Great Series Ends Tonight

October 28, 2011

How was that game?

Game Six of the World Series was one of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen. Note that I did not say World Series game – let’s include all of those regular season games, too.

The Cardinals were down to their last strike and needed heroics in both the ninth and tenth innings, and they got them. And then they won it on a homer in the 11th.

Hopefully you were watching this game; I’m incapable of writing any sort of quality ode to it here.

But one thought kept crossing my mind in the late innings: I was totally jealous of Joe Buck – and this is not a thought that I’ve had often. Buck got to broadcast one of the greatest World Series games, ever – it would have been so much fun to call.

Furthermore, one would presume that Buck is a Cardinals fan at heart. It was his team pulling off all of those miracles!

That must have been the greatest day of his career. Unless he likes football better than baseball; he’s called several Super Bowls.

A few items:

  • Larry Stone says that last night’s game is why we love baseball. He also says Texas will probably not recover from that one.
  • Joe Buck honored his father Jack with his call of the game-winning home run.

Game Seven tonight. This is as good as it gets in baseball – I can’t wait for 5:00. I always keep score of Game 7 (yup, I’m a total baseball geek, I know). My favorite Game 7s are: the 1-0 ten inning Jack Morris masterpiece of 1991, and the Edgar Renteria game-winner for Florida in the 11th inning in 1997.

Mariners Coaching Staff Stable – Rainiers, Too?

October 27, 2011

Yesterday the Seattle Mariners announced that the major league coaching staff will remain intact for 2012. This is quite rare – as you probably know, the team has had a revolving door of managers and coaches for roughly ten years now.

A little stability is a good thing.

While I don’t know for certain, I suspect we will see a similar announcement regarding the Tacoma coaching staff soon. I haven’t heard anything to lead me to believe that we won’t have the troika of Daren Brown, Alonzo Powell, and Dwight Bernard back next year.

Our dreaded division rivals, the Reno Aces, have their own blog now. I’ve been informed that “no one reads it,” which is unsurprising.*

It’s good to know your competition, so I checked it out – and you know what? It’s not half bad. You can decide for yourself right here.

* Ha ha ha on you, Aces blogger person! I hope you can take a joke, since there are going to be a lot of them!

Midweek Round-Up

October 26, 2011

A few tidbits for Wednesday, while we wait and see if the conditions will be playable for World Series Game Six tonight in St. Louis.

  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times continues his series on Mariners prospects in the Arizona Fall League with a feature on Rainiers pitcher Forrest Snow.
  • Larry LaRue takes a look at a few other Mariners in Winter Ball – it looks like Carlos Peguero is off to a hot start in Venezuela.
  • Former Mariners and Rainiers catcher and all-around good guy Rob Johnson was let go by the San Diego Padres. He’ll sign a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training with somebody – now, he has to choose the team that gives him the best opportunity to win the major league back-up job.
  • Rainiers reliever Scott Patterson and the rest of Team USA had to settle for the silver medal in the Pan-Am Games. After a dramatic win against Cuba to reach the finals, Team USA lost a squeaker to Canada, 2-1.
  • Baseball Prospectus has a terrific column up, in which 13 of their writers tell who their favorite “bad” player was. This was a ton of fun to read, and it got me thinking about a future post…
  • Just checked in with Cheney Stadium Head Groundskeeper and Stadium Operations guru Ryan Schutt – turns out that he’s spending his day inspecting the bullpen phones. Can’t have faulty bullpen phones – just ask Tony LaRussa!

In our immediate future here at the blog: I’m working on the stats for the big Cheney Stadium shorter fences post, which is finally close to seeing the light of day. Later I’m going to fix the PCL schedule. Then I might write about one of my favorite not-so-great Rainiers.

Notes & Napoli

October 25, 2011

The Hot Stove League is preheating – we’re starting to get some notes of interest. Here is a quick round-up:

  • At the Seattle Times, Larry Stone has a thorough preview of the off-season, and how it relates to the Mariners.
  • Larry LaRue caught up with Jamie Moyer, who is 49 years old and dead-set on returning from an elbow injury and pitching in 2012. Dave Cameron at USS Mariner says that signing him should be a no-brainer for the Mariners.
  • At Lookout Landing, Jeff Sullivan checked in on Dustin Ackley’s advanced defensive statistics, and learned that his defense was better than expected.
  • Rainiers reliever Scott Patterson is pitching for Team USA in the Pan-Am Games, and he recorded a very difficult save as USA beat Cuba, 12-10, to advance to the gold medal game tonight. Nice job, Patty!

A quick World Series tidbit: I saw a story out of Salt Lake City referring to Mike Napoli as a former Salt Lake Bees player. This caught me by surprise – I didn’t recall him playing for Salt Lake.

So I looked back, and low and behold, Napoli played in 21 games for Salt Lake in 2006 – including three against Tacoma, at Cheney Stadium.

Why didn’t I remember him? Well, this might be the reason: in the three games he played against the Rainiers, Napoli went 1-for-9 with seven strikeouts.* He only hit .244 for Salt Lake, he struck out all of those times; I probably just thought “this guy is in over his head” and erased him from my memory. Whoops!

* In one of the games – April 27, 2006 – Napoli went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Even more surprising: the Rainiers had Shin-Soo Choo, Adam Jones, Mike Morse, and Asdrubal Cabrera in the starting lineup that day – and they got shut out on two hits, by Joe Saunders. Box score.

Adam Moore On The Rebound

October 21, 2011

Great World Series so far, huh? Two one-run games, with all kinds of strategy, and each game turning on dramatic plays. We’re looking at two very good teams capable of taking advantage of the smallest mistake made by the opponent. This has been a very compelling series so far.

Closer to home, we have good news on the Mariners depleted catching ranks.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times continued his series from the Arizona Fall League with an excellent story on catcher Adam Moore and his recovery from knee surgery. All systems are “go” with the knee – what this story really is about is the shortage of catching in the major leagues, and Moore’s chance to begin a long career. Some great quotes from Ted Simmons in here.

Even with a healthy Moore, the Mariners will sign an experienced back-up catcher to play in AAA this season. They don’t want to run into the depth problems of 2011 again.

Hultzen Deals In Peoria

October 20, 2011

Mariners pitching prospect Danny Hultzen tossed four no-hit innings in the Arizona Fall League yesterday, his best outing as a pro to date.

He has had very few outings, of course. Hultzen was the second player chosen in the 2011 draft and he signed his contract with the Mariners in mid-August. These are his first professional games.

The reason we make note of his progress here is that the general consensus is that Hultzen, a lefty out of the University of Virginia, is very advanced and will start his first full pro season (next year) at a high level.

I know some Mariners fans who think he could jump straight to the majors, but this seems unneccessary to me. If after six weeks of spring training it’s obvious he belongs in the majors, then so be it. But I expect the Mariners to start Hultzen in the minors – and not in Tacoma, either. If I had to speculate, I’d guess that Hultzen will open 2012 at Double-A Jackson.

Jackson is away from the spotlight, closer to his home, and most importantly a better pitching environment then either Class-A High Desert or Triple-A Tacoma (although the Rainiers don’t play at any PCL launching pads until an April 26 trip to Las Vegas).

Seattle Times beat writer Geoff Baker was on-hand for Hultzen’s start in Arizona yesterday Here is a brief blog post (with pictures!) and a feature-style story that ran in the paper.

Some Pre-Game Reading

October 19, 2011

The World Series is about to start, and we have some good links:

  • John McGrath and Larry Stone agree: this is going to be a World Series full of pitching changes. Texas has the great bullpen, and St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa invented the pitching change while daydreaming during boring classes in law school. Here is Stone’s story, and here is McGrath’s column.
  • Seattle Times Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker is down in Arizona, checking out the Fall League. He caught up with top M’s shortstop prospect Nick Franklin and filed this report. Apparently he is seeing #1 pick Danny Hultzen pitch today so we should have another interesting story coming up this week.
  • If you subscribe to Baseball America, you can check out their Seattle Mariners draft report card.

Rangers in six!