Mariners Analysis

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Let's see if Clint can continue to pitch well

Besides getting a glimpse of Melvin's new look, tonight allows us a chance to see Clint Nageotte pitch again. For all the whining about the FO, the simple truth is the future of the M's is all about pitching. The pitching we didn't give up in years past, the pitching that allowed us to sweep the Pirates, the pitching that will allow us to swing trades.

The entire value of the M's on-the-field performance is based 100% on its pitching. And if we see guys like Clint Nageotte pitch well, then we can rest assured we will not have to go through a rebuilding process like the Indians or Rangers have done.

So on to the Texas series. Let me congratulate Melvin on not skipping Clint's start as he did the last time they had a day off. It would have been easy given his reliance on veterans and fear of change, but he obviously saw enough in his two starts to allow him to pitch. How short a leash remains to be seen- if he blows up against the Rangers, will he go back to the 'pen? Tacoma? who knows.

Moyer had a terrible game against the Rangers earlier this year. Playing the Rangers is like playing two different teams- at home they are a hitting tour-de-force. On the road they are something else. If anyone thinks the Rangers are for real, they'd better hope the road numbers of Texas hitters starts to rise, because you don't go to the playoffs behind Kenny Rogers and road numbers of -


.246 \.301 \.414 \ .716

To put that into perspective, here are the light hitting M's season hitting stats-
.258 \.327\ .379 \.705

At Arlington (or what Clint will be facing)
.309 \.370\ .522 \.891

Wow. It sure makes you think twice about trading for a young Texas hitter. BTW- if you are a big Mark Teixeira fan, he is most certainly available. Between his road stats, inability to hit righties, and Scott Boras, I'm not as big a fan of Teixeira as others, but at Arlington he's worth all of his $2.6 million. He's another reason to watch, for sure.

How will we do against Texas, who we will be facing 7 of the next 10 games? It all comes down to pitching.

I expect the M's will catch up to the Rangers at some point this year. Why? The M's can't possibly hit any worse, and yet they have similar numbers to the Rangers in the road. And I expect the Rangers pitchers will melt down in the crushing Texas heat of August. It's possible the Rangers new-found confidence will have them battling to the end, but the numbers don't look like playoff team, and I like Seattle's pitching staff.

The wild card of course is what each team will do at the deadline.

So let's watch the M's tonight, and hope their pitching continues. Because if they continue to hold opponents to 2-3 runs a game consistently, we'll have plenty to write about all summer...