This is another occasion where I could probably split this up into individual posts, but I like bullet points. I like the way they look. I like the indentation. I like that if I get you guys used to bullet points you won't yell at me if I don't write essay-length game recaps all the time. Congratulations, I'm experimenting on you.
- So Garrett Olson was optioned to AAA Tacoma this morning so he can work on finding a part of his game that doesn't suck a lot. That left Jesus Colome as the last man standing who wasn't already guaranteed a spot, but does that mean that Colome's made the team? All depends on who you ask.
-Geoff Baker says no, they'll go with an 11-man staff
-Larry LaRue says no, they'll go with an 11-man staff
-Shannon Drayer says yes, they'll go with a 12-man staff
-Kirby Arnold says yes, they'll go with a 12-man staff
Which way are they leaning? I don't know. They'll either take Colome or they'll take Ryan Langerhans. The problem with Colome is that he isn't on the 40-man roster, meaning space would have to be opened up, but the problem with Langerhans is that he'd leave the team with a six-man bullpen with Ian Snell, Jason Vargas, and Doug Fister all in the rotation. I would like them to stay with the 11-man staff even in Cliff Lee's absence, but I've been preparing myself for 12 for so long that I'm not going to get my hopes up, yet.
Snell, Vargas, Fister, and ten consecutive games, with three in Texas. If they do go with 11, then they really believe in Sean White, Shawn Kelley, and Kanekoa Texeira being able to throw multiple innings at a time.
Dave beat me to it this morning, but in case you haven't seen it yet, the Replacement Level Weblog ran its annual Diamond Mind season simulation, the results of which you can see here. What you'll find are the results of 5000 simulations based on the Chone, Marcel, Oliver, CAIRO, and PECOTA forecasting systems. How do the come out? Second-best in the AL West, with a ~30% chance of making the playoffs. Texas comes in around 40%, Oakland around 25%, and LAnaheim around 22%.
The take-home message here is not that the Mariners look like the #2 team in the division. It's that, yeah, this division is just as tight as we've all been assuming it is. The range in average run differential spans from -21 to +26, which is way within the error bars. This amplifies the effect of anything you can imagine. Rich Harden make more or fewer starts than you expected? Erik Bedard? Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer? Vladimir Guerrero rebounds? Brandon Wood arrives, or doesn't? And so on. fans, of course, will hate these projections and find the results worthless, because we all know that Numbers and Computers are out on a mission to get them, but the point isn't that the are the best and the Angels are the worst. The point is that anybody could win this thing, and no one's a clear favorite.
Here are the results from a year ago, by the way.
- Taking a step back from the stats and the arguments, think about what Mike Sweeney has accomplished. A year ago he came to camp just to get a shot, impressed the staff, stuck with the team, fit in, and even produced a little bit. Contemplating retirement, he then talked with his wife and decided he wanted to try again in 2010 so that, at the very least, he could say he left everything he had on the field. Blocked by a guy on a Major League contract and given minimal chance of making a team, Sweeney was brought to camp as a favor more than anything else, but he went on to hit .543 - .543 - and, against all odds, battled his way back into the bigs.
That's something out of a storybook right there, and if Sweeney sticks with the team and the Mariners make the playoffs, I'll go ahead and write the script myself. Whether you support the decision or not, you have to be impressed and amazed by what Sweeney has done, and as one of the people who said he was never going to make it, I will readily admit that Sweeney took my words, rolled them up like a newspaper, and whacked me on the nose with them. I was wrong, and I was wrong in large part because Sweeney pulled an incredible hot streak right out of his ass.