Game 109, Mariners at Orioles

marc w · August 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Aaron Harang vs. Chris Tillman, 4:05pm

All right, a three game series against a good Baltimore team – how’s everyone feeling about the M’s? For a unit that contributes comparatively little to overall team WAR, a bullpen sure feels important. Yes, yes, leverage means that its contributions mean more in terms of wins and losses than their innings (and WAR) would predict, but sabermetrics is always reminding us that it’s not some sort of rare skill (within professional baseball, not the general population) to be able to protect a 3, 4, or 5 run lead in the 9th. That seems impossible to fathom today, despite the fact that a pieced-together M’s bullpen held Boston scoreless (and hitless!) for six innings the previous day. Baseball feels awful right now because the results don’t seem to match up with the team’s overall strength. No one’s claiming the M’s are a playoff team, but they “deserved” more from that series, with two solid starting pitching performances, some decent hitting, great relief work, etc., all of which was undone by sequencing.

The M’s head south now to face Chris Tillman, who’s 4-0 against them with an ERA of 0.98. In over 100 career PAs against him, the M’s are getting on base at a .194 clip. Of course, past performance is not an indicator of future results, and the fact that Tillman was able to deal with Jesus Montero and Mune Kawasaki doesn’t guarantee he’ll be effective against Brad Miller and Nick Franklin. With that said, the M’s have been throwing lefty-heavy line-ups at Tillman, and he hasn’t struggled yet. In fact, Tillman’s got reverse splits for his career, and at this point he’s looking more and more like the 2013 version of John Lackey. Like Lackey, Tillman’s four-seam fastball has gradually migrated to a very high vertical movement, almost zero horizontal movement mix, and like Lackey’s, for whatever reason, this combo is hard for lefties to drive. It’s not terribly hard for righties, however, but the M’s don’t have too many righties capable of driving a fastball except for Mike Morse (Blanco/Quintero are *capable* but it’s not really the reason why they’re in the line-up). Tillman throws a curve, cutter and change, with the curve the most effective overall, and by far the most effective against lefties.

The biggest outlier in Tillman’s record isn’t the movement on his fastball or his reverse splits, however. It’s his strand-rate, and the resultant FIP-ERA gap. For the second consecutive year, Tillman’s sporting a very good RA in a tough division while carrying a bad FIP. Last year, his ERA was 2.93 while his FIP was 4.25. This year, the ERA’s at 3.62 and his FIP’s up at 4.72. The big reason his FIP’s so high is that he’s got a home run problem (well, at least against non-Seattle teams). That extreme vertical movement means that batters have hit his fastball in the air on about 72% of the time they put it in play. What’s not so obvious is why right-handers hit home runs on *more* of those balls in play than lefties, but it’s the same pattern we saw with Lackey. That doesn’t explain the strand rate, though. And at first glance, there’s no reason it should be so high: he’s got slightly better K% and better HR%, but that’s not because he’s great with men on, it’s that he’s been *bad* with no one on. And it’s not a BABIP fluke – his BABIP is lowest with no one on, and is worst with men in scoring position. I’ve got no real explanation for the strand rate, so we can hope 1) that it will regress and regress *today* and 2) that Harang and the bullpen will conspire to profit from any such regression *today*.

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: Quintero, C
SP: Aaron Harang

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting to see where Robert Andino would end up, and now we know: he’s off to the Pirates’ AAA affiliate, Indianapolis for a PTBNL/cash. This deal occurred before the deadline, but I’ve just now been able to stave off the yawning long enough to link to it.

The Rainiers losing streak continues apace, and tonight Andrew Carraway will try to put a stop to it. He’ll be faced by former Royals prospect Danny Duffy, who’s battling back from TJ surgery last year. Victor Sanchez starts for Clinton and Eddie Campbell for Pulaski.


34 Responses to “Game 109, Mariners at Orioles”

  1. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 3:58 pm

    Feel as if I woke up from a horrible bender and now have the hangover from hell after suffering through last night’s debacle. If this team feels like many of us do, as evidenced by last evenings’ incendiary comments, they will have to dig deep and show us what they are made of. GO M’s!!!

  2. Westside guy on August 2nd, 2013 4:26 pm

    Well this is starting off just super.

  3. sbeaconhill57 on August 2nd, 2013 4:30 pm

    I think with a decent left fielder the score would be 2 zip not 3 zip.

  4. casey on August 2nd, 2013 4:30 pm

    man are our corner outfielders slow – first Jones foul to Morse looked like his feet were in quicksand and then Ibanez – neither should be playing corner outfield wanted to say “everyday” – maybe more “ever”

  5. pgreyy on August 2nd, 2013 4:31 pm

    So, what ELSE is going on tonight? Anything good on tv?

  6. JasonJ on August 2nd, 2013 4:31 pm

    Got ourselves another dumpster fire.

  7. casey on August 2nd, 2013 4:32 pm

    looking like a Brandon Maurer kind of night…

  8. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 4:37 pm

    Kendrys is a hitting machine

  9. msb on August 2nd, 2013 4:46 pm

    This is going to be a terrible, horrible month, isn’t it.

  10. Westside guy on August 2nd, 2013 4:49 pm

    This is going to be a terrible, horrible month, isn’t it.

    Well, the Mariners are playing much better teams now, so… yup.

  11. Westside guy on August 2nd, 2013 4:56 pm


    I’m still hopeful that Condor has a place as part of our future.

  12. Longgeorge1 on August 2nd, 2013 5:18 pm

    I like what I have seen of Abraham Almonte down in T-town. With our obvious weakness in the OF does anyone else think he is a possibility? I never hear him talked up by any “experts”

  13. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 5:19 pm

    “Anything traveling that far should have a stewardess on it, don’t you think?” – Crash Davis

  14. r-gordon-7 on August 2nd, 2013 5:42 pm

    A rare moment of honesty from our radio crew… Anyone else hear on the radio, a few innings ago, when Adam Jones came to bat and Rizzs, in a highly uncharacteristic moment of candor, actually mentioned the Bedard trade. Then, with an obvious air of exasperation I’ve never before heard in his voice, quietly repeated “…for Bedard” – and then, with that same air of exasperation, began reciting the full litany of names we gave up for him. As soon as he finished, Aaron Goldsmith, seemingly taking the cue from Rizzs, polished off the moment with something to the effect of a slightly sarcastic, “…and who else…?”

  15. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 5:47 pm

    Jack Z described Almonte – on the radio the other day – as the “real deal with a good arm and good speed.” On the Bob and Groz show, I believe. He also talked up Romero – who I really want to be good, but currently has numbers very similar to Peguero … but with fewer K’s and a lower SLG.

    Peguero might be our teams minor league version of Adam Dunn … After Adam Dunn became very meh. All things not considered – I do think Peguero is better defensively than tonight’s corner outfielders, but that’s not saying much.

    Why am I talking about Peguero?

  16. Paul B on August 2nd, 2013 5:50 pm

    Bill Bavasi is the gift that just keeps on giving.

  17. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 6:20 pm

    Fucking Maurer. Locate a pitch for craps sake.

  18. pgreyy on August 2nd, 2013 6:22 pm

    Well, it was re-located…

  19. Westside guy on August 2nd, 2013 6:27 pm

    Why did they bring Maurer up, again?

  20. Longgeorge1 on August 2nd, 2013 6:33 pm

    They tried everyone else the last two nights? Who do you suggest ?

  21. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 6:34 pm

    Because they had see enough of LaFromboise and Noesi. Tit for Tat I guess. None of them Major League ready.

  22. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 6:34 pm

    Tired of Noesi? Didn’t want to make a 40 man roster move and try someone else? I am not sure – sure didn’t earn his way back, at least not if performance matters. He was bad in Tacoma, too.

  23. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 6:39 pm

    Totally agree. His best was in Spring Training, which we all know is superflous. If they have anyone…..Paxton??? We would like to see them.

  24. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 6:39 pm

    Sure like Kendrys!

  25. Eastside Suds on August 2nd, 2013 6:39 pm

    Kendrys!!!!! Texas is cussing out Dr. Z right now.

  26. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 6:41 pm

    That ball was pulverized.

  27. msfanmike on August 2nd, 2013 6:51 pm

    Millers defense has come as advertised. He is very “hurried” rather than “fluid.”

  28. MrZDevotee on August 2nd, 2013 7:50 pm

    Harang 5-10, with a 5.27 ERA…

    Now, take away two seemingly fluke-ish complete game shutouts, and is he the worst starting pitcher in the AL?

    Okay. Maybe not, but being in the conversation alone isn’t a good thing.

    Bonderman and Bay are out there somewhere thinking “This guy has embarrassing naked pictures of somebody high up in the Mariners organization…!?”

  29. Westside guy on August 2nd, 2013 8:23 pm

    So to summarize recent Mariners trends…

    – Nick Franklin has decided to emulate Dustin Ackley’s rookie performance track to an almost eerie detail
    – Brad Miller is showing us why we’ll probably miss Brendan Ryan after he’s gone, at least a little
    – Somebody reminded Raul Ibañez that he’s freaking 41 years old
    – Mike Morse is Mike Morse
    – Justin Smoak decided we were getting too comfortable
    – Aaron Harang is showing us why he was available this offseason
    – Kendrys Morales still rocks the house

    Did I miss anything?

  30. eponymous coward on August 2nd, 2013 8:32 pm

    Nope, you didn’t miss anything, other than “and the M’s pitching staff and OF is reminding us why the DINGERS!!1!11!!1! obsession in the offseason was a huge mistake”.

    This team is about what I expected- not terrible, but no real improvement on last year, and no real attempt to address obvious weaknesses on the roster. Different bad, but still bad.

  31. bookbook on August 2nd, 2013 9:19 pm

    Hard to imagine Maurer’s rookie campaign going any worse,

  32. GhostofMarinersPast on August 2nd, 2013 9:20 pm

    You did miss something. Harang was put on waivers before the game. C’mon fellas any takers? Hello? Anybody? Is this thing on? Hey guys…..hello?

  33. sawsatch on August 3rd, 2013 9:11 am

    How is it possible to lose so many games with one of the best 1-2 rotations in baseball?

  34. Westside guy on August 3rd, 2013 1:19 pm

    Sawsatch – because our overall defense isn’t very good, and some of our hot hitters have cooled off?

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