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.

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.


91 Responses to “Game 53, Mariners at Padres”

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

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

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

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

  13. 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…’s…..on fire!!!!!

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


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


  16. 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”?

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

    has anyone addressed the size of his helmet?

  18. 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.

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

    Rainiers scored 25

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

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

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

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

  22. 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.

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


  24. 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…

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

    Mariner Baseball!

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

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


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

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

  28. 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…

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

    Well, damn.

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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

    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)”.

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

    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.

  39. 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?

  40. 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.

  41. 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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