Game 97, Mariners at Astros

marc w · July 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Erik Bedard, 4:10pm

Ah, Erik Bedard. Misunderstood? Unlucky? Guy with a flukish career year? Overly associated with Bill Bavasi? Like many of you, I actually like Bedard – I really enjoyed the brief stretches of healthy Bedard from 2009-2011, and if there weren’t enough of them, well, we can’t really hold that against him any more than we get angry at Franklin Gutierrez. He appeared to take a clear step back last year, as his ERA topped 5 and his walk rate crept back up over 4/9. This earned him a DFA from Pittsburgh, but saber-inclined fans pointed to his OK FIP and the fact he didn’t appear to have any health problems as a reason to take a flyer on him. Houston did, and they’ve been rewarded with a small uptick in velocity and new, hellish horizontal movement on his pitches. Unfortunately, his FIP’s finally regressed back to where his ERA was last year.

At his peak with Baltimore, he ran Iwakuma-like 48-49% ground-ball rates, along with great K rates. He never had Iwakuma’s command, but he missed more bats and didn’t have Iwakuma’s home run problem. Well, he’s got it now. Through the years, Bedard’s GB% has moved downward in two big jumps. It dropped precipitously upon his arrival in Seattle, then held steady at around 42% for several years. This year, it’s a Beavanish 35%. Houston’s not the park where you’d want to be a fly-ball pitcher, though, to be fair, his home park hasn’t really hurt him yet. The bigger problem has been his steadily diminishing ability to get right-handed hitters. Like Iwakuma, Bedard ran reverse splits at his peak, and his career FIP is still worse against lefties than righties. A great curve and a change will do that (or a splitter, in Iwakuma’s case). After years of dominating righties, he’s now struggling, having yielded 30 XBH to them so far in 2013 and a wOBA of .349. In 2012, his wOBA against was .342; this is a small sample, but it’s not miniscule.

The M’s obviously have a very left-handed line-up these days, but Bedard’s been worse against lefties too. In any event, this will be a great test for Brad Miller and Dustin Ackley. Miller’s coming off his best game as a big leaguer, and while it’s extremely early, I’m already starting to wonder where he’ll place on next year’s Fangraphs trade value list. Dave mentioned that he toyed with the idea of including him *this* year, which would’ve been premature, but it’s a testament to how good Miller’s looked. A lefty-hitting, gap-powered shortstop with the ability to be an above-average MLB hitter this year/next year is incredibly valuable. If he avoids the Dustin Ackley career path, he’ll be someone to build around for a decade. It’s absurd how optimistic one really good shortstop can make me.

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

Tai Walker had another good outing last night, throwing 5IP and giving up 1R, to *raise* his ERA to 0.86.

The big starters in the M’s system today are all in the low-low minors, as Tyler Pike takes the hill for Clinton of the Midwest League, and Luiz Gohara starts for Pulaski in the Appy league.

Comments

69 Responses to “Game 97, Mariners at Astros”

  1. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 1:27 pm

    Who pitches first two Cleveland games? Harang on Monday then Erasmo brought back up for Tuesday game?

    Erasmo pitched for Everett on 7/17, so a five day rotation would ordinarily put him back on the mound 7/22 Monday.

    Who gets sent back down, LaFromboise, Noesi or Farquhar, after the ugly performance last night? But then even Perez struggled last evening, and bartender did not pick up a clean save.

    Everyone is talking about the needs in the outfield, which is very true. What’s the scoop on Ty Kelly and Abe Almonte? Will both be brought up in September?

    But also need to re-establish pitching. I suspect Kuma is not likely to be around very long, and Erasmo has not yet proved himself, so M’s could be in need of four starting pitchers next year. How many ‘ready’ prospects will be able to fill those holes? Walker looking good. But Hultzen with injury issues, Maurer regressing, Paxton not looking good.

    And besides Perez, Medina, and Furbush, the bullpen needs to reestablish itself (sorry Bratender). Hopefully Pryor can contribute soon. What’s the word on LHP Moran and Bawcom possibly coming up from Tacoma, in September? Bawcom has been pretty good in the closer role in Tacoma but had a couple bad games of late. I don’t see Kinney returning.

    Since June Furbush has had fewer bad outings (except for games against Boston, Oak, Pitt, LAA and a blown save at Texas). Hopefully he can remain consistent and the M’s don’t need to use him for extended innings and/or know better when to pull him.

  2. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 2:19 pm

    Marc, it’s interesting what you said about Bedard as a Mariner because that’s how I felt about him too. It’s very similar to Guti’s situation – when he did pitch, you could reasonably expect him to pitch quite well.

    I guess it’s not the perfect analogy in that Guti was, perhaps, the best defensive center fielder in the game while Bedard was “merely” a very good pitcher… But the parallel is striking.

    Highlights, you bring up some interesting points. For most of Z’s tenure we’ve at least been able to just assume the bullpen was fine – so it’s a bit of an adjustment coming to terms with the fact that it’s no longer the case.

  3. Will on July 20th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Anyone see that Ken Rosenthal tweet? He says the M’s have scouts in Chicago for the CWS-ATL game. Can’t imagine we’re scouting Peavy…

  4. fivespot on July 20th, 2013 3:02 pm

    No, not Peavy. But Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko would look great in an M’s uniform, wouldn’t they?

  5. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 3:05 pm

    Think about it – would the Sox or the Mariners realistically be buyers right now?

    No, I’m guessing Atlanta might be talking to Jack about someone. But then you’d think we’d be looking at their minor league guys rather than the big club.

    I no longer have a high opinion of Zduriencik; but I would hope he’s not stupid enough to give away future talent in a misguided attempt to win this year.

  6. Will on July 20th, 2013 3:32 pm

    He called up Zunino way early. Nothing will surprise me at this point. It’s obvious he’s trying to win this year.

  7. groundzero55 on July 20th, 2013 3:40 pm

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the M’s being buyers, as long as the player(s) they are buying are young, projectable types who can be under club control for a while, as opposed to guys who are free agents after the season is over.

    Atlanta does, indeed have some interesting players. The White Sox…eh, not so much.

  8. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 3:48 pm

    Maybe Jack’s still trying to trade Franklin and Walker for Justin Upton…

  9. Eastside Suds on July 20th, 2013 3:50 pm

    If we are to believe Z’s plan, he will be after young prospects. It will be very interesting to ses what we give away for that talent. The Braves need Oliver Perez yesterday. Todd Cunningham or Matt Lipka would be good outfield gets. Look for something to happen soon.

  10. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 3:54 pm

    As bad as our bullpen is, trading Perez would make some sense – depending on what we get back.

    Our veterans are all on one year deals, so the M’s probably wouldn’t even get a real prospect back for them.

    Our young guys shouldn’t be touched. But given the way Z turned into Bavasi with respect to lusting after old players, part of me is worried he might do that.

  11. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 3:58 pm

    I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if Franklin was dealt (in a package) for a solid outfielder. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with it, but they could always shift Ackley back and/or have Romero move back to 2B in Tacoma as well. This would kind of fit the mold of the Bava’Z’ thing Westy mentioned.

    Probably unlikely, but I could still see something like that happening.

  12. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 4:17 pm

    Fortunately Bedard rarely goes deep into games.

    Unfortunately the Mariners sometimes go on free-swinging jags – in that case, Bedard could go 9 innings with under 100 purchases.

    First inning sure went easy for the guy…

  13. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 4:44 pm

    Bedard seems to be getting some rather generous calls – that called third strike on Saunders was well inside.

  14. Will on July 20th, 2013 4:49 pm

    That’s not how you field a ball, Seager…

    Though I can’t get mad at him because he’s generally very good on defense.

  15. SeattleSlew on July 20th, 2013 4:51 pm

    Dave Sims, “Bedard had success with Baltimore but wasn’t able to show the same type of success with the Mariners.”

    O_o

    That’s one way to put it, another way would be, Bedard had one good year with Baltimore then Baltimore was able to convince the Mariners’ nonsensical front office to send 5 prospects for a pitcher with a history of arm problems.

  16. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 4:57 pm

    I agree Bavasi grossly overpaid, but Bedard consistently put up good numbers with Baltimore over several seasons.

    Look at his FanGraphs page though. He had four darn good seasons before Bavasi decided to empty the farm to get him.

  17. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 5:05 pm

    I understood why Bavasi wanted him. I was just pissed that he emptied his pockets for him.

    Ironically, Jack tried to do the same for Upton.

  18. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:08 pm

    Great play by Nicky there!

  19. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:10 pm

    Darn it, TV guys, that looked like another of Ibañez’s patented noodly throws in. Show the whole thing!

  20. SeattleSlew on July 20th, 2013 5:19 pm

    If you want to be generous you could say he had 2 good years with Baltimore but I would not consider posting a 1.602 WHIP (’04) “darn good.”

  21. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 5:21 pm

    Just tuning in and I see Bedard has a perfect game going in the fifth. Hope I just jinxed it.

  22. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 5:22 pm

    And yep he walks Morales. So now need to jinx the no-hitter.

  23. Prozach on July 20th, 2013 5:24 pm

    Does a Bedard no-no complete the wrath of the Bavasi Curse that I’m making up just now?

  24. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 5:27 pm

    The curse was clear shortly after that trade was made. But yeah, a no hitter would cap it painfully.

  25. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:28 pm

    2004 xFIP: 4.88 (okay, that wasn’t wonderful)
    2005 xFIP: 4.03
    2006 xFIP: 3.80
    2007 xFIP: 2.90

    “Bedard had one good year with Baltimore”? “If you want to be generous you could say he had 2 good years with Baltimore”?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

  26. Will on July 20th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Wouldn’t consider a 4.03 xFIP all that great, that’s pretty much #3 starter quality.

  27. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:34 pm

    4 is league average basically by definition.

    But the point is, Bavasi identified a good pitcher – he just way overpaid. He wasn’t good (wasn’t awful either) the first year, was rather good the subsequent two years… But couldn’t stay healthy.

  28. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 5:39 pm

    That pitch was good. Castro wasn’t suppose to get a hit out of that.

  29. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:39 pm

    That center field hill has to play with an outfielder’s mind…

  30. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 5:41 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, Westy. And that was a common theme with Bavasi: Overpaying. I’ll give him a pass with Beltre, though.

  31. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:41 pm

    Come on Bedard, you’ve got to be getting tired right about now…

  32. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 5:44 pm

    At this time in space, while M’s fans argue over IF Bedard WAS a GOOD pitcher, Bedard IS in the process of throwing a no-no.

  33. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:45 pm

    Okay, Crazy Legs – let’s see a hit!

  34. SeattleSlew on July 20th, 2013 5:48 pm

    “But the point is, Bavasi identified a good pitcher – he just way overpaid. He wasn’t good (wasn’t awful either) the first year, was rather good the subsequent two years… But couldn’t stay healthy.”

    Did you really expect a pitcher who barely pitched a full season in his career to continue improving and stay healthy in his 30′s?

  35. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 5:50 pm

    Crazy Legs didn’t swing the bat once. That takes some guts.

  36. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 5:54 pm

    OK veteran grit. Knock one out. Or at least tie it with a ruby.

  37. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:58 pm

    The previous two seasons prior to his acquisition by the Mariners, Bedard pitched 196 and 182 innings. That’s actually pretty healthy.

  38. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 5:59 pm

    By the way, when did the Astros pick up Miguel Olivo? It’s pretty obvious he’s their catcher this game.

  39. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 6:00 pm

    Wow, two PB’s directly contribute to two runs in the same inning. Thank you gifthorse.

    Tied 2-2. But Bedard still with a no-hitter going.

  40. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:03 pm

    Minute Maid Park has some odd angles…

  41. Paul B on July 20th, 2013 6:10 pm

    This game is sooo…

    Mariners

  42. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:13 pm

    I know I’m asking for a lot… But a HIT would be nice.

  43. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 6:14 pm

    Even a HBP would be nice.

  44. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:16 pm

    All right – bullpen time!

  45. Will on July 20th, 2013 6:19 pm

    Anyone else sick of Ackley?

  46. HighlightsAt11 on July 20th, 2013 6:20 pm

    After 109 pitches, and 7.1 innings, Bedard’s presence on the mound expired with a no-hitter still intact. That doesn’t happen too often.

  47. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 6:20 pm

    Zero hits, yet two runs scored.

    Really, everything about the Mariners is so backwards.

  48. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:21 pm

    I think Ackley needs an extended period in AAA.

    And much as I love seeing a competent catcher behind the plate, Zunino would benefit from more time down there to work on his hitting.

  49. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 6:22 pm

    Did Sucre die in surgery?

  50. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:25 pm

    Yeah Condor!

    That hill helped though.

  51. naviomelo on July 20th, 2013 6:26 pm

    Condor!!

  52. Will on July 20th, 2013 6:27 pm

    That hill out there is so dumb, though. They really need to get rid of that.

  53. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:28 pm

    I kind of like having Saunders bat last – all the fastest guys are together that way.

  54. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 6:29 pm

    Not just the hill – also that flagpole!

    Who designed that park?!

  55. Will on July 20th, 2013 6:43 pm

    Hoping we hit a HR in the final inning, so that we can keep the streak alive.

  56. Slats on July 20th, 2013 7:04 pm

    What a catch Condor!

  57. Slats on July 20th, 2013 7:09 pm

    One hit and we still win.

  58. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 7:11 pm

    Woo hoo!

  59. Sports on a Shtick on July 20th, 2013 7:11 pm

    One hit and Bedard stuck with the tough luck loss. That is some Mariners ish right there.

  60. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 7:14 pm

    ^ Yeah, he probably had flashbacks – Bedard may have been confused as to which locker room he needed to head to afterwards.

  61. marinerbullpen on July 20th, 2013 7:18 pm

    Nice WIN, that is a few in a row.
    Seems things are different since the young guys arrived.

    Besides an isolated event, anybody have anything POSITIVE to say?

    I’ll start.

    Smoak, Franklin, Miller, Seager, Zunino.

    That is a Pretty Good Future.
    These guys will NOT be traded, they have a chance to grow together as a unit. As Mariners.

  62. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 7:29 pm

    I’m happy to see Saunders coming back around the past several weeks. I’m also happy to see Kuma have a solid game.

  63. Prozach on July 20th, 2013 8:13 pm

    No dingers?!?!? What a disappointing game…

  64. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Saunders’ hit would’ve been a dinger in a lot of parks – but the Astros have a hill where a fence should be.

  65. Westside guy on July 20th, 2013 8:37 pm

    After 97 games…

    2013 Mariners: 45-52 RS 387, RA 437 (diff -50)
    2012 Mariners: 42-55 RS 384, RA 397 (diff -13)

    Last year’s team was apparently somewhat unlucky.

    This year’s team has finally pulled ahead of last year’s team in runs scored! But they’ve really taken a hit defensively – at least if you believe runs allowed is (in part anyway) a proxy for that.

  66. stevemotivateir on July 20th, 2013 8:57 pm

    These guys will NOT be traded, they have a chance to grow together as a unit. As Mariners.

    You don’t know that. The M’s have done some pretty stupid things, I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  67. henryv on July 20th, 2013 10:37 pm

    After 97 games…
    2013 Mariners: 45-52 RS 387, RA 437 (diff -50)
    2012 Mariners: 42-55 RS 384, RA 397 (diff -13)
    Last year’s team was apparently somewhat unlucky.
    This year’s team has finally pulled ahead of last year’s team in runs scored! But they’ve really taken a hit defensively – at least if you believe runs allowed is (in part anyway) a proxy for that.

    I am suspicious of any mid-season run differentials from last year, due to them scoring 31 runs in 2 games.

    But, yeah, I would say the M’s got pretty unlucky, losing a lot of 5-4, 3-2 and 2-1 games.

  68. henryv on July 20th, 2013 10:38 pm

    They also had 3 stretches of losing 3 1-run games.

  69. Breadbaker on July 21st, 2013 5:42 am

    The 2012 M’s were perfectly designed to lose one run games. It’s hard to win games when no one can get on base and everyone can strike out.

    And of course “the 2013 M’s” isn’t a single item. The team that was trotting out Montero/Shoppach, Andino/Ryan and Ackley at second doesn’t really mean much today.

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