Game 100, Yankees at Mariners

marc w · July 25, 2012 at 11:02 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Ivan Nova, 12:40pm

Iwakuma looks to build on a solid start against a rather poor offense by facing a far more challenging opponent. Ivan Nova looks to stifle his laughter at the team that chose Hector Noesi instead.*

Nova had a good ground ball rate last year, which is somewhat interesting given that he throws only 4-seam fastballs. This season, his K rate’s up substantially and he’s cut his walk rate as well – but the trade-off’s been a big increase in his home runs allowed. He’s throwing more breaking balls (sliders and curves) than he did last year, and his slider appears to be something of a feast or famine pitch – good amount of whiffs, lots of ground balls, but he’s hung quite a few of them and batters have taken advantage. We’re talking about tiny samples when we look at pitch-type results from three and a half months, but it’s definitely something to watch.

All told, he ends up something like Freddy Garcia – the peripherals have changed, but it leaves him surprisingly near where he was. As a pitch-to-contact guy, he put up a 4.01 FIP and a 4.16 xFIP. As a strikeout/HR guy, he’s put up a 4.43 FIP with a 3.89 xFIP.

Hisashi Iwakuma knows a little something about giving up HRs, and despite the fact that this is in Safeco, and despite the fact that A-Rod’s on the DL, he’s going to have to keep the ball down. He spotted his fastball much better against the Rays than he had in his previous starts, so maybe it’s just taken him some time to get stretched out.

The line-up:
1: Ackley
2: Saunders
3: Montero (C)
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Seager
6: Carp
7: Wells
8: Peguero
9: Kawasaki
SP: Iwakuma

The Rainiers are playing early today as well, as Erasmo Ramirez makes a rehab start at 11:35 at Cheney.
The Jackson Generals have a day game today as well, as Forrest Snow gets the start in 100 degree heat.

*If this is even true. That’s what Howard Lincoln had to say back in spring training, and he’s certainly in a position to know, but I have no idea if it was that simple, or if taking Nova would’ve required the M’s to add more to the deal.


110 Responses to “Game 100, Yankees at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 26th, 2012 9:56 am

    Yeah, I know its de rigueur to blame the hitting coach, but – this team’s hitting issues seem to be systemic, and the only people who currently can hit either came from outside the organization or went outside of the organization for help.

    What is Chambliss doing, exactly?

  2. MrZDevotee on July 26th, 2012 10:30 am

    And once the “outside the organization guys” get here, they can’t hit either…

    Sexson (took a year for the stink to stick)
    Junior (post Kingdome)

    All supposed strong hitters…

    LONG LONG list of names could be formed…

    Meanwhile, slap and hustle guys are the only ones who succeed… Ichiro, Seager, Saunders, Winn…

  3. raul_podzednick on July 26th, 2012 10:42 am

    4 games set with the Royals!

    Can we call Smoak up just for that series?

  4. Johnny Slick on July 26th, 2012 12:06 pm

    Yeah, I could be way off here but coupled with Wedge’s stated attitude, I think the M’s as a whole are way, way too free-swinging in general and for the Safe in particular. Walks have basically the same run expectancy in Coors Field as they do in Safeco and because Safeco is an overall lower run environment that actually makes them more valuable. Unfortunately we have a manager/hitting coach combination who preach the virtue of going after a pitcher early in the count. The M’s are towards the bottom of the league in pretty much everything, so I guess the BB rate looks semi-OK in comparison to, for instance, the team’s overall BA or OPS+, but it’s not good, and the team’s isolated walks trails the league too.

    Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley do a decent amount of walking but otherwise I’m just not seeing it. Olivo, of course, is notoriously bad. Montero is not great at this either and he really needs someone to explain to him that much of the benefit of power is that pitchers try to nibble with you more. If Wedge cared about OBP, Jaso would be in the lineup every day. Saunders and Wells probably are what they are at this point, and I have an inkling that Seager is as well, but I’d still prefer to see someone with a better philosophy.

  5. Mid80sRighty on July 26th, 2012 12:22 pm

    Uh, Beltre hit just fine when he was with the M’s. That’s one instance where the ballpark was the major contributor to his “bad” hitting stats. Hell, he was still putting up 110+ wRC+ in most of his years with the M’s. Then he goes to those 2 bandboxes of ballparks and people think he’s all the sudden a different hitter, he’s the same.

  6. BillyJive on July 26th, 2012 1:37 pm

    Grienke is available…pretty sure he’s a better hitter than anyone we have…

  7. Johnny Slick on July 26th, 2012 1:56 pm

    I liked Beltre the entire time he was here. My point isn’t that guys who don’t walk go to Safeco to die, it’s that walking is a much more important skill for a Seattle hitter than it is for hitters in other cities, and it’s already a pretty important skill to have. Unfortunately our manager/hitting coach seem not to care about this aspect of the game at all.

  8. Mid80sRighty on July 26th, 2012 2:09 pm

    I was replying to MrZ’s comment, not your’s Johnny.

  9. Johnny Slick on July 26th, 2012 2:22 pm


    FWIW Montero is doing pretty well for a 22 year old kid, and I’m not quite sure how Clutchy McHuggerson makes that list either, as he did or outdid what he’d done in recent years with Kansas City when he got here. If MrZ’s point is that “free agents do not work out with Seattle except when they do” then yes, I totally agree.

  10. Mid80sRighty on July 26th, 2012 3:07 pm

    Haha, pretty much Johnny.

    I also think it was probably unfair to have McHuggerson on the list anyway since he was clearly in his declining years.

    Personally, I like “aggressive” hitters. It isn’t very often a hitter gets a mistake pitch and they have to be ready to pounce on those, whether it be the first or tenth pitch. That’s what I mean be aggressive, not swinging wildly at pitches anywhere near the plate. You may be right, though, that in a park like Safeco patience could play a much bigger factor. But, in the end, no matter how patient they are, at some point somebody HAS to hit the damn ball in a gap.

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