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Mariners’ Semester Report Card July 8, 2007

Posted by Administrator in Sports.
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(1st Quarter report card here).

At the All-Star Break, the Mariners after 85 games are 49-36. Amazingly, despite falling flat on their faces against the Pirates and Kansas City earlier in June (and against those two, that was a prime time for them to make up ground), they are only 2.5 games behind the Angels in the AL West, and 1.5 games behind Cleveland for the wild card spot.

Before issuing positional reports, comment must be made on the resignation of Mike Hargrove. There has been widespread speculation about why the man quit; pressure from the front office, friction with Ichiro, problems with his contract. Frankly, reasons need to start and end with what the man said; while that in itself is also problematic, if you factor in the smiling face of his wife when he quit, I think we can rest easy knowing that the man was sick of managing, even if the M’s were the hottest team in baseball. It does throw a serious wrench into predicting future Mariner success. I mean, this sort of stuff only happens once every century; a skipper quitting a red-hot ballclub. How will Seattle react? Still too soon to tell. McLaren is 4-3 going into the break, but that can hardly be a measure of prediction for future events.

Line-up:

A: Ichiro. The man is a machine at the plate, and more than holding his own in center.

Bs: Johjima. Adrian Beltre is finally doing fairly well, .276/13/42. Jose Lopez holds his own in the field and has contributed greatly at the plate as well.

Cs: Guillen, Ibanez (dropping WAY OFF from last year) and Vidro. Betancourt has dropped off as well.

D. Sexson. Batting .206, for God’s sake. . .

Pitching:

JJ Putz: A. The man is an automatic in the saves department.

B’s: Felix Hernandez iced the A’s in his last start and may be finally coming around. Washburn is a solid starter.  The rest of the bullpen deserves this grade as well.

C’s: Batista, and much as I have to admit it, Jeff Weaver. The man has a 1.67 ERA in six starts since coming back from a one month absence. Maybe the guy can pitch after all, even if he does look like a serious drug addict in his team picture.

Overall, B+ This team is proclaimed to be overachieving, but with the starting pitching apparently settling down, the bullpen and line-up solid, there is a real chance that they can compete for a post-season slot. The wild-card in all of this is how the team shakes off Grover’s sudden and rather wild departure and how they respond to McLaren as something more than a bench coach. The final challenge is the fact that the M’s face a savage and brutal road schedule in the 2nd half.

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