05/20/08 4:05 PM PDT
|Seattle Mariners||Detroit Tigers|
|Ichiro Suzuki - CF||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Placido Polanco - 2B|
|Jose Lopez - 2B||Gary Sheffield - DH|
|Raul Ibanez - "LF"||Magglio Ordonez - RF|
|Jose Vidro - DH||Miguel Cabrera - 1B|
|Richie Sexson - 1B||Carlos Guillen - 3B|
|Kenji Johjima - C||Matt Joyce - LF|
|Wladimir Balentien - RF||Edgar Renteria - SS|
|Yuniesky Betancourt - SS||Ivan Rodriguez - C|
|2008 - Carlos Silva||3-2||9||9||0||0||0||0||58.1||64||27||27||6||11||24||4.17||1.29|
|2008 - Justin Hurtlander||1-7||9||9||0||0||0||0||55.0||57||42||37||7||24||33||6.05||1.47|
I'm not going to jump onto the Geoff Baker dogpile. God knows there are more than enough people doing that already. Let me just say this: you'd be a bit of a prickly pear too if you had to interact with a colossal disappointment of a team on a daily basis, write about it on a deadline, and then go home and deal with the kinds of people who frequent that blog. All the while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal personal life. I don't agree with a lot of the stuff Geoff has said these past few weeks, but he doesn't have it easy, and I'm not going to hate him for it. If you don't like him, don't read him.
That said, there is one thing I want to address. And I'm going to use Geoff as an example, but only because it's convenient for me. The following is the kind of argument I hear from countless people all the time, and it just isn't true:
Yes, the defense could be upgraded. But right now, the defense -- bad as it's been on some nights -- is not what is losing the majority of these games. It's an offense hard-pressed to score more than two or three runs per contest.
For one thing, defense really may be our biggest problem right now:
Offense: 12 runs below average (by Runs/Game)
Pitching: 9 runs below average (by FIP)
Defense: ~17 runs below average (by THT +/-)
But that's a point specific to the Mariners. More importantly, there's this: any improvement is still an improvement. The goal of any successful baseball team is to maximize the amount of runs it scores and minimize the amount of runs it allows. An added run at the plate is (for all intents and purposes) worth no more and no less than a subtracted run in the field. If you're a team with a given deficiency, it's bad strategy to limit yourself to solutions that address only that one particular shortcoming. It doesn't make sense. If you can't score runs, you shouldn't only look for bats. If you can't prevent runs, you shouldn't only look for pitching. That department may be perceived as your biggest weakness - and it may really be your biggest weakness - but any gained run is still a gained run, no matter how you look at it or from whence it comes.
So far this season, the Mariners have been outscored by an average final of 4.7 to 4.1. A lot of people would like to see the Mariners add a run to their total to turn it around. But it would be every bit as helpful to subtract a run from the opponents instead. Either way, you're still coming out on top. The lesson being: don't try to improve problems. Improve the team. It's easier to do, and it's just as effective. I promise.