Moyer As Opening Day Starter

Thursday,March 30, 2006

The Seattle P-I's Jim Moore in his column yesterday asked why Grover is rolling out Jamie Moyer as the Opening Day starter…yet again. With all due respect to Jamie and what he has accomplished for the club, I'm afraid I have to agree with Jim. Forget the fact that Felix is resting to get some shin splints under control and possibly wouldn't be ready to go on Monday anyways. The decision was largely made without that consideration.

I don't subscribe to the belief that opening day starter is an entitlement due to those with years of service or past glory. Following back-to-back ninety-loss seasons, selecting an opening day starter should be about waking up 1-0 on the morning of day 2. Yes, the baseball season is a marathon but given the M's schedule out of the gate, a good start is going to be critical for this team's confidence. I'd prefer to give Felix our best opportunity to start us out on top, if only for a day or two, rather than face the pressure of turning around a possible 0-4 start on Friday night. 


“Gil, are you still here?”

Wednesday,March 22, 2006

On or around the closing day of the 2005 season, Bill Bavasi was interviewed at length on KJR AM concerning the fortunes of the ball club and potential turnover of the roster offseason. My recollection was that when asked about the starting rotation, Bavasi implied that the trio of Moyer, Pineiro, and Meche would likely not be intact come April. Listening between the lines it was particularly apparent that Bavasi did not foresee Meche running out of the center field tunnel on April 3rd. So how is it we’re going to roll out the same trio again in 2006?

Jamie Moyer: A reasonable decision was reached concerning the 42-year-old Moyer, the Gradually Declining Wonder. While some might have hoped for the club’s newfound willingness to part with popular yet declining veterans (e.g. Olerud and Boone) to be applied in the case of Jamie, there were too many admittedly sound reasons, baseball and otherwise, to hand Jamie the ball for yet another season:

  • He eats a reasonable number of innings. With an improved offense, we may find ourselves still in many of Jamie’s five inning, four earned run starts.
  • If placed adjacent to Felix in the order the M’s reap the potential benefit of arguably the most significant consecutive game changes of pace in baseball.
  • Jamie apparently loves to talk so if there are young pitchers willing to sit next to him on the bench on his off days and willing to listen, well, they should learn something about pitching.

Joel Pineiro: Despite his inconsistency, I’m just not ready to give up on Joel. The kind of lofty expectations that his electric debut season generated were both foolish and unfair for a first year pitcher. The dime the Mariners have dropped on Joel, on the other hand, has been more than fair and the club clearly needs a positive return on their investment this year. Several of his August and September starts last year offered glimpses of the Pineiro we thought we had. Starting the season healthy on the active roster will be a good start.

Gil Meche: Nothing is more frustrating for a ball club and a fan than a Jekyll and Hyde hurler. Gil’s problem is that Jekyll only really showed up for April, May, and part of June last season. Jekyll’s fastball was topping out at 96-97, his control was impressive, and he was mixing it up just well enough to keep hitters off balance on the cold April nights. As temperatures warmed and early season arms loosened up, Gil went the other way – losing 3-4 miles per hour on #1. Although he still pitched around the zone, those same fastballs wound up as souvenirs or short hops off the fence in the alleys. More importantly though, Gil seemingly lost his confidence and gave way to frustration. Yes, he seems to be throwing well so far this spring but it looks like we’ll have to check back in June or July to see if this is just an arm strength/endurance thing. Regardless of that determination, is he the worst fifth starter in baseball? Not even close. Two obvious upgrades to the rotation from last April (Felix and Washburn) also support the decision to risk every fifth day with Gil.

About the Mariners Observer

Saturday,March 11, 2006

I will delve into my motivations for launching the Mariners Observer in a later post but let me begin by attempting to establish my own credentials for adding to the vast Seattle Mariners blogosphere.

I am local
I’m a near-native of the Seattle area, my family having moved here in 1969.

I am passionate about baseball
My father played professional baseball (Pirates’ minor league system) and taught me everything I needed to know about how to play (and watch) the game. I played small ball throughout my childhood and have played slo-pitch competitively for the last eighteen years.

I am passionate about the Mariners
I was a “First Nighter” in 1977. Despite the drubbing delivered by the California Angels that evening I understood immediately what a wonderful gift had been bestowed upon Seattle. I suffered through years of, shall I say, less-than-competitive ball…but I always showed up. In the 80’s you would have found me in the outfield of the 200 level as the $1.50 price of admission was more within my means at the time. I first purchased a 10-game pack in early August of the magical ’95 season and ended up attending every home game from the mid-August homestand through the ALCS – still ten of the most memorable weeks of my life. I have been a full season ticket holder since the 1996 season. At Safeco you can find me in my perch above the plate in section 332.

If you have any doubts as to my passion at this point, let me conclude by saying that my wife and I were married at home plate in Safeco Field in 2004. Enough said.