Game 83, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · July 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Justin Grimm, 5:05pm

So Joe Saunders last start, at home no less, could’ve gone better. Now he gets to pitch in Arlington, and while the Rangers aren’t a great hitting team (as you saw in Matthew’s series preview), they did knock Saunders around for 7 runs in less than five innings earlier this year. The Rangers have fared better against lefty starters this year, and the game time temperature will be in the mid-high 80s. On paper, it’s not a great match-up, and Saunders may sneak a glance at Rainiers box scores these days, with Erasmo Ramirez, Danny Hultzen and Brandon Maurer all a phone call away from taking his job.

Justin Grimm was a great story in April/May, with solid results and a great K:BB ratio, but he’s been knocked around in June. Of course, those of you with a good memory may point out that he faced the Mariners three times early on, compiling a 16:4 K:BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings, and then you notice that he’s faced Toronto, Boston, New York and Oakland in June and that’ll spare you the need to craft a narrative about how he’s “tiring” or “not used to the grind” of MLB. As you may recall, he throws a straight, 91-93mph fastball, a sinker, a change-up and a curve ball. Lefties have feasted on his sub-par change, while righties have enjoyed Grimm’s fastball (they’re slugging .613 on it), so Grimm’s not shown much in the way of platoon splits so far. His curveball’s been good, but he doesn’t throw it much when he’s behind in the count.

Grimm’s biggest problem this year has been sequencing. Like most pitchers, Grimm’s walk rate rises a bit with runners in scoring position. Pitchers often pitch around great hitters, and essentially trade OBP for power with men on base. With no one on, pitchers generally challenge hitters more, as a poor outcome doesn’t hurt them as much. Grimm’s got the slightly higher walk rate part of the equation down, but he appears confused about slugging with men on. With no one on, batters are slugging .436 off of him. With men on, that moves up to .526, and with RISP, it’s way up to .645. The samples here are absolutely miniscule, so this is more of a curiosity than anything. It’s tempting to point to problems pitching from the stretch as driving splits like these, but there have been too many cases (Brandon Morrow for one) where a pitcher has terrible men-on-base splits for 3, 4 years and then shuts down batters with men on for a year or two. It may not last, but the M’s should get a few runners on just to see what happens. If the M’s are lucky, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has made these splits a point of emphasis, berating Grimm in front of his teammates for his lack of “guts” and for letting his team down, and Grimm can think of nothing else, his hands trembling in fear as he looks in for the catcher’s sign, each “you suck” from the crowd coming through loud and clear, and is the batboy laughing at me?, and the umpire’s been squeezing me the whole game.

1: Chavez
2: Franklin
3: Ibanez
4: Morales (DH)
5: Seager
6: Smoak
7: Ackley (CF)
8: Zunino
9: Miller
SP: Joe Saunders

Good to see Ackley’s injury a few days ago wasn’t serious. While it looked initially like a severe wrist sprain, it was actually his thumb, and while it’ll be wrapped tonight, he’s obviously able to play.

So Taijuan Walker’s pretty good. Another AAA start, another win, and still no runs scored off the young righty. Like most people, I think it’d be good for him to get plenty of work in at AAA and see if he can improve the consistency of his cutter and curve. Like most people, I won’t mind too much if Walker makes a really strong case for an accelerated timeline, though. Danny Hultzen pitches tonight in Tacoma vs. Colorado Springs if you’d like to get out to a ballgame locally. Everett’s in Vancouver, for those up north.


56 Responses to “Game 83, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. 11records on July 2nd, 2013 4:22 pm

    I was thinking about a different Dustin Ackley comp… One that I’d enjoy more than Jeremy Reed (but less than Chase Utley, obviously!)

    What about Darin Erstad? Erstad was a number one overall draft pick. Ackley, #2. Both came up after a limited amount of time in AAA, approx 300 to 400 AB’s. Erstad’s and Ackley’s AAA numbers were really similar. Erstad never played middle IF obviously because he threw left handed. But they are both high contact guys with good wheels. Around the same size, and power profile.

    Erstad had a mediocre age 25 season (albeit after excellent age 23 and 24 seasons, but that fucks up the comparison!) then crushed at 26.

    Could that be reasonable?? Am I grasping?

  2. marc w on July 2nd, 2013 4:35 pm

    That’s not an either/or, 11records. I actually really like that comp from a physical side, and if you adjust for the era, Erstad’s edge in power is lessened. I still think it’s grasping a bit, as Erstad had two full seasons of above-average hitting before his age-25 swoon.
    Ackley was always a more patient hitter and had better eye, but his pure batting skills seem like they are a step behind Erstad’s, particularly given what we’ve seen in 2012-13.

  3. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 4:38 pm

    Erstad comp sounds like wishful thinking … Which I also find myself doing more often than not.

    Regarding Joe Saunders in Arlington, there is really very little that can be said. If he gives up fewer than 6 runs it will be a bit of a miracle.

    Glad to see Ackley is back. Pretty amazing he made it back before Saunders. I hope Ackley can show us a lot of positives over the next 3 months.

  4. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 5:01 pm

    Re: Ackley being “able to play”…

    I hope this is actually an intelligently-made decision this time versus the Mike Morse “I can play through pain” stress fracture decision, where his OPS fell about 700 points and his average fell to some ungodly low. But, knowing this team, I have no confidence there’s any thought in these decisions. What little I read that came directly from Ackley, he seemed to be saying “the team wouldn’t let me play if they didn’t think I was ready” instead of “I feel fine, I’ll be able to hit fine”.

  5. Paul B on July 2nd, 2013 5:06 pm

    Well, when he doesn’t hit he’ll have an excuse.

  6. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 5:12 pm

    Hahahahahahahahahaaha Raauuuuuuuuuuuuullll!

    Don’t give it back in the field today, please.

  7. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 5:13 pm


    (Doesn’t quite work as well)

  8. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 5:15 pm


  9. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 5:15 pm

    BOOO Seager, no dinger.

    LEARN from the VETERANS.

  10. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 5:18 pm

    The Rangers probably feel pretty good about having traded Justin Smoak, but a lot less “good” about getting rid of Chris Davis.

    Just guessing, though.

  11. Longgeorge1 on July 2nd, 2013 5:19 pm

    I wish someone else was pitching in the road grays

  12. Woodcutta on July 2nd, 2013 5:49 pm

    I liked seeing Ackley put a good swing on the ball in his first at bat. Seems like is has been a long time since that has happened at the MLB level.

  13. ABP52380 on July 2nd, 2013 6:02 pm

    Scouting report for Ackley: throw him fastball one, fastball two. Quick 0/2 count.

    For crying out loud, he gets down 0/1, 0/2 every flipping time. Every team knows it too with their scouting reports which is why he sees an obscene amount of dead red fastballs every at bat.

  14. Woodcutta on July 2nd, 2013 6:09 pm

    Is there a reason the trivia question today had absolutely nothing to do with baseball?

  15. Woodcutta on July 2nd, 2013 6:12 pm

    Atta boy Ackley.

  16. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2013 6:12 pm

    There we go!

  17. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:12 pm


  18. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:13 pm

    Why was Smoak running on that?

  19. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:13 pm

    Sending Smoak on contact, but not on the double to the wall.


  20. stevemotivateir on July 2nd, 2013 6:14 pm

    Is that typical, or what?

  21. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:15 pm

    They sure do give up a lot of outs.

    That inning turned into a big fat Mariner failure. It will cost them, no doubt.

  22. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 6:15 pm

    Yes, quite typical.

  23. bsoly on July 2nd, 2013 6:17 pm

    Why didn’t Ackely get to third on the play Smoak was thrown out on?
    Was he just not paying attention?
    That cost us a run.

  24. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:20 pm

    Ackley probably couldn’t believe they’d actually send Smoak on that.

  25. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 6:28 pm

    How long can Saunders keep dodging bullets?

  26. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:29 pm

    Because Turks, bsoly

  27. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:33 pm

    That’s what they needed!!!

  28. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:33 pm


  29. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 6:37 pm

    Kendrys just doesn’t like the month of June. We’re good now.

  30. msfanmike on July 2nd, 2013 6:50 pm

    Did Franklin hit lead off in AAA?

  31. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:50 pm

    Looks like Dave Sims Hat Night down in Texas!

  32. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:56 pm

    Raul giveth, and Raul taketh away.

  33. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 6:59 pm

    Hultzen scratched from start. Time to speculate about a call up?

  34. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 6:59 pm

    So is eight runs enough, what with Saunders pitching in Texas in summer?

  35. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 7:00 pm

    Hope Hultzen hasn’t been traded for a veteran.

  36. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 7:02 pm

    Now they’re saying Hultzen couldn’t get loose. That would have been so Mariners to call him up before Erasmo.

  37. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 7:03 pm

    Hultzen scratched because he “couldn’t get loose”.

    Start speculating… About surgery, I guess.

  38. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 7:04 pm

    Miller making some nice plays out there.

  39. Will on July 2nd, 2013 7:04 pm

    Homer Bailey with a no-hitter. Very impressive.

  40. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 7:07 pm

    Looks like none of us knows the answer, Mike.

  41. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 7:10 pm

    Nice to have someone else’s pitcher throwing batting practice to the Mariners for a change.

  42. Paul B on July 2nd, 2013 7:11 pm

    Wow, 9 runs. In one game.

  43. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 7:12 pm

    This game is fun. And the young guys all did stuff. This is how it’s supposed to be! Just do this all the time!

  44. dogkahuna on July 2nd, 2013 7:12 pm

    Seager could have taken third on interference on the throw down to second that was dropped. All he had to do was sneak a peak at the 2B umpire to see interference was granted. The umpire mechanic is to point at an interference/interfering player while following the play to completion and possibly making other calls. All Seager had to do was run down to third. He might have been thrown out but the base would have been granted.

  45. juneau_fan on July 2nd, 2013 7:13 pm

    Nice to come home to this sort of score.

  46. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 7:13 pm

    Mike Curto: “This Hultzen situation went down exactly the same way it happened back in April in Vegas. Hopefully not as severe this time.”

  47. Monty on July 2nd, 2013 7:15 pm

    Wow! Nice to see all those crooked numbers

  48. Longgeorge1 on July 2nd, 2013 7:30 pm

    The Hultzen situation is scary. This franchise is cursed. Every silver lining has a dark cloud.

  49. juneau_fan on July 2nd, 2013 7:53 pm

    And the bartender puts the first shot on the bar…

  50. juneau_fan on July 2nd, 2013 7:55 pm

    *covering eyes* Raul and Ackley in the outfield?

  51. juneau_fan on July 2nd, 2013 7:56 pm

    “Can’t be the shy retiring type in that position.”

    Excellent point,Sims,about Ackley. He’s always looked like he’s a quiet, in his head sort of guy. Is that a center fielder? Need some flash, some showboat,IMO.

  52. californiamariner on July 2nd, 2013 7:59 pm

    Ok Ackley should have called for it, but give me a break that was obviously his ball. Raul wouldn’t have done that with an established CF out there.

  53. Rainiers_fan on July 2nd, 2013 9:55 pm

    I was watching Hultzen throw to Jamarillo, he didn’t seem comfortable during warmups and shook his head and then left the field. His routine is to fist bump us as he walks to the dugout with the catcher a few minutes before game time. He ran alone into the dugout with his head down about ten minutes earlier than normal and Hector Noesi quickly was called into to begin warming up.

  54. Westside guy on July 2nd, 2013 9:57 pm

    Ugh. Bad news about Hultzen, Rainiers_fan.

  55. Rainiers_fan on July 3rd, 2013 6:28 am

    Yeah, I was bummed for him. It means he is either hurt or was traded to Houston.

  56. bfgboy on July 3rd, 2013 8:04 am

    Did the M’s sign any international players yesterday? There is plenty of news on the Cubs and Rangers, but no M’s.

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