A lot of Mariners games will end like this in 2012, and a lot of games have ended like this in the past two years too. The Mariners have a young offense and a great defense–depending on the lineup they opt to use. They’ll have games where their offensive is frustrating, and they’ll have games where the starter deserves a win and doesn’t get it. That’s the nature of the beast, and the beast is a rebuild. I hate to be the guy that keeps saying “this is what we expected, but, well.
Kevin Millwood is pitching really well. I have no idea what his trade stock will end up as. I don’t think it will be as high as a younger, more universally successful guy with his production to this point, but I think that he’s definitely helping himself. Hopefully he’s doing all those things that we can’t quantify that will be written about next year when he faces the Mariners, like teaching his son Blake Beavan how to grow a better goatee, or yelling at Jesus Montero about things that will make Jesus Montero into Mike Matheny behind the plate. Millwood missed only seven bats, but struck out five and got eight groundball outs in five innings. 13 of his 15 recorded outs were good process outs. Millwood is dealing of late. It’s a real thing in real life.
The Mariners made a handful of critical baserunning mistakes today. After a leadoff double Chone Figgins got caught in a run down after an Ichiro single. Alex Liddi hit a Texas leaguer to right field that dropped in for a single, but he rounded first base too hard and was thrown out trying to get back. And Jeff Datz sent Brendan Ryan home on what should have been a single, and then an awful defensive play turned it into a would-be triple that Datz tried to turn into an inside-the-park homerun. I’m not against aggressive baserunning at all times, but when your team is down by two in the eighth inning, sending a runner home from third on anything resembling a close play with zero outs is a bad choice. I don’t know how we quantify third base coach production, but Jeff Datz has made two huge tactical errors involving Brendan Ryan in the past week.
Jesus Montero had a funny game. He had two hits, but at the plate we were most impressed by his ability to beat out a bobbled transfer and wide throw by Elvis Andrus in the ninth inning. He also threw Nelson Cruz out on an attempted stolen base. Cruz is a pretty average base stealer, which is only worth noting because he successfully stole a base on Montero earlier in the game. Montero is a bad catcher, and teams will eventually realize they can steal a lot of bases on him. At that time expect him to be taking some grounders at first. He’d thrown out 12 percent of would-be base-stealers this year though. So by throwing out Cruz 16 percent! He’s crossed the halfway-to-league-average mark!
Brendan Ryan continues to flash the leather, and his value is much more than his back would indicate. At one point during the game Mike Blowers quoted his UZR.
By the way, you can catch me retweeting good stuff like that on my own Twitter.
Brandon League threw a scoreless eighth, which sounds great until you take a look at what he’s done in recent ninth innings. I’m exploring some ideas for Brandon League trades. You’re not going to like them.