Game 59, White Sox at Mariners

marc w · June 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Jake Peavy, 7:10pm

It’s absolutely perfect ballgame weather, and the M’s send their ace to the hill against an eminently beatable line-up. They’re coming off a game in which Raul Ibanez had the M’s at-bat of the year, which he capped with a homer off a lefty. To make the night even better, the Astros completed a sweep of the Angels, pushing the Halos into a tie with Seattle. Strip context away, and this is a game you look forward to, and move stuff around to try and attend. With all of that context, it starts to feel a bit more like our customary once-every-five-days respite from watching Astros scores a lot more than A’s scores, and of looking at Rainiers box scores more purposefully (“Zunino hit a double!”) than we do M’s box scores (“Endy Chavez had a good game, I guess”). I know this, you know this, but let’s pretend, for one night, that we don’t. I’m going to try and be the casual fan that gets more scorn from the die-hards than he/she deserves. TOday I’m going to ignore the fact that the M’s playoff odds are at 1.3% and watch Felix be Felix for a while.

This is tougher than it looks. I’m not sure how far to take it (can I be a casual fan and still revel in Jesus Sucre’s pitch framing ability?), and even a casual fan might find it odd that Endy Chavez (35), Jason Bay (34) and Raul Ibanez (41) are in the line-up together. Still, heading to Safeco tonight and just watching Felix versus Peavy and forgetting about injuries, depth, stalled prospects and the yawning chasm between the M’s and Rangers sounds awesome. There are times I worry about my own tendency to forgive the M’s just about anything as long as they employ Felix Hernandez, but that sort of navel-gazing, woe-is-M’s stuff is exactly what I’m taking a temporary break from. Go Felix! Let’s see some dingers!

Jake Peavy’s late-career renaissance seems like it’s flown under the radar a bit, though that’s easy to say for someone who doesn’t live in Chicago. After two injury-plagued, inconsistent seasons in 2010-2011, he produced a 4.5fWAR season for the White Sox last year, throwing 219 innings and holding/improving his K% despite his velocity dropping below league average. This year, he’s been just as good if not better: his K% is now over 25%, back where it was in his heyday in San Diego in 2006 or so. His cutter’s still a very good pitch, and he pairs it with two well-located fastballs, a curve and a change-up for lefty hitters. Peavy’s cutter initially helped him battle opposite-handed hitters, but he now uses it as a slider (essentially), and his results look a bit slider-y; he’s running sizable platoon splits this year. Some may quibble and point out that his splits are essentially BABIP-driven, but it’s not just seeing-eye singles – lefties hit many more extra-base hits and hit more line drives against him. The K rate is just the same (better even), but he’ll hang the occasional cutter, and good hitters need to punish his mistakes. As it happens, the M’s actually have a good lefty hitter or two in the line-up tonight.

1: Chavez, RF
2: Bay, LF
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Ibanez, DH
6: Franklin, 2B
7: Saunders, CF
8: Sucre, C
9: Ryan, SS
SP: El Rey

Jesus Sucre is the M’s starting catcher, and his hitting spray chart looks almost identical to Munenori Kawasaki’s from last year. The guy who struggles to hit a pitched baseball over 180 feet or so is the de facto starter, and I can’t complain. Kelly Shoppach’s a great fit on this team, and actually gives the team something of an interesting bench bat against lefties, but the team loves Jesus Sucre and if he can help get this team’s runs allowed under control, they can play him all they want.

A casual fan may have missed the news that Franklin Gutierrez’s leg is still giving him problems, and that he’s not able to return despite his rehab stint ending. The M’s have petitioned MLB to get a second 20-day rehab start for Guti based on a report from team doctor, Edward Khalfayan. This is something of uncharted territory, as the rules are the way they are to both prevent teams from keeping big leaguers in the minors on bogus pretext, or for stashing players in the minors to avoid service time/roster limit rules. But if anyone actually needs more than the allotted time to recover, it’s Gutierrez. I sincerely hope he’s granted a rehab do-over, and that this becomes known as the Gutierrez Rule forever more.

I went to Cheney last night to check up on Brandon Maurer, who made his AAA debut against Sacramento. The raw numbers were very good – 6 2/3 IP, 3H, 1R, 3BB, 7Ks, but he struggled a bit early. He walked the first hitter in the 1st and 2nd, and gave up two warning-track fly balls in the 2nd. His command within the zone was spotty, but he was able to work his way out of bad counts and keep the ball in the park. As the game went on, he got more comfortable, and he cruised through the middle innings before a couple of singles ended his night in the 7th. The RiverCats have some free-swinging right-handers (Grant Green is not looking forward to seeing Maurer again), but he was better against lefties than he was in the majors (not a big shock, but still good to see), and his command seemed to improve from the first inning to the sixth and seventh.

Rainiers’ righty Andrew Carraway’d quietly put himself into contention (kind of) for the rotation spot currently held by Jeremy Bonderman, with a sub-3.00 ERA and a solid run of form in May, but he was hit fairly hard by Sacremento this morning, as the RiverCats beat Tacoma 6-2. Carraway’s not on the 40-man, and Erasmo Ramirez obviously has the inside track on the 5th spot, but stranger things have happened.

Chance Ruffin, whose move to the starting rotation has gone far better than I would’ve thought (and I have to tip my cap to Mike Curto who predicted he’d do well in the new role), starts tonight for Jackson against Tennessee.


89 Responses to “Game 59, White Sox at Mariners”

  1. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 8:27 pm

    Steve, they review hits that are originally called doubles – all the time and they become HR’s based on the replay review … Except when your name is Angel Martinez umpiring in Cleveland.

  2. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 8:30 pm

    If the umps had made no HR indication on Franklins hit, i am sure Wedge would have come out and asked for the umps to review the play.

  3. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 8:32 pm

    CM and Mike are right… It’s the one I was mis-remembering.

  4. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 8:37 pm

    Thanks for digging up the clip Westy. I remembered the Noogy’s pretty well, but he got a couple to Ventura’s face as well.

    I believe the moral to the story is to not charge the mound when Nolan Ryan is pitching. That much I do remember, accurately.

  5. stevemotivateir on June 4th, 2013 8:39 pm

    I thought they only reviewed hits that were ruled doubles if it wasn’t unanimously ruled a double. I’ll stand corrected.

    I agree with Westy, though. They should be able to review any critical call.

  6. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 8:40 pm

    Yeah, a lot of athletes like to play-act being tough, but Nolan Ryan was a genuine badass.

  7. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 8:43 pm

    Jesus Sucre: “Hey Felix – unlike those other guys you’ve had to throw to, I can actually handle a ball in the dirt.”

  8. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 8:45 pm

    Another good one of the bad ass variety was when Paul Wilson decided to go after Kyle Farnsworth.


  9. californiamariner on June 4th, 2013 8:50 pm

    I wouldn’t imagine too many hitters looked at Randy Johnson and thought they were tough enough to run at him!

  10. stevemotivateir on June 4th, 2013 8:52 pm

    So apparently it doesn’t matter what any other umpire rules on the field regarding a possible HR (with limitations). If the crew chief believes there’s reason for a review, it can be reviewed, and he’s the one that makes the final decision whether to reverse the call or not.

    And it appears the rules for reviews will expand in 2014. Trapped balls will apparently be reviewable as well as fair/foul calls.

  11. Paul B on June 4th, 2013 8:52 pm

    When Ventura (?) rushed Nolan Ryan, Ryan grabbed him like he was a calf he had just roped in a rodeo.

    Unrelated, if A Rod gets banned, does that mean the Yankees don’t have to pay him?

  12. californiamariner on June 4th, 2013 8:57 pm

    The Yankees could get out of paying him for the games he is suspended.

  13. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 9:04 pm

    I heard it could be a 100 game suspension for he and Braun. A double dose of penalty for a first timer because of 2 infractions (doing it and then lying about it). Allegedly, of course.

    After a long, long appeal process – no doubt, but wow …. Just wow.

    Hurry back from your latest hip surgery so we can suspend you for 100 games. Couldn’t happen to a more genuine guy.

  14. pgreyy on June 4th, 2013 9:09 pm

    I missed it…why is Shoppach playing?

  15. californiamariner on June 4th, 2013 9:10 pm

    So what’s going to happen at catcher if Sucre is seriously injured? At least enough to where he has to miss some games.

  16. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 9:11 pm

    I don’t know. I missed it too. Sucre probably wants to beat the rush to Legends Casino this weekend.

  17. californiamariner on June 4th, 2013 9:12 pm

    Sucre was hit on the hand/wrist by the bat on the follow through. He finished the inning though so maybe he’s fine.

  18. stevemotivateir on June 4th, 2013 9:14 pm

    Wonder what they’d do if Sucre had to go on the DL?

  19. scraps on June 4th, 2013 9:14 pm

    “genuine guy”?

  20. msfanmike on June 4th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Yes, I think you caught the sarcasm.

  21. pgreyy on June 4th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Maybe Wedge will go out and catch a few innings?

  22. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Raul can catch.

  23. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Saunders’ eye seems to be back last 4-5 games.

  24. juneau_fan on June 4th, 2013 9:49 pm

    I love when they show Raul doing some catching between innings. He’s ready, man! Of course, then they lose the DH.

  25. Ralph_Malph on June 4th, 2013 9:49 pm

    I looked it up. Nolan Ryan was 46 years old when he pummeled Ventura.

  26. Paul B on June 4th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Raul can catch.

    Probably about as well as he can play outfield.

  27. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 9:50 pm

    Sometime when the White Sox are playing the Rangers, Nolan Ryan should run out there during a Sox mound meeting and put Ventura in a head lock, just for yucks.

  28. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 9:54 pm

    So, Paul – about as good as Montero, then?

  29. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 9:54 pm

    All right Michael!

  30. Sports on a Shtick on June 4th, 2013 9:58 pm

    Speed has not been much of a weapon this season. Good to see Saunders take charge there.

  31. Section329 on June 4th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Yo, bartender!

  32. Westside guy on June 4th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Well other than Saunders and Ackley – who else has any speed?

  33. SonOfZavaras on June 4th, 2013 10:44 pm

    So what’s going to happen at catcher if Sucre is seriously injured? At least enough to where he has to miss some games.

    Well, by my reckoning, you could either try and finagle a Guillermo Quiroz type from somebody…or you can choose between Brandon Bantz and Mike Zunino in AAA.

    And Bantz has less experience at AAA than Zunino does.

    No matter what you do, you need to clear a spot on the 40 man roster. Interesting decision, interesting times.

    Between those three options, I choose Zunino. And send him down for more seasoning once Sucre’s ready to grip a bat again.

  34. scraps on June 4th, 2013 10:50 pm

    Mike, I caught the sarcasm — thanks — just, I couldn’t parse what “genuine guy” was about, where I was supposed to be laughing. I guess it was a knowing wink-wink kinda thing. Probably my post-stroke brain again.

  35. Sports on a Shtick on June 4th, 2013 11:13 pm

    Seager, Chavez, Bay and Ryan are decent or better in terms of speed. Currently the M’s are tied for 2nd-last with 18 stolen bases.

    Obviously there are a lot of plodders in the lineup but it seems steals and hit-and-runs are less frequent compared to other years.

    The Bartender looked off again with the heater. Thankfully his curve was fine and Seager beautifully turned that last grounder around the horn.

    Watching Rauuuul at the plate… that’s the kind of approach I wish Ackley would develop, at least the part where Ibanez latches onto fastballs.

  36. djw on June 4th, 2013 11:59 pm

    Was away for the game but I must comment on this:

    Mediocre hitting ability saved by at least major league quality defense as a backstop.

    What on God’s green earth about Sucre’s record or offensive skill set would suggest to you that he is likely to be a mediocre major league hitter? He projects to be nowhere near mediocre. This is a wildly, irrationally optimistic expectation for him.

  37. SonOfZavaras on June 5th, 2013 1:17 am

    Didn’t Randy Johnson deck Ventura once when he charged the mound?

    Are you kidding?

    IF I remember correctly, Robin Ventura was usually one of those lefty hitters that was *first in line* to beg for the night off when Randy Johnson was pitching.

    Besides, I don’t think Ventura would’ve had the guts. Not against The Unit.

    Randy Johnson once told a player he plunked who seemed ready to charge: “Don’t come out here. I’ll kill you.”

    That player trotted to first base. And didn’t say a word afterwards.

  38. scraps on June 5th, 2013 4:04 am

    That story seems apocryphal, especially with no hitter’s name. And the umpire would have heard it, too. Cite?

  39. Slippery Elmer on June 5th, 2013 7:17 am

    I heard it with Clemens and Piazza. Except Clemens broke a bat over his knee and brandished it at Piazza while verbally challenging him.

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