Game 24, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 27, 2014 at 9:57 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Matt Harrison, 1:10pm

Back when Maurer first came up, I thought he reminded me a bit of Harrison in terms of pitch movement and repertoire. To be sure, Maurer was much more of a fastball/slider guy (sometimes moving towards a slider/fastball guy), and obviously Maurer’s a righty and Harrison’s not. Then there’s the fact that Harrison’s had some MLB success while Maurer’s…shown flashes, or something. Today, they’ll face off against each other – Maurer getting a second start after an extremely encouraging game in Miami, while Harrison makes his first start of the year after back surgery.

Harrison pitched in spring training, but his velocity was down significantly from prior years – around 90-91 from 93 or so (though the Rangers think he made some progress towards the end of the spring). He’s made a rehab start or two, but even there, it’s not clear his velocity’s all the way back.

Harrison uses a sinker, a four-seamer, a good change, and a curve and occasional cutter. He’s faced mostly righties in his Texas career, as he’s got fairly standard platoon splits – this is part of the reason why he hasn’t thrown as many cutter/curves. The M’s can actually throw out quite a few right-handed bats right now, but they’re still not hitting lefties terribly well. Some of this may be due to the quality of the lefties they’ve faced, and some of it is just luck. In fact, the M’s biggest problem on offense has been their production against right-handed pitchers. Against lefties, the M’s haven’t been great, and they’ve not hit for power, but they clear the low bar of a .300 OBP. Against righties, the M’s *have* hit for power, but that’s about the only semi-positive thing you can say about them.

1: Saunders, CF
2: Romero, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Gillespie, LF
7: Seager, 3B
8: Buck, C
9: Bloomquist, SS
SP: Maurer

Maurer’s emergence was sorely needed, as the M’s pitching depth has taken a big hit. But Hisashi Iwakuma’s getting closer to returning too – he’s starting today for Tacoma as they take on Las Vegas at Cashman Field. Steven Landazuri, who’s had a very good start for AA Jackson, takes the hill against Mobile, and top prospect Edwin Diaz starts for Clinton against Cedar Rapids.

The Rangers think they’ve solved Felix Hernandez. That nasty inning last night was the 3rd or 4th time they’ve BABIP’d him to death, so I’m not sure that’s quite the same as figuring a guy out, but the results have been solid. There’s something to be said for making lots of contact against a swing-and-miss pitcher. It’s interesting that it’s the banter between Felix and Adrian Beltre that the Rangers point to as evidence of their ability to get in Felix’s head and get him off his game. I wonder if the M’s would ask him to stop doing it, and, if they did ask, what he’d say. (Hat Tip: Bob Dutton)

Comments

76 Responses to “Game 24, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Ralph_Malph on April 27th, 2014 10:36 am

    Saunders leading off against a lefty!

  2. Microsoft Zunino on April 27th, 2014 10:49 am

    Has Maurer changed his approach against lefties since his first stint up in MLB? I’ve seen nothing about this, which was such a glaring issue at the time.

  3. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 11:00 am

    Shoot – my power is out, so I can’t witness the earth ending.

    Almonte definitely needed a break, and I don’t think anyone wants to see Ackley in center ever again. It’s a tough row to hoe for Saunders, facing a lefty – but I’m glad he’s being given a shot. Lloyd doesn’t seem to believe that small sample size is a problem, though, so Condor probably needs to do the unlikely if he doesn’t want to go back to riding the pine tomorrow.

    Of course, the cynic in me says “of COURSE they’re starting him against a lefty, they really don’t want him to succeed and possibly show up a Z acquisition”. But, yeah, it realize how sad it is that I am willing to entertain conspiracy theories about Jack Z nowadays.

  4. Microsoft Zunino on April 27th, 2014 11:10 am

    As a sometimes Dodger fan, I remember all the stat-friendly guys SCREAMING a few years ago for Jim Tracy to give Hee Seop Choi (who was destroying RHP for a time) a shot against lefties, and because of his pissing contest with Paul DePodesta he. Just. Would. Not. Do. It. It reached a nadir when he started Jason freaking Philips (the weak hitting ex-Mets catcher with the goggles) at 1B. So glad Lloyd’s not Jim Tracy.

  5. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2014 11:30 am

    Just a little bit of confusion on my part, or maybe just a SSS “chicken or the egg” dilemma, but if a team has figured a guy out shouldn’t their BABIP by definition be higher than if they HADN’T figured him out?

    And Westy- Don’t worry about the Z conspiracy stuff, whenever I hear him talk now my mind automatically changes his voice to an Indiana Jones-like thick German “bad-guy” accent.

    “Vee just hafe tzu sztick to zee plan!”

  6. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 11:57 am

    Almonte and Miller both get a break.

    In a few weeks, maybe they will be in Tacoma.

  7. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 11:58 am

    BABIP is a large part luck.

    I would look at contact rate instead, maybe combined with a lower GB rate would be indication?

  8. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 12:08 pm

    I think Felix is a great pitcher, and the Rangers may have just chanced to having done well against him recently. And, with that having happened, the Rangers realize they could potentially get inside his head by claiming they’ve figured him out.

    If they had actually figured him out, it would be stupid to talk about it since that would give him incentive to try other things… which is why I think this is part of their strategy.

  9. LongDistance on April 27th, 2014 12:12 pm

    For comic relief: I found myself in the odd position of discussing our favorite ex-RF Elephant, Michael Morse, with a slightly smug — no, make that obnoxiously smug — guy from SF. To prove that baseball is an Alternative World, he managed in the space of less than a minute to make the following claims: 1) It doesn’t matter that Morse can’t jump or run because he hits dingers (wow, talk about weird deja vu… I could swear I’ve heard THAT before somewhere); 2) Doesn’t matter, above ditto, because LF doesn’t matter anyway because CF “does all that”; 3) Seattle blew it because he was the obvious 1B/DH we should have kept.

    I…

    uh…

    No. I still got nothing…

    Just thought I’d share. And take your minds off stuff for half a second of insanity.

    Go M’s.

  10. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 12:15 pm

    Haha, that’s how Morse continues to get hired!

    Of course we heard all that last season too, from closer to home. Until his putrid batting line became unignorable by mid season.

    Huh. Right now he’s hitting .288/.338/.589 – I can see why your friend is currently happy with him. But I expect that will change, since Morse never stays healthy for long.

  11. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2014 12:27 pm

    Westy-
    I don’t think anyone has figured Felix out, either, I was just wondering how a flukey stat like BABIP would indicate one way or the other whether it was true.

    BABIP has always been to me sort of like looking at the grass when it’s cloudy… If it’s wet, it rained. If it’s not wet, it probably hasn’t rained. End of helpfulness.

    Saying the Rangers have figured out Felix is about as silly as saying the M’s have figured out Yu based on our unlikely success against him last year. I think BOTH are excellent portrayals of how SSS can be misleading. Especially Felix’s last start– Felix suddenly has trouble throwing strikes in one inning and the Rangers think they’ve figured him out? Yeah, good luck with that… “Just let him walk a couple guys then get some timely hits with those walks on base… We’ve got him figured out!” (Felix had 1 fewer walks last night than he’d had the entire season so far coming into the game.)

  12. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 12:32 pm

    Sorry, MrZ, that wasn’t aimed at you – the Rangers’ comment seems to be all over the blogosphere this morning. I get what you’re saying.

    It is always worrying, though, when Felix doesn’t seem to be Felix.

  13. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 12:48 pm

    Why didn’t the Rangers talk about how they had Felix “figured out” when he dominated them in Texas two weeks ago?

  14. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 1:21 pm

    Okay, Mac will now decide the Saunders leading off experiment is a failure. :-P

  15. taylor.mariner on April 27th, 2014 1:28 pm

    Harrison’s velo looks right as rain to me so far…

  16. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Man, Romero is really not a very good fielder.

  17. taylor.mariner on April 27th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Good thing Romero doesn’t play baseball for a living…

  18. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 1:41 pm

    Adrian Beltre, on the other hand, is pretty good in the field. I think he has a future in major league baseball.

  19. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 2:04 pm

    I think any team with some unknown rookie or recently injured pitcher should run him out against the Mariners because he will pitch like Cy Young.

  20. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:17 pm

    There is a part of me that wonders if the reason the Mariners picked up a catcher as crappy as Buck is to make sure there was never any possibility anyone would call for him to start instead of Zunino.

    In any case… man, Buck is terrible at pretty much everything related to being a catcher.

  21. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:20 pm

    The Rangers appear to be better at baseball than the Mariners.

  22. nvn8vbryce on April 27th, 2014 2:24 pm

    Westy, I’m pretty sure your local little league team is better than the Mariners…

  23. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:32 pm

    Saunders takes a walk and ruins Harrison’s perfecto…

    (grasping at straws)

  24. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:34 pm

    Hey, Cano!

  25. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:37 pm

    Elvis Andrus has an Amish beard… it looks kind of odd.

  26. r-gordon-7 on April 27th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Yesterday, someone posted here about the Mariners, “I’m so tired of all the mediocrity…” In point of fact, sad as it is, mediocrity would be a welcome improvement. We really haven’t seen the Mariners rise from the level of doormat/bottom feeder/bottom dweller to the relatively vaunted level of “mediocrity” in over a decade…

  27. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:41 pm

    Way to go, Smoak.

    /sarcasm

    Gillespie picked the team up though. Now come on, Seager!

  28. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 2:43 pm

    Oh Kyle…

  29. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 3:01 pm

    We’re totally going to see Farquhar today in garbage time.

  30. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 3:16 pm

    Is this instant replay from Smoak’s last at bat? Runners on 1st and 2nd, starts 2-0, umpire calls a strike on what should have been 3-0.

  31. HighlightsAt11 on April 27th, 2014 3:25 pm

    Uh oh. Bartender gives a lead off walk. You know what that means…

  32. jak924 on April 27th, 2014 3:29 pm

    On our way to 100 losses. Back up the truck.

  33. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:35 pm

    SEAGER!!

  34. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 3:36 pm

    Nice to have Kyle Seager back. Time to get Brad Miller back next.

  35. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:36 pm

    A left-handed-hitting catcher would be handy right now…

    What am I saying – a backup catcher that’s not totally unable to hit would be handy right now.

  36. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:39 pm

    Ouch. Why does anyone want to be a catcher?

  37. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:43 pm

    So someone on this team CAN walk… I wasn’t sure.

  38. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:49 pm

    CM nailed it.

  39. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:50 pm

    With two walks but no hits, I’ll be curious to see if Lloyd decides to continue with Saunders in the leadoff spot for another game.

    I have no idea if McLendon values getting on base or not. But given how infrequently most of his starters have walked up until now… I’m guessing it’s not high on his list.

  40. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 3:58 pm

    Oh, man, I made the depressing decision to look at our various outfielder’s stats. I had no idea how much Ackley’s numbers had crashed recently.

    He must’ve been talking to some sabermetric guys recently… and dammit, they broke him again!

  41. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:05 pm

    DUSTIN, DON’T READ WHAT I JUST WROTE!!! STAY OFF USSM!!!

  42. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:05 pm

    Yeah! We caught a break there!

    Come on Seager!

  43. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:07 pm

    SEAGER!!!!

  44. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 4:07 pm

    Wow, Seager!

  45. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 4:08 pm

    KYLE SEAGER!!!! I don’t believe it!!!!

  46. HighlightsAt11 on April 27th, 2014 4:09 pm

    Seager is hot today. Good to see.

  47. nvn8vbryce on April 27th, 2014 4:09 pm

    Seager time?

  48. msfanmike on April 27th, 2014 4:10 pm

    Wooooooooo!!!

  49. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 4:10 pm

    Seager’s last 4 games: 2 hits each game and a total of 5 home runs

  50. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 4:10 pm

    Good inning, started with Cano and Hart both striking out.

  51. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:12 pm

    Hahaha, love what Sims just said:

    “Now if we can just get Rodney in here without having to reach for the defibrillator, we’re fine!”

  52. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 4:13 pm

    It will be the most Mariner thing if Rodney comes in and loses it in the 9th.

  53. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:14 pm

    Seager says, ” what slump?”

  54. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:14 pm

    Willie, WHAT were you swinging at?

  55. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:15 pm

    Can’t watch the ninth. Think I’ll go mow the lawn. Much less stress than watching Fernando torture us

  56. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 4:16 pm

    Seager should be sent down to AAA to work on things.

  57. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:19 pm

    Here comes the drama

  58. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:22 pm

    YEAH!!

  59. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:23 pm

    Whew…..maybe he’s straightened it out. Just pump the zone baby!

  60. Paul B on April 27th, 2014 4:23 pm

    Had the good Rodney today.

    Fun when the Marinerx are able to score runs. Even if it is mostly one hitter.

  61. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:23 pm

    Great win M’s!

  62. nvn8vbryce on April 27th, 2014 4:23 pm

    Well, less drama than last time, and I’ll take the series win…

  63. californiamariner on April 27th, 2014 4:24 pm

    Fernando Rodney, lights out, good night.

  64. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 4:25 pm

    Eastside, you must be in the rain shadow today – like Seattle was. Down here, 40 miles SSE of the stadium… it’s been way too wet to even think about mowing.

    But, in any case, no defibrillator was needed today!

  65. Eastside Suds on April 27th, 2014 4:31 pm

    No, I’m in Spokane…hence, Eastside. Dodging the storms over here as usual this time of year.

  66. HighlightsAt11 on April 27th, 2014 4:38 pm

    Good to see Seager get going the last four games, getting home runs against less than quality pitching (besides Lewis). Thank goodness for playing Texas teams at home. Still doesn’t come close to making up for sucking for almost an entire month.

  67. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 5:01 pm

    Haha, all this time I’ve been assuming “Eastside” meant Bellevue or Kirkland (east of Lake Washington). Typical Westside bias. :-D

  68. Dennisss on April 27th, 2014 5:24 pm

    Wow! When I stopped watching the game (and went shopping) it was 5-0 Texas and the Mariners had not reached base. I come home and my son tells me they won – what? With Cano and Hart in the lineup, this year’s team is a bit more fun to watch.

  69. casey on April 27th, 2014 5:26 pm

    I missed most of the game too – how did Saunders look in centerfield. Not to stir pot too much but was there huge difference between Almonte and Saunders abilities as a centerfielder?

  70. Dennisss on April 27th, 2014 5:40 pm

    Casey,

    I say go ahead and stir the pot. If Dave Cameron with his pull-no-punches style were still commenting on this site, he would tell us (I bet) that Abe Almonte is not a major league player. Almonte is the one regular I really hate to see in the lineup every day. He just isn’t good.

  71. Westside guy on April 27th, 2014 6:05 pm

    Saunders looked fine in the field, but there wasn’t much to challenge him. The other two corners looked pretty bad on a couple very routine plays – both muffed dribbling ground balls.

    At bat – I hope Almonte was watching Condor because Abe doesn’t seem to know there’s such a thing as a “walk”.

    It will be interesting to see Tuesday’s lineup – we may have more insight into McLendon’s thought process.

  72. Don Money on April 27th, 2014 6:29 pm

    Nice to see the winning rally put together by Smoak, Ackley and Seager. Also, not bad seeing the Astros take the series from the mighty A’s! That rookie pitcher really shut them down, maybe the M’s really aren’t so bad after all.

  73. MrZDevotee on April 28th, 2014 7:55 am

    Ut-Oh,
    Somebody distract Dave Cameron today so he doesn’t see this quote from Skipper McClendon:

    “This is a results-oriented game. We can talk about all the stats and you can put a spin on stats… all of it, all of it’s [crap]. It’s all about winning the game. If you win the game, everything’s fine.”

  74. casey on April 28th, 2014 7:59 am

    one of the things I just don’t know about McClendon is whether he values his lead-off hitter getting two walks or whether he thinks Saunders had another horse bleep game.

  75. Westside guy on April 28th, 2014 9:28 am

    I’m not a McLendon fan; however it’s always possible that his intent in this case is to build up his players with positives. Talking about their statistics right now would not accomplish that, while talking about taking two of three from Texas would.

    Tangentially… I’m also curious about the exact thing Casey mentioned. Saunders got on base 50% of the time he went to bat. We all would say that’s good… but some old school guys would say “see, he didn’t get any hits – that’s not getting it done”. So which is Mac?

  76. MrZDevotee on April 28th, 2014 10:00 am

    Having been with Pittsburgh awhile, during awfulness, I would hope McLendon sees getting on base in any way, shape, or form as “good baseball”. He had some guys in Pittsburgh whose best bet to get on base was probably to lean out over the plate as much as possible, and just close their eyes, with some preemptive Ibuprofen taken before the game.

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