Game 14, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 14, 2013 at 11:20 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Nick Tepesch, 1:10pm

The M’s head into their first off-day of the season needing a win to get a split and avoid dropping three straight series losses. Brandon Maurer’s shouldering a bit more pressure than his teammates, as he’s got to know he can’t have a repeat of his 2/3 of an inning performance against Houston. As many have mentioned, Danny Hultzen’s in the same spot in the rotation just 30 miles away; Hultzen will start today against Salt Lake in Tacoma in what amounts to another job interview. He wouldn’t accrue a full year of service time if he was brought up soon, and while the M’s don’t want to yank Maurer out of the rotation so quickly, *2/3 of an inning, at home, against the Astros.*

What’s his problem been? I have to say I’m a bit surprised it’s gone as poorly as it has, but there are some issues he could conceivably work on. First, his release point is all over the place. It doesn’t look too bad averaged, but his fastball release point can vary by over 6″ within a single at-bat. During the spring, I was worried that he had a decidedly lower/more towards third base release for his slider and change. It was subtle, but MLB hitters are selected in part on their ability to detect and interpret information like that. From what I can tell, that hasn’t been a big problem in his first two starts. Instead, he’s all over the place with all of his pitches. Maybe there’s a theoretical benefit to that, but given he’s had clear problems putting his pitches where he wants them, any gains in batter confusion remain hypothetical for Maurer.

The other issue is pitch sequencing. In his second game, Maurer fell into a pattern of throwing his slider (or the change, in Pena’s case) for his 3rd pitch of an AB. It may have been nothing, or just coincidence, given that he didn’t get through an inning, but he and his catcher should mix things up a bit more. Part of that may be throwing more fastballs. In his first game, he threw fastballs in a minority of his pitches. You can’t really take anything from his second start, but he’s clearly attempting a mix that’s not all that common. Madison Bumgarner of SF is probably the most successful pitcher to rely on his slider so much, but given how rudely MLB hitters have treated Maurer’s, maybe it’s time to use that pitch in a different way. More than anything, he’s just got to avoid hanging it. Even with two strikes, he’s had lapses where he leaves a slider up and out over the plate. That can’t continue today.

The Rangers start their *other* out-of-nowhere back of the rotation rookie, Nick Tepesch. Justin Grimm fared reasonably well in the Rangers win over King Felix, so the Rangers will hand the ball to another unheralded right-hander in Tepesch. Tepesch was a 14th round pick in 2010 after an up-and-down college career at Missouri (sounds a lot like Grimm so far), and though his draft position doesn’t reflect his talent (he signed over-slot), he was clearly a little lost in college, giving up 250 hits and 147 runs in 213 innings. As a pro, he’s used solid command of a fastball, curve and slider/cutter to limit walks and runs. The fastball isn’t great, averaging around 91 MPH, but he gets good sink on his two-seam/sinker, resulting in good ground ball rates.

He tends to use the sinker more to lefties and saves his straight-as-an-arrow four-seamer for righties, which is a bit odd, but hey, he’s the 14th rounder who’s already in the majors. He’s had issues with long balls here and there, and righties have actually hit more of them on a rate basis. He balances that with a better K:B ratio, so on balance, his splits are pretty standard.

The M’s line-up:
1: Chavez, CF
2: Bay, RF
3: Morales, DH
4: Ibanez, LF
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Montero, C
8: Ackley, 2B
9: Andino, SS
SP: Maurer. C’mon kid.

Hmm, still no Gutierrez.

I’ll be at the Rainiers game watching Hultzen; game time is 1:30. Jimmy Gilheeney starts for Jackson, and Matt Anderson will start for Clinton. Trevor Miller goes for High Desert.


100 Responses to “Game 14, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 3:19 pm

    So, the Casper Wells curse is widespread… I’d be afraid if I was Upton or Swisher…

    Guty’s out the last 3 days… then…

    Michael Bourn split his finger open, needed stitches, and is out a week (at least).

    Is Wells from New Orleans, by chance?

  2. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 3:21 pm

    Are you kidding me? A forced by injury minor leaguer call up in the 7th inning of a game against a team we have to beat? Where is Pryor? We have a day off tomorrow. You would have never seen this rookie in at this spot with Lou. Time for Wedge to go. We have to start showing our players that we want to win every game.

    Yesterday, Joe Girardi pinch hit for a veteran in the eighth inning which left him with a catcher playing second base and Cano at short for the first time ever. Our manager doesn’t want to offend any player by pinch hitting and is also afraid what the other manager will do two innings later.

    Last year, Girardi never let Raul face a lefty in a key situation. Until the playoffs when he was out of this world hot and A Rod was the only alternative.

    Oh yes and nice veteran presence Mr. Bay with two runners in scoring position–a weak gb to third

  3. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:22 pm

    Not that it couldn’t have been better, but – given the roster going in, the team should be reasonably happy with a split against Texas.

  4. Hammy57 on April 14th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Montero is a horrible catcher.

  5. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 3:25 pm

    Watch, Gentry will walk on only 3 balls with this ump.

    (See how I set him up there!)

  6. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:25 pm

    Good job by Pryor there!

    (Despite MrZ’s curse)

  7. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:27 pm

    Oh that song ended very badly.

  8. Breadbaker on April 14th, 2013 3:27 pm

    When Pryor can paint the black with 97-98 on the outside corner, it’s pretty much an unhittable pitch. Filthy.

  9. pgreyy on April 14th, 2013 3:31 pm

    WHEELS! ?!?!?!

  10. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 3:32 pm

    Raul with gritty SPEED! Actually, a gritty duel there bewteen Ibanez and Moreland.

  11. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:32 pm

    Bad gritty decision by Moreland there.

    Ya can’t out-grit Raul.

  12. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Isn’t this where we pinch run for Ibanez with our speedy little backup OF, who steals bases and plays better defense…

    Looks at the major league roster…

    Looks at the minor league rosters…

    Uh. Nevermind.

  13. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 3:35 pm

    “Bad gritty decision by Moreland there.

    Ya can’t out-grit Raul.”

    Ha-ha… Yeah. “Cleanup in aisle 1!” (there’s grit all over the 1st baseline now)

  14. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:36 pm

    Man, it’s sunny in Seattle but pouring buckets here in Sumner.

    (Hope you don’t mind I was riffing off your gritty comment, MrZ)

  15. Hammy57 on April 14th, 2013 3:43 pm

    Why couldn’t the bicycle stand on it’s own? Because it was two tired.

  16. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:45 pm


  17. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Hope Pryor’s okay.

  18. Hammy57 on April 14th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Google the word “coughing” as an image search and tell me that doesn’t make you chuckle.

  19. Phightin Phils on April 14th, 2013 3:49 pm

    Uh oh, Rizzs used his non-happy serious voice before that break, regarding Pryor injury.

  20. The_Waco_Kid on April 14th, 2013 3:49 pm

    Could everyone stop getting hurt?

  21. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 3:55 pm

    Our homer announcers…”Ackley did a great job just getting to that ball”. A winning team makes that catch

  22. The_Waco_Kid on April 14th, 2013 3:58 pm

    It was a tough play, but I agree there’s a lot of “A for effort” commentary.

  23. Breadbaker on April 14th, 2013 3:58 pm

    They’re not homer announcers. They just act like every player who does something moderately competent deserves praise. Either club. Rizzs has been saying “how about those Oakland A’s!” all weekend, even though we’re not playing them and any decent M’s fan hates their guts.

  24. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 4:02 pm

    That is why we are so terrible. I am sure the players and the announcers will be reasonably happy with a split of the series. But a winning team knows we should have swept the series and got on a roll. Lou would not have been reasonably happy. He would have got kicked out on the call on Kinsler and would have gone ballistic on the management for leaving him with only Ibanez to play left field at the end of close games.

    I am sure we will be happy too with 78 wins this year and 82 next year with our 1975 manager who never plays a shift when nearly all of baseball is doing it.

  25. californiamariner on April 14th, 2013 4:05 pm

    We should be very happy with a split this series against a very good team when we basically haven’t had Saunders, Guti, or Morse the whole time.

  26. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 4:07 pm

    Rizz is the biggest homer announcer in the history of baseball. Dave Niehaus never referred to the M’s a s “we”. And he never referred to himself as “on the Mariners” or “with the Mariners” And you could always tell when he was fed up with incompetent play even through his positive and thoroughly enjoyable announcing.

    Yesterday, neither Sims or Blowers had the gumption to say that Ryan’s blown double play ball “has to be caught”.. Would that really endanger their jobs? “That play has to be made”!!!

  27. Hammy57 on April 14th, 2013 4:08 pm

    The ONLY time you can be satisfied with a split is if it is on the road.

  28. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 4:09 pm


    You can be a winning team going .500 against the top half of the league, and a little better against the lower ranks.

    That’ll lead to the best record in baseball most years. Or close to it.

    Winning 6 out of every 10 games pretty much makes you the best team in baseball most years. (97 out of 162)

    Nice job, bartender!!! (Wilhelmsen)

  29. The_Waco_Kid on April 14th, 2013 4:10 pm

    Based on what I’ve seen, the Astros are better than the Rangers!

  30. californiamariner on April 14th, 2013 4:11 pm

    Nice win!

  31. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 4:11 pm

    Considering Felix got beat, and Maurer pitched today… Splitting this series was absolutely a nice finish. (Especially after the Astros debacle)

  32. Sports on a Shtick on April 14th, 2013 4:11 pm

    Good win. Some good stuff, some bad stuff but the team hung in there.

    “Rizz is the biggest homer announcer in the history of baseball.”

    Have you ever listened to a White Sox game?

  33. Breadbaker on April 14th, 2013 4:13 pm

    gopilots70, you have clearly never heard Ken Harrelson announce a game. Rizzs isn’t within a hundred miles of the most homer announcer in baseball.

  34. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 4:14 pm

    Also, Gopilots… I was in the car listening on the radio when both guys absolutely said “You have to catch that” on the Ryan play you’re mentioning.

  35. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 4:18 pm

    Winning teams still win with key players injured. If our left fielder can catch a routine fly ball and our “amazing” shortstop can convert a routine double play ball Texas is now 6-7 and we are 8-6. How happy would we be now? How much could that change the entire season?

    Dave was writing the other day that the next nine days could be disastrous and for want of making a couple easy plays by veteran players we would have swept.

    Our owners don’t care about winning championships only “being competitive”. And it appears that by their incompetence they have convinced the fan base to accept even less. Nice win today, but a terribly disappointing series.

  36. gwangung on April 14th, 2013 4:20 pm

    Winning teams still win with key players injured.

    Which we did today.

    With key players injured, winning teams often go .500 against other good teams.

    Our owners don’t care about winning championships only “being competitive”.

    I don’t think you know how to win championships either; I think you just know how to be competitive.

  37. californiamariner on April 14th, 2013 4:21 pm

    I can’t believe anyone could call this a disappointing series. If anyone knew Morse, Guti, and Saunders would miss the last 3 games, we would lose the Felix start, and would start a Chavez, Bay, Ibanez OF for 3 straight games, they would gladly take a split. I don’t know what world you are living in where you could have expected to win this series.

    Oh, and “winning teams” usually play close to .500 against other contenders and beat up on teams with bad records. So, if anything be disappointed with the Astros series.

  38. Westside guy on April 14th, 2013 4:24 pm

    Believe me – I, for one, WAS disappointed with the Astros series. 🙁

  39. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 4:27 pm

    I was watching on TV on neither announcer said anything…other than a weak “oh, too bad” or something to that effect.

    I watched two games on the White Sox channel last week and yes “the Hawk” is a homer but he does say critically accurate things about their own players. I love to watch the final game of a series on the visiting broadcast because you learn more about the Mariners than by listening to our announcers.

    If you are happy with this series, you are destined to be eternally content with the second division. Hammmy you are right only be happy with a split on the road.

    Truthfully, going into this series given the roster I would have been overjoyed with a split. After watching four games I am disappointed because with a few easy plays our season would now be on a different course. Glad some of you are content with mediocrity but I can remember a team and a manager who never were.

  40. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 4:27 pm

    Go Pilots-
    Awww… C’mon!?

    Don’t care about winning only being competitive?

    Why pay Felix the most money any pitcher ever got paid (for that week) instead of trading him for a whole bunch of high prospects, which would make us MORE competitive and cost less money?

    Why offer Hamilton $150 million? At all?

    Trading away our best prospects for Justin Upton? Taking on money for an elite player while giving away good cost controlled youngin’s?

    C’mon. A little nuance to your observations would go a LONG way on this blog site. The whole point of this site is you need to provide evidence to your observations– not just “I saw” or “I think”…

    Glad you’re here, but dangerously close to hyperbole on nearly every post.

  41. Breadbaker on April 14th, 2013 4:28 pm

    If there’s anything this website stands for, it is that talent, not attitude, wins championships. This team is seriously deficient in talent. 1952 Casey Stengel wouldn’t help it win a title.

  42. Phightin Phils on April 14th, 2013 4:31 pm

    You can be a winning team going .500 against the top half of the league

    Great point. And great win to take a split.

    Randomness comes in clumps. The worst you can say today is that we got lucky, in spite of numerous random injuries.

  43. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 4:32 pm

    You gotta admit though… That was a gritty hustle by Ibanez down the first baseline to save an out! It takes a certain talent to be that gritty at age 50 (or whatever he is)…

    (I’m kidding, of course)

  44. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 4:38 pm

    The “being competitive” comment is a direct quote from Howard Lincoln. Look it up.

    Felix got paid because we all love him and he brings the few remaining paying fans into the seats.

    They did not offer Hamilton $150 million, they offered him $100 million with conditions that he knew he probably would never receive.

    Just the facts.

    For the record, I am a big Jack Z fan and am still confident about the future of the franchise. I believe we can win now if the team stops accepting mediocre play and totally incompetent line-up selection, in-game management, and coaching

  45. Typical Idiot Fan on April 14th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Wait… Game 16?

    /scribbles maths furiously…

    I… /checks…

    I don’t think that’s right.

  46. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 7:17 pm

    Good news!

    We’re 1 1/2 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot!

    And better news– Kansas City is the team currently in that spot.

    So we’re practically IN THE PLAYOFFs right now.

    Take away 3 complete CRAP starts between Beavan and Maurer and we’re a 1/2 game in the lead, most likely!

    And we just replaced Blake Beavan with Aaron Harang (crickets)…

    AND… we reached this spot with our entire starting outfield in the hospital, and Felix losing 2 out of every 3 starts.

    This is the best season in years!

    (He said, forcing optimism onto the fearing masses…)

    ***Seriously though… Take a deep breath and think about it… If I told you Guty, Morse and Saunders would be out for considerable time, and Felix would be 1-2 after 14 games, and we had lost 2 of 3 games to the Astros, after playing 7 straight days on the road, and just finished a 4 game series with the Rangers, would you be willing to take a 6-8 record into the first break we’ve had all year? I’m okay with where we’re at, considering we haven’t played very well the past week. Baseball moves in and out like the tides. And with Felix and Iwakuma coming up we’re in good position for Detroit. Relax everyboy. Enjoy the baseball season.***

  47. gopilots70 on April 14th, 2013 8:24 pm

    Yes…I have been relaxed for ten years

  48. MrZDevotee on April 14th, 2013 11:12 pm

    I also like to give Wedge credit when he does do something worth mentioning. (Fortunately, not forced to do it too often)

    I don’t think there were a lot of people that would have run Maurer back out there for a 3rd start. I seriously thought it was a toss up whether Harang was brought in to take Beavan or Maurer’s spot. (And I was a huge Maurer supporter even before Spring started, but I thought he should have been sent down after that last start. It was a mistake to keep him with the big boys.)

    And yet, he pulled out the win for us today. Wedge gets credit for that, whether we agree with the move or not.

    (Tip of the cap, to Eric AND Brandon)

  49. daninho on April 15th, 2013 6:20 am

    I agree that we should be satisfied that we were able to split the series despite all the injuries but if the players have that same mentality the team will always be at the bottom of the standings.

    Does anyone know when Guti will be back?

  50. raul_podzednick on April 15th, 2013 12:23 pm

    OK, maybe it is too early to give up on this team.

    Can’t wait for Hultzen and Zunino.

    Speaking of top Mariners prospects…

    The top position players behind Zunino both play middle infield. We seem to be light on OF prospects who are even close to breaking into the majors….

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