Game 40, Rays at Mariners

marc w · May 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Brandon Maurer vs. Jake Odorizzi, 12:40pm

Early game today following last night’s crushing 9th inning collapse.

Jake Odorizzi was a first round pick by Jack Zduriencik’s Brewers in 2008. Aftter moving to Kansas City in the Zack Greinke deal, he wound up with Tampa as the second piece in the huge Wil Myers-for-James Shields deal that you may have heard about. Odorizzi had moved steadily up the minors, posting solid K rates, decent walk rates, but somewhat underwhelming ERAs. Most scouts saw the 91-92mph fastball, a slider and a work-in-progress change and slotted him as a back of the rotation kind of guy. While he never showed big platoon splits in the minors, major league lefties ate him alive in very brief cameos in 2012 and 2013 – a phenomenon Brandon Maurer knows pretty well.

This season, Odorizzi decided to make a change to his, uh, change. His change-up functioned like a slower sinker, with a lot of horizontal movement but not a lot of drop. As his fastball’s a very straight, rising FB, lefties had no trouble elevating the ball against him, and with a change up that didn’t move vertically, lefties were well positioned to do some damage against him. So, learning from teammate Alex Cobb, Odorizzi dropped his old change and picked up a splitter. So is he an Alex Cobb clone? (As the real Cobb’s out injured, the Rays could certainly use one). Well, no, not yet. In a month-plus of 2014, he’s already given up 3 HRs on his splitter, and lefties are still lighting him up. Worryingly, so are righties.

With any new pitch, there are going to be some adjustments. He’s trying to keep the pitch down and out of the zone, just like Cobb (and Iwakuma and Tanaka) does, but it can drift up and into the center of the plate at times. He’s also adjusting how many he throws. In his first start of the year, he threw over 30 of them. Since then, he’s backed off a bit, and will still show his slow curve to lefties as well. He’s been hit hard this year, but he’s also shown flashes; in his last start, he struck out 11 in five shutout innings against Cleveland (admittedly, not a strong hitting club). Young pitchers are always a work in progress. Young pitchers trying to master a new pitch are still in the process of being in progress. I have no idea what Odorizzi’s going to do today, but the M’s better stack the line-up with lefties.

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

Hmmm. To bad about Saunders’ hyperextended knee. Saunders-over-Romero would be ideal.

Maurer’s splits are still a thing, apparently. Perhaps it’s due to facing an NL line-up, maybe it’s the luck of the draw, but the righty’s faced many more same-handed hitters so far this year. And that’ll continue today, as the Rays have five righties in their line-up. Joyce/Zobrist/DeJesus is going to be a tricky way to start, though.


92 Responses to “Game 40, Rays at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on May 14th, 2014 3:52 pm

    Saunders is now clean-shaven.

    Ackley’s beard must stand alone, apparently.

  2. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 3:53 pm

    I heard jones’ radio interview yesterday and recall the info differently, but similar enough.

    I will grant you with an “A”

  3. californiamariner on May 14th, 2014 3:53 pm

    Farquhar sighting! Only when losing!

  4. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 3:54 pm

    You could clearly hear Escobar yell “golly” on the TV broadcast after he turned over that pitch for an easy grounder– only he pronounced it with an “f” at the beginning and only 3 other letters…

  5. Dennisss on May 14th, 2014 3:55 pm

    That was just a brutal call on Buck. Umpires are never going to be perfect, but that wasn’t even close.

  6. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 3:56 pm

    Jones has better recall of the event I’m sure… The guy quoted was a coach at Long Island University, their head of recruiting. Folklore probably sells better when he’s recruiting, so he’s got a “spin” on it… Gotta milk their Major League recruit for all he’s worth!

  7. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 3:58 pm

    Dennisss… As brutal as Cano’s ring up pitch, 6 inches outside yesterday.

    It’d be nice if the blown ones came at slightly less important times. (sigh)

  8. californiamariner on May 14th, 2014 3:58 pm

    Sure would be nice going into the 9th with Seager coming up rather than Romero.

  9. Woodcutta on May 14th, 2014 3:59 pm

    Why is Romero hitting 2nd? Please tell me it isn’t just b/c he’s right handed and Jones/Cano are hitting 1st and 3rd.

  10. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 3:59 pm

    Milking Recruits … There has to be a really bad joke or euphemism in there somewhere.

  11. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 3:59 pm

    Now, how about some runs runs runs!!!!!!!!

  12. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 4:00 pm

    Hey, Tampa’s closer stole a much better last name for our closer– Rodney should start going by the name “Ball Four”…!

    (I actually like Balfour, just couldn’t avoid the joke…)

  13. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 4:05 pm

    This game was a bit of a throwaway… A walked in run, and a wild pitch run? Only scores of the day… That’s a yawner.

    Back to work.

  14. naviomelo on May 14th, 2014 4:06 pm

    Hah. I enjoyed that joke a lot more than the last 10 innings!

  15. kfrei2 on May 14th, 2014 4:08 pm

    One run in two games. This team is so incredibly frustrating sometimes.

  16. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 4:10 pm

    Well, that was sure a big pile of shit of a game. They rebound poorly after another heart breaker last night.

    .500 but it feels extremely mediocre and tenuous.

    3-4 homestand and crap offense for most of those games will do that I suppose.

    Please make some changes to the roster. Miller is past ridiculous.

  17. Westside guy on May 14th, 2014 4:12 pm

    If i didn’t dislike Jack Z so much I’d actually be encouraged by the team being at .500 right now. But unfortunately I think they’re doing just well enough for him to get several more years, resulting in us being the lucky recipients of guaranteed mediocrity for the foreseeable future.

  18. msfanmike on May 14th, 2014 4:17 pm

    I thought .500 would be encouraging too, but it feels more like a mirage than it feels “real”

    Similar looking pig as in years past, but with a slight upgrade of lipstick.

  19. MrZDevotee on May 14th, 2014 4:46 pm

    Ever so thicker lipstick? Partially concealing the SAME PIG behind the veneer?

  20. Dennisss on May 14th, 2014 5:31 pm

    I think that anything short of 85 wins or so and Jack Z will be gone at the end of the season. Ownership may believe in Jack, but they understand bad results, and they understand spending $240 million to get one player and *still* getting bad results.

  21. eponymous coward on May 14th, 2014 8:27 pm

    So, we’re 2000+ PAs into the Justin Smoak Experience, and we’re still left with a below-average 1B.

    Because… Mariners.

    Oh, and the OF’s a complete cluster**** (save Ackley, who’s bounced back in time for Miller to faceplant himself). So’s the back end of the rotation. Whoocouldanode?

    It’s nice that the team picked up Cano, and the team IS about where it should be: meandering around .500 with some Brownian motion. But good grief, it’s been several years running that “hey, there are some pretty obvious problems here, you gonna do anything about them Jackie Z?”, and the answer is a resounding “nope”.

  22. LongDistance on May 15th, 2014 3:45 am

    Eponymous: Brownian motion is perfect. Randomly pointless, minute and directionless except when Felix is pitching. The worst thing about the team’s config, is you really do get the feeling this is the best Jack can do … cobbling together a streaky, deeply mediocre team consisting of an incredible lopsidedness in talent and structural holes even Joe Bobblehead can point out if he’s not too drunk to care.

    It’s getting obvious that to get off this place their stuck at, they’ve got to already make a couple of decisions. They can’t wait until July comes around.

    Radio silence, understandably, from Jack on up. Safeco attendance at 23rd overall, averaging 23K at home. That’s a bump up from last year, but a long way from the glory years, a decade ago, when they were consistently in the very high 30s, low 40s. Hard to believe that the last time attendance was this low, was when they began to make the slow climb upward, starting in 1992.

    Cano was never going to be enough. Nobody, Jack included, believed otherwise.

    Unless the main concern was butts-in-seats. And that, now, is proving to be going nowhere.

  23. eponymous coward on May 15th, 2014 8:45 am

    It’s a good thing that the AL right now is a kind of formless lump between Oakland and Detroit at the high end, and Houston at the bottom (12 teams with records between 21-18 and 18-23), but it won’t stay that way for long. I expect teams like Boston to start making a move here. I’d guess by the end of June things will start shaking out.

    I’ll grant that watching a inconsistent ~.500 team is better than watching a consistent ~.400 team, so there’s that, but a team that’s dropping 50 million on Felix and Cano should be trying to fix the very obvious holes around them.

    It’s also irritating to see Brad Miller repeat Dustin Ackley’s career path: strong call up and then a complete collapse. I hope it’s not going to take a year and a half (and a position change to OF) to dig out of.

  24. sawsatch on May 15th, 2014 9:17 am

    Imagine… the Hawks with no left tackle, no QB, no safeties nor CBs and getting an all-star right guard on free agency – then saying give us time…we’re on our way!

  25. eponymous coward on May 15th, 2014 12:48 pm

    Fun fact: Jack Zduriencik was hired BEFORE Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Oh, and Pete Carroll actually won at his last job. This is Zduriencik’s first GM gig (and likely his only if he doesn’t step it up). He has a worse lifetime W/L percentage as a Mariner GM than Bill Bavasi does. This management team’s had 5+ years, and isn’t particularly close to having a good team.

    What sort of time scale are we talking about giving him here, geological? It sure seems like the last time the Mariners had a good team, dinosaurs roamed the earth…

    Oh, and feel free to point out some GM’s who spent 6 years with a winning percentage below .500 at the start of their career who went on to win big afterwards. I suspect you’ll be not finding a lot of them…

  26. sawsatch on May 15th, 2014 1:45 pm

    New ownership please.

  27. MrZDevotee on May 15th, 2014 2:15 pm

    Amazing how in 6 years, this is how little progress we’ve made…

    2008 Outfield:

    Wladimir Balentien
    Willie Bloomquist
    Raúl Ibáñez
    Mike Morse
    Jeremy Reed
    Ichiro Suzuki

    Not only have we not improved the arguably easiest part of a team to improve/maintain, but over the past year we’ve BROUGHT BACK half of that outfield, unsuccessfully, to try to improve upon the SAME GUYS in their younger years. *head scratch*


    2008 Infield

    3B Beltre
    SS Yuni
    2B Lopez
    1B Sexson

    Seager isn’t an upgrade at 3B, but I’ll give him a pass as a “pleasant surprise” for in-house options, Beltre is Beltre but replacing him with someone above league average (normally) gets a pass… Miller is basically a more likable, but similar (grimace) Yuniesky Betancourt, with LESS offense… Ouch. Hopefully an anamoly that gets better– but currently Yuni’s defense with Brendan Ryan’s offense… (blech)… Justin Smoak IS the very image of late career Richie Sexson (without any of the good years) and he’s 10 years younger…

    Cano over Lopez is a no-brainer… But at $240 million he BETTER be a huge upgrade over Jose Lopez.

    Jamie Burke IS/WAS the same guy as John Buck
    Zunino and Kenji are sort of the same guy too.

    No improvement in catcher, other than Zunino’s youth/affordability…

    So, to sum up the six years under Z… ZERO IMPROVMENT at any position where he didn’t pay 1/4 Billion dollars.


    If we use purely results… Looks like if we had a $7-9 Billion budget Z could field a pretty good team.

    I’m officially changing my USSMariner name. Something about 2 years overdue.

  28. Westside guy on May 15th, 2014 2:33 pm





    MrZIHopeYoureFiredSoon… ee

  29. sawsatch on May 15th, 2014 4:07 pm

    Zunino better than Kenji … but so what.
    This is an organization with 0, yes 0 player development.
    Where would Troy T. and Mike Trout be had we drafted them?
    Good for them that they are not Mariners.
    Too bad for Zunino, he deserves better given his raw talent.

  30. kcw2 on May 15th, 2014 4:12 pm

    Am I wrong to think McClendon should know better. Here is the applicable paragraph from the Seattle Times.

    “Obviously, we didn’t think (Buck) swung,” McClendon said. “But the umpire tells me, ‘Don’t come out,’ that part I don’t get.

    Rule 9.02(c) comments, “On a half swing, if the manager comes out to argue with first or third base umpire and if after being warned he persists in arguing, he can be ejected as he is now arguing over a called ball or strike.”


  31. JasonJ on May 15th, 2014 4:21 pm

    So glad that you made the 2014/2008 comparison. It really encapsulates how poor JZ’s performance has been, as in, he’s essentially accomplished nothing in six years.

    At one point he was praised for re-building the farm system but when very few of those guys become good big leaguers it really doesn’t mean a whole lot.

    To me, this outfield is a disgrace. Jones has had a good start and maybe he will surprise me but we had to live through Almonte striking out at a 35% clip from the lead-off spot for a month just because these guys are either too cheap or clueless to realize that he’s not good.

    Romero is probably worse. He has a 1% walk rate and a 26% K rate and he’s our #2 hitter most nights. Nothing against these guys personally but they don’t belong in a Major League outfield yet, if ever.

    I’m so sick of seeing these plug-and-pray guys that JZ trots out every year that never deliver. Sign actual Major League players and let the long-shots prove themselves when injuries occur. That’s what the other teams do.

    There were two guys that I thought we should have signed on 1-year deals: Chris Young and David Murphy. They aren’t setting the world on fire by any means but Young has been worth .4 WAR so far and Murphy has been worth .5 WAR. Their combined cost is $13 M – both on one-year deals.

    Those are the types of guys that don’t destroy your future but give you solid, if unspectacular, results and give you chances to win every single day, which is what our goal should be. It’s year 6, Jack, re-building is OVER.

  32. sawsatch on May 15th, 2014 4:49 pm

    Truly, I wonder what Ackley, Seager, and Smoak would have achieved on other teams. I’d say that it would be best to trade Smoak now when he’s at his acme, but for what… promissing AA or AAA players that will be doomed to failure in our system? I’m not a pessimist, just basing predicted future performance on past performance.

  33. sawsatch on May 16th, 2014 10:01 am

    p.s. note what M. Morse is doing in S.F.

  34. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 10:14 am

    Morse was on pretty much exactly this home run pace last year at this time.

    Don’t forget that – there will be a quiz later.

    Mike Morse hit 10th HR tonight (May 15) in Game 42. Last year w/ #Mariners, he hit 10th HR on May 16 in Game 41. And had 3 more all year.— Larry Stone (@StoneLarry) May 16, 2014

  35. Seattleguy527 on May 16th, 2014 12:52 pm

    Stone is usually pretty solid, so I find it odd that he would write something like that without mentioning that Morse missed more than half the season due to injury last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Morse fan in the least, but that’s incredibly lazy journalism right there.

  36. JasonJ on May 16th, 2014 1:31 pm

    I don’t think he really has to mention it because it’s common knowledge that Morse is injury prone. That is the underlying message behind his post.

    He’s great at the plate when he’s healthy (terrible in the field) but good luck getting a full season out of him.

  37. Seattleguy527 on May 16th, 2014 1:33 pm

    Eh, I guess there’s that angle. But it just comes off as more of a dig against Morse than anything else. Also, let’s be honest, if he throws in the fact that Morse missed half the season due to injury that tweet wouldn’t have had the impact he was going for.

  38. eponymous coward on May 16th, 2014 1:40 pm

    Truly, I wonder what Ackley, Seager, and Smoak would have achieved on other teams

    Er, Smoak wasn’t all that in AAA and below. His stats aren’t that impressive.

    Seager’s fine.

    I think “WTH, Montero and Ackley?!?!?” is probably more the direction you should be going.

  39. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 1:41 pm

    I don’t read it the same way as Seattleguy. When the team brought in Morse, everyone (except Jack Z, apparently) knew he had trouble staying healthy – there were posts here on USS Mariner to that effect, on Lookout Landing, and elsewhere. Then, when he went down, there were all sorts of snarky tweets and comments saying essentially “gee, who could have known a guy who can’t stay healthy would be unable to stay healthy?”

    BTW my Jack Z snarky note is there because, in September, Jack Z said “no one could’ve predicted Michael Morse would get injured” (I heard him saying this – there was no reporter intermediary possibly misinterpreting his statements) . So, indeed, Jack Zduriencik apparently was unaware of Michael Morse’s injury history. 😀

  40. Seattleguy527 on May 16th, 2014 1:53 pm

    No, you’re right, Westside Guy. He definitely had injury issues in the past so I don’t think anyone was shocked when he went down (except apparently Jack Z, for some head scratching reason). Maybe I’m reading too much, or not enough? into Stone’s tweet. I’ve just always had a pet peeve of journalists intentionally omitting facts in order to strengthen their argument. I can’t imagine he would ever tweet something like that with a fan favorite type of player, but I could be wrong. I’m also not a big fan of journalists who wait until guys leave the team to take shots at them, but that may be another discussion.

  41. JasonJ on May 16th, 2014 2:12 pm

    If JZ really was unaware of Morse’s injury history then he simply doesn’t do his homework and that’s kind of a bad trait for the GM.

    On the other hand, if he was aware of Morse’s injury history and was just throwing out his injury as an excuse to cover his behind, well, that’s a pretty bad trait as well.

    A good GM should plan ahead for injuries and shouldn’t get a pass for injuries unless it’s one of those freak years like the Reds are having right now.

  42. sawsatch on May 16th, 2014 4:46 pm

    I agree about Montero and Ackley. I just wonder what player development would do for all of them.

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