Game 16, Mariners at Marlins

marc w · April 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm · Filed Under Game Threads, Mariners 

Chris Young vs. Nate Eovaldi, 4:10pm

The M’s face the Miami Marlins, this time in *actual* Miami.

Chris Young and Nathan Eovaldi have very similar repertoires, as both rely heavily on 4-seam fastballs, and pair it mostly with sliders. They both mix in occasional curves, though Young’s heart clearly isn’t in it, and they both have change-ups, seemingly just to be able to tell pitching coaches that they do. Fastballs and sliders, platoon splits be damned. Both have OK K rates and somewhat poor walk rates. Peas in a pod, right?

As you probably know, this is a match up between one of the league’s hardest throwing starters and one of its softest tossers. Eovaldi has averaged – AVERAGED – about 97mph on his four-seamer this year while Young’s at 86.5mph. This gap of about 11mph doesn’t sound incredible, but it’s actually tough to find games with a larger disparity. If you exclude RA Dickey, whose “fastball” functions more as a gimmick pitch or a change-up to his knuckler, about the maximum gap you can have nowadays is around 12-13mph – between Eovaldi/Garrett Richards/James-Paxton-on-a-good-day/Jose Fernandez on one end and Mark Buehrle on the other. But these guys don’t match up all the time, and thanks to the miracle/curse of regression, baseball itself seems to abhor such gaps; Stephen Strasburg isn’t throwing 98 anymore, and Livan Hernandez is out of a job (though given all the injuries, he may not be for long).

So if Young’s velocity’s down a bit from 86+, and if Eovaldi is amped up to face, uh, the…ok, nevermind…we could see something we don’t often get to see. It’s by no means unprecedented, as Buehrle faced off against a hard-throwing Sonny Gray last year. Rookie year Strasburg opposed Bronson Arroyo back in 2010 too, but these games are actually rarer than you’d think. Buerhle faced off against Yu Darvish last year, but Buerhle averaged a respectable-for-him 85 while Darvish sat at 93. Anthony Vasquez opposed guys like Everett Teaford and Colby Lewis, not Strasburg or Verlander.

There you have it. A safe, identifiable thing to watch when you can’t bear to actually get invested. This is poor example of a kind of post that Jeff does so well, I know. Part of the reason I love things like this is that Jeff’s a good writer, but part of it is for the reminder that some odd and occasionally remarkable things occur that we don’t even notice at the time. We’re caught up in the at-bat, or the game, or the race, and we miss something fascinating, something lesser men will demean with the adjective “quirky.” For some, these things are a distraction from the things that matter. For others, these things are a distraction from the things that hurt. The M’s scored six runs in an INNING yesterday, and even as that inning came to a close, I knew how the game would end. I bet a lot of you did too. So yes, I’m going to find some strange angle to this game and the next few until Brad Miller reminds me that I wrote this without trying to be satirical.

The M’s are better than they *feel* right now, and they’re facing a mediocre team with an Angels-grade bullpen. But holy hell did that Texas series suck.

1: Almonte, CF
2: Miller, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, 1B
5: Saunders, RF
6: Seager, 3B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Young, P

Riiiiiiight, this is where the pitchers hit for some reason. Got it.

Sooooo, 1B prospect and current Tacoma Rainier Ji-Man Choi was suspended 50 games for testing positive for methandienone, an anabolic steroid. As Todd Milles writes, this opens the door to Jesus Montero, who is now the clear starter, and not in a job-sharing role. Sooooo…..yeah. Choi’s had trouble staying on the field, but has hit very well – the stocky lefty had a .500 OBP through 10 games this season, after posting a .377 OBP for Jackson last year. With his suspension, Choi moves to the restricted list, which opens up 40-man roster spot. We’ll see who grabs it.

Speaking of good-hitting, injury-bedeviled prospects, OF Julio Morban’s also been called up to Tacoma. Not sure if it’s just a paper move, as Morban hasn’t yet played this season due to…wait for it…injury.

Brandon Maurer will be called up to make a spot start against Miami on Sunday. The probable starter’s been labeled “TBA” for a few days, but with Beavan’s injury, the M’s didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It really came down to Maurer and lefty Anthony Fernandez, and Maurer’s the right call there.


66 Responses to “Game 16, Mariners at Marlins”

  1. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 7:20 pm


  2. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Geez. This just finished ugly.

  3. MrZDevotee on April 18th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Hey, you guys (Marlins) wanna trade Walker for Stanton, straight up? Please… Like maybe, 5 minutes ago?

  4. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 7:22 pm

    The Marlins’ manager just lucked his way out of some stupid decision making.

    Well, lucked and Stanton’ed his way out.

  5. tmesis on April 18th, 2014 7:24 pm

    Help me on the transfer rule. (Not a fan) If Seager had simply left the ball in his glove and had not tried to remove it to throw to first, would the out have stood?

  6. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 7:25 pm

    Ozuna was hitting .339/.371/.492 and they had him bunt in that situation.

  7. nvn8vbryce on April 18th, 2014 7:28 pm

    Coulda seen that coming 2500 miles away…

  8. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2014 7:29 pm

    Having Yelich bunt seemed like a ridiculous call. Smoak helped make it look smart. Bunting Ozuna looked ridiculous–especially with Stanton coming up, because first would have been open had he laid down a good bunt, but Seager bobbles the transfer for a no-throw.

    This is becoming a common theme. Just when you think the opposing team is making a mistake, they find success against the M’s.

  9. stevemotivateir on April 18th, 2014 7:31 pm

    I suppose we should give props to the Miami outfield.

  10. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 7:35 pm

    tmesis, as I understand it – with a live ball, now it’s not considered a catch until the player has transferred the ball from his glove to his throwing hand.

    So having control of the ball in the glove isn’t enough.

    The rule was implemented because of some problem or other they’ve been noticing specifically around second base – but, as we’ve seen, it’s having a big impact everywhere, both infield and outfield.

    A baseball guy like msfanmike can probably explain it better – and might correct parts I likely got wrong. 😀

  11. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 8:12 pm

    Dave Cameron wrote about the rule change and its unintended consequences over on FanGraphs:

  12. msfanmike on April 18th, 2014 8:20 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out Westy, I will try. Removing the ball (under control) from the glove is a rule that has been on the books for about as long as there has been a book. It evolved into something else well before my baseball consciousness came into existence – and I am 50.

    With that said, I would really like to slam the asinine situation we now see on an all too frequent basis, but I covered that “rant” in a game thread the other day. Bottom line, MLB tightened up the interpretation of the rule because they had to with instant replay now ruling the roost. The “technical” rule is now going to be called. We have seen it work for the mariners against the mariners and against the A’s.

    I don’t like what i am seeing and I have to believe that some tweaks will be made to the system of replay reviews and for the interpretation of this call in particular, but FUCK ME … They all know the rule and they keep fumbling the fucking ball. Don’t blame the rule and the interpretation – blame the oily handed fielders who are not executing. What did Seager think he was going to do? Turn two? Fuck Kyle – secure the goddamn ball. You know the rule. Get the fucking out. Then watch Stanton hit a 3 run bomb instead of a grand slam.

    Sorry, the voices in my head alstarted getting louder. The bipolarity of me combined with the hilarity of a rule gone amok, I guess.

  13. Westside guy on April 18th, 2014 8:55 pm

    Thank you Mike – so, like the “catchers can’t be in the third base line without the ball” rule, it’s not actually a rule change… it’s just they’re now enforcing what the rule book has said all along.

    But all the bobbles we’re seeing are weird. I know we are paying more attention, but it sure seems like it’s happening a lot so far. Is it just that the players are thinking about the rule too much?

  14. msfanmike on April 18th, 2014 9:08 pm

    The worst thing a baseball player can do is “think too much” – so probably. Also, Seager might not have really had the ball securely within his glove and his 2B playing instincts to do what he could to control the ball and … Oopsie! Don’t know, I only saw it twice and twice was enough.

    Coaches used to come out and argue if they thought a player lost the ball without making a clean transfer (especially in a key situation) but there were far fewer questions then than now. We all just had to live with what was called – and then for some reason – over the past couple years – there were a flurry of bad transfers called outs, so they tightened up the interpretation in line with replay being implemented.

    For all I know, Torre and Schierholtz are laughing their asses off now that baseball players have to make a true baseball play as written. Or, maybe they hate it. Who knows, who cares … It’s here and people wanted replay. Now we have replay.

  15. BackseatGM on April 18th, 2014 9:41 pm

    Re. the catch/transfer situation there’s one thing I haven’t heard or read anyone mention. If a catch is not “completed” until the fielder transfers the ball to his throwing hand, what is the ruling if the fielder has tagged and come off the base before the ball is secured in his throwing hand. The Mainers recently benefited from a catcher bobbling the ball during transfer on a potential home to 1st double play. But the thing is, even if he didn’t bobbled the ball he had come well off of home plate before the ball moved towards his throwing hand. Even if Seager had transfered the ball without a bobble tonight, the runner had possibly reached 3rd base before Seager would have had the ball in his hand. If it’s not a catch until the ball reaches the throwing hand, many force outs, including most plays at 1st base, are not following the letter of the new law. I won’t even bring up the possibilities if the player never uses his throwing hand at all. This interpretation needs to be changed immediately. It’s only April. It has changed the game immensely and none of the change has been good. They CAN’T leave this in for the entire season. This is many times worse than the rubber basketball the NBA forced on the players a few years back. It sucked and they dumped it, never to be mentioned again.

  16. sawsatch on April 19th, 2014 9:22 am

    Weak up the middle
    No outfield to speak of
    Little speed
    Poor player development (compare with Hawks)
    Expected outcome playing in Safeco?

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