Game 68, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · June 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Tommy Milone, 7:05pm

With Erasmo Ramirez’s brilliant start last night capping a brilliant run on his rehab stint, the bottom three members of the M’s rotation have each got to be looking over their shoulders a bit. A guy like Jeremy Bonderman has no room for error, but he’s been solid in his last two starts. Aaron Harang has two CG shutouts recently, so he may be a bit safer. Joe Saunders may be safest, but that also means he could conceivably fetch something in trade – just not anything like a real prospect. He’s cheap and a name-brand starter (playoff experience!), and also not as good as Erasmo Ramirez. We’ll see.

The A’s feature several players that have made me look completely, unforgivably foolish in recent years. Last year, I mocked the fact that the A’s were going into opening day with a fly-ball starting pitcher throwing 87mph. More than that, they were so short on depth at 3B they took a so-so minor league catcher, gave him a new mitt and a ‘Go get ‘em’ and thought that counted as infield depth. The former was worth nearly 3 WAR last year as a perfectly serviceable starter who got more K’s than you might expect thanks to his plus change-up. The latter….well, the latter has a .378 wOBA and a .310/.377/.500 line while playing good defense at 3B. There’s a lesson in here for me, and it’s not just “stop making predictions and judgments about baseball players,” though the magnitude of my miss on Josh Donaldson makes me think about that from time to time. The lesson is: not every team is like the Seattle Mariners.

If you’re an M’s prospect with some flaws, those flaws will be exposed in the big leagues. That’s fine, that’s to be expected – MLB is really, really hard, and if the best players know an opponent’s weaknesses, they can exploit them. So, Carlos Peguero didn’t come up and become a selective hitter. Dustin Ackley didn’t start driving the ‘lefty strike’ to left field. Michael Saunders is still Michael Saunders. If the prospect had no real weaknesses (think Felix Hernandez, but A-Rod would work), then they’d succeed, but how many of those are there? I looked at the A’s line-up through the M’s prism. Huh, a lefty without much stuff but a good change? How many of those have the M’s had through the years, and how many of them have worked out (that’d be one). When the M’s have moved players around the diamond, or taken OK but not great MiLB hitters and tried to extract production from them, the results have been awful. But that’s not true everywhere. The Rangers get something from limited players, and the A’s are either able to utilize flawed players in an intelligent way (Brandon Moss, maybe John Jaso) or develop them into less-flawed players like Josh Donaldson. This is exactly what the M’s have needed to do to close the gap with the teams in the top half of this division, but instead the gap’s just as big. Josh Donaldson was a roughly average PCL catcher and now he’s better than Kyle Seager. Go M’s!

Line-up:
1: Bay
2: Franklin
3: Seager
4: Morales
5: Morse (1b)
6: Ibanez
7: Zunino
8: M. Saunders
9: Ryan
SP: Joe Saunders

The M’s made a roster move today, because it’d been a few hours since the last one. Today, they DFA’d veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach to bring in even veteranier Henry Blanco. Blanco is 41, and will turn 42 this year, so Raul Ibanez is no longer the oldest Mariner. I…I don’t know what to say about this. Shoppach had been cold, but he’s essentially produced a typical Shoppach season. Lots of Ks, some walks, veteran grit behind the plate. It seems very, very odd to decide that the guy you brought in to do those things wasn’t the guy you wanted long term, but hey, if Blanco can be a better mentor to Mike Zunino, who is now unquestionably the starter, uh, OK. But it definitely underscores how rushed Zunino was. The veteran backstop they’d acquired in the spring would’ve been an OK mentor to Jesus Montero, but not to Zunino. I have no idea. Moving on.

Tom Wilhelmsen’s officially off the closer spot, reports Ryan Divish. Wedge will mix and match with Carter Capps and Oliver Perez. Sigh.

The short-season Northwest League kicks off tonight at 6:30, as the Everett Aquasox head to Spokane to take on the Indians (a Rangers club). Rigoberto Garcia starts for Everett, who also has SS Martin Peguero, OF Alfredo Morales and Phillips Castillo, and Kyle Seager’s younger brother Justin on the roster. CF James Zamarripa may be something of a sleeper. Gonzaga alum Tyler Olsen may start another game in the series. Everett’s Pat Dillon’s got the call at KRKO 1380. If you’re in Eastern Washington, it’ll be on KGA Spokane 1510.

Taijuan Walker’s starting right now for AA Jackson and Brandon Maurer’s throwing for Tacoma in Sacramento. Good night of minor league baseball.

Comments

57 Responses to “Game 68, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 6:32 pm

    Uh… woo?

  2. phineasphreak on June 14th, 2013 6:39 pm

    @ Westside guy: woooo

  3. californiamariner on June 14th, 2013 6:46 pm

    Wooooo!

  4. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 6:52 pm

    Ow

  5. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 7:14 pm

    Hahaha!

  6. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 7:28 pm

    Veteran Raul, getting lucky getting it done…

    (Man I’m getting tired of incessantly hearing the “V” word from the team broadcasters)

  7. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 7:36 pm

    … And “he’s having a great year” (assuming negative WAR is great).

    He’s doing pretty great for a 41 year old. I do not begrudge him of that, but Sims is sure no SABR wiz.

  8. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Apparently Raul has indeed been mentoring Condor…

  9. dogkahuna on June 14th, 2013 7:40 pm

    Nice athletic play at home by Zunino! He shouldn’t be here yet IMO, but it’s nice to see some flashes of the future.

  10. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 7:42 pm

    Condor may be on the Tacoma shuttle soon. Of course, this assumes he has another option remaining. Ackley played a bit – in CF – last night according to the box score. Michael needs to experience some success and re-adjust the attitude muscle. It’s working for Ackley so far, and they might have to try it with Saunders.

  11. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 7:56 pm

    With this org, it wouldn’t surprise me if they DFA’ed Condor and went with an IbaƱez – Morse – Bay outfield.

    With Raul in center to mentor Ackley.

  12. stevemotivateir on June 14th, 2013 7:59 pm

    Saunders does have an option. So watch, the M’s option him, bring Peguero back.

  13. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:01 pm

    Funny thing is, I think Saunders has actually looked better a fair bit of the time recently… But he’s hitting it right at guys.

  14. stevemotivateir on June 14th, 2013 8:04 pm

    I’d still take my chances with him, rather than watch the alternatives try to field, with exception to Chavez.

    Really wonder when/if we’ll see an outfield with Romero and Ackley.

  15. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Oh God that’s right … Peguero is still a thing. And he’s hitting about .235 in AAA – which seems to be about right for being called up.

    Zunino’s development was treated more like an extended rehab assignment. I hope it works out and he definitely passes the eye test for defensive mechanics, but he has a steep, pressure packed hill to climb.

  16. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:11 pm

    Square one up time, Michael!

  17. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Yeeesh.

  18. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:13 pm

    I take it back.

  19. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:16 pm

    It might be time for Dr Phil and a Ouija Board.

  20. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:18 pm

    And hey Doc, bring an extra seat with you for our now closer in waiting.

  21. Woodcutta on June 14th, 2013 8:21 pm

    Anyone think there is at least a 70% chance Medina gets the first crack at being the closer?

  22. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:25 pm

    Only if wedge is on crack.

  23. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:25 pm

    Right now it wouldn’t floor me if they called up Erasmo Ramirez and declared him the new closer.

  24. Woodcutta on June 14th, 2013 8:26 pm

    I can’t wait until the M’s actually field an entire team that can hit. The 2B was playing almost right behind the 2B bag and Bay refused to go the other way.

  25. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:30 pm

    Hey, whatever it takes to get Erasmo here, would be fine.

    I think Farquar and the “Committee” will get a shot at closing and I don’t think Willy will be gone for long.

  26. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:38 pm

    An entire team of hitters? Shit, I would settle for 4.

    If you take away the guys who can’t hit and the guys who can’t run, what’s left? Seager, Moralrs and the just getting hjs feet wet Franklin.

    I’d settle for a league average offense, at this point. It would be a huge upgrade.

    Did Bay call the ball? Lucky to come through that unscathed. Two feet – at most – away from a concussion.

  27. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:39 pm

    The Bad News Mariners, ladies and gentlemen.

  28. seasick on June 14th, 2013 8:45 pm

    Bay will get DFA’d next.

  29. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:48 pm

    You are thinking logically, seasick.

    No room for that, here.

  30. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:50 pm

    Is it too much to hope for the next “DFA” to be Wedge?

  31. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 8:59 pm

    MIKEY!!!

  32. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 8:59 pm

    Yeah!!!

  33. californiamariner on June 14th, 2013 9:00 pm

    Yeah Zunino!! Hopefully the first of many!

  34. juneau_fan on June 14th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Fourth error of the week for Ryan? Wow.

  35. juneau_fan on June 14th, 2013 9:34 pm

    That extra run’s looking good now.

  36. californiamariner on June 14th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Can’t wait to see Wedge misuse Capps and Perez.

  37. Longgeorge1 on June 14th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Smoak was pulled after 3 ABs don’t know why

  38. seasick on June 14th, 2013 9:41 pm

    Saunders, just hold your bat across the plate and hope the ball runs into it.

  39. Longgeorge1 on June 14th, 2013 9:42 pm

    What would be misuse?

  40. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 9:44 pm

    Finally, Michael!

  41. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 9:46 pm

    That was a nice AB by Saunders. Steal a base or hit and run. No bunt. Ryan can’t get it down.

    And fuck!.

  42. juneau_fan on June 14th, 2013 9:47 pm

    ugh

  43. gopilots70 on June 14th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Ryan is atrocious. Both at the plate and in the field.

  44. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 9:52 pm

    I am going to go ahead and pre-plan the specific expletives I will use after we lose this game in the bottom of the 9th.

  45. juneau_fan on June 14th, 2013 9:54 pm

    Who’s coming out for the ‘save’?

    Ah, Perez!

  46. Longgeorge1 on June 14th, 2013 10:02 pm

    If you see Kay!!

  47. californiamariner on June 14th, 2013 10:02 pm

    A non blown save!

  48. msfanmike on June 14th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Phew, I can save them for another day.

  49. seasick on June 14th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Breathing a collective sigh of relief?

  50. juneau_fan on June 14th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Perez seems crazy enough to be a closer. Give him the job.

  51. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Boy, I must say Zunino really looks like the real deal as a receiver. It’s great to see!

  52. Don Money on June 14th, 2013 10:30 pm

    Excellent game by Saunders, he just needs to remember to pitch around Chris Young next time. Mike Z has some legitimate strength, that was a shot off a change up, so he supplied all the power. The way he kept everything in front of him, especially those breaking balls in the dirt, was impressive. Timely move, Jack Z!

  53. Don Money on June 14th, 2013 11:03 pm

    Anybody else think Morse looked fairly smooth over at first, he certainly presents a big target!

  54. Westside guy on June 14th, 2013 11:46 pm

    I think his leg is still bothering him enough that it’s hard to tell how well or how poorly he fields at first. But remember, he played there quite a bit for the Nationals – so it’s not exactly a new position for him

    I would prefer he was at first or DH most of the time. Unfortunately we’ve got several other guys for which I think the same thing…

  55. MrZDevotee on June 15th, 2013 12:08 am

    Missed the game, but watching the video highlights that Zunino homerun was pretty. In the slo-mo replay his weight balance, and shift, is so even and smooth. His hands are quiet, with a short and concise swing. Just a great, balanced, steady stroke, that powered a changeup out to center field.

    Very nice to watch.

    Heckuva swing, kid.

  56. The_Waco_Kid on June 15th, 2013 1:28 am

    Happy with Zunino’s HR, Morse at 1B, Perez getting the save (trade value increasing?), Co Joe with a non-Safe win.

    Not happy with the Raul/Bay platoon covering 2 position in the OF (they should both be allowed to cover LF at the same time!)

  57. MrZDevotee on June 15th, 2013 8:50 am

    Waco-
    Like men’s softball!? Ibanez plays “Rover”/LC?

    I like it.

    -Rob

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