M's On Pace for 223 Homers and 101 Losses
Dr. D's epiphany at the chalkboard


Q.  The pennant is almost out of sight.  Quickly, Duncan, the strengths.

A.  The things that have gone wrong have been as transient as an Alaskan Way panhandler, those being the lousy pitching of Paxton, Iwakuma and Taijuan.  The things that have gone right have considerably more traction, those being the 2015 versions of Ackley, Smith, Cruz, et al.

Keep playing like this, let the rotation settle in to provide the electrical surge, and Dr. D's calculations show a clompfest through the AL West.

But then, Frankenstein was never supposed to be a sedate bedtime story.  There could be a house fire or two we need to jump out of along the way.


Q.  How much time does Rodney get before they go to the shot-put guy?

A.  SSI doesn't see that Rodney is throwing the ball any differently than he ever does.  Rick sez "they're hitting some real good pitches."  I'll go with "it was 23 straight saves before he blew that one."  But Rick said it better.

This being McClendon, SSI will further assume that there between here and "some time to collect himself" there is a long, LONG way.  

:- )

By the way, the entire bullpen looks quite a bit better to Dr. D than he thought it was going to.  Leone, we can't speak for, but the other guys, kewl.


Q.  Is the 3-5 record kind of unlucky?

A.  Not really.  

The Mariners have gained 122 bases and lost 150, not counting SB's.  They've played (collectively) a group of three really fine teams, with their rotation in dry dock, and (in the broadest context) looked like a playoff team that is out of synch.  If that makes any sense.  Which, if it does, Dr. D will be quite disappointed, won't he.


Q.  What was up with Iwakuma?  5 K's and 3 BB's isn't great by his standards.

A.  No command (again) and therefore none of that vaunted pitchability.  It was the 3rd inning before we saw a hitter (Juan Uribe) in-between on a pitch.

Lose the battle, win the war.  His sheer stuff looked great -- one shuuto even broke down past Zunino's glove for a passed ball.  Visually he looked 24 years old.

This isn't unusual in baseball, for a pitcher to be "too strong" and therefore to lack command.  That's SSI's take on Tuesday life.

Tell you something weird?  Oddly enough, watching the game today it started looking to Dr. D like Iwakuma could pitch until he is 44 years old, which is an utter retraction of the "two year MLB shelf life" sermonizing that he has done since his bullpen days.  But the "pitch forever" shtick is a story for another day.  The moral of the story is, it's a shame you couldn't work out an in-season extension with WBC-san to be announced at the ASB.  Didn't they do that with Ichiro one year?


Q.  Come on, contrarian is one thing but a puff piece after two gutpunches like that?

A.  It was what, 1977 when Bill James told us to look at K/BB rather than at ERA.  That's half the POINT of sabermetrics:  to ignore your visceral reaction and look at underlying factors.

SSI likes this team!  A lot.

Things that are legitimately worrying .... not much.  Austin Jackson, definitely.  (Well, "worrying" is not the right characterization of that deal-io.)  Logan Morrison, maybe worrying.  The law of averages vs. our 2014 bullpen results, sure, that's worrying.  The prospect of a slow April for the rotation, possibly worrying.

But I'll take this team, you take some other team, and we'll see.


Q.  What's the over/under on Cruz' HR's now?!  On his WAR?

A.  Cruz is who he is, which is the Latin Jay Buhner.  There have been a whale of a lot of Mariners lately who weren't.


Q.  Is Seager going to be hitting .537 at the end of the month?

A.  We saw four of his AB's today.  In each of them, he went anti-shift.  

  • One excellent, long bunt, which the pitcher miraculously converted to a 1-3
  • A completely deliberate short-arm liner through the open left side
  • A questionably deliberate full-swing liner kinda through the open left side (between the 3B and SS)
  • Oh yeah, there was a walk in there somewhere

Which is roughly a 1.417 OPS.  Theoretical debates aside:  if they keep shifting Seager he is liable to win me some ball games.  And wouldn't it make sense, that the specific baseball player who decided to punish the shift was Kyle. Seager.

If he keeps doing that, and of course he is well capable, for me it's going to be one of the greatest things ever to happen in sports.  A long string of stubborn managers, 40 hits in the next 20 games, and about 15 Mariner wins.


Q.  When is the last time the Mariners had a bench full of Terry Crowleys and Gates Browns?

A.  Maybe you guys can help out here.  Going back to Lou ... he always wanted three Desi Relafords on the bench, three switch-hitting middle infielders who could cover his keister so nothing weird happened to him.  Going back before Lou, there was no such thing as a Mariner team that had 4 outfielders who could hit.

Is this the first Mariner team with two big bats on the bench at all times?  That has always been the way Dr. D would run a bench and it has never been the way the Mariners ran one.

Well, technically in 2001 Stan Javier was a "big bat."  It just happened that way; Stanley was chosen strictly for his glove.  When he turned out to provide Earl-type baseage he single-handedly drove the Mariners to 116 wins.

Hey, there was a point today when they had Smith, Ruggiano AND Dustin Ackley sitting there ready to hit.  And Morrison.  Ruggiano came in to hit, the Dodgers brought in a righty, and we promptly swapped in Seth Smith.

I consider this Two Bat Bench contrivance to be my personal conception, experiment and patent.  I'll thank you to do the same.


Q.  How long until we're over .500?

A.  :: shrug :: if takes until 28-27, like in Balmer last year, that will be plenty early 'nuff.  SSI doesn't expect that it will.

Life's good,





When we should be two over... but it could be worse.  I'd rather sputter out of the gate and then get it together than pull an Oakland last year.  Go get a win today in LA and we'll be okay.  It'll have been a .500 road trip.  Not what we wanted with those leads that we had but I'll take it.
The rotation will come around.  You can hear the power in that engine we just don't have the fuel mix right so it's sputtering something fierce.  Paxton and Kuma don't have "stuff" problems early in the season they just don't have their touch yet. We'll see what happens with Walker in his home town but I don't expect another shelling.  Our guys are too good to keep coughing up runs
Somebody's gotta straighten out Zunino though.  He's hacking blindfolded at a pinata up there - after 12 shots of tequila. He's a mess.  LoMo I can replace if we have to - Willie "I only hit singles" can platoon with him for a bit until Kivlehan or Montero gets a call.  But we don't have a catcher who can replace Zunino not defensively and not for certain offensively either.  
And Zunino is SUPPOSED to be a catcher who can hit.  We definitely rushed him but we can't afford for him to hit Mendoza again - although right now I'd take that over whatever it is he's doing up at the plate.  Send him to hypnosis or something.  
Somebody tell him to BREATHE a little bit at the dish instead of swinging three times at one pitch.

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