Echo 1995

=== Mr. Made for TV ===

Was Inside Pitch's nickname for the 2nd-year ARod, but now in a better sense might tag Mr. Gutierrez... :- )

In 1995, Wetteland fired that 95 heater in to Edgar with the bases loaded.  Our old STATS-AOL pal Steve22, a semipro catcher and Yankee fan, said that he threw his beverage can at the TV when the ball was in midflight.  

Edgar unloaded, Musburger (?) said "DEEP TO CENTER!" and then they gave us a full 120 seconds of silence as the TV cut back-and-forth between the M's, Yankees', and fans' reactions.   Moments like that remind you that you're not just passing time with the national pastime.


If you didn't catch the TV broadcast, Felix was bitterly disappointed to be down 1-0 in the 8th, and when the M's scrrrrooouuuuuunged two baserunners in the 8th, Gutierrez came up... and Felix hid his head under a towel, not able to bear the tension.

Rizzs and Blowers were laughing about it pretty good.

When Gutierrez destroyed that low 1-0 fastball, Felix heard the crack of the bat, whipped the towel off his head, looking around wide-eyed to try to find the action...

The TV panned back-and-forth for wave after wave of emotional celebration in the Mariners' clubhouse.  Even Wakamatsu allowed himself a small smile and golfclap.

Game was nowhere near as big, but in terms of emotion, it'll do until 1995 comes around again :- )


=== 418 ===

Yep.  I'll take my medicine.  About 16 more times this year, I'm guessing.

And the kid's at .300 now?


=== Griff ===

Ichiro on second, Branyan out, Lopez out, Griffey goes to 3-2... I knew for a fact that Wilson was going out of the strike zone.  I figured a 90% chance that Griff, overanxious, would fish.

I was half right.  Wilson went down-and-away, and Griffey decisively gave him a "half position" like Bruce Lee half-blocking a feinted jab.   Beee-yooo-teee-ful.  Without that walk, the win doesn't happen.

For the record, Griff's 100 OPS+ is worth a tad more than average:  (1) OBP is worth more than SLG, and Griff has more OBP than SLG; (2) BB and HR are worth more than 1B's and 2B's.


=== Beating the Shift ===

We were right behind home plate Tuesday and it looked for all the world like Griffey intentionally slapped the ball to 3B, beating the shift for a DOUBLE.   He leaned over, finished with the bat pointed at the pitcher, and apparently swung-bunted the ball into the hole.

Branyan, too, has shown bunt several times lately, always with runners on.  I hope these doggies are showing their teeth a little bit to these shift-cats.

Go for it, guys.  Three hits each and they're not shifting any more.


=== 9th Inning ===

After the Intensity In Ten Cities, Aardsma came right out and retired the side on about two pitches.  Made for a crunchy finish.

Here is a June SI article in which Bill James comments on Nolan Ryan's fight against dogmatic pitch counts.

I just couldn't believe that Felix didn't come out for the 9th inning with only 112 pitches under his belt.  ... the positive spin would be that Wakamatsu wanted Aardsma to get right back on the horse, which would be admirable, but what a cost he paid to do it.  Felix could have easily butchered the Rangers, and if Aardsma blows that one too...

Not complaining.  Just observing.  I wouldn't have had the guts to sub in David Aardsma for Felix Hernandez in such a must-have game.  Wak's a leader of men, but...

Lookoutlanding's very cool Win Probability chart tonight gives Gutierrez a hilarious +65% on his 3-run homer.   It felt like +400%.   (Down by 1 run in the 8th, with two on and two out, and a 1-0 count ... you expect to win about 27 out of 100 games.  Up by two in the top of the 9th, you expect to win about 92 of 100 games.)

Not wanting to quibble, Felix -- for owning the night lock, stock and barrel -- got half what Gutierrez got.  No complaints whatsoever, but Cy Young aces are under-measured by practically every stat known to us saberdweebs.


=== Hail the King ===

Pennant race in July.

Four games against the division leaders.

We need three out of four.

Our Aces go in games 1 and 4.

It felt like Randy Johnson and a gimme tonight.

Felix PITCHED like Randy Johnson and a gimme.

For me, this was Felix' first "Randy Johnson" game.  I plan to thoroughly enjoy the rest of them.

We Aren't Worthy,

Dr D



Just bow down to Mr. Gutierrez...he's got a flare for the dramatic, a golden glove, and a future as a 30 HR slugger and MVP candidate (yes I said MVP candidate).
King Felix has been kingly all year...he's won two different games 1-0.  He put the hurt on Texas (and Morrow blew it) once already.  He dominated the Angels once already.  He dominated Boston twice.  He is the AL Cy Young...Zach Greinke be damned.
This team has a 1995-vibe in a few other ways too...fighting tooth-and-claw without a huge veteran leader (Beltre)...GM telling the guys he's in the fight with them by trying to acquire Freddy Sanchez and/or Jack WIlson, fans starting to get into every late inning rally, blog-land excitement building...
PythagenMatt says the Mariners have played .489 ball this year after tonight's 3-1 win...they need to add some pieces if they want that to go up and if they want to win the west...but it's not like it's that hard to upgrade when three of your line-up spots are OPS+ing 50.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

Flashback - 2007 - F-Gut posts: .266/.318/.472/.790 - 13-HR in 301-PAs; (301-PA in 100-G)
FGut has a line of: .297/.360/.450/.810 - 10 HRs in 30 in 305-PAs; (305-PA in 79-G)
Here's the BIG difference:  2007 = 21/77 (BB/K)  2009 = 26/59 BB/K
Franklin has made PRECISELY the step you want to see in a young hitter.  He's gained walks, and cut down on his Ks.  But NEITHER shift is dramatic, just noticeable.  The makes them MORE likely to stick.  This is what I view as "nuanced" improvement, rather than complete retooling.  And he's JUST getting back to the power he showed in 2007.  Note that his current slugging is 34 points LOWER than in '07 - and his ISO is only 144, when it was 206 at age 24.
I am not normally one to jump blindly at a hot streak.  But, with Guttierez, the evidence suggests this is NOT a hot streak.  The power he's shown in the past month is the power is what he showed for 1/2 season in 2007.  It's MAINTAINABLE!  Of course, the one arena for nervousness is average.  He's a .267 career hitter with a .297 avg today.  His BABIP shows some real danger signs.  BUT - the reduction in Ks coupled with the increase in HR rate actually suggests that a .300 average may not be a reach.  There are PLENTY of guys that fan 120, walk 60, and still hit for average.  Want some examples?
AROD, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton
However, to carry a high average with 120 Ks, what you MUST do is hit HRs.  I once calculated that there is a rough 6 to 1 ratio between HR value and K value.  Every HR offsets roughly 6 strikeouts.  So, this is where it gets interesting, (in a drool inducing way).  Torri Hunter, Raul Ibanez -- these are guys that fan 120ish and hit 20-HR.  They hit about .280.  This is the spot where many see Gut's *upside* landing.  Me?  I think that's his soft, chewy center. 
But, if his improved eye is for real.  (and we know his strength is).  Then, he's MORE than just a 20-HR bat.  He's a 30+ HR bat.  And if he starts hitting 30, (which is a very real possibility, even in Safeco, given his strength), then his UPSIDE really does become Cabrerra. 
Of course, he's still a kid.  There's still a lot that could go wrong.  And, if I were betting, I'd play it safe and bet on the Torii Hunter template as being the more likely final picture.  The key understanding here is that the F-Gut Seattle has seen in the first half isn't a "new" Guttierrez.  He's just gotten back to the original Gutierrez SO FAR.  The question to be answered still is this ... does he have the capacity now to sustain the streaks and shorten the slumps?  If so, then yes, Virginia, the Mariners may have landed Miguel Cabrerra at a bargain basement price.

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