All hail Gil Meche

DMZ · September 12, 2004 at 8:26 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Something for everyone tonight.

For the Meche-as-awesome crowd: his first shutout since 2000. Only 1 walk.
For the Meche-as-not-awesome crowd: only 4K in nine innings of work, required a bizarre Manny mistake to get the shutout.
For the organization-as-dumb crowd: threw 129 pitches in the effort.


16 Responses to “All hail Gil Meche”

  1. eponymous coward on September 12th, 2004 9:11 pm

    All in all, I think he’s sewed up the arbitration tender, what with going 4-1 with an ERA in the low 3’s since the recall.

  2. IceX on September 12th, 2004 9:13 pm

    IIRC, Meche had only about 1 or 2 high-stress type innings.

    I think the 129 pitches are fine… Last one was about 95. 😀

  3. Jason R on September 12th, 2004 10:13 pm

    My new theory is that the bullpen may only be used when the M’s are losing. Seriously, by the time the 9th rolled around, we had Putz and (I believe) Thorton warmed up. Either of those guys could’ve faced Varitek, Millar, and Roberts. Boston didn’t have anyone left on the bench who you’d have to be really afraid of. There wasn’t any reason for Meche to go out there, not after 117 pitches. Now, I didn’t think he was looking that gassed (his last pitch of the 8th was 94 mph and his control was still pretty decent) but when a pitcher has thrown that many pitches, no matter their injury and workload history, and you have 8 guys in your bullpen, 7 of whom could use work, there is no reason to send any pitcher back out. Unless they have a no-hitter/perfect game going.

    Having said that, I think Meche pitched pretty well. He was wild early and was having trouble consistently hitting the zone. He got a ton of luck when Manny didn’t tag up in the first and then lined out in the 6th. After that lineout, he pitched like people have expected him to pitch like for a long time, getting the next 8 outs on 33 pitches with 3 K’s, although they were still hitting the ball hard (2 lineouts, 2 popups, and a flyout to deep center). I don’t think you can ask for a better performance from Meche in general. Yeah, I would have liked to have seen more K’s, but he kept the ball in the park (barely), and worked out of jams.

    And Ichiro got 2 hits.

  4. Stan McMurry on September 12th, 2004 10:48 pm

    DMZ, and just as I expected you would have nothing good to say about Meche’s performance. You have made up your mind that he is just not good enough for you. He had 4k or 12k, what does it matter? He got the batters out and finished a complete game. At a earlier game this year in Detroit, he had a career high 11k and still lost that game. But I guess that just does not live up to your standard. Funny how you complimented Bobby M just few night ago on and on, but Meche’s similar performance deserved 3 lines from you. We are all baseball fans here and have our favorites and not so favorites. But I thought minmim we can do is to at least to be happy for a day for such a performance at this aweful season.

  5. eponymous coward on September 12th, 2004 11:08 pm

    Uh, Thornton and Putz have ERAs right around 6. Can you say “pour gasoline on the fire”?

    Yeah, they SHOULD be able to get out of it, even with ERAs like that…except with how this season is going, they can’t. Note that Madritsch’s shutout got ruined by Atchison pitching the 9th…but that was a 7-0 ballgame, not 2-0.

    The Mariner bullpen right now is a trainwreck, with NOBODY who you can rely on to get some critical outs outside of Villone.

  6. Evan on September 12th, 2004 11:08 pm

    Meche’s K rate is entirely relevant, as Ks are the only outs over which Meche has significant control. So, if he pitches a shutout with only 4 Ks, he was more lucky than good. If he pitched a shutout with 11 Ks, he’d be more good than lucky.

  7. eponymous coward on September 12th, 2004 11:13 pm

    Well, over the past 61 innings since showing up from AAA, his WHIP’s under 1.

    And he walked 1 guy. His control’s clearly better since his return, and it shows in his results.

    I’ll take it. It’s not like the farm system is stocked full of better options these days.

  8. stan on September 13th, 2004 12:32 am

    e.c., give it up…. meche, pineiro and madritsch are part of a reasonable rotation in ’05, but don’t expect to hear that from anyone who thinks the way you and i do….. now if the ’05 mariners put together a team that can actually catch a baseball instead of giving it a good try, perhaps the aforementioned three can actually post a winning record…. given the depths that the 04 mariners have reached, that would be a hugh improvement….. i for one will take mediocraty in 05 as long as i dont have to watch winn play centerfield…..

  9. tede on September 13th, 2004 12:46 am

    So if Meche keeps pitching this well, does that mean the Tigers will finally agree to send Brandon Inge to Seattle?

    Good game. If Nageotte or any of the other kids had thrown this game, people will be overjoyed.

    One bad sign: Jeremy Reed loafing after Trot Nixon’s double thinking it was leaving the yard. He must be watching Manny too closely.

  10. DMZ on September 13th, 2004 12:49 am

    Two things — first, can we try, as much as possible, to keep this about the topic at hand and not focus on what person X said, or how you know person Y thinks badly of player Z? I really don’t want comments to evolve into the kind of grudge-honing.

    And I should mention I didn’t post at length about tonight’s game because I had a lot of other writing to turn in and wanted to put up a quick thought. Generally, I’m going to write about what interests me, and Meche’s start had a couple points of interest… I put ’em up and moved on.

    That’s all. Don’t sweat it.

    As to what would convince me that Meche is healthy and should be in the rotation: a better strikeout rate over an extended period. Lower HR run rate would be nice, too, and I can’t say I don’t like the walks. But… I’ll write something up here in a minute.

  11. Jason R on September 13th, 2004 2:20 am

    Putz has a 5.18 ERA, mostly because he had a horrid July; he’s at around 3.40 or so in August and September (admittedly, in only 10.2 IP), with no walks. I don’t think Thornton would be a complete disaster either. They both could, of course, blow up. But I think that, between 8 guys in the bullpen, somebody (or two or three somebodies) should be able to get three outs in the 9th without blowing the game. Heck, even Shiggy hasn’t given up any runs in September yet.

    My deeper point is that, since I agree that Meche has basically earned himself another paycheck, I think it would be in the M’s interest to not slag his arm (again) by throwing a ton of pitches. If he continues to get to high pitch counts and lots of innings, we could very well be seeing the Meche of late 2003, instead of the Meche of now, or the Meche of early 2003; either of the last two are valuable, the first isn’t. Taking a chance with Putz, or Thornton, or Villone, or anybody out of the pen to increase the chances we’ll get a good, or at least serviceable, version of Meche next year is worth the risk of blowing the game.

  12. Alex on September 13th, 2004 11:49 am

    To Evan’s comment:
    “Meche’s K rate is entirely relevant, as Ks are the only outs over which Meche has significant control. So, if he pitches a shutout with only 4 Ks, he was more lucky than good. If he pitched a shutout with 11 Ks, he’d be more good than lucky.”

    By this logic, Jamie Moyer must be awfully lucky then. He’s not what anyone would call a strikeout pitcher, but he typically gets quite a few wins. You can deceive an opposing batter without striking them out and that’s completely in the control of the pitcher. The pitcher can simply take 2-3 mph off of a pitch and the batter out in front and they roll a simple grounder to SS or 3B. I guess I don’t understand how one can think that only K’s are really in the pitcher’s control. Granted, they can’t help how the SS/3B might field a ball in the example above or how they throw it to 1B, but the pitcher definitely played a huge role in putting the fielder in the optimum position to succeed.

  13. DMZ on September 13th, 2004 12:07 pm

    Moyer doesn’t strike out guys? Despite what people may “call a strikeout pitcher” he has done just that:

    Since joining the Mariners, Moyer’s K numbers by season: 113, 158, 137, 98 (2000, only 150 IP), 119, 147, 129, and 108 so far this year.

    While I just said I don’t like x/IP ratios, they’re what I have at hand, so — Moyer’s K/9 rate in the last couple years has been about 5.5/9, where it’s been over his career. A huge power pitcher might get over 9, and your worst put-the-ball-in-play Reuter-type guy might be at three. 5.5’s not great, and he’s certainly not a huge K guy, but Moyer’s effectiveness has long been based in his ability to get strikeouts as well as control the walk.

  14. Alex on September 13th, 2004 12:18 pm

    I agree that Moyer is probably in the middle of the pack when it comes to strikeouts. I was stating that strikeouts are not the only thing that a pitcher has some control over. Pitchers mess with hitter’s timing and that results in pop flies, easy groundballs, etc.

  15. Dave on September 13th, 2004 12:21 pm


    Check out Tom Tippett’s take on the subject, probably the best explanation out there. It’s really long, but if you’ve got some free time, it’s worth the read. If not, here’s a summation of his findings, some of which agree with your original philosophy, some of which don’t:

    . Pitchers have more influence over in-play hit rates than McCracken suggested. In fact, some pitchers (like Charlie Hough and Jamie Moyer) owe much of their careers to the ability to excel in this respect.

    2. Their influence over in-play hit rates is weaker than their influence over walk and strikeout rates. The most successful pitchers in history have saved only a few hits per season on balls in play, when compared with the league or team average. That seems less impressive than it really is, because the league average is such a high standard. Compared to a replacement-level pitcher, the savings are much greater.

    3. The low correlation coefficients for in-play batting average suggest that there’s a lot more room for random variation in these outcomes than in the defense-independent outcomes. I believe this follows quite naturally from the physics of the game. When a round bat meets a round ball at upwards of 90 miles per hour, and when that ball has laces and some sort of spin, miniscule differences in the nature of that impact can make the difference between a hit and an out. In other words, there’s quite a bit of luck involved.

    The bottom line, though, is that I am convinced that pitchers do influence in-play outcomes to a significant degree. There’s a reason why Charlie Hough and Jamie Moyer and Phil Niekro and Tom Glavine and Bud Black have had successful careers despite mediocre strikeout rates. There’s a reason why the top strikeout pitchers have also suppressed in-play hits at a good rate. Using power or control or deception or a knuckleball, pitchers can keep hitters off balance and induce more than their share of routine grounders, popups, and lazy fly balls.

  16. Steve on September 13th, 2004 5:46 pm

    Fly ball pitchers get the benefit of foul fly outs that ground ball pitchers don’t get. I suspect that if you took foul ball outs and converted them to strikeouts, much of Moyer’s historically low BABIP would correct to just about normal.

    BTW, I’m not trying to crticize Moyer in any way. To the contrary, fly ball pitchers get more opportunities for fielders to make plays on balls than groundball pitchers, and that is not recognized in DIPS evaluations.

    It follows, as well, that the effect should be particularly pronounced for flyball pitchers who also keep the ball in the yard. They should get a relatively high number of foul ball outs.