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:

Saunders.
McAllister.
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

Comments

82 Responses to “Game 42, Mariners at Indians”

  1. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 10:11 am

    Ackley: in that situation, we prefer your ground out to 2B play – instead of your fly ball to LF play. If you had done that, Seager would have just driven in a run with a Sac fly.

    Please plan your future outs accordingly.

  2. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2013 10:22 am

    Ackley never plans his outs accordingly. What a dick.

  3. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2013 10:25 am

    What do you think about Smoak possibly hitting 9th, Mike? You’d never normally consider a first baseman hitting that low in the order, but Smoak’s been pretty terrible with RISP, yet he has a great OBP. He lacks speed, so I can’t wonder if 9th wouldn’t be a better spot for him. Tougher to double up guys like Saunders and Chavez, so it makes sense to me.

    I may be over-thinking this, though.

  4. Slats on May 18th, 2013 10:51 am

    WTF Jesus?

  5. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 10:51 am

    Dammit, Montero

  6. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 10:51 am

    That was embarrassing.

  7. djw on May 18th, 2013 10:52 am

    Hitting significantly better (or worse) with runners in scoring position, even over a season or two, is virtually never an indication that such a pattern is likely to continue. It’s not a skill or anti-skill, and it’s best to pretty much always ignore it. And batting order doesn’t really matter anyway, especially when you’re talking about moving the #7 to #9.

    (Dammit Montero WTF)

  8. Jake on May 18th, 2013 10:53 am

    Did Montero really get caught stealing 3rd? Please explain this.

  9. greentunic on May 18th, 2013 10:54 am

    Picked off by catcher. Stupid and unacceptable baserunning.

  10. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 10:57 am

    Montero got off too far expecting Chavez to get the bunt down and got picked off.

  11. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 11:11 am

    Is it just me or is Blowers going on and on about veterans more than usual today?

  12. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 11:21 am

    Good thing we didn’t get that guy (Bourn)

  13. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 11:22 am

    Phew

  14. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 11:22 am

    I really wish the M’s would have signed Bourn. Bourn in CF, Guti in RF, and Saunders in LF. I’m not sure any flyballs would drop in the outfield.

  15. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 11:24 am

    Yeah, I agree – it doesn’t matter where Smoak is within the batting order … There are only so many things that can be done to hide his flaws.

  16. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 11:29 am

    Please get hurt Montero so we can play Shoppach more. I will never understand why MLB hitters let elevated pitches out over the plate go just because they are the first pitch of the at bat.

  17. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 11:31 am

    Haha Raul that had disaster written all over it.

  18. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 11:38 am

    Edgar almost never swung at the first pitch.

  19. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 11:55 am

    But Edgar was Edgar. If a player is challenging for the batting title year in and year out then I don’t have a problem with what that player is doing. When you are hitting under .260 maybe swinging at the first pitch, when it is very hittable, isn’t such a bad idea.

  20. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 11:59 am

    Fair enough. I think it depends on the situation. I generally favor patience and running up the pitch count. If you make a quick out on the first pitch, you look like an idiot. Early in the game, I think jumping on the first pitch before the pitcher has settled down can work out. Or against an elite pitcher, that may be the only hittable pitch you see. But more often than not, I favor being very picky on the first pitch.

  21. Paul B on May 18th, 2013 12:03 pm

    Montero framed strike 3 for the second out in this long inning. Nice frame, it was off the plate and Cabrera argued enough I thought he might get tossed.

  22. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 12:23 pm

    Mr. May!

  23. Jake on May 18th, 2013 12:23 pm

    2 extra base hits in 2 days. Somebody pinch me.

  24. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:24 pm

    If the M’s were full of hitters with good strike zone awareness then I would agree that working counts would be the preferred way to approach an at bat. This also assumes the hitters are at least taking their share of walks which most of the M’s hitters, at least the ones I’m talking about, don’t. This would include Montero, Ackley, Ryan, Andino, Morse, etc. For me, some of the M’s hitters need a new mindset at the plate. They are too passive which leads to 0-2 and 1-2 counts which don’t end with them getting on base. I also see this as a perfect example of not adjusting to in game situations. I have seen many games this year where the other team’s SP will throw a very hittable first pitch knowing the M’s hitter won’t swing at it. If the SP keeps doing this then the M’s hitters need to make the adjustment and start swinging at it but more often than not they don’t.

  25. ndevale on May 18th, 2013 12:25 pm

    brendan ryan homers.
    coaching visit to mound.
    coach: WT!”#$%&&/(())===??¡¡¡
    Zach: Baseball?

  26. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 12:26 pm

    “Hey Smoakie, I have as many home runs as you … And 1 more than the great white buffalo.”

  27. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:26 pm

    Yeah, I think sleeping in this morning was the right choice…

  28. spuuky on May 18th, 2013 12:27 pm

    Do you think that guy was pulled from the game and immediately demoted for giving up a home run to Brendan Ryan?

  29. ndevale on May 18th, 2013 12:27 pm

    coach: Give me the Baseball.

  30. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 12:33 pm

    Great AB for Ackley

  31. msfanmike on May 18th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Nice AB by Ackley. He took almost no stride and lined a single to left. It should help keep his eye level on plane if he keeps that stride short. I am not sure if it will end up mattering much, but for that one AB – he looked good.

  32. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Hopefully Ackley approaches his at bats the rest of the season the same way.

  33. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Uh oh…Bay in CF, Morse in RF, and Ibanez in LF. Is Wedge even trying anymore?

  34. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Woodcutta, agree 100% on in-game adjustments.

  35. The_Waco_Kid on May 18th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Minor League outfield

  36. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:40 pm

    What is even more sad is if the game goes extras, Saunders is the only outfielder on the bench.

  37. Jake on May 18th, 2013 12:40 pm

    The triumvirate of awful is in the outfield.

  38. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:44 pm

    Queue the umps squeezing the M’s hitters in the bottom of the 9th.

  39. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:45 pm

    RAUUUUUULLLLLLLLL!!!!

  40. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:45 pm

    RAUL!!!!!

    Hey, gotta admit he’s on a bit of a 41-year-old tear…

  41. Bremerton guy on May 18th, 2013 12:46 pm

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

  42. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:47 pm

    SMOAAAAAAAAAAKKKK!

  43. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:47 pm

    Hahahahaahaha!!!!!!!

    And I was about to make a Casey Kothmann joke!

  44. californiamariner on May 18th, 2013 12:48 pm

    WOW! SMOAK!!!!

  45. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:48 pm

    Kotchmann

  46. Paul B on May 18th, 2013 12:50 pm

    Happy Opposite Day!

  47. Paul B on May 18th, 2013 12:51 pm

    I wonder when the last time was that Ibanez had a stretch like this.

  48. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:51 pm

    Saunders is now in center, thank goodness.

  49. Westside guy on May 18th, 2013 12:52 pm

    2012 Playoffs maybe, Paul?

  50. Woodcutta on May 18th, 2013 12:52 pm

    Yeah, not going to have many games with Ryan and Smoak homering.

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

    I have no complaints about Farquhar thus far.

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

    God Bless dingers and voodoo.

  53. 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…

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

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

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

    Ugh

  56. 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…

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

    Ugh bring in Wilhelmsen

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

    Even Wedge decisions have the potential for regression.

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

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

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

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

    Freakin Montero. The throw beat the runner.

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

    Poor Ryan, made a nice play.

  64. 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”.

  65. 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?

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

    Nice Fundies Jesus

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

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

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

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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?

  79. 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.

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

    @DarkKnight

    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.

  81. 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.

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

    @Westside

    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.

    @Steve

    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.

    @EC
    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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.