I was encouraged by Jeff Weaver's 4-inning, 2-run performance last night for one reason and one reason only.
He looks like he could be wicked out of the bullpen. That's pretty much it.
It's a good thing his "injury" is healed after his month-long stint on the disabled list, because all that work he did with the Mariners' trainers seems to have added exactly zero MPH to his fastball.
According to MLB.com's Gameday, he did touch 91 and 92 in the first inning -- although their readings tend to be a little faster than what you see on TV -- but he was basically 88-89 the rest of the way. Additionally, he essentially abandoned the fastball as the game wore on.
It's this last development that gives me hope that he can yet contribute to this team's success.
At this point, I have no hope that Weaver can be a starter on this team, as Ryan Feierabend looks like an infinitely more competent starter at this point, even though he's still got more developing to do. But that slider of Weaver's still can be murder on righties, and after watching how Jason Davis got butchered in his two innings, how much stronger would our bullpen be with Weaver back there to face righties, Feierabend in the rotation, and Davis back in AAA?
The Mariners haven't announced their plans for Weaver yet, since he left the game last night with a stiff back -- one can only hope that another trip to the DL is imminent -- but here's to hoping they stand up to the veteran this time and put him in a role where he actually can contribute to what this team, now six games over .500, is doing.
Felix goes against Chris Young today. This is a few days old, but Dave Cameron over at U.S.S. Mariner pointed out this interesting note after Hernandez's last start:
Hitters against Felix, pitches 1-25: .364/.396/.614, 7 XBH, 1.010 OPSHe attributes it to too many fastballs early, and it seems to jive with the organizational philosophy of "establishing the fastball." It'll be interesting to see what Felix's approach is today against the Padres, especially given San Diego's lack of success hitting Weaver's breaking stuff yesterday.
Hitters against Felix, pitches 26-50: .295/.380/.341, 2 XBH, .721 OPS
Hitters against Felix, pitches 51-75: .237/.310/.316, 3 XBH, .626 OPS
Hitters against Felix, pitches 76-100: .265/.324/.471, 4 XBH, .795 OPS
Oh, and by the way, despite all these wins by the M's, their playoff chances actually have decreased by about 5 percent in the past week. Every day that goes by that they don't make up ground, it becomes harder and harder to catch Anaheim.
Still think that series ending loss to the Angels wasn't that big of a deal?