You know those “Jesus is _____” bumper stickers? Every time I see one of those, I want to walk up with a pen and write “only hitting .203″ on the blank line. Sure, the vehicle’s owner might not get nor appreciate the joke, but hey, don’t buy a fill-in-the-blank bumper sticker next time.
In fact, you could make all sorts of “Jesus is” wisecracks when it comes to Mariners catcher Jesus Montero. Jesus is 0-for-15 in throwing out stealing base runners. Jesus is unable to hit a curveball. Or how about this one: Jesus is destined for Triple-A. It’s that last “Jesus is” that might be most concerning. But based on current circumstances, it should become the team’s reality.
Montero has been abysmal both offensively and defensively in 2013. He hasn’t hit for average or for power, and he hasn’t even been close to adequate behind the plate. As alluded to earlier, Montero has yet to nab a base-stealer in 15 tries and has often looked stiff and uncomfortable receiving pitches. Were he hitting .300 with a handful of home runs, no one would care that the 23-year-old was providing less-than-serviceable defense. But as the owner of a .203/.250/.324 slash line, Montero certainly isn’t atoning for his shortcomings in the field right now.
Recently, it’s been rumored that manager Eric Wedge has been pressured from the organization’s front office to play Montero on a more frequent basis. Montero has received (note: not earned) a slight bump in playing time, taking about two-thirds of the starts to backup Kelly Shoppach’s one-third. Even with increased opportunity, however, the second-year big leaguer has yet to deliver. In his past 10 games, the ex-Yankee is performing no more remarkably than he was at the season’s outset, compiling a .194 batting average along the way (though, in fairness, he has belted his only two home runs of the year in that span). Nevertheless, settling in around the Mendoza Line does not a major leaguer make. Montero doesn’t necessarily have to hit for both average AND power (it’d be nice, though), but he can’t get by with a sub-.200 line.
Aside from his hitting struggles, where player and team have most failed to align is in their commitment to one another. The franchise seems committed to giving Montero a long look at catcher. Montero, meanwhile, seems committed to proving he is not that at all. Rock, meet hard place. The end result of this mutual stubbornness is a big ol’ crap sandwich. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Everyone and their mother knows that the M’s catcher of the future currently resides at Triple-A Tacoma. The uber-prospect that is Mike Zunino has had an up and down start to his 2013 campaign. This isn’t unanticipated. Zunino has yet to play a full season in the pros, and were all to go according to plan, he wouldn’t see his first action at Safeco Field until 2014. Problem is, Montero’s struggles have accelerated the demand for a Zunino call-up.
Zunino and Montero are mutually exclusive entities. No one should believe a demotion of Montero will necessarily result in a promotion of Zunino. Montero has done nothing to earn his spot on the big league roster, however, and shouldn’t be here anymore. Not if this team is truly committed to winning.
It’s clear that if the Mariners really want Montero to experience life behind the plate, he should be playing every single day. It’s also clear that, based on the way he’s been playing, Montero has done very little to warrant an everyday spot in the lineup. Therefore, all signs point to sending Montero to the minors, giving the majority of the big league starts (for now) to Kelly Shoppach, and promoting anyone else with a pulse not named Zunino to be Shoppach’s understudy. In this case, that might be Triple-A backup Jesus Sucre, who is nothing special with the bat, but can actually live up to his job title and, you know, catch.
Of course, this begs the question of what to do with Zunino in the interim. If Montero and Zunino share a clubhouse, only one can log time behind the plate. Fact is, the Mariners need to make a hard call on their catchers. Could they teach Montero how to play first base? Maybe. Could they let both players work on their hitting while splitting time as backstops? Possibly. Could they send Montero to Double-A to work on his receiving skills? That’s also an option. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what the organization does so long as they jettison Montero to the farm and prove to both players and fans that they a) want to give opportunities to the most deserving players, and b) believe the 2013 Mariners aren’t losers. Seriously. Because, to date, the current regime has never shown much in the way of faith for their ballclub, regardless of how many wins the team can string together at any given moment. It’s about time they display some commitment to a winning mentality, and that starts by demoting those who deserve to be demoted.
Jesus is not for long in the big leagues. It’s time the Mariners filled in the blank.
Filed under: Mariners
I took a break from Mariners Baseball and drove down to Tacoma tonight to try to get a break from the angst that goes with being a Mariners fan. As it turns out it was a win-win situation as the Mariners beat the Rangers 7-0 while I was 40 miles away enjoying a fun 16-9 win by the Tacoma Rainiers over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
I’m sure plenty will be written about the outstanding job Felix Hernandez did tonight shutting out the Rangers while fanning 12 and going the whole way, so I’m going to focus on my experience at Cheney Stadium which was delightful and entertaining both on the field and off as you can see above by none other than a dancing Rhubarb the team mascot for the Rainiers who was part of a fun overall warm night.
Things didn’t start out so well for the Rainiers who sent Hector Noesi to the mound as he tries to figure out what went wrong for him in the Bigs. Noesi looked terrible tonight and fell behind 6-1 by the time the Sky Sox had batted through the third inning.
Fortunately for Noesi and the friendly and jovial fans on hand tonight at Cheney, the Sky Sox didn’t seem to want to win this one as they let the Rainiers chip away thanks to a 19-hit onslaught by Darren Brown’s crew. It also helped that the Sky Sox committed 6 errors l but with the strong bats of Carp, Franklin and Triunfel I think the Rainiers would have won this one anyway even if the Sky Sox would have played decent defense.
Mike Carp looked like he was ready to take his place on the Mariners 25-man roster driving in five runs including a bases loaded double. Nick Franklin contributed with the bat and his glove playing second tonight while Carlos Triunfel went 4-5 including a homer while playing short and drove in five runs for his nights work. From my point of view after tonight’s game I would love to see both Carp and Franklin come up and send Ackley and Smoak down to replace them.
The atmosphere at Cheney stadium is so much more relaxed and fan-friendly than Safeco which coupled with the five dollar parking and reasonably priced tickets helped make the trip down there more than worth it and I highly suggest it to any of you Mariners fans who like myself need a break from the Mariners.
I also got to see old Rene Lachemann the former manager of the Mariners in the early 80′s stick his head out of the visitors dugout a few times as he is now the hitting coach for the Sky Sox and is finishing out a long career as a player, manager and now coach in AAA.
Sometimes it may seem that I’m a bit sour about the game of baseball in some of my posts, but the truth is I love the game and tonight I got to step back in time to a simpler era when baseball was a game that was enjoyable for both the fans and players, I feel rejuvenated! http://jeffsmariners.com
Josh Kinney used to be good.
I say this with the fairly confident assertion that you know little of Kinney’s past, that, like me, you were familiar with his name only because you took the Sporcle Mariners Spring Training quiz approximately 80 times this spring so people would assume you knew the roster very well. (It worked, by the way, but only until the season started and I didn’t have to remember Jesus Sucre or Guillermo Quiroz or Carlos Guillen.)
Until last night, however, when I briefly entertained the idea of Kinney making his Mariner MLB debut, did I realize that I know next to nothing about him—which brings me back to my initial statement.
Josh Kinney was good approximately six years ago. He wormed his way into the majors with a stint in the Frontier League, circa 2001. From 2001 to 2006, Kinney climbed from one minor league team to the next, eventually receiving a promotion to the Cardinals’ major league team after finding success with the AAA Memphis Redbirds.
2006 marked not only his breakout year, but his best year to date in MLB. He was used in relief 21 times, posting a SIERA of 3.34 and a FIP of 4.03. In 21.0 IP, he collected 17 hits, 9 runs, and 22 strikeouts. Most notably, he pitched in both the NLDS, NLCS, and Games 2 and 4 of the World Series, his first and last postseason appearances to date.
From 2007 – 2008, Josh Kinney faced a bit of a regression in the majors; mostly due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. With that in mind, let me correct myself once more: major league Josh Kinney used to be good. Minor league Josh Kinney still manages to impress as a reliever, consistently posting an ERA under 2.80 in his last 3 years traipsing the farm systems of St. Louis, Chicago, and Seattle.
This season, Kinney made 27 appearances for the Rainiers. As part of a pitching staff that includes Mariners notables like Andrew Carraway and Danny Hultzen, Josh found ways to earn notice with a 2.27 FIP and 3.45 K/BB. Next to Oliver Perez, another recent addition to the Mariners’ bullpen, Kinney has struck out the highest number of batters among Tacoma relievers, with 38 Ks in 36.2 IP.
The fluctuation of success found in major league and minor league clubs is not the most comforting sign when promoting a player, especially with the incoming waves of new starters and relievers waiting to take their shot at Safeco Field. Still, as a short-term fix, Kinney should be able to settle in well for a handful of appearances—and if he sticks, who knows? Maybe he’ll be closing out another World Series run in the near future.
Sometimes it is hard to keep track of who is in the bullpen these days or how Eric Wedge is going to use them. Tonight Jeff Gray turned in his best performance of the year and earned his spot by pitching out of a bases loaded one-out jam in the eighth inning to help preserve the Mariners 4-2 win in an odd game that had a little of everything. Gray came on in relief after Felix Hernandez surrendered a 2-run homer to Scott Sizemore in the seventh inning and proceeded to close out that frame without any further damage. But in the eighth Gray allowed a couple of singles then loaded the sacks when he misplayed a come-backer to the mound by tossing high to third allowing Matsui to advance and setting the stage for a tense situation with the game on the line.
Gray somehow managed to then both hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch and strike him out at the same time and then followed up by fanning Eric Sogard to end the inning, and for all practical purposes the game with Brandon League coming in to finish things off. The Mariners also had another weird play in the first inning that turned out to their advantage as well thanks to the heads-up base running of Brendan Ryan. Ryan made it all the way from home to third in vintage “Johnny Damon style” when after reaching first on a hard grounder to short he noticed no one was at second so he raced to the bag and once he got there he saw that the A’s weren’t covering third either so he just kept going. This play reminded me not only of Johnny Damon but of my years playing recreational softball!
The Mariners managed to get a pair of runs in the first when Ackley worked a walk off A’s starter Dan Harden followed by a long double to the base of the left field wall by Mike Carp scoring both Ryan and Ackley. King Felix complete with his court took it from there fanning nine before allowing the bomb to dead center to Sizemore on a night when he had his good stuff and deserved this tenth win. The King got a little help from the newly knighted Mariner Casper Wells who connected for his first homer as a Mariner in the sixth to drive in a pair of difference making runs. Wells continues to impress me with his offense and defense though it is only his third game and as we learned last month things change fast with this club.
On another baseball note I guess I should add that I made the trip down to Cheney stadium this morning to take a look at the Mariners new players Wily Mo Pena and Trayvon Robinson (A Couple of great baseball names). Unfortunately the Rainiers lost 6-2 though starter NatE. Robertson looked good before allowing 4 runs in the 6th. I did get to take a look at both Pena and Robinson at the plate and they both appear to have nice powerful swings though neither contributed today much at the plate. I have attached a quick video of Trayvon Robinson so you can take a look for yourself.
As usual it was nice to sort of step back in time and go watch the Rainiers in a much more intimate and friendly environment. Believe it or not parking is still only 5 bucks down there and I bought a general admission seat for $7 and hung out on the rail in right field all day chatting to the locals and enjoying the sun. I also got to see Luiz Rodriguez hit a solo homer as he tries to hold onto his professional career. Also ex-Mariner Chris Woodward was playing SS for the Las Vegas AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Woodward also spent time with the Rainiers and it was great to see the 35 year-old hanging in there with the organization that originally drafted him in the 54th round back in 1994.
As another odd note I need to mention that I saw Kyle Seager go 0-5 today in Tacoma then change his uniform and drive up to Seattle to replace Chone Figgins who is on the 15-day DL. Seager actually ended-up having an 0-6 day as he came in to PH for Justin Smoak in the eighth inning tonight after Smoak hurt his thumb on a tough grounder. Perhaps Seager should have stopped in Kent on his way up and played a little slow pitch softball to improve his average for the day. On a good note I just heard the x-rays on Smoak came back negative which is good news for the club as they try to finish off the series with a sweep tomorrow afternoon when Charlie Furbush takes the hill for his first start here. Go M’s! http://jeffsmariners.com
Well that sure sucked. Texas blanks Seattle 4-0 on the first day of the big celebration for the 2001 116 win team. The Mariners have not scored a run in 26 innings and are on a six game slide that feels like it will never end. I was not going to write tonight as I am tired of ranting about various negative aspects of this franchise but I figured I better say something lest I completely Blog Down and cease to exist as an unpaid semi-journalist ie Blogger. I’m sure better men than me have reached the same point on the blogosphere and just quit the whole deal leaving another URL to float around the web with old posts that mean nothing to anyone anymore.
I just wish it was winter already (or is it?) and I could be getting my hopes up again for my annual Spring Training trip. But no we have lots of baseball left to play and it seems to get worse every night. I have begun to gaze over at the NL Central standings lately to keep an eye on the Pirates and Brewers trying to figure out how I could remake this blog into some sort of random small-market blog and poach some readers from those two exciting teams. Then of course there is the Tacoma Rainiers just down the road and the nifty new stadium that I haven’t seen yet hmmmm……..Or of course I could somehow find the courage to head down to the Safe Saturday night to see if I can stomach the hoopla around the 2011 season and maybe catch a peak of some of the old warriors that the PR hacks flew in to town to try and make us forget the current state of affairs in Mariners Nation……I think I’ll decide in the morning……..Go M’s! and Pirates! http://jeffsmariners.com
Just read an AP wire that Mike Sweeney has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later and/or cash considerations. And so ends another chapter of the Mariners 2010 season. I am happy that I got to see Mike Sweeney yesterday down in Tacoma go 3-4 including two home runs. Sweeney deserves to go to a team that intends to use him rather than languish here in Seattle unwanted. I am happy for Mike, yet a bit sad to see this wonderful player leave without even another chance to see him play with the big club.
Sweeney plays the game with heart and passion and I wish him well in his future. This move makes sense for the Mariners as they are out of the race and need to focus on re-building with guys like Justin Smoak, Ackley, Saunders etc. I had a feeling after watching yesterday’s game in Tacoma something had to happen soon with this veteran and though I was hoping Sweeney would be coming back to Seattle, I was sort of expecting something like this development. Truth is Sweeney has forced the Mariners since spring training to keep him around even though he wasn’t part of the future. Sweeney hit well for both the Mariners and the Rainiers this year and I look for him to be productive for the Phillies.
Just like Griffey we will probably not get a farewell event with Sweeney and he will fade into the memories of Seattle fans along with countless other players that have passed through town on their way to greener pastures. I loved watching Sweeney dig-in at the plate and take those big hacks like he did yesterday at Cheney Stadium. Sweeney took a lot of heat locally in the press and blogosphere all year for being a friendly guy who was always smiling and yes hugging other players. But even some of the local cynical types begrudgingly gave him some respect this year as he proved he could still produce just like in his All-Star days with the Kansas City Royals. As his stats show here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sweenmi01.shtml Sweeney has a career .298 average since coming-up with the Royals in 1995.
Mike Sweeney is a class-act in an era where most Sport figures are selfish and only concerned with their image and next year’s salary. We were lucky to have him around here for a couple of years and hope he knows that many of us appreciated not only what he did, but who he was.http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: farewell, Mariners, Mike Sweeney traded, Philadelphia Phillies, Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers won the fourth game of the series with the Reno Aces today 9-3 thanks to the big bat of Mike Sweeney on a beautiful day at Cheney Stadium. What another great and fun game down in Tacoma watching the Rainiers clobber the Aces in front of 6,384 fans to give the Rainiers a split of this four game series before heading out on the road again. Unlike the apprehension I feel before the start of a Mariners game I felt confident as I headed down I-5 along with another long-suffering Mariners fan to watch this day game. My friend Eddie had never been to a game at Cheney Stadium and like myself was longing for an opportunity to watch a game under the sun where the home team was able to score some runs. We arrived at 11 am and were surrounded by happy young children arriving by the busload along with the regular Rainiers faithful as I continued my rehab assignment of fun, laughter and winning!
Blake Beaven who came over in the Cliff Lee trade got his first start with Tacoma and went six innings giving up a couple of runs and looked pretty good in his debut. Of course when your team scores 8 runs for you in the first 4 innings it takes a lot of the pressure off of you. The Rainiers did not waste any time in scoring with Mike Sweeney belting a 2-run shot in the bottom of the first over the big blue wall in left. Sweeney got the start at first today as Justin Smoak slipped into the DH spot so he could focus on his hitting mechanics. Smoak did get a hit today as well as driving in a run in the 8th with a sacrifice fly.
In the second inning the Rainiers loaded up the sacks for Mike Wilson who drove a ball that barely cleared the fence before rattling around and coming back onto the field. Initially Wilson stopped at second but was then waved in for the grand-slam making it 6-0 before we had even finished our hotdogs! As a Mariners fan I am out-of-shape when it comes to enjoying an early lead in a game, especially as the result of the long-ball. But the Rainiers were not finished yet and in the bottom of the fourth Mike Sweeney blasted another 2-run shot over the imposing fence to make it 8-0. It was a beautiful site to see Sweeney dig-in at the plate and take his customary full-swings today, and before the day was through Sweeney would go 3-4 moving his average up to .366. We were ready to throw Sweeney in the car and kidnap him so he could be in the Mariners lineup tonight where he belongs.
Yes I know this season is over for the Mariners and it is all about the future so who needs a 37-year-old veteran guy who hits, knows the game, and provides leadership for the young players? Well as a fan I enjoy watching a guy who loves the game and plays with enthusiasm along with the ability to produce, which Sweeney has done all year since spring training( when he was healthy). It seems that there is a certain segment of the local media and fan base that just can’t stand a friendly decent guy succeeding. Perhaps Sweeney’s success isn’t measurable by the new sabermetrics whiz-kids and thus needs to be discounted to fill their need to be know-it-alls. I don’t know but today Mike Sweeney proved once again he can still produce and the fans in Tacoma including myself loved every minute of it. If indeed the Mariners are intentionally leaving Sweeney down in Tacoma to act as a mentor for the young players then that is one thing, but if they are just going to let him languish in AAA hoping he quits then that would be a travesty to not only Sweeney but to the game itself. Baseball is a game of traditions handed from father to son, generation to generation, full of history and mystique. The Mariners have angered the Baseball-Gods one too many times and I am hoping they do the right thing and bring Sweeney back-up to the Majors where he can finish his career in dignity for the rest of 2010.
While I was at the game today I suddenly realized that the Reno Aces manager was Brett Butler the former player I had watched in the 80’s and 90’s. Butler had a great career and was considered the best bunter of his era along with a lifetime .290 average and 2375 career hits. Perhaps more impressive about Butler is that he overcame throat cancer and came back to finish playing in the Majors till he was 40. Butler is working his way up as a manager through the Arizona system and seemed to have the respect of the umpires as well as his players. It was nice to see the crusty old veteran doing double-duty both as the team’s manager and 3rd base coach. Here are his impressive lifetime stats:http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/butlebr01.shtml
So the Mariners are back in town tonight playing the Rangers and I will be back on the beat tomorrow following the big club till the end of the season. I feel a whole lot better having gone down to Cheney Stadium a couple of times during this last home stand and watching the scrappy Tacoma Rainiers win twice. For whatever reason Cheney Stadium provides an environment where time seems to have stopped somewhere 20 years ago and baseball was still indeed our national pastime and guys like Sweeney, Butler and perhaps myself could still play this game with the joy and passion it deserves……http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Brett Butler, Cheney Stadium, Mike Sweeney, Mike Wilson, Reno Aces, Tacoma Rainiers
Hello my fellow baseball lovers just thought I’d check-in on this off day for the Mariners to let you know I am continuing my emotional and mental rehab assignment following the Tacoma Rainiers. My condition is not as serious as a full “Milton Bradley” type break-down, however I will be attending the Rainiers game Tuesday at 1130 as part of my rehab assignment. I am making slight progress with issues like anger, frustration, loss, and general apathy by focusing on the scrappy Rainiers.
Of course the fate of the big club is never far from my thoughts even as I attempt to regain my footing as a fan after this tidal wave of negativity that has swept-over Mariners nation. I have given some thought to the whole question of firing Don Wakamatsu and have come to the conclusion that he is just a symptom of the over-all problem faced by this franchise and should stay put at least till the end of the 2010 season. As I have said in earlier posts I believe the main problem rests with the absentee ownership issue and the continued presence of Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong pulling the strings somewhere back in the murky shadows of Safeco Field. Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of concerns with the way Wak has run this club on the field, and I have long ago quit trusting in the great wizard Jack Zduriencik and his ability to make key decisions regarding player acquisitions. However this franchise has been operating with a “Belief System” that the Seattle fans are not that knowledgeable and they will settle for a nice stadium, hydro races and mediocre teams that are only here to compete, not win. This mindset comes from Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong at the top and is a set-up for failure for whatever manager or GM comes rolling into town.
I do have a gut feeling that Hiroshi Yamauchi or perhaps someone from his family may at some point get tired of the lies and half-truths fed to them by Lincoln and Armstrong and step-up and get rid of those two hustlers. If not hopefully maybe Mr. Yamauchi will just pull the plug and sell the team to someone local that actually cares about Baseball and our city of Seattle.
Geez now I have done it, there goes my blood pressure…..need to focus on AAA and fun and winning as my Blog-Doctor has prescribed. I do want to include some information that may prove useful to you today as I don’t want you to think Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog is turning into some sort of New-Age feel good Blog. So I have some information on the whole concept of “Waivers” and what it means for the average fan that I hope you find useful as we head into the month of August:
1) Virtually every player in the major leagues will be placed on waivers this month, whether a team intends to trade that player or not. If nothing else, the sheer volume of names can at least disguise players whom clubs do want to sneak through so they can be dealt.
2) If a player isn’t claimed by any team in either league, he can be traded until the end of the month to anyone.
3) If a player is claimed, but only by one team, the player can be traded only to the team that claims him.
4)If a player is claimed by more than one team, the club with worst record in that player’s league gets priority…and the player can be traded to just that team.
5) If a player is claimed only by teams in the other league, the club with the worst record in the other league gets priority…and the player can be traded only to that team.
6) If a deal can’t be worked out or the team doesn’t want to trade that player, he can be pulled back off waivers once in August. If he is placed on waivers again before September, he can’t be recalled a second time.
7) If a team is just hoping to dump a player’s salary, it can simply allow a team which claimed that player to have him for a small waiver fee. If that happens, the team that gets the player has to pay his entire salary.
Also sometimes teams will claim a player just to keep them from being traded to a contender.
So I hope that helps, though I know it is a bit complex and has a lot of possible intrigues involved in the process. I am assuming that the Mariners will use this process to attempt to unload some of the players who are not part of our future here. Ok so that’s it for now I will give you a report after I return from my Rehab assignment in Tacoma tomorrow afternoon..http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chuck Armstrong, Don Wakamatsu, Hiroshi Yamauchi, Howard Lincoln, Mariners, Tacoma Rainiers
Well I finally had enough of the Mariners and drove down to Tacoma to watch the Rainiers beat the Reno Aces 8-2 tonight and it was fun! Yes that is right watching baseball can be fun, especially if the team you are rooting for wins and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming like it was at Cheney Stadium tonight. I joined 7,571 other baseball fans on family night and got to see a great game featuring the first-place Rainiers who know how to score runs and even hit the long-ball.
I have not been to Cheney Stadium since Carlos Guillen was down there in 1998 and as far as the stadium and fans attending, not much has changed. Cheney stadium is 50 years old and has seen many a young prospect as well as fading veteran play on its well manicured field. The crowd was primarily families and working-class, and they know how to have fun. The place was full of youngsters gathering autographs from the players and older fans actually laughing and having a good time. Sure the PA guy messed up a few names, and the electronic screen did not always match the correct numbers up with the right players but I felt I was in a time-warp putting me back into the 70’s.
The Rainiers brought-up a young pitcher named Yoervis Medina to make his AAA debut tonight and he went 5 and 2/3 innings of 3-hit shutout ball while his offense unlike the Mariners gave him run support. As a matter of fact the Rainiers look like they could beat the Mariners as far as position players go. I got to see Greg Halman hit his 24th homer in the second inning along with home run #15 for right fielder Mike Wilson, and #13 from Matt Mangini who I would swap for Jose Lopez tomorrow. Of course the main event was watching young Justin Smoak recently demoted drive in a run with a screeching shot past third in the big eighth inning as part of a four run rally. All the while I was chatting with the friendly couple in front of me who have had season tickets since the 60’s and even gave me a couple of tickets for Tuesday’s game.
Yes this was a different experience from fighting the traffic to get into Safeco and paying $65 for a box seat. In fact I paid $25 for a seat two rows back behind the Reno Aces and felt like I was sitting in the dugout. The food is a little cheaper though heavy on the carbs, but so what this team knows how to win games and the crowd was a lot friendlier and more into the game than I usual experience at Safeco. I sort of felt like I was skipping school while I was watching this game instead of painfully going over today’s 4-0 loss to Minnesota and trying to create another clever post for a team that has sucked my creative juices dry.
It was interesting to watch Mike Sweeney dig-in at the plate like usual, Sweeney walked three times, stole a base, and delivered a clutch 2-out RBI in the 3rd. He looks healthy to me and I really am starting to believe that Jack Z. is leaving him down there to help groom some of the younger guys in a winning environment. I guess there is no point in bringing-up guys like Dustin Ackley into the toxic morass of the Mariners 2010 season so Jack Z. has his little incubator of baseball players project going on down in Tacoma. Actually most of the starters in the field either have been or should be up with the big club this year. So take my word for it and head down to Tacoma and enjoy the game of baseball in a fun, winning environment while it lasts….http://jeffsmariners
Tagged: Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Mariners, Mike Sweeney, Reno Aces, Tacoma Rainiers
The Minnesota Twins won the opening game of the series tonight 5-3 thus continuing the woes of the visiting Seattle Mariners. The Mariners made their first visit to beautiful Target Field filled with 40,596 loyal and enthusiastic Twins fans. Doug Fister picked-up the loss tonight thanks in part to some shoddy play by the defense behind him. Fister now goes to 3-7 on the year and appears to be getting a bit sharper but still nowhere near the guy we saw in the early going. The Twins starter Scott Baker went to 9-9 with his performance though he started out looking shaky in the first few frames. In fact the Mariners had a golden opportunity in the second inning after working the bases full with only one down before both Wilson infielders choked and the M’s came-away with 0.
The Mariners were facing a pennant contending club that plays great defense and holds a .298 average with RISP, compare that to the Mariners who have a .236 average with RISP giving you a picture of the stark contrast in these two clubs. The Mariners did rally for three runs in the 6th inning thanks to a clutch double by Josh Wilson that drove in Saunders and Gutierrez. Branyan had one of his two doubles in the same inning and had come in earlier on a single by Gutierrez. Outside of that it was all Twins thanks to homers by Thome and Casilla.
This year’s Twins are once again in the thick of things in the AL Central as they try to make it into the World Series after being knocked-out last year by the Yankees. The Twins are marking their 50th year as a franchise with a new stadium and a well-rounded team that gives the folks in the Twin-Cities something to be proud of. Their big slugger Justin Mourneau was sidelined today with an injury but may be back soon as they battle away in a tight AL Central race.
As most of you know by now pitcher Roy Oswalt has been traded by the Astros to the Phillies and veteran Lance Berkman is leaving those same Astros for the bright lights of New York to wear a Yankees uniform. Apparently the White Sox are close to adding to their already powerful lineup with the acquisition of slugger Adam Dunn from the lowly Nationals. As all this is going on our Mariners appear to have a bunch of players that no one is too interested in at this point. However in August a few of our guys like Lopez and maybe Casey Kotchman could be put out on waivers allowing other clubs to finish the process of picking the last bit of meat off the carcass of our beached whale. We could have been the center of all potential trade attention still if Jack Zduriencik had not chosen to grab Justin Smoak for Cliff Lee. Smoak who is now batting .198 was not in the lineup tonight as either we were trying to showcase Casey Kotchman who went 0-5, or Smoak has another one of those mystery Mariners injuries.
Still thinking of heading down to watch the Tacoma Rainiers tomorrow as I’d like to watch my old friend Mike Sweeney and catch a glimpse of Dustin Ackley. Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather even as we watch the Mariners continue their voyage to the bottom of the Sea….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Minnesota Twins, Scott Baker, seattle mariners, Tacoma Rainiers, Target field
The Mariners lost tonight 9-5 to the Chicago White Sox who completed the four game sweep using the long-ball once again to trounce our hapless sailors. I have been following this team since the early 80′s yet I never volunteered to write about them every day before 2010, and things are starting to get a bit gloomy between me and my keyboard. This season is grueling, with no end in sight as we head to Minnesota to face the Twins in their new stadium full of perky and invigorated Twins fans.
We seem to be falling into an endless abyss of bad games, sad games, terrible games and an occasional win. This team is now officially a candidate for a 100 loss season in a year that we all thought we would at least be as good as last year. There really is no sense in reviewing the list of who sucks, who is at fault, and who needs to go anymore. The only thing we can do is attempt to keep our heads up and move-on until October. Any hope of some sort of trade in the next few days to save this club is a bit ridiculous as well.
Of course we have the Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley watch to speculate on to keep our interests, but outside of that it appears barring a miracle we will have to trudge on….Of course for the more sane of my readers there is always Seafair, camping, soccer and even other teams to follow. I have tried to trick myself into thinking I’m going to root for the Atlanta Braves or maybe the Padres as we head down the stretch. But of course I know come tomorrow I will be glued to the TV like you hoping that our boys will awaken from this trance and go on a little run. If nothing else I am feeling obligated to stick it out for Dave Neihaus who deserves better than this as his career winds down.
I looked at the Tacoma Rainiers schedule today and saw that they are home Saturday night, I am thinking of heading down to watch them just to switch things up a bit. If nothing else I am curious as to what Mike Sweeney is still doing there. My only guess is that Sweeney will stay in Tacoma till the trade deadline passes just in case the Mariners manage to unload Jose Lopez or someone else,then bring him back up to Seattle. I cannot imagine that Sweeney would want to finish his career in the obscurity of AAA ball after all he has accomplished in the Bigs. These are the sort of intrigues that we have grown accustomed to this year where everything just seems to go from unclear to murky on a regular basis….http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Chicago White Sox, Dave Neihaus, Mariners, Seafair, Tacoma Rainiers
Something tells me life would be better if Michael Pineda and Dustin Ackley were playing for the Mariners right now. I don’t really have any justification for this. Heck, I don’t even know what Pineda looks like. I do, however, know that Ackley is a scrawny white boy from North Carolina, which would generally register a reading of absolute zero on my gaydar (it’s an electronic device…you buy it at Staples).
Here’s the thing, though. Everyone is talking about this unlikely tandem like they’re the love spawn of Zeus and Jennifer Aniston or something. Fact is, I know my minor leaguers. But unless they come bearing the reputation of a guy like Stephen Strasburg, they mean very little to me. Which is why up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t really give a damn about Pineda, de facto ace of the Tacoma Rainiers, nor his sidekick at second base, Ackley.
This is absolute blasphemy to some of you. I get that. Don’t freak out. To many of you, Pineda is hung like Greg Oden and Ackley is the second coming of Jack Perconte Jeff Schaefer Bret Boone. There are those folks who cling to these guys’ nuts like a bad rash. I understand. I’m not trying to cramp your zest.
And yes, I realize that Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft. The Buzz Aldrin to Strasburg’s Neil Armstrong. The John Adams to Strasburg’s George Washington. The Clay Aiken to Strasburg’s Ruben Studdard. But come on. Has there ever been a greater dropoff between one and two in any draft ever in the history of the world? (Don’t say Darko, don’t say Darko…) Yeah, Ackley might be good, but he’s not Stephen Motherf**king Strasburg, who we all know is the guy we’d rather have right now. Of course, just by saying that we’re dealing with hypotheticals. And some of you hate that. So we’ll move on.
So we’ve covered Ackley. But what’s the deal with Pineda? The way his name gets tossed around, you’d figure he had his own celebrity sex tape or something. He’s big, he throws hard, he’s the future. That excites me a little bit, I won’t lie. But it seems like he’s come out of nowhere to achieve this superstar status. Like Wladimir Balentien once did, for example. Not that I’m comparing the two from a talent perspective. Just sayin’.
In my mind, if a player is as good as these two seem to be, you don’t let them fester in the minors any longer. Especially when you’re a billion games out of first place and so pimped out in the cellar that you’re currently alphabetizing your bottles of vintage wine.
You see, there are many “theories” in baseball by which the Mariners have always abided. Starting pitchers rarely eclipse, say, 110 pitches. Closers always pitch one inning, the ninth, when the team is ahead. Situational lefties face left-handed batters. Prospects aren’t rushed to the bigs. I love baseball. But there are some dumbass theories that pollute the game.
(Side note: I’d like to reference Sunday’s Mariners-Red Sox game as evidence of one of these dumbass theories. It was the bottom of the eighth. The M’s were losing 2-1. Right-handed reliever Daniel Bard was pitching very effectively for the Sox when manager Terry Francona came sauntering out of the dugout to make a change. He brought lefty Hideki Okajima in from the pen to face the switch-hitting Justin Smoak. Prior to this at-bat, Smoak had gone 0-3 on the day, facing only right-handed pitching. Francona’s swap effectively forced Smoak to turn around and bat from the right side — his power side, mind you, which Francona chose to ignore. This appeared to be a situational pitching change that defied all logic. Turning a switch-hitter around to his natural side is unconventional to say the least. But apparently Francona reasoned that it would produce results. It did not. Smoak connected on a solid single to left field, which in turn spawned a three-run outburst from the Mariners, which ultimately cost Boston the game. Honestly, if my manager had made that “situational” move, I’d be pissed. But hey, I’m not on the Sox bandwagon so it’s not my fight. Just an example.)
Failing to promote uber-prospects like Ackley and Pineda would be a costly mistake by the Mariners’ front office. There’s no doubt in my mind that the dual promotions will eventually occur. But I’d like to see these moves made sooner rather than later.
You know, so I can have some closure in my life.
Filed under: Mariners