Game 93, Angels at Mariners

marc w · July 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Jerome Williams, 7:10pm

Even in a losing season, there are games you look forward to – interesting tests for young prospects, for example, or Felix Day. Then there are games started by Joe Saunders and Jerome Williams on a Friday night. C’mon, uh, Brad Miller! More hits! Hope your knee feels better, Mr. Franklin!

I’ve wasted far too many pixels on Jerome Williams over the years, but I wouldn’t be my charmed-by-subpar-starters self if I didn’t point out that his velocity has indeed continued to rise. The first time the M’s faced Williams, I noted that his velocity has crept upwards since reappearing, miraculously, from long stints of injury, the Taiwanese league, and just being awful. His FB velocity may hit 94mph by the end of the year, which isn’t bad. It also hasn’t stopped him from regressing a bit. His K% has fallen from last year, and his nice run of, er, run prevention has stopped too. His ERA and FIP are looking more like replacement level than average. Again though, he’s been the Angels pitching depth – they keep turning to him not because they’ve really wanted to, but because Plan A and Plan B keep turning out so poorly. And, because Angels, he was pretty successful there for a while.

A year after having losing out on a playoff spot in large part due to a crappy rotation, the Angels have made wholesale changes and…have a crappy rotation. Most of this has nothing to do with Williams, who is more like their Blake Beavan than their Joe Saunders. But while their Joe Saunders (Cupcakes Blanton) has been awful, and well-remunerated to boot, their Blake Beavan is still a perfectly acceptable 5th starter. Still, that’s not quite what he was last year, or even early this season – what’s changed?

Not much, really. He’s still a fastball/sinker/cutter guy, who’ll throw a change and a rare curve as well. The cutter makes up about 1/3 of his total pitches to righties, and over 1/5 to lefties as well, and it’s this pitch that’s given him problems recently. He’s yielded 5 HRs on the cutter, 4 to righties. The numbers are so small, it could be a complete fluke of course, but it’s not like the pitch generated materially better outcomes the year before. He’s still quite effective against righties – and he’s given up more dingers than doubles, so he may be both effective and unlucky against them. But lefties are still hitting him, and they feast on his sinker and change. The numbers bounce around, but I think what we see is what we get with Williams: his stuff isn’t really good enough to get lefties, and he’s made a few bad pitches to righties. When the ball stays in the yard, he can be effective.

Joe Saunders is an odd one. Can anyone else thing of pitchers who’ve hung on this long and had a modicum of success despite not being able to get out opposite-handed hitters? I mean, this is Saunders thing, and it’s not going away. He’s been lights-out against lefties again this year, which is critical, because righties have a .387 wOBA against him. Adrian Beltre has a .387 wOBA. Josh Donaldson and Matt Carpenter are in that neighborhood. Charlie Morton was going down that path, but his splits are preventing him from becoming a dependable SP. I suppose Justin Masterson would be the poster boy for this, which isn’t surprising given his arm angle.

1: Miller, 2B
2: Saunders, RF
3: Ibanez, LF
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Ackley, CF
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Joe Saunders

The M’s today sent Erasmo Ramirez to Everett and Blake Beavan to AAA Tacoma, while recalling Hector Noesi and Bobby LaFromboise. This is one of those classic pre-All-Star Game moves, which should allow Erasmo to stay in his current rotation slot when play resumes (as the M’s won’t need a 5th starter for a while, he could’ve been sitting on the bench for some time), and getting more bullpen help after Boston bulldozed the M’s starters in the past three games.

Ramirez’s lackluster debut may have been a blip, just a one-off bad outing. But while I’ve been encouraged by the M’s pitching depth improving, it must be said that it’s looking shaky once you get past Erasmo. James Paxton’s improvements in the past month are great, but Brandon Maurer’s taking the opposite path. He started last night’s game in Tacoma, and left after allowing all seven batters he faced to reach. All told, he pitched 0 IP, giving up four runs, three hits, two walks and a hit batsmen. In his last five games, he’s thrown 17 1/3 IP and yielded 24 hits, 12 walks and 18 runs. Danny Hultzen would actually be a great mentor in this situation, having experienced a similar run for Tacoma last year. If he wasn’t shut down with shoulder pain. C’mon Erasmo! Taijuan Walker’s amazing, and I’m excited to see him in his 2nd MLB futures game, but it’s kind of bizarre how far up the depth chart he is right now.

Comments

61 Responses to “Game 93, Angels at Mariners”

  1. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 5:27 pm

    Always enjoy seeing the gamethread posts which include a heads up on interesting farm system pitchers who are on the mound today.

    That said: Looking forward to seeing Edwin Diaz in Everett. Another nice looking outing from the Pulaski box score tonight. 5 IN 3H 0 R 6Ks.

    Looking like a potential great third rounder from the draft kings so far…

  2. HighlightsAt11 on July 12th, 2013 5:38 pm

    My heart jumped when I didn’t see Taijuan Walker listed on Tacoma’s Roster, thinking he had been traded.

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=529&stn=true&sid=t529

    Then remembered TW is off to the Futures Game. Why just not list him as “inactive” or similar rather than remove him entirely from the roster? Almost caused a heart attack.

  3. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 5:42 pm

    Was thinking the same thing about the pitchers.. Good thing is Taijuan just seems better and better. I’m not too worried about Erasmo though based off his first start all season and it was against the Red Sox. I’d be happy to get 2 good starting pitchers out of the Erasmo, Walker, Hultzen, Paxton, Maurer group.

  4. marc w on July 12th, 2013 5:45 pm

    Sorry gopilots – with the roster move, I didn’t get to that. I’ll try and include it going forward.

    Highlights, like the M’s, there’ve been so many moves recently, they may just have needed another body. Keeping up with moves in the minors is insane – before the short season leagues start, guys are always getting bumped to those rosters for a few days. There’s a constant churn as teams try to keep people around through promotions, injuries, etc.

  5. scraps on July 12th, 2013 5:50 pm

    I also enjoy the farm stuff. Not that I want to tire you, Marc, he added.

  6. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 6:05 pm

    Thanks, Marc. Always enjoy all of the gamethreads. Didn’t mean to point it out as a shortcoming, just was pleased when I checked the Pulaski box tonite (this morning for me, really.) and thought I would pass it along.

    And thanks to the great USSM site, the farm system sites are just a click away so a baseball geek such as myself looks at them just about every day.

    Great job!!

  7. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 6:42 pm

    I like Erasmo, BUT his last couple of starts in Tacoma were poor. He walked 5 in 5 innings at SLC in his last PCL start

  8. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 7:43 pm

    Seager!! About time for a “how good is Kyle Seager” post?

  9. naviomelo on July 12th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Raul doubles AGAIN?! Incredible…

  10. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 7:52 pm

    Wow!

  11. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 7:53 pm

    Solid play by Ackley there

  12. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 7:56 pm

    Ackley looked good there – I was “wowing” that they caught Trout (sorta).

  13. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 7:57 pm

    Wow is right! It is so nice to watch a good catcher on a daily basis. Good receiving and pitch blocking, excellent arm and, to my untrained and very biased eye, a quality pitch framer. Quickness!!

    Also pleased to have a great centerfielder who can run! (??)

  14. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 7:59 pm

    How good is Kyle? just looked up some numbers. His oWAR looks pretty good but his dWAR is just +.2. So I looked up Adrian Beltre and his dWAR is -.1. I really try to believe the “new stats” but I can not accept that Seagar is barely replacement level defensively and Beltre is below replacement level

  15. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:09 pm

    Hanahahhaahahannahaaahajajajanaaajhahahahahaha

  16. Slats on July 12th, 2013 8:10 pm

    Raul!

  17. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2013 8:10 pm

    Raul is that Energizer Rabbit.

  18. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 8:10 pm

    RAUUUUL I don’t fuckin believe it

  19. msfanmike on July 12th, 2013 8:12 pm

    It landed in someone’s tartar sauce. That ball was pulverized.

  20. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:16 pm

    Half season UZR is only going to be a proxy for how they’ve apparently played so far this year – there’s no predictive value (and there seems to be a lot of noise there too). Unless you’re watching a lot of Texas baseball, you don’t know how Beltre has performed this season. And Seager has been fine, but I can’t say I remember a lot of “wow” plays from him this year.

    We fans are notorious for overrating the skills of our own players. Last year I saw a LOT of Detroit fans that got highly offended that anyone would dare suggest Miggy wasn’t a better than average defensive shortstop!

  21. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2013 8:16 pm

    If only the fences were closer…

  22. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 8:17 pm

    Nice Zunino!

  23. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:19 pm

    I do think it’s pretty obvious the defensive stats are a work in progress, though.

  24. Slats on July 12th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Zunino!

  25. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:19 pm

    And Ackley too!

  26. Breadbaker on July 12th, 2013 8:19 pm

    That is a true seeing-eye single!

  27. Slats on July 12th, 2013 8:20 pm

    Finally some luck for Ackley.

  28. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2013 8:27 pm

    Yeah, that was BS.

  29. Breadbaker on July 12th, 2013 8:27 pm

    You sort of wonder whether Scioscia is the right manager for this team. My usual example of a guy who was a good coach but his team outgrew him was George Karl, but I think Scioscia is a good baseball example. This team has a lot of good young guys and a lot of superstars, but it sure doesn’t seem to play well together.

  30. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 8:27 pm

    Raul is only 6 home runs behind Ted Williams for the most during an age 41 season. Lol

  31. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:29 pm

    Right now Raul deserves all the extra “U”s people care to give him. This run of his is pretty insane.

  32. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2013 8:30 pm

    Really can’t help but speculate about Raul’s trade value right now.

  33. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 8:33 pm

    I don’t know replacement level is a pretty low standard. A “guy” on a 49 win team. An average Astro. I don’t think Seagar is a Gold Glover but he certainly is not killing us. Maybe our pitching is not producing a lot of ground balls his way. Honestly other than Raul I think the defensive unit on the field tonight is better than average, certainly above replacement.

  34. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 8:34 pm

    Forgive me for asking, but does anyone know the homerun record for the age 42 season?

    I noticed in Mr. Glasgow’s Oriole game cut-away that he failed to mention that Chris Tillman won his eleventh game.

    Coupled with recent commments here about how Root never seems to show Raul’s throws from the outfield, all I have to say is..

    Pravda Lives!!

    Fortunately, Raul repays this kind of Mariner-patriotism with a Cafe Shot!!

  35. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 8:36 pm

    Raul Ibanez winner of the 2013 MLB Most Improved Player Award at age 41

  36. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 8:40 pm

    Replacement level at one aspect of the game is not as low as being replacement level in total.

  37. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 8:56 pm

    Nothing like watching Safeco Joe in action!

  38. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:02 pm

    Nice fielding Hamilton ha.

  39. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 9:03 pm

    Nice hitting tonight from Zunino.

    Dustin Ackley putting fear into opposing pitchers. Scared to face him ha

  40. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 9:06 pm

    Ackley IBB ! In ’61 Roger Maris hit 61 – 0 IBB – Mickey Mantle on deck Maybe more Ryan than Ackley – still funny

  41. naviomelo on July 12th, 2013 9:15 pm

    I can’t stop watching the replay of Raul’s home run. Has he ever hit one into the café before?

  42. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:16 pm

    Raul again!

  43. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 9:16 pm

    Lol Rauuuuuuuuuul

  44. californiamariner on July 12th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Oh and Kendrys!

  45. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Back to back!

  46. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2013 9:17 pm

    wow. Just, WOW.

  47. naviomelo on July 12th, 2013 9:19 pm

    RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL!!!!!!!!!

  48. Prozach on July 12th, 2013 9:21 pm

    Dingers. Dingers? Dingers.

  49. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:25 pm

    Trout is good.

  50. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 9:28 pm

    I wonder if Z has talked to Raul about going to a contender. Contending is fun but he would probably lose PT. Maybe he would rather play every day

  51. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:43 pm

    Poor Smoak can’t buy a hit.

  52. Slats on July 12th, 2013 9:44 pm

    Zunino again!

  53. Longgeorge1 on July 12th, 2013 9:56 pm

    Seattle Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuls

  54. naviomelo on July 12th, 2013 9:56 pm

    Indeed!! What a fun one!

  55. scraps on July 12th, 2013 10:04 pm

    Everyone says they’re slow to buy the new defensive stats because sometimes the stats don’t back up what we know. For instance, we know Adrian Beltre is a very good third baseman, but right now the stats show him as a mediocre third baseman this year.

    But everybody knows offensive stats come and go. Adrian Beltre had a couple pretty mediocre seasons in Seattle, for instance. We don’t throw out offensive stats, though. Maybe Adrian Beltre has a mediocre defensive season this year.

  56. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 10:14 pm

    After 93 games…

    2013 Mariners: 41-52 RS 363, RA 425 (diff -62)
    2012 Mariners: 39-54 RS 371, RA 390 (diff -19)

  57. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 10:19 pm

    Great win tonight and the bats are looking great this month.

    The ghost of Bavasi continues to haunt, however, and we see Adam Jones as an All-Star starter and Chris Tillman pick up his 11th win today.

    And again. The Chisox trade Matt Thornton to the Bosox today. Hard to believe it when reading that Thornton has been a mainstay in their bullpen for eight seasons and now picks up a decent prospect in return.

    Well, at least we can savor those memories of Joe Borchard. Thanks, Bill.

  58. gopilots70 on July 12th, 2013 10:21 pm

    Westside,

    Enjoy your daily posts on the 2012 and 2013 M’s runs.

    Keep ‘em coming..

  59. Westside guy on July 12th, 2013 10:46 pm

    Don’t worry, gopilots70 – I’ve had a lot of practice beating dead horses.

    On a side note – I’m now rooting for Raul to not just beat Teddy Ballgame’s home run record… I want him to obliterate it. Raul needs to hit 40 home runs. Maybe even 45.

  60. stevemotivateir on July 13th, 2013 10:23 am

    ^Imagine the headlines:

    Raul at 41, Hits 41… after being traded from the Mariners:P

  61. Westside guy on July 13th, 2013 12:32 pm

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Morse comes back.

    Logically speaking, on this team there’s really very little reason to play two gritty veterans all the time. It’s not as if they’re playing for anything, realistically. But with Eric Wedge at the helm, all bets are off – I can see him playing Ibañez and Morse every day while platooning Ackley and Saunders. Which I guess is yet another byproduct of the crappy roster construction this year.

    At some point someone in the media HAS to ask the question “what are they playing for the rest of the season?” Because the team is already at the point where maximizing their win total at the expense of delaying the development of the players most likely to be contributing beyond 2014 doesn’t really make sense.

    Ibañez was brought in to provide leadership – and it sure does seem like the young guys take that seriously, at least based on interview snippets I’ve heard – and fortunately he’s actually hitting the crap out of the ball right now (so it’s not redux of Griffey’s swan song). If it were me, with this roster I’d mark Ibañez the “priority veteran”, give him all the playing time Wedge wants but then prioritize the young guys’ playing time. Squeeze in the other vets when a “regular” needs a rest for whatever reason. The veteran-prioritized outfield hasn’t led to a substantially better record this year over last, so it’s not like they’d be punting a half-dozen wins doing this.

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