In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Saturday, September 04, 2004


¡Ichiro Esta Calienté!

Ichiro is torrid right now. He's so locked in that he's in the "hit bouncing pitches" mode, which he showed us on one foul ball today.

After going 5 for 5 today, Ichiro is at 223 hits for the season, with 35 games left to play.

I think Ichiro is on a mission to show that he can play ball on a totally different level from anyone else. At this point, I think he will easily pass George Sisler's record for most hits in a season (157), and I'm even expecting Ichiro to do it in 154 games. He might also make a run at a .400 season.

What does Ichiro need to do to attain those marks? I'll assume he plays all remaining games, and gets four ABs per game. (He's averaging 4.4 ABs/game for the year. Since teams might walk him more often if he stays hot, I'll be conservative and and use the 4 AB/game projection.)
    For 258 hits in 154 games:
    • 1.84 hits/game
    • .461 BA

    For 258 hits in 162 games:
    • 1.30 hits/game
    • .324 BA

    For .400 BA:
    • .519 BA
Right now the season hit record in 162 games is easily attainable as long as Ichiro stays healthy and teams pitch to him. If the Mariners continue to play as poorly as they have been, Ichiro should get lots of plate appearances where there is no reason for the other team to pitch around him.

Reaching the season hit record in 154 games is much more difficult, but at Ichiro's current pace that mark is also attainable.

A .400 season is the furthest reach. For Ichiro to reach .400 he wouid have to finish the rest of this season at the same pace he has maintained this last week.

There's a War of the Hemispheres raging in my cranium. Every functioning left-hemisphere neuron I've got left says .400 is impossible. But then the right-hemisphere neurons immediately sally forth, reminding me that this is Ichiro and ordinary rules of time, space, and logic are warped.

And those battles keep me thinking of how Boone-headed it is to get thrown out at third to make the last out of the ninth inning, down one run.


White Sox 8, Seattle 2, End of the Sixth

Someone (Joe Morgan? Buster Olney?) needs to teach Ozzie Guillen the proper way to play baseball. Teams win by putting the ball in play, sacrificing and making productive outs, and putting the game in motion.

The White Sox aren't doing any of those things tonight. How do they expect to win the game? Aren't we all glad the Mariners brass built this team in Spring Training to play the game the right way?


Friday, September 03, 2004



Sometime today the site hit counter said Mariners Wheelhouse had it's 100,000th visitor.

I started this little endeavor last November mostly as a respository for some posts I was making at the P-I blog about what the Mariners could expect to get for Freddy Garcia if they traded him before the arbitration deadline. I sat on it for a couple of weeks, then decided to become more visible right after Thanksgiving. Now, nine months later I've had more than 100,000 visits to this humble blog.

I'm astonished and humbled. And grateful for your support.


Batgirl Flies the Coop

Batgirl, the Mariners Wheelhouse officially endorsed blogger for the Minnesota Twins (the Mariners Wheelhouse officially endorsed #2 team) is gallivanting in the nether regions of Newfoundland. Batgirl is, if nothing else, a creature of refined sensibility and utmost sensitivity. So far be it from her to leave her dear readers bereft of Batdroppings, Batmusings, and other assorted sass.

Thus, before leaving for her gallivant, Batgirl prepared an account of the conclusion of the last game of this 2004 season, a one-game playoff between the Red Sox and Yankees for the AL East championship.

Using her patented LegoVision technology.

With cameo appearances by a host of greater and lesser characters.

And plenty of sass.

Catch it all on ESPN Page 2:

Part One
Part Two

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Win One for the Geezer

It was Be Kind to Your Geezer Night at the Metrodome tonight. Gardie couldn't wait to get Borders in the lineup, so he had Borders catching in Mulholland's start tonight. That may have been the oldest battery combination in the majors this year.

It worked, for one night anyway, as Mulholland held the Rangers to two runs and eight hits over six innings. Not dominating, but it kept the Twins in the game. Borders came out on top in his first game as a Twin, as Minnesota scored three runs in the eighth to win.


New Additions to Mariners Medicine Dishonor Roll

In my post on Mariners Pitching Medicine Mess last January, I listed Mariners pitchers I was aware of who have had majaor arm injuries in recent years. That list came from my memory banks and a bit of googling.

Below is an update to that list. Please add a comment or send me an e-mail if you are aware of any changes that should be made to the list.
    Gil Meche
    Ryan Anderson
    Roger Salkeld
    Jeff Heaverlo
    Greg Wooten
    Jordan Zimmerman
    Matt Thornton
    Sam Hays
    Jeff Farrnsworth
    Ken Cloude
    Aaron Taylor

    Sept 1, 2004 updates to list:
    Aaron Looper
    Rafael Soriano
    Travis Blackley

    Removed: Rett Johnson (his DL time at the end of 2003 was not a major arm/shoulder injury)

    1. I did not add Eddie Guardado to the list because it is not likely that his injury was related to his usage by the Mariners.
    2. Julio Mateo's diagnosis is tendinitis. I added him to the list because often tendinitis is an initial diagnosis for a condition that later proves to be more severe.
    3. I did not add Joel Piñiero and Julio Mateo to the list because current information does not indicate their injuries will require surgery or extended rehab. Both situations merit watching, though, as frequently these initial diagnoses prove incorrect (as with Soriano).


Another One Bites the Dust

USS Mariner mentioned yesterday that Blackley apparently is the latest Mariner pitcher to go down with a serious arm injury. Blackley may be going under the knife for a rotator cuff repair.

I've previously discussed Mariners pitching medicine. In that piece I mention the 3-D video analysis of pitchers motions that is done at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham. In this analysis, the lab puts markers on various parts of the pitchers anatomy and actually measures torques, displacements, rotational and kinetic velocities, etc., during the pitcher's windup and delivery. Those results are then compared with a database of similar measurements for players who have pitched successfully for years without major injury, as well as pitchers who have had debilitating injury.

The 3-D approach does not replace visual observations, but it is a major complement. And in close situations, my preference always goes to hard measurements (presuming adequate calibration and verification) over subjective observations.

There is no good reason for the Mariners not to be doing 3-D video analysis with the organization's top pitchers and prospects. The Mariners cannot be ignorant of the use of 3-D video analysis by other teams. It's hard to see the Mariners continued ignoring of 3-D analysis as anything other than obtuseness or apathy by the team's medical and player development staff.

The Mariners ownership is proud of the team's reputation for being well run as a business operation. Most well run businesses recognize that continual process improvement is vital to long term success, and that failure to critically assess important operations is often fatal. What will it take for the Mariners to decide the status quo in pitching medicine is not acceptable?


Smells Like Jarvis Spirit

In Boston last night, Curt Schilling went 7-2/3 innings, giving up three runs. Mike Timlin finished the 8th, facing two batters and allowing one inherited runner to score. Boston had a 10-3 lead, setting the stage for one of the worst performances of the season by a pitcher not named Kevin Jarvis.

Francona tapped Mike Myers to pitch the ninth inning for Boston last night. Here is a summary of the 9th inning from the ESPN Game log:
-G Kapler in right field.
-K Millar in left field.
-D Roberts in center field.
-M Myers relieved M Timlin.
-J Paul singled to center.
-A Kennedy singled to left, J Paul to second.
-C Figgins singled to right, J Paul to third, A Kennedy to second.
-A Amezaga homered to left, J Paul, A Kennedy and C Figgins scored.
-K Foulke relieved M Myers.
-A Riggs struck out swinging.
-C Pride flied out to left.
-G Anderson hit a ground rule double to deep right.
-J Guillen grounded out to second.

4 runs, 5 hits, 0 errors
Myers line for the game:


Graciously, I guess we should credit Myers for throwing strikes and letting Anaheim put the ball in play.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Ally-ally in Free!!

Five wins in a row. Time for the Mariner Optimist to emerge from hiding and return to his home base.

Waitin' to hear from you, Corey!


The Anti-Ichiro

In the Mariners half of the 8th inning, Jacobsen showed again why he's fun to watch. Ligtenberg was following the scouting reports, giving Bucky slow breaking balls low and away. So with two strikes Bucky reached down and tapped the ball to right field with an easy, half arm swing. It was the kind of swing that for most players produces a lazy fly ball if they get under it, or a weak sinking line drive that might fall in for a single if they make direct contact.

With Bucky, though, that swing is a gapper off the wall in deep right center.

Ichiro and Bucky in the same lineup is a tale of two batters:
    Ichiro makes contact. Bucky strikes out swinging.

    Ichiro swings away and seldom walks, but Bucky works the count and tries to get walks.

    Ichiro slaps the ball through holes in the infield defense. Bucky slaps the ball and makes holes in the outfield wall.
Bucky is the anti-Ichiro.


Winnie Pooh Redux

In case there was any remaining doubt, today Randy Winn again showed why he is not a center fielder. In the 7th inning, Delgado was on first after singling. Hinske hit a fly ball close to the warning track in right center. Both Winn and Ichiro had an easy play on the ball and Winn took over, catching it as he was drifting to his left (toward right field). When Delgado saw that Winn was catching the ball, he tagged up from first. Between Winn catching the ball with his momentum carrying away from second and air mailing a throw that is well outside his range, Delgado easily advanced.

Then, on Rios' subsequent single to left, Delgado again challenged Winn to throw home. Winn took the bait and threw through to home to try to get Delgado, even though Delgado was easily past third by the time Winn fielded the ball. Delgado scored to tie the game, and Rios advanced to second on Winn's feeble and futile throw home.

As Fairly said after the game, if Winn let Ichiro catch the fly in center, Delgado would have stayed at first and the Blue Jays wouldn't have scored in the inning. Heck, if Winn just set up properly on the ball (he had ample time to adjust his route so that his momentum would have been carrying him toward second instead of away from second), he might have nailed Delgado going to second.

If the Mariners goal is to field a championship team, Winn is an excellent fourth outfielder, but doesn't cut it as a regular. Winn's bat isn't good enough for him to be a front line corner outfielder, and his defense in center field is bad enough that he shouldn't be playing there.


Borders now a Twinkie

Reports are out that the Mariners have traded Pat Borders to the Minnesota Twins for B.J. Garbe, a former Twins No. 1 pick from Moses Lake.

No problem with this trade. Garbe is pretty close to being a total bust, so the Twins didn't really give up anything to get Borders. And Borders has little value to the Mariners at this point, so it's worth dealing Borders for the slim hope that Garbe might realize some of his potential.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Status of the blog

Blogging here will be sporadic for at least the next several weeks due to overwhelming work and personal demands. You'll just need to get your pessimism elsewhere, I guess.

One more win, though, and the Mariner Optimist should come back to life. I hope the team comes through for you, Corey!

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