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 3:31 pm

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

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

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Please no bunting…

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

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

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

    Ackley is overdue for a hit.

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

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

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

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

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


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

    YEAH! Sweep those Angels!

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

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

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

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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…

  28. 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!

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

    Well stated, Ivan.

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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

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

  36. 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!

  37. 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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