Mariners Analysis

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Just one game

Lots of hand-wringing by Mariner fans after last nights blowout loss to the A's. We won the series, so overall we should be happy. Instead, there seems to be an effort to find doom and gloom 3 games into the season. A few thoughts on last nights game:
  • The lack of fans was noticeable. Large sections were empty, and by the 9th inning 80% of the "fans" behind home plate were gone. Part of this I think is due to the weather. Locals understand Safeco is a cold place in April. We see this every year. Attendance builds once decent weather kicks in. Once we get a few warm days the walk-ups will return and attendance will rise.
  • The A's pitching is solid. While it's true the M's offense looked terrible, a lot had to do with Oakland's pitching. For those who feel the A's took a huge step back, as long as their pitchers stay healthy I expect the Angels to be challenged by Oakland all year.
  • Vidro will hit eventually, but will continue to be a story for fans. He belongs in the 6-8 slot in the batting order, not a 2 or 3. Bavasi/Hargrove is attempting to make him something he isn't (a key acquisition) by having him hit higher in the lineup, but your eyes are not deceiving you. He really is an aging NL-infielder with bad legs. Oh, and he'll be your DH for the rest of the year. And possibly beyond.
  • Batista will be fine. He is what he is, an innings eater who will generally keep you in games. Unlike your usual 35 year old pitchers, he actually still throws hard. This isn't the case where an old veteran no longer has the ability to get hitters out because his stuff is gone, so I don't expect Batista to fall off the earth pitching-wise any time soon.
  • The M's patience was sickening to watch at the plate. Just take a look at last nights 9th inning against Street. In his first 10 pitches I don't think 2 were strikes, yet he already had 2 outs and was heading towards his third. Beltre was back to swinging at low and away pitches, and though it was obvious Street wasn't throwing strikes the M's batters didn't care. They were happy to swing-away and seemed to have no interest in getting a hitters-count pitch.
Well, lets see if Cleveland and the cold changes things. I would honestly think about pushing back Felix's start if the weather is really brutal, as it seems the likelihood of pulling/tearing a muscle would be greatly increased. Then again, watching the Indian hitters try to hit Felix's fastball in the cold will be fun too. I would imagine it will feel like punching thru ice with your bare hands when you foul a ball.

We won the series, let's not get too carried away. It takes a couple of weeks before we can really get a sense for how this is going.