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.

Line-up:
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.

Comments

112 Responses to “Game 27, Angels at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 11:56 am

    Wedge said Saunders texted him last night – “I’m ready!”

    We’re ready too, Condor.

  2. GhostofMarinersPast on April 28th, 2013 12:19 pm

    I bought a smoak jersey right after we traded for him. To this point I have been an apologist and a huge smoak defender. I’m done. We’ve broken up. I am so done with Justin Choak. I can only imagine they are waiting for Zunino to be ready to make a move here. I cannot watch him strikeout with the bases loaded anymore. I have reached capacity

  3. jordan on April 28th, 2013 12:24 pm

    God Saunders… HURRY.

  4. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 12:24 pm

    I can’t see how keeping Smoak up with the big team right now is helping anybody – including him.

    I don’t know that he will ever turn into anything; but if he can work on his issues, he’d have better luck doing it away from booing fans and the pressure of the majors. Send him down.

  5. mrakbaseball on April 28th, 2013 12:30 pm

    Justin Smoak is what he is. Sending him to Tacoma won’t solve anything.

  6. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Smoak is what he is. This is exactly why he should be gone.

  7. djw on April 28th, 2013 12:32 pm

    It would solve the problem of him making outs and sucking it up on the major league roster.

    We’ve got a first baseman, Morales, and plenty of DHs. Smoak is a waste of major league roster space, even with this team’s crappy roster.

  8. stevemotivateir on April 28th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Just a few days ago we were talking about how to replace Andino. Nobody wants to see Franklin rushed, but the way he’s hitting in Tacoma, you gotta wonder if he is actually ready.

    I wouldn’t call him up just yet, but maybe by the end of May if he’s keepin’ it up.

  9. Earl of Tacoma on April 28th, 2013 12:39 pm

    It is time for Z to cut his losses and cut Justin Joke. Z has jeopardized his own future by continuing to support this sub major league player.

  10. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 12:42 pm

    I love that Morales is in the lineup and Smoak isn’t, although I was looking forward to using Mr.Z Devotee’s new “Smoaked” adjective to describe anything Justin does which is unfavorable ( which is everything ). I’m a masochist like that.

    While I was on the Vargas bandwagon when he played here trading him was possibly the ONLY thing Z has done right.

  11. mrakbaseball on April 28th, 2013 12:46 pm

    Justin Smoak shouldn’t be clogging up the Mariners roster, but he shouldn’t be doing the same with Tacoma either. When Saunders is activated, I hold up hope that Smoak will be given his outright release. He’s not progressing.

  12. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 12:59 pm

    “although I was looking forward to using Mr.Z Devotee’s new “Smoaked” adjective to describe anything Justin does which is unfavorable ( which is everything )”

    Hey!

  13. GLS on April 28th, 2013 1:08 pm

    I would call up Franklin pronto. In a perfect world, we could afford to wait, but the world is far from perfect, and by “the world” I mean the Mariners.

  14. G-Man on April 28th, 2013 1:09 pm

    For those who worry about DH-ing our other catcher, I hereby predict that it will not lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

  15. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 1:12 pm

    Now I am hoping Shoppach gets slightly hurt – I want to see our emergency catcher, Raul Ibañez!

  16. Paul B on April 28th, 2013 1:16 pm

    I might buy a ticket if I knew Raul was going to catch. That would be a sight worth seeing.

  17. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 1:22 pm

    Surely Raul will be a better catcher than outfielder! Hardly any running required.

  18. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 1:30 pm

    Morse trying to catch that ball: “Where’d it go? Where’d it go?”

  19. NorahW on April 28th, 2013 1:39 pm

    @GLS: the only thing is, if Franklin isn’t ready, it may mess him up if we bring him up too soon, and in the long run we can’t afford to screw up another young player. If he’s ready, then yeah, bring him up.

  20. djw on April 28th, 2013 1:42 pm

    When Saunders is activated, I hold up hope that Smoak will be given his outright release.

    Please, no. Let’s get rid of Peguero first, before he hits another 500 footer and Wedge falls in love all over again. Guti should push Smoak off the roster in a couple weeks.

  21. tmesis on April 28th, 2013 1:42 pm

    killeverything, I’ve been a Vargas fan ever since I saw my first Playboy magazine as a teenager. Odd he would take up baseball.

  22. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 1:42 pm

    On the plus side, Morse is still winning the 2013 OPS war with Jaso.

    On the minus side, both of their OPS have been tanking precipitously. Morse is down to .727 now – not exactly great for a guy brought in for his bat.

    He’s also been very anti-clutch this season, if you buy into such things.

  23. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 1:53 pm

    Oops, sorry Westside.

  24. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 1:58 pm

    If you don’t defend your brand you lose it, killeverything. :-)

  25. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 1:59 pm

    So Chavez is just giving away an out here? Strike out coming…

  26. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 2:09 pm

    They’ll give Smoak more time, but I expect he’ll limp through and be cut in June. Hopefully they cut Harang if his next outing sucks. I’d settle for Bonderman at this point. Or just about anyone.

    If Raul stays below the Mendoza line much longer, he needs to retire. We’re kind of shorthanded in the OF (who knows how many Guti can play) but otherwise I’d be fine with cutting Bay. Too much dead weight, geez.

  27. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 2:12 pm

    I think the pinkie messed up Morse, but I feel like he’s primed to snap out of it. I feel like he’s been hitting the ball a little harder recently.

  28. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 2:13 pm

    Man, I hope so

  29. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:13 pm

    As Dave posted a few days ago – the team’s outfield mess was its own doing.

    Their AAA outfield options aren’t good; but still – is there anyone here that wouldn’t prefer Thames over Raul or Bay?

  30. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:15 pm

    CM, I agree the pinkie is part of the issue – but having him play through it is likely the real problem. On a real team he’d probably have been sitting and letting it heal all the way.

  31. msfanmike on April 28th, 2013 2:16 pm

    Justin Smoak is re-defining the meaning of a 3 True-Outcome player:

    Get my GM fired
    Get my Manager fired
    Get myself demoted

    In theory.

  32. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:23 pm

    Morse is hitting .148 (7 for 48) since the fracture, with 2 total EBH (both doubles).

    Tell me how playing through the injury is helping the team, Wedge.

  33. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 2:23 pm

    Of all the bonehead moves, the Ibanez signing was the craziest. He’s going to be forty-one!! I just can’t say it enough! And he’s not the DH!

    He went from playing on one of the strongest teams where he was a role player with a lot of good role players, to being expected to pick up and carry a poor team when he’s FORTY-ONE. And looks every day of it. It’s the Griffey signing all over again.

  34. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 2:28 pm

    Anyone commenting on the live game today? Good duel going on. Will Vargas or Iwakuma be the first to break down?

    So how relatively horrid are the M’s batting with RISP and drawing walks?

  35. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Most of my comments have been driven by in-game happenings, Highlights. ;-)

  36. jordan on April 28th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Bay is a mess, too.

    Iwakuma for CY!

  37. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 2:32 pm

    I was just thinking this is when the wheels always came off for Vargas when he pitched for the Mariners, but of course, he’s facing the Mariners now, so may have a different outcome.

    Ugh, Bay is pathetic.

    There’s only been one RISP and the next batters went weakly away as usual.

  38. Snuffy on April 28th, 2013 2:38 pm

    Seager looks like a quality hitter at this point. Ackley was 1 for 15 vLHP coming into this game (sss) but had another hit today and his lone hit vLHP was yesterday. Again… SSS. Still, he looks good at the plate lately. Montero is a DH & a backup emergency catcher only who either hits or goes back to AAA. Smoak is in need of some serious adjustment that may not be possible for him to do. He looks like AAA to me. Kendrys needs to be at 1b with Morse helping out.
    Will the Mariners ever develop a real good hitting outfielder again? Saunders is it since they traded the likes of A. Jones & Choo.

  39. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 2:38 pm

    Perhaps Seager read the blog after the game. Beat out the DP there. Not that it mattered. Another ground out to end any threat of scoring.

  40. djw on April 28th, 2013 2:39 pm

    What I find darkly hilarious is that as shitty as Bay has been, he’s actually outperforming his ZIPS projection. Unlike Montero, Smoak, etc. there’s no reason whatsoever to be disappointed in Bay. This is exactly who he is, and what he should rationally have been expected to be.

  41. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 2:40 pm

    RiSP! Check.

    Weak ground out. Check.

  42. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:42 pm

    Career-wise, Ackley hasn’t shown huge splits.

    I still think he’ll be okay.

  43. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Man, the Angels have some absurdly fast guys – he almost beat that sac bunt out.

  44. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Good thing we benched Brendan Ryan

  45. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Ugh

  46. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Well, with Andino at least we have his quality bat.

  47. djw on April 28th, 2013 2:48 pm

    Guys, I don’t want to question the wisdom of the M’s braintrust or anything, but that last play has me wondering if benching an outstanding shortstop for a shitty one might have negative consequences.

  48. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 2:49 pm

    Yes, Bay’s value to the M’s is on par, that is if you prefer a roster full of players on the decline curve. I prefer taking more of a chance with some younger guys.

    And a big wedgie to Wedge for allowing Morse to play with the bad finger.

  49. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:50 pm

    Djw, it’s obvious you’ve never played the game. Look up from your spreadsheets once in a while.

  50. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 2:50 pm

    Angels playing small ball.

  51. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Come on, Mariners! Kuma is pitching a great game, and you’re facing Jason Freaking Vargas! Do something!

    (btw hopefully djw knows I was kidding)

  52. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 2:53 pm

    Man when Iwakuma’s on, he is on.

  53. WalterNeff on April 28th, 2013 2:54 pm

    If that was an error, why does it count as an earned run?

  54. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:55 pm

    Man I hate the way our team consistently makes mediocre pitchers look like all stars.

  55. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 2:56 pm

    Hey there, Morse!

  56. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 2:57 pm

    A hit, then the next hitter in a 0-2 count. Every damn time. Very annoying.

  57. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 2:58 pm

    Ryan/Andino combo is pathetic overall. Bring Triunfel up and see what he can do. If not give Frankin the opportunity.

  58. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:00 pm

    Shoppach strikes out 35% of the time. He’s not very good… but he’s been very lucky so far this year (.435 BABIP).

  59. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 3:00 pm

    At least Monty didn’t hit into a DP. *sigh*

  60. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:01 pm

    Er, that should’ve read 33% of the time (career).

  61. WalterNeff on April 28th, 2013 3:03 pm

    Nevermind – They corrected it

  62. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:09 pm

    Walter…I was wondering the same.

    Well done Kuma. Too bad your associates could provide better assist.

  63. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 3:12 pm

    Let’s take back everything we’ve said about Bay today.

  64. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 3:13 pm

    Bay! Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

  65. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Bay is known to read the comments. It probably motivated him.

  66. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:15 pm

    All right Bay! Way to go!

  67. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:15 pm

    OK Bay, you’ve just earned the right to stay on the roster for awhile longer. But not Andino, nor Ibanez.

  68. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:19 pm

    Lots of 0-2 counts. Pitching ahead of hitting. Trademark of the M’s.

  69. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Bourgis can run…But that’s not going to make Morse hurry his charge on the ball or anything…Surprised that wasn’t a triple. Should have gone for it!

  70. msfanmike on April 28th, 2013 3:23 pm

    We need a guy who can do “that”

  71. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Capps is locating well today. But then goes 2-0 on a batter averaging .118

  72. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:27 pm

    Juneau, I think what we saw WAS Morse hurrying.

    Dude is Montero slow, seriously. Go check out Sullivan’s article about their relative times to first base – Monty was actually a hair faster!

  73. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:29 pm

    Time for Morales to get on the hit board and Morse/Shoppach to bring him home. Then lets see the Bartender for another save.

  74. msfanmike on April 28th, 2013 3:29 pm

    We need a run! Lets get a run!

  75. msfanmike on April 28th, 2013 3:31 pm

    You’re welcome.

  76. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 3:31 pm

    Morse!!!! Called it earlier haha!

  77. killeverything on April 28th, 2013 3:31 pm

    Yyyeeeaaaahhhh!

  78. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:31 pm

    Nevermind…I’m slow.

  79. juneau_fan on April 28th, 2013 3:32 pm

    *gasp* Westy. I guess Monty’s babysteps just appear more futile.

    But all is forgiven! That’s the Vargas we know and love! Why the hell is he still out there in the 8th anyway? Is their bullpen even worse?

  80. jordan on April 28th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Morse! Hopefully the finger is feeling good.

  81. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:35 pm

    Bartender time…in more ways than one.

  82. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:37 pm

    I take back everything I said about Morse! Statistics be damned! Hahahahaha!!

  83. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:41 pm

    But just for LOLs, here is Jeff’s article:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-small-assortment-of-batter-times-to-first/

    Fortunately the speed of his home run trot doesn’t matter! And maybe the finger is healing…

  84. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:41 pm

    Not yet fair to say the M’s won on the Vargas-Morales trade, but it’s looking that way. Let Morales play 1B everyday.

  85. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:42 pm

    Closing bartender is serving better drinks as the season goes on.

  86. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:43 pm

    The Morales trade was the one move Jack Z made I thought was unquestionably good.

    I have nothing against Morse BTW, and have no desire to start up the old argument with MrZ on that score!

  87. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:44 pm

    Only downer is – Iwakuma really deserved the win.

    But we DID win! First series win too!

  88. californiamariner on April 28th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Nice won the series against the stupid Angels!

  89. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 3:48 pm

    I’m sure Wedge will talk about the veterans coming through… ;-)

    But hey – Bay actually came through today, good on him. And hopefully Morse is on the upswing!

  90. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Awesome. Finally.

    I think Morse is providing the veteran leadership. We don’t need Raul.

  91. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 3:53 pm

    Three games with Baltimore. Then 14 of 17 games on the road. The next 20 days will (re)define the Mariners season/roster and Wedge’s job.

  92. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 4:07 pm

    Right now, the Angels are probably feeling exactly like the Mariners felt after the Houston series. HA!

  93. The_Waco_Kid on April 28th, 2013 4:13 pm

    Agreed, Hightlights. It’ll be weird though. We’ll go from too few days off to too many.

  94. Rick L on April 28th, 2013 4:27 pm

    Lose a series to the Astros, then win one from the Angels. Baseball is unpredictable.

  95. GLS on April 28th, 2013 4:34 pm

    I said earlier in the thread that they need to call up Franklin. In support of that position, I offer up the number 1,645. The number 1,645 is the number of plate appearances our prospect has logged as a professional. I also offer up the number 693, which is the number of plate appearances he’s logged at AA or above. My point is: this is not a case of a guy being rushed through the minor leagues. Really, it’s the exact opposite. He’s done his time and he’s performed. If they don’t like him at SS and they don’t want to move Ackley off 2B (which they shouldn’t want to do) then play him in the outfield. I don’t know if he’s played so much as a single game out there, but come on, this is a middle infielder. He’s probably a better outfielder on day 1 than Raul Ibanez ever was.

  96. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 4:35 pm

    With Saunders coming back, what is the consensus? Peguero going back down or Ibanez retiring? The Ms do need a backup catcher which Ibanez is supposedly.

    But then the Ms need a starting catcher, shortstop, first baseman, couple outfielders, and a reserve infielder…sigh.

  97. GLS on April 28th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Franklin went 1 for 3 today with 2 BB and 1 HR.

  98. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 4:38 pm

    Still not understanding Z signing Saunders and Harang. Would like Joe to show why from the mound tomorrow.

  99. Westside guy on April 28th, 2013 4:45 pm

    Highlights, I’m worried they’re just going to release Chavez. Bay hit a homer and got a hit today – obviously he’s breaking out. And Peggy hit a homer, so obviously he’s fixed too. We’ve got a surfeit of quality outfielders now! Chavez is obviously playing over his head…

    (I don’t think they can send Endy back down without running him through waivers. Either way, though, I think he should stay with the big club.)

  100. HighlightsAt11 on April 28th, 2013 4:47 pm

    Could someone with good baseball wisdom please delimit the pros and cons of cutting Ryan (.148) or Andino (.190), and bringing up Franklin. Basis for a USS Mariner report?

    Then we can also see how well Miller can do in AAA.

  101. 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.

  102. 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?

  103. 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.

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

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

  105. 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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. 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.)

  110. 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.

  111. 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.

  112. 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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