Second Verse, Same as the First
Aren't we on verse ten of this song by now?
In the shouts, blissedj had this comment:
Team OPS 97 or not we still need more bats. We need more than Seager, Ibanez and Morales to produce when the game is on the line.
Can't argue with that. And if this year is starting to feel like previous ones over the last decade, you're not mistaken.
In 2012 at game 64 our record was 27-37. In 2013? 27-37. That's not progress in the standings, for sure. We've scored 229 runs and allowed 276. The BOR is KILLING us, but we're still only on pace to give up 700 runs (720 is AL-average the last 3 years). OTOH, we're pro-rating out to just 580 runs on offense. (3.58 R/G). Last year's team with a MOTO of snot-nosed kids scored 619. Both sides of the ball need to pick it up, but only the pitching has players likely to get more callups. This offense needs to do it with the players they have, healthy or not... and they're not.
It's funny: I FEEL better about this year's team than last year's.  We've demoted two hitters and I still feel better about it, like if we can just get Erasmo and Hultzen into the lineup to stop the 10-0 hemmhoraging from the back-end we might be able to play .500+ ball the rest of the year.  But the offense is not producing runs.  They certainly can't hit with RISP ( .199 BA and .670 OPS vs. the .724, .735 and .765 OPS numbers of the three AL West teams we're trailing). Maybe that's luck - our BABIP is bad, and we've seen many hard-hit balls find gloves.  We'd better hope it's luck that will turn around the rest of the year, because more offensive farm help isn't likely to be in the cards.
When the year started I thought this was a .500 teams, maybe a couple games over.  That's not a bad place to be, to play it out and see if you can squeeze out a few extra wins to get into playoff contention.  The BOR disaster cost us, injuries have as well... but other teams have suffered injuries and continued to succeed.  We had no depth to handle that early adversity. Wait, I take that back: we did have depth (Ibanez and Bay have played fine in roles they were not counted on for this year, and Shoppach is doing all he can) but it could not overcome the terrible performances of the youth as well as those bad breaks of luck early on.
And the terrible youth performances are what might get Jack fired, IMO.  Watching Fister become a top-10 pitcher in another org while the proceeds of that trade have meant nothing to us is bad.  Seeing Carp club for the Bo Sox while Smoak struggles to hit singles is also bad.  Montero's terrible performance, Ackley's horrendous plate struggles... these are not players who are scuffling, they are players who are drowning.
Is that because they're bad players?  If Ackley and Montero go elsewhere and have their talent start to produce the answer will be emphatically no. But can they produce here?  If they would, when would that be?  Again, it FEELS like we have a raft of talent ready to storm the beaches, but the only talents that have actually stormed anything in the last several years are Seager, Pineda and the bullpen kids. Pineda is long gone. Sandy's been on this train a long while: for whatever reason the Mariners throughout several regime changes have not produced a single bonafide success at the plate since A-Rod, the greatest talent of his generation.  Here's hoping Seager is that success, and merely the first of many.  Without that, we're in a ton of trouble even with our prospects and high draft picks.
I love all the varied minor league talent we've added, but is this regime the one that can mold all that talent into productive major leaguers, or is that some other organization that will wind up doing that with our drafted players?  Jack needs more success on that front soon to justify keeping his job instead of turning over the farm bursting with good talents to someone who CAN take advantage of that bounty.
DaddyO wrapped up his frustration with this bow:
Despite whatever criticisms you might level at those other organizations, they're all run significantly better than ours. They're all run differently, but all better than the Seattle Mariners. The proof is in the pudding.
That works for me too.  
The Mariners have won 90+ games just five times in their history.  Five. You remember 2007, the cute team with 88 wins and some false hope? That was the SEVENTH BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE IN TEAM HISTORY.
The A's have won 90+ seven times since 2000.  The Angels have done it six times, with a couple of 89 win seasons and some fancy World Series ring or another they must have found in a Cracker Jack box. Texas has done it each of the last 3 years, and are certainly on pace to do it again this year.
That's our direct competition. Those aren't AL East teams or NL juggernauts we don't have to care about til the World Series we've never made comes around.  Those are the teams we have to leapfrog to get into the playoffs.  Did I expect to do that this year?  No.  But I did expect to be in contention for a wild-card berth in August.  We still can be, it will just take some work.  A lot of work.  And a MUCH better, more consistent performance than we've seen thus far.
Until we do provide those performances, both from the staff and the lineup, our company is not with our above "rivals" but with the Lastros - who have a winning record against us while being one of only two teams in the AL with a worse record than we have.
Same as the first, indeed.  We've certainly heard this song before.  Hoping for a sweep of the Astros (no more L until we can win some games against those dudes) to put us back on course.  Gotta stop shooting ourselves in the feet sometime, right?  Jack has the rest of the season left to prove his guys can improve their aim.


blissedj's picture

Doc talks about the "hard" RBI sometimes. From my view that is the problem with a large portion of our hitters. Has to be one of the softest league average offenses around. Smoak is a perfect example of this. OPS built on BB. Seems to hit many of his HR's in blowouts or puts up big numbers in September. Most of our team just doesn't get the knock with guys in scoring position (as you quote our RISP above). The guys doing most of the damage are vets that will (likely) be gone again next year. That team OPS is just gonna get softer and softer next season.
Can we hurry up and get this ballclub sold already? Can all the suits be kicked to the curb by the start of the winter meetings? Send Z in there with $3-400M in long term contract money burning a hole in his pocket? You can still build a farm system while signing a few veteran bats.
Too bad the M's didn't provide Chris Hansen with any fond childhood memories. Dare we even imagine the M's potential as a franchise with someone like him as owner? Someone with passion and resources? I do sincerely appreciate Nintendo keeping my team here in Seattle. Vivid memories of the possibility of the team going to Tampa or Indy during the Argyros and Smulyan years. But I'm at the point now where just having the team in town is no longer enough. How much longer am I supposed to be more jacked up about the M's winning than the people working there?


Fister and Carp were just lethal unforced errors. Smoak should have been in AAA to start the year with Carp at 1B. No reason to just throw Carp away. Montero and Ackley are rotten luck but losing Fister and Carp for nothing is just mind boggling.


Our rivals fail in development too.  Chris Davis was pretty worthless for Texas, so they traded him to B-More, who fixed his problem and now he's killing it.
But Texas has Moreland crushing the ball this season after a slow start.  Davis would be better, but their offense isn't hurting.
I agree (and did at the time) that Smoak should have been optioned to AAA and Cap should have been our 1B to start the season.  The Ms disagreed, and I think they were wrong.  But the fact that being wrong on that can sabotage an entire season is the problem in the first place.  Other teams have a margin for error.  For whatever reasons (poor bench construction, bad luck, lack of the proper replacements in AAA) we haven't been able to overcome any mistakes.
Look, I'm hugely fond of our new draftee Peterson as well as Ji-Man Choi for our next 1B filler, but they're a couple years away (certainly one, minimum).  So Smoak or Morales or whomever is gonna have to hold down the fort til one of them gets here, and then the rest of the lineup will have to carry water while they adjust to the league for a minute.
That's where our roster construction falls down: the base isn't solid enough to support the construction we're trying to do.  I'd actually like to try this year over, with both Morales and Morse back next year to help Seager and Saunders and Franklin and Zunino and Miller.  I'd like the offense to be in good working order by the time Choi and Peterson are called on.
I'd also like a million dollars and a pony.
I think Jack's guys are gonna be the ones who make up most of the next Mariners contender. If Walker, Hultzen and Erasmo come up like Apocalypse heralds that could be really soon, actually.
But if there are any more delays, then Jack is not gonna be the one helming the good ship Mariner when this happens... because like you said, we can't ride out the kinds of mistakes that every front office makes.  We have to be perfect, and we're not.

M's Watcher's picture

Ii enjoyed the highlight videos of several Rainiers getting game winning RBIs, just the ones that the big club has generally been lacking. At some point, the kids need to play. There are times they seem to be playing better than the chosen 25.
It doesn't seem like Ack is too far from his return, maybe at 1B. Any team could use a hitter like he's been in Tacoma. Or maybe Ryan is traded by the deadline, and Franklin goes to SS. Or they bring up both Miller and Ack to go with Seager and Franklin for an all-kids IF.


Same here. By this time last year the team didn't feel like it had the bona fide potential to be competitive offensively. This year from the get-go you felt the bona fide potential, partly because of some imported bona fide hitters, partly because earlier in the year they produced at a middle of the pack level. It shows how much first impressions linger. But once Saunders got injured and, once back, started pulling an Ackley, once Morse got injured and, once back, struggled, things have got so bad that unless you catch a stretch of games where Raul Ibanez does his best interpretation of Babe Ruth the only guys who can produce are D.P. Morales and Kyle Seager.


I definitely think we've been unlucky along with the unforced errors. You can survive one, but not both.
Imagine if Texas had coughed up Davis, *and* Moreland totally cratered, *and* Profar had a .500 OPS, *and* lost their starting OF for several weeks, *and* lost 2-3 potential SPs to ineffectiveness and injury.
I'm sure I'm missing some things, LOL.
Then imagine they had also traded Holland for peanuts.
Even Texas would struggle to shrug off all of that.

blissedj's picture

Neither Davis or Smoak worked out at 1b for them, so third choice Moreland took over. Good thing they had depth at 1B in the minors. Even Moreland is hurt at the moment. Elvis Andrus is currently at 600 OPS. Kinsler has missed time. One of their biggest bats in Josh Hamilton left via FA. Two-thirds of their OF might not be hurt but are hardly producing when healhty. Top OF prospect Julio Borbon flamed out. They also had high hopes for Max Ramierz, Taylor Teagarden, Joaquin Arias, Saltalamacchia We might even have to add Andrus in as a bust someday, a bit overrated imo. Almost an entire starting rotation sits on the DL in Lewis, Harrison, Ogando and Feliz. Texas has had their fair share of bad breaks and busted prospects and still sit atop the division.


they have fallen all the way down to being...uh...A .600 TEAM! Which is kinda what I'm saying. A well-run organization will still have down seasons, but to them a down season is .500. We DREAM of playing .500 ball.


The M's are 7-14 in games that are decided by 1-run or go to extra innings. A team simply cannot build a winning record losing 2 close games for every 1 it wins. IMO, there are 3 primary causes for the M's poor record in close games:
1. Poor roster construction, with too many 1B-DH types that limit managerial flexibility late in games and in extras.
2. Wedgie's poor managing; including poor bullpen management & poor tactical decision making late in games.
3. Consistent umpire bias against the M's, as documented by Jemanji, giving opposing teams more swings and M's batters fewer swings.
The M's do not have sufficient talent to over-come these disadvantages. It doesn't help that Wedgie never leaves the comfort of the dugout to protest biased umpiring against the M's -- how is this ever going to change unless the M's coaches and managers start confronting biased umps regularly? IMO, at least once a week an M's coach, or Wedgie himself, should get tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Anyway, it's not part of Wedgie's repertoire, and I don't expect him to change.
But changes are a-coming. Larry Stone has called for the heads of Lincoln and Armstrong; Baker has called for GMZ's head if the season doesn't turn around pronto. I'm curious if GMZ & Wedgie are joined at the hip. Is there any scenario in which GMZ is retained and Wedgie sent on his way? If so, I'm for it because I think that a different manager could turn this team around quickly. If not, get rid of them both -- if the price for keeping GMZ is keeping Wedgie, then I personally don't want to pay it because I think this team can never win with Wedgie as manager.


People WAAAAAY smarter than I have attempted to identify the "magic" that allows some teams to win 1-run games and others not.
And the conclusion has been ... it's LUCK. Not skill. Not roster construction. Not bullpen strength. Not offensive prowess.
As for the contention that the DH/1B glut roster construction explanation to the 1-run losing ... let's take a look at the last winning season for Seattle, (2009).
THAT club had Griffey/Sweeney clogging up the roster with LESS combined defensive ability than anybody on the current roster.
How did THAT club ... with LESS roster flexiblity do? 35-20 in 1-run games. 9-7 in extra innings.
THAT club had a 92 OPS+ (so ... worse than the current roster).
What that club didn't have ia 3 starters with ERAs above 5. Well ... early on they did. Jaku (5.32) and Olson (5.60) and Silva (8.60) combined for 25 starts on the season. BUT ... the end ERA+ was 110.
ALREADY this season, Saunders (5.12), Maurer (6.93), Harang (6.70), Beavan (6.26) and Bonderman (6.75) have combined for 36 starts. If we assume that Saunders is going to get under 5.00, then that drops the 5+ GS tally to only 26. But that means, with only 1/3 of the season completed we have already burned the same number of putrid volleys as all of 2009.
I too feel much better about this club than 2012 BECAUSE it is so brutally obvious where the primary defect is ... AND it is brutally obvious that there are improvement pieces close at hand.
What *I* see IS a .500 team. Since the end of the losing streak on May 25, the club has gone 8-8.
IMO, the losing streak was pretty much a direct result of getting "too high" in the Yankee series and crashing hard. That I strike up as "learning experience". I think the odds of handling the next "big series" win better are very high.
The math of the situation is simple. The club does NOT need 3 BOR starters with 3.50 ERAs to turn the club into a winner.
ALL it needs are three BOR starters with ERA in the 4.50 arena. The club *IS* playing .500 ball with 2 absolutely dreadful starters and one slightly subpar starter (Saunders).
If Saunders improves to 4.50, (real possibility based on past performance), and Erasmo pitches close to what he did last year ... and they can find ANY pitcher for the #5 slot that can post a 4.50 ... then the club can become VERY scary. The club can get VERY good quickly because they do not actually need a .900 hitter to save them or even a 2.98 arm to rescue them.
IMO, the reason the club needs those 4/5 starters is so there is a better chance of maintaining momentum. So far this season, the club has won 3 games in a row only twice. Aprilt 27-29 and May 1-4., and has not won more than 3 games in a row at all. Even Houston has a 6-game winning streak this year. Some of that is bad luck ... but mostly, it's the 3-5 starters have just been really bad.
Saunders has come around after a rough start. But, while Harang and Bonderman are both capable of throwing an occasional decent game, there is no hope they can sustain it for long, (IMHO).
I still believe the FIRST step toward becoming a winning team THIS year is Erasmo. The second step could be Hultzen ... or Maurer (part II) ... or Carraway ... or a mid-season trade. But, let's make that first step and then see what happens.


Great points, Sandy. I'll take Buck Showalter for my team's manager and you can have a trained monkey for yours, since the manager doesn't make any difference. I'll take the umpire bias in my favor, giving my team an average of +6 close ball-strike calls in its favor, since consistent umpire bias doesn's make any difference to the outcome of close games. And I'll take a roster with a bunch of speedy multi-position types who can steal a key bag and take third on a single and you can have a bunch of lumbering lummoxes who can only play station to station ball and can't play defense. And then I'll happily risk my considerable fortune against yours in a betting contest as to which team will win the most close games. Care to take the bet?


"The math of the situation is simple. The club does NOT need 3 BOR starters with 3.50 ERAs to turn the club into a winner."ALL it needs are three BOR starters with ERA in the 4.50 arena. The club *IS* playing .500 ball with 2 absolutely dreadful starters and one slightly subpar starter (Saunders)."
Here is what xFIP predicts going forward:
Blake Beavan: 4.33
Aaron Harang: 4.32
Joe Saunders: 4.56
Jeremy Bonderman: 5.07
Of course, xFIP isn't expecting Felix and Iwakuma to maintain Gibson/Pedro status:
Felix: 2.55
Hisashi: 3.13
I point these out, knowing full well (as a disciple of the great Jemanji) there is a hole in xFIP and BABIP and that not all fly balls and grounders are equal in speed. Still, smart guys who come up with these predictive stats say we have what you say we need to get "scary".
We also need good Michael Saunders. You know, I never noticed how close his and Seager's stats were last season (both 109 OPS+ with .738 matching OPSes). Eerily close all down the line. If Saunders can get back to what he did last season, and even improve on it the way Seager has, I see good things going forward. Saunders is the straw that stirs this drink, and I'm ready to move from Jim Beam to Jameson.


Great. You know which manage won the most 1-run games LAST year.
Yes, Beltimore went 29-9 in 1-run games last season.
They were 16-2 in extra inning games.
What you didn't bother to look up is where Baltimore ranked in terms of SBs last season. Give up?
In 2012, when Baltimore was winning practically every close game they could find, they stole a grand total of 58 bases. That was one LESS than Detroit, (and 33 less than 12th place Texas).
THIS year? In 2013, Baltimore is indeed leading the AL in SBs. Don't suppose you checked their 1-run record?
It's 9-8.
And, of course, after disparaging the lumbering lummoxes of baseball, you ignored the reality that Baltimore ranked 2nd behind only the Yankees in HRs in 2012, and actually currently rank #1 in HRs this year.
As for the comment about defense. Check the numbers. Seattle ranked #2 in DER (Baltimore 6th). Seattle had only 72 errors all season, while Baltimore tallied 106).
This year? Baltimore HAS improved its defense. They are 2nd in DER and have made only 20 errors, while Seattle has fallen to 7th in DER and made 27 errors.
But, that kind of destroys the notion that the quality of the defense is a critical factor in winning 1-run games. Baltimore is winning far fewer 1 run games this year with a better defense and better speed on the basepaths.
My contention was that 1-run games are largely luck. YOU picked the Baltimore Orioles as your team to disprove that theory. The team (with the same manager) that went 29-9 is today 9-8. That "ability" to win close ones has basically vanished.
But, since you picked Showalter ... it made me wonder ... maybe he DOES have an ability to win close ones. So, let's check his 4 seasons in Texas:
2003: 17-20
2004: 24-19
2005: 24-29
2006: 17-26
Total: 82-94
So, let's see ... your notion that Showalter has magical 1-run managing skills: FALSE
Your notion that Stealing bases and not being a lumbering team wins 1-run games: FALSE
As for the umpire bias ... I'll stick with the 2007 Ms and 2009 Ms.
2007: 27-20 in 1-run games
2009: 35-20 in 1-run games (by the way, this was the team with Branyan, Griffey, Sweeney and Lopez ... you know ... lumbering lumuxes).
Did MLB issue an edict when Jack arrived in Seattle to STOP the strikezone bias? Because I recall the strikezone bias comments going back a looooong way.
Three strikes. You're out.


Sandy, you seem to have failed to understand my points. I'll repeat them one more time - then I'm done with this line of argumentation. My argument is simple - the 2013 M's are set up to lose close games because 1) they have a poor in-game manager who handles the bull pen poorly; 2) they are consistently on the wrong side of umpires' ball-strike calls that extend at bats for the opposing team and shorten M's at bats, and 3) the M's have a roster dominated by positionally-inflexible slow runners that limit the late game running game and player substitutions. Not surprisingly, after last night's game the M's are 8-14 in 1-run games/extra inning games.


The Ms look right now like a team that expects to lose, except when Felix and Kuma are pitching, when they expect to play a tight game and lose at the end or in extras. Even a short win streak (I'll take 6 games and a 7-3 over 10) would help the atmosphere and attitude. Without going through all the math, having 3 starters who lose 60% of the time means we have something less than a 5% chance of winning 5 straight. Unfortunately, the team is playing as if they know that - they say the right things, but who can explain the number of clankers by our "best-in-the-game-fielding SS", except that he is known for having trouble focusing, and that's it's hard to focus when you are constantly losing. It's a self-fulfilling attitude which has got to get broken. I'm hoping a change in roster helps shake this up and get it back on track.

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