Game 154, Mariners at Angels

marc w · September 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Matt Shoemaker, 7:10pm

The M’s face undrafted free-agent/MLB debutante Matt Shoemaker tonight. What could possibly go wrong?

I’m going to level with you, reader: I don’t have much to say about Matt Shoemaker. These game preview things are heavily pitch-fx-driven, for better or for worse, and that’s simply unavailable here. Shoemaker’s obviously never been in MLB, he never appeared in the AFL, he skillfully managed his Cactus League appearances to avoid Peoria and Surprise, so I’ve got nothing to go on. Matt Shoemaker is a bearded tabula rasa – a tabula barbati, I suppose. Thus, it’s up to us to piece together a profile of a pitcher we’ve not seen* based on known details about his life in the manner of an over-the-top police procedural.

Name: Matt Shoemaker
Shoemaker will be the second person with that industrious surname to play in MLB, the first since Charlie Shoemaker, a utility IF for the Royals in the early 60s. Charlie had a poor OBP and essentially no power, so, transitive property blah blah blah, we can surmise that Matt Shoemaker isn’t a power pitcher, and he’s stingy with walks.

From: Wyandotte, Michigan
Wyandotte is a suburb of Detroit, and it’s given its name to a popular breed of chicken. Chicken is a common source of protein, generally seen as having little discernible flavor on its own, and is cheaper than beef. From this, I’m assuming Shoemaker’s arsenal is fairly standard (no knuckleball, no screwball, no 91mph change-up, no Matt Moore-like armside run) and that he’s making the league-minimum. Are you getting chills? Seriously, I have goosebumps right now.

Attended: Eastern Michigan University
He’ll be the 10th player from EMU to play in the majors, not including Mets manager Terry Collins. The most famous of these is Cy Young winner Bob Welch of the Dodgers and A’s, but the group also includes Brian Clutterbuck, Brian Bixler, Glenn Gulliver, and Bob Owchinko. From this, we can logically conclude that Shoemaker’s chances of getting to an All-Star game are roughly 1-10. 10%. There’s a non-zero chance.

Facial hair: famously bearded
His AA team in the Texas League once had Matt Shoemaker goatee face t-shirt (?) give-aways, and apparently a removable Matt Shoemaker beard once (even though he didn’t play for the team anymore. You see, M’s? It’s actually better that your beard giveaways are associated with a former player than having a promotion that’s essentially, “We had some, uh, beards, you know, just lying around, and you’re welcome to one if you’d like. No, no reason. Just…we’re trying to clear out some beards, and lots of people like…beards, so yeah.”). WHY a beard? Where did this come from? Let’s go back to his alma mater – is there something we can learn from the ex-EMU players?

Let’s start with Owchinko. Here he is as a rookie with San Diego. Computer, let’s magnify that:
Bob_Owchinko_79padres

Aha. Beardless. Quite possibly mocked by his teammates, heckled by fans.

What does he do? He gets depressed. And then what? Then he gets facial hair. Whoa, whoa, there Grizzly Adams, let’s back off, hoss. Clean it up a bit and….
bearded

Exactly. Exactly.

Other examples? What about that Clutterbuck guy?

IMG_0004

You be the judge. Better bearded, or with one of those awful 80s mustaches? Not even a contest.

Conclusion? Shoemaker is capable of learning, of adapting. He synthesizes information, he has some form of empathy, and can make intuitive leaps based on what’s happened to a member of his tribe. From this, we can deduce that the M’s should try and get to Shoemaker in the first few innings, before he’s able to adapt and target their weaknesses.**

I reached out to people who’d seen a lot of him, and the report was vague – may have peaked in 2011, good control, but stuff isn’t eye-popping. In other words, our investigation was *right on the money*. Absolutely nothing in the scouting report contradicts anything we learned through pure deductive logic. Thanks for joining me today – I don’t think any of us will forget this day. Together, we’re capable of so much more than I thought possible.

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

Bizarro-land line-up today, with Nick Franklin at SS, and Triunfel at 3B to give Kyle Seager a much-needed rest.

Erasmo’s change still gets plenty of swinging strikes (not as many as last year, but still), and it still results in some weak contact and thus a low BABIP-against. But when batters see a bad one, or maybe when they guess right, they hit that pitch *hard*. It’s not sinking as much as it did last year, though that could possibly be noise. On the other hand, his slightly lower velo means his fastballs have slightly less vertical movement, and coupled with his change having slightly MORE vertical movement (that is, less ‘drop’), the gap between them isn’t as large. Does that have anything to do with his 4 HRs given up on the pitch? No idea. I’m pointing out a correlation, and I’m shrugging my shoulders. Maybe?

* The problem is that I’ve actually seen Shoemaker. I went to the 7-inning game he apparently started against Tacoma, and I remember literally nothing. Right- or left-handed? Velo? Nothing. The whole tastes-like-chicken thing isn’t so far-fetched anymore, is it? He’s apparently faced Nick Franklin 8 times, though I believe he may have missed Mike Zunino.

** Another potential weakness came up in reviewing EMU players. There’s a non-zero probability that Shoemaker could suffer some form of hat failure, or the sudden inability to properly wear a hat. 20% of the EMU sample showed signs of hat failure.

Images via the Google, and this place for Welch, here for Hoiles, here for Owchinko and here for Clutterbuck.

Comments

67 Responses to “Game 154, Mariners at Angels”

  1. VivaAyala on September 20th, 2013 5:20 pm

    This intro is glorious, containing Notgraphs-worthy material.

  2. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 5:41 pm

    There just HAS to be a sportscaster somewhere that messed up on “Clutterbuck” at some point in time.

  3. 11records on September 20th, 2013 5:49 pm

    Raul is going to play every day until he hits his 30th HR, isn’t he?

  4. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 6:12 pm

    There’s also a non-zero possibility that, at some point during this game, I will feel compelled to refer to it as a “Clutterbuck”.

  5. globalalpha on September 20th, 2013 7:23 pm

    Plain vanilla pitcher? Check. Strike out three Mariners in the first inning? Check. Marc, you are right on the money!

  6. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 8:11 pm

    Shoemaker is going to set a career high in strikeouts. It’s inevitable.

  7. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Mike, I am assuming you’re making a joke – given that this is his debut, a “career best” is guaranteed. :-D

  8. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 8:39 pm

    Westy is NOT sleeping at the wheel. He’s still in mid-season form.

  9. GLS on September 20th, 2013 8:52 pm

    Speaking of facial hair, I’m just going to assume at this point that Dustin Ackley has an audition lined up to play the lead in the forthcoming Grizzly Adams reboot, which as far as I know doesn’t actually exist, but when I look at the bushy monstrosity growing out of Ackley’s face, I have to believe that it must exist because what the hell is that all about? At the very least, I hope he’s planning to build a log cabin in the offseason and live off the land but hopefully he doesn’t go hiking by himself and get his arm trapped under a rock for 127 hours and then have to cut it off with a pocket knife, because that would probably be the end of his baseball career.

  10. Chasbo on September 20th, 2013 9:05 pm

    It seems like this is the 100th game Cy Young has started against the Mariners this year.

  11. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:09 pm

    Well, Saunders is having a good game anyway…

  12. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:13 pm

    Did they HAVE to remind us that Joe Saunders is starting tomorrow? A few more hours of blissful ignorance would’ve been fine by me.

  13. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:16 pm

    Nicky’s having a good night too.

  14. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:18 pm

    Ackley is going to guest star on ‘Duck Dynasty’ in early October. Probably every year.

    Or, he is Jonesing for a trade to the Red Sox

    There are very few good explanations for his fashion choice … IMO

  15. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:23 pm

    Good hustle by Ackley there, even with the increased wind resistance of that beard!

  16. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:24 pm

    Yippee !!!

  17. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:24 pm

    Yeah Condor!

  18. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 9:28 pm

    Why do I have the feeling this lead is just a mirage?

  19. G-Man on September 20th, 2013 9:31 pm

    Don’t you guys understand what Ackley is doing? He sees how the beards have worked for the Red Sox this year, so he’s jumping on the bandwagon.

  20. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:32 pm

    Worst performance of the year – so far – for a player who has the day off

  21. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:36 pm

    It’s okay, Kyle – we still love you.

    For now.

  22. G-Man on September 20th, 2013 9:38 pm

    I think it’s time for the pen.

  23. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Chance Ruffin? Man, they are indeed trying to keep the 4-game lead over the Giants in the reverse standings, aren’t they?

  24. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:52 pm

    Got your wish, G-Man.

  25. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Ackley is a good second baseman – excellent play there!

  26. G-Man on September 20th, 2013 9:54 pm

    It worked for awhile, Westy.

    And the batter gets to second even though the throw’s cut off.

    Thanks to Ackley for stopping that one.

  27. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:55 pm

    He actually should have asked for a “major leaguer” from the pen … But that is a tough request for this pen to fill, regardless.

  28. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 9:56 pm

    We had a good pen once… or was that just a dream I had?

  29. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 9:59 pm

    The org had a good pen at one time, but they no longer have that problem.

  30. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:06 pm

    I fully support this IBB.

  31. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 10:06 pm

    Hard to believe a major leaguer could hit a pitch right down the middle.

    Can’t DFA Ruffin fast enough. He is wretched.

  32. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:12 pm

    LOVE it when Hamilton’s trikes out…

  33. Breadbaker on September 20th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Mike Zunino, whatever else one can say about him, is a fine receiver of pitches. It’s 3-2 Angels with a runner on third with Rob Johnson behind the plate.

  34. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:15 pm

    And to think this year and next are the “cheap” years of Josh’s contract.

    Agreed, Breadbaker. He’s not Pudge, but he’s pretty good defensively. I still think it would’ve been in the teams long term interest to let him stay in AAA this year so he could learn how to hit, though.

  35. G-Man on September 20th, 2013 10:17 pm

    Don’t waste those 0-2 pitches so badly.

  36. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:19 pm

    Zunino’s OPS are Rob Johnson-esque, unfortunately.

  37. juneau_fan on September 20th, 2013 10:22 pm

    Leaving bar, pleasantly surprised to see that the M’s were up 2-0 as I walked by one of the TV’s. By the time I dropped friends off at another bar and got home, it’s tied.

    Gotta love this bullpen.

  38. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:24 pm

    Crap. Hey let’s give up an out again.

  39. msfanmike on September 20th, 2013 10:26 pm

    Wedge

  40. juneau_fan on September 20th, 2013 10:29 pm

    The out being on the lead runner is even less good.

  41. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:31 pm

    Are there guys who are bad hitters but good bunters? I’d expect a bad hitter to also be a bad bunter.

  42. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 10:31 pm

    Jim Leyland has Detroit bunt more than the M’s. The difference is they are succesful

  43. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 10:33 pm

    Some NL pitchers are excellent bunters and can’t hit their weight.

  44. Breadbaker on September 20th, 2013 10:34 pm

    The other difference is they have Miguel Cabrera.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll undoubtedly say it again: Two on, so what?

  45. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:35 pm

    Tigers are the fourth best hitting team in MLB, according to FanGraphs.

    Mariners are twenty-eighth.

  46. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 10:39 pm

    Yes they are, but they are still good at the “little” things. I do doubt that Miggy or Prince have bunted though.

  47. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:40 pm

    My point is that tends to support my “good hitters are good bunters while bad hitters are bad bunters” theorem. ;-)

  48. juneau_fan on September 20th, 2013 10:44 pm

    You have to make contact to bunt just like you need to make contact to hit a homerun. I’d say you’re right, Westy. A pitcher can be very good at making contact, they just don’t have the power for extra base hits, or the manager would rather they sacrifice and keep off the bases.

    Unless it’s Felix, of course. Let ‘im swing!

  49. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 10:48 pm

    I guess my point is that Wedge obviously wants to use the bunt, but they don’t spend any effort to be successful. Yet even pitchers who really can’t hit can at least become moderately successful if an effort is made to develop the skill.

  50. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 10:54 pm

    Gee it can work. I’ll bet Soscia has his guys practice bunting. PS WALK TROUT

  51. pgreyy on September 20th, 2013 10:59 pm

    That was a good pitch. :(

  52. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:59 pm

    It would be funny to watch Fielder a) try to bunt, and b) leg it out.

  53. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 10:59 pm

    Whew!

  54. pgreyy on September 20th, 2013 11:03 pm
  55. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 11:03 pm

    Watching Prince is funny

  56. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 11:06 pm

    Henry Freaking Blanco.

  57. Eastside Suds on September 20th, 2013 11:07 pm

    No mas Henry

  58. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 11:08 pm

    I have to agree the idea of a guy like Prince bunting to beat the shift probably does have some merit in certain situations.

  59. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 11:10 pm

    Actually his manager Milwaukie said he would have liked to see Prince bunt more often when leading off an inning to beat an exaggerated shift. Why that doesn’t happen with even non-Princes to beat the shift I don’t know

  60. Eastside Suds on September 20th, 2013 11:11 pm

    Franklin has looked solid at SS tonight

  61. Breadbaker on September 20th, 2013 11:18 pm

    Sigh

  62. pgreyy on September 20th, 2013 11:18 pm

    And ballgame.

    …again.

  63. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 11:18 pm

    Oh well.

  64. Longgeorge1 on September 20th, 2013 11:19 pm

    And that’s the way it was, September 20th 2013

  65. Eastside Suds on September 20th, 2013 11:20 pm

    I think that is a dozen walk-off losses for the M’s this season.

  66. Westside guy on September 20th, 2013 11:25 pm

    I have to admit Franklin looked better than I thought he would at short.

  67. Westside guy on September 21st, 2013 1:33 am

    And at least the game itself wasn’t a total Clutterbuck.

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