Game 151, Mariners at Tigers

marc w · September 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Anibal Sanchez, 4:08pm

If last night’s game felt a bit hopeless, at least the M’s were facing a guy they’d had some success against, and a guy who struggled versus lefties. Today’s game….today’s game feels like a blowout waiting to happen. Checking the Vegas lines, it looks like I’m not alone- this game’s odds look bizarre. With the Tigers getting close to wrapping up the division, neither team has a great deal of motivation, but the Tigers still have a great line-up and a great starting pitcher while the M’s have some guys who might be part of a decent team in a few years, if things break right.

Anibal Sanchez came over from Miami last year with some talent, but somewhat underwhelming results. He wasn’t bad, but a guy with an injury history and who’d worked his FIP from the mid 4s down to the mid 3s sounded like a very good #3, or possibly #4. With the Tigers, however, Sanchez has been amazing. After 28 starts and 240 innings, he’s put up an RA of 3.2, driven largely by his brilliant 2013 campaign. Instead of seeing his K% fall with the league switch, Sanchez is posting a career high in K% this year at over 26%. His HR% is extremely low, leading to a FIP of under 2.5. That in turn has pushed his Fangraphs WAR to 5.5 and counting, good for 6th in baseball, just behind Felix and well ahead of Yu Darvish.

Sanchez uses a four-seam fastball which has gained a tick or two in velocity this year – it’s now pushing 94mph on average. His other weapon is a change-up that’s in the top 10 for whiff rate and that’s been extremely tough on lefties. He throws a slider and a rare curve as well, but his fastball and change are his bread and butter pitches. Sanchez has a high 3/4 release, and coupled with the fact that his torso’s tilted towards 1b, Sanchez’s release point is essentially on a line running through the center of home plate. In addition to his change, this may help his platoon splits, as neither righties nor lefties get the advantage of an off-center release point. Indeed, his career wOBA to lefties is 3.07, while his wOBA to righties is…3.08. This isn’t BABIP-driven, either. By FIP, his splits are 3.59 and 3.57 with over 2,000 batters-faced on each side.

He’d probably be getting some Cy Young hype since he’s posted a great ERA on a winning team, but his teammate’s 19-3 with more innings pitched, so there’s not going to be much debate. Still, this season’s taken me by surprise as a middle-of-the-rotation guy’s taken a big step forward to be a quality #2 who may get to 6 WAR or so by season’s end. He hasn’t picked up a new pitch, and his pitch mix is relatively similar to prior seasons, so the only noteworthy thing that jumps out has been his fastball results. Now, results-based analysis is frowned-upon in these parts, so I certainly can’t come to any conclusions here. He’s spotting it away from lefties and righties – trying to hit the black as opposed to trying to keep the pitch low. That’s fine and all, but it’s also not different than what he did in, say, 2011. It’s possible that a combination of improved command and his extra velocity make the pitch tough to drive, but that’s speculation. He’s throwing slightly fewer pitches in the zone, and his contact% has dropped markedly. However, his contact% has dropped for all pitches, not just fastballs – it’s just that his SLG%-allowed his fallen dramatically on four-seamers, and not as dramatically on anything else.

Brandon Maurer’s SLG% has dropped some too, but as I talked about last time, that’s not saying a whole lot. On the plus side, Maurer’s facing a line-up of five righties and only four lefties (Fielder, Martinez, Kelly and Avila), but then his struggles aren’t as limited to lefties anymore. Maurer’s talented, and I think he’ll figure some things out eventually. A game like this *could* give him a ton of confidence heading into the Arizona Fall League and 2014, but this looks painful on paper. Maurer’s confidence has to be in tatters right now, and hey, here comes Miguel Cabrera.

1: Almonte, CF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Saunders, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Franklin, 2B
9: Triunfel, SS
SP: Maurer

Tango’s “Fans Scouting Report” is going on now. This is the defensive metric that’s based on YOUR evaluations of player hands, speed, arm, etc. It’s a great idea, and it’s something you can use on Fangraphs as a check on other advanced defensive metrics, and it’s fascinating on its own year after year. Tango’s always been a good friend of the blog, so let’s make sure he’s not lacking in Mariner submissions for this year’s FSR. Go fill it out! When I looked today, M’s fans had filled out fewer FSRs than Orioles, Reds, Royals and Tigers fans, and that aggression will not stand.

Bad news out of the minor leagues, as local kid and M’s relief prospect Forrest Snow was hit with a 50-game suspension for a violation of the MLB drug policy. Not sure at this point what that violation entailed.

Comments

59 Responses to “Game 151, Mariners at Tigers”

  1. californiamariner on September 17th, 2013 3:15 pm

    At least we’re creeping into range of a top 5 or 6 pick and setting records while doing it (Worst fielding team ever by DRS) :)

  2. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Raul wants to play another year – so we’re going to also have a chance to BREAK this year’s record, CM!

    I was kind of hoping Raul would decide he wanted to go out while he was still (marginally) effective, but it looks like he wants to go the Griffey route. I can’t really blame him; most of these guys need to be told when they’re done. The confidence that makes one a major league ballplayer just doesn’t allow them to perceive that time when their skills have eroded too far…

  3. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 4:37 pm

    I think I have gone beyond apathy, and as much as I hope the players under team control for next season do well and give us hope, I have slipped into pretty much hoping the M’s keep losing.

    Clean house at the top and start afresh.

  4. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 4:39 pm

    The confidence that makes one a major league ballplayer just doesn’t allow them to perceive that time when their skills have eroded too far…

    Interesting article over on Fangraphs about worst final seasons.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/worst-final-seasons-part-two/

    Griffey is tied for worst amongst players how amassed 70 or more WAR.

  5. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 4:48 pm

    It was nice to see Saunders with another double to left field… too bad Franklin then did what he’s been doing all the time lately.

  6. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 4:54 pm

    I just checked, and the Mariners are 3rd in the league in homers, after being 11th last season. That is a huge jump, and it resulted in them increasing their runs per game from 14th in the league to… 14th in the league.

    Where are all the people saying all the Mariners had to do was sign a big slugger?

  7. Breadbaker on September 17th, 2013 5:01 pm

    That is a huge jump, and it resulted in them increasing their runs per game from 14th in the league to… 14th in the league.

    To be charitable and accurate, that means from last in a 14 team league to second from last in a 15 team league.

    Of course, I don’t think that was exactly what Jack Z’s goal was, or was worth giving up Vargas and Jaso.

  8. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Is Maurer improved? Or is this a righty heavy lineup that he is cruising through?

  9. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 5:04 pm

    To be charitable and accurate, that means from last in a 14 team league to second from last in a 15 team league.

    But that 15th team is replacement level. To be charitable.

    Although I just noticed the White Sox were last in runs scored.

  10. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 5:24 pm

    All right Nick!

    And Carlos!

  11. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 5:26 pm

    Sigh.

  12. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 5:46 pm

    Guess we’ll see Raul start every game from now on…

  13. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 5:47 pm

    How has Raul made the young players better, Aaron?

    Details, if you please.

  14. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:06 pm

    Condor!!

    Wedge will probably sit him the next three games…

  15. groundzero55 on September 17th, 2013 6:21 pm

    “Where are all the people saying all the Mariners had to do was sign a big slugger?”

    To be fair, a big slugger who bats .330 is a lot different than a slugger who bats .230.

    Miguel Cabrera would noticeably help this team. Mark Reynolds probably would not – just like Morse didn’t.

  16. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 6:23 pm

    How has Raul made the young players better, Aaron?
    Details, if you please.

    I wasn’t sure if he was saying he made them all better, or if we was just saying he talked to all of them.

  17. Paul B on September 17th, 2013 6:25 pm

    Miguel Cabrera would noticeably help this team. Mark Reynolds probably would not – just like Morse didn’t.

    Would you have gone
    8 yrs/$152.3M?

    It worked out for Detroit, but that was pretty gutsy.

  18. stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2013 6:26 pm

    Did Almonte hesitate? I didn’t see it. On the replay, it seemed Aliva was slow out of the box, so I wonder if I missed something.

  19. stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2013 6:30 pm

    For cryin’ out loud, Franklin. STAY ALERT!!!!

  20. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:30 pm

    Rizz said “Raul talks to all the young players, helping make them BETTER” (he emphasized the word) – at which point Goldsmith said “and he has”.

  21. G-Man on September 17th, 2013 6:31 pm

    Yeah, letting the guy get to second was a mistake.

  22. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:31 pm

    When I heard Franklin moved to short I wondered if we’d have some adventure.

  23. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:35 pm

    Sounded like Almonte made a nice catch!

  24. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:40 pm

    Yeah! Furbush!

  25. Breadbaker on September 17th, 2013 6:42 pm

    Almonte did fine. Nick Franklin needs to get his head in the game all the time. I don’t know what his deal is, but he’s been making a lot of bonehead plays. I can excuse not hitting (everyone slumps) but baserunning mistakes like his going to third earlier in the week, and just lollygagging after the ball there with a fast runner on first are the sort of things that require someone in this organization to make him understand they are not acceptable. How they do that is their job, not mine, but if nothing is done, Nick Franklin is done.

  26. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:46 pm

    They never mention Raul’s chasing 300 homers.

    I couldn’t care less about age 41 homers.

  27. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 6:48 pm

    Hahahahaha!

    Thank you radio guys!

  28. G-Man on September 17th, 2013 6:54 pm

    Almonte made a running catch and his usual off-target throw. Reminds me of a young Reggie Smith – a cannon that he can’t aim.

  29. stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2013 6:54 pm

    Did anyone catch that Avila triple? Was defense an issue, or did he actually just hit the ball in the perfect place and leg it out?

  30. Longgeorge1 on September 17th, 2013 6:55 pm

    Would Franklin be better suited for the OF and move Ackley back to 2nd? Franklin has a strong arm and could spend half the game picking flowers.

  31. G-Man on September 17th, 2013 7:00 pm

    Had a bad feeling with Z up.

  32. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:01 pm

    Franklin is displaying a severe case of Cranius-Rectus. If its not too late, they should call up Ty Kelly and send Franklin home early. The kid has “lost his bubble” and needs to regroup.

  33. Longgeorge1 on September 17th, 2013 7:02 pm

    I realize small ball is out of favor, but this minus ball really sucks

  34. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:09 pm

    Minus Ball … That’s a great line and a very accurate summary.

    These close game losses bother me still, but the “greater good” of securing a top 10 pick makes it a heck of a lot more tolerable at this point in the season.

    What a shit team. An absolute shit team.

  35. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:13 pm

    Well that was a textbook hit and run…

  36. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:14 pm

    Mike, I didn’t realize you knew Latin!

  37. Longgeorge1 on September 17th, 2013 7:15 pm

    Hit and run – a concept behind it’s time

  38. stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2013 7:18 pm

    Yeah, no kidding Mike. I haven’t had time to look much at prospect reports, but that’s one of the few positives to look forward to.

  39. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:18 pm

    Just got home… oh crap, is that Carter Capps?

  40. Longgeorge1 on September 17th, 2013 7:20 pm

    Mike what you are saying is we have another chance to ruin another top prospects life and turn it into a living hell

  41. juneau_fan on September 17th, 2013 7:21 pm

    Only been home 30 minutes and I can’t take anymore of this. NO OUTS.

  42. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:23 pm

    I think the full Latin term is Ipso Facto Habeus Corpus Cranius-Rectus, but I shortened it to save on ink.

  43. juneau_fan on September 17th, 2013 7:24 pm

    AN OUT

  44. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:27 pm

    Well it was an actual game for a few innings anyway.

  45. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:27 pm

    Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:27 pm

    I wonder what happened to Capps this year?

  47. Longgeorge1 on September 17th, 2013 7:28 pm

    Turnout the lights…

  48. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:30 pm

    Pitch to Cabrera! I want to see how far he can hit a baseball.

  49. Westside guy on September 17th, 2013 7:30 pm

    Cabrera isn’t ONE of the best, Blowers – right now, he’s THE best hitter on the planet.

  50. stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2013 7:34 pm

    Well, that’s one way to keep him from knocking in runs.

  51. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:35 pm

    I think he misunderstood what i meant by pitch “to him.”

  52. kenshabby on September 17th, 2013 7:36 pm

    At least the M’s have achieved some kind of parity this season: 33-42 at home, 33-42 on the road. (Okay, soon to be 33-43 on the road.)

    Yeah…looking for bright spots ain’t easy.

  53. msfanmike on September 17th, 2013 7:40 pm

    Consistently bad is not good.

  54. WestyHerr on September 17th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Each entry has 6 paragraphs on the pitching match up and 1 paragraph on our hitters. Mariner baseball. Catch it.

  55. G-Man on September 18th, 2013 12:19 pm
  56. eponymous coward on September 18th, 2013 1:09 pm

    Can’t wait for Baker to go to his new beat so he can quit trolling USSM.

  57. Westside guy on September 18th, 2013 1:09 pm

    I haven’t read anything from Baker for quite a while, and I’m a happier person for it – so I’m not going to start up again now. If the title indicated in that link is accurate of the content, then he’s arguing against a strawman anyway – no one here (or anywhere as far as I know) has ever argued that Raul or Morales were the problem with the Mariners… just how they (particularly Raul) have been used, and the way the past offseason played out as a whole.

    I am happily aware that, after the end of this season, he will no longer be writing about the Mariners. That will bring a merciful end to any more of this.

  58. eponymous coward on September 18th, 2013 1:17 pm

    Incidentally… I wouldn’t mind Raul as next year’s DH on a one year deal. Heck, even put in a decent raise. Dial him back down to 400 PAs by primarily using him against RHP and rotating other players through the DH slot? Sure. If he has another year left, great. If he flops and retires, well, it gets the FO’s Raul obsession taken care of, and it’s not THAT hard to find a bat-first guy for DH if the M’s are in contention in June/July and Raul is struggling.

    I’m willing to grant that while clubhouse chemistry and intangibles are largely bull***t meant to excuse people from actually examining what works/doesn’t in baseball, because nostrums and the “old boys network/The Book” is comfortable and nobody gets fired for following conventional wisdom the same way they do for trying something very different, you don’t want a team of Milton Bradleys either. So sure, let’s have Raul back in 2014 if he wants back.

    What I don’t particularly want? The M’s spending $20 million or so on two DHs, one of whom has to play the field a lot, and ignoring other parts of the team other than dingers. The M’s roster construction sucked in the offseason, and bringing back most of the reasons why it sucked won’t help.

  59. Westside guy on September 18th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Hey, at least they won’t be tempted to re-sign Morse this time around! He’s doing worse for the Orioles than he did here…

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