Game 82, Orioles at Mariners

marc w · July 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Jason Hammel, 7:10pm

Iwakuma makes his first MLB start tonight after injuries and ineffectiveness have pushed aside his competition. As Dave points out, Iwakuma’s been very consistent by xFIP; what’s varied considerably has been his success on balls in play and his HR rate. Now, it’s quite clear that HR rate is much more variable than what’s measured in xFIP (essentially, walks and strikeouts with a league average HR rate), but it’s also not yet clear that league average is the mean we should regress Iwakuma’s HR rate to. In the absence of any alternative that we could support with data, looking at him through the xFIP prism is the sensible option.

And yet…Iwakuma’s shown that he’s got a legitimate MLB-caliber weapon in his split-finger fastball. His two-seam fastball/sinker is also a solid pitch – we don’t have a lot of data, of course, but he’s able to rack up ground balls at an impressive clip. The problem’s his four-seam fastball. He’s thrown it a bit more than 1/3 of the time, but you’d be hard pressed to say why. It doesn’t get grounders and it doesn’t miss bats. Given we know so little about Iwakuma, I’m open to an argument that throwing this pitch makes his other pitches more effective – that he needs a four-seam or rising fastball to maximize the impact of his split-finger pitch. But as it stands, he’s got two decent pitches and what seems like an irrational attachment to a third, minor-league one. Right now, he’s getting Steve Delabar-like results, though again, he simply hasn’t faced enough batters to know if he’s going to be homer prone long term.

Still, while he’s facing the O’s in a park that’s seriously suppressed home runs, the Orioles have hit the 4th most HRs in baseball thanks to a number of high-K, high-HR hitters. Iwakuma’s splitter isn’t as effective against righties, but he’s got a slider that’s a lot more advanced than Delabar’s, so he’s got options.

Jason Hammel came over from Colorado in exchange for Jeremy Guthrie in what’s looking like an incredibly lop-sided trade. Hammel’s swing-and-miss stuff, which was AWOL last year, is back in a big way. He’s running a career high K rate, which then drives a career low FIP. He’s been excellent all year, with the exception of his last start, in which he gave up 8 runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Angels. One big reason for his transformation is the development of a two-seam fastball that he didn’t have in Colorado. His velocity’s up around 1 MPH, but that wouldn’t explain the fact that his *four*-seam fastball’s generating twice as many whiffs as it did last year, despite moving to the league with the DH. The Orioles will take it, I assume.

Smoak and Montero get the day off in light of their recent struggles, and Munenori Kawasaki gets the start because he was in top form last night.
1: Ichiro
2: Wells (CF)
3: Jaso (DH)
4: Seager
5: Olivo (C)
6: Ackley (1B)
7: Figgins (LF)
8: Kawasaki (2B)
9: Ryan
SP: Iwakuma

Today’s the big July 2nd signing deadline for international free agents – meaning the 16 year old Dominican and Venezuelan ball players. Just like the amateur draft, this is the first year that a yearly bonus cap’s been imposed on the July 2nd signings – another product of the recent CBA. The M’s haven’t signed any of Baseball America’s Top 20 international free agents, but we’ll see if that changes over the next few hours/days.


174 Responses to “Game 82, Orioles at Mariners”

  1. vetted_coach on July 2nd, 2012 9:53 pm

    Jose Vidro.

  2. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2012 9:53 pm

    Who did we get for Choo and Cabrera again? I think I’ve blanked it out – too painful.

  3. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 9:55 pm

    I think we received the ever whimsical Eric Bedard. 🙂

  4. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2012 9:57 pm

    Eduardo Perez for Cabrera? Ben Broussard for Choo?

    Oh crap let me forget that again please.

  5. vetted_coach on July 2nd, 2012 9:57 pm

    We got Broussard and that Latino who retired and ended up with Fox or ESPN. Blanking on the name. Decent hitter, but retired after one season here.

  6. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:02 pm

    If you really wanna open the wounds, look who the Angels drafted with the pick they got from us, for having signed Figgins.

  7. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:04 pm

    Bedard for Jones and others … My comment arrives late

    The “Latino” in the other debacle of a trade was Eduardo Perez. Son of HOF’er Tony Perez.

  8. Mid80sRighty on July 2nd, 2012 10:07 pm

    How about that, close the roof and the ball seems to fly a little better. I think that guy in the comments of Dave’s Fangraphs article was on to something, talking about how the roof can drastically change the wind patterns. I vote for keeping the roof closed until summer really gets to the NW, if it ever does…

  9. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:07 pm

    Okay Steve … Who was it? It was not Trout. Trout was drafted in ’09. Figgins arrived in Seattle in ’10. Right?

  10. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:07 pm

    I think I screwed that up. Trout was the Angels regular pick, not the supplemental, right? Still stings that they got him!

    Bedard cost us Jones, Sherill, Tillman, and two others, if I remember right. Tillman was suppose to be good, never really cut-it. But Jones and (or!) Sherill alone made that deal suck.

  11. Mid80sRighty on July 2nd, 2012 10:08 pm

    Yes, Perez, only because they NEEDED a “true” DH…

  12. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:10 pm

    Yeah, I screwed that up, Mike. Figgins signed in December of 2009.

  13. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:12 pm

    I sure like the roof closed idea a lot better than the move the fences in idea. If that makes people happy, go for it! Yes, there is and always has been a difference with the roof closed. No excuse for it to happen on a nice day, though. A “nice day” is a subjective thing, and i suppose you could determine it based off of temperature and the other already existing factors relative to the Edgar clapping decision.

    Kinda silly conversation all around, though. IMO

  14. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:18 pm

    I thought I knew where you were going Steve, so I provided an assist.

    In regard to Trout, there were 23 GM’s who missed on that one. High school picks are risky though. Except for when they aren’t. I wonder where the M’s had him on their board. They would have taken all sorts of shit if they had picked him at #2 at the time.

    In regard to draft picks, I would like to see Corey Seager not sign with the dodgers, go to a JC, re-enter the draft next year and have the M’s take him with the 6th pick next year. He would essentially come away with a couple extra million dollars to attend a JC for a year. Wouldn’t that be some shit – and a good business decision on his part.

    Please don’t tell me he signed with the dodgers today.

  15. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:20 pm

    Seager already signed with the Dodgers though, didn’t he?

  16. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:22 pm

    Yep, $2.35 million

  17. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:26 pm

    Kaleb Cowart was the pick for Figgins.

  18. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2012 10:26 pm


    I should have gone to bed after submitting the comment.

    Good for him, though. Good for him. Can’t pass up that much money. The brother bug in the ear via organizational insiders might have been a good play, there





  19. Breadbaker on July 2nd, 2012 10:29 pm

    Back from the game. Cool fact: Davis’s homer was the Orioles’ last hit.

  20. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 10:29 pm

    I should have done the same. Instead, I’m researching draft picks, and bloating myself with Jalapeno chips.

  21. henryv on July 2nd, 2012 10:33 pm

    and bloating myself with Jalapeno chips.


  22. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2012 10:34 pm

    LOVE Tim’s Sea Salt and Vinegar chips. Mmm…

    Man, now I want some.

  23. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2012 11:19 pm

    Yep, Tims. The best! Always good with black coffee in the morning as well.

  24. John D. on July 3rd, 2012 4:19 pm

    When WELLS was coming to bat, I wondered if SHOWALTER was thinking back to that day (almost seventeen years ago) when he left his pitcher in to face one more batter–that batter doubled too.

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