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.