M’s after 3 games

It’s early, early, EARRRRLLLLYYYYY…….but some interesting stuff on the M’s so far. I’ve watched them closely for all 3 games, call me crazy, but I’m very interested in them all of a sudden. A few thoughts:

1) Lopez is a completely different player vs. last year. He even has a new batting stance, slightly open and hands held high. Very relaxed, and going with the pitch, and he’s had some big hits already. He had 3 more today, including a triple. I can see now why scouts are excited by his skill set, and why he does in fact compare to Miguel Tejada. Hard to believe he’s just 22 but he’s really improved already.

2) Johjima is the real deal. That HR he hit on opening night was proof enough, a screaming liner the other way that carried out against Bartolo Colon. Never an easy thing to do. They were remarking on the broadcast today about how aggressive he is with his game in regards to leadership, that he isn’t shy to communicate his thoughts no matter what. They really got themselves a player here, at least I think they did.

3) Even Reed looks to be somewhat improved. The double he hit on opening night, a ground-rule shot to the left-center gap, is something you never would have seen him do. However he followed that up by some pretty ugly strikeouts where he practically leaped out of his spikes, so he’s inconsistent. IF he can keep going the other way, he could be a great hitter.

4) Even Betancourt looks like a better, more confident hitter. Experience can do wonders, but hell, he could hit .215 and with that glove, he’s a bonus. What a great defensive player!

5) Sexson had a huge night last night, that 3-run shot was huge when the Angels cut the lead to 1. And he flat-out smoked that thing too. 5 ribbies is a great week for some players, so that was a fantastic night.

6) The starting pitching has been quite good. The HR that Vladi hit on opening day was a good low-and-away, but Vladi did what Vladi does best. Pineiro was very strong for 7 last night, and then Washburn was strong today against his former team. And the best (Felix) is yet to come! Very pleasantly surprised at the first 3 games by the starters. I think Washburn especially is a big key, obviously Jo-EL is big, but Washburn really can help settle things down as the #3 guy, an experienced AL lefty to boot.

The bad (and there is always bad):

1) Beltre, well, is back to being the 2005 version. Sadly, he looks completely clueless right now. Swinging at slop in the dirt (and missing badly), and taking perfect strikes. I think he’s totally guessing right now, and he’s guessing wrong. II even saw him get blown away by an 88 MPH fastball from Jeff Weaver today. In 2004, a pitch like that is about 20 rows deep in left field. I don’t know where the guy was from the WBC or the entire 2004 season, but who knows, maybe it’s time to start thinking that Safeco Field has ruined another hitter??? I sure as hell hope that he starts hitting and gets comfortable, but 3 games in, he sure looks a lot like the messed up version of 2005.

2) The bullpen has been great by Soriano, but pretty bleak elsewhere. Putz gave up some big runs back-to-back games, and Fat Eddie was lucky to get out of there last night without losing! He threw more pitches in the 9th than he did in all of spring training, that should give you an idea of how bad he was. He looked awful, too, just no feel at all.

3) The baserunning has been brutal. I know they want to be aggressive this year, but running yourself out of rallies isn’t a good idea either. I guess I’d rather they err on the side of aggression vs. being too passive. Last night Reed tried to go from first to third on a single and Vlad had him gunned out by 10 feet, but somehow the ball got by Figgins. VERY lucky.

All in all, hard to complain about 2 out of 3 to start it out. This might be a .500 team after all. They are 100% more interesting this year than they were last year at this time, no doubt about it!

3 Responses to “M’s after 3 games”

  1. DuckHATER Says:

    After 10 games, they look like a .500 team….Lopez is playing too well while Ichi and Beltre and Sexson aren’t playing well at all…the pitching has also stunk more than it will for the rest of the year..

    A lot of parity this year, I think, althought it seems like the standings are almost always bunched at this time of year…at least so far, nobody in the West has openned up a lead…

    I’m worried about the Cougs….

  2. Sedihawk Says:

    Worried about the Cougs?? For good reason. They are beat up in some big, key areas, and it’s still spring ball. And it doesn’t sound like Brink is “THE MAN” really either. Maybe I’ve been wrong about him after all….

    That said, it is just spring. I remember the 1997 spring the Cougs were horrendous. I watched that spring game on FSN back in the day with Rooster, and we just kind shook our heads at how lousy they looked. I thought we were doomed for another sub-.500 season, but I sure whiffed on that one! So just remember, it’s only spring. If they are beat up to hell and not sounding like they are improved when August rolls around, then it’s time to worry.

    M’s have .500 written all over them, which is 10+ games better than the 2005 version. Excellent comebacks vs. the Tribe when you know last year they would have lost 2 of 3, if not been swept. They are just better up and down the lineup. Grover sure loves his regular guys though, not that I am pining for Bloomquist (I HATE him btw) but I wouldn’t mind seeing Borchard or Lawton play some LF and giving Everett some time off.

    Beltre is god-AWFUL right now, and it’s starting to break my heart. As bad a start as he got off to last year, this year is 10 times worse and is the worst of his MLB career. I give up. I turn away when he’s up to bat, I can’t bear to watch another failure. He’s a shell of what he used to be, and I have no idea why. How does a 25-year old go from hitting .334 with 48 jacks and leading the Dodgers to a playoff berth while giving Bonds a run for his money for the MVP, to just a little over 1 season later, hit .132 with zero HR and zero RBI through the first 11 games? He is lost, completely, and I doubt now that we’ll ever even see the 2005 version again. I think he’s caught Cirillo-itis, and he’s trying to overcome the ballpark and justify that contract with every plate appearance. And it just gets worse, and worse, and worse.

    I wouldn’t be against calling up Morse and sticking him at 3rd, see what happens when he plays regularly for a month and bench Beltre. Hey, he’s got nobody to blame – NOBODY – but himself.

  3. DuckHATER Says:

    Good points, all around..

    RE: Cougs..I’m NOT worried about Brink. Can you believe I’m saying that?

    Brink’s issues stem from a new O Line and a pair of RBs who are learning blocking schemes…

    What has me worried with them is the Center spot and the corners…we figure those out somehow and we’ll be really, really good. Otherwise, its gonna be really, really dissapointing…

    You think Beltre was a roids guy? I don’t…remember, he was NAILS in the WBC..Personally, I trade him RIGHT NOW to the NL or to a contender…RIGHT NOW…

    Get some pitching for him and good riddance…he is head jobbed now in Safeco…just let the man go!!!!!

    Couldn’t agree more about Morse…the kid can fricking hit..lets see what he can do…

    I will call you soon…e-mail me again with your home number–I lost it (again!!!)

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