Tagged: Texas Rangers

Is it too early to say “Same old Mariners”

A large, range-free egg was laid by the Mariners in their first home stand, losing three straight to Oakland. Goose eggs were seen on the scoreboard for three nights as Seattle scored four runs in three games, going 15 for 97 (.155) with 25 strikeouts. And this after taking two of three from the mighty Texas Rangers in Arlington, hitting .282 and scoring 21 runs in three games.

What irony. Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto wanted to build a team that fit Safeco Field. In their first home stand the Mariners looked lost at sea without a compass. Manager Scott Servais wanted an aggressive club, one that would steal bases. They are 0-3 in steals. They have made five errors, two each by Kyle Seager and Ketel Marte, not all of which came in Seattle.

So is it too early to say “same old Mariners?”  Yes, but the way they played this weekend at The Safe was reminiscent of how they have played at home last year, so forgive those fans who will answer in the affirmative.

And the bullpen, amazing in Texas, was not disastrous against Oakland, but Steve Cishek gave up the winning homer in the 9th Friday in a 3-2 loss and Sunday Nick Vincent gave up the winning homer in the 10th in a 2-1 loss.

In both 2012 and 2013 the M’s split their first six games. In 2014 they swept the Angels of Disneyland to start the season, then went to Oakland and lost two of three to Oakland. And yes the A’s have been a pain in the Mariners aft, but last season the Mariners took two of three from the Angels at home, then went to Oakland to win two of three and were 3-3.

So you see, these are not the same old Mariners, for they did not begin the season at 2-4 in the previous four seasons. This is worse. I have not looked at 2011. Looking to far into the Mariner past causes seasickness.

Texas now comes into town losing two star players in catcher Robinson Chirinos with a fractured right forearm and Shin Soo-Choo to a calf injury. The Mariners must rise up, take advantage of a hurt team and get back on course. It is too early to say “same old Mariners.” But if it makes you feel better go ahead. 

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Hector Noesi-Mariner Killer

When camps broke this spring Hector Noesi was a Seattle Mariner. After pitching in two games for a grand total of one inning he was unceremoniously released by Seattle. The 27-year old was not sent to Tacoma, he was dumped, exiled, jettisoned, banished; in other words released. In that one inning he struck out two, but gave up two hits and three runs. Not great, but only one inning. It seemed Lloyd McClendon and Jackie Z did not like poor old Hector for some reason.

But in two starts with the Chicago White Sox he has killed the Mariners.

Before going to Chicago the Texas Rangers had Noesi for three games. In 5.1 innings he gave up 11 hits, 7 runs. Texas, even with all their injuries, said adios Hector and the White Sox picked him up.

With Chicago his numbers reflect a backend starter. An ERA 0f 4.15. In 115 innings, 113 hits, 82 strikeouts and 43 walks. But in two starts against the Mariners, one in Chicago and one in Seattle last night, Noesi is 1-0 in 13.2 innings, allowing 10 hits, 3 walks , and striking out 9. Even more stunning is that he has not allowed an earned run. The run Saturday night came after Noesi had retired the first 11 batters of the game. Thoughts of a perfect game ended when Beckham made an error on the third out of the inning. Noesi did not contain the little error. Morales singled and Seager doubled in the unearned run.

Including the third out of the inning Noesi then retired the next 8 batters before Zunino had a one out single in the 7th. Noesi then got Morrison to hit into a double play.

With Seattle Noesi was pitching in relief and at the time nobody knew Seattle would have the best bullpen in baseball, so his release at the time was surprising. He may not have gotten a chance to start with Seattle even if he did well in Tacoma, but we will never know. He has done okay with Chicago, but against Seattle, Noesi pitches like Cy Young.

The Mariners do not play Chicago after today’s game, so they do not have to worry about Noesi. Next year Hector could be pitching anywhere, but if he pitches against Seattle he will be ready. He is a Mariner killer.

Is Russell Wilson a traitor to Seattle?

As many of you know the Texas Rangers drafted Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson in baseballs recent amateur draft. He has no intention of playing baseball and the Rangers have no desire for him to play-not that the Seahawks would allow that anyway. No the Rangers had something different in mind, and Russell said he will report to Rangers spring training and do what they ask. Maybe every year. But has Russell sold out the Seattle Mariners and the city of Seattle in the process?

What the Rangers are asking him to do is based on his reputation as an inspirational leader. They want to bring him to camp and talk to minor leaguers about preparation, about on the field and off the field success. In other words a motivator. This sounds like the beginning of a second career as motivational speaker for Russell, one perfectly apt ,and I wish him well.  My thinking is that Russell should have turned Texas down, saying, “The Seattle Mariners are more in need of my services than the Rangers, who have twice gone to the World Series in recent years, who have signed Shin-Soo Choo and traded for Prince Fielder.” Their lineup is loaded, the Rangers minor leaguers stuck on the farm. How can you motivate someone when his path is blocked?

The Mariners have young players in need of help today, not in the future; these youngsters are at the major league level. Where is Russell’s loyalty to his next door neighbor at Safeco Field? Where is Russell’s loyalty to the city of Seattle? Russell is aiding, abetting, and consorting with a division rival, one that pounds Seattle every season. What will he do next, consort with the Oklahoma City Blunder, the team stolen from Seattle by Stern and his Okie buddy? Will the 49’ers ask Wilson to motivate Colin Copperhead?  

One can argue, and justifiably so, that the Mariners once again missed a golden opportunity. It would have been great publicity, superb public relations for the Mariners to extend such an invitation, not Texas. Of course that would mean the Mariners would have to cozy up and snuggle with the Seahawks, the number one sports franchise in the city, and that is not the Mariners style. They prefer thinking the Seahawks aren’t really there. Despite Mariner protestations, they did not want the Sonics back in town, for they knew that would drop the baseball team to third most popular. If I counted soccer, which I don’t, they would drop to fourth.

Maybe the Mariners can have a Russell Wilson bobblehead night where is bobble is wearing a Mariner uniform. Oh wait, I forgot, Russell is baseball property of the Texas Rangers. He will get his bobblehead in the Lone Star state. A nice coup for Texas and another missed opportunity for the Mariners. No wonder Texas will battle for the West title and the M’s will strive to stay out of the cellar.

Who did Mariners get in Peguero trade and Russell Wilson’s Texas Ranger card

Carlos Peguero, designated for assignment by Seattle, was traded to Kansas City for the proverbial ‘player to be named later.’ The question is what player. Can George Brett still hit” Can Bret Saberhagen still pitch? I think the answer is no to both. Nor will they get any player on the 40 man roster.

The reason the Mariners will not get much is that Peguero has only hit .195 in 65 Mariner games. He is 6’5″, weighs 260 and has power with a capital P. I saw him hit a few of his nine homers with Seattle and they literally jumped off the bat as if they were shot out of it. One hit the façade in right field so quickly Carlos had  barely got of the batters box. I was surprised that the ricochet off the façade did not fly all the way back to home plate. No long majestic homer runs for Carlos. His homers were bullwhipped out of the park.

But he struck out 84 times in 205 at bats. It seems the Mariners considered that a liability though that did not stop them from signing the likes of Russell Branyan and Richie Sexson in the past. Peguero hit 19 homers for Tacoma in 2013, hitting .260 with 83 rbis in 118 games. The potential is still there.

Usually the player to be named later will be a minor league player, who may not have much value. In many cases, the signing team, in this case, Kansas City will send Seattle some cash at some point.

For both Seahawk and Mariner fans, Russell Wilson, Seattle’s Super Bowl quarterback will be featured in a Topps baseball card in late April. It shows him in a Texas uniform (photo shopped) and he is pictured in an at bat ready to swing. I can’t remember if it is a limited run, one of the many subsets that card company issues, but I know it has to do with prospects. Texas admits there is no chance Wilson will play baseball, but it will be a cool card to have. It will look nice next to my football Topps Wilson rookie card.

Baseball fiction, “Loonies in the Dugout” Amazon, $2.99. Based on true story about 1911 New York Giants; Christy Mathewson, Rube Marquard, John McGraw, and the immortal Charley Faust. http://www.amazon.com/Loonies-Dugout-Terry-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00EEN7YNA/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391038079&sr=1-

The pennant race between the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals

The 2004 World Series Trophy in City Hall Plaz...

The 2004 World Series Trophy in City Hall Plaza, Manchester, NH. Taken during the trophy’s tour with it’s winner the 2004 Red_Sox. Photo by M@ Sheppard, who has released it under the GFDL. 16:59, 1 December 2004 . . M@ . . 602×1103 (182,813 bytes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, I am not crazy, at least not in declaring a pennant race between the Mariners and Nationals, for indeed, they are in a race.

Since 1961 there have been fourteen expansion teams, and all have been to the World Series except the aforementioned Mariners and Nationals. The way things are going for the Nationals, the Mariners will no doubt be the only team in the near future never to have played in the fall classic. And the Cubs think they have it bad.

The first expansion was 1961. The Los Angeles Angels, truly in the city of angels then, finally got to the World Series in 2002 and won. The Mariners have until 2018 to beat the Angels mark of 41 years. The other expansion team from ’61, the Washington Senators, now Texas Rangers have been to the Series twice but lost both times.

In 1962 the New York Mets took the field for the first time and as dreadful as they were for a couple of years, they won the Series in 1969. Houston, who also entered the National League that year got to the World Series in 2005, but lost.

The Seattle Pilots lasted one year, 1969, before moving to Milwaukee, the Brewers playing in 1982, but losing to the Cardinals. Kansa City, who had seven winning season between 1976 and 1985, played twice in the Series, winning in 1985. The San Diego Padres have played in October twice, but lost both times. The Montreal expose, now the Nationals, like the Mariners, are in the wings.

Toronto, Seattle‘s cousin from 1977 expansion have gone to the World series twice and won both times. They just love to rub it in. And the 1993 expansion Marlins have gone to the Series twice and also won both times. The Rockies, formed in 1993 got to the Classic in 2007, but lost.

Even Arizona, expansion member in 1998, has gone to the World Series, winning in 2001, their third year of existence, beating the Yankees and Mariano Rivera in game seven. Three years! Tampa Bay, their 1998 cousins made it 2008, and lost. But the Rays got there.

Every family has the poor cousin, the one who is trailer park trash, and in the family of baseball the Seattle Mariners is the dirty, broken down, roof leaking, trailer at the back of the park.

The Most important thing to know about baseball

The Most important thing to know about baseball is that you never know. Case in point are the last nine games of the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariner Moose, mascot of the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariner Moose, mascot of the Seattle Mariners. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you explain the last three series of the Mariners? They play the lowly Cubbies from Chicago, a team as bad as the Mariners, and play them at the friendly confines of Safeco Field, Seattle’s home sweet home. Yet they lose two of three to the Cubbies. Then Seattle travels to Texas, a team with two recent World Series appearances, a team that may get there again. Seattle wins two of three. Then Seattle heads to Cincinnati, a team vying for a playoff slot, a team far above the .500 mark and Seattle wins two of three.

The Rangers and Reds have teams full of all-stars, are among the elite winning teams, and the Cubs are. . . well they are the Cubs. How can any of this be explained?

It is easy. You never know. Never, ever. And that is the beauty of the game. The unexpected happens every day, every week, all spring, summer and fall. In football there can be upsets, even though the NFL claims parody, which is true to a point, but they love to talk about upsets. In baseball there are no upsets. The game is subject to the vagaries of a ball which can take funny bounces off outfield walls, off gloves, off umpires, off players and can stop  forty feet from the plate just inside or outside the chalk. A baseball simply takes may funny hops and bounces, and how and where the ball bounces can determine the outcome of a game.

Players and teams run  hot and cold and it all comes out of the same faucet, so you never know what you are going to get until you turn it on.  So what you need to know is that you never know, will never know, even when you think you know, because baseball karma will bite those who think they know to prove to them that they don’t know. You know what I mean?

Why the month of May will make or break Seattle Mariners

If I have the months right for the Sinatra song, it is “Riding high in April, shot down in May.”

My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra

My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mariners were not riding high in April, not with a 12-17 record, but they definitely could be “shot down in May,”  as they spend most of the month on the road, with one stretch being particularly brutal.

The Mariners have five of May’s thirty-one days off. They spend 17 games on the road, with only 9 home games. Two thirds of the month they will be out of town, but since fewer and fewer baseball fans are going to Safeco, not many will know they are gone, nor miss them anyway. If they have a bad road month, June may have even more empty seats.

The Mariners must have ticked off someone in the MLB executive offices. Consider this: Friday the 3rd though Sunday they are in Toronto, they take Monday off, play in Pittsburgh two days, fly back to Seattle for three games with Oakland, then fly back to New York for three, before going to Cleveland for three, then Anaheim at Los Angeles in Disneyland-or whatever they call themselves-for two.

The second game in Pittsburgh is a day game on the 8th, Seattle will fly home, then five days later fly back to the East Coast. And this is in the middle of a stretch where they play 14 of 17 on the road with two trips east. That is brutal. My guess is that all the players will be getting a few days off here and there.

When they come back from that awful stretch, they have three home games with the Texas Rangers. Thanks Mr. Schedule maker.

Every team can make some complaint about their schedule, but Seattle, being close to the North Pole, just a few sled runs from Santa’s workshop, always end up flying more miles than ant team in baseball. But to make two east coast trips with in five days of each other is cruel. It is a schedule made by a bully, someone with a grudge against Seattle. And here I thought  David Stern was the only one.