Los angeles Angels
The Mariners looked terrible in Houston this past week. There’s no two ways around that. They looked lifeless out on the field, and Wednesday’s 10-3 defeat where Joe Saunders resembled a pitching machine caused Eric Wedge to call a closed-door meeting after the loss.
Thursday night’s resulting 6-0 beatdown of the Angels showed why it’s too early to give up on this Mariner team.
Wedge called out his players, and the team responded. The most impressive performances of the evening came from young players who will form the core of the team for years to come. Kyle Seager continued his success with a 3-for-4 night in which he knocked in three runs and homered in the eighth inning. On the other side of the coin, Brandon Maurer put together his best outing as a professional, going 6.1 innings without surrendering a run and striking out six Angels. Both Maurer and Seager have improved as of late after rough starts. Seager even broke .300 tonight.
Carlos Peguero probably isn’t in the team’s future, but he absolutely crushed a pitch at his ankles for the third-longest (451 feet) homer in Safeco Field history in the third inning. He got it on a full count after showing some solid plate patience, something he typically lacks.
Two fringe veterans also pitched in significantly Thursday night. Endy Chavez had a three-hit night in the leadoff spot, raising his average to .310 and making a case for the Mariners to make absolutely certain Franklin Gutierrez is ready to come off of the DL when he eventually does. Even Jason Bay got in on the fun, delivering a huge bases-loaded two-run single to blow the game open in the seventh. Bay checked in with a two-hit night.
The win showed that it’s too early to count the Mariners out, regardless of how much they suck against Houston. Eric Wedge woke them up with whatever closed-door tongue lashing he delivered Wednesday, and they are back on the right track. The youth not only on the 25-man roster but in the minor league system will continue to blossom and one by one, they will arrive on the scene ready to make an impact. Hell, Nick Franklin went 5-for-5 in Tacoma Thursday, and last time I checked, the Mariners needed a shortstop.
Patience is a virtue. It’s only a matter of time.
The American League West will be a tough division this year. It sent two teams to the playoffs last year, and this off-season some good players entered the division and lots of guys changed hands within the west. The winter also brought a whole new team to the division. In 2013, the AL West appears to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Here is my preview for the upcoming season.
First Place: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I honestly feel like the Angels, Rangers, A’s, and Mariners could all potentially win the division, but the Angels stand out to me. Now that Pujols has a year under his belt in LA, I expect his numbers to resemble those he posted in St. Louis. He should also get some help from Josh Hamilton, who will likely hit behind him and give him great protection in the lineup, and Mike Trout who will be on base a lot when he comes to the plate.
Expect Trout to have a bit of a sophomore slump, but nothing devastating. Despite his tendency to swing and miss, Hamilton is still one of the best hitters in the game, and Mark Trumbo also has raw power that puts him in the top 25 in baseball in ISO over the past two seasons. The rest of the offense has the ability to steal some bases and get on base, so they fill in around the middle of the order nicely.
The starting rotation may be a bigger concern for the Angles, but they have some dependable starters like Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and the bottom of the rotation has Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas, and Joe Blanton. Considering the run support the staff will receive, they should be good enough.
Second Place: Texas Rangers
I think this will be a down year for the Rangers.
Despite their significantly deteriorating offense, the key to this Ranger team may be pitching. In this century, the Rangers have never had a 90 win team without a team ERA of 4.02 or better. As they stand, the players in the Ranger rotation have a 3.89 ERA in major league starts over the last three years. However, that number seems prone to rise this year. Darvish and Holland have shown inconsistent tendencies, Harrison is not a true major league ace, and Martin Perez has not been the young pitcher Texas has hoped for.
With that being said, the Texas offense is not the same as it has been in the past. The loss of Josh Hamilton was huge and losing Napoli hurt as well. Beltre is still a great hitter, but Cruz is on the decline, and Kinsler has seen drops in his power, speed, and on-base abilities in recent seasons.
Berkman and Pierzynski were both decent additions, but they won’t be enough to erase the loss of Hamilton and Napoli and the aging of other stars. Pierzynski had a good year last year, but his 2012 was the first time he had ever hit 20 homeruns in a season and was the first year in which he had an .800 OPS since 2003, so I don’t expect him to repeat that production. The Rangers will still score plenty of runs, but not enough to support the pitching staff enough to win 90 games in a tough division.
I expect the Rangers to steadily decline for the next couple years as they turn over the roster. Once they purge some of their aging players and let prospect like Profar and Olt sink into major league roles, the Rangers should be World Series threats again.
Third Place: Seattle Mariners
I see this Mariner team winning close to 85 games in 2012. They were a 75 win team last year while only scoring 619 runs. This year, they greatly improved the offense and made nice additions to the pitching staff, not to mention the fact
that they will have 19 games against the Astros this year. Games that would have been played powerhouses like the Rangers or Angels in the past will be replaced with games against the lowly Astros this year.
This offense has the ability to score plenty of runs. In theory, Ackley will be the player he was expected to be now that his injury concerns have been taken care of. Seager, Montero, and Saunders should also continue to improve and mature into quality major leaguers. With the additions of proven major league bats like Morales and Morse, this offense could be good enough to support a solid pitching staff led by one of the best pitchers in baseball, Felix Hernandez.
Fourth Place: Oakland Athletics
The A’s are bizarre to me. I honestly think that they will either win more than 95 games or less than 75 games; there isn’t much room in between. My main concern is their starting rotation. If you take Bartolo Colon out of the projected rotation, the other four pitchers have an average of 37 MLB games pitched, 223 innings pitched, and 1.5 years of major league service. The 3-5 pitchers in their rotation average less than .75 years of major league service. Pitchers with that little experience can be unpredictable. Oakland has a lot of good young pitchers. In theory, they will be good enough to repeat last year’s numbers, but they also seem bound to go through some growing pains. That’s why I sees them as an all or nothing team.
In a similar way, the offense is relying on a lot of guys who haven’t given consistent production. Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick have each only had one good year in the major leagues. The projected third base, shortstop, and second base positions have a combined 434 MLB at bats over the last two seasons. Although John Jaso was an excellent addition for them, he has never played more than 110 games in a season. The A’s simply have too many guys that haven’t proven their ability to succeed at the major league level over an extended period of time. I think they could be good again in a year or two, but they will have to experience some growing pains at one time or another, and I think this will be the year for that.
Fifth Place: Houston Astros
There isn’t much explaining to do with this selection. The Astros are a bad baseball team, and their new uniforms and new division won’t help that. Out of their starting rotation, only one pitcher posted an ERA below 4.60 last year. The offense is young and inexperienced, but is also mostly empty of promising players. There aren’t many reasons to have hope for the Astros for the next couple seasons, so enjoy them while there bad, because by the end of the decade they could be a pretty good team considering the farm system they are building and will continue to build as they accumulate high draft slots.
When talking about the recent winning streak of the Seattle Mariners, it’s important to note that what happens during Spring Training may or may not actually translate to the normal season. Not only are the pitchers and batters just getting warmed up after, for many, a long winter break from the ball field, but the training field is smaller than the stadiums that the teams will go back to. That being said, it’s exciting to see the Seattle Mariners win, and win they did in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
The game did not start off well for the Mariners after Hank Conger, Mike Trout, and Peter Bourjos Score following a homer hit by Conger. At the end of the first inning, pitcher Jeremy Bonderman had allowed three runs. The score was 3-0.
The Angels didn’t score for two innings after that, but the Mariners scored a point per inning. In the second, Justin Smoak scored on an fielding error by first baseman Kole Calhoun. In the bottom of the third, Brendan Ryan hit a home run to left field. The score at the top of the fourth was 3-2.
Then, Seattle’s own didn’t score for two innings while giving up four more runs to the Angels. Hank Conger scored in the top of the fourth after Kole Calhoun was out on a fly ball. In the top of the fifth, the Angels scored three runs bringing the score up to 7-2.
Not until the bottom of the seventh did the Mariners score again when Alex Liddi hit a home run to left field and brought Mike Jacobs home. The score was 7-4 going into the top of the eighth, and I’m sure that the Angels didn’t expect what was about to happen.
After Kaleb Cowart scored, bringing the score to 8-4, the Angels were probably feeling pretty confident about their situation. However, there was a HUGE upset. The Mariners scored four in this half inning. John Hicks sent a single out to Randlal Grichuck to bring Francisco Martinez home and send Julio Morben to third base. Ronny Paulino also hit a single bringing Morban home. Mike Jacobs, up next, received a wild pitch. This allowed Paulino to get to second base and Hicks to get to third. A second wild pitch allowed Paulino to get to third and brought Hicks home. Next, Jacobs made contact with the ball, and brought Paulino all the way in, to tie up the score.
The game could have gone into extra innings, but in the bottom of the ninth, Julio Morban hit a single to bring Francisco Martinez home with one out. While the Mariners didn’t score any further runs, this was enough to give the Seattle team the 9-8 win.
This win makes the third in a row for the Mariners, and while it’s Spring Training, it appears that they are on a roll. Did you catch the game? What were your impressions?
Yesterday, the Mariners helped to fill a hole that had been gaping in their lineup for years by adding power-hitter Kendrys Morales. In order to add this 29 year-old first baseman, Seattle sent Jason Vargas to the Angels.
This was an excellent deal for Seattle for two main reasons. First of all, Seattle gained something they dearly needed without spending money. In addition, they gave up a piece that was, not only unimportant to the team’s future, but was on the verge of losing its value.
Morales is an impact bat. He’s no Josh Hamilton, but he has certainly demonstrated his ability to be a legitimate power hitter. In Morales’ only full season in the MLB, which was 2009, he posted a .924 OPS and finished fifth in AL MVP voting. In the following year of 2010, he averaged a homerun every nineteen at bats before injuring himself celebrating a walk-off homerun just fifty-one games into the season.
Morales missed the rest of the 2010 season and the entire 2011 campaign as a result of the injury before coming back to play 134 games last year. In his limited opportunities, he hit twenty-two homeruns and posted a line of .273/.320/.476.
Remember that those numbers were produced by a man who had not played in almost two years. His numbers improved as the year progressed, so now that he has shaken off the cobwebs, he is ready to be the player he was pre-injury. For those of you worried about his health, the Mariners did extensive research concerning the status of his injury before making this deal, so it appears that he is ready to play every day at first base.
With the switch-hitting Morales in the middle of Seattle’s order, the young players around him will have a lot less pressure mounted on their back and they are now more likely to come to the plate with men on base. The addition of Morales will help everyone in the lineup.
As for losing Jason Vargas, I am not at all disappointed. As I have said in previous articles, I believe that Vargas would have quickly lost value once dropped into the habitat of the new Safeco Field. His success has been largely due to the pitcher-friendly ballpark, but with the fences coming in, Vargas’ numbers at home would have reflected the new dimensions. He would have had close to no trade value by the trade deadline next year. It was wise to move him now.
Vargas’ loss will also not damage Seattle’s future considering there are lots of great young pitchers in the top of the farm system that will step up into the void left by Vargas by the time that Seattle is in the playoff hunt.
There is nothing not to like about the long-term effects of this trade. Seattle now has a dependable middle of the lineup bat, something that they have not had since Raul Ibanez.
You may have heard the news. The
California Angels Anaheim Angels Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to free agent contracts. The best hitter in the game and one of the better pitchers in the game. Both Angels. Both playing in the American League West. Both direct competitors to your Seattle Mariners. What. The. F**k.
There will always be bad days. Maybe your dog passes away. Maybe you lose your job. Maybe you wake up one morning and find that reruns of Saved By The Bell have been removed from syndication. Bad days happen. They don’t usually happen like this, though…
We were blindsided. We woke up this morning, checked our computers, checked our phones, and there it was: Pujols signs with Angels. What? What?! What happened to the Marlins? What happened to the Cardinals? What about the Cubs, the motherf**kin’ lovable loser Cubs?! How? The Angels? Howwwwwwwww????!!!!
Ten years. Two-hundred-fifty-million dollars. That’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of time. He’ll finish his career as an Angel! He’ll finish his career in the AL West!! We’ll see him twenty times a year!!! HOWWWWWWW????!!!!
But wait. He’s like, thirty-five years old, right? Right?! Wikipedia. Check Wikipedia…he’s only thirty-one?! Thirty-freakin’-one! That’s a Dominican thirty-one, though. He’s probably older. Yeah, I bet he’s older. Probably like…thirty-four, at least. Yeah. Okay. This is getting better. And he’s bald. And he might be on the juice. We don’t know. It’s all possible. It’s cool. We’ll be cool. Everyone just calm down. It’s cool now. It’s coo–wait, what? C.J…what?! Wilson? C.J. Wilson?! Hold on. Let me check this.
Twitter, do not fail me now, do not give me that whale with the birds…F**KING HELL! What the f**k is going on today? Is it a full moon? C.J. F**king Wilson, are you kidding me? Who are these bastards? Colombian drug lords? Where did they get this kind of money? This is ridiculous. First Pujols, now Wilson. I don’t…I don’t know what to think. I am speechless. This is shit. Just shit.
How are we supposed to compete, huh? We have an aging Bruce Lee as our leadoff man, a bunch of slap hitters around him, two really good pitchers, and everyone else sucks. Okay, maybe they don’t suck. But they’re not great. They’re average. We’re average. Our team is very much mediocre.
But their team…well, f**k their team. Their team is full of terrorists and communists. Half those guys probably don’t even vote. I bet most of them can’t even read. I hate those guys. What the hell is with those guys? Why do they have to be so mean like that? Damn it. Damn. It.
Well, I guess we have to sign Prince Fielder now. Wait, what am I saying? Prince Fielder? A week ago you didn’t even want to look at Prince Fielder. He’s morbidly obese. He’s so big he might implode at some point. That would be crazy. Awesome, but crazy. He’s rounding the bases and — BOOM! — caves in on himself. Hah. That would be funny. FOCUS! This is a bad thing, remember? Right. Bad thing. Bad day. Fielder? Really? I guess we can sign Fielder. Shit. We’re effing screwed. This is horrible.
It might be okay, though. I mean, look at all that money they’ve committed to two players. Three-hundred-twenty-five-million dollars. Good lord, that’s some cash. And contracts that long rarely work out. There’s hope. We have hope. Pujols gets injured semi-often. Wilson only has two good years under his belt. We could be okay. Don’t panic. Do not freak out.
Oh god, we have to do something. We can’t just sign an old guy and hope for the best. That’s what we always do. Jack Cust. Jose Vidro. Carl Everett. We always do that stupid shit. The pressure is on us now. Jack Z. Where are you, Jack Z.? You’re like our Dumbledore. We need your words now. Reassure us. He’s nowhere to be found. He’s probably hiding under his desk somewhere. We’re screwed.
Crap. This is like the worst thing that could have happened.
Calm down. Everybody stay calm. We’ll get through this. We do this every year. Whenever we sign a big free agent, it backfires. Whenever we don’t, it also backfires. Basically, we’re resigned to the fact that no matter what we do, it’ll backfire. And we can’t control what they do. We can only hope that it backfires for them, too. Wish bad things on the Angels. Oh god, I can’t believe I just said that. That sounds horrible. But they’re not really angels, so it’s okay. They’re the Angels. The Los Angeles Angels. Of Anaheim. What a stupid name. They deserve to have bad things happen to them just because their name is stupid.
I hope Pujols is actually forty. He probably is. And Wilson didn’t used to be that good. We should be fine.
I hope the Mariners sign Prince Fielder now. Damn it! I didn’t even used to want that. Stupid Prince Fielder. Why does he have to be obese? Why can’t he be…not…obese. That’d be so much easier. AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! We’re all gonna die.
Don’t be stupid, Mariners. Do something. Anything. Sign anyone. Stop teasing us. Crap. This is crap. Why does this shit always happen to us? Stupid. Sports are stupid. I’m gonna go cry now.
So yeah, that was my morning. How was yours?
We’ll get through this. One day. Many years from now. When we’ve had a chance to recover. Please do something, Mariners. We can’t take this much longer.
Filed under: Mariners
The Mariners lost a heartbreaker tonight 4-3 to the dreaded Los Angeles Angels in what may very well be the beginning of the end of our hopes to stay in the AL West race.Tonight’s loss coupled with the Texas Rangers win puts our boys 5 1/2 games back in the standings with two games left to play with the red-hot Angels. This was a must win game in a series that we need to split if we have any chances of making a run after the All-Star break.
The Mariners were haunted by the home run tonight allowing solo shots to Erik Aybar,Vernon Wells, Hank Conger and the killer a walk-off by Mark Trumbo in the ninth off David Pauley. Blake Beavan allowed a couple of these shots but otherwise pitched well tonight before handing the ball off to Jamie Wright who surrendered the bomb to Conger in the 7th.
As usual the Mariners had chances to put some distance between themselves and the Angels tonight but unlike the LA boys we just don’t seem to have anyone who can connect for a long ball when we need a game like this. It is too bad to once again waste good pitching efforts by our starters and bullpen but I am afraid the gig is up. This game was close till the end and you have to feel bad for Pauley who pitched out of a bases loaded 0ne-out jam in the 8th before serving up the game ending blast to Trumbo.
I am really beginning to dislike the Angels after years of them beating us in games like tonight’s soul-crusher. It will to tough to go back to the rebuilding mode after being teased till now with a pennat race though if the Mariners can somehow win the last two games we may be able to make the rest of July interesting. I’m going to try and hang in there for the rest of the season no matter what happens though I’m not sure my heart can take another dismal voyage into the abyss….Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
by Scott Rinear
Much like the weather today in Seattle, the Seattle Mariners offense was unseasonably cold with only a few bright spots. Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver made pitching in the Major Leagues look rather easy tonight, breezing through his complete game shutout giving up only 5 hits. I expect the typical reaction regarding the Mariners offensive struggles. But, after a performance like this one, you have to tip your cap to Weaver, as he was flat out filthy on the mound.
Mariners starter Doug Fister was lights out for 6 of the 7 innings he pitched. The first inning proved to be the difference in the game, as Fister gave up 4 runs on 4 hits with an uncharacteristic display of wildness and missed locations. It was an unfortunate time for a bad inning, especially facing a pitcher like Jered Weaver. Fister was able to find his rhythm, and quickly. Over his next 6 innings, Fister shut the Angels down, giving up only 3 more hits and no additional runs.
The lone bright spots were the 5 hits and some defense the Mariners were able to muster. Ichiro Suzuki checked in with a single and a double in the game and made two stellar running catches near the right field corner. If Ichiro’s slump warranted so many questions about his so-called deteriorating abilities, then I ask a similar question after tonight. Since his rare day off on June 10, Ichiro is 8-17 with four straight 2-hit games, and has flashed some of his vintage leather in right field. Do four games make a big enough sample size to welcome back the Ichiro who has spoiled fans with unbelievable offense and defense for 10 years? Anyone who reads my posts can guess my answer. Yes. I think Ichiro is back and will once again have at least 200 hits and hit over .300. I want to know what everyone else thinks.
Another positive tonight was the play of newcomer Mike Carp, both at the plate and in left field. I’m not sure if Carp has played left for this team yet, but I liked what I saw. Carp’s solid throw to home in the first may have cut down Erick Aybar trying to score had Figgins not cut the ball off. Then he made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the nightmarish first inning. Carp was also 2-3 at the plate, putting some good swings together against one of the better pitchers in the game.
With Carp, Carlos Peguero, and Greg Halman all having spent some time in left field, which one of the three has the best chance of being the everyday left fielder? For that question, your guess is as good as mine. Honestly, I like all three players, and I hope the organization can figure out the best way to take advantage of their young talent.
Speaking of young talent, Dustin Ackley will hopefully be making his Major League debut next week. It’s looking like Monday against the Washington Nationals could be the start of the Ackley era, according to Geoff Baker’s blog for the Seattle Times. There has been a lot of speculation in the media and blogosphere about why Ackley has not been called up yet. Whatever the reason, it’s only a matter of time, a matter of days most likely, and I can’t help be excited.
I remember when the Mariners picked Ackley 2nd overall in the 2009 draft, and a few days later I was able to catch a North Carolina baseball game on TV. I was excited to see Ackley play live so soon after he was drafted. I only watched a few innings, and only watched one of Ackley’s at bats. Home run to left center.
It’s obvious everyone in Mariners land wants Ackley on the team yesterday. What isn’t obvious is what people are expecting from this kid. I made the mistake last season of expecting Justin Smoak to hit 5 home runs in his first game as a Mariner and set myself up for disappointment. The questions become: What are people’s expectations of Ackley this season and beyond? Will the second base experiment pan out, or will the scouts who say he should move back to the outfield be correct? Personally, I have a really good feeling about this team’s future. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Cliff Lee struck out 10 Los Angeles Angels tonight and pitched 8 strong innings as the Mariners won for the third straight game and now are 6 1/2 games out of first. Lee faced off against Scott Kazmir tonight, and outside of a shaky first where Lee committed an error there was no doubt who was in charge of this match between AL West rivals. Coming off two come from behind victories against the Tigers, the Mariners appear to be playing their best ball of the year recently. Tonight the Mariners were able to combine for 11 hits spread throughout the lineup, with everyone getting a hit except Mike Sweeney who has hit plenty in the current comeback for this club.
In the third inning Ichiro got on with a 2-out single followed by a walk to Figgins setting the table for Franklin Gutierrez who proceeded to drive in a run with a base-knock making it 2-1. Bradley came up with runners on 1st and 2nd and ripped a drive into left that Figgins and Gutierrez were running on, amazingly Guti scored all the way from first as Bradley was held to a single but got the runs in. Yesterday I mentioned the key to this resurgence was going to be Figgins and Jose Lopez and sure enough Lopez unloaded for a solo shot in the 4th to put the club up 4-2.
In the 5th inning the Mariners once again tore-up the bases on a line drive by Figgins to right that scored Ichiro all the way from first landing Figgins on third. Milton Bradley drove in Figgins with a sac-fly giving him a 3 RBI night down in Disneyland. The Angels managed to pick-up a run in the 5th off Lee but after that it was lights-out by the Lee as he dominated the Angels with pinpoint accuracy all night long.
The “Paper boy” Josh Wilson delivered again in the 9th with an RBI double to keep his hitting streak alive at 9 games. Having Josh Wilson producing at the bottom of the order has made a big difference lately as the Mariners try to claw their way back up to .500 by the All-Star Break. The AL West is wide-open this year and with a sweep in Anaheim the Mariners could find themselves back in business. Felix Hernandez will take the mound in the day game tomorrow, he is due for a dominant performance of his own. Lets keep our fingers crossed as this series is crucial if we are going get back in this thing. http://jeffsmariners.com