Game 106, Mariners at Red Sox

marc w · July 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Brandon Workman, 4:10pm

The M’s head east for three against the Red Sox and three in Baltimore before returning home next Monday. The Sox were just passed by the streaking Rays for first place in the AL East, and the M’s have Michael Morse back from injury, meaning it’s likely you might hear this series (mis)described as “pivotal.” The Red Sox are looking at upgrades in the rotation, as today’s rumor about Cliff Lee attests. At the moment, rookie Brandon Workman occupies the #5 spot in the rotation, and while he’s been fairly effective so far, I don’t think anyone sees him as a great option down the stretch or in the playoffs. Workman throws a four-seam fastball, a curve, a cutter and a change. Like many of his Red Sox teammates (Felix Doubront, for example), Workman doesn’t exhibit a markedly different pitch mix to righties and lefties. That is, he’ll throw his change and to righties and lefties alike. His fastball has relatively little horizontal movement, but above-average vertical movement so it’s not a big surprise to see that he’s a real fly-baller. He posted GB rates in the mid-high 30s in the minors and will likely settle in that range in the majors as well.

Given his lack of a big slider or sinker, it’s also not much of a surprise that he never posted much in the way of platoon splits in the minors. His MLB “career” has lasted all of about 1 hour, so there’s not much to go on there, but his change-up’s not the kind of pitch that can really trouble the M’s lefty-heavy line-up. He’s posted 13 strikeouts in 12 innings in his MLB career, a number boosted by his two-inning relief appearance in Seattle (his MLB debut). In that game, he struck out notable sluggers like Henry Blanco, Brendan Ryan and Jason Bay, so while he posted solid K rates in the minors, I’m not convinced he’s going to be a real swing-and-miss pitcher if he stays in the rotation. I’ll always remember that game back on July 10th for one of the more improbably “first MLB at-bats” I’ve seen: Brendan Ryan welcomed Workman to the bigs with a home run. The M’s also hit three doubles in that inning, so we’ve seen that they’re capable of dealing with Workman’s 92mph heat. The Red Sox were able to move some starters around in the past week, meaning that Workman hasn’t pitched since the 22nd; we’ll see if the long rest helps his velocity or stamina.

Michael Morse is back with the team, and he’ll get the start tonight in RF for the M’s. That’s pushed Dustin Ackley out of the line-up for a day; as Matthew mentioned, Ackley and Saunders will presumably split time for as long as Morse stays healthy.

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

The trade deadline looms, but there’s been surprisingly little action thus far. A few relievers moving hither and thither, but outside of Matt Garza, there haven’t been any big moves. The Angels moved Scott Downs, which means they could look to sell at the deadline in an attempt to get cost-controlled prospects as their commitments to Hamilton/Pujols/Wilson rise over the next few years. Teams are looking at Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar. Long-term extensions have already altered free agency, and they (and the new CBA, to be fair) may be doing the same to the trade deadline. There are fewer 2-3 month rentals and a few more 1.5, 2.5 year players on the block, which amplifies both the potential risk and the potential return.

The M’s actually have 2-3 month rentals to trade, but the season’s conspired to make those moves less attractive. Morse has been hurt half the year, and has been mired in a slump since April. Kendrys Morales has been very solid, but injury issues and a perceived inability to play 1B daily compromises his value to NL teams. Raul Ibanez is 41, and while I never would’ve imagined him having much trade value this season, he may be the most likely to go, though that’s not saying much. It’s looking increasingly likely that all three will be in M’s uniforms in August.

Taijuan Walker heads the list of today’s minor league pitching probables. He and Tacoma welcome Omaha to Cheney Stadium tonight at 7 (you should probably go). Anthony Fernandez starts for Jackson; the lefty was injured in Spring Training and got knocked around when he returned to the Generals rotation in April/May, but he’s been pretty good recently. Lars Huijer takes the hill for Everett as they play the Hops in Hillsboro for those of you in the Portland area.


26 Responses to “Game 106, Mariners at Red Sox”

  1. rowlandice on July 30th, 2013 3:25 pm

    That’s a surprisingly watchable lineup – would have been better with Zunino in it. *sigh*

  2. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 3:56 pm

    There’s no way the excess outfield playing time should come from Saunders or Ackley – but I bet that’s exactly what will happen.

    This is what irritates me when people keep defending this front office based simply on their ability to draft well. Dayton Moore knows how to build a great farm system too – but that’s simply not enough to make a front office a good one.

  3. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 4:08 pm

    Did Sims honestly just say “Defense has been a high priority for the Mariners”?!

  4. red_devil20 on July 30th, 2013 4:18 pm

    Let’s see, RHP on the mound, we’ve got three LH outfielders we can use, along with switch hitters for both the DH and 1B position. I know, let’s sit Ackley so that we can play Morse! That makes sense!

  5. californiamariner on July 30th, 2013 4:25 pm

    I’m going to go ahead and say that the Mariners are playing Morse in hopes he will hit a home run and showcase his power. Then they can trade him for something before the deadline. (This makes me feel better)

  6. californiamariner on July 30th, 2013 4:32 pm

    Westy, it’s pretty obvious this team is all about defense.

  7. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 4:49 pm

    I hope Henry Blanco is the world’s best mentor because he’s not a very good catcher.

  8. Ralph_Malph on July 30th, 2013 4:56 pm

    If he’s a mentor, I guess Humberto Quintero is the mentee.

  9. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 4:58 pm

    So when a guy like Saunders is having a rough time, how come we don’t hear Sims and Blowers throwing the word “veteran” around all the time like they do when things are going well?

  10. Ralph_Malph on July 30th, 2013 4:58 pm

    Did you know, if you count guys on the DL (Gutierrez & Sucre) there are 7 Venezuelans on the M’s?

  11. sexymarinersfan on July 30th, 2013 5:00 pm

    Joe Saumders does NOT look sharp tonight. Having Blanco back there doesn’t help. Hopefully this Boston series will be a wake up call to Jack that we are indeed sellers. I’m so stoked for 2014 it isn’t funny. Need a back up catcher and some OF’s though. M. Saunders will be a TERRIFIC 4th OF!! I will say that WE ARE getting closer.

  12. californiamariner on July 30th, 2013 5:03 pm

    Imagine a rotation with Felix, Iwakuma, and 3 competent pitchers.

  13. sexymarinersfan on July 30th, 2013 5:04 pm

    Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton?!?!!!!

  14. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 5:09 pm

    That play was bizarre!

    Nice play and throw by Raul to start it, actually.

  15. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 5:10 pm

    So Boston decided just to keep all the balls out of play from then on…

    Oh wow, I just realized my DVR is playing way behind! hahaha

  16. sexymarinersfan on July 30th, 2013 5:14 pm

    You haven’t missed anything, better yet, just skip the 2nd and. 3rd innings.

  17. sexymarinersfan on July 30th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Is it just me or does Mike Morse make this team look worse? What a waste of John Jaso. You definitely don’t want him back next year so you better trade his ass quick!!!

  18. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 5:40 pm

    Almost caught up… man, they might as well put a shoe tree out there in right as Michael Morse.

  19. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 5:41 pm

    Nice throw by Saunders there! And Nicky too!

  20. juneau_fan on July 30th, 2013 5:54 pm

    I still like Morales.

  21. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 6:02 pm

    If the only move the M’s make before the deadline is trading Dave Sims for a AA broadcaster I will be very happy. But I’d settle for a bag of sunflower seeds.

  22. MrZDevotee on July 30th, 2013 6:15 pm

    Your frustration is palpable, now that the M’s are playing just well enough to NOT make all the moves we all know they need to make, and were hoping would start happening anytime now.

    The front office acts like a battered woman trying to tell us that her boyfriend (the current lineup) is a really good guy if you’d just get to know him, and if you look beyond all that awful stuff he does. There’s a real winner in there somewhere.

    They can’t see the forest for the trees, most nights. (Waving at Mike Morse– strikeout artist and fragile fella.)

  23. msfanmike on July 30th, 2013 6:26 pm

    Mariner Nation is going to age in “dog years” over the next six weeks – watching Henry Blanco as the everyday catcher.

    See you all again in 36-42 weeks depending on what size dog you are!

  24. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 6:33 pm


    The front office acts like a battered woman trying to tell us that her boyfriend (the current lineup) is a really good guy if you’d just get to know him, and if you look beyond all that awful stuff he does. There’s a real winner in there somewhere.

    lol. That explains why during commercial breaks they try to remind us of the past by telling us about the accomplishments of guys like Edgar, Buhner, and Langston.

  25. Westside guy on July 30th, 2013 6:35 pm

    MrZ, I am aware it’s glaringly obvious I don’t believe in that whole “keep a stiff upper lip” thing. 😉

  26. MrZDevotee on July 30th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Next year!

    (Blech… I hate that about baseball… Every year, hope springs eternal…)


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