Game 98, Mariners at Astros

marc w · July 21, 2013 at 9:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Jordan Lyles, 11:10am

Happy Felix Day. There are very, very few things better than those three simple words, and if we’re honest, a majority of them are merely modifiers of the underlying sentiment. Such it is today, as the M’s go for a sweep of Houston on this happy Felix day.

Jordan Lyles is a righty grounballer with a four- and two-seam fastball, a slider, a curve and a change. He’s had home run problems in previous years, which makes sense given his home park, but so far in 2013, he’s largely avoided the long ball. As with Bud Norris, there’s no easy explanation for this outside of the ol’ standby: luck and random variance. That said, he’s gradually shifted from using the slider as his primary breaking ball to the curve, and, at least focusing on results, that’s been a positive change for Lyles. Not only does his curve generate more whiffs/strikeouts, it has less platoon splits and he’s given up fewer homers on it. He doesn’t have the clear, obvious platoon splits that Norris had, but this is a better match-up for the new lefty-dominated M’s batting order than last night.

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

Not a huge day for pitching in the M’s minor leagues, but Chance Ruffin gets his second start in AAA for Tacoma. The Rainiers snapped a nasty losing streak last night with an 11-4 win over Fresno; Rich Poythress hit two homers to pace the offense.


74 Responses to “Game 98, Mariners at Astros”

  1. Ralph_Malph on July 21st, 2013 9:59 am

    I predict posts complaining about Blanco getting the start, so I will respond to them in advance: day game following night game.

  2. BaldEagle on July 21st, 2013 10:05 am

    I wouldn’t expect complaint posts regarding Blanco being in the lineup today. I think most of the folks here are astute enough to already understand the night game/day game dynamic when it comes to your catcher.

  3. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 10:49 am

    Any complaining about Blanco getting the start probably has more to do with him having a roster spot at all. But no catcher is behind the plate for 162 games anyway.

  4. Will on July 21st, 2013 11:03 am

    It’s not like Zunino is tearing it up at the plate. He’s started for the past several games, I’m fine with Blanco getting a start on a day game.

  5. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 11:09 am

    Why in the hell is Henry Blanco getting a start!

    For crappin out loud!!!

  6. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 11:19 am

    Hey, on the serious side – a few months ago, I had posted something about my dads health (dementia/Alzheimer’s diagnosis) – and how he was 100% serious when describing things from Mariner games that never actually happened.

    Turns out – after 4 months of indescribable behavior, multiple doctors and two long stints in the hospital, he had an abscess in his abdomen as a result of an intestinal perforation that was basically oozing poison into his body. Once that mess was drained (via a catheter) and once the meds taken were adjusted and/or eliminated – he has basically returned to normal – and quickly.

    He has been un-diagnosed from something that almost nobody is un-diagnosed from. Luck, random variation, miracle – I don’t know and I don’t care

    The lesson learned is that severe infection can mask itself as dementia type symptoms – especially in older patients. If something similar ever happens to anyone in your circle of family or friends – and if there is an unexplained high white blood count involve anywhere along the way – ask the doctors to keep focusing on the source of the high white blood count until all possibilities are exhausted.

    Four months of hell became just about the best week ever.

  7. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 11:36 am

    Good hustle Saunders!

  8. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 11:42 am


  9. zzyzx on July 21st, 2013 11:43 am

    This Nick Franklin guy. I kind of like him.

  10. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 11:43 am

    Amazing story, msfan. I thought the story was going end with, and then when he came out of it and saw what the Mariners were really doing this season…But sometimes life doesn’t provide a punchline!

    Although he might feel deluded again watching this game. Whatthe??

  11. raul_podzednick on July 21st, 2013 11:45 am

    OK , here is an INSANE idea

    Felix has pitched 1 inning we have a 7 run lead and obviously see this pitcher well

    Pull him, put in Beaven and pitch Felix tomorrow or the next day

  12. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 11:45 am

    Uh oh, this is Felix we’re talking about… Seven runs isn’t safe. ;-)

  13. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 11:47 am

    Just getting caught up… GREAT news about your Dad, Mike!

  14. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 11:50 am

    For months, he kept going on and on about how good a hitter that Brendan Ryan was. I couldn’t talk him out of it. If I showed him stats, he would blame it on the mariners not getting “their paperwork” to the league office in time for his stats to be updated properly. At that point, what doctor wouldn’t conclude he had dementia.

    I think I am going to need a couple solid weeks of psycho therapy to un-remember the whole thing.

    I wish I was making this stuff up, but it all happened. I think it might have been easier to believe if I had not been witness to it – but only been told of it from someone else experiencing it.

  15. MrZDevotee on July 21st, 2013 11:55 am

    So, who’s with me with ridiculous speculation about a wild card pennant race for the Mariners!!!?

    Y’know, after sweeping the first two series of the “2nd half” of the season!

    We may not lose another game!

    Nick Franklin wins MVP!

    Raul Ibanez hits a walk off World Series winning HR! (Or “carry off”… Where his body literally gives out at 2b, rounding the bases, after his amazing, overused seasons, and his teammates have to triumphantly carry him the rest of the way to homeplate, where he breathes his last breath, uttering the words “Play the game the right way, boys… For me… And when things are going rough someone say “Remember what Raul taught us!”)

    Felix pitches TWO no hitters in the same World Series…

    No less than THREE movies get made about the season…

    A book called “Unbelieva-ball” documents the amazing array of moves that Z made in the 2012 offseason to get to the promised land, faking like he was gonna sign the big name guys, only to bring in a rag-tag bunch of “heart” guys whose favorite movie is “Bad News Bears”…

    This could be the season dreams are made of!!!!

    (As long as Felix holds this lead…)

  16. MrZDevotee on July 21st, 2013 11:56 am

    Glad to hear about your dad, Mike…

    Maybe you can make some sort of karmic compromise with him and convince him that Brendan Ryan legally changed his name to Brad Miller?

  17. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 11:58 am

    That’s how Raul would want to go out, MrZ…

  18. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 11:58 am

    (Now we need to check MrZ’s white blood cell count)

  19. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 12:00 pm

    ^ hahahahahahahaha

  20. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 12:03 pm

    Hahahahaha – good call Juneau. MrZ is about my age, so yeah – get an early diagnosis, buddy!

    MrZ only needs a sliver of light to find the positive. He kinda helps offset a lot of the rest of us.

  21. MrZDevotee on July 21st, 2013 12:03 pm

    Nah, my problem is Absinthe, not abcess… *laugh*

  22. MrZDevotee on July 21st, 2013 12:08 pm

    Astros really are bad, aren’t they…? They’ve given up 11 runs to us, in the past 12 innings… On 5 hits.

    That’s hard to do ON PURPOSE.

  23. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 12:16 pm

    Yeah, your optimism may be quickly tempered once the Indians hit town and be drinking for another reason.

    The Astros are stunningly bad.

  24. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 12:19 pm

    Sims, don’t be an idiot. You can’t just take a cop’s hat.

    Oh right, he has a hat fetish.

  25. Will on July 21st, 2013 12:21 pm

    I’m pretty sure Sims thinks Ackley’s the fastest guy in the MLB or something.

  26. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 12:26 pm

    Only the Astros would celebrate being hit by a pitch by playing music. A man on base, any way possible!

  27. terryoftacoma on July 21st, 2013 12:36 pm

    The fan in me wants to see that playoff run MrZ which is why I love baseball. Anything can happen.

    The Indians are winning 3-0. Trying not to be swept by the Twins so they can be beaten.

  28. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 12:41 pm

    I’m pretty sure Sims thinks Ackley’s the fastest guy in the MLB or something.


    I think that’s only when Ackley is at bat. Other times, he thinks Miller, Franklin, or Saunders is the fastest guy in MLB… and Raul is right up there, if he’s in scoring position. :-D

  29. Will on July 21st, 2013 12:47 pm

    I was just discussing this with my Grandpa, but would it be crazy to pull Felix with a 10-run lead and pitch the bullpen the rest of the game, and then pitch Felix again on Tuesday or something? Because he’s barely thrown any pitches this game and we could really use him for the Cleveland series.

  30. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 12:52 pm

    Sadly, Westy, I didn’t make that intelligent of a comment. I was ragging on Sims’ hat obsession. Will is the one commenting on the running.

  31. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 12:54 pm

    They should have Felix learn to throw left-handed – then he could start 40% of the games for the Mariners.

  32. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 12:55 pm

    Oops – sorry about the misattribution, Will and Juneau!

  33. bookbook on July 21st, 2013 12:56 pm

    The pull Felix plan is a good one, but no manager would risk being blamed for an injury to do it- the gain is too smakl

  34. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 12:57 pm

    I miss seeing Ryan’s spectacular defensive plays… but Miller does seem to be holding his own out there AND he can actually hit!

  35. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 1:10 pm

    Why are the base paths so wet? It’s an indoor facility. Is that that hot in there? It just looks so muddy and dangerous to be sliding. Yet another thing that makes this team look like chump change.

  36. GhostofMarinersPast on July 21st, 2013 1:15 pm

    Great news about your pops, mike! Man this team is fun to watch lately. Getting excited for the future. We are definitely going to make a big trade this winter, or FA signing. I hope it’s a trade because the FA pool isn’t too deep. I really don’t want them to throw a heap of money at Ellsbury. I’d be ok with Pence but wouldn’t want to go over 3/33.

  37. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 1:15 pm

    Isn’t Minute Maid a movable-roof structure? Like Safeco or the Diamondbacks’ stadium, I mean?

  38. SeattleSlew on July 21st, 2013 1:16 pm

    lets play a game, what has sims done today?

    A. Root for the other team
    B. Repeat stupid nicknames (like Saundo) and lingo nobody uses
    C. Miss the daily trivia question
    D. Talk about football
    E. All of the above

  39. GhostofMarinersPast on July 21st, 2013 1:17 pm

    I would also love to read Dave write about the possible timelines for DJ Peterson and Austin Wilson. What they need to work on and how long it might take. Are we looking at 2 years? End of next year?

  40. terryoftacoma on July 21st, 2013 1:21 pm

    Yes. Westy Minute Maid has a retractable roof.

  41. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 1:23 pm

    It’s hard to tell but I don’t think it’s open though? I don’t see sunlight on the field like I do at Safeco. And I assume it’s about a billion degrees in Texas right now, so close that puppy!

  42. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 1:31 pm

    Looks like some sunlight from windows in the outfield. (This game has rapidly become dull, in a good way, that we can discuss whether the roof is open or not)

  43. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 1:32 pm

    Austin Wilson is off to a really rough start in Everett. I hope he develops into more of a player than Mike Wilson did, but he has a long, long way to go. DJ Peterson (at last check) was hitting near .300 and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him promoted upward before the year is over.

  44. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 1:38 pm

    Probably Minute Maid is designed like Chase, where the idea for the roof is more to keep air-conditioned air inside and the sun off than to keep rain outside.

  45. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 1:45 pm

    There has never been a better time for Noesi to pitch in a game.

  46. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 1:47 pm

    Maybe so, Mike, but I was still slightly nervous that inning.

  47. Will on July 21st, 2013 1:50 pm

    Dave Sims is a big fan of Endy Chavez and his -0.7 WAR. When will these guys learn that batting average doesn’t tell the whole story?

  48. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 1:55 pm

    And even in the midst of all this good feeling, the fundamental problem with Z’s roster construction rears its head. Chavez is fine as a bench OF, as is Bay – but having the two of them means they can’t play enough to stay fresh, and it’s only going to get worse once Morse is back.

    And with Morse… I assume Wedge will start him, but who does he replace? Ackley’s still struggling, but replacing him draws attention to something Z probably would prefer not to have ownership focus on. Replacing Saunders wouldn’t make sense, but he’s not Z’s guy – so is that what they’ll do?

  49. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 2:09 pm

    And does Montero come back up? Where does he go if he does? That gives the team 3-4 first basemen if Morse is back too.

    When will his ban for PEDs go into effect again?

    *According to the New York Daily News: “Any suspensions baseball announces would not come before the All-Star Game Tuesday at Citi Field, according to a baseball source. However, the suspensions are expected ‘definitely before the end of the season,’ the source said, and possibly much sooner.”*

    That’s really helpful.

  50. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 2:11 pm

    They dont need Morse, so that’s a tough call. Trade him after he re-establishes himself as a strikeout force of nature after a few games of hobbling around slowly?

    With him, Guti and Montero all getting “closer” it’s anybody’s guess as to what will happen. Bay and Chavez appear to be largely expendable, but they have at least been healthy’ish, so ……………. Hell, I don’t know.

    And where is Sucre? Someone asked that above, too.

  51. don52656 on July 21st, 2013 2:14 pm

    There are trades to be made to get rid of the excess “talent” the M’s now have coming off of the DL. I can’t imagine a scenario where the players that have this team on a roll are benched. I would expect to see several pieces sent to other teams, such as JSaunders, Chavez, Ryan, Gutierrez.

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if the M’s go 5-2 or better on the next home stand against Clev/Minn. Getting to .500 before the end of July would make things a whole lot more interesting, even if it’s a tremendous long-shot that they can get into the playoff picture. However, they are going to be a handful no matter what, and if I were a contender I wouldn’t want to be playing them in September.

  52. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 2:15 pm

    Anyone else remember the media rationalization that Zunino would only be up until Sucre came off the DL? ;-)

    I love Mike Zunino, don’t get me wrong. But Sucre may be “taking one for the team”.

  53. msfanmike on July 21st, 2013 2:32 pm

    The easiest roster move decision of Jacks tenure will probably occur tomorrow – courtesy of Bobby LaFromboise

  54. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 2:32 pm

    Remember when the Mariners’ bullpen was a strength?

  55. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 2:33 pm

    This is like one of those chess moves that all the moves are bad and good at the same time.

    If Zunino is the future and Blanco is there to train him, then sending Z down when Montero is ready serves no purpose. But getting rid of Blanco and carrying two young, hot and cold hitting catchers doesn’t seem wise, particularly if one is intended to move to another position.

    A Montero suspension would probably serve the team, other than getting nothing for money spent, so to speak.

  56. juneau_fan on July 21st, 2013 2:34 pm

    Hell, I didn’t even know this Bobby LaFromboise was on the team!

  57. 9inningknowitall on July 21st, 2013 2:34 pm

    msfanmike: I’ve watched Austin Wilson play a couple of games this year and my thought both times is he is slow and strikes out way too much. Not impressed at all and not looking for him to go any where to be honest.

  58. californiamariner on July 21st, 2013 2:42 pm

    I don’t expect Montero to ever be considered a catcher again.

  59. Eastside Suds on July 21st, 2013 2:45 pm

    Good sweep. Six in a row going back home. Ugly at the end when LaFromboise and Farquhar have the opportunity to shine for the skipper. Obviously still a major weakness of our bullpen (depth). But, M’s comin’ home on a high note!

  60. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 2:48 pm

    Okay, now I can exhale.

  61. terryoftacoma on July 21st, 2013 2:51 pm

    Looking at our schedule for August, we could fall back real fast even if we made it to .500 by the end of july. Ofcourse, we could also impact the races but throwing a few monkey wrenches into the mix.

    There isn’t any pressure to recall Montero before the rosters expand in September. He’s not in Tacoma because of rehab. Guti on the other hand is which could get interesting. Morse hasn’t even started rehab.

  62. californiamariner on July 21st, 2013 3:01 pm

    Mariners are now 27-24 vs the AL West, with winning records against every team but Texas. Small sample nonsense but interesting!

  63. californiamariner on July 21st, 2013 3:08 pm

    Also interesting (or not) they don’t play another division game until August 16.

  64. casey on July 21st, 2013 4:41 pm

    re Austin Wilson how do you write a 20 year old kid off after 25 professional games?

  65. dnc on July 21st, 2013 5:36 pm

    “msfanmike: I’ve watched Austin Wilson play a couple of games this year and my thought both times is he is slow and strikes out way too much. Not impressed at all and not looking for him to go any where to be honest.”

    Well his strikeout rate is 19.4 which is a tad higher than you’d like but nothing like the Pimentel/Castillo/Peguero category of probably hopeless, and certainly not in the Joe DeCarlo WTF range.

    This is why making any type of judgement after watching someone for two games is a bad idea. Wilson is a project, and may never materialize into anything, but it’s way too early to say that.

    Casey, I agree, but just as an fyi Wilson is actually 21. Doesn’t change the point.

  66. 9inningknowitall on July 21st, 2013 7:33 pm

    I do agree that a 21 yr old should never be written off. However, I’ve seen a lot of great players come through the Northwest League and Wilson reminds me of just another average player. I watched him bat against average and below average players and get beat. DJ Peterson on the other hand is the real deal. The youngest Seager has some work but he has a lot of potential. Could be really good.

  67. dnc on July 21st, 2013 8:20 pm

    Justin isn’t the youngest Seager, that would be Corey who is in the Dodgers organization. Unless there’s a younger one who isn’t in the pros yet, which I suppose is possible. But Justin’s the middle of the three professional baseball playing Seagers.

  68. stevemotivateir on July 21st, 2013 8:28 pm

    Drayer posted a piece regarding Montero the other day. They apparently plan to use him at DH and 1B for the rest of the season.

    No more catching! Now if he can just figure out how to hit.

  69. Westside guy on July 21st, 2013 9:13 pm

    We’d heard that before, Steve – right after he got sent down. Then, not long after, we heard he’d injured himself while playing catcher. :-O

  70. Phightin Phils on July 21st, 2013 10:11 pm

    Random: take a look at Franklin’s expression after his Salami. I read it as him showing satisfaction at crushing a pitch (as if it was expected), and some show of pure *joy* of the game.

    Do you see that joy in Smoak? Ackley? Saunders?

  71. dnc on July 21st, 2013 10:51 pm

    Making judgements about players based on your interpretations their expressions is a really good way to craft a false narrative.

    And yes, I’ve seen Smoak have that look many times, not that it means anything.

  72. GhostofMarinersPast on July 21st, 2013 11:41 pm

    Seriously?! Guys. C’mon. We’re writing off Wilson already!? For my money, the guy can look like shit for a while. He’s a toolsy upside guy. He’s a learner. Let’s let him learn. Or……if you like, we could trade him right now for Heathcliff Slocumb JR. Sound good? Lets sit back a bit. I haven’t gotten to watch him play, and would love to hear some REAL analysis on his potential. Or lack thereof. But I think we should pump the brakes on the lost cause talk.

  73. hangsoutatcostco on July 22nd, 2013 8:54 am

    Everyone is forgetting the M’s still have to face their toughest opponent over the years . . . August.

  74. Phightin Phils on July 22nd, 2013 10:24 am

    dnc — nah, wasn’t about player evaluation. It was about being a fan of this team, and having to sit though the bad parts. Players that don’t show any passion makes it even tougher.

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