Game 162, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · September 29, 2013 at 11:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Sonny Gray, 1:10pm

It’s over. No more pain. No more sparring in the press between the team and beatwriters, between blogs and beatwriters, blogs and blogs, manager and GM, fans and everyone associated with this mess. It’ll start up soon, but for today, all eyes are properly on the compelling wild card chase between Cleveland, Tampa and Texas. This game, on the other hand, is a perfunctory performance before improvement can begin.

I love Erasmo Ramirez, but this has been a rough year for the young Nicaraguan. Arm trouble, command trouble, HR trouble – he’s had the full set, and it’s impacted his ability to use his best pitch. I think the off-season is probably just what he needs at this point. Sonny Gray, on the other hand, may find himself in the playoff rotation after a brilliant start to his MLB career. The diminutive righty uses a 94mph four-seamer that’s arrow straight coupled with a big breaking curve ball. The curve’s thrown around 80mph, and includes a lot of two-plane break; this is not Brandon Maurer’s slow yakker. As a result, he may be a bit more vulnerable to lefties, as the pitch can get slurvy. He showed fairly typical splits in the minors, and his (brilliant) line against lefties thus far in MLB doesn’t extend to his K:BB ratio – it’s a testament to his ability to keep the ball down and keep the ball in the park. Still, it’s always interesting when a guy with good but nowhere near great numbers comes up and succeeds in MLB. Certainly, his BABIP-against figures to drop as fielders (and fields themselves) improve. He may not be as successful the second time through the league as advance scouting catches up with him. But for now, Gray’s done everything asked of him and more.

Erasmo’s not only having trouble with his change-up – he’s struggling with his fastball command too. In 2012, Erasmo threw his four-seamer for a ball about 32% of the time. This season, it’s up to 38%. That’s led him to throw more sinkers, particularly to lefties (he’s done a better job of keeping that pitch in the zone). But at this point, the movement on his sinker and change-up are extremely close – both have a lot of armside run and sink. The difference in speed is significant, but if lefties can make contact with the change, they often pull it (if they look sinker, they may just be ahead on the change; the vertical movement difference between the two pitches is just 2″) – and he’s gotten killed on pulled-contact. Now of course *every* pitcher gets killed on pulled contact – that’s why Matthew tracks it at statcorner, for example. But not like Erasmo. Felix’s OPS-against on pulled-contact to righties is .944. To lefties, it’s .750 (thank you, Royal Change-up). Maurer, of course, has been eaten alive – his splits on pulled-contact are 1.341/1.261. Iwakuma’s at 1.115/.925. So Erasmo’s 1.667/1.070 line will get your attention. If it’s me, I’d throw fewer sinkers and more four-seamers – though of course, that’s dependent on Ramirez’ feel for his fastball. In any event, some rest and some tweaks to his approach would be good.

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

So the Wedge dismissal/resignation thing is getting ugly. Yesterday, a defiant Wedge denied that his contract status was the reason he’s leaving – the exact reasoning that Zduriencik gave the press. So, the M’s will have a new manager next year. Applicants know that Zduriencik is officially on the hot-seat with his contract expiring in 2014. In addition, they’ll know that the last manager’s relationship with that GM blew up fairly publicly. Get those resumes in, fellas. I feel like I need a macro for this on my keyboard, but: this situation could’ve been handled better.


48 Responses to “Game 162, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. Paul B on September 29th, 2013 11:28 am

    Yay, post season bsseball!

  2. Paul B on September 29th, 2013 11:30 am

    Nick Swisher just hit a homer. But Z wanted Josh Hamilton instead. Thank heaven for the Angels.

  3. Westside guy on September 29th, 2013 11:34 am

    I think it’s worth noting that Zduriencik’s relationships with BOTH of the managers he’s hired ended rather acrimoniously. With Wakamatsu, it appeared they weren’t even communicating at all – and Z made moves that almost seemed intended to embarrass the guy.

    One thing about Wedge – he’s not the sugar-coating, dissembling type. Z may be comfortable lying, but Wedge doesn’t seem inclined to back him up when he does.

    Man, is it too much to hope that the owners see this little melodrama and decide Z needs to go immediately? Unfortunately, I think they’ve got blinders on with regards to Wak – Griffey didn’t like him, so Wa as wrong.

  4. Westside guy on September 29th, 2013 11:41 am

    Man, I hate editing comments on this site using an iPad… It will randomly decide to not let me type anymore (but I can delete).

    “Wa” was supposed to be “Wakamatsu”.

  5. Dennisss on September 29th, 2013 11:52 am

    I’ll be glad, more than most years, to see this one end. It all seemed so predictable/inevitable, a too-familiar story that was basically over early in the season.

    Recently I re-read some of the things that Dave and others wrote at he beginning of the season, and it’s just depressing how spot-on much of the analysis was.

    The bullpen was going to be a problem. The back of the rotation was bad. Too many slow sluggers with no defensive position to play. The defense would be bad-to-awful. The roster construction would cause problems. The outfield was not good, especially if Gutierrez couldn’t play. Home runs weren’t going to help the offense much.

    And it all came to pass, with a few wrinkles, but without ever giving us much reason to hope that the ending would be any different than it was.

    Man, it sounds terrible when I write it down. It wasn’t quite that un-entertaining, because it’s baseball. But it wasn’t a very good year.

  6. terryoftacoma on September 29th, 2013 11:54 am

    Most paople aren’t paying attention to this Westy. Why should the owners be any different?

  7. Eastside Suds on September 29th, 2013 11:56 am

    Actually, I almost prefer that Wedge and Z parted this way, only to magnify the dysfunction this organization exemplifies right now. If anyone thought that Wedge was the only problem, this clearly puts reality into clear view for all to witness. Unfortunately, the dysfunction runs up hill and will not be fixed unless we get new ownership. Sad, sad state of affairs.

  8. LongDistance on September 29th, 2013 12:16 pm

    Outside of that little hot streak in July, which now just seems like having watched someone perform mammoplasty on an inflatable doll, I can’t believe how early on in the year I’d thrown in the towel on this team.

    Or, what I should say is, not only thrown in the towel early on (that’s been done so many years in a row, it’s become sort of a baseline reaction), but had nausea settle in from one game to the next.

    And I actually went to a handful of games…!

    I’d be interested to know how long others managed to hold up this year…

  9. dennismk01 on September 29th, 2013 12:30 pm

    I think the thing that made this year particularly bad was reading Jonah Kerr’s “The Extra 2%” and realizing that along with Billyball, there’s another proven formula for fielding a competitive baseball team that does not involve exorbitant money but some down-to-earth, practical considerations.

    The end result? The two aspects of running a competitive franchise (being competitive AND profitable) are not incompatible.

    The perception of the Ms management is of a bunch of smug, isolated, wealthy individuals who pride themselves on being very good businesspeople first. At least the Ms management is not as loud and contemptible as the Rays’s past owner was, but the diametric opposite (background types, unbeholding/uncommunicative to anyone) can be just as obnoxious if the results are not satisfactory.

    LongDistance, I stopped making an effort to go any games this year whereas in years past I made it to at least a handful…I also stopped listening to games on the radio in part because I’m not wild about the new announcer, so I can see myself gradually letting go of baseball in general, at least when it comes to the Seattle product.

  10. MissouriMariner on September 29th, 2013 12:49 pm

    This team has not been easy to follow and I am (sad to say) I am glad that this season is coming to an end. My fear is that things will be worse next year…

  11. Westside guy on September 29th, 2013 12:51 pm

    I am reasonably sure I wrote off this team before the season started.

    I haven’t been to a game in three years, and that has been a conscious choice on my part. Problem is, I still have watched almost every game. So I’m still guilty of supporting this dysfunctional front office… but I can’t seem to divorce myself completely, even though being a Mariners fan means pain and anguish far more than hope and excitement.

  12. mrakbaseball on September 29th, 2013 1:19 pm

    Rosenthal said that Price and Cora could be Mariners managerial candidates.

  13. Longgeorge1 on September 29th, 2013 1:21 pm

    It was dark and rainy last night, hate football, bored looked up some numbers. Old school, Earl Weaver, Moneyball. 1973 1st year DH Earl Weaver, Baltimore 58 sac bunts, 146 stolen bases; Billy Martin (The anti-Weaver) Texas, 45 sac bunts 91 stolen bases. Yes with the A’s (1980)Billy went Bonkers with 99sac bunts & 175 steals (100- Ricky Henderson) -1982 EW’s last year 57sac bunts & 49 stolen bases 1983 Martin’s first year back in NY after Oakland 37 sac bunts & 84 stolen bases. Seems as if Earl except for the Billyball era in Oakland played as much small ball as Martin. Move to 2013 Eric “old school Wedge” 26 sac bunts, 49 stolen bases. Moneyball A’s21 sac bunts and 72 steals. Not trying to change history here but when I hear people say Weaver “never” bunted it is only a partial truth. Guys like Mark Bellanger did a large percentage of the bunting and “the bats” rarely did, but it looks as if EW just did what was best. ( His HOF is VERY well deserved) Wedge may well be “old school” but he is not that far from Moneyball. Personally after the last few days it may well have been Z who has been the culprit here.

  14. Paul B on September 29th, 2013 1:59 pm

    Yeah, I gave up on this team in February.

  15. Eastside Suds on September 29th, 2013 2:01 pm

    I felt casually optimistic about the M’s until the Bartender melted down and Guti/Morse/Saunders went down. Had some hope, which you have to have to even be a fan (right fellas?). Like a lot of us, I am just rung out by this organization, but will continue to root, talk, read and discuss all things Mariners.

  16. Westside guy on September 29th, 2013 2:02 pm

    Just tuned in and… ugh.

  17. Eastside Suds on September 29th, 2013 2:06 pm

    I know, I know…Spring training doesn’t mean squat. Yet…there was some buzz in late March that maybe there was something here. But, Maurer didn’t work out. Bonderman a bust. Bay, Montero, Shoppach, Noesi, Morse, Andino, J. Saunders, Harang, Perez (after 70 game mark)…..just keep adding names here all colossal failures. The after taste is just sickening.

  18. juneau_fan on September 29th, 2013 2:10 pm

    Thank god it’s nearly over. Everyone, from us to the booth crew to the team, wants it done and yet are here to see it happen.

    I just wanted the team to not be embarrassing and they couldn’t even hit that mark.

  19. SeniorMariner on September 29th, 2013 2:40 pm

    When Raul came on with the bases loaded, Sims said: “I like the way the author is writing this … let’s see if he can get paid off.”

    Wouldn’t it have been better if he said: “…let’s see if it get’s published.”?

    I know: a game-162 comment.

  20. Ralph Malph on September 29th, 2013 3:22 pm

    In reference to longgeorge1’s comment about sac bunts: you can’t compare 2013 to 1973 without taking into account the difference in the offensive climate. The 1973 Orioles had Mark Belanger starting at SS hitting 226/302/262. Belanger had a long career, and no one thought he was an embarrassment in that era. Lots of teams carried hitters like that for their gloves.
    In a low offense environment, with a lot of weak hitters, you’re going to bunt more.

  21. msfanmike on September 29th, 2013 3:39 pm

    “In a low offense environment with a lot of weak hitters”

    Has there ever been a more perfect description of the Mariners, in isolation?

  22. Slats on September 29th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Rotoworld: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners could consider hiring Ron Gardenhire as manager if he’s not brought back by the Twins.

    Rosenthal also lists Reds pitching coach Bryan Price and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora as possibilities for the M’s. Seattle skipper Eric Wedge informed the club last week that he would not return for the 2014 season.

  23. msfanmike on September 29th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Gardenhire can do better.

  24. mrakbaseball on September 29th, 2013 4:04 pm

    Wait a second, did you just say Wedge isn’t coming back? I did not know that.

  25. scraps on September 29th, 2013 4:05 pm

    Marc is wise in the first paragraph. I’m not going to argue with anyone right now about Z and Wedge and all that; it’s tiring…. my god it’s tiring.

    I’m just going to say, with no follow-up: I am as sick of Z as all of you. I wish Wedge and Z were both gone; Z being here for one more year is one more year wasted.

    But. As far as I’m concerned, Eric Wedge in leaving was (even more) lame. Of course there were problems between GM and manager. Z was polite when parting; Wedge was an adolescent. I don’t know what the disagreements were, but I’ll bet that Wedge wanted to play more veterans.

    Wedge probably will not manage again; most GMs will just look at his record. But maybe he could be considered seriously: I hope that the way he behaved in his last job will be the nail in his coffin.

  26. djw on September 29th, 2013 4:05 pm

    …Spring training doesn’t mean squat. Yet…there was some buzz in late March that maybe there was something here.

    Marketing can often capitalize on the human tendency for irrational optimism. I believe this is the foundational insight of all good con artists.

  27. stevemotivateir on September 29th, 2013 4:06 pm

    Man, is it too much to hope that the owners see this little melodrama and decide Z needs to go immediately?

    May have started with someone above him. But it’s certainly understandable to wish for his dismissal immediately. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  28. scraps on September 29th, 2013 4:10 pm

    And Z is here, whatever you make of him (not much, to me); Wedge wants to hurt the Mariners. F— him.

  29. stevemotivateir on September 29th, 2013 4:13 pm

    The M’s are hurting themselves. Wedge can’t possibly do any more damage at this point.

  30. Eastside Suds on September 29th, 2013 4:14 pm

    This is so fitting of an ending when looking at the 2013 season. We just can not compete against the good (not even great) teams in the MLB. We split with the mediocre and bad ones. So far to go……

  31. stevemotivateir on September 29th, 2013 4:30 pm

    Well, I’d like to thank everyone here for the in-game entertainment this season.

    The Mariners may not deliver, but USS Mariner does!

  32. Longgeorge1 on September 29th, 2013 4:33 pm

    Ralph – I was comparing Weaver to Martin and not today’s numbers. I purposely used Martin as he was considered a proponent of “small ball”. I was comparing Wedge to todays A’s. Proponents of moneyball

  33. Eastside Suds on September 29th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Had a great time communicating with you gentlemen this season. Great thoughtful comments mostly along with the well-timed humor. And boy did we need some humor. See you all in the coming off-season. GO M’s!!

  34. mrakbaseball on September 29th, 2013 4:48 pm

    I think you have it backwards scraps, Wedge wasn’t the one that acquired Morse, Bay, Harang, Joe Saunders, etc. As crazy it may seem, from his comments, it seemed Wedge wanted to embrace the youth movement, which is odd based on his alotment of playing time. Zduriencik seems like a liar. Somebody’s lying.

  35. Ralph Malph on September 29th, 2013 4:51 pm

    I think Martin was great at taking advantage of his team’s strengths. With a speedy A’s team, he ran a lot. More than anything else, he ran his pitchers into the ground, shortening their careers for the sake of one big season.

    Lots of people remember what he did to a fine young Oakland pitching staff, but there’s also Joe Coleman, who pitched 280 innings four years running from age 24-27 and was never any good after that. It’s hard to imagine any manager doing that now.

  36. californiamariner on September 29th, 2013 4:53 pm

    The team scored 5 more runs than last year, so going all in for guys that can hit home runs definitely worked out.

  37. Westside guy on September 29th, 2013 5:47 pm

    Woo hoo! It’s over!

    I have to admit… I got to the second inning, but then said to myself “why am I doing this?” I didn’t have a good answer, so I turned it off. Looks like it was a good game to miss.

  38. pgreyy on September 29th, 2013 6:15 pm

    I had one very memorable moment at Safeco Field this year. I took my three year old Beatles-loving son to see Paul McCartney in concert. It was glorious.

    Beyond that…and my wife’s lingering affection for her favorite baseball player (She gives Raul all of her u’s)…this Mariners team held precious little of my interest or goodwill.

    And I can’t imagine a turn around fast enough to make next year any less miserable.

    The Seattle Mariners: We Might Not Be Awful in 2015!

    (And, as ever, I’d like to thank the contributors to this site for helping me to be a smarter baseball fan…and to all of my fellow comment writers who prove that we’re all probably never going to be smart enough to stop caring about this intensely frustrating franchise.)

  39. scraps on September 29th, 2013 6:45 pm

    mrakbaseball, we don’t who stuck up for whom. Really. We don’t which ones Wedge approved or disapproved. All we know is the ones he played.

  40. Monty on September 29th, 2013 8:31 pm

    Is there a petition we can sign asking the management not to have a sucky season?

  41. nvn8vbryce on September 29th, 2013 9:13 pm

    Monty, there was a petition, and it was called “a ticket to a Mariners game at Safeco Field.” The way you sign is to not buy a ticket.

    This team screams “regime change” but I don’t see that happening unless Nintendo gets tired of the BS and either sells or gets rid of HowChuck…

  42. djw on September 29th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Monty, there was a petition, and it was called “a ticket to a Mariners game at Safeco Field.” The way you sign is to not buy a ticket.

    Are you suggesting that the stronger the decrease in paid attendance, the more likely it is that the team will win more games in the future? I don’t think there’s any good reason to think this.

  43. HighlightsAt11 on September 30th, 2013 12:53 am

    “I don’t think there’s any good reason to think this.”

    One could say the same thing about firing the manager, the gneral manager, or the hitting coach, or giving each an extension (short-term or long-term), or selecting the first player of the draft, or whatever.

    Stats and facts don’t matter. It’s all about human (fan) perception.

    There, that makes me feel better.

    Fairly certain I won’t be at a Mariner game until major changes occur in the front office. And I see no reason to subscribe to Root Sports.

    Safeco Stadium is such a nice stadium. Pity that stadium can’t be put to better use.

  44. djw on September 30th, 2013 4:34 am

    One could say the same thing about firing the manager, the gneral manager, or the hitting coach, or giving each an extension (short-term or long-term), or selecting the first player of the draft, or whatever.

    I don’t understand what you’re saying. There are good reasons to think some of these things matter in terms of winning games–they contribute directly to it in ways we can understand and trace the process.

    Stats and facts don’t matter. It’s all about human (fan) perception.

    What is “it” referring to in this sentence? It’s impossible to makes sense of it without know what the referent is, but context is unclear.

    This logic, it seems to me, to boil down to this: 1) We should be able to do something about the quality of this team. 2) Boycotting games is something. I don’t think it actually works, though. It’s entirely possible we have no power whatsoever over the future direction of the team. If you find such a boycott personally satisfying as a symbolic gesture, that’s fine, but don’t confuse it with actual causal influence over the future direction of the team.

  45. eponymous coward on September 30th, 2013 6:43 am

    It’s entirely possible we have no power whatsoever over the future direction of the team.

    Exactly. Given MLB revenue streams, in dire extremis, the M’s could go the full Florida Marlin/Houston Astro route, dump anyone making significant money; we’d have precisely nothing to say about it, and the team would likely be MORE profitable, even if attendance catered some more.

    Oh, and the bump in this year’s attendance? It boiled down to Griffey weekend- if you take that sellout away we’re basically flat. This M’s team is good at something; selling nostalgia. I wonder, what incarnation of “remember how good we were in 1995/2001?” we’ll see in 2014…

    I don’t see things changing until management wants them to change. Certainly they must realize that they’ve got an underperforming asset, but good luck getting them to fire themselves.

  46. ChrisFB on September 30th, 2013 8:48 am

    I think it’s time for Raul Ibanez: Player-Manager, Seattle Mariners, 2014.

    He’s got the respect of the players, he’s a fan favorite (or at least his name is easy to chant/cheer), he still thinks he can play, he’d be here on a one-year deal same as Z, and he’s eminently discardable when next year’s team collapses on schedule around late May.

    Oh, and he’d be a company man. None of that pesky meddling from him about more say on when to send down the kids, or wanting to have more of a say on who’s brought in, like Wedge wanted. (If the Times’ recent articles are to be believed.)

    And it would be endlessly entertaining to rant about his hubris every single time he starts himself in left field, or pinch-hits for someone late in a close game, so that we have the spectacle of directly tying losses to him.

    Short of actually finding a way to put Junior, Edgar, Randy or Cora on the coaching staff, this would be a great way to have all the M’s nostalgia and fan favorite feelgoodness collide directly with their inability to find and retain quality players, making the entire Z era implode into a tiny little black hole of suck. Whoever comes in next needs to get a promise in writing that there would be no more references to 1995, 2001 or past great Mariner players until or unless a) a Mariner is elected to the HOF or b) the M’s are back in the postseason.

    Put Raul in as a player-manager and sidestep any drama about lame duck hirings of the kind of people who can only get a job with the lowly M’s. Do it the day after the final game of the World Series, and they can concentrate this offseason on a QO to Morales and some token effort to improve the outfield and bullpen. Oh, and whatever Frankenstein’s Monster happens at catcher behind Zunino too.

    Make it happen, Chuck/Howie/Z.

  47. msfanmike on September 30th, 2013 2:28 pm

    I understand that Lane Kiffin is now available.

  48. nvn8vbryce on September 30th, 2013 8:36 pm

    Are you suggesting that the stronger the decrease in paid attendance, the more likely it is that the team will win more games in the future? I don’t think there’s any good reason to think this.

    I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that the only way to send any type of message is to not to a game. We don’t have a say in what players are hired or drafted, even though I do wonder at times if people in the upper eschelons of the Mariners’ org do keep their eyes on sites like USSM and LL. We really don’t have a say in anything the Mariners do, unless we don’t show up to games or buy Mariners merchandise. While it can’t guarantee wins, it can guarantee that the fans aren’t buying the goods the Mariners are selling, which can help to send a message of some sort to the FO.

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