Although I don't blame anyone for forgetting, what with all the Thornton and WBC hoopla. And even if it weren't for those other things, who would really want to remember, anyway? This team has been terrible so far in March, with the worst run differential in the league. Losing 7-1 this afternoon to Oakland certainly didn't make things any better.
Storylines from the game: Joel Pineiro made his Cactus League debut after failing to singlehandedly vault Puerto Rico into the WBC title game, allowing three runs in five innings. This is a guy whose springtime peripherals have inspired less than the utmost confidence that he'll be able to bounce back to being a quality #2. Still, he pitched without tearing anything in his shoulder, which is nice, in the way that brushing your teeth and not accidentally reaching too far back and firmly lodging the brush in the back of your throat is worth celebrating. As far as some other guys are concerned, Clint Nageotte threw another scoreless inning whilst inducing a pair of groundballs, and Fernando Vina drove in the team's only run of the day in going 0-4. What a team player.
One of the more troublesome stories of the spring has been George Sherrill's inability to do much of anything right. And while I doubt his performance thus far has lowered his stock in any of our eyes, since I think all of us love him, Mike Hargrove is a different story, and Sherrill isn't going to pitch his way onto the team with a 16.50 ERA. Of course, neither is Sean Green, but the last thing we need is for Hargrove to "send a message" by keeping Sherrill away and letting Luis Gonzalez be the #1 setup southpaw in the bullpen. That wouldn't be in anyone's best interests, including Gonzalez, who'd probably get bombed and cause me to hate him like I did his predecessor. This is one of those times where Hargrove just needs to throw up his hands and concede that, while we'd all like to see more out of Sherrill, there really isn't any alternative to keeping him around for the regular season.
Why aren't I worried? Go read this post at Mariner Minors. Or, if you hate clicking links, just read this:
Sherrill 2004 ST ERA, K/BB: 8.10, 1.67
Sherrill 2004 season ERA, K/BB: 2.80, 4.33
Sherrill 2005 ST ERA, K/BB: 5.40, 1.33
Sherrill 2005 season ERA, K/BB: 3.59, 4.77
Sherrill 2006 ST ERA, K/BB: 16.50, 0.75
There's enough there to constitute the makings of a pattern, a pattern where Sherrill is awful in March and terrific for the rest of the year. Maybe a better winter workout routine could get him into playing shape a little earlier and all this hand-wringing could be avoided, but what matters here is that Sherrill has had some ugly springs before, and he's bounced back to be a terrific pitcher each time. Forget the high ERA and the home runs; George Sherrill's going to be fine. Hargrove just needs to give him the chance.
Jarrod Washburn tomorrow against Arizona.