Game 88, Mariners at Reds

marc w · July 7, 2013 at 10:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Bronson Arroyo, 10:10am

I’ve learned to avoid the phrase “well, it can be worse than yesterday’s game” but hey – Bronson Arroyo gives up just as many long balls as Joe Saunders, so…go M’s?

I feel like I’ve written this about each of the Reds’ starters, but Arroyo’s fortunes are strongly tied to his HR rate. OK, *every* pitcher’s fortune is tied to his HR rate, but since Arroyo doesn’t strike many out and limits walks, it’s pretty the only thing with season-to-season variation for him. In 2011, he yielded an absurd 46 homers, and was therefore a replacement level pitcher. In 2012, he gave up 26, and was a bit above average. It’s got to be weird for a contending team to count on a guy throwing 88mph fastballs up in the zone and hoping they stay in the park, but hey, a contending team picked up Joe Saunders for the stretch run last year.

Arroyo’s a true junk baller, throwing 55-60% off-speed and breaking stuff, with a change and a curve thrown most often. He’s backed off his change-up usage since that awful 2011 season, when he gave up 15 HRs on the change-up alone. The curve’s been a bit better, but because his change isn’t great, he’s shown just massive platoon splits in his Reds’ career. On paper, or in pitch fx’s xml, Arroyo looks incredibly beatable, but then you look and he’s got a fairly good FIP and an ERA under 4 for the 2nd straight year at Great American Ballpark. He’s got to be one of the most frustrating pitchers to lose to, so don’t lose to him, M’s.

Now this is a very good line-up given the opponent:
1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Ibanez, LF
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Chavez, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Ackley, CF
9: Joe Saunders

All lefties except Zunino. Not bad.

Tai Walker starts for Tacoma today, and Edwin Diaz is on the bump for Pulaski.


57 Responses to “Game 88, Mariners at Reds”

  1. bongo on July 7th, 2013 10:07 am

    Are we really starting two Left Fielders (understandable, if one of them is Ibanez), or do we have Chavez in RF?

  2. DarkKnight1680 on July 7th, 2013 10:11 am

    Diaz should have been moved up to Everett already. Rookie ball hitters have no idea what to do with him.

  3. marc w on July 7th, 2013 10:17 am

    Wooo Nick Franklin! Terrible swing before the HR, but he crushed that high “Fast”ball. It works for Arroyo at times (including on the K of Miller) but I’m still stunned Arroyo pitches up in the zone with his fastball.

  4. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 10:31 am

    Glad to see the anchor back in the lineup. Smoak certainly holds the ship in place. Runners on base – and the traditional soiling of pants occurs.

    How much time did it take Franklin to surpass him in HR and RBI – 20 games?

  5. GhostofMarinersPast on July 7th, 2013 10:33 am

    Man! I am falling head over heels in love with Nicky Franks! And watching this group play together has been more fun and exciting then anything we’ve put on the field in a long time. Fingers crossed for the future…..

  6. bookbook on July 7th, 2013 10:33 am

    Yeah, but can Franklin fell a tree?

    Didn’t think so.

  7. ppl on July 7th, 2013 10:54 am

    I expect bigger and better things from Seager as time goes on.

  8. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 10:56 am

    I had forgotten about the felled tree, but the vacant space where wood once “stood” does seem oddly symbolic. Smoak … The woodless wonder!

    Let the double entendre experts have their way with that one.

  9. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 11:00 am

    The wood arises!

    And oh my God … There was a runner on base!!!

  10. GhostofMarinersPast on July 7th, 2013 11:08 am

    Right on cue, smoak!

  11. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 11:10 am

    I am SO TIRED of these announcers droning on and on about the Mariners’ low average with runners in scoring position!

    Yes, the team is only hitting .222 with RISP – but the team’s overall average is only .239! They don’t hit with RISP largely because – despite the “dingers” – they’re not good at hitting! Out of 30 teams, they are

    27th in average
    23rd in on-base percentage
    20th in slugging

  12. Paul B on July 7th, 2013 11:22 am

    It’s a surprisingly still common way of magical thinking — that there is some sort of clutch hitting ability that real players harness.

    When reality is that some players are better than others.

  13. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 11:35 am

    Good hustle, Joe Saunders. Nice throw as well.


  14. djw on July 7th, 2013 11:41 am

    Runners on base – and the traditional soiling of pants occurs.


    This is just silly. Smoak isn’t a particularly good baseball player, but over the course of his career his wOBA with runners on is 14 points higher than with the bases empty. There’s simply no good reason to believe his 2013 situational hitting says anything about him as a player. It would have been equally silly to conclude that he was a “clutch” hitter because his offensive performance was so much better with runners on in 2011-2012.

  15. GhostofMarinersPast on July 7th, 2013 11:59 am

    Cameron just called Ackley’s speed “outstanding”. Just saying…..

  16. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Schools still have “glee clubs”?

  17. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 12:07 pm

    Granted, neither one is good, and never have been – over his career. He is hitting .130 with RISP this season – with an OPS of .460 with RISP this season. One season does not a tradition make – but it sure is an unfavorable trend.

  18. Will on July 7th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Cameron just called Ackley’s speed “outstanding”. Just saying…

    These guys love to overrate Ackley’s speed…

  19. djw on July 7th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Again, these kind of fluctuations happen all the time. There is no evidence, nor is there any good reason to believe this is a ‘trend’, let alone a troubling one. (The troubling trend is that Smoak doesn’t hit well enough to be provide much value given his defensive limitations).

  20. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Well thank you professor wizard. Is there any other meaningless nugget that you would like to argue during a game thread?

    If you think what Smoak is showing (I am going to stick with trend) is not concerning to the organization, you are clueless. It is the reason why he was benched the first two games in Cincinnati.

  21. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Joe Saunders always looks like someone coming off a lost weekend who wandered onto a baseball field, but hey, it worked this time!

    Think I’ll make a raspberry smoothie to celebrate almost winning a game.

  22. Jake Squid on July 7th, 2013 12:26 pm

    And here I thought that Smoak was benched because there is a better first baseman on the team and there’s no DH in an NL park.

  23. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 12:26 pm

    Come on team – win one for the smoothie!

    It was nice of the Mariners, yesterday, to provide free pizza for all the Cincinnati fans. Of course they did it by striking out 11+ times…

  24. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 12:27 pm

    I am going to hope (not necessarily expect) Wedge puts in a defensive replacement for Ibanez in the top of the 8th.

  25. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:29 pm

    I was blending my smoothie. Did they replace Ibanez? Please say yes….

  26. djw on July 7th, 2013 12:30 pm

    If you think what Smoak is showing (I am going to stick with trend) is not concerning to the organization, you are clueless. It is the reason why he was benched the first two games in Cincinnati.

    I have no idea whether the organization is “concerned” about his small sample situational hitting statistics, and I certainly never claimed otherwise. (You don’t, either.) It wouldn’t surprise me that much if they were, frankly. But they’re often wrong about the value of small sample sizes–see their absurd overreaction to spring training performances convincing them Maurer was ready, for example.

    Why you think “this terrible organization agrees with me” is a line of argument that helps your case, I have no idea. I do know that extensive research has shown that past relative performance in situational hitting has no predictive value whatsoever. This holds when a player we like has a stretch of good situational hitting as much as when a player we don’t has a poor stretch.

  27. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 12:32 pm

    All the grit whipping around in left field should be enough to tell you Ibañez is out there, patrolling with veteran diligence.

  28. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:33 pm

    So no, and thank god, Ibanez actually caught it.

  29. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 12:33 pm

    Haha, LOVE that Raul gave that ball to the single Mariners fan in a sea of red!

  30. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:36 pm

    I bet it’s handy for Wedge that his wife is a trained bartender.

  31. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:37 pm

    That’s why Raul’s our Babe Ruth.

    Cool to see Chapman pitch, although I assume the M’s players aren’t thinking that.

  32. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 12:37 pm

    Well, I would agree with you (overall) Jake, but Smoak has better numbers against a RHP (yesterdays reds starter was a RHP) than Kendrys and is a better 1B defensively than Kendrys (and he sat for 2 days anyway). Wedge mentioned (during a pre-game interview with Drayer and answering a question about the trams hitting with RISP) having had a “conversation” with Smoak (after Thursdays game). It appeared to me he was being benched for lack of production and specifically for a lack of production with runners on base. He left multiple runners on the game prior to this series.

    This sad circumstance may not be troubling to DJW, but it is troubling to me. And has been for 3 years.

  33. GhostofMarinersPast on July 7th, 2013 12:38 pm

    Are we at all intrigued by Ty Kelly? Seems to be having a decent season in the minors. I’m curious because he is what he have to show for the Delabar deal now. And Delabar is having a pretty stellar season for a late inning reliever. All I can say for sure is that if you google image search Ty Kelly, you will see that he is an interesting looking individual

  34. Will on July 7th, 2013 12:38 pm

    Didn’t Chapman used to throw 102 MPH+?

  35. Will on July 7th, 2013 12:38 pm

    As he throws one 101 MPH…

  36. juneau_fan on July 7th, 2013 12:39 pm

    And the crowd cheers! PIZZA, PIZZA for all!

    Jeez, they must have been thrilled when the M’s and their strikeout rate came to town.

  37. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 12:47 pm

    Nice game, overall. Saunders did a great job today.

  38. brian m on July 7th, 2013 12:56 pm

    Taijuan has 3 Ks through 2 IP, 0 R, 1BB, 1 H. Worked his way out of bases loaded in the second (1st batter reached on error) with 1 out.

  39. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 12:57 pm

    It’s pretty obvious Wedge does believe in the magical ability of hitting better with RISP. He talks about it all the bloody time. It’s probably also why Condor sat today.

  40. Breadbaker on July 7th, 2013 1:01 pm

    On the other hand, Krueger keeps talking as through “dingers” and “productive outs with runners in scoring position” are the only available ways to score runs. Hits with runners on base (scoring position or on first) are the preferable way to develop a longform offense.

  41. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 1:04 pm

    Basically, try not to make outs. ;-)

  42. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 1:08 pm

    BTW this season, Kyle Seager is hitting .212 with men in scoring position.

    Clearly, he’s forgotten how to be a clutch hitter since last year.

  43. Will on July 7th, 2013 1:14 pm

    2013 Seattle Mariners – 39-49, -63 run differential
    2012 Seattle Mariners – 36-52, -29 run differential

  44. scraps on July 7th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Seriously, djw, let it go. It’s a game thread, the traditional way for some USS Marineroids to get stupid.

  45. Westside guy on July 7th, 2013 3:32 pm

    Oh, I just realized how my last comment might be misconstrued.

    My post about Seager was intended as a snarky follow-up to the discussion about Wedge and his belief in the magic of clutch hitting – specifically, hitting with RISP.

    BTW my iPad keeps wanting to correct msfanmike to “mafia mike”.

  46. msfanmike on July 7th, 2013 4:54 pm

    Nice … Let me make you an offer you can’t refuse!

    Actually, I wanted to comment on Ghost’s question above. Yes, Ty Kelly is a bit intriguing. The thing I like most is he has more career (minor league) walks than K’s. Pretty rare these days, but I think the same could have also been said about Ackley’s minor league BB/K rate. You would have to think that if Z received fair compensation for Thames, then Kelly must be at least a fringe MLB talent. It does not seem like too much of a coincidence that Kelly’s arrival occurred shortly after Liddi was DFA’d. Kelly provides some depth if nothing else and it looks like he can play more than one position. Baltimore probably offered the $75K worth of baseballs to replenish their own depth upon Kelly’s departure.

    Peace Out,

    Mafia Mike.

  47. henryv on July 8th, 2013 1:11 am

    Here, I believe, is the complete thought process of facing Bronson Arroyo for one pitch:

    “Alright, this guy. Was this guy on Oakland? I feel like he was on Oakland. Or was that Zito? Or both? I mean, he’s got that moppy looking Oakland hair, but I just can’t remember. And I know at one point he had corn rows… Damn… I’ll Google that when I get back to the hotel.

    Okay, back to the game. Is it August yet? This season is so fucking long… What’s he got? Right… Fastball, slider, curve, change. Probably not going to see a lot of sliders from the opposite side. Good.

    What the hell is he doing with his leg? Is that his wind up? Is he going to fall? What the fuck? I think he just flirted with me, technically.

    Okay, pitch coming. I think. Or was that his sock? Oh hell, here it comes. Wait, or is it just spinning? Is that a curveball or did he just underhand it to me? What is going on?

    Going to swing… Or wait, am I? I mean, it’s just up there spinning. Upper 60′s, tops. I’m going to crush the shit out of it. But if I miss, oh man, I’m going to pull a Quintero and fall down. Nah, I’ll just watch it. Probably going to be high, anyways.”



  48. Westside guy on July 8th, 2013 12:59 pm

    Jeremy Bonderman has been DFA’ed as of a few minutes ago (Monday, 12:59pm).

  49. mariner68 on July 8th, 2013 1:17 pm

    I mentioned a while back that it was my perception was that many of Raul Ibanez’s home runs seemed to be significant ones.

    I was told that there are no “clutch” hitters, only “good” hitters, and that good hitters simply get more “big” hits, due to the fact that they get more hits period, and they get them randomly at any point in the game.

    However, the numbers indicate that there are some hitters who get a significantly higher % of big hits (home runs in this case), and those hitters also have apparently deserved reputations as “clutch” hitters.

    Here is a list of a number of hitters who are considered “good”, and many who are also known as “clutch”, along with the percentage of their home runs that have come in High and Medium leverage situations, followed by their percentage of High Leverage home runs. All these good hitters have at least moderate power, as I was only looking at HR statistics. I included Miguel Olivo to show that all HR’s are not the same.

    Raul Ibanez – 62% (25%H), George Brett – 59% (20%H) – Edgar Martinez – 57% (19%H), Jim Thome – 56% (19%H), David Ortiz – 56% (18%H), Ken Griffey Jr. 55% (18%H), Kirby Puckett – 55% (17%H), Alex Rodgriguez – 54% (18%H), Miguel Olivo – 49% (14%H).

    I would argue that those who say Raul’s “dingers” are no better than Miguel Olivo’s, are simply wrong. 62% is significantly > 48.5%. Also notice that Raul’s percentage of High Leverage home runs is extremely high at 25% – none of the other hitters approach that level. This is not just a year to year variance, but based on 300 or so HR hit by a guy who has been around a long time. I feel he does deserve some notice for this. Raul’s important HR’s are particularly impressive when you note that he is a career .270 or so hitter, not a .315 hitter like most of these other HOF players.

  50. mariner68 on July 8th, 2013 1:23 pm

    The numbers were only regular season, not playoff HR.

  51. Paul B on July 8th, 2013 1:41 pm

    And Luetge recalled. At least for now.

  52. stevemotivateir on July 8th, 2013 2:05 pm

    ^Ok, that keeps the active roster at 25, but that leaves a vacancy on the 40 man.

    There must be another move to follow.

  53. djw on July 8th, 2013 4:00 pm

    Not necessarily. There’s no requirement that the 40 man remain full at all times, and having an open slot can provide useful flexibility.

  54. henryv on July 8th, 2013 4:28 pm


    The problem you have is that while there are a range of numbers, what you fail to do is be able to predict “clutch” in the future. There is too much variation in the numbers to predict future success, which is what is valuable. That is why, while clutch hits do exist, and there are players with a history of clutch hits, there isn’t much relevance to building a roster or making predictions based on previous performance. Those players with the other statistics (low K/BB ratios, high contact rates, low amounts of swings outside the strike zone, low GB+IFFB%, etc) are better predictors of future clutch-ness.

    Additionally, home runs are a naturally SSS sample anyways. A good player might have 300 HR’s in a career, but almost every regular player can have more than 500 at bats in a season and more than 1500 pitches, which provide far more information about the quality of the player in the future.

    Clutchness is a thing for no other reason that there are players who will get more “clutch” hits than others, because that’s the way a bell curve works. But it isn’t particularly predictive, or predictive enough to create a roster from.

  55. stevemotivateir on July 8th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Yeah, that’s true. They can keep the spot open. It’s more fun to speculate, though;)

  56. mariner68 on July 8th, 2013 7:55 pm

    I do agree with that henry v, I mostly wanted to point out what Raul has accomplished in his career, and that even if he and Olivo put up similar OB% and Home Run totals in past years – they have not been of equal value and it would seem that while Olivo’s home runs have been completely random, Ibanez’s have not, over a pretty large sample size for both.

  57. mariner68 on July 8th, 2013 8:11 pm

    I didn’t really have access to walk off hits, high leverage hits, RBI’s etc., that is why I didn’t post hitters like Carew, Gwynn, Boggs etc. I just feel Raul deserves a little more respect than he gets, he has had a good career, and is doing something quite remarkable this year. I know it’s a team sport, but the M’s have never won a world series, and I have tuned in as much to see Raul challenge Ted William’s mark as I have to watch the team overall.

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