Game 53, Mariners at Padres

marc w · May 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Eric Stults, 7:10pm

The M’s begin the road portion of this home and home with San Diego with a battle of lefty pitch to contact guys. It’s not appointment television, but the M’s could use a few wins, and while they’re hobbled and beset by bottom-of-the-rotation problems, Joe Saunders in a big park is what passes for a good match-up these days.

Eric Stults is, and I checked on this, NOT Eric Stoltz. Who he IS, is a lefty fly-baller who throws a ‘rising’ four-seam fastball, a good change-up, and a curve and slider. He’s used to righty-dominated line-ups, and his career platoon splits are essentially even, just like Edinson Volquez’s. He’s got a solid FIP, though again, some of that’s to be expected pitching in Petco. Speaking of which, it’ll be interesting to see how the hitters fare in the new, fairer park. Both teams hit a number of homers in Seattle, but it remains to be seen how much of that was park-related and how much was Clayton Richard/Brandon Maurer related.

Line-up:
1: Bay, LF
2: Chavez, RF
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Shoppach, C
6: Saunders, CF
7: Franklin, 2B
8: Ryan, SS
9/SP: Saunders

The big story of the day is the promotion of Alex Liddi and the option of Brandon Maurer. While it may be a very brief swap, it’s obvious at this point that Maurer has some things to work on, and I’m fairly optimistic about his chances in the long term. He showed some flashes in his M’s tenure, especially against righties, and he’ll be able to talk to coaches and – importantly – other players in Tacoma about developing his change. Brian Sweeney is essentially another pitching coach on the roster, and he may be able to pick Erasmo Ramirez’s brain a bit too. Alex Liddi’s had a strange season – he started off OK, then went into deep freeze (along with Zunino and Thames, to be fair). He’s showing some signs of coming out of it, but Liddi’s K% has jumped over 10 percentage points in Tacoma this year. I liked some of the changes he made last season, but he’s looked absolutely lost at the plate some times this year. Hopefully he’s figured something out, though he may not get too many opportunities right now.

The other big story is the continuing fall-out from Eric Wedge’s ‘sabermetrics destroyed my second baseman’ comments. Yesterday was the day for disbelief, ripostes and, yes, some snark. Today marks the more contemplative period of reflection and trying to understand where Wedge was coming from. Larry Stone’s got a good piece trying to build some more context for the quotes, and Lance Rinker (At Beyond the Box Score) and Ian Miller (at Baseball Prospectus) urge caution and begin to evaluate Wedge’s claim dispassionately. I think this is all to the good, even if I don’t agree with 100% of it. Sabermetrics or the blogosphere or whatever you want to call it often has a reputation for being a single-minded entity, out to quash dissent. At our best, I think we can lead by example in coolly evaluating claims. Not to say we have all the information, or know with certainty, but to try and figure out what data tells us about some baseball question. It’s going to be really tough to do that in a case like this where the problem (or the question) is tied to a particular player’s mental state. But we can look into Ackley’s struggles and attempt to figure out what’s happening. We can be forward looking, and then evaluate how well any changes in approach have worked. Who knows. Maybe we’ll get credit for fixing him as well as ruining him.

Comments

91 Responses to “Game 53, Mariners at Padres”

  1. bookbook on May 29th, 2013 5:42 pm

    The comments were dumb, but ultimately not terribly meaningful. I haven’t been a fan since Wedge demonstrated his brand of leadership by throwing Jack Wilson under the bus in year one. The loud and persistent calls for Eric Wedge to go should have nothing to do with a comment in an interview, and not even so much to do with the underlying disdain he’s showing to the most active part of the Seattle fanbase.

  2. phineasphreak on May 29th, 2013 5:52 pm

    Should Joe be hitting before Ryan?

  3. henryv on May 29th, 2013 5:52 pm

    I want Wedge fired because I don’t think he understands the value of defense, what the Hot Hand Fallacy is, how important using your best reliever is, how important walks are, and the lack of value in bunting in most situations. It doesn’t matter what he says.

    But I don’t particularly care, because Mariners. It is just too painful to care about results that much any more.

  4. henryv on May 29th, 2013 6:15 pm

    Brendan Ryan: FB+LD-IFFB: 38.3%
    Brendan Ryan: LD: 21.8%
    Brendan Ryan BABIP: .255

    That bottom number seems a little low considering the top two numbers.

    We say very similar numbers at the start of the year from Justin Smoak, who was hitting at or below .200, and now we’re seeing the same thing from Ryan. Lots of LD, and not a ton of BABIP. Smoak’s BABIP is now much more normal for that batting profile. I would expect a similar bump for Ryan, and you might see him hitting .230 when regression catches up to it.

    And holy fuck, Raul Ibanez’s BABIP. I’m pretty sure 29.4% HR/FB isn’t sustainable.

  5. Westside guy on May 29th, 2013 6:24 pm

    I think Wedge has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to express himself clearly – and this is just one more example of that. But the bottom line is… I think he needs to go because he repeatedly makes game decisions that obviously hurt the team’s chances of winning.

  6. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 6:26 pm

    “Raul Ibanez- 29.4% HR/FB…”

    Holy Fuck is right. That’s Barry Bonds-esque…

    I was watching a special on baseball the other day and didn’t realize Barry Bonds had a .609 OBP in 2004. With 232 walks. How insane is that?

  7. Westside guy on May 29th, 2013 6:31 pm

    Hwy, Wedge apparently offered some clarification

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/2013/05/29/wedge-amplifies-on-his-sabermetric-remarks/

    1) I have no beef with his basic points
    2) it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t really grok the saber metric community.

  8. Sports on a Shtick on May 29th, 2013 6:53 pm

    http://gregjohns.mlblogs.com/2013/05/29/wedge-talks-about-his-sabermetric-comment/

    I like how Wedge name drops Mark Shapiro but there is no way he “uses the numbers as much as anybody.”

  9. jordan on May 29th, 2013 6:58 pm

    I have a way to solve the SP dilemma… OLIVER PEREZ

  10. Slats on May 29th, 2013 7:08 pm

    Who is Wedgie trying to fool?

    Eric Wedge quote: “Hey, I use the numbers as much as anybody. I used the numbers in Cleveland. And Cleveland was one of the first teams to really dive into it with Mark Shapiro leading the way. So I’ve always been a big fan of using the numbers.”

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/2013/05/29/wedge-amplifies-on-his-sabermetric-remarks/

  11. drlo on May 29th, 2013 7:20 pm

    I’m not terribly concerned about Wedge’s comments on sabermetrics/metricians, though they do strongly suggest a lack of understanding of what is meaningful in the game and in analysis of the game.

    My bigger issue is that in calling out sabermetricians as bogey-men, Wedge is engaging in what has become the very common practice among Mariners’ leadership of finding and citing excuses for poor player performance. I guess it must be a sign of creativity (something of which Wedge has perhaps never before been accused) in some way to latch onto sabermetrics when most of the usual excuses — travel schedule, umpires, unfair ballparks, etc. — have been used up.

    While he therefore might deserve some dubious credit for his creativity, he certainly lost all his remaining credibility when, after the Montero move, Wedge stated that things would be stable for awhile with player personnel. Within 4 days of that comment, several moves have been made. He is either out of the loop or out of credibility. Either way, it suggests problems for him.

  12. californiamariner on May 29th, 2013 7:23 pm

    2 outs. Nobody on. 0-2 count. Facing their best hitter. Fastball right down the middle.

  13. Jake on May 29th, 2013 7:25 pm

    Petco Joe!

  14. Jake on May 29th, 2013 7:28 pm

    69 MPH pitch that bends at a 30 degree angle:

    “There’s that change!” – Sims.

  15. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 7:37 pm

    The comments don’t make him a bad manager (except for the PR side of things). Still, it was dickish to trot out tired, BS stereotypes and it’s really irritating to a segment of the already unhappy fanbase.

    He’s still framing it as the Sensible Traditionalists Who Obviously Acknowledge Stats vs. the Sabre Geeks Who Take it Too Far. Very obnoxious.

  16. casey on May 29th, 2013 8:04 pm

    Ackley with single, homer, and 2 walks batting lead-off for Raniers through 5 innings tonight – man that would be sweet in the Mariners struggle to get a hit lineup.

  17. Prozach on May 29th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Rainiers up 15-1 in the 5th. Ackley with home run, Miller with 3 RBI, Thames with 3 RBI, Montero with 3 runs.

    *does jig*

  18. Prozach on May 29th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Make that 18-1

  19. Jake on May 29th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Wedge will be angry to find out that Ackley walked twice.

  20. Sports on a Shtick on May 29th, 2013 8:12 pm

    LOL @ Felix pretending to throw away Franklin’s first hit.

  21. JasonJ on May 29th, 2013 8:15 pm

    I swore I read something during spring training that said Franklin put on a bunch of weight this off-season. I never saw him before but I can’t picture him being much thinner – he is tiny. Is that true?

  22. terryoftacoma on May 29th, 2013 8:16 pm

    I must not be part of the online fan base. My first reaction to Wedge’s comments was to laugh, noot attack and defend the method.

    There’s a game on.

  23. dogkahuna on May 29th, 2013 8:16 pm

    See what Felix did? He had a ball in his hand, anticipating the moment of Franklin’s first hit, and flipped that ball into the stands to mess with Nick. Viva el Rey Felix!!

  24. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 8:16 pm

    Waco-

    “Sensible Traditionalists Who Obviously Acknowledge Stats vs. the Sabre Geeks Who Take it Too Far. Very obnoxious.”

    I think that was putting it mildly. I translated what he said to “I’m not racist… Some of my closest friends are black!”

  25. Jake on May 29th, 2013 8:35 pm

    Tacoma’s winning 24-1 in the 6th. Every starter has at least two hits. Almonte’s 5-5, Miller’s 3-5 with 6 RBIs. Thames 3-5 with 6 RBIs.

  26. californiamariner on May 29th, 2013 8:37 pm

    Lol at Tacomas score. Ackleys day would be a little more exciting if it didn’t appear the team was taking batting practice.

  27. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 8:47 pm

    It would probably be 30-1 for Tacoma if Ackley hadn’t been sent down… (ba-dum *crash*)

  28. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 8:49 pm

    On a more serious note– how do we have 11 K’s against this guy? He only had 38 K’s in his previous TEN games.

  29. henryv on May 29th, 2013 8:53 pm

    On a more serious note– how do we have 11 K’s against this guy? He only had 38 K’s in his previous TEN games.

    We’re not very “good” at “baseball”.

  30. bookbook on May 29th, 2013 8:53 pm

    I think there ought to be some sort of mercy rule in AAA. When you load up your roster with AAAA talent, you should only get two strikes or something,

    Tacoma vs Seattle, Felix pitching for both sides. Who wins?

  31. californiamariner on May 29th, 2013 8:53 pm

    This is such a Mariners Padres game. If they were going to show one game to exemplify their rivalry this could be it.

  32. jordan on May 29th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Montero is catching in Tacoma ?__?

  33. GhostofMarinersPast on May 29th, 2013 8:55 pm

    For some reason they can’t hit Saunders. Just leave him out there until his arm falls off

  34. henryv on May 29th, 2013 8:57 pm

    bookbook:

    Seattle, just because of Morales and Seager. Switch them over, and I’d go for Tacoma.

  35. californiamariner on May 29th, 2013 9:01 pm

    Eric Stults is a star.

  36. bookbook on May 29th, 2013 9:02 pm

    Fair point, HenryV. The M’s do have two legit major league hitters, maybe three when Saunders isnt in deep funk mode.

  37. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:09 pm

    We seem to excel at racking up K’s against mediocre pitchers.

  38. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:13 pm

    “Tacoma vs Seattle, Felix pitching for both sides. Who wins?”

    Easy. Felix.

  39. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:17 pm

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFPHEW

  40. Ralph_Malph on May 29th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Why is Montero catching for Tacoma?

  41. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Baseball is funny. Morse or Ibanez in LF and it’s probably 3-1 right now. Thank you, Jason Bay, for being the LF du jour.

  42. fallingceilingtiles on May 29th, 2013 9:18 pm

    we will see something new and different and exciting from the mariners offense this inning

  43. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:19 pm

    FallingTiles-
    Well struck balls?

  44. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Yeah, MrZ, the OF is actually good today.

  45. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:21 pm

    FallingTiles-
    We called it!

  46. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:21 pm

    BAY!

  47. terryoftacoma on May 29th, 2013 9:22 pm

    BAY!!

  48. fallingceilingtiles on May 29th, 2013 9:22 pm

    a little positive thinking did the trick. commenting is fun

  49. californiamariner on May 29th, 2013 9:22 pm

    All hail Fallingceilingtiles. And Jason Bay too!!

  50. msfanmike on May 29th, 2013 9:23 pm

    Thank you Jason Bay

    Thank you Houston Street

    Thank you shorter porch

  51. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:23 pm

    Thankfully sabermetric mind tricks don’t work on old-school veterans like Bay!

  52. fallingceilingtiles on May 29th, 2013 9:24 pm

    thanks california. i promise to only use my powers for good

  53. GhostofMarinersPast on May 29th, 2013 9:28 pm

    Induct him! Induct Jason Bay into the M’s hall of miracles…….errr…..fame…..right now! Fast pass!

  54. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:31 pm

    I feel like the M’s should have a “Hall of Just Didn’t Suck”. Fame seems to be a massive exaggeration.

  55. msfanmike on May 29th, 2013 9:33 pm

    Well, this isn’t new or interesting, but it is exciting in a puckered up sort of way.

  56. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Apparently “Move you fucking feet” isn’t in the M’s catching lexicon.

  57. Sports on a Shtick on May 29th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Doesn’t look like it’ll be the M’s night.

  58. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:36 pm

    *your

  59. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:36 pm

    Doesn’t look like it’ll be the M’s night century.

  60. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:37 pm

    This has been just waiting to happen. Can’t avoid contact, can’t get called strikes on the curve. Wilhelmsen just hasn’t been as good as his ERA all year.

  61. henryv on May 29th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Lucky that he fouled that off.

    Shoppach was going to back hand it, and it looked like it could have gone passed.

  62. G-Man on May 29th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Whoa – how did he get away with that? 2 outs!

  63. GhostofMarinersPast on May 29th, 2013 9:41 pm

    They Mola Ram’d us. We just got Mola Ram’d again. We’ve been getting Mola Ram’d all season! Ouch Mola Ram, stop! My heart…..it’s…..on fire!!!!!

  64. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:43 pm

    PHEW!!!

  65. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:43 pm

    FFFFFFFFFFffffphew.

  66. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 9:46 pm

    “Hall of Just Didn’t Suck”

    Henry, that’s still a pretty high bar…

    How ’bout “Hall of Actually Didn’t Let Us Down This One Time When We Totally Expected It”?

  67. fallingceilingtiles on May 29th, 2013 9:49 pm

    has anyone addressed the size of his helmet?

  68. Westside guy on May 29th, 2013 9:51 pm

    That’s one of those new-fangled safe helmets.

    Wedge probably hates it – probably was designed by a nerd.

  69. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Rainiers scored 25

  70. The_Waco_Kid on May 29th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Ackley 5-6 plus 2 walks, Miller 3-7

  71. GhostofMarinersPast on May 29th, 2013 9:57 pm

    Game. Set. Match. F&$@K!!!! Arrggh

  72. wilchiro on May 29th, 2013 9:58 pm

    I strongly dislike Eric Wedge. I haven’t been around here tonight, but I knew we would have problems when Medina came in to pitch.

  73. GhostofMarinersPast on May 29th, 2013 9:59 pm

    MOLA RAM’D

  74. wilchiro on May 29th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Is it true that managers only affect two or three outcomes in ballgames a year? I feel like Wedge has affected six or eight already this season…

  75. msfanmike on May 29th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Mariner Baseball!

  76. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 10:01 pm

    That was not a fun ending to a really fun top of the 9th moment.

    Damn.

  77. wilchiro on May 29th, 2013 10:04 pm

    Medina can’t get anyone out so let’s leave him out there…

  78. wilchiro on May 29th, 2013 10:09 pm

    May 29th, 2012: 22-30
    May 29th, 2013: 22-31

    And we thought this team was better, thought we were moving in the right direction. I thought we could expect contention by 2014. When do we expect to compete now, 2016?

    Sorry for the rants, but so SICK of waiting for this team to win! Wish I had been old enough to enjoy the glory days of this franchise…

  79. SonOfZavaras on May 29th, 2013 10:17 pm

    Well, damn.

    So much for my birthday magic. Maybe it doesn’t work when Wedge manages.

  80. MrZDevotee on May 29th, 2013 10:33 pm

    If we could just beat those pesky Astros and Padres.

    (We could be thought of as being slightly better than the worst teams in MLB.)

    If Wedge is gonna start blaming outside people, when does he start saying “well, that one was on me!?”

    Medina is his favorite guy to misuse… Since the very first time he used him, in a high leverage situation, in his first MLB action ever, let him walk in the tying run, kept him in, let him give up the winning run… all two days after surprisingly being brought up with no warning.

    Medina is like his poster boy of mis-management. Along with the “Montero Mistake” (ie, failed everyday catcher experiment). The pinch-hit-Andino/Replace him with Ryan single at-bat, using up both our bench bat infielders in a single AB… In a game that went extra innings.

    There really IS a long list of butt-dumb moves the guy has made.

    Stacking his lineup with lefties, against a RHP pitcher who has reverse splits… “I use the numbers as much as anyone…” “Heck I invented the interweb in Cleveland!”

    Name one strategy Wedge consistently uses that is useful? He bunts at the wrong time. He hits away at the wrong time. He doesn’t pinch hit unless it’s a moment that doesn’t matter. Or uses the wrong guy to do it. We never run or put the game in motion.

    He’s dog paddling in choppy seas while Joe Maddon and Terry Francona go cruising past in yachts.

    He’s in over his head.

    Make it stop. Somebody.

  81. don52656 on May 29th, 2013 10:58 pm

    Discouraging. I was just wondering though, in the 8th inning when Capps was pitching and Perez was warming up in the bullpen…after Capps gets the first one out, the next two hitters are left-handed pinch hitters…one doubles, the next walks. Capps gets out of it, but I’m wondering why you would have Perez warm up in the bullpen if you never plan bring him in to face the left-handed pinch hitters? With the game on the line, isn’t Perez a better option than Capps here?

  82. Phightin Phils on May 29th, 2013 11:22 pm

    Wedge’s incompetence in evaluating talent applies to himself. He truly may not have the facilities to evaluate what is happening.

  83. Westside guy on May 29th, 2013 11:27 pm

    I found it bizarrely amusing to hear Blowers and Sims wax rhapsodic tonight regarding how this year’s team, with its veterans, was performing in these late game, high pressure situations so much better than last year’s team did.

    As a counterpoint, allow me to re-quote wilchiro:

    May 29th, 2012: 22-30
    May 29th, 2013: 22-31

    And allow me to add:
    May 29, 2012 run differential: -11
    May 29, 2013 run differential: -43

  84. Marinerman1979 on May 30th, 2013 3:01 am

    When Wedge thought it was ok for Luetge to pitch against JJ hardy, I knew it was time for him to go. Brutal.

  85. bookbook on May 30th, 2013 3:37 am

    Isn’t that the point, Westside Guy. By run differential we’re much worse, yet manage to reach the same awesome record by dint of super veteran grittiness.

  86. absolutsyd on May 30th, 2013 8:45 am

    @MrZDevotee – Don’t forget that time he used Jason Bay as a pinch runner and then promptly replaced him in the field, also late in a game that I think went to extras.

  87. MrZDevotee on May 30th, 2013 9:57 am

    Absolut-
    I think my “absolute” favorite is still when it was 9th inning on the road, a tie game,no outs with a runner on 1st, and Wedge didn’t bunt the runner into scoring position… We got a basehit later that would have scored the guy from 2nd, but he wasn’t on 2nd…

    And then… the OPPOSING team had the same scenario bottom of the 9th, and bunted the guy into scoring position, and won the game on the next batter.

    It was like a managing clinic on “Don’t do this (Wedge’s approach), do this (other team’s approach)”.

  88. MrZDevotee on May 30th, 2013 10:11 am

    Sorry,
    I misremembered… Just looked it up. It was against the Tigers, at home, April 17th… We had two on bottom of the 9th, no out, with mighty Casey Raul up (long before his miracle in the Bronx, when his average was like .002… okay, it was .195 at the time)… He hit into a double play… 3rd out next guy. Extra innings.

    In the 14th inning, two on nobody out for the Tigers, Jhonny Peralta (batting .304 at the time) sacrifice bunts… A fielders choice scores the runner from 3rd on the next batter. Detroit scores the winning run without a hit in the 14th.

    Drove me nuts.

  89. MrZDevotee on May 30th, 2013 10:22 am

    Not finished… (Sorry, but just aghast at the man’s lack of self awareness… in a role as important as his)…

    WE could have won the game in the 9th, without a hit. But NO, not Marlboro Man’s-man Eric Wedge. That kinda play is for sissies… If he’s gonna win a game, it’s gonna be like a man, damnit. Especially with my stud veteran DH up at the plate. Bunt?! Are you serious!? That’s not the “right way” to play this game. But you numbers nerds don’t know about being a man, now, do you?

    Or hey, how ’bout the time he forgot to put DUSTIN ACKLEY in the lineup on DUSTIN ACKLEY BAT NIGHT?!? I mean, the guy doesn’t even know what’s going on with his own ballclub and its players. And he’s supposedly in charge. You think THAT didn’t get in Dustin’s head, a little bit? How do you think THAT affected his confidence?

    Hell, maybe we can trace his decline to that very day, last year? (Of course not, but more likely than whatever Wedge thinks is the cause!)

    I’ll say it again– Eric Wedge lasted 3 years in the majors, batted .230, and dropped from the game… And now his 3 best prospects, the one’s he most actively attempts to “set straight”, are following the same exact path…

    Is it any wonder that with Wedge’s lack of confidence, and seemingly random approach at managing, and his clueless take on what works and what doesn’t, his most carefully managed players are showing similiar characteristics in their own performance?

  90. msfanmike on May 30th, 2013 10:59 am

    Good work Z (within the context of your Z-ness), but I trace Ackley’s decline back to the precise moment when Jeff Francouer scaled the RF wall and robbed him of a homerun. September 2011.

  91. eponymous coward on May 30th, 2013 11:29 am

    Fun fact: unless the M’s go 12-4 or better over the next 16 games, Jack Zduriencik will have a worse record as Mariner GM than Bill Bavasi did at the point he got fired.

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