Baseball: advance scouts and the Seattle Mariners

Despite my Seattle Mariners’ dramatic comeback win tonight vs the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, I was rather disgusted with their lack of offense against the D-Rays starting pitcher, Jason Hammel.

I’ve noticed a pattern over the years with the Mariners: they can go out and light up good, veteran pitchers, one after another. Then an opposing team will throw some young rookie starting pitcher out there – like young Mr. Hammel (107 innings pitched over the last two seasons), who entered tonight’s game with a 2-4 record and a 6.50 ERA – who proceeds to completely stymie the Mariners hitters.

What I’m saying (and what I’ve heard Mariners announcers mention from time to time) is that the Mariners hitters have a lot of trouble with pitchers they’ve never seen before. I’m not talking about just this season’s lineup; I noticed the same thing years ago when the M’s still had Ken Griffey, Jr., Jay Buhner, and Edgar Martinez in their lineup. At the same time, opposing teams don’t seem to have the same problem with our young starters. Or with other team’s young starters. Jason Hammel’s W-L record and ERA indicate that he’s been knocked around pretty regularly this season.

So … is this an issue with advance scouts? You know, the guys who follow other teams around and hang out at minor league ballparks to see what their pitchers are doing, and then report this information back to the home team? Do the Mariners just have worse scouting than other teams? Because it just seems like they have no idea what to expect when they face these young pitchers.