Game 120, Twins at Mariners

marc w · August 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Not Felix vs. Not At All Felix, Like Pretty Much the Anti-Felix, 7:10pm

The Minnesota Twins visit Safeco for a three game series and a reminder that, however bleak things look in Seattle, they’re worse in the Twin Cities. Minnesota has the worst record in the American League, and it’s not terribly close. Their opening day payroll exceeded $100 million. While they’ve gotten surprisingly decent years from their oft-injured, highly-compensated stars, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, the team’s sunk about $20 million into guys they hoped would stabilize the starting rotation: Carl Pavano, Scott Baker and tonight’s starter, Nick Blackburn. Baker’s out for the year with Tommy John surgery, and Pavano and Blackburn have combined for 156 replacement-level innings.

Amongst all pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched this year, Blackburn has the worst xFIP, the worst FIP, the worst WAR, the worst ERA, the 2nd worst HR/9 (thanks, Tommy Hunter), and the 3rd worst K%. His FIP is comfortably more than double Felix’s (it makes me uncomfortable to even associate Felix with Blackburn’s 2012). Pitch-type run values can be problematic for a variety of reasons, but just for fun: Blackburn’s two-seam fastball (his bread and butter pitch) has been, the worst pitch - any kind of pitch – in baseball this year. Nick Blackburn’s had a sub-par season, is kind of what I’m getting at.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s still given up 1 HR in each MLB start, and while his ground ball rate’s down a tad from his (brief) stint as a reliever, his K% and K:BB ratio’s improved. True, almost all of that’s due to his out-of-nowhere 13 strike-out game against the Jays, but he’s been a solid starter – his RA’s just under 4 over the course of 7 starts. He’s still somewhat homer-prone, though he’s been a far sight better than Blackburn in that department. Still, he’s got to avoid fastball counts, as MLB is simply destroying Iwakuma’s fastballs. His four-seamer’s the pitch he uses most frequently, and when hitters have put it in play, they’ve hit .300 with a slugging percentage of .650. His sinker’s amazing by comparison, but hitters have gone .280/.400 off of that. His slider’s been bad too, as hitters are slugging .571 on it, and when you remember that it’s thrown predominantly to right-handed batters, it looks even worse. Weakness in his four-seam and slider are two direct causes of his poor performance against right-handed batters. Sure, luck (in the form of his freakish HR/FB ratio) has played a role too, but that’s gone both ways (his ERA’s much lower than his FIP, and he’s got what looks like an unsustainable strand rate). He’s an intriguing pitcher, and I could see him adding some real value in 2013, but I’d love to see some real progress in his slider before I contemplate a multi-year free agent deal for Iwakuma.

The line-up:
1: Ackley
2: Saunders
3: Seager
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Smoak
6: Olivo (C)
7: Robinson
8: Thames
9: Ryan
SP: Iwakuma

The M’s made a roster move today, optioning Shawn Kelley to Tacoma to make room for Charlie Furbush, who came off the DL. Kelley’s been quite effective by FIP and K% this year, but he’s struggled a bit if you look at win probability. He’s got the worst Win Probability Added of any player on the team (now that League and Delabar play elsewhere), and he’s got the worst WPA/LI. The reason’s pretty simple: Kelley’s has racked up the most “meltdowns” on the team (again, excluding League), and he has the worst ratio of “shutdowns” to “meltdowns” in the ‘pen (excluding Steve Delabar). (Meltdowns are a great stat-geek alternative to the ‘blown save’ and are calculated as a reliever who dropped his team’s chance of winning by 6% or more in his appearance). I think most stat-savvy fans would argue that the strikeout and strikeout-to-walk ratio numbers are “truer” than the WPA stuff, which is almost 100% the product of sequencing. But even the geekiest of fans were getting nervous when Brandon League came into the game, and I’m pretty sure the M’s coaching staff is feeling the same way about Kelley right now. Brandon League had a FIP of 3.39 with the M’s this year – exactly the same as Kelley’s. I’m sure plenty of people would agree that he was partially – partially – the victim of bad luck, but I don’t recall anyone objecting to his trade. I like Shawn Kelley, and think he’s going to be a solid mid-inning reliever, but I’m not exactly dumbfounded that the M’s chose to send him down instead of Carter Capps. Josh Kinney would’ve been a possible candidate if he had options left, but he doesn’t. And Kinney’s been tougher on righties than Kelley – Kinney’s fanned 40% of RHBs he’s faced, compared to Kelley’s 25%. Shawn Kelley’s probably frustrated right now, and I get that, but I think this has more to do with how deep the M’s are in right-handed relievers. Kelley’s a major league arm who may get the chance to be a 7th inning guy somewhere else next year.

Comments

103 Responses to “Game 120, Twins at Mariners”

  1. leon0112 on August 17th, 2012 5:09 pm

    The Mariners are now .500 since May 28. I wonder how long it has been since they played 2.5 months of .500 ball.

  2. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 5:17 pm

    Here’s hoping Saunders stops hitting the ball right at people tonight! For a while I was concerned about the constant groundouts, but lately he’s been making decent contact a fair bit of the time – the ball’s just been going right at people.

    I’d still like to see him get back to being “patient Michael” though, that may have something to do with it.

    I’m also not sure there should EVER be a lineup that has both Jaso and Olivo in it.

  3. aj2013WS on August 17th, 2012 6:15 pm

    It was actually just last year leon.
    The Mariners were 43-43 over halfway through the season, over three months of baseball at .500, but then disaster struck, for 17 long games.

  4. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 6:45 pm

    I really don’t ever want to see Olivo play ever.

  5. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 6:52 pm

    A 100 million payroll and a bad team. Why does that sound familiar?

  6. wabbles on August 17th, 2012 7:09 pm

    .500 since May 28? I can’t tell you how angry that makes me. What’s the point of spring training if you are making April and May roster moves that should have been made in February and March? This happens all the time. Not that we were going to be contenders, the believe the adage that pennants aren’t won in April and May but they can be lost during those months. Well, there you go, except that in our case it’s a .500 record.

  7. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:14 pm

    I agree with you, Paul. No Montero after a day off – when facing one of the worst RHP’s in the game.

  8. WTF_Ms on August 17th, 2012 7:20 pm

    There ya go Westy! He hit it where they ain’t!

  9. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:20 pm

    More like that Michael.

  10. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:24 pm

    Maybe Jaso should have been playing in April, huh enables?

  11. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:24 pm

    Alright! Jaso sure made him pay for the location of that pitch.

  12. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:25 pm

    Stupid auto correct.

  13. Section329 on August 17th, 2012 7:26 pm

    Jaso, way to go! Lueke (sp?)is buried in AAA with Tampa Bay. Great trade, Jack!

  14. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:27 pm

    I can’t believe how Smoak is incapable of hitting a line drive. How could he have gotten this far only able to hit grounders and slow flies?

  15. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:32 pm

    Mariners pitchers have now been perfect for eleven straight inings.

  16. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Olivo!!

  17. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Well, that answers that. He Punished that pitch. Holy crickey!

  18. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:35 pm

    I suppose Olivo will be starting tomorrow.

  19. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:36 pm

    Yeah Paul, nothing is ever going to correct to “wabbles” unless it’s done by those pesky “weebles”.

  20. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:36 pm

    Just got back from dinner – saw Saunders hit while I was getting caught up though, and Jaso’s homer!

    Now Olivo cheapens it, just a bit… hehehe This pitcher is not good. Olivo can really pound a mistake though! Dude is STRONG…

  21. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:38 pm

    We should just start calling wabbles “enables”.

  22. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 7:38 pm

    Can we just put Jaso on the five dollar bill now and Felix on the twenty?

  23. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:39 pm

    If Wedge isn’t comfortable moving Montero to first – why not try Olivo over there? I’d rather see him hit right now than Smoak…

    Like it Walter!

  24. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:40 pm

    I wish he’d quit doing that.

  25. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:42 pm

    Is Guti suiting up because he has been doing baseball related workouts with the Big team, or is it because he needs to be in uniform to sit on the bench as a non-staffer? Any word of a new date for a rehab assignment for him?

  26. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:43 pm

    Noesi is perfect through two…

  27. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 7:47 pm

    Mariners perfect through 11

  28. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:47 pm

    Anyone seen Noesi? Does he look like anything has changed?

  29. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 7:48 pm

    12

  30. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 7:48 pm

    12

  31. nvn8vbryce on August 17th, 2012 7:48 pm

    C’mon Nostra-Westy…

  32. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:48 pm

    Mike, is that an official rule – they need to be uniformed to be on the bench? The trainer and some other guys certainly aren’t.

  33. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:49 pm

    ARGH! I typed Noesi! I meant Iwakuma. That’s embarrassing…

  34. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Saunders should homer hit it to the third baseman here.

  35. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:51 pm

    Saunders hit it hard, at least.

  36. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:51 pm

    I don’t think it’s a rule but I know Carpenter is with St. Louis in uniform and he’s out for the year.

  37. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:52 pm

    Here I thought you were reporting on a Rainiers game!

  38. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:53 pm

    So, has Sims effectively dispelled the notion of not mentioning no hitters or perfect games while they are in process … Since he is leading all announcers in that category, with 3 this season?

    He “enables” an entirely new thought process.

  39. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:53 pm

    I know some old managers like Connie Mack used to wear suits in the dugout.

  40. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 7:54 pm

    It’s sad I’d much rather see Smoak at first then Figgy at third.

  41. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:55 pm

    I think Connie was the last, but he was probably the last owner to manage. Well, except for one day when Ted Turner tried it.

  42. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:55 pm

    Smoak is in a bad spot right now – it’s too bad Carp got hurt. Justin should be focussing on fixing his swing rather than being forced up in front of us fans.

  43. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Wait, isn’t the lady on that commercial the same one that’s married to Jack?

  44. Section329 on August 17th, 2012 7:57 pm

    I think it was MLB that made Johnny Pesky take off the Red Sox uniform. Real classy.

  45. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 7:57 pm

    Smoak or Figgins…

    Measles or Chicken Pox?

  46. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 7:58 pm

    I think it was MLB that made Johnny Pesky take off the Red Sox uniform. Real classy.

    Major League Baseball – putting the “ass” into “class”.

  47. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 7:59 pm

    That’s why I mentioned Guti was a non-staffer. I think players need to be in uniform, but am not entirely certain. I have never seen a player on the bench (on the IR or active) who wasn’t in uniform, so maybe/likely.

  48. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 7:59 pm

    As I understand it baseball managers wear uniforms because they’re he only coaches in sports who can enter the field of play – it would look stupid to go out to the mound looking like Pat Riley.

  49. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:01 pm

    SAVING THE PERFECTO! hahahahahahaha

  50. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 8:01 pm

    Good catch .

  51. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:02 pm

    I’m sure you guys are right about the uni’s – I just don’t know.

    Do high school / college managers wear the uniform?

  52. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 8:02 pm

    13..

  53. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:02 pm

    This can’t be happening

  54. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:02 pm

    IWAKUMA perfect through 4…

  55. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:03 pm

    What did the Mariners do at the end of the game before last?

    Just wondering what kind of team streak we have going.

  56. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 8:05 pm

    2 for 2 Olivo.haha

  57. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:06 pm

    Guess that is why Olivo is playing, Wedge has his numbers against Blackburn.

  58. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:06 pm

    Wow, Fielder is even fatter now.

  59. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:07 pm

    There was a double in the 9th in the pre-Felix game

  60. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:09 pm

    Ah, too bad. Still, quite a few perfect innings so far.

  61. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Sunny Bono’s widow is apparently married to Connie Mack’s great-grandson.

  62. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Ooh – nice little flip

  63. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:11 pm

    Sonny, my friend

  64. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Whoops! Thanks Walter.

  65. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:13 pm

    NOOOOOOOOOO……..

  66. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Well, there goes the string.

  67. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:14 pm

    So, any word on Guti … Other than the fact that we can all see he is wearing a uniform and by all accounts is not married to any descendants of Connie Mack or Sony Bono?

    No more perfecto. Okay, bare down – keep getting outs.

  68. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:15 pm

    Come on Brendan. Come on!

  69. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:15 pm

    Soni Bowknow

  70. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:16 pm

    Bad throw but Seager should have caught it.

  71. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:16 pm

    I think I’ll go back to playing Red Dead Redemption

  72. terryoftacoma on August 17th, 2012 8:16 pm

    I want to see Iwakuma break his 1 homer a game string.

  73. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:17 pm

    22 scoreless innings

  74. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:17 pm

    Sony vision.

  75. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:18 pm

    I think the last news I heard on Guti was regarding the latest setback – several days ago. That was when Marc opined they should just shut him down and have him play winter ball.

  76. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:21 pm

    Random factoid. Kawasaki has twice as many walks as Olivo.

  77. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:22 pm

    Ichiro is batting .756 since leaving the Mariners, is dating Cameon Diaz and is the new judge on American Idol. I rounded it up.

  78. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:24 pm

    If they can get him back for the entire month of September, they should go for it. If not, yeah – I probably have to agree with Marc. What a year for Guti and Carp. This season has raised more questions than it answered, so far – by far, for several areas where answers were needed.

  79. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:24 pm

    I’d watch a show where Ichiro is a judge.

  80. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:26 pm

    Hehe, I had to go look after that!

    Ichiro is hitting .300/.325/.425 since going to the Yankees! Why oh why do they always get better after they leave? ;-)

  81. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:30 pm

    This half inning is in slow motion.

  82. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:31 pm

    human rain delay

  83. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:31 pm

    Iwakuma’s splitter is something.

  84. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:31 pm

    Great job getting out of that mess, but I think the glacier is gaining ground again.

  85. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:32 pm

    He got through it though. Only one run with the error.

  86. WalterNeff on August 17th, 2012 8:34 pm

    Mariner wives – it looks like they all married the same woman. Are they factory-built?

  87. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:35 pm

    How many pitches has Saunders seen in his 3 AB’s tonight … Did he put the first pitch in play each time up?

  88. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:36 pm

    Second AB was 2 pitches.

  89. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:38 pm

    Smoak!

  90. Paul B on August 17th, 2012 8:38 pm

    Was that…. A line drive by Smoak?

  91. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:51 pm

    Trayvon Robinson is having quite a game tonight!

  92. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Ump seems to be squeezing the zone a bit.

  93. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 8:59 pm

    Good job Ackley. Wedge wanted to give him a chance to hit in an easier RBI situation, I guess. I think Ryan could have moved the runner without a bunt, but a run is a run.

  94. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:10 pm

    You’re giving Wedge more credit than I do, Mike. :-D

  95. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:14 pm

    That was a tough catch by Florimon.

  96. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Wedge was playing for “A” run, and that is what he got. Now, if he could just find a way to get one – every inning.

  97. justdave on August 17th, 2012 9:29 pm

    Yikes… good thing we got those insurance runs.

  98. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:33 pm

    Poor Saunders, having to play the tag-along at the hospital visit one day after Felix’s perfect game!

    Yay, it’s FELIX!!!! Oh, and that other guy…

  99. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 9:41 pm

    Pretty good chance nobody at the hospital would have recognized Saunders if he had not been with Felix. He’s lucky to be able to tag along – IMO

  100. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:42 pm

    It was pretty cool that Felix went to the hospital, in any case. He seems to be a good guy.

    And yeah, other than Felix and Ichiro (sniff), is there any other Mariner that’d be recognized on the street?

  101. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:44 pm

    What does Wilhelmsen weigh… about 130? :-D

  102. msfanmike on August 17th, 2012 9:45 pm

    Miggy … From all the bruising.

    That guy must be made of Kevlar.

  103. Westside guy on August 17th, 2012 9:48 pm

    Yeah, apart from all the complaints I’ve made regarding his play – Miggy may be the toughest dude I’ve ever seen on a baseball diamond.

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