Game 54, Tigers at Mariners

marc w · May 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Justin Verlander, 7:10pm

Everyone talks about the painful sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians last year as a turning point in the season. To me, the tone was set in April, when the Tigers came to Seattle and essentially shut down the M’s. That awful extra-inning game in which the M’s wasted a brilliant start by Felix through a combination of poor strategy and poor roster construction…that felt ominous, and it was. That’s not to say that getting shut down by the Tigers was some damning indictment – their rotation last year was incredible. It was a test for the M’s against playoff-caliber opponents, with their own playoff-caliber starter on the hill. They failed the test.

Today, the Tigers are once again the class of the AL Central, which is again perhaps the weakest division in baseball. They’ve still got 2-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander at the top of their rotation, and they’ve still got a powerful offense paced by Miguel Cabrera. Verlander’s been a key component of the Tigers success, as the righty’s been incredibly durable while maintaining excellent rate stats. Last year was the first sign that he might be slipping – his walk rate inched up, and his BABIP jumped as well. His velocity wasn’t changed much overall (though it seemed to come and go), and it would’ve been easy to assume it’d regress back to his very low career average. Instead, his walk rate’s up further and his BABIP’s crept still higher. He’s paired that with a drop in K rate too. Verlander is still an excellent pitcher, and he’s had plenty of room to fall from his peak and still add plenty of value for Detroit, but facing him doesn’t feel like quite the test it did just a few years ago.

You can argue that Hisashi Iwakuma is the better pitcher in this game, even if Verlander may still have the edge when you combine quantity and quality of innings. That doesn’t factor in quality of opponent, but it’s pretty good to go into a game against Verlander, a game with Endy Chavez leading off, and know that the M’s have a decent chance.

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

Sooooo….Endy Chavez is back, Cano is out, and Dustin Ackley is DH’ing. I may have spoken too soon when I said all that about a “decent chance.”

Brandon Maurer has mercifully been optioned to Tacoma, and Endy’s up and :sigh: leading off. Blake Beavan goes to the 60-day DL to free up a 40-man spot. Erasmo Ramirez, who was pretty effective last night in Tacoma, will take Maurer’s spot in the rotation.

Matt Palmer starts for Tacoma tonight against Salt Lake, one of his former teams. The Rainiers have been struggling, and pitching’s a big part of that. Palmer’s steadied the rotation since joining the team in mid-May, but he can’t do it alone. Despite a very good offense playing in one of the only pitcher’s parks in the circuit, the Rainiers’ team ERA is over 5. Of course, tonight’s opponent’s got a team ERA over 6. #PCLforLife.


32 Responses to “Game 54, Tigers at Mariners”

  1. 11records on May 30th, 2014 6:23 pm

    So, that doesn’t make any sense. Hopefully the Endy thing is a 4 day fill in until they officially add Erasmo to the 25 man?

    On the bright side, if I had to choose between Endy Chavez and Stefen Romero to get on base one time against Justin Verlander, I think I’d have to choose Endy Chavez?

  2. msfanmike on May 30th, 2014 7:00 pm

    Endy, huh?


    I get the feeling that Romero or Gillespie will be the corresponding move when Erasmo gets called up. However, there are several guys to choose from – for being sent down -when decision time does come in a few days.

    Obviously, Endy is going to rake, so he won’t be going anywhere. I like Endy – but I have to admit – this move was a bit of a surprise.

  3. californiamariner on May 30th, 2014 7:04 pm

    Endy? Really?

  4. Jake on May 30th, 2014 7:05 pm

    Divish is reporting that Maurer is being optioned, Beavan was placed on the 60 day DL to make room for Chavez, and Erasmo will take Maurer’s place in the rotation.

  5. Snuffy on May 30th, 2014 7:08 pm

    Justin Maxwell was DFA’d by KC and Seattle could have had him for zip. They did nothing. In a very SSS he is poor in 2014 but he was not playing in KC. Instead we have Romero, Gillespe & now Endy.

  6. G-Man on May 30th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Yes, Nick, you needed to block that throw.

  7. Westside guy on May 30th, 2014 7:35 pm

    Man, Verlander is good at painting that inside corner against lefties.

  8. californiamariner on May 30th, 2014 7:52 pm

    I’ve paid more attention to Verlander than normal this year (guilty of playing fantasy baseball). I really think the Mariners have the better pitcher going tonight.

  9. californiamariner on May 30th, 2014 8:02 pm

    Miguel Cabrera is really good

  10. Westside guy on May 30th, 2014 8:03 pm

    Cabrera is just sick.

  11. unkrusty on May 30th, 2014 8:16 pm

    Nobody seems to be mentioning the fact that all Kuma as to do is catch that weak ground ball up the middle by Hunter instead of Olay-ing it and it is still a tie ball game. Of course, that probably means a 1-0 loss instead of 3-0, but still…

  12. bookbook on May 30th, 2014 8:27 pm

    Endy doesn’t belong on a major league roster right now. As 5th outfielder it’s not a big deal, but as leadoff hitter? – the logic is lacking.

  13. Westside guy on May 30th, 2014 8:32 pm

    Well, Lloyd is at least consistently illogical.

  14. Sports on a Shtick on May 30th, 2014 8:49 pm

    That was just an absurd at-bat by Victor Martinez. Wow.

  15. G-Man on May 30th, 2014 8:49 pm

    So much for the IBB.

  16. californiamariner on May 30th, 2014 8:50 pm

    Incredible at bat from Martinez. But that’s why you don’t put runners on

  17. californiamariner on May 30th, 2014 8:52 pm

    So about to be 2 games below .500 with Young and Elias about to face the Tigers. Is there where it falls apart?

  18. bookbook on May 30th, 2014 9:00 pm

    no, thia is where Smoak and Ackley go on unlikely hot streaks and carry the team

  19. msfanmike on May 30th, 2014 9:03 pm



    Smoak and Ackley.

    Thanks for the laugh, man … Thank you!

  20. Woodcutta on May 30th, 2014 9:19 pm


  21. MrZDevotee on May 30th, 2014 9:20 pm

    I’ve got my money on Chavez and Buck carrying this team the next month… Fierce competitors who won’t be denied.

  22. MrZDevotee on May 30th, 2014 9:20 pm

    Doesn’t look like I missed much– what happened to Kuma? Bad night?

    I’m really hoping Cano gets better fast, we’ve got tickets to bobblehead night tomorrow.

  23. Eastside Suds on May 30th, 2014 9:21 pm

    Go Cougs!

  24. Eastside Suds on May 30th, 2014 9:22 pm

    Don’t forget they are also gritty veterans Mr. Z

  25. Paul B on May 30th, 2014 9:24 pm

    Rizzs going on about how Morris should be in the HOF. Bleah.

  26. nvn8vbryce on May 30th, 2014 9:33 pm

    California, I think that time came a while ago… personally, I’m surprised the wheels on the bus have lasted this long…

  27. Westside guy on May 30th, 2014 9:55 pm

    Condor seems happy that Verlander is no longer in the game… celebrated with an RBI double.

  28. Westside guy on May 30th, 2014 10:14 pm

    Joba wins the Battle of the Beards.

  29. Breadbaker on May 31st, 2014 12:01 am

    Has Dustin Ackley ever fouled off a pitch with two strikes? My memory is that he just takes them, and heads back to the dugout.

  30. joser on May 31st, 2014 12:01 am

    Zunino has 7 walks all year( vs 46 strikeouts). Joba just handed him another one.

  31. jak924 on May 31st, 2014 7:31 am

    I’m still trying to figure out how Ackley EVER makes contact. On every swing, his butt is bailing out. It almost looks like he’s running away from the pitch as he actually tries to swing at it. I think the Mariners need to conclude that Ackley is never going to be the next coming of Chase Utley. This is a damning indictment of Jack Z. and his program.

  32. G-Man on May 31st, 2014 10:30 pm

    Another ho-hum save.

    Good night.

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