Game 50, Angels at Mariners

marc w · May 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chris Young vs. Tyler Skaggs, 1:10pm

Happy Memorial Day, and thanks to all who’ve served.

The M’s got outplayed yesterday, and lost to Dallas Keuchel, who’s on fire right now. M’s manager Lloyd McClendon provided some bulletin board material by implying that the M’s had more to do with scoring just one unearned run than Mr. Keuchel did. Members of the Astros organization seem perturbed, as they would and probably should. I understand, at some level, McClendon’s frustration: Keuchel throws 90mph and came into the year with a career ERA over 5. He’s pitched like an ace for a month-plus, but McClendon’s probably not tracking breakout seasons from opponents – he’s properly more concerned about some implosions on his own roster. Still, part of going with an old-school baseball lifer at skipper is that they’re so attuned to the unwritten rules of baseball that they can keep their own club out of trouble and fire their team up about breaches of protocol. This is an unintentional slight, but a completely unnecessary one.

Today’s game features Tyler Skaggs, the ex-Angel prospect turned D-Backs prospect turned back into an Angels prospect. He went to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal, and while he pitched effectively in the D-Backs system, his velocity dropped noticeably over time. He wasn’t hurt, but apparently a mechanical tweak the D-Backs made sapped some velocity. When he debuted with Arizona, he was throwing 90mph and getting hit fairly hard. I saw him for Reno and saw a decent but by no means eye-popping prospect – more of a command lefty; a potential #4. Others saw a lot more, to be fair, but I still wonder how much of that was the residue of his initial season or two in the Angels system. In any event, he moved back to Anaheim when the Halos shipped Mark Trumbo to the NL, and the Angels pretty much instantly (and very publicly) talked about essentially un-doing the mechanical tweak the D-Backs had made. And, pretty much instantly, that “missing” velocity was back. Last season, Skaggs averaged a touch over 90mph on his FB. This year, he’s scraping 93, and his FIP’s down by over a full run.

Now, that’s not to say Skaggs is an ace or anything. In his initial call-ups with Arizona, he had home run trouble and platoon split issues – or rather, his platoon split problems manifested in lots of HRs to righties. He’s given up 16 HRs to righties in his career against 2 to southpaws. As a lefty, he faces overwhelmingly right-handed line-ups, so on a rate basis, it’s not quite so stark. But HRs were an issue in Arizona, and simply moving to Anaheim may have helped him control his gopheritis. That said, 2.5 extra MPH on his fastball can’t hurt either. It may be the combination of velocity and the mechanical tweak, but his four-seamer is now much more over-the-top, with tons of vertical rise and very little arm-side run. His sinker’s very distinct, with lots of run and much less rise. Like so many pitchers, though, the way he uses them seems backwards to me. Against lefties, he’s a four-seam/curve ball pitcher. Righties see far more sinkers, the curve, and some change-ups. To his credit, Skaggs used to throw four-seamers to righties and they creamed it, so it’s not like he never even attempted to pitch in alignment with pitch type platoon splits.

Skaggs’ K rate is down markedly, which is odd considering the velo gain, but by getting ground balls and avoiding walks and HRs, he’s been more effective overall. He still lacks an outpitch to righties, which may be contributing to his poor strand rate (it’s why his ERA is higher than his FIP). But thanks to Corey Hart’s injury, the M’s aren’t really set up to take advantage of Skaggs’ weaknesses. It’s not a bad match-up, as the M’s don’t show huge platoon splits as a club, but ideally, the team would have a tougher righty to put at DH than Stefen Romero. Save us, Mike Zunino!

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

James Paxton’s bullpen session was cancelled today as he’s still dealing with forearm tightness after his rehab start. Awesome.

Speaking of which, the Mets have placed top prospect Noah Syndergaard on the minor league DL with elbow soreness of a particular type strongly correlated with ligament damage. I’m not a Mets fan, but I got to watch Syndergaard pitch, and I sincerely hope that’s not what’s going on.

Edwin Diaz is on the mound for Clinton today. Tacoma’s Memorial Day game versus El Paso gets underway at 1:35; they face one of the Padres top prospects in LHP Matt Wisler. He’ll be opposed by Andrew Carraway. Read Mike Curto’s story on the Rainiers wild 14-12 loss last night; Jabari Blash hit two HRs for the Rainiers.


26 Responses to “Game 50, Angels at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on May 26th, 2014 12:31 pm

    So… Mike Trout hits second. It would appear the old school Angels do at least ONE thing right…

    I’m happy to see not-Romero in the two hole for the Mariners; but, as big of a Condor fan as I am, Saunders is no Trout.

  2. okinawadave on May 26th, 2014 12:50 pm

    Rules question here: In the first game of the last series, in the bottom of the 6th, M’s had the bases loaded and Saunders hit a line drive off the the first baseman’s glove and the second baseman caught it in the air. He threw to second and got a ‘force’ out.
    10:35 in this video:
    I’m confused why this wasn’t called a catch and a pickoff? It looked like a line drive that was caught without having touched the ground?

  3. jak924 on May 26th, 2014 1:17 pm

    Will Jack Z be out during the season or will they wait ’til the end of the year to pull the plug?

  4. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 1:23 pm

    Westy, then Romero as DH.

    Jak, what makes you think he will be out this year at all?

  5. californiamariner on May 26th, 2014 1:25 pm

    Hey early offense! Offense at any time for that matter

  6. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 1:27 pm

    Yeah, a good start. Not a fan of Saunders bunting there, but, hey he got a base hit out of it.

  7. djw on May 26th, 2014 1:28 pm

    Was Smoak running hard down the line? That seems like it should have at least been close, despite his lack of speed.

  8. Longgeorge1 on May 26th, 2014 1:28 pm

    O-Dave , the runner had to get back to 2nd and the SS need only catch the ball and touch the base. With a “pick-off” as from the pitcher the runner needs to be tagged as he has the option to advance, thus not a force play

  9. californiamariner on May 26th, 2014 1:28 pm

    It looked like Smoak was ready to make the turn and go for a double and then realized Freese had the ball.

  10. okinawadave on May 26th, 2014 1:37 pm

    Longgeorge1, I may have used the wrong terminology. But a runner did score on the play and the ‘force’ out was on the runner going from first to second (and Saunders was safe at first). I’m just wondering if the deflection off the first-baseman’s glove confused everybody into forgetting the ball was still airborne and that should have been recorded as a catch (and a subsequent double play)?

  11. jak924 on May 26th, 2014 1:51 pm

    Are James Jones and Juan Pierre the same guy?

  12. Kazinski on May 26th, 2014 2:11 pm

    We could do worse than a Juan Pierre clone, he had a few 4 War seasons at the beginning of his career. But Pierre never had an ISO > .100 his entire career, and his career ISO is .066. Jones is at .121 in a small sample size, but I don’t see why he can’t maintain that.

    Jone’s reminds me more of a Kenny Lofton, but that’s definitely a reach. I watched Lofton play a few times when I lived in Houston during Lofton’s rookie season. Jones is better so far as a rookie, but he’s got a long way to go to be the player Lofton was.

  13. CAMariner on May 26th, 2014 2:24 pm

    Apparently Chris Young is no longer named Chris Young. His new name is Chris Wilson. Nice going, Dave.

  14. BoomBoom on May 26th, 2014 2:33 pm

    O-Dave, I think the ball hit the ground before it to to the 1B.

    I looked at the video and the angle of the ball when it went between Buck’s legs makes it seem likely it hit the ground first, though you couldn’t see it on the video. Also, Buck saw the ball all the way, saw it glance off the 1B’s glove to Altuve. He saw Altuve catch it. If it was in the air all the way, he would have broke back to first, but he didn’t. Neither of the other M’s runners broke back to their base, either.

    Also, per the ESPN play-by-play “M Saunders grounded into fielder’s choice to first, R Cano scored, J Buck out at second, K Seager to third.”

    All circumstantial, but it all seems indicative of a ground ball that the camera angle didn’t pick up.

  15. Kazinski on May 26th, 2014 2:42 pm

    Apparently this Chris Wilson has a no-hitter through 5. Why hasn’t he been starting instead of Maurer?

  16. HighlightsAt11 on May 26th, 2014 2:46 pm

    Yes, Macs public comments were indeed unnecessary. Jones, Saunders, Cano are the M’s best hitters, so good to see them at the top of the lineup. Finally Romero is pushed down the lineup (actually he should be pushed back to Tacoma).

    Cano is getting on base often but nobody is advancing him around the bases.

    Put Seager in the fourth hole and move Smoak down a notch. Zunino needs to find a way to make contact.

  17. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 2:47 pm

    Young is to Wilson as Hernandez is to Bernandez?

  18. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 2:48 pm

    And there goes the no hitter.

  19. HighlightsAt11 on May 26th, 2014 2:48 pm

    Damn Calhoun. Bottom of the lineup spoils the no-hitter.

  20. HighlightsAt11 on May 26th, 2014 2:54 pm

    Nice work Chris Wilson. 85 pitches in 6IP.

  21. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 3:23 pm

    Ibanez in left. Ha, ha, Angels.

  22. Westside guy on May 26th, 2014 3:26 pm

    I really like How Jones-Saunders as 1-2 (in either order, actually) seems to play out most days. Two guys who get on base at a reasonable clip, hitting ahead of Robinson Cano. Right there is probably the difference between 2014 and the past several seasons.

  23. Paul B on May 26th, 2014 3:26 pm

    CB sucks.

  24. okinawadave on May 26th, 2014 3:40 pm

    BoomBoom, Thanks for the explanation, I’m sure you’re right.

  25. Woodcutta on May 26th, 2014 5:59 pm


    It wasn’t a line drive that was deflected and caught. You can see on the replay of Buck jumping over the ball that the ball is going up and on the last replay from the first base side looking out onto the field, it is even more pronounced. Again, it wasn’t a line drive that was caught but a ground ball that was deflected, caught, and then thrown to 2nd for the force out.

  26. HighlightsAt11 on May 26th, 2014 8:21 pm

    Missed post-game today: Did Mac say that the M’s pitching was just so-so, but the Angels just couldn’t hit the ball when they should have?

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