Game 113, Devil Rays at Mariners

Dave · August 9, 2006 at 12:53 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Washburn vs Shields, 1:35 pm.

In lieu of writing about the team, let me direct you to today’s interesting reading material: Andy Dolphin has a free article at Baseball Prospectus on the value of pinch-hitting. It’s interesting stuff, but I’ll leave those of you who hate numbers with his conclusionary paragraph:

What can we conclude from all this? Simply put, when a pinch hitter comes in, you should expect him to do significantly worse than if he were a starter, so a substitution that would look good on paper may actually cost you runs. Managers beware!

As terrifying as it sounds, maybe Hargrove understood something we didn’t when he refused to pinch hit for Crazy Carl or Willie Ballgame in situations where a pinch-hit looked so obvious. Maybe.

Anyways, today’s line-up:

1. Ichiro, RF
2. Lopez, 2B
3. Beltre, 3B
4. Ibanez, LF
5. Sexson, 1B
6. Broussard, DH
7. Betancourt, SS
8. Rivera, C
9. Jones, CF

If the bottom of that line-up makes you groan, this should make you feel better: Tampa Bay is hitting Travis Lee (.208/.298/.344) in the cleanup spot.


289 Responses to “Game 113, Devil Rays at Mariners”

  1. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 3:53 pm

    I also have questioned what kind of pitches some our hitters “like” lately. I’ve seen some first pitch cuts at balls WELL out of the strike zone.

  2. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 3:53 pm


    This is true to a degree. And you said GOOD HITTER. We don’t have too many “good hitters” is the main problem. Whatever the philosophy, we walk less than anyone in baseball, so something is clearly wrong with that imho. But you’re right. Just because someone swings early, doesn’t necessarily make it a bad decision. We just have too many outs being made on these “early swing decisions.”

  3. msb on August 9th, 2006 3:54 pm

    well, back again, and it is all over. man, I hate it when real life interferes with baseball.

  4. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 3:57 pm

    “Real life interfering with baseball”

    Sounds sort of like an explanation of what happens when we play the A’s

  5. seank100 on August 9th, 2006 3:57 pm

    It does sometimes look like our batters have forgotten that it is possible to reach first via the walk.

  6. Dave in Palo Alto on August 9th, 2006 3:57 pm

    Great three-game stride for the M’s. Loved how the pitching continued to be as consistent all 9 innings as Washburn only allowed 3 Hits and 1 BB in 6.66 innings. Can’t wait to see how this momentum turns out in Texas.

    By the way, I guess I must apologize about that stuff about 150 posts above. Jeez, one day I get offered free beer, the next I am unworthy of posting once in a blue moon.

  7. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 3:58 pm

    Living on the edge has it’s risks Dave in PA.. Any regrets? LOL!

  8. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 3:59 pm


    Sometimes? Like I alluded to earlier…when was the last time we even saw a long reliever pitch against us?

    BTW: Corcoran for Mayor ’06!

  9. Abodacious on August 9th, 2006 4:00 pm

    For whoever was talking about M’s pitching: true, the bullpen has been outstanding — but in the first four games of this homestand (esp. the three that mattered most) our starters were not good. Better pick it up several notches in Texas . . .

  10. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 4:00 pm

    258 Ok, so I referred to middle relievers before…but you get the idea

  11. Ralph Malph on August 9th, 2006 4:01 pm

    I agree, and I’m not saying our hitters should all be up there hacking. I very much agree that we should try to get the pitchers deep into counts — which gets you into the bullpen sooner. I just don’t think we should single out Ichiro, or jump on a guy for swinging at the first pitch in a single at bat.

    I would be the first guy screaming at the TV when somebody like Willie swings at the first pitch out of the strikezone and pops it out.

    By the way, the highest P/PA on the team belongs to…Jamie Moyer with 4.67. Among hitters the highest is Dobbs at 4.22 followed by Sexson at 3.93. Lowest is, surprisingly, Broussard at 3.26.

  12. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 4:03 pm

    Wow! Almost 20 posts since the last Idaho traffic discussion! Only time I was in the Boise area, there was a blizzard, so I didn’t notice hardly any traffic on the raod (except my dumb***).

  13. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 4:03 pm

    Yeah, indeed it does depend on WHO is doing it. Fwiw, Willie must have had ya screaming SEVERAL times the past few days.

    Me too

  14. IdahoInvader on August 9th, 2006 4:03 pm


    Way to break the streak! 😉

  15. JI on August 9th, 2006 4:23 pm

    Worst game thread ever.

  16. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 4:27 pm

    265 – Makes me think of the comic book guy from the Simpsons!

    Worst. thread. ever.

  17. Ralph Malph on August 9th, 2006 4:27 pm

    Derek might have one or two others he’d put even behind this one.

  18. JAS on August 9th, 2006 4:29 pm

    The statistical conversation early in this thread, along with other similar trains of thought posted earlier, lead me to the idea that winning in baseball could be a lot like winning in poker.

    For whatever hand you are dealt, there is an optimum strategy, but you bet on the percentages and try your damndest to get the right matchup.

    Grover doesn’t play baseball management the way top poker players play Texas Hold’m. Grover still bets on losing hands, with either a complete disregard for odds, a complete disregard for opposing strategy, or a sado-masochistic disregard for the fans or his own well-being.

    Yah, we won. This rant isn’t necessarily about today’s game. But I just read the ESPN article on Jamie Gold, which reminded me that smart peoople play the odds better. We don’t have the smart people on our side, and it sucks.

  19. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 4:34 pm

    My biggest gripes lately have been:

    1) Mateo first out of the bullpen, even in a close game
    2) Too much WFB, not enough Jones (if you called him up, you should play him!)

  20. Ralph Malph on August 9th, 2006 4:34 pm

    It’s not just that Grover disregards the odds. He just has a totally skewed idea of what the odds are. He honestly believes that, when he bunts with a man at 2nd and nobody out in the first inning, he’s playing the percentages.

    He also seems to be completely lacking in the ability to see an inning or two ahead. When he runs Jones for Johjima in the 7th inning it doesn’t occur to him to leave Jones in the game to play CF and put Rivera in a different spot in the order. That requires some coherent planning and he’s already moved on to trying to decide when would be the most critical point in the game to insert Mateo.

  21. JI on August 9th, 2006 4:35 pm


    Everyone from Idaho should be banned…

    Beltre continues not to suck, Yippie!

    We need a 7-2 or better trip to keep the season alive.

  22. JI on August 9th, 2006 4:36 pm


    How about when Grover PHs Dobbs for Rivera and then replaces him Johjima? I guess Dobbers has more PH experence…

  23. Ralph Malph on August 9th, 2006 4:37 pm

    That’s only when he’s resting Johjima; it would tire him out too much to PH.

  24. Abodacious on August 9th, 2006 4:45 pm


  25. Abodacious on August 9th, 2006 4:47 pm

    I am saying 7

  26. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 4:48 pm

    More than my Grandma would.

  27. dw on August 9th, 2006 4:50 pm

    I love the Mariners post-game callers.

    Caller: “The M’s aren’t making moves during the season!”
    Host: “What about Perez and Broussard?”
    Caller: “I’m talking about in-season moves!”
    Host: “…”

  28. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 4:57 pm

    Makes you wonder about the callers. They obviously care enough to call, but NOT enough to actually know anything about the team (or the sport, for the most part).

  29. Coach Owens on August 9th, 2006 5:00 pm

    Broussard now 3 for 25 since the trade.

  30. Thingray on August 9th, 2006 5:03 pm

    Sparkling. Can he even see the Mendoza Line from there?

  31. revbill on August 9th, 2006 5:10 pm

    I actually just scrolled up hoping to see a bunch of posts that said:

    [Discussing traffic in Idaho]

    but no such luck.

  32. Jeff Nye on August 9th, 2006 6:43 pm

    #279 et al:

    I cannot imagine why you would even care about Broussard’s record since the trade, since it’s been what, a week and a half or so?

    Sample size, my man. Sample size.

  33. mntr on August 10th, 2006 1:17 am

    I’d like to see somehow who knows statistics well look at Andy Dolphin’s study. I can guess at reasons that it’s valid or not, but frankly I didn’t feel like sitting down and figuring out his model.

  34. BelaXadux on August 10th, 2006 2:55 am

    I’ve never been a big fan of pinch-hitting, and for exactly the reason in the box quote: pinch hitters come in cold, and don’t usually do very much. There’s only three reasons to bring in a pinch-hitter: 1) the pitcher on the mound has a hughe L-R differential, and you can bring some one in on his ‘wrong side,’ 2) the guy being hit for hits like a pitcher, usually because he _is_ a pitcher, or 3) the guy coming in to hit has very, very significant power relative to the guy being lifted and the situation really calls for an XB hit. Making a _thoughtful_ substitution can really impact a game; bringing in a guy to pinch run who then goes in as a superior defensive replacement, or pinch hitting with a guy from the other side who is then going to stay in the game for at least another AB late in the game. You know, good managing. But most pinch hitting is done with a lick and a prayer, and changes nothing; it’s reflexive substitution rather than thoughtful. And reflexive actions by the manager aren’t really likely to be that useful; it’s the difference between spotting an advantage and hoping for one.

  35. Brian Rust on August 10th, 2006 10:14 am

    From a strict statistical standpoint Dolphin’s analysis probably has a pretty serious flaw: I think he’s making the faulty assumption that the hitter being replaced would achieve his season (split) wOBA in the pinch-hit situation. In fact, a significant portion of the situations will be “high-leverage” – when the opposing manager ALSO is substituting to gain an advantage. Comparing the performance of pinch hitters in those situations to the replaced player in all non-pinch-hit situations simply is not valid.

    I will have to parse his vague description (“completely corrected for everything I can think of”) more closely to determine for sure whether this is the case. Perhaps someone else can confirm this.

  36. Dave on August 10th, 2006 10:23 am

    I posted a similar note on the Insidethebook blog. Tango seems to think that Andy’s model did adjust for opponent, but no one is sure. It’d be nice if Andy could clear it up, for sure.

  37. Mike Lien on August 10th, 2006 10:24 am

    Congratulations to Derek Zumsteg Page 2 Columnist. My evil side wanted to post this as a long link so you’d have to delete a link to your own column, but I relented. Good to see you’ve joined such analytical luminaries as Skip Bayless and Gregg Easterbrook .

  38. DMZ on August 10th, 2006 10:55 am

    Folks, there’s your backhanded compliment of the week. Gregg Easterbrook indeed.

  39. revbill on August 10th, 2006 12:28 pm

    Skip Bayless makes Gregg Easterbrook look like Grantland Rice.

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