If the vets like Raul and Morales lead the kids on a improbable pennant chase, there will be many lessons learned - on the importance of April and May. The Hawks came up short of the Super Bowl, and no doubt wish they'd handled games in Arizona, St. Louis, Detroit and Miami a little better. They return sky high for this season, with confidence, knowing at the very least they will compete. The team needs to compete, more than it needs to look at more kids, but I'm hoping and expecting we'll do both.
Photo credit: when Shaun T. meets neo-barbarism
MONTERO STEALING, THEY NOTICE THE FACT, THROW to 2B, SO HE PULLS UP HALFWAY: the M's chances of making the playoffs are 1%.
I just made that up. And it is certainly very near the facts.
SHORTSTOP, LAUGHING INTO HIS GLOVE, HAS THE THROW SAIL PAST HIM: The Mariners have won 8 and lost 5 against -- wait for it -- the Oakland A's. One eye swelled shut and their nose all over their face, they took on this AL West trip and ... won 7, losing 6. Yo Adrian -
BALL APPROACHING CF, MONTERO WISELY RETREATS to 1B: Rauuul is probably the biggest reason that this ballclub is still fighting.
Some people won't care that the Mariners are still fighting. You, the discerning SSI reader, DO care that they are still fighting, whether or not they win the fight. There are many issues associated, that extend beyond the pennant chances in 2013.
And: hey, at least it's a major league town. I'd be glad to have the Sonics here, whether or not they were in a rebuild. If the Sonics were 20-and-28, I'd go down to the hardwood a time or two. In the big picture, it would still be NBA basketball. Tuesday night, there's MLB baseball on TV.
.... okay, even I'm not buying it. See you at Cheney, eh...
Dr. D groks, through Eric Wedge's relaxed military bearing, that he is secure in his job and that he knows it. This seems odd to us, but it is not unwelcome. Slap me silly, this ballclub doesn't know it's dead. That, sir, commands respect. Mo', Lonnie and I have seen a whale of a lot of M's teams that didn't.
The Mariners are a 20-for-27 streak away from being back in it. (If one fine morning, we blog an M's team that is 54-and-50 and on a tear, yes, it's going to be interesting. Such a team could get to +10 or more games over .500 by the end of the year.)
With this type of roster, it would require a red-hot streak by the rotation, and for the offense to be something other than a mewling kitten hoping that the coyotes will leave it alone.
You can judge for yourself whether that's possible; clearly, it is. We didn't say likely. "I believe in going through the losing, watching kids figure things out. It makes the winning more fun." In this context "going through" means ---> never having to say you're sorry. About hoping for a hot streak, as in.
They've got the Pirates coming into Safeco with their three best home starters on the mound, followed by the Cubs. This might be the final opportunity to climb back to relevancy. If they are going to go on any kind of run this year, this is the time. Of course, then they've got the Rangers, Reds, Red Sox and Angels before the break...
to changing the nature of their franchise. Indeed, I hope so. And they definitly have more entertaining moments this season than any since 2009. But I think they are still the Lucy to our Charle Brown, at least for 2013. (Apologies if my sudden, vague sense is correct that someone else has recently used this metaphor on SSI. It IS apt.)
Agreed, Wedge is relaxed, seemingly. I think Z has probably told him the job is his through this season. As I just posted in another thread, if we finish at 70 wins, the job isn't his for next season.
I can not see us EVER going 20-7, as configured.
Gimme Ackley in LF/CF and Miller at SS, Eram (and probably Walker) then I might be able to. There's a chance that a young team, with some MethuseRaul leadership might just get excited-stupid-torrid. A quasi-healthy Morse would help. Guti can't be quasi-healthy so I'm forgetting about him. But a Guti as a 4th OF would be nice for 5 or 6 innings before he shattered again.
Right now the 3 WC chasing teams are 10, 8 and 7 games above .500. 86 wins would be the minimum floor for the M's to shoot for. 52-33 here on out? That's WAY better than Detroit is right now. It's even better than St. Louis is.
A 1% chance is rather optimistic.
Other teams have to trade to get better, but the Ms just improved at 2nd Base and Catcher for the cost of roster space. Pryor and Kinney are within a week of being healthy and ready to back up the bullpen, Erasmo Ramirez looks like he was ready to return 2 weeks ago, Maurer might be ready for another swing at the Majors soon, same with Ackley, and Brad Miller is running a 1.000 OPS at Shortstop in AAA. Ibanez, Morse, and Bay seem to have done a good job of teaching the kids to NEVER roll over and give up. There's still the last ember of hope burning, but if the Blue Jays and Padres (both written off as early in the season as the Mariners...well, maybe not as early since so many were burying the team preseason) can drag themselves from the gutter, so too can this team.
The thing is ... if you look at the team splits ... the offense this year is slightly better (in OPS) at home?!? The HRs still lag road HRs ... and the current home edge is likely tansient. But, the offense has basically been the same home and away, (unlike last year, when the road simply destroyed the offense).
But, on the pitching side, Seattle roading arms have been beyond horrendous.
Home: 20-18; 3.38
Road: 14-25: 4.86
What's interesting is that while the starters started slowly, (back in the Beavan/Maurer days), going 9-14 in April with a 4.41 ERA. They went 10-9; 4.09 in May and 7-7; 3.06 in June.
It is the bullpen, which started out poor (3-3; 3.90 April), (2-5; 3.80 May) ... which has gotten smacked around in June (3-5; 6.14).
While I concur that Erasmo is going to make the rotation better, and I continue to believe that Ackley is likely going to be a much better hitter on his return, it is the bullpen that is (for the moment), the biggest mess. But, again, this is an area where Seattle already has options available.
Despite his talent, I think Capps and his 2.1 HR/9 needs some time in Tacoma to get his head right.
I think pulling up Erasmo for the rotation and sloshing either Harang or Bonderman to the pen might well improve things, (though I really, really want to see Moran up at some point).
Going 20-7 "as configured" ... yeah, unlikely. But, why is it likely to remain configured as is, with the ready talent available and a number of struggling players with resaonable replacements performing just fine in Tacoma?
Personally, I think the arrival of Guti is a MUCH bigger deal than most believe. I think Saunders desperately needed a mental reset as much as physical rest, and the return of DTFT is exactly the kind of spark that a defense that was quietly plummeting down the DER rankings needed.
Even if Guti is only getting 3-4 starts a week, I think that might be exactly what the doctor ordered to get both the defense and Saunders going again.
Right, it IS possible for a team to "get good" in the last 1/3 of a season, and come into camp smiling the next season. Hadn't really thought about that factor.
Provocative, Mo' Dawg. You consider them incapable of a serious hot roll as is, but if they were to swap out three or four more vets for kids, you could see it. That's quite a visual.
I've got an inkling that they may go with Ackley in CF...
To go on a prolonged winning steak, the M's have to win the close games with an improved pen. Agree that Capps needs to go down and recover his confidence while working on his breaking ball. Hopefully Kinney will help. Maybe we can get a mulligan with the Blue Jays and swap Thames for Delabar.
If the M's were even to dream of a 20-for-27 type streak, that streak would NEED to have zero leads coughed up in the late innings. Maybe one at most.