Game 51, Padres at Mariners

marc w · May 27, 2013 at 11:24 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Aaron Harang (for now) vs. Clayton Richard, 1:10pm

The new, hopefully improved, Mariners take on their natural rivals in a 1:10 Memorial Day start. As I mentioned in the previous post, the Franklin-for-Ackley swap wasn’t the only move; the M’s also optioned Lucas Luetge to AAA to make room for Hector Noesi. This makes a ton of sense, as the M’s played 13 innings yesterday and the bullpen had to deal with abbreviated starts a few times in the past week, so getting a long-man in the bullpen (especially with Harang on the mound) sounds like a good plan.

The M’s face the Padres, who started slowly and currently sit in 4th in the tight NL West. Like the M’s, the Pads moved in the fences in their pitcher-friendly park, and like the M’s, the results have been mixed. The Padres have the 18th best wOBA in baseball (the M’s are at #21), and they’ve moved up from the bottom five in home HRs to about 20th (the Pads are #19, the M’s #21). Both teams were solidly below 4 runs per game at home in 2012, and as both have boosted their average R/G at home, both have winning records at home thus far. But both teams are absolutely lost on the road, as their home parks may still obscure just how bad the backs of their rotations are. It’s early yet, and it’ll be fun to check back in on the teams at the end of the year. While it initially seemed like the M’s wouldn’t actually score more despite the changes, at this point both teams seem to have boosted their raw offensive totals, and that may help them attract more free agents down the road. Neither park is suddenly hitter-friendly, but both seem more fair. The M’s get to visit the new Petco in a few days.

Clayton Richard is a lefty groundballer who’s had every bit as bad of a season as Aaron Harang. Richard’s always been a pitch-to-contact guy, but he’s been giving up home runs at a Harang-in-Texas pace, which has led to a FIP around 7 and a half, and an ERA a run worse than that. Richard’s fastball velocity is down over a full MPH from where it was last year, and batters have feasted on fastballs this season – especially the occasional four-seamer. He’s primarily a sinker/slider guy, but he also throws the aforementioned four-seamer and a change-up that he reserves for righties. Neither the change nor his cutter is particurlarly good at generating whiffs, so he’s had large platoon splits and bad numbers against righties his whole career. This season, of course, his numbers are terrible against everyone, but this is a good game to get Bay, Shoppach and the other lefty-mashers in the line-up.

1: Bay, LF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morales, 1B
4: Morse, RF
5: Ibanez, DH
6: Shoppach, C
7: Chavez, CF
8: Triunfel, 2B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Harang

Oookay, that’s not exactly a lefty-killer line-up with Ibanez DHing and Endy Chavez in CF, but all of the roster moves and injuries mean the M’s aren’t really able to mix and match like they could.

The M’s still need to make a 40-man roster move to get Nick Franklin on to the active roster; Francisco Martinez is a good guess, though he’s in Jackson’s line-up today (as is Vinnie Catricala). They could also move someone (Hultzen or Erasmo Ramirez) to the 60-day DL retroactively.

All of the changes mean Tacoma’s going with a bullpen day against Reno – Johnathan Arias gets the start, but I’d bet on several innings from Brian Sweeney. Franklin Gutierrez’s rehab work continues; he’s eligible to come off any time, but the M’s are going to take it slow. He hit his first XBH for the Rainiers two days ago, but in 10 games, he’s put up a line of .167/.222/.238.


65 Responses to “Game 51, Padres at Mariners”

  1. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 6:49 pm

    I think the main thing people bemoan about Boras is he hardly ever thinks signing an extension is a good idea. He likes his guys to hit the free agent market, almost always.

    We might re-sign Morales after the season, but getting him to sign an extension would almost certainly be harder than doing the same with Morse.

    And therein is a typical Mariner dilemma– sign Morse for sure (which is less ideal), or wait and try to re-sign Morales, only to lose out on signing him and have Morse already signed on with somebody else.

    The joys of trying to improve a mediocre team.

  2. G-Man on May 27th, 2013 6:53 pm

    MrZ, you mean that a pitching prospect isn’t turning out as hoped? There’s a shocker.

    /cynicism, begin sobbing.

  3. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 7:00 pm

    I know right…?! “Counting chickens”… “before they hatched”… all that stuff… Good thing we didn’t trade him for Justin Upton!

    And here’s a broadside from Wedge for us fans here at USSMariner, regarding Ackley’s troubles (quote from the official M’s website):

    “It’s the new generation. It’s all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term.” Wedge said. “People who haven’t played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids’ heads.”

    Turns out WE’RE the reason Ackley is struggling, evidently. I feel bad that I’m ruining his career. That must be why the team is driving the fans away as quickly as possible, so these kids can start playing better?

  4. Paul B on May 27th, 2013 8:15 pm

    Yeah, because Wedge is a genius and never makes mistakes, and nothing could possible be his fault.

  5. Paul B on May 27th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Way back up thread… who wants to extend Morse!?! Are they crazy?

    Well, they thought signing Bay and Ibanez were good ideas. They’ve turned out better so far than anyone had any right to expect, but neither is really a long term solution — Bay is probably a 4th outfielder at best, and Ibanez should be planning his retirement party.

  6. zeebfan on May 27th, 2013 8:20 pm

    Watching again on replay. What happened in the 5th inning when Morse got a hit and wound up on second base and the ruling was E 9?

  7. Westside guy on May 27th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Of course, what Wedge conveniently forgets is that some of these new-fangled notions are what’s driving the success of a number of franchises.

    Theo Epstein is one of those guys who “thinks they have it figured out”, for sure. And he’s got more World Series titles to his credit than Wedge does.

    But if Wedge would actually look for a moment, he’d see that the things he’s trying to preach offensively – not “expanding your zone”, for instance, to use his words – is pretty much the same stuff the saber guys say is valuable. Attack stuff in the zone and lay off the stuff outside the zone, and both old-school Wedge and new-school stat heads will say that’s the right approach… if he’d just get it through his thick head.

    Defense is another matter, and Wedge is not going to value anything the stat guys talk about. But at the plate they’re actually on the same page, more or less.

    I don’t expect Wedge to ever figure it out, though. He’s always going to think that the guys who’ve played the game are the only ones who know how to win, and the way it was 50 years ago is the way it should be today.

  8. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 8:53 pm

    I think that’s when the throw from the outfield went to 3B ahead of the runners, but got by the 3B so both runners were able to move up a base…

  9. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 8:58 pm

    One of my fave quotes is “we criticize in others that which we dislike about ourselves”…

    Which leads me to believe that it’s WEDGE who is letting the Saber guys get in his head, and screw with him, as much if not moreso than Ackley.

    That makes me smile a bit. *laugh*

    A further part of the quote is him saying Ackley worries too much about getting on-base enough (a negative dig at OBP) instead of just being aggressive and making solid contact. (Rolls eyes)

  10. scraps on May 27th, 2013 8:58 pm

    Wedge is fighting a losing fight, for the soul of baseball. Eventually, Wedge will have lost enough games — and seasons — that he’ll stop being being hired. Unfortunately, he’s still around to fuck up Ackley.

    Eric Wedge managing record: 725 – 784.

    This is his tenth season. Two of them he’s finished with a winning record. Three of them of them he’s finished with 94, 95, and 97 losses. I wonder what he’s going to finish this year? Not enough, I suppose, that maybe he will wonder what =he’s= done wrong. Probably he’ll blame sabremetricians till he’s dead.

  11. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 9:05 pm

    How ’bout Eric Wedge, lifetime stats:


    Look familiar to anyone?

    Dustin Ackley – top hitting prospect

    Jesus Montero – top hitting prospect
    .258/.303 /.396

    Justin Smoak – top hitting prospect

    Why do 3 elite hitting prospects, all three heralded for their bats, end up needing to be sent down to the minors at almost the EXACT same time, in the exact same organization? (Smoak just got lucky with one of his hot streaks currently, or he’d be the 3rd sent down.)

  12. scraps on May 27th, 2013 9:06 pm

    And MrZ, Wedge declares Bay’s home run today was due to “aggression”. Ackley, take note.

    I hope Wedge gets fired before Ackley comes up again — before Ackley gets fucked up permanently.

  13. Westside guy on May 27th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Hmm… MrZ, Wedge apparently knew how to take a walk, but had a rather short major league career. Maybe he blames his approach for his short time in the majors, and thinks if he’d just been more of a free swinger he’d have had more success? 😉

  14. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 9:16 pm

    I’m gonna write off the OBP and Slugging% difference to the more dominant pitching nowadays, and the earlier years of Safeco’s dimensions…

    So, essentially, Wedge has turned Ackley, Montero, and Smoak into himself…

    A guy who played 3 seasons, with a .230 average, and couldn’t stick in the majors.


    And get this… He played 6 games at catcher. 5 out of 6 guys stole successfully against him. And he had 1 passed ball.

    That would be, in a season, 130 successful steals against him, to 26 caught… And 26 passed balls.

    Bingo. That explains our catchers the past few years too.

  15. MrZDevotee on May 27th, 2013 9:23 pm

    And poor Wedge… NONE of those stats I posted are Saberhead stats… That’s all 100% traditional suckiness.

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