Game 81, Red Sox vs. Mariners

marc w · July 1, 2012 at 11:28 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Felix Doubront, 1:10pm

Despite scoring all of 4 runs through the first 3 games of the series, the M’s go for a 3-1 series win today at Safeco. Jason Vargas starts for the M’s, trying to build on his solid start against the A’s last week. He’s opposed by Felix Doubront, another homer-prone left-hander. Doubront and Vargas both post about 40% ground ball rates, and both have roughly equivalent rest-of-season FIP projections (around 4.4), but whereas Vargas uses his change-up and mid/high 80s cutter to keep batters off-b= alance, Doubront uses a 93mph fastball to get ahead of hitters, and also uses a curve and change-up. His best pitch may be the change-up, but he typically throws it to righties – using his curve against lefties. All in all, he’s got good stuff (as evidenced by his 23% K rate and low walk rate), but his HRs allowed push his wOBA against over league average.

The M’s Line-up today features plenty of right-handers, though it’s still a bit odd, given the injuries/illness to Saunders and Gutierrez.
1: Ichiro
2: Wells (CF)
3: Seager
4: Montero (C)
5: Olivo (DH)
6: Smoak
7: Ackley
8: Figgins
9: Ryan
SP: Jason Vargas

According to Keith Law, Mike Zunino’s on his way to Seattle today to officially sign with the M’s. It’ll be interesting to see where they send him – AA’s a possibility, or they could go with High Desert given the Mavs manager Pedro Grifol’s an ex-catcher and player development exec. Clinton’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.

The All-Star game rosters are out, so expect a lot of over-heated rhetoric about who did/didn’t get to play in the exhibition game. As expected, Felix Hernandez will be the M’s sole representative for the AL as they take on Bryan LaHair and the slugging senior circuiters.* While the M’s didn’t get a lot of love from the voters or manager Ron Washington, they have the undying support of Lucas Luetge.

*The Sporting News misspelled LaHair’s name in that piece. How can you mess up the name of the breakout player of April 2012? For those of you counting at home, I think I’ve got 5 ex-Mariners on the rosters: Asdrubal Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Adam Jones, RA Dickey and LaHair. Any others?


165 Responses to “Game 81, Red Sox vs. Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 1st, 2012 7:27 pm

    In 155 major league plate appearances last year, Carlos Peguero hit .196/.252/.371 – that translated to a .264 wOBA.

    Justin Smoak’s current 2012 wOBA is .265. And as disappointing as Carp was so far in 2012, his wOBA stands at .280.

    So yeah, things are pretty bad – but we’ve got ten guys that are hitting better than Peguero did last year. Let’s not exaggerate. 🙂

    The other takeaway is that Carp outperformed Smoak even though Carp was hitting badly. If we give Carp the rest of the 1B reps once he’s back – even if he doesn’t do any better than he’s done earlier this year, our offense will actually improve! How pathetic is that?!

  2. henryv on July 1st, 2012 8:41 pm
  3. Westside guy on July 1st, 2012 8:52 pm

    Hey Henry, what I noticed from that link is there’s a catcher at the top, a catcher at the bottom, and a catcher exactly in the middle!

  4. MrZDevotee on July 1st, 2012 9:01 pm

    So I take it the midway point of the season is when the ultimatums begin?

    Guys, relax… Rebuilding is rebuilding. A team full of 1-3 year players isn’t going to play consistent baseball in the Majors.

    This season is supposed to be about progress…

    21 runs against the Rangers – progress
    A no hitter – progress
    Montero instead of Pineda – progress (at any level, via ominous injury)
    Seager/Saunders – progress
    Figgins closer to the end of his contract – progress
    Zunino – progress (a catcher supposedly good at BOTH catching and hitting– weird!)

    Relax. Or hey, just STOP WATCHING if you really can’t deal with it anymore… And come back next year with new hope/expectations.

    Go M’s.

  5. groundzero55 on July 1st, 2012 11:47 pm

    Snagging a gem in Luetge out of the Rule V draft – progress.

  6. eponymous coward on July 2nd, 2012 8:32 am

    Developing some home-grown talent is not sufficient “progress”, says someone who saw the 1980’s M develop tons of players and lose tons of games. It’s “minimal competency but not in and of itself sufficient for organizational excellence”.

    In case you didn’t notice, other organizations develop players too.

    Saying “we’re better off than we were under Bavasi, but still WAAAAY under .500 with a roster full of problems” is not a reason to start throwing parties about our “progress”. Maybe if I saw a roster that actually LOOKED like a .500 roster with talent knocking on the door I’d think we were in solid shape. But this roster is a ways from that, and is likely to bleed some talent this offseason, and still has some major holes in it (C/1B/RF/LF/DH/CF is a world of confusion and ??? right now, the pitching rotation’s kind of bad).

    I look at this roster, and I don’t see the 2007 Rays. Not even close.

    The fact that this offseason’s going to be Zduriencik’s fifth and the best mark you can give the organizational rebuild is going to be “incomplete”… that’s not a lot of “progress”.

  7. vetted_coach on July 2nd, 2012 9:25 am

    I agree that you can’t make a very good argument for progress given the 5-year track record so far under Z. I’ll give him the nod on advancing the farm system, but that bar wasn’t set very high.

    How about some immediate progress by re-setting the lineup after the all star break. Eliminating Smoak (Tacoma) and Olivo (DFA) would be a start.

    Ichiro. (gasp! I know, but think about it, really)

    Let these guys rotate 1B/DH/C as needed. There is virtually no bench anyway, so whoever is added to Figgins/Kawasaki makes little difference. Carp? Liddi? Moore? Who cares…

  8. MrZDevotee on July 2nd, 2012 9:53 am

    But Eponymous-
    The Rays had a foundation in place 5 years ago… Already there. Spending money on good players while we’re also playing guys with little to no experience, and restocking the ENTIRE ORGANIZATION DEPLETED BY PREVIOUS MANAGEMENT, is just a waste of money. We’d have a 10 car garage full of Pintos, but hey, there’s a Jag out front!

    Or we’d be all the guys living in Rainier Valley, in rent assisted studio slum apartments, with $30,000 Acuras, sporting $10,000 in spinny chrome wheels.

    I believe keeping the public appeased to keep them quiet was a system France employed, unsuccessfully, for many centuries (“Bread & Circus” anyone?)

    This team, when disassembled, as was the plan when Z took over, was essentially an expansion franchise at that point (say “Hello” to Felix Hernandez and Ichiro, the ONLY guys still on this team, and a Cy Young Winner and 10 time All-Star in the decline of his career… we’re talking MINOR LEAGUES too!).

    Should they do it just to suffice the desire of fans who want to see some extra wins this season, without any real chance to contend? Just throw millions of dollars at the next 3 Figgins/Sexsons/Cirillos, etc. out there, because the fans are tired of waiting?

    Z has CONSISTENTLY said “when the time is right, we’re willing to spend money”. There has been no moment missed yet to doubt that (Fielder would obviously have been a HUGE waste of a signing– and not have lifted this bunch into contention!).

    You’re just not a very patient/positive person if having a Top 5 minor league organization, having the team voted BEST MINOR LEAGUE team in baseball (Jackson), a 25 year old Cy Young winner leading your rotation, one of the best hitting prospects/C/DH in baseball, 3 of the best pitching prospects in ALL of baseball… In really only 3 years of trying (the first year was an organizational shift, and this year’s draft/lack of signings don’t come into play)… Jeez…

    It’s one thing to take over an organization with an actual bonafide minor league system, already flirting with success, and turn it into a contender, but to basically start from scratch and restock the ENITRE system– takes AT LEAST 5 years.

    So yeah, maybe you’re ready to stop watching and try again next year, it sounds like? Or, of course, just keep complaining about the same thing, day after day, for the next 4 months, then the offseason, then…?

    Is it Wedge? Should we fire the guy who’s shown he’s not capable of making a not very good team into winners? (That’s silly) Fire Z? The guy who has turned our development department into a Top 5 in baseball, from a bottom 5 in baseball? (Uh, I don’t think so…)

    We like to think we’re smarter than the team at making decisions (Dave included– and more qualified to think that, btw)… But sometimes things happen without our full understanding/appreciation. I mean, y’know, yeah– Danny Hultzen, now THAT was a stupid move.

    But truth is, it’s a hard sell. You don’t just get to wave the right amount of $$$’s and top free agents are forced to sign with a team not in a position to contend, and way off in another country, with a ballpark that has the ENTIRE LEAGUE hitting 60 points below their average.

    Point out the GM’s/Managers that would be doing a better job right now, or point out the missed opportunities to be way better at this point in Z’s campaign, and it would make more sense to complain.

    But really, hitting your head against the wall over and over again, expecting the wall to get softer and smell good at some point, is a plan set up for failure. Wait, or be a Yankees/Red Sox fan (I don’t mean literally, I mean, those are the fan choices out there– wait for your team’s window of opportunity, or follow a team that doesn’t have to wait for those opportunities).

    A lot of fan’s reactions to this holding pattern we’re in seems akin to the Seattle council member who’s against the new Arena deal. Why don’t these rich guys just spend all the money it takes to do this all themselves and give us some winners. They could if they really wanted to. But they’re, what, just not that nice? Mean? Selfish? Greedy?

    I’m sticking with my team, and its GM, and its plan. I like these guys– from Justin Smoak, to our Japanese owner.

    Others don’t need to like them, obviously, but it wouldn’t kill anyone to have a little realistic perspective about it all.

    It’s not like it’s a team full of apathy, and selfish pricks, who could care less, and just want their paycheck.

    Go M’s.

    (And the guys who enjoy saying “We’re more like the A’s, than the Rays” are way off. Our payroll is TWICE there’s practically, and our GM’s philosophy is light years different than “Beane Ball’s”)

  9. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:36 am

    MrZ: Your response was directed to Eponymous, but you appear to be hitting on some “themes” that do not exist within the context of anything he stated above … or perhaps ever, stated. At least not that I can recall.

    For example: I don’t recall him ever mentioning the need to throw money at Free Agents.

    Maybe your comments were directed at the overall audience – over an extended period of time – and not just at him, directly.

    I don’t have any substnative objection to your overall stream of consciousness – as it always contains some sort of World History intel that I appreciate – except for maybe one thing:

    The Minor League system has been rated in the Top 5, but those “ratings” may or may not mean much.

    The minor league system is void of one single ‘every day ‘player that could eventally be considered a future “Face of the Franchise.” The organizational pitching prospects are going to have to carry the team for quite some time and it is unlikely that all of them will pan out.

    In the interim, the team (regardless of who they throw out there) displays a lot of the same unpalatable tendencies that have persisted over the past several years in terms of overall execution.

    Carry on ……………..

  10. MrZDevotee on July 2nd, 2012 11:08 am

    Agreed, I digressed…

    In WAY too many words.

    Should have said:

    “The glass can’t be BOTH half full and broken in shards, at the same time.”

    Apologies to Eponymous for dumping my frustrations on him. (laugh)

  11. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 11:26 am

    Hang in there buddy! We all express our frustration in different ways. And boy howdy … there sure is a lot of it to express these days.

    Personally, my opinion of Wedge has vaulted upward over the past few days because of this quote alone. I did not hear it until today – and Brock/Salk are hammering on it as I type, so I am sure many have heard it already:

    “We are stuck with some people, there’s others we have options with, and we’re rapidly approaching that point …….”

    Kudos to Wedge. Now, put the most sensible lineup on the field every day, and you will “have me at hello.”

  12. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 11:44 am


    Here’s the actual quote, courtesy of Shannon Drayer’s article … which I like even more:

    “We’re STUCK with some people. Other people we have got options with, other people we might just get rid of. WHATEVER. I DON’T CARE. The bottom line is we are going to win a championship here. I didn’t bring my butt out here not to do anything other than that. We are going to do it either with some of the people in this clubhouse or without.”

  13. vetted_coach on July 2nd, 2012 1:21 pm

    I’ll bite.

    STUCK: Figgins,Kawasaki
    OPTIONS: Smoak
    RID: Olivo – Almost cost them Saturday, might have cost them Sunday. Unless they have no catchers besides Moore at AA, AAA, there is no good reason to keep Olivo up here.

    All about offense. Pitching moves are hardly a factor in this context.

  14. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 2:12 pm

    Moore was DFA’d yesterday, so he might not ever be back with the org, let alone be a viable 40 man roster candidate.

    The OPTIONS are everybody that has remaining minor league options available (with a keen on eye Smoak, undoubtedly). However, Montero and Ackley aren’t going anywhere, so the statement by Wedge is probably one of those things that simply hangs in the ether for a while as a warning salvo over the bow from the Captain.

    The “Rid” – has to include a side helping of Figgins at any given moment; assuming the rest of the team (including Carp) is or eventually does find a way to become healthy.

    Kawasaki is not really a problem as he is making tiny money on a one year contract and serving the dual role of a backup infielder and cheap entertainment for the troops of a last place team.

    There are definitely not a lot of options to choose from in order to field a quality major league lineup from day to day- and even fewer to choose from in regard to interim replacement parts, but the org should be willing to pull the trigger on a Smoak demotion – yesterday (IMO). He is lost and seems to be getting worse by the day – while usually manning a spot right smack dab in the middle of the lineup where his troubles and mis-givings are further exacerbated. The fact they haven’t done it yet might mean they actually believe they don’t have anybody who can do any better … as unfathomable as that is to consider.

  15. eponymous coward on July 3rd, 2012 11:05 am

    Well, it’s probably a mistake to reply to this, but…

    I think the organization would almost certainly be better off had they pulled the trigger on an Edwin Jackson signing, as was suggested here. Even if the team was going down like the Titanic, he’d be nice trade bait at the deadline. Right now what the team has is various omnishambles of players untradeable for various reasons (League, Figgins, Ichiro), young players where it’s counterproductive, and King Felix, which would basically be an admission of “we’re going to blow it all up for a while more, cheap out with a $60 million payroll, and hope 2014-2015 work out better for us”.

    So, no, I think the big cut in payroll has had a negative effect on the organization, and spinning it as “why waste money on a team full of kids?” is just that- spin. Improving the team’s talent is always a good idea- this was a financial decision of “we’re cutting payroll because we’re not going to lose money in 2012”, not anything else. I am also officially credulous that the organization WILL pick up the spending pace in 2013, given that we’re now seeing 14K “crowds” in July, and we’re nosing in on Oakland/Tampa territory on bottom of baseball attendance. My guess for 2013 is we say sayonara to Ichiro, mostly stay on the sidelines playing Large Item Pickup Day and promoting all the awesome kids in the minors once again, shed a little but not TOO much salary (maybe we go down to $70-75 million from the current $80 million), and hope nobody notices. This probably puts us in a 75 win with maybe some upside if we’re luck, downside if not. Hmm, where have I heard THAT before?

    The problems on the roster aren’t insoluble (especially if the organization decides to start spending money again- that doesn’t mean stupid FA signings, but it mens making some good decisions with their money), and yes, there’s talent in the minors and on the roster, but just having minor league talent is the precursor to success. Let’s not forget there’s some intervening steps to get there, and I’m not going to start handwaving “Oh, we’ve got kids, it will all be fine.”

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