Game 52, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · May 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Scott Feldman, 5:05

The Rangers signed Roy Oswalt today, so despite the injury to Neftali Feliz and the time Oswalt will need to build his strength, you’ve got to figure Feldman’s moving back to the bullpen in a month or so. Perhaps that would’ve happened anyway, as he’s given up more walks than K’s so far. He’s presumably still smarting from his loss to the M’s in Seattle – the Liddi Grand Slam game.

Because Wedge is so fond of match-ups, not even an ugly slump is going to keep Alex Liddi out of the line-up today. In fact, the line-up is pretty similar to the one that beat Feldman a week ago. The downside is Liddi’s back in LF, with Seager at 3B. Jaso catches today and Jesus Montero gets a start as the DH.

Jason Vargas is enjoying his best season in the majors, with an improved strikeout rate, low walks and a career-low xFIP. At the same time, he’s giving up more contact than he ever has – it hasn’t hurt him thanks to an absurdly low BABIP. Why so much contact? I really don’t know, but it looks like he’s using his change-up a bit less this season. The change-up is, of course, his best pitch by some margin.

So he just needs to throw it more? No, not necessarily. We don’t (ok, *I* don’t) know many change-ups are too many. We don’t really know how to game-theory his arsenal and what percentage would lead to the best overall results. I think too often fans just want pitchers to throw their best pitch, and the logical extension of that argument is that everyone should throw their best pitch 100% of the time. That’s only worked for Mariano Rivera. Really, I’d just like to understand the thinking and what Vargas wants to achieve (this doesn’t seem to be related to catchers, as his CH% is about the same whoever’s behind the dish). This isn’t just an attempt to placate the regression monster – I think this is an interesting research area, albeit one that may be best left to teams with their proprietary data and access to players and coaches. Is Vargas trying to limit pitches per plate appearance to get deeper into games? If so, it doesn’t appear to be working. Is Vargas trying to generate more weak contact? Tough to say if it’s working, but the folks who pay for Hit FX might know.

Anyway, here’s a line-up for you:
1: Ackley (2B)
2: Liddi (LF)
3: Ichiro (RF)
4: Montero (DH)
5: Seager (3B)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Jaso (C)
8: Saunders (CF)
9: Ryan (SS)
SP: Jason Vargas


139 Responses to “Game 52, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Ooohhhh Ackley was out there for sure.

  2. Slats on May 29th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Will Ichiro ground into DP?

  3. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 7:53 pm

    Well based upon his previous results with RISP I’m sure he couldn’t get a hit here. I mean look at his stats over the last 3 weeks!!!

  4. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 7:53 pm

    We’ll call it even for the non-strike calls with Vargas.

  5. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 7:54 pm

    What more proof do we need that Ichiro can’t come through in the clutch?!? I mean a sac fly? He gets hits all the time but can’t right then??

  6. WTF_Ms on May 29th, 2012 7:54 pm

    Wow…Ryan going again! Living dangerous!

  7. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 7:54 pm

    Sometimes, everything just works.

  8. Paul B on May 29th, 2012 7:57 pm

    Marcus, fewer question marks, more stats to support your assertion.

  9. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 7:58 pm

    I know Seager has been struggling (before today) but I’ve been really impressed by the at-bats he’s putting up for the most part. He’s not pressing trying to hit the first strike he sees (I’m looking at you Alex Liddi) but waiting on one he can drive and working quite a few walks.

  10. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 7:58 pm

    Paul I was just kidding, sorry if I didn’t make that clear haha.

  11. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 7:59 pm

    If this were the Twins, or the Rockies, I’d feel sorry for them. But the Rangers….

  12. G-Man on May 29th, 2012 8:00 pm

    Jeez, that half-inning, the Rangers played like – like the Mariners.

  13. WTF_Ms on May 29th, 2012 8:00 pm

    Steve, I agree, hard to feel sorry for them. 🙂

  14. Paul B on May 29th, 2012 8:01 pm

    This is about 3 or 4 games’ worth of hits for the Mariners.

  15. Paul B on May 29th, 2012 8:06 pm

    Sorry Marcus, missed you were being satirical.

  16. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:07 pm

    So I know that UZR needs a larger sample size to be considered too viable, but Carp is on pace for a very respectable 10.4 UZR over 150 games, and Figgins is on pace for -42.5 in Left… The eye test seems to back up that he’s a horrible left fielder as well.. So why is he our defensive replacement??

  17. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:09 pm

    ^Because Wedge hates Wells?

  18. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:11 pm

    Do we really have a regular left fielder? Seems more that we have 3 back-ups filling in for Saunders, while he fills-in for Guti.

  19. WTF_Ms on May 29th, 2012 8:12 pm

    Ad because Wells is in Tacoma? But I get your meaning. 🙁

  20. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:12 pm

    And for a larger sample size, over his career Figgins has had a -28.7 UZR in left field. In other words, he’s never been a good outfielder so why must we pretend like he is? Oh yeah, gotta get all the value we can out of that contract right?

  21. Paul B on May 29th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Liddi is inexperienced, Carp is slow, Figgins is meh.

    so, yeah.

  22. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:14 pm


    The point was that Wells is in Tacoma because Wedge hates him! Kidding of course.

  23. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:14 pm

    I understand that we don’t have a “good” left fielder and completely agree. We have a 3b masquerading as a LF, a 1B who tries his best, and a utility guy with no arm. I’m just saying we should be able to recognize at the very least that Figgins isn’t good enough to warrant inserting strictly for his defense.

    Also, I’m still bitter that he’s still here and Wells is in Tacoma so this is adding to why I’m arguing so vehemently.

  24. WTF_Ms on May 29th, 2012 8:15 pm

    Steve, I gotcha…

  25. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:16 pm

    Wow, Halladay’s out 6-8 weeks.

  26. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:16 pm

    Totally get it and agree Marcus.

  27. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2012 8:18 pm

    This game has been the shot of positivity I so desperately needed. The next step is for them to spread the runs out more evenly.

  28. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:19 pm

    Nice job Saunders.

  29. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:25 pm

    Keep wondering if Zunino will be available for the Mariners on the 6th. The more I see on him, the more I like him.

  30. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:27 pm

    I would bet a substantial sum of money that Zunino is available. I believe that Appel will definitely be one of the top two picks and then Buxton, Correa, Gausman, and Zimmer all have as good or better chance of filling other spot as Zunino.

    If I had to guess I would say the Astros go Appel and the Twins are too tempted to pass on Buxton despite not being their ideal fit.

  31. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:32 pm

    I would guess the Astros go for Buxton and the Twins go for Appel. But I don’t think Correa or Zimmer are likely to go ahead of Zunino. Maybe Gausman.

  32. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:36 pm

    I don’t think they’re “likely” to go ahead of him. But the Astros were reportedly “blown away” by Correa’s workout with them and could view him as the highest upside. The Twins would like to go with a college arm if possible so if Appel goes one, I would think that they’d be torn between Gausman, Zimmer, and Buxton.

    Now all things equal, I’m not saying those guys should go ahead of Zunino, I’m just saying with the board the way it is, I would be more surprised to see Zunino gone at our spot than Correa or Gausman, and about equally surpised to see Zimmer gone.

  33. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:47 pm

    It will be fun to see. I was convinced the Mariners would have Rendon or Cole at this time last year. Hultzen being on the map, but not likely. Ya never know!

  34. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 8:50 pm

    Very true. I really am far from certain and I think there are about 4 possibilities for us but I could be entirely off.

  35. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 8:59 pm

    Imagine if Zunino was drafted… Do we end up with a Montero/Jaso/Zunino rotation at C and DH? That doesn’t sound bad!

  36. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 9:02 pm

    I don’t think we’d see Zunino this year. I think he would start in either High Dessert or Jackson and maybe moves up to Tacoma by the end of the year. I think he’ll be given every chance to make the roster next year but I don’t he plays for us this year.

    Again, I could be entirely wrong but that’s my guess.

  37. stevemotivateir on May 29th, 2012 9:06 pm

    Oh, I doubt we’d even see him next year. Maybe in September. But 2014, sure. Of course Jaso could be gone by then. Just speculating a little!

  38. marcus_andrews on May 29th, 2012 9:12 pm

    Oh if we’re talking that far in the future, I believe that we’d have Zunino as our catcher with Montero getting the occasional start but being mainly a DH. I’d also guess that we have a third catcher (possibly Jaso, perhaps one of our 29 catchers in our minor league system) so that we avoid the DH in the field issue that everyone has been so worried about this year.

  39. Slats on May 30th, 2012 8:03 pm


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