Game 94, Angels at Mariners

marc w · July 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Jered Weaver, 7:10pm

This is one of the better pitching match-ups in the American League, and despite Weaver’s injury this year, despite both hurlers losing a few ticks on their fastball and despite each of them suffering a few bad games against the Angels/Mariners, respectively, this is still compelling stuff.

Weaver missed a few months with an elbow fracture, and looked to be throwing in the mid/high 80s upon his return. But he’s touched 92 recently, and he’s getting great results: he’s allowed two runs in his last 20 2/3 innings, with 17 Ks and just 4 BBs. Unlike with Felix, velocity never really played much of a role in Weaver’s success. He uses a deceptive, funky low 3/4 delivery to hide the ball and a rising fastball that generates a ton of pop-ups and lazy fly balls. His fastball has essentially no horizontal movement, but the vertical movement’s nearly unparalleled. These kind of movement stats commonly belong to the truly over-the-top hurlers, from Clayton Kershaw to Josh Collmenter. That Weaver’s able to do it with a delivery that verges on side-arm is freakish, and it’s probably helped him post consistently low BABIPs. It makes sense, when you think about it – most all balls in play are in the air, and fly balls have a lower BABIP, and pop-flies have a BABIP approaching .000. This skillset should have a trade off in the form of home runs, but whether it’s a park effect, crazy movement or several years and several thousand innings of luck, that hasn’t troubled Weaver. Look at his HR/FB on fangraphs or his expected home runs on statcorner – he should be allowing way more dingers, and he simply hasn’t.

For years, he was seen as a regression candidate by some segments of the stathead community, and while he hasn’t always posted absurd strand rates, he also improved markedly from his first year or two through 2010, his best season. Since then though, he’s fallen back. Injuries have had something to do with that, and lower velocity may be playing a role as well. But again, this hasn’t made him a bad pitcher. Thanks to his infield fly balls, his BABIP’s been low, and that means he’s given up fewer earned runs than his FIP would expect. Not each and every year, but the odd years are balanced with 2006 and 2012, when his ERA was over a full run lower. He’s posted nearly 30 WAR in his career, and if you included IFFB% in FIP, that number would rise.

Unlike the Red Sox pitchers, Weaver’s been effective by throwing almost exactly what you’d expect. Versus righties, he’s a four-seam/slider guy. The fastball may be his best pitch, as it’s generated better results on contact than just about anyone’s. Against lefties, he uses a sinker and a change-up. The sinker has more horizontal movement than his four-seam, and while sinkers often have *higher* platoon splits, Weaver’s been doing this for years and it’s clearly working for him. His career splits are fairly even, and his success against lefties plays a huge role in his overall value.

1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, yay!
3: Ibanez, LF
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Saunders, RF
8: Zunino, C
9: Ackley, CF
SP: El Cartelua

Luiz Gohara’s pitching for Pulaski at the moment. James Paxton gets the nod for Tacoma tonight as they host Reno. Rigoberto Garcia goes for his fifth straight win in Eugene tonight for Everett.


68 Responses to “Game 94, Angels at Mariners”

  1. Slats on July 13th, 2013 9:36 pm

    Come on Smoak – Grand Salami time!

  2. Longgeorge1 on July 13th, 2013 9:41 pm

    These guys are definitely showing dramatic improvement. Speaking of giving up early on guys, do we blame Wedge when the M’s win?

  3. gopilots70 on July 13th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Another example right now even during a win why Wedge is a bad manager.

    Felix should have been out this inning. 90 pitches thrown 6-0 lead, long, long inning, all star game coming up.

    It seems they didn’t even have action in the bullpen during the bottom of seven. If Smoak had doubled would Felix have stayed in with a 9-0?

    Protect your $175 million asset.

    Yes, even when we win in great fashion, Eric Wedge displays why he is absolutely clueless.

    From all accounts, his “John Wayne” approach to managing exacerbated Franklin’s injury and now this with the franchise.

  4. MrZDevotee on July 13th, 2013 9:55 pm

    Lincecum is about to take the mound in the 9th with a no-hitter going.

    Go get ’em, Timmy!

    Nice game for our Seattle boys, too.

  5. MrZDevotee on July 13th, 2013 9:58 pm

    K’ed Headley… 1 out.

    Quentin F7… 2 out.

  6. Westside guy on July 13th, 2013 10:01 pm

    Has Lincecum cut off all his hair?

  7. MrZDevotee on July 13th, 2013 10:03 pm

    Yep… No hair, no hitter…

    He looks 10 instead of 12 now…

    And he did it. No hitter.

  8. Westside guy on July 13th, 2013 10:10 pm

    Woo hoo! All right Felix!

  9. Don Money on July 13th, 2013 10:13 pm

    146 pitches! Wow, almost as impressive as the no-no!

  10. MrZDevotee on July 13th, 2013 10:26 pm

    Smoak post-rehab stint this season…

    .306/.383/.542 in 72 AB’s.

    We know he’s streaky, of course, but it’s fun when the streak is in the “up” mode…

    And his swing really is different. I wonder if the time off when he was dinged up let him keep working on and refining the new swing, ’cause he has seriously looked better since that time. The swing on his homer tonight was visibly shorter/quicker than his previous power stroke (watching it on replays). He’s not swinging for the fences, as much as just making good contact.

    Has he maybe been (gasp) talking to Raul? I know Seager the other day in an interview said Ibanez has been invaluable to him, as far as talking to him about hitting, and watching his approach and preparation against different pitchers.

    It’s all just hoobaly-goobaly, but nice to see some of the young guys finding their stroke.

    Ackley? Yer next!

  11. MrZDevotee on July 13th, 2013 10:41 pm

    Also, kids love the dingers? Yeah?

    Seattle has the most consecutive games with a HR since Texas in 2002… 21 games and counting currently.

  12. naviomelo on July 13th, 2013 11:27 pm

    Felix is amazing. Getting through this lineup for 8 innings without allowing a run, a walk, and only one XBH?

    Long live the King.

  13. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 1:08 am

    We were at the game. Pujols and Hamilton were totally overmatched all game. At the 100 pitch mark, Weaver was running on fumes and Scioscia left him in and it took another 8 pitches for the M’s to blow the game open. These are not the Angels of old and this Mariners team is starting to look a little more interesting than it was a month ago.

  14. Wolfman on July 14th, 2013 9:07 am

    If these kids are starting to rake because of advice from Raul, maybe the M’s should be preparing to hire him as a hitting coach or manager when he hangs ’em up. Of course, the way he’s hitting this year Raul may not hang ’em up for a while!

  15. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 10:14 am

    It’s more likely the kids are “starting to rake” because they’ve brought in a new set of kids.

    Unless Raul gets credit for them raking in the minors, too.

  16. MrZDevotee on July 14th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Well funny you should mention, because Raul goes back and forth between practices in Tacoma and Seattle while he’s in town… He brings donuts to the Tacoma guys, shows home movies of when he first got called up (on 8mm, no less). Then they gather around and watch him hit batting practice, Big Gulps in hand.

    When a guy has a particularly good game for the Rainiers, he’ll mail him a pack of grape Big League Chew.


    Okay, I’m not buying it either, but just pointing out Seager did reference Ibanez as a big help. Imaginary or not.

  17. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 5:09 pm

    I’m not questioning that he has an influence of some sort, MrZ – I have heard the kids talk about him too (usually in answer to leading questions Jen Mueller asks, like “How has Raul IbaƱez’s presence helped you?”). But unless he retroactively helped Seager somehow, or was calling him from the Yankee dugout in 2012 with advice, I don’t see how Raul should get credit for Seager. Also, I’d point out that Saunders was in a prolonged slump despite his presence, Ackley didn’t start hitting until his distance from Raul increased, and Montero never did figure out how to hit. Raul’s ability to help people hit seems pretty selective…

    But in all seriousness, I expect he helps them more with advice on how to deal with the long slog of the season, how to stay positive when you’re in a slump, how to behave like a pro no matter how well or how poorly you’re doing at any given time… stuff like that.

  18. MrZDevotee on July 14th, 2013 5:18 pm

    Agreed. “I’m not buying it either” was the only important part of what I wrote.

    If I was guessing, it would just be guys “piling on” the good feelings surrounding Raul’s mysterious season. “I touched him! I touched him!”

    Raul “Elvis” Ibanez.

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