Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Zach is Back

(Win Probability Graphing by Fangraphs)

Baseball is about overcoming adversity. In Kansas City tonight Zach Greinke returned to the form that the Royals had hoped to build a team around a couple of seasons ago and shut out the Yankees. Aside from beating the Bronx Bombers - an endearing trait in my book - he has battled back from a social anxiety disorder that nearly derailed his career. So far in this young season, the Royals have been the best team in the American League. Nobody saw that coming. Welcome back, Zach.

Doug Davis and Adversity

(Win Probability Graphing by Fangraphs)

Baseball may be a game about dealing with adversity. Then there's the story behind Doug Davis' gutsy start against the Dodgers this past Tuesday just two days before undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer. Impressive outing, even more impressive character. Get well Doug Davis. Get healthy. We all look forward to your recovery.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Seattle Mariners @ Baltimore Orioles - April 6, 2008

(Win Probability Graphing by Fangraphs)

The Seattle Mariners snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as their puzzling inability to take advantage of shaky starting pitching from Jeremy Guthrie (his command was all over the place) combined with a JJ Putz-less bullpen wasted an impressive 8-innings of shutout baseball by King Felix.
April 6, 2008 - Mariners at Orioles 038
Felix Hernandez: 8.0 IP, 5H, 0 R, 0ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0HR 0.00ERA - No Decision. King Felix mixed in a lot of off speed pitches in the early frames before featuring his wicked fastball more prominently later on. He was particularly good at pitching his way out of trouble and the defense working behind him turned some outstanding double-plays.

April 6, 2008 - Mariners at Orioles 057
The win practically fell into the lap of Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0HR 0.00ERA. He was featuring a fastball in the high-90s with exceptional location.

April 6, 2008 - Mariners at Orioles 050
Temperature at game time: 52 degrees with drizzle. Paid attendance: 19,215.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

M's Concerns: the Back End of the Rotation and the Lineup

(Win Probability Graphing by Fangraphs)

Miguel Batista is a number 5 starter, and probably an above average number 5 in the big leagues. He certainly looked much sharper than the Orioles' Adam Loewen. Up until he lost his command in the fifth inning and started issuing walks. Nine base on balls issued by the Seattle pitching staff versus just three free passes from Loewen (who clearly didn't have his best stuff today) made all the difference in this game. Not to mention the 4! errors committed by the Mariners in this one. As far as "back of the rotation" starters go, Batista is the great unknown. We've seen the effective sinker ball from Carlos Silva and we cringe when Washburn gets a road start. I hope we see a more consistent Batista as the season wears on.

Why is Richie Sexson batting cleanup? He did not look comfortable in the batter's box in this one as he took some ugly hacks at pitches way out of the strike zone. His .205 batting average with just 63 RBI's last season looks more like a decline than an off-year at this point. The M's need more production than that from the number four slot.

On the other hand, Mike Morse has an impressive canon. His ability to gun down Brian Roberts at the plate on the heels of Shawn Green's errant pickoff throw into center field was most impressive. I hope we see a lot more of him (and a lot less of Willie Bloomquist).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Opening Day for the Mariners - So Far So Good

(Win Probability graphing by fangraphs)

A no decision by Erik Bedard, but he certainly kept the M's in the game. Having Jose Lopez bat second looks like a good idea from this vantage point. I hope RA Dickey gets the call sooner rather than later.