M's 1, A's 4 - Plagiarizing Yer Own Pre-Game, Dept.


=== Elliot Carver "Tomorrow's News Today" Dept. ===

1. Bet the UNDER on the runs scored.  Check.

But no need to panic, kiddies.  The M's struck some balls sharply.  McCarthy and Colon didn't give them anything cheap, but not all SP's will pitch as well as McCarthy and Colon pitched -- ahead in so many counts, so well located in the hitters' counts.  Nor will so many batted balls find mitts.

Hey, the M's are on pace for 162 homers.  Scope out the team run totals for high-HR ballclubs ;- )


2.  Colon moves the heater around the zone at will, taking advantage of Nelson's home plate calls, and he thumps the M's with the fastball barrage.  Check-a-roon-i.

True, he mixed a few changeups in late, but if you saw the game, you got the idea.  A crisp fastball, inside, outside, knees, jam pitch, and you'll get outs.


3.  Vargas as sharp as a RAZOR and the A's get terrible swings all night.  And the contrast was immediately obvious, when Kelley and Sherrill come in.  The A's start locking up and loading up, instanter.  

Funny how you don't realize how well an 89 mph starter is throwing, until a coupla non-ace relievers enter the ballgame and have to deal with the same hitters.  It was like Johnny Knoxville bouncing 2-liter soda bottles off concrete.  Imagine how tough that Vargas bottle-cap was, considering the cola explosion once Kelley came in. 

We bragged on Vargas' excellent BABIP and HR/F, which was on display indeed in this one.  Only 3 K's for Vargas, and yet the A's never get a whiff.  Check-O-Matic.

Vargas looked like an All-Star in this particular game, a 21st-century Jimmy Key.  His fastball looked about like Bedard's, 90 mph range and darting slash-ily across the plate.  His location was precise, the tempo and rhythm just a pleasure to behold.  He could not wait to get the ball back and get the ball airborne again.

But last year he was among the league's bottom 5 SP's for run support... how about a great big helpin' o' NOTHIN, chump.


4.  Behind Wilhelmsen and League, the M's are skating on (paper-)thin ice.  Check with a capital C.

Go to Erasmo #3, probably Furbush-Delabar behind him.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  And the M's current bullpen is the mother of early-April trades for short men.

If you didn't see the game, Wilhelmsen was warming up in the 7th with the score tied.  You might have noticed that he'd thrown two (2) innings the previous night, and here he was up, in preparation for 4-5 more outs tonight.  Then Kelley gave up the loser, Capt. Insano threw a folding chair, and sat back down.

Kelley, by the way, when he gave up the jack to Cespedes, reacted about as angrily as you'll see a pitcher react during a major league game. This follows on Dustin Ackley spewing rage down at the field when he botched the one-hopper yesterday.  The M's are into it.


5.  Smoak was the Pre-Game Pick, him and Seager being probably the M's best pure fastball hitters.  Admittedly, Seager got gut-kicked.

Smoak coulda had two more doubles these two games, which woulda made 2 doubles, 1 homer, and a giddy fanbase.  Anyway, he is timing the ball neatly, relaxing into his swing and getting a grrreat look before he fires the bat.  Checkaroo.


6.  The loss doesn't hurt the M's.  At all.  Check, check, over and out.

Felix in a week,

Dr D



Lots of mush. 
Sherrill might as well have been pitching BP.  Grooved FBs abounded.
And it wasn't anybody's fault but the pitchers.  Wedge played his percentages perfectly.   2 righties coming up and a man on?  Time to pull the starter in the 7th and go with some RH heat.  Result? HR.
Next guys up are lefties.  Go get the former closer.  Result? HR and some base hits.  Now we're in a garbage game, just trying to keep it close enough to have a prayer against their set-up or closer types.
In comes Delabar.  There goes ANOTHER home run.
It was a joke.  I know the ball carries in the dome, but those balls were just crushed.
Kelley and Sherrill can't have too many more showings like that, or Erasmo and Furbush are gonna need to move up the bullpen ranks quickly. 
We're gonna have some close games this year, improved offense or no.  Gotta be able to win those bullpen battles.


Everything is encouraging until we start seeing erosion among the "flagship" players -- which Kelley, Sherrill and Delabar ain't.
Sherrill was throwing mush in AZ, too.  I think that's why it looks like they are keeping Leutge.  Delabar is pretty high on the risk/reward scale for a short reliever in my book.  I think Ruffin is the guy they want in that role, but he wasn't sharp in AZ.
Eventually we'll have a host of folks looking for work in the pen -- Noesi? Beavan? Snow?  Millwood even?


Hovers on the horizon.
Cesar Jimenez is still around as a lefty option.  You know he struck out 10 guys per with a changeup outta the pen last year, right?  Injuries derailed his path and he walks a few guys, but he’s an option.
Charlie Furbush has a problem with hits, not Ks or accuracy.  If a pen relegation helps him cut the hits down he’ll be plenty helpful.
Forrest Snow can be a decent reliever right now, and his stuff is still improving.
Chance Ruffin is destined for a late-innings role at some point with that arm of his.  He’ll be a help.
Stephen Pryor has one of the uglier motions around.  His stuff is still terrific.
Brian Moran has to prove the first half of last year was the fluke and not the second half.  Once he does that, look out world.
I’m not really worried about 2013 pen arms, the same way I’m not worried about our 2013 rotation.  But the placeholders need to do a better job so we don’t have to rush the vintage we’re currently ripening on the farm.
Even though I really want to rush it, from an excitement standpoint…
Which is why Erasmo is in the pen, I have to assume: partly to provide an immediate stopgap should Millwood or Beavan waver, and partly to ensure that our pen doesn't implode in April while we get the moving parts in order.
If the pen really does struggle I do wonder if they'd move Noesi back to it and call up one of our crazy-good starting prospects, though.  The pitcher shuffle will likely be the key to this season.  The offense will be mostly the same.  Sometimes Chone, sometimes not, but for the most part?  The healthy lineup should be a consistent one.
It's the arms that are gonna have to find their seats in this game of musical chairs - quickly - if we plan to enjoy a competitive season.

wufners's picture

What's up with Robles?  He healthy again?  Still starting?  Seems like he'd be a heck of shot in the bullpen's arm as a late inning lefty.  I can live with a couple of walks along his way to striking out the side.


And I'm very much looking forward to his season.  But last season was REALLY off the rails, and he's lost a ton of time to this injury now. 
So I'm not expecting him to get anything more than a September look this year, and that's if his year goes well.  We have other lefties for the first time in a while.  I'm hoping Robles brings his unhittable 10K / 3.5 BB self to the bullpen, though:  his arm is (was?) very live, and I want to see him healthy and contributing to the big league club next year.

muddyfrogwater's picture

Nice opposite field homer by Smoak from the left side. He pretty much muscled the ball out of the stadium. he doesn't quite mirror his swing from the right side. In fact when he turns on one from the right side it kind of makes you say "man alive, he can swing the bat." I don't think Safeco will ever hurt Smoakie.
How much longer will it take Ichiro to move closer to the front of the order? He's a lead off hitter, and looks like the same old Ichiro to me. Ichiro, Ackley, Smoak, Montero as the one thru four sounds better. Then ride the hot bats in the five and six holes.

RockiesJeff's picture

Jeff, I do enjoy your comments and analysis very much. But I must admit I also love to see what pictures you are going to pull out of the rabbit's hat for your work. Never a disappointment. Busy spring but I am looking forward to see what everyone has to say about the new season!

ghost's picture

So true...Jeff has got to be the best I've seen at stealing web images that perfectly illustrate the basic mood of the upcoming post and making the reader chuckle. :) I don't know how he does that so well.


If Ichiro's primed for revenge, that will be bbiigggggggg.
Monday's game sort of reminded me ... in an absolute sense, Ichiro's talent towers above the game.  Maybe Ackley could afford to compare talent reservoirs, I dunno.  We'll see whether Montero can.
But Ichiro is the HOF'er here, and HOF leadoff hitters are usually effective at 38-39.


Funny you should say that, 'cause I was sort of wondering whether the pics were worth doing or not ...
Youse two mentioned that and I scanned the archives, checking the pics, and they did give me a little bit of a 'G-rated Dodger Blues' impression...  perhaps need to go a little heavier on the satire and a little lighter on the conventional baseball pics?
Feedback is welcome :- )

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