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.


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

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

    The Toronto pitcher looks strangely familiar…

    hehehe Henry, Walter.

  2. 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.

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

    Carp is better looking in low def though.

  4. 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.

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

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

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

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

  7. 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

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

    Walter I think you’ve had enough beer.

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

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

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

    Steve Delabar looks exceptionally stoned in his MLB photo.

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

    And Mike Carp looks like a serial killer.

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

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

  13. henryv on July 31st, 2012 9:33 pm
  14. WalterNeff on July 31st, 2012 9:35 pm

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

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    Olivo gets a double locker?

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

    Come on, Wedge – let Capps warm up!

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

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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).

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

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

  24. 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.

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


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

    Six in a row!!!

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

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

    The M’s have a +1 differential.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

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

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

  35. 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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