Cactus League Game 16, Mariners at Dodgers

marc w · March 9, 2013 at 10:17 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Jon Garland vs. Ted Lilly, 12:05

Spring training stats don’t mean much of anything. We keep saying that in part because it’s easy to get swept up in the M’s dinger parade and read more into it than it warrants. But that doesn’t mean everything – every result, every pitch, every swing – is random and meaningless. It makes sense when you stop and think about it, but after so many months without baseball, it’s sometimes hard to stop and think – it’s fun to watch Morse/Morales and even a healthy Franklin Gutierrez hitting moon shots. Last year, Michael Saunders started doing things he wasn’t capable of doing before. Last spring, Chance Ruffin came to camp throwing slower and with worse command. These indicators turned out to be pretty important to those players’ 2012 regular seasons.

So: is it meaningful that Hector Noesi suddenly can’t get anyone out? I think it probably is, and it’s worth wondering how it came to be that a reliever/spot starter for the Yankees in 2011 has turned into someone who couldn’t get outs in AAA last year and can’t get outs in Arizona now. His raw stuff doesn’t look all that different – the velocity’s the same, the movement’s largely unchanged, but the results aren’t. Given that, you might expect some regression to the mean and for his results to start moving back towards where he was in 2011 or where his minor league stats indicated he should be. But all of the evidence we have, from 2012 and now early 2013, is that Hector Noesi is historically easy to hit, and that he’s not improving. It’s remarkable. I’d assume his confidence is about as low as M’s fans when they see his name in the line-up, so he should probably be the focus of the M’s ‘performance specialists’ and the player development coaches. He’s pitched himself off of the M’s roster, and needs to make some adjustments if he wants to return.

Today, Jon Garland continues his case for the last rotation spot. Blake Beavan’s been surprisingly stiff competition, and Brandon Maurer’s showing good stuff and a solid arsenal of breaking balls, so Garland’s start today will get a lot of attention. He’ll pitch three innings, so seeing how his velocity holds up at pitch 40-50 is going to be huge. Of course, this is a road game, so WE can’t follow his velocity, but Wedge/Willis/Zduriencik presumably will. Garland’s stuff earlier in Spring wasn’t all the way back, but he’s pitched fairly well. Still, the M’s need a good pitcher, not just a good story. Today’s start can begin to make the argument that he’s both.

1: Gutierrez, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, DH
4: Morse, RF
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Ackley, 2B
8: Sucre, C
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Garland

That’s one Montero away from an opening day line-up.


26 Responses to “Cactus League Game 16, Mariners at Dodgers”

  1. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 10:29 am

    I hope that’s one Montero and one Saunders away from an opening day lineup!

  2. Jamison_M on March 9th, 2013 11:05 am

    Beat me to it… I sincerely hope that Saunders is in the opening day lineup. Obviously he’s not available right now because of the WBC and all, but yeah. I’ll be sad if Ibanez opens the season as the starting left fielder, though it wouldn’t surprise me at all. That starting ten is also one Felix away, but that’s just nit-picking.

  3. Jamison_M on March 9th, 2013 11:10 am

    I say we start a fund raiser to have the necessary equipment installed in all Cactus League Spring facilities to track pitches.

  4. MrZDevotee on March 9th, 2013 11:28 am

    Interesting read on CBSSports today… About how the Yankees almost traded Mariano Riviera (then a struggling 2nd year pitcher) to the Mariners for Felix Fermin, because George Steinbrenner wasn’t impressed with their rookie shortstop Derek Jeter (strange world indeed):

    Go M’s!

  5. BaldEagle on March 9th, 2013 11:29 am

    I hope Guti does a lot of stretching this morning, because he’s going to have to cover 2/3 of the outfield.

    That looks like a close-to-regular-season lineup to me as well. Move Morse to left, put Saunders in right, Montero behind the plate and you have it. I’d probably bat Saunders second and move Seager to fifth, and have Montero seventh and Ackley eighth. If you want you could have Ackley at two and Saunders at eight; I just like Seager better at five than I do at two.

  6. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 12:21 pm

    My opinion of Wedge’s acumen as a manager is pretty low – as anyone who’s ever been in a game thread with me can attest to – but I hope he’s not stupid enough to start Raul over Condor.

    That has been my fear this whole time, though.

  7. Hutch on March 9th, 2013 12:37 pm

    At the game. Scouts next to us report Garland’s fastball sitting at 88 in the first.

  8. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Not to stir panic, but I suppose there could be a temptation to sit Guti against some RHP’s, slide Saunders to center, and have Ibanez in right or left. That would be just as bad.

  9. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 12:54 pm

    Smoak K’s on three straight pitches around the same location? Yuck.

  10. jordan on March 9th, 2013 1:00 pm

    What do you guys think about bringing Chien Ming Wang in on a minor league deal? He looks really good with CT right now.

  11. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 1:49 pm

    Raul’s career splits show him to be below average against lefties – and last year he was simply brutal (.492 OPS) against southpaws. He has no business being – at best – anything but a platoon bat. He really should be a late inning “threat” on the bench to bring in against a rightie.

    BTW I know you weren’t advocating that, Steve. : -)

    Chien Ming Wang… I am not sure how he’d fit. If we’re going to take a flier on a pitcher, we have plenty of choices already available in our minor league system.

  12. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 1:56 pm

    You mean brutal against RHP’s;)

  13. Hutch on March 9th, 2013 1:58 pm

    Paging Brian Moran to the major league bullpen…

  14. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 2:02 pm

    I guess it depends whether your point of view is aligned with his opponent or with his own team! I meant “brutally bad”. 😀

    He should never, EVER, face a left-handed pitcher. I will bet anyone $20, though, that there is a lefty against whom Raul is something like 4 for 7 and at some point this year we’ll see Wedge use him “because he’s had success against this guy”.

  15. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 2:03 pm

    Ibanez will probably do just fine in a platoon role -if he isn’t used in the outfield. But really, what a waste of a roster spot. We’ll have one utility infielder, Andino, and Morse as an emergency option. Bleh.

    I just hope Bay doesn’t make the team, so there’s no chance of a Morse-Bay-Ibanez outfield, though it would be fun to watch just once this spring;)

  16. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 2:11 pm

    I suppose I should be more clear…

    I’m OK with Ibanez pinch hitting against RHRP, or even as the DH against right handed starters, though I would hope it’s not at the expense of Morales.

  17. Jamison_M on March 9th, 2013 2:17 pm

    A Morse-Bay-Ibanez outfield… oh my goodness, I just went blind for a second. I’m imagining a Mariners commercial where Mike Morse is in right field and, Ibanez and Bay are both playing left field. Ick.

  18. stevemotivateir on March 9th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Yeah, I suspect Ryan and Ackley would be covering a lot of ground in center!

  19. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 2:36 pm

    Speaking of small samples… Saunders is hitting .833 in the WBC right now.

    Oh, and his teammate Joey Votto is hitting .167.

  20. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Correction – now Condor’s hitting .857.

    It’s a little weird, listening to Dave Sims call the Mariners while watching Canada vs. Mexico on Gameday. 😀

  21. Westside guy on March 9th, 2013 2:49 pm

    Well, there’s the Carlos Peguero I remember.

  22. MrZDevotee on March 9th, 2013 10:06 pm

    Bay is totally a 4th OF, Rover, Beer League guy. Put a wad of tobacco in his cheek, turn his hat around backwards, some black-out under his eyes, and it’s like you’re at Marymoor Park on a weekend.

    I can see Wedge explaining the differences to him, “No, see… When you have someone run for you in the Majors, Jason, you DON’T get to go back in again… HEY! Put the beer down and listen.”

    That and Bay yelling “ILLEGAL!” during his at-bats, ’cause he thinks pitches have to go over 6′ high to be counted as strikes.

    “Hey Skip’, aren’t the bases kinda far apart?”

  23. MrZDevotee on March 9th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Did Condor survive the brawl with Mexico unscathed? (Did you get to see that, in the 9th inning?)

  24. MrZDevotee on March 9th, 2013 10:16 pm

    Also, Larry Stone had a bummer article…

    Of the M’s 30 dingers, only 8 are off guys who were full-time major leaguers last year.

    Stupid Spring Training.

    (Casper had a 9th one that didn’t count in the rained out game… And the good-er news is that the guys who are expected to break camp with the M’s, and/or Casper Wells/Jason Bay, have hit 22 of the 30.)

  25. californiamariner on March 9th, 2013 10:55 pm

    I know we all like to use logic. But, that really gets thrown out the window when it comes to predicting what lineups Wedge is going to use. My biggest fear is the outfield.

  26. Westside guy on March 10th, 2013 1:38 pm

    MrZ – I was only following on Gameday, so I didn’t see the video of the brawl until later. Condor seemed to be providing moral support without risking injury… but, unlike most MLB brawls, a few of the guys were really going at it.

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