This, Lloyd, Is On You
"Doctor, c'mon, let's go." "No! Dr. D is enjoyin' this!"


Cross-Sport Dept.

Dr. D was flattering himself to the effect that he could intelligently watch an F.A. Cup final.  The mighty Arsenal Gunners, featuring several "Ballon d'Or" (player of the planet) finalists, vs the feeble Burnley Whatevers, featuring some guy from the pub downwind.  Burnley comes from a lower division, but it's not like the Mariners vs the Rainiers.  It's more like the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Duke Blue Devils.  

During play, the announcer said something like, "Burnley can't play a coherent passing game like Arsenal does.  In [minor-league soccer] it's about hustle, ricochets, and winning 50-50 balls and second touches.  You need Mesut Orzil and Santi Cazorla to complete those high-speed passing plays under heavy defense."



As Dr. D always suspected.  The sport looks incoherent because it is.  They finally confess.

Still, he would have thought that in soccer, you needed to outclass your opponent to make coherent offensive plays work.  In other words, the #1 team in the lower division ("Championship") should be able to do it against the #17 team, right?

No, the announcer was right, sez SSI's go-to soccer coach.  Everybody plays ricochet and hustle until you get to the top 100 or so players in the world.  It just takes too much genius.


Chuck Knox once groused, "the line between winning and losing is hair-fine.  Unless you have a dominating football team" (like the 1922 Canton Bulldogs or 1985 Bears or 2015 Seahawks or something).

The Mariners have played what ... 26 of 27 games decided by 3 runs?  Meaning basically EVERY game was a "save opp" game?!

You do that, you are going to bounce around .500, more or less.  The M's split two in Anaheim.  They mighta won two, or lost two.


Moral of the story, gentlemen:  the Houston Astros are NOT baseball geniuses.  They're just lucky, and they're hot, and they're coming back to doomed to sink below the division.  MEANING, in case you can't connect the pollyanna dots, that the M's are only -1 game out of the lead.  

You go watch curling if you want.  I'm crunching my popcorn, wide-smiling and with maximum revulsion factor.  Keep clicking your SSI bookmark.  It beats work, and today only Dr. D is offering an "every comment gets a reply" special.  Yes, really.  He's curious whether this will drive participation down or up...


Monday Morning QB

Dr. D was all set to write a cheerful little post about the way that Carson Smith and Charlie Furbush have given us a "poor man's Nelson and Rhodes."

We thought Lloyd had that straight, too.  In game 1 on Monday:

  • the M's clinging to a 3-2 Felix lead
  • the M's had Trout and Pujols coming up (yowchy)
  • the M's had a 4-game losing streak blossoming nicely
  • the M's were on the road
  • Did we mention this was a heroic Felix (and Nelson Cruz) game)
  • in other words, most major league managers would prefer not to give up runs here

In came the rookie Carson Smith, way ahead of everybody else in the bullpen line.  Smith blew down the Angels' heavy hitters with ease, extending his scoreless app's streak to 56 games.  The M's broke a 4-game losing streak.  All seemed right with the world.

But with Dr. D skating happily down Bullpen Street, he folded over an unseen handrail he caught waist-high.  McClendon brought in Danny Farquhar to throw the 8th.  A few poblems with this strategy:

  • James Paxton had thrown exactly 90 pitches
  • James Paxton's last fastball had clocked 96 MPH
  • Carson Smith is the appropriate RH setup man now
  • The appropriate LH setup man was ready in the bullpen
  • Farquhar's fastball is down this year from 94.5 MPH to 92.5 MPH
  • Farquhar lost the game
  • It's feebleminded

Even more oddly, after Farquhar gave up his first three baserunners, the left hand Erick Aybar came up to bat and ... Charlie Furbush fired a "last warmup," stepping off to come in.  McClendon left Farquhar in.  To which Dr. D confidently replied, "How long until we get the replay booth on pitching changes?"



Farquhar threw four fastballs/cutters to Aybar, sidearm righty against KBIZLT lefty, clocking 90-89-92-89.  The 89 MPH pitch, this gorgeous little blue circle below, was a "Pitcher's Pitch" if you ever saw one:



Aybar hit a rope into right field, as any High Desert catcher or shortstop would have done.  It sez here that you bring in Furbush, the Mariners are 12-15 and in first place this morning.


Listen, you "baseball men" lurking out there.  When you got Jeff Nelson and Arthur Rhodes, you use 'em.  Like you use Rodney:  if they gotta come in four games in a row, that's what they do.

;- ) I don't say that McClendon is an idiot.  You've heard SSI defend him a bunch of times.  And objectively speaking, Farquhar is hardly consigned to long relief just yet.

But!  Somebody explain this one to me.  In one-syllable words, so even Dr. D can understand it.  Why Farquhar ahead of Charlie Furbush?  He was all set to go.

Bah humbug,

Dr D




Could not figger it out Doc.  Mostly I couldn't get my hands around taking Paxton out unless he wanted out being gassed.  However the Koufax-style heater he had just chucked up there kinda refutes that don't you think?
As well (and as I shouted) playing Ackley instead of the RHP ripping Miller was questionable at best.  I would have PH'ed Miller for Ackley with the bases full btw.  To heck with Ackley's confidence!
I'm not sure The Skip lost this game but he didn't do much to help us win it.
It's a long season remember.  We'll get it right eventually.

tjm's picture

. . . still I'd rather have taken Farquhar out. He didn't have it almost from the first pitch. And you and Moe are both right - Paxton should have gone one more and Brad Miller was sitting on the bench during Ackley's fiesta. He's going to replace him in left field anyhow so why wait.

benihana's picture

I think this is once again an example of the weight of expectations. Much like the start where he yanked Iwakuma way too early Lloyd is pressing for wins over-thinking his decisions and making errors - just like the rest of the team.
Last year the moves were made with a confidence level that spoke loudly that "we are here to compete". This year we seem to be saying "we are afraid of losing" as we watch strike one and strike two and strike three sail right on by.
Nut up M's.
- Ben.


Don't care so much about the whys of this particular decision...mistakes happen. Why is Farquhar still a Mariner is the better question. He is completely worthless now. His 91 mph fastball 89 mph cutter that doesn't cut shtick is about as effective at killing the Mariners' season as Bill Bavasi ever was.

Nathan H's picture

I was tweetin' during Ackley's 2-on 2-out bases-loaded at-bat that because Lloyd didn't pinch hit him he was giving him his last shot at redemption. "Win the game you get two more months to show us what you can do. Lose the game and your future with the Mariners is limited to how quickly we can find a trade partner." Ackley lost. I am convinced that an overhaul of the team starting in left field is now well-underway.


So the platoon matchup wasn't really a factor.
What *is* a factor in my world is that Smith/Furbush are emerging as the actual quality short men to set up Rodney.  I'll bet you that it consolidates (more) that way within the next 2-3 weeks...


The Farquhar move did smack of "paralysis by analysis" especially when Furbush was left in the bullpen with a puzzled expression on his face.
That's exactly what happens:
1.  Swagger around the clubhouse pre-game 
2.  Step up to the plate and (subconsciously) realize you're a bit more over your head than you thought
3.  A confused customer is a non-buying customer (called strike one)
4.  11-and-16
Or that's how it would happen with me at least...


That cutter he loves ... it's worked in the past when played off a 95 fastball.  But this year it doesn't even seem to be cutting; the pitch to Aybar tailed armside 9".
His peripherals are still not bad but ...


Funny thing is he could be a solid 2B-with-upside for somebody.  As a left fielder he's looking a bit lightweight.
They made a handful of roster moves after ONE month when Billy Beane usually waits two.  Next couple weeks will be interesting if they don't get on a roll ...

RockiesJeff's picture

Bah Humbug Indeed! Sometimes the right choice doesn't work in baseball but in this case....I watched last part on MLB and it was like shooting yourself and the rest of the team in the foot. If I remember Smith had only thrown 10 the previous night.
I didn't see the game except for a small part at the end but in thinking.....I loved the Ackley pick way back when and really hoped this would be a solid year. That backwards K with the bases loaded....come on! So what was Smith doing last night as DH instead of in LF and Miller (LF in training) not DHing?


I know I am alone on Miller Island but I really do not understand the lack of defense ( ;) ) for Miller.
First off Miller is not Steve Sax at SS. He is no where close to that.
Second and maybe we'll just say Lloyd had a really bad day yesterday in general but... the way that LLoyd so vehemently and Publicly announced that Miller was no longer the starting SS was just flat out WRONG!!! This is EXACTLY what this front office did to Saunders and what they did to Erasmo and etc...
This is just POOR people skills. How would any of us like this treatment??
This is just POOR management skills. How do you think Brad is going to respond the next time he plays SS? How about the next time at bat?
This is just POOR resource management. How much trade value does Brad now have. Making the move is one thing... going PUBLIC is quite another.
I just do not understand the lack of outrage.
Have we all just accepted this from LLoyd and the Mariners? REALLY???


I think you're in the ballpark Tac.
I thought Miller took more than he deserved.  He was never advertised as Ozzie Smith but he wasn't THAT bad.  He was always a bat first MIF. Taylor is smoothier with the glove certainly...but teams have won with big with guys no better than Miller at SS.  I also thought by not playing Miller yesterday against the righty and knowing that he had a lefty up today the skip was pointing a finger at the kid.
I didn't like that at all. 


Common sense is a power but rare thing! You got it are not merely coaching a sport but managing real people personalities. Z's reign has shown me from afar time and time again....very poor skill at times in dealing with those real people.


It was unfair to Taylor to have to bat against Richards as well. Richards is definitely one of the top emerging right handed pitchers and there is no way Taylor was ready to take him on... and it showed.
The decision to play Taylor over Miller was just wrong almost any way you look at it.


Coaching. Coaching. Coaching.
I know some think I just hate Lloyd and his coaching staff... I really do not. However at SOME point a coach has to tell Farquhar and Zunino only one cutter per batter... or one per inning. Similar thing with Taijuan... only one waste pitch per batter or per inning. Or similar thing just to Zunino... when was the last time you saw a Mariner pitcher throw a fastball trying to catch the corner in upper inside corner on 0-2? because usually it is a curve ball or change up in the dirt. Someone has to COACH these guys go do some things differently... and right now it appears no one is.


I respectfully disagree. What is Lloyd supposed to do - play Taylor nearly every day while moving Miller all over the diamond and just not say anything? Then what - let it drag out until it's all the sports writers ask about and then say something? I'm a "rip the band aid off quick" type of manager myself so I like Lloyd's blunt plain spoken nature. Once you have made the determination that Miller isn't SS material then firmly make the move and live with the results.
The mistake with Miller from a human capital standpoint is a common one with the M's - they waited too dang long to make the call. They should have made the move when he was in A ball IMHO.


I had no problem with playing Taylor.  I really like that kid.  He's gonig to be an OBP type of SS and very nice to have.  Once he's called up you play him.  But the best decision was to let Miller DH with Smith in LF and Ackley out of the lineup.   That was my point.
Miller sits three games in a row...and it certainly could appear that he's getting pointed at.  My objection wasn't to Taylor at SS but to Ackley batting rather than Miller vs. the RHP.


Tough to see them getting a decent hitter without depleting what's left of the upper minors or subtracting from the major league squad. Hopefully Wilhelmsen will come back strong. That will allow them to demote Farquahar or Leone whichever is stinking worse. If Tom is back that will do a lot to stabilize the pen. But I think we are stuck with the hitters we have in the org. Gutierrez is staying healthy (so far) and he's hitting (so far). If they want to dump Ackley our old friend Gutz might be the guy to come in and give the club 3 starts a week in rotation.


I missed that.  There was a public defrocking of Miller?!  What was the basis of it?!
Good way to get yourself a lifetime enemy.


At BJOL right now they're discussing a bunch of pitchers who were terrible for years in Org X and then go to Org Y hear something a little different and then "become totally different pitchers."
Wouldn't rule that out at all.  ... in any case Lou Piniella (to whom Lloyd is comparable) was certainly never a manager who helped his PITCHERS get any better.


Doc - My bad... I guess.
I thought it was in very poor form from Mariner management / Lloyd by way of the decision process the lack of consistent management speak (or handling of players) the actual announcement and the planning for the future by switching starting shortstops for the rest of the season - or at least foreseeable future. It appears a couple people cordially disagree here in true SSI fashion unlike the trashing I have rec'd on a couple other web sites.
I laid out a basic but not thorough case above so I will let that stand. A lot more could / should have been said but I failed at that the first time.
I really worry what happens when Chris Taylor - who I like and say he deserves to be playing 50% of the time - what happens if Taylor pulls an Ackley. Taylor has no where near the pedigree of Ackley has put up a lot less in the numbers department than Ackley did in his first 3 months and Taylor is coming off of an injured wrist. All I asked to happen was to make Taylor earn 100% of the position over time and do it in the professional thoughtful way... but apparently I did not realize how much blame Brad Miller deserved for the Mariners being 11 - 17.

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