Game 122 – Blue Jays at Mariners

marc w · August 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Beavan vs. Morrow, 7:10pm

This is one of my favorite pitching match-ups of the season. Not only do we have a couple of young starters facing line-ups that feature interesting prospects, we’ve got an object lesson in different approaches to analyzing baseball. No, seriously.

Every bit as enigmatic/frustrating as he was in Seattle, Brandon Morrow enters tonight’s game with an ERA of 4.55, a tRA of 3.96 and a FIP of 3.08. Blake Beavan’s sporting an ERA of 3.59, a tRA of 5.27 and a FIP of 4.46. Morrow’s strikeout rate is in a dead heat with Justin Verlander’s for the best in the AL. Beavan’s would be the worst, if he qualified (Sean O’Sullivan’s is a tiny bit worse amongst the guys with less-than-50 IP, just to remind everyone of one of the most disheartening losses of the year). Morrow’s ERA is below average despite great fielding-independent stats, while Beavan’s ERA is much lower than his fielding-independent stats would predict.

While Beavan’s benefited from a low BABIP, Morrow hasn’t been troubled with a freakishly high one. Instead, he’s suffering from poor sequencing. While Beavan’s stranded nearly 80% of runners, Morrow’s down at 62.5%. With the bases empty, Morrow’s FIP is 2.67. With RISP, it rises to 4.14.* Beavan’s, predictably, goes the other direction. It’s at 5.00 with no one on, but drops to 3.17 with RISP. These are one-year samples, and they’re absurdly tiny in Beavan’s case, but I’m not trying to make a point about their true talent or their psychology (“Morrow can’t handle pressure!”). I’m just asking: what do YOU do with these numbers? If we’re going to determine who’s been the more valuable pitcher, you have to make a choice about what value means to YOU. We all make slightly different determinations, whether explicitly or implicitly. If you want to focus on actual runs given up by the actual Brandon Morrow/Blake Beavan, then you might come up with something like rWAR at baseball-reference, which has the two essentially tied with 1 WAR despite Morrow’s huge advantage in innings pitched. If you want to isolate certain features of their performance – the components that are least impacted by their teammates, say – you’d come up with something more like fWAR at Fangraphs, and you’d rate Brandon Morrow ten times more valuable than Beavan. Ten times!

When someone says they hate WAR, they’re probably just implicitly weighting different factors. That is, they may just hate FIP. Or ERA+, or UZR, or RF, etc. Just disregarding fWAR/rWAR entirely can be problematic, as it can lead you to weight things differently for different players based on who you grew up idolizing, who got that huge double that won a game you attended, or who is Chris Jakubauskas. But you CAN do it systematically and come up with very, very different numbers that are just as “real,” just as sabermetric-y, as b-ref’s or Fangraphs.

* – For someone with better results with no one on, you’d figure Morrow would ditch his childish habit of walking everyone.

The line-up that will try to get Morrow into RISP-situations:
1: Ichiro
2: Gutierrez
3: Ackley
4: Carp
5: Wells
6: Robinson
7: Seager
8: Bard
9: Wilson

It’s starting to feel almost like a set line-up. Bard’s in for Olivo after the latter had his “bell rung” last night.

In the minors tonight, James Paxton had his start for Jackson skipped/moved, so instead of seeing one of the best non-Matt Moore lefties in the minors, Generals fans get Moises Hernandez tonight.
Forrest Snow starts for the Rainiers against Omaha and Jeff Suppan, Nathan Reed faces off against Inland Empire, Steven Landazuri goes for Everett against Eugene, and Dylan Unsworth’s currently battling Greeneville in the Appy league.


40 Responses to “Game 122 – Blue Jays at Mariners”

  1. TheBird on August 17th, 2011 5:29 pm

    Who could have predicted a #3-#7 like that at the beginning of the year? And that these are the guys that are currently producing. Mind boggling!

  2. erich39 on August 17th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Great write up, marc. Perhaps Beavan will be the latest Mariner to give us an artificially low era in Safeco, and we can trade him away for something more attractive later.

  3. Paul B on August 17th, 2011 6:59 pm


    Now I have to look him up and see where he is.

  4. Paul B on August 17th, 2011 7:09 pm

    He’s in Baltimore. And he’s the same pitcher now that he was with the Mariners in 2009′

  5. jordan on August 17th, 2011 7:28 pm

    That was a shot..

  6. Paul B on August 17th, 2011 7:28 pm

    Where is that Safeco wind when ee need it?

  7. jordan on August 17th, 2011 7:38 pm

    Well, this is a large K zone.

  8. Glen on August 17th, 2011 7:39 pm

    Got to love called strikeouts withou.t a single pitch in the zone.

  9. TherzAlwaysHope on August 17th, 2011 7:39 pm

    Morrow and the Ump are unhitable so far.

  10. PinedaExpress on August 17th, 2011 7:41 pm

    If Morrow’s gonna get the high and somewhat close to the zone calls, this is gonna be a long night. I’d love to see Felix pitch with that zone…..

  11. UnderTheClouds on August 17th, 2011 8:22 pm

    Seems like the Jays always play home run derby when they play at Safeco. I hate these Jays/Sox/Yankees series where Safeco is dominated by the away teams’ fans.

  12. Carson on August 17th, 2011 8:35 pm

    Man, this is no fun.

  13. juneau_fan on August 17th, 2011 9:02 pm

    Can this get worse?

  14. SadPanda on August 17th, 2011 9:02 pm

    Someone on the Jay’s needs to pay for that.

  15. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:05 pm

    Someone on the Jay’s needs to pay for that.

    Agree, Morrow is a jerk… Hope Cortes can do something

  16. TherzAlwaysHope on August 17th, 2011 9:06 pm

    SadPanda: Big time.

  17. The Hamms Bear on August 17th, 2011 9:06 pm

    Jesus. What a strike zone.

  18. SadPanda on August 17th, 2011 9:07 pm

    Agree, Morrow is a jerk… Hope Cortes can do something

    You don’t throw fastballs at the head. I pray Wedge has some balls and we plunk Bautista in the gord.

  19. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:07 pm

    I would love to see Cortes in a brawl, the guy is so strong

  20. TherzAlwaysHope on August 17th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Not in the gord. The ribs would be fine.

  21. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:14 pm

    They are waiting for Bautista, but poor Wells, 97MPH in the face…

  22. G-Man on August 17th, 2011 9:17 pm

    A little surprising that they put Carp in RF instead of left.

  23. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:19 pm

    Maybe Ruffin will defend his old friend Casper Wells

  24. henryv on August 17th, 2011 9:19 pm

    In vegas now. Anyone want me to put any money on the m’s wining it all?

  25. G-Man on August 17th, 2011 9:21 pm

    Heads up play, nice. Taking lessons from Ryan.

  26. juneau_fan on August 17th, 2011 9:29 pm

    Welcome to Seattle, kid. Go at Bautista.

  27. G-Man on August 17th, 2011 9:33 pm

    I wonder how many guys have played for 2 different teams during their rookie year? probably a number of them, but I can’t think of anyone else.

  28. justcruisn on August 17th, 2011 9:34 pm

    Clearly, Ichiro is not worth the money he is paid any longer. Too bad because he was fun to watch up until now. Maybe he will take a pay cut?

  29. jordan on August 17th, 2011 9:35 pm

    Ugh.. I’m still pissed about Casper taking that fastball to the face.. I don’t believe Morrow meant to, but I would still drill someone.

  30. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:39 pm

    I wonder how many guys have played for 2 different teams during their rookie year? probably a number of them, but I can’t think of anyone else.


  31. lalo on August 17th, 2011 9:39 pm

    Zach Stewart too, with the Jays and the White Sox…

  32. jordan on August 17th, 2011 9:40 pm

    Casper Wells

  33. Edgar4Hall on August 17th, 2011 9:44 pm

    Screw Morrow but F*** this ump! This strike zone is deplorable! Do you think if we made the computers look like humans when they called strikes Selig would allow it?

  34. SadPanda on August 17th, 2011 9:47 pm

    Wow no retaliation. Last game of the series as well.. Weak. I just lost some respect for Wedge.

  35. marc w on August 17th, 2011 10:31 pm

    I would love to know if that was intentional or not. Escobar milked that near-miss for all it was worth (and it wasn’t worth much, as it was a breaking ball)… wonder if that was in Morrow’s mind, or if he just lost control of one.

  36. UnderTheClouds on August 17th, 2011 11:12 pm

    I figured there wouldn’t be retaliation when Ruffin was brought in–would have been very tough to ask a rookie who’s been with the team for all of 12 hours, give or take, to plunk someone. The rule is that pitchers don’t aim for the head, ever. If someone is hit on the head, it’s a mistake pitch intended to go up and in to back the batter off the plate. Both Beavan and Cortes pitched up and in, out of necessity, to back Jays hitters off the plate. I think you have to give Morrow the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to do the same.

    I’ve never been in a clubhouse–I have to assume that Wedge has a good idea of when to retaliate and when to keep his powder dry.

  37. marc w on August 17th, 2011 11:58 pm

    Not surprised that Ruffin didn’t do anything – just surprised Wright didn’t.

    Morrow was very conciliatory on twitter tonight, I’ll give him that.

  38. UnderTheClouds on August 18th, 2011 1:07 am

    I don’t think retaliation is a given, even when someone is hit in the head. I remember watching Aaron Sele hit Chris Stynes squarely on the batting helmet in 2001. I looked it up on Wikipedia to refresh my memory, but I remember it was a bloody mess, leaving a serious gash on his face, and it took place in the opposing park (Fenway), no less. My recollection was that there was no retaliation by Boston pitchers. It was an awful looking incident that put Stynes on the dl, but I don’t recall any fallout from it.

  39. r-gordon-7 on August 18th, 2011 7:04 am

    Was at the game (one of the relatively few M’s fans there, it seems. Canada must’ve been empty…) Anyhow, right after the pitch, while Wells was down, Morrow (and a few other infield Jays clustered with him) were looking on with what appeared to be great concern… FWIW, it really didn’t seem to be the reaction to anything intentional…

  40. Marinerman1979 on August 18th, 2011 11:34 am

    good to know that I am not the only one that thinks it’s childish for pitchers to have high walk rates.(I am looking at you Sanchez, Morrow, Burnett…ect)

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