Game 95, Angels at Mariners

marc w · July 14, 2013 at 10:42 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Cupcakes Blanton, 1:10pm

Today’s starting pitchers are actually pretty similar. Iwakuma’s got a sparkling 7.67 K/9, while Blanton’s at 7.56. Both have walk rates under 5%. And both have FIPs far, far higher than you’d guess if all you saw was their K/BB ratio. Iwakuma’s given up 20 HRs on the year so far, while Blanton’s given up 22 despite the fact both pitch in HR-suppressing home ballparks.

The similarities don’t end there. Both pitchers are actually pretty good with men on, and particularly with RISP. Blanton’s HR/9 is 2.33 with the bases empty this year and about half that with men on; 15 of his 22 HRs have come with no one on. Iwakuma’s very similar, with a career HR/9 of 1.63 with no one on and 0.89 with men on. Both pitchers out-pitch is a change-up (Iwakuma’s split functions like a change), so their platoon splits are even or even reversed…and they’ve given up more HRs to righties, despite both being right-handed themselves.

We know HR rate, or HR/FB at least, is much more variable than Ks or walks. Would you instruct Blanton or Iwakuma to make fundamental changes, or would you just wait and hope for some HR regression? Blanton’s rate is so high, you’d have to expect that his coaches might be telling him to stop challenging quite so many hitters, and that they’d trade a few walks for HRs. Of course, nothing’s that easy – if he was capable of making such a trade, I’m sure he would. With Iwakuma, it’s potentially more interesting. It’s not that uncommon for a pitcher to post lower HR rates with men on, as pitchers tread carefully around sluggers. In this case, the trade off actually is as simple as trading walks for HRs. But everything in Iwakuma’s line looks better – he’s got a better K:BB AND a better HR rate. Iwakuma’s only been pitching in MLB for about a year, so it’s way too early to know, but Iwakuma certainly looks like a pitcher who likes pitching from the stretch.

Doug Thorburn at BP wrote a couple of pieces recently that involved, among others, Iwakuma. In his mind (keep in mind this is the pitching mechanics expert; these aren’t stat-heavy articles), Iwakuma’s prone to these streaks of HRs (he’s given up a staggering 10 HRs in his last four starts) because his wind-up is so complicated – a pause before he starts, another pause with his left leg in the air, etc. By contrast, from the stretch, his delivery is clean and simple, and may- MAY -help him with his timing. I don’t really know anything about mechanics, but that wind-up certainly *looks* like it could produce some timing problems. It’s something to watch, anyway.

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

That’s it for the season’s first half. Hasn’t exactly gone as we’d hoped, but it could at least be a lot more watchable, more compelling, in the second. We haven’t seen enough wins, but we’ve been treated to one of the most bizarre half-seasons on record thanks to Raul Ibanez. It’s not contention, but it was something, all right.

Today’s starters in the minors include the Dutchman, Lars Huijer, for Everett, top-10 prospect Tyler Pike for Clinton, cerebral righty Andrew Carraway for Tacoma and righty Trevor Miller making his AA debut for Jackson.


87 Responses to “Game 95, Angels at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 11:05 am

    The second half promises to either be interesting or painful. I think it’s a crapshoot which one we’ll experience (and I’m not thinking about player performance, I’m thinking about decisions made by the guys in charge).

  2. ck on July 14th, 2013 11:46 am

    Thank you, marc, for the game posts. I agree with Westside guy, I am anxious about what will happen. Are we buyers, sellers, wild card hopefuls, quitters..?
    Just, please, no more Bavasi-type blunders. I want to see many Mariner wins, by whoever is in the line-up, and I am not looking at any players’ birth certificate, or contract status.

  3. djw on July 14th, 2013 11:56 am

    Except for those last couple games in the season where we could have had Strasberg for finishing last, I don’t think I’ve ever been closer to not wanting the Mariners to win. First, because I don’t want to see the current regime survive, and second (and more urgently) I don’t want them thinking they can go for broke on a wild card run. I hate this feeling; I still root for the team when I’m watching them (can’t help it), and I don’t want to see them falling apart; (~.500 is fine with me) but I think for the future of the franchise a run right now would be unfortunate.

  4. Thingray on July 14th, 2013 12:28 pm

    I can never root for a loss, except maybe when you’re talking about one game mattering for a draft pick. I believe winning breeds winning. Draft picks are too likely to bust to sell out and throw games to get one.

  5. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 12:58 pm

    Taijuan Walker just got to meet his childhood idol, Doc Gooden, at the Futures game.

    How many times have we had the exact same lineup two games in a row this season?

  6. Eastside Suds on July 14th, 2013 1:10 pm

    Speaking of Everett and farmhands, how bout’ Tyler Olson’s gem the other night. Complete game 1 hit shutout. Impressive at that level to even throw nine, never mind the near no-no.

  7. GhostofMarinersPast on July 14th, 2013 1:14 pm

    I hope we sell and sell smart. Stanton probably won’t be available until this winter at the earliest. I know no one agrees with me, but I think some sort of combo of Iwakuna/Ibanez/morales/Perez/morse/ Wilhelmsen could snag us a Mike olt or a Will middlebrooks. Or buy a Zach Britton, a young starter who has been knocked around but could end up being a nice mid to back of the rotation starter

  8. mrnostalgia on July 14th, 2013 1:16 pm

    Just a heads up, today’s game is MLB’s FGOTD, for anyone who can’t already watch it.

  9. Eastside Suds on July 14th, 2013 1:17 pm

    Lincecum is going to be a FA. Maybe he needs new scenery and would agree to a friendlier (and reasonable) contract.

  10. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 1:19 pm

    I’m with you Thingray. The day anyone starts playing to lose is the day I quit as a fan. It’s unethical as PEDs.

  11. lalo on July 14th, 2013 1:28 pm

    And where would they play? Seager is a lock at 3rd… They have Morales, Smoak, Ibanez and Montero sharing 1st and DH. I wouldn´t trade Iwakuma for Olt or Middlebrooks… They probably need a good outfielder first.

  12. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 1:39 pm

    So Smoak is locked in and of course will come back from the break and nosedive. Pure Mariners.

  13. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 1:39 pm

    I sure hope the experiment with Ackley works out, both hitting and playing in the outfield. If he can play CF AND the infield AND hit, he suddenly becomes a quality asset.

  14. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Woo Hoo! CONDOR!

  15. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 1:41 pm


  16. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 1:42 pm

    Saunders in his home run trot is just about as fast as Smoak running all out.

  17. terryoftacoma on July 14th, 2013 1:45 pm

    Not to jinx anyone but a sweep going into the AS break would be so nice.

  18. tubbabubba22 on July 14th, 2013 1:46 pm

    Guys. I seriously think that Smoak may have turned the corner. That at bat was incredible. He got down 0-2, fought off a couple of pitches, then took a pitch that was WAY outside and fought into left field. He seems to have finally learned to go with pitches instead of trying to pull them all. I literally jumped and screamed yes. Fun to watch Saunders, Smoak, Franklin, Miller and Seager all playing well.

  19. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 1:46 pm

    It’s a long time since we had a second baseman who could make that play. I thought it was targeted for the outfield.

  20. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 1:46 pm

    So true Westside.

    This team has to play big ball. Not enough speed on the base path to play small ball. And the base coaches have not been doing a good job. Sending Morales home yesterday was about as a bonehead decision as they come.

  21. GhostofMarinersPast on July 14th, 2013 1:51 pm

    Middlebrooks could easily be converted into a corner outfielder and fill in when necessary on the IF corners as well. I wouldn’t count on Morales coming back, since he would probably be a part of any deal that would net someone of value. Olt could split time with smoak between DH and 1B, also capable of filling in at 3rd. Montero right now cant be viewed as anything but organizational depth right now. Aside from being terrible this year, he’s now staring down the barrel of a 50 game suspension. He should be on the back burner. Iwakuma should be traded if he can net value. He’s going to be 33 and won’t be a part of a mariners team that will be competing for all the tarter sauce. Sell and sell smart

  22. The_Waco_Kid on July 14th, 2013 1:56 pm

    Stupid Trout

  23. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 1:59 pm

    Nice to see Franklin taking some walks – Matthew’s point about his two-week 1/19 BB/K ratio was worrisome.

  24. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 2:05 pm

    Trout is getting a good workout in center field today. I’m happy he’s not been as good at the plate.

  25. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 2:06 pm

    Nice running catch by Raul there!

  26. tmesis on July 14th, 2013 2:08 pm

    Fan Poll: Best last scene in a commercial you’ve seen too much of: (1) “It’s not” Geiko rain dance; (2) [Wordless stare] Subway avocado-off

  27. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 2:10 pm

    In both plate appearances Nick has gone 3-2 in the count, and showed good discipline gaining a walk each time. Wish that could rub off on a few teammates. Be aggressive smart, not stupid.

  28. Sports on a Shtick on July 14th, 2013 2:10 pm

    I cannot believe this organization tried to give $100M+ to Josh Hamilton and trade away Taijuan Walker/Nick Franklin. Disasters averted.

  29. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 2:12 pm

    Apparently Comcast’s anti-Dish ad isn’t very effective if you think it’s a Geico ad, tmesis. :-D

  30. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 2:13 pm

    Iwakuma appears to have taken a hint from yesterday’s Felix performance. Let the defense work.

  31. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 2:14 pm

    There are times I think Smoak should be dropped down in the order, no matter how well he’s hitting, just so he isn’t clogging the basepaths ahead of our faster guys. Put him in the 8 hole. :-D

  32. raul_podzednick on July 14th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Why don’t people bunt into the shift?

  33. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 2:19 pm

    No, announcers, Zunino would have done better to get a hit.

  34. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 2:19 pm

    Well, you can play small ball if you can get on via base on balls and execute the sacrifice. But besides Condor the M’s are not threatening on the bases. How are the M’s doing in avoiding the double play?

  35. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 2:23 pm

    I really get tired of hearing the phrase “productive out” from these broadcasters. I know they’re team employees and have to toe the company line, but that concept died a deserved death among most organizations some years ago.

    The team managed to score a run in spite of the outs, not because of them.

    I guess it’s just another example of why we need a regime change. Good organizations have learned and moved on; bad organizations employ people who think the way Wedge does.

  36. tmesis on July 14th, 2013 2:42 pm

    OK Justin, They’ve dissed you.

  37. tmesis on July 14th, 2013 2:44 pm

    Dis connect

  38. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 2:52 pm

    After last night’s game:

    Felix leads all AL pitchers in IP, FIP, xFIP, and WAR.

  39. lalo on July 14th, 2013 2:59 pm

    I´m pretty intrigued about next year´s rotation. Felix-Iwakuma-Walker-Erasmo/Hultzen with maybe Lincecum as a FA signing would be extremely fun to watch.

  40. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 3:03 pm

    Great idea Wedge put the tying run on base for free

  41. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 3:06 pm

    Wedge’s intentional walks are like bonus runs for the opposition. How about the idea of just letting Kuma get on his plane to New York?

  42. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Let’s go Crazy Legs!

  43. gopilots70 on July 14th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Watching the Angel’s broadcast, which is very refreshing because the announcers actually watch the game and comment and analyse what is happening on the field. Also, they do not talk 100 percent of the time. Sometimes, in these silent periods, you can hear the game sounds and actually feel like you are at the game.

    When Wedge gave the IBB, they commmented how unusual it was for a team to put the tying run on base. Not a criticism, must a comment. Nothing you would ever hear on Root.

    Wedge for some reason loves to put the tying run on base. And we wonder why we have not swept a series this year.

  44. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 3:17 pm

    Gopilots, I’d just note where Dave Niehaus came from.

  45. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 3:19 pm

    Dave Niehaus was a gift from God – where he otherwise purportedly came from is irrelevant.


  46. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:20 pm

    Away from the game for an inning and the Angels are back in it.

    Franklin was one pitch from walking four times at four at bats.

  47. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:27 pm

    Yes, the Angels broadcast is a breath of fresh air.

    Indeed I miss Niehaus. I’m sure he’s looking down and not enjoying the ongoing hyperbole and tow the corporate line emanating from the current owned announcing crew.

  48. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 3:30 pm

    Come I. Raul, you’re falling off pace – I want 45 homers dammit!

  49. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:30 pm

    Come on Mariners. Go crazy hitting Downs, just like yesterday.

  50. gopilots70 on July 14th, 2013 3:30 pm

    Wow! Nice bounceback inning for Kuma. A very well pitched game by him today.

    With the way we are hitting, it’s kind of bad timing for the All-Star break. Find a way to keep Smoak and Saunders swinging well.

    We know that Kyle will keep ripping.

  51. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 3:31 pm

    Sometime I hate autocorrect (or maybe it’s just my fat fingers).

  52. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:32 pm

    Meant to say, go crazy getting on base. And then politely ask for a wild pitch.

  53. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 3:33 pm

    I might be nitpicking and it might not matter with the teams record anyway, but I don’t understand the logic of pitching Saunders the first game out of the all star break. Why make the rotation go Saunders, Iwakuma, Felix? Don’t you want your best pitchers to pitch the most games? I’m sure their reasoning is either that Felix might pitch during the all star game or that Saunders has been good lately and they don’t want to skip him. Whatever

  54. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 3:34 pm

    Angels broadcaster just called Matt Moore AL Cy Young winner so far hahahah

    Moore with his 4.27 xFIP, 1.8 WAR

  55. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:38 pm

    The M’s have a short memory. Bottom of the seventh produced three impatient plate appearances. Take ball one then swing at anything is not a strategy. Aggressive stupid.

  56. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:43 pm

    I assume the M’s want Joe S, Harang and Erasmo to pitch on the road against the Astros which would allow Felix and Kuma to pitch at home and give the M’s a better chance against the stronger Indian squad? Or could be something to do with match-ups?

  57. msfanmike on July 14th, 2013 3:43 pm

    Did not understand Furbush coming in to face Pujols, but the end result of the inning worked out for the best.

    An insurance run or two now, please

  58. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 3:45 pm

    Highlights, they have Iwakuma going Saturday and Felix going Sunday.

  59. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Does Perez close the ninth? Or take a chance with bartender? I vote the former.

  60. Rick L on July 14th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Please, use Oliver, not Wilhelmson. I don’t want to watch him blow another save.

  61. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Please no bunting…

  62. jephdood on July 14th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Yes. Please add one more. Two or more would be nice. Tom is warming up.

  63. Rick L on July 14th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Ackley is overdue for a hit.

  64. Rick L on July 14th, 2013 3:54 pm

    And now he is even more overdue. But at least he hit it hard.

  65. jephdood on July 14th, 2013 3:54 pm

    Ugh. Bartender. Time to mow the lawn and check ESPN later.

  66. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 3:56 pm

    Ackley seems to be hitting a lot of balls hard to deep center but they aren’t resulting in anything. Come on Tom!

  67. californiamariner on July 14th, 2013 4:01 pm

    Nice to see Tom getting it back! Love to see a sweep, especially of the Angels, going into the all star break!

  68. Rick L on July 14th, 2013 4:01 pm


  69. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 4:02 pm

    YEAH! Sweep those Angels!

  70. gopilots70 on July 14th, 2013 4:06 pm

    Yes, a big sweep!! Things are looking great going into the break. Our lineup looks nice even with Ackley hitting ninth. Let’s see if he can turn those long flies to center and left into liners into the gap or maybe an occasional dinger.

    Excellent first half to all the guys on USSM!!

  71. Breadbaker on July 14th, 2013 4:10 pm

    I actually like our lineup with Ackley hitting ninth. He’s basically in OJT in centerfield and we shouldn’t have any more pressure on him than to just field his position, play hard and get some good at-bats. If he can get his act together, he can be real valuable.

  72. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 4:11 pm

    You notice they talk about the Mariners being tied for second in MLB in home runs, but not about them being 21st out of 30 teams in runs scored.

    Which one is the thing the team should want to do above anything else?

    I’m hoping to see these guys have smart at bats in the second half. Don’t give away at bats in the name of being aggressive. Be intelligently aggressive.

    I notice that, in the post game interview, Saunders mentioned taking walks as well as getting hits. That’s what they need to do.

  73. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 4:18 pm

    Thanks California. Clearly I don’t understand the rotation coming out of the all-star break.

  74. HighlightsAt11 on July 14th, 2013 4:27 pm

    Tom, good for you. Keep it going the second half.

  75. SeattleSlew on July 14th, 2013 4:53 pm

    I don’t understand the obsession in baseball with constantly trying to not get people’s feelings hurt.

    If the manager makes a bad decision the anchors (M’s anchors) can’t call them out on it so they basically say it was a nice try, like its a little league game.

    If a player doesn’t like a call he can barely shake his head or he might get ejected.

    Replays of bad calls are not shown on the screen in the field because the umpires feelings might get hurt.

    Umpires make enough money that they should just ignore players complaints. Obviously players shouldn’t be able to complain about every call but they should not be thrown out for complaining about a called strike.

  76. ivan on July 14th, 2013 5:09 pm

    “Except for those last couple games in the season where we could have had Strasberg (sic) for finishing last, I don’t think I’ve ever been closer to not wanting the Mariners to win. First, because I don’t want to see the current regime survive, and second (and more urgently) I don’t want them thinking they can go for broke on a wild card run.”

    It takes a pretty advanced level of egotism and arrogance to insist that a baseball team win only your way, or only to satisfy your particular set of prejudices.

    If I was to sink to that level, I’d wish for the Mariners to finish over .500 and make a playoff run led by the power hitting of Ibanez, Morales, Bay, and Morse, and have the world regard Zduriencik and Wedge as baseball geniuses, just out of sheer spite. But I’ll settle for wins any way they come.

    I’d say whoever would make a comment like that — hoping the team will lose so that the manager and GM will be fired — should be ashamed, but I know shamelessness when I see it.

  77. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 6:34 pm

    Final pre-ASB comparison, coming with the Mariners on a roll!

    2013 Mariners: 43-52 RS 373, RA 428 (diff -55)

    2012 Mariners: 40-55 RS 380, RA 395 (diff -15)

    I’m sort of looking forward to four days without baseball…

  78. MrZDevotee on July 14th, 2013 7:09 pm

    Don’t look now, though… Because…

    The Mariners are second in batting average and second in runs scored for the month of July.

    I think Franklin and Miller should be nicknamed “Sparky 1″ and “Sparky 2″ for the energy they bring to the team.

    Go M’s!

  79. msfanmike on July 14th, 2013 7:53 pm

    Well stated, Ivan.

  80. Woodcutta on July 14th, 2013 8:34 pm


    The M’s are nowhere near contending for a World Series and that, not winning meaningless games, is the goal of every MLB team. The M’s need to have a complete turnover in the FO and at the managerial level b/c the path they have taken to become competitive for a World Series is seriously flawed. Over the past three years I can think of many players the M’s missed out on just on the international market let alone the MLB free agent market. The FO didn’t even go after many of these players that would have helped the M’s get closer to being a good team. When a FO is too afraid to make a serious offer to a non A rated free agent b/c the organization has been burned in the past, that FO needs to go. The ONLY way Wedge ever sniffs the World Series as a manager is if he has a team full of all-stars that don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know how to develop young talent and when it comes to the nuances of the game he is completely inept. The removal of the FO and the manager coincides with how well the team is doing. So rooting for the M’s to lose now so they can win later shouldn’t make me feel ashamed. Oh, and it isn’t my ego or anyone else’s ego that says this is how a team should win. The recent success of the Rangers, Giants, Cardinals, and even the A’s shows a certain way to win works better than others.

  81. Don Money on July 14th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Well Wedge is there now and the young talent seems to be coming along just fine. Sometimes you have to realize that the players aren’t machines that operate at the same level all the time. They are capable of improving as they work to gain more experience . Only one team wins the WS each year and, until you are mathematically eliminated, you are still in it. We’re still in it!

  82. Westside guy on July 14th, 2013 10:11 pm


    It would take a lot to get most people to give up “Crazy Legs” for Miller’s nickname – it’s just so awesome.

  83. Bryce on July 14th, 2013 10:18 pm

    There are serious questions about this front office. One of the national writers (Heyman or Nightengale or somebody like that, I can’t remember which) posted on twitter an anonymous comment after the trade got vetoed that Upton just saved Z’s job, which I believed at the time and I believe even more strongly now. That said, are people really griping right now? Really?

    Seven of the nine players in the lineup today are who I would consider kids. The M’s just swept the Angels, the team that more than anybody throws $ around all over the place. Franklin saw 24 pitches today. Smoak saw 21. Zunino saw 17. This team is turning into a bunch of young players who take pitches and get on base pretty well. They appear to be learning on the fly quite well. They appear to be taking in whatever lessons they should from people like Ibanez. This finally looks like what could be the nucleus of a really good team for some years to come.

    Yes, you should worry about the fact that Z wanted to get rid of people who are turning out to be pretty valuable. Yes, he might end up stumbling into something good instead of getting there on his own. Yes, he might be getting lucky. Who cares? I just want to watch a team that doesn’t suck. Let’s worry about all the serious stuff later and just have fun while it lasts.

  84. gwangung on July 15th, 2013 12:09 am

    Yes, you should worry about the fact that Z wanted to get rid of people who are turning out to be pretty valuable.

    Not really. This is results based analysis. Look more at the process and see if there are any flaws there. You can MORE easily say that he was unlucky earlier.

  85. californiamariner on July 15th, 2013 8:42 am

    Does anybody know how I can find Tacoma’s probable pitchers coming out of the break?

  86. MrZDevotee on July 15th, 2013 2:03 pm

    I was joking in the last game thread that Ibanez is “Elvis” to the young guys. Can do no wrong… They’re all gonna start cutting their hair like him, doing their best impersonations.

    It’s kind of a groovy nickname for him…

    And not JUST because when he hits a dinger we can say “Elvis has left the building!”

    Elvis Ibanez!

  87. HighlightsAt11 on July 16th, 2013 2:04 pm

    The Ms might have swept the Angels at home, but the Rainiers playing four games at home were swept by Reno.

    Maurer, Ruffin, Paxton, and Beavan were the losing pitchers.

    Tacoma scored only 3 runs in the four games. Ouch.

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