Posts Tagged With: AL West

Does being a baseball writer take the fan out of you?

Last Thursday, March 27th, I spoke with Ryan Divish, Mariners beat writer for The Seattle Times, who said that he has always been a fan of the game. Divish even played baseball for the majority of his life. However, he noted that it is difficult to remain an upbeat fan when you become a writer for the sport.

“I think you sort of lose the ability to be a fan,” said Divish when asked if it was hard to write for a team that he hasn’t always loved. He grew up in Montana, where there weren’t any major league teams. Somehow he developed into a Red Sox fan, although he admits he wasn’t diehard. Now, Divish said he tries to remain impartial when reporting on the Mariners in his daily updates for the Seattle Times.

Divish also discussed Continue reading

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Jeter debuts, Athletics’s drop a game to his rival

homeruncards.com

homeruncards.com

Fun fact about May 29, 1995: the Oakland A’s starting lineup featured three of Derek Jeter’s World Series winning teammates. Oh, not to mention this also happened to be day that the Yankees all-time hits leader and fan favorite, Jeter, made his major league debut. Out was the playoff-less Don Mattingly era and in was the Jeter era which saw the Yankees go on to win five World Series up to date.

To put the time frame in perspective, this was the last year Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa managed the A’s before moving to St. Louis to do the same for 15 years. Or how about this, it was one year after the Bills made their last of four Super Bowl trips, only to lose each of them. Maybe this one will do it justice, Michael Jordan returned to basketball after trying to make a career out of the sport Jeter is synonymous with.

Hard to think all of this was 19 years ago isn’t it?

During this time the MLB’s leader in steals all-time, Rickey Henderson, was featured in the starting lineup during his third stint with the A’s. This day for the A’s wasn’t anything to brag about and probably left Jeter not too happy, when the A’s dropped a game to the Red Sox 9-6.   It’s hard to think a team that featured three of Jeter’s World Series teammates, a legendary manager, and perhaps the greatest lead off man of all-time finished the season a sorrowful 67-77.

-Matt Gazzola

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Not sleepless in Seattle

sportsillustrated.com photo

sportsillustrated.com photo

On May 29, 1995, Derek Jeter played his first game for the New York Yankees.

On that day, the Seattle Mariners played the Yankees in Seattle at the Kingdome Ballpark. Almost 19,000 fans attended the Monday night game. The Mariners beat the Yankees 8-7. So, even the addition of young Jeter couldn’t help the Yankees that day.

The 1995 Mariners went on to qualify for the playoffs as a division winner and finished that year with a record 79-66, tying the California Angels for first in the AL West. Some of the players on the roster in 1995 included Luis Sojo, Tino Martinez and Alex Rodriguez, managed by Lou Piniella.

 Laura Meyers

 

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Tommy John strikes again

This is certainly not the way the Athletics hoped to start their 2014 season.  Add another name to the DL list in starting pitcher Jarrod Parker and his recent ulnar collateral ligament tear, requiring him to get his second Tommy John surgery in five years.  This is a big blow to the A’s considering he was penciled in as the opening day starter against the Cleveland Indians.  With Bartolo Colon departing to the New York Mets, and their number four starter A.J Griffin beginning the year on the DL, the road ahead is a lot more unclear for the A’s than first expected.

sports.yahoo.com

sports.yahoo.com

Parker’s 10.61 ERA in three spring training starts gave the A’s a reason to believe that something was wrong. It resulted in him taking a trip to the world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.  He was unfortunately informed that he needed the infamous Tommy John surgery.  After hearing this news, what were the A’s going to do?

They would have to turn to their number two pitcher. His name is Sonny Gray and he is currently recovering from a surgery on his left hand.  Although it’s his non-throwing arm, problems can always arise after a surgery; especially when it’s the hand you need to field the ball.  Preceding him is Scott Kazmir who was a gamble to begin with.  He has been inconsistent in his play ever since he left the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009.

Parker was 12-8 with a 3.97 ERA in 32 starts in 2013, with 23 of them being quality starts; tied for most on the team. Parker’s injury is a big loss for the A’s. The were relying on him to propel their team forward after winning the AL West the last two years.  This injury is especially worrisome after the AL West saw  teams revamp their offenses such as the Rangers acquiring Prince Fielder from the Tigers and the Mariners signing Robinson Cano from the Yankees.  To go along with those additions, the Angels return with former MVPs Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols; not to mention the 2013 AL MVP runner up Mike Trout.

After the injury, each starting pitcher on the A’s roster will be bumped up a slot in the rotation, leaving the number five slot up for grabs.  There is speculation that journeyman Jesse Chavez, or newly acquired prospect Drew Pomeranz, could be poised for the spot.  The story for Pomeranz could play out to be an interesting one, with him being acquired from the Colorado Rockies for the A’s former ace Brett Anderson.  It draws interest because the A’s GM Billy Beane has been known for dealing away aces at just the right time with Barry Zito and Mark Mulder being prime examples.  With that being said, could this be Parker’s fate if he comes back strong? Or perhaps some team offers high value for him, Beane rejects it, and Parker ends up a bust. Whatever happens in the future is up for speculation, but one thing is certain for the present. The A’s need some help for their starting rotation, and fast.

Matt Gazzola

 

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Underrated Astros with a win!

“The Astros are going to be bad again, but I was impressed by what I saw in spring training. They’re bad, but they’re not 100-loss bad. I think they will surprise some people. They’re going in the right direction.” – Unnamed NL Veteran.

Though everyone can agree that the Astros are one of the least impressive major league baseball teams out there, people will be surprised to see that they have in fact shown improvement.

The Astros managed to rally past the Braves 7-5 on March 24 in Lake Buena Vista. Dallas Keuchel, the Astros pitcher, had a rough outing at first. He served back-to-back homers to the braves Chris Johnson and Justin Upton in the first inning which gave Atlanta a 4-0 advantage. However, the Astros made a comeback.

The Astros got the comeback started with a 3-run fourth inning that included an RBI triple to centerfield by Robbie Grossman. The Astros managed 13 hits.

Overall, yesterday was a great day to be an Astros fan! Even if it is only Spring Training, a win is always reassuring. Especially from a team that is considered to be an “underdog” in the Major League world.

-Maeghan Munley

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Brad Miller: Hidden gem?

There is no doubt that The Seattle Mariners were looking to greatly improve the team in the 2014 season. They spent millions of dollars to bring in free agents like Robinson Cano, Fernando Rodney and Corey Hart. Yet, if the Mariners are good this year, Brad Miller may have a lot to do with it, according to blog.seattlepi.com. A tweet from a Mariners fan on March 21st even referred to Miller as “the best player that no one knows.”

So should Miller be receiving more attention and credit? The 24-year-old shortstop joined the Mariners in the 2013 season. “Miller didn’t exactly set the world on fire last season, but he showed some consistency and a nice range of offensive tools that could prove very useful,” according to fantasycpr.com. However, this year he is projected to be a top-ten shortstop in the majors and may be one of the most important Ms’ on the team in years to come.

No one is denying that Cano deserves the spotlight he is receiving and will be instrumental in how the Mariners’ season plays out. But maybe, Miller will be able to step out of the shadows and share the glory.

Laura Meyers

nbcsports.com photo

nbcsports.com photo

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Happy birthday Corey Hart and Lucas Luetge!

Mariners’ players Corey Hart and Lucas Luetge celebrate their birthdays today, March 24th. Hart, outfielder and first baseman, turns 32 today while Luetge, pitcher, celebrates his 27th birthday.

Hart previously played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2004-2013. This year he has struggle with arm soreness during Spring Training. Hart hasn’t played since Thursday because of what McClendon characterized as “a little stiffness in his forearm,” and he isn’t expected to play again until Tuesday, according to thenewstribune.com. Hart also missed the 2013 season after having surgery on his knees. McClendon said that the goal is to keep him in good physical shape so that he doesn’t have to miss out even more in the furture.

Luetge has been playing with the Mariners since 2011. He had a successful game against the Oakland A’s, helping lead to a 6-4 comeback win by striking out two batters, according to lookoutlanding.com.

Hopefully Hart’s health with continue to improve and Luetge’s pitching success will continue as well! Happy birthday to them both.

Laura Meyers

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Mariners’ new superstar and spokesman

Kevin Long, New York Yankees hitting coach, made headlines about a month ago after publicly criticizing Robinson Cano to the New York Daily News. Long called Cano a “dog” and accused him of “jogging to first base,” according to nydailynews.com.

Although Cano declined opportunities to respond to Long’s comments, Mariners’ manager Lloyd Mc

mariners-cano-baseball

nydailynews.com photo

Clendon did have something to say. He defended Cano and insisted that he was only worried about Cano’s performance as a Mariner, not what he did in the past.

“One of the messages I’m trying to send to my players is, we don’t have to take a back seat to anybody,” McClendon said. “That includes the New York Yankees or anyone else. We’re the Seattle Mariners […] And any time anybody attacks one of my players, then I’m going to defend him, and if you don’t like it, tough shit,” said McClendon, according to nydailynews.com

Long was offended by McClendon’s comments, but later said that he and Cano are on “good” terms after exchanging text messages.

This controversy seems to have blown over, but it is still clear that when Cano’s name is mentioned, people listen. McClendon was quick to defend his superstar, and it appears that Cano has a lot of influence on the other Ms and everyone in charge. For example, after an interview with ESPN, in which Cano mentioned he wanted to get Kendry Morales back to the Mariners, General Manager Jack Zduriencik almost immediately noted that there had been negotiations to bring the switch hitter back to Seattle, according to sodomojo.com.

So, is Robinson Cano the new superstar and spokesperson of the Mariners? It appears that ears perk up whenever he speaks up. Maybe it’s time that the team had a powerful voice.

-Laura Meyers

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The Phenom with a Price Tag

The biggest story out of Angels camp this spring is the  contract extension of superstar center fielder Mike Trout. Twenty two year old   Trout is widely regarded as the best young player in Major League Baseball. The speculation is that the Angels want to keep Trout for than long haul and are willing to make him one of the highest paid players in the history of the sport. So coming into spring training there were a lot of rumors regarding the supposed mega deal.

In the first spring training press conference Trout was asked about the contract extension and responded by saying that he just wants to baseball and is not overly concerned about his contract at the moment. He also made sure to tell reporters that he does not want his contract to become a distraction to himself or his teammates and that he is focused on bringing a championship to Los Angeles.

A week later Angels signed Trout to a one year one million dollar extension to quell talks about the large deal for the rest of the season. This extension is the largest ever for a player before salary arbitration. This deal might foreshadow a larger one to come.

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The “Latest Catch” on the Houston Astros

Dexter Fowler claims that the whole cause to his stiff neck is just because he slept on it at a “weird angle.”

Fowler was taken out of the lineup against the Tigers due to a stiff neck during the last week of February. The team says they took this action purely for precautionary reasons.

Fowler was acquired from the Rockies last offseason to play center and hit leadoff. He batted .250 last year with 12 homers, 42 RBIs and 19 stolen bases for the Rockies, with an on-base percentage of .369.

Right-hander Lucas Harrell worked three innings and allowed one run on three hits in their 3-0 loss to the Tigers at Osceola County Stadium on March 11.

“I feel like the stuff I’ve been working on is really starting to pay off, and I’m not missing by a whole lot,” said Harrell. Stating that he talked to pitching coach Brent Strom before the game, he claimed that “one thing we wanted to work on was first-pitch strikes, and two of the first three pitches for strikes. And I felt that was a thing I was doing real well today.” (catchsports.com)

-Maggie Munley

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