Friday, June 30, 2006

The Victory Sock

'Twas June the 15th when I was flying from Baltimore to the Emerald City. I was in the air when the Mariners lost to the A's again. Once again, the Athletics of Oakland had deflated the fun out of a recent Mariners hot streak. The loss knocked the M's six games below .500. I had gotten myself a little excited, but the A's took care of that quickly. How did the Mariners respond to my arrival in Seattle? With a victory of course. Then another. And another.

The Mariners ended up going 9-2 while I was in Seattle. Clearly my presence in Seattle had something to do with it. I couldn't leave could I? The Mariners might fall into a tailspin if that happened. Then Big Daddy came up with a brilliant plan. I could leave a part of myself behind. What could that be though? A piece of my flesh? That seemed a little harsh. Cut off some hair? Nah. Other people's hair is sorta nasty. Then we got it. A dirty sock. That way, some of my DNA would be left behind and I wouldn't have to sacrifice part of my body.

Of course, my mother (being the wonderful mother she is) had cleaned all of my clothes. I didn't have a dirty sock to leave behind. I acted quickly. I put a clean sock on and wore it while I packed my bags. And I left the sock behind. I got on the plane yesterday hoping it would pay off. And it did! A come from behind, late-inning victory that Jeff from Lookout Landing thinks allows us to take the M's seriously. So, without further ado, I give you...

The Mariners Victory Sock! You hear those footsteps Oakland? That's the Sock comin' for ya!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

5 hunny!!!




They are .500!!!

This is great, its been so long since this has happened, and I am entirely too fired up about it. I still don't know what to think, are they good? Are they just lucky? O r is it somewhere in between. I really don't know. They look good. But it may be a mirage, they may be trying to suck us in get our hopes up and then turn around and squash us just like they often do. I remain cautiously optimistic. I am having fun watching them again. I keep getting this feeling that hey we can win this with every game. I remember that feeling from 01 where every night I was like ya we have a better than 50-50 shot at winning this.

Tonight its Felix and a chance to go 1 up. Who better to take this large step than the cornerstone of your future. Let’s go kid get it done!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yo, Adrian!

The M's are hot. From May 30 through last night, they have won 14 out of their last 20 games. Even more impressive, their WOO - without Oakland - record is 14-3 during that stretch (that's an .823 WOOning percentage). WOO! Why May 30, Chris? That was, after all, a loss at Texas. Well, 20 is a nice round number, but, more importantly, that night began the Adrian Beltre Hitting Second Experiment. Entering that game, Beltre was hitting .221 with 2 HRs, 14 RBI, 17 runs scored, and 6 doubles over the M's first 53 games. During the last 20 game stretch, Beltre is hitting .314 with 5 HRs, 17 RBI, 21 runs scored, and 6 doubles. He still strikes out more than he walks, but he has drawn 9 walks and struck out 13 times while hitting second (0.692 walks per strikeout), while he drew only 13 walks compared to 40 strikeouts (0.325 walks per strikeout) before the Experiment began.

I think that there can be three explanations for this great stretch: (1) Beltre is heating up enough that his final numbers will look something more like the .275, 25 HR, 85 RBI season that we would have realistically expected from him. (2) This simply a hot stretch, and we can expect him to start sucking again soon. (3) There is something magical about the second spot in the order.

My guess is that somewhere between (1) and (2) lies the truth. His last two games - where he has gone 5 for 7 with a homer, 4 RBI, 6 runs scored, and 2 doubles - really skew the numbers quoted above. If you take those out, and assume that he was just fired up to see his old team, his average in the second spot goes back to .278 - which seems about right. And, if you were to extrapolate those numbers (not including the games in L.A.) out for 550 at-bats, you get: .278, 28 HRs, 90 RBI, and 104 runs scored - which also seems about like what we would expect. He is at 280 at-bats now, so if he gets to 550 (and, to be fair, he is on pace for 612 at-bats, so these predictions are a bit conservative), he has 270 at-bats left. If he stays on the same pace over those 270 at-bats, he would have 13 HRs, 44 RBI, and 51 runs scored left in him - bringing his totals for the season to .267, 20 HRs, 77 RBI, and 90 runs scored. Not bad. Not worth $65 million, but to be fair - not many people are.

Now, the magical lineup spot does seem to have some merit. Can it really be coincidence? I suppose there were signs that he was heating up before the move - he had hits in four straight games, and eight out of nine, before being move up to the second spot. But, what is really surprising, and counterintuitive, is that he is producing more runs from the second spot. Six out of the eight 2 RBI games (and, no - he hasn't had a game with more than 2 RBI all season) that he has had this season have come when he was hitting second. So, he has produced more runs with the eighth, ninth (which has been the pitcher the last two nights), and first spots hitting ahead of him than he did with the first, second, and third, or second, third, and fourth spots hitting in front of him. Some of the explanation would come from the fact that the team is hot in general. Or, maybe Travis was right - and he is seeing more fastballs with Ichiro on in front of him. But, maybe, just maybe, this means that Beltre is best in the second spot, and dropping him back to the middle of the order would be a mistake. Or, maybe the line-up needs to be shuffled completely, so that Beltre can hit lower, but still hit behind Ichiro and Betancourt, with Lopez and Sexson protecting him. What do the Magic Faithful think?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Legend of Zelda Hero, Plural

So, the M's won last night. Beltre hit a homer, and that's good for the Mariners. Brad Penny lost, and that's good for the Low End Theorists. I listened to a few innings on XM radio. Mike and I have extolled the virtues of XM radio, and how awesome it is that one can listen to any major league baseball game being played, and hear the home announcers for each team. Bob Uecker calling Brewers games. Jon Miller calling Giants games. You can even hear the Yankees go to unnecessary excess with about six people in the broadcast booth. So, last night it was beautiful to listen to Vin Scully calling the M's against the Dodgers. The man has been calling Dodgers games for 57 years. He has called three perfect games. There have only been seventeen perfect games ever, and only seven in the National League - and two of those were in 1880. At one point he was describing Ichiro's father giving him foot massages, and it was beautiful because it was Vin Scully. But, when he started talking about how Pat Gillick turned down a trade that would have brought Scott Rolen to the M's in exchange for Joel Pineiro, I threw up in my mouth a little.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lack of Links and Wind Tunnels

"They" say you learn something new everyday. Well, here's what I learned at today. Oh, I'm in Seattle by the way and was at both Friday and today's win. Ok so...

1) For whatever reason, this iBook G4 I'm using doesn't allow me to put in links to a post. So, if you're reading this at work, I apologize. No fun links to keep you from actually doing your job.

2) If you sit in the right (or I guess wrong) area at Safeco in JUNE, you will freeze your ass off. It was like sitting in a wind tunnel. People had blankets. I almost didn't bring in my hooded sweatshirt. Thank God I did. It's June Seattle. Seriously. I loved it though. So much better than the stifling heat I would be experiencing in Baltimore.

3) Richie Sexson's walk to the batter's box song is "Hypnotize" by Biggy Smalls. Am I the only one who thinks that's weird? I guess the whole Big Richie thing, and Biggy Smalls was big. Er something.

4) It's really fun to watch Barry Bonds strike out.

5) It's even more fun to watch Barry Bonds strike out three times.

6) It's the most fun to watch Barry Bonds strike out to end a game and complete a THREE GAME SWEEP!

7) My mother is still a little bitter about Griffey. You know, there really are a lot of people who don't like how Griffey left. And, rightly so. I will fully admit that I'm blindly loyal to my first real baseball hero. I think the M's should retire #24, and that if Griff isn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer, there's something wrong with baseball.

So, all in all, I learned a lot today. Let's update the "if the Mariners didn't have to play the Athletics" board:
Record vs. A's: 1-9
Record vs. the rest of baseball: 33-28.

9 games in NL West stadiums. They're keeping me interested. I have this feeling the A's are going to start to separate themselves from the rest of the division. But for now, the Mariners are making baseball fun to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

down two can the salvage?

Ok all the optimism over the past few days has kinda flown right out the window. They cant be blanton then they roll out the next night and look even worse than before. And get this today they were going to face Esteban Loaiza but he was arrested for driving under the influence while going 120 mph on a local Oakland freeway........I don’t think he is going to start. And who goes 120 mph anyway...... SO you know what that means right? The mariners will be facing some chap they have never seen before so we will get like 2 hits. Never fails.
the optimism of this post seeps from every word.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This time I'm not crazy....

First things first, we've got to acknowledge the SWEEP of the Angels. Felix throws his first CG in the majors. 94 pitches. Felix was the Emperor today. Just filthy. That makes 9 of 11 for the Mariners. Fun fun.

But...guess who's next? You got it. The A's. The last time the M's were headed to Oakland, I thought it was big. This is a big one though. Not big as in, "win this series and the M's are for real!". But more like, well....hmmm. Ok how about this:
Right now, I'm kind of feeling like this in my Mariners watching chair. Take 2 of 3 in Oakland, and I'll be sitting like this. Not overly-fired up, but my interest will definitely be piqued. So, we'll see.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ichiro's Greatness

Ichiro gets 4 hits. Ho hum. Ichiro's hitting .350. Woopty doo. Ichiro's leading the league in hits. What's new?

Maybe it's just me, but are we taking Ichiro for granted? He came to the Majors facing more media scrutiny and pressure than anybody since Jackie Robinson, and wasted no time showing he belonged. He started hitting from day one. Literally. 2 for 5 against Oakland on April 2, 2001. With his four hits last night, he now has 89 for the season. That pace projects to 240 for the year. WHether that happens remains to be seen. But, Ichiro has proven his worth in the majors. THe question I ask is-where does he rank agains the all-time greats?

Since Ichiro's greatest accomplishments have involved hit numbers, I thought it would be interesting to compare him against the all-time greatest "hit machines." I thought it'd be interesting to look at at bats per hit. I thought since we hear a lot about at bats per home run when talking about the great power hitters, this might be an interesting statistic.

So, first things first. Who are the these "hit machines"? Well, here is the "hit" list. Rim shot! I'll compare Ichiro to the top guys in terms of at bats per hit. Ichiro's has 1219 hits in 3655 at bats. That's one hit for every 2.998 at bats.

1. Pete Rose: 4256 hits in 14,053 at bats. At bats per hit = 3.30. Ichiro's better than The Gambler.

2. Ty Cobb: 4191 hits in 11,429 at bats. At bats per hit: 2.72. The Georgia Peach has the edge on our boy.

3. Hank Aaron: 3771 hits in 12,364 at bats. At bats per hit: 3.28. Ichiro wins out again.

Just going down the list, here are the other rates among the top 5:
Stan Musial: 3.02
Tris Speaker: 2.90

Of the top 5, only Speaker and Cobb have a better rate. Musial and Aaron were better all around hitters though. A couple more recent notables:

Rod Carew: 3.05
Tony Gwynn: 2.95

I could go on, but I think the point is clear. Ichiro is right there with those guys. Now, Ichiro has the advantage of the majority of his years in the majors being during his prime age years. A more in-depth analysis may show that his hit rate during his prime years is not as strong.

But, Ichiro is absolutely amazing, and I think we're forgetting that. We've had some great ones come through Seattle over the past 15 years, and he's the next great one. The question I have is-how many more years of this production will make him a first-ballot hall of famer?

Oh by the way-Ichiro just led off the bottom of the first with a HR.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

3 of 4 but it was the Royals

Winning three of four games is never anything to complain about. But I want every to keep in perspective who the Mariners were playing. In all honesty not sweeping the Royals is a Disappointment. That being said things have been getting a bit better. This new Lineup is really working out. Lopez continues to be the man. As I stated earlier get out and vote people we need this guy to go to the all star game. WHO HAS BEEN BETTER??? And Raul continues to be Mr. consistency. Beltre, while I will not use the word Flourishing, seems to be enjoying the fastballs he is getting behind Ichiro. I say don’t move him let him ride that spot out for a bit.

Now today is an important day in many ways. It really is a fantastic match up at the Safe tonight. King Felix vrs the Twins I guess king prospect, as Santana is their king, Liriano. I have Liriano on my Fantasy team much to the dismay of Chris and Mike, and have been monitoring his progress with a careful Zen like eye. This guy is the real deal and the last time these two locked up it was a fantastic pitchers duel. I expect the same tonight and I will be in attendance both rooting for Liriano and the Mariner’s it will be a rough night for me haha.

Secondly today is the MLB draft. The mariners have the 5th overall pick and it appears that they are looking to draft a college pitcher. The key is College pitcher, I doubt they want another Ryan Anderson situation with a High school kid. The M's seem to have their eye on several guys: Andrew Miller, Brad Lincoln, Brandon Morrow, Tim Lincecum, & Luke Hochevar. All pitchers all college players. The homer in me really wants the to take Lincecum out of the UW and from I think Lincoln HS here in Washington, but all accounts are pointing to that being unlikely. And if there is ever a team to disappoint me with their personnel decisions it’s the Mariners so I am saying Lincecum is off the board. Jason Churchill of, a great prospect site you all should check out, has the most recent mock draft up saying that the Mariners are likely to take Andrew Miller. Take a gander at Jason's Break down over there its very informative. We will post what the Mariners do a little after 10 am when they make their pick today.

Last bit of info from em today, is really a story that makes you kind of sick. Take a look at this and puke along with me. What Ryan Anderson is doing now
In this article it says, "The culinary training helps Anderson feel at peace. His tuition is $76,000, with the Mariners paying $35,000, Anderson says."
ugh so typical isn’t it.............

Sunday, June 04, 2006

At least they're not the Royals.....

Despite, today's 9-4 loss, I can still say with confidence that the Royals are much worse off than the M's. Although, I guess that'd be like looking like this and saying, "at least I don't look like this." Or maybe it's more like feeling like this and saying, "at least I don't feel like this."

Jarrod Washburn for 3 more years folks. Nice work on that one Bavasi.

Like Travis told us, we need to get the All-Star vote out for Jose Lopez. You can do that here. By the way, 25 vote maximum? I used to vote 25 times by the fourth inning back in the Dome.

And what's with the poll on the M's official site? "Situational hitting" is what the Mariner nation thinks the biggest problem is. Hmmmm....

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Breaking him down to build him up...

I think I figured out Mike Hargrove's plan for Jeremy Reed. After reading this article from the TNT this morning, it all became so clear. See, Hargrove figures that the best way to turn Reed into a good player is to break him down. How is doing this:

1) Taking away his ability play defense
“You work on everything you can before the game, including fly balls during batting practice,” Reed said Friday. “But it can’t be the same. In batting practice, hitters don’t get fooled. In games, they do – and you have to know how to react to those swings.

“The other night in Texas, Michael Young hit a ball I thought I should have had, but it just went off my glove.”

2) Robbing him of his confidence
“I’ve tried to stay positive mentally, to be tough,” Reed said. “That is the hardest part. Coming to the park not knowing if you’re going to play is just different. I’ve never been a bench player, so that’s been an adjustment.

Look, Reed hasn't exactly earned the right to play every day with his performace at the plate. But, he has to be given a chance to prove whether or not he is going to be part of the Mariners future. Hargrove either 1) doesn't think Reed can cut it as an everyday player, 2) thinks his best chance to win now and thus save his job is to sit Reed against lefties, or 3) has a man crush on Willie Bloomquist.

So, what do we think? Should Reed be getting the chance to play everyday?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Behind the Curtain . . .

I am leaving my office in thirty minutes to catch a plane to Miami, and since we all know that nothing gets done in the last thirty minutes of any day, I will bless the Magic with my first post.

I first became a Mariners fan right around the time that Ken Griffey, Jr. made his major league debut. Prior to that, when people asked me where I was from, I told them that I had just moved from New York. That was, of course, not true. But, with the rise of Junior, Seattle became a major league city, and I was happy to admit residence.

I now live in the Nation's Capital, a city that has gone from no baseball, to attempting to create an Office of Baseball as an actual city agency.

I will not promise the detailed analysis of individual games that Travis and Mike provide. I can, however, promise lots of hyperlinks. Because hyperlinks are cool.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Welcome new Mariner Magic contributor Chris

We've hit a rut here. PWhit is nowhere to be found, and Travis and I are extremely jaded. So, it's time to mix things up. No, this isn't a Hargrove-esque desperation lineup change. This is like a deadline deal to add that final piece that makes you a championship contender.

Without further ado, Magic faithful Chris has joined us. Chris is my older brother and is here to give us the shot in the arm we need. When he brought up Tommy Herr, there was no question he had to be a part of this.

I'll let Chris make a post introducing himself.