Game 99, Indians at Mariners

marc w · July 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Aaron Harang vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 7:10pm

Last time these two teams faced each other, the M’s came in red hot, and with a good chance to hit .500. A 4-game sweep later, the M’s were in a tail-spin they’ve only recently showed signs of emerging from. So, uh, beat the Indians, Mariners. That weird thing with all of the walk-off losses? Less of that.

I talked about Ubaldo Jimenez at length back when he faced Brandon Maurer and the M’s in mid-May. At the time, he’d just started to show signs that he wasn’t an imminent DFA candidate, and that there was still some talent left in the guy the Indians traded for in 2011. Since then, he’s been mediocre to solid, which isn’t great for a team that’s actually in playoff contention, but again, is a heck of a lot better than the Jimenez of 2012-April of 2013. Yes, his velocity is still down, and yes, his sinker’s still got awful results (in part because he always goes to it when he’s behind). But he’s sticking around, with a FIP on the year of 4.5, and if his walks are elevated, at least he’s getting a few more Ks again.

From his call-up in 2008 through 2010, Jimenez and his 97mph fastball and big slider gave him a nearly insurmountable advantage against righty bats. As his velocity started to drop, he ditched his change-up for a splitter to try and keep lefties off balance. Without premium velocity, lefties were starting to batter Jimenez’s sinker, and the splitter is a great pitch to attack opposite-handed-hitters, as Hisashi Iwakuma knows well. From 2010 to 2012, Jimenez’s wOBA-against to lefties went .265 to .311 to .371. This shows just how bad lefties were hitting the sinker, and that his new pitch wasn’t exactly a panacea. The funny thing is that, as soon as he developed the pitch, he started getting a lot more K’s against lefties than righties. In 2009, he had a better K/9 against lefties, but his K% was still better against righties (as you’d guess). That k% shot up in 2010, to nearly 27% of lefties. It was still around 26% in 2011, even as his results against *righties* were going down the drain. It’s at 24% now, and his K:BB ratio looks pretty good. And that’s helpful, because he’s walked about as many righties as he’s struck out. His command’s essentially gone against righties, but he’s kept the ball in the park. Against lefties, he’s like a very poor man’s Iwakuma: He’s striking them out, keeping walks more-or-less in check, but giving up HRs like it’s 2000 and he’s back in Coors Field.

Aaron Harang’s probably sympathetic. Like Jimenez, he’s had terrible results with his two-seam/sinker, and that’s in part due to the fact that he throws a lot of them when he’s behind in the count to lefties. In 2013, batters (righties and lefties) are slugging .800 on Harang’s sinker. That’s not an OPS, that’s a slugging average. Eight-hundred. It’s slightly higher vs. just lefties, and in any event he hardly throws it to righties. Now, it’s easy to look at a half-season’s results, or a half-season’s results *broken down by batter handedness* and say he needs to change his pitch mix. Of course it’s not that simple – batters might crush the four-seamer if he threw it instead, and Harang’s certainly been around long enough to have some sense of the trade-offs involved, not only for balls in play, but how a sinker may or may not set up other pitches in his repertoire. All of that said, Harang may want to rethink this. His results on the two-seamer since 2007 have been much worse than his other pitches, and sinkers tend to have larger platoon splits than other fastballs (and it’s sort of amazing how many pitchers throw mostly sinkers to opposite-handed batters). 2013 has been unlucky, but at this point, I think it’s looking like the anomalies are those years in which he HASN’T been burned on the pitch.

Unlike Jimenez, Harang’s platoon splits look quite normal. He’s not walking much of anyone, and he’s striking batters out (especially righties) at a decent clip. His problem is focused on HRs, and especially HRs to lefties. It’s easy to say that he needs to pitch around lefties and perhaps trade more walks for HRs, but it’s not that he’s throwing balls down the middle when he’s behind. He’s given up four HRs on the first pitch and another two on 0-1 pitches. Five HRs have come in any at-bat that started 1-0, but five HRs have come in any at-bat starting 0-1. He’s just made some mistakes, and batters have crushed them. That could indicate that this is just terrible luck, and his freakish HR/9 will start to regress if his HR/FB moves back to where it’s been in previous years. But this doesn’t exculpate his sinker, either. It doesn’t prove that’s the problem, either, but the clear majority of his HRs have come on that pitch, and they haven’t all come in 3-1/2-0 counts. Sometimes a pitch looks bad when you strip it from its context. Other times a pitch looks bad because it’s bad.

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: Aaron Harang

In the minors tonight, James Paxton starts for Tacoma as they host Tucson. Pulaski’s Eddie Campbell makes his third start in the Appy League. Campbell was drafted in the 15th round out of Virginia Tech, where the lefty had an up-and-down junior season, but a solid stretch towards the end of the year convinced the M’s to draft him. Yes, he’s a major college guy in a rookie league, but Campbell’s struck out 17 batters in his last two appearances, covering 9 2/3IP, and he’s walked two. He’s always been a big strikeout pitcher, but walks and struggles with men on base left him with unsightly runs allowed figures. We’ll see if he moves up soon.

Victor Sanchez followed up his CG no-hitter with another solid game this morning, throwing 5 IP of 1 R ball in a no-decision. He gave up 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 Ks, to run his season K:BB to 44:8. That’s impressive, but it’s not the best on the team. South African Dylan Unsworth was working on a 44:2 ratio over ten starts, before arm trouble sidelined him in June. Get well soon.

Jackson looks to be rained out yet again. Early this year, it looked like Clinton would have to play 4-5 double-headers a week to get their season in. Now, I think Jackson’s caught them (or passed them) in games lost due to weather. Meanwhile, Tacoma quietly gets nearly every game in, even in April/May.

The first of the biogenesis penalties was handed down today, with MLB suspending Ryan Braun of Milwaukee for the rest of the 2013 season.

The on-again, off-again Matt-Garza-to-Texas trade was finally consummated, with the Cubs getting 3B Mike Olt, P Justin Grimm, and P CJ Edwards from the Rangers. Grimm’s been a back-of-the-rotation starter this year for Texas, while Olt fought through an odd eye problem to resume his power-hitting, strikeout-prone career in the PCL. Olt was a gem of the Rangers system, but that elevated K rate and some statistical stagnation (which may have been caused or exacerbated by that bout of double-vision) cause his stock to fall a bit. CJ Edwards opened eyes in 2012, blasting through Spokane of the NWL with 60Ks in 47 IP. The unheralded righty out of a South Carolina HS was drafted in the *48th* round, but he’s followed that up with an even better 2013. In 18 starts for Hickory, he’s got an ERA under 2 and 122 Ks to 34 BBs in just 93 1/3IP. This is what I’m talking about when I say that I’m basically in awe of the Rangers player development machine. Garza figures to add just shy of 1 win over the rest of the season; not a massive upgrade over Grimm, but an important one for a Ranger club that’s trying to overtake Oakland for the division lead. And as valuable as Olt was, he’s scuffling this season and has no real place to play in Texas with Adrian Beltre at 3B and a rotation of Mitch Moreland, Jeff Baker and maybe Lance Berkman at 1B.

Comments

64 Responses to “Game 99, Indians at Mariners”

  1. Slats on July 22nd, 2013 5:41 pm

    I really hope the M’s can win this series!

  2. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 5:51 pm

    So….Braun is gone for the season as expected. I guess besides A-Roid, he has been the poster-boy of “those that may get away with it” the past couple of years.
    My question is: Given the position the A’s are currently in and the fact that Bartolo Colon is on fire and leading their pitching staff, does Bud go after him and shelve the A’s Ace for the rest of the season for being the most esteemed active player on the “LIST”? Some reporters have stated that the boss wasn’t going to give out suspensions till next year. I can hear the “Church Lady” saying….”Well, isn’t that special?”. Should be Very interesting to watch!!

  3. Longgeorge1 on July 22nd, 2013 6:00 pm

    I hope Z is serious about not shopping anyone on the current squad. If he can get a great deal – OK. Kendrys is worth a #1 pick if we keep and tender him at the end of the year. We should want a top prospect for him, not a bunch of B- listers. Go M’s ( 84-78)

  4. terryoftacoma on July 22nd, 2013 6:04 pm

    Morse DHing today for Tacoma. The countdown begins.

  5. SeattleSlew on July 22nd, 2013 6:05 pm

    Most of the season has been really hard to watch the M’s without pulling my hair out. But what has kept me from pulling my hair out is the fact that this team could’ve been in a much worse place if they had handed out a long term deal, that many fans were hopping for, to one or a pair of the aging free agents who were available this off season (Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton).

    One could argue that Michael Bourn could really have helped our OF however I think in order to convince him to play in Seattle we would have to overpay to the point that his production wouldn’t be worth the money he would be making.

  6. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 6:16 pm

    If they extend Morse, it’ll be hard to argue they did better by not signing Swisher…

    But hopefully that won’t happen.

  7. SeattleSlew on July 22nd, 2013 6:25 pm

    It was confirmed today that Matt Garza was sent to Texas for 5 players (Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, and two player named later).

    I don’t think the M’s should get rid of Iwakuma but I wonder what he is worth. If we got an offer anywhere close to that should the M’s pull the trigger?

  8. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 6:53 pm

    I realize, by the lack of responses that Colon is not a Mariner issue. But, what if he finishes 1st in AL Cy Young voting and the King finishes 2nd? Just throwin’ it out there……

  9. californiamariner on July 22nd, 2013 7:01 pm

    Colon won’t get votes simply for the fact that’s he’s linked to this case. Not that I think he deserves it anyway.

  10. jordan on July 22nd, 2013 7:03 pm

    Wow. The Cubbies got a haul.

  11. Paul B on July 22nd, 2013 7:21 pm

    Can’t blame Wedge for in game moves tonight.

  12. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 7:28 pm

    Ibanez was 2 for 11 in the Houston series. So why is he in left field tonight?

  13. californiamariner on July 22nd, 2013 7:37 pm

    Going into today, Mariners hitters tied for 13th with the Rangers and Reds in wRC. 15th in wOBA. 15th in slugging. This is actually an average offense.

  14. terryoftacoma on July 22nd, 2013 7:38 pm

    Because the other options are Bay or Chavez.

  15. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 7:44 pm

    Raul was lucky Santana’s throw was off line.

  16. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 7:51 pm

    Not sure Seager should’ve tried that.

  17. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 8:03 pm

    Raul is 41 years old. He probably shouldn’t be playing in the field everyday no matter what the options.

  18. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 8:15 pm

    Hard to believe Giambi is still playing!

  19. terryoftacoma on July 22nd, 2013 8:18 pm

    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying Breadbaker. I think they should get him some down time, especially the last 62 games or so. He’s played a lot. But Raul won’t say he needs a break. It has to be his manager that tells him he needs one and that’s Wedge. We all know how Wedge thinks.

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

    Kendrys!!

  21. Kazinski on July 22nd, 2013 8:25 pm

    If they extend Morse, it’ll be hard to argue they did better by not signing Swisher…

    Swisher is slugging .387 this season with a .732 ops. That’s about 60% of the season. He may get hot but he could be another FA bullet the Mariners dodged. Morse isn’t going to get paid anything close to that, and our 1b has an .802 OPS.

  22. Section329 on July 22nd, 2013 8:32 pm

    Z!!!!!

  23. Slats on July 22nd, 2013 8:32 pm

    Mikey Z!

  24. californiamariner on July 22nd, 2013 8:33 pm

    Welcome to the party Zunino!!

  25. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 8:40 pm

    Given that Swisher runs circles around Morse defensively, and given that the comparison I drew was “if Morse gets extended”… I don’t think it’s as cut and dried as you make it. The only way that works is if you ignore defense. You don’t think Morse is going to be looking for at least 10 million per? He’s not dramatically out hitting Swisher this year (.767 OPS).

    However the best case scenario is that the Mariners let Morse walk after this year – then there will be more bullets dodged.

  26. Longgeorge1 on July 22nd, 2013 8:49 pm

    Face it we are not in the race. The young kids and Raul are the ones selling tickets. Raul just had 4 days off. If you use him at DH either Morales or Smoak has to sit. Rest him on days he is facing someone he has done poorly against. He is still hitting well, he could have got lucky 2 ab’s ago, and he just worked a walk.

  27. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 8:58 pm

    I don’t see Raul sitting much in Wedge’s lineup the rest of the year. If we want to see both Smoak and Morales in the hitting lineup (and they are both deserving), then Raul will remain in left, less the odd day off.
    Morse is another subject. If/when he resumes playing, Ackley or Saunders sits, which I don’t think serves our organization well.

  28. californiamariner on July 22nd, 2013 8:58 pm

    The Indians have a pitcher named CC Lee! Lol!

  29. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 8:58 pm

    Morse is less reliable than Guti. Signing Morse for more than 5-6M a year is a mistake.

  30. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 9:02 pm

    At that price, Henry, he might make sense… but on a relatively short deal (2-3 years max).

  31. Longgeorge1 on July 22nd, 2013 9:15 pm

    When Morse gets back he should take Bay’s spot on the bench

  32. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 9:21 pm

    Does Sims not realize that a 13-19 basestealer is not a good basestealer?

  33. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 9:23 pm

    Agreed. We don’t need two defensively challenged hit or miss, right handed, old outfielders. Of the two, you keep the one you intend to possibly re-sign. Undoubtedly, that has to be Morse.

  34. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 9:24 pm

    Now 13-20

  35. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:33 pm

    Action movies are so terrible.

  36. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 9:34 pm

    Every time Furbush gets it done, I just remember that at least the Fister trade wasn’t a total bust. Charlie has pitched well for the M’s. Arguably their best in the pen this season.

  37. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:37 pm

    Francona looks like he should be managing in a top hat, in the 1890s.

  38. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 9:39 pm

    Why is Raul in leftfield in the ninth inning of a one run game?

  39. Rick L on July 22nd, 2013 9:41 pm

    Yes. Chavez might have had that ball.

  40. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 9:42 pm

    Chavez or Bay both catch that ball. So maddening that the team cares more about players feelings and honoring Raul’s place on the team rather than doing the right thing to win a game.

  41. Rick L on July 22nd, 2013 9:44 pm

    Boy, Wilhelmsen makes it exciting.

  42. Rick L on July 22nd, 2013 9:44 pm

    I would also have put Ryan at short.

  43. Rick L on July 22nd, 2013 9:45 pm

    Shades of Bobby Ayala.

  44. bongo on July 22nd, 2013 9:45 pm

    I love this blog. I watch Raul demonstrate why he is a 0 WAR player, and ask myself “why is he out there in a one run game?” Then I log on to ussmariner.com hoping for a rational answer. Of course, there is none, but at least there are others asking the same question. It is one thing for Wedge to make such a decision, but I thought bench coaches were supposed to know better.

  45. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 9:45 pm

    Probably it’d be Ackley in left – and he definitely would’ve gotten to it.

  46. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:45 pm

    Jesus fucking christ, why was Raul out there for the 9th on defense?

  47. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 9:47 pm

    Woo hoo! They won, obviously because of Raul’s gritty ninth-inning presence in left.

  48. spuuky on July 22nd, 2013 9:48 pm

    Remember when 40% of people here voted to say that Bonderman would probably be better than Harang the rest of the way?

  49. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 9:48 pm

    Unfortunately the interim bench coach isn’t going to usurp the wishes/coaching habits of Wedge. You would think putting in a defensive replacement for Raul would be a no-brainier. Not with this coaching staff.

  50. bongo on July 22nd, 2013 9:49 pm

    Why would we want Morse at $6 million/year, if he is a less than zero WAR player? For $6 million we should be able to buy at least 1 WAR, maybe more if we’re smart. And frankly, given the quality of our bullpen and starting corps this year, we probably need pitching more than another DH type who can’t play the field (but who we send out there anyway).

  51. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 9:49 pm

    BTW Raul is at +0.9 WAR now, not 0.

    ;-)

  52. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:51 pm

    Remember when 40% of people here voted to say that Bonderman would probably be better than Harang the rest of the way?

    I only voted for Bonderman because of the way Harang looks.

  53. Westside guy on July 22nd, 2013 9:53 pm

    I accidentally voted for Pat Buchanon.

  54. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 9:55 pm

    I didn’t say we want him. Only that he is more valuable (arguably) than Bay . I don’t think they should sign Morse either. I would much rather have Jacoby Ellsbury (not likely) or Hunter Pence.

  55. Breadbaker on July 22nd, 2013 9:56 pm

    Westy wins the Internet for the day.

  56. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:57 pm

    Imagine waking up every morning and being Aaron Harang and looking in that mirror every morning.

  57. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 9:58 pm

    Choo is available, right? I’m not paying attention to free agents at this moment.

  58. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 10:00 pm

    My gut says both Bay and Ryan are gone by the end of the week.

  59. Eastside Suds on July 22nd, 2013 10:02 pm

    Yes, Choo is available. Would you leave a competitive Cincinnati team for the same money that the team who let you go would pay? I’d love to get him back. I just don’t see it happening.

  60. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 10:06 pm

    Considering that I think the price of a win is going to go up to about $8M each over the next few years (TV contracts, limited free agency, etc), I might not be opposed to overpaying Choo. Especially considering that the OFs in this organization have about as much potential as a dead AAA battery (a physics joke!).

  61. henryv on July 22nd, 2013 10:11 pm

    Aaron Harang interviews sounds the same and look the same regardless of whether he wins or loses.

  62. earinc on July 22nd, 2013 11:23 pm

    I think it’s remarkable — and exciting — how much no/little playing time for Morse, Bay, Montero, and Ryan (not to mention early-season casualties like Maurer and ongoing concerns like Wilhelmsen) has been largely forgettable and not a concern for over a month now. Go M’s.

  63. MrZDevotee on July 22nd, 2013 11:33 pm

    I love when baseball doesn’t make sense… And incredibly unfounded moves end up being wise by accident.

    As in, we all complain long and hard about the way Wedge & Co. have misused the young guys (me as much as anybody) and currently we have Brad Miller and Nick Franklin as our #1 & #2 hitters.

    These two moves make about as little sense as any other thing the M’s have tried this year, yet somehow they’re on their longest winning streak of the year. The longest winning streak in baseball at the moment. (And yes I’m aware that Houston is part of that streak, but Houston was also part of the worst moment for the M’s this season, in a series where we flailed horribly against them with our supposedly “best” lineup, in April.)

    I was worried about the latest “premature” young guys, and yet Miller just won AL Player of the Week, while Franklin has been solid since day 1.

    If you told me before the season that at the All-Star break Brad Miller and Nick Franklin were our #1 & #2 hitters, I’d have thought either a) half our team was suspended for (highly ineffective) PED’s, or b) we traded everyone away for prospects, Wedge and Z had been fired, and we had an interim manager.

    I’m enjoying it, mind you. But I’m also feeling keenly aware that attempting to make sense of baseball is an awkward art at best.

  64. Kazinski on July 23rd, 2013 12:02 am

    Zunino raised his OPS from .580 to .645 today.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.