Game 33, Mariners at Blue Jays

marc w · May 5, 2013 at 9:35 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Brandon Morrow, 10:07am.

The M’s look to complete a sweep of the reeling Jays this morning behind Joe Saunders and an offense that’s legitimately hot right now. Opposing them is old friend Brandon Morrow, who appeared to take a big step forward last year as he seemingly solved his long-standing problems with men on base, posting an ERA under 3 despite his FIP remaining pretty much unchanged in his three seasons in Toronto. Like everything else in Toronto, it hasn’t worked out that way in 2013. Instead, Morrow’s taken a big step back in the early going, with an ERA and FIP over 5.

This isn’t necessarily luck – he’s suddenly become much more hittable this year, with a contact rate well above the league average and a plummeting rate of out-of-zone swings. But perhaps the biggest change has been how lefties have hit him. He’s a fastball/slider pitcher for most of his career, but he’s developed a pretty good splitter which acts as a change, and that’s given him something else to throw against lefties. His HR rates against lefties have been lower than those against righties since he’s been in Toronto, but his K% is the same (or perhaps a bit better against lefties). It’s not that he throws the split to get strikeouts – he uses it early in at-bats. But it may give hitters something else to think about, so they’re vulnerable to two-strike sliders. In 2012, he posted great results against lefties, but in hindsight, it’s possible a lot of that success was BABIP related (it was .226).

In 2013, lefties are torching him. It’s a handful of starts, but lefties are slugging .644 and have five HRs and 13 total XBH in only 83 batters faced. The contact rate issues mean his K rate’s dropped (although it’s dropped more against righties), and he’s walked over 12% of lefties. Now, this will regress towards the mean eventually, but the contact rates give me some pause. In any event, this is probably the best time the M’s could face Morrow, and they’re doing so in good park to hit HRs in, and with two incredibly hot lefty hitters at the top of the line-up. It’s enough to give an M’s fan confidence despite the whole Joe-Saunders-starting-somewhere-other-than-Safeco problem. Go M’s!

1: M. Saunders, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, DH
4: Morse, RF
5: Bay, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Ackley, 2B
8: Montero, C
9: Andino, SS
SP: Joe Saunders

The Rainiers had a turn-back-the-clock to the 1980s yesterday, wearing Tacoma Tigers uniforms. I had Mike Gallego and Curt Young flashbacks, but it apparently didn’t help the Blake Beavan, as the Rainiers were shutout by Charles Brewer and the Reno Aces, ending the R’s 10 game winning streak. Today, they’re wearing Tacoma Giants uniforms. I’m wearing a Tacoma Tigers shirt today, and I encourage all of you to visit the site using lynx or another text-base browser. Jimmy Gilheeney starts today against D’Backs #1 prospect Tyler Skaggs at 1:30 at Cheney.

Comments

109 Responses to “Game 33, Mariners at Blue Jays”

  1. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 9:56 am

    I remember going to see the Tigers (I think – they may not have even been the Tigers yet) at Cheney for a July 4 game. I don’t remember the game, but (as a kid) I remember it was great to have fireworks afterward…

    I can’t imagine trying to use lynx on a discussion forum. I’m old enough and geeky enough to have used it, though.

  2. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:00 am

    Never mind – it would’ve been the Tacoma Twins.

  3. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 10:04 am

    Interesting stuff here:

    Player 1= .279/.375/.475/.850 OPS+ 142
    Player 2= .264/.381/.437/.818 OPS+ 130

    Yes yes, small sample size and early in the season… But the dollar difference is a LARGE sample size…

    Player 1= Jason Bay
    Player 2= Nick Swisher

    Bay has quietly started to play pretty well, and I for one am AMAZED that it’s happening. I hope he can keep it up, but no way of knowing yet if this is center of his curve, or high on the scale, for the season.

  4. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:13 am

    Bay actually was torrid for the first 10 games or so (1.200+ OPS), then tanked long enough that his overall OPS dropped to the mid .600s, and now has gotten fairly hot again to pull it back up to over .800 as MrZ noted.

    I certainly did not expect him to do as well as he has done so far.

  5. stevemotivateir on May 5th, 2013 10:15 am

    Yeah, one major difference between the two are their splits. Bay has stunk, in a small sample size, against RHP.

    Which leads me to ask why the hell Bay is starting over Chavez today? His splits are favorable against a RHP.

  6. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:19 am

    Bay is probably 2 for 5 against Morrow, or something equally silly.

  7. Coolalvin206 on May 5th, 2013 10:22 am

    Why is Saunders allowed to pitch on the road? Hooray, the shortest sac fly ever !

  8. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:23 am

    Nice awkward catch by Ackley, unfortunately just deep enough to score the fast dude.

  9. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:23 am

    Defense is important, kids!

  10. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:26 am

    Bay’s OPS is currently higher than Morse’s.

    Saunders and Seager lead the team (if you ignore Peguero’s two games).

  11. spuuky on May 5th, 2013 10:31 am

    Since you asked, Bay isn’t 2/5 against Morrow. But he is 1/2 with a walk in three plate appearances.

  12. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:34 am

    Bay doesn’t have much of an arm, does he?

  13. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:34 am

    Uh oh. Looks like it’s going to be Noesi time by 11 PST.

  14. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 10:34 am

    groan

  15. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:36 am

    Ha ha, spuuky, thanks for looking that up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wedge did indeed use that as a basis for starting him… we’ve seen it before.

  16. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:36 am

    Wedge uses Astrology to make his line ups.

  17. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:36 am

    MUNE!

  18. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:37 am

    Man, how can a rotation that has both Felix and Iwakuma in it also have guys like this?

  19. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:38 am

    Playing back with 1 out against Mune. Great managing, Wedge.

  20. djw on May 5th, 2013 10:44 am

    The Bay/Swisher comparison is highly misleading. First, Swisher wins easily on WAR so far (1.1 to .7) despite Bay’s improbable +defense according to fangraphs. Bay’s value is very limited, because he’s nothing but a lefty-masher. A free adequate lefty masher has some value (depending on your roster configuration) but finding one isn’t a significant accomplishment for a competent GM. (And I doubt Bay will be able to keep up his .471 wOBA against lefties, but I don’t doubt in the slightest he can keep up his 280 wOBA against righties).

    Swisher provides quality defense, and can maintain those numbers while playing against every day, against L and R.

  21. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:45 am

    Mune even fields and throws weird.

    Too bad he didn’t run in place before throwing.

    Please, please, please let Mune on, so we can watch him base run.

    Give him an IBB for all I care.

  22. djw on May 5th, 2013 10:48 am

    Wedge uses Astrology to make his line ups.

    Could be worse if he tried to use his brain.

  23. stevemotivateir on May 5th, 2013 10:50 am

    That was the long, detailed version of my point, djw. But I don’t think we’ll find much of an argument over that here.

  24. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 10:53 am

    Condor playing some D!

    As Henry said – “Defense is important, kids!”

  25. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:57 am

    Okay, whoever things that the Canucks were an original 6 team don’t know shit about hockey.

  26. henryv on May 5th, 2013 10:59 am

    *thinks.

  27. Hammy57 on May 5th, 2013 11:00 am

    What is hockey?

  28. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:02 am

    This game may break the MLB record for line drives by a team.

  29. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:03 am

    Hockey is like soccer, but awesome.

  30. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:04 am

    Yes, let’s argue about hockey. Baseball is not going to be rewarding today.

  31. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:04 am

    Again, defense is important, kids.

  32. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:05 am

    Should the Canucks trade Luongo for peanuts in the off-season?

    They aren’t going to get a lot from him, but he’s clearly on the downslide of his career, and a bit of a whiner.

  33. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:05 am

    “I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.”

    - Rodney Dangerfield

  34. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:06 am

    And are you willing to trade the Sedins, and start the rebuilding process (circa 1999) again?

  35. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:07 am

    “Saunders has to get those calls” – Mike Blowers

    If he’s depending on balls being called strikes, we’re in for a long inning…

  36. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:07 am

    Catching defense is important, too, kids!

  37. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:08 am

    If he’s depending on balls being called strikes, we’re in for a long inning…

    year

  38. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:08 am

    (back at the game) Like mice toying with a dull-witted cat…Running all over the place.

  39. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:08 am

    I would prefer Cliff Lee in this spot of the rotation at 50% of “Cliff Lee” price, of course. I do not think too much of Joe Saunders. Fister or Morrow would be alright in this spot, too … Because I do not think tooo much of Joe Saunders

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not think toooo much of Joe Saunders.

  40. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:10 am

    Hey Mike, I’ve been meaning to ask…

    What do you think of Joe Saunders?

  41. stevemotivateir on May 5th, 2013 11:12 am

    Well, if pitchfx is accurate, the strike zone is incredibly tight today.

  42. djw on May 5th, 2013 11:14 am

    I missed your comment, stevemotivateir. Yeah, starting Bay against RHPs basically should never happen.

  43. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:16 am

    I’ve come to hate Andino.

  44. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:18 am

    Well, at least Andino didn’t GIDP…

  45. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:18 am

    Oh, I missed that it wasn’t a DP. I just hate Andino a little bit.

    And this is the Morrow I came to tear my hair out over.

  46. Phightin Phils on May 5th, 2013 11:19 am

    Bored with game…here goes:

    bash-4.2# lynx –dump http://tacomarainiers.com | less
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  47. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:20 am

    Andino is mostly an automatic out, with no defensive value to counter that.

    I don’t hate him – it’s not his fault he’s on the team.

  48. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:21 am

    Alright – back in it.

    Hopefully Saunders doesn’t fuck it up. I do not think tooooo much of that guy.

  49. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:24 am

    Morrow is getting into his groove. Time to make him pay.

  50. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:24 am

    Damn.

  51. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:24 am

    Andino’s OBP is basically the same as Ryan’s (2012 Olivo-esque).

    And Ryan offers “adequate” defense. :-)

  52. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:27 am

    I preferred the version of Michael Morse that hit like Barry Bonds.

  53. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:27 am

    Per my early comment-
    Yeah, I wasn’t advocating for Bay… Just shocked he actually isn’t performing like the worst player on this team (ignoring Ibanez). Only thing made me look up his stats was “Why the HELL is Bay hitting 5th?”

    And the answer surprisingly was “oh, ’cause he’s not sucking as much as I thought he was.”

    Swisher obviously offers more in the field, no doubt. But I don’t the M’s were looking at Hamilton, Swisher, Bay, Ibanez, etc for their defensive potential, and certainly Wedge isn’t considering it (though it’s obviously every bit as important).

    Just pleasantly surprised that a piece of large item pickup has a bunch of quarters under the cushions.

  54. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:27 am

    Saunders sucks.

  55. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:27 am

    “Let’s see what Joe can do here…”

    Yeah, Blowers, we see what Joe can do when given 2 runs.

  56. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:28 am

    I agree with Mike.

  57. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:28 am

    MsFanMike-
    “Alright – back in it.
    Hopefully Saunders doesn’t fuck it up.”

    Rough start to your hopes there, Mike.

  58. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:31 am

    Yeah, MrZ – in the last podcast, Matthew said (in between lots of swear words) that you could at least make an argument for taking a flier on Bay this off-season.

    It was the overall “strategy” that was the problem.

    (Replace “strategy” with “stupidity”)

  59. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:31 am

    Why do I hear Herm Edwards voice screaming in the background…

    “They ARE who we THOUGHT they were!”

    “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!!”

    (per Saunders, Ibanez, Andino…)

  60. Hammy57 on May 5th, 2013 11:32 am

    Podcast?

  61. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:32 am

    When a fly ball heads toward any outfielder not Guti or Saunders, I cringe so hard the pinched nerve in my neck is acting up.

  62. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:34 am

    Juneau-
    Which ironically, when a fly ball heads to Guti or Saunders a pinched nerve in THEIR neck acts up…

    It’s a “catch” 22.

  63. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:34 am

    It wasn’t a Herm Edwards quote so I have no idea why you hear “him” saying it. And, I am not going to tell you who’s quote it was.

    Because Saunders sucks and I am pissed at his face.

  64. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:35 am

    Matthew and Jeff used to do Lookout Landing podcasts – now they do “USS Mariner” podcasts.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/statcorner-podcasts/id351915099

  65. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 11:35 am

    And… Yard work calls!

  66. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:36 am

    Dennis Green by the way.

  67. LanceWWU on May 5th, 2013 11:36 am

    Road Saunders SUCKS.

  68. djw on May 5th, 2013 11:37 am

    I wonder if there’s some sort of H/R splits record Saunders can break…

  69. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:40 am

    But Mike-

    Dennis Green. I mis-remembered.

    I just remember the voice and it’s exactly like Herm Edwards NORMAL loud talking voice on ESPN…

  70. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:43 am

    Saunders is who I thought he was!!!

  71. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:44 am

    Sorry, I gave a bad link to the podcast. This was the USSM post of the most recent podcast:

    http://www.ussmariner.com/2013/04/25/podcast-mariners-awful/

  72. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:45 am

    Hurry back Erasmo.

    Hurry back and “upward,” Danny.

  73. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:45 am

    We got rid of Munenori Kawasaki so we could pick up Robert Andino.

  74. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:48 am

    Wasn’t it Roger Clemens who “mid-remembered?”

    Are you getting signals from other planets today, MrZ?

    Are you still torn on user name – by the way? There is Nothing else to discuss at this point and only yard work awaits, so … Bring us up to speed

  75. The_Waco_Kid on May 5th, 2013 11:48 am

    I kind of figured if (usually) won on Felix and Kuma Days and when Joe’s at Safeco, and then (usually) lose the rest, we’d be around .500.

    Also, Hultzen’s got a rotator cuff issue. Is that a big concern? Aren’t those usually bad?

  76. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:48 am

    We’re still pretending Jesus Montero is a catcher.

  77. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:50 am

    We still have a pitching staff that includes Joe Saunders and Hector Noesi.

  78. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:51 am

    Well, OnTheFenceAboutMrZ just seems a little too long…

    Along with MrOrMsWhomeverCanFixThisDevotee.

    So, I’m just waiting it out.

    Gotta find out if we’re actually getting better, or if we can only beat the 27th, 28th, and 30th worst pitching staffs… (I hate that I think I know the answer.)

  79. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 11:53 am

    Well at least we won this series!

  80. msfanmike on May 5th, 2013 11:55 am

    By the way, every time that Scott’s Fertilizer commercial comes on (Feed your lawn, feed it) I think of you, so in my mind that is what you look like.

    And for that, I offer the requisite amount of apology.

  81. henryv on May 5th, 2013 11:56 am

    Putting Hector Noesi in is basically the same thing as saying “Fuck it, we already won the series, anyways.”

  82. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:56 am

    Westy-
    We’ve won THREE series in a row!

    We really do need 1 more regularly competent pitcher, and I still think .500 would be reachable for the season (1 game under if we had pulled today’s game out). Or somehow just rotate Saunders so he only ever starts at Safeco, sort of like platooning hitters against LHP or RHP, Saunders only pitches in extreme pitcher’s parks.

  83. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 11:58 am

    Mike-
    I do like me a nice looking lawn… I admit it. Although I think for most Scots, fertilizer is some ground up Haddock with Guinness poured on top (and… we refuse to believe Guinness is an Irish thing).

  84. henryv on May 5th, 2013 12:01 pm

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Hultzen was shut down until June. If he can’t get it back and going, then he’ll be shut down for the year.

    Seattle Mariners baseball.

  85. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 12:02 pm

    On the plus side… (Don’t take this the wrong way please, MrZ)

    Given his cool down, it’s more likely now that the FO will take a wait and see approach to signing Morse longer term.

    I really want to see how he performs over a longer stretch.

  86. henryv on May 5th, 2013 12:02 pm

    Defense matters, mother fucking kids get off my lawn!

  87. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 12:05 pm

    What the hell is THAT supposed to mean, Westy!!!!

    (I kid)

  88. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 12:09 pm

    In other news, Michael Pineda is now throwing in extended spring training.

  89. MrZDevotee on May 5th, 2013 12:10 pm

    In other news, I really am gonna go work on the yard (maintaining my stereotype).

  90. Westside guy on May 5th, 2013 12:12 pm

    You know… I think I’ve seen enough of this game.

    Later gators.

  91. The_Waco_Kid on May 5th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Ugh yup

  92. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 12:17 pm

    8th inning, Morrow still in. Complete game?

  93. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 12:19 pm

    At least show us the streaker. Liven this game up.

  94. djw on May 5th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Aren’t those usually bad?

    Yes.

  95. nathaniel dawson on May 5th, 2013 2:08 pm

    I remember Lynx!

    I started out on AOL in the early 90′s, but too much money and didn’t care for it. I found out there was a non-profit organization in Seattle (Seattle Community Net, IIRC) that offered free internet access using Lynx. There was also a free browser for Lynx called I-Comm. Didn’t work on everything, and dial-up was so slow back in the day, but damn, internet for free!

    Please file this in the “neither here nor there” drawer.

  96. juneau_fan on May 5th, 2013 3:30 pm

    But vastly more interesting than the game, nathaniel.

  97. GLS on May 5th, 2013 4:00 pm

    I’m so glad we had Andino in the game today rather than, say, Nick Franklin.

    Question: does anyone happen to know how many times this year Andino or Ryan have come to the plate with two or more runners on base? It seems like it happens almost every game, but that’s probably not true.

    It’s fun being a National League team playing in the American League.

  98. WalterNeff on May 5th, 2013 8:42 pm

    End of the thread, but I’m going to my first Rainier game tomorrow – anyone know who’s on the hill?

  99. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2013 7:53 am

    Well, we’re 20% through the 2013 season, and to paraphrase Denny Green, the Mariners are what we thought they were: a below-.500 team with definite flaws (miserable back end of the rotation, OF depth, some young players of questionable provenance), but not completely unwatchable all the time (Seager, Saunders, Felix, Iwakuma).

    I guess the positive point is that they don’t look to be in the total nosedive they were earlier, but that’s a function of a cupcake schedule right now compared to earlier. I don’t think that really changes a ton of where they are now as opposed to 10 days ago- we’re 5 years into a rebuild where the team’s actually spent money (this isn’t Houston or Miami we’re talking about; this is a team that’s spent as much money as a number of playoff teams of the past 5 years), has had good draft position and plenty of trading opportunities to get the right players in place, and this team isn’t all that close to contending.

  100. stevemotivateir on May 6th, 2013 11:34 am

    What do you mean this team isn’t close to contending? We only need 3 solid starters, a couple of relievers, a couple outfielders, a catcher, a short stop, and a couple of utility infielders.

  101. MrZDevotee on May 6th, 2013 11:57 am

    … And Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neil. And maybe that Kelly kid that chain smokes and rides a Harley.

  102. Westside guy on May 6th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Steve Kelly?

    /ducks

  103. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2013 2:32 pm

    What do you mean this team isn’t close to contending? We only need 3 solid starters, a couple of relievers, a couple outfielders, a catcher, a short stop, and a couple of utility infielders

    Not really.

    Oakland last year: Jemille Weeks and Kurt Suzuki were replacement level or worse players last year. Unless you’re the 2001 Mariners or a similar team that’s just dominant to the rest of the league, odds are good that you have a couple of below-average player or two (or worse) on your playoff team.

    The team isn’t THAT far from contending in a sense of putting a roster together- there are some pieces here. The problem is that the offseason failure at addressing obvious problems outside of the “duh, we keep Felix” stuff happens like clockwork every year. It wasn’t rocket science to figure out that relying on old and/or injury-prone players in your OF wasn’t going to work. It was pretty clear that the back end of the rotation was weak. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Montero isn’t suited to be a catcher, and it’s likely impeding his ability to develop as a hitter. Nobody should be shocked that Smoak isn’t a prospect at 1B when he’s 1500+ plate appearances into a career where he hasn’t hit for longer than 3 weeks at a time. Guti being on the DL is pretty predictable. About the only thing that you could classify as any kind of major “wow, could not have seen that one coming” in recent years is Ackley not developing.

    This team pretty much deserves what they’re getting, based on the decisions they’ve made in the offseason.

  104. Westside guy on May 6th, 2013 5:16 pm

    Eponymous, even from 6000 miles away I could see Steve’s tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he wrote that. Trust me, he wasn’t serious.

    He basically said we were 11 players away from contending. :-D

  105. californiamariner on May 6th, 2013 6:07 pm

    In all honesty, I personally don’t think this team is that far from contending. Other than the need of 2 good OF, all of the positions steve listed are potentially in the system. Are Hultzen, Walker, Zunino, Franklin, etc. all going to pan out? Hell no they aren’t, but there’s definitely potential to get 2-3 good players added to the Mariners from within the system. I would throw in 1B as a need. With no bad contracts , I think the team has a chance to be good in the next couple of years.

    But again it will depend who is making these decisions in the next couple of years and also how good these decisions are. Based off this past offseason, I don’t know if Z will make the best decisions.

    Altogether though, I think the team is actually set up fairly well going forward. Felix is the only guy the team is committed to. There is a very good farm system. The new TV deal should bring more money. Are they close to contending right now? No. But, I think the resources to build a contender are better than they have been in a while.

  106. stevemotivateir on May 6th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Westy, you know me too well;)

  107. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2013 1:10 am

    If the Mariners are “set-up for success, ticket buyers and fans would like to know the time-line for that to happen. e.g. short-term (this season/like now) vs. intermediate term (next-season) vs longer term.

    Below is my simple-minded synopsis:

    Starting rotation: The bottom 3/5th’s includes a young inconsistent Maurer, missing two consecutive starts, a Joe Saunders unable to pitch on the road (thank goodness for one-year contracts), and the desperation signing of Harang (to a two-year contract…ouch). I don’t expect to see these three guys providing a net positive contribution this season, and one or two will likely be gone sooner than later. Maurer is on a strict inning restriction and would likely do better developing in AAA and Saunders to be a FA. In AAA, Hultzen is out with an injury for another month or so, and Paxton is not getting it done. And Walker is still in AA. So how can anyone reasonably forecast if/when these prospects will be able to make a positive contribution to their parent club? You cannot.

    Relief: Unless something changes soon, with the difficulties Maurer, Saunders and Harang are having, the bullpen will be putting in some extended innings (I assume without overtime pay).

    The M’s hit paydirt signing the bartender. He’s deserving of a bonus. Most unfortunate Pryor getting injured after showing nothing but goodness.

    Unable to flush out of my head the the nightmare 16-9 loss to Houston at Safeco, where Maurer was pounded and then pulled in the first inning, and then Loe, Furbush, Luetge, and Perez all proceeded to be almost as bad in relief.

    Since then Perez has been effective, not allowing any runs. However Loe was cut and Luetge was sent down to Tacoma, and then a month later called back up in desperation after Beavan exhibited major difficulty pitching from the bullpen. I expect Luetge to be mostly providing mop up/riding the pine.

    As the situational bullpen guy against left handed hitters, Furbush has been hot and cold. And power RHP Capps has been inconsistent with his location. A few more ground balls would be nice.

    Besides the Texas game Medina has done a good job mopping up. Waiting to see him pitch some memorable innings in a game in contention.

    After the short experiment with LaFromboise, Noesi was called up from Jackson in the hope of providing some extended middle-inning relief. Good in his first six innings, but not so much the last three plus.

    Catcher: Montero is toast (especially defense). The M’s could call up Zunnio near the end of the season, but I don’t know why. He needs AAA work. Shoppach is doing a better than expected job of filling in…er, taking over. He’ll be a FA and if history is any indicator, the M’s will likely treat him just as Jaso was treated (but I hope not).

    SS: Both Ryan and Andino are toast with a capital T. Waiting for Z to push the button, to allow Triunfel or Franklin an opportunity to do better.

    1B: Smoak has had more than his opportunity. But he shown recent signs of pulling himself out of the cellar, improving from a mid-April .442 OPS to current .670. I’m holding out some hope.

    If anything, Morales has been consistent. If the M’s see something long term in Morales that claim should be staked sooner than later. If he heats up the price will be much higher.

    2B: After a mid April .284 OPS I was hoping to see some Ackley improvement. But wasn’t anticipating he’d ramp up so quickly to a current.600 OPS. But then I wasn’t expecting Dustin to hit a grand slam. Hoping to see more in the way of extra-base hits.

    3B: Since the ugly game against Houston, which he did not play, I like what I’m seeing from Seager.

    OF: Ibanez is toast. Enough said.

    With the recent two homer game Saunders shows that he is on track, after not playing for 18+ days. Awaiting for Michael to achieve 100 plate appearances to can make better comparisons.

    Morse started fast out of the gate in his return to the Mariners. However opposing pitchers have adapted their approach to Sea Beast. Thus Morse is having to learn to not swing at outside off-the-plate take a walk.

    In the most recent eight game, Bay’s plate appearances have increased, and his bat has warmed considerably, improved his OPS from .600 to 801 (would be .850 if the last ugly game in Toronto was not included).

    Guti getting off the DL soon? Will he be sent to an extended rehab assignment? Or does Chavez end up as no more than just a short-term temp? With Saunders on-board and Chavez doing a descent enough job filling in why would the M’s pickup the $7.5m option on the too-often injured Guti? Not much in AAA stock. Unfortunate situation.

    Utility: The M’s need a utility infielder/outfielder with some speed on the bases.

    • Achievers: King, Kuma, Seager, MSaunders, Pryor, Bartender.
    • Consistent: Morales*, Perez*
    • Coming up fast: Ackley, Bay*
    • Slowing down: Morse*
    • Not as hyped/hoped: JSaunders*
    • How did this happen: Harang$
    • Rushed too soon: Hultzen
    • Quality temps: Shoppach*, Chavez#
    • Dunnos: Smoak, Capps, Furbush, Medina, Noesi
    • Please be goners: Ryan*, Andino, Montero, Ibanez*, Luetge, Guti*

    *Free-Agent
    $Free-Agent w/ $2m buyout!
    #minor-league contract

    Prospect waiting: Frankin/Triunfel, Erasmo, Zunnio, Hultzen, Paxton, Walker and the Miller Man.

  108. stevemotivateir on May 7th, 2013 10:08 am

    Below is my simple-minded synopsis

    What was simple about that?

  109. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2013 1:19 pm

    Started out short and sweet then kept getting longer and longer…then it was too late…and now I see it required much editing. Sigh. That’s what happens when posting late at night. Apologies.

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