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.