Game 27, Mariners at Astros

marc w · May 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Game Threads, Mariners 

King Felix vs. Brad Peacock, 5:10pm

Happy Felix Day! For the first time in a while, M’s fans are probably capable of happiness coming into a Felix start. We’re not stuck in a long losing streak, and nothing puts a spring in your step like beating the Yankees. If anything DID, it would probably be a rookie pitcher striking out 10 in 7 effective innings.

Brad Peacock’s the spot-starter the Astros got from Oakland as part of the Jed Lowrie deal – a deal that looked balanced at the time, but has turned out to be something of a steal for Oakland. Peacock was lousy in the PCL for Oakland in 2012, then lousy in 80-odd innings for Houston last year, and he’s been differently lousy so far this year. Peacock throws a 93mph fastball with 10″ of rise and gets a fair number of whiffs on it, but that also generates a lot of loud contact and free baseballs for fans sitting in outfield bleachers. This year, he’s only made two starts and a handful of relief appearances – his HR rate is down, whatever that means, but it looks like it’s down because he’s been scared right out of the zone. His zone% cratered, and he’s now walking nearly 8 men per 9 innings.

He’s also got a slider/change and his primary breaking ball, a slow curve. Interestingly, these pitches actually can generate ground-ball outs, and the slider in particular looks like it could be a good pitch for him. He didn’t throw one when he came up (briefly) with the Nats, and he didn’t throw that many in 2013, but it’s now his go-to pitch against righties. That said, it’s not righties he has to worry about. Last year, lefties posted nearly a .400 wOBA off of him, and his career wOBA allowed isn’t much prettier. The M’s have seven lefties in tonight line-up, so this won’t be easy for Peacock. Of course, there were seven lefties in the M’s line-up the last time he faced Seattle, in September of last year, and he threw 6 innings of 3H, 1R ball and walked away with his second win of the year against them.

Felix’s last two games haven’t been up to the ridiculous standard of his first four, but Felix’s 2014 numbers are still pretty breathtaking. Fangraphs’ daily odds show this game as the biggest statistical miss-match of the day, with the M’s given nearly 2/3 chance of winning.

1: Saunders, RF
2: Miller, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Almonte, CF
SP: Felix.

You may have seen this, and I enjoyed this piece of Dave’s at the Hardball Times on baseball economics.

And hey, if I’m going to link to the boss, I may as well get a few more in. This article at Fangraphs on run differentials is awesome. Essentially, this is a better way of looking at luck/true-talent than comparing actual won/loss records to pythagorean formulas. By stripping out sequencing, you’re left with a better overall estimate of a team’s real ability to score runs. I understand many believe certain teams are just inherently better at hitting with RISP, for example, but the change in the Cardinals fortunes from 2013 to 2014 may be instructive. Same with the Orioles incredible bullpen of 2012 that somehow wasn’t able to apply their real and totally-not-made-up skill in sequencing and strand rate the following year. Dave’s work shows that the M’s have been pretty fortunate to have amassed 101 runs already, which makes sense given their low team OBP or the performance of their ex-leadoff hitter. That said, the pitching staff looks pretty good for a team that hasn’t started two of their best pitchers at all yet. On the other hand, the M’s divisional opponents, especially the A’s, look incredible by this measure. We said before the season started that the M’s needed to stay close through April and not get buried while they waited for Iwakuma/Walker and then Paxton to heal. They’ve largely done that, and that’s great. But the M’s still need to keep their eye on a couple of specific teams if they want to be relevant later in the summer, and this measure shows that they’ve got their work cut out for them. So does that old-fashioned measure called the division standings, of course.

Erasmo Ramirez makes his first start for Tacoma tonight as they welcome Las Vegas to town. Lars Huijer starts for Clinton. Top-10 prospect Tyler Pike starts for High Desert in Adelanto against Visalia. Pike’s avoided HR trouble (one on the year so far), and he’s been tough to hit, but it’s odd to see him with 16 walks and 14 Ks on the year. His walk rate was a bit higher than it should’ve been last year in Clinton, though he didn’t really pay for it in runs allowed. That’s been the case thus far, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Frankly, it’s such an odd environment to pitch in that I’d give him a lot of latitude with it, but it’s something to watch, particularly if it persisted into AA. He’s got some stability in coaching, at least, as his pitching coach this year – ex-M’s/Rainiers pitcher Andrew Lorraine – was also his PC in Clinton last season.

Comments

108 Responses to “Game 27, Mariners at Astros”

  1. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 5:11 pm

    What is Blowers saying? Last night wasn’t Saunders “first chance to leadoff” this season.

  2. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 5:13 pm

    The article on run differentials is really cool. Pretty sad to see the Mariners at the second fewest expected runs in the league. They’ve outperformed their expected runs by the second largest margin in the league.

  3. Paul B on May 2nd, 2014 5:15 pm

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of pitcher the Mariners can struggle against.

    The Mariners don’t walk, he can strike them out with pitches high or low.

  4. Paul B on May 2nd, 2014 5:34 pm

    That was the first Mariner walk in some time, I think.

  5. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 5:44 pm

    Blowers just jinxed us talking about their shitty hitting

  6. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 5:59 pm

    Almonte hardly swings at all, yet Blowers talks about how the problem is his swing.

    His swing may indeed have problems; but the dude watches strike three go by him all the freaking time!

    And… his approach works against a pitcher like Peacock who can’t find the zone consistently! Way to go Abe!!

  7. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 6:00 pm

    Bah! Saunders! BENCH HIM!!

  8. Jake on May 2nd, 2014 6:08 pm

    What a worthless piece of shit. F Almonte.

  9. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 6:08 pm

    Almonte has to catch that

  10. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 6:10 pm

    Horrible effort by Almonte

  11. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 6:12 pm

    (face, palm… Almonte…)

    Hey guys, arrived just in time to see the tap dance fail in centerfield.

  12. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 6:15 pm

    That non catch was embarrassing

  13. jak924 on May 2nd, 2014 6:21 pm

    Miller and Almonte should be in AAA. The string is running out on Jack Z. Most GM’s in MLB use waiver wire or other means to acquire serviceable replacements. Not our guy.

  14. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 6:38 pm

    What the hell was that Ackley?

  15. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 6:38 pm

    What the hell was that Ackley?

  16. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 6:38 pm

    Lame swing ,Ack

  17. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 6:41 pm

    Zunino!!

  18. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 6:48 pm

    California -how did you avoid the dreaded 5 min delay for double posting? I am still stuck in that limbo…

  19. djw on May 2nd, 2014 6:50 pm

    So I’ve only seen a couple games this year (not paying for extra innings until the team is worth paying to watch), but I’m kind of surprised by how completely and fully and completely hopeless people seem to be about Miller, who was broadly acknowledged as an impressive, polished player less than 100 PAs ago. Why are so many of you so confident it’s not just a slump, but significant new information that we were wrong about his promise and trajectory just one month ago?

  20. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:01 pm

    djw, I don’t really get it. Well, I get that people are frustrated with the performance, but I don’t get the desire to give up on him.

  21. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 7:03 pm

    I actually do think it’s simply a slump, djw – but I also think it’s gotten into his head. But – unlike Almonte or Zunino – his peripheral stats during this period have been way out of line with his stats from last year.

    The only thing I find worrisome, though, is that we see the same trend with several of the youngsters – striking out a ton, never taking a walk. It makes me wonder if something came down from the organization itself that’s led to this ill-advised overaggressiveness.

    Hart! Okay, come on Seager!

  22. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 7:06 pm

    All right Seager!!

  23. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 7:07 pm

    Seager! And I haven’t given up on Sergio, either.

  24. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:08 pm

    Seager!! I remember people were ready to get rid of Seager a couple of weeks ago too.

  25. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 7:08 pm

    Can’t help but think it’s an organizational thing. Good article at LL yesterday or the day before alluding to that subject. Way too much free swinging, not shortening up with two strikes, swinging at unhitable pitches. Swinging at tough breaking pitches when ahead in the count. It doesn’t appear that many of our young kids have a solid approach. That’s coaching. Not ability.

  26. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:09 pm

    Smoak reliving his history with the breaking ball. That was sure purty. 3 pitch K with runners on 2nd and 3rd.

  27. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 7:10 pm

    Just like that. Really Justin? Horrible tracking on that pitch. This isn’t Justin Verlander for Pete’s sake.

  28. jak924 on May 2nd, 2014 7:12 pm

    Hey, Ackley-feel free to swing the bat.

  29. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:13 pm

    California,
    I think your double post of “what the hell was that Ackley?” was just premonition of the future use you would need for that pathetic at bat just now.

    Smoak and Ackley making it easy on the defense… A 3 pitch K and a tapper that basically stops on top of first base for the 3rd out. With runners in scoring position.

  30. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:14 pm

    Please tell me Felix is okay.

  31. djw on May 2nd, 2014 7:14 pm

    Please tell me there’s nothing wrong with Felix. Why pull him after 5?

  32. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:15 pm

    MrZ, Haha!

    If the bullpen can shut them out for 4 innings, I will be shocked.

  33. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 7:17 pm

    Almonte….fuck!

  34. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:18 pm

    Hopefully just precautionary with the extra day off, and pushing him back a day… He had (I think) 90 pitches already.

    HOW MANY FREAKIN’ TIMES IS ALMONTE GONNA GIVE UP 2ND ON LOAFING AFTER THE BALL, AND NOT FIELDING IT CLEANLY… That’s 3 times he’s done that I’ve seen this season.

    Is this the “how quickly can we give up Felix’s lead” inning?

  35. Sports on a Shtick on May 2nd, 2014 7:18 pm

    Almonte is the new Betancourt.

  36. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:18 pm

    Oh Almonte…

    McClendon looked like he wanted to pull out the hair he doesn’t have after that play.

  37. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 7:18 pm

    This Abe Almonte wish-casting experiment should have already been over. Handed a job that he is not capable of performing.

  38. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 7:19 pm

    Good thing our great defense makes up for sucking on offense.

  39. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 7:21 pm

    Put Saunders in center full time for a while.

    Everyone seems to think Romero’s got possibilities… so give him a chance to play every day too. Offensively he can’t be THAT much worse than Almonte.

  40. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 7:22 pm

    Great defensive play to begin this inning, by Saunders. If Wilhelmsen gets out of this inning unscathed it will be a minor miracle.

  41. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:22 pm

    So, according to the tracker, Bartender threw 2 balls during that walk.

    Thanks Mr. Umpire… Where was that on that Seager pitch that was a foot outside?

  42. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:24 pm

    Okay, we can breathe… (phhhhewwww…)

  43. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 7:27 pm

    Minor miracle complete.

    Going to need to find a way to score a couple more runs.

    And Westy, I think Gillespie is better than Romero. I think he should get a good long look in RF or even LF. Romero is still a work in progress and will only get better, but he certainly hasn’t “played his way” into anything.

  44. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 7:32 pm

    Haha, so I went outside to do some mowing and missed the fun. I take it Saunders clonked one on defense? Of course he would right after I lobbied for him.

  45. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:32 pm

    Saunders walk. It should be pretty obvious by now that he needs to play every day for this team.

  46. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 7:33 pm

    Crimony, Saunders got a break there. How does he take that pitch. Bob Davidson is pretty horrible. Consistently bad is not good. But he sure is consistent.

  47. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 7:35 pm

    Saunders didn’t clonk anything. He made a nice play on a screamer. Abe did the clonking. To nobody’s surprise.

  48. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 7:38 pm

    Saunders has played very well. By the way, I want to see way more Cole Gillespie. I really like his offensive approach. Certainly a better player than Almonte or Romero IMO.

  49. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 7:40 pm

    Cano is looking Mariner-ized.

  50. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:44 pm

    I do not get this at all. Why is Joe Beimel pitching the 7th inning of a 1 run game?

  51. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:49 pm

    I guess Beimel was in to get one out, which is more understandable.

  52. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:50 pm

    So is it a bad sign that it’s the 7th inning and I’m ALREADY getting nervous about Rodney in the 9th if it’s a 1 run lead for a Felix win?

  53. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:51 pm

    I’ve been thinking about Rodney since Felix left the game to be honest.

    I like what I’ve seen from Leone.

  54. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 7:51 pm

    No, mr Z you are normal.

  55. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 7:54 pm

    Knowing Rodney is coming is like knowing I have a root canal tomorrow (I don’t, btw). It’s still a ways off, but the inevitability can still bring some painful trepidation way ahead of time.

    When I was about 6 years old I had to get a broken tooth pulled, and the Dentist told me “now just raise your hand if it hurts and I’ll stop” and when the nurse handed him the giant needle I raised my hand…

    Waiting for Rodney is sort of like seeing that needle.

  56. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 7:57 pm

    Really? Medina warming up to pitch the 8th? The use of Farquhar is driving me insane.

  57. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:00 pm

    Didn’t someone already mention Smoak looking awful against the breaking ball tonight…?

    Oh yeah, it was me.

    (Wow. Awful…)

  58. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:03 pm

    Do you think before Saunders started getting some playing time, Saunders and Farquar played Words-With-Friends on their iPhones to pass time during games…? Since obviously neither was gonna see the field. Or maybe Canasta, something distracting like that.

  59. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 8:05 pm

    They are probably going to have to lose games because of the bullpen for Lloyd to ever change his use of Farquhar. Which is something I don’t want to root for.

  60. Kazinski on May 2nd, 2014 8:09 pm

    Lloyd needs to have Farquar available after Medina or Rodney blow the save.

    That’s why none of you are managers.

  61. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:13 pm

    (sigh)
    Poor Felix.

  62. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 8:14 pm

    No worry about Rodney now. Medina did his work for him.

  63. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:16 pm

    The lame part is Medina could have had the runner in a rundown between 3rd and home, he was stopped halfway between them when Medina picked it up, but he was too focused on getting the runner at first. The smart play was to go to first, but the runner was a dead duck if he had looked at him.

  64. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:22 pm

    For all the things he needs to fix in his swing there’s no denying Zunino makes good contact when he swings. It’s a cliche to be sure, but the ball jumps off his bat.

  65. Kazinski on May 2nd, 2014 8:23 pm

    “No worry about Rodney now. Medina did his work for him.”

    If the mariner’s get the lead back Rodney can still take his turn.

  66. JasonJ on May 2nd, 2014 8:23 pm

    Almonte needs to get sent down ASAP.

  67. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:23 pm

    Davidson’s strike zone sucks… It’s SO random.

  68. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:23 pm

    A hit and run with Zunino on base and Almonte at the plate? What?!

    Definitely had the element of surprise on your side with that one, Skip.

  69. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:25 pm

    Exhibit Z (outside strike on Saunders)

  70. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:26 pm

    And sending Zunini once wasn’t enough. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Fuck.

  71. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:26 pm

    Wow. Two Bush League teams duking it out…

    Zunino? Running? On MULTIPLE pitches…

    WTF?

  72. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 8:26 pm

    WTF?

  73. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:27 pm

    Although, I guess if sending him ONCE was a surprise, sending him AGAIN was truly shocking!!!

    Can’t argue. Except for the part where the expected it.

  74. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:27 pm

    I was so flustered I couldn’t even spell his name correctly. I nailed the “fuck” though.

  75. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 8:28 pm

    Mariners bring out the Potty Mouths in us. Unbelievable shitty baseball.

  76. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:28 pm

    Maybe Lloyd is getting Zunino ready for leading off tomorrow.

  77. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:30 pm

    Somehow I think Felix is in on the cussing too at this point…

    Or at least “little” Felix… Can I get a ventriloquist “WTF”? While drinking water?

  78. Kazinski on May 2nd, 2014 8:31 pm

    The good news is Saunders is leading off next inning if Farquhar holds it.

  79. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 8:32 pm

    McLendon really loves the hit and run. Unfortunately he is stupid about calling it. I’m pretty sure that is a good chunk of the Mariners’ bad “caught stealing” numbers this year.

  80. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:32 pm

    Didn’t Farquar hit 95 mph on the gun – routinely – last year?

  81. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:36 pm

    Man, if this thing goes extras, we get to see a tired, grumpy version of Bob Davidson behind the plate.

    Oh boy.

  82. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:39 pm

    Davidson: “STRIKE!”

    Catcher: He didn’t throw yet, ump.

    Davidson: “Whatever- STRIKE TWO!”

  83. Section329 on May 2nd, 2014 8:41 pm

    I don’t remember Farquhar as a velocity guy last year.

  84. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:43 pm

    It’s good to see all 108 fans in Houston seem to be sticking it out tonight…

  85. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:45 pm

    What? I was expecting STRIKE THREE! On that last one… That bounced in front of the plate and over Davidson’s head.

  86. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:47 pm

    Right. So the only call that goes our way is a REALLY BAD one… Figures.

  87. JasonJ on May 2nd, 2014 8:47 pm

    He’s out. Damn….Cano sure is rolling over on a lot of pitches. Where is the power?

  88. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:49 pm

    In an interest bearing account.

  89. JasonJ on May 2nd, 2014 8:51 pm

    Zing! Meanwhile, Ellsbury looks fantastic for the Yankees and actually played a position we needed.

  90. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 8:51 pm

    Is it just me, or is Bob Davidson HUGE? No wonder they don’t argue the calls!

  91. Eastside Suds on May 2nd, 2014 8:53 pm

    If you were Ellsbury, you would have taken less money and your ring to the Bronx to be the Yankees CF. Easy decision.

  92. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:54 pm

    Nice work, Danny Farquar!

    Too bad your manager won’t use you when it matters?!?!?! Felix would have a win right now.

  93. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 8:55 pm

    “Reports” were that Ellsbury had very little interest in playing for the Mariners. Whatever that truly means, who knows. It probably means he wasn’t interested in playing for whatever they were “offering.”

  94. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 8:57 pm

    I didn’t look real hard, but I never did see a report of ANYONE with more than little interest in playing for the Mariners– except maybe Mike Morse last year. Pretty sure Cano had little interest in playing for the Mariners until the briefcase opened.

  95. JasonJ on May 2nd, 2014 9:00 pm

    Exactly. You pay them enough and they’ll come. And I’m not down on Cano really, but it sure would be nice to be overpaying a CF rather than a 2B when we had Ackley and Franklin.

  96. MrZDevotee on May 2nd, 2014 9:00 pm

    If I’m a betting man, this game doesn’t end until either a) an error, or b) more than 1 walk in an inning.

    These are 2 not very good offenses.

  97. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 9:03 pm

    I’m in Jason’s camp. Cano definitely made the team better – but it was in a spot where we actually weren’t too bad already.

    Even though he’s not hitting the way we want right now, though, he is still fun to watch field. At least when Brad Miller isn’t trying to decapitate him.

  98. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 9:09 pm

    That was a nice bunt, dammit.

  99. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 9:11 pm

    That bunt was perfect. Not looking too good right about now.

  100. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 9:12 pm

    Good thing I got that mowing done earlier. Not only did I miss the awful performance by Almonte, it’s now raining outside at my place.

    I’d heard the rain was supposed to hold off until tomorrow afternoon…

  101. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2014 9:13 pm

    Come on, Astros, let’s see a suicide squeeze!

  102. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 9:15 pm

    The Mariners record could be pretty decent if they hadn’t played powerhouses like the Astros and Marlins so much.

  103. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2014 9:15 pm

    Another fine outing by Furbush, but I am going to have to give Lloyd a lot of credit for blowing this game. He managed like crap tonight.

  104. JasonJ on May 2nd, 2014 9:16 pm

    All Altuve. Nothing you can do….Use Farquhar in the 8th inning next time Lloyd.

  105. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2014 9:16 pm

    Can only wonder what the result would have been in Farquhar pitched with the lead.

  106. Longgeorge1 on May 2nd, 2014 9:17 pm

    Even Houston can out execute us, no matter how poorly managed, the M’s offense makes the ‘Stros pen look like a collection of Cy Youngs

  107. stevemotivateir on May 2nd, 2014 9:25 pm

    @Mike

    There was a rumor/report/whatever that the M’s offered Ellsbury a 9 year deal north of 180. This was before they went after Cano.

    Jack did a good job avoiding any kind of outfield upgrade after that.

  108. LongDistance on May 3rd, 2014 7:17 am

    *sigh*

    Remember that long-ago and faraway place where the main debate on an otherwise impeccable (or was that relatively impeccable?) CF Almonte was his fragile health?

    Or am I dreaming again?

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