The Mariners say bye-bye to barbells

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Mariners logo.gifNo pumping iron for the M’s:

Just got out of the Mariners weight room down here, which, I have to
say, is almost completely devoid of weights. The Mariners, as we
mentioned yesterday on the blog, have signed a three-year contract with Dr. Marcus Elliott of Santa Barbara, Calif., founder
of the Peak Performance Project (P3). Elliott has been working with
Mariners trainers the past couple of months to overhaul the team’s
entire approach to fitness. In a nutshell, the idea is to focus on
reducing injuries and making Seattle players more athletic through a
series of workouts that have little to do with traditional
weightlifting.

Instead, the team will focus on strengthening the movements used in
baseball — things like the ability to generate force through a
player’s hip rotation.

Used to be that people said baseball players shouldn’t lift weights because they were supposed to stay limber and loose. Then everyone lifted weights and credited that for all the home runs. Then everyone said that the weight lifting didn’t do anything, it was really the steroids. Now we’re trying something new.

I have no idea what sort of conditioning really works the best. Usually the best results are realized by whatever conditioning program the really good baseball players are doing.  If the Mariners win 95 games this year more teams will sell the weights next year.  If they win 79 people will forget this little experiment ever happened.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.