Game 110, Mariners at Orioles

marc w · August 4, 2013 at 9:49 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 10:35am

I once commented on some first-glance similarities between Wei-Yin Chen and Blake Beavan – both pitched off of a located 90-91mph fastball with lots of vertical movement, both had breaking balls that didn’t generate a ton of whiffs and both were extreme fly-ballers. Given the audience of mostly M’s fans, I have the feeling that many may have come away from that thinking that Chen wasn’t all that good. In fact, I think he was one of the best free agent buys of 2012, and he’s been excellent (when healthy) in 2013. Chen isn’t overpowering, and he gives up plenty of fly balls, but his fastball is sneaky-effective.

Chen’s biggest strength is holding lefties at bay. Using his four-seam and slider, the Taiwanese southpaw has a wOBA against lefties under .300 (300 lefties faced), and a FIP under 4. As an extreme fly-ball guy, he’ll give up his share of home runs, but he generates lots of infield pop-ups, a good number of strikeouts and limited walks. Against righties, he uses a change-up, which has also been quite effective. Still, he throws his fastball around 60-70% of the time, and that’s been the key to his success. While righties have had a bit more success against Chen’s fastball (as you’d expect), they hit plenty of pop-ups and swing and miss on it more than you’d expect. Chen’s not a strikeout guy; his K% is down from last year, and it was under 20% to begin with, but this isn’t a bad profile. Sure, you’d have to expect his HR/FB to rise a bit, but Chen’s returned 4fWAR in his first two years while earning all of $6.6m.

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

Well, they’ve got more righties in the line-up to counter Chen’s platoon advantage, but Ryan/Blanco aren’t confidence-inspiring.

Stephen Pryor’s been shut down for the season due to a problem with his triceps. He’s been rehabbing his way back from the 60-day dl with a lat issue, and given the upheaval in the M’s bullpen, this is a tough break. But given the M’s aren’t in the playoff hunt, it makes sense to get him back 100% healthy for 2014.

Comments

49 Responses to “Game 110, Mariners at Orioles”

  1. smb on August 4th, 2013 10:48 am

    Given the sad recent exploits of our bullpen, would’ve been kinda nice to see Pryor back firing bullets before the end of the season, but it’s sound reasoning and I’d much rather have him next year anyway.

    Go M’s.

  2. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 10:55 am

    Finally, Raul with a solid hit with RISP! It’s been a while.

  3. enazario on August 4th, 2013 11:10 am

    Infield is not doing Saunders any favors today.

  4. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:14 am

    Miller is really inconsistent on defense. He makes great plays on occasion, but boots simple ones far too often.

    It bugs me that Thompson prioritized Miller’s bat over Franklin’s defense, especially given how things went for Joe Saunders the last time out. But it doesn’t surprise me – this management simply doesn’t think defense matters all that much.

  5. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:30 am

    Hey Raul – nice catch!

  6. Eastside Suds on August 4th, 2013 11:30 am

    That was the scouting report Westy. Definitely a concentration issue that he will need to work through to be a valuable defensive player.

    Our defense needs to improve significantly for the M’s to be a playoff caliber team

  7. casey on August 4th, 2013 11:38 am

    not sure I agree with you – if we are going by errors alone Ackley is the best fielder with no errors at 2nd base for the season – but seems limited in range. Franklin actually has 8 errors this year to Miller’s 4. My eye says Miller is the better fielder of the two and when you put Ryan at ss you should have a plus infield defence. Now if we are talking lack of fielding appreciation with our corner outfielders I am in the choir with you on this one.

  8. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:42 am

    We’ll have to disagree on Franklin vs Miller Casey.

    And I actually do think Ackley is the best defensively at second – but I realize others differ with me on that as well. :-) I can call on UZR to support me there though.

  9. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 11:46 am

    What’s really amazing about this AB by Smoak, is that it comes hitting right handed.

  10. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:48 am

    14 and counting…

  11. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 11:48 am

    Smoak’s already won this AB. He’s worked Chen over well.

  12. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 11:49 am

    Ha! Love it!!

  13. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:50 am

    Smoak!

    Why were they initially waving Raul in? Datz really seems like an idiot sometimes…

  14. MT on August 4th, 2013 11:51 am

    nice at bat by Smoak.

  15. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:52 am

    BTW if I’m going to call on UZR, I’m forced to admit that (in the small sample we’ve got so far) Miller’s UZR is average right now – and that’s at short. That supports Casey’s position.

  16. enazario on August 4th, 2013 11:52 am

    Are there any sabermetrics that measure a team’s scoring position running efficiency? It seems we have many players who can never score from second on a single (whether the single is to right or left field).

  17. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 11:54 am

    It’s not really sabermetrics even – but there are stats for performance with RISP on Fangraphs and other places.

    Off hand I’m not sure how to get to those team stats – but for individuals it’s just a matter of clicking on the “splits” link over ther.

  18. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:00 pm

    Actually found it. With men in scoring position, Mariners OPS is .705 this year. With bases empty it’s .666.

    I think the perception is due to the fact that, for much of the year, the Mariners have just sucked at hitting period.

  19. sbeaconhill57 on August 4th, 2013 12:01 pm

    Would the current Ichiro have been fast enough to get that double that got by Morse?

  20. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:03 pm

    Oh! All those words and I wasn’t even reading the question right! I’m sorry.

  21. djw on August 4th, 2013 12:04 pm

    for much of the year, the Mariners have just sucked at hitting period.

    I know we’re so used to thinking this that it’s pretty ingrained, but the Mariners have a league average offense.

  22. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Wow. He wasn’t even looking at the ball as that went in.

  23. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:08 pm

    enazario, I apologize.

    I am unaware of any stat that measures baserunning specifically when in running position, just overall. And several of our guys suck at it. :-D

  24. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:08 pm

    Regarding speed and base-running, it would be kind of fun to see players times for a 90 foot sprint recorded and posted in spring. 180 after a 45 degree turn at 90 as well.

  25. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:10 pm

    djw, you are right. However as far as I can tell, they haven’t been obviously worse with RISP either (which was the question) – so that point stands.

  26. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:11 pm

    Oops, I meant a 90 degree turn. Or maybe something between 45 and 90:P

  27. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Hehe, Steve.

  28. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:15 pm

    Ryan flips it to Jones? Who’s Jones?!

    Baltimore commentators apparently struggle with names.

  29. juneau_fan on August 4th, 2013 12:17 pm

    Saunders can wiggle off that hook only so many times. Get some runs, guys!

  30. juneau_fan on August 4th, 2013 12:38 pm

    *sigh*

  31. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Ugly swing and miss by Smoak there for strike 3.

  32. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:45 pm

    Well that didn’t work.

  33. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:46 pm

    That was classic Mariner base running, unfortunately.

  34. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:47 pm

    HANK!!

  35. stevemotivateir on August 4th, 2013 12:48 pm

    Funny! Of course this happens after the Saunders pick-off.

  36. nvn8vbryce on August 4th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Blanco!

  37. juneau_fan on August 4th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Blanco entertains.

  38. nvn8vbryce on August 4th, 2013 12:50 pm

    Blanco’s motto should be: “I don’t always hit with RISP, but when I do, it’s a home run!”

  39. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 12:52 pm

    What was Cacitrala thinking? Hahahaha

  40. nvn8vbryce on August 4th, 2013 1:05 pm

    Westy, he was wondering where all these players with AARP cards are coming from…

  41. Will on August 4th, 2013 1:09 pm

    It bugs me that Thompson prioritized Miller’s bat over Franklin’s defense, especially given how things went for Joe Saunders the last time out. But it doesn’t surprise me – this management simply doesn’t think defense matters all that much.

    Miller actually has a higher UZR this year than Franklin, and Franklin needed a day off. He looked more than lost at the plate.

  42. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 1:16 pm

    ^ Yup, I admitted further down that I was being inconsistent. ;-)

  43. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 1:17 pm

    That was a lame looking swing, Raul.

  44. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Nice play there, Brad!

  45. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Endy as a defensive sub for Raul – it’s beginning to be a trend…

  46. Westside guy on August 4th, 2013 1:29 pm

    Woo hoo!

  47. jordan on August 4th, 2013 1:31 pm

    Lord Farquhar

  48. Ralph_Malph on August 5th, 2013 5:45 am

    Let’s just keep playing game 110!

  49. georgmi on August 5th, 2013 10:58 am

    Ryan/Blanco aren’t confidence-inspiring.

    Score one for results-based analysis!

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