Mariners Analysis

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

M's 1-6 after losing again to Anaheim
Didn't the M's look like two different teams last night?

In the first five innings, I saw the M's hitters taking pitches, making the opposing pitcher up the pitch count, being patient. I really thought I was seeing the M's teams I've been following the past 4 years. Joel was pitching much better, and you could see his confidence growing with every inning.

But everything came crashing down after Vladimir Guerrero hit that 2-run home run, golfing it out of here like he had a 7-iron instead of a bat. You could see Pineiro barking at Wilson that he couldn't believe Vlad got to that ball, and at the same time upset that he didn't have the ball up in the strike zone like Wilson wanted. After the game, Melvin was upset that the pitch was low, apparently referring to a spring game that the M's saw how Guerrero hits low pitches.

But you can't fault Pineiro for this, and I think this makes Melvin look stupid. The scouting report on Guerrero is that he is a free swinger who has the ability to hit for power from all over the strike zone. When Guerrero hits a pitch from his shoe tops over the fence, you tip your hat to a great hitter and move on. There's a reason Anaheim gave all that money to Guerrero, and we saw first hand last night why it paid off. I simply can't fault Pineiro for that pitch- he is learning what plenty of NL pitchers have learned over the years. Vladimir Guerrero is one of the best hitters in all of baseball, and he can change the momentum in a game single-handedly.

Did you notice the momentum immediately change after that? The Angels are now the team who expect to rally, who expect the key hit. The Mariner's use to market how this team couldn't care less there are two outs- that team is now the Angels. The Mariner's suddenly looked ordinary, and the place went wild in the late innings, looking like Safeco used to a few years ago.

It's as if the Angel's and M's switched personas.

And the M's are 1-6 and have the worst record in baseball.