Game 15, Tigers at Mariners

marc w · April 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Aaron Harang vs. Doug Fister, 7:10pm

The newest Mariner faces off today against an ex-Mariner, giving everyone a chance to sigh and wonder what the hell happened with that trade. Casper Wells was DFA’d by the Blue Jays, and Charlie Furbush is a perfectly serviceable lefty bullpen arm, but it’s always tough watching six feet eight inches of walking, talking, hitting-the-blacking evidence of the fallibility of talent evaluation, and how bad we are (bloggers, fans, GMs, analysts, talking heads) at predicting the future. Doug Fister is now throwing a bit slower with the Tigers than he did in any previous April, but it doesn’t really matter – his game was never about velocity. His ground ball rate has continued to climb, and is now solidly over 50%. A big part of this is that he’s all but shelved his four-seam fastball (which he threw almost exclusively when he first came up in 2009) for a two-seam sinker. This started before the trade, but better feel for the pitch has probably helped him. He’s made a lot more use of his curve ball since becoming a Tiger, particularly against right-handed batters, and that may account for his higher strikeout rate.

Aaron Harang is basically a fastball/slider guy, who generates a lot of fly balls. Early in his career, he got enough strikeouts to mitigate the HR problems that came with his pitching style; he put up back to back 5 WAR seasons for the Reds several years ago. But starting in 2008, the small park + fly ball combo was too much, even for his above-average K:BB ratio to overcome. Interestingly, the bulk of his HR problem has come against same-handed hitters. Almost everything in his splits are even – K rate (actually better vs. lefties), average, BABIP, etc. His walk rate’s worse versus lefties, but the big thing that sticks out is his HR rate, which is clearly higher against righties. Why? Well, I have no idea, but he throws four-seamers almost exclusively to righties, and he throws his two-seamer/sinker to lefties. And his HR problems have been worst with his four-seamer. The result is that his HR rate gives him reverse splits by FIP, and perfectly normal splits by xFIP. I’m sure someone’s talked to him about it, but I’d mix in a few more two-seamers to righties. We already know that two-seamers have much larger platoon splits than other kinds of fastball, which makes his usage patters counter-intuitive, to say the least. He’s now in what we’d assume is a good park given his skill set (though not as good as last year), but keep in mind he’s not going to run the kind of K rates he ran in recent years anymore – his K rate against non-pitchers is in the 15.5% range, as opposed to the 16.5-17% marks he posted. That’s not a huge deal, but it could have spillover effects on things like his strand rate. All of that said, it’s tough to complain about his acquisition.

I know many of you are sick to death of sports business/revenue type posts, so I’d advise you not to click on my post about the risk in the ROOT sports deal or Dave’s on the moneymoneymoney the M’s stand to gain.

With Stephen Pryor on the DL with a torn lat muscle, the M’s have brought up Yoervis Medina from AAA Tacoma. He’s gone from a bad starter to something of a joke amongst 40-man roster observers to a quietly effective reliever. Medina throws a hard, heavy fastball in the mid-90s (and you wondered why he was still on the 40-man) and gets a decent number of grounders. I still think Carson Smith is the best pitcher with this basic template in the system, but Medina’s much more ready. I’ll be fascinated to see how he does; he’s been excellent in his very, very brief tenure with Tacoma.

Good to see both Guti and Mike Morse back in the line-up. Here’s hoping they’re able to go at 100%, and that Morse’s pinky injury doesn’t impact his swing.

Line-up!
1: Gutierrez, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, DH
4: Morse, RF
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Shoppach, C
8: Ackley, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Harangutan

As Dave mentioned on twitter, that’s Shoppach’s 4th start in 6 games. We’ll see if this pattern continues and if/where the M’s deploy Montero.
Ryan Divish has a good post on Ackley using his off-day to rework his pre-swing routine. Gone is that very open stance as the pitcher goes through his delivery, and he’s back to something similar to last year’s swing.
Ok, something slightly more up-beat: Larry Stone has a great interview with Mike Zunino. I saw Zunino a bit this weekend, so I’ll try to organize some thoughts on him too.

Comments

91 Responses to “Game 15, Tigers at Mariners”

  1. Bremerton guy on April 16th, 2013 5:20 pm

    What the heck happened with Wells in Toronto that resulted in them throwing him back on the scrap heap so quickly?

  2. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 5:33 pm

    It likely had nothing to do with Wells, per se – the Jays probably planned this all along. See

    http://gregjohns.mlblogs.com/2013/04/15/wells-dfad-by-blue-jays-so-now-what/

  3. stevemotivateir on April 16th, 2013 6:32 pm

    I’m pretty sure Wells criticized the beer and failed to recite the Canadian National Anthem.

    So it’s understandable that they shaved his head, tattooed a maple leaf on his back, and DFA’d him.

    Good riddance.

  4. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 7:17 pm

    BremertonGuy… They had to bring up a pitcher, and had no one to drop, so Wells basically followed the rotating door all the way around and back outside.

    That’s what I read, anyways.

  5. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 7:18 pm

    Uh huh, Harang.

  6. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 7:21 pm

    Wow, Prince Fielder has lost quite a bit of beard.

  7. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 7:25 pm

    Anybody else having problems with MLB TV?

  8. BillyJive on April 16th, 2013 7:31 pm

    Yup….only the Mariners game tho…go figure…

  9. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 7:33 pm

    Same here.. weird the other games are working.

  10. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 7:37 pm

    You all aren’t missing much. Lack of effort on the part of a weak/below average First Baseman, and the ever shrinking strike zone for the M’s.

  11. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 7:48 pm

    Morse scares me sometimes.

  12. harry on April 16th, 2013 7:51 pm

    MLB.tv is back on for the M’s game. Frustrating, calling their customer service line got a “choose from the following options” recording followed by silence, no menu. Awesome, MLB.

  13. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 7:59 pm

    I wish there was a like button sometimes. You made me laugh, harry, not at you, but at the nightmare that is MLB’s ‘customer service’.

  14. zvazda on April 16th, 2013 8:05 pm

    MLB tv’s customer service is so appalling. They posted in their forum:

    “West Coast games are being worked on at the moment. Please be patient as we work towards getting these available”

    I responded with:
    Forum Moderator -

    I have said things like this before, but I am really at a loss as to how your customer service works where you are. Saying things like “Please be Patient” is really infuriating.

    Now, maybe you aren’t a baseball fan, maybe you are merely hired by mlb to be a forum moderator. If that’s the case allow me to explain to you why this is so infuriating.

    1. Not having any mention of “We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience/annoyance” is customer service faux pas number one. We are not antsy fans eagery awaiting something that is complimentary, we are awaiting a service that we have paid a high price for!

    2. Sports are something that happen in real time. Part of their value is to happen in real time. If I can’t watch the game, that means that all the sudden I have to close down my email, twitter, rss feed and my ability to track the scores for other games.

    3. Some of us planned our whole day around watching a game. I know that sounds lame, and it’s not big things. But, I took a bus from Syracuse to New York City at a time earlier than I had to so that I could watch the Mariners game tonight. I could have spent an extra 3 hours with my girlfriend, but I hopped on an earlier bus so that I could watch the Mariners game.

    Technical difficulties happen, and I understand that, what I don’t understand is customer service’s seeming lack of concern for what might be causing their customers strife. Is it so difficult to add “we truly apologize for the inconvenience” to the template that you copy and paste to the three different threads?

    I hope the game is back on soon.

    -Z

  15. bro_rick on April 16th, 2013 8:07 pm

    I’ve often wondered why the Mariners don’t pitch Felix every five days rather than every five games. He could get 5-6 more starts per season.

  16. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:13 pm

    Is Fister no-hitting the Mariners? (Too lazy to look)

  17. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:14 pm

    I love when I reverse curse the team! SWEET.

  18. Slats on April 16th, 2013 8:16 pm

    Morales!

  19. argh on April 16th, 2013 8:17 pm

    Jaysus. Who was that blowing snot all over the place? Maybe if they own a tv network they can afford handkerchiefs?

  20. Slats on April 16th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Morse!

  21. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:18 pm

    That was the most pathetic run home evah. And the most pathetic attempt at a tag.

    But we’ll take it!

  22. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Morales scoring from 2nd there was fun to watch haha, but nice job offense!!

    Juneau, thanks for the curse

  23. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:20 pm

    Speaking of pathetic…That swing, Smoak.

  24. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Everyone’s bemoaning the loss of Fister, but this is the guy I remember. Great for a couple innings, and then suddenly frustrating for his team.

  25. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 8:23 pm

    Pitching coach to Doug Fister: You just walked JUSTIN SMOAK, fer crissakes! Why would you do that?

  26. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 8:26 pm

    Juneau-
    I think by definition that run home wasn’t the most pathetic ever. Because if he HADN’T scored, that would have been the most pathetic run home ever. So, maybe 2nd most pathetic?

    (nitpicking, I know, but I don’t feel comfortable calling a run scored pathetic with the history of this offense! *laugh*)

  27. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 8:33 pm

    Cabrera = juiced.

  28. Sports on a Shtick on April 16th, 2013 8:34 pm

    Tip of the cap to you, Miguel. That was some good hittig.

  29. Slats on April 16th, 2013 8:34 pm

    Miggy is an amazing hitter.

  30. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 8:39 pm

    There’s an indentation of a bat on Ackley’a shoulder.

    Swing the bat son!

  31. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 8:39 pm

    I feel like for the last week every time we get a 1 run lead, it is gone the next inning.

  32. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Well, Harang had an unfortunate result with Cabrera doing some amazing hitting there. But, I think Harang looks like an upgrade over Beavan.

    Now lets get some runs!!

  33. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 8:58 pm

    How is that inside pitch a strike!!?? *shaking first at TV*

  34. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Well Beavan shows his stuff. Or lack of it. He needs to go. He’s not MLB level.

  35. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:19 pm

    Not saying anything fishy happened, but is it really wise to bring in the guy you REPLACED to help keep it close for the starter you hired to take his job? *curious decision* (laughing at the thought, but hey… You never know)

  36. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:19 pm

    Yes, the irony of Beavan losing this game for them without starting is not lost on me.

  37. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:21 pm

    That’s funny, Juneau… Your last post looks like a response to mine, but we were actually writing them at the same time. *tip of the cap*

  38. californiamariner on April 16th, 2013 9:22 pm

    Hey guys the Angels have the worst run differential in Major League Baseball.

  39. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:27 pm

    Great minds think alike, Mr. Z.

  40. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:37 pm

    The missing year of my Mariners’ life–I thought Tui still played for them!

  41. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Hey Tui is up – I’d mercifully forgotten all about him.

  42. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:43 pm

    So our pitcher doesn’t get the inside pitch. *shaking fist at TV*

  43. dingla on April 16th, 2013 9:44 pm

    montero–> see shoppac blocking ball in dirt…

  44. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 9:44 pm

    The Shop is waaayyyy better catcher than Montero.

  45. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:44 pm

    That 7th pitch was a strike… This is getting ridiculous.

  46. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 9:45 pm

    And Spring Training pitching decisions bite us only 15 games in. Nice :(

  47. dingla on April 16th, 2013 9:46 pm

    juneau_fan, i believe i was shaking my fist as well. *now hitting self in head*

  48. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Welcome to the bigs, kid!

  49. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Is it just me, or does Wedge insist EVERY rookie get their first taste in the most high-leverage situation possible?

    WTF M’s!
    (Whoa, now I see where your name came from WTF_Ms)

  50. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Wedge is an idiot. Pure idiot.

  51. Sports on a Shtick on April 16th, 2013 9:50 pm

    Awesome. Poor process, poor result.

  52. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:50 pm

    6 pitches, no strikes, for the kid who didn’t know he’d be in the majors 2 days ago.

  53. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:50 pm

    I just gave a rather hysterical laugh when I saw that this kid’s now up against Cabrera.

  54. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Sports on a Shtick-
    AND… Poor kid. (Feel bad for him.)

  55. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:51 pm

    A strike and the tiny crowd roars!

  56. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 9:51 pm

    And to think this was a close game at one point…

  57. jordan on April 16th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Is Wedge the worst MLB manager. He has to be. has to.

  58. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:53 pm

    “STRIKE THREE!”
    (I just fainted… Couldn’t even type this. You’re not reading this.)

  59. G-Man on April 16th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Thank God the ump didn’t squeeze him on that pitch.

  60. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Good job kid who I did not catch your name!

  61. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 9:56 pm

    Y’know I’ve NEVER been a “slam Wedge” kinda guy… But that was absolutely frickin’ ridiculous, indefensible, insane, sociopathic…

    No excuse. A kid who didn’t know he would even be playing major league baseball in his lifetime 2 days ago ends up facing the reigning MVP with the bases loaded, in what was a 1 run game (before he walked the FIRST GUY he faced on 4 straight pitches).

    WTF… He should just flat out be fired. Now. Before the game ends. Z should storm on onto the field yelling “TIME OUT”!

    YOU! (pointing at Wedge) FIRED!

  62. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:56 pm

    Great name! Al Alburquerque.

    Why does it seem like Ryan leads off on any inning they need to ‘get something going’?

  63. Sports on a Shtick on April 16th, 2013 9:56 pm

    i mean, WTF is Wedge going to say? He’s always preaching for veteran bullshit or whatever… then he throws out the kid with the based loaded against a former All-Star and the reigning Triple Crown winner?

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

    (Sorry, I’ve calmed down now. Phew.)

  65. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Well, I’m taking a more cynical view of Wedge’s decision. He’s been told that he should treat the season like one long Spring Training. Get the kids in there, fill in holes with old has-beens, get through nine innings.

  66. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 10:01 pm

    Juneau-
    If you can do that, I need to switch my anti-depressants to whatever your’s are! *laugh*

  67. Longgeorge1 on April 16th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Garland, Fister, good moves

  68. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 10:04 pm

    I stick with the classics, Mr. Z; booze.

    Wishing for a ‘like’ button. Your rant was superb.

  69. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 10:04 pm

    The only rational explanation– and one he could never admit, if it’s true– is he was thinking “I don’t wanna use any guys that we’ll need to save Felix’s win tomorrow.”

    IE, I’m punting tonight’s game… Put in the kid.

  70. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Dammit Juneau.
    We’re on the same meds (Scotch). I think I need to double my dosage.

  71. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 10:06 pm

    Lost in all this, Nameless Kid has struck out Cabrera and Fielder.

  72. Longgeorge1 on April 16th, 2013 10:07 pm

    I’m gonna roll a number – medicinal of course

  73. Westside guy on April 16th, 2013 10:09 pm

    If they’re all going to wear 42, the least they could do is put their names on the jerseys.

  74. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 10:10 pm

    “Lost in all this, Nameless Kid has struck out Cabrera and Fielder.”

    You mean, Funky Cold Medina? “Ba-da-dump-bump-bump-buh”

  75. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 10:12 pm

    Welcome to the bigs, kid. You’re not going to get any of these calls.

  76. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 10:14 pm

    I think it’s Funky Cold Medina that’s your medication, not Scotch, Mr. Z.

  77. G-Man on April 16th, 2013 10:14 pm

    Heh, nice try, Shoppach.

  78. MrZDevotee on April 16th, 2013 10:26 pm

    Y’know, I’m still not ready to be down on this team yet. I’m more than willing to admit that time will probably come, sooner rather than later. But just knowing that we can string enough hits to get a couple runs off a good pitcher, like we did tonight, keeps me interested in a 2 run game all the way to the 9th inning.

    Sad to say, but that’s an improvement over this time last year. When being 2 runs down seemed like it was 11-2 if we were in the 9th inning. I actually was interested to see what would happen with Morales and Morse coming up. There was… what’s it called?… “Hope”.

    We lost, we didn’t hit all that well, but it was still a decent game (if you completely IGNORE THE BS WEDGE PULLED WITH THE ROOKIE PITCHER! *sorry*)

    Go M’s! Happy early Felix-Day!

  79. juneau_fan on April 16th, 2013 10:51 pm

    Shall we call such a move being give a Wedgie?

  80. WTF_Ms on April 16th, 2013 11:08 pm

    Thanks MrZ. My username works for so many situations!!

  81. GhostofMarinersPast on April 17th, 2013 10:39 am

    Just a thought…..the rangers have 20 min to trade Julio Borbon. The mariners better damn have a waiver claim in on him right?!?!

  82. stevemotivateir on April 17th, 2013 11:40 am

    They’re not likely to cut Bay, Ibanez, Chavez, or any of the starting outfielders, so I wouldn’t bet on the M’s making a claim for Borbon. Wish they would, but I wouldn’t expect it. He’ll probably get snagged by another team anyway.

  83. GhostofMarinersPast on April 17th, 2013 12:31 pm

    He’s going to end up in Houston. Not considering Borbon would be asinine. If they think Chavez could help them more than Borbon, then this ship sinking fast

  84. marcus_andrews on April 17th, 2013 12:36 pm

    How is missing out on Borbon a big deal at all? He’s really not good. He strikes out a lot, has no power at all and a weak arm. His ceiling appears to be 5th outfielder, why do we need that? Just because a guy is young, doesn’t mean he’s going to improve exponentially. Not claiming Borbon is not an eggregious mistake and, in my opinion, isn’t a mistake at all. They’re playing Leonys Martin over him and nobody is questioning the decision. That should tell you how you should value Borbon

  85. GhostofMarinersPast on April 17th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Well that was glib. Borbon would be an instant upgrade over 3 outfielders that we are running out there on a daily basis. Borbon has shown that he is a plus defender with a good batting eye who can flash a little speed. Missing out on acquiring him for absolutely nothing? Yeah, I’d say that’d be pretty foolish. The point is probably moot as Houston will more than likely grab him. As for Martin, it’s been known that scouts both in and outside of Texas are very high on the kid.

  86. GhostofMarinersPast on April 17th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Well that was glib. Borbon would be an instant upgrade over 3 outfielders that we are running out there on a daily basis. Borbon has shown that he is a plus defender with a good batting eye who can flash a little speed. Missing out on acquiring him for absolutely nothing? Yeah, I’d say that’d be pretty foolish. The point is probably moot as Houston will more than likely grab him. As for Martin, it’s been known that scouts both in and outside of Texas are very high on the kid.

  87. GhostofMarinersPast on April 17th, 2013 1:55 pm

    Also it’s not like organizations have ever undervalued a player that more forward thing sabremetric types have heralded (Casper Wells looks up from his beer in a small Toronto tavern). I, for one, would love to give Borbon a shot in our outfield and see if he sticks. He’s 27 and could at least be an above average (if only slightly) placeholder until someone from the minors makes it up or a more, “ahem”, Stanton-esque option becomes available! Think of spring training next year! Borbon and Morban!

  88. marcus_andrews on April 17th, 2013 3:28 pm

    The thing is Borbon has all the problems that Wells did without some of the upsides. He’s out of options, he’s not “young” anymore despite being unproven. His batting eye has been somewhere from “ehh” to terrible in the big leagues.

    He’s basically Endy Chavez without any “veteran presence.” He’s flat out a replacement player. That’s fine and all but there’s no reason to get upset about not making an effort for him. And to say he’d be an above average player anywhere seems like more than a little bit of a stretch.

    Borbon isn’t even heralded by sabermetrics. His WAR is bad 1.6 in 746 at bats and his UZR is not particularly strong. He’s a AAAA outfielder who can play center field and is out of options. He’s just not worth the claim and roster move (we’d have to dfa someone).

  89. stevemotivateir on April 17th, 2013 5:42 pm

    I don’t think anyone’s proclaiming Borbon as some kind prize for the taking, Marcus. Personally, I’d rather have Chavez -which we do. But over Bay or Ibanez….. yeah, I think I’d rather have Borbon.

    What’s sad, is that we don’t have a more solid outfield so we can completely ignore DFA’d players like this.

  90. marcus_andrews on April 17th, 2013 5:48 pm

    Wanting Borbon to right the wrong of signing both Bay and Ibanez makes sense to some degree, but I just don’t think he’s the right guy to get behind for that. Ibanez and Bay but suck, unquestionably but Borbon is still a very slight improvement on that if at all. Giving up anything at all for Borbon when we could have just kept Casper Wells, a better player, seems silly to me.

  91. stevemotivateir on April 17th, 2013 6:46 pm

    Yeah, that’s the real tragedy in this. Wells is a better option than any of those three.

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