Game 29, Orioles at Mariners

marc w · April 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Jason Hammel, 7:10pm

I keep thinking about Jeff’s post yesterday about Carlos Peguero. We’ve all written him off a bit in part because his flaws seem too significant to overcome. Like, he could make huge strides in his contact rate over the next couple of years and that would get him to “severe problem” level as opposed to “hopeless.” Jeff mentions Chris Davis, who, once upon a time, *was* Carlos Peguero (albeit with small-sample success in the major leagues as opposed to small-sample comedy). Even last year, Davis put together a solid season despite a 30+% K rate. This year, his K% is way down at 23%, his contact rate is up over 5 percentage points, and he’s off to a brilliant start. It’s not just Davis – Eno Sarris has a good piece on platoon LF Nate McLouth whose swing rate is way, way down in the early going, leading to a halving of his K% so far (it’s also netted him a lot more walks). Sure, part of the way the Orioles have gone from a bottom-10 to a top-10 team in K% was just jettisoning Mark Reynolds, but it certainly appears that the Orioles have helped some of their players make some significant plate discipline changes.* I’d love to figure out what, if anything, the Orioles did, or if it’s just a case of players maturing on their own.

The Orioles line-up is a pretty good one, and they’re the reason Baltimore’s 15-11. The line-up seems particularly well-matched to right-handed starters, where McLouth can play/lead-off, and then the middle of the order includes Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters – that’s three lefties in the middle, with another lefty leading off. All of this is to say: this is a much tougher test for Brandon Maurer than the Texas Rangers were. The Rangers and Angels are absurdly weighted towards right-handed hitters. The Orioles are a bit more balanced, as Nolan Reimold can sub in for McLouth against lefties. That’s not to say the task is hopeless – I’m sure Maurer is more confident than he’s ever been, and he’s pitching in a park that saps power, which is still a strength of the O’s line-up. Maurer still has just one strikeout against a lefty, versus a FIP darn near 8. It’ll be interesting to see if he goes to his change-up more; his slider’s been poor against lefties, even as a change of pace, so even showing the change-up may help set up his fastball.

The Orioles start Jason Hammel, the reclamation project (they’ve got a lot of those, looking over the roster) whom they turned into a sinkerballer last year. The major change in his approach make career numbers less relevant, but he’s essentially a sinker/slider guy now, with the occasional change-up and curve to lefties. Last year, his slider was a swing-and-miss weapon, generating strikeouts and grounders alike. This year, it’s not generating whiffs, and thus his strikeout rate has tanked. It’s only been a month, and god knows a few struggling Angel pitchers got back on track in this park last week, but it’s possible Hammel’s still not 100% from the knee injury that sidelined him last year. It’s not just the strikeouts and whiffs: his GB% and velocity are also way down. He’s been reasonably successful thus far thanks to a low BABIP, but he doesn’t appear to be the breakout pitcher he was in 2012.

Having Michael Saunders back at the top of the line-up makes me a lot more confident. The M’s wOBA against righties and lefties is about the same, but that’s driven by BABIP. The M’s hit for more power, strikeout less and walk more against lefties. Saunders brings balance to the line-up and can actually get on base for Morales and Morse. In fact, Saunders/Seager/Morales at the top of the line-up is a pretty good way to start off against a guy like Hammel.

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

Wonder if that whole “Andino is now the starting SS” experiment is already over?
The M’s signed OF Corey Patterson to a minor league deal today.
Jimmy Gilheeney’s pitching for Tacoma tonight at Cheney Stadium; he’s up from AA taking Danny Hultzen’s spot while Hultzen rests his ailing shoulder. M’s are saying all the right things about the rotator cuff strain, and that Hultzen will be back in a few weeks to a month, but I’m still nervous about anything in the shoulder area.
Victor Sanchez made his second start for Clinton today, and had another solid start, going 6IP and giving up 3R on 6H with 3Ks. Not a lot of missed bats, but two quality starts for an 18-year old in full season ball is nothing to sneeze at. Why you’d sneeze AT a stat line, I have no idea. Just seems like a really odd reaction.

* So what about Adam Jones, whose K% is higher than it’s been in years? Well, his swing and o-swing rate is down, his whiff rate is down, and his contact rate is higher than it was last year.


97 Responses to “Game 29, Orioles at Mariners”

  1. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:13 pm

    Game over. When I stated Beavan could stretch the game out, clearly that’s not what I meant. Besides the bottom of the rotation, the Mariners are in dire need of middle-relief.

  2. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Hammel hammers the M’s. Sorry couldn’t resist.

    But then Morse! And then Bay with a hit…Rally time???

  3. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Franklin has about 80 games of experience at AAA counting last year. i wouldn’t mind him coming up in a month or so if he is ready to play SS.

    Romero – I love the guy, but he only has 15 games at the AAA level. We are wicked desperate for an infusion of life, but not that desperate. Give him more time … and a 1B glove to use on occasion. He is just getting his feet wet in LF, too. No reason to rush him at light speed.

    Besides, we have Smoak and Ryan to help keep our spirits high.

  4. juneau_fan on April 30th, 2013 9:19 pm

    I get home, score’s 0-4, by the time I feed the cat, start the dishwasher and settle on couch, it’s 0-6, but it’s looking better. Maybe timing is everything

  5. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:21 pm

    msfanmike…agree with everything except for your final sentence.

  6. juneau_fan on April 30th, 2013 9:25 pm

    Ryan benched again?

  7. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:27 pm

    I was thinking there might be some disagreement with my last sentence, too – but I meant every word of it, dammit!

  8. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:28 pm

    Ackley OPS is .551
    More like Ickley

  9. hidalgo on April 30th, 2013 9:29 pm

    Aha, now we know why Ibanez is on the roster. He’s the emergency warm-up catcher. Thanks ROOT sports for that great investigative reporting.

  10. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:30 pm

    Way to kill a rally Ryan. bah.

  11. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 9:31 pm

    no lefty to pinch hit? Is Raul gone already?

    No discussion by the announcers about whether this would be a good spot to pinch hit? Are we living in Stalin’s Soviet Union

  12. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:32 pm

    Wedge must have been saving his pinch “hitters” for later. I wonder why.

  13. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:33 pm

    hidalgo…they repeat that old news almost every game.

    Grimm is tonight at 10pm. And many nights at Safeco too.

  14. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 9:35 pm

    And we hear for the nth time this season that Raul used to be a catcher, Blowers caught one game in the majors, and Sims was a catcher in college.

    Now all we need is the story that Ryan is going to improve his batting average by bluffing the bunt. Regardless of the fact that every third basemen in baseball knows he can not bunt

  15. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:35 pm

    I don’t think the announcers had much time to mention it, but I seemed to have found plenty of time to be yelling it repeatedly at the TV. However, I am not on the Root/Mariner payroll.

    By the way, the TV never did answer.

  16. juneau_fan on April 30th, 2013 9:36 pm

    Why is Beavan still out there?

  17. californiamariner on April 30th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Blake Beavan is just terrible. In any role.

  18. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Yes, I am getting ahead of myself as far as Romero is concerned.

    I think Ackley’s numbers will be all right by the end of the season and we will be very happy to have him on our squad.

  19. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:45 pm

    Wasn’t dissing on Ackley. He’s definitely getting it together, hitting safely in ten straight games, including two doubles and only three strikeouts. Time to move Dustin up in the order?

  20. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:50 pm

    With an OPS of .551, sure why not. He’s probably third or fourth on the team.

    He is looking much better, but a .551 OPS – thats a horrendous month. So is 12-17. It’s been a long season this month.

  21. The_Waco_Kid on April 30th, 2013 9:53 pm

    This game has been so frustrating. The O’s are not pitching well. We have had plenty of chances and keep choking.

  22. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:53 pm

    gopilots70…RE: “Are we living in Stalin’s Soviet Union”.

    I’m guessing Sim and Blowers think they could end up like “Pussy Riot” if they don’t do enough “Rooting”.

  23. HighlightsAt11 on April 30th, 2013 9:56 pm

    I applaud his recent work but laugh at his first two weeks of pretending not knowing how to hit.

  24. hidalgo on April 30th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Simms and Blowers are the most boring announcers in baseball. There’s no chemistry. It’s like a bowl of vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

  25. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 9:59 pm

    When does the next Mariner Pravda Report arrive in the mail?

    Mail … Remember that?

  26. californiamariner on April 30th, 2013 10:03 pm

    I really don’t think Sims and Blowers are bad… I think people are tired of watching the Mariners and are looking for new things to complain about 😀

  27. msfanmike on April 30th, 2013 10:05 pm

    I think their guests drag down their usual production/performance. It’s better with just the two of them.

  28. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:06 pm

    Looking forward to watching the Rainiers game on replay on MiLB.

  29. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:10 pm

    I agree about the “guests” on the broadcast. Seems like they forget about the game and focus on each other. It’s great if Buhner and Wilson join in now and then, but have them be part of the broadcast crew not just reminisce about glory days. Focus on the game and tell us your perspective on what is happening in the game.

    But, that said, one of the highlights of the year was Lou Brock as a guest. Now he had some glory days and some great stories.

  30. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Oh this is priceless. Down 7-2 in the eighth and Eric Wedge decides to finally manage the game.

    I guess this matchup move was more important than hitting a lefty for Ryan when we were still somewhat in the game with runners on and one out.

  31. The_Waco_Kid on April 30th, 2013 10:21 pm

    I like Simms/Blowers, but I agree when they have the guests on, they forget about the game. On days like this though, I almost can’t blame them.

  32. Westside guy on April 30th, 2013 10:24 pm

    You know, I think if they had a *separate* show where Sims and Blowers sat down and talked to ex Mariners (and maybe other old players) about the old days… that could be entertaining.

    Jamie Moyer is freaking hilarious. And I’ve seen Junior get on a roll – he can be a funny guy. Fairly has some great stories. Etc etc.

    I like a lot of the stories… I just prefer to hear about the actual game when it’s going on, you know.

  33. californiamariner on April 30th, 2013 10:25 pm

    Don’t look now, but Ackley’s batting average is over .250

  34. Westside guy on April 30th, 2013 10:25 pm

    Oh boy – we may get to see Raul face a lefty.

  35. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:26 pm

    Ibanez for Ryan. Okay Buck counters with a lefty. So now Eric please counter with Montero.

    Will he? No way….

  36. The_Waco_Kid on April 30th, 2013 10:29 pm

    Please never let him face a lefty again.

  37. henryv on April 30th, 2013 10:30 pm

    That was one mother fucking gritty IFFB.

  38. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:33 pm

    Terrible, terrible managing. I know the game is lost, but this shows what our manager will do if we are ever in a game that matters.

    I watched the Yankees for the last three years. And the move to a righty against a lefty was automatic in this situation, no matter who the veteran was who was getting pinch hit for without ever hitting. And last year that lefty was often Raul and Girardi was not afraid to pinch hit for him. Hell, he wasn’t afraid to pinch hit for A Rod in the playoffs.

    And once again, not even a discussion by our announcers of the OPTIONS available to Wedge. Do they even find baseball interesting or just each other?

  39. The_Waco_Kid on April 30th, 2013 10:35 pm

    Smoak has been great in 6 of his last 8 games, but I’m trying my hardest not to get my hopes up. He’s let us down too many times.

  40. henryv on April 30th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Smoak’s hitting is like Guti’s health. So much promise. Such a fucking disaster.

  41. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:43 pm

    A bit of advice to David Sims:

    Dave: So Mike do you pinch hit for Raul here? Eric (my buddy, the manager) has Jesus Montero available

    Mike: Insert any opinion here about the game that is going on, hopefully in front of your eyes.

  42. WTF_Ms on April 30th, 2013 10:45 pm

    Whimper……..loss. Again. Back to normal.

  43. californiamariner on April 30th, 2013 10:49 pm

    I feel like 10 hits (one of which was a HR), 3 walks, and a hit by pitch should produce more than 2 runs.

  44. henryv on April 30th, 2013 10:49 pm

    Assuming that Mike Blowers is actually paying attention to the game is pretty bold.

  45. gopilots70 on April 30th, 2013 10:55 pm


    Yes, we actually didn’t hit that poorly but we just can’t get it done with runners on. It is better than getting completely shut down like the last three years, but probably more frustrating.

    I think those hits will come. If the evidence about no such thing as “clutch hitting” is true, isn’t the opposite true as well?

    I am actually not so down after today. The bats are still starting to come alive to some degree. A bumpy start by Maurer, but we have to expect those now and then. Beginning to really wonder how much longer Raul and Eric should stay on the team.

    We’ve got three maybe four pitchers going. And except for the nine spot, the hitters aren’t completely terrible.

    Am not looking forward to Harangue’s outing tomorrow, however

  46. nvn8vbryce on May 1st, 2013 5:04 am

    Gopilots, not sure any of us are looking forward to Harangatang’s starts…

  47. MrZDevotee on May 1st, 2013 11:22 am

    Thanks to gopilots use of “harangue” I’ve found a nickname for Aaron…

    “Lemon” Harangue…

    Two meanings:
    1) His starts never taste quite as good as you were expecting…

    2) And, you bought a car thinking it was this solid, helpful thing, and it was actually a “______”

    Which, hey, leads to a new name for Guty! “Land Rover”… It’s built to look like this thing you can take offroad and have wonderful adventures with, but yet it usually breaks down before you get out of the city and ends up in the shop. (I’ve always loved that the “King of the Lemons” in Cars II was a Land Rover!)

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