Game 138, Red Sox at Mariners

marc w · September 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Kevin Millwood vs. Aaron Cook, 7:10pm

This is not a match-up anyone’s marked their calendar to watch. Millwood’s been a steady presence in the rotation, and his results have been mediocre to good- he’s already over 2 WAR using FIP, and even going by RA/9, he’s at about 1 win, which isn’t bad for a cheap #5 starter. But given his lack of a future with the club and his so-so stuff, he’s not a guy who commands attention.

Aaron Cook’s stuff is worse, and since shutting out the M’s on 2 hits in late June, he’s thrown 54 sub-replacement level innings for the Red Sox, with an RA near 7, and 11 walks and 9 HRs against 9 Ks. He was a great story for everyone but M’s fans in July; from his recall on 6/24 through 7/21 (selective endpoints alert!), he threw 33 1/3 bizarrely effective innings, including a K rate that often threatened to go negative. He struck out a grand total of 3 batters in that stretch, with 2 of them coming in the shutout in Safeco. Dave tweeted this last night about Blake Beavan, but it’s even more true of Cook: “Pitch to contact always sounds like such a good plan until you see what contact can look like.” Remember that Aaron Cook’s K rate is *one-third of Beavan’s.*

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Aaron Cook commands a modicum of attention at this point. It was a little over one year ago that I wrote this about Anthony Vasquez, and how he had the opportunity to finish a season with more HRs allowed than strikeouts. As it turned out, he ended the year with 13 of each – saving him from becoming the first Mariner since Glenn Abbott and the first pitcher with more HRs than Ks with a minimum of 10 HRs allowed since the early 1930s. Part of this was clearly just the tiny sample – perhaps because of his extreme gopheritis, Vasquez didn’t get 30 innings with the M’s in 2011. So imagine my surprise that in the very next season , Aaron Cook is making a serious run at history here. The way he’s gotten to this point is completely different to Vasquez; he’s been far stingier with the HR, but his absurd – literally, there’s no other response to a K% under 4% than laughter – K rate means his strikeouts and HRs are just about even. What’s more, he’s allowed 12 walks, which means he’s got a shot at ending a year with something like 80 innings pitched in which he gives up more HRs AND WALKS than strikeouts. This is remarkable. Cook’s monomaniacal approach makes up in fascination what it lacks in artistry or beauty.

Today’s line-up features only one of the two M’s to strike out against Cook in June: Jesus Montero. Of course, Montero’s been a far better hitter since the break, so here’s hoping he gets the HR to bring Cook’s HRs/Ks into equilibrium. For reference, Chone Figgins was the other Mariner batter to K against Cook, which is about as perfect a summation of Figgins’ 2012 season as you can get.

1: Ackley
2: Robinson
3: Seager
4: Jaso (C)
5: Montero (DH)
6: Thames
7: Carp
8: Wells
9: Ryan
SP: Kevin Millwood

In the minors, Victor Sanchez got roughed up last night, and the Aquasox are a game away from elimination.

Brandon Maurer was named the Southern League’s most outstanding pitcher of 2012, which is amazing given his competition included James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Taijuan Walker and even some pitchers who didn’t play for Jackson or Mobile. The former 23rd-round pick went 9-2 with a FIP just over 3. Paxton and Walker were close in innings-pitched, but Walker ended the regular season with a FIP over 4, and Paxton’s was a bit higher than Maurer’s as well.

The SL playoffs start tomorrow, and as of right now, the rotation will go Paxton, Gilheeney, Walker, Fernandez, Garrison. Bold move, Jackson: so overconfident that you don’t even give the most outstanding pitcher a start in the playoff series? I hope Maurer can slot in for someone during the series, but that’s the rotation the Generals have announced.

Clinton begins their playoff series in the Midwest League this evening, where they host the Beloit Snappers. Right-hander Robert Shore starts tonight against uberprospect Miguel Sano and Beloit.

On the other end of the spectrum, Danny Hultzen ended his season on a sour note, with another 5 walks against Fresno back on Monday. In his last three starts of the year, Hultzen went 7 1/3 innings, and gave up 12 runs on 10 hits and a ghastly 14 walks. 14! In all, he walked 43 batters in his 48 2/3 AAA innings, which produced a FIP of 4.29 despite a good strikeout rate. He was probably the most confounding prospect I’ve seen. He clearly had stretches of his AA self – great command, very good change-up, better than average velocity – but they were punctuated with total lapses in control. This was not a case of a guy missing his spots, or giving up one walk most innings. He either set down the side with ease, or he walked three in a row. The suddenness of these lapses, and the suddenness with which they disappeared, was like nothing I’ve seen. I’m no scout, but I couldn’t discern anything in his mechanics that would explain it. There was some chatter in late August that he might get called up to make a start or two with the M’s this month, and as a result, the M’s started increasing his pitch counts after dropping them in late July. And then, with a lot of the M’s brass watching (including Tom McNamara, who’s hopefully identified a mechanical flaw or two), he walked four and gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning against Las Vegas. Thus, the feel-good story is Luis Jimenez and not how the M’s #2 draft pick ‘solved’ his issues and made his MLB debut.


41 Responses to “Game 138, Red Sox at Mariners”

  1. PackBob on September 5th, 2012 5:24 pm

    “Cook’s monomaniacal approach makes up in fascination what it lacks in artistry or beauty.”

    Great line!

  2. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 5:29 pm

    Sitting Peguero in favor of Wells against Cook makes no sense…and I would rather see Triunfel in lieu of Ryan…it isn’t like Cook is a right hand Cy Young candidate…and Oakland’s staff is pretty tough.

    I sense a pitch runner role for Triunfel coming tonight.

  3. Rick L on September 5th, 2012 5:35 pm

    At least we aren’t starting anyone with a batting average lower than .200.

  4. Jordan on September 5th, 2012 5:45 pm

    It seems Guti is still hurt?

  5. stevemotivateir on September 5th, 2012 5:48 pm

    Uh, Ryan’s batting .197, Rick. But I don’t have a problem with him in there.

  6. djw on September 5th, 2012 6:25 pm

    Sitting Peguero in favor of Wells against Cook makes no sense

    Sitting Peguero always makes sense. Always.

  7. djw on September 5th, 2012 6:25 pm

    Sitting Peguero in favor of Wells against Cook makes no sense

    Sitting Peguero always makes sense. Always.

  8. Jordan on September 5th, 2012 6:30 pm

    It makes so much sense, you posted it twice.

  9. NorahW on September 5th, 2012 6:36 pm


  10. Paul B on September 5th, 2012 6:51 pm

    Although, watching Peguero wander around in CF would be entertaining. In the sense a train wreck is entertaining.

  11. stevemotivateir on September 5th, 2012 6:56 pm

    Haha Paul

  12. Paul B on September 5th, 2012 7:21 pm

    in the pregame, Wedge said that Smoak will be playing more games.

  13. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 7:21 pm

    Maybe we should just start assuming Guti is hurt unless somebody specifically tells us otherwise.

    Hopefully Saunders will be ready Friday, as planned – but I also don’t want them to rush any of these guys back.

  14. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 7:22 pm

    Ugh, Paul. I’d just as soon they sit Smoak the rest of the season – as much for his own sake as for ours.

    Seriously, just tell him “we have faith you can solve your problems, but we want to give you a break from having to deal with this in front of the crowds”.

  15. vetted_coach on September 5th, 2012 7:25 pm

    The phrase “former Mariner” is hereby permanently ammended to “another former Mariner.”

  16. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 7:49 pm


    Robinson could have played CF.

  17. Jordan on September 5th, 2012 7:49 pm

    Coach, when I read that I got happy. Then, I realized you weren’t referring to Figgins, Olivo, Smoak or Mune. Oh well, here’s to the off season.

  18. djw on September 5th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Robinson could have played CF.

    This is true for some values of “played CF.” Similarly, *I* could wear a Mariners uniform and a glove, stand in more or less the right place, and chase balls around center field earnestly. But is that the way we should thing about these things? Probably not.

  19. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Stating the obvious, Robinson has played a great deal of CF in his minor league career, and he played 16 games in CF for the M’s in 2011.

    Meanwhile, Wells is sucking wind against right handers, whom Peguero hits much better, and his OPS is 1.000 since being called up.

  20. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 8:16 pm

    An outfield of Robinson, Thames, and Peguero would be… interesting.

  21. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 8:21 pm

    Yes, because we are in the playoff hunt…not.

  22. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 8:33 pm

    Boy if Power Sphere weighs 300, Fielder must be 350 at least.

  23. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 8:36 pm

    Nice running catch by Casper!

  24. greentunic on September 5th, 2012 8:37 pm

    I’m at a bar and we don’t have sound to the game but my friend really wants to know who that famous person was with the two baseball gloves. Can anyone help me out?

  25. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 8:54 pm

    I thought it was just some random fan – is it supposed to be someone?

  26. msfanmike on September 5th, 2012 9:10 pm

    I would like to strongly second djw’s original point(s) in triplicate.

    It was nice to see Wells get a big hit. He can play all 3 OF positions, well. Once they re-work his front leg kick (very inconsistent with the timing of it) he will likely become a more consistent hitter. He is big enough and strong enough (with a good swing) to not need the leg lift/kick. I hope they make a change and have him go to a Paul Molitir type of stride/turn/spin.


  27. msfanmike on September 5th, 2012 9:21 pm

    Time to generate some runs, boys!

  28. djw on September 5th, 2012 9:29 pm

    Right. Wells doesn’t have much upside, but he could be–indeed, may already be–a roughly average player. Peguero is nowhere near replacement level, and the odds he ever will be are staggeringly remote. Every plate appearance he receives at the major league level diminishes my faith in the Mariners as an organization.

  29. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 9:30 pm

    Ironically, I took a lot of heat on another Mariner site over the last two years as a strong supporter of Casper Wells. I haven’t given up on him, but time might be running out.

    On the other hand, I was derided here for saying the Morse/Langerhans trade was a mistake…it will be interesting to see what the M’s finally do with Peguero, and where his career goes.

  30. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 9:33 pm

    I’ve got nothing against Peguero, he’s entertaining to watch and provides refreshing breezes. It’s just even in a development year I don’t want to see him get at bats at the expense of Wells.

    Other people can certainly feel differently.

  31. msfanmike on September 5th, 2012 9:40 pm

    Well, you certainly should not have been derided for the Morse/Langerhans opinion. I wasnt around this site at the time. You were right in regard to Morse. He would look fine at 1B for the Mariners, now … But the ship has sailed. Long ago. It’s time to correct a couple other mistakes, now. IMO

  32. currcoug on September 5th, 2012 9:46 pm

    Well said…but it is still going to suck if we have to watch yet another X-Mariner in the WS.

    Just curious, what other mistakes are you alluding too? Figgins?

  33. msfanmike on September 5th, 2012 9:52 pm

    Smoak, Figgins – primarily. The process for the Smoak acquisition was not the problem (we were going to either get Montero or Smoak at the time – and now we have both). At this point it is more related to what is going to be done in order to resolve the problem(s). Continuing to give Smoak the “star treatment” is not the answer. He has lost the right. Jaso is the beneficial by-product of the Lee trade at this point in time.

  34. djw on September 5th, 2012 9:58 pm

    Wilhelmson is looking impressive tonight with the unhittable breaking pitches for strikes. The runner on first was just to make it look harder, I think.

  35. msfanmike on September 5th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Good to get a win, but man …… It’s time for another wake up call for the bats. Being able to get Guti and Saunders back on Friday (allegedly) should help.

  36. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 10:11 pm

    Ugh, Krueger… Smoak might indeed benefit from getting stronger, but that’s got very little to do with his current issues.

  37. matthew on September 5th, 2012 10:20 pm

    I love that All Nippon Airways was one of tonight’s sponsors on ROOT sports tonight.

    “What? Ichiro is no longer with the Mariners? What!?!” — All Nippon Airways

    The big laugh though is their logo. That is not an airline I would feel comfortable flying on…


  38. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 10:37 pm

    ANA’s been running commercials the last several games. They’ve got this very strong 1960’s vibe to them.

    The ones that REALLY throw me, though, are the repeated “Project Runway” ads. Are there really a lot of guys watching that show?

  39. NorahW on September 5th, 2012 11:44 pm

    Westside Guy, this may shock you, but there are at least some women who watch baseball. 🙂

  40. Westside guy on September 5th, 2012 11:52 pm

    I know that, Norah! 😉 But still, the viewership has to be weighted pretty heavily toward the male side. So it seems like an odd choice to spend advertising money to reach a less-than-optimal demographic.

    I also know there are guys that watch sewing shows – but my wife’s never mentioned any monster truck ads appearing during her programs.

    (Westside guy chooses to keep shoveling, digging himself deeper and deeper in)

  41. jephdood on September 6th, 2012 12:01 am

    I understand Ryan’s defensive value. I really do. But god, should a major league ball player be THAT useless with a bat? I would much rather watch a serviceable SS that can hit a little bit at this point. He is just BRUTAL at the plate.

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