Game 145, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · September 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Yu Darvish, 5:05pm

This battle of former Sawamura Award winners (including the midly controversial 2008 award, when Iwakuma beat out Darvish) is an intriguing one. Iwakuma’s been very good recently, and his recent comments about wanting to stay with the M’s underscore the fact that he’s pitching for a contract; avoiding HRs in Arlington will help his case for a longer-term deal. It doesn’t make logical sense that keeping the Rangers in the ballpark in September should help Iwakuma get a third year on his contract, but we’re now at a point where we can see how well Iwakuma’s shoulder’s holding up, and how he adjusts to the grind of the 5-day rotation. So far, he’s passed these tests with aplomb.

Darvish already has his long-term deal, and in the Mariners, he has his bizarre kryptonite. It may not last, just as Bob Uecker’s great season against Sandy Koufax was followed by utter failure against the Dodger ace, but it’s bizarre. Darvish has made three starts against the M’s, and pitched a total of 16 innings. In those 16 IP, he’s yielded 20 hits, given up 14 walks (and plunked two batters) to 14 strikeouts and he’s given up 17 runs. His RA on the year is 4.46, but take the M’s out, and it falls to 3.92. His overall K:BB ratio is 2.31:1, but remove his three games against Seattle and it’s 2.56:1. These aren’t wild swings, but they’re not negligible either. He’s given up 20% of his runs and 16% of his walks in his 9% of playing time against Seattle – the team that’s last in the AL in runs scored, OBP and 5th from the bottom in BBs.

Despite his struggles against the M’s, he’s still a remarkable pitcher to watch and think about. His pitch fx profile here lists seven distinct pitches, and it could be at least 8 given the fact that he has two different curve balls. His velocity is very good, the movement he generates looks physics-defying, and he has a plethora of pitches with which to attack lefties or righties. Why isn’t he elite yet? By Fangraphs, he’s already racked up 4 wins, so you could make a case that it’s just bad luck that prevents us from acknowledging his greatness. His fielding-dependent stats reflect the fact that he’s been awful with men on – his strand rate is under 70%, which is tough to do when you strike out so many hitters.

Some may point to relative struggles against lefties, but he’s given up fewer HRs to them, and their success could be BABIP-driven. His K% is virtually identical against righties and lefties. Lefties clearly have a better slash line/wOBA against him, but righties have hit more HRs. There’s not a lot there. While an RA near 4.5 isn’t great, especially for someone making so much, context matters. Darvish is playing against major league hitters for the first time, and he’s striking a hell of a lot of them out. Against everyone but Seattle, he’s limited HRs and hits. While there’s some potential that his HR rate may increase, it’s easier to see him improve. But here’s hoping the M’s batter him one final time.

The line-up:
1: Ackley
2: Saunders (CF)
3: Seager
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Montero (C)
6: Carp
7: Peguero
8: Robinson
9: Kawasaki
SP: Iwakuma

Comments

99 Responses to “Game 145, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 5:37 pm

    Carp had a hit last night, so it was pretty much a given that he would sit today in favor of Smoak. It only makes sense, after all. Smoak was built to dominate in Texas.

    Thames has been taking some Peguero’esque hacks of late. Looks like an over emphasis of upper cutting and swinging from the ass.

    Wells hurt his neck on his first swing in BP, today … According to Shannon Drayer. Bad break. Not what he needed.

  2. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 5:37 pm

    Olivo, starting at catcher against a righty. That makes perfect sense… (wink, wink)

  3. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 5:38 pm

    Not too surprised Wells has an issue – his neck muscles have probably atrophied due to lack of use.

  4. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 5:39 pm

    Boy Mike – looked like Thames decided to follow your description to a “T” there.

    Hehe, I just realized I’m about 3 minutes behind real time. Sorry! πŸ˜€

  5. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 5:52 pm

    All right Dustin!

  6. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 5:58 pm

    Saunders with a triple!

  7. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 6:01 pm

    Wow, Smoak got a hit!

  8. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 6:03 pm

    Thames is up now, Westy.

    Do you remember the name of the bizarro Newman character?

    And in three minutes or so, Westy will see Thames get a hit.

  9. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 6:14 pm

    Yup, his name was “Feldman” – same as the Rangers’ pitcher. πŸ˜€

    Oops, you said Newman. Umm…

    I think I’m caught up to real time now.

  10. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 6:16 pm

    Wikipedia to the rescue – Bizarro Newman was “Fargus”.

  11. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 6:17 pm

    It’s “Vargas”.

    In other words, bizarro Kramer is facing bizarro Newman, tonight. Or, at least -was.

  12. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 6:19 pm

    Haha, I didn’t even think about that. That’s great!

  13. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 6:19 pm

    Crap, I always thought it was “Vargas”. Pretty close. Not close enough.

    Well, whomever the hell he is – he needs to get out of this mess

  14. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 6:27 pm

    Well, you know – Wikipedia. Could very well have been “Vargas”… they basically sound the same.

  15. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 6:50 pm

    Wooooooooooo, Ryan!!!!!

  16. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Ugh, Vargas.

  17. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 7:33 pm

    PLEASE, Lucas. Do this.

  18. msfanmike on September 15th, 2012 7:39 pm

    Oh my goodness … He is made for this stadium.

    Nice rip, Smoak.

  19. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 7:42 pm

    Maybe they’d like him back?

  20. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 7:48 pm

    I must say it’s nice that the current Mariners are (at least occasionally) able to hang into these sorts of games.

    COME ON GUTI!

  21. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:06 pm

    It’s amazing how Wedge is allergic to making player substitutions, EXCEPT when it comes to pitchers. Then he’s like a kid mixing and matching at the buffet dessert table.

    Good job Willie!

  22. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:20 pm

    Is that really Smoak?

  23. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:21 pm

    STOP SWINGING AT THOSE Olivo. Dag nabbit!

    It’s still mystifying to me why any pitcher would EVER throw Olivo a strike. Just keep throwing stuff outside and low, like the Rangers just did – he’ll swing at it, every freaking time.

  24. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:25 pm

    Good job, Thames.

    You been taking batting advice from Miguel Olivo, perchance?

  25. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:29 pm

    WHY did Smoak go after that? It was RIGHT AT Ackley!

  26. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:34 pm

    YEAH!!

  27. stevemotivateir on September 15th, 2012 8:37 pm

    Nice job by Tommy to close it out, especially after that weird grab by Smoak.

  28. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 8:43 pm

    It’s great to see Wilhelmsen getting back to his old dominating self. I just LOVE it when that curve is working! Batters don’t know what to do with it – it makes them look really bad quite often.

  29. stevemotivateir on September 15th, 2012 8:57 pm

    Still trying to figure out how Smoak came alive tonight. I’m not complaining, I’m just puzzled. But this is clearly proof that he’s found his swing and will live-up to the hype that surrounded him as a prospect. Really glad Wedge didn’t give up on him. Can’t wait to see him tomorrow and beyond!

  30. Westside guy on September 15th, 2012 9:46 pm

    Hehehe, I was tempted not to respond – and to see if someone came in at some point and took you literally.

  31. stevemotivateir on September 15th, 2012 9:55 pm

    And you blew it for me! Someone always bites πŸ˜‰

  32. Paul B on September 16th, 2012 7:18 am

    70 wins! Woo Hoo!

  33. Paul B on September 16th, 2012 12:07 pm

    Olivo in the lineup on Sunday. Bleah.

  34. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 12:10 pm

    I am perversely pleased that, here in Washington, we’re having beautiful late summer weather while, in Texas, they’re having quite cool rainy weather.

    Of course the Texans may be welcoming this weather after the summer they’ve had, in which case my feelings of glee may not be justified.

  35. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 1:41 pm

    Sunday’s game is expected to start at 2:15pm. Blake Beavan against Matt Harrison. Lineup:

    Ackley 2B
    Gutierrez CF
    Seager 3B
    Montero DH
    Saunders RF (crap, that probably means Robinson)
    Smoak 1B
    Olivo C
    Robinson LF (whoop, there it is. But hey – it’s not Peggy)
    Ryan SS

    Come on, guys – let’s play the spoiler!

  36. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 2:26 pm

    A pitch-to-contact guy like Beavan, pitching in Arlington – what could possibly go wrong?

  37. stevemotivateir on September 16th, 2012 2:27 pm

    Nice to see Olivo rewarded for his performance last night.

  38. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 2:29 pm

    Hehe Steve. Maybe he just gritted his way onto the lineup.

  39. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 2:32 pm

    Sometimes Robinson looks really good out there, and sometimes he doesn’t.

  40. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 2:42 pm

    Maybe it’s just what happens when you carry three catchers, but – it’d sure be nice if the team didn’t relegate Jaso to a strict platoon role until he’s had enough at bats to demonstrate whether or not he can hit lefties.

  41. stevemotivateir on September 16th, 2012 2:49 pm

    That’s what I don’t get. It’s a perfect time to give him some AB’s against lefties.

  42. Paul B on September 16th, 2012 3:07 pm

    Yeah, playing Olivo doesn’t help the team now nor next year. So what thought process could explain it?

  43. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 3:12 pm

    Haha, they didn’t need to put Josh Hamilton’s name up on the screen – that swing proclaimed who he was.

  44. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 3:22 pm

    Come on, Olivo – prove us wrong.

    Crap, Olivo’s a bad hitter without blisters on his hand – why let him hit when he’s got one?

  45. Westside guy on September 16th, 2012 3:27 pm

    Okay, I’ve got to go. I’ve got a bad feeling about today’s game; but hopefully I’m wrong.

  46. msfanmike on September 16th, 2012 4:10 pm

    No more 5 pitch or 8 pitch innings (on offense) please.

  47. msfanmike on September 16th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Thank you, Smoak!

  48. stevemotivateir on September 16th, 2012 5:49 pm

    So funny to see the box score with Kawasaki as the DH. I know why, but it’s still weird to see.

  49. stevemotivateir on September 16th, 2012 6:26 pm

    Really was nice to see Smoak have some success against his former team. Just hope he can take that into the off-season and build on it. Having said that, I still hope he’s not on the opening-day roster, regardless of how he performs before the start of the season. The dude needs lots of time & patience. Or a new environment.

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