Game 115, Zombie-Mariners at Mariners

marc w · August 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Joe Saunders vs. Kyle Lohse, 7:10pm

Ah, the Brewers. For a team that’s been in the National League since 1998, and (thanks to the M’s incompetence) never really figured in playoff races during the time both teams played in the AL West, the Brewers are easy to mock. It all starts with the Pilots, of course, and Bud Selig’s acquisition of the bankrupt Seattle team, which he quickly moved to Milwaukee.* Then, the late 80s and early 90s saw a series of violent (for baseball) brawls between these two teams, including a day game that is forever imprinted on my memory. On May 28th, 1989, the Mariners were in Milwaukee, and they took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the 3rd behind Bill Swift. The Brewers got a run back behind an error and two singles, and had the bases loaded with no one out. Swift got Gary Sheffield to pop out, then induced a comebacker from Rob Deer. Swift threw home to get Billy Speiers, and Dave Valle had enough time to pivot and get Deer at 1st. After the throw, however, Speiers took out Valle’s legs, injuring the catcher’s knee. Valle couldn’t walk on it, so the M’s trainers worked on Valle as he lie in the dirt of the batter’s box. After 10 minutes or so, Milwaukee pitcher Chris Bosio decided he was tired of waiting and, with his catcher crouching about three feat from Valle, started his warm up tosses. Valle was displeased, miffed even.

The resulting brawl was significant, though it may have been upstaged by the brawl the two clubs had a bit over a year later. Still, the image I’ll never forget as the crowd panned over the chaotic scene was an extremely tall man with an unidentified Brewer clasped in a headlock. Welcome to the Mariners, Randy Johnson. RJ had been acquired in the big Mark Langston deal three days earlier, on the 25th, and wouldn’t make his first appearance for the M’s, er, in a playing capacity, until the 30th. In the days before cable contracts, only a few games were on TV. In my mind, this was RJ’s introduction to Seattle – a tall, gangly man running in from the bullpen to put a chokehold on Terry Francona. It’s possible that the M’s had another game televised between on the 26th and 27th; I have no idea. I just knew I was having some trouble believing that Langston was gone, and the M’s acquired three guys I’d never heard of. For whatever reason, that scene helped me get over not only the trade but Langston’s less-than-pretty exit. Both Langston and the M’s seemed annoyed they couldn’t agree on a deal to stay, so Langston made some disparaging comments about the team on his way out. The M’s were weighing on offer from the Mets that would’ve brought in Sid Fernandez and Rick Aguilera, and I think many in Seattle saw the Expos’ prospect haul as a much worse return. I don’t think Johnson brawling for Valle’s honor and knee tendons changed that equation, but I decided to stop worrying and learn to love the freak in the #51 shirt.

Ok, enough of that. These are the present day Brewers, the team that fancied itself a contender in the NL Central this spring, and whose dreadful 2013 includes compiling the 2nd worst record in the NL behind the not-really-trying Marlins, the suspension of Ryan Braun (just a reminder, his big contract extension kicks in for the *2016* season), and injuries to Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart.** Like the M’s, the Brewers aren’t, in 2013, a high payroll club. But look where their money’s going. The highest paid Brewer in 2013 is today’s starter, Kyle Lohse. the 2nd through 6th spots go to Rickie Weeks (victim of an Ackley-like collapse; -0.2 fWAR), Hart (out for the year with a knee injury, free agent in 2014), Aramis Ramirez (injured, power mysteriously missing, 0.4 fWAR), Braun (suspended, had 9 HRs on the year), Yovani Gallardo (frustrating, bad RA, Brewers apparently tried to move him at the deadline), and John Axford (team’s star closer in 2011, then collapsed in 2012 and hasn’t yet recovered; -0.4 fWAR). There’s a lot of luck in there, and there’s the big suspension caveat of course, but the Brewers’ highest paid guys are giving them less than stellar production. It’s reminiscent of the M’s teams of the Bavasi years, with Carlos Silva, Miguel Batista and, to be fair, Ichiro, earning the big bucks while King Felix was paid like a journeyman 4th OF.

Lohse has actually been pretty good this year, with a so-so fWAR offset by a solid ERA. He’s still the same guy he was most of the time in St. Louis: a sinker/slider/change/curve guy with absolutely no eye-popping stuff who just seems to generate outs. Many people assumed that pitching to Yadier Molina (he of the pitch framing Molina brothers, and incredible defense overall) and working with Dave Duncan combined to make his fWAR and W/L records much better than his true talent, and thus bidding for Lohse’s services this year was surprisingly muted. The Brewers walked away with him for a three-year, $33m contract. Lohse still relies on a located 89mph sinker, a change and curve to lefties and a slider to righties. He’s not afraid to the throw his slider to lefties as well, however; he throws it about as much as his change-up to them. While this strategy was pretty successful in St Louis, it hasn’t worked as well this year. His change has been effective, however, and thus his splits are essentially even overall. As a result, this isn’t a great match-up overall for the M’s, but it’s still good to face a righty. It’s also nice that the Brewers have been one of the worst teams in the league against lefties overall, thanks to the worst HR/9 against them.

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

The big name prospect starting in the M’s minors today is Edwin Diaz for Pulaski. Jordan Shipers has had a miserable, injury-riddled season for High Desert, but he’s talented and could help his stock with a good final month. He’s starting for High Desert. Hector Noesi has had a miserable season for multiple teams, but he too is talented, and…honestly, I’m not sure what to make of his stock at this point, but he’s starting for Tacoma in wild, wondrous Albuquerque. Lefty Anthony Fernandez gets the ball for AA Jackson.

The Rangers completed their slow-motion acquisition of ex-White Sox OF Alex Rios today, supposedly for IF Leury Garcia.

* Wikipedia tells me Selig had tried to keep the Braves in Milwaukee, and then worked tirelessly to “prove” Milwaukee could support a team, including hosting White Sox games at County Stadium in the 60s. This whole “so hurt by his hometown franchise moving, he devoted himself to moving someone else’s franchise” dynamic has at least some similarities with the Sonics saga of the past five years, a comparison that sounds much more damning than I mean it to.

** Somewhere on the East side, Dave Valle has a spring in his step as a feeling of contentment washes over him. He flashes that wide smile as he realizes his knee hasn’t felt so good in years.


77 Responses to “Game 115, Zombie-Mariners at Mariners”

  1. ivan on August 9th, 2013 5:31 pm

    Funny. My recollection of that trade was like “We got Randy Johnson? Seriously? OMG, we STOLE this guy! This guy throws the ball 200 miles an hour!”

  2. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 5:57 pm

    This guy throws the ball 200 miles an hour!”

    He just didn’t know where it was going.

    I see we have our starting outfield tonight. Sigh.

  3. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 6:10 pm

    I remember when Langston left, and was even happy he did. I’ll explain why later.

    The deal Woody Woodward had with the Mets was indeed Langston for Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera and a RHP by name of David West.

    But Chuck Armstrong nixed that trade at the last minute, citing Fernandez’ physique, injury concerns for Aguilera and “he had never seen West”.

    (Of all the things I COULD blame Armstrong for, that call is fairly low on the totem pole- West was a mechanical mess at the time with good stuff and a classic 5-cent head about pitching, and Fernandez only continued to gain weight. If it hadn’t been for that funky delivery of his adding supreme deception, I doubt he would’ve EVER had good years in the major leagues.)

    In steps Montreal with Johnson, Holman and Gene Harris- and the rest is history.

    I’m laughing remembering the mid-20s version of Randy Johnson. My God, what velocity. And every single batter against him was scared as hell.

    (You couldn’t blame them, especially if they were a lefty batter. It had to be in their heads- “Am I gonna be the one he hits in the head and kills?”)

    Fond memories.

  4. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 6:15 pm

    Oh, sorry. I forgot. I was happy when Langston left because I never once thought of him as a gutsy, big game pitcher.

    To me, he spent a lot of his career being perfectly happy with collecting big paychecks and being the best pitcher on lousy teams.

    Remembering the days when Langston was the best we had really, really makes me appreciate Felix all that much more.

  5. PackBob on August 9th, 2013 6:16 pm

    And it’s an Ibanez/Morse combo that isn’t in a hot streak, making the (lack of) defense and base running stand out even more.

  6. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 6:22 pm

    I’ve been thinking about our outfield conundrum lately.

    It seems inconceivable (and yes, I know what that word means, Princess Bride watchers!) that a major-league organization could be hurting so badly…for quality outfielders.

    Which got me to thinking about who’s ONE SEASON away from free agency.

    Checking MLBTradeRumors, I notice that Nick Markakis becomes a free agent after the 2014 season.

    The Orioles are not typically an organization that rewards their better players with extensions.

    Might they try to cash in Markakis while they can, during the off-season? And if the receiving team is only getting one year of him for sure…that dilutes the price tag.

    Markakis is a fine defensive player with moderate power and good wheels. He would look really good to me in Mariner blues.

    Just a thought.

  7. casey on August 9th, 2013 6:23 pm

    Marc – great story. I remember the deal, was less of a M’s fan in those days but your recollection of the brawl brought big smile to my face – nicely written.

  8. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 6:55 pm

    Did they just say Betancourt is playing first for the Brewers?

  9. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 6:58 pm

    Man I thought he was out of baseball. I guess playing for a last place NL team = dead to me.

  10. terryoftacoma on August 9th, 2013 7:20 pm

    Yes. Yuniesky Betancourt splits his time between first and third these days. One reason the Brewer’s have had a bad season.

  11. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 7:24 pm

    Suspension + injuries + empty farm system = crappy hitting shortstop playing first base?

  12. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 7:25 pm

    Cool. Someone booed Yuni.

  13. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 7:26 pm

    Bill Krueger is as good at in game color as he is at pregame.

  14. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 7:28 pm

    I see you must’ve caught his obligatory Dick Tracy reference, Paul B.

  15. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 7:30 pm

    Yuniesky Betancourt should be booed for, like, every minute his career lasts.

    One of my least favorite ex-Mariners.

  16. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 7:31 pm

    What that hell was the Dick Tracy reference? Who even knows who Dick Tracy is anymore?

  17. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 7:42 pm

    I only dimly know Dick Tracy…let’s see… had a yellow trenchcoat, was a detective, Warren Beatty played him in a 1994 movie he lobbied hard to make for years, and it did mediocre in the box office.

    And there were about 10 million villains with colorful nicknames.

  18. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 7:44 pm

    Sloppy play.

  19. terryoftacoma on August 9th, 2013 7:45 pm

    Let’s see. Error, error, double and two runs. Yup. That’s our Mariners.

  20. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 7:46 pm

    Wasn’t Madonna in that movie?

    The crooks had names like meltedhead and threearms.

  21. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 7:47 pm

    I know who Dick Tracy is, but I didn’t get the reference.

    Also, can we not use “our starting outfield” as a disparaging term? It’s not fair to Saunders to lump him in with Morse and Ibañez.

  22. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 7:48 pm

    Krug has such great timing. Bumper showing one of our servicemen returning home from the Middle East and ol’ Bill’s rambling about Smoak:

    “There’s plenty of guys in the minor leagues who’d die for his opportunities.”

    Not so much, Bill.

  23. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 7:50 pm

    Bunt, bunt, bunt!


  24. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 7:51 pm

    Why the heck is Krueger doing color?

  25. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 7:53 pm

    Krueger apparently thinks Yuni is still a shortstop but is playing first by choice.

  26. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 7:53 pm

    I would rather they had used Angie.

  27. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 7:55 pm

    Angie would rock!

  28. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 7:56 pm


  29. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 7:57 pm

    I love Kyle Seager.

  30. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 7:59 pm

    I know who Dick Tracy is, but I didn’t get the reference.

    This strip was before most of our time, I think.

    But I did some checking, and it turns out Tracy was kind of the gadget-geek of hard-boiled detectives…kinda like Batman with the utility belt, always coming out with some doohickey (but factually accurate, in Tracy’s case) to get out of jams.

    I’m guessing The Wet Look was referring to Joe Saunders’ resourcefulness to get himself out of trouble when he used Dick Tracy as an allegory.

  31. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:00 pm

    Yeah, I don’t see why a woman, particularly an experienced athlete like Angie, couldn’t do commentary. Plenty of the ‘communications major’ guys doing it; don’t have to be some crappy former ball player necessarily.

    Then again, I remember the shitstorm when the Giants dared to bring a woman in to just do the announcing at their new ballfield. Apparently the very tonality of a female voice is enough to shrivel the balls of all ‘real’ sports fans.

  32. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 8:02 pm

    I am agreeing with Sims and Krueger on one thing: if you’re a BBWAA voter and you don’t vote Junior in the Hall of Fame?

    You really deserve to have that voting privilege revoked, especially if you’re going to do it just so NO ONE remains “unanimous”.

    (I *really* hate those voters…)

  33. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 8:03 pm

    Maybe Buhner and Wilson weren’t available, out at a good restaraunt or something visiting before tomorrow.

    Shannon would be really good too, although her specialty is interviews. But everyone loves Shannon.

  34. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 8:05 pm

    I’d have no real issue with Angie Mentink doing commentary. She’s pretty upfront about what she doesn’t know. And she knows more than she’s given credit for, in general.

    I really do believe I’d rather listen to her than Krueger.

  35. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 8:05 pm

    Now, see…if we had a REAL left fielder, that would at least be a play.

  36. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 8:06 pm

    Actually I’m going to say that while I’m not a Krueger fan, I’ve heard a lot worse.

  37. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 8:08 pm

    Must have said the magic word.

  38. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:11 pm

    No dive from Morse?

  39. Paul B on August 9th, 2013 8:11 pm

    When your corner outfielders have the range of a DH, a lot of balls fall in for hits.

  40. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Endy would’ve caught that.

  41. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:17 pm

    When crap meets crap, there’s crap.

  42. enazario on August 9th, 2013 8:18 pm

    Ibañez arm is a weak ass sister.

  43. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Lucky bounce right to Raul, but then his arm sucks.

    Although on the Ibañez continuum it was a relatively decent throw.

  44. bookbook on August 9th, 2013 8:22 pm

    High Desert is winning 20-1 after 2. 20-1.

  45. Cresswell on August 9th, 2013 8:23 pm

    Can we start talking about Seager’s defense? He’s a bit slapdash. Was at Tuesday game (yuck) and his lack of desire to move his feet helped screw up that game.

  46. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 8:25 pm

    Good grief, bookbook!

  47. stevemotivateir on August 9th, 2013 8:33 pm

    So, they already blew the shut-out in High Desert? Sucks.

  48. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:42 pm

    Must be nice to have speedy players.

  49. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:45 pm

    Sign the game’s not going well for the Mariners–one of Yuni’s popups can’t be caught…And now a grand slam. Time for one of my succinct single words.

  50. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 8:48 pm

    Well, Joe Saunders, this one is all on YOU.

  51. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 8:49 pm

    I say Betancourt gets some of the good cheddar in the ribs, his next AB.

    That home run trot was more than a little on the “show-’em-up” side.

  52. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Running, running, running.

  53. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 8:55 pm

    Seager is having one ROUGH week with the leather.

  54. Longgeorge1 on August 9th, 2013 8:58 pm

    We could use YB in left (HA HA?)

  55. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:00 pm

    And Krug insults FDR…

    Come on guys, at least a run or two every inning.

  56. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 9:14 pm

    I thought that was kinda funny when Krug backtracked RIGHT AWAY on what he was saying about FDR.

    PC Syndrome is so fun to watch when it’s obvious.

  57. SonOfZavaras on August 9th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Hmmm…I think I’m gonna go watch “The Wolverine”.

  58. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 9:16 pm

    I think Krueger was just making a joke, but immediately realized it came out totally wrong. I’ve been there, so I’m not going to fault him for that.

  59. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:17 pm

    Yeah, Krug’s utter insincerity was pretty transparent.

    And I’m quite sure Krug’s sweet ol’ Grandma appreciated her social security, so he can just shut the hell up.

    (Yeah, when there’s nothing good to discuss in the game…)

    So will they drill Yuni?

  60. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:18 pm

    *cue Krug making some statement about the M’s not having the balls to drill a showboater*

  61. stevemotivateir on August 9th, 2013 9:24 pm

    I’ve never really been a fan of pegging opponents. But I wouldn’t have a problem with Yuni taking one after that.

    The one (and only) time I can remember screaming for it, was when Everett hit a HR off Moyer and showed everyone that he was attracted to Jamie.

  62. pgreyy on August 9th, 2013 9:32 pm

    You’re not a regular reader of The Stranger, are you steve…

    …because “pegging” has a very different meaning there, and I’d have to agree that I’ve never really been a fan of doing THAT to opponents either.

    BTW–Just tuned in…why did Erasmo come in for Saunders? Bullpen depletion?

  63. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Ramirez apparently skipped his regular start day so they brought him in when Saunders imploded to get his some work.

    *head desk* on the pegging, BTW.

  64. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Because Joe Saunders sucked, pgreyy.

    And ewww.

  65. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:54 pm

    For all our ragging on Raul, he runs hard to first every time. A couple of the younger guys on the team could learn something from that attitude.

  66. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2013 9:57 pm

    “Bowling for beer cups”

    Okay, Krug, that was funny.

  67. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2013 10:01 pm

    Smoak OPS up to .820. Not bad for a guy some wanted banished to Tacoma earlier in the spring. LOL

  68. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 10:04 pm

    Smoak says “That one’s for you, Cameron”.

    And I was one of those guys, Suds!

  69. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Me to Westy. Me too….sheepishly apologizing now

  70. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2013 10:13 pm

    As we well know, M’s can’t make mistakes and still win. Not nearly talented enough. Grif day tomorrow!!

  71. Westside guy on August 9th, 2013 10:19 pm

    I found it a bit funny that Krueger was going on, early in the game, about how bad the Brewers are defensively.

    Bill, that’s not necessarily something you want to call too much attention to when a team is facing the Mariners, who by some metrics are the worst in the entire MLB…

  72. Kazinski on August 9th, 2013 10:38 pm

    Yes, you have to give Raul credit, he has never just phoned it in. Even if he is fucking up balls in the outfield it isn’t because of a lack of effort.

    I was just looking at Fangraphs stats for players 40 and over. According to Fangraphs Omar Visquel has the highest UZR of any player 40 or older, and its not close, 30 vs. 12 for Bob Boone.

    He needs to be in the HOF

    The top 5 UZR by career are dominated by former Mariners:
    1 Adrian Beltre 152.5 15.0 UZR/150
    2 Carl Crawford 118.7 13.1
    3 Andruw Jones 118.2 18.9
    4 Ichiro Suzuki 116.1 12.0
    5 Scott Rolen 109.0 13.3

    Of course the data skews to the last 10 years too.

  73. stevemotivateir on August 9th, 2013 11:57 pm


    The Stranger is a world of it’s own. I actually know one of their journalists, but I’m not a fan of her work and I certainly wouldn’t let their slang influence mine!

    I used to pick it up all the time for show information, though I liked The Rocket better when that was still around. I no longer live in the region, so none of matters to me anymore anyway.

  74. SeattleSlew on August 10th, 2013 5:27 am

    Typical M’s in this one but hey at least there was awesome fireworks (according to Roots everybody has been talking about) right? It baffles me that a team would even attempt to attract fans with fireworks when they are getting close to the end and the team has had a terrible season.

    (If Sims and Angie Mentink were the two M’s announcers I would just completely give up on watching games. I know many fans complain about their teams announcers but its hard to imagine anyone worse than these two.)

  75. jak924 on August 10th, 2013 10:40 am

    I recently returned to the NW after 30 years in SoCal. I’ve gotta wonder, where in the world did Angie Mentink and Dave Sims come from? THEY ARE AWFUL!

  76. deadball on August 10th, 2013 4:48 pm

    “…the M’s trainers worked on Valle as he lie in the dirt…..”
    Remember that Hemingway book, As I Lie Dying? No, I guess not.

  77. SeattleSlew on August 10th, 2013 5:29 pm

    Describing them as awful is an understatement.

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