Game 11, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Felix Hernandez vs. Justin Grimm, 7:10pm

The Astros series offered something of a no-win bargain: if the M’s won the series, or even swept it, eh, who cares? They were playing the Astros. If they lost it, oh my god, you just lost to the ASTROS? Today’s match-up isn’t no-win. Anytime you get to see Felix Hernandez, you’ve won. But if Felix pitches the M’s past Justin Grimm, eh, of course you won *that* game. And if he doesn’t, more and more fans will start to watch from home, or maybe give a Sounders game a go. I don’t envy the M’s here. The Supreme Court promotion tonight is great, and it shows that sometimes, rarely, the right ballplayer actually can put a dent in attendance numbers all by himself.

The context for the game is troubling, as it always is when these two teams face off. The Rangers are, in my opinion, one of the best-run franchises in sports. The M’s are…struggling, as they have been for several years now. Jack Zduriencik and crew clearly faced tremendous obstacles when they began their work in Seattle, and I don’t mean to minimize them in any way, but Bill Bavasi left in 2008, and it’s not impolite to point out that the obstacles the franchise faces now are largely self-imposed.

Everyone – every team in baseball -makes dumb trades. Jaso for Lueke comes to mind. So I’m not going to argue that Jon Daniels is a miracle-worker who out-thinks his rivals. He’s good, but that’s not enough. Where they seem to shine is in player development. They extract value from more players, and more *types* of players, than anyone. Justin Grimm is a decent example. The year he was drafted (in the 5th round in 2010, a few picks after Stephen Pryor), he pitched for the University of Georgia. He went 7-12 over three years with the Bulldogs, and gave up 138 runs in a bit over 180 total innings. He had a live arm, so-so control and zero command. In the Rangers system, he’s been excellent at every stop, coming out of nowhere to land in the top 10 of the Rangers top prospect list at Fangraphs (and the Rangers had a great system). I’m not sure what the Rangers have done with Grimm, and if asked, they probably wouldn’t say. But the Rangers took a talented kid who was quite obviously doing something, or several things, wrong and they fixed it well enough to get to the majors.

They’re not infallible. They’re still working on 2010 1st rounder Kellin Deglan, and Julio Borbon just got DFA’d as he never learned to hit. And every system has its successes – the M’s tweaks to Brad Miller’s swing mechanics appear to have paid off so far, and their work with Taijuan Walker has been excellent. But it seems like every time these series pop up, the Rangers are sloughing off some adversity by pulling up some nobody that they developed. Meanwhile, every time these series pop up, Mariner fans are worrying about their struggling blue-chip franchise-core players. Colby Lewis went from a joke of an acquisition to an extremely important starter to injured, but the Rangers had depth in someone like Alexi Ogando that they could move between the pen and the rotation. Borbon sucked, but they acquired Leonys Martin and developed defensive whiz Craig Gentry.

OK, enough meta-gloom (metancholy?). Justin Grimm is a fastball/curveball righthander with low-mid 90s velocity. He’ll mix in a change-up to lefties, but he’ll use the curve to both lefties/righties, especially once he’s ahead in the count. He had average-ish ground ball rates in the minors, but I’d expect they’d be lower in the big leagues, especially as he hardly ever throws his sinker. The M’s still aren’t a great on-base team, so as usual, they’re going to need a long ball or two this year (man, that’s still weird to type). Grimm hasn’t shown much in the way of exceptional splits, so the M’s aren’t loading up with as many lefties as they could. So of that is by choice (see below), and some of that has to do with Michael Saunders’ shoulder.

In 2010-2011, the idea of Dustin Ackley facing a guy like this would’ve made us excited. Now, while I’m definitely leaning a little closer when Ackley’s up, it’s for slightly different reasons. Tonight, he’s got the day off, against a righty. Gotta be flexible. Gotta get everyone out there.

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

Saunders shoulder injury was severe enough that he’ll head to the DL for 15 days. Saunders himself said it wasn’t too bad, and described it as ‘day to day’ but the M’s wanted to bring in some help: they have apparently called up Endy Chavez who was off to a red-hot start in Tacoma (though several guys down there can say the same). They’ll need a 40-man move to do that, but I haven’t heard what it is.

The Tacoma Rainiers home opener is tomorrow night. You should probably go. All the dingers of the big club, with none of the ennui! Tonight though, they finish off their series in Sacramento, with Jeremy Bonderman on the hill, trying to keep himself in the discussion for pitching depth.

Two other M’s affiliates faced one of the most dreaded occurrences in the minors: rain-outs on home opening days. Jackson’s home opener’s off, and Clinton’s was scratched due to a water-logged field. Teams can count on great attendance only a few times a year, and so they do a collective rain dance around opening day, and generally try to get the game in unless the rain’s torrential. If you went to the first game in the redesigned Cheney Stadium, you know the phenomenon. The wind and rain that night were awful, and it had chased 60-70% of the fans by the 6th inning or so, but they were not going to suspend the park’s grand opening. I always wonder how many rain-out teams have on their big mid-summer games – the 4th of July in some parks, the 3rd of July in Tacoma. From what Mike Curto says, calling off one of those games can have huge financial ramifications.


98 Responses to “Game 11, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Slats on April 11th, 2013 6:11 pm

    Happy Felix Day!

    DJ Mitchell DFA to make way for Chavez.

  2. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 6:28 pm

    I was wrong regarding who the team brought up, and I’m very happy about that. Apparently the team DOES realize Jason Bay is not a center fielder.

  3. Snuffy on April 11th, 2013 6:28 pm

    To be a Mariner fan is kinda rough so far, even though only a handful of games have been played. I fear it will get much worse before we even have a glimmer of it getting better.
    Hurry back Michael! Without M. Saunders, other than Felix, there is little reason to even watch/listen… let alone buy a ticket.
    Does Oklahoma City have a major league facility? Ugh.

  4. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 6:33 pm

    Wonder what they will do with the 17,000 extra shirts.

  5. casey on April 11th, 2013 6:53 pm

    is it just me or did Ackley’s at bats last night seem like groundhog day. Every time he seemed to pass up a couple of good hittable pitches to put himself in a two strike hole. Took one shot that I can think of at the left side of the field and then rolled over weakly on ground out to second. Maybe one strikeout thrown in. Seems like he needs the Blowers to Saunders pep talk last year – be aggressive early in the count – you may only get one hittable pitch and if you are watching and expecting it to come with a 2-2 count that is unlikely. He has a great eye but respect in the form of walks needs to be earned at major league level based upon you proving you can hit pitches thrown for strikes. My view from last night and most nights anyways.

  6. Longgeorge1 on April 11th, 2013 7:12 pm

    When Endy has served his purpose how do we bring back Saunders and not lose Chavez?

  7. Bodhizefa on April 11th, 2013 7:20 pm

    Cut Bay?

  8. Breadbaker on April 11th, 2013 7:33 pm

    Snuffy, I hope that Franklin Gutierrez continues to be healthy and makes you eat your words (which I suspect you’ll be happy to chow down with mustard if he stays healthy and hot).

  9. henryv on April 11th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Holy crap this outfield is a joke. There are better athletes writing for the Seattle Times.

  10. Section329 on April 11th, 2013 7:37 pm

    OMG-its the Raul I remember!

  11. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 7:37 pm

    When I type Ibanez on my iPad it attempts to autocorrect to ‘insanely’

  12. Jinbo on April 11th, 2013 7:39 pm

    >>When Endy has served his purpose how do we bring back Saunders and not lose Chavez?

    put Smoak to AAA, move Morales to 1B and Morse stay in LF?

    Bay can field LF when Morse needs a day off, and we no longer need to see Raul plays field– he and Bay can be our pinch hitter or back up DH

  13. henryv on April 11th, 2013 7:39 pm

    If you have to respect the Astros you probably should consider a different profession.

  14. absolutsyd on April 11th, 2013 7:45 pm

    I’m sure glad our everyday utility guy is so good at defense…

  15. Breadbaker on April 11th, 2013 7:45 pm

    Jeff Sullivan will be showing the gif of that Ibanez play for the rest of his life.

    Great job, Sims, not calling out Raul for that second run. Is there an order coming to the booth from management, you can’t say that Raul is a statue in left?

  16. Jinbo on April 11th, 2013 8:00 pm

    oh come on, we already know that Raul isn’t much of a fielder, it is not really his fault.

    If we have to find someone to blame, it will be the man who put him in the field, and the man who DFAed our only capable 4th OF so an overrated and underachieved 1B ex-prospect can stay on 25-man.

  17. absolutsyd on April 11th, 2013 8:00 pm


  18. bookbook on April 11th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Hey, Romero’s in High Desert?!? I know it’s not a demotion, but it’s no treat…

  19. spuuky on April 11th, 2013 8:14 pm

    I can’t wait to see how they manage to get just 1 or 0 runs out of this next lead-off two-men-on situation.

  20. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 8:17 pm

    Smoak’s trying, spuuky. He can’t hit into a double-play, more the pity.

  21. Breadbaker on April 11th, 2013 8:22 pm

    The Mariners motto in the Bavasi-Zduriencik years: Two on, So what?

  22. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 8:26 pm

    Mariners would be relegated if this was British football

  23. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 8:33 pm

    Morgan Freeman should sue Honda – that’s not his voice

  24. Breadbaker on April 11th, 2013 8:34 pm

    Andino certainly is batting like Ackley

  25. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 8:35 pm

    The thing about the endless babble of baseball commentary is, you tune ‘em out, then suddenly listen and find yourself saying, what the hell are they talking about?

    With The Bone there, it’s even worse.

  26. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 8:46 pm

    Montero is channeling his inner Olivo – even our announcers commented on what he did wrong there.

  27. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Wilson smothers that. Montero is weak. The leads are weak? You’re weak. Hit the bricks, pal, ’cause you are going out.

  28. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 8:48 pm

    Juneau – veteran veteran grit grit grit presence going about his business the right way grit.


  29. absolutsyd on April 11th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Will Montero finish the season with more passed balls than hits?

  30. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 8:55 pm

    Yeah, I got your grit right here in my ass crack.

    I give Felix permission to bean this turd right now though.

  31. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 8:56 pm

    Ah, but I’ll take the strikeout.

  32. Longgeorge1 on April 11th, 2013 9:01 pm

    I sense a comeback —– It was just gas

  33. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 9:01 pm

    No. ANYTHING but Aha.


  34. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 9:03 pm

    I sense a comebacker

  35. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 9:18 pm

    The way the team is playing right now, I’m not sure putting weapons into the hands of thousands of fans on Dustin Ackley bat night is such a good idea.

  36. Longgeorge1 on April 11th, 2013 9:24 pm

    Last position player to come out of the farm system and make the all-star game while an M? Player development – scary bad

  37. zvazda on April 11th, 2013 9:25 pm

    Longgeorge –
    Adam Jon…. WAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

  38. spuuky on April 11th, 2013 9:29 pm

    Weird. When Felix is pitching, I truly feel like 4 runs (3 earned) and going 6.2 innings is a terrible start. But I’d be delighted if Saunders, Maurer, or Beaven did that. (still would be a bit disappointed in Iwakuma, though, I think very highly of that guy)

  39. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Wake up! Something might happen here!

    Or he’ll strike out…

  40. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 9:39 pm

    I am worried that Darvish won’t have any trouble with the Mariners now that Ichiro is elsewhere. I have an idea (basically unfounded speculation) that the reason the M’s have done well against him in the past is he would get uptight facing Ichiro’s team.

    In any case, tomorrow’s pitching matchup will be fun to watch.

  41. Adam S on April 11th, 2013 9:44 pm

    Have to pinch hit for Ibanez here with the game on the line and a lefty on the mound, don’t we? It’s like letting a slumping Ryan hit otherwise.

  42. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:45 pm

    And by ‘him’ I guess I mean Raul.

  43. JasonJ on April 11th, 2013 9:47 pm

    How does Wedge not pinch hit for Ibanez there? Get with it!

  44. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 9:47 pm

    I hate the Mariners.

  45. Adam S on April 11th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Just terrible. Back to the DVR…

  46. Sports on a Shtick on April 11th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Fuuuuuuuuuuuck that was predictable.

  47. seattlesonsofbaseball on April 11th, 2013 9:48 pm

    I love this team…. it’s like rooting for 25 simultaneous cold sores to heal while drinking lemon juice. No clutch on this team… at all. And with Saunders out, nothing better then watching Morse leave the game due to an injury as well. Who in the #$%^ sold their soul to satan and why are we being punished???

  48. absolutsyd on April 11th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul! Good call leaving his $4 million dollar worthless ass up there.

  49. msfanmike on April 11th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Raul is sure putting on a clinic tonight!

    I wish he would be more like Griffey – and retire.

  50. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:49 pm

    How could Wedge not pitch hit for Raul? Why, Raul is clutch!

    Really poor timing to advertise tickets after a heartbreaking inning like that.

    What an awful, awful outfield they have 2 weeks into the season. All we need is Guti to go down.

  51. spuuky on April 11th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Can’t pinch hit for Ibanez there, giving them basically a free pass out of the inning, because of the fantastic outfield depth on the roster. Sigh.

  52. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 9:49 pm

    I think the only reason Morse didn’t charge the mound is because he knows his hand is broken.

  53. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Oh, I called that in and close pitch.

  54. msfanmike on April 11th, 2013 9:51 pm

    How did Morse get hurt? I missed it.

  55. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 9:52 pm

    No such thing as clutch. Goofy notion.

  56. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 9:52 pm

    He got hit on the hand with a pitch but they called it a swing, then the next pitch he got hit in the shoulder.

  57. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Yeah, Texas was obviously trying to hit Morse and he had the nerve to stick his bat in the way first, so the pitcher plunked him for real the next time.

    Very classy.

  58. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 9:57 pm

    That was the most minimum hit you can have

  59. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 9:57 pm

    The worse part is, they’re so frustratingly close.

    “Tying run to the plate.” How many innings have they said that?

  60. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 9:58 pm

    I think Montero benefited from that fan interference.

  61. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Morse did swing at that one pitch. He swings like Olivo sometimes.

  62. spuuky on April 11th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Cool, they’re going to try not to score from 2nd and 3rd with no outs instead of 1st and 2nd. I like how they keep raising the bar on killing rallies, it really adds to the suspense. How will they get out of the bases-loaded no-out situation in the 9th?

  63. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 9:59 pm

    They should require an IQ test to sit in those seats

  64. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 10:00 pm

    I still booed at the fan from my couch. Jeez, people, go to the sports shop and buy a damn ball for a buck. There’s no reason to reach into the field of play.

  65. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 10:00 pm

    He just got off a plane

  66. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 10:01 pm

    Some good news: It brings joy to my heart that the Angels are going to be 2-7.

  67. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 10:03 pm

    I do love a suicide squeeze, even when they don’t pull it off. Bad bunt though.

  68. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 10:03 pm

    There’s not enough profanity in my vocabulary.

  69. WalterNeff on April 11th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Executed nicely by both teams

  70. KiWiNiNjA on April 11th, 2013 10:03 pm


  71. spuuky on April 11th, 2013 10:04 pm

    Should have left Montero in for the suicide squeeze. They’d never have expected it. And then they’d have thrown him out anyway because he can’t run 90 feet.

  72. Section329 on April 11th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Well said, Hammy.

  73. Coolalvin206 on April 11th, 2013 10:09 pm

    M’s will already be out 4.5 games out not even 2 weeks into the season , pathetic . Another lost season. Go Seahawks

  74. WTF_Ms on April 11th, 2013 10:11 pm

    The last 3 games: refer to my user name.

    This team the last several years: refer to my user name.

  75. TheKidWouldGo on April 11th, 2013 10:12 pm

    The Mariners are aware they receive absolutely no credit for runners reaching, right?

  76. seattlesonsofbaseball on April 11th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Someone needs to get in touch with the genius who makes the schedules for the MLB games. The Mariners are leading the league in most games played at 14 games before their first day off… which is the only day off in the entire month of April. Throw the fact that the M’s have opened the season for 4 years in a row in Oakland shows that this organization seems to have no problem taking it up the rear by any and everyone involved with MLB. Good the be a Mariners fan.

  77. californiamariner on April 11th, 2013 10:13 pm

    If you’re going to give up on this team after 10 games don’t waste your time coming on here. We knew going in this team wasn’t a likely playoff team. Does that mean we quit after 10 games? Sorry just tired of all the negative comments. The Angels are 2-7. Eff them.

  78. WTF_Ms on April 11th, 2013 10:16 pm

    If it was just one time out of every 4 or 5, I would agree, but its like this EVERY year. When attendance is 10k average for the year, maybe then ownership will spend on something other than cheap old “veteran grit”?

  79. juneau_fan on April 11th, 2013 10:22 pm

    I thought they brought the fences in…

  80. Longgeorge1 on April 11th, 2013 10:23 pm

    Yea just gas

  81. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 10:25 pm

    I wonder if Wedge and Jack Zduriencik’s seats are getting a little warm…

  82. WTF_Ms on April 11th, 2013 10:25 pm

    And with a whimper and our tail between our legs we slink away. Again. It’s going to be a long season. 60 wins max.

  83. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 10:32 pm

    Watching the replays… I wonder if Guti is not 100%. He isn’t playing particularly awesome defense.

  84. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Okay, Wedge, I know you’re all about grit and other intangibles, but you gotta stop claiming leaving Raul in to face a lefty in a high leverage situation is a smart move.

  85. absolutsyd on April 11th, 2013 10:52 pm

    How long can they seriously let Wedge run this team? Good god, he makes the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. If Endy started in left tonight, there is a good chance we would have won the damn game. That, and if Andino was sitting on his ass on the bench where he belongs.

  86. taylor.mariner on April 11th, 2013 10:53 pm

    So how long is Morse out for? Do we know?

  87. Hammy57 on April 11th, 2013 10:55 pm

    Morse says he hopes to play Sunday. Wedge says a week, no DL stint planned.

  88. taylor.mariner on April 11th, 2013 10:57 pm

    Thanks hammy, that’s good news…. I guess.

  89. Bodhizefa on April 11th, 2013 11:08 pm

    A week where our outfield is likely going to be Raul, Bay, and Guti/Endy. Yikes.

  90. MrZDevotee on April 11th, 2013 11:13 pm

    So, Morse broke his finger. Out at least 3-7 days, reports CBSSports. But he BROKE HIS FINGER. Seriously?

    Casper Wells is the Mariner’s Chicago Goat.

    Is Guty looking over his back right now, or what? Spooked out fer sure.

    (On a slightly funnier note, Greinke broke his collarbone in the Padres/Dodgers brawl today…)

  91. Westside guy on April 11th, 2013 11:18 pm

    As long as Gutierrez hasn’t been keeping secret that his first name is actually Michael, I think he’s in the clear.

    And how can a broken finger only knock a guy out for a few days? Something is odd.

  92. The_Waco_Kid on April 11th, 2013 11:28 pm

    I can relax and enjoy the season now that nothing’s on the line

  93. taylor.mariner on April 12th, 2013 12:08 am

    Westy, to reply to what you said, Drayer said that he and the staff are aware that he will be playing with pain for a few weeks after the seven days. His “veteran grit” so to speak and “what he does for the team” is so important that it is necessary he play regardless.

  94. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 12:14 am

    Thank you Taylor.

    If it doesn’t impair him, that is fine. If, as is the case with a lot of players who choose to “play through pain”, it saps his ability to hit – then it’s a dumb decision. Hitting IS what he brings to the team.

    But we’ll see how it all plays out. I certainly don’t want to see Peggy or Liddi up again.

  95. bookbook on April 12th, 2013 5:54 am

    Jesus Montero, left fielder. Have glove, will travel.

  96. FelixFanChris420 on April 12th, 2013 10:09 am

    Worse move: Letting Ibanez hit last night or letting Ryan hit in the bottom of the 9th down by 2 with a runner on on wednesday?

  97. Jordan on April 12th, 2013 11:49 am

    Westy, earlier you implied the Mariners are going to average 10K fans. Do you really think it will be that high?

    Well played Breadbaker.
    So at this point is it safe to say the Mariners don’t have ANY high leverage situations since their new motto is “Two on, so what?” ?

    The argument could be made that Wedge doesn’t consider high leverage situations with this team.

  98. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 12:38 pm

    I believe it was WTF_Ms that implied the Mariners would average 10K fans. I suspect he’s right; although you may be correct when you imply that’s an upper bound.

    If they start winning, they will draw more fans – simple as that. Attendance will probably go up when the weather improves, of course – maybe even to 12K or 13K? :-D

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