Game 8, Astros at Mariners

marc w · April 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Philip Humber, 7:10pm

Welcome to the AL, Houston. Yes, we *do* have lots of strikeout pitchers over here. We’re going to be helpful though and not really show them to you. Just to keep things sporting, you’ll face Joe Saunders tonight and you’ll get Blake Beavan in a few days. It’ll be just like old times – balls in play, running the bases. If you feel like it, you could pull a double switch, just for the hell of it. Old times’ sake and all that.

Phil Humber’s last start against the M’s was something. His perfect game looked like a coming out party for a guy who’d quietly put together a three win 2011, and had a better breaking ball and improved velocity in early 2012. Shortly thereafter, however, everything collapsed. His velocity retreated back to the 91 or so it had always been at, and his problems with homers returned with a vengeance. The bump in strikeouts was still there, but it was hard to notice with all of the runs he was allowing. His last appearance against the M’s came in relief, as he’d lost his starting job a few months after his perfect game (I feel like I should repeat that. Perfect game to swing man to DFA’d in like 4 months.) and he was awful, giving up a HR and a pair of walks in 1/3 of an inning. He’s now trying to reinvent himself with the rebuilding Astros.

He kept the slider he picked up from Don Cooper in Chicago, and now throws it a Maurer-esque 30% or so. Combined with his curve and change, he throws at least 50% slow stuff. For a slider/curve guy, he’s typically run fairly high platoon splits, but they’re somewhat hidden in his defense-independent stats. In his brief career, Humber’s allowed a .343 wOBA to lefties while holding righties to a Mariner-y .295. But this isn’t driven by HRs, or rather, the *split* isn’t driven by gopher balls: he’s ecumenical with those. Instead, lefies just get a ton of line drives and the resulting hits to go along with their allotment of homers. Righties hit homers, but that’s about it. FIP cares nothing for these “line drives” and “base hits,” so his career split is 4.53 v. lefties and 4.49 vs. righties. Essentially dead on. If you’re a died-in-the-wool DIPS fan, you’re going to expect the BABIP difference producing the wOBA splits to regress (if he stays in MLB). If not, you see this as evidence that DIPS isn’t 100% reliable. More evidence on that front came in today from Russell Carleton, by the way. Personally, this is a great match-up for Ackley and Smoak, though I said that once before and saw them struggle.

Joe Saunders will hopefully find the baseball to be pleasingly resin-free at Safeco. No powdery substances, no problems, right? Right, Joe? Please?

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

The Jackson Generals rotation has been lights out with the exception of Taijuan Walker. Another shutout today against Jacksonville, this time with James Gilheeney getting the start. Carson Smith got his first AA save. Julio Morban continues to impress with a 2B and a steal today, but he left the game in the 3rd with a slight groin injury. Something to keep an eye on.

Can’t wait to see Safeco’s new video board and how they use it.

Go M’s!


91 Responses to “Game 8, Astros at Mariners”

  1. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 8:42 pm

    I was wrong.

  2. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 8:43 pm

    Joke’s on you, Paul!

  3. nvn8vbryce on April 8th, 2013 8:43 pm

    So was I.

  4. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 8:44 pm

    Turns out Morse isn’t just a 2 outcome hitter. Who knew?

  5. Bodhizefa on April 8th, 2013 8:45 pm

    Zunino just hit his 3rd homer of the year. So far he’s batting .500 and six of his seven hits have gone for extra bases. He even has a triple! My goodness I can’t wait for him to get the call.

  6. jordan on April 8th, 2013 8:48 pm

    These guys are very mariner-esque. Making a guy like Joe Saunders look like an ace.

  7. henryv on April 8th, 2013 8:48 pm

    So what do you do with the cluster-f at DH if you want to call up Zunino? One of them has to go, because you can’t keep 3 DH/LF.

    Smoak or Montero goes down? Hope Raul just wanders off Griffey style? Trade?

  8. stevemotivateir on April 8th, 2013 8:50 pm

    I’ve wondered the same thing Henry. Really easy to picture Montero and Smoak disappearing before the deadline.

  9. Bodhizefa on April 8th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Montero probably gets demoted by June if he doesn’t start hitting. They’ll give him some reps at first and hope he can play back-up catcher, DH, and spot at first. Smoak and Ackley likely have through May, too, I’d wager. We’ve got too many interesting bats in the upper minors to allow these guys to keep sucking, though.

  10. djw on April 8th, 2013 8:58 pm

    I really don’t see Ackley going anywhere. His approach is fine, and he doesn’t have to hit that much to have value. Montero, on the other hand…

  11. Sports on a Shtick on April 8th, 2013 8:58 pm

    Did I just hear “Yuniesky Betancourt” on a Mariners broadcast? *shudder*

  12. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:01 pm

    I don’t consider many of the guys at AAA that interesting. Zunino is basically it for a high ceiling guys.

    And in AA there are a few, but that is AA. Pitchers might make that jump, but not many hitters.

  13. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:08 pm

    If Montero starts hitting, Shoppach will just go away. If Smoak doesn’t hit he goes down and Montero goes to DH and Morales to first.

    Easy decisions. Hard part is deciding who is the worst.

    I think we are stuck with Ibanez for the whole year.

  14. jordan on April 8th, 2013 9:08 pm

    Saunders looked very upset. Clubhouse cancer, here we come.

  15. mrakbaseball on April 8th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Attendance 42,589. Not a sellout.

  16. californiamariner on April 8th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Montero hasn’t hit like a DH is the problem. If he doesn’t hit, he has no value.

  17. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:10 pm

    Saunders could go away when Erasmo comes back, for all I care. Even if that means Beavan.

  18. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:11 pm

    Shoppach is the only catcher in the organization with any MLB experience to really speak of.

    Having a battery of Montero and Zunino sounds like a minor disaster.

  19. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:12 pm

    If Smoak hits and Montero doesn’t then Zunino and Montero swap places.

    This GM stuff is easy!

  20. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Beavan has option, so he would likely go away before Saunders.

    Unless he discovers how to make his curveball actually curve.

  21. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:16 pm

    Heaven forbid we have to use players who don’t have veteran goodness.

  22. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Has Wells moved on yet?

  23. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Haven’t heard on Wells, did we pass the DFA deadline?

  24. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:18 pm

    That trivia question was a pretty good trick question.

  25. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Not quite DFA yet. 2 or 3 days.

  26. Paul B on April 8th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Saunders looked OK against the Astros, hope he throws strikes against major league hitters.

  27. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Okay, so our middle infield really looks like a pair of NL middle infielders.

  28. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:21 pm

    Saunders is going to get crushed by the Angels.

    But if he’s going to get crushed, he needs to go 110 pitches, and at least save the bullpen.

  29. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 9:22 pm

    Cedeno should get Mariners MVP tonight!

  30. msfanmike on April 8th, 2013 9:22 pm

    I wouldn’t be making too many plans around the “if Smoak hits” theme. Need a Plan B – or a perpetual September calendar.

  31. californiamariner on April 8th, 2013 9:22 pm

    I’m trying to keep a level head with Zunino, but my goodness he just keeps raking.

  32. henryv on April 8th, 2013 9:26 pm

    Smoak has 4 line drives and 8 fly balls, and yet only 4 hits. If he keeps that up, he’ll be fine.

  33. zvazda on April 8th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Did Morse just smell his bat?

  34. zvazda on April 8th, 2013 9:43 pm

    Does anybody know the reasoning behind Rick Rizzs not doing any innings on the television broadcast anymore?

  35. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 9:48 pm

    I think since Neihaus died, they haven’t had anyone they felt both radio and TV audiences were demanding to hear. I think the old rotation mid-game had everything to do with Dave’s switching back and forth.

  36. BackRub on April 8th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Nick Franklin woke up with flu on Rainers opening day. Curto mentioned it a few times on his Twitter when people asked.

  37. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 9:51 pm

    That curve was filthy.

  38. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Zvazda – at least Morse didn’t make out with his bat.

  39. Westside guy on April 8th, 2013 9:56 pm

    Woo hoo! Mariners win!

  40. tasupi on April 9th, 2013 10:32 am

    Was a bit disappointed by the screen usage last night. I understand the need for advertising but I had just assumed they would use the full screen more than they did. Even during the hydro plane races they kept all of the ads on the sides.

  41. currcoug on April 9th, 2013 11:34 am

    I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but Brendan Ryan has posted a woeful .311 OPS against RHP this season.

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