Game 114, Blue Jays at Mariners

marc w · August 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Aaron Harang vs. JA Happ, 12:40pm

JA Happ was activated off of the 60 day DL to make this start; you may remember the scary incident in Toronto when he was struck in the face by a Desmond Jennings line drive in May. That injury fractured his skull, and then to add injury to injury, he sprained his knee falling to the ground. The lefty made a few rehab starts for AAA Buffalo, and while he wasn’t terribly effective, he showed his stamina was mostly back (he threw 95 pitches in his last start).

Happ has one of the most distinctive fastballs in the big leagues. In 2011, he had the most vertical movement of anyone who pitched at least 100 innings. In 2012, he was #2, just a bit behind Clayton Kershaw. Unlike Kershaw or Josh Collmenter (#2 in 2011), Happ gets a more-or-less-normal amount of horizontal movement. This differentiates him a bit from the pure over-the-top guys, though to be fair, it doesn’t make the pitch particularly good either. He generates a few more whiffs than a 90-91mph fastball should, but the vertical movement means he gives up quite a few fly balls, and thus some home runs.

While a ton of vertical movement can occasionally negate platoon splits, Happ’s splits are pretty traditional. While his fastball’s generated exactly the same whiff percentage (8.92%) to both lefties and righties, righties get a few more HRs, and that’s enough to push his career FIP vs. righties a full run higher than his career FIP to lefties. So far this year (remember, that’s a tiny sample for him), he’s thrown quite a bit more sinkers (which have more v-mov than most anyone’s four-seamers, but do sink a bit compared to Happ’s four-seam), and a cutter to lefties and a change-up to righties. He’s also got a curve ball that he uses infrequently, in part because he struggles to keep it in the zone. The change-up/cutter actually generate some grounders, but he’s given up HRs and extra-base hits on them as well. In short, Happ’s a pretty good example for why DIPS and peripheral analysis exists. By FIP, he’s pretty much the same guy, year after year. FIP in the mid-4′s, decent number of Ks, few too many walks, average-ish HRs. BABIP swings (and the occasional HR spike) can make him look like a great #3 or a hanging-on-to-#5 starter by ERA.

To be fair, Aaron Harang’s another good example of this, as his BABIP and especially his HR/FB cause large swings in his ERA, while his FIP moves in a much narrower band.* But because HRs are such a driver of FIP, Harang’s career can really be broken into two halves – the first half (through 2007), when his FIP was always under 4, and the second half (2008-13) when his FIP’s generally been in the mid 4′s due to a persistent HR problem. Harang has probably pitched better than it seems like, and he may be a decent buy-very-very-low candidate for someone, but I’m pretty much done. The M’s looked to be swimming in pitching depth in March and then for a brief, shining moment in early July, but Paxton’s recent struggles and Hultzen’s second injury have eliminated much of it. The M’s will be looking for another Harang this off-season, whether it’s the actual Harang or someone else we’ll slowly grow to hate watching more than is strictly deserved.

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

Victor Sanchez starts for Clinton today, with Trevor Miller getting the ball for Jackson.

* Yes, yes, that’s sort of the point of FIP. Not looking at BABIP/sequencing by definition produces a narrower range, and this helps reduce FIP’s error in predicting next year’s ERA. But still, some players see a lot more variance in their ERA than others – generally those hurlers who don’t rack up a ton of strikeouts and thus have more balls in play.


55 Responses to “Game 114, Blue Jays at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 12:20 pm

    I wonder if that spike from last night actually made Thompson realize, at some level, that Raul’s defense is horrible? Or is it related to his .500 OPS since the break?

    Nah, probably it’s just a day-game-after-night-game rest situation.

    In any case, if they’re not going to send Ackley down he needs to get more playing time. Ackley’s future matters more to this team than Raul’s present.

  2. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 12:24 pm

    On a side note – Pineda’s been shut down again. So we’ll have to postpone that “who won the monster prospects trade” debate a while longer…

  3. MrZDevotee on August 7th, 2013 12:37 pm

    How ’bout “Who made the worst move in this deal?”

    Flips it around… Both glasses are half empty.


  4. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 12:56 pm

    Crap – missed Franklin’s triple! But good job Nicky!

    MrZ, it’s too bad that your take is indeed the most accurate…

  5. Paul B on August 7th, 2013 1:04 pm

    Yesh, a triple, maybe Franklin will start hitting again.

  6. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 1:10 pm

    Harang seems to be having trouble throwing strikes.

    Maybe he read Marc’s intro and was thrown into a deep depression when he got to “I’m done”.

  7. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:13 pm

    Go away, Harang. Just go away.

  8. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:16 pm

    Who cares if Paxton has struggled lately. Bring him up and try him out at the big league level, whether its in bullpen or the rotation. He’s almost 25, for crying out loud! Lets go!

  9. jak924 on August 7th, 2013 1:22 pm

    Please give Harang his one-way ticket back to Palookaville.

  10. pgreyy on August 7th, 2013 1:25 pm

    Did Ackley really think that last pitch was obviously not a strike (meaning the one that he took for strike three)?

    Isn’t that exactly what he was sent down to Tacoma to fix?

  11. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 1:30 pm

    To be fair to Ackley, they didn’t give him much time at all in Tacoma before calling him back up due to “need”.

    Zduriencik’s off-season acquisitions are the gift that keeps on giving…

  12. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 1:31 pm

    I was away from the computer for a while – what happened to Dale Scott?

  13. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 1:33 pm

    Got hit in the head with a fouled off fastball. He’s done for the afternoon.

  14. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 1:34 pm


  15. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:35 pm

    Ahem…..JUST GO AWAY, HARANG!!!!

  16. JasonJ on August 7th, 2013 1:35 pm

    Harang is dealing today!

  17. pgreyy on August 7th, 2013 1:35 pm

    “Not his day. Not Aaron Harang’s day.”

    Actually, it probably is…

  18. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:36 pm

    D-F-A! D-F-A! GO! A! WAY!

  19. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 1:38 pm

    “Harang is dealing today!”

    He’s dealing something, anyway… although I think I’d have used the term “shoveling” rather than “dealing”.

  20. jak924 on August 7th, 2013 1:39 pm

    Excuse me while I B-A-R-F

  21. Paul B on August 7th, 2013 1:40 pm

    This series really sucks.

  22. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Only took us 2 innings to get to last nights final score. That’s soooo raven

  23. pgreyy on August 7th, 2013 1:44 pm

    OK. New strategy.

    Walk somebody. Then bait them into trying to steal.

    That’s how we’ll get three outs in every inning.

    More effective than watching our pitching staff trying to get people out or our defense trying field batted balls.

  24. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:45 pm

    Next year! Am I right guys?!!?! Am I right?!? Again and again and again! Man, it is exhausting being an m’s fan! But…..NEXT YEAR, BABY!

  25. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 1:49 pm

    I can’t wait for this winter! Can’t wait to hit re-fresh every couple minutes on, waiting to see what prominent free agents spurn our advances!
    Hey, Jacoby…..I’ve called you like 10 times…..jacoby? Hello?

    Hunter….I know you’re getting these texts….Hunter, it’s polite to respond

  26. jak924 on August 7th, 2013 1:50 pm

    Think maybe wear a bag over my head at Safeco.

  27. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 2:03 pm

    Maybe just put a big bag over safeco. Like a fumigation tent

  28. Jake on August 7th, 2013 2:20 pm

    At least Ibanez made MSN for his futile throw (that Franklin is being blamed for, of course):

  29. eponymous coward on August 7th, 2013 2:29 pm

    So, after game 113 last year, the M’s were 51-62, as opposed to 52-61 this year.

    At this rate, the M’s will be contending in August by the time Felix is 40 or so…

  30. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 2:34 pm

    I was unaware Franklin had a big elbow spiderweb prison tat.

  31. Jake on August 7th, 2013 2:45 pm

    That was unexpected.

  32. scraps on August 7th, 2013 2:46 pm

    Nah, GoMP; why, just last year we signed Raul and Morse, and that was exactly what we wanted. Right? Jason Bay was a bonus!

  33. GhostofMarinersPast on August 7th, 2013 2:46 pm

    Dang! Atta boy Smoak!

  34. Paul B on August 7th, 2013 2:48 pm

    Baserunning randomly.

  35. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 2:49 pm

    Smoak giveth and Smoak taketh away

  36. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 2:50 pm


  37. Jake on August 7th, 2013 2:50 pm

    Whoa, a decent Mariner catcher that ends in O!

    (since Jaso is gone)

  38. Paul B on August 7th, 2013 2:50 pm

    What is it with old replacement level catchers hitting home runs?

  39. stevemotivateir on August 7th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Wow. Just wow!

  40. scraps on August 7th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Seriously, Franklin has a elbow spiderweb tattoo? Because I swear I heard that tattoo is evidence that the person wearing it believes in, um, White Power.

  41. jak924 on August 7th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Do they have “New York Day” at Fenway when the Yankees are in town? Just wondering.

  42. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 2:52 pm

    Can’t say that they haven’t grasped the opportunity. Good for them!

  43. stevemotivateir on August 7th, 2013 2:53 pm

    Not true, Scraps. A lot of those boneheads have them, but they were popular long before.

  44. JasonJ on August 7th, 2013 2:58 pm

    Yeah a google search says that it could symbolize time done in prison. Don’t really see anything about white power. Probably easy to link the two since prison seems to force people into groups based on race (if you want some form of protection). I’m sure Franklin just thought it “looked cool” or some nonsense like that.

  45. pgreyy on August 7th, 2013 3:00 pm

    I tuned over to ESPN for Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption…did I miss anyth–WHAT?!?!?

  46. Longgeorge1 on August 7th, 2013 3:03 pm

    Just in time for the giveaway after the comeback – the bullpen is as bad as the 3-5 starters, 9 is not enough

  47. Westside guy on August 7th, 2013 3:05 pm

    Wow, this appears to be a game I wish I’d been able to pay more attention to. Last time I was able to follow, Saunders had just scored our third run. WHA-A-A??

  48. pgreyy on August 7th, 2013 3:25 pm

    “He definitely would have made the play if he could have picked it up.”

    The 2013 Mariners, where you have to say that on television to convince someone that catching a fly ball is at least possible.

  49. SeattleSlew on August 7th, 2013 4:12 pm

    Has the front office given up on entertaining fans with a baseball team and decided to entertain them with fireworks shows instead?

  50. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2013 4:22 pm

    Long Live Lord Farquhar!!

  51. Jake on August 7th, 2013 4:35 pm

    Definitely needed a win like that one.

  52. spuuky on August 7th, 2013 4:44 pm

    Wow, yuck. 9/15 is not a very good K/BB ratio. That’s what both teams combined for in this one, even with Darth Farquhar going 2/0.

  53. Breadbaker on August 7th, 2013 5:42 pm

    So did we at least win our last trade with the Yankees?

  54. casey on August 7th, 2013 6:18 pm

    I came in just as Morales hit his double to make the score 7-4. Except last night I find this year’s team way more fun to watch than teams from the last few years.

    Think I read that the average attendance is 22,000 – if so seems like Seattle / Vancouver fans are finding this to be the case too – which is really the bottom line for any business – does it generate more revenue than it spends. The park was packed from what I could see all three games of this series.

  55. Barrel on August 7th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Great to see us on the other side of a comeback today. Random thought, but I was thinking about Michael Saunders today, and how he has been a microcosm of how I have felt about this Mariners team over the last few seasons. Both him and the team have taken me to the point of saying “I’m Done” over and over, and then they do something to suck me back in and make me believe. Just can’t wait for the Harangatang to be shelved.

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