Tag: Don Wakamatsu

Ranking the Rays’ 8 Preliminary Candidates Targeted to Replace Joe Maddon

The offseason has only just begun, and already it’s been a very tumultuous one for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Indeed, new president of baseball operations Matt Silverman—who took over the job in October after Andrew Friedman, his longtime predecessor, left for the Los Angeles Dodgers—has his work cut out for him.

Not only is Silverman new to his own job, but he also has to choose the man to succeed former skipper Joe Maddon, who did plenty of succeeding himself by posting a .529 winning percentage and winning two AL East titles and one AL pennant in his nine seasons before opting out of the final year of his contract and signing a five-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

On Thursday, the team revealed the eight preliminary candidates to replace Maddon.

That’s a rather large number of baseball minds to bring in and interview for a managerial search, but the Rays can handle this however they desire.

And it sounds like there will be more to come, according to Silverman, who said, “This is a preliminary list of candidates, and we expect it will grow as we continue through this process.”

As for these eight to start, well, the list is—how do we put this?—eclectic. There’s really a little of everything to consider, which is why we’ll count down all of them, in order of least to most likely to actually land the gig.

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Baltimore Orioles “Offseason” Updates

Yes, I know, the World Series isn’t even half-way over, so the term “offseason” is a bit premature.

That said, a lot has happened in the Charm City since the season ended. Let’s start at the top.


Buck Showalter and the Coaching Carousel

At one time, it looked like the Orioles might retain all the coaches that finished the season with Showalter. That clearly isn’t the case anymore. The first domino to fall was former hitting coach Terry Crowley, who was moved to another position within the organization.

Then the news broke a few days ago that the O’s were looking at Jim Presley, a former infielder with the Mariners, Braves and Padres. “Hound Dog” Presley served as hitting coach for the Marlins for the past five years before being ousted along with manager Fredi Gonzalez. Hitters who blossomed under Presley’s tutelage include Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Jorge Cantu.

The Mark Connor emerged as the leading candidate to replace pitching coach Rick Kranitz. And although Kranitz hasn’t officially been ousted, the relationship that Showalter has with Connor, that dates back to their days in Arizona, makes the move look fairly imminent.

Then it was announced that Rick Adair, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, but also the Tigers, Indians, Braves, and Blue Jays, would become the Orioles bullpen coach. Adair replaces Alan Dunn, who has held that same position since 2007.

And the word on the street (and web) is that Showalter is a huge fan of former Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu, and is luring him to Baltimore to become the bench coach, forcing Jeff Datz out of a job. Wakamatsu and Show go way back to their days in the AL West, and Buck has always been a big supporter of him, even as he was being forced out of Seattle this past season.

As is stands, the only member of the coaching staff that is set to return in his role is first base coach John Shelby. Third base coach Gary Allenson hasn’t yet been offered any sort of extension to stay on, but has been told that he will be offered his old position (manager of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides) if Showalter decides to go another direction at third base.


Hiroyuki Nakajima: Will He or Won’t He?

The Orioles have been widely rumored to be in the running for Nakajima’s services should be be posted and allowed to come play in the States. 

The 28-year-old shortstop is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in Japan, and hit .309 with 22 home runs and 92 RBI in 2009. He also stole 20 bases, giving him back-to-back 20-plus steal seasons. This season he hit .314 with 20 homers. Since breaking in with the Seibu Lions in 2002, Nakajima has posted five .300-plus seasons, three 20-plus homer seasons and has driven in at least 63 runs in each season.

Many believed that Seibu would allow him to post and make the jump to MLB, but two days ago, the Lions announced that they were refusing to allow him that privilege.

And just when you thought it was over, and the Orioles would either have to settle for another year of Cesar Izturis (which isn’t the worst thing), word broke today that Nakajima was going to meet again with Seibu to try to convince them to let him try his hand in the U.S.


Arizona Fall League Update

Just in case you hadn’t been paying attention to the Orioles playing in the AFL this year, you might be surprised to know that the squad made up of Nationals, Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Orioles is currently sitting in first-place, with a two-game lead.

Representing the Orioles, second-baseman Ryan Adams has been a revelation. Against very talented pitching the 23-year-old has more than held his own, hitting .289, busting out of an 0-for-6 slump with a two-double, three-RBI effort last-night. Adams ranks sixth in the circuit with 11 RBI and was named co-AFL player of the week.

Also playing in the AFL are shortstop Greg Miclat, who is hitting an impressive .297, and Xavier Avery, who has been much less impressive, hitting a mere .200 in 35 at-bats. To his credit, he does have five stolen bases in five attempts.

And another player who is receiving much less playing time is catcher Caleb Joseph, who’s hitting .368 in only 19 at-bats.

On the mound in Arizona, the Orioles have Pat Egan, who has a 4.05 ERA and four strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work, Oliver Drake, who has posted a 5.79 ERA over three outings, Kam Mickolio who has an impressive seven strikeouts in only 5.2 innings, and Wynn Pelzer, who has a 5:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in five innings.

Another player who had been schedule to get some at-bats was Tyler Townsend, who made four plate appearances before heading back to Baltimore. He will miss the rest of the AFL season to have surgery to remove a cyst in his hand.


Possible Free Agent Compensation

Each season when free agents depart a given team they are given a final ranking, and those players who are deemed worthy of an “A” or “B” rank leave their team with an extra draft choice in either the first or second supplemental round of the first-year player draft.

This season the O’s have two “B” candidates: Kevin Millwood and Koji Uehara. The team is widely expected to bring back Uehara, who pitched brilliantly down the stretch, but in letting Millwood walk, the team would pick up an extra pick after the second round.


Free Agency Updates

Not much to share here. The O’s are eying a couple of free agents, most notably former Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez, former White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, and former Brave Derrek Lee.

It doesn’t look like the O’s will do much to spruce up their young rotation unless they can make the perfect move.

Shortstop, first base, third base and left field are all areas of concern for the Orioles, or at least areas where they could do better than Izturis, Brandon Snyder/Michael Aubrey/Rhyne Hughes, Josh Bell and Felix Pie.

Another interesting option is Phillies’ Jayson Werth. A one-time Oriole prospect, Werth flourished upon his move to Philadelphia and is one of the top free-agent outfielders available. Not only would he fill a need in left field, but it would give the Orioles a much-needed power presence.

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Seatte Mariner Management Gives Fans a Wedgie!

Yesterday the Seattle Mariner front office garnered similar fan enthusiasm for their latest choice to manage the team, as one might find at an exciting university lecture on Wave Particle Duality and how that relates to quantum physics.

Lots of snoring, cat-calling, muttering, outright grumbling amidst the masses, scattered with skeptical “who the crap is that??!?

That’s right Seattle sports fans!  Your stellar ownership group has once again opted to rebuff your wants for proven winner Bobby Valentine and his four decades of baseball success, in favor of Cleveland’s cast-off manager and far more dubious Eric Wedge.

Yet another in a series of brilliant public relation moves by your pals Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln!

You would think at this point, given the track record of the past three years, that if Seattle fans wanted Snookie Polizzi and her Jersey Shore cast collegues to manage the team, Mariner management would have obliged!  Given that this ownership team has brought us four managers and two 101 loss seasons during the past three seasons.

Seven managers since Lou Pinella quit abruptly,  with some pundits suggesting this ownership team is difficult to work with and a tad arrogant. From the fan’s perspective, that suggests any one of us could write random names on a tree stump, cast darts at it, and likely come up with a manager who might deliver more wins than what we’ve just seen.

So the “Wedgie” choice is not likely to motivate fan excitement nor higher ticket sales and camping overnight for best seats.  Not until management demonstrates that they know more about these decisions than your average garbage man or beer delivery person.

Seattle fans wanted a man like Bobby Valentine, with a strong personality and a willingness to fight for what he needed.  Fans specifically made clear that they were tired of “yes men” managing the team.  And the larger question is how many more wins will Eric Wedge deliver over what Bobby Valentine would have?  Few believe there would be more wins under Wedge, so why not give the fans what they wanted?

Today, after the announcement, fans were apathetic and irate, assuming more of the same.

How do I know this?

Well, other than the scathing fan remarks from talk shows and comment sections in local newspapers,  Thursday I did my own poll research using roughly the same scientific methods that those polling the Patty Murray/Dino Rossi senatorial race are using.

We just put a question up and let anyone who wanted to, respond, happy to accept multiple votes from the same party.

And with this scientific method, my research indicates that roughly 92.4 percent of Seattle fans insisted on Bobby Valentine managing this team. Over all the other choices. Numbers that Saddam Hussein would be jealous of.

Now the Mariners, being the Mariners, of course did not listen to the fans. They felt it wiser to go with the mostly unknown former Cleveland Indians manager.  And perhaps this is indeed the better choice from a baseball perspective, but Seattle fans are very skeptical.

And this in spite of well-known sports talk hosts and newspaper columnists in Seattle, using the better part of the past few days trying to convince us that this was indeed the best choice available.

Similar arguments, ironically, to those presented at the hiring’s of Del Crandel, Chuck Cottier, Bill Plummer, and Jim Rigglemen.  

Predictably they’re having about as much luck convincing us as McCain & Palin did with the wisdom of the Bush economic policies in 2008.  So pardon me if my enthusiasm wanes, but I, like most Seattle baseball fans, am wondering why the Seattle Mariners fired Don Wakamatsu three months ago if a manager with the same skill set is what this team allegedly needs?

The Mariners claim they want a leader who works well with young players. Exactly the skills former-manager Don Wakamatsu was gifted at.

Interim manager Darren Brown had no better luck managing this team with it’s impotent offense, than Wak did.

Clearly it was never a manager issue.   It was a player decision and talent issue.

So the challenge for those running the Seattle Mariners this offseason will be in convincing skeptical and likely former-season ticket holders, why they should feel any more optimistic over the 2011 version of the Seattle Mariners than what we just saw with the 2010 version.

And at this point, many of us remain unconvinced that these latest moves made any difference whatsoever!

If anything, there is more egg on the faces of those running the organization and less fan confidence.

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Don Wakamatsu Gets the Ax With the Seattle Mariners’ Ship Sunk

The title of this article could have been “With the Mariners Ship Sinking,” but the Seattle’s ship sunk about five months ago after they started the season 2-6 and looked hideous in doing so.

Not only did the Mariners lose a lot during the first week of the season, but they have lost a lot all year and now, their losing has cost their manager his job.

The Mariners fired manager Don Wakamatsu on Monday as well as pitching coach Rick Adair and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo.

Wakamatsu went 127-147 since getting Seattle’s job in November 2008. Daren Brown, the Mariners’ Triple-A manager, will take over for Wakamatsu on an interim basis.


There were two main reasons for Wakamatsu’s firing.


1. He lost the clubhouse.

When a manager doesn’t make it through the next year after going 85-77 the previous season, that tells me the players were just tired of his act.

Ken Griffey Jr. retired in the middle of the season because he was unhappy and then Wakamatsu got into it with Chone Figgins back in June.

In the middle of the fifth inning in a game against the Boston Red Sox, Wakamatsu pulled Figgins after he perceived a lack of hustle from his second baseman on a play in the top half of the inning, when a relay throw from left fielder Michael Saunders rolled through the infield.

That allowed Boston’s Mike Cameron to advance to third after his double, but he did not score.

Wakamatsu and Figgins exchanged words in the dugout, and a short skirmish broke out involving several members of the team.

TV replays showed Jose Lopez—with Figgins behind him—being restrained by Jack Wilson and Ryan Rowland-Smith while Russell Branyan was held back by multiple teammates.

The whole fracas was a real black eye for the entire Mariners’ organization.

A baseball manager is more of a relationship manager rather than a football or basketball coach, which is more about implementing a system and then following through on the X’s and O’s of the sport.

Once a baseball manager loses his relationships with his team, then he has nothing left.


2. He was a victim of unrealistic expectations.

The Mariners were very active in the offseason adding Cliff Lee, Milton Bradley, and Chone Figgins. With those additions, many thought the Mariners would improve on their 85 wins from last year.

However, this team was doomed from the beginning.

Seattle went into the season with two starting pitchers, a mediocre bullpen, and an Opening Day lineup that had Casey Kotchman batting third, Griffey Jr. batting fifth, and Rob Johnson and Jack Wilson batting eighth and ninth.

I don’t care how many runs the Mariners thought they were going to prevent, there was no way this team was going to be as good as they were last season. Those unrealistic expectations were the other reason Wakamatsu got the ax in Seattle.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Don Wakamatsu Fired By Mariners; Replaced by Daren Brown

After weeks of rumors, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has been fired. This comes as no surprise to anyone, due to Seattle’s constant struggles; this season the Mariners are 42-70.

The Mariners had high expectations this season.

They acquired many good players last offseason: Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins, Brandon League, and Casey Kotchman. But of course, those players have not performed at all.

Bradley is now a full-time bench warmer, batting barely over .200 without any power or run production. 

Figgins has been another big disappointment. He is hitting around .250 right now, but a few weeks ago he was hitting around .230. He is not showing the patience that he had last season, and the only thing he is good for is stealing bases.

League has had an up and down season. He is either striking out everyone, or he is giving up three runs. He has great stuff, but he has not reached his potential yet.

Kotchman has been terrible at the plate. He is hitting about .210, and he is not hitting for power or driving in runs. He is only good at defense; he has no errors this season.

You might say it is the player’s fault for doing so badly, but I think it was Don Wakamatsu’s fault. He did not take out or help the players that were struggling and kept on pitching/letting them play.

I think Wakamatsu deserved to be fired, and I hope that their new manager, Daren Brown, who was the manager of the Triple-A affiliate Rainiers, will do better in his place for the remainder of this season and, hopefully, years to come. 

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Seattle Mariners Rumors: Should Don Wakamatsu Be Fired or Not?

The Mariners are just coming off one of the worst months in team history. In July they had a 6-22 record and couldn’t do anything right. When they had good pitching games, they couldn’t score. When they had good hitting games (which were rare), their pitching struggled. 

The Mariners need someone to blame for all of their troubles last month and this year, and the person to blame is Don Wakamatsu. He has made many bad decisions as manager. For example, he kept on starting Ryan Rowland-Smith every fifth day and after seeing him struggle every game didn’t do anything about it.

Another bad thing Wakamatsu did was use the same pitchers in his bullpen way too often. He pitches Brandon League in almost any situation. He pitches him in the eighth, ninth, or extra innings. The Mariners have a pretty good bullpen and do not need to use League as much as they do.

Wakamatsu has also not mixed up his lineup at all. He has stuck with Ichiro, Figgins, Branyan, Lopez, Kotchman, Gutierrez, Saunders, Bard, and Wilson for almost every game. Maybe if he moved some players up or down he might have more success but he hasn’t tried that this year.

Wakamaksu has not managed this team well at all and I believe he should get fired soon so the team can get a new manager who will continue the promise of last season.

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Seattle Mariners: Should Don Wakamatsu Be Fired?

Earlier in the weekend Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wrote an article outlining the idea that Upper Management might not be backing Don Wakamatsu completely, and possibly planning to fire Wak. Since taking over the Seattle Mariners Wak took a bad team and made them Semi-relevant in 2009. Well he has now took a semi-relevant team and made them completely bad.

Say what you will about his Management Style, or that he was given a bad team to begin with and did what he could with them, all because Z didn’t go out and get the big bat they needed. Now I admit this team was very badly built from the very beginning and Z should have put more thought into the offense, but you cannot put the entire blame on him. While no manager would be winning the pennant with this club, I don’t think any manager should be sliding into the third worst team in the Major League as of Aug. 1st.

Lets face it one big bat wouldn’t change how this entire team has preformed. The base-running has been horrid, and bullpen even worse with the Hitting just being plain nonexistent. With the way the team is responding to him, it seems as though they simply don’t care. Not a single player is playing with any guts or determination. It just seems like they all want to get through 9 innings and go home.

This team is built to be a  sub .500 club give or take 5 games. They are playing .260 baseball since July and just continue sliding into what could be their worst season in decades.

I do not think any manager can survive a 100 loss campaign let alone the 110 loss campaign that they are aiming for. No manager should be able to leave a month of playing with a 6-22 record, the Mariners worst since Aug. of 1977! Players have no respect for Wak, the GM has no respect for Wak, and I as a fan am really losing my patience for this team. We can blame the coaches, we can blame Bavasi, or Z, and we can blame Chuck Armstrong, and Howard Lincoln, but something has to change. We have to start winning and we have to start right away. No one wants to see a ball club like this. We don’t invest so much care, love, time, and money into the Seattle Mariners to see them stumble so much.

Wak will just be another manager sent on his way. So I ask you as readers and fans, Should Don Wakamatsu be fired?

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The 2010 Seattle Mariners Have a Storm Brewing

After a season that disappointed most Mariners fans, it seems as if more disappointment is coming.

Yesterday during the game against the Boston Red Sox, Mike Cameron hit a line-drive against the left field wall. Michael Saunders picked it up threw it in to second where second baseman Chone Figgins didn’t even attempt to pick it up and let it roll by, having Cameron make the double into a triple.

The play seemed like a lackadaisical attempt at anything baseball, so when Figgins came into the dugout manager Don Wakamatsu had a word with him.

Figgins did not take too kindly to it and things got physical.

Third baseman Jose Lopez had to keep Wakamatsu and Figgins apart, then first baseman Russell Branyan got into it. It seemed as if he was angry with Figgins, too and was yelling at him, and then Lopez started yelling back.

Everyone was separated with even starting pitcher Jason Vargas helping, which is never a good thing. It seemed as if this frustration had been building since the beginning of the season and finally exploded.

After a offseason that was filled with great trades and signings, it seemed as if the Mariners might have a chance to win the AL West this season, especially after a surprise season in 2009 where they finished eight games above .500.

Cliff Lee came in as the second man in the rotation behind Felix Hernandez who was Cy Young-worthy last year so the Mariners looked stacked at pitching, but, of course, that didn’t work out very well.

The pitching worked well most of the time but our offense came in struggling more than anything.

The pitching is ninth in the MLB with a 3.90 ERA and a MLB-high 10 complete games, but the offense is last in RBI’s and batting average. No other team in the MLB with a ERA lower than 3.90 has a record lower than .500 and even some teams with a higher ERA are above .500—such as the division-rival Los Angeles Angels with an ERA of 4.42.

So now that our season is over it seems like the worst is here.

Not true.

In the offseason general manager Jack Zduriencik will have a lot to decide with this team. Will Don Wakamatsu be the manager after a season that was full of high hopes, and especially after this later incident, can he control this team? What kind of moves will be made to better this team?

I know the Justin Smoak trade was made recently and will better this team in the future but it more than Smoak will be needed to improve this team.

Zduriencik needs to find bigger and better bats to compliment this pitching, such as maybe Prince Fielder as a DH.

The pitching looks fine with Jason Vargas having a career year and Doug Fister maturing. Of course something will have to be done with Ryan Rowland-Smith and the fifth pitcher of the rotation.

Maybe they can bring up Michael Pineda who has been having tremendous success in the minors. Also the bullpen needs some help but maybe putting Rowland-Smith in there would help.

Overall this team needs another makeover just after a makeover that was supposed to help last season. This team needs a lot of changes and a lot of decisions will be made in the offseason and hopefully these decisions actually work out this time.

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Why Seattle Mariners’ Overachieving 2009 Season Led To an Awful 2010

Forget the Chinese Zodiac. 2010 was supposed to be the Year of the Mariner. 

As a result of a promising 2009 season and the acquisition of many talented players, there were extremely high expectations for the Seattle Mariners to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

But through the first two and a half months of the season, the Mariners stand 28-41 and 13 games behind division-leading Texas Rangers.

When things go wrong, the logical approach is to figure out the root of the problem. Unfortunately for the Mariners, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the mechanism for this disastrous season. However, it needs to be done.

So who’s to blame?

Blame Milton Bradley for creating distractions and tensing up the formerly light-hearted clubhouse.

Blame Ryan Garko and Eric Byrnes, two veterans with upside that never panned out as Mariners.

Blame Jose Lopez, the second-longest standing Mariner, for his slow start.

Blame Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith, who combine for a 1-11 record.

Blame Erik Bedard for hibernating during baseball season.

Blame manager Don Wakamatsu for creating questionable lineups at best.

Blame general manager Jack Zduriencik for not picking up a big bat when he had the money to do so.

Blame it on youngsters Matt Tuiasosopo, Adam Moore and Mike Carp and their rough transition to the majors.

While each of these points could become it’s own column, the fault lies within the over-achievement of the 2009 team.

Last year was a memorable season in the Emerald City. Coming off a 101-loss campaign, the Mariners shocked the league by finishing 85-77 and gave Mariners’ fans promising hope for a playoff run in the near future.

Using modern methods of statistics, Zduriencik focused on playing old-school ball, and built his team around pitching and defense. Statistics show the Mariners were the best in both.

Highlighted by Franklin Gutierrez’s stellar defensive season (he posted a league-leading 29 UZR), the Mariners had the best defensive team in the AL, with Adrian Beltre, Jack Wilson and Ichiro also recording great seasons. Having a swarm of venus flytraps at your expense gave the pitchers an insurmountable confidence and saved many possible runs, hence their league-leading ERA. 

The Mariners committed to Zduriencik’s philosophy of excellent pitching and defense, and they delivered, staying in the playoff hunt until late summer. 

However, the Mariners weren’t nearly as good as their record led us to believe.

I’ve never been one to bring luck into sports. I don’t believe in “lucky shots” or “the victor was lucky to win.” Excellence in sports is centered around talent, execution and preparation. Nonetheless, it seems like the outfield grass at Safeco Field was full of four-leaf clovers in 2009.

Although I’m sure Bill James is in his basement devouring Scooby-Doo fruit snacks creating a statistic measuring luck, there is not a number that can be placed on the M’s fortune.

But we can at least breakdown what we know. Here are four reasons that shows how luck led to the M’s misleading record. 

1) According to the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball, which adjusts the win-loss record based on runs scored and runs allowed, their record should have been 75-87. They scored 640 runs (worst in AL) while giving up 692 (best in AL), becoming just the third team since 1893 to finish with a winning record while recording below the league average in runs scored. 

In 2010, the Pythagorean Theorem directly correlates with the Mariners win-loss performance. Judging by their run differential, the Mariners should be 27-42, just one game below their actual record. This shows just how “lucky” the Mariners were to finish with a record above .500.

2) The Mariners played in 55 one-run games last season, most in the majors. Miraculously, the Mariners won 35 of them, seven more than the next team in the AL. Since approximately 1/3 of Seattle’s games were decided by one run, it is evident their fate heavily relied on these games. All season the Mariners were flirting with the fine line of failure, and would have wound up in the cellar if it weren’t for the remarkable, if not lucky, performance in close games.

Once again the Mariners lead the AL in one-run games, but the outcome is completely different. While the Mariners won the most one-run games last year, they have the most one-run losses so far in 2009. They posted a ridiculous 64 percent winning percentage in one-run contests, compared to 42 percent this season. This also the by far the lowest mark in the division, with Texas having the next lowest percentage, 58 percent. 

3) The Mariners also led the American League in extra-inning victories (nine). Extra-inning games are basically a coin flip, and luckily for the Mariners it usually landed on heads.

If the Mariners lost half the games they won, they would have been a decent .500 team continuing to rebuild, not a primer for a 2010 playoff run. Obviously this shows a knack for clutch hitting, but also poses the idea the Mariners were lucky to sneak by with a few.

This year has been the polar opposite. In seven extra-inning games, the Mariners have won just one. Only the Red Sox have a worse record (1-7). Thus far, the Mariners are the lone team in the division to struggle in extra-inning outings. Each of the other three division rivals have a winning percentage of .500 or above. 

4) According to Jeff Sullivan at Lookout Landing, David Aardsma had 17 balls travel to the warning track or further last season. This number is extremely high, and Aardsma’s very fortunate that only four went over the wall, or 24 percent (compared to 57 for the rest of the staff).

The fact that 13 balls were caught within feet of the wall is perhaps the luckiest stat of them all, especially considering the situations in which they were hit. As the closer, Aardsma is on the mound in the most important moments of the game. If the bat were tilted a tenth of a degree or swung a tenth of a second different, many of those 13 outs would have landed over the fence. This would drastically change the records in extra-inning and one-run games.

Aardsma hasn’t been nearly as lucky this season. He has already matched last year’s mark with four blown saves, and has struggled to stay consistent in the closer role. The Mariners have lost 13 games in their opponents’ last at-bat.

If they win all those games, they sit in first place in the AL West. Of those 13 games, eight have been on walk-off hits. These are games the Mariners are dropping this year that never would have happened last season. 

If the Mariners played like they should of according to their run differential and without a large amount of luck, their record would have been well below .500, as expected. This would have set up another rebuilding season, and not lead to a roster overhaul. However, they played much better than they truly were, and set up for the following season to be a huge disappointment. 

Although trying to grasp that it will be another Mariner-less October is hard enough, it is even more painful to comprehend Carlos Silva, now on the Cubs and the worst pitcher in Mariner’s team history, has as many wins as Cliff Lee and Doug Fister combined. 



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Don Wakamatsu’s Odd Decision in Felix Hernandez’s Gem

Seattle Mariners’ manager Don Wakamatsu made a very odd decision at the end of the Mariners’ game on Sunday against the San Diego Padres. With two outs in the ninth, and with the Mariners leading 4-2, Wakamatsu removed starting pitcher Felix Hernandez to bring in David Aardsma to record a one-out save.


Despite the move working out, I didn’t understand the move then, and I don’t understand it now.

King Felix entered the ninth inning with 109 pitches under his belt. The Padres hadn’t really hit Hernandez all day and he retired six consecutive batters.

I applaud Wakamatsu for leaving Hernandez in the game to start the ninth, but don’t you have to figure that Hernandez is going to throw between 15-20 pitches to complete the game? Why take him out after 128 pitches?

What is the difference between 128 pitches or 132 or 135 pitches? The answer is none.

Chase Headley grounded weakly to first, Adrian Gonzalez blooped a single to center, and Scott Hairston grounded weakly into a fielder’s choice (I thought he was out at first by the way). There was no reason to take Hernandez out of the game with two outs and a runner on first base.

The next batter was Nick Hundley, who had been 0-for-3 with a K against Hernandez on that day. I would trust Hernandez after 128 pitches before I would trust a fresh Aardsma.

The “feel” of the game called for Hernandez to finish it off.

As I mentioned above, the move worked and the Mariners won the game. But I would have left Hernandez in the game to finish what he started.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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