Game 57, Mariners at Yankees

marc w · June 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. David Phelps

Happy Felix Day!

David Phelps is remarkably unremarkable. Bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation, he’s put together a decent 2014 thus far despite well below average whiff rates. How does a guy who can’t make anyone miss strike out 21% of the batters he faces? How does a guy who relies on a sinker, slider and curve to left-handers post reverse platoon splits? Phelps has a change-up, and it’s not without its utility, but he throws it less than 10% overall; lefties are more likely to see a slider than a change-up. His sinker’s around 90-92mph, and lefties have put up a .525 slugging percentage on it in Phelps’ brief MLB career. Nothing about this profile looks like it would pose a problem for lefties, and, to be fair, he was Maurered by lefties in his first call-up in 2012. But last year, he K’d 23% of lefties and only walked 8%. That was a far sight better than his performance against righties – the batters you’d assume might find a same-handed slider difficult to contend with. This season, he’s striking out a few more lefties, and while his walk rate’s regressed, so have the homers. Phelps still isn’t great, and there’s plenty in the data that suggests his success to date – such as it is – won’t last. And the overall sample here is still very small – it all needs some regressing. But it’s odd, and I keep thinking good teams *know* when a pitcher’s getting lucky against groups of hitters and when he’s doing something repeatable and effective to neutralize the platoon advantage. For Phelps, a lot of it is his curve ball, which is easily his best pitch. But the answer’s probably a lot more nuanced than that – Phelps’ results overall don’t match up with the components, and it’s interesting to think about how/why that might be. The A’s, presumably, know why Tommy Milone’s effective despite possessing the physical size and velocity of an 11th grader. I’m not saying that guys like Milone or Phelps are how championships are won, but nurturing effective depth beyond your starting 5 is clearly critical, and while the M’s have been terribly unlucky this year, they’ve also struggled with this.

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

Lots of lefties in the line-up against the righty Phelps. Of course, Phelps has started to run reverse splits, and has even splits over his career. This isn’t equivalent to the Scherzer situation, although hey, that looked like insanity on paper, but the M’s came out of the game and the series with a win. I can’t believe that actually happened, and I just hope it’s a turning point.

Seriously, congratulations to Roenis Elias, who shut out a very good line-up and did what even Hisashi Iwakuma wasn’t able to do. Elias has been up and down, but his success against right-handed batters has been jaw-dropping. I, perhaps because of Maurer’s struggles last year, expected him to scuffle against heavily-RH line-ups, and he just hasn’t.

The story of the day has to do with the Astros’ extension/promotion of 1B prospect Jon Singleton. This is really interesting; despite the fact that we all know/understand/tacitly approve of teams toying with service time to extend their control over players, we’ve never seen it acknowledged by teams so publicly.


25 Responses to “Game 57, Mariners at Yankees”

  1. Woodcutta on June 2nd, 2014 4:34 pm

    I wonder if the M’s will consider signing both Walker and Paxton to long term contracts later this year when they are healthy and pitching well in the MLB rotation.

  2. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2014 4:39 pm

    For the most part, the Yankee’s outfield defense doesn’t look very good.

  3. californiamariner on June 2nd, 2014 4:41 pm

    As much as Walker and Paxton excite me, it is far from a guarantee that they will be healthy and/or pitching well this year.

  4. Longgeorge1 on June 2nd, 2014 4:49 pm

    Woodcutta – I think you are counting chickens that are still eggs. Paxton in particular is taking us down a road we have traveled too many times. We have club control for too long of a time with these two to worry about contracts yet. The way Felix, Kuma, Young and Elias are pitching right now and IF both Paxton and Walker get healthy, do both of them even get a spot in the rotation??

  5. absolutsyd on June 2nd, 2014 4:52 pm

    Imagine if we had an actual hitter to put behind Cano… Sigh.

  6. Sowulo on June 2nd, 2014 4:57 pm

    “The way Felix, Kuma, Young and Elias are pitching right now and IF both Paxton and Walker get healthy, do both of them even get a spot in the rotation??”

    Go to a 6-man rotation and keep everyone VERY rested.

  7. absolutsyd on June 2nd, 2014 5:10 pm

    How is that not an error is some way or another?

  8. mksh21 on June 2nd, 2014 5:13 pm

    Well Gardner had to dive and I’m not sure how mental errors are scored. However I’m watching this on the YES network and the announcers horror of Jeter costing them two bases on a mental error is priceless.

  9. californiamariner on June 2nd, 2014 5:16 pm

    Seager may have had a triple anyway even if Jeter was paying attention because of how far the ball rolled. It really wasn’t a close play. Worst case it would have been a double. That’s just one of those plays that isn’t really an error but really isn’t an “earned triple” if that were a category!

  10. absolutsyd on June 2nd, 2014 5:20 pm

    Seemed to me like it would be a double, advanced on error. I don’t know if mental errors count as errors though.

  11. absolutsyd on June 2nd, 2014 5:20 pm

    Also, just Jeter being Manny…

  12. Sowulo on June 2nd, 2014 5:27 pm

    I’m officially and publicly on the Miller needs to go back to AAA bandwagon.

  13. Sowulo on June 2nd, 2014 5:27 pm

    No. That play doesn’t redeem him.

  14. marinerblue on June 2nd, 2014 5:33 pm

    Does Miller hate Felix? He makes sure to bring his D game when he is playing.

    Honestly, is there another team that would start this guy. He’s hitting .160 and is pure garbage in the field. At least with B Ryan we had a glove out there. I’m sure Jackie Z-jay will give him 3 or 4 more years to prove himself.

  15. californiamariner on June 2nd, 2014 5:34 pm

    Sucks that the Yankees got that run on a mental error, but 8 hits allowed through 4 innings isn’t the recipe for a shutout

  16. californiamariner on June 2nd, 2014 5:59 pm

    This thing where Zunino does all of his hitting when Felix pitches is getting crazy.

    Come on runner on 2nd, no outs. Have to score one here

  17. californiamariner on June 2nd, 2014 6:07 pm

    Hey Brad Miller!

  18. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2014 6:15 pm

    Saunders catches a break!

  19. Grayfox3d on June 2nd, 2014 6:56 pm

    Nice work boys!

    Now we don’t have to worry about Rodney coming in.

  20. nvn8vbryce on June 2nd, 2014 6:56 pm

    Seager! We needed a laugher!

  21. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2014 7:26 pm

    That’s with three E’s.

  22. SergeantSuj on June 3rd, 2014 9:04 am

    What does it take for Smoak to get his walking papers? So funny/sad that the M’s have tried so many 1B/DH-types over the last few years and yet they remain a team without a viable 1B or DH.

  23. MrZDevotee on June 3rd, 2014 9:15 am

    Who are these guys in blue/grey/teal who are 6th in runs in the AL, and 2nd in runs allowed?

    We’ve scored more runs than the Red Sox and Yankees?! Offense looks to be significantly down all around the league this season…

  24. Westside guy on June 3rd, 2014 10:49 am

    Franklin is being optioned back to Tacoma.

  25. naviomelo on June 3rd, 2014 11:00 am

    Dave was just on 710 with Brock and Danny. Message: There are too many teams that think they’re contenders for the second AL wild card. Don’t miss your mortgage payment to buy a few more lottery tickets!

    A few minutes before he came on the show, these guys were advocating trading Franklin and a “mid-level prospect” for Billy Butler.

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