next version will be can hit the market by the end of April, I highly recommend this application.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

96 teams in the March Madness…a joke!

Again the rumor of March Madness expanding to 96 teams is being tossed around.  I am apposed to this expansion as the only teams/leagues I see benefiting are conferences like the Big East, Big 10, ACC, etc.  Instead of placing your top 2 or 3 teams in the tourney, having 6 or 7.  Would this benefit conference such as the Big Sky, Horizon or Colonial?  Division that are only guaranteed 1 team.  Could this put 2 teams from the Big Sky if they are good enough?  Probably not since the money generated from having a team in the ACC that finished 6th would generate more money than Weber State or Portland State.

The expansion has nothing to do with competitive play, but how to string along profits and make more money than what is already generated.  Look at how ridiculous college football has become.  Why on earth do I give a rats ass about the “Enterprise Rent-a-car bowl” on a Tuesday night in December?  Just to watch two teams I didn’t not follow during the season battle for a bronze car on a statue and probably $1 million?  Is that really what this is all about?  I don’t watch the national championship game.  Oh, but I will be sure to set my DVR for the new New York bowl…not!

Let this remain at 64 teams.  We already have 1 “play in” game.  I don’t see this becoming better with a few more “play in” games, and/or having some higher seeds acquire “byes” and starting play on Monday or Tuesday.  It may sound fun and intriguing, but right now you have legit teams with winning records on the bubble.  You move to this large format and the bubble doesn’t go away, but the quality of bubble does. 

I am sure many people fought the move from 32 to 64 team in the 80’s.  But I think that found a nice sweet spot of talent to present to the nation in March. There are 347 D1 basketball teams, so we are a long ways from devaluing post season play, unlike in football.  (34, now 35 bowl games and 120 teams…70 are in bowl games, while 50 are not…what’s the point).

There was also an argument of having too many “under .500” teams in the playoffs should they expand to 96.  I don’t agree with this argument.  If you win your conferences tournament and are still under .500, who cares.  You are obviously peaking at the right time.  If the 7th place team in the ACC is below .500 and get’s in, I am sure it would be because they played a tougher schedule than someone else.  So, to me, this argument I don’t care that much about.  I would argue that those teams would play at their highest level since they have nothing to lose and will give most any team a run for the money.

I see this being an expansion out of greed rather than enjoyment.  Please keep this model to 64 teams.