James Paxton is on the disabled list, so reason number one is that Seattle needs a starter and Mike Montgomery has been starting for Tacoma in Triple AAA. The second reason is that, like Paxton, Montgomery is a lefty. The third reason is that he has not started since May 26th, so he is rested. Naturally if Tacoma starts him before Tuesday he is not the answer.
Montgomery has no major league experience. He started his pro career at the age of 18 in 2008 when he was drafted out of high school by Kansas City. He has pitched in 164 minor league games, 159 were starts. he has only two complete games and his won loss record is 46-50 with a 4.24 ERA. His strikeout to walk issue is good and he does give up many long balls. Of course pitching at the major league level is another matter. His numbers are not overwhelming. But who else do the Mariners have to start with Paxton sidelined?
Mike Blowers has suggested Dominic Leone. But he is a relief pitcher, not likely to last three innings and his pitching this season has been ineffective. He was called up, but why start him? You will be taxing your bullpen, something Lloyd is loath to do. An ineffective reliever starting against the New York Yankees makes no sense.
It has also been suggested that Jack Zduriencik, Mariners GM, may be calling around trying to make a trade. I doubt being in a vulnerable position as the M’s are, any team will help Seattle and the asking price for a short term fix undoubtedly would be too high.
It is funny in retrospect that this past spring everyone said the Mariners had a lot of depth. But they really don’t have depth. They had one proven starter in Tacoma, Roenis Elias, and he was called up when Iwakuma went on the DL. Now Paxton is out. One more pitcher going down and the Mariners may be doomed.
What’s up with ESPN senior baseball writer for ESPN.com Keith Law?
In an interview with Brock and Danny on 710 ESPN Seattle Law said Mariner manager Lloyd is a bad manager. He said Lloyd “can’t manage a bullpen, can’t manage his bench and with a bad offense the Mariners should no be playing small ball (which is something they don’t always do by the way, as anyone who saw their four homer performance in Houston will note).
Law also said they never should have hired McClendon because he failed in Pittsburgh, so why give him a second chance when he is a loser.
There was a baseball manager who managed the Mets for five years compiling a 286-420 record, a .405 winning percentage. According to Law’s law this man should not have been given a second chance, but the Braves did, so to did the Cardinals, and though never winning more than 89 games in his nine years with those two teams, he had some success in his 12 years with the New York Yankees, so much so, that Joe Torre was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Law’s opinion on losing managers not deserving a second a shot is inane, if not downright stupid. And for those who follow the Mariners on a daily basis it is clear McClendon has managed both the bullpen and his bench with success. Maybe McClendon is lucky, or maybe he knows what he is doing. Law also said McClendon is a cold personality. Sounds like Law has something personal against McClendon.
Law also said Mariners top pitching prospect should be traded because he is damaged goods, has changed his delivery and now throws too high in the strike zone and his curveball is garbage. It must be said that Law was once a scout and has worked in the Toronto Blue Jays front office. So he has credentials, but having credentials does not mean having intelligence, nor even knowing what you are talking about. It is an opinion. He is entitled to his. The jury is out on Walker, but I am willing to bet that Walker, barring injury, will have a good career.
When it comes to Seattle Mariner law, Keith flunked his bar exam.
May the 8th is the date Seattle opens a weekend home stand with Kansas City. It is important because Seattle will have played their 34th game in Oakland the previous day. In those 34 games, 23 will be played on the road and only 11 at home.
Seattle must play well away from home in order to get off to a good start. The Mariners first home stand saw them split two with the Angels and lose two of three to the A’s. A 2-3 home stand won’t help the Mariners if they falter in road games. They must win or at the least play .500 in foreign ports of call.
They open a four game series in Texas tonight, then three in Miami. After coming home for Houston and Texas, the Mariners go to New York for the Yankees, then to Houston and Oakland before the May 8th game.
What makes the trip difficult is that James Paxton is on the DL, Erasmo Ramirez has had two straight bad starts, Roenis Elias is still an unknown factor, and Chris Young, who pitched six shutout innings against Oakland Sunday in his first start, is attempting a comeback after missing last season. That is a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘hopes.’
Another big question during this period is whether Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker can return to the rotation. And if they are ready, how well can they pitch. The Mariners brought up Blake Beavan, who pitched well in Tacoma, to start Tuesday in Texas. But he had a poor spring camp and poor 2013 season, yet another ‘hope.’
It is possible the bullpen will be tested with so many questions in the rotation, so there may be a shuttle of bullpen pitchers between Tacoma and Seattle to keep the bullpen fresh.
This is why May 8th is important. They must stay close to .500 by sailing rough waters, because if they don’t, as May ends and June begins, the empty seats at Safeco may be plentiful.
Diving right into Elliot Bay flotsam I have predictions based on trends, history, and a mental disease.
Robinson Cano, with no protection in the lineup, will hit .257 with 21 homers and 62 rbis, locking up the Chone Figgins Award given only to a Seattle Mariner, due to the fact all their free agents turn out like Figgins.
Corey Hart goes 2-3 with a homer on opening day, but in his fourth at bat slides awkwardly into second and suffers a deviated rectum and is out for the season. Mariner fans are happy that it was not a knee injury. Conversely, Logan Morrison bats .216 with 6 homers and 38 at bats. Unfortunately he lasts the entire season as Mariner fans do not understand how he avoids a knee injury.
Franklin Gutierrez gets off to good start batting .265 with 15 homers, 46 rbis at the all-star break. But during batting practice following the all-star game he collapses, is rushed to the hospital where he is diagnosed with a sickness which baffles doctors all over the world, including Dr. Who. Franklin, however, is honored when they name the new disease Gutitis, a disease so mysterious it has no symptoms.
Taijuan Walker finishes the season 7-16, but leads the league with a 1.27 ERA and strikeouts per inning with 10.8. Meanwhile Felix Hernandez is traded to the New York Yankees for Ichiro, Michael Pineda, and an autographed picture of Phil Rizzuto.
Justin Smoak bats .238 with 22 homers and 19 rbis. That is not a typo. Justin becomes first player in history to have fewer rbis than home runs, but sabermetricians do the math and verify the numbers. Mariner GM, Trader Jack, believes Justin is one year away from stardom. He gives Justin the vote of confidence from his room at Western State sanatorium.
Chris Hansen, who was stiffed by the NBA to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle as the Sonics, buys the Mariners from Nintendo. Safeco Field is renamed SubMariner Park after Subway buys naming right to stadium. Team also changes name to SubMariners and in press statement from Hansen, he states the name has nothing to do with the teams performance, but is meant to honor submarine sailors stationed at the naval base in Bremerton.
Mariner fans excited for 2015 with new owner, new stadium name, new team name, new manager Wally Backman, rumors of Mark McGwire coming out of retirement to DH for Seattle, and offer to all fans in attendance in 2015 with free sub sandwich each night Mariners attendance exceeds 1,200 on Mondays when Monday Night Football is on and Seahawks play anybody.
These predictions were written with the assistance of Trader Jack, my roommate at Western State. Happy New Year!
Baseball fans know about the dramatic finish to the 1960 World series when Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off homer to beat the New York Yankees. But in 1927 the Yankees and Pirates had another wild finish, though not as dramatic.
There have been debates on whether the 1927 or 1939 Yankees were the best team in baseball history, so it is no surprise that the 27 Yankees dominated the first three games against Pittsburgh in the World Series, winning the first two games at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, 5-4, and 6-2. They had no days off back then, and the next day at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks won 8-1. Then came game four.
Carmen Hill, 22-11, took the mound for the Pirates and rookie Wilcy Moore, 19-7 for New York. It was the best season either pitcher would have.
Both teams scored one run in the first. The Pirates came on an a single by shortstop Glenn Wright, and the Yankees run on a Babe Ruth single. In the bottom of the 5th, Babe struck again, this time on a two-run homer. In Pittsburgh’s 7th, Pirate catcher Earl Smith led off and reached on error by Moore, Emil Yde pinch ran, and Fred Brickell, batting for Hill, reached on Tony Lazzeri‘s error. Lloyd Waner then bunted them to second and third. Clyde Barnhart, the left fielder, followed and singled in run and Paul Waner hit a sacrifice fly that tied the game, 3-3.
Bottom of the 9th Johnny Miljus, 8-3, 1.90 ERA, was beginning his 3rd inning of relief work. Earl Coombs led off with a walk. Mark Koenig then reached on a bunt single. Miljus uncorked a wild pitch with the Babe at the plate. I would not doubt that Miljus was feeling some anxiety about facing the Babe who hit 60 home runs that season. With runners at 2nd and 3rd, he gave Babe a free pass. But that brought up another problem, that being Lou Gehrig who drove in 175 runs in 1927. You think Miljus might be feeling more jitters with the World Series winning run at third base and no outs? If he was nervous facing Gehrig it didn’t show as Gehrig struck out, as did the next batter Bob Muesel. That had to bring a sigh of relief. Now there were two outs, one out from extra innings and a chance for the Pirates to salvage at least one game. The batter was Lazzeri who made a big error in the Pirate 7th. But Lazzeri was not the hero. There was no heroics. Miljus threw a wild pitch, Coombs scored, and the Yankees swept the Pirates.
The Pirates got their revenge in 1960 with an even wilder finish.
Once upon a time boys and girls there were no wild cards, no division series, no ALCS or NLCS. There was only the World Series. You see children, there were only eight teams in each league and the winner of each league went directly to the World Series. Hard to believe, but it is true, you can Google it. The American League expanded to ten teams in 1961, the National League the following year, but post season remained the same.
Just as baseball fans knew back then that Ty Cobb was the hit leader with 4,192, the home run leader was Babe Ruth with 714, and Cy Young the wins leader with 511, fans also knew that Yogi Berra was the World Series career hit leader with 71, Mickey Mantle was the World Series career leader in home runs with 18, and Whitey Ford the leader in wins with 10.
Of course records are broken. Pete Rose is now the hit leader, Aaron or Bonds-asterisk pending-is the home run champ, but have World Series records been broken?
Watching the current post season play over the years it is clear that 1969 will soon be the year that ushered in the modern era of baseball. Anything before that will be like the 1800’s, just a faint blip on the baseball radar. It was 1969 that saw another expansion and the beginning of divisional play, something that irritated baseball purists by the way. What fogies they are, right.
The point is that now play by play announcers, columnists, and other baseball pundits refer to post season records. I don’t know who has the record for post season home runs, but I do know that you are bound to hear when the name comes up, that the announcer then says,” Mickey Mantle, of course, had 10 World Series home runs,” adding in a voice almost apologetic that there was no divisional play or league championship series back then.
Through 1968 World Series records were littered with New York Yankees because they were in the Series far more than any other team. And not much has changed, the Yankee names are still there, along with all the record holders pre 1969. Reggie Jackson broke through with his 10 World Series homers with the A’s and Yankees, tying him for fifth with Lou Gehrig. Even in the modern post season era, you can’t keep the Yankees out of the record book. Mariano Rivera has a few records, including 11 World Series saves.
Now post season records are littered with post 1969 names, while the World Series record holders sit on a shelf in a corner of the baseball library collecting dust.
For those who want to explore-did you know Joe DiMaggio hit into the most double plays in the World Series with seven-here is link to hitting records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws1.shtml. And here is one for pitching records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws4.shtml
There is a reason Felix Hernandez is called ‘King”, but there is one game he can not win, nor will he ever, unless one event happens and the odds are against him.
I said there is a reason he is called the King, but truthfully there are many. Here are a few. In the last five years he has the second best earned run average at 2.74; he is second in strikeouts with 950; he is first in starts with 142. Those are the numbers of a workhorse ace at the top of his game, truly the King. But there is more. He has won a Cy Young award and pitched a perfect game. There is still more. When the Mariners give the King two or more runs, his record is 96-24.
As every Mariner fans knows there is one thing he can not control, okay make that two, the second of which I will shortly get to. Felix has pitched 89 games in which the Mariners scored one run or less. If he had an offense these past five years he would be winning 20 games a season and be mentioned with Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddox, any and all right handed Hall of Fame pitchers.
Instead the one game in can not win is the game of public perception in the media. When his contract was coming to an end, speculation rose about where he would go, and what the Mariners could get for him. Boston and todays opponent the New York Yankees were in the race. Instead the King signed an extension with the Mariners. He said he loves the Seattle area, it is a great home for his family and he wants to win in Seattle.
Why he can’t win no matter what he did is this. Because he chose to stay in Seattle, there is false perception that he did not want to play in the pressure of New York, or that he did not really want to go where he had a chance to win. But if had decided to leave Seattle, then he would be the guy who left for the money. He can’t win, dammed if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.
You hear an occasional baseball pundit bemoan the fact few players want to stay with their team, leaving for zillions of dollars. What happened to the George Brett’s and Cal Ripken’s who wanted to spend their career with one team? Felix wants to be one of those guys.
The one event that will change the perception of Felix staying in Seattle is if one year the Mariners win the World Series with Felix in a Mariner uniform. Then it will be “All Hail the King”.
According to the New York Times Felix is 4-1 at Yankee Stadium, old and new, with two shutouts, both two-hitters and has a 1.31 ERA. If he gets two runs or more today the odds look good he will once again win in New York. Let us now praise the King.