Game 39, Rays at Mariners

marc w · May 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. David Price, 7:10pm

Two of the biggest names in the AL East have posted incredible K:BB ratios and sparkling xFIPs. David Price leads all of baseball with his K:BB of nearly *10*. A bit further back, but still impressive, is CC Sabathia‘s 4.8 mark. Both have seen their strikeout rate increase and their walk rate drop below 2/9 (Price is now walking a Cliff Lee-like 1 per 9 IP). Price’s RA is 4.86 while Sabathia’s sits at a grisly 6.07. Thanks to Chris Young and Roenis Elias, we’ve talked a bit about pitchers whose actual runs-given up comes in far shy of what their fielding independent stats would predict. In David Price, we have the poster child for the opposite phenomenon.

Like Sabathia, there’s no mystery about this – it’s not sequencing, and while his BABIP’s higher than it’s been, that’s not the problem either. The problem is home runs. Sabathia had never run a HR/9 above 1 in his long career until 2013. So far this year, it’s nearly 2. Similarly, Price hadn’t run a HR/9 over 1 since 2009, a year in which he threw 128 innings and was a four-seam/slider pitcher. In recent years, he’s been a sinker/cutter/change-up guy, and his GB% started creeping up while his HRs allowed dropped accordingly. Price was excellent last year, as his new attack-the-zone philosophy produced a great K:BB ratio while he also limited homers. But something changed: batters, especially righties, stopped hitting his sinker on the ground. His GB/FB ratio vs. righties went from 1.8 to 1.2, and in a tiny sample of 2014, it’s dropped below 1. He didn’t pay for it in 2013, as fewer of those fly balls went over the fence; his HR/FB last year was the 2nd lowest of his career. That hasn’t happened this year.

Many point to Sabathia as a bounce-back candidate due to his excellent K:BB ratio and insane HR/FB% of 23%. Sabathia’s getting plenty of grounders, but whatever doesn’t bounce seems to leave the yard. While Price’s K:BB is even better, his HR/FB isn’t historically out of whack. It’s high, and I fully expect Price to post better runs-allowed numbers than he has to date. He’s an excellent pitcher, after all. But the question is what does he look like with a perfectly normal HR/FB of 10-12%? With a sinker that isn’t making batters top the ball, he’s going to give up some elevated contact. If he can keep that contact in the park, he’s an ace. But what if home runs are the price he pays for a 1.01 BB/9? Again: a big chunk of his awful HR/FB so far this year has come from the 3 HRs *lefties* have hit off of him. He still dominates lefties, and they still have a 2 GB/FB ratio. That may be luck. But his GB% has dropped on all of his pitches against righties, and his sinker – like all sinkers – is much more effective against lefties. I’m not saying that Price is going to end up like Cesar Ramos, whose sinkless sinker produced an offensive explosion for the M’s last night. But I think it could keep him from being a true #1. Hell, you could argue that, when he’s healthy, Alex Cobb has been the better pitcher. And Chris Archer’s neck and neck with Price right now, though of course that’s more a compliment to the Rays depth than an indictment of Price. In any event, I’m not going to cry about the M’s missed opportunity to acquire Price in trade.

Iwakuma can teach Price a thing or two about succeeding in MLB despite an elevated HR rate, and HR/FB ratio.

1: Jones, CF
2: Romero, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
SP: Iwakuma

The Rainiers played an early game today in Las Vegas. It was school day, with thousands of kids packing Cashman Field, each armed with a vuvuzela. Please, keep Rainiers announcer Mike Curto in your thoughts tonight. With rest and with physical/mental therapy, he WILL get through this.

Cam Hobson pitches for AA Jackson today, while the enigmatic Tyler Pike goes for High Desert. Pike’s a top-10 M’s prospect, but a very odd 24:25 K:BB ratio isn’t helping his stock. Gabriel Guerrero’s stock is still rising, however – BP had some good things to say about him here ($).

Comments

126 Responses to “Game 39, Rays at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 6:15 pm

    Ever since that World Cup a few years ago, I’ve been dreading the possibility that, in all likelihood, Vuvuzelas will eventually catch on here.

  2. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 6:53 pm

    I guess I’ll just jinx us now – The M’s are at home, lead the Rays by 3 1/2 games, Price is not pitching that well for him, Iwakuma is only on his third start but has pitched very well and the M’s are the underdog. Go figure!

  3. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 7:00 pm

    I’m actually looking forward to this game more than Felix’s start. That’s got to be worth something.

  4. Paul B on May 13th, 2014 7:10 pm

    Didn’t Sabathia just go on the DL?

  5. Grayfox3d on May 13th, 2014 7:20 pm

    Yes Paul B.

  6. Paul B on May 13th, 2014 7:38 pm

    I think we have a center fielder. Cross that one off the list.

  7. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 7:55 pm

    Does Miller ever NOT swing anymore?

  8. Section329 on May 13th, 2014 7:58 pm

    Does anyone know what happened to Mike Curto?

  9. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 8:02 pm

    Tragic – Vuvuzela overload.

  10. californiamariner on May 13th, 2014 8:03 pm

    Iwakuma is filthy tonight.

  11. Section329 on May 13th, 2014 8:18 pm

    Thanks, Westie-slow on that one.

  12. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:29 pm

    Is it just me, or does Vern Fonk strike anyone as a serial killer?

  13. BoomBoom on May 13th, 2014 8:31 pm

    Vern looks like he doesn’t get to the gym often, so he would have to strike someone a LOT as a serial killer.

  14. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 8:33 pm

    I don’t think that’s Vern Fonk – it’s actually one of his insurance salesmen.

  15. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:34 pm

    Oh, okay. That dude is scary creepy!

  16. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 8:34 pm
  17. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 8:36 pm

    During the last series against the Royals the when their lead-off hitter returned to the dugout and was asked by the other guys what Iwakuma was throwing his reply was ” no chance”. I think Kuma is just filthy. For the last season + he has been our ace.

  18. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:36 pm

    Miller is a confused little boy.

  19. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 8:37 pm

    One reason to be glad I don’t have TV coverage: Vern Fonk.

    Of course, that leaves me with Steve Schickle or whatever that “You can be sober in 10 minutes!” guy is.

  20. Grayfox3d on May 13th, 2014 8:38 pm

    Hey Eastside, he didnt swing at that strike three… so theres that right?

  21. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 8:38 pm

    Longgeorge, you can see proof that the guys think of him as the ace… notice they only score one or two runs for him in a game? That’s what they used to do for Felix.

  22. Kazinski on May 13th, 2014 8:38 pm

    But he wasn’t swinging. When he should have been.

  23. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the Fonk article Westy. Quite interesting and changed my opinion of Mr. Thielke.

  24. Dennisss on May 13th, 2014 8:44 pm

    Three called strikeouts that inning, and not one of the third strikes looked like an actual strike to me. Ackley’s certainly was not. Give Price credit for control, but I think he’s getting the benefit of the lefty strike zone.

  25. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:45 pm

    Kuma is nasty tonight. And, think of what no ST and no April may mean for this club in August/September. He will be fresh as a King a Salmon at Pike Street!

  26. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 8:51 pm

    I’m not used to beardless Cano yet.

  27. californiamariner on May 13th, 2014 8:52 pm

    This broadcast is turning into a commentary on productive outs.

  28. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 8:59 pm

    Cano is a beast

  29. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:01 pm

    21 non-productive outs for the Rays. Three more out for the Little Bear and then—-GULP—–Fernando

  30. californiamariner on May 13th, 2014 9:03 pm

    Hisashi Iwakuma is pretty good, you guys. 78 pitches through 7.

  31. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:09 pm

    ARGH!

  32. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:09 pm

    A double would piss me off now

  33. Section329 on May 13th, 2014 9:25 pm

    Kuma!

  34. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:25 pm

    King’s Court…A Little Bear’s Den? Everyone waves honeypots?

  35. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 9:26 pm

    Great game, Kuma!

  36. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:26 pm

    Now they need to score three runs in the bottom of the 8th in case Rodney is sent out in the ninth.

  37. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:26 pm

    Trucks, trucks, and more trucks!!!

  38. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:27 pm

    Important to note… It’s still 0-0 right now without that one little attribute James Jones gives us that nobody else on the team does…

    Longtime since we had somebody who could reliably take an extra base out there… Ichiro in his early Seattle years?

  39. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:27 pm

    J_F you get to sit in the Honey Bucket

  40. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:29 pm

    Actually the only save Rodney has blown was down to Miller, but he does make it “exciting”.

  41. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:30 pm

    Nice, Longgeorge.

    Well, that was a quick inning. *sigh*

    Let’s hope Rodney has some hate going on. Please.

  42. Grayfox3d on May 13th, 2014 9:31 pm

    Bottom of the 8th didnt take very long at all, guess the mariners really wanted to get Rodney into the game as quick as possible.

  43. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:31 pm

    I’m not sure, does Rodney get MORE focused against the team that didn’t make him an offer to stay, or more nervous/pumped/wild?

    Time to find out.

    C’mon, Fernando… A Kuma 1-0 win over Price would be awesome. And keep us ahead of Anaheim.

  44. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:31 pm

    Time for the Cardiac Kid. Over/under 2 walks in the inning.

  45. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:33 pm

    Time for a few Maalox

  46. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:34 pm

    Ooooh… The Changeup is ON tonight…

  47. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    Fuck

  48. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    I hate Rodney.

  49. Grayfox3d on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    And then that happens.

  50. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    Nevermind.

  51. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    Steaming pile …..

  52. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:36 pm

    Never should have said something nice about Fenando

  53. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:37 pm

    Beautiful game by Kuma, anyways…

    Back to back beautiful games by Kuma.

  54. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 9:37 pm

    Whelp.

  55. kfrei2 on May 13th, 2014 9:37 pm

    Are you kidding me?

  56. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:38 pm

    Box of Rocks II? Ugh.

  57. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:38 pm

    Now Rodney will get the next three out in fury…Too late, jerk.

  58. nvn8vbryce on May 13th, 2014 9:38 pm

    Can someone remind me why Rodney’s the closer?

  59. Section329 on May 13th, 2014 9:38 pm

    You jinxed it, longgeorge

  60. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:39 pm

    Longgeorge,
    You KNOW that’s your fault for pointing out he’s only actually blown 1 game. That’s all you.

    (Thanks for bailing me out for my more minor compliment).

  61. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:39 pm

    Let’s win in a walk off….Price should be done. No need t extend the young man. I say they should sit him down. Just sayin.

  62. absolutsyd on May 13th, 2014 9:39 pm

    Sucks that it takes the win away from Kuma after a brilliant performance, but you’re going to blow some one run saves.

  63. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:40 pm

    Jay, please stop saying “walk-off”.

  64. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:40 pm

    Eastside-
    They just said nobody is up in the Rays bullpen.

  65. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:41 pm

    Looks like Price will go back out there for the 9th and one blown save isn’t that bad. Was that the first HR he’s given up all year?

  66. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:42 pm

    Apparently the Rays are still trying to get Z to be stupid. (Trade for Price)

  67. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:42 pm

    Was that a 4 iron?

  68. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:42 pm

    It looks so easy in slow motion

  69. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:42 pm

    *Turns off TV*

  70. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:43 pm

    Can the M’s front office actually find a SS that can play defense at league average level and hit over .200? Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard.

  71. nvn8vbryce on May 13th, 2014 9:44 pm

    Coaching visit to mound? Little late for that, don’tcha think?

  72. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:44 pm

    Wow…major fail. Poor execution of pitch

  73. juneau_fan on May 13th, 2014 9:44 pm

    And that’s when I turn it off…And put on some Downton Abbey. Yes, thank you, Carson, I would like a biscuit with my tea…

  74. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:44 pm

    Why the F is Rodney still in the game?

  75. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:45 pm

    Argh…

    Doesn’t Rodney know not to let anyone hit it towards Miller anymore? That would have been an amazing play on the ball hit to Miller, but wouldn’t it be fun to see an amazing play by Miller for once?

  76. jase411 on May 13th, 2014 9:45 pm

    ROLES!

  77. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:45 pm

    Ah, that’s why.

  78. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:45 pm

    Yeah Cutta…his name is David Freese

  79. groundzero55 on May 13th, 2014 9:46 pm

    This is when you PULL HIM. Please.

  80. matthew on May 13th, 2014 9:46 pm

    Here comes the bases clearing double.

  81. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:46 pm

    Bring in Medina for the grand slam?

  82. Section329 on May 13th, 2014 9:46 pm

    Need a “save Farquhar ” movement.

  83. nvn8vbryce on May 13th, 2014 9:47 pm

    Gas, meet torch…

  84. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 9:47 pm

    This is the other side of having Fernando Rodney as your closer.

  85. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 9:48 pm

    I think we just saw a Fernando Rodney “movement”

  86. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    Okay, it’s Danny… We have a chance…

  87. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    Just too much new fangled baseball. Do you really need to pull the starter so as not to hurt the “closers’s” feelings?

  88. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    When Rodney’s pitching, sometimes I swear it’s a decade earlier and I’m watching Jose Mesa… all that’s missing is the salt stains around his hat.

  89. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    David Freese? The 3B who plays for the Angels? That David Freese?

    What

  90. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    Yeah, Fernando had a lot of MOVEMENT today… I shit my pants 3 times during his performance.

  91. jase411 on May 13th, 2014 9:51 pm

    Farquhar should have thrown underhanded just to F$#$#Q Rodney…

  92. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:51 pm

    Okay… Our turn… That ended up being a longtime for Price to sit, before going out for the 9th…

    End it. Bottom of the 9th. This is OUR GAME dammit.

  93. jase411 on May 13th, 2014 9:52 pm

    wth… Price?? ROLES!! Doesn’t Maddon know… idiot

  94. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:53 pm

    Cano has seen more of Price than anyone on our roster– hurt him!!!!!!

  95. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:53 pm

    “Pitch limits” are complete garbage. Yeah, some nights a pitcher may be completely taxed at say 98 pitchers but someone like Felix or Iwakuma might have nights where they can throw 150 pitches. A manager should always go with the best option at the moment (Iwakuma tonight) until that player proves otherwise (allows a baserunner).

  96. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:53 pm

    I’ll say this ahead of time, but what a unique idea. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

  97. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 9:56 pm

    It’s not like pitch limits are saving arms. It seems like everyday someone is having a Tommy John

  98. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 9:57 pm

    BS called strike on Cano…

    LAME!

  99. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 9:57 pm

    The total is at 18 pitchers so far this season (including Jose Fernandez) will have Tommy John surgery. Something is definitely going on and the pitch limits aren’t helping.

  100. Eastside Suds on May 13th, 2014 9:57 pm

    Sorry…one two many IPA’s

    Stephen Drew

  101. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 10:00 pm

    Wow, would have never guessed Price would win that game 2 innings ago.

    Fuck me. That hurt more than losing by 10.

  102. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 10:00 pm

    Maybe we should have gotten Price instead of Rodney as our closer

  103. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 10:00 pm

    There it is.

  104. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 10:01 pm

    Woodcutta-
    I just read a story about Tommy John surgeons having to tell people “no”, because so many guys WANT it now, for minor injuries… Because they see guys come back stronger than before.

    They have to sit guys down and tell them “this is NOT a guaranteed success type of procedure”…

  105. Longgeorge1 on May 13th, 2014 10:02 pm

    If you see Kay

  106. californiamariner on May 13th, 2014 10:02 pm

    Cano’s leadoff walk wouldn’t have hurt.

  107. absolutsyd on May 13th, 2014 10:03 pm

    Do we know Kuma could have come out again? Last time he told Lloyd he was done as I recall.

  108. absolutsyd on May 13th, 2014 10:04 pm

    Fuck Buhner saying Price was better than Kuma. Kuma didn’t give up a single damn run.

  109. MrZDevotee on May 13th, 2014 10:06 pm

    Meanwhile… Oakland wins 11-0… On a 6 game winning streak… We’re 5 games back already since that last game when we could have tied them…

  110. jase411 on May 13th, 2014 10:08 pm

    Maybe one of Rodneys arrows will come down and pierce his pitching arm….

  111. Dennisss on May 13th, 2014 10:12 pm

    The best thing about that game was that Farquhar came in and made Rodney look like a hack. Three pitches, strikeout.

  112. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 10:14 pm

    UCL injuries are (most likely scenario) overuse injuries as a result of year round baseball from a young age. Ligaments don’t usually tear from being under-used. Without pitch counts, there might be even more of them.

    The doc who invented the surgery (Jobe?) is currently trumpeting this theory.

    Probably had nothing to do with Kuma staying in or not tonight (he looked done) and it blows that he didn’t get the win, but the specialization era can sometimes outsmart itself … As we have seen over and over.

  113. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 10:18 pm

    MrZ,

    That may be but of the 18 pitchers I seem to recall all have either torn or have a partially torn UCL. Those aren’t minor injuries and I tend to agree with Leo Mazzone that the issue isn’t overuse but not enough use. Elite pitchers are coddled on their off days when they should be throwing more with less exertion.

  114. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 10:25 pm

    I think I will go with the surgeons theory over Leo Mazzone’s for now. Although Leo does know his stuff, he isn’t a surgeon.

  115. msfanmike on May 13th, 2014 10:31 pm

    … Was trumpeting the theory. Dr Jobe passed away earlier this year.

  116. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 10:32 pm

    Some argue that pitchers were used even more before this specialization came into baseball and there were far fewer pitchers on the DL with arm injuries back then.

  117. Westside guy on May 13th, 2014 10:37 pm

    It’s also quite possible that, before pitch counts, guys prone to arm problems were just washing out earlier – never making it to the bigs in the first place because they blew out their arms while still in the minors.

    We can throw anecdotes back and forth all evening without resolving anything.

    BTW having a cluster of cases in one season doesn’t prove much one way or the other. Clusters are expected even in completely random occurrences. If you toss a coin repeatedly, you’re probably not going to keep alternating heads, tails, heads, tails…

  118. Woodcutta on May 13th, 2014 10:51 pm

    This year’s cluster may not mean anything in the grand scheme of things but I am glad many in baseball are at least wondering if there may be more to the rash of injuries. I personally think there is more than one cause and that it may take some time before we know how to prevent future injuries.

  119. mksh21 on May 13th, 2014 10:55 pm

    I’ve actually read reports where raising the mound would take stress off the pitcher’s shoulder and to a lesser extent elbows. Reduce the number of injuries overall. For some reason guys in the pre 70′s could throw 300 innings plus without ill effect.

    This would have been a great idea 15 years ago when everyone was hitting 40 hrs (level playing field and save arms), but now that there is balance somewhat, maybe not.

  120. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 7:36 am

    You are probably forgetting that those “guys” who threw in the pre-70′s likely had to walk to school in the snow – uphill – both ways – when they were growing up in the 40′s and 50′s.

    Back when men used to be men and training regiments were likely far superior than they are today.

    Ligaments tear from over-use and Westy’s comments about guys washing out earlier has a lot of merit. As a matter of fact, most of the theories on this injury have merit … but ligaments don’t tear when they aren’t being used.

  121. thedude1987 on May 14th, 2014 8:36 am

    Mike Curto? Can anyone explain? I found nothing.

  122. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 9:20 am

    Is it too simple to suggest that the increased use of breaking balls has put additional stresses on the body? As well as the fact that pitchers have been throwing the ball increasingly harder over the past 30 years on average.

    That’s a LOT of additional stress on a piece of equipment designed to work tools in the hands, and put food in our mouths.

    It would be interesting to see the effects of cutters and sinkers, and 12-6 curveballs, as they relate to injuries. Before the past 30 years or so, you saw pretty much: fastball, curveball, changeup. Less rotating and snapping of the arm/ligaments.

    (no research was included in these armchair opinions)

  123. Westside guy on May 14th, 2014 9:22 am

    Dude – Marc was commenting on the fact that poor Curto was subjected to a bunch of Vuvuzelas. Brain damage almost certainly followed.

  124. sawsatch on May 14th, 2014 9:40 am

    Shouldn’t a pinch hitter have led off the 8th?
    (Bloomquist)?

  125. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 12:01 pm

    Come on Satch, what are you thinking … we had Brad “super welterweight BA” Miller leading off the 8th.

    .156

    Holy crimony carumba. He is going to be a welterweight within another couple games.

    With that said, I still think his automatic outness against Price would be more preferable than the Bloomquish automatic outness against Price. Tought call, either way. Way too little to choose from.

  126. sawsatch on May 14th, 2014 3:40 pm

    R vs. L?
    More reliable defence.
    Granted not a big deal either way.

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