Game 42, Mariners at Twins

marc w · May 17, 2014 at 11:19 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Roenis Elias vs. Samuel Deduno, 4:10pm

Sooooo, the M’s struggled against another sinkerballer last night, as Kyle Gibson limited the M’s to a run over 7 innings. It’s always tough to apportion blame and credit on the pitching and defense side of the ball, and it’s doubly so when we’re trying to figure out if the M’s have a serious problem with ground ball pitchers or if they had a serious problem with Kyle Gibson. Today’s game offers a test. Same park, same offense, lots of sinking fastballs, but a different guy throwing them. Samuel Deduno is essentially the Twins swingman, having made 7 relief appearances and just 2 starts. Obviously, the M’s found the Rays swingman to their liking, but Deduno’s very different, and very strange.

Deduno gets a ton of grounders despite not actually throwing a sinker. He doesn’t need to: the vertical movement on his regular old fastball is unlike anyone else’s. Sort pitchers from the pitch fx era by vertical movement on a four seam fastball and Deduno’s comes in the lowest, and it’s not even close.* Justin Masterson’s swerving, low-3/4 four seam is in 2nd place, but at nearly 2″ more movement. It’s not exactly a blazing fast heater, and unlike Masterson’s, it has almost no horizontal movement. It’s not deceptive, it’s just so far outside of how a normal pitch behaves that hitters tend to swing over it. It’s the equal and opposite issue that hitters have with Chris Young’s extreme *rising* FB – the fact that they know it’s coming and that it’s coming in at a pleasing velocity doesn’t always enable them to actually hit it.

He’s primarily a FB and curveball pitcher, but he’s also got a change-up that he throws to lefties. Earlier in his career, he struggled against *righties* which is pretty odd, but this year, his splits are much more normal. His curve’s suddenly more effective against righties, but if you look at his career splits, he looks like a left-hander – his K:BB ratio is awful against righties, but he’s managed to strike out an un-Twins-like number of lefties. No HR issues to lefties, but an elevated HR rate to righties. Again, that’s disappeared this year, but I’m not sure if he made a conscious change to his approach or if this is luck/maturity/regression cocktail.

Just like Gibson, Deduno had some HR problems in his first call-up in 2011, and like Gibson, they’ve largely disappeared. He’s a Twins pitcher, so he’s not an overpowering guy, and teams that match up well with him – like Detroit, who, to be fair, match up well with most teams – have hit him hard. But the M’s have been completely befuddled by Deduno; he’s been excellent against them in 2012 and 2013. His last start against them came last July, and he shut them out on just 3 hits over 7 innings. On paper, this is…this is something of a challenge.

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

Good day in the M’s minor leagues, as Victor Sanchez takes the hill for AA Jackson. Jordan Pries starts for Tacoma, while Jochi Ogando starts for High Desert.

* Who ranks at the top of the list? The guy with the most vertical movement on a fastball? Chris Young, who sadly wasn’t fooling many Twins hitters last night.


47 Responses to “Game 42, Mariners at Twins”

  1. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 1:26 pm

    Simple solution for the M’s hitters: Bunt more. In fact, bunt with everyone–even Cano. Attempt hit & runs with every opportunity, regardless of which base a runner’s on. This will deceive the Twins and undoubtedly lead to a Mariner victory.

    Are you listening, McClendon?

  2. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 1:55 pm

    Regarding the shifts put on against Cano, Seager, Smoak, Saunders, et al, I don’t understand why we wouldn’t attempt more bunts to 3rd. Even a crappy hard bunt to third gets you on base because tghe pitcher would never make the play. Since when isn,t it “cool” to take a base hit when they give it to you?

    The only one that has adjusted is Ackley, with Cano a close second. They at least routinely try to hit the other way where the defense is weakest. Really frustrating to see these guys continue to pull the ball in shift at-bats. I think it tells part of the story about our organizational development.

  3. bookbook on May 17th, 2014 2:30 pm

    Are y’all serious?

  4. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 2:46 pm

    To be clear, I’m not just referring to situations with runners on. I mean, bunt with every at bat.

    They obviously can’t show bunt too early, but they can pull it off.

    The post-game show analyzing the brilliance of this strategy can be narrated by Eric Wedge.

  5. jak924 on May 17th, 2014 3:25 pm

    Regarding ‘the shift’. I think it should be banned. Batting instructors will begin to train kids to spray the ball all over the field. In about 5 years MLB will be full of placement hitters punching the ball all around the field. No power. Baseball will begin to resemble the 1914 version. Is that what MLB wants? Is that what the networks want. And, most importantly, is that what the fans want? Adjust the rules: 3rd basemen and shortstops cannot position to the right of 2nd. 2nd baseman cannot position to the left of second.

  6. MrZDevotee on May 17th, 2014 4:09 pm

    We could ADD to the deception by everyone bunting from the OPPOSITE side of the plate… It would be crazy. Some of the Twins would probably just fall down from confusion… The Switch-hitters could straddle the plate, one foot in each batter’s box.

    I like your idea, let’s shake things up. ESPECIALLY with sinker ball pitchers, like we have trouble, ’cause it’s hard to pop up a sinker ball when you bunt, like we’re prone to doing with other types of pitchers.

    (Is it weird to HONESTLY think our OBP might go up if we bunted on EVERY at bat…?)

  7. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 4:26 pm

    Sorry to say I told ya so, but I was screaming for us to sign Suzuki back in December. He signed with the Twinkies for peanuts. Would we rather have Suzuki or Buck? I wonder…..

  8. jak924 on May 17th, 2014 4:34 pm

    Mariner batters are being very cooperative…again.

  9. absolutsyd on May 17th, 2014 4:43 pm

    I hate that dumb ump, and that dumb rule. Both.

  10. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 5:00 pm

    Nice job Michael

  11. Woodcutta on May 17th, 2014 5:04 pm

    No reason to ban the shift. There wouldn’t even be these extreme shifts if MLB players didn’t have such huge egos. I guess it isn’t manly to get on base by bunting or hitting the other way to potentially help your team score runs.

  12. BoomBoom on May 17th, 2014 5:12 pm

    Cano is just so aware. Instead of jumping over the runner on that double play pivot, he takes two more steps toward third, knowing it’s Mauer running to first. It may seem obvious, but he makes the right play a lot where others struggle.

  13. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:12 pm

    I wish someone had banned the slider. It was awfully hard to hit.

  14. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:13 pm

    When a team uses an extreme shift, they are essentially telling the batter that “you are not good enough to hit the ball the other way.”

    Simple solution: be good enough.

  15. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 5:15 pm

    Exactly right woodcutta. These guys are way more concerned about RBIs and Slg than Obp and advancing runners for the good of the organization. Lots of blame to go around for that. GMs, players, agents, and the almighty dollar.

  16. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:18 pm

    Ackley is going to do a thing.

    I feel it

  17. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:20 pm

    A pretty normal thing. Roll over a pitch to the 2B

    So many missed hit opportunities to left center – for that guy. If he ever learns to hit “that” pitch to left center, he will become a good hitter. Pretty damned surprised he can’t do it yet.

  18. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 5:33 pm

    Mike….I haven’t seen one of our farm hands learn to do it, which comes with some suppositions. Ichiro could do it. Cano can do it. Ackley tries. No one else seems to want to or knows how. Very frustrating.

  19. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:38 pm

    If everyone shifted to left center, the majority of mariner Leftys would probably start hitting it that way.

    Our hitters know how to find gloves. They have almost perfected it.

  20. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:44 pm

    Blengino had made a comment recently about the mariner organizational hitting philosophy being extremely “pull” oriented.

    Lots of hits the other way, fellas. Lots of them.

  21. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:45 pm

    … And yeah – I know – it’s a lot easier said than done.

  22. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Time for Seager to get “it” going.

  23. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Article over on LL about Cano’s slow start. However, when you add in park effects plus playing series in Houston and Oakland, that’s part of it. The bigger part is Cory Hart (or no one to protect him). I wouldn’t throw Cano any fastballs that weren’t off the plate. If we walk him, so be it. Who cares? We will get the next guy out. Shitty deal for us.

  24. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 5:56 pm

    Still waiting for the bunts to come. Shouldn’t be too much longer.

  25. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 5:58 pm

    Nice swing by Smoak there.

  26. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 5:59 pm

    Perfect example right there, Steve … Smoak should have bunted.

  27. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 5:59 pm

    Now he should pull the ball. Let’s see if he can

  28. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:00 pm

    Was that second strike to Ackley 6″ outside or 8″ outside?


  29. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 6:00 pm

    Well done Dustin

  30. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 6:01 pm

    A bunt would have been the safer bet, especially when you consider his speed.

  31. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 6:05 pm

    I hate watching crappy baseball. Why do I watch?

  32. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:05 pm

    Well that sucked


  33. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 6:06 pm

    They never would have seen a bunt coming right there.

  34. GP20 on May 17th, 2014 6:08 pm

    Well, if you’re gonna replace Miller with Bloomquist at the SS, why not just let Bloomquist bat? I trust Willie’s situational hitting much more than Romero’s.

  35. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:09 pm

    And it wouldn’t have ended in a double play.


    Horrible AB by Romero. Love tap back to the pitcher.

  36. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 6:11 pm

    Didn’t anyone see WFB’s BA? It’s worse than Romero’s. That’s the reason! To hell with small sample size or experience, the numbers screamed for Romero.

    His only mistake was not bunting.

  37. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 6:17 pm

    I wish everyone could have heard the Twins announcers covering Saunder’s HR. I don’t think I’ve heard a call where someone was more annoyed with a play. They followed it with arrogance, suggesting the M’s were bound to get one more run.

  38. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:18 pm

    Hashtag: overdue

  39. Eastside Suds on May 17th, 2014 6:19 pm

    2014 Twins Team Motto: We may not finish above .500, but we beat the Mariners!!

  40. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:20 pm

    Hashtag: still

  41. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:35 pm

    Somebody get a clutch hit!

    Err … situational hit

  42. msfanmike on May 17th, 2014 6:37 pm

    Does Zunino automatically swing at every breaking ball?

  43. stevemotivateir on May 17th, 2014 6:39 pm

    I was thinking the same thing, Mike! Just can’t seem to resist.

  44. Section329 on May 17th, 2014 6:39 pm


  45. Westside guy on May 17th, 2014 7:37 pm

    Zunino has actually cut back on his swings… but he still is swinging at 41% of pitches outside the strike zone. Hey, it’s better than 50% (which is where he was earlier this season).

    So I bet Mike’s supposition about him swinging at every breaking ball is not as far off as you might think…

  46. LongDistance on May 18th, 2014 1:05 am

    Weirdly, I found myself mentally circling May 17 in red ink. And thinking about where teams become what they will be for the season. It’s usually some time in May.

    We’ve seen a squeaky streakiness … fun, inconsistent: Felix – oops — OK, we’ll take it — oops — Felix — oops — OK, we’ll take it — oops — oops — OK — etc…

    But this last four have been: no — uh uh — WTF — nope.

    In terms of consistency, if this was milk, it isn’t yet curdled, but it’s clotting. When that starts happening, either you whip it quickly back into something homogenized, or you let it go to cheese.

    I’d hate to think the vestiges of the last few years’ arm-crossed, mid-season complacency is going to continue this year …

  47. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 11:08 am

    Sunday’s starting lineup: Same as yesterday, except for one spot…

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

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