What’s wrong with King Felix

Where is King Felix? The person on the mound the last three starts is not the King who was being talked about for the Cy Young Award.

After setting a major league record for most consecutive starts pitching at least seven innings allowing two runs or less he is pitching not like Cy Young, but Eric Bedard. Sorry Eric.

In his last three starts Felix has pitched 17. 2 innings, allowed 22 hits, 6 of which are home runs, and allowed 10 runs, a 5.09 ERA. His ERA has jumped from 1.95 to 2.23. He has given up 6 of his 13 home runs in the last three games, 4 came last night against Washington.

And what is worse is that the Mariners gave Felix an extra day of rest. This season when given the extra day he had been 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA. Heck yeah, give him the extra day. Perhaps the law of averages caught up with Felix, or perhaps that is not the real Felix. Has the real Felix been kidnapped by gamblers and a celebrity look-a-like put in his place? 

Something is wrong.

In the August 14th game against Detroit and David Price, though Felix only gave up 2 runs in five innings he threw 92 pitches. That is what Felix throws in seven or eight innings, not five. Against Boston in 5.2 innings it was worse. He threw 116 pitches. He only threw 103 in his seven innings against Washington, but he gave up 10 hits and four homers.

The answer could be he has hit a dead arm phase that all pitchers seem to go through. It could also be that Felix, who has not pitched well in August or September the last couple of years is tired. In 2012 he was 0-4 in August and September, in 2013 he was 1-6. A 1-10 record down the stretch that last two years does not bode well if Felix continues. So far Felix is 2-2 in August, now comes September.

Felix must regain his Cy Young form otherwise the Good Ship Mariner will sink into Elliot Bay.


A modest proposal for those who want DH in both leagues

I confess at the outset I grew up, or rather grew older, during the years preceding the DH which was invented by Satan. Naturally being old school I prefer National League play, though I am cursed to live in an American League city. Another trick of Beelzebub.

I understand the younger folk prefer the DH because they want more offense and most pitchers can’t hit. However, baseball at its best is a thinking mans game, one for the literate, the intelligentsia.  I read an article years ago in the New York Review of Books about famous writers who were baseball fans. The list was extensive, ranging from Mark Twain to John Updike. Of course they grew up during real baseball. But from Twain to Updike, baseball, with it’s myths and legends, so close to myth in fiction-another long article for another time-baseball has been like a siren luring writers of every generation to the diamond.

It won’t do me any good to bring up the argument that the National League has more strategy, more options, more to think about. If you want offense watch Arena football, the only sport to rival soccer as boring. One has no scoring, or rather it has nil scoring, the other has scoring on every play. Both are dull for the dull witted.

The best thing for you future geezers is to wait until the last of us baby boomers has passed from the scene, then change and ruin the game the way you want. Of course those of us who love real baseball will come and haunt you no end. And there are thousands of us.

However, if it can’t be done and the DH is adopted by the National League, then the best thing to do, is to eliminate the pitcher all together. If  all you want is offense, then set up a 21st century pitching machine that can throw all types of pitching. It can even toss a rosin bag and walk around the mound when the electronic umpire’s calls do not go the robotic pitcher’s way. If the DH is in both leagues what is the need of a pitcher anyway? He has become pointless.

You young folk are just weird.

Seattle Mariner’s surpirse advantage to win a wild card slot

For the Seattle Mariners it is in the numbers to win a wild card spot in the playoffs. They have 32 games left. The good news is that eighteen are on the road, fourteen at home. That sounds odd because any other team would prefer playing games at home where they have an advantage.

But the Mariners are a weird team. At home, after losing to Texas 2-0 Monday night, they  are 34-33 at home, a .507 winning percentage. But on the road they are 37-26. Those numbers are the opposite of what most teams will do. Play .500 at home they say, and play winning ball at home. Maxims and adages are fine, but it does not always hold true, at least for the Mariners.

Now consider that the loss to Texas came on a night after a day game in Boston, so their body clocks were off Monday night and batting against a pitcher they have never seen, nor heard of, a pitcher with a 1-5 record and a plus 7 ERA. Of course he gives up three hits in eight innings. Blame it not on the Bosa Nova, but on studies showing reflexes are not as sharp when going from east to west. Thank God there is a reason to blame the loss from a pitcher nobody knows. I forget his name. I don’t want to know. Phil Humber was bad enough .

So let us say we forget that game and take their percentage of winning prior to the game and multiply that over 14 remaining homes games. It is 7.12 wins. Now take their road winning percentile and multiply by 18 road games and we get 10.56. My calculator says 7.12 + 10.56 is 17.68. We round up to 18, so Seattle at their current pace will win 89 games.

But throw that number out for the following reason. Since Seattle made the trade for Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia the Mariners are 15-7, a winning percentage of .681. That math, which I like better, and is more accurate to present time, gives the Mariners 21 more wins and 92 for the season.

The Mariners have recently changed their rotation so that King Felix with his new normal rest will pitch the wild card play-in game. Of course being the best pitcher in the American League he will win and the Mariners will go to the World Series and win that as well and Seattle will be home to the Seahawks and Mariners, champions of the world.

It’s in the numbers. At least mine.


Why did Boston pitcher Joe Kelly talk into his glove

Friday night against the Mariners Joe Kelly threw a pitch and though everything looked fine, Boston manager Brad Ausmus, along with the trainer, the umpire, and the players gathered around the mound to see if anything was wrong with Kelly.

I have never understood baseball players paranoia with lip reading. They are so worried that some strategy will be read by the millions of lip reading baseball fans or subversive spies in the enemies dugout that they must talk into their gloves. Pitchers and catchers do it on a regular basis.

There was no strategy here. But Kelly put the glove up to his face and talked into his glove. Or did he?

Perhaps he unloaded to Ausmus that he was worried Justin Verlander would find out about his date with Kate Upton. Maybe Joe’s glove is made of chocolate and he was snacking. Maybe he likes sniffing the leather. Is there glue in the glove? Maybe he had a smart phone in his glove and he was using his tongue to Tweet on Twitter about the game. Or maybe Joe Kelly is just a Twit.

What possible advantage could be gained from his talking with Ausmus and the trainer about any possible discomfort?

Glove talking has gotten out of hand. The superstitions of baseball players of yore has given way, they are gone; but glove talking is the 21st century version of superstitions. I doubt each team has a designated lip reader. And if they did, or do, so what. Baseball has been televised for decades and never did I see glove talking, not in the sixties, the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, and into the new century. How all of a sudden did these goofy trend develop.  If George Hendricks was the first to wear the long pajama pants and ruin baseball fashion, then who was the first glove talker.

Whoever it was I wonder if he is in a mental ward having a good laugh.


What is the story of 1911 Giant’s Charley Faust

Though many of the 1911 New York Giants wrote and talked about Charley Faust in their memoirs, letters, and interviews, what we know of Charley comes from newspapers and Gabriel Schechter’s book, “Victory Faust.” Despite Schechter’s deep research much of Charley’s life is elusive, most notably the mystery of his mental health.

Charley walked onto Robison Field in St. Louis before a game with the New York Giants in July of 1911. He told Giant’s manager John McGraw that a fortune teller in Kansas told him he would pitch the Giants to the pennant. For laughs McGraw gave Faust, in his early thirties, a workout. The players had fun with Charley as ran around the bases in his street clothes. They kept missing the ball and telling Charley to slide. Fun over, the fans loved Charley.  McGraw ditched Charley.

But to McGraw’s surprise when the team returned to New York there was Charley waiting for his team. What happened over the next few weeks was that Charley suited up for games, he kept asking for a contract, the Giants who had been in third place starting winning when Charley suited up, and Charley became a Vaudeville star. Baseball players were very superstitious at that time and when ever Rube Marquard pitched and Charley was there Rube won. He became the good luck mascot of the Giants and to Marquard.

The season went on, Charley had no contract, and the Giants played joke after joke on Charley, like sending him to look for striped paint, loading his suitcase with iron; most of the pranks and jokes would not be considered ‘politically correct’ today.

The Giants did win the pennant and Charley got into two games as a pitcher. But whether the players in those meaningless games tried to get hits or makes outs for Charley is another question. What has been and always will be elusive is whether Charley was a country hick, immature and uneducated beyond the norm, or whether he was mentally ill. One could make a case for either one.

Charley died in a sanitarium in Washington State, a hospital for the mentally ill, but the why and how of his getting there are clouded. He died shortly thereafter from tuberculosis. That was not unusual for the hospital also had tuberculosis patients.

I wanted to tell Charley’s story, did a lot of research, and wrote a fictional account of Charley’s summer as seen through the eyes of a fictional baseball player on the Giants, a young rookie dating a Broadway chorus girl. Since it is based on a true story, real people like Bat Masterson. Damon Runyon, George M. Cohan, John McGraw and the New York Giants players are part of the story.

If you are interested in old time baseball, history, Charley Faust, baseball fiction, my e-book for $2.99 is found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Loonies-Dugout-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00EEN7YNA/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408642810&sr=1-3

Baseball needs to discipline umpire Randazzo

Umpires make mistakes. On occasion they miss a call, but the majority of umpires have integrity and do their best to be impartial and honor the game. Others abuse their power for personal reasons. This type of umpire needs to be weeded out because if an umpire is not impartial then he his dishonest.

Major League Baseball needs to look at umpire Tony Randazzo for his actions Saturday and Sunday in Detroit when he kicked out Seattle Mariner manager Lloyd McClendon in consecutive games. And the reason for the second run is ridiculous.

Saturday night Randazzo was calling balls and strikes and McClendon was not happy with the calls for his pitcher Felix Hernandez.  Nor was Felix happy. Watching the game with the strike zone box that allows fans to complain it was clear Randazzo was missing calls from time to time. Okay that happens. Keep in mind this was the third time Randazzo was behind the plate when Felix was pitching. His ERA in those three starts is over 8.00. I am not suggesting anything here, for Randazzo has nothing personal against Felix-that I know of-but he does against McClendon.

Randazzo ran McClendon from arguing balls and strikes, claiming that Lloyd said something from the dugout. I don’t know who said what, if anything, but I doubt Randazzo could distinguish whose voice he heard. Then Sunday Randazzo, umpiring third,  did not call a third strike  when Mariner catcher Mike Zunino pointed to third looking for the call. It did look like the Tiger batter swung, but Randazzo called ball. Then Randazzo ran Lloyd from the game again. Lloyd did not say anything, and if he had, he would not have been heard from third base.

Here is why he was kicked out according to Randazzo. He “shooed away my call with his hand.” What?

Crew chief Brian Gorman said after the game that hand gestures are a powerful statement. Again, what? Keep mind no middle finger was used in the hand gesture, Lloyd simply “shooed away the call” and he was sitting in the dugout. He never came out to argue. I have a feeling this happens every day in some game and nobody is thrown out.

Here is what got Lloyd ejected: http://i.imgur.com/ubwWv5s.gif

This is personal with Tony. He has only two ejections this season. Lloyd McClendon on consecutive days. That’s it. Last year he tossed one, the year before two. So he does not throw out managers or players lightly. Couple that with the fact that Randazzo was embarrassed by a bad call in 2005 when Lloyd was managing the Pirates-feel free to Google Pittsburgh Gazette and do the search. Randazzo is letting personal feelings get in the way of his job. I hope he will not umpire many Mariner games down the stretch. I would hate to think his antics could cost Seattle a playoff spot.

Baseball does not need umpires like Tony Randazzo.

MLB Network Features The King’s Court

Originally posted on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave:

The MLB Network was in town last week to tape a story on the King’s Court. You can watch the story on The King and his court below:

View original

Mariners Chris Young has something over King Felix

King Felix Hernandez has set a major league record with 16 consecutive starts of seven or more innings allowing two runs or less and he is still going. He is doing something never before done in major league baseball and is the front runner for the American League Cy Young award. But he is not close to having done what fellow mound mate Chris Young has accomplished.

Young has 25 career starts of at least six innings allowing two hits or less. He is the active leader and if you go back to 1980 he still ranks number seven. Young has more of these starts then recent Hall of Fame inductee Greg Maddux. That is impressive. The King, well, he has 14 career starts.

After last nights win against Toronto, Young is 11-6 with a 3.20 ERA. He has given up 112 hits in 141 innings. And though Young has been touched for 19 home runs, as a fly ball pitcher with nearly a 3-1 ratio of fly outs to grounds outs, it is not surprising.

His most wins was 12 in 2005 with Texas when he went 12-7 with a 4.26 ERA and the next year in San Diego was 11-5 with a 3.46. Those were the only two years he won in double figures. Injuries derailed intervening years. A torn labrum was one and most recently a  thoracic outlet syndrome that affects a pitchers shoulder and neck. In 2013 he made 9 minor league starts trying to make a comeback and was not effective. The Washington nationals released him just before spring training ended. Seattle picked him up and he is having a career year at the age of 35. He signed a 40 day contract, the same one lefty Randy Wolf would not sign.

Thank you Randy for not wanting to take a chance with Seattle. Where are you by the way?

As good as Felix has been, better than any pitcher in history; as good as advertised Robinson Cano leading the Mariners, it could be argued Chris Young is the teams MVP. Of course there is slightly over six weeks left in the season and the future is unknown, but at this point everything old is young again.



Hector Noesi-Mariner Killer

When camps broke this spring Hector Noesi was a Seattle Mariner. After pitching in two games for a grand total of one inning he was unceremoniously released by Seattle. The 27-year old was not sent to Tacoma, he was dumped, exiled, jettisoned, banished; in other words released. In that one inning he struck out two, but gave up two hits and three runs. Not great, but only one inning. It seemed Lloyd McClendon and Jackie Z did not like poor old Hector for some reason.

But in two starts with the Chicago White Sox he has killed the Mariners.

Before going to Chicago the Texas Rangers had Noesi for three games. In 5.1 innings he gave up 11 hits, 7 runs. Texas, even with all their injuries, said adios Hector and the White Sox picked him up.

With Chicago his numbers reflect a backend starter. An ERA 0f 4.15. In 115 innings, 113 hits, 82 strikeouts and 43 walks. But in two starts against the Mariners, one in Chicago and one in Seattle last night, Noesi is 1-0 in 13.2 innings, allowing 10 hits, 3 walks , and striking out 9. Even more stunning is that he has not allowed an earned run. The run Saturday night came after Noesi had retired the first 11 batters of the game. Thoughts of a perfect game ended when Beckham made an error on the third out of the inning. Noesi did not contain the little error. Morales singled and Seager doubled in the unearned run.

Including the third out of the inning Noesi then retired the next 8 batters before Zunino had a one out single in the 7th. Noesi then got Morrison to hit into a double play.

With Seattle Noesi was pitching in relief and at the time nobody knew Seattle would have the best bullpen in baseball, so his release at the time was surprising. He may not have gotten a chance to start with Seattle even if he did well in Tacoma, but we will never know. He has done okay with Chicago, but against Seattle, Noesi pitches like Cy Young.

The Mariners do not play Chicago after today’s game, so they do not have to worry about Noesi. Next year Hector could be pitching anywhere, but if he pitches against Seattle he will be ready. He is a Mariner killer.

How to watch the Mariners on TV or in person

Your time is valuable, so you don’t want to sit down at the beginning of a Mariner game on TV to watch Mariners swing and miss, ground out and pop out inning after inning. It is best to listen on the radio while you do chores on your to-do list. If the Mariners score three runs and are leading you can drop what you’re doing, turn on the tube, and watch the rest of the game. The reason is that the Mariners are 52-17 when they score at least three runs.

If they don’t score those three runs they will lose as they are 5-37 when they score 2 runs or less. And they have been shutout 13 times in 111 games which is 8.5 % of the time. Ouch. So think what you can accomplish when they are not scoring. Laundry, mopping, dusting, mowing the lawn, washing the car, playing with the dog; the list is endless.

Going to game is different. You don’t want to go to many home games because they have a losing record at Safeco so your chance of seeing a win are slim. The marine air stifles hits. What you can do is bring a portable DVD. Mine cost $70 and during the game you can play whatever movie or TV show you want. The reason of going to the game is simple. You get to spend time outdoors, getting a tan, watching the hidden ball trick on the BIG screen, the always delightful hydro race on the same Big screen, doing the wave when boredom sets in, playing rock trivia, watching the Mariner Moose entertain children, and of course leave during the game to buy an overpriced hot dog. You do this because there are no hot dog vendors at the park, which to my thinking is un-American.

The advice I have offered is time tested over the past decade and come from many sources. I hope you have found this enlightening and that it  will improve your Mariner watching.


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