Game 123, Indians at Mariners

marc w · August 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Kevin Millwood vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 7:10pm

Ubaldo Jimenez was once a Cy Young candidate with one of the best fastballs in baseball. His dazzling 2010 season seemed to prove that his control problems were abating, and that he’d become one of the elite pitchers in baseball. He suffered through sub-par results in 2011, and his velocity seemed to be down, but as we’ve seen with Felix Hernandez, that’s not always a kiss of death. His FIP and xFIP were worse than his stellar 2010 season, but not by much, and the Indians paid dearly to get him as they attempted a late charge at the AL Central crown last year.

I think this move could get painted as a decisive victory of old-school scouting over “stats” guys who still bought Jimenez’s solid FIP. It was the new-school GM Chris Antonetti who pulled the trigger, and scouts had been grumbling for a bit about Jimenez’s lower velocities. In point of fact, just about *everyone* panned the trade, as Cleveland seemed to pay for an ace, and even assuming his ERA would drop down to his FIP, he wouldn’t be producing like one. Cleveland gave up what many considered its best prospect, along with a few more not-too-shabby ones, to get Jimenez, and the results have been stunningly bad.

With the Indians, Jimenez has pitched 203 innings, or about one full season. He’s given up 214 hits, 132 runs on 106 walks and 174 strikeouts and he’s served up 28 HRs. His RA over that “season”? 5.85, good for a -1.1 rWAR. Perhaps upset that his results were a bit worse than his peripherals, Jimenez now has ghastly peripherals as well. Since 2010, his average fastball velocity has gone from 96.3 to 93.9 to 92.5, and his swinging strike rate has fallen in lock-step with his velocity.

There are a number of theories about why he’s tanked – from mechanical to overuse. He appeared to be bouncing back earlier this season, with a string of solid outings in June/early July, but that hopeful sign’s gone, as he’s given up 35 runs in his last 7 starts (35 2/3 IP). Jimenez has cratered along with his teammates, who were once 11 games over .500 (they’re now 13 games under). It’s a stunning reversal, and no matter what Drew Pomeranz does in Colorado, this trade will be mentioned as the downside risk any time a big-name pitcher’s on the block; a ghost story for GMs.

Lefties have inflicted quite a bit of damage against Jimenez this year, which means the M’s have their lefty-heavy line-up on display today. Miguel Olivo’s something of an oddball here, though the team may have wanted to give Montero a break, and at least Jaso’s in the game as the DH.
1: Ackley
2: Saunders
3: Seager
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Smoak
6: Thames
7: Olivo
8: Robinson
9: Ryan
SP: Millwood

This article on Greg Halman’s murder is amazing, and crushingly sad. The Halman brothers evidently felt perceived slights very keenly, and there was pain and anger behind Greg’s wide smile, but I can’t get over how universal this story could be. We love that MLB is the very top, the tiny cap, of the talent pyramid, and we understand at some level that this entails thousands of broken dreams. The lucky ones will have their dreams end in placed like Altoona, Bradenton, Clinton, Springfield, and they’ll start to formulate new dreams, and a new life – perhaps beginning with how to pay off their debts, or how to get out of the lease on their apartment. I don’t want to make too much of this, because most of us think we’d love the chance to fail publicly as long as we could do it in a baseball jersey. But it’s still surprising that the anger engendered by failure, by misunderstandings between players and coaches (“he’s laid-back” versus “he’s lazy and disrespectful”) spills out so infrequently. Ultimately, the anger in Jason Halman may have come out no matter what; if he hadn’t been cut in the Netherlands, he’d probably have been cut in Everett, or Peoria, or Pulaski. This game is humbling, but only for those who allow it to be.

I never really got why Mike Carp and Greg Halman bonded, or why Halman *needed* someone as much as he apparently did. That story really explained a lot. Carp’s t-shirts honoring Halman went on sale to the public this week.

The Rainiers game looks intriguing tonight as Erasmo Ramirez faces off against Reno’s Charles Brewer (who’s a better prospect than his ERA might imply). The Jackson Generals are playing a doubleheader, with James Paxton starting in game 1. Everett and Tacoma are both at home, so if you’re in the Puget Sound region, you’ve got three chances to see a game tonight.


85 Responses to “Game 123, Indians at Mariners”

  1. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 9:48 pm

    Popups = late on pitch. Most every time


    Did you see the “turn” on that one, Westy?

  2. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 9:49 pm

    Yes I did, Mike. Your previous explanations helped.

    Also the dude runs like a weightlifter – but he’s fast.

  3. easternWAmsfan on August 20th, 2012 9:51 pm

    I like Thames. Probably only a platoon guy on a good team but he hasnt looked too bad

  4. easternWAmsfan on August 20th, 2012 9:52 pm

    Smoak+Olivo= death to the M’s

  5. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 9:52 pm

    He is definitely a weight lifter, but not entirely inflexible. If he gets any bigger he will run into trouble, but hopefully he won’t. He could give 10% of his strength/muscle to Smoak and still be fine. Smoak would still suck, though.

    Yep on both accounts, E-wa fan.

  6. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 9:56 pm

    No he’s fine – it’s just that I remember, from those hazy days of yesteryear, the very distinct type of stride a lot of guys who lifted weights had when they ran. Watching Thames run immediately brought all that back.

    Of course, as Mike might note, I observed it all by torchlight – so my recollections might not be perfect.

  7. terryoftacoma on August 20th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Good game so far. The A’a traded for Steven Drew.

  8. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 9:57 pm

    I was going to mention earlier that you were Millwoods (not young) age – in the late 90’s, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.

  9. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 9:58 pm

    You’re such a caring individual, Mike.

  10. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:00 pm

    A’s needed a SS. That trade makes sense.

  11. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:02 pm

    OH MAN, I thought Carrera had tied it there.

  12. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:02 pm

    Man, that missed opportunity to pick up an insurance run ….

    Thanks Miggy.

    Uh-oh’s. Thank you for holding that one, Safeco

  13. djw on August 20th, 2012 10:04 pm

    I never liked trading Carrera.

  14. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:05 pm

    Come on Tommy! Pull it together!

    There sure are a lot of Mariners on the field right now…

  15. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:05 pm

    DP time.

    One pitch – Donesies … No problem.

  16. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:06 pm


  17. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:06 pm


  18. djw on August 20th, 2012 10:07 pm

    there it is.

  19. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:07 pm

    Nostra-Mikey strikes!

    Although it was the second pitch – you gotta work on that.

  20. justdave on August 20th, 2012 10:07 pm

    Thank freaking god, now where are those antacids?!

  21. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:08 pm

    I don’t know if he’ll be a good player or not, but – I like Trayvon Robinson the person.

  22. djw on August 20th, 2012 10:09 pm

    With all due respect to Robinson, shouldn’t Saunders be the post-game interview?

  23. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:11 pm

    They said they’re going to interview Condor as well.

    And, frankly, Condor’s interviews generally have that “deer in the headlights” vibe. Trayvon’s got more personality.

  24. WalterNeff on August 20th, 2012 10:12 pm

    Of the under .500 teams we’re in 2nd place behind Boston

  25. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:14 pm

    Nice win/streak -with Felix going tomorrow!

    Over .500 at home.

    No marine layer discussions.

    No Peguero slop-ola.


    Come on Carp – hurry back … And be good.

  26. justdave on August 20th, 2012 10:15 pm

    I hope Boston beats up on the Angels. We’re so close to catching them.

  27. Westside guy on August 20th, 2012 10:16 pm

    BTW Marc – thank you for linking that Halman article. It was interesting, and sad, and parts kinda made me angry too.

  28. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:19 pm

    The Angels blew a late lead against Texas to get within 2 games a short while ago – and have completely fallen apart since then. I think they have another hot streak in them, but they are sure struggling. Traded for Greinke – and he has been bad right along with the rest of them.

  29. aj2013WS on August 20th, 2012 10:19 pm

    Tampa Bay and Seattle unbeaten since the Perfect Game

  30. msfanmike on August 20th, 2012 10:24 pm

    Seattle is unbeaten since VC dove on the sword and snuffed out his own torch last week – with a 9th inning comeback, a perfect game and a sweep at home, included. That’s how I will remember to mark time. Forget about BC and AD. We are now in the post VC era. Allegedly.

  31. Kazinski on August 20th, 2012 11:04 pm

    I think Wedge deserves a lot of credit here for the win in getting the insurance run in the 7th. After Ryan walked, Wedge showed his acumen getting Ryan into scoring position with Ackley’s sacrifice. Giving up an out in that situation to make sure Ryan could score on Saunders homer was definitely the right move.

    I know a dinosaur like Earl Weaver would be wanting to see if Ackley could get on because of his fetish with the 3-run home run, but I’m glad to see Wedge didn’t fall into that trap.

  32. Breadbaker on August 21st, 2012 12:10 am

    Kazinski hits the nail on the head. And on the radio, they were all over how great it was that Ackley got the bunt down after failing his last time. That instead of bunting last time, he got on base without making an out, is considered a failure.

    Mariners baseball, gentlemen.

  33. stevemotivateir on August 21st, 2012 5:34 am

    Wish I had stayed up to finish the game. I’ve been getting a kick out of the comments in the morning, though.

    Mike, I laughed hard at the 2.5 week jab, and harder at the “post vc” era comment. It’s a good time to be a Mariner fan, eh?! They’re winning games and the idiots have gone away! Hopefully this keeps up.

  34. vj on August 21st, 2012 1:44 pm

    Sorry, but who’s VC?

  35. msfanmike on August 21st, 2012 7:21 pm

    Look back in the archives (1-2 weeks) of game threads and it will be more clear to you.

    “It” is not you, VJ

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