Monday, May 11, 2009

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs well under way I thought it was time I write down some of my thoughts about the teams that are left and my predictions for the conference and Stanley Cup finals.

Let's start with the Western Conference.


There was a time I would cheer for a team in the playoffs because they were the only Canadian team left. Not anymore because really it is a dumb reason to cheer for a hockey team. Considering how many Canadians play on teams from all over the US I think it makes the whole cheering for a Canadian team irrelevant.

Clearly from my above statements it is obvious I am rooting for Chicago in this series. Chicago is sitting pretty heading into game 6 tonight @ home with a 3-2 series lead. Chicago is a young explosive team with all the right pieces. Young star forwards, solid d and a goalie who has been outstanding. Vancouver also has a great team but it's going to be a tall order for them to win these next 2 games. Then again you just never know in sports but as of right now I say Chicago wins tonight and moves on to the Western Conference finals.

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs well under way I thought it was time I write down some of my thoughts about the teams that are left and my predictions for the conference and Stanley Cup finals.

Let's start with the Western Conference.


There was a time I would cheer for a team in the playoffs because they were the only Canadian team left. Not anymore because really it is a dumb reason to cheer for a hockey team. Considering how many Canadians play on teams from all over the US I think it makes the whole cheering for a Canadian team irrelevant.

Clearly from my above statements it is obvious I am rooting for Chicago in this series. Chicago is sitting pretty heading into game 6 tonight @ home with a 3-2 series lead. Chicago is a young explosive team with all the right pieces. Young star forwards, solid d and a goalie who has been outstanding. Vancouver also has a great team but it's going to be a tall order for them to win these next 2 games. Then again you just never know in sports but as of right now I say Chicago wins tonight and moves on to the Western Conference finals.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pre Game Notes April 19, 2009

Mariner will be looking for their 3rd series win in a row today as they try to defeat the Tigers at Safeco Field.

Pitching Match ups

Seattle -- Carlos Silva (0-1, 6.00 ERA)

Silva was outstanding his last time out. He needs another great game in front of the home crowd today against a tough Tigers lineup.

Detroit -- Rick Porcello (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

Only his second career start the Mariners will surely be looking to get to him early and not allow him to gain any confidence or momentum.

Starting Lineups


Ichiro RF
Endy Chavez LF
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jamie Burke C
Ronny Cedeno 2B
Franklin Gutierrez CF

Branyan still has a sore back so Lopez will get the start at first today while Cedeno draws in at second base. Burke gets his first look behind the plate this season.


Curtis Granderson CF
Placido Polanco 2B
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Carlos Guillen DH
Brandon Inge 3B
Josh Anderson LF
Ramon Santiago SS
Matt Treanor vC

Tidbit of the day:

Wakamatsu was still smiling about Ken Griffey Jr.'s mad dash home to score standing up from first base on Adrian Beltre's double on Friday night. "I told him, I said he tried to go 'Invisible Man' there," Wakamatsu said. "No one could see him. Again, it's neat to be able to watch the dugout and the players' reactions to him coming all the way around and scoring is priceless."

Angela @ Mariners - Game 9 Mariners 11 Angels 3

Honoring the great Jackie Robinson!!

Nothing makes me smile more than a good butt kicking of our division rivals the Angels. Some quick thoughts...
Washburn was sick as a dog in this one but pitched a heck of a ball game.
Chavez and Griffey had back to back solo HR's in the 5th inning. Jr's was his 400th home run in a Mariner uniform. How exciting for him to get that one at home.
Ichiro tied former Japanese league legend Isao Harimoto for most hits ever by a Japanese player. And Ichiro did it exciting fashion when he hit a grand slam in the 7th inning. Not bad for his first game of the season!
Another great game by the M's. I am really enjoying watching these guys play.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pre-Game Notes April 16, 2009

Mariners go for the sweep over the Angels, and their 7th straight win.

Pitching Matchup:

SEA: RHP Chris Jakubauskas (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
An injury to left-hander Rowland-Smith gives Jakubauskas the first start of his Major League career but the 63rd of his professional career. The former Independent League hurler was the biggest surprise of Spring Training, compiling a team-best 1.99 ERA. That was good enough to earn a spot in Seattle's bullpen, where he has made two appearances this season. He has been able to handle left-handed and right-handed hitters equally well, but will be on a strict pitch-count limit in his first start, probably around the 60-pitch mark.

LAA: LHP Joe Saunders (1-1, 2.63 ERA)
Saunders seemingly made just two mistakes against the Red Sox on Saturday, but they both came in the form of two-run home runs in the Angels' 5-4 loss at Angel Stadium. Saunders actually pitched well despite the loss, allowing seven hits over seven innings while striking out two. The loss also marked the first time in his career that he's lost in April. Saunders is 4-1 with a 4.61 ERA in his career against Seattle.

The home run Ken Griffey Jr. hit on Wednesday night was his 400th as a Mariner and the 90th in April, the most of any active player and third most in MLB history behind Barry Bonds (117) and Hank Aaron (93). ... Ichiro Suzuki needs one more hit to become the all-time hits leader for a Japanese player. He is tied with Japanese Hall of Famer Isao Harimoto at the top of the list with 3,085. ... Right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley, who started last season at Class A Wisconsin, continues to pitch like he belongs in the Majors. He tossed two scoreless innings on Wednesday night.



Ichiro RF
Endy Chavez CF
Mike Sweeney DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Russ Branyan 1B
Wladimir Balentien LF
Rob Johnson C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS


Chone Figgins 3B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Bobby Abreu LF
Torii Hunter CF
Kendry Morales 1B
Mike Napoli C
Gary Matthews Jr. RF
Juan Rivera DH
Maicer Izturis SS

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mariners Pre Game Notes April 15, 2009

So excited to have Ichiro back in the lineup tonight. Can't wait to see how these guys look with him considering how well they have played without him.

Pitching Match ups

Seattle - Jarrod Washburn (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

If Washburn can pitch even half as good as he did last week against the Twins the Mariners could be in good shape tonight. Another win against the Angels would be huge for the M's this early in the season.

Oakland - Jered Weaver (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Weaver pitched outstanding only 1 day after good friend and fellow teammate Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident. My guess is Weaver is going to come out with fire in him tonight to win another for his friend and to try and turn things around for the Angels.

Tidbit of the day:

Endy Chavez is just the eighth player in franchise history to begin the season with at least an eight-game hitting streak. Former second baseman Joey Cora is the all-time leader with a 16-game hitting streak coming out of the gate in 1998. Gorman Thomas hit in nine straight to start the '86 season. David Segui ('98), Ken Griffey Jr. ('97) and Dave Henderson ('83) had eight-game hitting streaks.

Angels @ Mariners - Game 8 Mariners 3 Angels 2

What a GREAT night in Seattle. 5 game winning streak, 4 game winning streak against our division!! Who would have thought?!I don't need to go on and on about Griffey and how I had goosebumps listening to the crowd go wild for him last night when he was introduced and again when he came to the plate for his first at bat. I was so happy when he got the hit in his first at bat. Great to see him back in the stadium they built for him. I love his leadership and what he brings to the younger guys on this team. How many current MLB players can say they play with a first ballot hall of famer?Carlos Silva NEEDED to be good last night. He NEEDED to give the Mariners a chance to win and boy did he deliver. What a great outing from him. 7 SOLID innings from Carlos. 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1BB and 4 k's. He didn't get the win but he deserves most of the credit in my opinion for giving his team a chance.

Frankin G has been struggling a little at the plate so how nice was it for him to get that huge double in the 10th inning. And how about Yuni laying down the perfect bunt that forced Shields to rush his throw. Great game and great plays at the right time. LOVE IT!!
Only 8 games in but boy is this team looking good. So many little things going right for them. I love to see their smiles and the teamwork and seeing them play and work together. Go M's!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mariners Pre Game Notes April 14, 2009

And so here we are. Opening Day at Safeco Field. So much anticipation for tonight's game for so many reasons. One the Mariners are off to a great start after such an embarrassing season last year. They are playing as a team and winning as a team. Ken Griffey Jr will make his return to Safeco Field tonight as a member of the Seattle Mariners. I wish I was going to be there because that stadium is going to go nuts when Griffey is announced tonight. I really hope they leave him for last.

The Mariners will pay tribute today to "Tuba Man" who died last year after being attacked and beaten.
Starting Pitchers

Seattle - Carlos Silva (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Silva's first start in Minnesota did not go well. Tonight is his chance at redemption with Mariners fans by going out and pitching well and giving them a chance to win here on opening day. A good out today could go along way in helping repair the reputation he has made with himself amongst Mariner fans. Pitch bad today and ruin opening day and he likely because the resident whipping boy for Seattle fans.

Anaheim - Shane Loux

Loux has not started a Major League game since 2003. He was out of MLB in 2007 before signing a minor league deal with the Angels.

With a sweep of the A's already in the bag, the Mariners will be looking to continue their winning ways against the division rival Angels in this one. The Angels have owned the Mariners the last few seasons and my hope is that tonight is the start of a new trend against the Angels and that is winning. It makes me a little nervous we have our bottom 3 pitchers going against them in this one but I believe these guys can come out strong.

"I am real happy with it, I like this club, I like the chemistry. It's a pretty close-knit group."

--Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu

"Why can't we win?"

--Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik

Ichiro is expected to be back in the Mariners lineup on Wednesday night. Talking to the media yesterday Ichiro had this to say...

"I feel so good that it's annoying," a smiling Ichiro told reporters through interpreter Ken Barron. "I feel so good that I feel like I would do something bad."

When asked if the WBC had an effect of the ulcer...

"That's just a guess," Ichiro said. "If you think about it, I could get an ulcer from the stress of talking to you guys [the media] as well. Right now, something might be happening to my stomach as we speak."

Speaking about the Mariners hanging his jersey in the dugout during his absence...

"It made me very happy, but at the same time, I'm not dead yet. I'll make sure to get that jersey back.''

At least he still has his sense of humor. Can't wait to see him back in the lineup!!

Tidbit of the day:

When rookie Chris Jakubauskas won his first MLB game and right-hander reliever David Aardsma registered his first MLB save on Friday night, it marked the third time in franchise history that it happened. Joel Pineiro and Brett Tomko did it on Aug. 8, 2000, and Roger Salkeld and Tim Davis were the first firsts, on April 28, 1994 --

Mariners @ A's - Game 7 Mariners 1 Oakland 0

What a game. I pretty much only have ONE thing to say -- ERIK BEDARD!! WOW! What a gem he threw. Games like this one from Erik make me once again remember why the Mariners gave up so much to get him. If he stays healthy this year, watch out. The guy has nasty stuff and everything is working for him right now. Who cares if he is a quiet and shy Canadian kid who would rather fish than talk with the media. He isn't here to talk he is here to pitch. If he continues to pitch like this I could care less if he ever says another word.

8.1 innings, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 BB and 7 K's.

All the offense Erik needed in this one was off the bat of Mike Sweeney in the 7th inning. An timely RBI double put the Mariners on top and that was that. Let's not forget about Oakland starter Trevor Cahill. He had a no hitter going into the 7th inning and ended up giving up only the 1 earned run on 3 hits. This was a great pitching battle, I am just happy the Mariners won this one!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mariners Pre Game Notes April 12, 2009

Pitching Match up

Seattle Mariners - Erik Bedard (0-0, 5.40 ERA)

- 8 strikeouts in 5 innings last time out. Bedards pitch count got up early in this game but he didn't walk anyone and his stuff was downright nasty. I would like to see him go at least 6 strong innings today. Rob Johnson will get the start and catch Bedard this afternoon.

Oakland Athletics - Trevor Cahill (0-0, 3.60 ERA)

- Made his debut Tuesday against the Angels and didn't look so great. He walked 5 in 5 innings of work. Would be nice to see the M's work the count against him today, make him throw a lot of pitches early.

Projected Starting Lineups


LF Endy Chavez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Russell Branyan
DH Mike Sweeney
2B Jose Lopez
C Rob Johnson
SS Ronny Cedeno - Yuni gets the day off today


RF Ryan Sweeney
SS Orlando Cabrera
1B Jason Giambi
LF Matt Holliday
DH Jack Cust
3B Endy Chavez
C Kurt Suzuki
2B Mark Ellis
CF Rajai Davis

Mariners are gunning for their first sweep of the season. Would be nice to get it against a division rival.

Tidbit of the day:

Of the players on the 25-man Opening Day roster, backup infielder Matt Tuiasosopo is the only one that has not appeared in a game. Not a shocker considering he is only on the team to take Ichiro's roster spot. He will be sent back to Tacoma when Ichiro is activated on Wednesday.

Mariners @ A's - Game 6 April 11, 2009 Mariners 8 A's 5

Maybe Felix's ankle isn't feeling as great as we would all like to think. I think it definitely bothered him in this game and I definitely think it affected his delivery more than he would like us to know. Either way Felix didn't have the best of outings. He left after 5 and his line on the night was -- 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 BB's, 8 K's and 1 HR. In his defense Kenji did drop a ball that would have gotten them out of the inning. The inning stayed a live and before we knew it Jack Cust hit a 2 run HR to give them a 5-3 lead. Kenji made up for it though with a 2 RBI hit in the 8th.

Out came Felix and in came Batista who pitched well through 2 innings giving up only 1 hit. Lowe got the hold in the 8th and Morrow came in in the 9th and shut things down. He did walk a batter but in his defense he only had 4 innings of work in spring training. This is still spring training for him but I think once he settles in and finds his command he will be great for us in the 9th inning.

Once again the offense spread things around with hits and walks. It really is nice to see it come from all over the batting order and not just the same 2 or 3 guys. Balentien hurt his wrist in this one which ended up with him leaving the game in the 5th inning. Cedeno moved to LF and Lopez came into the game even though he was having the day off. Good tho since he had a 2 rbi double in the 8th inning that helped put the M's on top for good. We added another run in the top of the 9th to give Morrow a little more breathing room. Branyan hit his second HR of the season and he seems to be settling in well to our lineup and playing nice D over at first base.

That is 4 wins in the books for the M's out of the first 6. Yes it is early in the season but there are so many positives we are seeing from these guys that I think has been missing from this team for a few years now. They are most importantly playing as a team. They are playing as a team and winning as a team and it is exciting to see. 6 games in and our offense has scored 5+ runs in all but 1 of those games. Boy how many times did this team struggle to score more than 2 runs last year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mariners Pre Game Notes - April 11, 2009

Felix's ankle is apparently fine and he is ready to go this afternoon. He takes the mound looking for his second win in as many starts. If only we could convince him not to make defensive plays and give us all a heart attack in the process.

Pitching Match up

Seattle Mariners - Felix Hernandez (1-0, 1.13 ERA)

Oakland Athletics - Josh Outman - Great name for a pitcher. ha ha!

Tidbit of the day:

- When the Mariners started Ronny Cedeno in left field, Franklin Gutierrez in center field and Endy Chavez in right field against the Twins on Wednesday night, it was the first time in Major League history that three players from Venezuela started in the same outfield.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mariners @ A's - Game 5 April 10, 2009 Mariners 5 A's 4

So things never really went the way Ryan Rowland-Smith had hoped they would. But hey, it is early in the season and all pitchers are going to have those outings where they just can't get it going.

3.1 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 0 earned, 4 BB's, 1 K, 1 throwing error. Looking at that pitching line you might think that doesn't seem so bad. But when you realize he just could not get anything going and his pitch count was already 82 so early in the game you had to take him out. That is one difference with Wak as opposed to people managing the M's the last year or two. HE TAKES GUYS OUT!! None of this buddy buddy and not wanting to hurt peoples feeling crap we saw so much last year. I don't know how many times McLaren left guys out there to get lit up when they should have been taken out. Nice to see Wak managing these games the way they should be.
Chris Jakubauskas gave up 2 earned runs in two innings of work but earned his first win. Corcoran got himself into a little bit of trouble but got himself out of it. Rookie Shawn Kelley had his first major league appearance and did a nice job striking out 2. Aardsma shut things down in 9th inning and earned his first career save.
Once again the bullpen was strong. A lot of people had serious doubts about the abilities of our bullpen coming out of spring training but so far so good. Nice to see.

The offense continues to roll getting timely hits and walks from everyone in the order. Chavez continued his hot start to the season with 3 more hits and 2 RBI's in this one.

The defense was a little sloppy making it's first 2 errors of the season. That is bound to happen in some games and they certainly didn't cost us.

GREAT start to the season for the whole team.


Thursday afternoon Ichiro was the lead off hitter for both teams in a 5 inning Rookie League intrasquad game in Peoria, Arizona. He went 7-for-10 with two triples and one double. NICE! Good to hear he is feeling better and swinging the bat well. Looking forward to having him in the lineup ASAP!

"It always feels good to play in games, it's not like I haven't been playing all winter."

"I wanted to play. It was something that was chosen for me to do," said Ichiro. "Especially because I had a strong feeling that this team is a young team and I wanted to start the season with them." --in regards to being put on the DL

Ichiro was asked if his ulcer remained an issue

"It if was, I wouldn't be playing."

Mariners Pre Game Notes April 10, 2009


Ryan-Rowland Smith has been eagerly awaiting tonight's game. Ending last year in the rotation and on a really high note RRS is ready to pick up where he left off. It might not be the easiest of tasks considering this start comes in Oakland against division rivals. A's off season acquisition Orlando Cabrera tormented Mariners pitchers when he was the shortstop for the Angels. Lets hope RRS can keep Cabrera and guys like Matt Holliday quiet tonight.

Tidbits of the day:

--Griffey's first Major League hit occurred at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. He doubled to left-center off right-hander Dave Stewart in the first inning

--The Mariners went through the four-game series against the Twins without making an error, the first time that's happened since 2006

Pitching Match ups:

Seattle Mariners -- Ryan Rowland-Smith
Oakland A's -- Brett Anderson

Mariners@Twins - Game 4 April 9, 2009 Mariners 2 Twins 0

Whenever you can get 8 solid innings from your number 4 starter it is a blessing. Jarrod Washburn dominated the Twins yesterday afternoon and the defense behind him helped him earn his much deserved first win of the season.

"I gave him a big hug," Washburn said. "I'll probably give him another one."

--Jarrod Washburn in reference to Franklin Gutierrez's diving grab of a gapper by Casilla in the first inning.

8 innings, 5 hits, 1 BB and 4k's. Most important stat here is the ZERO earned runs on the day. As usual Washburn got little run support but on this day it didn't matter. Morrow did make things a little nerve wracking when he came in and walked the first batter on 4 pitches in the bottom of the 9th. But he composed himself got the 3 outs needed, including 2 k's for the save and to nail down the win for Washburn and the Mariners.

"I might have been a little jacked up for the first batter after Tuesday's game," Morrow said. "I just said, `I'm not going to let this happen again."

--Brandon Morrow

Chavez and Franklin G continue to hit the ball well. Beltre and Johnson come away with the RBI's in this one.

Not a bad start to the season if you ask me. Series split on the road not too shabby. Our offense has been there, guys have been patient at the plate, moving the runner over, stealing bases. Doing all the little things that helps teams win games. Our pitching aside from Morrow's mental breakdown in game 2 and Silva's terrible 5 innings in game 2 has been outstanding. It is still early in the season and these next two series against division rivals will be a tall order. Let's see how they look at the end of next week.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mariners Pre Game April 9, 2009

I have not yet had a chance to do my recap of last nights game. That will have to wait till a little later and I will post a recap of both last nights game and today's game. For now he is some thoughts on today's game.

Pitching Match ups

Seattle - Jarrod Washburn (5-14, 4.69 in '08)

I think A LOT of Mariners fans including myself are happy to see Washburn enter the final year of his contract with the Mariners. He never really brought much to the team after his success with the Angels. Sure it is not all his fault considering he has always had terrible run support with the Mariners. But his spring numbers weren't that great coming out of it with a 6.12 ERA in seven Cactus League outings. Hopefully he can pitch a decent 5 innings this afternoon and give these guys a shot to win unlike Silva last night.

Minnesota - Glen Perkins

Perkins apparently has a habit of giving up HR's so let's hope we continue hitting the ball well and put some balls into the seats this afternoon.

Mariners tidbit of the day - The next home run Ken Griffey Jr. hits this month will be the 90th of his career in April. Only Barry Bonds (117) and Hank Aaron (93) have hit more in the first month of the regular season.

Come on boys. Let's play hard today and get out of Minny with a tied series and a great start to the season.

Sad news out of Los Angeles this morning. Rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart who pitched 6 strong innings for the Angels last night was killed in a car accident in Fullerton, CA only hours after the game. A mini van ran a red light and killed three people in the car Nick was riding in. Driver of the mini van then tried to flee on foot but was caught and arrested. Thoughts and prayer to his family and to the Angels organization.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mariners@Twins - Game 3 April 8, 2009 Twins 6 Mariners 5


5 innings, 8 hits, 6 earned runs, 1 BB, 2k's, 2 HR's

It is only one game and certainly too soon in a season to write anyone off. Even CC Sabathia was terrible for the Yankess on opening day. Daisuke Matsuzaka was terrible for the Red Sox yesterday in his first start of the season. So let's not throw Carlos too any wild alligators anytime soon. However, Carlos was not good enough for his team to win. End of story and he has to be better next time out. Considering it is the home opener against the Angels it won't be an easy task.

The team itself played a decent game. Lopez and Branyan each had their first HR's of the season. It is really exciting to see Jose off to a great start. Chris Jakubauskas was outstanding in his first appearance of the year going 2 innings with one BB one hit and 2 K's. Not bad. Mark Lowe also had a nice appearance in the 8th inning striking out 2.

Mariners Pre Game Notes April 8, 2009

"The expectations were so high," he said during the exhibition season. "For me, I didn't show it to my teammates, to the fans. This year, it's time. ... I have to. But the thing I can tell you now is I expect to do well." --Carlos Silva

We all saw what happened to Silva last year. Started the year 3-0 and looked un hittable. Then with each start he seemed to get fatter and he seemed to pitch worse and worse. It was a bad bad season for Carlos. Last year his first start back in Minnesota since signing with the Mariners he gave up 9 runs on 9 hits through 3 1/2 innings and you can bet he is looking for a little redemption against his old club tonight. Carlos has lost weight and looks ready to put last season behind him.

Kevin Slowey takes the mound tonight for the Twins. He is projected to have a breakout season this year for the Twins. My hope is that he waits till his next start for that!
Interesting Griffey stat to keep in mind going forward. His next HR will be his 400th in a Seattle Mariner uniform. Go Jr!!

Projected Starting Lineups

Seattle Mariners

Endy Chavez RF
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Russell Branyan 1B
Jose Lopez 2B
Kenji Johjima C
Ronny Cedeno LF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS

Minnesota Twins

Denard Span LF
Alexi Casilla 2B
Michael Cuddyer RF
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Joe Crede 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Jose Morales C
Nick Punto SS

Mariners @ Twins - Game 2 April 7, 2009 Twins 6 Mariners 5

It would be easy to sit here and talk about the negatives of last nights game and talk about how the Mariners are horrible and how they won't win 75 games this year and so on. But I am not going to because I don't think last nights game was horrible and I still believe this team is better than a lot of people are giving them credit for. So let's talk about the positives first...
- Endy Chavez was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI's, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Nice to see Endy doing well in the lead of spot in place Ichiro

- Franklin Gutierrez was 2 for 5 with a RBI

- Adrian Beltre was 1 for 3 with 2 RBI's

- Wladimir Balentien was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored

- Branyan got his first hit as a Mariner and that should build his confidence. His defense at 1st has been great also.

-Yuni's amazing diving superman catch reminded me how good he can really be when he has his head on straight.

Again the Mariners did a lot of little things right in this game. Moved runners over and brought guys home who were in scoring position. They NEED to keep this up through out the season.
- Erik Bedard was very good last night. You can say all you want about him going only 5 innings but remember he is still coming off off season surgery and will need some time to build his endurance back up. Plus most starters start off the year on somewhat of a pitch count. Erik was dominant last night in those 5 innings. 8 strikeouts seems to be expected from him on any given night. He did get into a little trouble in the 5th when it was clear he was tiring a little but anyone with eyes in their heads knows he should have been out of that inning having given up only 1 earned run. But of course the ump was lame and forgot what a strike looked like. Overall I was happy with his performance and am excited about how dominant him and Felix can be back to back nights.

- Corcoran and Aardsma were both outstanding out of the bullpen last night giving me a little more confidence in our middle inning guys going forward.

- The Mariners SHOULD have won this game. They played a great game and until the 9th inning they were getting GREAT pitching.

Which brings me to the negative and yes that is singular because there was only ONE!!

BRANDON MORROW!!!!! Now in Brandon's defense he barely got any work in during spring training. In my opinion he should have been sent to the minors for a week to just get some work in and build his arm and make sure he had his control down. I am not even mad he blew the save, I am mad at how he blew it. He got the first two out like it was nothing and then it all fell apart on him. He couldn't find the zone to save his life, everything was outside. Not his best moment for sure. I wondered why Wak left him in there to walk 3 batters but I also tried to understand his reasoning behind doing so. He gave Morrow his vote of confidence and I guess sometimes you have to believe in your player and let them try to play through whatever it is. I for sure didn't expect to see him walk 3 straight to load the bases. And Batista I don't blame him at all. He shouldn't have to come in the 9th on the road bases loaded. Best case scenario if for Morrow to get another opportunity asap and if he can't deliver you take him out of that role for the time being.

Morrow aside I am happy with the M's in these first two games. They have played smart baseball and our pitching all around has been outstanding. They haven't lost the series yet. Today is a new day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mariners @ Twins - Game 1 April 6, 2009 Mariners 6 Twins 1

Everyone expected them to fail. I honestly wasn't even sure what I expected as I prepared to watch last night's game. Last year left a lot of people with bad tastes in their mouths including me. Who can blame us really. The Mariners couldn't seem to to do anything right last year.

It is only one game and certainly too early to tell if all the things they did right last night will continue and actually help this team win some games. But the Mariners could not have asked for a more perfect game on the road to the start the season.
Felix of course was outstanding. Even after twisting his ankle early in the game he did what the ace of a pitching staff should do. He led by example and pitched through the pain for 8 solid innings. Moments like this show how much he has matured. Felix is primed for an excellent season as long as he stays healthy and his team plays for him the way they did tonight. I really expect great things for the King this year. 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. Had Felix not hurt his ankle early in this one my guess is that he would have pitched the 9th as well and started the season with a complete game.

One really important thing that stood out for me in this one was us MOVING the runner OVER and putting them into scoring position and then actually bringing them home to score. Last year this killed us. Every time we had someone on base it was inevitable that runner was going to be stranded on second and no one was going to bring him home. We lost so many games because of our inability to do these little things that go a long way. Last night was different. In the 2nd Beltre doubled off the wall. Next batter Ken Griffey Jr. flies out and moves Beltre to 3rd base. Next batter Jose Lopez hits a sac fly and Beltre scores. 1-0 Mariners. SMALL BALL people. Baseball isn't all about the base hits. Let's hope this was a sign of things to come for this team in regards to things like that.

Another thing I took note of tonight was a foul ball Chavez almost got to early in the game. His speed was amazing. Chris and I looked at each other and said "Raul would have never even gotten close to that ball." As much as I loved Raul and this team will miss what he can bring offensively he wasn't the greatest outfielder. I really think the defense of these guys in the outfield paired with Ichiro is really going to help this team.
How about Griffey? How awesome was it to see him hit that HR in his first game back in a Seattle uniform. I am crossing my fingers he can pull that off in Seattle next Tuesday. That would be amazing. In case you weren't aware that was his 8th opening day HR tying him with Frank Robinson for the MLB record. I was shocked when Franklin G hit a 2 run HR in the 6th inning. He was brought here for his defense but if he can do that everyone once in a while and help us win that way I am all for it.

Jose Lopez was great last night. Couple of nice plays in the field and 3 RBI'S. The biggest ones being his 2 run single late in the game to help put the Twins away for good. Huge hit by him and it is great to see. I really feel Jose is going to have a great year.

I was really hoping to see Morrow get his first save opportunity last night. Although I suppose I would rather see us with a big lead. Batista pitched really well last night, I hope he will be able to pull that off most of this season.

All around this was a great game for the Mariners and a great start to the season. These guys need to get some confidence early and get some wins under their belts. In my opinion everyone thinking they will be horrible is only going to help them. They have nothing to lose and teams always perform better with no pressure.Could someone PLEASE tell Russell Branyan to get some new bats!? I mean really!Nothing wrong with paying Ichiro respect and hopefully in turn receiving some good vibes from him!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mariners Pre Game Notes - April 6, 2009

And here we are, waiting for the Mariners to take the field for the first time this season. My expectations aren't high but I am still excited. Win or lose, I am just happy baseball season is back!

Starting Pitchers

Seattle - Felix Hernandez
Minnesota - Francisco Liriano

Projected Starting Lineups

Seattle Mariners

LF Endy Chavez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
DH Mike Sweeney
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
2B Jose Lopez
1B Russell Branyan
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt

Chavez will bat lead off in Ichiro's absence.

Minnesota Twins

CF Denard Span
2B Alexi Casilla
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Jason Kubel
3B Joe Crede
LF Delmon Young
C Mike Redmond
SS Nick Punto

Fresh Start

So when the baseball season ended last year my interest had almost completely faded in the Mariners. Every game was an embarrassment to watch and you always knew what the outcome was going to be. So what was the point in even watching? We didn't watch much the last month of the season.

During the off season I found myself checking in once in a while to see what was happening in Mariner land. Still not much interest though. But then we made some moves, singed some veteran leaders, made the JJ trade and got a handful of great possibilities in return and then of course the signing of Ken Griffey Jr. Slowly my interest grew. Slowly I started to realize I love these guys win or lose. If you can suffer through last years HORRENDOUS season then you can suffer through anything with your team. That's what makes the true fan.

So here we sit on what is Opening Day for all of baseball aside from the Braves and Phillies. Speaking fo the Braves did anyone see how Derek Lowe dominated the Phillies all night long and ruined their home opener? Anyways, I thought I would take some time to put down my thoughts and predictions for the Mariners season.

First of all let me be clear the I do not have any rose colored glasses on and I do not expect the Mariners to contend for anything this season. I am not convinced that with the health of Jr, Felix and Bedard that this team will be great. What I am convinced of is that they will be better than a lot of people think they will be.

First and foremost they have a more solid clubhouse this year. With guys like Sweeney and Griffey bringing leadership I think that its a given that things wont be like they were last year. Sweeney didn't make this team because he can still hit a baseball. He made the team because of what he brings to the clubhouse. The leadership he will bring to this team is worth far more than what he can or can't do with his bat.

A new coaching staff with a new outlook and approach. We finally hired from the outside and didn't just promote someone from within. I am eager to see what Wakamatsu can do with this young team and how the will grow under his leadership. We also have a new GM who in my opinion has made some great moves since taken over the reigns. Moves in the right direction.

The 25 man roster is set and looks like this...

Catchers - Kenji Johjima, Rob Johnson

Kenji had a terrible season last year, we are all aware of that. But towards the end of the season we saw more of the Kenji we were used to and he finished the year on a high note. He was outstanding in the WBC for Japan this year so let's hope his confidence is back and we will see a more productive at bats from him.

Infielders - Adrian Beltre, Yuniesky Betancourt, Russell Branyan, Ronny Cedeno, Jose Lopez, Mike Sweeney, Matt Tuiasosopo

Beltre is healthy going into the season and is in a contract year which can only mean good things for him and for the Mariners. Beltre is still in my opinion one of the best 3rd base gloves in the league and if he can swing that bat with some consistency he could really help this team. Lopez was amazing in the WBC and looks like he is in full stride and ready for the season to start. I expect big things for Jose this year. Tuiasospo is only on the roster until Ichiro returns from the DL. Cedeno and Sweeney will be our spare infielders and will also share DH duties with Jr.

Outfielders - Wladimir Balentien, Endy Chavez, Ken Griffey Jr., Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro

Chavez will get to take over the leadoff duties while each recovers from his ulcer. Jr will most likely see a few games in RF as well. There may not be a lot of power in this outfield but there is a lot of speed and amazing defence. Both Chavez and Gutierrez are great fielders and will most likely help this team win some games with their defensive skills.

Relief Pitchers - RHP David Aardsma, RHP Miguel Batista, RHP Roy Corcoran, RHP Chris Jakubauskas, RHP Shawn Kelley, RHP Mark Lowe, RHP Brandon Morrow

The bullpen makes me a little nervous. Batista as always gives me fits. I mean if he is on he can me really good but if he isn't we have all seen how bad he can be. Morrow starts the season as the closer, I am crossing my fingers he does well and holds on to the job. The last thing we need is for him to lose his confidence.

Starting Rotation

1. Felix Hernandez (18 wins)
2. Erik Bedard (14 wins)
3. Carlos Silva (11 wins)
4. Jarrod Washburn (10 wins)
5. Ryan Rowland-Smith (12 wins)

What do you say about our rotation. With a healthy Felix we know what he is capable of. If he can stay healthy all year and get run support I could see him having his first 18-20 win season. It's time a Mariner pitcher was in the running for the Cy Young. Bedard needs to stay healthy. I still really like him and still think that when he is healthy and on his game he is still has the abilities to be one of the most dominant left handed pitchers in the game. Silva lost a ton of weight and all I am doing is crossing my fingers he keeps it off and can win 10 games. Washburn is someone I like but don't like. He has had terrible luck with run support the last few seasons. I guess we will just have to see what happens this year. Rowland-Smith I am really excited about. I think he has the talent to be a legitimate mid to late rotation guy and I really hope he does well in his starting role.

Disabled List

60-day DL: Ryan Feierabend
15-day DL: Cesar Jimenez
15-day DL: Ichiro

I have yet to really think about the numbers I project our hitters to have this season. I will come up with that later on today and post it. I don't want to guess what the Mariners record might be cause I really have no idea. But it can't get worse than last year so that's good I guess. Here is to a new season. Go Mariners!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Prodigal Son Returns

I was not a Mariners fan when the Kingdome was still around. In fact there is probably a good chance I had no idea who the Seattle Mariners were. Funny how things change. Some great Mariners players played in that building...

Randy Johnson- a for sure Hall of Famer who has expressed his wishes to wear a Mariner cap when he is inducted. Randy Johnson is the only Mariners pitcher to ever win the Cy Young award. Boy I hope that changes some year soon.

Edgar Martinez- who doesn't love Edgar? Will he get into the Hall of Fame? Most people say he should be a first ballot nomination. I say if you have a MLB award named after the guy he absolutely deserves it. He is eligible next year and if he makes it Chris and I will surely be going.

Alex Rodriguez- love him or hate him, I chose the latter but A-Rod is one of the best hitters this game has ever seen. He is weird and conceited and greedy and I am glad he is not on my team. BUT he is still one of the greatest players to wear a major league uniform. If only he didn't let the money go to his head and had stayed in Seattle all those years ago.

Jay Buhner- "Bone" as most people like to call him was one of the most popular players in Mariners history. Bone retired in 2001 and the Mariners have not issued his #19 to any player since.
Oh yeah and a kid name Griffey made his MLB debut in that building on April 3rd 1999. That "kid" went on to become one of the best and most exciting baseball players in the 1990's. 10 years into his career he had 1,752 hits, 398 home runs and 1,152 RBIs. Griffey's career in Seattle set him well on his way to what will surely be a first ballot hall of fame nomination. Ken Griffey Jr WAS the Seattle Mariners. He was everything baseball was supposed to be. How fitting a new stadium was built right across the street with Griffey in mind. And why wouldn't they? Griffey had pretty much carried baseball in Seattle on his back and was a key factor in keeping baseball in Seattle.

Goodbye Kingdome...
Hello Safeco Field...
THE HOUSE THAT GRIFFEY BUILT!! Funny it would be referred to as that considering the season it opened Griffey asked to be traded after only playing at Safeco for 4 months. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds so he could be closer to home and his family. I was not around when this happened but I can only imagine the devastation and shock that went through the city of Seattle. Just like that every ones hero, every kids idol is gone. You don't expect the ones like Griffey to leave. Just like the Oilers fans thought Wayne Gretzky would be an Oiler his entire career. It just doesn't always work out that way.
Griffey's career was never the same in Cincinnati. He was often injured and never seemed to be able to play to the level he always had in Seattle. On June 22 nd 2007 Ken Griffey Jr finally made a return to Seattle with the Cincinnati Reds. I don't think he expected the warm welcome he received. Before the game the Mariners did a presentation that included a highlight reel of his Mariner days. He was presented a "House That Griffey Built" memorial by former teammates Buhner and Martinez followed by a rousing and long standing ovation by the faithful at Safeco Field. Signs filled the building saying things like "The House that Griffey Built." The 3rd game of the series Jr hit 2 HR's and received a thunderous applause and cheer each time. While in Seattle Jr sat down for an interview with FSN's Angie Mentink and when asked if he would come back to Seattle to play he answered...

"Would I do it? Yeah. I think for the simple reason that this is the place where I grew up and I owe it to the people of Seattle and to myself to retire as a Mariner."

Jr stayed true to his word and signed a 1 year contract with the Mariners this off season bringing a magnificent career full circle. Seattle is the place he had all his success. Seattle is the place he became a star so it is only fitting he returns at this time in his career. Is he the Jr of old? Not even close. He is not "the kid" everyone remembers. He is older, his body is older, his abilities are not what they once were. Signing Jr was not done because they think he will save this team and hit 40 home runs. Seattle management owed this to Seattle and to Jr to allow him to return to the place where even after all these years he is loved beyond measure. Could a return home to Seattle fuel a resurrection in Jr? Of course it could. Whether it does or not remains to be seen. All I know is that I am excited to watch one of the greatest players of all time wear a Mariners uniform once again and continue to chase his place in history.

Jr's stats speak for themselves--

611 HR's
1772 RBI's
Career BA of .288
10 Gold Gloves
7 Silver Sluggers
10 All Star appearances
1997 AL MVP
Led the AL in HR's 94,97,98,99

Regardless of what he does in Seattle this year he is a Hall of Famer who deserves a hero's welcome when he is announced in the starting lineup for Seattle's home opener. He chose Seattle over the Braves. He chose to come "home" instead of going to the Braves who actually have a chance at competing this year. Whatever you call him--Jr, the Kid, the Natural--we should all feel honored to get to watch him play once again for the Seattle Mariners. I can't wait for the season to start.