Game 32 Recap

marc w · May 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

No one expects a Game 32 recap!

I don’t know if it was the drizzle, the “12,614” fans, or the fact that this game featured the Orioles, but it was tough to get into. A fairly crisp (if predictably offense-free) start turned ugly in the 6th, but a win’s a win.

* I never understood why David Hernandez wasn’t in Baseball America’s top 10 Orioles prospect rankings. His minor league K rates were great, and BA admitted he had the best slider in the organization. So how could Kam Mickolio be rated higher? Some said it was his lack of a change-up, but compared to Kam Mickolio, Hernandez is as polished as Greg Maddux. Others said it was that he was prone to lapses in concentration. That always seemed suspicious to me, but I think I get it now.
Hernandez was down 2 in the 6th and the rain had made the mound a bit muddy. He seemed to struggle with his landing foot and walked Josh Wilson on pitches that were nowhere near the strike zone. 2 outs, Josh Wilson on first, Ken Griffey Jr coming to bat. You could find the run expectancy for an average situation like that, but taking the specific players into account, I’d put it – charitably – at about 0. *Rob Johnson was in the hole.* Hernandez, though, lost the plot. He walked Griffey, tossed in a wild pitch, gave up a line drive single to Johnson (figures that he found the plate again with an M’s catcher hitting), and that was that. This game should’ve been closer, but I’ll admit I’m glad it wasn’t.

* Rob Johnson is unquestionably a better hitter at this point than Griffey. That’s not hyperbole, that’s a simple statement of fact that illustrates why The Nap doesn’t matter.

* In the 5th, the M’s loaded the bases with 2 outs, and Hernandez walked Ichiro to get to Chone Figgins. At one point in his AB, Figgins squared to bunt. One thought came to my mind: awesome. 2 outs, force anywhere, and Figgins thought the percentage play was a bunt. That’s the 2010 offense in a nutshell.

* Brandon League just doesn’t seem like the pitcher I thought we were acquiring. That’s not League’s fault, and it’s not Zduriencik’s; I just need an adjustment period. I thought we were getting a dominant strikeout pitcher, with moderate-to-questionable command and a great splitter. Instead, we got a command/GB reliever whose sinking fastball may be his best pitch. League came in with 2 on and 1 out in the 8th, facing Miguel Tejada. Jeff’s already recapped the AB here, but it really was a thing of beauty. People have been wondering (and I’m definitely one of them) why he doesn’t throw his deadly splitter more, but after seeing that AB, I’m not sure I care anymore. Those were 4 pitches with Brandon Webb-level sink and mid-90s velocity. Oh, and he’s walked 2 hitters in his last 10 appearances, covering 46 batters.

* Cliff Lee is really good. The strikeout of Wigginton with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out cut the Orioles’ win expectancy by 9 percentage points. The Wieters at-bat that followed had an even higher leverage index, and Lee induced an easy ground ball with a well-placed change. Cliff Lee is very good at what he does – he’s able to miss bats when he wants to, and he’s seemingly able to get GBs when they’re called for.


53 Responses to “Game 32 Recap”

  1. joser on May 12th, 2010 11:37 am

    Well, this comment thread was going well for the first half, and then it seems it took yet another off-ramp to Napistan (where everyone’s reputations go to die). And so I skipped reading that half of the thread, like I’ve skipped just about everything since this blew up, because I really don’t need to read all the same arguments again. Those of you who enjoy that please continue, and don’t mind me, but I’m going to go back to some of the interesting stuff from closer to the top of the page:

    Have we used League too often? He has pitched more than 19 innings so far. The rest of the bullpen have pitched from 9 to 12 innings. I know he is the best arm in the pen, but I am just a little bit concerned.

    We’re about 20% of the way through the season, so right now he’s on track to pitch just under 100 innings. He had 77 with the Jays last year and about the same number (split between the Jays and AAA Syracuse) the year before. So yeah, if current trends continue we’re headed into somewhat uncharted territory for him — a near 50% increase over his career high. I don’t know if there’s a supposed “Veriducci effect” for relievers, but if there is he’d be a candidate — assuming they keep working him this hard (and especially considering how hard he throws).

    On the other hand, there’s still a lot of season left and the starters are going deep into games (hopefully that will include Felix again soon) so there really shouldn’t be such a need to work him that hard. We probably are seeing the “hot hand” thing getting applied by Wak: he does have other options in the pen but he wants to keep flipping the coin that already came up heads a couple of times in a row. It takes guts to not go with the guy you feel most comfortable with.

    Of course, this overuse of one reliever is yet another indictment of the seven-man bullpen. There are a lot of guys sitting around in cobwebby Hoplite helmets out there. At least they have a painting to look at.

    I do think League was acquired with an eye to making him a “closer in waiting” and leaving him in for the save last night may very well be a step in that process. It’s unfortunate that the M’s haven’t given Aardsma more save opportunities so far this year because the lack of counting stats likely will hurt him most with the kinds of teams that overvalue closers, assuming Jack has been dangling him as one lure in an attempt to get another bat.

  2. scott19 on May 12th, 2010 11:44 am

    There is nothing in there that says that you can’t have consequences for your stupid reporting.

    Like when pretty much everybody in MLB was blackballing Jim Gray for a while after that idiot started badgering Pete Rose about gambling in that interview during the 1999 World Series.

  3. ima-zeliever on May 12th, 2010 12:33 pm

    The LaRue source of importance is NOT the players that commented on something that Drayer says is common knowledge. The source that I want to know is who told LaRue that Griffey could be release in 1 month!

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