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Thursday, June 02, 2005

May Roundup, June Preview 

Due to a combination of moving back home for the summer, long hours at work, Mom's knee surgery, and (mainly) general laziness, I haven't been able to post for awhile. So, as a triumphant return, here's my roundup of the past and preview of coming attractions.

Brought to you by Star Wars: Episode III. It's Like putting in the last piece of a really annoying puzzle; satisfying only in that it's finally finished.

The Mariner's schedule lightens up considerably in June (7 games against Oakland), but playing pretty much any other schedule would be easier than what the M's had in May. At the very least, we should be expecting .500 ball for the next few weeks.

The draft is rapidly approaching, and there's a very good chance we can wind up with either Justin Upton or Alex Gordon with the 3rd overall pick. Personally, I'm rooting for Upton; scouting reports place his ceiling as high as "next Ken Griffey, Jr." If neither of these guys are available, the best college arm available sounds about right. Anything to improve the horrendous pitching in the Mariner organization. Then again, judging by the way all of the young arms seemed to fall off the previous group of young pitchers, it might be best to sign free agents.

Ok, Adrian Beltre... we've been patient. It's time to start showing some semblence of last year's MVP self. Jeremy Reed is starting to come around, and if you can hit in the .300 neighborhood, a lot of runs are going to happen.

Good that the plug has been pulled on Miguel Olivo, leaving the club to their true savior.... Pat Borders? This guy actually makes Jamie Moyer feel young. But he's low-cost, knows the staff pretty well, and the club is winning with him behind the plate. He seems perfect for the Jake Taylor role on this club, though perhaps without the speed to beat out a bunt-and-run. Still, his homer a few days ago was the most surreal moment of the season.

The bullpen has been outstanding, save for a few J.J. Putz homers. Expect more of the same, and don't be surprised to see Eddie Guardado's name come up in trade talks should the club fall further out of contention. He just might be the best closer available on the market, and the M's should charge a king's ransom for any deal to a contender.

The starters are beginning to come around... sort of. Aaron Sele is starting to look like the Aaron Sele of old (make what you want of that) and has had some solid starts the past couple of weeks. Moyer had a rocky May, but also came around towards the end of the month and is primed for a solid June. Gil Meche is still Gil Meche; brilliant one day (last night), awful the next (pick any other start). He still continues to throw too many pitches. Ryan Franklin is declining rapidly and still getting no run support, while Joel Pinero is looking more and more like trade bait.

But the biggest event to look forward to in June: the rise of King Felix. He's been labeled as the best pitching prospect since Dwight Gooden, and hopefully he'll begin his reign of terror over unsuspecting American League lineups. Call him up. Fast. Before the pitching coaches in AAA can really get to him.

One last note: this is a few weeks late, but congrats to the Sonics on a hell of a season. 52-30 with a 2nd-round exit in the playoffs is nothing to cry home about, and no doubt they exceeded everyone's expectations this year. Now re-sign Nate, Ray, and the crew, and prepare for next year.

In the meantime, let's all enjoy the intensity and skill of the WNBA. (couldn't even type that without laughing)

The two other MVPs from the #1 spot were, of course, Tim Foli and Brien Taylor.
Nope, Steve Chilcutt and Josh Hamilton, though Shaun Abner may have finished 2nd one year.
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