Game 12: Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Yu Darvish, 7:10pm

Deep breath. Dave’s post below adds some sobering numbers to the ill omens so many of us have already seen. The team has plenty of time to stop producing said omens and start cranking out good ones, but this is a team with a hobbled offense and that’s going into the next 9 games with a good pitching match-up maybe once or twice. Hisashi Iwakuma’s been very good so far, but you can’t give him a true-talent edge tonight. So the M’s need to forget about true talent and steal some wins the way Houston did, and the way the White Sox (behind Dylan Axelrod) and the Rangers (behind Justin Grimm/Joe Ortiz) did.

It’s not completely crazy. As we’ve talked about here before, Yu Darvish has been pretty mediocre in his four starts against Seattle. For whatever reason, he’s allowed a higher OPS to the M’s than any other team he’s faced more than once. He had stunning command lapses both in his first home start and then last summer at the USSM/LL meet-up game; while he’s not exactly been a control pitcher to the rest of the league, he’s nibbled more against the hapless M’s offense last year than any other team. Maybe that irrational and small-sample oddity will continue! Ho boy, that would really be helpful. Darvish already has my favorite pitch fx page, with 8 distinct pitches, and an average velo spread between his FB and his slow curve of 24mph. Everything he throws has crazy movement, and he throws essentially everything. This might be a time to wait and watch a few pitches and hope several of them slide out of the zone. He really struggled in Safeco, just as he struggled in his one game in Oakland. Maybe he just really hates the cold? All of this is extrapolation based on miniscule samples, but remember: if we’re throwing out true-talent, we can’t get caught up in sample size or logical argument.

On the other side, Hisashi Iwakuma’s been struggling with a finger issue that’s hampered his ability to grip his splitter, far and away his best pitch. While it’s not exactly clear what pitch he grooved to Adam Dunn last go-round in Chicago, he’s got to keep the ball out of the center of the zone. It’s going to be interesting to see the movement on his splitter tonight, and it’s an important pitch for a guy looking to limit home runs. So far, there’ve been 15 HRs hit in the four games in Safeco this year, and a hobbled Iwakuma’s not the kind of pitcher who’s going to hold the Rangers homerless.

With a tough right-hander on the mound and injuries to Morse and Saunders, the M’s line-up is not going to strike fear in the Rangers’ hearts. We’ve wondered if we’d see an OF with Morse, Ibanez and Bay, but while that would be GIFable, it might also hit a dinger or something. Tonight’s OF is Ibanez, Endy Chavez, and Bay, and there’s really nothing to say about that. I understand why Wedge has deployed these players in these positions, and he doesn’t have a whole lot of choice, but the M’s are facing Yu Darvish, at home, with a starting pitcher who may not be 100%, and it *kind of makes sense* to start Ibanez/Chavez/Bay in the outfield. That’s why the M’s are in trouble in the short term. But if you’re going to steal a win, *steal* one. Make it hurt. The M’s felt like crap after dropping a series to the Rangers, and the M’s have the ability to do something similar to Texas tonight in their feeble, grizzled hands.

1: Chavez, CF
2: Bay, RF
3: Morales, DH
4: Ibanez, LF
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Shoppach, C
8: Ackley, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Iwakuma

Or, you know, check out the Rainiers home opener tonight at Cheney Stadium. Due to a combination of work and family commitments, I’ll be missing my first home opener in several years, which sucks – I make games started by Chaz Roe or Luke French, but I have to miss James Paxton pitching to Mike Zunino. But you don’t! I’m going to try and watch it, so if you’d like updates via, follow me on twitter. If you’d like some updates from people at the game, check out Jason Churchill (@prospectinsider) and/or Mike Schwartze (@Mike_Schwartze). I’ll be there this weekend, but I’m not happy to miss Paxton tonight. If Paxton’s velo and stuff rebounds from where it was in Arizona in March, that really helps change the picture on the M’s rotation depth, especially with Erasmo Ramirez still ailing.

Jackson’s playing a double-header tonight, though they’re down early in game 1. Hector Noesi goes in game 2; hopefully he sees a repeat of his very encouraging first start. Clinton’s double-header today was rained out again. Send dry thoughts to the midwest; hopefully they can start their home season soon.


85 Responses to “Game 12: Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:37 pm

    Okay, Bay, let’s see some veteran grittiness!

  2. juneau_fan on April 12th, 2013 9:37 pm

    Double play?

  3. juneau_fan on April 12th, 2013 9:39 pm

    I hate when I’m right.

  4. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:39 pm


  5. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Thanks a ton for that, Juneau.

  6. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Either Juneau or Bay should be DFA’d. (I kid Juneau).

    **Just read that Adam Jones dropped a “can of corn” while he was trying to blow a bubble with his gum today** (oops)

  7. PackBob on April 12th, 2013 9:42 pm

    That’s why they hired the veteran gunslingers. Hope the young guys learned something from that.

  8. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:45 pm

    (Forgot to add– the Adam Jones drop was a 3 run, two out, tie breaking error… No bubble gum for Bay, Ibanez or Endy Chavez.)

  9. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2013 9:45 pm

    I still think when Garland pushed the issue with his contract he pissed off Z. As far as health goes Beavan or any pitcher is one pitch from a career ending injury. After seeing the mess this roster is in – we have about 4 guys that are really just DH’s I am not as much a believer. With 12 man pitching staffs and a DH spot to fill there are only 4 position players on the bench at the start of the game versatility is the key not aging limping veteran grit. Hey I’m still watching though

  10. juneau_fan on April 12th, 2013 9:45 pm

    Trade me to the Astros for a bucket of balls.

  11. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:48 pm

    It sounds like a horrible thing to say, but does Ackley still have options? Does he need to go rake a little in Tacoma to get his confidence back?


    A double-Mendoza two weeks into the season (nearly).

    Oh wait, that’s right, we don’t have anyone to take his place– dumb idea.

  12. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Great idea Juneau… ‘Cause Houston has like 3 or 4 more Ibanez/Bay types we could trade you for…

    Done deal! More DH’s!

  13. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:51 pm

    We could stand to send down half our roster!

  14. juneau_fan on April 12th, 2013 9:53 pm

    I do admit to having more than one “I thought he was dead!” moment at the Astros’ roster. All they need to Jason Giambi to really complete the picture!

    Is it me, or has Guti been hitting well early on? Please, please, please stay healthy, bro.

  15. msfanmike on April 12th, 2013 9:57 pm

    They do have options remaining on Ackley … And they should send him and his Swiss cheese bat night promotion to Tacoma for a while IMO. He needs to refine his craft and build some confidence. Anybody could come up from AAA and match his production hitting one-handed. If Franklin had not started the season sick, maybe he would get the call.

    Whatever “thing” got into Ankiels head when pitching, might have invaded Ackley’s head while hitting. It is, after all The Thing.

  16. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:57 pm

    I was thinking the same thing about Guty.

    We can complain about our vets, and say we wanna watch our young guys (I’m as guilty as anyone) but without some of our veterans, we’d have nothing good to talk about.

    Guty has looked good.
    Morales is finally looking pretty good at the plate.
    Morse at the plate.
    Heck, Chavez tonight.
    Ryan has looked improved over last season.

    Seager has been a disappointment vs last year. And the rest are just head scratchers. WTF?

    So yeah, grit is about all we get to chew on with this team so far. Unfortunately.

  17. JasonJ on April 12th, 2013 9:57 pm

    Not just you, Guti has looked great. Such a shame we can’t enjoy it without worrying about injuries biting him.

  18. waiting . . . waiting on April 12th, 2013 9:58 pm

    What are the odds of Ackley being sent down to get himself right if he goes hitless this weekend? Poor guy looks defeated as soon as he steps to the plate.

  19. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 10:00 pm

    AND Iwakuma has looked great… He just beat the Rangers with a AAAA lineup behind him.

  20. californiamariner on April 12th, 2013 10:02 pm

    Nice win!

  21. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Once the Michaels are back – if these guys keep “hitting” like this…

    Send Smoak and Ackley to Tacoma. Move Kendrys to first; pick whomever you want for second.

    DFA Bay; either keep Endy up or bring Wells Thames up.

    Let Morse and Raul split time between left and DH; run Guti and Condor out there every day.

  22. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 10:03 pm

    ESPECIALLY with his outfield neighbors- Morse and Saunders- dropping like flies around him.

    Guty is actually the LUCKY one so far. Go figure.

  23. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Huh? That makes total sense, so what are the odds of THAT ever happening? Try to be realistic. It’s only the beginning of the season no need to make drastic, reasonable, completely obvious moves already.

  24. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Sorry MrZ, I’ll try not to let it happen ever again.

  25. JasonJ on April 12th, 2013 10:12 pm

    M’s win and the Astros are rolling the Angels. Just need the Tigers to beat the A’s and this could be a really good night.

  26. Sports on a Shtick on April 12th, 2013 10:43 pm

    One walk and a few scattered hits? That’s the M’s offense I know!

    Thankfully this performance by Iwakuma is the #2 pitcher we’re starting to get to know.

  27. pgreyy on April 13th, 2013 4:51 am

    We can’t ship Ackley down to Tacoma before his Bat Night promotion.

    (Yep. Bat Night for a guy hitting .091.)

  28. mln on April 13th, 2013 8:33 am

    This win by the Mariners proves that Iwakuma>Darvish!

    The Mariners were smarter than Texas in signing Iwakuma over Darvish when they were free agents out of Japan! 😉

  29. MrZDevotee on April 13th, 2013 8:59 am

    That’s pretty funny. Are we all supposed to keep a straight face while they hand out the Ackley bats? Or maybe the bats have HUGE holes drilled in them? Just for fun.

    I’s a telling sign when/if the Ackley bats they hand out have Tacoma Rainiers logos on them?

    (Sigh) I don’t understand why Ackley’s struggling? (speaking last year mostly, as it’s still early– but it would be nice to see signs of things CHANGING for the better)

  30. r-gordon-7 on April 13th, 2013 10:04 am

    pgreyy & MRZDee – Not like there isn’t already sufficient M’s precedent… In 2009, didn’t Brandon Morrow get optioned down to Tacoma shortly before “Brandon Morrow Bobblehead Night”?

  31. Westside guy on April 13th, 2013 11:59 am

    Just to be clear – I don’t think they should be sent down now, just if they keep struggling through two ore three more weeks. But when this season’s struggles are combined with last season’s, it’s definitely worrying.

    Also, to add to r-Gordon-7’s point – I believe there was also a Griffey promotion that happened after his forced retirement. But he, at least, had a long period as an elite Mariners star. Ackley Bat Night just seems like a joke at this point in time.

  32. Westside guy on April 13th, 2013 6:12 pm

    Game 13, Saunders vs. some guy not named Saunders

    Lineup per Greg Johns:
    Chavez CF
    Bay RF
    Morales DH
    Ibanez LF
    Smoak 1B
    Seager 3B
    Shoppach C
    Ackley 2B
    Ryan SS

    Wedge sticking to the approach where if your usual guy is out, his replacement needs to hit in the same slot.

  33. Westside guy on April 13th, 2013 6:24 pm

    It’s the first inning, and Kendrys Morales is the DH. How did he get dirt on his uniform?

  34. californiamariner on April 13th, 2013 6:27 pm

    Endy Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Bay as your starting outfielders on back to back days. This would have been cool in like 2006. In 2013 though…….

  35. Westside guy on April 13th, 2013 6:37 pm

    I have always liked Endy, but – even before Yuni took him out, he wasn’t exactly a bat-first outfielder.

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