Timbers start to the season: bittersweet

(Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

NWSB Insider and Portland Timbers’ blogger Jeff Budke gives you his love ‘em and hate ‘em to the start of Portland’s 2013 MLS season. Saturday had a completely different feel to it. The consistency of the Timbers Army was the extent of the consistency inside Jeld-Wen Field as Portland failed to string together consistent attacks (despite majority possession) and lost to Montreal Impact 2-1.

M’s Michael Saunders wins MVP of Pool D at World baseball classic

This could be the start needed for Saunders to cash in on a career year.

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke talks about the three game stretch Michael Saunders had for himself this week at the World Baseball Classic for Team Canada. Saunders was 8-for-11 over the weekend, including a 4-for-4 night Saturday against Mexico. Canada failed to advance to the second round behind Italy and team USA, but Saunders production could not be overlooked, and he was awarded the Pool MVP honors.

Raul Ibanez love ‘em & hate ‘em… Mariners style

Raul Ibanez

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke talks about the pros and cons about Raul Ibanez coming back to Seattle. While he may be seen as a little arrogant as time and will surely take at-bats away from other players throughout the year, his upsides seem to outweigh his costs. Ibanez, contrary to what the Mariners thought was going to happen, has actually gained power in the past few years and will be a valuable piece in the Seattle lineup.

Does savvy and a home state reunion spell success for the Mariners Jason Bay?

Jason Bay

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners blogger Jeff Budke brings us the positive and negatives to Jason Bay being on the Seattle Mariners spring training 2013 roster. Bay’s power is what the Mariners would love to capitalize on, but his ability to get on base consistently will make it difficult to play a slumping Bay during the season. Jeff asks what should we love and hate about this New York castoff? Let’s dive in. Eric Wedge are you happy?

Positives and negatives of the Mariners 2013 pitching staff

Felix Hernandez

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners blogger Jeff Budke brings us the positive and negative approaches for the upcoming MLB season with the Mariners’ pitching staff. With King Felix Hernandez leading the charge, mentions Jeff, Seattle’s youngsters could develop into a great staff in 2013. That will only be so, however, if Felix is able to step into a mentor role and guide a few promising young arms like Danny Hultzen and James Paxton.

Positives and Negatives of the Mariners infield

Dustin Ackley

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us the positive and negative approaches for the upcoming MLB season with the Mariners infield. Jeff puts it plain and simple for us; it’s put up or shut up time for several Mariners youngsters starting in the infield. Namely, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackely, and even though he’s a veteran, Brendan Ryan. All three positions have players who were brought in this season chomping at the bit for starting time.

Positives and Negatives of the Mariners outfield

Jason Bay Mariners

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us the positive and negative approaches for the upcoming MLB season with the Mariners new stacked OF. Jeff thinks there will be a trade before the season starts, most likely Casper Wells, or Franklin Gutierrez. The M’s seemed to trade their youth and speed movement, for veteran players with old legs, and less athletic skills. But bats are what the M’s are in need of, and the new players definitely bring that to the mix.

Mariners in need of a Catcher without a plethora of options

Jesus Montero

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us a wish list of sorts, players who could be valid catching backups for the now limited role in Seattle. With the recent trade for Mike Morse, the M’s sent John Jaso to the Oakland A’s, leaving a whole behind the plate, while acquiring more unneeded 1B and OF personnel. Four names stood out to Jeff, and yes, one of them happens to be Miguel Olivo.

Jeff’s Seattle Mariners April 1, 2013 starting lineup projections

Kyle Seager Widescreen

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us the newest installment to the NWSB page, the 2013 M’s opening day lineup predictions. Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Jason Bay, Jesus Montero, Felix Fernandez are some of the usual suspects. Where is Eric Thames? Read on to find out. Spring in the air, sunshine and the smell of sunflower seeds cover the field as the Seattle Mariners prepare for game 1 of 162.

Five team statistics the Mariners must improve on in 2013

Tom Wilhelmsen

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us the newest installment to the NWSB page, the 2013 MLB statistics that must improve for the Mariners. He points out the obvious. The M’s need more runs. Kendrys Morales, 3B Kyle Seager, and C Jesus Montero may not be traditional home run hitters, but all can work the count and should get more base knocks with runners on this season.

Biggest ‘What-If’ questions in Seattle Mariners history

Bill Bavasi

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke brings us the newest installment to the NWSB page, the hypothetical What If questions, Mariners Version. Of course Jeff touches on the what if Junior, Randy, and Alex Rodriguez could have stayed together, but he get’s down to the real business at hand, like what if we never had to put up with the Bill Bavasi years. Or, what would Mariners life been like without the one and only Ichiro Suzuki?

Mariners have indirectly helped Jesus Montero become hitter Seattle needs

Jesus Montero

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners’ blogger Jeff Budke talks about what we can expect out of Jesus Montero in 2013. Despite the Mariners failing to add a prominent position player (or anyone under the age of 29-Jason Bay 34, Raul Ibanez 40), some veteran leadership on this team will go along ways with this team. The combination of Kendrys Morales and an increasingly productive Kyle Seager will give Montero the opportunity to see and hit better pitches.

NorthWest Sports Beat