Postgame April 9

=== Jarrod Washburn ===

Nice game of pitch-and-catch with Gutierrez today.  :- )   Fun to watch.

A life sensei once enlightened us:  the way that people get others to take extreme positions -- is to take an extreme position at the opposite side.  In other words, if you want to get people saying that there is no such thing as global warming, then start preaching straight-faced that we have five years to live.  LOL.

In my good-natured opinion, the "Backup CF Chavez over HOF'er Abreu" mantras on defense have become kinda silly this offseason.  But!  D-O-V doesn't react by saying defense does not matter at all, and it also doesn't react by saying that defense can't have a large impact on the game.

Today's game was defense at its very best:  0 errors, 3 brilliant plays (Gutierrez-Chavez-Betancourt DP), another 4-5 nice plays, synchronized precisely on the day in which Jarrod Washburn was throwing fungoes to the fielders.  A rare sports game that was drawn up on the chalkboard in the pre-game, and executed as though the other team was an afterthough.

Great day for the local fangraphs enthusiasts.  :golfclap:


Washburn was also throwing the ball MUCH better than in 2008.   A glance at the statline might lead you to believe that he simply had balls hit at people -- but a glance at the statline wouldn't clue you in to all the poor swings the Twins took today.

Wash was touching 89, and was locating the ball well, and (amazingly) was getting excellent use out of an 80 changeup that the Twins swung through several times.  They bit on the change hook, line, and (um) sinker.

Blowers was raving over the improved change, and Dr D is inclined to agree.  If Washburn's change gets some swings over the top, and his K's bounce back to 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 a game, he's right back into "average-solid" territory.

Eyes slideways.


=== F-Gut ===

D-O-V has been on the record as disappointed with Gutierrez' speed, but in the first four games, our young CF has pretty much put "paid" to that charge.   He's got very nice baseball speed, reacts exceptionally well to the ball, is instinctive and has outstanding body control.

He does in fact remind a lot of Mike Cameron out there -- though he is a notch slower than Cammy used to be -- and has landed with the same splash that Cammy did.

He's in the 2 hole not because it optimizes the lineup:  it does not.  You want OBP in the 2 hole if you're playing S-O-M; that would be Branyan, Sweeney, Griffey, etc.   He's in the 2 hole because he gives a professional at-bat, and it becomes contagious.  F-Gut is hitting #2 as a chemistry thing, and Wakamatsu has said that.

The misgivings about his match to Safeco are the only problem left.

Capt Jack felt that Gutierrez was the big starting point for his vision of a winning ballclub, and first four games, it looked that way.  Mike Cameron was a big part of the personality of the 116-win team in Safeco.  Gutierrez has been a big part of the Mariners' personality this first week.


=== Defense ===

0 errors first four games, a dozen impressive plays, keying crisp play all around.

That's not the KEY to the improved play -- it's the M's OFFENSE that is putting much more pressure on good SP's than expected -- but defense is one factor in the winning atmosphere.


=== Bottom Line ===

The Twins were blinkin' lucky to split, this being a playoff team defending its home park.   If not for Morrow's first meltdown the Mariners would have won three, and would have deserved three.  The Mariners played better, deserved to win, and did win.  Two, shoulda been three.

The commercial said, tritely, "it's a new approach and a new attitude."  Amusing that in this case, it's true.


Dr D



I still blame Wakamatzu for the loss in game two. Bases loaded, two run game...and he goes to the worst reliever in the bullpen. Awsome.
Guys I trust:
Morrow (yes...I still trust him...he'll have some control problems, but overall, he'll have good numbers)
Lowe (yes...I saw that outing of his yesterday...and that was eye-popping...and how did he fan 3 in 12 innings in ST? He was working on stretching out his arm and throwing a lot of fastballs to heat up the arm...he was not executing his mid-season gameplan)
Jakubauskas (excellent command and crisp little breaking pitches)
Kelley (haven't seen him in games yet, but in ST he looked tall out there with great command)
Corcoran (no he's not a dominant guy, but he can get you some easy contact and with our outfield D, that will play well)
Guys I do not trust:
Batista (sucks)
Aardsma (talented, but even with the good results in his first appearance, I was very nervous watching him the whole time)
RRS, King Felix and Erikkkk Bedard against the As...let's win two.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

I feel ya, Matt.
Personally, I don't "trust" anyone in the pen, besides my patient acceptance of what Morrow is and can become.
While I think some of the guys you mention "could" be decent options, for me, the entire pen is unsettled at best, a disaster area at worst. My only trust heading into 2009 was actually Jiminez, (sigh).
Jaku and Kelley are both just high potential guys for me at the moment. Optimism? Yeah, that's reasonable. Trust? Sorry, too early for my tastes.
I'm sticking by my general outline from my Miracle Ms post -- that the bullpen is going to be ugly and erratic probably through most of May. I think the club CAN get it sorted out - but I think it's going to take longer than most would like.


Someone on one of the other blogs posted a tagline in the comments section that I get a kick out of. 2009 M's: Good to the Last Out. Thus far, they have been. Even in the Silva game - last year's team would have folded like a piece of wet cardboard early in the game but these guys just kept with the game plan with no panic evident. This is an entertaining team to watch.
BTW, Johjima had better watch out. I don't know if Johnson's offense will translate to the bigs but he looks and acts like the kind of guy that the pitchers are going to loooooove having behind the plate. If Joh doesn't hit, he might be giving up more and more PT to a catcher not named Clement.


Hey, Doc, Happy Easter to you, sir!
1. You just wrote up a whole bunch of paragraphs without mentioning that a certain, oh, first-ballot hall of famer was still in Arizona (they gave him 10 AB in one game -- cool idea -- and he got 7 hits). Think he'll warm up to a renewed "crispness" to the whole affair?
2. F-Gut = Cammy; Lowe = Nelson; Jakubauskus = Abbott; Morrow = Sasaki; Ichiro = Ichiro . . . hmmmm? :-) Not getting carried away . . .
3. Joh and Bedard are buddies in the new Waka-world!?
4. Here is a "real live" starting pitcher who will actually probably remain a starting pitcher:
Alex White, UNC: 7 GS, 5-0, 45.2 IP, 53 K, 10.6 K/9, 18 BB, 3.6 BB/9
Or, you might prefer his teammate, Dustin "Olerud with wheels" Ackley:
126 AB, .413/.522/.738/1.260, 7 2b, 2 3b, 10 HR, 8-for-9 SB (has hit .400 every year in college)
Ackley was supposed to move to CF after TJ surgery, but looks like he's still playing 1B.


Forgot re Ackley:
26 walks, 15 Ks
In 2008: 278 AB, 53 BB, 27 K
Last year he had 21 doubles and 7 HR; this year so far, 7 doubles, 10 HR, all while continuing to walk twice as often as striking out and showing some speed to boot (19-for-25 SB in 08 and 4 triples).
If he can do all that, it might not matter where he plays on defense.


Metal bats.
I don't trust .500 OBP achieved with metal bats.
To Sandy...I trust guys if they have good stuff and good command. Lowe has GREAT stuff again. Consistency is yet to be determined but I'd rather watch him throw than Batista any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Jaka has solid stuff and GREAT command. Again...consistency is key, but the dude has all the right tools. Same for Kelley. Morrow...well I'll be nervous when he pitches until he gets into a groove, but the guy fun to watch once he gets rolling. This team has lots of good arms in there...and Batista is not one of them.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

I *hope* you're right about the young guys. But, I've been fooled too many times with sterling AAA control that devolve into "Nibblers Anonymous" candidates when they reach the bigs to be overly enthusiastic about any first-timer.
I think we're definitely on the same page regarding Batista, however. Only took you three years to catch up to me. :-)

NyMariner05's picture

Matt, I think Wak went to Batista because Lowe was pretty lost in spring training and he didn't know what he was going to get from him in that spot. I think if he knew Lowe would throw with the stuff and command he displayed a night later, he certainly would have gotten the call in that spot.
As for Alex White, I'm not overly impressed with this guy. He doesn't have the top end potential (IMO) compared to a number of the high schools pitchers, Crow, or even some of the college arms gaining momentum this year. Did White have a big start recently? Because his numbers had been looking pretty pedestrian last time I checked. With the #2 pick, he's probably the most MLB ready, but I just don't see the upside to warrant that type of pick and money.

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