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

    And Luetge recalled. At least for now.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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;)

  6. 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.

  7. 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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