Game 162, Angels at Mariners

marc w · October 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Blake Beavan vs. Jered Weaver, 3:40pm

At about the same time this game kicks off 12:35, the A’s and Rangers essentially have a one-game playoff series to determine who wins the AL West and who has to play a play-in game in order to join the real playoffs. 20 minutes after this one starts, the Orioles (!) turn to their ace, Chris Tillman (!), and try to pull off the unthinkable and move into a tie for the AL East title. The Yankees face the atrocious Red Sox and atrocious starter Daisuke Matsuzaka to try and hold on to the divisional crown. This has been a strange season, and it just feels right that so much comes down to the final day, as people like AJ Griffin make the most important start of their lives. [UPDATE: It did not go well for Mr. Griffin, but the A's still lead thanks to Ryan Dempster and sunlight] Meanwhile, the Angels and M’s play a meaningless game 162 featuring what looks like an incredibly lopsided match-up. The Angels have the best offense in the AL, and they’re starting Jered Weaver, who’s gone 20-4. By FIP, he’s not had his best season, but against this team in this park, 80% of Jered Weaver’s best still seems like overkill.

Blake Beavan remains one of the most consistent – and least surprising – pitchers in recent memory. Like his peripherals, that’s not entirely bad, but he’s going to need to improve if he wants to remain in the 2013 rotation. Beavan’s problem is the same as it was last year. His K rate’s a bit better this year, but since so few of his PAs end in a walk or strikeout, the final numbers don’t really matter – he pitches to contact essentially every time, and it’s the nature of that contact that needs to change. He’s a fly-ball pitcher who throws fastballs in the zone on nearly every pitch. To succeed with this kind of approach, you need to do *something* to limit home runs. Beavan hasn’t quite figured out what that is; I hope he finds something during the offseason.

Bartolo Colon had a very similar approach, and very similar walk rates. He had a similar HR/FB ratio last year, and this year’s wasn’t *much* better than Beavan’s. Though he wasn’t a GB guy by any stretch, he wasn’t as fly-ball dominant as Beavan, and that made quite a bit of difference. In roughly the same number of innings pitched, he gave up 6 fewer HRs and ended his season (not by choice, of course) with a FIP over one full run lower than Beavan’s. AJ Griffin’s every bit the flyball pitcher that Beavan is, and his fastball’s even slower. He too is always around the zone, but a good slow curve, a solid change and a funky delivery mean he’s able to get far more strikeouts. Fewer balls in play, fewer home runs. He’s either got to figure out a way to become more like Mark Buehrle/Bartolo Colon (without all of the cheating) and get a few more Ks and a few more GBs, a way to become more like Jose Quintana/Kevin Correia and get quite a few more GBs, or a way to become more like AJ Griffin/Wade Miley/Dan Haren and get significantly more Ks. The latter seems totally improbable to me at this point in Beavan’s career, so he needs to really work on his sinker (which he throws already) or perhaps throw a lot more offspeed pitches (he toyed with this approach at times, particularly in his start in Baltimore). If he doesn’t, he’s going to have a hard time holding off the M’s prospects for the 5th slot in the rotation. Give him this, though: he’s clearly got the inside track over Hector Noesi.

The line-up:
1: Ackley
2: Wells
3: Seager
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Smoak
6: Montero (C)
7: Saunders
8: Robinson
9: Triunfel
SP: Blake Beavan

I do think it’s significant that the AL Cy Young debate centered around Justin Verlander and Felix for a while, and that it now seems like it’s Verlander’s almost by default. Maybe I’m still scarred by 1993, but I have to say I’m heartened that the guy with the most pitcher wins and the best winning percentage isn’t a shoo-in. By FIP, he’s been worth less than half of Verlander. By RA, it’s closer, but Verlander’s huge lead in innings-pitched still make for a clear, sizable gap. If Verlander wins (and I think he will), it’ll be further proof that the BBWAA has truly dropped pitcher wins as the most important pitcher stat, and that’s great. I mean, it was only 7 years ago that Bartolo Colon won the Cy Young on the strength of his win total and essentially nothing else.

I’m going to miss baseball season, but I’m pretty ready for the M’s 2012 season to be over. I’ll be honest: I feel a lot better at this point than I did a year ago, or two years ago. That’s a mighty low bar to clear, but it’s still worth clearing it.

Winter Ball this season seems more important than most. Guys like Mike Zunino can really help their case to make the 2013 roster by excelling in the Arizona Fall League, and Franklin Gutierrez really needs to show he can play baseball for a month without hurting anything. Hector Noesi needs to…do everything better. Stefen Romero can go from nice story to a legitimate 2013 option if he can continue to hit and land at a particular position. It’ll be fun to watch, and the AFL starts in less than a week. More to come, obviously, but it always helps to remember that while the M’s are done, baseball doesn’t actually stop.

Colin Wyers at Baseball Prospectus performs a quick and dirty regression to get a first stab at quantifying the impact of the Safeco fence realignment ($). The M’s estimate that 30-40 more HRs would be hit, while Wyers regression comes out with about 22. This, Wyers estimates, would increase the M’s runs per game between .11 and .20 per contest, which isn’t nothing, but would not – by itself – be enough to move them out of the AL cellar in scoring. Wyers’ work was based on a database of all parks, and specifically looked at the impact of every park that’s changed its dimensions. I’m tempted to say that the M’s change may be greater than an overall estimate given that the biggest moves are targeted at one specific, HR-suppressing area. But that’s probably been the case in most previous realignments, too. In any event, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, and it’s great to get two concrete estimates for additional HRs, one from the M’s themselves and one from the sabermetric community.

Comments

40 Responses to “Game 162, Angels at Mariners”

  1. jordan on October 3rd, 2012 2:50 pm

    My interest in the Mariners this year is stumbling to the finish line. I’m at work and will miss this game and couldn’t care less. NEXT YEAR, things will be different.

    /sigh

  2. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 3:45 pm

    One thing I love about your game threads, Marc, is that there’s always kind of a bonus post with insight. Much appreciated. Thanks to all of you for a great job this season!

    I too am ready for the off-season. This year went better than expected, and it’s certainly been a weird one, but there’s still a lot of questions. I suppose the difference for me, is that the questions appear easier to find answers for, than they did at this point just a year ago. Looking forward to see how they are addressed.

  3. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 3:59 pm

    Nice to see Smoak finish the season on a positive note. It’s encouraging to see him getting opposite field hits on pitches he’s traditionally struggled with.

  4. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2012 4:00 pm

    It’d be nice to finish up with a win.

  5. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2012 4:01 pm

    Huh – being moderated? Okay, I hope we win.

  6. spuuky on October 3rd, 2012 4:14 pm

    I think we all predicted an A’s-Orioles ALCS showdown, so none of this is surprising.

  7. Gary28 on October 3rd, 2012 4:14 pm

    Excited for the Arizona Fall League to start, as I’ll be in the Phoenix area from 10/8 to 10/22. Looking forward to catching Javelinas games so I can see Zunino, Paxton, Franklin, and Stefen Romero (higher OPS at Jackson than at High Desert!).

  8. msfanmike on October 3rd, 2012 4:20 pm

    31st in payroll – in a 30 team MLB Oakland A’s … The new Americas Team. Now, if they could only do something about those white bowling shoes.

    Stunning.

  9. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:13 pm

    In a game where you’d expect the M’s get shut-down, they walk all over an ace, and our AAAA guy shows good poise. Go figure. I’m not complaining, though. Nice to see the season ending with some offense!

  10. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:15 pm

    Wow, is Datz the third base coach for the Angels now?

  11. Jordan on October 3rd, 2012 5:20 pm

    Beavan and Smoak for Trout and Trumbo? We simply don’t know how talented Z is with photo shop.

  12. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:24 pm

    Come on Triunfel! Here’s your big chance.

  13. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:27 pm

    Goodbye Triunfel! Can’t say you didn’t get a chance.

    I’m kidding of course.

  14. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:30 pm

    I still can’t believe the A’s took the division. Hat’s off to them. I would love to see them face Baltimore in the ALCS. Personally, I’m pullin’ for the Nationals in the NL.

  15. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:39 pm

    For a second, I though Trayvon was in right.

  16. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 5:56 pm

    That’s right, pour it on boys! Go out with a bang!

  17. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:03 pm

    Great job Carlos! You got a second chance and redeemed yourself!!

    Seriously, if anyone else is alive, feel free to add to my game thread ;)

  18. msfanmike on October 3rd, 2012 6:05 pm

    I would like to see Trout get SB #50, but at this point it would probably be ruled as defensive indifference. Too bad.

    He had his chance in the 1st inning and Montero of all people gunned him out. That might occur exactly zero more times in my lifetime – and I plan to live a lot longer than those two will play.

  19. msfanmike on October 3rd, 2012 6:07 pm

    I had not seen your message before posting, Steve. It seems as if we have a life/live theme going. And, for two more whole innings.

  20. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:08 pm

    ^Yeah, I couldn’t believe that either. Wonder if that throw by Montero bought himself for catching-time? I’d like to see Trout get number fifty as well. Certainly isn’t going to hurt the M’s at this point.

    And as I say that, Wells jacks it out!! There’s really nothing Trout could do to ruin this game for the M’s now.

  21. msfanmike on October 3rd, 2012 6:09 pm

    Good for Wells. Kinda jamming it up Wedge’s wedge for parking him in the doghouse for so unnecessarily long.

  22. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:14 pm

    I really wonder what’s going to happen with Wells this off-season. I’ll be pissed he he’s dumped and Trayvon sticks around.

  23. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:16 pm

    I don’t know which is the bigger shock tonight… The offense scoring 12, or Beavan going 7 (and counting) scoreless innings.

  24. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:20 pm

    Beavan was lucky Trout didn’t do more with that. Really amazes me how he gets away with some of the pitches he hangs.

    So, are we gonna see a double steal now?

  25. msfanmike on October 3rd, 2012 6:22 pm

    Nothing is shocking to me. It’s like a spring training game in significance. Is it Cheap double steal time? Can’t see Scioscia doing that …. And now it’s to late to be doing that

    Steve, have a nice winter. Or is that summer in Brasil?

    Arizona Fall League starts in a week or so. Go-go Romero!!!

  26. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:25 pm

    Yeah, I didn’t think he’d send them either. Wouldn’t have hurt, though!

    It will be summer here shortly. It’s spring now, though there isn’t much difference between spring and summer, other than flowers blooming. Weather’s pretty much the same.

    Anyway, thanks Mike. Have a nice fall! -no pun intended :P

  27. henryv on October 3rd, 2012 6:37 pm

    Reporting in for the last time this season, with 1 strike left.

    This might be the happiest moment in a couple years, because after tonight I will never have to watch Miguel Olivo feebly try to catch.

  28. henryv on October 3rd, 2012 6:39 pm

    M’s finish at -32, which is is the 2nd best of all the teams with a losing record.

  29. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:40 pm

    @Henry

    What if he signs with another AL club, maybe the Astros? You’ll still see him!

  30. henryv on October 3rd, 2012 6:42 pm

    And I believe that the AL West has the best record in all of baseball.

  31. henryv on October 3rd, 2012 6:43 pm

    What if he signs with another AL club, maybe the Astros? You’ll still see him!

    Okay, try to catch for the M’s. I’m sure some idiot GM will see Miguel’s home run total, and be fooled into signing that idiot.

  32. stevemotivateir on October 3rd, 2012 6:48 pm

    I know what you meant. I was just poking fun. But yeah, unfortunately, you’re probably right. I just hope that GM isn’t ours! Really though, I can’t imagine them picking up the option.

    And you are correct about the AL West. Lot of surprises this year.

  33. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2012 7:25 pm

    It’s great to end the season with a couple wins!

  34. SonOfZavaras on October 3rd, 2012 8:01 pm

    My last post for the regular season (but I’m skulking around here year-round)…but, yeah, a 75-win season. About where a lot of us figured they would wind up.

    This off-season, I am only sure of one thing. And that thing is: I am not sure of anything that’s going to go down…with the sole exception that I’m sure Jack Zduriencik and crew will make it interesting.

    I am all but positive we’ve seen the last of Kevin Millwood, Oliver Perez and (insert party flavor here) Miguel Olivo in Mariner uniforms.

    I hope Iwakuma is given a decent contract offer, because I see signs that he’s figured out what works for him at the major-league level.

    I hope Dustin Ackley gets stronger and Stefen Romero is Albert Pujols 2.0. Now that Kyle Seager’s reached his ceiling so quickly, I hope he stays there for awhile.

    I hope that Franklin Gutierrez (even if it’s not with us) is done pissing baseball gods off, and that Justin Smoak finally takes five games to figure out how to hit in the big leagues instead of five freaking MONTHS.

    A lot has to go right for us to be a contender in 2013.

  35. henryv on October 3rd, 2012 8:27 pm

    It’s funny that the M’s became the perfect example of how things usually work out exactly how they should in the end.

    The M’s started the season with a win differential that you would expect from a .500 team, while playing well under .500. (Scoring runs greater than their talent level, and winning less than their true talent left).

    And then they won a lot of games while their run differential actually went down (mostly thanks to about 7 games of ¡FELIX!), and in the end, they finished with a winning percentage nearly exactly what would be expected from their run differential.

    Hooray for large number theory destroying all (except for the Baltimore Orioles. WTF, Orioles?).

  36. MissouriMariner on October 3rd, 2012 8:49 pm

    Well…..so long to another season…it was a year with a lot of frustrating moments but, at the same time, some flickers of hope. I can definitely see some progress and am excited about the future. So long Olivo and, hopefully, Figgins….and I dream of saying good-bye to Wedge….don’t think that will happen though. Of course I hang around here year round but thought I would leave some thoughts here. Great wins the last couple of days and glad to see the Angels go home for the winter….

  37. Westside guy on October 3rd, 2012 9:32 pm

    I think Wedge won’t be too bad as long as Jack takes away some of his favorite toys.

    Of course the last several lineups have been okay – so maybe a lot of this was just “we called him up, so we might as well give him a shot.” a number of these guys are now out of options. So unless Z intends to stand pat… some of these guys will have to come off the 40 man.

  38. stevemotivateir on October 4th, 2012 6:25 am

    ^The line-ups were one thing, in-game decisions were another. His decisions when to send runners, when (or not to) pinch-hit, and who he pinch-hits with, along with a lack of defensive substitutions in close games, and his timing for pulling pitchers, was flat-out terrible. There was a questionable move of some kind in nearly every game. I know I’m not saying anything you don’t already know, and I agree that he probably wont be as bad if a few players/toys are taken away, but man… it’s tough to feel real confident with him at the wheel.

    I don’t expect Wedge to be perfect, but sometimes it really seems that he just doesn’t know how to manage a MLB team, that he lacks understanding of the fundamentals. To be fair, he’s probably been good with motivational speeches and insight for the younger players. But I don’t think that’s enough.

    Having said that, I can live with him for another season. It’s just hard to imagine being satisfied with the results.

  39. Jordan on October 4th, 2012 11:26 pm

    Steve,

    Admirable job summarizing most of Wedge’s attributes. Although, part of me still wonders how much he would screw up if his toys were in fact taken away and he had real talent to choose from. It’s hard to mess up when you are at a dealership choosing between a Ferrari and a Porsche. The problem is Wedge gets to choose between an 85′ Tercel and a 62′ Pinto on a good day.

    Here’s to an optimistic 2013 outlook! Say hi to Sau Paulo for me.

  40. stevemotivateir on October 5th, 2012 8:23 am

    ^That was kind of the point Westy was making, and I agree with it, but there’s still enough room to screw things up, no matter the roster. Little mistakes that should be givens’ can cost you a game. In a division like the AL West, there really isn’t room for that, as the Angels just learned.

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