Giants 9, M's 3 - Stay Cool and Stay Clean

 ............. If you can't trust your teammates, who can you trust? ...........

I like the M's bats, and two jet-lagged preseason games don't change that.  It's funny about us sabermetricians.  We talk all big and tough about "300 AB's is a small sample size," and then we watch the M's lose two games and just widdle our pants.

Ackley, Carp, Smoak and Montero will hit.  Maybe, and I doubt it, but maybe Smoak and Montero won't hit until next year.  But they'll all hit.

Seager we're not sure about, exactly.  Saunders we're not sure about, exactly.  A +19 lbs. Gutierrez we're not sure about, exactly.  Ichiro, I for one am pretty sure that he'll hit.  At some level or other.

But the point is:  we've come a long, way baby.  The M's were #2 in spring training in runs per game; two losses don't override that.  But maybe we need to consider the baseline here:


=== Comedy of Errors, Dept. ===

At Safeco Field on July 2, 2011, Doug Fister lost another Mariner decision.

He would have thrown a shutout, but in the 5th inning, Cameron Maybin drew a walk.  On three pitches.  Do you remember that?  Maybin came around to score on the counterfeit walk.  Maybin got the only "walk," for either side, and also the only run, for either side.  Would you call that a tough loss?  That's the kind of loss that the prophet Elijah could have suffered...

Bill James found that, in a normal MLB baseball game, there is about a 2% chance that the wrong team will win, because of an umpire's gaffe.  But in a pitcher's duel, that goes up to 10%.  You learn something new every day.  Game's scoreless into the 6th?  Feel free to get VERY nervous about the umpiring.


On July 26th, Fister again pitched brilliantly.  But the woeful M's lineup fanned 14 times against CC Sabathia and Fister lost to go to 3 wins and 12 losses on the season.  With a 3.18 ERA.  These are the kind of fluke seasons that have Fangraphs authors forbidding you from ever looking at W/L records.

That was Fister's last game as a Mariner, by the way.  In a complete coincidence, Fister's W/L turned on a dime when he went to the Tigers.  For the M's he was 3-12; for Detroit, he was 9-1.  


The Mariners had lots of other strange pitchers' duels, too.  On Sept. 6th, Felix was in a 2-1 game in which all three runs were unearned.  Think about that.  Reflects gloriously on the 16 position players that day, don' it?

Or remember August 5, when Jason Vargas and Dan Haren were tied 0-0 after the regulation nine innings?  Mariners lost it in ten, 1-0.  We could go on...


=== Implosion ===

We've noted before that on July 4th ... this is Independence Day, now ... the 2011 Mariners were a measly 2 games out of first place.

But they'd been scoring zilch, all month, and when they lost a horrible game 0-2 on July 6th, they just realized that they didn't have the bats.  They threw in the towel, lost the next 17 in a row (!) and lost 95 games.

It ain't the same lineup in 2012 as it was in the first half of 2011.  By "not the same lineup," we mean that there are different players on the field.

Stay cool,

Dr D





I think the scores in Japan so far mean zilch. Someone can say the A's had the same jet lag to deal with, OK, that's fair. Things went their way this time in the exhibition games. But those games were hardly a measure of the 2012 Seattle Mariners OR the Oakland A's.
In fact, I think the first two regular season games in Japan mean next to nothing besides hoping you can avoid a sweep for psychological reasons. The whole excercise of the Japan trip is so outside the normal routine of spring training/regular season that I could very easily see a young team just trying to establish itself getting thrown for a loop.
And then the team gets to embark on the long journey back and play...
some more exhibition games.
Whoopie! Talk about getting your psychology screwed up.
Maybe I'm overplaying it, but to me it's up in the air how the team will do until things finally settle into a familiar routine. They could breeze through it like it's nothing, or they could get so discombobulated that it takes until later in April to settle down.
There's road trips, and then there's road trips. This one is a ROAD TRIP like nothing anyone on this team has experienced before. Custom made to mess with your mind.
Give the M's a pass at least until mid-April or even later. And let's hope the way they handle it is much better than a worst case scenario.


Read a fine Verducci article in which he did stumble a bit in one place:  he noted that the last six teams to open in Japan played 29-31 in their next 10 early-season games, "compared to .518 thereafter."
It seemed lost on the author, that a shade under .500 vs. a shade over .500, in that size dataset, means "no detectable difference."
The M's get four preseason games before opening back up.  I'd say that the extra starts for Felix -- 3 of the M's first 7 games started by him, and the M's burdened with a 1-ace rotation -- outweigh any jet-lag concerns.


One downside to 5-man divisions is they can't send a division to Japan for a triple series - if each AL West team now went over, and each played the others 3 games, they would be there for 10-11 days, but would be able to come home, grab 2-3 days rest, and continue the season on an equal basis. Then, each year a different division could get a shot. Put a series in Pusan and one in Seoul if Japan would saturate with that many games.
With the new arrangement, you'd have to take an NL team along and play more games to make it equal.
Guess we'll have to wait for 2 more expansion teams so we can have 8 4-man divisions. By then, Selig could have his Europe opening, too.

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.