Wednesday, August 17, 2005

M's 4 Royals 3......someone's been taking notes

Anyone who plays in a head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues knows the value of a "two-start" pitcher. These are the pitchers with two starts in a given week, giving your squad a better chance of accumulating stats. Right now I'm in the middle of a battle for a playoff spot, and I need all the help I can get. This week I picked up one Joel "don't call me Jole" Piniero as a two-start guy with favorable matchups against Kansas City and Minnesota. How does Joel respond? 8 strong innings and a win after a shaky start.
But something tells me Mr.Piniero didn't step it up for my fantasy team (affectionately named the Briley Backers for one of the 6 gazillion left fielders to play next to Junior). Something tells me Joel Piniero is coming around. We've put the pressure on Joel here at Mariner Magic, and deservedly so, but his last 3 starts have been very encouraging. Take a look:
6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Granted, these have been starts against the most potent offenses in the league, but that argument doesn't hold a lot of water with me. You're not going to face Texas, Boston, and New York every time out. Joel Piniero has had 3 straight strong outings. Period.
People have worried that we wouldn't see the old Joel. But let's think about this. After season-ending surgery in 2004, he didn't start again until April 15th. He didn't have spring training. I think it's fair to say he needed some time to get himself back. We'll see how he handles a tougher lineup. There's also something to be said for the inspiration King Felix has provided. He's putting this rotation on his back, and Joel's gladly hopped on. Care to follow Gil?
Take a look at Lookout Landing. Jeff has brought up some good points about Piniero, namely that he has been pitching to contact, and not striking out a ton of guys. He's gone against 3 weak lineups, has a great defense behind him, and is throwing in a pitcher-friendly park.
For now, Iet's give Joel Piniero credit. He's stepped up his game, and may not ever be the ace we had hope he would be, but could be a solid middle of the rotation guy. Add a #2 starter to go behind Felix, and the 2006 Mariners rotation is looking much better.
Oh-and nice work Yuniesky!

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  1. I take full credit for Joel's turnaround. I had him on my fantasy team all year long and finally dropped him. Coincidentally the moment I drop him he rattles of 3 of his best starts of the year, go figure.

  2. I'm not going to get excited about Joel's apparent resurgence unless he finishes the rest of the season like he's pitching now. As far as I'm concerned, he's the worst pitcher in the rotation. I think the management has lost all confidence in him; and that they are crossing their fingers that this continues so that they can unload him in a trade.

    For my part, I think he's a spoiled, whiney wailer, who blames everything and everyone but himself for his struggles. Catchers, defense, offense, coaches. In his eyes he's still a golden boy who's a victim of some wild string of unfortunate, unfair circumstances.

    That said, I hope he proves me wrong. But I give him very little chance of being in the rotation next year, even if he continues his hot streak. Another thing: his fastball has lost 3-4 mph, and doesn't show any signs of returning.

    I think next year's rotation will be very, very different. We'll see Felix, a re-signed Moyer, and who knows after that. I'm hoping Madritsch can regain his strength, and that we can sign a Burnett or Morris on the free agent market. Maybe Meche or Pineiro can hold down the fifth spot. That's about as much as I'd trust either of them with at this point.

    Apparently I'm pessimistic...I apologize. Mariner Magic is a shining light of optimism in these dark times.

    It won't happen again.

  3. Also, Trav, I agree that Felix may have been a shot in the arm for some of the guys, including Pineiro. It's clear he's brought some excitement and a renewed energy to the team.

    I hope some of Felix's confidence can rub off. He really trusts his stuff (which obviously is easy), but something can be said for Meche and Pineiro needing to follow that example. Meche especially.

  4. Neddy Ballgame10:18 AM

    ..while Joel is a typical prima donna pitcher--what pitcher worth his salt isn't? - he is a competitor and I'm sure he hates seeing Felix take over his own crown as the golden what does he do ( after giving up his normal ration of first inning runs )but pitcha good game --nad his low walk count in last 3 games are very bright spots as well---concern is over loss in velocity--is htat permananet or still a vestige of his injury and will come back as his strength improves --in any case, jury is out on Joel but he's making a pretty convincing case that he belongs in the rotation. the way did you ever see a worse defensive performance by a catcher than the one by the Royals' backstop last night --that 's why we have 7 catchers to pick from ,I guess

  5. I've never, ever heard Roger Clemens, Greg Maddox, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson,...(I could go on for a while) sound like a prima donna, or blame anyone but themselves for poor outings. Maybe I'm naive, but the great ones (those who are certainly worth a salt) have their heads squarely on their shoulders, and are pretty quality guys.

    I wouldn't expect Felix to call out our young middle infielders for costing him that run the other night by failing double plays turned.

    I'm sure there are a few exceptions to the rule, but most great pitchers get there because they are confident, grounded human beings. Pitching is one of the most difficult jobs in all of sports.

    That's why the weak-minded don't make it.

  6. I'm not saying Pineiro is a total flake and headcase, but I definitely think there are issues there that have kept him from reaching his potential.

  7. Neddy- Dude, you are right. That catcher, Buck, is majorly sucky. I think Raul stole a bag or two on him the other day. It's nice to see that someone else has even worse catcher issues than we do.

    By the way, I wish someone would just name Torrealba the starter already, I'm tired of all this shuffling. I don't know. I guess Ojeda was hitting like a foo' down in Tacoma, three homers already or something...

  8. You make good points Peter. Although that's why Joel will never be a great one. He'll be one of those guys who shows flashes of greatness, and may even have a great season here or there, but that's it. There are countless guys like that all over the league-many of whom were well overpaid this offseason (ie Russ Ortiz)-and I can accept Joel being one of those guys in the 3rd or 4th spot of the rotation.

    It's amazing how Felix has lowered my expectations for him and Gil. Now I don't expect either of them to be top of the rotation guys.

    Personally I think Meche is the worst pitcher in the rotation. right now

  9. I know, it's funny how much Felix makes everything look better. With someone as dominant as he will probably be at the top of the rotation, everybody can be bumped. If we can just add a #2 starter, then filling in the rest with assortment of guys we have will make for a pretty darn good rotation.

    Speaking of pitching, two strikeouts in one inning of relief for Ninja Rafael last night in Tacoma.

  10. OK we've got to make sure we (aka Pete) take credit when everyone is called Soriano The Ninja. Kinda like how USSMariner came up with King Felix.

    How does a rotation of


    David Locke was saying Bavasi is on the hot seat today. I don't think that's fair quite yet.

  11. Mike,

    That is precisely what I was hoping for the rotation next year. It's nice to know that the management here at our blog is on the same page. As a fully nerdy Mariner dweebazoid, I have an extremely detailed Excel spreadsheet that develops and hypothesizes about the current and future Mariners (I can't believe I said that out loud). Aside from the word "whatever," I think that is exactly what I have for next year's rotation, slots and all.

    Great minds think alike.

    ...Maybe we should post a picture of The Ninja to really let the people know who he is. I'll try to get one if he comes up in September.

    Good thinking Mike

  12. Neddy Ballgame7:35 PM

    ..I stand my ground -all pitchers are prima donnas --they have to be --not openly badmouthing a teammate doesn't mean you;r e not a prima donna---its a good thing in a pitcher. ( and don;t tell me you never heard Clemens whine--he is among hte best ).but enough about Joel--its up to him to make it or not
    --but shoudl we sign Jamie for another year --was at the game today --while only the RoyalsI know --he just sems to be able to do it --Pwhit and mike l seem to think we should --will the-on-the-hotseat Bavasi (is David Lock on steroids also ??) hav courage to ink Jamie?

  13. maaah!7:41 PM

    i guess i missed the sportscast with joel 'don't call me jole" whining...let's give him credit for fighting off whatever demons he had earlier in the year....yeah, i know...last year too. i hope he is really on the road to success now.he hasn't had that 'deer in the headlights' look the past 3 starts. i'm a little touchy about the guy, but he is one of my favorites.

    you've never heard clemens whine??!! just because they are big names doesn't mean they aren't prima donnas (as neddy calls them)...and talk about about randy 'get me out of seattle' johnson.

    i also would go on record saying resign jamie....and i don't even like the guy! he was awesome today.

  14. I think we have different definitions of "prima donna," but we're on relatively the same page. As for Joel, I wouldn't even say he whines to the media...I just feel like he gives off this air of being pissed at the world and his lousy circumstances. I could be way off base. The other day someone made a questionable play in the infield, and Joel gave a sarcastic smirk. He tends to be pretty flippant with the media after he gets shelled. Granted, that is pretty common with pitchers, but he doesn't seem to take much responsibility, rather making what seems to be a convenient excuse.

    Also, I think you're misunderstanding me on Clemens, Big Unit, etc. I understand there is a certain cockiness and self-importance in athletes, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't hear Clemens making excuses after a poor outing. He probably gives the cliche "didn't have my best stuff" and goes on his merry way. I'm not entirely familiar with his background in whineyness, but get the impression he is somewhat of a leader, and takes responsibility for his performance. Maybe I'm wrong.

    I'm merely saying it takes a disciplined mind and significant self-knowledge to be an outstanding pitcher.

    Maybe Joel and others can still develop some those qualities. But as Mike says, it's becoming apparent it we shouldn't expect him to be much more than a middle of the rotation pitcher. I think if we get that, we should be satisfied.

    Anyway, good discussion. Rock on.

  15. Remember Curt Schilling bitching about the QuestTech (is that what they are called) cameras-and breaking one?

    I also remember Maddux complaining about the ball in the 90s.

    Pedro has definitely done his share of whining about the strike zone.

    I don't think Joel's problem is that he complains or is pissed at the world, I think it's that he doesn't have that ability to shake things off. Whether you call that discipline or whatever, I think we all agree Joel has lacked something over the past year +.

    PWhit, maah, and neddy are saying the same thing but it different ways I think. This is good stuff thoguh! 15 comments-woo!


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