Game 62, Mariners at Rays

marc w · June 8, 2014 at 10:24 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Chris Archer, 10:40am

Happy Felix Morning!

The M’s pulled out another win yesterday as Alex Cobb continues to struggle. With Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and David Price underperforming their peripherals, you could make the case that Chris Archer’s the best Rays starter at the moment. Archer, the righty the Rays got from Chicago in the Matt Garza trade, has the best FIP of any starter (though they’re all bunched pretty tightly around 3.5) in the Rays rotation. He’s got an above average K rate, and while his walks have been higher than his colleagues’, the real story has been the way he’s limited HRs.

That sounds great – Archer’s been effective in a season-plus of work, but he’s struggled with HRs, especially to lefties. He’s shown Sean Green-like platoon splits coming into 2014, making right-handers look like the average pitcher, while he made all lefties something like Mike Trout or Joey Votto. This year, he’s seeing more lefties than ever, and suddenly he’s effective against them. The major change he made this year is throwing a lot more sinkers instead of four-seamers, which helps explain the rise in his GB rate, and, by extension, some of the decline in homers.

But it’s not enough on its own. Archer’s still fundamentally a fastball/slider pitcher; his career splits may have been inflated by bad luck, but he *should* have some fairly large splits. The fact that he’s given up exactly zero homers to lefties may be due to some improvement in how he uses his slider to them, but it’s much more likely to be a fluke. So far, so standard-sabermetric theory and all. That said, Archer’s slider is pretty interesting, and throughout his career, he’s struck out more lefties than righties. Archer’s slider is thrown around 87mph, about 8 mph slower than his plus fastball. It clearly breaks gloveside, as a slider would, but the thing that stands out is its vertical drop. It drops 8″ relative to his sinker, or 11″ relative to his four-seam. A splitter, like Cobb’s or Iwakuma’s, is an effective pitch to righties and lefties because the horizontal break isn’t terribly important. It’s a little bit like a sinker’s or a regular fastball’s, which should produce platoon splits, but it doesn’t. Archer’s slider may work in the same way; maybe the vertical drop essentially overwhelms the horizontal “slide” and renders it a more neutral pitch.

The line-up:
1: Chavez, LF
2: Jones, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Zunino, C
6: Ackley, DH
7: Gillespie, RF
8: Miller, SS
9: Bloomquist, 1B
SP: King Felix

Comments

45 Responses to “Game 62, Mariners at Rays”

  1. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 11:25 am

    I realize Saunders and Smoak are injured, but they can’t keep trotting Endy and Willie out there everyday.

  2. Westside guy on June 8th, 2014 11:30 am

    Just WATCH ‘em, Kazinski! I bet they can!

  3. groundzero55 on June 8th, 2014 11:30 am

    And the other options are…? Hart and Morrison are still out, and Saunders is banged up and day to day. Other than maybe starting Zunino behind the plate and running Buck out at first base…meh.

    Romero and Gillespie have been playing quite a bit lately and while I’d rather see them than Endy, the improvement wouldn’t be drastic. And to be fair, while he might not be able to keep it up, Willie has been hitting for us.

  4. Jordan on June 8th, 2014 11:44 am

    Chavez, Jones and Gillespie is the outfield everyone expected to see going into this season and it’s finally happened! Now that we have WFB manning first can we please bring Raul and Miguel back?

  5. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 11:51 am

    Short term I would send Romero down and bring up Montero to DH. That would allow Lloyd to play Ackley at 1b or LF. Even Romero at 1b would be preferable to Willie out there.

  6. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 11:58 am

    Right on cue Willie and Endy with back to back hits.

  7. djw on June 8th, 2014 12:37 pm

    How can team be so ineptly constructed and managed that a chance to get a winning run in the 7th with your best pitcher having one of his best games of the year is left to two players as hopeless as Bloomquist and Chavez? This just makes me want to scream. The team doesn’t deserve this win, but Felix does.

  8. absolutsyd on June 8th, 2014 12:50 pm

    >The team doesn’t deserve this win, but Felix does.

    Every effing Felix start of his career…

  9. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 12:52 pm

    Felix is going to get 15 right here and come out for 16, 17, 18 in the 8th.

  10. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:14 pm

    Another no decision for Felix. With this lineup, it’s not a shock, but it’s still irritating.

  11. djw on June 8th, 2014 1:28 pm

    Once again, game on the line, Willie Bloomquist. No pinch hitter. AARGH. Why why why?

  12. djw on June 8th, 2014 1:30 pm

    Are they pitching around him to get to Chavez? The latter is, if anything, probably more worthless at this point…

  13. msfanmike on June 8th, 2014 1:32 pm

    Endy!!!

  14. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:33 pm

    Well how about that! A defensive swing that makes it through!

  15. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Tu-dah… Tuning in just in time for the good stuff… Willie walks, Endy gets it done…

    Take your ice skates with you to hell today. Great skating conditions.

  16. msfanmike on June 8th, 2014 1:34 pm

    Atta boy Jones!

  17. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:35 pm

    I like my Mariners. Lineup be damned. The score is the only thing that counts.

  18. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:35 pm

    Why couldn’t they have done this while Felix was still in?

  19. Eastside Suds on June 8th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Lotta haters on here lately. WFB, Endy, Miller…..getin it done in crunch time!! Whooooo

  20. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Steve-
    Where have you been the last 8 years… It’s not allowed. (Sadly).

    It makes me sad to think the team he loves so much will probably prevent him from reaching 300 wins in his career. With a sub 3.00 ERA and 20 years of pitching.

  21. Eastside Suds on June 8th, 2014 1:37 pm

    Lloyd for first half manager of the year in the AL? Pretty good case.

  22. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:39 pm

    You are soooo wrong, MrZD!

    The norm has been no runs regardless of when they pull Felix from a game.

  23. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:39 pm

    Tampa more than happy to display how they went on a 9 game losing streak before we came to town…

  24. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:40 pm

    (snicker)

    Poor Tampa. Damn.

  25. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:40 pm

    Wow. Just wow.

  26. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:41 pm

    Padding those 2 out RBI’s, MLB leading stat with 2 outs in the top of 9th…

    Nice inning, kids.

  27. Eastside Suds on June 8th, 2014 1:42 pm

    Great ninth…and all with two outs!! Gotta love it!

  28. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:43 pm

    Quoting Felix:

    “Yeah, I’m happy for us… But WTF?!?!?!?”

  29. stevemotivateir on June 8th, 2014 1:45 pm

    Oakland’s kicking the crap out of Baltimore. I still think the A’s are the team to beat in the AL.

  30. Longgeorge1 on June 8th, 2014 1:45 pm

    Fire Lloyd! Cut Endy! Who are these guys? Oh well I’ll take the win.

  31. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:46 pm

    Leone got too many guys out in a row? (“One”) Guess he doesn’t understand how we like to play the 9th…

    Bring in Charlie for some drama…

    (Lame move considering we have an early game tomorrow, and Ramirez pitching it– but what do I know…)

  32. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:48 pm

    Kinda cool that right now (WAY TOO EARLY) Three AL West teams would all be in the playoffs. And Anaheim and Seattle would duke it out to play Oakland in the Divisionals.

  33. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 1:51 pm

    I’m happy with the win too, it’s the most unexpected events that make us the happiest.

  34. msfanmike on June 8th, 2014 1:51 pm

    In a game with over 270 pitches thrown, Medina throws 9 of them and is in line to be the winning pitcher.

    Baseball.

    Reliever “wins” is an almost completely worthless stat, but what the hell do I care.

    Good team win today. And I believe the teams record is 7-0 with Endy starting. And 11-2 when Gillespie starts. I have no idea what this means, but it likely means something to Lloyd.

  35. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 1:54 pm

    Lloyd McLendon…

    I don’t understand his moves… I’d never defend them…

    But he’s got these guys believing. Period. They don’t know they shouldn’t be winning these games.

    I heard him talking yesterday about telling Ackley. “You shouldn’t be going out on that field if you don’t think you’re the best player on the field that day.” And the interviewer said, “Well, that’s kinda hard with that guy you got out there at 2nd!” And Lloyd annoyingly sort of shot back at the guy. “It’s not about Robbie. I want every guy stepping on that field to think he’s the best player on the field that day. Dustin CAN BE the best player on the field every day he steps out there. That’s what I told him. And he doesn’t belong out there if he doesn’t believe it.”

    Sounds like bullshit. But we’re winning games that don’t make sense. Tip of the cap to him.

  36. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 2:01 pm

    Mike-
    Same way I feel about closers and the Hall of Fame. The idea of a closer isn’t that much older than the DH… Yet a guy that pitches maybe 60 innings a year can be in the Hall and Edgar can’t?

    That bugs me.

  37. Longgeorge1 on June 8th, 2014 2:01 pm

    The only sport old farts like me play anymore is golf. If you don’t believe you can hit the shot you’re trying I guarantee you won’t. Same in every sport on the planet (especially bucks and does)

  38. Kazinski on June 8th, 2014 2:05 pm

    I don’t blame Lloyd for the lineup. I get that Saunders and Smoak are hurt, and day to day so that really limits his options. Zdurincik should have brought Montero up when Hart got hurt instead of trying to go a few months without a DH.

  39. bookbook on June 8th, 2014 2:14 pm

    BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
    .258 .303 .396 .699 97

    This guy is the one it’s a crime not to have on the roster?

    Seems like much ado about not so much, to me.

  40. msfanmike on June 8th, 2014 2:18 pm

    In alignment with what George wrote above, Yogi Berra had a take – years ago:

    “Baseball is 80% mental, the other ‘half’ is physical.”

  41. hansk on June 8th, 2014 4:25 pm

    If we signed Daniel Carbonell out of Cuba by 7/2 could he play in the majors this year?

  42. hansk on June 8th, 2014 4:25 pm

    If we signed Daniel Carbonell out of Cuba by 7/2 could he play in the majors this year?

  43. HighlightsAt11 on June 8th, 2014 5:28 pm

    Fans please continue dissing Endy and Willie. And they will continue producing. Same with Rodney.

    Too bad the technique does not help Smoak.

  44. MrZDevotee on June 8th, 2014 8:19 pm

    It’s true, Highlights… Smoak is impervious to compliments OR criticism. (laugh)

  45. Hoover on June 9th, 2014 6:34 pm

    Marc, please update the website banner to “U.S.S. Mariner Seattle Mariners blog for analysis, commentary, and King Felix”. It’s time.

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