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.

Line-up:
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 milb.tv, 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.

Comments

85 Responses to “Game 12: Rangers at Mariners”

  1. absolutsyd on April 12th, 2013 6:03 pm

    “The M’s felt like crap after dropping a series to the Rangers”

    I think you meant Astros. You have to wait two more days before they’ll feel like crap for dropping a series to the Rangers.

  2. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 6:41 pm

    Tonight’s game may be fun to watch – I can enjoy a good pitchers’ duel.

    My pet theory about why Darvish has struggled against the Mariners is all about Ichiro – I think Darvish was in awe of the dude and got overly nervous facing his team. Let’s hope I’m wrong, since this isn’t Ichiro’s team anymore.

  3. SonOfZavaras on April 12th, 2013 7:21 pm

    I think Darvish is too much of a rockstar to be in real awe of anyone…I think we’ve just gotten him on a couple of his crappier nights.

    Well, I wanna watch the game but all I see is a digital feed fixed in place of Felix taking the field.

  4. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:27 pm

    Darvish hasn’t looked great so far… Hopefully he won’t settle down!

  5. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:29 pm

    Smoak – the more things change, the more they say the same…

  6. Breadbaker on April 12th, 2013 7:30 pm

    So far, the game doesn’t seem to prove the Ichiro effect.

  7. Swungonandbelted on April 12th, 2013 7:33 pm

    “luckily the seat was empty…”

    Your Seattle Mariners, where it’s safe to throw bats into empty seats…

  8. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:33 pm

    Hahaha! So far so good!

  9. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:34 pm

    Believe me, Breadbaker, I’d love to see it continue!

  10. californiamariner on April 12th, 2013 7:34 pm

    Seager!! 2 out RBI!! Weird how they seem to own Darvish

  11. drewringo on April 12th, 2013 7:41 pm

    Beltre happy feat goin’

  12. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:45 pm

    They need to compare and contrast a THIRD squeeze play… Guess which one I mean? ;-)

  13. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 7:55 pm

    Man, Darvish is all over the place.

  14. msfanmike on April 12th, 2013 7:58 pm

    Was a bicycle subsequently involved, Westy?

  15. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:06 pm

    You got it, Mike!

    I didn’t want to mention that it also involved these same two teams.

  16. SeattleSlew on April 12th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Apparently Rangers pitching coach, Mike Maddux, came to the mound to reminded Darvish that he is facing the worst hitting team in the league then all of a sudden Darvish strikes two in a row after putting two on.

  17. Paul B on April 12th, 2013 8:15 pm

    Move the fence out!

    Raul looked awkward there.

    Iwakuma doing good though.

  18. zvazda on April 12th, 2013 8:20 pm

    Anyone else just have no video of the triple play? Or was it just an X-box feed thing?

  19. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:26 pm

    The triple play showed up fine on my television, zvazda.

  20. zvazda on April 12th, 2013 8:33 pm

    Huh. That’s funny. On the X-box it just showed a feed of the field. Weird.

  21. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:41 pm

    It was unusual, like a 5-4-6-4-3-1-17-42-7-1-8.

  22. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:43 pm

    (Actually it was 4-6-5-6-5-3-4)

  23. WTF_Ms on April 12th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Replay in the Majors anyone??? Wow…

  24. californiamariner on April 12th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Wow Ackley clearly tagged him

  25. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Man this looks like an Oakland Coliseum game.

  26. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Man this looks like an Oakland Coliseum game.

  27. poordispatcher on April 12th, 2013 8:56 pm

    “Hotly contested stolen base”
    How can it be highly contested when Wedgie stayed in the dugout with his hands in his pockets? Too cold for him?
    He’s lucky it didn’t cause any damage or he will be crucified after the game.

  28. SeattleSlew on April 12th, 2013 9:02 pm

    How I miss Lou :(

  29. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:03 pm

    Wedge couldn’t see the play from the Mariners dugout, and Ackley wasn’t particularly demonstrative – so I’m not surprised Wedge didn’t run out there.

  30. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:04 pm

    What’s the over/under on the date Kendrys Morales becomes our everyday first baseman?

  31. californiamariner on April 12th, 2013 9:07 pm

    Is Ackley ever particularly demonstrative?

  32. WTF_Ms on April 12th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Westy, I think Wedge likes Smoak…..so maybe next year?

  33. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:13 pm

    Wow, Iwakuma has pitched really well tonight… Who knew we had a better #2 pitcher than Vargas all along?

    Has anyone heard what’s up with Harang? Is he already being inserted into the rotation?

    (I didn’t get to watch the game up to this point, so wondering if the announcers talked about it?)

  34. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:14 pm

    California said:

    “Is Ackley ever particularly demonstrative?”

    Response:
    “Ehh…” (shrugs shoulders)

  35. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Beavan to the bullpen, Harang is taking his start.

  36. argh on April 12th, 2013 9:18 pm

    I guess the other teams have figured out that the Mariners can’t hit a breaking ball. Smoak missed that last one by a foot. And it wasn’t even that nasty. Between him and Ibanez it’s been like watching the Little Sisters of the Poor out there.

  37. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:21 pm

    Or even… The BLIND Little Sisters of the Poor?!

  38. JasonJ on April 12th, 2013 9:21 pm

    At least he worked a full count. Last year he would have been gone on 3 pitches. Progress!

  39. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:22 pm

    CM, once I saw Dustin Ackley raise BOTH eyebrows – AT THE SAME TIME.

    He’s a raging volcano on the inside.

  40. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:25 pm

    Thanks Westy…

    Just saw Dustin Ackley is now batting UNDER .100 (.094). Super Small Sample Size warning… But REALLY? Dustin… What’s up? Just bizarre. Good stroke, good eye, has hit EVERYWHERE he’s been…

  41. californiamariner on April 12th, 2013 9:26 pm

    Don’t like pulling Iwakuma there. Maybe the blister was too bad

  42. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:27 pm

    “At least he worked a full count. Last year he would have been gone on 3 pitches. Progress!”

    Baby steps!

    (OW, I just hurt myself with a mind numbing combo of seeing Lopez and Montero as one person– trying to run.)

  43. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:27 pm

    So if this lineup lucks its way to a few wins, I could just see Wedge deciding to sit both Michaels.

  44. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2013 9:27 pm

    What a dumb move by Washington – I’d of taken left on left with Furbush over right on right with Pryor. BTW Garland gave up a 2 run dinger in the 1st then just one more in 6 not great but WAY better than Beavan

  45. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:28 pm

    And on cue, a bad luck out for Ackley.

  46. Westside guy on April 12th, 2013 9:29 pm

    So Monty has inherited the “Baby Steps” monicker, MrZ?

    I like it!

  47. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:31 pm

    Yeah, I was taking a poke at Lopez, for old times sake and then all of a sudden Montero forced his way into my imagination.

    Didn’t realize how appropriate it was until it happened.

    Poor guy. I feel bad putting that on him.

  48. msfanmike on April 12th, 2013 9:31 pm

    How bout another run or two.

  49. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:33 pm

    Longgeorge-
    Pretending to still have faith in our organization I like to believe they must have seen something in Garland that had them concerned about his durability/ability to make it through the season. He didn’t do anything on the field to lose his spot, so I have to believe there was a concern with health/durability. (He gave up 1 run in six innings his first start with Colorado… Kinda odd feeling like we gave them Garland so we could pay them for Harang.)

  50. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2013 9:34 pm

    I toast that comment, Mike! A double shot, preferably.

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

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

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

    Double play?

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

    I hate when I’m right.

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

    Boo.

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

    Thanks a ton for that, Juneau.

  56. 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)

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

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

  58. 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.)

  59. 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

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

    Trade me to the Astros for a bucket of balls.

  61. 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?

    .091

    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.

  62. 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!

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

    We could stand to send down half our roster!

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

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

    Juneau-
    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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

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

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

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

    Nice win!

  71. 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.

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

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

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

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

    Westy-
    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.

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

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

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.)

  78. 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! ;-)

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

    pgreyy-
    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)

  80. 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”?

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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?

  84. 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…….

  85. 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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