Mike Carp

Feb. 18, 2012: The day the Mariners bats came alive


Sure the Mariners finished last in the majors in runs scored in 2011 and 2010 (and last in the AL in 2009), but that’s no reason not to be optimistic in mid-February.

We’ll let Seattle Times beat writer Larry Stone take over from here:

Ichiro, Carp, and Smoak are putting on a show in their BP group. Lots of bombs.

Mike Carp, in particular, was hitting tape measure shots, scurrying the fans behind RF and whacking at least one car

Montero just missed hitting a truck driving on road beyond left field

Gutierrez showing some pop. He’s hit a couple over the wall, lots of gap liners. Physical difference is notable

From the sound of things, it looks like a massive turnaround is on the way. Fortunately, Stone does have a sense of humor abut the whole thing:

If Mariners can talk opponents into starting Jeff Datz on mound every game, they’ll be in business

For the record, the Mariners did improve from 513 runs scored to 556 runs scored last year. Of course, that still put them 63 runs behind the AL’s next worst team, Minnesota.

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.