Gmae 33, Mariners at Athletics: the Nightcap

marc w · May 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Drew Pomeranz, 7:05

Happy, uh, Felix Day, right? I’ve waited to mention that until AFTER the M’s won today’s first game, 6-4. The hesitation’s due to Felix’s decidedly un-Felix performance. He wasn’t terrible, but this was the first time since August of 2008 that he failed to strike anyone out. It’s Felix’s third K-free game, behind that 5-IP game against the White Sox and his terrifying 4/18/2007 game against Minnesota in which he left with an injured shoulder. We’ve seen it before, so I’m not sure why I’m always surprised by it, but Felix is incredibly streaky. Think back to the run he was on in 2012 – the run that encompassed his perfect game. Over 14 starts, he had a 1.40 ERA with a K:BB ratio near 6. He followed that with six awful starts in September: 53 hits in 35 innings and an RA around 7. He had a great stretch in the middle of last year, before another bad September. This happens to all pitchers, of course, but because Felix is so *good*, his highs are just higher than nearly anyone else’s. And his lows are easier to spot and over-analyze. His velocity didn’t appear to be concerning; it was lower than his seasonal average, but it matched his last game in Oakland a month ago, which leads me to assume the system in the coliseum’s a bit cold.

Game 2 features a scrambled rotation thanks to this quickly-arranged double header. The M’s go for the DH and series sweep behind Erasmo Ramirez, just recalled for this start. Ramirez got some work in, and had a solid start for Tacoma against a good Las Vegas club, but his 3 HRs in 11 2/3 innings show that his HR problems weren’t solved over night. He’s playing in a ball park that’ll help that problem, but Erasmo looked lost in the early part of the year. Here’s hoping he’s improved his approach, particularly with runners on – his 69% strand rate needs to come up if he’s going to stick in the rotation.

Speaking of strand rate, the A’s starter, Drew Pomeranz, wins the Chris Young award for April. The righty, and former #5 overall draft pick in 2010, put up a 4.72 FIP in relief for Oakland but a sparkly 1.98 ERA. How does a guy with control problems (lifetime BB/9 of 4.55) AND HR problems (lifetime HR/9 of 1.20) put up a nice ERA, even over a miniscule sample? A strand rate of 98.6% is a good place to start. The big lefty is essentially a two pitch pitcher with a 92mph rising FB and a big curve ball. He gets a lot of vertical movement on the FB which, together with the phrase “Ex-Colorade Rockie,” explains the HR rate. The curve’s been an effective pitch for him overall, but his lack of a change-up or cutter means he’s been hurt by right-handed bats. He’s seen over 3X as many righties as lefties in his career, and that percentage stands to increase unless he can bring his .222/.378 career wOBA splits down a bit. Sure, you need to regress that, but unless the RHB number comes down (as opposed to the lefty wOBA increasing as their .217 BABIP rises), he’ll continue to be a replacement-level pitcher.

And there’s some evidence that the A’s are already changing him. For one, his FB’s suddenly getting more ground balls. I’d chalk that up to noise if it wasn’t for the fact that I *just* mentioned the same thing regarding Scott Kazmir, and while I didn’t mention it, I *could’ve* about Jesse Chavez too. Not sure what’s going on there, but with the A’s, the default assumption is that it’s intentional.

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

Given Pomeranz’s splits, this line-up is pretty sub-optimal. I completely understand if the M’s don’t think Hart’s up to playing twice in one day, but Hart’s the perfect match-up here.

Trevor Miller, Chance Ruffin and Jose Flores in the minors tonight.


24 Responses to “Gmae 33, Mariners at Athletics: the Nightcap”

  1. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 5:31 pm

    Another error by Miller, produces a run for the A’s. Damn.

  2. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 5:36 pm

    “Game 33”

  3. hidalgo on May 7th, 2014 5:40 pm

    But you did witness a rarity – a runner scoring from first base on a single.

  4. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 5:41 pm

    Another classical M’s vs A’s defensive duel. Like in game 32, anticipating the M bats fire up late in the game. A defensive miscue by the A’s could help.

  5. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 5:44 pm

    Why pitch down the middle to Cespedes? Or was that a mistake?

  6. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 5:45 pm

    Eram imploding. Time for the hook.

  7. G-Man on May 7th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Now there’s something you don’t see every day, a runner hit by a batted ball.

  8. msfanmike on May 7th, 2014 5:49 pm

    It’s not just the errors with Miller – it’s the “almost had it plays” that good Shortstops make frequently. He definitely isn’t a glove man. That bat is going to have to be really good to make up for his defense. Hopefully his defense gets better, but he has come to the big leagues precisely as advertised except for when it’s worse than feared.

  9. msfanmike on May 7th, 2014 5:54 pm

    Time for the hook? He’s going back down after this game and will probably be asked to go 7+, regardless … Or 110 pitches, whichever comes first.

  10. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 6:08 pm

    No further damage ensued and Eras righted himself. But if Eras had loaded the bases or the score goes to 3-0 or 4-0 or 5-0, you still leave him in? In the 4th, 5th or 6th inning? At what time do you pull him or write the game off as a loss, knowing seven games ahead without a day off? Just curious what the book says about that scenario.

  11. MrZDevotee on May 7th, 2014 6:08 pm

    I’m curious if that’s the first time a Felix start didn’t have its own game thread? If so, it’s ALL YOUR FAULT that Felix didn’t strike someone out for the first time since 2008! You jinxed him. He probably couldn’t concentrate after checking before the game and not finding one… (kidding– but pretty remarkable stat)…

  12. msfanmike on May 7th, 2014 6:20 pm

    Alright, reverse the substitutions of the first game … And hopefully generate some runs.

  13. okinawadave on May 7th, 2014 6:31 pm

    Have we caught ANY runners stealing this year? It seems like we usually don’t even throw..

  14. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 6:33 pm

    Bartender…earn your money here.

  15. HighlightsAt11 on May 7th, 2014 6:35 pm

    Groundballs for a nice escape. Time to score three in two.

  16. Westside guy on May 7th, 2014 6:59 pm

    Well, it was still a darn good road trip.

  17. californiamariner on May 7th, 2014 7:26 pm

    Always sucks to lose the most recent game, but 3 out of 4 against the A’s is awesome!

  18. PackBob on May 7th, 2014 9:11 pm

    Happy to see Marc mention Felix’s streakiness. When he’s good, he’s fantastic, when he’s not good, he’s average. He actually has a fair number of games like today’s game.

    Not a knock on Felix, just the way he is. He’s top 5 in the league where it doesn’t make too much difference who you might make #1.

    It’s hard to beat Felix’s durability or devotion to Seattle, though.

  19. Woodcutta on May 7th, 2014 9:44 pm

    Um…Felix is sick.

  20. MrZDevotee on May 8th, 2014 12:01 am

    We had a big comeback win in the organization tonight though…

    Clinton was down 17-1 after 5 innings, then scored the last 19 runs of the game to win in 12 innings 20-17. Scored 5 in the 8th, and 5 in the 9th to send it to extra innings…

    Folks who left after the 5th missed a helluva game…

  21. MrZDevotee on May 8th, 2014 12:09 am

    The guy who got the save in the bottom of the 12th for the Lumberkings is actually an infielder– Lonnie Kaupilla.

  22. LongDistance on May 8th, 2014 2:06 am

    Roaming around rival city blogs, the description of choice for Seattle continues to be the “lowly Mariners”.

    I wonder when it’s going to stop being either a complete surprise or seem shameful, to be beat by the M’s…

    That, as well, would be a remarkable turnaround.

  23. JasonJ on May 8th, 2014 12:05 pm

    It will stop when the M’s make the playoffs and finish above .500 consistently for a decade or so.

  24. HighlightsAt11 on May 8th, 2014 1:49 pm

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