Game 66, Giants at Mariners

marc w · June 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Ryan Vogelsong, 7:10pm

Ryan Vogelsong’s comeback story got plenty of attention thanks to an All-Star appearance and because he was on the team featured in Showtime’s “The Franchise” documentary. The short version: after debuting with the Giants in 2000, he went to the Pirates where he sucked repeatedly and relentlessly in both the rotation and the bullpen. After getting cut in 2006, he spent three decent years in Japan, and was considering Taiwan and Korea before getting a minor league shot in the Angels organization in 2010. He was, again, pretty bad. He moved to the Phillies AAA team, and was slightly worse. Then, he caught on with the Giants’ AAA affiliate in 2011 and pitched brilliantly, came up to the majors and made an improbable run at a Cy Young award (ok, ok, he only finished 11th).

It’s the sort of thing that we’d all talk about for years if it wasn’t the undrafted Brandon Beachy’s first full year in the majors…the guy with a K/9 of over 10 in 25 starts. Closer to home, the M’s Tom Wilhelmsen made the team out of spring training months after being a bartender. Obviously scouring for retired prospects, the M’s then had Steve Delabar make his MLB debut in the same year he began as a substitute teacher. Jerome Williams re-emerged from wherever he went. 2011 was insane, and while Vogelsong’s story’s remarkable, we’d make a bigger deal out of it if we weren’t so overwhelmed with “comeback” and “underdog” stories. I scan minor league box scores a lot, and I keep waiting to run into Jesse Foppert’s name.

Vogelsong uses a low-90s four-seamer, a two-seamer and a cutter along with a curve and change. Nothing looks remarkable watching him, and nothing looks remarkable via pitch-fx. He gets a surprisingly high number of swinging strikes with his fastball, and gets called strikes with both his curve and four-seamer. You’d think this would mean he’s got great command, but his walk rates sure don’t corroborate that.

Speaking of unremarkable-looking things, the M’s send Jason Vargas, to the mound. He’s got a nice RA and a career-best K:BB ratio, but like many M’s hurlers, he’s having problems with home runs this year. He’s given up 8 in his last 6 starts (38 1/3 IP), which is positively Beavanish. He’s pitched around them, and he hasn’t had disaster starts, but he’s giving up plenty of runs, and, well, the M’s aren’t likely to win a slugfest. This would be a nice time for one of Vargas’ shutouts, and the Giants come in with a .291 wOBA against lefties. But Vargas’ has little (if any) platoon splits thanks to his change-heavy repertoire, so I’m not worried that the Giants (who have quite a few switch-hitters) may run out an almost-entirely righty line-up.

Franklin Gutierrez has reclaimed the 2nd spot in the line-up as a slumping Dustin Ackley hits 7th:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (DH)
5: Saunders (LF)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Olivo (C)
9: Ryan (SS)
SP: Vargas


123 Responses to “Game 66, Giants at Mariners”

  1. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:50 pm

    Wedge doesn’t seem to think ahead – flies by the seat of his pants. I’d rather have Saunders in CF and Wells in left with a lefty getting a crack at that clutch AB in the 8th. Gutierrez just did not figure to get a hit.

    Montero just missed that pitch!

  2. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:53 pm

    Damn the laws… It’s about making the most of it, if you’re going to willingly get yourself into trouble! For the record, I’m not calling for a Carnaval.

  3. ninjasintheoutfield on June 15th, 2012 9:54 pm

    whow O_o this casilla dude is pure filth

  4. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:55 pm

    This team puts the “fun” into fungus.

    And it’s spreading.

  5. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:56 pm

    Well, the Mariners struggled – but Coach is right. Those baserunning errors may have cost us dearly.

  6. OffensivelyChallenged on June 15th, 2012 9:56 pm

    This team is ass.

  7. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Insult to injury…. the trade pieces we have, are also struggling, so their value is declining as fast as this offense.

  8. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:58 pm

    Two base running errors are a huge story. Two guys in scoring position making high school mistakes. That’s just not acceptable at this level. Wedge needs to get a handle on all this.

  9. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 10:00 pm

    ^ funniest line of the night. You win.

    Movie timeI

  10. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 10:07 pm

    Thia team is ass. I am still laughing. I must have needed it.

    If last years mid season trade and if the Smoak acquisition from 2010 – are representative samples of mid season trading expertise, it might be better to not trade anybody. The extra draft picks might carry more value. Trade chips going down in value might be a good thing

    Bizarro world!

    Seinfeld reference, and just in the nick of time.

  11. jephdood on June 15th, 2012 10:08 pm

    Once again, puke.

    Removing “Mariners” from my DVR. Not only are they not worth my time watching live (that ship sailed LONG ago), they’re no longer worth the hard drive space and battery juice to fast-forward through all the blunders, gaffes, and ineptitude to inevitably see the opposing team high-fiving on our infield.

    Wake me when this season is over.

  12. darndy on June 15th, 2012 11:31 pm

    Again…F*CK teal.

  13. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 11:40 pm

    I’ve seen worse than a 4 game losing streak with a handful of runs scored. Keyword: streak. Remember what I was saying earlier, Mike? I just might be onto somethan.

  14. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 6:06 am

    Well, looking at the coverage from the local fishwrap, it seems that the stage is being set for Ichiro’s departure from Seattle after this season…

    A crowd of 29,818 saw Ichiro pop out with two on and one out in the third inning of a 1-0 game. He was then fortunate to get even one run home on a bases-loaded, none-out chopper to the mound in the eighth that was deflected and led to only one out instead of a double play.

    Ichiro’s batting average fell to .259 with a .286 on-base percentage.

    “We need more from him, it’s as simple as that,” Wedge said. “We need him to do more. He’s obviously our most veteran guy and when he has those opportunities to step up. You can’t always put it on the kids.”

    Pretty clear that the sportswriter was asking about him (and he’s made his opinion known about Ichiro for a long time), and Wedge was happy to oblige.

    Truth be told, I almost think it would be for the best. Ichiro should get the sendoff to his fantastic career in Japan like Johjima has, and all the haters can figure out that Ichiro’s not the problem with this franchise.

  15. MrZDevotee on June 16th, 2012 6:28 am

    Postive news mention:

    Mariner’s 1st round pick Mike Zunino wins the “College Player of the Year” award.

    He is the honorary “Z” in my “MrZDevotee” for the day. Good looking ballplayer as I’ve looked more into his playing. Hardworking, down-in-the-dirt kind of player. Probably a big league catcher within 2 years.

  16. vetted_coach on June 16th, 2012 7:47 am

    Eponymous: it’s too easy to write off criticism of Ichiro as “…haters…”. For cryin out loud, the guy has fallen off his game, and the slide has been pretty extreme. He produces virtually nothing at a position that is key. If signing him for another two years prevents a guy like Wells from having an opportunity to make an impact, then it is bad for the team. Not only are his numbers down, but he consistently shows an annoying tendency for lack of aggression. Pushing the ball the other way instead of opening up with men in scoring position late in games, hesitancy to steal a base, bunting with runners at third and less than two outs. What? Politics aside, his stellar career has apparently ended. The past is irrelevant when assessing the variables for the future of the club.

  17. vetted_coach on June 16th, 2012 7:54 am

    Ergo…he should be dramatically moved in the batting order, from lead off to seventh or eighth, perhaps even ninth. There are a number of benefits. More potential at the bottom, for one. And as a lead off hitter, he is hurting the team. IMO

  18. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 7:58 am

    He produces virtually nothing at a position that is key.

    He’s actually fine if you use metrics like WAR. Defense matters.

    If signing him for another two years prevents a guy like Wells from having an opportunity to make an impact, then it is bad for the team.

    Wells has next to zero chance to be much more than a decent player- which is about what Ichiro is right now.

    That being said, this team doesn’t need to be handing out $20 million to 39 year old OFers in their decline phase. The problem is that this organization is short good OFers (and yes, Ichiro is one of the few that they have). Letting him walk isn’t going to improve the team. They are basically hamstrung by several of GMZ’s trades (Smoak, Wells) turning out to be not particularly effective at solving any problems, the minor league system not producing a very good OFer (Saunders is OK, but just OK), and tight salary making free agency a non-option.

    The past is irrelevant when assessing the variables for the future of the club.

    I agree, and that’s why I said that I think it will all be best if he ends up in Japan.

    If you look at the payroll figures here:

    You’ll see that 2013’s projected to be at ~$70 million when it’s all said and done. Assuming the M’s don’t actually CUT from their ~$80 million payroll in 2012 (which I could see them doing if this goes on- we’ve gone way into the toliet on attendance/game, and being crappy like this isn’t going to help), that leaves you with 10 million for FA signings, including Ichiro. I have a feeling offering Ichiro a $5 million dollar one year salary isn’t going to make a lot of sense for either party.

  19. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 8:12 am

    My guess is Ichiro goes to Japan for his swan song and plays a year or two there effectively, and the M’s in 2013… well… an OF of Guti/Wells/Carp/Saunders/whatever gets dredged up from the minors isn’t going to be an answer, especially since Smoak isn’t really the answer at 1B.

    Realistically, the answer is looking more and more like “push the reset button on the franchise, try to turn Felix into a megahaul of talent and use the young arms coming up from the minors to replace him”. We’re barely beating out Cleveland in attendance anyways, so who cares if you basically tell the fan base “we’re punting until 2015”?

  20. MrZDevotee on June 16th, 2012 8:48 am

    I really don’t think it’s quite to “Push the reset button” time…

    Longterm, we’re 2 OF (alongside Saunders & Guty) and a SS (post Ryan) from a pretty decent team.

    C Montero/Jaso
    1B Smoak/Montero
    2B Ackley
    3B Seager
    SS ______
    LF Saunders/_____
    CF Guty/Saunders
    RF ______

    Or, if the right opportunity presents itself this offseason, perhaps a 3B instead of one of those outfielders, and Ackley moves to the outfield, Seager to 2B… We have options and fewer needs than the past few years. It’s not slap-you-in-the-face progress, sure, but definitely a foundation.

    If we stick to our “the past doesn’t mean a thing” theory, well then the M’s inability to sign decent outfielders has no play on the fact that it’s the easiest position to fill (albeit the “prototypical” RF masher/megaarm isn’t as easy, but with Seager/Saunders/Ackley filling the Ichiro-esque aspects of the team, just about any decent RF with some pop will be an offensive upgrade).

    It’s an ugly team at the moment, because we’re a cast of support characters (and/or youth) without the few key elements. But a veteran DH, LF and RF somewhere in the .280-.290 area, with .750-ish OPS and we’re a playoff contender. And yes, that’s not easy to just make happen, but it’s not like we’re still lightyears away from contention.

    As some GM likes to say “it’s a process… we have a plan and we’re sticking to it.” And Jack has consistently said the way to build a team is to grow it yourself and then add a few key, high end elements via trades/free agency.

    That’s where we’re at heading into next year.

    No punting, please.

  21. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 9:41 am

    “But a veteran DH, LF and RF somewhere in the .280-.290 area, with .750-ish OPS and we’re a playoff contender. ”

    Where’s the money to do this in 2013 going to come from at the M’s current salary levels?

    To put this another way: the M’s in 2013 aren’t really going to have any more “free” salary to make FA pickups than Oakland has in THEIR typical offseason. Realistically, the team might have enough money to do a $5-10 million dollar deal for The Name Free Agent in the offseason, like how Oakland’s done this kind of move, like Cespedes… but remember, the last time we tried those kinds of moves, we got Chone Figgins and Miguel Olivo, and then a bunch of Kevin Millwood/George Sherrill/Large Item Pickup Day kinds of moves of low-salary veterans to fill the roster out.

    Also, Smoak really isn’t a longterm answer at 1B as far as I can see, any more than Mike Carp is. We’re at 1100+ MLB PAs and counting with him, and he still spends weeks at a time hitting like Mario Mendoza. At this point, he is what he is (and what’s he’s done so far) until he proves otherwise: a below-average 1B who deserves time as a fringe player in MLB, but he isn’t a full-time, long-term 1B on any team that’s serious about contending. The M’s have spent enough time evaluating him; they should be looking at improving 1B from what Smoak has given so far.

    So really, what you’re talking about here is finding talent at 1B, DH AND corner OF. That’s really a lot to do in one offseason, and without a lot of money to do it with… unless you’re willing to move Felix’s 19-20 million a year as part of the picture. That probably improves your flexibility to do things with payroll dramatically.

    And it’s not like there’s a lot else to move, anyway. Felix, Vargas and Ryan are about it.

  22. jjracoon on June 16th, 2012 12:37 pm

    Maybe it is time to shutdown Smoak as a switch hitter for awhile. Just have him face the righty’s for awhile and concentrate on the swing on one side of the plate. Then use someone like Olivo (since he seems to need to play) at first against leftys (keeps him away from catcher). Smoak seems to be trying to pull too much and his opposite field power is okay so get back to the basics. Cant see giving up on him yet though.

    Looking at this team and it seems like every player is inconsistent at this point. Almost makes it look like the only one that deserves All Star consideration is Luetge and then only because of his 0.00 ERA.

  23. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2012 4:48 pm

    Smoak & Carp not working out at first is less of a concern for me. The outfield, however, is alarming.

    Whether you like Ichiro or not (and I do), it’s another hole to fill (if he goes), at a position that we seriously lack depth. Wells probably isn’t more than a 4th outfielder. Guti’s health is still an issue and it’s uncertain if he can be an everyday starter. Can you imagine if Saunders hadn’t rebounded this year?!

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