Game 70, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · June 16, 2013 at 11:20 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Bartolo Colon, 1:10pm

Happy fathers day to all the dads out there. Thanks especially to my own dad for taking me to the Kingdome in the early 80s, and helping to wrangle my kids when we head to Cheney stadium now.

A day after the M’s 41-year old Henry Blanco broke up a scoreless tie with a late grand slam (!), the Athletics counter with their 40-year old ace, Bartolo Colon. I still can’t quite believe that Colon is still pitching, effectively, in the big leagues. I can’t fathom that the fire hydrant-shaped fireballer who came up with the Indians is now a command pitcher whose game is based to a ridiculous degree on spotting a 90-mph fastball. The guy who walked around 4 per nine in the late 90′s/early 00′s now walks almost no one, especially right-handers. And of course, the guy who was busted for performance-enhancing drugs (finally, an explanation for this sorcery!) comes off his suspension, turns 40 and is posting one of the best seasons in his long career.

Many pitching coaches preach the value of simplicity and not trying to do too much. Colon would seem to be the poster child, or perhaps poster grandpa, for that principle. He throws about 80% fastballs at this point, most of them sinkers. He’ll throw a slider to righties and he’ll use the slider and a change to lefties, but they’re not exactly put-away pitches. With two strikes on a righty, he’ll throw a fastball 75% of the time. With two strikes on a lefty, it’s over 80%. When he’s behind in the count, it’s essentially a guarantee that the batter will see a sinker. There’s no ‘pitching backwards,’ no ‘out-thinking the hitter’ – none of those things that pitchers with tons of experience are often said to rely on. Colon has become successful not by taking the Jamie Moyer/Frank Tanana/Freddie Garcia route, but by giving up any pretense of ‘craftiness.’

Of course, by not throwing his change-up much at all, and relying on a sinker whenever he’s behind (and even when he’s not), he’s got platoon splits. This is actually a good match-up for fellow 40+ player, Raul Ibanez. By wOBA, he’s run about 80-point splits since his A’s debut. By FIP, it’s even more stark, with the gap at over 2 full runs. But the gaps are so big in large part because right-handers are just neutralized. And again, he’s annihilates righties despite not striking them out. His K% against righties in his year-plus with Oakland is right about the same as Joe Saunders’ career K% rate; that is to say, it’s low. He makes it work by not walking *any* of them, and by limiting home runs. His HR% to righties is under 1%, and that’s helped to keep his FIP against them well below 3. Lefties are another story, of course, though again, limiting his walks has helped limit the damage they can do against him. Against lefties (and, perhaps, when he’s away from the spacious Coliseum), his approach changes a bit – he gets more strikeouts, walks more, and pays a higher price for mistakes. But ultimately, he knows his own stuff and knows his home park, and he’s made his limited skillset work.

Hisashi Iwakuma turned himself into an elite pitcher, though he utilizes the tried-and-true method of using a knockout breaking ball to strike a bunch of people out. It’s not as bizarre as Colon, but everything about Iwakuma is more fun to watch that Colon, so there’s that.

M’s line-up:
1: Chavez, CF
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Morse, 1B
7: Bay, RF
8: Zunino, C
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Iwakuma

The M’s are going for a three-game road sweep of the first-place Athletics, which is almost as insane as Henry Blanco winning game two with a grand slam. Baseball often makes no sense, and I love that about it.

On a day the M’s face a righty with big platoon splits, Michael Saunders gets a day off and Jason Bay’s in the line-up. What’s sad is that it may be for the best. Saunders had a rough day yesterday, with some WPA-killing failures with men in scoring position against AJ Griffin, and his long slump doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon.

These two teams’ AAA affiliates play today in nearby Sacremento with 39-year old Brian Sweeney getting the start for Tacoma.

The bigger story in AAA yesterday was a huge brawl between Memphis and Albuquerque. The Redbirds’ Maikel Cleto (ex-M’s prospect who went to St. Louis for Brendan Ryan) and Rob Johnson (well, you know) were involved. Video here. Hat tip to Mike Curto.

Comments

55 Responses to “Game 70, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. jordan on June 16th, 2013 1:00 pm

    The Dodgers and their affiliates like to fight, I see.

  2. mossi on June 16th, 2013 1:16 pm

    Blanco’s slam really irritated me. I hope he doesn’t pull that again. Might take at bats away from one of our back up catchers who actually has a “future” in the organization.

  3. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 1:24 pm

    Pitching and defense are a strength for the Mariners, Blowers? Really?

    Have you looked at the outfields this team runs out there on a regular basis?

  4. deadmanonleave on June 16th, 2013 1:26 pm

    That’s one cool double play!

  5. msfanmike on June 16th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Blow it open, Seags!

  6. msfanmike on June 16th, 2013 1:42 pm

    Damn. He hit a bullet

  7. G-Man on June 16th, 2013 1:44 pm

    Damn, had a chance for more.

  8. jordan on June 16th, 2013 1:48 pm

    Iwakuma is the greatest pitcher of all time!

  9. djw on June 16th, 2013 1:52 pm

    Chavez seemed miles away from that.

  10. Jake on June 16th, 2013 2:23 pm

    The ol’ Ibanez clank.

  11. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 2:28 pm

    Defense doesn’t matter, he makes up for it in Leadership Points.

  12. Longgeorge1 on June 16th, 2013 2:33 pm

    How would you like the Angeles outfield and suck more than the M’s?

  13. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 2:40 pm

    I’d take the Angels’ outfield if I didn’t have to take their pitching as well.

    But it’s hard to argue the Angels are out-sucking the Mariners given the two teams are neck and neck in the standings.

  14. Longgeorge1 on June 16th, 2013 2:41 pm

    Sorry can’t do that Westy

  15. Longgeorge1 on June 16th, 2013 2:41 pm

    Sorry can’t do that Westy

  16. Woodcutta on June 16th, 2013 2:42 pm

    I would love the M’s to have the Angels outfield. Trout is one of the best players in the game and Bourjos is excellent on defense. Hamilton is the real issue but his potential to break out at any moment would be worth the current slump over say Bay, Ibanez, or Morse.

    On a side note, how does Colon beat anyone to first?

  17. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Could I have the Orioles instead? ;-)

  18. Longgeorge1 on June 16th, 2013 2:43 pm

    My point is they are a much bigger disappointment at this moment. Sure they will probably beat us BUT

  19. Longgeorge1 on June 16th, 2013 2:47 pm

    I would love to have the Angels roster But that is my point. To be even close to us they are playing with way more suckiness to be close to this mismanaged poorly designed bunch of choking dogs.

  20. Woodcutta on June 16th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Well, the M’s better score in the top of the 6th b/c they are 1-28 when trailing after the 6th inning and 0-29 when trailing after the 7th.

  21. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Momentum, Woodcutta.

  22. pgreyy on June 16th, 2013 3:10 pm

    Jaso is 0-0 with three walks.

    WE FEAR THE JASO!

  23. pgreyy on June 16th, 2013 3:12 pm

    …and with good reason. :(

  24. californiamariner on June 16th, 2013 3:27 pm

    There’s the Beavan I know! I was getting worried for a minute.

  25. msfanmike on June 16th, 2013 3:29 pm

    Don’t worry Blake , they will eventually get tired from hitting the ball so hard.

  26. pgreyy on June 16th, 2013 3:31 pm

    All right…just about time for the Bartender to cut us off. WE’RE DRUNK!

  27. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 3:33 pm

    I think he wore out Wedge before he could wear out the Athletics, Mike.

  28. juneau_fan on June 16th, 2013 3:33 pm

    Still hate BB. Come home to find the game close, in the time it took to make lunch, not so much.

  29. californiamariner on June 16th, 2013 3:38 pm

    Angels just scored 5 in the bottom of the 9th and lost by 1. HA. Still ahead of them.

  30. pgreyy on June 16th, 2013 3:40 pm

    So, who wants to be the first one to whisper that all of our pitching woes today are because of the rookie receiver?

    Not me, mind you. I’m used to the M’s pitching foibles…

  31. juneau_fan on June 16th, 2013 3:43 pm

    Are you kidding, pgreyy?

  32. juneau_fan on June 16th, 2013 3:54 pm

    So it’s going to be one of those games.

  33. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 3:54 pm

    Looks like I just missed a pretty rough 7th.

    When are we going to have a late inning explosion like that?

  34. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 4:00 pm

    Looks like I’m witnessing a pretty rough 8th.

    When are we going to have a late inning explosion like this?

  35. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 4:02 pm

    Well, only need a couple of more grand slams from Blanco and we’re right back in this.

  36. pgreyy on June 16th, 2013 4:05 pm

    I don’t know how to answer your question, juneau.

    Do I, personally, think there’s any reason to blame Zunino? No. As I said, I’m used to Mariners pitching…so the fact that all the wheels on the bus fall off at the same time, no matter who is driving, doesn’t surprise me.

    Do I think that someone will grasp for straws and come up with Zunino as the reason for today’s pitching implosion? Nothing surprises me about what some M’s fans, Baker readers or beleaguered M’s managers might come up with to explain away poor performances.

    So, was I kidding? Yes…and?

  37. Woodcutta on June 16th, 2013 4:11 pm

    How could it ever be Zunino’s fault when Iwakuma and Beavan kept throwing the ball over the middle of the plate even though he set up elsewhere?

  38. nvn8vbryce on June 16th, 2013 4:18 pm
  39. nvn8vbryce on June 16th, 2013 4:21 pm

    Sorry, I’m on my phone and the link is a little screwed up…

  40. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 4:33 pm

    Raul was a very gritty 0-4.

  41. californiamariner on June 16th, 2013 4:34 pm

    “@shannondrayer: Unbelievable. Pipes backing up in both clubhouses. Mariners scrambling to get out. Training room and showers flooded and not stopping.”

  42. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 5:00 pm

    And, according to Divish, they’re not talking about water pipes either. Ewwww….

  43. SonOfZavaras on June 16th, 2013 5:08 pm

    Whoof. A day where your whole team’s collective ass got kicked on the field…followed by THAT. Jesus.

  44. sawsatch on June 16th, 2013 5:19 pm

    Does anyone have a stat on
    1-how many total innings the Mariners haven’t scored
    2-how many innings they have scored 1 run
    3-how many innings they have scored 2 or more runs
    and how that compares with other MLB teams?

  45. SonOfZavaras on June 16th, 2013 5:37 pm

    Sawsatch,
    I’m not certain about this, but FanGraphs or Baseball-Reference .com might have that info.

    The only piece of info I know even remotely in that category is that apparently the M’s have scored 246 runs, good for next to last in the American League. The ChiSox apparently have scored just a few less than we have (237).

    I will say FanGraphs has an amazing amount of information, and I would look there first.

  46. sawsatch on June 16th, 2013 7:20 pm

    Thanks.
    I wonder how many fans will come out to see this team the rest of the season.

  47. Westside guy on June 16th, 2013 7:23 pm

    After 70 games…

    2013 Mariners: 246 runs scored, 296 runs allowed (diff -50)
    31 wins, 39 losses

    2012 Mariners: 287 runs scored, 306 runs allowed (diff -19)
    30 wins, 40 losses

  48. Will Lofton on June 16th, 2013 8:29 pm

    Hey, at least we’re making strides in terms of our record. I can feel a division title next season.

  49. sawsatch on June 16th, 2013 8:40 pm

    The Mariners need to play .570 ball just to hit 81 wins.

  50. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 8:41 pm

    The A’s have a run differential of +50.

    Funny how losing your best hitter to a division rival can hurt you, while making them better.

    But it’s not like anyone could see this happening.

  51. HighlightsAt11 on June 16th, 2013 8:46 pm

    From ESPN Game Notes:

    “INF Justin Smoak (strained right oblique) could return to the Mariners lineup as early as Monday night in Anaheim.”

    So then, who gets sent down or DFA? Or someone else goes on the DL musical chair?

  52. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 8:53 pm

    ^Liddi.

  53. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2013 8:59 pm

    Smoak was on the 15 day DL, not the 60, so they only have to clear a spot on the 25 man.

  54. SeattleSlew on June 16th, 2013 10:40 pm

    I don’t like to live in the past but I sure love it when Root replays the 95 games. (Game 5 ALDS)

  55. scraps on June 17th, 2013 3:31 pm

    “@shannondrayer: Unbelievable. Pipes backing up in both clubhouses. Mariners scrambling to get out. Training room and showers flooded and not stopping.”

    There’s a, um, vivid story up on ESPN:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9393784/sewage-problem-puts-oakland-seattle-mariners-same-locker-room

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