Game 91, Mariners at Royals

marc w · July 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Jonathan Sanchez, 5:10pm

In a November 2011 for Fangraphs, Dave wrote that Sanchez had the fourth-highest K rate of any starter in baseball in recent years – behind Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Yovani Gallardo. He also wrote that he wasn’t as good as that K rate suggested. Still, when Kansas City acquired him in exchange for Melky Cabrera, most thought he’d continue to be something like a league-average pitcher, albeit one who got to league-average in a roundabout way. Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera has put up 3.3 WAR (he’s hitting .350!) and Sanchez has utterly collapsed.

That high K rate was always something of an oddity, given that Sanchez throws softer than Hisashi Iwakuma. Dave’s piece mentioned his habit of throwing up in the zone, where whiff rates are higher, but that can’t be all of it. In any event, whatever alchemy that allowed 24% K rates on so-so velo fastballs didn’t make the plane to Kansas City (or maybe it did?). His K rate has dropped 10 percentage points from his career mark, and he’s now in Barry Zito/Clayton Richard/Kyle Lohse/Rick Porcello territory. His poor command was always a problem, but it’s degenerated to the point where he makes Kyle Drabek look like a Twins pitcher. Among all pitchers with 50 innings, Sanchez’s walk rate’s of 16.7%’s the worst. He’s walked 42 hitters unintentionally (and plunked another 5), and he’s struck out 34. His FIP’s over 6, which is really, really hard to do.

His fastball’s no longer 91-92; he’s worked in the 88-90 range since coming off the DL with tendinitis (AKA the Jeff Weaver memorial “just clear your head a while” diagnosis), and if he was bad before the DL trip, he’s been pretty much exactly the same after it. Before: 25 1/3 IP, 22 BB, 18 Ks, 2 HRs. After: 26 2/3 IP, 21 BB, 16 Ks, 4 HRs. I’m not going to kick a player when he’s down, in part because it feels mean to point out the failings in the Kansas City org after all they’ve suffered through, and in part because I write about the Mariners – but this is the definition of a winnable game. Unwatchable, perhaps, but winnable.

With the lefty on the mound, the M’s get both Olivo and Montero in the line-up. I’m glad to see Montero back behind the plate, and I don’t mind Olivo in the line-up against a lefty who really struggles against righties, which… no, OK, I’ll level with you: during the Felix-vs-Darvish/USSM-LL meet-up thing, Jeff Sullivan tweeted “Could Yu Darvish could walk Josh Hamilton?” Well, this is essentially another version of that hypothetical. Jonathan Sanchez appears incapable of jogging the ball into the strike zone, and Olivo has 2 walks in his last 114 plate appearances.

Matthew’s series preview at LL includes the slightly depressing fact that Jason Vargas and Bruce Chen have identical career xFIP marks. Vargas last pitched a homerless game on May 9th, at home (duh), versus Detroit. He’s also on a mini-roll, with 22 Ks in 23 2/3 IP in his last three starts (though two of them came against the change-up-phobic Athletics, so, add an extra asterisk to the one you already applied to a stat based on a pitcher’s last three starts).

The line-up:
1: Ackley
2: Ichiro
3: Wells
4: Montero (C)
5: Smoak
6: Seager
7: Olivo (DH)
8: Saunders
9: Ryan
SP: Jason Vargas

The surging Anthony Fernandez starts for Jackson tonight against Tennessee, and Steve Garrison leads the Rainiers against Sacramento at Cheney (7:05 start time – you should go). As JY already mentioned, Clinton played early and last week’s no-hit star Jordan Shipers got knocked around in a 10-4 loss. Jose Valdivia leads Everett into Salem-Keizer, Min-Sih Chen starts for Pulaski and while someone may know who’ll take the ball for High Desert and Arizona, I’m not that someone.

Go M’s.

Comments

57 Responses to “Game 91, Mariners at Royals”

  1. Kyle Miller on July 16th, 2012 4:21 pm

    Olivo is…..DH’ing.

    I just….you know what, fuck it. It doesn’t even matter anymore, I guess.

  2. Slats on July 16th, 2012 5:18 pm

    Casper HR!

  3. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 5:20 pm

    Oh my God. Parallel universe happenings.

  4. Slats on July 16th, 2012 5:21 pm

    OMG – Smoak HR.

  5. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 5:28 pm

    Nice write-up Marc, and thanks for including the minor league game preview teasers. Nice touch.

  6. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 5:36 pm

    If Smoak’s homer leads to good things… great!

    If Smoak’s homer leads to us having to watch another two months of him weakly swinging a foot above pitches down near his ankles… crap.

    And the answer to “Could Yu Darvish walk Josh Hamilton” is no.

  7. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 5:46 pm

    It’s batting practice tonight, apparently.

  8. Slats on July 16th, 2012 5:46 pm

    Fister trade is looking better!

  9. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 5:47 pm

    Sanchez having thrown a no-hitter appears to be on par with Humber having thrown a perfect game.

  10. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 5:51 pm

    Okay, there’s the Smoak I remember.

  11. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Of course, all those people breaking glass at that Captain Morgan banquet aren’t the ones who’ll be cleaning it up…

  12. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 5:58 pm

    Why on earth did the Royals bring Yuni back?

  13. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 6:00 pm

    Dayton Moore

  14. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 6:01 pm

    Dayton Moore: “We need to get a guy like Josh Hamilton somehow.”

    Random advisor: “Remember Yunieski Betancourt, who we traded to the Brewers? He swings at almost anything – just like Josh Hamilton!”

    Dayton Moore: “GET ME YUNI’S AGENT, PRONTO!!”

  15. greentunic on July 16th, 2012 6:01 pm

    If a Vargas is being showcase for a trade, then so far so good!

  16. Kyle Miller on July 16th, 2012 6:07 pm

    Casper is having a day, Olivo is fucking up his entire job today (which is hitting), Mariners up big early.

    Overall, still a good night.

  17. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 6:21 pm

    Down the middle, elevated and below average velo = really bad fit anywhere … But especially in Baltimore. The Orioles can’t really be considering Vargas, can they?

  18. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 6:22 pm

    Not any more they aren’t, Mike. :-D

    Come on Jason, don’t let these guys back into the game!

  19. californiamariner on July 16th, 2012 6:28 pm

    Might as well keep Vargas at this point and let him eat up innings until the young pitchers are ready. He’s not going to bring anything of value in a trade at this point. (At least I can’t imagine a trade gaining anything of value)

  20. henryv on July 16th, 2012 6:32 pm

    That Butler home run is just now landing on Vashon Island.

  21. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 6:42 pm

    Wells is studding up!

  22. The_Waco_Kid on July 16th, 2012 6:43 pm

    Wells!!!

  23. californiamariner on July 16th, 2012 6:48 pm

    I will never agree with Olivo DHing. No matter what reason given to me.

  24. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 6:51 pm

    I would like to see the ball accidentally find the sweet spot of Smoak’s bat again today, but that might be asking for a little too much. Maybe one more time this series?

  25. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 6:56 pm

    There’s probably a better chance he pop’s one up that gets lost in the sun.

  26. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 6:59 pm

    I think Ackley has “found” something good!

  27. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 7:05 pm

    I still think Ackley will be an elite hitter in a year or two. He has all the tools and he’s shown the ability to make adjustments. At least in AAA.

  28. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:13 pm

    Well, he certainly squared that one up … Just right at the LF

    He as in Smoak

  29. californiamariner on July 16th, 2012 7:14 pm

    Did he really just say Blake Beavan is pitching tomorrow? -__-

  30. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:17 pm

    If he did, I missed it. Riding exercise bike while watching. Radio blasting music.
    I heard Beavan coming back was inevitable with Ramirez still out. At least he is better than Noesi.

  31. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:18 pm

    I missed it – did Smoak make good contact but hit it at someone?

  32. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 7:21 pm

    I heard Drayer mention earlier, that Beavan was likely to start tomorrow, though the official announcement hadn’t been made yet.

  33. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:25 pm

    Smoak hit a pee (right on the screws) to the LF. It was probably still gaining speed at the time of the catch. He pasted it. It was a bullet. A screaming me-me.

    How is that for an above average use of metaphors. His RH stroke looks better than his LH stroke, but they both need to be functioning somewhere in T-town.

    He did nail it though, Westy. He hit it harder than his HR.

  34. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:30 pm

    I think Montero can become a Billy Butler type of hitter. And, I would take that any day.

  35. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 7:33 pm

    We should start a pool on how many more shots to the head Montero will take this season.

  36. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Thanks Mike. I really do hope he can turn it around, but I think we all need a break from watching him try.

    Those Montero shots to the head concern me.

  37. greentunic on July 16th, 2012 7:34 pm

    Wow Olivo looked just horrible there.

  38. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:36 pm

    And that surprises you why, greentunic?

    Yeah, that should be an error.

  39. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:40 pm

    That wasn’t a good decision by Saunders (or Datz – whoever made the choice to have Condor try for third).

  40. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:45 pm

    Condor rounded 2B real wide. If he had “cut” the base better, he would have been safe. As it was, it took a perfect throw to get him … And Francoeur can definitely make a perfect throw. I would have sent Saunders, too. Big dude runs very well, and a lot better than he “turned” … At least on that play.

    Roll tape, Westy – and tell me if you agree

  41. henryv on July 16th, 2012 7:49 pm

    Westy,

    I general don’t have a problem with them trying to stretch going from first to third with one out. The reason being that if you make it, and draw the throw, you now have 2nd and 3rd, without the possibility of a double play.

    Within reason, of course. Probably shouldn’t be doing that with Justin Smoak.

  42. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Now that Francoeur has gunned down Saunders, it has effectively exorcised the Ackley robbing homer – from late last season – from Ackley’s psyche … So he can now become the hitter he was always supposed to have been.

    Thank you for taking one for the team, Michael!

  43. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:50 pm

    From the field-level camera shot it looked like Francoeur had the ball when Saunders was rounding second.

    I think you have to make those decisions based on the fielder – Francoeur, or Ichiro, makes that throw so you don’t run on him. Most other guys… sure, send him.

  44. henryv on July 16th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Also, some day, I’d like to see Saunders take out a catcher. Preferably Kurt Suzuki.

  45. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 7:54 pm

    I’d like to see Kawasaki try to take out a catcher.

  46. Slats on July 16th, 2012 7:54 pm

    Jesus!

  47. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 7:55 pm

    Nice rip! Stayed on-balance perfectly. Having a cookie to hit didn’t hurt, either.

  48. henryv on July 16th, 2012 7:55 pm

    Well, that would be entertaining.

    Okay, please tell me how everyone saw that as soon as Cain remembered it was Montero, he jogged to grab that double.

  49. henryv on July 16th, 2012 7:57 pm

    It’s Teaford, another Twitter All-Star!

  50. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 7:59 pm

    Henry, I think Cain went onto the concourse, bought a soda and a candy bar, then came back and fetched the ball.

  51. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Why hurry … What’s the rush?

  52. msfanmike on July 16th, 2012 8:12 pm

    Nice win.

    If Beavan is on his way up, does that mean Kinney is on his way down?

  53. henryv on July 16th, 2012 8:17 pm

    Hopefully Peguero, because, damn he is even worse than how terrible I remember him being.

  54. Westside guy on July 16th, 2012 8:22 pm

    I agree with you Henry – but I’d be surprised to see Peggy go down that quickly.

  55. The_Waco_Kid on July 16th, 2012 9:14 pm

    I was hearing Delabar. He’s got options.

  56. stevemotivateir on July 16th, 2012 10:27 pm

    Guti’s traveling with the team, so he must be close to being ready. I’d imagine Peguero will certainly be gone upon his return, if not before.

  57. 300ZXNA on July 16th, 2012 11:00 pm

    So is Ackley maybe showing signs of life? Hammered that ball to center in Felix’s last start and now a HR. Would love to see him start living up to his potential.

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