The Mariners are scouting the Yankees: Cliff Lee trade, anyone?

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Thumbnail image for Cliff Lee M's throwing.jpgGeorge A. King of the New York Post reports that the Mariners are kinda sorta thinking about trading Cliff Lee to the Yankees.  The “kinda sorta” is because there’s no sense that the Yankees are at all interested in Lee. According to King, however, the Mariners are currently scouting the Yankees organization and are interested in shortstop Eduardo Nunez and either prospect catcher Austin Romine or Jesus Montero, no doubt on the assumption that the Yankees will get interested once the M’s start dangling Lee.

Makes sense for the Mariners to at least be prepared in the event the Yankees realize that they can get one of the best pitchers in baseball to help them fight the Rays for the division and, assuming a long-term deal gets done, help anchor the rotation for the next several years.

Given his reasonable price tag, of course, there may be a lot of teams interested in renting Lee for the playoff stretch. The M’s would be wise, however, to try and find a partner who could negotiate with Lee on a long term deal, thus bringing back some real value in exchange for their failed experiment at contending.

Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

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The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.