Game 41, Mariners at Twins

marc w · May 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chris Young vs. Kyle Gibson, 5:10pm

Coming in to 2011, Kyle Gibson was the Twins #1 prospect. A sure top-10 overall pick, the RHP out of Missouri slid after his velocity dropped his junior year. He was effective without 95mph heat, thanks to great command and a swerving two-seam fastball that produced tons of weak ground balls. Still, many teams were scared off by the apparent trouble. He sailed through the low minors, posting good-but-not-great K rates, and tiny HR rates. He was flying up the ladder in 2011 when his velocity suddenly dropped again, and he was absolutely pounded in a few AAA starts. This time, he needed surgery.

He came back for a handful of MiLB innings and then played the Arizona Fall League (I think he started one game opposite James Paxton that year), and it seemed like he hadn’t missed a beat. He touched 95, but sat more like 92-94, showed a decent slider, and pounded the zone. A solid year in AAA in 2013 got him a promotion, but over the course of 10 starts, he looked like a different pitcher. He got ground balls, but he was wild – his zone% in 2013 was just under 42%, compared to a league average of 49%. Out of 187 starting pitchers with at least 50 IP, Gibson ranked 184th in zone%. To make matters worse, he gave up 7 HRs to go with his 20 BBs (and 5 HBPs); it all added up to an ERA of 6.53 and an ugly FIP. It’s a somewhat reassuring reminder that other clubs sometimes struggle with the AAA-MLB transition. Everyone agreed he had nothing left to learn in the minors, but it’s pretty clear he was starting from scratch in the bigs.

It could only get better from there, and to be fair to Gibson, it has. He’s limiting HRs again, and he’s throwing more strikes, but the walk rate’s still far too high, and he’s incorporated the Twins’ organizational philosophy of shunning the strikeout. So far this year, he’s walked 18 and K’d just 17. Gibson’s two-seam fastball is a 91-93mph pitch with good arm-side run and some sink (though not a ton). He pairs it was a four-seamer, a good looking slider and a change-up that he’ll use against lefties. The change occasionally looks like a solid pitch, but he doesn’t throw a ton of them. Given his sinker-heavy arsenal, he’s got some platoon splits, with lefties posting a .366 wOBA against him (in 239 PAs). The M’s can throw out a lefty-heavy line-up, and Gibson doesn’t have a real wipe-out pitch, so this should be easy, right? Well, the M’s have really struggled thus far against ground-ball pitchers. They’re doing OK against fly-ballers (although they sure didn’t LOOK fine against Jake Odorizzi), but they’ve managed just a .510 OPS against sinkerballing ground-ball pitchers. Fly-ball *hitters* would be a great match-up against Gibson, but the M’s don’t really have any of those. Logan Morrison’s been more of a fly-ball guy, but he’s hurt. Stefen Romero’s elevated the ball, but he’s struggling and a righty, so he’s not in the line-up. Corey Hart’s the best the M’s can muster. Normally, this’d be a great match-up for Robby Cano, but he’s always been a GB guy, and his GB:FB ratio has soared this year to the highest mark of his career (SSS alert, of course) – one of the big reasons why he’s struggling.

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

The injury bug continues to bite the M’s system, as Chris Taylor’s sidelined with a sprained finger, and LHP Anthony Fernandez looks set to join the long line of hurlers to have Tommy John surgery (hat tip: Ryan Divish).

Minor league starters tonight include Edwin Diaz, Andrew Carraway, and Dylan Unsworth.


58 Responses to “Game 41, Mariners at Twins”

  1. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:13 pm

    First baseman Joe Mauer – that just seems wrong somehow.

  2. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:14 pm

    Hey Condor – good start!

  3. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:16 pm

    Don’t hurt that ankle again, please, Michael.

  4. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:23 pm

    Or knee, I guess.

  5. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 5:28 pm

    So I’ve tried to change my name twice now in the last 12 months, but it just says “awaiting moderation” and never gets approved…

    This time it was USSSinkingScot

    Changed it yesterday, posts wouldn’t show up… And again today, they won’t show up…

    I guess I’m destined to keep this embarrassing name for eternity.

  6. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:33 pm

    That’s odd – you’d think you’d be allowed to change your screen name if you’ve already joined.

  7. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 5:47 pm

    When all else fails Mr Z …. Seed your lawn, seed it!!!

    Every time I see that commercial? I believe that guy is YOU. I have started calling him Mr Z Devotee.

  8. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 5:51 pm

    You could pull a “fully vetted coach” routine over the course of a few weeks – get banned – plead to the mercy of the court – and come back under a name username.


  9. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 5:52 pm

    Don’t even joke about that, Mike.


  10. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 5:53 pm

    Or you could change your username to “Brad Miller” and then be given four or five guys worth of lifetime opportunities.

  11. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 5:57 pm

    “Fully vetted Z” does have a nice – and appropriate – ring to it.

  12. Paul B on May 16th, 2014 5:59 pm

    Or you could register as a new user?

    Then you could argue with yourself!

  13. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 6:02 pm

    Man, that was a hittable pitch. Get out of this inning at 2 runs – and get to some hitting of your own, fellas.

  14. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 6:05 pm

    I think Paul has already won this thread.

  15. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 6:06 pm

    I thought the Twins weren’t supposed to swing at anything?

  16. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 6:08 pm

    When someone throws mid 80′s, everybody can’t swing through their own asses fast enough. It’s part of the reason why Young has been able to be successful … When his stuff is working, anyway.

  17. Paul B on May 16th, 2014 6:18 pm

    Twins, good hitting, horrible pitching

    Mariners, making pitchers look good

  18. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 6:29 pm

    A double would be timely right here, Robbie boy…

  19. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 6:30 pm


  20. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 6:37 pm

    Oh man…

  21. Paul B on May 16th, 2014 6:40 pm

    Glad I have a mute button for Jack in the Box and Vern Fonk.

    Come to Jack for sexual Harrassment. And to Vern for insurance if you shouldn’t be driving.

  22. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 6:58 pm

    Some of Young’s pitches would’ve benefited from a video mute button.

  23. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:03 pm

    Okay, tried another new name, under a new login…

    Nothing. Maybe it knows my computer and you can only have one login? Either way… My screen name has become its own metaphor for the actual Jack Z… No matter how dated it becomes, or how hard you try, you can’t get rid of it. Z is here to stay… Probably already been extended as my screenname for another year… THAT’s the REAL reason I can’t change it…

    So yeah, maybe FullyVettedZ is apropo…

  24. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:05 pm

    On the brightside, the Twins tried to make some of Young’s pitches disappear as quickly as possible, so as to cause you the least pain while viewing. Pretty nice of them. Those ones got out of here fast!

  25. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:06 pm

    (quietly asking Mike… “pssst… so what’s vetted coach’s new screen name? I had no idea he got banned…”)

  26. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:07 pm

    Brad Miller everyone!

    (faked a clap…)

  27. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:07 pm

    True, MrZ – those Minnesotans are always so nice and considerate!

    Hey Saunders! Now let’s do something here!

  28. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:07 pm

    I seem to be lagging…

  29. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:08 pm

    This score could be WAY worse, given that Chris Young has been throwing chest high 88 mph fastballs for 7 innings now… It should be somewhere around 17-1, by my estimation.

  30. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:09 pm

    Well, I can at least say I like this 1-2 a lot better than most of Lloyd’s previous lineups.

  31. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:14 pm

    Dave canned “fully vetted” after one if his direct pokes in the eye at Dave. It happened approx two years ago. Once banned, the system recognizes the computer used for the next time any ass-clown might want to sign up – and I believe it disallows a new signee from that specific computer. I am not sure if it really works this way, but I believe it is something close to it.

    If you want to send an email to USSM, someone may be able to help you with the name change. You need it.

    I just don’t know how much “moderator” or “system admin support” you will be able to find.

  32. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:18 pm

    Ackley hit it so hard, Smoak was able to score all the way from second!

  33. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:20 pm

    Try to establish an account from your Scottish I-phone and see if that works for you. I can access my account from computer and I-phone, but I want to say that I remember some sort of temporary hiccup before the system acknowledged the latter.

    We are rooting for you, buddy. We will still know it’s you – when it’s you. There will be a wafted rainbow essence in the air.

  34. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:24 pm

    Re: Miller

    If an error per day keeps Franklin away, what will two errors keep away?

  35. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:25 pm

    I think Lloyd is going to send Miller … I just hope it works

  36. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:26 pm

    Problem is, it sounds like Franklin has had multiple mental lapses in Tacoma lately – so he’s in their doghouse (according to the beat writers). Then Taylor went and selfishly hurt his finger… so any call-up (w/ a 40 man move) will have to wait.

  37. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:28 pm

    Yeah, I think it’s a “moderator” thing, because I can post comments and confirm my new user ID, but then the comments say next to the new name “your comment is awaiting moderator approval”… And they don’t show up for anybody but me… (I checked this by logging out and then relogging in as MrZ again, and the USSSinkingScot comments had disappeared…)

    Maybe just nobody is on that task at the moment, or the previous time I tried. I should send a direct email and hopefully Marc or Jeff will “pick up” the phone on it and approve me.

  38. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:30 pm


  39. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:31 pm

    MrZ, I believe when I first joined the first post was moderated – but once they approved that, everything else was automatic. So maybe just be patient?

  40. MrZDevotee on May 16th, 2014 7:32 pm

    re: Chris Taylor

    Selfish bastard knew he was getting close to called up, and knows how awful guys do after coming to Seattle, so he hurt himself on purpose so he could say at AAA. Pisses me off. Take one for the team, man… Come struggle in Seattle awhile, it won’t kill you. You’ll get sent down a couple more times anyways… Ask Ackley, Smoak, Montero, Saunders, Carp, etc. It happens to everyone. Man up, Taylor. Time to walk the Green Mile.

  41. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:32 pm

    I heard about Franklin being removed late in a game for a mental lapse on defense. And then only pinch hitting the next day. I had not heard about the “multiple” defensive lapses.

    I wonder what they were

    Hey, the guy who beat me out is hitting .110 over the past month and kicking everything that matters – on defense … Why am I still here … As someone steals a bag that he was supposed to be covering? Not being in the right spot on a relay from the outfield? Not noticing defensive signs relayed by the catcher?

    All of these things are important – and especially when you want to work your way up, but what were they? Any idea, or is the PR machine doing its Mariner thing.

  42. Woodcutta on May 16th, 2014 7:36 pm

    Gotta love that human element. Miller takes a pitch just off the plate for a ball and Jones takes a strike that was more off the plate.

  43. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:38 pm

    A friend of mine has a son who played in the AFL with Franklin a couple years ago. The report: real good dude, dumb as a box of rocks.

    This is a fairly frequent informal scouting report relay that applies to multiple baseball players at any given time and over multiple decades, so it wasn’t extremely concerning. Maybe it should have been.

  44. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:39 pm

    The informal report on Romero was quite different and much less flattering

  45. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:39 pm

    The “multiple” lapses was mentioned in a story I read today or yesterday – if I can dig it up I’ll post it here.

  46. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:40 pm

    … And Zunino – nothing but good things to say. Extremely good things.

  47. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:42 pm

    Apparently, Zunino noticed some bats stuck behind a locker and was able to dig them out – with some effort. Richie Sexson signature bats – so it sounds like they had been there for a while.

  48. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:43 pm
  49. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:46 pm

    I would love to see the m’s steal a game, here

    Atta boy, michael!

  50. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:47 pm

    Nice to see Michael hitting well tonight. It’d sure be nice if his power would eventually come back, though.

  51. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:49 pm

    Saunders has had to focus on making contact to reduce his k-rate, so any hit he has is good enough for me. No reason he shouldn’t hit 15 home runs as an everyday played, though … But good contact is way more important for him right now.

  52. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:52 pm

    Thanks for that article Westy. Guys almost never get pulled for a first mental lapse, so I believe there was more than one. If would be nice to know what they were, though. “Two” is multiple.

  53. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:53 pm

    Good golly, Hart.

    Need Kendrys – don’t need Hart.

  54. msfanmike on May 16th, 2014 7:54 pm

    Nice rip, Justin. Got all of it.

  55. Westside guy on May 16th, 2014 7:54 pm

    Oh crud.

  56. Woodcutta on May 16th, 2014 10:25 pm

    It still amazes me how many MLB players consitently swing at pitches that are essentially in the other batter’s box. Unfortunately, the M’s seem to have more than their fair share of those type of players.

  57. LongDistance on May 16th, 2014 11:58 pm

    Z: Don’t change it until Jack’s gone. Although we all know the original sentiment is long gone, it now provides a perfect ironic twist to the whole thing. And nobody misunderstands it. Just like no one misunderstood that “no this isn’t a thousand mile stare, I’m fully confident” look Lou would wear going into the ninth, with Bobby Ayala warming up in the bullpen.

  58. MrZDevotee on May 17th, 2014 1:29 pm

    Actually, good point, LongDistance… I may even keep it AFTER he’s gone, because I’ll be MORE devoted to him AFTER he’s gone. Getting fired would boost my like for him at this point.

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