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Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Hargrove Hilarity    

You just have to laugh. Ostensibly trying to hang on to a 2-1 Washburn-over-Santana lead, Hargrove completely submarined the team's chances in the 7th last night. I mean, Washburn was looking done with runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out, with Mauer-Cuddyer-Morneau coming up, and what does Hargrove do? Walks Mauer and hands the game over the Julio Mateo, again, with the intent of getting the double play (despite the fact that Mateo is one of most extreme flyballers in the majors and just generally not very good).

I was laughing already by the time Mateo gave up the double to Cuddyer, before walking Morneau and giving up more doubles (5 runs in total--incidentally, the Mariners lost 6-5). I mean, what would the football equivalent of this be? Deciding you really need this third down conversion, so we better bring out Coy Detmer, because he usually takes the snap with 3:15 left to go in the third quarter? It's probably similar to sitting your star player in basketball for most of the second half because of mild foul trouble, and then barely losing because he wasn't able to quite rally your team back from a 12 point deficit in the last 3:00. Neither matches up that well, but it's completely shocking. I mean, Mateo ended up being the only Mariners reliever with a high-leverage score for the innings he pitched, because he pitched so badly that there were no more high-leverage innings for Mariners relievers.

Anyway, as far as the substantive stuff, USSM has it well covered, but damn. I mean, you laugh, you have to laugh, but it also a pretty unique experience watching someone mismanage a game so completely and so obviously. There are literally thousands and thousands of baseball fans, even just Mariners fans, who could make strategic in-game decisions better than Mike Hargrove. It is astounding how shockingly bad at that part of his job he is.

Dear Bill Bavasi, you have to DFA Mateo or this will keep happening. Make him go on the DL...something, anything. Even if Felix is out for only 10-20 days, we can not afford to be losing games this way. Please, please, please, lose Mateo. Also, make Mark Lowe healthy again and see if you can trade Horacio Ramirez to the Braves for Rafael Soriano. Nah, nevermind, the Braves would never make that trade. Fuck.

This Twins series was probably about as informative about the nature of this team and its chances as a series could possibly be:

Game 1) Jeff Weaver completely sinks Mariners' chances to win. Also, Hargrove fails to take him out right before a grand slam, when it was obvious to me at least that he needed out of that game. Granted, it was the 4th, and we might have lost anyway, and maybe Hargrove needs to see how Weaver handles himself in those situations (hint: not that good), but still...this kind of thing is going to happen a few more times this year, I guarantee it.

Game 2) Everyone realizes how much the season depends on Felix, but despite a bad start the team holds it together and almost manages to come back. For me, overall, a very encouraging game about every aspect of the Mariners except Felix's health.

Game 3) We carry a lead against Johan fucking Santana into the 7th and Hargrove single-handedly blows it with mind-numbingly stupid decision making...though of course there's no guarantee we would have won it without said stupidity. Everyone except Mateo does their job. Would be encouraging except that you know it's going to happen like this a lot.

Prediction: If the Mariners miss the playoffs, which they probably will, AND Felix is healthy and at the top of his game for the rest of the season (knock on wood), THEN the number of games we miss the playoffs by will be less than the number of games lost for us by either Weaver or Hargrove.

P.S. If you haven't, you all should really read FJM's take on the NY Media's obsession with Jeter's horrible start.



  • that was indeed a very nice take on the Jeet/doRA insanity.

    Of course, I could make the same exact argument (albeit on a much smaller scale) for Pat Burrell and Chase Utley.

    By Blogger Alex, at 2:20 PM  

  • Trust me, I'm well aware that the media elsewhere is definitely just as bad as the media in NY, just in different ways. In Seattle, for example, they never say anything mean about anyone except for the annual "Ichiro is selfish, we should trade him" articles.

    How does the Burell/Utley non-feud get played out?

    By Blogger Jesse, at 2:35 PM  

  • I couldn't stop laughing when I read:

    "Or, alternately -- and I don't mean to disparage the Yo-Yo/Vampire-Energy-Suck Theory, which seems air-tight -- ARod has always been awesome, Jeter had a mediocre first 50 AB, and this is all pointless and stupid."

    By Blogger Jesse, at 2:36 PM  

  • Off-topic, but not too much, since Felix is involved. Here's a JoeChat summary from a week ago:

    KT: Here's the best one ever, maybe:

    Rick H. (Selah, Wa.): Do you think King Felix has a shot at the AL Cy Young this season? Or, will it be another year or two?

    Joe Morgan: Dwight Gooden is the best young pitcher I've ever seen. He was better than all of them at a young age.

    KT: Very very simple question, for an analyst. Will Felix H. contend for the Cy this year, or will it take a little longer. Answer is to a completely different question, namely: "Who is the best young pitcher you ever saw?"

    This is amazing. The man should be fired immediately, for this answer. This is a fireable offense, to me, if you are supposed to the #1 analyst on the #1 baseball network in America. Shocking. (Sorry this isn't funny, or even really attempting to be. I am just stunned into earnestness.)

    By Blogger Jeff, at 2:41 PM  

  • My favorite part of the oe you just linked to was this:

    Dan (CT): If Jeter's neck problem is anything serious, what do the yankees have as far as minor league infielders?

    KT: Haven't read ahead yet, but there is simply no way in hell Joe can answer this. He has no idea. Dan, from CT, if you're reading this. You want to do an ESPN search for Keith Law, and ask him, when he does a chat. Or go here and look stuff up. You never ask Joe a question like this. You are in grave danger.

    Okay. The question is: who, in the Yankee farm system, could chip in to help the Yankee infield in the event of a long-term injury to Derek Jeter. Dan (CT) wants names. Your analyst: Joe Morgan.

    SportsNation Joe Morgan: Jeter's the captain of the team. He's the leader of the team. It's like anything else. If they take A-Rod out of there, they'll suffer. If you take anyone out, they'll suffer. It will depend on who plays SS in his stead.

    KT: I imagine Joe sweating a lot while typing/dictating this. I imagine him looking at the first five sentences and saying, "Oh man. I really didn't answer this one. Yikes." I imagine him thinking about the question again: "Who from the Yankees' farm system could take over for Jeter?" and then I imagine him gingerly typing, "It will depend on who plays SS in his stead." And I imagine him exhaling loudly and thinking, "That seems like I addressed the question. Good. Dodged another bullet, Joey m'boy!"

    By Blogger Jesse, at 2:50 PM  

  • Actually, that whole chat is amazing. I'm just giggling reading Morgan's response to the questions about the Cleveland game in Milwaukee and Houston's closer situation.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 2:54 PM  

  • Pretty much everything in a JoeChat summary is gonna be hilarious.

    I wish they'd quit with the HatGuy fetish. Not just because that stuff isn't as resonant as the JoeChat summaries, or any less deserved, but because the travesty level is so much higher with Morgan. I mean, how outraged can you be over one idiot columnist? There's nothing special about the guy. It's like being pissed off about the National Enquirer being stupid or something. OF COURSE IT'S STUPID, IT'S THE NATIONAL FUCKING ENQUIRER.

    I guess my point is that if HatGuy were the biggest and bestest columnist ever, and had won Pulitzer Prizes and shit, that'd be different. That's how the Joe Morgan situation translates. But he's not, and hasn't. He's just somewhat higher in profile than, say, a provincial rube like Dan Shaughnessy.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 3:04 PM  

  • But yeah, how about Burrell and Utley, huh? Those two guys are totally in love with each other in a physical way!

    By Blogger Jeff, at 3:05 PM  

  • no, there's no feud between utley and burrell, and the media doesn't act like there is... but they COULD. Cause last year, the big non-Howard stories were Burrell becoming the worst player ever and Chase becoming the best.

    Which of course ignores the facts that: 1) chase had a pretty good hitter backing him up (see: Howard), 2) chase was entering his prime, still improving in the fans minds, and 3) Burrell, even in an off year, is still one of the better hitters in the game, if not an all star.

    I won't get into it at length here, so ask if you really want to debate this, but Burrell is good enough to start on 90% of teams in the game, and even in an off year was one of their best hitters. The fans didn't like him though, for failing to turn into Mickey Mantle, and they turned on him, as did the media. Every article pointed out what a great leader Chase is (substituting "leader" for "kid", they basically could do a text find/switch from articles they'd written about him two years earlier). This is the same treatment that Jeet gets. And whether the fans or the media turned on Burrell first doesn't really matter. The end result is that management caved and benched the guy who, at that point, was their 3rd best hitter. Yep, they'd already run Abreu (their BEST hitter, I would argue, even over Howard) out of town, and, even now, the fans are upset that Pat the Bat is still here. Amazing.

    Anyway, that was really long winded, and not very organized- like I said, I can lay all this out in more detail, but I feel like I'm probably preaching to the choir. I guess the whole argument comes down to this: Do a handful of strikeouts in important, and thus memorable situations negate an overall body of work? In both ARod and Burrell's case, I'd say two words... fuck and no.

    And yes, I'll admit that my love of Abreu is because of his ridiculous patience at the plate. And that my love of Pat is because he likes to wear a gimp suit to parties and hit on ladies half his age.

    By Blogger Alex, at 4:42 PM  

  • Yeah, the Abreu situation was ridiculous. I don't have as much respect for Burell as you do, but if I had to sit through tons of criticism of him, maybe I would.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 9:43 PM  

  • pat the bat...

    By Blogger rusch, at 8:45 PM  

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