Game 27, Angels at Mariners

marc w · April 28, 2013 at 11:53 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Jason Vargas, 1:10pm

Is this the day that the M’s take their first series of the year? That’d be nice, as the M’s would leapfrog the Angels and into the largely irrelevant but schadenfreudelicious 3rd place in the AL West. As angst-filled and angry as the first few weeks of the season has been for M’s fans, it’s got to be worse for the Angels – a club who acquired the top free agent hitter for the second year in a row, and fancied themselves World Series contenders heading into 2013. So far, it’s been ugly for the Halos, as Josh Hamilton’s struggled, and the pitchers they brought in to replace Ervin Santana and Dan Haren have been even worse. (Meanwhile, Santana’s been excellent for Kansas City).

Today’s Angels starter is old friend Jason Vargas, whom we all know pretty well – he’s a fly-baller, throwing a fastball, slider/cutter and, most famously, a change-up. Like every other pitcher on the Angels, he’s gotten off to a poor start, but he’s always pitched well at Safeco field. And hell, if you get largely shut down by 2013-model Joe Blanton, it obviously doesn’t matter how well/poorly a pitcher’s last few games have gone.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s platoon splits have always looked a bit odd thanks to his change-up like splitter. Over his brief MLB career, he’s given up more HRs to right-handers, but it’s not as severe as, say, Steve Delabar. Instead, Iwakuma’s problem has traditionally come on fastballs, where he tried to sneak in a 90mph FB to get ahead in the count. His four-seamer’s been the most frequently victimized, and as he throws more of them to righties, he’s given up more HRs to them. His slider should help against righties, but it remains his weakest offering. That said, his splitter remains an equal-opportunity weapon, and been effective as long as Iwakuma’s fingers allow him to throw it. I’ve been worried about his short starts leaving too much work for the bullpen, but it hasn’t been too much of a problem so far, as he’s been more efficient than he was in 2012, and in any event the bullpen’s been solid behind him.

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

I love giving Smoak a day off and getting Montero a few more at-bats as the DH. Good spot for Jason Bay too, I suppose.

Michael Saunders is starting for Tacoma in CF in preparation for his return to the M’s tomorrow.


112 Responses to “Game 27, Angels at Mariners”

  1. NV M's fan on April 28th, 2013 5:01 pm

    Went to the Rainiers game today and Franklin looked ready on that ball he crushed in the 1st. Smoak can be replaced in numerous scenarios. The Condor was a walking machine – hoped to see some more hittable offerings. Paxton looked great early then struggled in middle innings. Mid-90s when he wanted it. Triunfel didn’t have a great day but we left a little early.

  2. henryv on April 28th, 2013 5:50 pm

    Remember how we thought that Vargas would have home run problems to left field, especially in the new Safeco?

  3. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 6:04 pm

    Of course when we were thinking about that, Henry, we weren’t thinking about him facing the Mariners lineup.

    NV – did Saunders have many plays on defense? I wondered how his throwing motion looked.

  4. jimbob on April 28th, 2013 6:07 pm

    Angel’s blogs comments suicidal. Is ot wrong to gloat? It feels awesome!

  5. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 6:10 pm

    I know we complain a lot about this team’s decision making and rightfully so. But, one thing should get some credit for was getting Iwakuma. So far, this has worked better than anyone could have hoped.

  6. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 7:09 pm

    Forgot to hit the post button before dinner…With Saunders coming back I don’t see the Mariners attempting to send Chavez down to Tacoma as he won’t clear waivers, and the Ms won’t release him as the his skills will very likely be needed down the road. Sure his OPS is only .673 and he does not hit with power, but he is consistent at bat and in the field. Wish he could also play the infield as the M’s could use an all-around utility player. Utility players were considered somewhat important by the M’s before Wedge showed up.

  7. heyoka on April 28th, 2013 7:22 pm

    To be fair, if the Mariners knew Iwakuma would’ve worked out this well they wouldn’t have done it…..because Mariners.

  8. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Regards to the rotation, with the day off coming up after the O’s series, possibly skip both Joe Saunders and Hanrang and let Mauer pitch against Oakland? Then the King and Kuma could both pitch against the Yankees, each with one day of rest less than normal? And then back to a 5-man rotation for the Cleveland and Angels series, hoping by then the M’s can replace Harang and Saunders can show some of the mojo that Z saw in him.

  9. bookbook on April 28th, 2013 8:04 pm

    You aren’t likely to pitch two of your pitchers on short rest a quarter way through a long season.

    Harang isn’t going anywhere for awhile, since Bonderman isn’t major league quality and Hultzen is out for a month with a tight rotator cuff. (and Paxton doesn’t have his control mastered and Carraway doesn’t have the stuff and Noesi is Noesi and Beaven is Beaven, etc.)

  10. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 9:02 pm

    We have so many days off coming up. They could easily skip a Harang start. Saunders has pitched well at home. I hope that continues.

  11. eponymous coward on April 28th, 2013 9:50 pm

    Iwakuma is on pitch limits because of a blister. The scuttlebutt is he’s the one who’s going to get starts skipped. Sigh.

  12. NV M's fan on April 29th, 2013 6:13 pm

    Saunders arm looked fine but wasn’t tested. Sorry – should have included that. Thames happened to have a couple of nice throws from RF.

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