After the perfect game that Philip Humber threw against the Mariners it seemed like a light had gone off, and they swept the Tigers. They scuffled through a series with the Blue Jays, and have now been swept by the Rays. The Mariners lost 4-3 today in a game that I’m sure very few Mariners fans watched. I woke up this morning fully intending to DVR the game and in my haze of sleep I managed to get sucked into an episode of Married With Children and completely forgot about the game.
Kevin Millwood pulled the same tricks that Hector Noesi pulled the other day, being really awful early and quite good after that. The same thing goes for Kevin Millwood as for Noesi and Millwood’s son Blake Beavan: The whole game counts. Beavan has actually pitched well this season in terms of process, striking out about double the batters he walks coming into today. He’s a guy that will rely a lot on balls in play though, and we’ve seen that some of the older righties that pitch that way tend to pitch worse then their peripherals would indicate (e.g. Derek Lowe, Javier Vasquez). One of the reasons may be because they aren’t as good, and their pitches are easier to hit well. You can count me out as a guy that will be quoting Millwood as the good kind of regression candidate as the season wears on. My expectations of this season were not very high anyways. I don’t see a ton of value in him being on the team for anything besides delaying the service time clock on the big three pitchers down in Jackson. That may be why we’ll end up seeing Noesi and Beavan get a couple extra turns in the rotation even if they struggle, because at this point the Mariners could be trading two less months of Noesi, Beavan, or Millwood for one less year of Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, or James Paxton at a cost-controlled rate.
Dave Cameron wrote a great piece about why Brendan Ryan’s job shouldn’t be in jeopardy. The piece is very good, and makes a lot of great points. I don’t buy into the idea that Ryan should be benched for the sake of it. There isn’t a true shortstop close to the majors right now, and even if Kyle Seager can play a halfway decent shortstop (still up for debate, he was pretty bad last year) you’re left with Alex Liddi at third base. Contrary to primitive measure, Alex Liddi isn’t a good defensive third baseman. That doesn’t mean Ryan’s job shouldn’t be in jeopardy though. If the Mariners can make a marginal upgrade at the plate with a glove-first shortstop from waivers or in a trade they should explore that option. Brendan Ryan is a free agent at the end of the year, and it’s possible that neither Nick Franklin or Brad Miller will be ready next year.
There has been a debate in the past 24 hours about what should happen with Justin Smoak if he doesn’t start producing. I don’t personally have a problem with that idea, but I understand the thinking behind not hurting his psyche. I don’t think there is enough evidence to make any assumptions either way. Something’s got to give though. I think they may be able to extract more talent from Smoak, and maybe I’ll write about that its own post another time. Maybe not.
John Jaso hit two doubles. John Jaso hit two doubles and will probably play less than half of the next week’s games. This is getting sickening. With Jaso and Montero on the same roster the Mariners have basically a 4.5 man bench. The Mariners are choosing to bench one of their best hitters each night for the sake of a prospective injury or late-game substitution. They’re choosing to be worse every day to avoid having a one-game situation that probably won’t happen. What they’re doing right now is like paying $20 for a warranty on an item that costs $30 and is very unlikely to break.
The Mariners take on the Twins and Tigers in a six game home stand. Considering how bad the Twins are and how the Mariners played the Tigers earlier in the season, I’m optimistic they’ll come out of the home stand 4-2.