Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mariners management tells the fans to piss off!

By Kshell

The Mariners management yesterday basically said they won't increase payroll this year. In other words this terrible offense that is wasting our wonderful pitching staff is here to stay. The management led by Dumb(Howard Lincoln) and Dumber(Chuck Armstrong) won't allow general manager Jack Zduriencik the freedom to go trade for a much needed bat. The Mariners in fact will most likely trade off Erik Bedard before he reaches all his option clauses in his contract which would pay him up to seven million. So after the news of the Mariners basically saying they aren't trying to actively help this offense the Mariners led by Bedard lost 3-1 today. The offense the past seven games is averaging just 2.2 runs per game as the Mariners are 2-5 despite their starting pitching having an ERA of 1.80 during that stretch. The Mariners management is determine to turn off the fan base though as they don't seem to care that the team isn't scoring runs. The Mariners are 39-40 despite having four starting pitchers with ERA's under 3.20 and all five pitchers have ERA's under 4.00. The Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong) strike yet again in turning off the fan base.

The Mariners "brain trust" reminded me of the scene from Anchorman when Ron Burgandy looks into the camera at his San Diego audience and says "Go F*ck yourself San Diego!". That is exactly what Lincoln and Armstrong said to the Mariners by once again not going for it. The Mariners offense this year is hitting .228/.296/.338 which ranks last in all three categories. The Mariners also rank dead last in the major leagues in hits despite having Ichiro. The Mariners rank 29th out of 30 teams in runs scored and are averaging just 3.4 runs per game and are currently wasting their starting pitching this year. The Mariners currently have two regulars with batting averages under .200 and a third with an average of .205. The Mariners have just three regulars hitting above .250 not counting Dustin Ackley who was recently called up. The Mariners like I explained yesterday have no major league calibar players in left field or DH. That doesn't even count how Chone Figgins is awful but we are basically stuck with this crappy offense as Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong) don't seem to give a crap. I'm not surprised one bit as they pulled this same act earlier this decade.

The Mariners earlier this decade had reached back to back American League Championship series losing both times to the New York Yankees in 2000 and 2001. Both times they had a chance to make a big deal to give up some key future pieces like a rumored Juan Gonzalez to Seattle for John Halama, Carlos Guillen and Joel Pineiro deal in 2000. Then again in 2001 the Mariners could have deal Pinerio along with some other guys who never panned out to acquire that ace in Al Leiter. The Mariners main duo who are content on being the Clippers of baseball never once wanted to extend payroll to make that deal. In 2002 the Mariners desperately needed another bat but they wouldn't pull the trigger instead thinking their future was pretty good. The Mariners would end up winning 93 games but missed the playoffs. At the end of the season Lou Piniella would leave town as he was sick of Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong). The following year the Mariners had the best record in baseball at the trade deadline but were sliding a bit. Once again the Mariners "bain trust" decided not to make a trade once again. After a tough loss all-star reliever Jeff Nelson vented to the press. He said it's ridiculous what they are doing to the fans and how the Mariners were the city of Seattle's best chance of bringing home a title at that time. He went on to say how the Mariners deserved better and how for once he would like to see the team go for it and make a big trade. Well the Mariners actually listened to him and made a big trade by trading Nelson away to the eventual American League Champions New York Yankees. That was a move that turned the fans off as Nelson had the guts to voice what every fan was feeling at the time. At the end of the season Pat Gillick was tired of the Mariners cheap ways so he left. The Mariners who haven't made the playoffs since 2001 have alienated the fan base to the point where nobody is going to the games anymore.

When Safeco Field first opened up it was harder to get a Mariners ticket despite 81 home games than a Seattle Supersonics ticket or Seattle Seahawks ticket. Now the Mariners are getting destroyed by the Seattle Sounders and can't even outdraw the Seattle Storm. This last Friday's game in which Felix Hernandez started and was going to hit saw a little over 15,000 fans at the game. When a popular team comes to town you feel outnumbered in your own stadium. That is what Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong) have done to this fanbase. They were too concerned about family friendly atmosphere, 1995, hydro boat races and rally fries than about the one thing true fans care about which is winning. This offense is pathetic so there isn't much excitement for the fans and the team has lost over 90 games four times since 2004. The fans are sick and tired of being stepped on which I'm happy to see. I was annoyed from 2004-2008 the fans would pack the house as if they were accepting of the crappy product. The fans have spoken the last two years which is we are tired of this act. So if the Mariners actually don't make any moves then proceed this offseason to make no moves look for attendance to reach Montreal Expos(under 10,000 fans) level next season. This recent news makes frustrated with these morons who are running the show.

In conclusion, the Mariners upper management is telling the fans to piss off yet again. I'm not saying to sell off the farm system but the Mariners should be active. Having a pitching staff like the one they have they might not ever get this production for another 40 plus seasons. The Mariners this year currently have three aces and two really good back of the rotation guys. I'm pissed off at the fact the Mariners are willing to just let this rotation piss down the toilet like it's not big deal. I'm sure you'll hear people say the future is bright and I say to that bullshit! Our pitching prospects are nice and could just as easily turn out to be Ryan Anderson, Ken Cloude and Gil Meche as well. Whenever you have an opportunity to win a title you go for it and worry about the future later. The time is now with this pitching staff and if the Mariners had just an average offense they would win the World Series. With the injury to Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies the Mariners have the best rotation in baseball. Once again this season will be wasted just like the 2000-2003 era was wasted because they have one thing in common. They are ran by Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong). The Mariners are one of two teams to never reach a World Series and Armstrong has been part of this organization for 25 plus years. I know the fans are finally getting frustrated and I hope the Mariners management realizes the days of dicking us fans around have been over for about two seasons. So have fun next year at Safeco with less than 15,000 fans since Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong) won't do jack shit as usual.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly review: June 20th-June 26th edition

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners just completed their road part of interleague play as they'll be having the DH for the rest of the season. With the way the pitchers hit this week and the way the hitters hit this week the Mariners might want to think about using their pitchers as the DH on off days. The Mariners struggled this week having been swept by the Washington Nationals despite their starting pitchers giving up just combined one earned run over 21 innings. Then the Mariners returned home to take on the Florida Marlins that was supposed to be in Miami but due to a U2 concert the game was played at Safeco. Those three games were Marlins home games as they were played by National League rules. That gave the fans to root on their home pitchers at the plate. The Mariners for the week went 2-4 despite their starting pitching going 43 innings allowing just seven earned runs for an ERA of 1.46 on the week. The hitting was just awful this week and played a main reason why the Mariners went just 2-4. So this week I'll be doing the good(starting pitching), the bad(almost entire hitting) and the ugly(Figgins and the left field problem). So I'll lead off this weekly review with the good news which will see a player make the good pitching and hitting list.

The Good:

The Mariners for going 2-4 this week saw plenty of great pitching this week. The starting pitching was terrific this week led by Doug Fister who can't seem to buy a win. Fister was great this week with his pitching and his hitting as well. Felix Hernandez put on a great show this week for the King's Court striking out 10 batters this week in a game that I went to in fact. The electricity around Hernandez bullpen session was great and I was glad that I brought my dad to friday's game. The King's court is like a student section you see at a college game and I think that was a great idea by the Mariners organization to give some life into Safeco Field. The Mariners pitching as they have all season long was terrific and you'll see them make the list. As for hitting well I really had to stretch to include some hitters this week. One hitter who shined was Dustin Ackley who had his first career double this week and three hit game. Ackley was terrific this week and I'm glad manager Eric Wedge finally moved him up in the lineup.

Good Hitting:

Dustin Ackley: 6-19(.315), 2 RBI's, 4 runs, .409 OB %
Franklin Gutierrez: 6-23(.260), 2 RBI's, run, SB
Doug Fister: 2-6(.333), RBI, Run

Good pitching:

Doug Fister: 16 IP, 1.12 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 6 K's
Felix Hernandez: 1-0, 8 IP, 1.12 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 K's
Michael Pineda: 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 9 K's
Erik Bedard: 0-1, 6 IP, 0.00, 0.83 WHIP, 10 K's

Bedard became the first pitcher since Johan Santana in 2009 to lose a game while allowing zero earned runs and striking out 10 batters. He was only the seventh pitcher in the last 35 years to lose such a game.

The Mariners starting pitching this year has been terrific and has been carrying this team.

Michael Pineda: 7-4, 95.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 94 K's, .199 BAA

Felix Hernandez: 8-6, 121.1 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 118 K's, .227 BAA

Erik Bedard: 4-5, 83.0 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 80 K's, .226 BAA

Doug Fister: 3-8, 110.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 70 K's, .260 BAA

Jason Vargas: 5-5, 104.1 IP, 3.88 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 68 K's, .241 BAA

The Bad:

Whenever you go 2-4 on the week when your starting pitching has a 1.46 ERA that tells the story of the hitting. The hitting like it has all year killed the Mariners this week scoring just 2.5 runs a game. The defense was terrible in the series sweep to the Nationals allowing seven unearned runs and then the final game losing 1-0 on a shallow sac fly. Also this was probably the worst week for manager Eric Wedge who made several questionable decisions this week. In the first game of the week he pulled Doug Fister who had retired seven hitters in a row and had thrown 99 pitches after eight innings with the Mariners up 5-1. The Mariners would go on to lose that game 6-5 despite being up 5-1 with two outs. Then in Tuesday's game Wedge gave Ackley a day off which made an already weak lineup even worse. He also didn't pinch hit for Chone Figgins in the 9th and Figgins rewarded him by striking out on three straight called strikes. I think Wedge is doing a decent job but that Nationals series he was a big part of two of the three losses. The lack of hitting was a big part of well all the Mariners losses this year.

Bad Hitting:

Chone Figgins: 0-6(.000), RBI, costly error, 2 K's
Justin Smoak: 4-20(.200), run, costly error, 4 K's
Ichiro: 6-26(.230), run, SB, 2 K's
Adam Kennedy: 5-21(.238), 2 RBI, 2 runs, 3 K's
Carlos Peguero: 3-16(.187), HR, RBI, run, 7 K's
Miguel Olivo: 3-20(.150), HR, 4 RBI's, 2 runs, 5 K's
Mike Carp: 0-5(.000), 2 K's

Bad Pitching:

Jason Vargas: 0-1, 6 IP, 6.00 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 4 K's
David Pauley: 1-1, Blown Save, 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 2 K's

The Hitting was awful this week scoring just 2.5 runs a game with two home runs for the whole week. The Mariners were held to two runs or less in four of the six games this week including being held to one run or less in three of those games. The Mariners saw their pitchers Hernandez, Fister and Pineda get base hits yet their regular hitters can't seem to buy a hit lately. The Mariners are getting nothing from Figgins, Left Field or DH this season and unless that changes they'll find themselves out of the playoff race soon.

The Ugly:

There has been plenty of ugly hitting this year. I already wrote a blog post earlier on the week about how the Mariners should end the Carlos Peguero experiment. Well the Mariners have no left field options at all in their system. The Mariners have to trade for a DH and a left fielder as I'll post the ugly stats they are putting up as a group. You throw in Figgins who is terrible at hitting and also leads the team in errors the Mariners have some serious dead weight on their hands. In the case of Figgins they can't afford to dump him so I suggest putting him on the DL for "suckitis" for a while. As for Jack Cust, Carlos Peguero and Mike Carp it's time to put up or get a bust ticket to leave town.

Ugly Hitting:

Chone Figgins: Hitting .188/.235/.252 . He has one home run, 21 runs scored and 14 RBI's. He has 8 SB's in 14 chances(57.1%) which is just terrible. He is hitting 25-147(.170) since May 1st and has an OB% of just .230 with 23 strikeouts. He has been down right awful for the Mariners.

Jack Cust: Hitting .216/.358/.319 . He has just two home runs, 16 runs scored and 19 RBI's. Cust was brought in for power and has only 14 XBH in 185 AB's with 65 K's. For the month of June he is hitting .115/.343/.231 in 26 AB's but still has nine strikeouts. Cust was brought in for power but other than getting walked has shown to be pretty worthless.

Mike Carp: Hitting .179/.343/.214. So far in only 28 AB's he has yet to score a run or drive in a run. He does have 11 strikeouts(39.2% of AB's) since coming up. Carp after failing last year in the majors is showing he is quadruple A. I think to truly judge him Wedge needs to play him everyday for two weeks in left field or DH. If Carp still isn't productive then it's time to cut bait on Carp.

Carlos Peguero: Hitting .205/.268/.419. So far he has hit six home runs, scored 14 runs and has 16 RBI's. Peguero has provided some power this year but he is striking out way too much and not walking enough. Peguero has 40 strikeouts already in only 117 AB's(34.1%) with just seven walks(5.9%). He is also only hitting a home run one in 19.5 AB's. The problem for the Mariners is when the DH returns two of these guys are in the lineup and if Wedge plays Figgins three of these guys are playing. So if any hitters like a Justin Smoak or Ichiro are slumping which both did this week the Mariners simply aren't going to score runs.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 41-38, first place
Seattle Mariners: 39-39, 1.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 39-40, 2.0 GB
Oakland A's: 35-44, 6.0 GB

In conclusion, the Mariners this week proved what everyone already knows which is that their starting five man rotation is the best in the American League and that their starting nine is the worst in the American League. The Mariners need to make a trade to acquire a major league left fielder and DH if they seriously want to compete for the playoffs. Otherwise the Mariners should just trade Erik Bedard right now and bring in some pitching prospects. The Mariners have nobody on their roster or in their system who can be their everyday left fielder. The Mariners desperatly need to acquire a left fielder for this year and for next season while also bringing in a DH midseason to finish out the year. I do feel for Wedge as his options at DH and left field aren't good although I would play Carp over Peguero. The Mariners pitching staff with an average offense would win over 100 games. On the flip side if the Mariners pitching staff was average with this hitting they'd lose over 100 games like they did last year. At least the Mariners are about to enter July and we still care about the team.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sounders defeat New England 2-1. That's now 9 points in the last 8 days.

By Money Mike

The New England Revolution got on the score sheet early, but they failed to hold on as the Seattle Sounders(8-4-7) came back with two first half goals and held on in the second half to defeat New England(3-8-6) 2-1. After two disappointing draws against the Chicago Fire and the Vancouver Whitecaps to start the month of June, the Sounders have won 3 in a row in a string of 8 days against Toronto FC, Red Bull New York and now the New England Revolution and are inching closer to the top spot in the Western Conference, only four points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Revolution are halfway through their 2011 season and have only picked up 15 points which puts them in a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference with Toronto FC. With the month of July approaching means that we'll be seeing more signings, trades and more players sold through the summer. The Sounders have 5 guys on trial including Sammy Ochoa and Myron Samuel. We've had rumors and speculation about Cillian Sheridan signing with the Sounders. He was on trial for a week and did very well, but now it looks like he's actually going to sign with the Portland Timbers which was absolutely uncalled for. The Sounders didn't want him at the price he was asking for. And that's just disappointing because I was excited to see him play for this team and help with our attack and ditching him just for the price tell's me that the staff are being a bunch of pussies. I mean, what? You think you'll go bankrupt for signing him at a huge price? Stupid. Just stupid. Anyway, let's talk about the match....

In the 3rd minute, it was the visitors who struck first. Benny Feilhaber, who missed the last four games do to injury which also knocked him off USA's Gold Cup squad, took the corner from the far hash mark and played a short ball to the top of the penalty area to Sainey Nyassi ripped a hard shot on frame. Kasey Keller got a hand to it but was unable to keep it out. It was the first set piece goal Seattle has conceded in 2011.

In the 23rd minute, the Sounders started to push after Pat Phelan nailed Servando Carrasco at midfield and only picked up a yellow card, but that could easily have been and should've been a straight Red Card. Three minutes later, Carrasco picked up a yellow for his tackle from behind on Benny Feilbaber.

In the 34th minute, the Sounders would pull level off another set play. Mauro Rosales collided with Ryan Cochrane just outside the New England penalty area. The referee gave the free kick to Seattle. Erik Friberg and Tyson Wahl we're behind the ball in an area where you would think Tyson Wahl's left foot would favor it. And I was Tyson Wahl who weaved his magic and curled the ball around the wall and into the far upper 90 as Matt Reis had no clue which direction he was going. It was the first Major League Soccer goal for Tyson Wahl who became the 13th different player to score for the Sounders this season. It was also the 8th set piece goal in the last 8 matches for the Sounders.

Six minutes later, the Sounders would pull ahead. New England defender Kevin Alston broke his shoe and rather than going to the bench to get a new shoe, he stayed on the ground and played everybody onside and the Sounders took advantage of it. Mauro Rosales fed a good ball into the penalty area for Roger Levesque who tapped it to Alvaro Fernandez who finished with the inside of his right foot to put the Sounders up 2-1. Fernandez is now tied for the team lead in Goals with Brad Evans with four goals.

Lamar Neagle had a good chance in the second half to make it 3-1. Drifting out to the right, Neagle took on left back Darrius Barnes. Took a couple of touches before having a go and he wasn't far away. Neagle has one of the greatest strikes on this team, and he managed to show that on the road at Real Salt Lake.

New England had some chances as well including Shalrie Joseph who forced a save by Kasey Keller from point blank range off the corner, while forward Rajko Lukic just missed the far post with a searing volley. In the 85th minute, A. J. Soares fed Zach Schilawski at midfield. Schilawski turned and ripped one from distance but the crossbar saved the Sounders the 3 points. In the end the match ended 2-1 Sounders.

Scoring summary:

New England Revolution - Sainey Nyassi 1 (Benny Feilhaber 2) 3'

Seattle Sounders FC - Tyson Wahl 1 (unassisted) 34'

Seattle Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez 4 (Roger Levesque 2, Mauro Rosales 4) 40'

Misconduct summary:

New England Revolution - Pat Phelan (caution; Reckless tackle) 23'

Seattle Sounders FC - Servando Carrasco (caution; Tactical foul) 26'

New England Revolution - Ryan Cochrane (caution; Reckless tackle) 72'

New England Revolution - Rajko Lekic (caution; Dissent) 78'

Seattle Sounders FC - Tyson Wahl (caution; Delaying a Restart) 87'

New England Revolution - A. J. Soares (caution; Dissent) 90'


New England Revolution - Matt Reis; Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Zach Schilawski 81'), A. J. Soares, Darrius Barnes; Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 62'), Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Ryan Guy (Kenny Mansally 62'); Rajko Lekic

Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 17'), Tyson Wahl; Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 69'); Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 89'), Roger Levesque

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sounders defeat Red Bulls 4-2 in front of a record crowd of 46,065

By Money Mike

In front of a record crowd for an MLS match in Seattle, the Seattle Sounders(7-4-7) did not disappoint as they defeated the New York Red Bulls(5-3-8) 4-2 as the fan favorite Roger Levesque found the back of the net twice for the Sounders. The win pushes Seattle into a tie for 2nd place with FC Dallas in the Western Conference and are 6 back of the Los Angeles Galaxy for 1st place. 3 of the Sounders 4 goals have come off set plays which Hans Backe's team has had issues defending. With Defenders Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez still on Gold Cup duty for their countries as well as 18-year old Forward Juan Agudelo, Backe went with Carlos Mendes and former USL Seattle Sounder Stephen Keel at Central Defense and with Theirry Henry suspended for this match and Luke Rodgers out injured, Backe partnered up Dwayne De Rosario with Dane Richards. But now the question for them is, should they take Goalkeeper Greg Sutton's starting job away for his error he made which lead to the forth goal? I mean really, for a guy who represented Senegal at the 2008 African Cup of Nations, I'm pretty sure Bouna Coundoul wouldn't have made that kind of mistake.

Despite a pretty shaky start, the Sounders got on the board first in the 11th minute. Mauro Rosales sent in a corner from the near hash mark to the middle of the penalty area which was headed away by Teemu Tainio but right to Erik Friberg who cut the ball to his right foot to get rid of Dane Richards who was defending and curled it into the far post. Friberg did very well to position himself for a shot on goal and all he had to do was try to curl it, which he did. And a minute later, another set play, and another goal for the Men in Rave Green...

Rosales took the corner again and again it was headed into a bad spot again and Osvaldo Alonso stepped up and volleyed a short clearance which appeared to deflect off a foot of Roy Miller and into the net for Alonso's second goal in 3 matches. Alonso has started to push forward on the attack more than what we've seen his first two season's here in Seattle.

In the 31st minute the Red Bulls pulled one back. Dane Richards had about 5 yards between him and Zach Scott. After receiving a pass from Joel Lindpere, Richards took about 2-3 touches to beat Scott and send a floater to the far post off the hand of Keller and into the goal to cut the Sounders lead down to 2-1. Zach Scott had a terrible game, giving the ball away in his own area too many times, poor defending, and also scoring an own-goal.

In the 58th minute, this was the own-goal. Right back Jan Gunnar Solli made an excellent run down the right hand side and was fed beautifully by Dwayne De Rosario. Solli sent in a low driven cross that deflected off Scott and into the net to tie the match at 2-2.

Both teams threatened with the score tied but in the 67th minute, it was Seattle scoring on a set play for the 3rd time in the match. Leonardo Gonzalez, who was playing with a heavy heart, took the corner this time, and I thought it was weak, but he found Roger Levesque lurking at the near post and Levesque knocked a glancing header over his shoulder and inside Sutton's far post. He would get another one 11 minutes later. In the 78th minute, Greg Sutton misplayed a simple back pass from Jan Gunnar Solli, allowing Levesque to pick-pocket him and tap the ball into an empty net to put the match beyond reach.

The Sounders will look to close out the month of June unbeaten as they host the New England Revolution on Sunday while the Red Bulls travel to Toyota Park in Bridgeview and take on Chicago Fire the same day.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Erik Friberg 1 (unassisted) 11'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso 2 (unassisted) 12'

New York Red Bulls - Dane Richards 3 (Joel Lindpere 3) 31'

New York Red Bulls - Own Goal (Zach Scott) 58'

Seattle Sounders FC - Roger Levesque 1 (Leonardo Gonzalez 1) 67'

Seattle Sounders FC - Roger Levesque 2 (unassisted) 78'

Misconduct summary:

New York Red Bulls - Teemu Tainio (caution; Reckless foul) 28'

New York Red Bulls - Austin da Luz (caution; Reckless tackle) 50'

Seattle Sounders FC - James Riley (caution; Reckless foul) 52'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless tackle) 60'

Seattle Sounders FC - Leonardo Gonzalez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90'

New York Red Bulls - Dwayne De Rosario (caution; Reckless tackle) 93+'


New York Red Bulls - Greg Sutton; Jan Gunnar Solli, Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller; Mehdi Ballouchy, Teemu Tainio (Corey Hertzog 89'), Joel Lindpere, Austin da Luz (John Rooney 79'); Dane Richards, Dwayne De Rosario

Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leonardo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Servando Carrasco 72'); Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 81'), Mike Fucito (Roger Levesque 58')

The Atmosphere at the Stadium:

I've been asking myself the exact same question over and over and over again. "When will they increase the capacity?" Now I don't know if it's gonna stay this way from now on. But 46,000+ in attendance for an MLS soccer match is pretty legit. Well have a bigger crowd like this when Manchester United come to town for a friendly match next month. Seeing a huge crowd like this for a league match itself? Man, 36,000 fans isn't enough anymore. Will they open up the entire stadium? Not at this point, unless we host the Conference final match in the MLS Cup playoffs or maybe even the CONCACAF Champions League, if we make it that far of course.

Blazers trade Andre Miller & Rudy Fernandez; acquire Raymond Felton, draft Nolan Smith

By Kshell

Well the Portland Trail Blazers were active yet again on draft day as they made a big trade which allowed them get younger at the point guard position. The Blazers have really improved their roster from the team who won 54 games in the 2009 season if Greg Oden and Brandon Roy can stay healthy they could make some noise. I'll talk about them staying healthy later in the calender year for now I'll focus on what happened today. The big move was the Blazers in a three team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks acquired Raymond Felton while giving up Andre Miller to the Nuggets. The Blazers basically gave away Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks who could be potentionally look at a replacement for Peja Stojakovic. The Blazers then in the draft selected Nolan Smith out of Duke university with the 21st pick overall. The Blazers recognizing that the point guard position is important brought in some youth at the point guard position. The Blazers in doing this move traded away at times their second best player on the roster the last two years in Miller who stepped up big time when Roy was sidelined with injuries.

The Blazers dealt starting point guard Andre Miller after just two seasons with the team. Miller in his first year in Portland averaged 14.0 points per game with 5.4 assists per game. Miller shot 44.5% from the field but just 20.0% from three pointers. In the playoff series loss to the Suns in six games Miller averaged 15.7 points per game and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 40.5% from the field and three for seven from three pointers. Then last year Miller saw his scoring decrease but his assists increase as he averaged 12.7 points per game and 7.0 assists per game. He shot 46.0% from the field but just 10.8% from three pointers. In the playoffs Miller averaged 14.8 points per game and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 49.3% from the field and 4-10(40.0%) from three pointers. Miller who has never won a playoff series before would be 35 entering next season. Miller was getting up there in age plus he couldn't stretch the floor with his shooting but his production will be equal to Felton. The difference is Felton gives the Blazers a guy who can knock down a jumper while being much younger.

For the Blazers they are acquiring Raymond Felton from division rival Denver Nuggets. Felton was part of the blockbuster trade a few months ago that involved Carmello Anthony. Felton last year for the New York Knicks averaged 17.1 points per game and 9.0 assists per game while shooting 42.3% from the field and 32.8% from three pointers as he averaged 1.6 three point makes a game. When he was traded to Denver his numbers decreased as he had to adjust and the Nuggets don't run as much as the Knicks do. Felton for the Nuggets averaged 11.5 points per game and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 43.1% from the field and 45.9% from three pointers making 1.3 three's a game. In the first round playoff loss to the Oklahoma City Zombies Felton averaged 11.6 points and 4.2 assists as he shot just 36.0% from the field and 4-16(25.0%) from three pointers. Felton overall for the season averaged 15.5 points per game and 8.3 assists per game which the Blazers will gladly take. Felton is also playing on his fourth different team since the 2010 season but is a former lotto pick. Felton is turning 27 pretty soon and is able to stretch the floor unlike Miller. This is a move that will help the Blazers offense for now and especially help them in the future.

The Blazers to complete the three team trade gave away Rudy Fernandez to the world champion Dallas Mavericks. Fernandez who was drafted 24th overall in the 2007 draft came to the Blazers with tons of hype for the 2008-09 season. He was a fan favorite especially for the ladies he was supposed to be an athletic player who can hit three pointers. Fernandez as a rookie averaged 10.5 points per game on 42.5% from the field and 40.0% from three point range making two three pointers a game. Many thought Fernandez would improve on those numbers instead that was his best year. In the playoffs Fernandez was terrible in the six game first round series loss to the Houston Rockets averaging just 7.5 points on 42.9% shooting from the field and 42.1% from three pointers making just 1.3 three's a game. His second season for the Blazers saw his numbers decrease as he averaged 8.1 points per game on 37.8% shooting from the field and 36.8% from three pointers making 1.6 three's a game. In the playoffs Fernandez once again was a no show averaging 6.8 points per game while shooting 44.4% from the field and 47.8% making 1.8 three's a game in the six game series defeat to the Suns. Then this past year saw Fernandez play like he did his sophomore year instead of like his rookie year. Fernandez this past season averaged just 8.6 points per game while shooting 37.0% from the field and 32.1% from three's making 1.5 a game. What isn't showing up is Fernandez lack of defense as well. In the playoffs once again Fernandez no showed as the Blazers once again lost in six games for the third straight year in the first round. Fernandez averaged just 2.8 points per game shooting 22.2% from the field and 30.0% from three pointers in the playoff loss to the team he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Now Fernandez hopes to have a fresh start in Dallas as he wasn't going to ever be successful for Portland. The Blazers got rid of two veterans added another while bringing in a high profile college player.

The Blazers with the 21st pick took the four year point guard from Duke Nolan Smith. Smith is 6'2" point guard who in his career at Duke averaged 13.4 points per game and 2.8 assists while shooting 44.8% from the field. He also made 1.1 three pointers a game on 36.9% shooting from the outside. As a junior Smith was a big reason why the Blue Devils won the National Championship as he averaged 17.4 points per game and 3.0 assists per game on 44.1% shooting from the field. He made 1.6 three pointers a game on 39.2% shooting from three point range. His senior season Smith was a big reason the Blue Devils were the #1 seed as he averaged 20.6 points per game and 5.1 assists on 45.8% shooting from the field. He also made 1.5 three pointers a game on 35.0% shooting from three pointers. Smith will most likely back up Felton as the Blazers got younger at the point guard position. The Blazers also have two point guards who can shoot three pointers and make them so defenses can no longer pack in the paint.

In conclusion, this was a big day for the Blazers as they improved their team. Their offense will run better with quick point guards who can shoot from the outside which should open up the middle more for LaMarcus Aldridge. The moves made today won't win the Blazers a championship anytime soon but this might have been the moves they needed to advance past the first round for the first time since 2000(when Bill Clinton was still president). Now the Blazers can only hope Roy and Oden can be healthy with these young point guards. The Blazers can now stretch the floor and with a player like Felton his career appears heading up while Miller's appeared heading down. The Blazers traded away two main parts of their team showing their fan base they are trying to get out of the first round. The Blazers I think with today's moves will finally escape the first round. Having a point guard who can knock down outside shots is huge and the Blazers for the first time in a while will finally have that option.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kings select Isaiah Thomas with 60th pick in NBA draft

By Kshell

The Sacramento Kings selected Washington Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas with the last pick of the draft which was 60th overall. For Thomas he has to be regretting his decision to turn pro as he fell so far in the 2011 NBA draft. Thomas regardless of what happens in the NBA had a great career for the Huskies but the draft is often about potential. Now Thomas will try to play for the team who drafted Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes both players who played for Lorenzo Romar. By going in the second round Thomas is only guaranteed a one year contract but at least by getting drafted he is at least guaranteed one pay day. Now Thomas will try and take his quickness to the Kings and be the new J.J. Barea as Barea proved this past year a smaller quick point guard can be successful in this league. Thomas will be going to California's state capitol and will still be wearing the purple. Now for Thomas he had one of the most successful careers in the Romar era.

When Thomas came to the Huskies they had missed the tournament two straight seasons. During his freshman year he won the Pac-10's freshman of the year and was named honorable mention all pac-10 scoring 15.5 points a game and dishing out 2.6 assists per game while shooting 41.8% from the field, 29.1% from three pointers and 68.6% from free throws. Thomas helped the Huskies win their first outright Pac-10 regular season championship since 1953. In the Pac-10 tournament that year Thomas averaged 15.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.0 steals a game. In the NCAA tournament after a slow first game where he scored just nine points but dished out five assists in the season ending loss to Purdue Thomas scored 24 points with three assists. For the NCAA tournament Thomas averaged 16.5 PPG while dishing out 4.0 assists a game.

Then as a sophomore he averaged 16.9 points and 3.2 assists per game. He shot 41.5% from the field, 32.7% from three pointers and 73.2% from free throws. Thomas was named first team all pac-10 as a sophomore and then was named Pac-10 tournament MVP. In the Pac-10 tournament Thomas averaged 16.0 PPG while drilling six three's in three games and shooting 93% from the free throw line. Thomas in the championship game against California score 16 points while playing good defense on Jerome Randle while stealing two passes. In the NCAA tournament Thomas played some of his best ball of his career. Sure he has bigger scoring games but in the tournament Thomas finally found the balance of scoring and setting up his teamates. In the 80-78 first round win over Marquette Thomas was 7-13 shooting including 3-5 from three pointers for 19 poitns with eight assists. Oh and another thing Thomas didn't once sit out that game playing all 40 minutes. In the blowout win over New Mexico Thomas added 15 points and seven assists. Finally when the Huskies were eliminated Thomas scored 13 poitns with four assists but did shoot a respectable 6-13. Thomas for the tournament averaged 15.7 PPG, dished out 5.3 APG.

As a junior is when Thomas changed his game due to injuries at the point guard position and distractions off the court. Thomas had to run the point as he once again named first team all pac-10 averaging 16.8 points per game and 6.1 assists a game. He shot 44.5% from the field, 34.9% from three pointers and 71.9% from free throws. Once again he was named Pac-10 tournament MVP hitting the game winning shot against the Arizona Wildcats in the championship game. For the tournament Thomas averaged 19.7 points per game, 10.0 APG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.7 steals a game. Thomas shot 20-40(50.0%) from the field including 8-16(50.0%) from three point range. Thomas also played all but two possessions in three days. Thomas averaged 41.0 minutes a game considering college basketball is only 40 minutes long that is incredible. In the NCAA tournament he averaged 15.5 points per game and 7.5 assists per game as the Huskies were bounced in the second round. Thomas had he came back would have been the all-time scoring leader and assist man in Huskies history.

For the Huskies in the Romar era the draft has been kind to them. This is the sixth year in the last seven drafts Romar has seen one of his players drafted. In the 2005 draft Nate Robinson was a first round pick, in 2006 Brandon Roy who to date has been the best Husky in the NBA was a lotto pick while Bobby Jones was a second rounder that same draft. In 2007 Spencer Hawes was a lottery pick then in 2009 Jon Brockman like Hawes ended up with the Kings in the second round. Last year Quincy Pondexter was picked in the first round and now Thomas was picked in the second round. Judging by the talent on the roster in Terrence Ross, C.J. Wilcox, Abdul Gaddy and of course Tony Wroten the Huskies will have more guys in the draft. This is good for recruiting that Romar can tell kids that if you play for him you'll get a good education at Washington and play in the NBA. Hopefully Thomas like those guys can make a stamp in the NBA. If Thomas does what he did at Washington especially this last year he should make an NBA roster.

The Kings are a team in bit of turmoil like the Sonics the NBA is trying to steal that team from the great fans of Sacramento. Despite the Kings being loyal fans the NBA showed in Seattle they don't care about the fans and will hold the city hostage. Thomas is going to a team who already has Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings also drafted college player of the year Jimmer Fredette from BYU who is a shoot first point guard. I think Thomas can crack this roster as the Kings aren't very good winning just 24 games last year. Thomas took a chance by leaving early and he has no time to feel sorry for himself. He needs to move forward and make the best of this situation. The Kings who gave Hawes and Brockman a chance will hope Thomas helps them out as well. Thomas at least remains on the west coast so his family and friends can still watch him play.

In conclusion, this day was bittersweet for Huskies fans. I'm happy Thomas was drafted but sad he had to wait so long. Regardless of his career I'll never forget that he gave it his all for the Huskies. Just like Brockman as a Husky hard to argue too many players that were better than him. Thomas was two-time first team all pac-10 and two-time Pac-10 tournament MVP while leading the Huskies to three NCAA tournament appearances. Thomas is tied with Mike Jensen for most career NCAA tournament starts with seven. Had Thomas came back he could have been a legend and he obviously received bad advice. Hopefully the fans are supportive of him and not "I told you so" towards Thomas. Thomas is chasing his lifelong dream and at least he has the guts to chase his dream. While most of us including myself never put ourselves in a risky position to flat chase our dreams Thomas did. I hope the best for Thomas as I know he'll be capable enough to play in the NBA. Husky nation will be rooting on Thomas and I'll never forget all the great moments he gave me as a fan.

Golden State Warriors select Klay Thompson with the 11th pick

By Kshell

The Golden State Warriors who are now being coached by Mark Jackson selected Washington State Cougars shooting guard Klay Thompson with the 11th pick overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. Thompson is only the second Cougar in their schools history to be a first round pick. The first since Don Collins was picked in the first round in the 1980 draft. This is a big moment for those in Pullman. Thompson who is a good shooter and solid all around player who will fit in nicely for the Warriors. Thompson will get tons of open looks with Stephen Curry and if they choose to keep him Monte Ellis as well. Thompson is a three year player for the Cougars and easily the most talented Cougar they have seen in decades. Thompson leaves behind an interesting legacy with the Cougars that produced some stats but not enough wins. Winning in college doesn't mean much though when it comes to playing in the NBA.

While at the Cougars Thompson never played in the NCAA tournament in his three years. He came to Washington State as the Cougars had made the NCAA tournament in back to back seasons. Thompson in his freshman year at WSU averaged 12.5 points a game, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He shot 42.1% from the field, 41.2% from three pointers and 90.3% from free throws. The Cougars went 17-16 but lost in the first round of the NIT tournament. As a sophomore Thompson saw himself make the first team all pac-10 team averaging 19.6 PPG, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He shot 41.2% from the field, 36.4% from three pointers and 80.1% from free throws. The Cougars as a team went just 16-15 and failed to make any tournaments. As a junior Thompson was money for the Cougars averaging 21.6 PPG, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He shot 43.6% from the field, 39.8% from three's and 83.8% from free throws. Thompson finally defeated the Washington Huskies as well twice even and scored 43 points against the Huskies in a Pac-10 tournament loss. Thompson led the Cougars to a 22-13 record which saw the Cougars finish in the NIT final four. Although Thompson never went to the NCAA tournament or finished in the top half of the Pac-10 standings he came to play for the Cougars. Thompson is also following in his father's footsteps as well.

For those who didn't know Klay Thompson's dad is Mychal Thompson. Mychal Thompson was selected as the top pick overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers passed on Larry Bird that draft but unlike their other draft disasters Thompson actually contributed for the Blazers. In seven seasons for the Blazers Thompson averaged 16.7 points per game including a high of 20.8 in his third season with the Blazers. Thompson also averaged 8.8 rebounds per game too with the Blazers. Thompson would later go on to win an NBA championship for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987 and also play in the 1988 and 1991 NBA finals for the Lakers. If Klay Thompson has the career that his dad has then the Warriors will be glad with their draft pick. I think with Klay Thompson's shooting ability he'll be a good player for the Warriors much like how his dad was for the Blazers.

Now Thompson is going to a struggling franchise in the Golden State Warriors. Since the 1994-95 season they have made the playoffs just once which was in the 2006-07 season when they upset the #1 seeded Dallas Mavericks. Thompson as you saw in his stats is a great shooter which the Warriors need desperatly. With Thompson's size he could be a decent defender as well. Thompson will be looking to be the greatest Cougar ever in the NBA and I think he will be. For those Sonics fans looking to adopt a team I think the Warriors will be that team for those who live on the east side of the state. The Warriors being in the Bay Area some fans I'm sure will probably travel down to see Thompson play in person. I think Mark Jackson can be a good NBA head coach and Thompson I think will be very good player in this league. I don't know if he'll ever make an all-star team but he'll be a guy who plays over a decade in this league much like his father did.

In conclusion, this is a good day for the Cougars to see Thompson get drafted in the first round. When you have players drafted that high that leads to other recruits coming in. Thompson is proof that you can play all the way up in Pullman and still get noticed enough to be drafted. Truth is it doesn't matter where you play or how good your team is if you are good enough you will be noticed in this draft. Thompson is the real deal and the Warriors made the correct pick as he fits their team nicely. I'm sure the Cougar fans are pumped as they should be this is the first first rounder in 31 seasons. Thompson in his three seasons for the Cougars played terrific and now he'll get a chance to do the same in the NBA. Thompson will be a guy who lasts in the NBA for a while and the boys in Pullman will be celebrating tonight. I wish the best for Thompson and as a Husky fan I'll be happy that I'll never have to watch him torch my team again. Good luck Klay and hope the NBA treats you well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sounders vs Red Bulls preview

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders return home for a Thursday night matchup at "CenturyLink" Field (yeah Qwest changed their name) against the New York Red Bulls. Last week the Sounders came away with all 3 points after defeating Toronto FC 1-0 with Fredy Montero scoring a late Free Kick goal in the 90th minute. On the other side, despite a Red Card issued to Thierry Henry in stoppage time, the Red Bulls managed to get a late goal from Dwayne De Rosario from the penalty spot to complete the comeback against the Portland Timbers. The match ended 3-3. The Red Bulls have so many pieces missing with a player suspended (Thierry Henry), players still in the Gold Cup (Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez) and players out injured.

Injury report:

New York Red Bulls - For the Red Bulls, I'm not sure Carl Robinson's right knee contusion or Chris Albright's hernia surgery are a big blow to the team. One that's definitely a blow is Luke Rodgers out with a Left foot plantar fascitits.

Seattle Sounders FC - For the Men in Rave Green. Zakuani and White, you should know about them. Brad Evans has been added to the list with a Bruised ankle. He will not be seen tomorrow.


New York Red Bulls - This was sort off bullshit because this was already worked out. Thierry Henry was sent off for no reason. He went at it with Adam Moffit of the Portland Timbers, but they shook hands, which is good sportsmanship, but then referee Ricardo Salazar went to his back pocket and gave Thierry Henry a Red Card and Moffit a Yellow. That's just ridiculous, doing something like that over a thing that was already taken care of between the players... that's just starting trouble. Thierry Henry wouldn't have got the start anyway I don't think, but still, that was ridiculous.

Seattle Sounders FC - I'm not going to bring this one up again, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Apparently they didn't appeal his suspension so he will not be seen on Thursday.

International absences:

New York Red Bulls - Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream are still with USA in the Gold Cup. By the way, USA defeated Panama 1-0, so they're in the final. Also Rafa Marquez for Mexico, who look to be headed to the final. It looks like another USA-Mexico matchup.

Seattle Sounders FC - For Seattle uhh........... Well, they have nobody, which is a good thing especially because this team is so jacked up.

Key matchup:

Red Bulls attacking front vs Sounders back line - Looking at the reports it looks like they're going partner up Dwayne De Rosario with Dane Richards. De Rosario is used to playing as an attacking midfielder so he can get more time on the ball as well as score more goals, which has worked out very well. Dane Richards is a winger. They're gonna be under a lot of pressure from the Sounders back line.

Time for Mariners to end the Carlos Peguero experiment

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners were a break or two away yesterday from being tied for first place in the American League Western Division. Instead the Mariners a team who lost 101 games last year find themselves two games back of the division leading Texas Rangers. The Mariners are winning this year despite an offense that ranks dead last in baseball in Batting Average, On base percentage, and hits. They rank 29th in slugging, 28th in runs and 24th in home runs. The Mariners are winning despite their offense and this post I'm about to make will make it seem like I'm picking on one player. The Mariners have several holes in their lineup but some of the guys the Mariners can't get rid of while they can demote Carlos Peguero to Triple A Tacoma. I'm also writing this because recently I've been verbally attacked for saying that Peguero shouldn't be batting fifth and has no future with the team. I was told to check my facts, how I obviously don't know baseball, well Eric Wedge thinks he's good, to quoting fake stats and lastly having my intelligence compared to his four year old daughter. Now I most likely won't receive an apology when I'm proven right just like nobody ever admits I'm right. There is usually always the "Yeah but blah blah blah" to the results. In this post I'll explain why Peguero needs to be sent down if he has any chance of being successful. I'll also explain how despite the Mariners winning the offense is broken and they need to fix things quick.

Let's start with Carlos Peguero who everyone is in love with because when he makes contact on a pitch the ball travels a long ways. Fans love raw power and then it doesn't help that the local media talks him up like they talk up all prospects. The problem is the media talks up Peguero as if he's on the same level as a Dustin Ackley. It's the same reason why fans felt Wladimir Balentien was better than Adam Jones because instead of doing research they just listen to the media. Balentien happened to do better than Jones in the short sample size they were called up in 2007 so people jumped to conclusions. Now with Peguero I'm not alarmed because he is struggling in the majors I'm more concered of the why he's struggling plus his minor league numbers suggest this will keep up. In the following paragraph I'll show you Peguero's stats and no he isn't comparable to Jay Buhner or any successful slugger in fact.

So far this year Peguero is batting .200/.257/.410 on the year in only 105 at bats with five home runs and 15 RBI's. Then the real ugly numbers pop up like his 35 K's to just 6 BB's ratio. In other words he is striking out 33.3% of the time while walking only 5.3% of the time which is a horrible ratio. His defense is also terrible as to date his UZR(ultimate zone rating which is an efficient way of judging defense) on defense is at negative 2.8 on the season. Peguero earlier in the week was batting cleanup by manager Eric Wedge and Wedge then had him bat fifth as well. Peguero is currently in a 2-25(.080) slump which include 10 strikeouts to just two walks. On the year he's swinging and missing 31.8% of the time which is a huge number, swings at 48.0% of pitches outside the strike zone and swings at 59.3% of pitches thrown towards him so he is a free swinger who doesn't make nearly enough contact. Now some keep arguing with me that this is small sample size which is true except for his career minor league stats aren't much better. In the minors he hit .271/.329/.497 in 1,977 at bats over the course of six seasons so a big chunk of data to base an opinion off of. In the minors he struck out 660 times to just 148 walks with 88 HR's. So he hits a home run one in 22 at bats in the minor leagues while striking out 33.3% of the time and only walking 7.4% of the time. If those numbers look like his major league "short sample size" well they are very similar which is why I'm so down on Peguero. For now the Mariners need to demote him which doesn't solve much.

One solution is for Wedge to go with Mike Carp who I'm on record as saying he is quadruple A I'm aware. I do think Carp someday could be a guy like Mike Morse who could emerge as a solid player I have no hope for Peguero. Carp so far with the Mariners hasn't had much of a chance as he has received just 23 official at bats. Carp isn't doing much in that short sample time hitting .217/.357/.261 on the year while striking out 39.1% of the time and walking 14.3% of the time with zero home runs. He hasn't had much of a sample size at all and I'd like to see what he could do instead of having Peguero. Carp in the minors was a decent hitter as he hit .277/.368/.469 in 2,882 official at bats. He has homered 131 times, struck out 653 times and walked 347 times. So Carp homers in one in 22 at bats like Peguero did, strikes out 22.6% of the time and walks 12.0% of the time. This past year in Tacoma before being called him up Carp was hitting .348/.409/.661 in 224 at bats with 19 home runs, 44 strike outs and 22 walks. So in Tacoma he was hitting a home run in 11.8 at bats, striking out 19.6% of the time and walking 9.8% of the time. As you can see Carp is clearly the better hitter than Peguero based on thousands of career minor league at bats. Is Carp the answer? Probably not but I would rather run him up there than Peguero at this point. Although the Mariners most likely solution will involve a trade.

If the Mariners want to make the playoffs this year Jack Zduriencik is going to have to make a trade. Whether that be a small trade that brings in a solid stick while giving up little or a big trade which parts with Jason Vargas or Doug Fister while bringing in a big bat something needs to be done. The Mariners aren't getting production from third base which can now be fixed with Ackley being called up Adam Kennedy moves to third base. They aren't getting production from centerfield which the Mariners are hoping Franklin Gutierrez can finally turn it around and be healthy. That leaves the DH and left field positions in the lineup. They tried Jack Cust earlier in the season and while he gets on base he also strikes out a lot while not providing any power. The Mariners also tried Michael Saunders in left field and he failed miserably. Wedge is insisting on trying Peguero right now in left field and he is also failing as well. Greg Halman if you look at his career minor league numbers isn't the answer against right handed pitchers but could provide a good platoon in left against a left handed pitcher. Ideally Carp will hit close to what he has done in his minor league career and Zduriencik trades for a right handed bat. That right handed bat can be the DH with Halman against left handed pitching. While against right handed pitching Carp can be the guy and Zduriencik would have to deal for a left handed stick as well to play left field or DH. Right now the Mariners are winning but it has very little to do with the hitting and if not for the amazing pitching the team would be hurting. In other words if you replace Erik Bedard and Michael Pineda with Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith the Mariners would have the same record as last year.

In conclusion, the Mariners offense is broken and the pitching is saving them this season. One thing I think most level headed people can agree on is that the Carlos Peguero experiment needs to end. He needs to be sent down to Tacoma to learn how to be a hitter and if he is still striking out at a 5.5-1 ratio to walks then flat out release him. I can't think of a single slugger who had a strikeout to walk ratio as poorly as his. Even Jay Buhner in the minor leagues struck out 24.0% of the time and walked 15.1% of the time while hitting .293 which took me about 10 seconds of research. To make that comparison is just being lazy all the way around. The Mariners by sending Peguero don't aren't saved as Carp might not be the answer either. I say give Carp a try until the all-star break while in the meantime make a trade for an immediate bat. Even a quadruple A bat would be better than what the Mariners are running out there at DH and LF. So hopefully Zduriencik makes a trade pretty soon to improve this offense because the guys currently on the roster can't fill up the DH and Left Field problems. As soon as the Mariners move on from the Peguero experiment and give Carp a chance the sooner they can seriously evaluate their roster. The choice is pretty clear at this point send Peguero down and go find a bat Zduriencik. I'm just glad the Mariners are buyers as of this date who would have thought that back in March?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seattle Mariners weekly review: June 13th-June 19th edition

By Kshell

This week saw the beginning of hopefully a new era for the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners finally called up highly rated prospect Dustin Ackley when they took on the Philadelphia Phillies who came into this series with a seven game winning streak. The Mariners partly because of Ackley's bat defeated the Phillies two out of three. The called up Ackley after losing two out of three to division rival the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This week saw plenty of great pitching for the Mariners and once again the hitting slumped this week. This was a tough week hitting wise for any team as the Mariners went up against Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. So for the Mariners to go 3-3 this week was pretty incredible. The Mariners are also just a half game back of first place of the Texas Rangers in the closely tight AL West race. The Mariners went 3-3 this week but I'll keep things positive so I'll go with the good(pitching as usual), the bad(two call ups in Left Field) and the awesome(more on two specific pitchers). The Mariners under first year manager Eric Wedge are playing some good baseball and with the addition of Ackley look for the offense to improve.

The Good:

Well there was plenty of good to talk about this week for the Mariners. The Mariners saw two prospects hit their first career major league home run this week. The fans packed the house this weekend including selling out Fathers Day for only the second sell out of the season. The Mariners also saw Justin Smoak break out of his slump last week and now this week saw Ichiro come alive. Ichiro who had been slumping badly for about six weeks broke out of his slump this week. Was it because he finally got a day off? Who knows but all I know is it was nice to see Ichiro on base. When on base Ichiro was stealing some bases this week as well. Another bright spot was the pitching especially by Jason Vargas who if not for a bad break against the Angels would have went 2-0 this week. As is Vargas threw a complete shutout to outpitch Cole Hamels and win 2-0 over the Phillies. There was indeed plenty of good things to talk about this week which was nice to see for the Mariners.

Good Hitting:

Ichiro: 12-25(.480), 6 runs, 4 SB's
Greg Halman: 3-10(.300), HR(first career), Run, RBI, SB
Justin Smoak: 6-17(.352), 2 RBI's, 6 BB's(.521 OB%)
Dustin Ackley: 3-11(.273), HR(first career), RBI, 2 runs. Hit .273/.273/.727 for the week

Good Pitching:

Michael Pineda: 1-0, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 5 K's
Erik Bedard: 1-0, 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 5 K's
Brandon League: 2 saves, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Jason Vargas: 1-1, 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12 K's

The Bad:

Well the Mariners still aren't scoring runs despite all the hype about the young kids being up. The offense like it has all year has been hurting this ball club. In particular the left field and DH positions plus third base the Mariners have received zero from those positions this season. You can also throw center field into the mix as well which is 44% of the lineup is giving the Mariners absolutely nothing. It appears Jack Cust is in Eric Wedge's dog house as he is playing the younger guys of Mike Carp and Carlos Peguero both of which struggled this week. Now this is going to come off as me picking on Peguero but I simply don't do that. I let the stats do the talking and right now he simply isn't getting the job done. The Mariners were hoping the return of Franklin Gutierrez would solve the centerfield problems but instead he is struggling badly at the plate. The pitching was once again good as I had to stretch to find some guys to make the slumping list.

Slumping Hitting:

Carlos Peguero: 2-15(.133), 2 RBI's, run, 6 K's
Mike Carp: 3-15(.200), 7 K's
Miguel Olivo: 3-23(.130), HR, RBI, run, 8 K's
Franklin Gutierrez: 2-16(.125), RBI 4 K's

Slumping Pitching:

Doug Fister: 0-1, 7 IP, 5.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 5 K's
Jamey Wright: 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's

Mike Carp on the year is hitting .217/.357/.261 in limited playing time.
Carolos Peguero on the year is hitting .208/.266/.426 with 33 K's to just 6 BB's.
Miguel Olivo on the year is hitting .230/.276/.410 but leads all catchers with 11 HR's.
Franklin Gutierrez on the year is hitting .187/.221/.253 which is behind Chone Figgins in all three categories.

The Mariners need some of these hitters to step up or make a trade ASAP if they wish to win this division. You can't expect to keep winning games 3-2 or 2-1 eventually you'll lose games like Saturday 3-1.

The Awesome:

Not just this week but for a while now you are seeing two guys emerge from two unpopular trades. Now I'm not going to defend those trades as I'd still rather not do either trade but you are starting to see what our GM's were thinking. The first trade was done by Jack Zduriencik who traded away high draft pick Brandon Morrow to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Brandon League. League who had one rough week has been lights out and peole aren't exactly asking for David Aardsma back anytime soon. The other trade which was extremely unpopular was of course done by Bill Bavasi when he traded away Adam Jones, George Sherrill and two prospects for Erik Bedard. Bedard up to this point had been injured so hard to call him a bust when injuries are things you can't predict. While Bedard this year especially in his last nine starts has been the best pitcher for the Mariners. On a staff that includes Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez and Rookie of the year candidate Michael Pineda he has been the best. The Mariners are getting a lot back on two guys heading into the season the fan base wasn't really happy with.

Awsome Pitching:

Erik Bedard: 4-4, 77.0 IP, 3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 70 K's, .233 BAA.
In his last 9 starts he is 4-0, 58.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 53 K's.

Bedard has been terrific for the Mariners rebounding from his rough first four starts which feels like a decade ago. Bedard for all the crap he's taken from our media(Softy Mahler, Steve Kelly, etc), he is owed an apology. He was injured not hurt the last three seasons this isn't a matter of being "wimpy" at all. He is also giving the team innings this season as well as he has just 12 walks in his last nine starts. Bedard is going after hitters and hopefully for his career the injuries are a thing of the past. I think people are finally seeing what Bavasi saw in him and while losing Adam Jones hurts the other prospects never materialized. For a guy the Mariners didn't expect much from this season he has been fantastic for them and is a huge reason why the Mariners are fighting for the playoffs.

Brandon League: 0-4, 20 saves in 23 opportunities, 30.0 IP, 3.90 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 20 K's, .246 BAA.

Since May 13th League has pitched 14 innings with 11 saves, has a 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 7 K's.

League is currently leading the American League with 20 saves and is tied for first place in all of baseball with 20 saves. League was involved in another unpopular trade and struggled last year. The fans of Seattle wanted to throw him out of town after his horrible week despite nobody on the roster capable of outproducing him. I'll give Wedge credit for sticking with his closer not because of his title but instead he is the Mariners best reliever. The other relievers are pitching great but none of them have the stuff that League has. League a guy who heading into the year was a shaky setup man has been a lights out closer to date. He is also a huge reason why the Mariners are contending for the division title.

Just goes to show that you can't freak out over trades and give the trade some time. Now I still think the Mariners will end up on the short end of both deals but neither seem as lopsided as they did just a year ago. The Mariners are getting big time production from two guys who were involved in popular trades. To acquire talent you must give up talent which the Mariners did. The Mariners however did receive some talent back in those trades and it's finally paying off for the ball club.

AL West Standings:

Texas Rangers: 38-35, First Place
Seattle Mariners: 37-35, 0.5 GB
L.A. Angels: 35-38, 3.0 GB
Oakland A's: 33-40, 5.0 GB

In conclusion, the Mariners are right in the thick of this playoff race in a season many including myself thought would be a rebuilding season. Like I pointed out though the Mariners are getting production from two pitchers who were very capable but they weren't counting on. If the Mariners can just score some runs they can run away with this division as they are 25-5(.833) when scoring just 4+ runs. Which means the Mariners are 12-30(.285) when they don't score four runs. So over half their games to date the team isn't scoring runs yet the pitching like yesterday found a way to get the win. With the call up of Ackley that is another hitter for the Mariners that can actually contribute. I have a feeling Zduriencik will be working on a trade even if that is a minor trade the Mariners need some bats in left field and DH. The Mariners are winning which is a surprise and hopefully Wedge moves Ackley up in the order sooner rather than later. I'm just happy that we are three weeks from the All-Star game and the Mariners are just a half game back of first place. The ride has been good and hopefully can last a few more months.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fredy Montero's curler in the 90th minute wins it for 10-men Seattle

By Money Mike

With less than a minute to go plus stoppage time, the Seattle Sounders were on their way to a third consecutive draw, but in the 90th minute, Fredy Montero, who had recieved the majority of the critisism this season with only two goals scored coming into this match, found an answer off a free-kick as he curled home his third goal of the season and a game winner for the Seattle Sounders as they defeat Toronto FC 1-0.

Toronto had some opportunities in the first half including in the 41st minute I believe, former Sounder Nathan Sturgis with a free kick from the middle of the box, just outside the penalty area skimming over the bar.

Four minutes into the second half, a first red card for the Seattle Sounders this season was shown and I do not understand this decision one damn bit. Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, trying to control the ball, started to lose his balance and ended up dragging Alen Stevanovic to the ground and referee Yader Reyes decided to give him a yellow card which was his second of the game which resulted in a Red Card. Honestly, how the fuck is that a booking? Hurtado was losing his balence, lost possession of the ball and took a tumble and accidently caught Stevanovic's foot. How is that a booking? Oh yeah that's right, because these are MLS refs. FUCK EM'!!

With 10 minutes to go, the post denys Toronto a chance to capitalize on the 1-man advantage. Javier Martina was found unmarked on the right of the goal and his volley bounced back from the bar and the rebound fell to Joao Plata but James Riley cleared the ball out of play before Plata could even react. I said this was a key matchup here.

In the 90th minute, it was Fredy Montero coming through on the clutch. After Mauro Rosales drew the foul, Montero stepped up to take the free-kick from the left of Stefan Frei's goal and what does he do? He bends it around the wall, past Frei and into the goal and what a big one that was because not only did it break the deadlock, it sealed the win for the Sounders. 1-0 the final score.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 3 (unassisted) 90'

Misconduct summary:

Toronto FC - Ty Harden (caution; Goalkeeper interference) 18'

Toronto FC - Danleigh Borman (caution; Reckless tackle) 26'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless tackle) 34'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless tackle) 49'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (ejection; Second caution) 49'

Toronto FC - Mikael Yourassowsky (caution; Reckless foul) 65'

Toronto FC - Oscar Cordon (caution; Reckless foul) 93+'


Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Erik Friberg 71'), Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Zach Scott 52'); Mike Fucito (Alvaro Fernandez 69'), Fredy Montero

Toronto FC - Stefan Frei; Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Ty Harden, Danleigh Borman; Nathan Sturgis (Oscar Cordon 46'), Alen Stevanovic (Javier Martina 71'), Mikael Yourassowsky (Dan Gargan 89'); Nick Soolsma, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata

Friday, June 17, 2011

Previewing Seattle Sounders FC vs Toronto FC + The CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals

By Money Mike

The Seattle Sounders head to where they played their first road game in MLS play, BMO Field. The Sounders and Toronto FC square off tomorrow at 4pm as Seattle looks to get back on the winning track after drawing their last two matches. Toronto FC had a midweek match on Wednesday at New England against the Revolution which ended 0-0. These two teams square off for the 6th time with the Sounders winning 3, TFC winning 1 and 1 draw.

Injury report:

Seattle Sounders FC - I don't need to tell you who's out, you should know by now. Taylor Graham has a calf strain and is listed as doubtful. I don't know why they would give a shit about that, he wouldn't have made the 18 man squad anyway. Servando Carrasco has a little knee problem. Some contusions in there and he's listed as probable and Alvaro Fernandez strained his hamstring remember against Salt Lake. He is listed as probable now. And finally, wait........ nope that was it.

Toronto FC - GOD DAMN!! Where do I begin here? Elbekay Bouchiba, Adrian Cann, Nana Attakora, Jacob Peterson, Alan Gordon, Julian de Guzman, and Tony Tchani are all out. And Alen Stevanovic is listed as probable.

Key matchups:

Joao Plata vs James Riley - Well you got the little midget here for Toronto. Joao Plata who was drafted in the 3rd round from LDU Quito of Ecuador. He has 2 goals in 15 matches so far. Expect him to get the start on the left side and take on James Riley the left back.

Javier Martina vs Tyson Wahl - Here's another matchup featuring another TFC wingman, Javier Martina. The Sounders shut him down when these two faced off against eachother in Seattle. Can Tyson Wahl shut him down tomorrow in Toronto.

Fredy Montero vs Ty Harden - With Adrian Cann out injured, it's gonna be up to Ty Harden to do the dirty work at the back. I sense something coming from Fredy Montero soon. What does he got for us tomorrow?

CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals:

Well the Group stages are over, now tomorrow and Sunday, 4 teams will proceed into the semifinals which will take place on Wednesday at Reliant Stadium, and 4 teams will be eliminated. The United States got through the Group Stage after winning 1-0 over Guadeloupe and will play Jamaica on Sunday. Let's take a look at the schedule....

Saturday @ Meadowlands Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey)

QF #1, KO time 2:00pm (live on concacaf.com) Costa Rica vs Honduras

QF #2, KO time 5:00pm (live on concacaf.com) Mexico vs Guatemala

Sunday @ RFK Stadium (Washington D.C.)

QF #3, KO time 12:00pm (live on concacaf.com and FOX Soccer Channel) USA vs Jamaica

QF #4, KP time 3:00pm (live on concacaf.com) Panama vs El Salvador

Let the Dustin Ackley era finally begin!

By Kshell

The wait is finally over Dustin Ackley will be making his major league debut tonight as the Seattle Mariners take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Ackley the #2 pick overall in the 2009 baseball draft out of North Carolina will bring a buzz to Safeco Field. The Mariners are hoping the young second baseman will be a mainstay in their lineup for a decade. The hope is the Mariners can have a consistent all-star at a tough position to find offense. Ackley was rated the 11th best prospect in baseball going into the 2010 season and was the 12th best prospect in baseball heading into the 2011 season. Ackley isn't your normal call up like a Greg Halman or Carlos Peguero. Instead Ackley is on the same level as Justin Smoak or Michael Pineda and in fact was regarded as the better prospect than those two. Ackley needed just two years in the minor leagues and 118 games in triple A. Ackley didn't even play in single A jumping right to double A to make his debut. Now Ackley will add a nice buzz to the Mariners and a much needed stick as he is already their third best hitter. I'll break down what Ackley has done in the minors, how his ovation will be the loudest anyone has heard at Safeco in two years and who he is compared to in this following post.

While in the minor leagues Ackley has improved his average each stop of the way which is what you want to see in a prospect. The numbers in the minors don't matter as much as the improvement does. In double A West Tennessee last year Ackley hit .263/.389/.384 with two home runs, 28 RBI's and eight stolen bases. Plus he had 55 walks to 41 strikeouts in 82 games before being called up to Triple A Tacoma. Ackley was a big part of Rainiers PCL championship team the first for the city of Tacoma since the late 1960's. Last year in Tacoma Ackley hit .274/.338/.439 with five home runs and 23 RBI's. He also had 20 walks but 38 strikeouts in 52 games in triple A. Then this year he started off slow for the Rainiers again but destroyed Tacoma the last two months. Ackley finished his Rainiers career this season hitting .303/.421/.487 with nine home runs, 35 RBI's and seven steals. He also had 55 walks to just 38 K's in 66 games. Ackley as you can see isn't being rushed up here. Some think the Mariners might have waited a little bit too long. So for his minor league career which got better as he went along in only 200 games he hit .280/.387/.435 with 130 walks to 117 strikeouts. The guy is an on base machine and walks more than he strikes out. I don't know where manager Eric Wedge will hit him in the order but by the time this season ends he'll be batting second. There is a reason why the fans will be excited to see Dustin Ackley when he steps to the plate for the first time at Safeco.

I imagine Ackley will receive the loudest standing ovation by a Mariner since Ken Griffey Jr made his return to Safeco Field as a Mariner in 2009. Now Ackley won't receive an ovation close to what Griffey had but still the loudest one since then. Ackley will be facing a tough pitcher in his debut Roy Oswalt which Griffey did back in 1989 when he faced Dave Stewart of the Oakland A's. In Griffey's first at bat he hit a double off of Stewart. Then in Griffey's first ever home game in his first at bat in Seattle he hit a home run. I'm not holding Ackley up to that standard but it will be a magical moment when he steps to the plate. Very rare when you have the #2 pick overall in a baseball draft make his debut for your team. Ackley's debut will give the Mariners a shot in the arm and I'm sure the fans will give a loud standing ovation for Ackley. Regardless of what Ackley does tonight it will just feel nice to see Ackley up for the Mariners as him and Justin Smoak are the future of the Mariners offense. Ackley will be making his debut against a player he is often compared to.

The Mariners will be playing the Phillies which means they'll be facing perennial all-star Chase Utley. The talented second baseman is who many guys compare Ackley to and Peter Gammons went as far as saying it's an insult to Ackley to compare him to Utley. Now Utley is a five-time all-star and four-time silver slugger award winner as well. For his career he is hitting .293/.380/.513 with 180 home runs and 662 RBI's in 3,815 career at bats. Utley like Ackley was a former first round pick himself. Now I think Ackley will never have the power that Utley has but it does feel nice knowing the Mariners have a second baseman who can live at the All-Star game. Ackley will be a high on base percentage guy who is good at the plate as he rarely strikes out. The Mariners are hoping Ackley can eventually develope some more power and become their third hitter like Utley has been for the Phillies. It does feel good that on the fantasy homepage they are writing articles about Ackley being called up. He is a big time prospect with high expectations the buzz for tomorrow's game will be pretty special.

In conclusion, you'll be witnessing the future tomorrow as Michael Pineda takes the hill for the Mariners. Justin Smoak will be hitting third for the Mariners and Ackley will be making his debut. The Mariners are just a half game out of first place and Wedge is hoping Ackley can have the same impact that Buster Possey had last year for the San Francisco Giants. Adding Ackley will give Wedge more flexibility with his lineup as Adam Kennedy can come off the bench in late innings or Chone Figgins can come in as a pinch runner. Ackley realistictally is the Mariners third best hitter behind Ichiro and Smoak so adding him is a huge plus for this team. With the way the pitching has been if the Mariners get any offense at all they can make the playoffs. I'm happy that Ackley is making his debut as the team is playing well and there is some excitement. This isn't your typical top prospect being called up to sell tickets. Instead he is being called up to help this team right now and in the future. The game is going to be exciting and I'm happy to finally see Dustin Ackley in a Mariners uniform. Hopefully the Dustin Ackley era when it's all said and done includes multiple all-star games plus championship banners.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Missed opportunities

By Kshell

The Vancouver Canucks lost game seven of the stanley cup finals 4-0 to the Boston Bruins. While the nation celebrates the Bruins winning their first stanley cup in 39 years the people of Vancouver who haven't ever won a title in 40 years are left with nothing. Then the aftermath of the loss turned ugly as the city started to riot acting like idiots. Most of those idiots aren't true Canucks fans and knew win or lose they were going to riot. I won't judge Vancouver on the rioting because odds are the people doing the rioting aren't from Vancouver. Instead what I'll focus this blog post on is how northwest teams counting the Canucks typically don't do well when blowing a missed opportunity. While some franchises can lose in the championship rounds and come back the following year to win a title that isn't the case up here. I'm not just talking about the following year there seems to be a cloud that hangs over these franchises. All the teams whether you are a Mariners fan, Seahawks fan, Blazers fan, Sonics fan, Huskies fan or Cougars fan have blown a huge opportunity and still haven't recovered from them. The goal for the Canucks will be to end this trend next season or else Vancouver fans be prepared to have a long decade coming up.

I'll start the most recent team who lost a championship game the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks as we all know lost Super Bowl XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10. That is a game due to the officiating the Seahawks still haven't got over it. The Seahawks who were a 13-3 team and had homefield throughout the playoffs were easily the best team in the NFC. Yet the following year they only went 9-7. Despite a core which featured Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Walter Jones, Lofa Tatupu and Marcus Trufant who were all in their prime or entering their prime they would never reach the promise land again. The Seahawks would lose to the Bears 27-24 in overtime the following year in the divisional round. The Seahawks haven't advanced past the divisional round since losing the Super Bowl. The Seahawks also lost guard Steve Hutchinson in his prime and the offensive line hasn't been the same. You'll notice a big reason why our teams never get back to that mountain top is often due to bad moves. The Seahawks are still searching for their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

For the Washington Huskies their basketball program hasn't been to a Final Four since 1953. The closest they have ever been was in 2006 when they featured the best player in college basketball who was also a guard and a senior. That is a final four recipe right there as the Huskies rode Brandon Roy to the promise land. The fifth seeded Huskies were up seven points on the Connecticut Huskies with a little over a minute to go. UCONN had stunn the Huskies back in 1998 on a Rip Hamilton buzzer beater to deny the Huskies an elite 8 trip. This game was revenge for Washington instead it was the worst loss for basketball or football since I've been a fan. Washington self destructed allowed an UCONN three pointer at the buzzer to tie the game. Then Washington lost in overtime as Brandon Roy fouled out in overtime. The Huskies would miss the NCAA tournament the next two seasons and have only advanced to the sweet 16 just once in five years since that dreadful loss. The Washington Huskies are still searching for their first Final Four since 1953 as they blew the best opportunity in the Romar era.

The Seattle Mariners in 2001 were coming off a season in which they lost the ALCS in six games to the New York Yankees in 2000. In 2001 the Mariners ran away with the division by May as they won 116 games which tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs record. The Mariners were clearly the best team in baseball and the future appear bright for the franchise. The Mariners would lose to the Yankees in five games which including a swing game in game four in which the Mariners blew a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning. The Mariners that offseason would trade for Jeff Cirillo who was a huge bust and sign James Baldwin who was also a bust. The Mariners would also win just 93 games which was a 23 win decrease and miss the playoffs. Just three years after winning 116 games the Mariners would lose 99 games and be on their third different manager in a span of four seasons. The Mariners not only have never reached a World Series they have yet to even make the playoffs. Since 2004 they have had just two winning seasons. The Mariners missed their opportunity in 2000 and especially the 2001 season. The Mariners like the previous teams have yet to recover after missing their opportunity.

The Portland Trail Blazers who had finally overcame blowing their previous missed opportunity have yet to recover from the 2000 Western Conference Finals game seven. The Blazers in 1992 NBA Finals in game six against the Chicago Bulls had a 15 point lead that they blew to the Bulls to lose the Finals. The Blazers would lose in the first round in six consecutive seasons. The Blazers finally broke through in 1999 reaching the western conference finals before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Well after a busy offseason the Blazers who had trailed 3-1 in the series to the Los Angeles Lakers battled back to force a game seven. Then the Blazers took a 15 point lead into the fourth quarter. That year the best two teams were in the West so while no fair to assume this series was for the championship. The Lakers would go on a 15-0 run to tie the score up and eventually win 89-84. For the Lakers they would go on to win the first of three straight championships. For the Blazers well they have yet to win a playoff series since. In 2001 and 2002 the Lakers eliminated them in the first round. Add it all up the Blazers have lost six consecutive first round series. The Blazers also traded away promising young star Jermaine O'Neal that offseason for Dale Davis. This loss still haunts Blazers fans as that franchise hasn't seemed to recover from that missed opportunity.

The Washington State Cougars had finally made the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years in 1997. The Cougars took on #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines trying to win their first Rose Bowl since 1916. The Cougars trailing 21-16 and going for the shocking comeback win. The type of defining win that the Huskies had in 1978 Rose Bowl that propelled the program to greater heights is what the Cougars were going towards. All-American quarterback Ryan Leaf spiked the ball but the officials said that spike took two seconds and the game suddenly ended. Although the Cougars had a great season they were denied to get their first national win. The type of win that can turn a bottom program into a contender. The Cougars would take last place in the Pac-10 the next two seasons then have a losing season for the third straight year. Although the Cougars would recover and make the Rose Bowl in the 2002 season they were blown out. The program hasn't been the same after the 2003 season. The Cougars missed out on their best chance to win a Rose Bowl which they haven't done in 95 years.

The Seattle Supersonics actually did the best job originally of recovering from a missed opportunity. In the 1978 NBA Finals they lost game seven at home only to beat the same Washington Bullets in five games for the championship in 1979. In 1994 the Sonics were the #1 seed in a year Michael Jordan wasn't in the league and they lost in the first round. The following season the Sonics again lost in the first round. Finally in 1996 the Sonics broke through and made the NBA Finals. Although the Chicago Bulls were the better team the opportunity to win a title was still there for the Sonics. Instead the Sonics lost in a respectable six games and had they won game two this could have been an interesting series. That following offseason the Sonics signed unknown center Jim McIlvaine to a lot of money. Eventually cause Shawn Kemp to demand to be traded after the following season. The year after that George Karl was fired and the Seattle Sonics never advanced past the second round after that 1996 NBA Finals. The Sonics after firing Karl had advanced past the first round just once(2005). The Sonics eventually left Seattle after the 2008 season having won just three postseason series after the NBA Finals. Safe to say the franchise never recovered from those heartbreaking playoff losses of the 1990's.

Now to the Canucks who themselves didn't recover well from their last missed opportunity. The Canucks in 1994 battled back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the New York Rangers 3-2. The Canucks the following year were swept in the second round. Then were bounced in the first round in 1996 only to miss the playoffs four straight seasons after that. They didn't reach the western conference finals until 17 years later which was this season. Now you have to wonder how the Canucks will respond to such a devastating loss. The Canucks were by far and away the best team in the NHL by all the NHL experts. The Canucks had home ice throughout the entire playoffs and were up 2-0 in this series. The Canucks after being destroyed in Boston 12-1 combined came back home to win game five. Only to be outscored 9-2 including losing game seven at home 4-0. The Canucks in their four losses were outscored 21-3 so there was no specific game which hurt just the whole series. People in Vancouver will wonder all offseason why their team laid four eggs in this series. The Canucks are now 0-3 all-time in franchise history in games in which if they win they hoist the Stanley Cup. Hopefully history doesn't repeat itself like it always seems to do with teams in our region.

In conclusion, you can see why teams sometimes play to win for this year. Like I just pointed out even when the future seems so bright you never know if that is your one and only opportunity. So when you have those rare opportunities you have to win those games. All those teams I just mentioned are still recovering from such devastating losses and in the case of the Sonics they left town. The Mariners and Blazers are going on a decade of dissapointment after tasting a championship. The Seahawks have been nothing more than just average since the Super Bowl. While the Huskies and Cougars have tasted some success since then it was never as close as those losses. Hopefully for the fans of Vancouver the Canucks can reverse the trend. Just take a look at the team who beat the Canucks the Boston Bruins. The Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead last year then lost their first two home games this postseason only to rally to win the Stanley Cup. In sports sometimes the winner is the team who is mentally strongest and in the case of teams who lost the championship it's just about being mentally tough. Why I respect the Buffalo Bills who went to four straight super bowls so that was three straight offseasons they battled back from blowing a chance at the title. This region has had our fair share of opportunities and every time it feels like our teams let us down. Maybe the Canucks can reverse the trend of our teams falling apart after blowing a golden opportunity. For my Canucks friends hopefully for your sake they do.