It occurred to me earlier that I've been saying "it occurred to me" a lot lately. It also occurred to me that, were it not for this website, I would've long since moved on from the Mariners and found something better to do with my time. I mean, take a game like today. Last place M's. Last place O's. No Felix. No Bedard. Plenty of Silva. Why bother? Why, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, would anyone in his or her right mind stay inside to watch this? Those of you who did that very thing - you guys are crazy. I mean, sure, it's baseball, and there were a handful of interesting players in the lineup, but while both baseball and Clement will still be there tomorrow, Sunday will not. Congratulations. You just wasted a chunk of your weekend watching a bad team defeat a bad team. If any friends or coworkers ask what you did today, you should probably lie to them.
Biggest Contribution: Jose Lopez, +16.1%
Biggest Suckfest: Carlos Silva, -11.6%
Most Important AB: Lopez funk blast, +19.7%
Most Important Pitch: Millar single, -15.8%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -2.1%
Total Contribution by Lineup: +46.2%
Total Contribution by Opposition: +5.9%
(What is this chart?)
- Eight grounders, nine fly balls, eight line drives. Carlos Silva may very well be having the worst season of his career. In the first season of his four-year contract. You think it's bad now? I can't even begin to explain how bad it could be come 2011. A guy who's made a living off of standing near the cliff seems to be inching closer and closer to the edge with every passing start, and what's worse is that there's nothing we can do about it. We're locked right in to this toboggan ride to hell, and the only possible upside I can see is that we'll no longer get duped into saying "at least next year's team won't have this year's team's black holes," because one of those black holes will be Carlos Silva, and he's not going anywhere.
Fasten your seatbelts and put on a helmet. This bacon flume is just getting started.
- Jose Lopez hit his ninth home run today and raised his OPS to .756. His strong 2+ weeks since the All Star Break have gone against his usual pattern of starting hot and ending cold, and considering how difficult it is for a player of his skillset to succeed in this ballpark, his progress hasn't gone unnoticed. Ever so slowly, it's beginning to look like he's finally delivering upon the raw talent we've always known he has.
Of course, we're faced with an interesting question. Lopez is a talented 24 year old putting up a career-high .756 OPS. One's first inclination is to assume that he's only going to get better as he approaches his 27-30 peak, thereby turning into one of the more productive second basemen in the league. However, his Marcel projection is a boring .277/.316/.401, dragged down in large part due to Lopez's awful, awful 2007. So which is it? As nice as it would be to ignore 2007 completely and focus on what Lopez has done for the past four months, that's not how this stuff works. We need to look at the whole picture, and the whole picture has as many valleys as peaks.
I'd love it if Lopez were turning a new leaf before our very eyes, but ever cautious, I remain unconvinced. The memories of seasons past still just linger too vividly for me to forgive and forget. He needs to keep this up for another two months, then he needs to keep it up again, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's put his hard times as far behind him as we'd like to think they already are.
Sure is good to see him actually hitting, though. It'd be nice if one of our young middle infielders actually panned out and turned into something worthwhile. God dammit, Yuni.
- A year ago, 26% of JJ's fastballs came in at greater than 97 miles per hour. This year, he's down to 3%. The velocity isn't back, and the fact that JJ's started mixing in the occasional (bad) curveball suggests that he's trying to find other routes to success, because his normal one isn't working. And that makes me nervous, because if JJ's deviating from his usual gameplan, that speaks to a lack of confidence in both his stuff now and whether or not his stuff will return.
I'm not going to get ahead of myself. JJ's still trying to find himself after an up-and-down four months, and he's earned our patience. But if we're waiting on JJ before allowing Morrow to start getting stretched out, then I hope you're not in a hurry, because, to me, JJ's still got a ways to go. Funny how his season has basically mirrored the team's.
- Why does it sound like the Mariners are basically taking it for granted that Morrow will make an easy transition? I've got news for you guys: moving to the rotation isn't as easy as taking a guy's bullpen ERA and adding a few tenths. There's a lot more to it than that. Like, say, being able to control an offspeed pitch so lefties don't just stand there and kill you. It's one thing to be confident in your high draft pick, but it's quite another to assume that he can get himself ready essentially overnight. The whole Morrow treatment isn't something teams normally do. We don't know how it's going to go. You'd think the team would want to be a little more conservative in its estimates. But anything to generate buzz, I suppose. God knows there's little else keeping people interested.
- By answering a Bryan LaHair walk with one of his own, Yuniesky Betancourt was able to keep the gap between their season BB totals steady at two. Bryan LaHair has played 14 games.