Game 157, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · September 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Blake Beavan vs. AJ Griffin, 7:05pm

It sure doesn’t seem like it, with the A’s holding on to a playoff spot and the M’s cruising to another last-place finish, but there are a lot of parallels between these two clubs. Neither team was really expected to contend, and both need their pitching and defense to make up for a mediocre/cobbled-together offense. The A’s big trade acquisition, Josh Reddick, has been substantially better than the M’s Jesus Montero, and the A’s young starters acquired in trade (Tom Milone, Jarrod Parker) have been worth about 7 WAR more than Hector Noesi. It’s not exactly apples to apples, as the M’s started the year with several high-paid players and one high-paid Figgins, whereas the A’s were only able to sign Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes after purging their roster of anyone making decent money. Still, the A’s and M’s have filled out their rosters largely through small free agent deals and trades. The A’s just did a much better job.

To take that comparison a step further, AJ Griffin is the A’s version of Blake Beavan – he’s their physically large/broad right-handed control artist with a ~90mph fastball. Of course, this being Oakland in 2012, Griffin’s been brilliant. I talked about his stuff earlier this month before he shut down the M’s and beat King Felix, so I’m not going to do that again. I’d point out that he’s stumbled in his last two starts, giving up a combined 4 HRs and not making it out of the 5th inning either time, but that may tempt fate. So let’s just say that it’s exceedingly difficult for a righty with an 89-91 fastball to succeed by throwing said fastball in the strikezone so often. Drew Smyly made a huge splash this spring and then scuffled for much of May and June. Josh Collmenter was brilliant last year, and awful this year.

I’d point all of that out, and the A’s would refer me to Tommy Milone, who’s the exact same pitcher as Griffin but from the left side (and pocket-sized) – he’s been an above-average starter all year, and he’s got the same combination of solid K rate, miniscule BB rate, acceptable/so-so HR rate despite fly ball tendencies. Then they’d say that Griffin essentially replaced Bartolo Colon, the guy who essentially did nothing but throw 90mph fastballs over the plate and was bizarrely effective between 2011-12 before his suspension. I don’t know if this particular version of Beane’s shit is going to work in the playoffs, but just as with the Moneyball A’s, what we have here is some unusual shit.

One more thing to keep in mind, especially as the M’s try to continue their HR streak: the A’s home park has played awfully big this season. It hasn’t received as much attention as Safeco’s extreme splits, and with good reason, but the A’s have allowed opponents a .280 wOBA in Oakland, comparable to the M’s opponents’ .275 at Safeco. Both the M’s and A’s have allowed 60 HRs at home, compared to 100 and 81 (respectively) on the road. The A’s staff is still reasonably effective on the road, while the M’s have been below average, but whatever they call the Coliseum now is nearly as offense-sapping as the M’s home park.

1: Ackley
2: Wells
3: Seager
4: Montero (DH)
5: Jaso (C)
6: Smoak
7: Saunders
8: Robinson
9: Ryan
SP: Beavan

No Gutierrez a day after being removed from the game after running into the wall in Anaheim hauling in Mike Trout’s drive. Precautionary, we’re told, as we are every time in this situation. And there have been a lot of situations.
Wells hitting 2nd. Huh.

I suppose I should mention that the M’s have a new Director of Pro Scouting, Tom Allison, who came over from the Diamondbacks organization. This was the spot Carmen Fusco held until his firing 2 years ago in the wake of the Josh Lueke trade (the Cliff Lee deal, not the John Jaso deal). This isn’t to be confused with the scouting director, or amateur scouting side of the shop; Tom McNamara’s still there, doing his thing. This can be an advisory role, and that’s the way the M’s have seemed to use it. Perhaps Zduriencik merely got tired of giving his new advisors the “special assistant GM” description and decided to go back to “Pro Scouting Director” instead. In a little over a year, the M’s have added Joe McIlvaine, Pete Vuckovich as special assistant GMs and promoted Roger Hansen to the same role: player procurement. In addition to this group, they still retain three pro scouting coordinators, and now it seems that those scouts will report to Allison. The M’s have added a *lot* of people to pro scouting, but I don’t think that’s reflective of any grand strategy or ‘freezing out’ Tony Blengino or anything. Zduriencik just seems to love old scouts and guys he worked with in Milwaukee and New York, and so he’s hired a bunch of them.

This isn’t the only model for a pro scouting director. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Astros use Kevin Goldstein, who wasn’t a pro scout and was employed by Baseball Prospectus before joining Sig Mejdal’s staff. Still, it’s easy to overthink a move like this. The role’s been empty for two years and no one’s really noticed. There’ve been solid trades and awful trades during the pro scouting interregnum, and there’ll be hits and misses in the years ahead. But here’s hoping Tom Allison helps the group and helps the M’s turn the corner.


72 Responses to “Game 157, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 3:23 pm

    Come on guys… let’s get some RUNS here!

  2. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 3:31 pm

    Ugh, Blowers – I like Seager, I really do. But, at this point, he hasn’t been Mr. Automatic RBI for about half a season now.

    Blowers has been game to discuss advanced metrics, and I appreciate it. I like him overall. But he needs to learn about regression to the mean. 😀

  3. msfanmike on September 30th, 2012 3:32 pm

    Eleven hits … And 2 runs. So MANY missed opportunities and such a familiar refrain.

  4. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 3:33 pm

    No kidding Mike. There’s no way we should be tied with a team that’s only managed two hits.

  5. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 3:37 pm

    Another familiar refrain – our starting pitcher throws a great game, yet has to leave without a win even being possible.

  6. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 4:02 pm

    Nice pitch, Mr. Kelley.

  7. msfanmike on September 30th, 2012 4:02 pm

    Wedge sure does know which buttons to push. He is magical.

  8. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 4:12 pm

    I think I’ve wasted enough of a sunny afternoon on this game.

  9. stevemotivateir on September 30th, 2012 4:48 pm

    I was initially mad when I learned I couldn’t watch the games archived, then I saw the scores. Then I heard about Guti. Bleh.

  10. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 6:52 pm

    I watch all the games on from here in China. For whatever reason today’s game wasn’t streaming properly. It took 45 minutes to get through the top of the 1st. I gave up and checked the final box score (the game started at 1am my time, so I was watching in the morning after breakfast). Glad I didn’t struggle through this one for 12 hours to see that ending.

  11. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 7:01 pm

    Wow – I think we may have a new leader for “Mariners fan located the furthest away from Seattle”!

  12. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 7:16 pm

    I live in southern China very close to the Vietnam border. Nanning, Guangxi. You all thought that 3 hour games can be boring at times. Try the stop action streaming I have to endure…..

  13. stevemotivateir on September 30th, 2012 7:29 pm

    ^I’ve had the same thing happen, though rarely through a whole game. Usually it’s just for a few minutes at a time, but other times, it goes on for an hour or so. I assume it has to do with local servers and speed.

  14. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 7:49 pm

    I have no problems streaming U.S. TV and movies.

    For the last month the volume on the broadcasts has been bad. The first inning or so is fine and then suddenly can only be heard at maximum value (which really plays heck with trying to do anything else on the computer to fight boredom while waiting through all the hiccups).

    KIRO streams fine but obviously the sound isn’t even remotely in sync with the video so that is unusable except for when I give up on the video completely and decide to just stream KIRO but then I have to listen to Rizz (gag!)

    Life is good here but being a baseball fan and living here really bites.

    I was able to watch the Hawks on Monday and the Huskies Thursday night so that helped get me through this weeks M’s blues anyway.

  15. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 7:49 pm

    Is it possible the “Great Firewall of China” interferes somehow?

  16. stevemotivateir on September 30th, 2012 7:53 pm

    I wish I could stream local stations. My issues with the M’s games are with MLBtv, though.

    I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. At least I’ve been able to watch quite a few games for nearly nothing.

  17. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 8:26 pm

    “Is it possible the “Great Firewall of China” interferes somehow?”

    No. That just means if you try to open censored content, you get a lot of “The Connection was Reset” blank pages. Youtube is an example of a website I cannot open.

    Like I said, TV and Movies stream fine. Radio stations stream. But ESPN does not allow its video to be streamed internationally, so I can’t watch any of their streaming products. That isn’t a Chinese firewall issue. That is just ESPN missing out on 500,000,000 internet accounts in China. My daughter asked me to teach her how to play baseball. I don’t know where I can find equipment here. I would prefer to get her started with wiffle ball. It would be much simpler. But it would be very expensive to mail even that equipment over. I can send things to the U.S. very cheaply but a small box from the U.S. that is 6x9x12″ costs about $60usd (about 1/4 the average monthly wage here) and takes 2-4 weeks to get here.

  18. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 9:38 pm

    Ah, ok. Thanks. That is rather ridiculous on ESPN’s part.

    Hey, since you’re in that general area, do you ever get to Hong Kong (I realize “southern China” covers a very big area)? I ask because apparently there are places to buy sports equipment there. I ran across this on Yahoo…

    “There’s a street of sports shops in Mongkok. Mongkok is generally one of the better places to shop in HK as there are many small specialist retailers with good service and knowledge.”

    Or perhaps it’s not too expensive to ship stuff from Hong Kong to mainland China nowadays?

  19. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 10:00 pm

    Thanks. Hong Kong involves a 3-day minimum excursion from here by bus. I haven’t been there since the days when I was required to leave China once per month to renew my visa.

    I have no credit cards. It would be difficult to by anything online without that.

    There are lots of sports shops in my city too. They have badminton, ping pong, volley ball, basketball and football (soccer) equipment and some other game stuff I don’t know a English name for but I’ve never seen anything baseball. (there’s a bowling alley here but I’ve never gone inside to see what it’s like)

    An internet search for baseball in China only nets me places where I can buy or have manufactured, baseball caps. I might be able to visit the U.S. in 2 or 3 years. I could get some stuff then and bring it back with me.

  20. Westside guy on September 30th, 2012 10:09 pm

    Hehe, sorry, just trying (unsuccessfully) to be helpful. I knew they play some baseball in Hong Kong, which is why that came to mind.

    Actually it’s a bit odd they play baseball in HK, now that I think about it. It’s not exactly a popular game in England, and obviously from what you’ve said it’s not in China either.

  21. Sowulo on September 30th, 2012 10:17 pm

    A year ago a met a group of American expats playing softball in a horse pasture not too far from here. They said they played in a 7 team, 3 city league. They invited me to join but I’ve got really bad knees and a bum shoulder. I wish I had have thought to volunteer to umpire. At the time, I was heading back to the U.S. for a couple of months to get my house on the market so I didn’t think to get any contact info from them. (what an idiot!!!!!) Haven’t seen them since and haven’t been able to find out anything about their group on the net. The pasture is gone to a big new city park without the open spaces for a field anymore. So no good to visit regularly hoping they show up. Oh well.

  22. stevemotivateir on October 1st, 2012 8:04 am

    I don’t get the espn international issue either. They’re missing out! They have espn here (Brasil) and they even show American sports. But online, everything is prohibited. Even highlights well after the games are played. I’m sure there’s contractual issues, but still, it’s silly.

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