“I’m playing around with it a little bit. I still stand by the fact that Morales and Morse are both trying to do too much. They know they’re the guys here. I think that with that, I think sometimes put a little too much pressure on yourself to do too much.
“Both of them are chasing more than they should be chasing. Then you start to try to do a little bit more than you should be trying to do. Sometimes, you’ve just got to lay the bat down and let the next guy try it. They’re not going to come in the zone unless you allow them to.
He made similar remarks on Wednesday, following the Mariners’ win over the Pirates. This time, to Ryan Divish:
“What we need to continue to do is if they are not coming into to you, you need to lay your bat down and go to first base and give the next guy a turn,” he said. “I think it’s especially true for (Kendrys) Morales and (Michael) Morse.
“These are guys in the middle of our lineup and sometimes their hearts get in the way. They want to do it so much and they know they need to do it, and they come out of the strike zone a little bit. Once they start to reel that in and allow themselves to lay the bat down and leave it to the next guy that’s going to help them and help us so much, too.”
There’s worlds of difference between the approach of the players in question, but compare this to Wedge’s philosophy from 2011 when speaking about Jack Cust (god, Jack Cust. Remember that?) and the rest of the Mariners lineup. From Shannon Drayer for 710 ESPN Seattle:
"There are points in time when we need to be more aggressive, there is no doubt," Wedge said when I asked if the hitters seemed reluctant to pull the trigger at the plate. "It’s like we are looking for the perfect pitch to hit." […]
Cust has been battling it himself. He admitted his struggles have led him to be less aggressive from time to time. When that happened Wedge addressed it.
"Skipper has talked to me about it and I felt more aggressive the last three games or so," he said. "I have gone up there trying to swing the bat more. It’s about just getting ready on time and not trying to be so perfect with your swing and trying to get a perfect pitch to hit and just letting it go."
Ultimately, I think it has a lot more to do with the players (as it did way back then, noted by Matt at Lookout Landing) but it’s interesting to see Wedge adjust based on what he’s working with. Earlier in his tenure in Seattle, he was universally decried for the approach he seemingly instilled in hitters. There’s still areas worthy of criticism, but credit to Wedge making adjustments here.
Where does Raul Ibanez's old-man strength come from?
It’s easy to forget what Raul Ibanez is capable of. It’s easy because, at this stage in his career, he isn’t capable of much. I don’t mean that as any form of disrespect—that’s just how it is. But he does have a purpose on this team, and as long as the Mariners put him in positions where he’s capable of succeeding—namely, only facing righties—then we’ll see things like what happened last night.
Raul wasn’t expecting a slider. He was way out in front of it, and when ball met bat, he was swinging with mostly with one arm, and had his eyes closed. No, really.
And it wasn’t as if he made great contact either. It caught the barrel, sure, but if it were anyone else you’d assume it to be a pop-up the right fielder would have to take a few steps in on. Raul put it eight rows deep.
"I’m sure at some point, it will happen. But physically I feel great, I wake up every morning, I feel good. I come to the ballpark, and I can take as many swings as I want and physically do anything I want, and I don’t feel fatigued or anything like that."
Ibanez is convinced that his dietary changes, particular the absence of gluten, have allowed him better recovery from his workouts and games.
"I don’t have any joint soreness ever," he said. "It’s kind of a weird thing, but it’s a tested thing. Time tested. I’ve told other guys about it, and they’ve had the same results.
"Soreness is a thing of the past. I have to really get in the gym and really blast, have a really intense, crazy workout, and I’ll feel some soreness the next day. But doing normal activity, I don’t feel anything."
It’s interesting. I’m having a hard time tracking down any reliable information, but this completely-biased source says gluten can destroy muscle. I’m not buying that, but if it’s working for Raul, it’s working for Raul. And for all the credible detractors Raul Ibanez has, it’s hard to deny that, when bat meets ball, he still has some pop.
There's something bizarre going on between the Mariners and Franklin Gutierrez
Franklin Gutierrez, when healthy, has the potential to be one of the 10-20 best players on the planet. In 2009, by WAR, he was the 11th-best position player in the Majors. But saying “Franklin Gutierrez would be one of the best players in the game if he could stay healthy” is like saying “Carlos Peguero would be as good as Prince Fielder if he could hit for contact.” It’s not happening.
Nevertheless, Guti’s early-season success had many Mariners fans raising the ceiling on the expectations not just for him, but for the entire team.
Jeff Sullivan wrote a piece over at USSM on why “Franklin Gutierrez is baseball,” elaborating on the range of possibilities each season presents and the optimism it instills. Franklin Gutierrez and a World Series were loosely linked.
I suspect Franklin Gutierrez is going to be out for some time. And this is a big thing that we could talk about on the next podcast—I’ve heard some things, I’m not convinced he’s ever playing for the Mariners again and if he does, I’m not convinced it’ll be much.
It’s alarming, to say the least. To say the most, it wipes out any chance of the Mariners winning the World Series. But, I mean, come on.
I was comforted later in the day when I saw Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune tweet this out:
Gutierrez has been running and hitting for a week. Taking BP again today. Says he’s close to being ready. #Mariners
I don’t have much else to say. It’s concerning, and it makes you wonder just how much bizarre stuff is going on in this front office. It could be nothing—quite easily—but the inconsistency between the player and management is, again, bizarre.
Zduriencik didn’t slam the door on Hamilton, but indicated the length of contract and financial commitment the five-time All-Star outfielder will be seeking “might surpass where we’re going to be” […]
"There are a lot of great things to like about several of these guys on the market, and we’re doing our homework," he said. "But when you hear what players expect and the years involved, that’s a lot to consider. At the end of the day, when you gauge the market, you have to be realistic about where it will end up. And there’s a strong possibility that one will exceed where we’re at."
At this juncture, I would guess the Mariners will not end up signing Josh Hamilton (it only takes one desperate/short-sighted/spendy team to lure him away) and this article transparently states where the Mariners stand. That said, it doesn’t mean the Mariners out of the race and one must consider why Zduriencik intentionally puts this out now.
Echoing what I thought as soon as I read it, here’s how Shannon Drayer concluded her response post titled “Moving on from Hamilton…or not?" (emphasis added):
We certainly wouldn’t want to see the Mariners end up with nothing. Let the market unfold and see where you are at. This is not “the guy” in Zduriencik’s eyes. Maybe he is for the short term but on a longer deal? No. If Zduriencik thinks this will go in that direction than it would be foolish to invest too much time in him now. He can always jump back in and who knows, maybe these words will help get things going.
That is what I believe JZ’s intentions are here—at least partially. The most recent article/reporting I’ve read on Hamilton comes courtesy of Jon Heyman, as he explains that the Hamilton chase is a mystery at this point, with considerable credit for that going to the fact that Hamilton’s agent, by policy, doesn’t say anything to the media regarding his clients’ negotiations.
So why say you’re out—or probably out—when at this point you may be as “in” as anyone else? To prevent anyone from artificially slotting you in the market and potentially selling against you to drive up Hamilton’s price. The Mariners have already come out and said their payroll will be up, and them needing offense is as obvious as anything could be. Multiple general managers have come out and said they expect the Mariners to be serious players for Hamilton so it makes sense for Zduriencik to say “Hey, we’re just as horrified of this guy bottoming out and blowing up our long-term payroll as everyone else” before teams start putting more cash and years on the table than is necessary at this point.
I mean, as endearing as agent Michael Moye’s policy is of not publicly sharing info regarding ongoing negotiations is, he may well be telling teams “Listen guys, the Mariners are out there—they got the the money. Look at that scoreboard. Do it. Stare at it so long you go blind and don’t realize how many zeros you’re putting on that check—because that’s the only way you’re out-bidding them.” He probably isn’t, but it’d behoove him to tell suitors there’s as many teams legitimately in on Hamilton as possible. So Jack tells everyone exactly where he stands, or supposedly stands.
Then, there’s the alternative.
Maybe Zduriencik wants to play this straight, acknowledge to the fans and everyone else that this probably isn’t going to happen. Being blunt, if you remove all of the off-field stuff, and all of the injuries, Hamilton still isn’t “a Jack Zduriencik guy.” I say that because he has no control of the strike zone whatsoever and isn’t stellar defensively. But Jack signed Miguel Olivo. On purpose. Remember when that happened, and we had to pretend that it might turn out okay, because it didn’t really make much sense at all and we knew deep down how it’d really go? God, that was awful.
Anyway, here’s the actual alternative, a paragraph late and from someone better at explaining it than I am—Jeff at Lookout Landing:
Here’s the way this works. At the start of the offseason, front offices chat. They go over tons of possibilities, internal and external. Initially, the Mariners held Josh Hamilton in a certain regard. Then they investigated him more thoroughly, and here we are now, with the Mariners seemingly backing off. Not because of a lack of money, but because of a lack of a desire to give so much of that money to Hamilton for so many years.
It’s more-than-possible the Mariners were intrigued by Hamilton, called around, looked at the numbers and decided the entire proposition is just too terrifying for the price the market is currently setting. So they came out and said “Listen fans, don’t get too excited. Just don’t. We’ve gotten you excited before and it hasn’t turned out so well. So cool your jets. Hey have you heard about this Swisher charac—ah, never mind. Just trust us.”
I suspect it is a little of both. Though I won’t tell fans how to act—it’s more fun when you’re overly invested anyway—the Mariners probably will not sign Josh Hamilton. I’m among the nuts hoping they do for a contract slightly above market value, but prepare yourselves. Or don’t.
Just know that Zduriencik did indeed put this out there for a reason—at 9:20 Eastern Time on a Friday, no less—and there’s a reason for him doing so. It could be to calm you the hell down, or it could be to keep the Mariners in it. We’ll know soon enough.
Niehaus calls Carlos Guillen's ALDS-winning bunt—RIP, Dave
I moved to Seattle from Wisconsin in the fall of 1999. I didn’t have ‘95 and “The Double.” Maybe that makes me something of an outsider, but whatever. This is my favorite call from Dave. I didn’t hear it live, because I was there, and it was incredible. Miss you, Dave. Go M’s.
Morosi: "Let's keep an eye on the Seattle Mariners" when it comes to signing Josh Hamilton
In all likelihood, this is a gigantic tease, but you’d rather here this than the contrary: Fox’s Jon Morosi thinks the M’s will be in play on Josh Hamilton.
I look for the team that signs Josh Hamilton to be one that’s maybe been out of the playoffs for a year or two (editor’s note: lololol) and is looking to make a really strong statement to get back into that conversation and have a real star power on the roster.
So let’s keep an eye on the Seattle Mariners, who are looking for a little bit of relevancy and maybe now have some more money to spend with Ichiro Suzuki gone.
Again, this probably isn’t happening. But, Hamilton does come with risks and, who knows, maybe the M’s put enough years on the table and a familiar division is enticing enough to have him playing in a more hitter-friendly Safeco Field. I doubt it but, hey, it’s the offseason—time to be optimistic.
“Yep, that’s Ryan. He’s an artist at shortstop. He’s beautiful to watch play defense. There seems absolutely no way that anyone could miss this. J.J. Hardy is a good defensive shortstop too, but he’s Salieri. Ryan is Mozart. Thing is, Ryan plays for a mediocre Seattle team that plays on West Coast time, and he didn’t hit, and he didn’t win. The Gold Gloves should never, ever miss a defensive player like Brendan Ryan.”—http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-gold-gloves.html
“For people, who know me even a little, they know my heart really never left baseball when I switched beats a few years ago. It’s my sport. It’s my first love. It’s what I feel I cover best. And it feels good to be back to what I consider home.”—Ryan Divish (Montana alum) returns to the Mariners beat.
“The Mariners are 3-4 against the Rangers in seven games. They’ve scored 24 runs, and allowed 27 runs…[T]he Rangers have a run differential of +3 against the Mariners in seven games, and +76 against everyone else in 38 games.[…] But a year ago, the Mariners went 4-15 against the Rangers, and were outscored by 42. The year before that, the Mariners went 7-12 against the Rangers, and were outscored by 50.”—Jeff Sullivan, Lookout Landing.
Normally when I write articles, I have to have the hook first. It’s weird, but I have to have the intro before I write anything else. But with this post, which I’m writing in the morning, I’m a bit disconnected from the events’ prior. Of course, I can still remember everything that happened from last night’s glorious Mariners victory over the Rangers, but I can’t quite recall the specific emotions they evoked.
See, I was planning on writing a full post last night but the evening got away from me and I ended up passing out almost immediately following the game. But, as I was planning to write that post, I have some notes. Here are quick thoughts from those notes:
The Mariners came in knowing Yu Darvish has not been the same Darvish since he debuted against them in early April. He’s been phenomenal. Ackley’s lead-off at-bat against Yu gave us a look at how he’s been so successful. When he’s spotting that fastball, he’s impossible to touch.
Tailing 93 MPH fastball on the black , tailing 94 MPH fastball on the black, 82 MPH slider with two feet of break at the knees. Looked like it was going to be a long night for the Mariners. Instead, it wasn’t, for the Mariners or Darvish.
In that same inning, Ichiro came up with one out and Michael Saunders on first,and ripped a ball right down the first-base line. It screamed past the tarp and got jammed underneath the padding just enough for it to stick and force Nelson Cruz to run over and get it—allowing Saunders to score and Ichiro to end up on third base.
This whole time I’m yelling “Don’t touch it!” at the TV. Is this normal? I don’t know. Ever since this game—no, I’m sorry, that’s wrong, every game—I have to question the baseball intelligence and general awareness of M’s fans. Luckily, no one touched it. And, as Root Sports showed us later, one guy even held up his hands acknowledging he wasn’t allowed to touch the ball. Later in the game, he got hit right in the head by a ball he was allowed to grab. We know this because he went up to the TV people to tell his story. I don’t know why, but I found the whole backstory on this fascinating. Anywaay.
In the bottom of the third, Eric Wedge had Michael Saunders bunt with a man on first and second with nobody out, following a Dustin Ackley walk. Of course, Mariners fans hated it. I don’t hate bunts as much because I always assume players can make the routine play and not screw it up, but whatever, not the point here.
One of the cardinal sins an online baseball fan—and especially a Mariners fan—can commit is results-based analysis. Have to wonder if this is what Eric Wedge was doing here, looking at Saunders recent results and not seeing that he’s scorched the ball the past few days. This is nit-picking, but that was my immediate reaction upon seeing the bunt.
Josh Hamilton’s throw to third on the Ichiro single was hilarious. I don’t know where it came from but people love using Mickey Mantle as a comp nowadays. Maybe it’s just the crop of players around—Hamilton, Bryce Harper, etc—but it seems as though we never heard this in the past few years. Probably because no one’s Mickey Mantle—or Bryce Harper or Josh Hamilton for that matter—but it’s fun to jokingly think “Oh he’s Mantle, really?” when Hamilton lasers a ball into the back wall of the dugout.
Following that big inning, Felix got a Hamilton groundout, an Adrian Beltre fly-out to right field and a Michael Young strikeout. After a very rough inning, Darvish was given the smallest of breaks and proceeded to walk the first three guys in the following frame. “Help his own cause” is a tired cliché used only when referring to offense, but this seems to be a time when Felix did just that.
In the bottom of the fifth Justin Smoak faced off against Texas reliever Mark Lowe. These players were traded for each other. Or, more accurately, they were in the same trade.
If someone were to ask you now, if you’d trade Justin Smoak to get Mark Lowe back, you wouldn’t do it. But you’d think about it for longer than you’d like to as a Mariners fan.
As many people have already said themselves, the Felix/Beltre banter is one of my very favorite things in the game. Most baseball writers, or many of the more advanced thinkers, despise narratives. So many times they’re forced, or adapted based on the results (I usually don’t mind this, most do), but sometimes they’re really there—and they’re great.
This friendly Felix Hernandez/Adrian Beltre rivalry is a narrative, and it’s one of the very best in baseball. And, honestly, narratives are why I enjoy baseball and other sports as much as I do.
Later today it’s Hector Noesi against Matt Harrison. Noesi’s a crapshoot but I just had to click on “M. Harrison” on the Mariners website to be sure his first name was Matt, so I’m not hating our chances.
“When you’re in a slump, and things are going a little bad, you have to slow everything down, see more pitches, see better pitches, and don’t swing at bad pitches,” [Montero] said. "That’s what I tried to do today, relax and hit good pitches.”—Not everyone gets the “be more aggressive” talk.
The popular joke throughout today’s game was that the Seattle Mariners really should play in the National League West. It was popular because it’s true. Well, I don’t know about “should,” but it would be appropriate for the Mariners to play in the NL.
To start, the Mariners aren’t very good. The National League is the weaker of the two leagues and it would make more sense for the M’s to play there. Also, the Mariners pride themselves on and build themselves to be defensively strong. As a result, they are a lighter-hitting club. They don’t really belong in a division led by thumpers Texas and Los Angeles. The best team in the division should be someone like the Giants or the Diamondbacks. Good, but flawed.
Though they just sent over the Astros, or will, I propose a trade of the Mariners for either the Rockies or the Dodgers. Coors Field belongs in the AL, and though the AL already has the Angels, they aren’t really in Los Angeles—and Matt Kemp’s blossoming super-stardom is perfect for the AL East West.
The Mariners are much more aptly prepared for opponents in the NL West, and today they showed that in absolutely rolling the Rockies. The big story coming in was the Mariners dreadful perfomance hitting with runners on in scoring position. On the road trip so far, they were 6-for-58, .103. Today they went 6-for-10. Could be regression, could be something more. But it is definitely regression. Though, let’s look at the hits:
Scorched Jesus Montero line-drive single to center.
Somewhat hard but mostly seeing-eyes single into right field by Seager.
Jason Vargas line-drive single to center.
Brendan Ryan line-drive single to center.
Dustin Ackley line-drive double, just barely fair, down the left-field line.
Casper Wells ground ball single up the middle.
Definitely a little luck in there, with grounders having eyes, balls getting down (in Coors?) before getting caught or staying up above the infield—but also a lot of hard-struck balls. Good to see.
Mariners Blow it Twice Against Indians, Drop to 1-6 on Road Trip
The Mariners aren’t just bad. If they were only bad, this would be easier. Or maybe what I’m about to describe is what all bad teams do and if it is, geez, yeah, isn’t this terrible?
This game was a caricature of the Mariners’ typical gut-punch loss. I’d been to the previous two shameful losses to the Indians—the blown 8-1 lead and League failing to hold Felix’s 1-0 win—and the only reason this one wasn’t worse than those two combined is that it was so comical.
The Mariners lose their fair share of “just plain bad” games but it seems they also suffer a disproportionate number of these gut-punch losses. Just look at the last two Felix starts.. The Mariners are totally skidding, in a terrible stretch heading into yestarday—you look to Felix, and he gets shelled, worst start in years. Then Friday, it doesn’t seem as though he’s rolling, but he has a lead late thanks to a Jesus Montero homerun and immediately gives it back on a Raul Ibanez three-run homerun. So uncharacteristic for Felix, but so characteristic for the Mariners.
Hector Noesi pitched a “good game” the only way he can, by lucking his through jams and missing just enough bats. He left the game in the 7th after giving up a single to Kotchman and striking out Jose Lopez. Luetge then walked a guy and allowed Asdrubal Cabrera to single him in. We’ll get to more of that at-bat, and the walks in a bit, but the real fun comes in 8th, with more Jose Lopez.
In the bottom of the 8th, Delabar replaces Luetge. He gets a couple outs sandwiched between a Carlos Santana leadoff walk and Casey Kotchman two-out double that put men at second and third with, of course, two down. Up comes Jose Lopez. Delabar falls behind 1-0 and you wouldn’t believe where he threw the next two pitches.
Up and in, to Jose Lopez! He can do one good thing at the plate. Well, intentionally. When hitting can intentionally do one good thing—and that’s this:
Mariners Lose Again, Flail Hopelessly as Beckett Rolls
There’s no defining date when you can start saying what you’re seeing on the field is ”meaningful," when you can stop saying "it’s still early" and instead say "Yeah, these are the 2012 Seattle Mariners." But while that line is very blurry, and things can change dramatically for the better at any moment, the odds of that happening decrease as more time passes.
I sense we’re getting awfully close to have a good grasp for what we have in the 2012 Seattle Mariners, and it isn’t anything to be excited about.
The Mariners now sit at 1-4 on what’s a pretty trying road trip, but today and yesterday make the current state of Mariners fandom as crummy as Boston’s weather over the past two day.
Yesterday, the Mariners first 11 hitters were retired before they notched their first hit. Tonight it was nine. This was the third consecutive game in which the Mariners went all the way through the lineup once before seeing their first baserunner, and the eighth time this season (per John Hickey). Eight times—in 38 games. Twenty-one percent. Just miserable.
This road trip (and especially the first two series) looked awfully daunting on paper but, while my persective may be different, I was hopeful. With Felix going Friday I assumed (I don’t know why) we’d get that. You only need to get one of the next two to win a series in The Bronx, which would’ve been quite pleasant. Then, while the pitching matchups in this series seemed to be mismatches based on the names involved, Lester and Beckett were also names I’d come to associated with early-season struggles. Well, nothing like the Mariners offense to get a couple supposedly-struggling pitchers back on track. Maybe not:
Very difficult to evaluate Josh Beckett based on this start. The Mariners have a poor lineup that does not work counts.
I am in a state of flux with these Seattle Mariners. For me and many others, and this team, 2012 is a constant battle between “These are not the last two seasons’ Mariners!” and “Dear God, they’re doing it again.”
I was bummed when Ibanez hit that three-run shot off Felix and ruined the narrative that would be Felix winning a close game on the back of a Jesus Montero go-ahead dinger in The Bronx. Then the next morning I couldn’t wait for the M’s game to come on the radio during my drive out to Spokane. I was so annoyed with Noesi’s shelling on Saturday, but when I found a way to watch almost the entirety of Sunday’s M’s game during my sister’s college commencement (only missed the listing of other kids’ names) I was thrilled. Then a win, so today was easy, but I couldn’t even stand to watch the whole thing. But even after a ho-hum drubbing that felt like a no-hitter, I’m disappointed that tomorrow’s game, a day game, doesn’t start earlier.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. And I meant to note that when I’m not feeling these M’s, it isn’t just apathy, but almost disgust. Then later, without the Mariners doing anything, I come right back. Usually for more of the same, but sometimes not. Hey, maybe tomorrow it’ll be “sometimes not.” We can hope!
A Couple Fun Mariners Bits from Twitter During Train Ride to Boston
I can’t remember who it was, but when someone broke their bat late in Sunday’s matchup against the Yankees, my brothers and I (who were watching it in a random bar at Spokane Arena as we waited out the endles Gonzaga commencement) joked about the bat being corked.
See, we were all partial to the Cubs some years back (dad was a big fan) and one of my brothers, especially, was a huge Sosa fan. We laughed about how ridiculous that was, and tried to remember how exactly how we found out about it. My immediate assumption on things like that is Twitter, but, of course, it didn’t exist yet.
I don’t know how many of you are on Twitter but if you’re not, take care of that. Here’s my Mariners list, it’s a start.
From that list, a few fun tweets from Sunday afternoon.
The best came from Shawn Kelly. Here’s his shot of Felix honking the train horn as the team departs for Boston. “Hooray for metaphors!”
Rounding Up the Reactions to Mariners 6-2 Loss to Yankees
This is kind of an odd weekend as I first head out to Spokane for my sister’s graduation from Gonzaga, and then onto Missoula—getting home for the first time in a week and a half. So, I’ll just loop you in on what I’m doing right now on the ferry over from Bainbridge, scanning through the reactions to last night’s game.
I was catching this game mostly on the radio before settling into my favorite bar on Capitol Hill. I had my radio shut off as I walked into a shop to grab a gift for a friend then got to the bar with the score having changed from 1-1 to 2-1. Of course, the change being Montero’s homerun. My thoughts were the same as Jeff’s over at LL:
Montero’s home run gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. At that point, it didn’t feel secure, but it allowed us to think ahead to how great a storyline it would be for Montero to drive in the winning run in his return to Yankee Stadium. Michael Pineda is out for the year. I wish that he weren’t, but them’s the facts. Jose Campos is on the minor-league disabled list with an elbow problem. If Montero’s homer could’ve been the difference, it would’ve been aggressively sweet, just really driving the point home that, yeah, the Mariners are pretty fond of that trade right now.
Smoak Not Headed to Tacoma Anytime Soon, Says Hamstring is Fine
Like Justin Smoak, I’m 25-years-old. Age is but the smallest factor allowing someone to relate to another individual but, it’s still something, and I can’t imagine being the age I am now and having every sports fan in a city asking why I can’t be doing my job as well as I should. I can’t imagine having kids either—man, people do that? Now? Anyway, I digress.
"He’s gone down to Triple A, whether it was with Texas or with us, and he’s tore up Triple A. He’s not going to accomplish anything there," Zduriencik said. "He’s part of this program right now. He’s part of our big-league club. He needs to be here. We’ve seen really good things from him from both sides of the plate."
Again, I’m a big proponent for the mental side of the game, the human element. It wouldn’t hurt for Smoak to know what it’s like to dominate a league, get some of his swagger back.
Zduriencik also said he hopes Smoak isn’t feeling any extra pressure because of the way in which he became a Mariner:
"I hope he never thinks about the trade, honestly," Zduriencik said during batting practice Wednesday. "I hope he thinks we brought him here because we like him. Because he was part of a big trade is irrelevant. The trade is behind him. He’s a guy who’s trying to cut it at the big-league level. He’s a kid that’s got ability. It should never be part of his psyche that ‘I’ve got to do something because this team went out and got me.’
And finally, Smoak says his hamstring is fine, but the way in which he does so is a bit concerning:
"Everybody thinks my hamstring’s hurt," Smoak said. "I haven’t been on base enough for my hamstring to hurt. I mean, there’s nothing there. Nothing’s wrong."
Sounds a little to me like “I haven’t played well enough to be hurt. That’s a luxury; once I get going, then I’m allowed to be hurt.” Really hope he’s telling the truth and not just gutting it out but after last year’s denials with the thumb, you just never know.
[If you didn’t know, I’m running this off Tumblr, which I’m loving. As things are styled now, underlined headlines are links to stuff of interest.]
Oddly doesn’t mention the Mariners or Safeco at all in the story, but still some interesting info in there, especially on how it sparked a clubhouse fight in San Diego.
Put me on the side of having the fences stay at their current distance. I like pitching, I defensive battles, I like old-school baseball. Would much rather see balls crushed and stay in the park than cheap-os flying over the fence.
Jason Vargas Throws a Gem, Mariners Take Second Series from Detroit Tigers
I’ll be honest with you, because that’s what I’m going to do here: I didn’t catch this game. I followed along on Twitter, as I’m wont to do, bugging the people I’m spending time with—but I didn’t actually catch this game as I was kicking it with a close friend who happened to be turning a quarter-century old. That said, let’s see what I can whip up here. I did watch the highlights, several times. So there’s that.
John Jaso is a baseball bloggers’ wet dream. I don’t mean any sports blogger—ie) not me—but those guys who are better than me, who work primarily off advanced stats and can take large samples of data and apply them to situations regardless of context. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! The thing is, I’ve always assumed that players don’t quite align with these guys, for better or worse, that they strongly believe the game isn’t played in a vacuum, that you can’t take a large/broad sample and apply it to every situation. Well, John Jaso seems to be toeing the company line…er that of his supporters. And he’s probably right.
"I don’t know, I don’t really think I thrive," he said. "I don’t get, like, more energy from it or anything like that. It’s just the way I am, I guess. I try not to get too high or too low, keep it as level as possible. If I didn’t get it done there, it wouldn’t have mattered. I would have waited on my next at-bat."
I feel for Larry. This is the third graph, the first quote—the money quote, and Jaso just wouldn’t give him anything to hit, not even some cliché slop.