Game 42, Mariners at Indians

marc w · May 18, 2013 at 10:03 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Zach McAllister, 10:05am

Tough loss last night, as Jason Kipnis hit a walk-off off of Lucas Luetge. Today’s game starts before some in Seattle have woken up, but as all baseball fans know, you can’t sleep on a pitching match-up like this:

In the baseball mecca of Cleveland, Ohio. You’ll punch yourself in the face if you miss this.

McAllister is a fastball/slider guy with a change to lefties. As I’ve talked about, he’s perhaps best known for massive gaps between his ERA and RA, thanks to a slew of unearned runs. He’s got another 5 already this year, which is pretty remarkable. Still, his ERA is even prettier this year as he’s finally got his strand rate above 70%; even so, his career rate is in the mid 60s. Be patient, get some runners on base, M’s.

Michael Saunders hadn’t had a day off since his return from the DL, so he gets a day today. In his place, Endy Chavez leads off against the righty McAllister.

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


82 Responses to “Game 42, Mariners at Indians”

  1. spuuky on May 18th, 2013 12:53 pm

    I have no complaints about Farquhar thus far.

  2. charliebrown on May 18th, 2013 12:54 pm

    God Bless dingers and voodoo.

  3. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:54 pm

    I wonder if any of our pitchers could cover a corner outfield spot in an emergency…

  4. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:55 pm

    Well, fly ball to right or left and this game is over.

  5. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 12:57 pm


  6. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:57 pm

    Boy I’m sure glad Jack Z went all in on Hamilton and didn’t waste his time pursuing Swisher and/or Bourn…

  7. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 1:00 pm

    Ugh bring in Wilhelmsen

  8. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 1:00 pm

    Even Wedge decisions have the potential for regression.

  9. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 1:01 pm

    Oh, well – it was a nice play by Ryan regardless.

  10. Jake on May 18th, 2013 1:02 pm

    No, you must only use a closer when the team has the lead.

    Eric Wedge, Mike Hargrove, and John McLaren logic.

  11. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Montero finds a way to lose the game. He’s been limping the last few innings. I wonder if he was playing injured.

  12. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Freakin Montero. The throw beat the runner.

  13. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 1:06 pm

    Poor Ryan, made a nice play.

  14. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 1:07 pm

    Lets not use Wilhelmsen in the 9th with the game on the line. That would be a waste. Tough loss after a nice rally. Montero has to make that play I don’t wanna hear about how the “throw pulled him off”.

  15. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 1:10 pm

    What’s the rule leaving the bat at home plate. Is there a rule where the hitter must throw or place the bat away from the field of play?

  16. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 1:11 pm

    Nice Fundies Jesus

  17. Adam S on May 18th, 2013 1:14 pm

    Two days in a roe the Mariners lose with their best relief pitcher in the bullpen.

    Nice job. I figured management would find a way to cost us 3-4 game this year.

  18. scraps on May 18th, 2013 1:15 pm

    You guys that were saying Wedge is an idiot for playing Ibanez must be hating this week.

    Loving the results. Hating the thinking (or “process”).

    Probably we’ll have to explain again the next time, and the next time, etc.

  19. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 1:16 pm

    I woulda loved to see Tom out there for the 9th, but how many teams actually do that? Baseball is pretty married to the Save.

  20. The Wheelhouse on May 18th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Raul is making me feel like I am back in high school watching him again.

    Montero was on the plate.

  21. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2013 1:48 pm

    @djw and Mike

    This idea was nothing to be taken seriously. I’m not big on batting order either, generally, and normally I’d wanna see the higher OBP guys near the top of the order. But Smoak’s been pretty terrible with runners on. Minimizing his situational hitting might be good for the team, though minimal results are probably likely. Fun to speculate about crap like that sometimes;)

    I really don’t care that much, though, and I don’t expect Smoak to be around next season. I’m hoping he isn’t, anyway. I’d be thrilled if he pulled off a decent season and sold ‘high’ if you could call it that.

  22. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 2:25 pm

    Today’s dinger aside, it seems pretty obvious Smoak isn’t a power hitter. I think with both him and (especially) Raul, the lesson is they aren’t as bad as they’ve mostly been up until a week ago – but, especially w/ Raul, it’s important to note he’s also not as good as he’s been over the past week.

    Really, at this stage in his career, Raul is where Mike Sweeney was during his time with the Ms… and should probably be used the same way. He’s still capable of punishing a meatball, and if he’s feeling good he’s capable of going on a short tear. He should never, ever be allowed to wear a glove again (BTW am I the only one who’s noticed that lately the ROOT camera guys often seem ready to switch away from Raul whenever a ball he might misplay heads his way?)

    And Justin Smoak basically is showing his max upside right now – an on-base guy with not much power. He really is Casey Kotchman without quite the same defensive ability. He’s decent with the glove, for a first baseman, but not great. I hope for more out of that slot, but at least he’s no longer stinking up the joint.

  23. greentunic on May 18th, 2013 2:43 pm

    I don’t think Root is trying to avoid showing bad plays. I don’t think any sports broadcast does that.

  24. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2013 3:21 pm

    ^They would if they’re owned by that particular team;)

  25. DarkKnight1680 on May 18th, 2013 7:21 pm

    I think Smoak isn’t quite getting enough credit. in his last 26 games, 106 PAs (yes, smallish sample size), he’s got a slash line of .291/.425/.442 for an .867 OPS. Half of the games were in Safeco. His defense is somewhat underrated – you’ll notice that whenever Morales is at first there are throws ending up in RF. His batting eye has been so good of late, you can’t help but think he’ll start to drive the ball a bit more going forward. At this point, with the lack of great 1B options in the organization and the general reduction in offense throughout MLB…I’m quite happy with the current incarnation of Justin Smoak.

  26. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2013 9:48 pm

    ^I’d argue the opposite. Considering that he’s never been able to maintain this kind of hitting consistently through the roughly 1500 PA’s in his career, I think he’s getting more credit than he should. I don’t think he’s suddenly found himself or that he’ll maintain this production going forward. And it is worth noting he’s been terrible with RISP from day one. That’s not just a one or two year flaw with him. I blame his lack of power (and talent) for that more than anything, though.

    The organization lacking 1B options isn’t that alarming either. No idea what you’re on about Morales. He’s had what, 7 or 8 starts at first? Hardly enough to write him off and it’s not like Morse couldn’t handle it either.

  27. DarkKnight1680 on May 19th, 2013 12:05 am

    Depends on what you mean by maintain and career I guess. He’s 26, not 32, so you can reasonably expect some early struggles (which, granted, he took to extremes). In his last 256 PAs spanning September 2012 to today (which would be the last 16% of his career), his slash line is .289/.395/.445, OPS .840.

    There are lots of guys where I see streaks and dismiss it as small sample noise/fluke. Where I start to take notice is when the uptick in production is based around actual, useable, valuable skills. In this case, seeing pitches and taking walks. Guys who walk at elite levels tend to improve in other areas as well. They see more pitches, they get more hitters counts, they have more opportunities to drive the ball. And rarely does a guy just fluke into tons of walks and then forget how.

    Hitting with RISP I don’t really count as a skill. In fact, Smoak has a higher career OPS with RISP than he does in general, so it’s not like he suddenly tanks with RISP. This season he’s certainly scuffled in that situation, but he’s been very good with the bases empty. I expect that will even itself out over time. He’s only had 40 PAs with RISP in 2013 and he’s walked 9 times.

  28. DarkKnight1680 on May 19th, 2013 12:49 am

    Not that it matters entirely, but Kyle Seager (who everyone, including me, really likes as a young hitter) is only 1 year younger than Smoak and in that same time frame (Sept 1 to today) has hit .283/.342/.473 for an .815 OPS.

    Really, if someone had told you that since Sept 1, Justin Smoak had a higher BA, OBP, and OPS than Kyle Seager, would you have believed it?

  29. Westside guy on May 19th, 2013 1:24 am

    Seager plays a difficult defensive position. First base, on the other hand, is where you often put people whose can’t play anywhere else but whose bat you really want in the line-up.

    That’s why stats like WAR compare players to other players fielding the same position. It’s harder to find a third baseman who delivers an .815 OPS than it is to find a first baseman who does it.

    Using 2013 wRC+, Seager ranks 9th among major league third basemen. Smoak, on the other hand, currently ranks 20th versus first basemen. Of course that’s certainly better than he ranked a few weeks ago! So we’ll just have to see how he does the rest of the year.

  30. stevemotivateir on May 19th, 2013 5:56 am


    Keep in mind, Smoak’s career OBP and SLG aren’t good. Even this year, though it is a small sample size, his SLG is a little lower than what’s normal even for him. He’s been a little better over the last few weeks, but should we read into that much?

    I’d really like to believe he’s developed patience and learned that he simply can’t destroy baseballs like he thought he could, but how often does that hold true for a player that’s sucked for that long? I wouldn’t give too much weight to what he did in September either. His numbers this year aren’t in line with what he did last September. By the way, he has a career line of .210/.331/.363 with RISP. He can draw some walks, which is good, but he hasn’t done much to put the ball in play. That’s a big part of the reason why he hasn’t produced many RBI’s.

    And like Westy pointed out, this doesn’t fly for a first baseman. Especially at age 26 with this many PA’s. I’m glad he’s doing something right at the moment, but I’m not keen on stickin’ with him moving forward.

  31. eponymous coward on May 19th, 2013 9:19 am

    I’m a wee bit skeptical that a guy who’s slower than molasses and has no power is going to maintain a .326 BABIP (Smoak’s so far in 2013). So are the projection models. When you add them in, Smoak ends up being projected to being a 1 WAR player, which is probably about right- he’s a below average MLB player. That’s not a long term answer at 1B, especially given that now he starts drawing bigger paychecks when he hits arbitration next year.

  32. DarkKnight1680 on May 19th, 2013 9:46 am


    You’ll notice I didn’t compare the two players in Value. I’m a UNC fan and I love Seager. HIs D is terrific, he’s got positional versatility, he hits, and 3B/2B are of course more valuable than 1B. No argument there from me. I was simply pointing out that, purely as hitters, Smoak has been better over the last 70 or so games than Seager has. I don’t think many fans/pundits would think that was the case, since Seager is widely seen as a pure hitter and Smoak is widely seen as a useless bust. Just thought it was interesting.


    I’m trying not to read into things that aren’t truly in the hitter’s control, like RISP situations etc. Drawing walks and hitting line drives are the kinds of things that a hitter can control somewhat, and thats what he’s doing. His 2013 walk rate is in line with the player the Ms thought they were getting from Texas (AAA walk rate of 18.2%, 2013 walk rate 15.5%), and his LD rate is way up (about 24% since start of september 2012 vs a career 18%). Basically, his success doesn’t seem to be predicated on strange or lucky upticks, like a huge BABIP that doesn’t correlate to his LD%, or an unsustainable HR/FB%, or playing in a small ballpark, or any of that sort of thing. We, as new-age fans, preach constantly that we want players to get on base, stop making outs, and use their skills rather than just swinging for the fences. Smoak seems to be doing just that, and I find it both refreshing and encouraging in an organization seemingly built on free-swingers.

    Yeah, he’s not going to leg out a ton of hits. But .326 isn’t really anomalous, even if it’s on the higher side of normal. His LD rate has been very good, so you expect hits. WIth the number of walks he takes and the hitters counts he thus gets into, he should have opportunities to get pitches he is comfortable with and can drive. If that number was .385 and his slash line was the same I’d be worried, but .326 doesn’t seem too far out of line for a patience-and-line drive type hitter. Really, his numbers from Septmber on are very similar to what we saw when Olerud came to town. Slow as molasses, great eye, line drives, not much power. John had a .316 BABIP in 2000, hit .285/.392/.439. Pretty darn close to the .289/.395/.445 from Smoak.

    Obviously, time will tell. But this is about the most encouraging thing we could have seen from Smoak, outside of him just launching 500 foot moonshots all over the place. I’ll take walks and line drives and be happy, IF he can keep it up. Which is, of course, the million-dollar question.

    Loving the debate guys. Lots of fun to actually have some Mariner topics to discuss that aren’t all doom and gloom.

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