Game 73, Mariners at Padres

marc w · June 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Felix Hernandez vs. Jason Marquis, 7:05 pm

It’s King Felix, in Petco Park, and yet many M’s fans attention will be elsewhere (if only for a while). Danny Hultzen’s AAA debut kicks off at 5pm, so those of you who want to really make an evening of it can tune in to 850am or listen on-line here to check how the left-hander handles pitching at altitude. Mike Curto reports that Colorado Springs installed a Coors Field-style humidor, so it’s not quite as ludicrous a run environment as it was last year, but the altitude may still affect the break on some of Hultzen’s pitches. When Hultzen’s done, we’ll see if the M’s can finally figure out Jason Marquis. One of the very few bright spots in Marquis’ ill-fated Twins tenure this year was a solid 6-IP performance at Safeco. Since moving to San Diego, he’s been better, and shut the M’s out in 6 1/3 IP a couple weeks ago. He followed up that game with a 10K performance against the Rangers in what must be one of the most unlikely games of the season, and yes, I *DID* know that Juan Pierre hit a home run today.

Felix Hernandez makes his 5th career start in Petco, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s dominated in his previous four outings. In those games, he’s given up 4 runs, struck out 34 and walked only 6. Padres batters have OPS’d .499 against him, though to be fair, we’re talking about recent vintages of the San Diego Padres and we’re talking about one of the great pitcher’s parks in baseball. These numbers would be even more impressive if he hadn’t given up a pair of HRs in his first Petco start back in 2007. Last year Felix struck out 13 and walked none in one of his most impressive starts of the year. Sure, that was a game in which the clean-up hitters were Adam Kennedy and Brad Hawpe, but 13:0 is 13:0. Felix’s velocity’s crept up in recent weeks, and he’s now averaging around 93mph on his fastball, which just feels a lot more comfortable than the 91 he was often throwing in April. His results haven’t really changed, but it’s helped calm some nerves.

Your Felix Night Line-up:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (C)
5: Saunders (LF)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Ryan (SS)
9/SP: King Felix

Montero returns to the line-up, and it’s great to see him catch Felix – he hasn’t since May 16th, Felix’s worst start of the year. Felix had no stuff that day, and it’s good to see the M’s aren’t blaming a bad day on Montero. Of course, Miguel Olivo’s caught Felix’s last four games, and Felix has given up 15 runs in 24IP, so there’s no magical CERA fairy at work here.

Dylan Unsworth and David Perez got rained out last night, but start in Game 1 of a doubleheader tonight in Everett, and Anthony Fernandez makes his AA debut in Jackson after posting great numbers in the pitching hell that is High Desert. Big night in the M’s organization, top to bottom.
Happy Felix day!
Happy Hultzen day!
Happey Felix/Hultzen Syzygy!


85 Responses to “Game 73, Mariners at Padres”

  1. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:06 pm

    Guti is swinging the bat well, though. He looks good. Unlucky, there … But he looks good.

  2. fuggin_figgins on June 23rd, 2012 9:06 pm

    Damn, I bet we see figgins at 3B tomorrow. Guti looking great though. Love seeing him healthy.

  3. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:11 pm

    Felix should’ve left that one alone.

  4. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:13 pm

    Nice DP!

  5. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:15 pm

    … And the baseball Gods returned the luck to its rightful place.

    A dinker off the plate for a high bounce hit. Followed by line drive laser for an out.


  6. GLS on June 23rd, 2012 9:16 pm

    What was that last double play? I think I missed something.

  7. fuggin_figgins on June 23rd, 2012 9:16 pm

    Pitch-countwise that DP was nice but would be sweet to see Felix chalk up 4 more K’s. That would be career high for him? Would make for a great Felix memory. Pitch the 9th?

  8. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:19 pm

    Line out to Ackley. Flipped the ball to Ryan at short to double off the runner.

    Oh good Smoak!

  9. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:20 pm

    GLS – line drive Ackley caught, then threw to Ryan at second.

    Mike beat me to it!

  10. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:21 pm

    Nice steal by Saunders. Get a hit, Smoakie!

  11. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:22 pm

    We need more Saunders’ss

  12. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:23 pm

    We need Smoak to quit swinging at breaking balls in the dirt! 😉

  13. Breadbaker on June 23rd, 2012 9:23 pm

    Make ’em pay, Brendan.

  14. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:24 pm

    Hey Mike – if somebody had told you, last year, you’d ever type “We need more Saunders’s”…

  15. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:27 pm

    Smoak’s numbers – almost unanimously across the board – are worse than last year. As difficult as that is to comprehend, let alone execute, he has somehow managed to find a way.

    A 1B that can hit and a good fielding SS who can hit once in a while (next year) would be really useful.

  16. Westside guy on June 23rd, 2012 9:28 pm

    hahahahaha. DARN, I wanted to see Felix hit again.

  17. Breadbaker on June 23rd, 2012 9:28 pm

    Wedge dissing Felix, I see.

  18. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:31 pm

    I know, Westy. I know. Always athletic, he could do pretty much anything he wanted to on the field (except hit). Now he can do some of that – so he is on his way.

    Smoak does not have a major league tool to lean back upon other than the ones that are alleged. He is a tremendous disappointment.

  19. GLS on June 23rd, 2012 9:31 pm

    Smoak is fine. He just needs more time. I would personally prefer to see him at AAA, but then who do we have that’s better? If he doesn’t figure it out, I’m sure Montero will start spending time over there.

  20. Slats on June 23rd, 2012 9:31 pm

    I think it’s getting to the point where we can safely say that Smoak is a prospect that just didn’t pan out.

  21. fuggin_figgins on June 23rd, 2012 9:31 pm

    Bummer. Great outing… stupid NL, cost me another inning of the King.

  22. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:35 pm

    We should be hearing of a Zunino signing any day now, shouldn’t we?

  23. msfanmike on June 23rd, 2012 9:41 pm

    GLS: you must be a very patient person.

    I kind of agree with the AAA sentiment. It helped Wells. Actually, getting a few consecutive games played, helped Wells.

    Smoaks tendency to drag his bat bothers me and makes me think he just isn’t a major league hitter. Drags and tries to lift … And he just isnt ‘that’ strong. If he hit the ball on a line he might become a hitter. Until then …..

    You are right, there is nobody to replace him currently – and that is kinda sad in its own right. Someone will eventually step into the role, though. I think someone is going to have to.

  24. GLS on June 23rd, 2012 9:53 pm

    Churchill maintains that Smoak wouldn’t benefit from any more time in AAA. I’ve heard others say the same. It seems like a ludicrous statement to me. AAA is a very high level of professional baseball, but some people seem to think the pitchers there don’t have any idea what they’re doing and once a hitter has “mastered” that level, that those pitchers won’t present any sort of challenge. That’s just stupid.

    But, we don’t have anyone better at 1B, so lucky for Mr. Smoak I guess.

  25. Slats on June 23rd, 2012 9:55 pm

    “Who’s your Daddy?”

    – Dave Sims.

  26. fuggin_figgins on June 23rd, 2012 9:57 pm

    I wonder if Ackley wouldn’t also benefit from a little time in AAA. His lack of xtra base hits is a little concerning, no room for him down there though.

  27. Breadbaker on June 23rd, 2012 10:00 pm

    Based on the first two games of this series, you don’t want to score first tomorrow.

  28. MrZDevotee on June 23rd, 2012 10:16 pm

    Hey! Look at that, we finally beat the worst team in baseball.

    Nice work, boys.

    (Despite my obvious snarkiness, I was honestly a bit relieved to open the MLB website and see that we won today…)

  29. MrZDevotee on June 23rd, 2012 11:46 pm

    Also- anyone notice THIS:

    “Mariners rank fourth among the 30 Major League teams in road slugging percentage at .426, behind only the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox…”

    7th in OPS (.738)
    8th in batting average (.263)

    (Let’s just burn Safeco Field, collect the insurance, and build something friendlier… Yeah?!)

  30. MrZDevotee on June 23rd, 2012 11:59 pm

    Oops, I left one out:

    “Seattle has hit 51 homers in 42 road games, second only to the New York Yankees”

    WTF? When did all this happen– and how did I miss it?…

  31. Westside guy on June 24th, 2012 1:38 am

    It’s been somewhat easy to miss the Mariners’ scoring because (anecdotally anyway) their pitching seems to be giving up even more runs than they’re scoring.

    I mean, think about the previous four games. Do you remember that the M’s averaged seven runs a game, or do you just remember that they went 1-3?

    Just looking at ERA… last year we were in the middle of the pack. So far this year we’re 23rd.

  32. Westside guy on June 24th, 2012 1:47 am

    And it’s not like ERA isn’t telling the whole story in this case – our pitching staff ranks 24th in xFIP.

  33. Westside guy on June 24th, 2012 1:53 am

    Obviously our offense is bad – but it’s improved measurably over the past couple years. It just seems (to me, anyway) that the pitching has dropped enough in quality to offset at least some of that offensive improvement.

    Good thing we’ve got help on the way from the farm system, eh?

  34. eponymous coward on June 24th, 2012 8:48 am

    Well, when you trade Cliff Lee and replace him with Blake Beavan, trade Michael Pineda and replace him with Hector Noesi, trade Doug Fister and… well, you get the idea. The M’s have been predominantly trading talent from the pitching side of the ledger to add to the hitting side. And it’s been a rob Peter to pay Paul kind of deal.

    Dave is right on when he says the pitching staff isn’t good enough to contend in 2013 as it stands now, even if you assume that Danny Hultzen will be a major factor in next year’s rotation (because it’s likely the M’s let Jason Vargas walk, or he gets traded). The problem is that realistically, this team needs a couple of hitters (OF and 1B/DH-I figure you need to replace Ichiro because he’s not coming back, and I don’t see why Smoak deserves longer than the end of this season to prove he can actually be an average MLB player) AND a starting pitcher (on top of Hultzen). I am not sure there’s enough talent or FA salary flexibility to cover all of that. And once we get past 2013 Felix’s free agent clock starts ticking really loud…

    This franchise is in better shape talent-wise than it was a couple of years ago, but there’s still some work to be done here.

  35. msfanmike on June 24th, 2012 9:13 am

    MrZ: I know you really do not want to burn the Golden Goose and yes – the team does have some numbers on the road that are in the upper tier of the league offensively – but they still have a losing record on the road, regardless. Some of their stats are counting stats – and they have played more road games than any other teams because of the early season schedule quirks

    Westy and Epon highlighted some reasons for the losing road record within their comments

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