Game 106, Blue Jays at Mariners

marc w · July 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas, yes, Jason Vargas vs. Aaron Laffey, 7:10pm

So Vargas is still here. How about that? Hopefully he learned something watching Hisashi Iwakuma carve through this line up last night, and he’ll keep the Jays off-balance. Opposing him is ex-Mariner reliever, Aaron Laffey, who is essentially a poor man’s Vargas. A slow fastball (less velocity than Vargas), a slider/cutter and a change-up. While the M’s saw Laffey as a left-on-left reliever (essentially seeing his slider as his out pitch), the Jays have been forced to use Laffey as a starter (where he’s been forced to use his change-up against righties). None of his pitches match Vargas’ offerings, so it’s not surprising to see Laffey put up a 4.76 FIP. He’s got a decent ERA thanks to a very low BABIP and a correspondingly high strand rate, but this is Aaron Laffey here.

To his credit, Laffey’s cut his walk rate thus far in 2012, and that’s helped him pitch around 7 home runs in less than 45 innings. But even that seems somewhat strange, given that he’s actually throwing more balls than he did last season, and his first-strike percentage is down accordingly. That said, he appears to have picked up a cutter this year, and it’s suddenly the pitch he throws the most (according to Brooksbaseball; MLB Gameday and BIS all show that he picked up the cutter this year, but they vary on how often he throws it). The sample is laughably small, but he’s able to throw it for strikes (far more than his fastball), it gets a decent number of whiffs (which, if you’re Aaron Laffey, must seem like magic), and it generates ground balls. It’s not some miracle pitch; he’s given up some HRs on it, and it’s still just an 85-87mph pseudo-fastball, but it’s different. This pitch – even more than his change-up – seems to be the key to surviving against righties in the rotation.

Today’s line-up – the M’s start five right-handed batters tonight against the lefty Laffey, and the M’s go for their sixth straight win against a lefty.
1: Ackley
2: Wells (RF)
3: Saunders (CF)
4: Montero (DH)
5: Seager
6: Carp
7: Olivo (C)
8: Robinson
9: Ryan
SP: Jason Vargas is ours, (would you like our Jason Vargas? No really, you don’t want him? No? Last chance here…) and you can’t have him.

Danny Hultzen’s still not dominating the PCL the way many expected, and now the M’s are going to limit his innings going forward. Ryan Divish spoke to Jack Zduriencik who’s given the directive to the Rainiers and minor league pitching coordinator Rick Waits: fewer innings, fewer starts, fewer pitches in his starts and fewer pitches between starts. This seems like a good move to me, as something’s just not right with Hultzen. Command issues aside, we haven’t seen really good stuff on a consistent basis; the change-up looks like a plus pitch intermittently, while fastball command has been more “off” than “on” since moving up from AA Jackson. This would seem to put an end to any talk of Hultzen getting a cup of coffee in September. Again: that’s probably a good thing. There’s no sense in using him in a high-pressure game (and his first MLB experience will be high-pressure by default) at the end of his longest season by far in the midst of command problems. Shut it down, and work with him in the winter.
(Incidentally, for a guy who’s nominal beat is covering the Huskies, Divish is absolutely killing it on M’s news these days.)
Big night in the system as Taijuan Walker starts for Jackson, and new guy DJ Mitchell pitches for Tacoma at Tucson. Even newer-guy Leon Landry may make his system debut for High Desert at Lake Elsinore, and Logan Bawcom could relieve Walker in Birmingham.

Comments

85 Responses to “Game 106, Blue Jays at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 6:21 pm

    Love it, Marc – hopefully Jeff Sullivan won’t send you a cease and desist!

    So Trayvon Robinson is playing, eh?

  2. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:15 pm

    Well Vargas is looking pretty darn good at the moment!

  3. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:17 pm

    K’s are wild

    I am still in a state of joyous befuddlement over Iwakuma’s outing last night. He was great!

  4. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:18 pm

    ACKLEY!!

  5. terryoftacoma on July 31st, 2012 7:18 pm

    Wow Ackley!!

  6. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:18 pm

    Lead off dinger. Ho hum.

  7. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:19 pm

    Looks like Condor’s wife made him shave…

  8. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:22 pm

    So now they’re down to – what, 2 commercials they can use?

  9. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:31 pm

    Burnett has a no hitter going in the 8th against the Cubs.

    FYI

  10. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:35 pm

    Hey hey Olivo! Damaging company property!

  11. Kyle Miller on July 31st, 2012 7:37 pm

    I’ll give credit where credit is due—heads up running by Robinson.

  12. Kyle Miller on July 31st, 2012 7:37 pm

    I’ll give credit where credit is due—heads up baserunning by Robinson.

  13. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:38 pm

    Good job Robinson! I am sure rooting for this guy … But he has to show an awful lot in a little time. A 5th OF with
    Speed – after Figgy is gone? I would like to see him be a good enough for the team to want to keep.

  14. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:39 pm

    Man they’re just lighting Laffey up right now!

  15. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:40 pm

    No hitter, gone. Sharp single to RF

  16. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:44 pm

    Didn’t the Cubs just have a fire sale? I can’t imagine they’re feeling all that chipper right now…

  17. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 7:46 pm

    First lineup in a long while with no Mariner bats under .200

  18. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:47 pm

    Yep, and it started to smolder in 1908

  19. justdave on July 31st, 2012 7:47 pm

    Is this Sierra related to Ruben?

  20. andybrnr on July 31st, 2012 7:48 pm

    Ryan just crossed the Mendoza line with that last single.

  21. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:49 pm

    Let’s roll a DP, here. Get out of this.

  22. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 7:51 pm

    Wow, they’re all over .200? Even Olivo? I’m feeling absolutely giddy…

    Okay, that wasn’t the DP Mike asked for.

  23. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 7:54 pm

    Did you see the smile disappear from his face when Farrell told him he was going to be fined for ignoring the stop sign?

    Partial speculation, but I would not be surprised.

  24. Kyle Miller on July 31st, 2012 8:03 pm

    Mariners are hitting Laffey hard tonight for the most part.

  25. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 8:05 pm

    Wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more runs to the board for Vargas. Nice opposite field hitting by Montero, let’s go Carp!

  26. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 8:08 pm

    Bad break … Carp hit the ball hard.

  27. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 8:21 pm

    Ackley looks like Jake Gyllenhaal

  28. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 8:22 pm

    Robinson’s swinging the bat well in the time he’s been up so far.

  29. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 8:29 pm

    I hope fans who boo pick off attempts were able to learn something, there. Idiots. It’s part of the game.

  30. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 8:36 pm

    That was getting very annoying, to say the least.

  31. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 8:39 pm

    But nobody is bothered when the home team does it. The ball is live. Pick off attemts are part of the game action.. If they are booing the action, they don’t understand the game very well. Nobody is twisting their arm to watch the game, either.

  32. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 8:47 pm

    I got excited when I saw the bases were loaded, but then I heard that Olivo was coming up. Please do what you did in the second inning. Thanks.

  33. Kyle Miller on July 31st, 2012 8:51 pm

    Does Miguel Olivo remember that he’s Miguel Olivo?

  34. msfanmike on July 31st, 2012 8:52 pm

    And your request was answered. Nice job Miggy – and off a RHP, too.

    Come on Tray. Hit it hard somewhere.

  35. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 8:55 pm

    M’s are almost even on run differential for the year

  36. Jack Howland on July 31st, 2012 8:59 pm

    Ms have positive run differential for the year!

  37. Breadbaker on July 31st, 2012 9:09 pm

    So Ichiro has a hit in every game he’s played as a Yankee. They are 3-5 since the trade and the M’s are 6-2 (and have a good chance of being 7-2). SSS, caliber of opponent and all that, but the kids are all right.

  38. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 9:12 pm

    It would be cool if Vargas went out for the seventh, and then Capps and Pryor came out for the last two innings.

  39. MKT on July 31st, 2012 9:12 pm

    Better than having a farm system that’s a teenage wasteleand [echoing a long-ago thread from BaseballPrimer].

  40. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:16 pm

    There goes the four-hitter :-)

  41. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:18 pm

    Anyone else watching this on ROOT HD (Comcast 627) and having the channel freeze up occasionally?

  42. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:21 pm

    That’s my channel – all good here

  43. Breadbaker on July 31st, 2012 9:21 pm

    Just fine here.

  44. WTF_Ms on July 31st, 2012 9:22 pm

    Yes, and the sound is echoing too.

  45. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:22 pm

    I could use another beer, though

  46. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 9:23 pm

    I’m watching on ROOT HD Comcast 627 and everything is fine.

  47. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 9:23 pm

    And Steve Delabar is in the game.

  48. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:24 pm

    Maybe it’s just some localized issue with Comcast, then. Thanks guys.

    Not used to having to watch the low-def broadcast… life is hard. :-D

  49. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:25 pm

    I’m watching on ROOT HD Comcast 627 and everything is fine.

    Your receiver refuses to believe how well the M’s have been playing this week, and has crashed. It’s a normal thing. The new DVRs are highly affected by surprise.

    It’s a known issue.

  50. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:25 pm

    Now my kid’s head is in the way – that could either be Comcast or poor parenting.

  51. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:26 pm

    The Toronto pitcher looks strangely familiar…

    hehehe Henry, Walter.

  52. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:27 pm

    Ha ha… I looked at Gamechannel and it said “Steve Delabar” and I was thinking “I thought we already traded that batting T” and then I realized he was pitching against us.

  53. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:27 pm

    Carp is better looking in low def though.

  54. WTF_Ms on July 31st, 2012 9:28 pm

    I’m on DirecTV, and it isn’t good tonight.

    I dont know who these M’s are, but me likey so far.

  55. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:29 pm

    My mistake – it was Delabar’s head that was in the way.

  56. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:29 pm

    My mistake – it was Delabar’s head that was in the way.

  57. Jack Howland on July 31st, 2012 9:29 pm

    Ichiro may have a hit in every game, but he’s not being all that productive: 258/285/387

  58. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:29 pm

    Walter I think you’ve had enough beer.

  59. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:30 pm

    My pudgy iPad fingers double-posted. Not as bad as drunk-dialing, but close.

  60. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:30 pm

    Steve Delabar looks exceptionally stoned in his MLB photo.

  61. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:31 pm

    And Mike Carp looks like a serial killer.

  62. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:32 pm

    Strike ‘im out, throw ‘im out, trade ‘im triple play

  63. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:33 pm
  64. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:35 pm

    Crap – all this time I’ve been watching Angels in the Outfield and didn’t notice.

  65. Breadbaker on July 31st, 2012 9:40 pm

    I’m sorry, Olivo made a totally crappy throw. He would have done far better to have held the ball in his hand. Is it in Blowers’ contract that everything Olivo does requires a compliment?

  66. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:42 pm

    Haven’t you heard, Henry? Bad photos of athletes are all the rage now. MLB was just blazing a trail for the Olympics to follow.

  67. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:43 pm

    Breadbaker, Olivo was probably concerned that, what with his two hits and all, people might mistake him for a valuable player. He didn’t want to give a false impression.

  68. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:47 pm

    Olivo gets a double locker?

  69. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:47 pm

    Come on, Wedge – let Capps warm up!

  70. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 9:50 pm

    Trayvon must’ve read some of what Dave wrote recently.

  71. Breadbaker on July 31st, 2012 9:51 pm

    Giving Olivo a double locker is just a way to double the clubhouse boys’ tips. His deodorant goes much farther now when he drops it and then asks a clubbie to help find it.

  72. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2012 9:51 pm

    I can’t wait to see Capps, Pryor, and Wilhelmson, all in a row (no particular order).

  73. taylor.mariner on July 31st, 2012 9:54 pm

    Who said Trayvon Robinson couldn’t play baseball at the major league level?

  74. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2012 9:58 pm

    I said he couldn’t -and I still believe that. It will take a lot more than a few good games to convince me otherwise. Having said that, I’m still glad he’s swinging the bat well right now.

  75. Westside guy on July 31st, 2012 10:04 pm

    Game!

  76. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2012 10:05 pm

    Six in a row!!!

  77. taylor.mariner on July 31st, 2012 10:08 pm

    Well you’re probably right steve, but I’m pulling for the kid!

  78. henryv on July 31st, 2012 10:36 pm

    Ha ha, Aaron Laffey started for a team kind of in a playoff race.

    Just think, Blue Jays, you could have started Jason Vargas against whoever we called up from AAA for a AA prospect. And now you’re losing to the freaking Mariners.

    And if the playoffs started today, the Athletics and Angels would be the wild card teams. Holy shit.

  79. henryv on July 31st, 2012 10:40 pm

    The Baltimore Orioles are at a -57 differential, and the M’s have a -4 differential. And the Orioles are in a playoff hunt.

    I blame Eric Wedge and Carlos Peguero. And Red Farley, too.

  80. Breadbaker on July 31st, 2012 11:37 pm

    The M’s have a +1 differential.

  81. wilchiro on July 31st, 2012 11:58 pm

    If the Mariners were to go 11-3 in their next 14 games, they would be 60-60 with 42 games left to play. Highly unlikely, especially with the upcoming road trip, but anything is possible. The A’s just won 15 of their last 17 games and are now leading the Wild Card race.

  82. Westside guy on August 1st, 2012 12:41 am

    I’m happy we’re seeing signs of progress. I know it’s not a particularly good team; but I didn’t think they were as bad as they’ve looked at times either.

  83. henryv on August 1st, 2012 12:54 am

    The M’s have a +1 differential.

    Listen here, guy who actually waits for stats to update. No one likes a fact-er. “Facts, you can prove anything even remotely true with facts.” ~Homer Simpson

  84. henryv on August 1st, 2012 12:55 am

    And yes, I have been drinking. Why do you ask?

  85. Westside guy on August 1st, 2012 9:29 am

    There have been times these past few years when drinking was a prerequisite to watching a Mariners game…

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