Five games left in their season, counting tonight, so what do the Mariners want?
To win as many as possible, obviously, to set the bar for 2010 as high as possible, and to look at a few of their youngsters in the final days.
Adam Moore will start at least one more game, catching Ian Snell on Friday. Michael Saunders will patrol left field tonight. Matt Tuiasosopo will likely get at least one more game at second base. And Doug Fister will start tomorrow night.
They would love to get another victory for Felix Hernandez – it would be his …
A year ago at this time, if you would have told me the 2009 Mariners were going to win 81 games, I’d have asked you to submit a urine sample for drug testing. Going into game 158, the 2008 Mariners were 58-99, and my record when covering the team was like 27-72. It just didn’t seem like there could be enough changes made to the roster, to the leadership, to the organization to turn it around that fast.
Well, I stand corrected. With the 6-4 win over the A’s, the Mariners assured themselves that they won’t finish with a losing record. And they have five games to win at least one to finish with a winning record.
“The biggest thing for us is that we went through a lot with injuries this year,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said, mentioning injuries to Russell Branyan, Sean White and Erik Bedard. “To be sitting here at 81 wins is a stepping stone, it’s nowhere near what we want to do here, but through the circumstances, I’m awfully proud of these guys.”
They became the 13th team in the modern era to play .500 or better baseball the season after losing 100 games
Felix Hernandez was stuck in last year’s stink fest and grinned at the difference this year.
“It means a lot,” Hernandez said. “We lost 101 games last year. To win 81 games this year, it’s pretty good for this team. It feels way different in the clubhouse and on the field.”
How did the Mariners do it? Well through a lot of different factors that have been discussed ad nauseum.
But Hernandez’s leap from phenom to ace is a major factor. We can now officially stop using the word “potential” and just call him superstar Felix Hernandez.
Felix worked 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on 7 hits, he walked 4, struck out 4, hit 2 batters, tossed 2 wild pitches and may or may not have hit the Moose during warm-ups — I know I didn’t see the Moose out roaming around.
He was all over the place in the first few innings, and at the rate he was throwing pitches, I thought he would be at 100 by the fourth inning. But it was according to Felix that he was too rested.
“It happens every time we have a day off before I pitch,” Hernandez said. “I feel too strong.”
Well, okay, then.
Yet, with his pitch count rising like a Miguel Batista relief appearance, Hernandez shook off sloppy innings in the second, third and fourth and came back with a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. A little reprieve.
And his team rewarded him in the bottom half of the inning, putting up a five spot - with the big hit being a three-run homer from Ken Griffey Jr. He crushed the first pitch of the at-bat against Trevor Cahill – a 90 mph fastball – deep into the right field stands.
“It’s always majestic,” Wakamatsu said of Junior’s home run. “Cahill’s an awfully tough young kid. Junior steps in there and takes that swing. He doesn’t show age with that swing. It’s a beautiful swing.”
I mentioned this on the game post and on twitter, but I was thinking maybe the Mariners fans should have wanted the curtain call from Junior. Nobody really knows what he’s going to do next year and if this is his last week in a Mariners uniform, should the fans savor it every chance they get?
Staked to a lead, Felix worked solid innings in the sixth and seventh, but he got into trouble in the eighth allowing another run and eventually being forced to leave with the bases loaded. Mark Lowe came in and struck out Cliff Pennington to end the inning.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s Felix’s second to last start of the season. Not what you would call a massive crowd in attendance to see it. I’m guessing about less than 17,000. But it’s cold, it was downpouring earlier and not a weekend night, so I should have expected much more than that.
A nice little 1-2-3 inning for Felix.
Rookie Trevor Cahill supposedly throws one of the better sinkers. However his inability to have command with the pitch, particularly in getting it over for a strike has hurt him at times this season. He’s given …
MLB trade rumorswith the help of Eddie Bajek of Detroit Tigers Thoughts have projected Elias Rankings for free agents for the upcoming season to determine their status. Basically, Eddie, who is clearly much smarter than me, reversed engineered the formula Elias used for those rankings last year and he was able to offer projections of who is type A, type B or none based on their stats from the past two season.
Why is this important, well if you lose a free agent you can get some compensation in the form of draft picks if they are a Type A or Type B.
ESPN’s Keith Law sums it up very well in this blog post.
If a team that signs a Type A player gives its top draft pick to the club that the player is leaving. The “losing” club also receives a supplemental pick in the “sandwich” round between the first and second rounds.
Type B players, ranked below the top 30 percent but in the top 50 percent of players at their positions. A team that loses a Type B player receives a supplemental pick, but the signing team does not lose any picks.
So when Raul Ibanez went to the Phillies they picked up a couple extra picks, including SS Nick Franklin and C Steven Baron.
Coming into this season, it was thought the Mariners had three possible players that would get some level of status with 3B Adrian Beltre and LHP Erik Bedard as possible Type A candidates and LHP Jarrod Washburn as a Type B.
But about midway through the season that those hopes wouldn’t be met. Bedard was bordering on Type A/Type B, but his injuries have crushed that. He’s right in the middle of the Type B group. Obviously his position could shift, but it seems unlikely that it will shift that much. But does it really matter? With his injury, Bedard isn’t likely to refuse salary arbitration because no team is going to sign him.
Beltre is also in middle of the Type B group. His injuries have certainly sapped his numbers this season, but it looked as though he was going to fall in the Type B group about midseason. And there is no way he’s coming back to Seattle.
As for Washburn, he’s no longer on the Mariners, but there was some discussion about keeping him and getting the draft pick if he left, or re-signing him. But since joining the Tigers he’s 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA and he’s fallen just out of the Type B group to the none category. And with knee problems making in unlikely that he will pitch again this season, he could stay in that group.
It’s nothing earth shattering, but if you think about it, the Mariners figured they might get at least two first round picks, two sandwich supplemental pick and another supplemental pick out of those three players, now they will most likely get one supplemental pick.
Also here’s a very interesting story from slate.com about the use of visual training in sports and they spoke to Russell Branyan about it.
Felix Hernandez will make the first of his two remaining starts this season and further his campaign for this year’s AL Cy Young award. Do I think he’s going to win it? If we had to vote today, I’d say no. But two dominant starts could change the voters’ minds.
So I can’t think of a better reason to come to the ballpark. Yes its going to be a bit nippy. It’s cool already. Yes it’s the Oakland A’s, and they aren’t exactly packing a lot of starpower. But you know what that means? No obnoxious opposing fans (like …
With seven games – including today’s – left in their remarkably resurgent season, the Seattle Mariners are aware they could see that season lose it’s luster if they don’t win at least two more times.
“I think 81 wins and a .500 season is on everyone’s mind,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We worked so hard, played so well all season, that to not finish at .500 it would feel like it was all for naught.
“We’re trying to finish strong, win every game we can and see what the final number is, but getting this 81st means a lot to …