Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Seven Letter Word for "Finished"?
2007-08-23 09:42
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Gary Sheffield aggrivated a shoulder injury on Tuesday and is out indefinitely. I don't think any of the Yankee pitchers will bark about not having to face Sheff.

Meanwhile, is Mike Mussina done? Is he finished, kaput? Anthony McCarron examines this question in the Daily News:

A major league scout familiar with Mussina's work said yesterday that velocity "is his problem." Mussina has never been a power pitcher, nor has he needed to throw that hard to win. But his hard stuff was clocked mostly around 86 mph Tuesday night in Anaheim, which the scout says hinders Mussina's arsenal of off-speed and breaking pitches.

"You have to have separation," the scout said. "There has to be some change of speeds with the fastball. If the changeup or the breaking balls are too close, they lose their effectiveness."

The scout also noted the difference in Mussina's starts against good teams and bad ones. Mussina is 2-4 with a 6.65 ERA in eight starts against teams that had winning records entering yesterday's play. Against teams that were below .500 entering yesterday, he was 6-5 with a 4.34 ERA.

"Which is typical when you start to lose your stuff," the scout said. "You're still smart enough to get the inferior hitters out, but you have problems when you pitch against the better-hitting teams because there are fewer inferior hitters."

Mussina is a number five pitcher now. The Yanks still have some weak teams to play in October. He still has a chance to contribute. The question is, does he have enough stuff left? Color me skeptical.

* I bit the headline from one of the comments the other night.

Comments (94)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-23 09:59:05
1.   Just fair
I have rent coming up. Do I get a royalty check or anythng from the headline?
2007-08-23 10:00:21
2.   bp1
I don't think it matters so much if the team Moose is pitching to is above or below .500 as much as it does if he has any pop on his fastball. When he was rolling, his fastball was hitting that comfortable 90-91 range with good location. This week he wasn't throwing strikes, and when he was they were meatballs. Even the D-Rays woulda killed him with that stuff.

Dunno what to think. Honestly - he had it just a month ago, and now it's gone. Do you go with unproven rookie in post season (assuming the team makes it that far)?

2007-08-23 10:03:33
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Not fer nothin', but:

2007-08-23 10:09:24
4.   Cliff Corcoran
1 What's ten percent of nothing?
2007-08-23 10:13:28
5.   Just fair
Not enough. That video's pretty old, yeah? "A-Rod's homer off of Paplebon last night." That was a fun game though.
2007-08-23 10:13:52
6.   Just fair
Not enough. That video's pretty old, yeah? "A-Rod's homer off of Paplebon last night." That was a fun game though.
2007-08-23 10:22:13
7.   Cliff Corcoran
5 That was my point. It's from early June. They key to what I say there is that, outside of a few random months (April and May of last year, Sept 2004), Mussina hasn't been an above average pitcher since 2003.
2007-08-23 10:34:52
8.   51cq24
7 03 is the last time i trusted him to pitch a good game. it must be that japan trip! he was determined to make it ruin his career.
2007-08-23 10:43:42
9.   pistolpete
I submit that Mussina could still be useful out of the pen. If he has enough rest and can get the velocity up in short bursts, why couldn't he do an inning or two during the PS if Roger runs out of gas?
2007-08-23 11:05:44
10.   Marcus
If he can't make his fastball faster, why not make his breaking balls slower? Isn't that what Jamie Moyer did at some point?

I realize that is probably easier said than done. In fact, it may be counter-productive (lose break on your pitches at slower speeds). Just a thought.

2007-08-23 11:08:17
11.   tommyl
10 Slowing a pitch down should increase the break. It has more time to break. I think what you mean is sort of the "tightness". A curve always breaks more than a slider, but a slider can be "tighter." I'm searching for a way to quantify it. Its some combination of the speed and break.
2007-08-23 11:08:40
12.   ny2ca2dc
What about a return of Loaiza as fifth starter? Dealing with Beane must be pretty scary, but no doubt Loaiza is on the block

Kind of sad I'm suggesting replacing Moose with Loaiza, even though I know it's not really a great idea. Why spend trading chips to exchange crap for crap...

2007-08-23 11:08:44
13.   Cliff Corcoran
10 That's what he did early last year with that Bugs Bunny change, but he couldn't keep it up. He actually had a good changeup on Tuesday night, but he couldn't get into position to use it because he had nothing else.
2007-08-23 11:09:45
14.   Yankee Fan In Boston
9 but wouldn't moose's schedule be all out of whack if he went to the 'pen? the man demands regular rests and can't stand to pitch a day early or late, etc. i guess they could potentially apply joba-esque regulations.
2007-08-23 11:10:17
15.   Cliff Corcoran
12 You mean the guy whose only major league start this season was yesterday?
2007-08-23 11:11:02
16.   ny2ca2dc
11 As you know, the break would only increase/remain if the spin imparted on the ball were still sufficient. I don't know enough about pitching mechanics to say for sure, but i would suspect easing off on the velocity would hurt the spin on the ball & therefore the break/movement. Maybe that's why Moyer is so uniquely effective.
2007-08-23 11:11:12
17.   Cliff Corcoran
15 Make that only major league appearance this year.

14 Yeah, all they need is another pitcher with strict usage rules in the pen (Joba, Farnsworth . . .)

2007-08-23 11:24:14
18.   rconn23
Umm. Paging Ian Kennedy. Ian Kennedy come to the Yankee clubhouse.
2007-08-23 11:32:31
19.   rbj
"The Yanks still have some weak teams to play in October"

Well, I hope the Yankees are playing in October, but I don't think any of the other teams are going to be weak.

2007-08-23 11:33:50
20.   51cq24
16 you can put more spin on a ball if you are throwing it at a lower velocity because you are putting less effort into throwing it forward and more into snapping your wrist
2007-08-23 11:37:17
21.   williamnyy23
As things stand, Mussina has 7 more starts against det, tb, kc, tor, balt, tor and balt. Except for KC and TOR, whom he hasn't faced, all of those teams have hit Mussina hard. At this point, I think you have to go start to start with Mussina and hold your breath.

Also of note, whether by luck or design, Pettitte, Clemens and Wang are lined up to start both Boston series as well as the Seattle match-up.

2007-08-23 11:39:57
22.   Sliced Bread
Yeah, hard to imagine Rain Man Mussina adapting to the unpredictable schedule of a reliever, but let's not forget one of Mussina's greatest performances as a Yankee was his relief appearance against the BoSox in the Boone game.

I'd give him another start to see if he can get his act together against a contender. If not, Moose should replace Villone as the mop up guy.

Or Joe could try something completely radical and rotate Moose into the first base/DH platoon... heh... NOT.

2007-08-23 11:44:29
23.   seamus
Quite a pitching duel indetroit between Westbrook and Robertson. Going into the 8th 0-0.
2007-08-23 11:45:58
24.   seamus
Robertson has only thrown 70 pitches to get through 7. That is some serious efficiency!
2007-08-23 11:48:58
25.   Gagne55
22 And Torre told him before that game 7 that he wouldn't be used in relief.
2007-08-23 11:54:01
26.   Shaun P
Shoot, if El Duque can go out there and pitch OK, with no fastball to speak of, shouldn't Moose be able to as well? Pitching in the weaker league can't give Duque all that much of a boost.

Has Moose reached "David Cone in 2000" status?

2007-08-23 11:59:27
27.   bob34957
Ian Kennedy: here,what do you want?
2007-08-23 12:03:39
28.   Ben
20 I beleive you can get more spin on the ball and more overall movement with a slower pitch, but the break is less dramatic. But it's not all velocity, a lot has to do with the position of the hand. The hand is further behind the ball on a slider, producing more forward force. A curve tends to be held more on the side.

It comes down to the fastball however. Even if it's only 86mph, it has to have some quality that keeps hitters honest, i.e. location, movement or deception. A few nights back, Moose had none of those.

2007-08-23 12:14:42
29.   rbj
How about just using a straight knuckleball for Moose? Then you don't have to worry about velocity, plus he'd have about 4+ other pitches to work in once in a while.
2007-08-23 12:15:48
30.   51cq24
26 el duque has a harder fastball (90-91) and many more pitches to go to than mussina. plus, he seems to focus more on getting hitters out than arguing with the umpire on every close pitch. at this point, i'd much rather have el duque than mussina, especially in the postseason, even in the al.
2007-08-23 12:21:21
31.   Ben
30 In the words of the Great John Starks, "well you know, no question..."
2007-08-23 12:27:36
32.   Alex Belth
Duque is special. And not the small school to bus special.
2007-08-23 12:28:47
33.   seamus
I think my eyes are bad. gameday says I-rod went in as a pinch runner.
2007-08-23 12:52:11
34.   Mike T
Cleveland 3-0 Detroit
2007-08-23 12:52:55
35.   rbj
Zumaya wasn't sharp his last rehab stint either.
2007-08-23 12:53:37
36.   Yu-Hsing Chen
32 Alex, i'd call a borderline HOFer pretty special too... like ummm Mussina.

he also didn't have that terrible fastball and hanging curve in the previous string of decent outtings, i think he desrve at least one more start that's for sure. but the Yankees probably should consider optioning Henn and callup someone that could go long if he bombs again (Igawa? his last outting was actually pretty good espically considering that he actually managed to keep the balls on the ground and in the park )

2007-08-23 12:55:56
37.   standuptriple
Zumaya is getting roughed up. Hopefully he's not 100% or, even better, the Yanks don't get to see him at all. I'd also like to see that game go extra frames. Can somebody tell me why the Yanks have a night game then travel half-way across the country while the home team gets a nooner?
2007-08-23 12:57:32
38.   seamus
37 we have a day off and they dont.
2007-08-23 12:57:56
39.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Cleveland scoring in top of the 10th, yikes Detroit is fading badly again this year in the second half. good news that we face them next.

speaking of chokers, the Phighting Phils are losing again = =b.. is this gonna be the 3rd fucking year in a roll where they come very close but no cigar? (still though, harder to blame them this year consider how many guys they lost to the DL)

2007-08-23 13:00:30
40.   Yu-Hsing Chen
for the season Zumaya....

70 ABs 13BB 19K yeah let's keep Joba in the pen

2007-08-23 13:00:48
41.   Sliced Bread
37 Detroit nudie bars. A-Rod's buyin!

39 a managerial change wouldn't hurt the Phils either.

2007-08-23 13:04:20
42.   standuptriple
38 Stupid work. Making me pay attention to things other than baseball.
2007-08-23 13:04:26
43.   Yu-Hsing Chen
2 out 1st and 3rd Thames up... Joe "Blow"oski on the mound
2007-08-23 13:05:19
44.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Thames double... 1 run in... another hit will win it..
2007-08-23 13:10:12
45.   Yu-Hsing Chen
"clutch intangible" I-rod pops out.
2007-08-23 13:14:22
46.   Mike T
Cleveland 3-1 Detroit Final
2007-08-23 13:41:59
47.   Yu-Hsing Chen
watching the Cubs/Giants game... you soooo know that Matt Cain is gonna take a loss for a 1 run 7 inning work again ;) these Giants hit nothing and Bonds not even in the lineup today.

btw, I think Carlos Zambrano has great stuff, but he realy really walks too many guys that i'm a little relieved we didn't end up signign him.

2007-08-23 13:44:16
48.   pistolpete
46 Good. The more distance between us and all the other teams in the WC chase, the better.
2007-08-23 13:53:07
49.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Seriously.. this is the Giants lineup today

Dave Roberts LF
Rajah Davis CF
Randy Winn RF
Klesko 1B
Durham 2B
Aurillia 3B
Vizquel SS
Guirellio Rodriguez (who?)

seriously.. that's a team?

2007-08-23 13:57:06
50.   Alex Belth
Guess Guirellio Rodriguez is better than Auriello Rodriguez. Man, I'll never forget his contributions to the Yanks botch-job of the 81 World Serious.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-23 14:04:14
51.   Vandelay Industries
48 With a couple Cleveland wins and a Yankee series win, we can bury them from the playoff race altogether.
2007-08-23 14:09:26
52.   Mike T
51 Exactly what I was thinking, and good riddance to them.
2007-08-23 14:15:45
53.   mhmitch
49 It's Guillermo Rodriguez (.262/.343), the backup catcher, and I wish we had him on Sunday, June 22nd when he was ripping an RBI double while Moose and Nieves were letting the Giants run free on the bases, thus ruining my day in the lower box on an otherwise beautiful SF afternoon.

50 What did Aurelio Rodriguez do wrong in the '81 Serious? I'm blanking out on that one. Was Nettles hurt?

2007-08-23 14:38:15
54.   Yu-Hsing Chen
hey, a Kerry Wood sighting!
2007-08-23 14:43:31
55.   Yankee Fan In Boston
53 i didn't see anything in the box scores that would cast shame and derision upon rodriguez...

but here they are:

he hit over .400 (all 5 hits were singles and had no RBI, but he didn't seem to make any errors defensively... i don't get it.)

2007-08-23 14:56:37
56.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Wow, it's sad that Kery wood is basically now just a crappy reliever... he's thrwoing neither heat nor strikes there but got out of it
2007-08-23 15:03:44
57.   Bama Yankee
53 & 55 George Frazier did his part with his a 17.18 ERA and 3 losses...

It's probably a good thing there was no Bronx Banter back then. I wonder what the game thread would have looked like when Lemon pinch hit for Tommy John in the 4th inning of a 1-1 elimination game (especially after he brought in Frazier)...

2007-08-23 15:08:57
58.   mehmattski
57 The question is, who would have called more for the re-signing of Billy Martin: the 1981 Bronx Banter, or George Steinbrenner?
2007-08-23 15:26:52
59.   Schteeve
If the Yankees make the playoffs, Moose should be left off the roster. He won't be of course, and it could potentially cost us a series, but he is the last guy I want starting a playoff game.
2007-08-23 15:29:46
60.   Schteeve
22 If blogs ran baseball teams, the Yankees would have about 12 1b/DHs in that platoon.

I know you were kidding, but it seems like everytime a Yankees outlives their usefulness someone suggests moving them to first.

2007-08-23 15:32:51
61.   Bama Yankee
58 It would be a toss up. I'm sure the Banter would also be lamenting a .212 .317 .385 first baseman and debating if we should keep Reggie:
"He had an OPS+ of 119, he's finished"...
"But we owe it to him, look what he's done for us in the PS"...
"But, we got Ken Griffey, who needs a washed up Reggie"...
"But, what am I gonna do with all these candy bars"...
2007-08-23 15:38:07
62.   mhmitch
55 57 Yes, I remember George Frazier very clearly unfortunately. I seem to recall that Murcer just missed an HR in that ill-fated pinch hitting appearance, but it could just be my imagination. I also recall being annoyed at Bobby Brown for misplaying a ball in CF in Game 4.
2007-08-23 15:46:32
63.   JimCobain
60 It should be called the Mantle-Effect.
2007-08-23 16:40:07
64.   Yu-Hsing Chen
NOOOOOOOOOO, shit, the boys from Taiwan were 1 out away from going to the semi finals in Williams port but Japan tied it.. arragh.
2007-08-23 16:47:24
65.   Marcus
64 You know, I was just talking with a co-worker of mine, who is of Taiwanese descent (her parents were born there), and she was remarking that the LLWS is HUGE there. She said it seems like everyone follows it, and know the name Williamsport as well as New York City.

She hadn't heard of Wang however. I had to tell her to check him out.

2007-08-23 17:07:20
66.   Yu-Hsing Chen
LLWS have been huge in Taiwan for a longer time than Wang has though... Taiwan is afterall... the biggest powerhouse in the whole tournement , having won more time than any other 2 world teams combined
2007-08-23 17:53:40
67.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
LLWS not too big over here, as they have the high school summer elimination tournament, rightly described as being like the NCAA Final Four in terms of fan interest. The champ this year was a small rural high school from Kyushu island, play their games on a soccer field. Think of Siena or Towson State winning the Final Four, its like that...
2007-08-23 18:07:04
68.   JL25and3
62 But...misplaying balls in CF was one of Bobby Brown's special gifts! How could you be annoyed at him for that?
2007-08-23 18:22:00
69.   Chyll Will
62 ,68 Bet he wouldn't have misplayed it if it were a doody-bubble...
2007-08-23 18:45:33
70.   JL25and3
62 Actually, I have to be fair. the most brilliant, inspired, impossible misplay I saw Brown make was in LF. I've described it here before - it was one for the ages.
2007-08-23 19:22:57
71.   Max
Ugh, Mariners go ahead 6-3 on a bases clearing double by Ichiro. Guess it was too much to expect Texas to put up a better show after coming in at 4am after playing the doubleheader yesterday.
2007-08-23 19:35:06
72.   Yu-Hsing Chen
67 yeah, Koshien is awsome, i saw that clip of Sato completely owning and the amazing comeback in the 8th in the finals. very very emotioanl
2007-08-23 19:59:49
73.   Vandelay Industries
71 Yea. I was hoping I was wrong about them. It certainly looks like the Yankees will have to win that series, and average winning every other series until the end to make the playoffs. Four games in the loss column does not allow for the Yankees to drop another series, whether at home or on the road. For those who still think Seattle is going to fade, they are moving in the other direction, and I don't think it is going to stop.
2007-08-23 20:34:47
74.   Vandelay Industries
I don't know if this has been mentioned, but David Wells signed a one year deal with Los Angeles, and will pitch for the Dodgers this Sunday. He's a self promoting buffoon, and a want to be tough guy, but he did right by the Yankees on the hill. Good luck to him.
2007-08-23 20:36:16
75.   3rd gen yankee fan
74 Wow, that's news.
2007-08-23 20:39:51
76.   Vandelay Industries
I live here in LA now, and I hope he pitches well for them. McCourt is a lying piece of shit, but since you have to mortgage your home to pay for Laker tickets, the masses have only one outlet that's affordable, well unless you believe MLS's version of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, with a huge payoll and the same record, the LA Galaxy actuially qualify as a sports franchise.
2007-08-23 20:45:09
77.   3rd gen yankee fan
Have you seen Knuckles' comix on when Beckham visited the Yanks? It's a riot.

No seriously, I figured Wells was going to retire. So it is news to me.

2007-08-23 20:48:28
78.   BklynBmr
73 Almost every "contending" team in MLB has gone on runs like Seattle right now. They play .750 ball for an extended clip, then play .200 ball for a week or so. Yanks, Boston, Tigers, Halos, et al, have all been through it.

M's are due for the inevitable letdown. I just hope it's after they overtake and KO the Halos in the West.

And above all — Yanks control their outcome — division and WC. You can't ask for anything better than that at this point in time.

2007-08-23 20:57:36
79.   Vandelay Industries
78 I agree. However, when the Mariners' offense was struggling, they pieced it together and stayed in contention, while when the Yankees were struggling, they fell off a cliff. They have a very good lineup, and if Sexson can get hot, there won't be any stopping them. Just my opinion of course. Their bullpen is 19-4 this season. Putz is still closing, and the offense is in high gear finally, with Beltre, Ichiro, Guillen, Vidro, Betencourt, Ibanez, and even Johjima and Sexson showing signs of life, they are going to be hard to beat. I think the Yankees control their fate, as you said, but I also think it will take .750 ball to make the playoffs.
2007-08-23 21:06:41
80.   Max
Here's a nightmarish scenario for you: Mariners overtake the Angels, and the Yankees and Angels end up tying for the wild card on the final day. A one-game playoff with the Halos in Anaheim to make the playoffs...I think the Banter and LoHud would reach 3000 comments and the venom and profanity would blow up the Internet. :-)
2007-08-23 21:09:53
81.   JL25and3
78 I agree that the Mariners have been playing over their heads and will have a letdown sooner or later. However, sometimes that letdown doesn't come until after the World Series.
2007-08-23 21:17:12
82.   Vandelay Industries
81 Hmmm. I look at them differently. Early on they were called "surprising" and the like. I never thought that was appropriate. They came into this season with the third best lineup in the AL and average pitching, and a very good bullpen. Why is it so surprising that they are in the playiff hunt? On paper, I picked Seattle to finish ahead of LAA right from the beginning. What was misguided was the media and writers not giving them a shot from the start.
2007-08-23 21:35:46
83.   Vandelay Industries
Here is s silly statistic. Five non pitchers have thrown in the bigs this season, with Cirillo being the most recent. Their combined ERA is 0.00. BBTN is good for something.
2007-08-23 21:39:45
84.   BklynBmr
79 At this point in the campaign, it's all about runs, not much different from your average NBA game unless one or more of the refs have a financial stake on the outcome.

Yeah, the M's lineup is filled with competent players top to bottom, as are all AL contenders. There are enough games left and the races tight enough not to rule anyone in or out.

.750 ball to guarantee a spot? That's easy math, but who knows, maybe everyone tanks at the same time and .550 ball does it.

Not to bust boils here, but this number projection thing starts in May and does not let up. And it never turns out how 99% of us Nostradamus' think it will.

80 I would welcome the opportunity to exorcise the demon and BBQ that f*cking monkey in the parking lot before the team bus left, onto the ALDS.

81 Brah. That makes no sense. Letdown in discussion referenced their play on the field. Or do you mean the way the '98 club let down after business was taken care of?

2007-08-23 21:43:27
85.   Zack
Pete Abe is reporting that Bruney is coming back up again, presumably to replace Henn or Villone. My $ is on Henn simply b/c Joe LOVES Ronnie V.

Of course, Chris Britton, having sat on Cashman's dog by mistake, is still buried in AAA, and Bruney, despite having shown absolutely nothing in AAA to suggest he's going to be any better but probably worse than he was before the demotion, gets the call...Whatever...

2007-08-23 22:05:01
86.   Vandelay Industries
84 I could not agree more about the numbers projection, but it seems that sometimes that is all that people will respond to. I prefer a more Vin Scullyesque analysis. Statistics should be used like a drunk uses a lamp post - for support, not illumination. The reality is you can twist them to prove just about any argument. It is more pronounced in baseball, as new statistical measurements pop-up regularly, and almost none of them are accepted by statisticians as being mantematically or scientifically reliable. Thereby making Scully's point: If the statistic isn't mathematically sound, it can never be used for more than illustrative anecdotal evidence to make an argument more or less persuasive, but it proves nothing. For example, using sabermetrics, or even OPS to make a point, even while using them in conjuction with stats that are scientifically sound only makes an argumnet more or less persuasive, but shows nothing difinitive.

Either way, I agree with you that no contending team should be ruled out. I am just trying to fight the battle that simply because Seattle wasn't "picked" by so-called experts to be a good enough team to make the playoffs, it shouldn't extend that what they are doing now is "surprising" or unexpected., and that they are somehow "due" for a letdown. In fact, when those who so love many of the new unsound measurements use such a term, it extends that many if not all of their previous arguments that they claimed were based in numbers utterly flawed, becuase how does one measure such a letdown, and when might it occur? It is going to happen because someone says so? Because someone cannot pull some bogus stat out of their ass to make a point, doesn't mean the point attempted is wholly invalid. Saying that Seattle will finish the season playing the way they are now is just as likely as a so called letdown befalling them.

The new stats should be used like a lawyer uses circumstantial evidence, to attempt to convince people that something is more or less likely. It is not however the murder weapon with fingerprints and a video of the crime, as many claim it to be. This isn't to say that the new measurements don't have use, but using any of them to claim some argument is difinitive is just plain wrong.

2007-08-23 22:08:10
87.   Max
85 I wish I knew what the story was with Britton -- I've got to think there's something with this injury he had. The organization has been very good recently about bringing up people who can pitch, and I can't believe we would leave any stone unturned at this point.

I think Henn will go down too, but is anyone really shedding a tear? The guy isn't even a competent inning-eater. His performance in the first loss to the Angels was right down there with Farnsworth's, and you can't go much lower than that.

2007-08-23 22:40:28
88.   Vandelay Industries
87 I agree. We knew what the story was with Hughes and Chamberlain, and the organization articulated very good reasons-- whether one agreed with them or not--for what they were doing with regard to them. We knew from the Yankee front office that Henn, Karstens, Clippard, and Wright were options for this year should we need them. I don't believe that Britton is being held hostage or that the team is fearful of bringing up yet another prospect. They brought Hughes up quite a while ago, against the plan, and Joba wasn't in the cards for this season at all. There is something we don't know that is preventing him from joining the club, and Cashman, the FO and the Minor League coaches haven't given me any reason to doubt them this season.
2007-08-23 22:57:47
89.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Honestly, I just do not understand VI's fascination with Seattle.

Their offense is not 3rd best in the league, it's clearly well behind us, Boston, and Detroit. I'd take Cleveland and Anaheim as well. For eff's sake, they have only 3 regulars with ops over .800, and at .831 Ichiro is their best hitter (5 of our regulars are better than their best hitter therefore, and I'd eat my Yankee cap if Abreu doesn't pass Ichiro before the season is over). And runs scored doesn't lie. 4 of the teams I've just named have outscored the M's, and Cleveland and Texas are right there with them.

As for pitching, the bullpen can't make up for their weak starting pitching. Surely even VI wouldn't take Felix, Washburn, Batista, Weaver, and Ramirez over Wang, Rocket, Andy, Phil and Moose. Look at the numbers there.

And the .750 winning percentage to get in the playoffs is a number picked out of thin air. We can make up all 3 games in the loss column just by sweeping them at our place, where we have our best pitchers lined up to face them. As has been endlessly repeated here and elsewhere, their schedule is also much tougher. Just check out how the A's are doing lately. Cleveland is also rebounding. They have 2 series against each of those. To say nothing about Anaheim.

In addition, if Seattle plays the well over .600 ball needed to make us have to play .750 ball -- that number again -- chances are they pass Anaheim, with whom they have to play a home-home still. There's only 1 game separating those teams. If they beat up on Anaheim, that leaves the door open for us to pass the Angels, as we're only 3 back.

And no, this has nothing to do with whether "experts" picked Seattle in march, but rather from a realistic look at their lineup, their starting pitching (you're going to pick a team with Weaver and Ramirez in the rotation?, really?), and their schedule.

2007-08-23 23:07:33
90.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Just to put VI's .750 number in perspective:

If we go 26-9 -- .742 ball, less than VI's magic number, the Mariners would have to go 26-11 to hold us off -- .702 ball.

Asking us to play .750 ball to make the playoffs is counting on the M's to play over .700 ball for the rest of the season, and assuming that somehow in doing so they don't pass Anaheim, with whom they have 7 games left to play.

2007-08-23 23:15:34
91.   Vandelay Industries
89 Very well put. Maybe .700 is a better number, and the one that I actually wanted to type the first time. I don't want to agrue about it. I feel like they are the Rodney Dangerfield of the AL is all. I don't think they are the best team out there, just that they have kept it churning all season, and are getting hot at just the right time. When I said what I said I was talking about pre-season. I mean, they did have a good lineup on paper. I would say better than Detroit if you really look at one through nine. I don't think many expected to see Ordonez put up MVP numbers, even with a limpimg Gary Sheffield in front of him. I don't argue that the numbers thus far are contrary to what I thought at the begining of the year. I don't want them to keep playing well, but they went out and spent some money, and it's nice to see that they are hanging in there.

I do agree with you about the Angels. It would be great if Seattle knocks them off and we can kick them from the playoffs altogether. It's not like I am going to be pulling for the Mariners, I'm just happy for them is all, and think they need some respect for the way they are playing down the stretch.

I hope I am totally wrong and you all make fun of me at the Parade.

2007-08-23 23:18:33
92.   BklynBmr
86 Great post, VI. My head spins when folks do spreadsheets and offer stats that border on taking the joy out of following this great game. No knock on them by any means — it's interesting to read every now and then, but my take is while baseball is famous for it's numbers, projections are not worth the ink or bandwidth they take up.

If I a had a buck for every pundit (media hack and 'blogger' combined) who swore the 2005 Yanks' 11-29 start spelled doom, and flipped that to Apple stock, I'd be doing OK.

You've been all M's, all the time. All I'm saying is that I think... hey, there are 30+ games left. 3 with them. I'm not conceding anything. M's have a tougher sked from here on out. Not to mention I have not written off the East yet, but that's another story...

2007-08-23 23:26:22
93.   Vandelay Industries
92 Thanks. I agree.

I'm sorry to be all M's all the time. I'm trying to not just bash our opponents, and the teams ahead of us and parse every move Torre makes, because I am actually pretty happy about the way he is handling the club right now.

2007-08-24 10:00:59
94.   Reader11722
Re: Sheff and his 'Torre is a racist' comments.
Sheff has a right to say whatever he wants. This is all about the First Amendment. Let's not follow the gov't down the path of censorship. After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever (even for ignorant baseball players).
Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):

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