Game 17, Tigers at Mariners

marc w · April 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Justin Verlander, 12:40pm

(Note the early start-time today for getaway day)

First of all, thank you Felix. Thank you for that display of mastery, for rising to and far beyond the challenge the Tigers line-up provides. Thanks for breaking the will of Prince Fielder, and in so doing, making Franklin Gutierrez feel less bad about HIS night (or at least making him feel less alone). There’s only so much you can say about a mid-April loss to a good team, and thankfully you can read all you need from Jeff and Dave.* Thanks for appearing to care and for expending so much effort in a game with a result that seemed so inevitable. The M’s were never going to hit Scherzer, for reasons I talked about yesterday. That the M’s nearly won is remarkable and the game is very, very close to his perfecto or maybe some of his better games from 2007 in Felix’s sheer dominance. But ultimately, Felix (and M’s fans) needed help. Ultimately, Felix needed help from people remarkably ill-prepared to give it.

Dave’s article breaks down many of the managing issues, and they were legion, but the injury issues mitigate some of the blame. That Endy Chavez is here doesn’t explain away why he was used the way he was (I mean, what), but the fact that Saunders *wasn’t* available directly led to Franklin Gutierrez facing tough right-handed pitching in high-leverage situations. This is Franklin’s whiff rate by location against right-handed pitchers, compared to *other* right-handed batters. Guti’s career wOBA against righties is almost exactly the same as Brendan Ryan’s career wOBA. The M’s may have successfully purged one “part-time player” who couldn’t be trusted late in games due to his splits, but really needing hits from Gutierrez is roughly equivalent to requiring Endy Chavez to spark a two-out rally against Max Scherzer as a pinch-hitter.

Of course, the final, unavoidable case of a player attempting to do something he’s just not capable of was watching Smoak try to score from 1B on a sharp double to right. The decision to send him was the right one, given how long the game had gone on and how rare scoring opportunities were. But the M’s will win exactly when they do not need Endy Chavez to pinch hit while Jason Bay pinch runs. When Franklin Gutierrez faces a lefty with men on base, and when Justin Smoak is telling an actual runner to slide, not angrily barreling into a catcher who’s already got the ball safely tucked away. At this point, the line-up has known problems and other teams are unsurprisingly exploiting them.

So, today, the M’s face Justin Verlander. All of that stuff I said yesterday doesn’t necessarily apply. Verlander’s arm slot means his splits aren’t as extreme as Scherzer’s. And that’s all I’ve got as far as hopeful signs go.

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

Hector Noesi was scheduled to make his 2013 debut with Tacoma today after impressing with AA Jackson. But that’s on hold now, as he’s been surprisingly recalled to Seattle, with Bobby LaFromboise heading down I-5. Last night’s long game means they need a long man, and hey, he was on the 40-man. Speaking of Jackson, Chance Ruffin continues his surprising run as a starting pitcher.

* The first gif in Dave’s article at Fangraphs may be in my top 5 all-time. *That’s* Felix. An unearthly pitch to a good hitter, and the reaction combines excitement with an air of inevitability. He’s excited, because he did exactly what he wanted to do, and it was about as difficult for him as dropping the resin bag, or putting on a hat.


62 Responses to “Game 17, Tigers at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on April 18th, 2013 3:40 pm

    Hey, Verlander is great – but Kuma is no slouch. And when Capps and Willie are on… look out.

  2. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2013 4:11 pm

    Assuming Saunders is ready to go in 8 days, what do they do with Bay? Find an injury for him, or release him?

    Really hard to see Chavez being the subject of that discussion. Keeping him should be a no-brainer. Ironically, the man who makes the decision may actually have no brain.

  3. bongo on April 18th, 2013 5:07 pm

    Overall, I do not think they made the right decision on Garland vs. say, Beavan. Of Bay and Ibanez, it is Ibanez that is the more inexplicable signing to me, since they are paying him significant $ and his atrocious fielding makes him unsuitable for any sustained time in LF. Since we already have enough DH-types, why carry him on the roster?

    Personally, I am getting increasingly impatient with Montero, Smoak, Ibanez and even Ackley. Shoppach, as bad as his throw was on Tuesday, is still a better defensive catcher than Montero, and one might even argue a better hitter at this point in the season. Smoak is a better fielder than Morals, but how long can we continue to run him out there given how he is hitting? Any manager who thinks Ibanez is a viable LFer should lose his license to practice in the majors. And it has occurred to me that Ackley may better be able to fix his hitting problems in Tacoma than Seattle. Not that I want to see more of Andino at second (or anywhere else) mind you. But maybe later in the season we see Franklin, Triunfel or even Seager at 2B. The Tacoma position players are not all that inspiring at the moment (other than Zunino). But the competition in Seattle sets a low bar so…

  4. Westside guy on April 18th, 2013 6:28 pm

    Jason Bay’s OPS is down to .628 – but I’ve got a hunch Z will hang onto him because the Mariners gave him money.

    I’m hoping to be proven wrong, but I’m expecting that to happen because of Z’s track record. There’s certainly no other reason to keep Bay over Endy.

  5. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2013 6:53 pm

    The Tacoma position players are not all that inspiring at the moment (other than Zunino).

    Sample Batting lines for Rainiers with more than 30 AB’s:

    Thames .340/.435/.528
    Franklin .333/.429/.467
    Triunfel .296/.339/.481
    Liddi .280/.368/.560
    Peguero .255/.317/.455
    Zunino .250/.311/.675

    The Tacoma position players, especially the infielders, aren’t looking bad at all (Of course, Zunino’s SLG sticks out like a sore thumb). That doesn’t mean I’d rather see any of them replace Ackley, but I’d give them a little more credit.

    Ibanez is a terrible fielder. But as a left handed bench bat, I can think of worse. I’d rather have him off the bench than Bay and his contract isn’t that drastic, with the difference being less than 2 million.

    Bay should be the odd man out, in my opinion. His defense isn’t much better than Ibanez and he has yet to prove he can hit. And he hasn’t hit well for several years. The decision shouldn’t be a difficult one, though it wouldn’t surprise me if Westy’s right.

  6. gopilots70 on April 18th, 2013 7:12 pm

    Great job Andolini, Kyle and Endy! And finally we can say fantastic call by the home blue on Seager’s slide at the plate.

    Kuma is unbelievable, but please as my mother would always say, “don’t pick at it”.

    And now batting ninth, hitting .167, the pitcher……could not get the sacrifice bunt down with a runner on first in a scoreless tie in the fifth. Could not successfully execute the squeeze bunt last week in a key situation.

    Call up “Mr Cycle”, Triunfel. I have watched every game available on MiLB TV and he has looked very smooth at short. He and Franklin have turned some nice DPs.

    Keep the current SS and Andolini as the back up infielders which solves that roster problem and the availability of useable speed on the bench.

    Ask Bay to accept a minor league assignment or say good-bye and admit a failed pipe dream. Go with Endy, Guti, Morse, Ibanez in the outfield and make a tough decision when Saunders comes back.

    Overall, not a bad homestand after the Astros’ debacle, but it could have been 7-3.

    And Ackley is starting to hit. Pound those Rangers and let’s get back in this thing!!

  7. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2013 7:20 pm


    There’s a major flaw with your plan… roster space. There’s no room for a second utility infielder, regardless of who it would be. They’re not going to cut Ibanez loose, so we’re stuck with him as a fifth outfielder even if they do ditch Bay.

    A more likely scenario, would be Guti needing time on the DL, and simply replacing him with an infielder -assuming Chavez is around.

  8. gopilots70 on April 18th, 2013 7:34 pm


    It’s a problem, but it won’t be until Saunders is ready to come back and have we had any indication of when that will be? I have not heard any. The four outfielders would be Saunders, Guti, Morse and Ibanez. Andino can play the outfield in pinch in late innings and I have watched when Buck Showalter did this a few times in the last couple years.

  9. MrZDevotee on April 18th, 2013 10:22 pm

    I can’t believe how far “full circle” I’ve come with Wedge. We won today, but he’s still in my head with all the “no brainers” he walked over and crushed into silliness in the previous two games.

    And now I get annoyed because I have to wish ill will (which is against the rules on this site) on either Ibanez or Bay so that this roster can sort itself out.

    Mother Nature is the only real leader we have on this team, and fortunately there’s a good chance that by the time Saunders gets back, Bay or Ibanez, from extreme overuse, will have separated one something on their body from some other something on their body, and end up on he DL… Maybe both.

    And that’s the key move we have to hope for, because Wedge doesn’t know how to sort this shit out.

    The thing that’s REALLY going through my mind today is “what would a REAL team think of having Wedge as their manager.” Boston? (laugh) The Angels? (spit take) He wouldn’t even be in the running for an ASSISTANT position on the Yankees…

    Writing, say hello to wall. Now… Does anyone know how to show this wall to Z?

    I’m so through with Wedge. I think he’s tired, and frustrated that he doesn’t know how to help this team win. Two days ago he was interviewed on the radio, and when explaining why he was playing Shoppach so much he attempted to be “presidential” before stopping the interview and saying flat out “I don’t want to say anything bad in public about him (Montero) so let’s just leave it at that.”

    I don’t blame him for saying it, mind you, but being the MANAGER and saying it says to me that he’s lost his patience with these young guys… And leads me back to speculation yesterday, did he just get lucky with a bunch of really high quality talent in Cleveland? ‘Cause they were all good with Wedge, they were all better when they moved on, and Cleveland sucked and Wedge got fired after that first batch was gone.

    He’s frustrated. He thought he had more to do with the team he managed’s success, but now refuses to come to terms with his hand in BOTH their failures.

  10. The_Waco_Kid on April 19th, 2013 12:00 am

    We absolutely should but won’t keep Endy over Bay

  11. GhostofMarinersPast on April 19th, 2013 12:25 am

    For the record….Smoak does have 10 hits in the last 12 games, coinciding with a nice little five game hitting streak. Just saying…

  12. stevemotivateir on April 19th, 2013 6:17 am


    You can’t seriously view Ibanez as a fourth outfielder! And that’s simply not going to happen. Not with Guti’s history and not with Ibanez’s defense. Bay’s a stretch as it is.

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