Game 18, Mariners at Angels
6:05. FSN. Given Silva’s pitch-to-contact nature, this would be a fine time to go to the best possible defensive lineup.
Some pre-game thoughts for your consideration and discussion.
Players with 50 or more plate appearances and no walks:
Bengie Molina, C, SF
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, Sea
Fielding percentage is nothing. The broadcast crew’s mentioned a couple times now that the M’s are having defensive problems. As a team, this is absolutely not true. And I rarely use italics.
Yes, they’re near the bottom in fielding percentage. But look closer. In terms of raw balls put into play turned into outs, the M’s are 10th in the majors. Last year they were 26th. Using an advanced defensive measure like UZR that looks at play by play, the M’s are the best defensive team in baseball right now… by five runs.
Now if you look at individual UZR, Betancourt is big problem, Ichiro’s below-average initially (but we’ve got every reason to have faith). But the two new outfielders are putting up world-beating numbers. We’ve liked using the example of the Winn-Cameron-Ichiro! outfield before to talk about how good these guys could be. And yeah, they’re that good. This is a stellar defensive outfield.
This is another example of how a story originating in the flaws of bad metrics gets repeated by people who have a public forum and ta da! everyone’s worried about the team’s defensive issues.
This is a team designed to play great defense, and they’re playing great defense. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.