Game 64, Yankees at Mariners

marc w · June 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. David Phelps, 1:10pm

The M’s try to salvage a split of this four-game set today behind their ace, Felix Hernandez. Another punchless home loss that blended in with so many others can be frustrating, but hopefully we’re reaching the point where we can stop talking about mitigating circumstances, splits and all the rest of it. At this point in the season, the M’s have (more or less) no splits. Against lefties, they’ve put up a .688 OPS. Vs. righties, it’s, uh, .688. At home, they’ve put up a .690 OPS, which is a far cry from the .686 OPS they’ve managed on the road. The M’s have changed the stadium, and I’ve grudgingly come around to the logic of that, and they’ve attempted to change the nature of *how* they put up that OPS, by bringing in guys like Morse to take aim at the new, closer fences. And let’s be clear: it’s worked, to some degree. The M’s are no longer historically inept batsmen. But neither are they playoff-caliber. There was no quick fix here. I’m not suggesting that the front office, or maybe even the fans, thought that a couple of mid-tier moves and an outfield alignment tweak would radically alter the team’s production, but it’s actually nice that we can talk about the hitters and who may replace them and not home/road splits, ‘confidence’, marine layers and meteorology.

Today the M’s take on David Phelps, a 26-year old righty who’s come through the Yankees system after they drafted him out of Notre Dame. His strikeout rate’s risen as he moved up, and he’s now got a 23.5% K rate over the course of 156 major league innings – good for a K/9 near 9. Impressive for anyone, but especially for someone with a fastball in the 89-91 range. It gets tougher and tougher to understand the further you drill down. Does he get batters to chase? Well, no – his o-swing rate is awful, at under 23% this year. Does he get batters to swing through a good change-up or curve? No, batters make contact at better-than-average rates, and Phelps’ swinging strike rate is about as bad as his o-swing rate. His vertical movement’s quite high, so I’d be tempted to say he gets Jered Weaver-ish swingthroughs on his fastball, but that would show up in swinging strikes. He’s got a good curve ball, and curves often get called-strikes, but nothing looks exceptional there. Sure, he’s pitched in relief a bit and that’s making his K% look better than it otherwise would be, but the K% just in the rotation is over 20%. I’m not really sure what’s going on, other than that Phelps gets whiffs with two strikes.

Against righties, he throws a four-seamer, a sinker, and cutter and curve. To lefties, he relies mostly on the sinker and adds a change-up to his breaking ball offerings. The curve’s generated the best results, but the change isn’t a bad pitch, as it’s helped him avoid platoon splits.

1: Bay, RF
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Shoppach, C
7: Saunders, CF
8: Liddi, 1B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: King Felix

Something of an odd line-up as Morales is still a bit sore from his injury running out a grounder the other day, and Morse needing another day off to rest his quadricep. That’s pushed Franklin to the 2 spot, and it’s also given Alex Liddi a start at 1B against a righty.

Good news on the farm last night, as Erasmo Ramirez went seven shutout innings with seven Ks to just one walk against Las Vegas; Tacoma won 11-0. The Rainiers finish their 4-game set with Vegas today at 1:30, with Brandon Maurer on the hill. It’s mid-june, and the team has Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman in the rotation, but at last some of the pitching depth I thought they’d have is showing up. Erasmo Ramirez, when healthy, is easily the team’s third-best starter, and hopefully he can move up to Seattle in the next few weeks.

The M’s traded Vinnie Catricala to Oakland for a PTBNL yesterday; the M’s had DFAd Catricala a week ago. Catricala was once the darling of the M’s system, having gone from 10th-round pick to top-ten prospect after laying waste to the minors, and putting up video game numbers in AA Jackson. But he never got going in Tacoma last year, and looked a lot more like the 2012 Catricala in Jackson this season than the 2011 Catricala who Southern League pitchers couldn’t figure out. Can’t really remember the last hitting prospect to progress that far, and then fall so suddenly. Alex Liddi was a better 3B defender, and Stefen Romero hasn’t suffered a PCL swoon, so Catricala didn’t really have a place in the org anyway, but hopefully he gets things figured out and has fun playing again in his home town (if the A’s send him to Sacramento).


76 Responses to “Game 64, Yankees at Mariners”

  1. ThanatosK on June 9th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Ha! Then follow it up with our “big signing” from the offseason, Ibanez, making a very Ibanez-like throw to gift the lead away.

  2. juneau_fan on June 9th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Thought you were vigorously defending the scholarship process, and somehow suggesting that Lil’ Petitte has to go to college since he’ll get such a great education. I call that a rant, but I tend to rant on blogs, so perhaps I’m projecting.

    Damn, I knew Ichiro was going to score, somehow, someway, to redeem his bruised pride. Why the hell doesn’t anyone but Felix have that attitude on this team?

  3. stevemotivateir on June 9th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Miller hasn’t seen much time at other positions, so it would seem they’re still focused on him as a SS. I hadn’t heard anything about a move to the outfield recently, though I would swear I did read something before they moved Romero.

    Really wonder what they plan to do with him if his (Miller) defense doesn’t improve.

  4. stevemotivateir on June 9th, 2013 4:08 pm

    Raul Ibanez 2013 WAR via Baseball Reference: -0.3.

  5. msfanmike on June 9th, 2013 4:10 pm

    No, I wasn’t ranting. This team has sapped my energy for doing that. If Pettite did not use his baseball scholarship money, the baseball program would use it on some other baseball player(s). It’s a color of money thing.

    Now, maybe young squire is also an academic whiz and has some non-baseball scholarship money too, but I really don’t know. If that is the case, then yeah … Let that money be available for someone else to use who might actually need it.

  6. Westside guy on June 9th, 2013 4:11 pm

    So to summarize:

    The current team has a lot of 1B/DH types.

    The organization apparently is chock full of 2B types, in addition to many more 1B/DH types.

  7. Westside guy on June 9th, 2013 4:12 pm

    Shoppach does not appear to be a great pitch framer – at least today.

  8. Woodcutta on June 9th, 2013 4:14 pm

    How many great starts are the M’s going to waste?

  9. stevemotivateir on June 9th, 2013 4:15 pm

    That sounds about right, Westy.

    So we should expect these middle infielders to be traded for more 1B/DH types to replace the current crew, who will likely split after the season or be traded by the deadline, right?!

  10. Westside guy on June 9th, 2013 4:17 pm


  11. seasick on June 9th, 2013 4:17 pm

    I hate these mariners. If I had a nickel for every non-swinging 0-2 count, every leadoff walk with the game on the line…and the more I watch Shoppach catch, the more I want to through my remote at the tv. He can’t frame a close pitch, he never visits the mound to calm a pitcher down, he drops the ball every time someone steals, and he bats about as good as a pitcher. And Dave Sims’ game calling can go to hell.

  12. juneau_fan on June 9th, 2013 4:18 pm


    I can remember that Ichiro beats Rivera game like it was yesterday. Perhaps it’s best to remember the good times, eh?

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


    Please, Michael. PLEASE…


  14. G-Man on June 9th, 2013 4:23 pm

    Mo is actually scared of Raul – who knew?

  15. Bodhizefa on June 9th, 2013 4:23 pm

    We’ve got a 3 game series against the Astros where we have both Bonderman and Harang pitching, and then 10 games in a row against the Angels and A’s. If it goes poorly, we may see Eric Wedge fired in the next two weeks.

  16. msfanmike on June 9th, 2013 4:23 pm

    I do not like Sanders’ impression of his 2011 self.


  17. seasick on June 9th, 2013 4:30 pm

    For Felix’s sake, can we please trade him? I feel so sorry for the millstone around his neck that is our offense.

  18. Will Lofton on June 9th, 2013 4:57 pm

    “I hate these mariners. If I had a nickel for every non-swinging 0-2 count, every leadoff walk with the game on the line…and the more I watch Shoppach catch, the more I want to through my remote at the tv. He can’t frame a close pitch, he never visits the mound to calm a pitcher down, he drops the ball every time someone steals, and he bats about as good as a pitcher. And Dave Sims’ game calling can go to hell.”

    Couldn’t agree more. I went to the game and Shoppach sucks. Makes Jesus Sucre look like an All-Star.

    We have to do something about Saunders. He sucks. And why Wedge let him hit in the 9th instead of bringing in Morse is beyond me.

  19. The_Waco_Kid on June 9th, 2013 5:11 pm

    steve, Romero’s played lots of LF in Tacoma.

    We’re moving from disappointment to disaster. I’m in utter disbelief at how bad we are. Wedge will be fired if we lose the Astros series, right?

    I’m happy with very few players right now. I question Morse and Morales’s durability. I’m worried about the Condor and Bartender.

  20. sawsatch on June 9th, 2013 6:18 pm

    This team was built weak up the middle and with 5 DHs (including Montero)
    I repeat what I’ve said previously, no one of talent wants to come here and that includes coaches as well.
    The Hawks have changed the culture of their franchise; we need new ownership!

  21. lalo on June 9th, 2013 6:21 pm

    The Iwakuma contract was a bergain for the M´s, with Hultzen and Walker contributing in 2014 we´ll need only one more pitcher (Erasmo will be an option too). I´d love Lincecum or Colby Lewis, Safeco would help them…

    If the payroll goes up, to 100 millions or so (TV CONTRACT), maybe there will be 70 million to spend in Free Agents.

    Lincecum or Lewis (2 years, 20 or 22 millions)
    Kendrys (2 years, 24 millions)
    Choo? (3 years and 35 millions)
    Granderson? (3 years and 40 millions)
    Jose Molina (1 year and 3 millions)


    Franklin 2B
    Seager 3B
    Granderson CF
    Kendrys 1B
    Choo RF
    Zunino C
    Montero/Morse DH
    Ackley LF
    Miller/Ryan SS



  22. californiamariner on June 9th, 2013 7:59 pm

    Erasmo will be an option? From what we’ve seen from the players in this organization he’s the 3rd best pitcher.
    Ackley to the OF comments baffle me. He has to hit before he can have any value. His only value to this point has been good 2B defense. Putting him in the corner of the outfield is pointless. That position needs to be occupied by a good hitter. I hope Ackley becomes that, but from what we’ve seen so far we shouldn’t hold our breath for it to happen.

  23. sawsatch on June 9th, 2013 8:15 pm

    Ackley will either play 2B, be a back up infielder (doubtful), or be traded. But, he has no trade value now. Let’s hope he starts hitting (in the Major Leagues).

  24. sawsatch on June 9th, 2013 8:16 pm

    p.s. How do you intend on attracting these free agents to come here?

  25. Will Lofton on June 9th, 2013 8:39 pm

    The only one I’d want to sign from that list is Morales. I’d love to get Choo but he’s going to command $70+ million.

  26. sawsatch on June 9th, 2013 9:17 pm

    No one on that list will want to sign here. If you were one of them, wouldn’t you rather sign with a contender or at least a team with a good ownership with hopes of contending?

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