M's 5 Astros 7 - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
the Newcomers With No Names continue to battle impossible odds (bad luck)



Blissedj consoled all of us with his comment that this has been the most viscerally painful week in M's history.  He should feel better this morning, since the M's followed up their suffering --- > by assigning Mitch Haniger the key game-losing flub in right field.  Next up, some random Astro hits a double Wednesday, causing an enraged Edgar to charge out of the dugout, Woody Hayes style, to clothesline the hapless batter and get himself banned from baseball.  He and Pete Rose then set up an offshore poker site and are later killed by pirates.

Who was the guy who said "there's no such thing as a moral victory"?  Was that Bill "Tuna" Parcells, or George C. Patton slapping down a cowardly soldier, or Lloyd McClendon watching an Erasmo start, or what?

It wasn't ALL bad luck.  The Astros had like 18 total bases to our 11.  We will grant that some question exists whether the M's have a JUGGERNAUT.  But they're clearly more talented than last year's 86-win version.  Hey, James Paxton by himself is more talented than last year's 86-win team.



One of my fave 2 or 3 Miranda starts.  He was sticking 93-94 MPH fastballs on the corners, taking charge of counts with authority.  He used his new "foshball" to generate 7 swings and misses out of 30 attempts.  His split was way plus, considering it was his third not second weapon.

Miranda had been throwing a "changeup" that veered the same 9" armside as his fastball.  Today he was apparently applying the third finger, not the second, because the ball was twisting back in gloveside.  The results were more than we could have hoped for.   Considering his CTL ratio is 9:1 in 10 innings, and that he's got 3 homers allowed, he's stylistically the right Scrub to put in front of this OF.

The M's may be 2 and 7, but their second string rotation could kick the stuffing out of Korea.  MLB first, baby.



Buhner and Blowers have a cool rapport in the booth.  When Mitch Haniger doubled in Dyson, to make the score 1-2, they were both like "HOW did you LIKE the way he hung IN on that SLIDER!"  If you're truly planning to appreciate the M's new 5-WAR right fielder, don't miss the way that he sticks his teeth into 90-MPH breakers on the outside corner.

When his double went high off the wall, though, it lowered his OPS to 3 ticks short of 1,000 so he's got some work to do.



PYTHAG UPDATE the M's have 33 runs for, 39 runs against.  That's not desirable but of course it's not 2-7, either.  Dr. D hereby predicts that their club will not finish the season batting .197 with a .299 SLG, either.  If you're scoring almost 4 a game despite a .299 SLG, I guess you're running some bases.  Small favors.

We'll lecture the Denizens once again.  Didn't that Paxton tsunami feel all the better for the fact that you haven't bailed on this team?  Tonight we see Mike Fiers, whatever that might be, and have scored 9-6-5 runs our last three.  Here's to another 7 or so, and a .500 record on Jack Billingham Day.

If our Jack Billingham strategy doesn't pan out, it's still only three more games until we win!



Dr D




Was mostly good.  He did have a few sequences that included several misses far from the glove.   None worse than the McCann AB I shouted about where 4 straight times Ruiz set up low and away.   The first 2 pitches went high inside missing by over a foot to the opposite corner.  3rd went  low inside and the 4th finally hit the spot.  

The other thing is Springer loves first pitch fastballs, stop giving them to him.  I want Rickey to keep the leadoff homer record.  Fien showed a nice sequence to him later in the game.

Haniger...His OPS is now .995, so he had a bad sliding catch-miss.  He'll probably make that play quite often and it was bases loaded (walk, walk, ridiculous Ichiro high chopper off the plate) 2 out end of the inning moment keeping a 1 run lead intact.  Move on to the next day.  He didn't create the situation, 5 minutes before it was 2 out nobody on.  It sucked.  Oh well. 

Heredia still has 3 measly AB.  Something can more easily be done about that. 


1) Maniger had to cover a LOT of ground to have any chance at all on that ball.

2) The ball was slicing away from him and knuckling hard

3) He somehow managed to very slightly outrun it

4) if his glove were 1 or 2 inche sfurther up or back relative to his head, he makes that catch and the Mariners win the game.

That's not a "flubbed catch"...that's an "almost great play".


"... almost made a great play."  Heard that it was determined a 32% success play.  It's the kind of play I particularly remember Buhner making 100 of though I can't say for sure if he'd have gotten to that.  I can't even say for sure if Ichiro would have caught that on the run, played it safe and thrown out the second runner at the plate or made a somewhat rare slide himself.

Baserunning errors, Valencia failing to secure a pop over the railing (reaching tentatively) and other failures to produce at the plate were more blameable.  


He looks completely lost on offense, on defense and, on the rare occsions when he gets on base...on the bases.  Stupid, brainless plays everywhere...HORRENDOUS pitch recognition...

DFA him sooner rather than later and let's go trade for a real 1B


He has made some good defensive plays at first, there was a third base class diving stop 2-3 days ago.  He isn't starting worse than Adam Lind, who was 1/17 with 7 strikeouts and no walks while being platooned to this point last season.  For Valencia, he's only seen 3 of his 38 PA vs. opposite handed pitching...and it's hard to be too mad at Valencia's 5/35 start when Nelson Cruz is 6/34 two spots in front of him.  I'm still a fan of getting Motter in on at least a partial platoon at 1st, especially after what he accomplished last night.


Motter wouldn't make sense as a platoon with Vogelbach but makes perfect sense to face Righties in place of Valencia.  O'Malley of course works with either.  Freeman also makes sense until Segura returns and he's looked passable there at least.  At least if he's hitting, that is.  He got the PA his first day up which seems to set him up for a start against Fiers tonight. 

With Valencia the idea he shouldn't face many RHP was always there.  His career suggests it although last year was a different story.  Ok, you gave it a try but it's not working and not the only option.  


We remember that Valencia was Dipoto's #1 target.  Let's console ourselves that as long as Valencia isn't sliding down out of the #6 slot, the M's probably think this is a short-term thing.

Myself, am not sure why the extreme Valencia love and the M's haven't indicated what the reasons are.  It cuts the value of a World Series #1-#5 if right after that you have popup punching clowns coming after four spots after them.


I believe it.  Heard the 32 3rd hand kind of (radio guy said it was tweeted).  


For sure most RF's wouldn't have gotten a glove to it.  I think it's just that it looked so odd that Haniger didn't glom on to it.  Given all the smooth operations we've seen from him so far.

VERY relevant, the 18% - 36% consideration.  +1

But the real point is the M's bad luck so far.  that ball was not hard-hit.


Can somebody else stopwatch that play.  The article says he has to cover 77 ft in 4.3 seconds, but I get something closer to 4.0 seconds.  4.3 and the announcer is already saying he can' make the play.

Personally, I called it an error at the time.  He got to the ball,  Should have made the catch. 


Yes, many of us have caught a lot of balls while sliding.  Not sure it's a big deal to A+ minor leaguers and above.  BUT the word today was that the lights gave Maniger some issues and THAT makes such a play next to impossible.

Mitch Haniger can play right field for me any time.  LOL.  No need to lawyer up on this one.

;- )


So he had a 68% chance of flubbing it.

Looking forward to a long, fulfilling year of baiting Matty!

Of course that is the way of the world, that most people don't even get there on time and those who do, get yelled at.  Have a small cone once in a while Haniger you slug.


...but was too lazy to look up the data, at least I had been. Probably would have checked it out before the weekend. As good as our pitching started, and as strong as the bats have come on recently, a lot of what we've faced just plain FELT like bad luck. Oh certainly, demoralizing and all that - we expect better this year, what a thought! - but a Pythag of around 4-5 (3.8-5.2?) feels right... should have almost certainly gotten two more wins out of that than we did. All kinds of factors at play besides raw math, but this validates my continued cautious optimism at least to a degree.

Paxton on fire, Haniger excelling, life in the MOTO, Segura hitting well and not out long, bench situation corrected, Miranda holding his own, Felix more than holding his own. Let's do this.


1.  What's the Motter with giving our new SS some love?  3 doubles?  C'mon, guys...that was nice.

2. I am confused about Heredia's lack of PA's.  Evidently he is purely a platoon player in Servais' mind.  If that's the case, send him out when Segura returns and let Motter be a much more flexible platoon player. 

3. Valencia vs. RHP? Bah!  And Humbug!

4. Martin is broken.  Did you hear the comment about his return to a higher hands approach at the plate?  If you go all of ST and 2 weeks of the season with a new approach AND then toss it aside it means you're lbroken; perhaps only for the time being, but you're broken.  Mike Fiers is a career 1.25 WHIP and 3.84 ERA guy.  He's not bad.  If Martin starts tonight I will yell at my TV.  Oaths may be included.  Hide your women and children.

5.  Sometimes a manager has to do something to shake up a team.  Such a something would be fine about now.


Looking forward to see him in the OF and 1B mix when Segura comes back. He put up some decent numbers in AA/AAA in 2014-15.

You're spot on with Martin. He had a few moments early last season but over the past 5 months of play has been mostly a rally-killer. Too many other good options to continue down the path of his name inked into the lineup. Let's open that competition back up for AB's Servais! Spring Training wasn't the end of the battle for starting jobs was it?


To watch him you'd think he had a lot of ML years in front of him.  Why is his minors record so uninteresting?

Looks pretty tough so far.


Motter has some BIG shoes to fill while Segura is out. He sure did a heck of a job last night!


Once they start firing on all cylinders and ditch some of this bad luck we'll be rollin' 

Why do the "Baseball Gods" hate the Mariners so much?


It is easy to imagine that Segura and O'Malley are both ready to play MLB ball again at about the same time.  Well, they will be, most certainly.

But that presents a bit of a problem.  The first spot is relatively easy, we go back to a traditional 7-man pen.  An arm goes to Tacoma.

But Freeman would have to be DFA/Waived, wouldn't he?  You might lose him.

There doesn't seem to be any confidence in Heredia, so you could send him out, but I think it is unlikely that we keep Motter, O'Malley AND Freeman up. And heredia might get bumped by a AAA OF anyway.

Unless I'm wrong on a Freeman DFA, I think that is the most likely move, or we trade a player.


At least for 10 days in Tacoma.  Which is unfortunate.  He could have been helping the club while Leonydas was going .094/.121/.094.

And DYSON is .172/.242/.241.  Why did he have to play the first 8 games or whatever?  Why not 6 of the first 8, 22 of the first 29 and see how it was going?


They'd make you answer a minimum of 70 or 80 questions (LPN vs. RN, don't remember which was which) but they'd *randomly* throw out the results for something like 20 of them.  If you got enough of the not-thrown-out questions right, the test stopped then and there and you got your license.  If you didn't get enough right, you had to answer more questions until the system was satisfied you were either good to go or in need of a re-take.  Thankfully there was also a maximum number of questions that could be asked (200 something?).

Seemed pretty bizarre to me, but hey--maybe it would work wonders for parity in sports leagues?


Still like Martin over the course of a season, but even then, he's not much of an offensive ballplayer.  He will do for CF, but now with another weak bat in LF.  With Dyson, I just don't have much faith int he idea that Dipoto/Servais have scooped the baseball world by figuring out that Dyson is a fulltime player, when nobody else could figure that out.

Both will surely hit better than they are now.  But they aren't, now.  isn't waisting a batting spot in the lineup in games 10-20 just as costly as in games 110-120?


LL has an intereesting article up about Evan Marshall, the newest member of the Mariners' pitching staff.  His is an admirable story.

But even before his injury in '15, he was totally dependent on K'ing people because his BABIP Allowed is almost always atrocious.  If he doesn't K you, you're going to hit the ball hard, somewhere.

'12   AA  48.2 innings  .316 BABIP

'13  AAA 58.0 innings   .412 BABIP

'14  AAA  16.0 innings  .263 BABIP

'14 MLB  49.1 innings   .351 BABIP

'15 MLB  13.0 innings   .370 BABIP

'15 AAA  32.1 innings  .380 BABIP

and then the injury....so I won't even count '16.

If he can't run a pretty high K rate, he's doomed.

Bullpen by bargain may not be a great strategy guys.


Edwin Diaz led qualified relievers in BABiP against last season with a .377 mark, Tony Zych allowed a .357 mark.  Of the top 30 BABiPs by Relievers last season, 18 threw harder than 94 mph.  High velocity often seems to lead to hard contact.


The pitchers Bill James used to initially asterisk* McCracken's BABIP theory were Nolan Ryan and (IIRC) Bob Gibson, who allowed many fewer hits on BIP's than expected.  But that makes sense generally, that higher incoming velo tends towards higher outgoing velo assuming contact.

Overall am dubious about Evan Marshall, so perhaps Moe's original take will have some legs?


Freeman at 1B tonight, as Valencia "earns" a night off.

But Servais quadruples down on Martin and Dyson vs. RHP.  Still no Heredia.

Martin is 2-28 vs RHP, with ZERO BB's and 9 K's.

By comparison, Dyson is a beast.  5-25, with 1 BB and only 3 K's.  2 2B's, even.

Our CF/LF glovey partners are 7-53 vs. the guys they are supposed to be able to hit.  1-8 vs. lefties, though.  They have that going for them.

They will hit RHP better., but now well.  How long do we wait?

OK, I'm beating a dead horse.  Enough.


that was Freeman's first MLB homer, I believe!!! 

OK class, your hand if you are very good with Motter in the OF when Segura returns!!  


While the starters have been doing well, there has been a problem... the way that Servais uses the pen to finish the game.

Yes, giving up runs and losing games is an issue that must be corrected, but not the only one.

Appearances or games played in...

Fien pitched in 5 games out of 9. So did Pazos. Maybe there was a reason these guys had a bad outing or two? And Pazos is up again tonight???

Scribner and Vincent will be 5 out of 10 games. This is Rzep's 4th game out of 10.

Altavilla is now 6 out of 10 games... Servais is gonna kill this kid at this pace. Again not surprising that he was less effective tonight.

Diaz is only 3 out of 10. RZep is now at 4 games.

Overton only has 1 game (2nd tonight), and Marshall has yet to pitch, but he has only pitched in 1 game including Tacoma so far... but their time will come I am sure.

Yes, Cishek and Zych are coming soon... but do any of you think these guys coming off of injuries can pitch every other day?

No bullpen can survive having 5 out of 7 guys getting 80 appearances on a year.

Something needs to change... other than the losing.

By the way... in contrast... Houston has 1 guy, Gregerson, who has pitched in 5 games... and 2 guys, Giles and Harris who have pitched in 4 games...


The bullpen and bench craziness is early season figuring things out around openers and such.  If the team is winning the usage from Diaz on down should be different than it has been.

I agree it should be regulated better regardless of the scoreboard. 

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