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Defending Richie: Continued… Saturday, July 12, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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Now granted, the M’s lost their 4-5 game against Kansas City primarily because Morrow, despite his outstanding record before this week, gave up a second walk off homerun in his last two appearances. But, there was one more reason the M’s were two runs behind, and in conjuction with my last post, I felt it was necessary (and fruitful to my previous point) to point out that it was Vidro who put us 2 runs behind from the get go with an error while covering for the missing Richie Sexson at first base. Now, before I start tossing angry comments at Jose Vidro, who Riggleman for some reason believes was capable of batting cleanup for the M’s today, let’s run some stat comparison (and yes, I’ll do my best to make it as one-sided as possible).

I mentioned it before, but Richie was batting .282 in 71 at bats in June (granted, his 5 RBIs weren’t quite impressive). Vidro packed in a stellar .189 in 74 at bats in the same month (although managed a more impressive 9 RBIs, 2 homeruns and only 9 k’s). On the defensive front, I have never pretended that Richie was exactly a gem as a first baseman, but he’s certainly more competent than a guy who once was an all-star 10 years ago. Vidro’s started 8 times at first and has made 2 errors this season. And Richie? He’s got 2 errors as well… in 72 games started. 72! Now, USSM will bash Richie’s defensive ability all over the place, and like I said, he’s not a gold glove candidate over there, but he’s got a .994 career fielding percentage and a lack of area covered, or the inability to clutch out an occasional foul ball is a far better place to be than a guy who averages an error every four games. Will Vidro get better? Yes, of course he will. His stats aren’t really set right now and more starting experience equals less mistakes, but this was an idiotic move by Riggleman and Pelekoudas. And what’s up with Vidro at #4? USSM covered it with their usual tenacity here.

On the positive side of things (and yes, rookie appearances are about as positive as the M’s will probably get this year), Tug Hulett made his Mariners premier today… at DH. I was lucky enough to be able to follow Tug’s first season of baseball when he played (and I worked) for the Spokane Indians. He was a sweet guy then, and he seems to have the same demeanor even at the major league level. When I got to watch him play in 2004, he hit .279, with absolutely no power but managed to snag 19 bases in 26 tries. He didn’t exactly impress me with anything except his incredible patience at the plate. He had 69 hits and 68 walks that season to give him an incredible .444 OBP. He may not have been the star of that team, but he was always involved in the victories and scored more runs than any other player with 54 (keep in mind that Spokane only plays 76 games a season). He’s posted similar numbers since and even got his batting average up to .302 this season in Tacoma, so hopefully his patience at the plate will see continued success. He’s a middle infielder, so I’m not sure he’s got much of a future with the M’s next year, but he has potential to be the next Willie Bloomquist (or maybe even a successful version of Willie Bloomquist).

Here’s hoping we win tomorrow and head into the all-star break on a positive note! Go Silva!

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