Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Everyday Eddie"

So with the addage of "Everyday Eddie" put with Mr. Eddie Guardado, the current closer for the Mariners, I have to add one thing... If he continues to pitch as the closer of the team, I may just have to hang myself from the ceiling by my nostrils. Every outing by Guardado has gotten progressively worse, and his pitching is continually messing up the Mariners early season chances at staying with the rest of the American League West.

With options such as Rafael Soriano, JJ Putz, and others like George Sherrill in the bullpen, I have to wonder why Mr. Mike Hargrove continues to run Guardado out to the mound late in the game. He has now blown back to back save opportunities and there are times where it just does not make sense to keep him in the game, much less on the roster whatsoever...

This is going to be a rather quick post because, well, I am very upset at the management for continuing to run Guardado out in the 9th inning. Why? Well, his second blown save in as many chances was one of the worst innings I have ever seen as a Mariner fan... Yes, worse than Heathcliff Slocumb, worse than Mike Schooler, maybe just as worse as Bobby Ayala (ok, maybe not) but the point is, when you tie the game in the bottom of the 8th inning, there is NO way that you should be walking the bases loaded, and THEN WALKING IN THE GO AHEAD RUN in the top of the 9th inning. There is little to no excuse for this shoddy managering of the baseball team, and if he keeps this up, Hargrove may just lose his job come July.

Soriano, Putz, Sherrill all deserve a shot at the closing opportunities should Guardado continue to fail. If all else fails, Eddie should be a left handed situational man, pitching to only one or two batters a night.

I am NOT happy right now...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Felix Day!

Once again it is time to all gather 'round the television set, or throw on the headphones or, in this age of advanced technology, tune into MLB.TV or ESPN's gamecast. Why you may ask? Simply put, it is once again, Felix Day.

Since this blog was last updated it has been nothing but downhill for the Mariners however, once every five days they give us fans a true gift in being able to watch the great Felix Hernandez make major league hitters nearly twice his age (he just turned 20 on April 8) look absolutely silly... Or, more accurately, making hitters nearly twice his age look... well... his age.

Now I have gone on and on about the greatness that is Felix: His command, his stuff, his amazing curveball and even his mentality on the mound. One thing that is nearly not even possible to write about at this time is the impact that he could have on the game. One may read this blog and just assume that "Hey, this guy is a Mariners fan, and thus, overhypes Felix." This could be a strong talking point for those who oppose the fact that a 20-year-old righty can alter a teams' future. However, it is not everyday that the player everybody is talking about JUST RECENTLY GOT OUT OF HIS TEENS.

We are talking about a teenager with some of the best stuff out of anyone that has ever pitched in the HISTORY of the major leagues. Perhaps this is overhyping due to being a fan, but perhaps an even stronger case is that it truly is the second coming of the next great power pitcher.

There is not a whole lot to compare Hernandez to due to his age and skillset AT that age, but through all the hype that has been heard about so many young major league pitchers in the past (i.e. Todd Van Poppel, David Clyde and Dwight Gooden in other circles, Dave Fleming, Tim Leary and Ken Cloude in the Mariner past) this is finally one that has broken through to the major leagues and has had continued success.

As I write this, Hernandez is pitching in Cleveland against the Indians, and through three-innings, Hernandez has 6 ground outs, 2 strikeouts and one fly ball out. This is the most amazing thing about the pitcher, not only is he a power pitcher who has the ability to keep any inning from blowing up into a game-losing inning, he also has the unbelievable talent to induce ground balls. So far in his short, illustrious career, Hernandez holds a 3.20 ground/fly ratio (3.2 ground balls for every one fly ball out). His 3.31 g/f ratio last season was ranked number-one in the entire league last year with second place being at 3.13 (Mark Buehrle) and third place being at 1.74 (Jason Johnson, who Felix is facing tonight).

A lot has been said about him, alot by me, but Hernandez truly is a talent that can transcend time. Just take a look in the records book in about 20-25 years, it very well could be a book of memoirs of the great, Felix Hernandez.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

And We're Off...

So here we are... Three games into the 162-game marathon that is the Major League Baseball regular season. The hard work and the early morning practices in Peoria, Ariz. are a thing of the past and the games start to count from here on out.

Three games is an extremely small sample size, I will concede that point. However, what the Mariners have been able to do in those three games is something that they were wholly unable to do in all of the previous 324 games of the past two combined seasons. Yes, they played aggresive baseball, they showed unrelenting promise and most of all, they were able to score runs in bulk.

Starting off with opening day 2006, the Mariners had one of the most encouraging losses that a team could have. On the opposing side of the ledger under the starting pitcher line was a man by the name of Bartolo Colon. Colon, the 2005 American League Cy Young Award Winner; Colon, the man who has been utterly dominant against the Mariners in his nine seasons of Major League experience; Colon, Mariner killer. The game did not start off well at all for Seattle, Jamie Moyer, starting his third straight opening day for the Mariners gave up a homerun to the Angels slugger, Vladimir Guerrero (who hit 9 homers against Seattle pitching in 2005) in the top of the 1st inning, and just like that, 2006 looked an awful lot like 2005. A funny thing happened that day at Safeco Field however, the Mariners offense began to click and was able to tie the game at three in the 5th inning against Colon. To make a long story short, and to ignore the gory details of an opening day loss, the Mariner bullpen found a way to lose the game as they had so many times in the previous season. One good thing about baseball though? There is always a tomorrow, in fact, there are 161 more tomorrows after opening day.

The first tomorrow came the very next day on April 4th, when the Mariners sent their number two starter and number one project pitcher this year, Joel Pineiro, to pitch against the Angels who countered with their youngster, John Lackey. Pineiro held the Halo offense in check for much of the game until he began to tire in the 6th inning when he held a 6-0 lead before he yielded a three-run homerun to Angel outfielder, Garret Anderson. With the score at 6-3, the game began to get very interesting, and even more encouraging for this Mariner fan. In the top of the 8th inning, the Angels were able to drive two runs across the plate to bring the already skinny Mariner lead to a lead of anorexic-like proportions, a measly one run. Now let me just throw this out here, when the Mariners lost momentum last year like this, they tended to fold and just give up, and eventually lose the game. Not this year! Going to the bottom of the 8th inning, the Mariners lead was 6-5, when the offense retaliated. Richie Sexson stepped up to the plate after the leftfielder, Raul Ibanez was intentionally walked. Sexson struck out his last time up to bat, but in this at-bat he was able to crush an Esteban Yan offering into the seats of Safeco field to extend the Mariner lead to 9-5, by the end of the inning the score was 10-5 and the Mariners looked to be driving down Easy Street on their way to the first victory of the year. It ended up not being so easy however. It took Eddie Guardado 41 pitches and three earned runs to get out of the top of the 9th inning but in the end, a win is a win is a win.

Game three of the season turned out to be just as heart pounding as the previous three with free agent starter Jarrod Washburn taking the mound against his previous team. Washburn dominated the potent Angels lineup en route to a 6-4 victory that was not as close as the final score indicates as the Angels scrapped for 3 runs in the final three innings.

The first series is in the bank now for the Seattle Mariners, and all indications thus far are pointing towards a very different season than those the previous two seasons. Aggressive baseball, hard baserunning, great starting pitching and most of all, the ability to bounce back when they are punched in the mouth. All these attributes are things that have not been seen in Seattle in a few years, and they have never been more welcome. The absence of expectations, the influx of talent and a full season of new hope are the keystones for this new Mariners team. All of this without even one Felix start yet? Just wait until Friday April 7th when Hernandez makes his first start of the season, then take the pulse of the Mariner fanbase, if the team is 4-1 after that game, you may just find a heartbeat once again in the nearly deceased baseball heart of the city of Seattle. Fingers crossed. And We're off...