Game 113, Mariners at Blue Jays

marc w · August 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Josh Johnson, 7:10

This was supposed to be one of the most anticipated pitching match-ups of the year. Yes, the Jays had last year’s NL Cy Young winner, but Josh Johnson was perhaps the most talented new Blue Jay. He’s been beset by injuries, but he also put up a 6 WAR season in 2010, a year after a 5.5 WAR campaign. His fastball was down 1-2 MPH since returning from injury, but he’s still got plus velocity, as well as a curve, a change and a slider he throws to righties and lefties.

His big fastball didn’t have the natural sink of Yoervis Medina’s, but Johnson located it fairly well and in doing so maintained very low HR rates over the course of several seasons. His career high in any year was 14, a figure he hit three times throwing between ~160-210 innings. You can imagine Jays fans surprise then that Johnson’s yielded 15 already in just 76 innings pitched. Something’s gone terribly wrong with Johnson, and it’s not clear exactly what. Optimists will point out that his xFIP is actually better than it was in 2012, when he amassed 3.5 WAR. It’s essentially right at his career average. Sure, he’s not the dominant, untouchable force he was in 2010, but he’s a contributor whose been wrecked by terrible luck, much of it related to his inability to stay healthy. Pessimists will say that when a pitcher who’s famous for limiting home runs suddenly starts giving up lots of home runs, writing it off as “luck” and betting on regression may not work. As we’ve all discussed today, some times pitchers really do need to change something.

Johnson’s fastball movement and release point aren’t quite what they were before his 2011 shoulder injury, but it doesn’t look noticeably different than it did in 2012. He’s given up most of his HRs at home, like RA Dickey, but his overall results have been worse on the road, thanks in part to a comical BABIP and strand rate; HRs account for only a portion of his misfortune. He’s been destroyed by righties, which is so incongruous that it seems to benefit the “optimists” who’d point to luck and injury to explain why a Cy Young contender’s sporting an RA of 7.58. The BABIP stuff looks bizarre, and it’s definitely possible it’s inflated by a few games when he tried to pitch through injuries (he missed several weeks in May/June with a triceps injury). I just wonder why the Blue Jays have given up so many HRs, with guys like Dickey and Johnson seeing HR/FB increase and giving up more fly balls in general to boot. Is it related to Rogers Centre itself? Is it particularly homer-friendly with the roof closed (Safeco’s noticeably friendlier closed? Is it just a few pitchers having bad years? Whatever it is, this match-up reminds me of how rare and incredible it is for a pitcher to combine talent with durability. If you compared Felix to Johnson strictly on tools, I think Johnson might *might* come out ahead. Unless, of course, you view health as a tool.

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: King Felix

The big story in the minors was Wilhelmsen’s start, but James Paxton followed and pitched poorly as well. Not a great day in Tacoma, as the Rainiers lost 10-3. Charles Kaalekahi starts for Clinton while Anthony Vasquez pitches for Jackson.

Shannon Drayee recently tweeted that, according to Carl Willis, Wilhelmsen is NOT transitioning to the rotation, but is just getting slightly longer appearances (like today’s 2IP start) to work on his other pitches and his mechanics.


48 Responses to “Game 113, Mariners at Blue Jays”

  1. drw on August 6th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Attended last night’s game. It was one of the most annoying experiences in some time.

    Getting to the park was as bad as any weekend night. Tons of BC license plated cars driving in circles, cutting people off, totally lost.

    75% of people outside the park had Toronto gear on. Saw someone with a Ricky Romero jersey. Really?

    Beer lines were, of course, longer than you can imagine.

    Very nice guy sitting next to us had to get up every inning to get more beer and pee. At least he was apologetic about it.

    Crowd was rabidly pro-Toronto, in a fashion exceeding this year’s BoSox or Yankees crowds. I thought Canuks were more polite than that, but they were not. Lots of “let’s go blue jays” chants.

    Loudest cheer all night was when the big screen showed a guy in a green shirt with an “S” on it. Turned out to be a Saskatchewan Rough Riders shirt. Crowd went bonkers. ??

    Two horrendous calls on pickoffs. One led to two runs.

    All this reminds me of going to the Kingdome in the 80s.

  2. Typical Idiot Fan on August 6th, 2013 5:09 pm

    “Shanon Drayee”?

  3. Paul B on August 6th, 2013 6:44 pm

    Imagine how it would have been if the Blue Jays actually had a good team and were in a pennant race.

  4. WTF_Ms on August 6th, 2013 7:16 pm

    Just turned the game on, and we’re already down 1-0? Not looking good for Felix.

    BTW, I blame Blanco. Don’t like him much.

  5. Breadbaker on August 6th, 2013 7:32 pm

    I’ve never quite understood some of the Blue Jay fans. For one thing, their team is probably the number one disappointment in baseball this year. Maybe a little humility might be called for. Also, they’re one of the few franchises that hasn’t been to the playoffs more recently than the M’s. It’s a long way since 1993.

  6. Paul B on August 6th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Vancouver fans would like a baseball team.

  7. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 7:46 pm

    MLB should give Vancouver a team. The Mariners need a real dreaded rival, not this B.S. with the Padres.

  8. msfanmike on August 6th, 2013 7:59 pm

    When does Jeffrey Loria chime in with a comment about feeling vindicated for trading away all his good players – only to watch them collectively lead Toronto to last place in the AL East?

    I am sort of expecting it to happen sometime soon if it hasn’t already.

  9. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 8:04 pm

    I love when the opening narrative of a game is how bad the opposing pitcher is, how much he sucks, how hopeless his year has been…And then he just mows through the M’s.

  10. Slats on August 6th, 2013 8:14 pm

    Silly play by Miller.

  11. msfanmike on August 6th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Miller is putting on a show with his defense tonight. Two bad throws and a dropped tag. Yikes!

  12. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Sometimes a clear, succinct “Fuck” says it all.

  13. msfanmike on August 6th, 2013 8:20 pm

    Are the Blue Jay fans this loud when the team plays a home game in Toronto? I feel bad for the King … In his own Court.

  14. Woodcutta on August 6th, 2013 8:22 pm

    How much more of this “defense” by Miller before the M’s make a change at SS?

  15. MoreMariners on August 6th, 2013 8:23 pm

    How does Miller have one error while Seager has two? Seager has gotten a lot of really bad hops the past few days and they have all counted as errors. Miller’s defense the past week has been awful in every way — wanting Ryan to start a few games awful.

  16. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 8:27 pm

    It’s only the 4th inning but feels much later. But at least there’s hope here…

  17. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 8:30 pm

    And hope is dashed by the slowest middle of the lineup in baseball.

  18. Breadbaker on August 6th, 2013 8:30 pm

    Morse makes Justin Smoak seem like Usain Bolt.

  19. MoreMariners on August 6th, 2013 8:31 pm

    He wasn’t running hard. You could see him slowing down by the time the camera cut down to him and he was still 10 feet from the base.

  20. Woodcutta on August 6th, 2013 8:32 pm

    Good thing there was already an out there or it would have been a triple play.

  21. msfanmike on August 6th, 2013 8:49 pm

    They changed the scoring on me of Millers throwing mistakes and called it a hit for Lawrie. At least that is what I think I heard. He has gotten a couple of favorable scoring rulings in the past week.

    He is certainly no magician with the glove. If someone tells me that UZR has him rated as average, I think I will call on my friend Juneau to sum it up in one word.

  22. MoreMariners on August 6th, 2013 8:56 pm

    Wow, Franklin is really struggling.

  23. MoreMariners on August 6th, 2013 8:56 pm

    Wow, Franklin is really struggling.

  24. Breadbaker on August 6th, 2013 8:57 pm

    I thought that was a hit. Basically, the only way he makes an out on that is he barehands the ball.

  25. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 8:59 pm

    It’s early days yet for Miller’s defense with me. Right now, it’s still on “UUUuugggh!”

    I did read Felix’s lips as he was walking off, though, and it was a nice clear “Fuck.” He summed the evening, it would appear.

  26. SeattleSlew on August 6th, 2013 9:04 pm

    “I’ve never quite understood some of the Blue Jay fans. For one thing, their team is probably the number one disappointment in baseball this year. Maybe a little humility might be called for.”

    Humility doesn’t mean abandoning the team and not going to games. At least they have a franchise that is investing on the team and trying to win. I’m sure any free agent would rather play for the Jays than for the M’s. If their fans outnumber the Mariners fans on a road game then good for them. Maybe back to back titles is still fresh in their minds.

  27. pgreyy on August 6th, 2013 9:11 pm

    Please. Enough with “the M’s aren’t trying to win” stuff.

    They want to win. They’re trying to win.

    Knowing how to win and being able to put the pieces together to actually win…there’s the problem.

    They put together Bay, Ibanez, Morse, Morales and Montero because they were trying to win.

    The fact that this was a terrible idea is not a sign of not trying.

  28. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 9:11 pm

    It’s just one of those kind of games.

  29. nvn8vbryce on August 6th, 2013 9:16 pm

    Pgreyy, the way I see things is that the Mariners are trying to win the equivalent of the Daytona 500…in a rusted out Yugo with watered-down gas.

  30. pgreyy on August 6th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Yup, juneau…one of those games.

  31. juneau_fan on August 6th, 2013 9:17 pm


  32. msfanmike on August 6th, 2013 9:19 pm

    A lawn dart …

    Followed by a “clear succinct FUCK!”

  33. pgreyy on August 6th, 2013 9:19 pm

    And in that Daytona 500, our rusted out Yugo decides to stay out one extra lap when every other car is pitting…and when that causes us to temporarily gain ground on the other cars, we think that we’ve figure out how to win the race…

  34. SeattleSlew on August 6th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Can someone please make a gif of that throw to the ground Raul just made?

  35. nvn8vbryce on August 6th, 2013 9:20 pm

    This is one clustercluck of a game, isn’t it?

  36. jeffgreensmom on August 6th, 2013 9:23 pm

    I am so sick of Raul and his attitude toward outfield grass. That is like the fifth time in his career he got angry and physically assaulted the ground. I, as a father, am sick to have my kids watch such a vulgar display of turf abuse.

  37. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:30 pm

    I love it when people claim Raul is a decent left fielder.

  38. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:32 pm

    Man Morse is slow. Blue Jays could’ve ordered a pizza and still thrown him out.

  39. Section329 on August 6th, 2013 9:37 pm

    Lookout Landing just retweeted the GIF of Raul by The Score. Priceless.

  40. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:40 pm

    GIF referred to by Section329:

  41. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:44 pm

    Haha, Morse looked like he was running in slow motion… but he made the catch!!

  42. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Man, I miss when Raul was hitting the crap out of the ball…

  43. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 9:57 pm

    For the second half of the season, so far – Raul’s OPS is .500.

    First half of the season, his slugging percentage was .578.

  44. Westside guy on August 6th, 2013 10:06 pm

    This game ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

  45. Breadbaker on August 7th, 2013 12:36 am

    Thanks for the gif. We could have Garry Maddox in his prime (“2/3rds of the earth is covered by water, the rest is covered by Garry Maddox”) in center and between Morse and Ibanez still have a below average outfield.

  46. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:18 am

    And lets not start calling for Ryan. Seriously. Miller is young. And green. And doing a pretty decent job. He’s going to make mistakes, and will never be the fielder Ryan was. But he will be better with the stick. That’s what we wanted and that’s what we got. Now, how about we let the young man, who is seeing his first major league action, adjust accordingly. Not like we are sniffing a playoff spot. In 12 months if this is still a “major” issue, then talk about it. For now, let him grow zits and awkwardly ask out girls that are out of his league.

  47. stevemotivateir on August 7th, 2013 10:55 am

    Raul’s throw (or whatever you call it) caught the attention of the national media.

    Anyone remember when this team was known for defense?

  48. alan smithee on August 7th, 2013 3:58 pm

    Saw Paxton on Tacoma and he was wild high and tight. Like a young Bobby witt. Talent but a long way to go.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.