Thursday, May 20, 2004

Optimist on Strike 

I've had enough. The Mariner Optimist is going on strike.

Let the celebration in the blogosphere begin!

I will not make another post until the Mariners have won 5 straight games.

At their current pace, this means this will be my final post of the year. But I'm hoping that the M's will be inspired by my willingness to sacrifice my blog for the good of the team, and will have me back posting soon.

Go Mariners!

Payback is a Bitch 

2004 is the anti-2001.

Remember the 2001 Seattle Mariners? Every game was exciting, and you always felt like the M's would find a way to pull it out. And usually they did. Every game had the question "Who's gonna win this game for the M's?" Life was good.

Well, its payback time. Its 2004, the games are getting duller as the opponents get an early lead, and the M's meekly go down after a few flair singles and the occasional meaningless solo HR. There is always a brief Somewhat-Close-But-Not-Quite comeback. Or if they manage to get a lead, we ask the question "Who's gonna blow this one?"

I really hope the team snaps out of its current funk, cause I can't take much more of this. When Edgar is the goat not once but twice in a game, you know that something is horribly, horribly wrong.

Sigh... can't we call up someone from Tacoma just to make things interesting? Our second best bullpen pitcher right now is J.J. Putz, so can't we see what George Sherrill has to offer? What Meche could do in relief? How Bucky, A.J. and Justin would fare in the bigs? What Dave Niehaus would say about Bobby Madritsch's tattoos?

Thanks to Sports & Bremertonians for pointing me to the news that Andy Kaufmann is alive. Whether true or not, this fits perfectly with the Kaufmann style of humor, and I'll be looking for him at a Walmart or Starbucks soon. I hope it really is him, but hats off to the impersonator if its not.

Today's picks:
NL Day...
Phillies (Myers) -133 over Dodgers (Ishii)
Astros (Oswalt) -112 over Marlins (Beckett)
Padres (Valdez) -118 over Pirates (Vogelsong)
Rockies (Kennedy) +102 over Reds (Wilson)
Diamondbacks (Fossum) +145 over Braves (Ramirez)

Money to date: $-1063 (picking dog/favorite = +627/-1690, 27-36, 20-23) - Schilling wins, but my underdogs fall as my losings fall to four digits.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


The sound you heard was my hopes and dreams for the next month crashing to earth. We now have 29 games to win 20.

Hey, lookie, we found our home run swing, with solo shots from Bret Boone and Raul Ibanez! Yee. Haw.

Unfortunately, we lost our singles swing, and good Freddy was replaced by mediocre Freddy, giving up five runs (although shaky defense in the first two innings didn't help). Forget trading Meche, lets trade Freddy while his stock is sky high.

The Red Sox are shopping Byung-Hyun Kim and while I would not trade Freddy for him, I would certainly explore finding out how much of his contract the Sox would be willing to eat, if they are primarily trying to shed salary and give Kim a change of scenery. Not sure what Boston's needs are, but we could sure use some bullpen help.

This article mentions that the Yankees have been the most aggressive in the pursuit of Carlos Beltran (surprise!), but that the Royals received calls last week from the Mets and Your Seattle Mariners. Yes, I dare to dream the big dreams.

Today's picks:
Red Sox (Schilling) -240 over Devil Rays (Bell)
Tigers (Maroth) +140 over A's (Redman)
Expos (Kim) Even over Brewers (Santos)

Money to date: $-963 (picking dog/favorite = +827/-1790, 27-34, 19-23) - Favorites doth vex me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

M's Contemplating Changes 

Today, Larry Larue confirms that the M's are planning some changes.

The laundry list of changes includes:
1 - Trade or dump Rich Aurilia, and fill with Jolbert Cabrera, Jose Lopez, or Ramon Santiago (good defense, no bat). I would hope that they go with the rookie Lopez, and lets see what he can do. The worst move of the year has been the dumping of Carlos Guillen for Rich Aurilia. Neither his bat nor his glove have adjusted to the American League.

2 - Trade, dump or bench John Olerud, and replacing with OF (Ibanez), 3B (Spiezio) or someone acquired through trade. No mention of A.J. Zapp or Bucky Jacobsen is made, unfortunately. Perhaps Oly platoons with Edgar at DH? At the least, we need to find John a platoon-mate at first.

3 - Trade Gil Meche for hitting, and bring up 5th starter from Tacoma in form of Madritsch or Nageotte. This one scares me the most. I think Meche is a big asset and could at least be used to strengthen the bullpen. He needs to be a piece in a deal for a significant hitter, not just another Jolbert Cabrera.

4 - Dump Quinton McCracken, and bring up a more versatile player, possibly Hiram Bocachica. This makes sense to me.

Bavasi then needs to plead with Mariner fans for forgiveness since the Aurilia move was his and his alone, and has failed abysmally.

The winning starts tonight.

Today's picks:
Dodgers (Alvarez) +106 over Phillies (Padilla)
Tigers (Bonderman) +160 over A's (Harden)
Twins (Santana) -109 over Blue Jays (Batista)
Mariners (Garcia) -155 over Orioles (Cabrera)

Money to date: $-759 (picking dog/favorite = +767/-1526, 26-33, 19-21) - I've got to remember not to bet on days I don't like any matchup. Me throwing $255 on the Diaz & Wolf in Coors is like the M's losing 2 of 3 to the Devil Rays.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Renewed Optimism 

Okay - the tough part of the season is over, and we came through it in the most pathetic fashion one can imagine. 13 and freakin 24. Shutout 4 times. Bullpen blew 5 games. Amazingly 5-1 in extra inning games. Only four hitters with slugging percentage over .400 (Ibanez, Spiezio, Boone, Wilson). The M's are miserable, our fans are miserable, and I am miserable.

However, I for one am NOT ready to throw in the towel on this season. It is too early to trade Garcia for prospects (but it is never to early to trade him straight up for Carlos Beltran). Please don't ever trade Freddy for Damon and Kim. Don't we have enough singles hitting outfielders and enigmatic relievers on one team?

Over the next month, we face a mishmash of teams that we can beat, with 3 games each against Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Toronto. I think that we could win 20 of 30 against this competition and be back at .500 heading into playing 7 of 10 against the Rangers to end June.

Why the optimism? Well, its my job, for one. But in losing 5 of 6 on this last road trip, we managed to outhit our opponent in EVERY game, usually by a wide margin. And before you fire off the "you're an idiot emails and comments," I understand that we are hitting singles where our opponents are getting homers. But we are also getting some ridiculously bad luck. And that has to turn.

Can we find a way to improve on the offense provided by Randy Winn, John Olerud and Rich Aurilia? The team needs a shakeup. Lets be adventurous! Give Jose Lopez a taste of the bigs and send Aurilia to the bench for two weeks. A callup for Bucky Jacobsen who is hitting .306/.405/.583 in Tacoma. Bring in Hiram Bocachica and his .500 slugging percentage and 9-10 stolen bases. Move Ichiro to centerfield already! Bring up Wiki Gonzalez for Pat Borders. Trade Freddy and a prospect for Beltran! Bring in George Sherrill and say goodbye to Mike Myers. Bring up Bobby Madritsch and send Gil Meche to a setup role. This team has decent options that we should be exploring. Ramon Santiago was the WORST possible choice to bring up.

Before we trade anyone for prospects, we should see what our own prospects are capable of! If we are still ten games below .500 entering July, then its time to sell. The buyers will still be there.

Even if its too late to get this team into the playoffs, its NOT too late to turn around the malaise around this team. What better way to keep tickets selling than to get the Bucky Backers and Boca Chiquitas going strong!

A day off today, and 30 days to win 20 games starts tomorrow.

Today's picks:
White Sox(Diaz) +120 over Indians (Lee)
Phillies(Wolf) -155 over Rockies (Cook)

Money to date: $-504 (picking dog/favorite = +867/-1371, 26-31, 19-20) - Meche costs me $100, but upsets by Mets and Expos gain me $335

Friday, May 14, 2004

Ban The Bunt! 

First and second, nobody out, down a run in the eighth against a lefty. Great speed on the basepaths, Randy Winn up with Edgar on deck. To me, that sounds like two chances at a game-tying single, or in Edgar's case, a game-winning double before we get have two outs.

To Bob Melvin, its a chance to waste an out having Randy Winn bunt, and Edgar get walked to load the bases with one out and put up lefty-flailers Raul Ibanez and John Olerud, who predictably, can't drive in a run.

David Cameron has turned Melvin's small-ball mismanagement and turned it into the great new game, Outsmart the Manager!

And the Mariners lose another game by one run, blowing a fantastic outing from Ryan Franklin. That's four straight losses, all by one run which have featured either a combination of a plethora of singles leading to 6 runs and a bullpen blowup or a plethora of singles leading to no runs.

If we are to be a singles-hitting team, then we can NOT afford to waste any outs with bunt attempts. At least the stolen base attempt has a 2 in 3 chance of not making an out and moving a runner into scoring position.

But when we already have a runner on 2nd and no outs, freakin swing! A single scores a run (unless its Spiezio vs Hunter of course), and Winn is unlikely to be doubled up (though the way the M's luck is going, Melvin may have been trying to avoid the lineout-6-3 triple play).

Our starting pitching is coming around. Our bats are at least hitting some singles, so now we need to mix in a double, a homer and a walk or two. And our bullpen needs to hold a lead if we ever get one again.

Well, at least we get to sweep the Yankees in the Bronx next...

Today's picks:
Mets (Trachsel) +200 over Astros (Oswalt)
Expos (Ohka) +135 over DBacks (Fossum)
Mariners (Meche) +175 over Yankees (Mussina)

Money to date: $-812 (picking dog/favorite = +432/-1371, 24-30, 19-20) - Vazquez was shelled, costing me $200, but got 3 of 4 upset picks right for +320

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Revenge of Bobby Ayala 

M's hitting singles all over the place, and that's great.

Joel Pineiro looked very good, and that is MUCH needed.

6-2 lead and Shigetosi Hasegawa gives up two singles and TWO FREAKIN WALKS. That just sucks. Mike Myers comes in and beans in a run with one pitch and that sucks.

I was hoping Putz would get the call to start the 8th, but instead he gets to come in with the bases loaded, none out and a two run lead. He comes close, but gives up a two-out single and the Twins tie it up at 6.

Then, the M's go out in the 9th through 11th innings and WALK THE LEADOFF HITTER (Putz once and Villone twice). That just kills me.

It was like Bobby Ayala and Heathcliff Slocumb had returned in different bodies.

The M's need to do something about the bullpen now. It is in shambles. Soriano is hurt and when he's not he's hurting the M's. Hasegawa is an unmitigated disaster. Myers is. Villone is fine for long relief, but is not a one-inning stud. Putz has done fine for the most part and Guardado has done alright, but he never gets to pitch. Everyone else in the bullpen should just be demoted right now. Call up Sherrill, Blackley, Madritsch, anyone to give this bullpen some help. I want to see a bullpen that gets strikeouts again.

And how many more embarrassing throws from Randy Winn do I have to watch? He actually made a good throw in the 11th on the game-winner, but that throw on the fly ball to short center in the 8th barely reached Putz on the bloop. Can someone tell me why we can't play Ichiro in center, Winn in left, and Ibanez in right?

That's two straight blown games and the losing streak is on again, now at 3. Freddy on the mound today means that the offense will likely head into a slumber again, but maybe Dan Wilson and Jolbert Cabrera can continue to lead this team.

That's about as optimistic as I can get right now.

Today's picks:
Marlins(Willis) +145 over Astros(Miller)
Pirates(Benson) +115 over Rockies(Estes)
Mets(Glavine) +160 over Diamondbacks(Johnson)
Yankees(Vazquez) -200 over Angels(Sele)
Tigers(Bonderman) +125 over Athletics(Harden)

Money to date: $-932 (picking dog/favorite = +312/-1171, 21-29, 19-19) - Won on the Twins, Yankees & Pirates, but got nothing from Leiter, Wood or Sabthia to lose $73 on the day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Seeking the Positive 

First and second, nobody out and Jolbert Cabrera up. C'mon, y'all know ya thought that a sacrifice was coming. Instead, Cabrera is up their swinging and drives a double to the left-centerfield gap to spark a 6-run second inning against the Yankees.

The rest of the game has been bemoaned by many, but I'm hoping that Bob Melvin will see the value in hitting away and will stop the freakin sacrifice bunting already! USS Mariner has been linking about this a bit this past weekend.

So the M's take a demoralizing loss into an off day, and now send their struggling #2 starter in Joel Pineiro to face a 5-0 pitcher who held them to 1 run on 5 hits just 6 days ago. Smart money is on the Twins in this one.

Jarvis in Coors
Yup. Kevin Jarvis is a Rockie. Well, actually he is a Sky Sox as the Rockies want him to build up arm strength in AAA before using him to potentially expand their 4-man rotation to 5 or replace one of their many ineffective pitchers. So, that's $200,000 and change that the Mariners will save. Yeehaw.

Today's picks:
Twins (Silva) -133 over Mariners (Pineiro)
Yankees (Brown) -170 over Angels (Escobar)
Mets (Leiter) -113 over Diamondbacks (Dessens)
Cubs (Wood) -160 over Dodgers (Weaver)
Pirates (Wells) -105 over Rockies (Elarton)
Indians (Sabathia) +190 over Red Sox (Martinez)

Money to date: $-859 (picking dog/favorite = +312/-1171, 21-28, 16-17) - Blew $100 on Meche & the M's.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Thuuuuuuuuuuuh Mariners Win! 

Edgar rocks and the Yankees suck.

This night belonged to Edgar who blasts his 500th double and 299th home run, driving in 4 runs in a 6-2 wins over the Evil Empire.

Tonight its Meche against Mussina, and while both pitchers have struggled this season, both pitchers typically dominate tonight's opponent, so this has the makings of a 1-0 pitching duel.

Today's picks:
Mariners (Meche) +150 over Yankees (Mussina)

Money to date: $-759 (picking dog/favorite = +412/-1171, 21-27, 16-17) - Net even yesterday as $100 win on Dodgers offset by poor choice of the Rockies, and similarly winning $150 on Tigers is negated by losing $150 on the Mets.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Finally... Freddy! 

Freddy finally gets a win and I'm one happy camper. I had a long post, but GD Internet Explorer crashed while typing it, so I'll just write a short note.

Freddy looked great.
M's managed to eke out two runs, and get 2nd straight series win.
Ben Davis down, Pat Borders up is best for the M's and Davis (too bad Wiki is hurt).
Spiderman 2 is getting amazing publicity from MLB. Who cares if they put logos on bases?
Bring on the Yankees!

Today's picks:
Rockies (Estes) +200 over Cubs (Zambrano)
Dodgers (Alvarez) -105 over Pirates (Perez)
Mets (Glavine) -150 over Brewers (Davis)
Tigers (Bonderman) +150 over Rangers (Benoit)

Money to date: $-759 (picking dog/favorite = +362/-1121, 20-26, 15-16) - Only Freddy saved me from the Golden Sombrero of picks, and I didn't even come close.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Waiver Claims 

One advantage to a crappy start like we've had is that we get earlier dibs on players placed on waivers. I believe the current waiver period began on May 3rd and extends through July 31. Which means when you hear about a player being "designated for assignment", they are probably being passed through waivers and could be a Mariner if the M's make a waiver claim.

If multiple teams make a claim on a player, the team with the worst record gets him. It used to be that NL teams superceded AL teams regardless of record when claiming an NL player and vice-versa, but I thought this may have been changed this year. Someone let me know for sure by commenting below.

A couple of players who are either currently on waivers, or may soon be, could have some appeal to the Mariners.

Grant Roberts got off to a horrific start for the Mets this year, but is a 26-year-old right handed reliever who had a nifty 1.16 WHIP last year and could be another Julio Mateo for the M's pen, if he can keep himself from going Jeff Spicoli.

And the Pirates have soured on 25-year-old J.J. Davis, a young outfielder with good speed and power (26 HRs, 23 SBs in PCL last year) who would likely be a better use of a roster space than Quinton McCracken or Willie Bloomquist. The guy has not done much in the bigs (is batting around .100 this year), but his upside is there, and his speed alone makes him a better bench presence than McCracken.

Davis is not currently on waivers, but may be waived when the Pirates activate Jason Bay this weekend. I think the M's would be likely to pounce on Davis because he is the kind of toolsy guy (he also was a pitcher for awhile) that seems to fascinate the M's. In this case, I think they might get some serious bang for the effort.

Lets hope the M's are keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and will use this brief time near the bottom of the standings to pluck a ripe talent or two off the waiver vine.

10-17 Just Bites 

What a blech game. Pineiro is once again not sharp, giving up three hits with two outs in the second, and then getting belted around for 4 more runs in the fourth before settling down.

But more troubling is the M's continued tradition of being completely unable to hit young pitchers. The M's did absolutely nothing on offense yesterday. Edgar and Boone looked terrible, and this team is in serious trouble.

Thankfully, at least Ichrio seems to have picked things up a bit, and now has a modest 5-game winning streak. But for the M's to succeed, we need to see the rest of the bats come to life. Soon.

Tonight, Freddy gets win number one. In a blowout.

Today's picks:
Marlins (Willis) -150 over Dodgers (Ishii)
Devil Rays (Gonzalez) +160 over Angels (Sele)
Indians (Sabathia) +145 over Red Sox (Martinez)
Mariners (Garcia) -160 over Twins (Radke)

Money to date: $-509 (picking dog/favorite = +562/-1071, 20-24, 14-15) - Ugly day, losing $256 with only the resurgent Joe Kennedy getting me a win, while the Giants, M's and Pirates all fell. My MLB betting is beginning to look like my portfolio in 2001.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

M's Win Two 

Wow! What a win for the M's last night, or should I say, this morning, pulling out an umpire and Twin-aided 4-3 win in the wee hours of the morning.

The first half of this game was a tidy 3-2 win for Jamie Moyer, with the M's getting a 2-run homer from Raul Ibanez and a 2-out double from Dan Wilson followed by a run-scoring single from Randy Winn. Moyer pitches 8 nifty innings with the exception of two long home runs.

2 outs, top of the ninth, Guardado in and a runner on first, and here's where the game gets crazy. Guardado gives up a single and a double, and the double certainly would have scored 2-runs except for a crazy carom in right field, an amazing throw by Ichiro, and a slide from Corey Koskie away from a diving Dan Wilson that seemingly kept him from touching the plate.

A similar bang-bang play in the top of the 10th has Raul Ibanez throwing out Lew Ford at home, as Wilson blocked him from accessing the plate. And the capper had to be an 11th inning fake from Bret Boone that convinced Christian Guzman that a single to right was really a fly out. Guzman heads back to first, and Ichiro tosses to Boone for the easy out at second base. Freakin' hysterical. And Doug Mientkiewicz was picked off later in the inning. Yes, the defense was great and the Twins heads were elsewhere.

In the 14th, Villone gets into and out of a bases-loaded jam and then proceeds to cruise through the 15th and 16th. Finally in the 16th, the M's produce some offense with Randy Winn sneaking a finger in on home plate before the tag on an infield grounder.

And while the 16-inning affair felt like a doubleheader, the second win I'm talking about is that they picked up the option on Bob Melvin's contract. This should help keep the media focused on where the M's problems lie currently - the players, not the manager. It shows that the M's will not try a quick fix of firing the manager. If their woes continue (and they WON'T), the M's will be forced to acknowledge that the problem is the talent, and will use their budget to address it.

Roster notes
Rafael Soriano returned in this game and walked the leadoff hitter in the 11th, and did not get to pitch much. Shiggy is still not sharp and was the beneficiary of the 10th inning play at the plate. For tonight's game, I'm guessing that Mateo and Villone are unavailable, leaving a bullpen of Guardado, Shiggy, Myers,
Soriano and Putz. Putz stays with the big club after the Soriano callup with Willie Bloomquist going on the DL.

George Sherrill looks to be the next callup from Tacoma as he is absolutely dominating right now. Will be interesting to see if he gets the call soon, and if its at the expense of Mike Myers.

Joel Pineiro heads out tonight to make the winning streak three.

Today's picks:
Rockies (Kennedy) +102 over Expos (Day)
Giants (Williams) -123 over Mets (Seo)
Pirates (Wells) +175 over Astros (Clemens)
Mariners (Pineiro) -135 over Twins (Silva)

Money to date: $-253 (picking dog/favorite = +560/-813, 19-23, 14-13) - M's win an easy one for $100 on favorites and got the Indians & Dodger upsets correct while missing the Pirates & Padres. But when picking underdogs, a split wins you money and in this case $85 more to inch closer to even on the season.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Time for a Winning Streak 

I'm swamped at works, so just time to make some picks. The M's are so due a winning streak its not even funny, and I think Moyer is gonna get us started off on the right foot. Two straight blowout wins for the Mariners...

Today's picks:
Dodgers (Perez) +135 over Marlins (Beckett)
Padres (Eaton) +116 over Braves (Ortiz)
Indians (Davis) +150 over Red Sox (Lowe)
Pirates (Fogg) +220 over Astros (Pettitte)
Mariners (Moyer) -155 over Twins (Lohse)

Money to date: $-438 (picking dog/favorite = +475/-913, 17-21, 13-13) - Getting ugly when Schilling can't beat the Indians. I knew the Devil Rays was a reach and was rewarded with $200 for my faith in Paul Wilson of the Reds.

Monday, May 03, 2004

That's More Like It 

Meche pitches great, everybody hits, and the M's get a much-needed blowout 12-2 win over the Tigers AND their second series win of the season. This is a fantastic way to head into an off day and back home to face the Twins on Tuesday.

Of course, it may be too late as the RANGERS of all freakin teams, are in command of the AL West after SWEEPING the Red Sox this weekend. I've thought all along that the Wild Card would come from the AL West, but I did not think the Rangers would have anything to do with it (okay, I did, but that was by acting as punching bag to the other three). Of course, if the playoffs were today, the Wild Card team would actually be our next opponent, the Minnesota Twins.

Today's picks:
Red Sox (Schilling) -200 over Indians (Westbrook)
Devil Rays (Abbott) +145 over Rangers (Rogers)
Reds (Wilson) +200 over Astros (Oswalt)

Money to date: $-338 (picking dog/favorite = +375/-713, 17-21, 13-13) - Yuck - all four teams lost, costing me $490 and putting me below the Mendoza line for gambling ($0)

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