Game 65, Astros at Mariners

marc w · June 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Dallas Keuchel, 7:10pm

In his last start, Hisashi Iwakuma went 8 scoreless innings with 5 Ks and no walks, yielding just three hits. The M’s scored zero runs, and lost in (a lot of) extra innings. Yesterday, King Felix went 7 innings, giving up one run and five hits while striking out seven. The M’s scored one run and lost in the 9th, 2-1. The M’s aren’t built to overcome poor starts by the back of their rotation. They can hang in games occasionally, and the Astros pitching staff pretty much precludes the M’s from being out of any of these games, but fundamentally, the hope is that they wouldn’t need many wins from Harang/Saunders/whoever. With Felix and Iwakuma pitching brilliantly, the team could get wins in close to 40% of its starts and hang around until reinforcements came. The M’s are 7-8 in Felix’s 15 starts thus far, as a weak offense, some untimely bullpen problems and just a bad start or two have prevented the M’s from taking advantage of their ace.

That’s what makes it so stunning that the M’s have won NINE of Iwakuma’s 13 starts. He’s not been the recipient of a ton of run support, as his last start makes clear. He’s given up zero earned runs in four starts this year and has been credited with a win once.* The point isn’t that he needs the will to win, or that he’s able to pitch to the score, it’s that he’s on an absolutely unreal tear right now. Felix has put up the best stat line in his career so far, and Iwakuma has just about matched it, pitch for pitch. The FIP gap looks so large because of Iwakuma’s penchant for (solo) HRs, and that’s a longstanding issue, but the drop in his walk rate has made it a minor one.

In 2010, we M’s fans got to watch a ton of absolutely atrocious baseball. But we also got to see King Felix take his game to a new level pitching alongside Cliff Lee** if only for half the year. Lee and Felix put up over 9fWAR and 10 fielding-dependent WAR that year. Iwakuma and Felix are at 4.8fWAR and 6.4 fielding-dependent WAR right now, with more than half the season to go. That season felt like an absolute kick in the stomach, and in many ways the M’s have been flailing around trying to ‘un-do’ the damage that season did, but at least we get to watch something like the old Felix/Cliff Lee rotation again. I’m pretty sick of the atrocious baseball though. Here’s hoping the next front office is able to build something around Felix, and that Iwakuma fends off injuries and aging the way he dispatches good left-handed opponents.

Dallas Keuchel sounds like a regional dessert of some sort***, but he’s actually a lefty starting pitcher. If you saw Matthew’s preview, you may have seen that he’s able to get a decent number of whiffs with his change-up. That’s true, but the problem with the pitch is literally everything else. Batters have hit it hard, and righties have been able to hit for power against it. His fastballs are nothing special either. He throws a slider/cutter and curve as well, which have generated a bit better results, though this is probably due to the fact he throws more of them against same-handed hitters. What Keuchel does well is keep the ball on the ground. His sinker is a GB machine, and his breaking balls get grounders too. This is a good match-up for M’s righties, though I should point out that the M’s have seemed to struggle against ground-ball pitchers this year, as we saw the last time these two teams played. The M’s have fared best against pitchers with low GB%, and worst against those with very high GB%, so I guess it’s good the M’s will miss Lucas Harrell. This was a non-ironic comment about the Astros pitching staff. Man, this team could use better hitters.

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

Mariners. Astros. No Nick Franklin, No problem. Tune in tonight at….awww, come back!

The biggest story in the minors today is the return to game action for LHP Anthony Vasquez, who needed emergency brain surgery in late 2012 after a blood vessel in his brain burst. He’s pitching for Clinton tonight.

Tacoma heads to Las Vegas to take on the 51s some more. Hector Noesi in a park that greatly helps hitters. What could go wrong?

AA Jackson is playing two tonight in Chattanooga; Chance Ruffin starts game 2.

Dustin Ackley’s doing well in Tacoma, with a park-adjusted wOBA of .495 in a tiny sample. Houston’s wayward prospect, Brett Wallace, is also faring well in the minors. The guy who started 2013 1-24 with *17* strikeouts is hitting .302/.381/.523 for Oklahoma City. The PCL is a hell of a drug.

* There’s a sentence you never thought you’d read here.
** Not actually alongside him. That wouldn’t work, and would be a total waste. It’s a metaphor, though not a very good one.
*** “…the Keuchel was invented by German immigrants in 1885, who decided that even a sweet dessert pastry should have an abundance of grilled meat on it, and…”


64 Responses to “Game 65, Astros at Mariners”

  1. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 6:23 pm

    I am fighting a bad cold and could really use a nap.

    Thanks for doing your part to help make that happen for me this evening, M’s.

  2. absolutsyd on June 10th, 2013 6:30 pm

    I honestly wondered if yesterdays line up was historically bad, one of the worst ever even. Tonight is worse. Why in the hell does Wedge insist on sitting better players day in and day out? I hate this team right now.

  3. lalo on June 10th, 2013 6:37 pm

    I really think Wedge is the worst manager in the entire league. I kinda miss Wakamatsu.

  4. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 6:48 pm

    Well, “hate” means you are still invested to some extent, so thats a positive. Stay on the lookout for “apathy.” Contempt followed by apathy. They are pushing a lot of people in that direction.

    True to the blue.

  5. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 6:55 pm

    I should probably do some mowing before the rain potentially hits tomorrow. My only regret is that doing so would require that I miss an Iwakuma start – but the prospect of watching these guys hit isn’t compelling me to tune in, to say the least.

  6. MrZDevotee on June 10th, 2013 7:01 pm

    “True to the Blue”

    Yeah, but nobody knew that referred to what happens if you try to hold your breath till something good happens at the management level with this team.

    “True to the Blue… Blue… Blue… (gasp) Thud…”

  7. californiamariner on June 10th, 2013 7:07 pm

    Thinking about fast forwarding through the offensive part of the game and watching Iwakuma pitch.

  8. seasick on June 10th, 2013 7:08 pm

    During the offseason when we released Carp, I felt that it was a mistake because he’s had some pretty long hitting streaks at the major league level and hits for some power. Now that he’s with the Red Sox I check in on him to see how he’s progressing. As of his most recent at bat tonight he is hitting .330 with 6HR’s and 22RBI’s. Not that Carp is some amazing world beater, but we sure could use that .330 in our line up, but we let him go so we could retain…Bay? Chavez?

  9. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 7:30 pm

    I think they let Carp go so Smoak didn’t have to look over his shoulder … Cuz Smoak is the man … and yeah – There were all sorts of other useful ways to use the roster spot. Very useful and productive ways. Extremely useful.


  10. lalo on June 10th, 2013 7:46 pm

    Carp wasn´t good here, he´s in a hot streak right now but Fenway is a better park for lefties than SafeCo. And there he is like the worst hitter in the lineup, here he had to do everything without protection, so different conditions.

  11. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Nice catch by Ryan. Wow.

  12. WTF_Ms on June 10th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Ryan “heats up” with the bat, and his defense starts sucking???? Wow…that run is on Ryan.

  13. WTF_Ms on June 10th, 2013 7:59 pm

    Well, I guess that last at bat answers the “heating up” part! Go Carlos!

  14. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 8:00 pm

    Speedster Carp is running a .396 BABIP so far in 2013 – even at Fenway, he’s due for some serious regression.

  15. gopilots70 on June 10th, 2013 8:05 pm

    Again, Ryan is a losing ballplayer. He can dazzle at times with the glove, can go on a streak occasionally with the bat.

    By my count, this is at least the fourth shutout he has blown this year. But we can not afford to start giving Nick Franklin a shot at short because BR is so valuable to the team in the words of Eric Wedge.

    Yes, I have not played baseball since the ninth grade but even I can see that we have not and will not win with Brendan Ryan and Eric Wedge in the key positions that they are in.

  16. seasick on June 10th, 2013 8:12 pm

    I’m kinda hoping the M’s get swept by the Astros. Maybe then changes will be made, like imploding Safeco and selling the team.

  17. WTF_Ms on June 10th, 2013 8:19 pm

    I hear there’s a really rich dude(s) looking to buy a professional team around here??? Maybe if ownership was not satisfied with mediocrity, we’d start fielding a team that wins on occasion!

  18. absolutsyd on June 10th, 2013 8:22 pm

    I was at the game yesterday and honestly wanted to throw things at Ryan. Fuck that guy so hard. Just another piece of a god awful team.

  19. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Man, Morse has been in a nosedive too.

    Who could’ve predicted Morse would miss games due to injury and/or play hurt? … He asks rhetorically.

  20. Slats on June 10th, 2013 8:22 pm


  21. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 8:25 pm


  22. lalo on June 10th, 2013 8:25 pm

    Imagine if the M´s were sold to an arab sheikh like soccer teams are. Suddenly they´d be spending like 250 millions every year without any worries.

  23. californiamariner on June 10th, 2013 8:25 pm

    All I can think about is that last podcast where they joked about every Raul home run getting him another contract here. Fuck

  24. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 8:27 pm

    If they’d quit putting him in the outfield, I’d feel much better about Raul.

  25. californiamariner on June 10th, 2013 8:28 pm

    Yeah Westy if they’d DH him every now and then whatever. But hopefully next season doesn’t have a team with 14 DHs

  26. absolutsyd on June 10th, 2013 8:31 pm

    Hell, Raul is one of 3, maybe 4 hitters who deserve to be on an MLB starting lineup right now on this damn team. Seriously. Seager, Morales, mayyyyyybe Bay.

  27. Slats on June 10th, 2013 8:35 pm

    Triunfel finally gets a hit!

  28. californiamariner on June 10th, 2013 8:35 pm

    I wouldn’t say Raul deserves to be in lineup every day. The HR now and then are nice but that’s all he provides. Defensively he is obviously atrocious. Low OBP and avg. Negative war on the season.

  29. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 8:48 pm

    Does Altuve have more power from the right side than Smoak?

  30. absolutsyd on June 10th, 2013 8:49 pm

    Oh, he in no way ever deserves to be in the outfield. He should be 1B/DH all the way, and yes, he should sit versus good lefties. Still, he provides something on offense at least.

  31. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 8:56 pm

    That’d be pretty embarrassing if its true, Mike.

    And they indeed appear to be neck and neck, even overall. But Smoak’s right-handed ISO is craptacularly low – Altuve’s .096 beats Smoak’s by a country mile.

  32. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 9:01 pm

    Craptacular baseball from BOTH teams tonight, ladies and gentlemen!

  33. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 9:09 pm

    How does Triunfel take that pitch?

  34. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 9:13 pm

    So, after the draft pick signing period ends, is that when the front office changes happen? Barring some minor miracles via infusion of life from some young players (and creating agtual hope) what other choice is there? The org is not going to be able to sell anybody on the idea of having one more year of “THIS” crap … Are they?

  35. msfanmike on June 10th, 2013 9:14 pm

    Sorry Westy … I meant to say “craptacular”.

  36. casey on June 10th, 2013 9:25 pm

    If I was Z I would make a case that a) have rebuilt farm system so it is brimming and ready to be the foundation going forward b) give me $120 million not $70 million like other top drawer teams and I will give you winning major league team.

    Given that payroll is still $70 million and they don’t lose money tells me ownership is not all that interested or knowledgeable beyond bottom line (show me the business plan for how spending $120 million doesn’t lose us money). I don’t really see any changes happening soon – I think Howard and Chuck like Z as their baseball guy.

  37. darndy on June 10th, 2013 9:27 pm

    Step 1: Get rid of teal; it’s embarrassing.

  38. MrZDevotee on June 10th, 2013 9:28 pm

    I want to be defensive and disagree with the “few MLB players on this roster” but then I thought about it… Morales is probably the only guy on this team that could be a starter on a real contending baseball team– and he’s realistically a DH on that team. I was gonna add Seager, but most teams don’t give a key corner infield position to someone who should really probably be a 2nd basemen– and he’d be a valuable 2B with his batting. While we were talking about Ackley’s value at 2nd, we neglected just how valuable Seager is if he was at 2nd putting up the numbers he did last season. So you can say Seager, but NOT as a 3B.

    This house of cards folded in on itself as soon as the first minor injuries surfaced, and we started giving starting roles to AAA backups. Watching us play the Astros just highlights how far away we are, even if we have the occasional good series (like at Yankee Stadium).

    I get depressed everytime we struggle to beat Houston. Or, um, you know… get blown out by them.

  39. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:30 pm

    Holy shit, this season is still going?

    Oh man, this is getting old.

  40. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:32 pm

    I liked that view.

    It would be cool to watch a game from above and behind home.

  41. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:32 pm

    On TV of course. Or I could just buy more tickets above home, but I’m kind of afraid of heights.

  42. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:33 pm

    Raul hitting against LHP makes Baby Jesus Montero Sucre cry.

  43. MrZDevotee on June 10th, 2013 9:36 pm

    I wonder if Kelly Shoppach has EVER been intentionally walked before? I mean, EVER? Does that sum up our lineup, when there’s somebody you’d rather face than Kelly Shoppach?

  44. spuuky on June 10th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Guys did we determine yet if Iwakuma was a good signing this off-season?

  45. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 9:39 pm

    You know, Raul hasn’t been awful against lefties this year – at least on the Mariners’ scale of things. His 2013 OPS against lefties is .645 right now.

    I expect it’ll get worse, given his performance the past two years. But on this team…

  46. seasick on June 10th, 2013 9:42 pm

    +1 on banning the teal uniforms. I was watching the replay of the 1995 Mariners vs Yankees playoff last night on ROOT and they had the same 1990′s/starbucks/yuppie-vomit uniforms back then. I love their throwback uniforms though. They need to bring those back full time.

  47. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:42 pm

    Raul Ibanez has a .216 OBP vs. LHP.

    He has struck out 32.4% of the time vs. LHP.

    His FB+LD-IFFB vs. LHP is 45%.

    And we just sent him out there with 2 RISP in a high-leverage situation to face a LHP.

    What kind of moron would do that? Oh, right.

    (Oh, and while SSS, he is hitting a huge .091 vs. LHP at home, just because.)

  48. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:44 pm

    The only thing making Raul’s offensive numbers look good is his unsustainable .257 ISO vs. LHP. That is Barry Bond’s-esque ISO.

  49. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Brendan Ryan showing what his batting profile says he should be doing.

  50. Longgeorge1 on June 10th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Ok Brendan Now let’s see K-K-K

  51. sawsatch on June 10th, 2013 9:53 pm

    MrZDevotee so correct you are! This is a triple A team at best. How can we otherwise explain the M”s record with Felix and Iwakuma as 1-2?

  52. scraps on June 10th, 2013 9:54 pm

    Ryan is a losing ballplayer.

    Well, he is a mediocre player; great with the glove, awful with the bat. He’s right now a 0.1 WAR.

    But Mike Morse is right now a -0.2 WAR. Yet you hear talk about an extension.

    By my count, this is at least the fourth shutout he has blown this year.

    Come on. In the second place, you can’t blow a shutout by yourself, except sometimes the pitcher. In the first place, Ryan is the best fielding shortstop in the league. Of course he’s not perfect. But stick to attacking his batting.

  53. Longgeorge1 on June 10th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Pretty damn close to K-K-K

  54. henryv on June 10th, 2013 9:59 pm

    Ryan is also one of the better baserunners, and during the last 3 years had one of the highest defensive values in the history of the metric.

    Failing to understand the value of defense is Eric Wedge’s job. We shouldn’t be doing it here.

  55. G-Man on June 10th, 2013 10:01 pm

    I just got home; heard that interference call on the radio. I have noticed that baserunners always run inside the line on plays like that, risking the interference call. AS I understand it, it can’t be called interference unless the throw hits the runner. I think that running inside is being coached, on the theory that the fielder will typically throw around the runner and maybe throw it away.

  56. henryv on June 10th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Oh, how we miss Beltre on those ones.

    (But not on the low and outside sliders.)

  57. Longgeorge1 on June 10th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Yea fire Wedge for leaving Seagar in on defense.

  58. Longgeorge1 on June 10th, 2013 10:13 pm

    We won’t be SWEPT

  59. Westside guy on June 10th, 2013 10:30 pm

    Woo Hoo!


  60. spuuky on June 10th, 2013 10:57 pm

    Hey, we’re ahead of the Angels and Big Free Agent Acquisition Josh Hamilton (current OPS – 50 points lower than Justin Smoak, around the same level as Endy Chavez).

  61. gopilots70 on June 10th, 2013 11:50 pm

    “Failing to understand the value of defense is Eric Wedge’s job. We shouldn’t be doing it here”

    Well said, Henry.. Touche’

  62. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 8:13 am

    In the “feeling an addition of less gloom by the subtraction on somebody else’s roster”– Jon Garland was released by the Rockies, after 12 mostly unremarkable starts.

    So yeah, uplifting news of the day: “Somebody who wasn’t very good for us didn’t go to another team and become much better for them!”

    (That’s good, right? Small victories… Unlike Nostradamus’ prediction that a guy named Vinny would be the 2014 starting 3B for the AL All-Star team… batting .325 with 17 HR– mostly against the M’s– at the break…)

  63. Bremerton guy on June 11th, 2013 10:18 am

    … and Mike Carp will be starting at 1st base.

  64. californiamariner on June 11th, 2013 11:43 am

    Wow did everyone see that Zunino got the call? Hope they don’t ruin him with this premature call up.

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