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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


As M’s sink, questions arise about future


Remember that off-season term, the hot seat? Well, after a three-game sweep at home by Minnesota and a three-game sweep on the road at Anaheim – with the quick hook of the 8.3 million-dollar-man Jeff Weaver to boot – Mike Hargrove (and Bill Bavasi) are officially on the hot seat – and there's no Budweiser involved.

Going into tonight's game with Texas (5; FSN; 920-AM), the M's are in last place in the AL West, they have a six-game losing streak, their best pitcher is on the sidelines and the rest of the starting staff has an ERA somewhere south of terrible.

Is it time to panic yet? With the pitching staff Seattle assembled in the off-season, I would have to say yes. After all, it looks like Hargrove has.

He changed the lineup a little Sunday, playing Willie Bloomquist at second and hitting him second. He dropped Adrian Beltre down to seventh. He caught Jamie Burke, giving the hot-hitting Kenji Johjima a well-deserved day of rest. And, as he told the News Tribune, "nothing worked."

Maybe it's time for an evern bigger change. Though, with the pitching staff available for work this week, I'm not sure Casey Stengel could be successful. But at least the quotes would be better.

Today's hot list …

• Hargrove's decision to pull Weaver, who actually lowered his ERA yesterday to 13.91 when he yielded three runs in three innings, seems to be the focus of today's game stories, starting with the Times, News Tribune and the P-I. The Angels' end of things can be found in the LA Times and the Orange County Register.

• The P-I's Art Thiel is usually insightful and measured. Today's column is no exception. By paraphrasing the great thespian Yogi Berra, he makes it clear, for the M's, it's getting late early. And he tells us why.

• Will Hargrove last until May? John McGrath writes the manager needs to win three of the seven games prior to then if he wants to survive. And McGrath had this thought concerning the Weaver's early hook: "The call to the bullpen in the bottom of the fourth screamed of panic, the kind of panic associated with a playoff team facing elimination." Or a manager on the verge of elimination.

• UPDATE: The Times' Geoff Baker is also on the "change-may-be-coming-soon" bandwagon with this blog post.

• Willie Bloomquist wants a piece of Ben Broussard's pinch-hit grand slam Friday. According to notebook pieces in the News Tribune and the Times, Bloomquist is taking partial credit, facetiously of course, for Broussard's success, because Bloomquist is throwing him in-game batting practice. I will refrain from making a comment about the M's starters and the recent in-game batting practice.

• The Weaver situation was covered in this P-I sidebar with comments from Weaver.

• And our question for the day …

• How much longer should the ownership wait before pulling the plug on Hargrove and Bavasi? Or should they pull the plug at all?

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