Mariners Analysis

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Is Franklin a bad pitcher?

Last nights game was SO frustrating to watch. I thought Franklin pitched a good game- he was obviously cruising until the 7th inning, and if the M's offense had scored some runs before then who knows what would have happened.

Before we have to hear how terrible Franklin's strikeout rate is, or his flyball ratio, or how he needs to have the best defense in history behind him, can't we just acknowledge he's pitched some nice games lately? Baltimore is one of the best hitting teams in the AL right now- that is why Franklin finally gave up some runs, and why Freddy "struggled" the night before. The O's are right behind the Yankees for a reason- they hit the ball, have some speed, and are a confident offensive club. I credit Mora more than I blame Franklin.

The difference between a good hitting club and the Mariners are so obvious when you watch a game. Our pitcher makes a single mistake and gets too much of the plate, they pay for it. When an opposing pitcher makes a mistake to our hitter, it rarely results in anything. How many times do I see an opposing player throw a fastball right down the middle, and see Winn take the pitch. What were you looking for there?!! We swing at bad pitches, and miss the easy ones.

Baltimore's problem of course is pitching. We should be winning or losing these games 7-5, or 8-9- not scoring two runs a game. Our offense is so inept right now it is difficult to watch.

So back to Franklin. I thought he pitched well, and expect him to continue to return to the numbers we saw last year. If you look at the AL, how many #4 starters would you take right now instead of Franklin? I can think of couple off the top of my head, but not many.

Let's focus on the real problem- this clubs offensive hitting. Earlier I believed this club was going to snap out of it and start hitting. At the time, I was just worried how far back we'd be before we did.

It is so clear to everyone that this club is not going to snap out of anything. It is just really, really bad. Will Winn, Martinez, Boone, Aurilia, Ibanez et al. start hitting again. Perhaps.

But Bavasi has to see that this club will more than likely continue to struggle offensively all summer long. It needs change immediately, but I don't see it happening soon.

On another note, I find it more and more difficult to sit through a complete game. More and more, I can only watch this team for part of a game. How many empty seats for a Tigers series?

Finally, I don't normally complain about an umpire, but those were some terrible calls behind the plate last night. That pitch to Martinez on a 3-2 count and the bases loaded was clearly outside and cost the team a run.

One of the worst calls I can remember, and it came at a terrible time. And so it goes for the 2004 Mariners...