Game 65, Yankees at Mariners

marc w · June 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chris Young vs. Masahiro Tanaka, 7:10pm

After a tough loss, the M’s now face the league’s best rookie (if that’s the right word for someone with so much experience), Masahiro Tanaka. It seems like we’ve been talking about his move to MLB for years (because we have), and the story dominated the off-season. Despite the hype, the incredible NPB stats, and the nine-figure contract, there was still some question about Tanaka’s upside. Everyone loved his splitter, and as it turns out, they were right to. But scouts seemed to agree that his raw stuff and velo weren’t at Yu Darvish’s level, and that it was possible that he’d settle in as a solid #3 starter, which has a lot of value, but not if you pay over $100m for one.

As it’s turned out, Tanaka looks quite a bit like the M’s own Hisashi Iwakuma – he’s using a four- and two-seam fastball, a slider to righties, and of course his splitter. Tanaka’s got a few wrinkles, like a cutter, but fundamentally, they have a very similar repertoire. Like Iwakuma, Tanaka’s been excellent, pretty much from day one, striking out lots of hitters, limiting walks, but giving up a fair number of HRs, especially on fastballs. So far, he’s even showing Iwakuma’s slight reverse splits, as righties have hit a few more HRs off of him, though it goes without saying that the sample’s tiny. Essentially, the Tanaka optimists are feeling pretty good right now, and those that saw him as a league-average pitcher don’t tend to bring that up so much. Tanaka looks like he’s well on his way to a ROY award, and the only question is whether he can continue to be a Cy Young front runner, or if Felix Hernandez completes his transformation into a sentient energy cloud, firing unhittable laser-change-ups at helpless mortals.

This is a tough test for anyone, but last night’s game illustrated some of the M’s injury-driven flaws. They just don’t have a healthy bench right now with Smoak ailing. Using John Buck as a pinch hitter wasn’t the worst thing given the context, but the context shows that the M’s are going to struggle to mount a rally if they’re behind late. So look fastball and get ahead of Tanaka early.

1: Chavez, RF
2: Jones, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Morrison, 1B
6: Ackley, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Miller, SS
9: Gillespie, DH
SP: Young

Logan Morrison returns from his rehab stint in Tacoma. Justin Smoak moves to the 15-day DL; Smoak had been taking up a bench spot as the M’s hoped to get him healthy, but last night illustrated that they simply can’t hold players who aren’t capable of playing. John Buck PHing in a big spot looks completely insane, but injuries and the 7-man ‘pen made it…well, not ‘smart’ or ‘the best of a bad situation,” but something more like tolerable.

The M’s moved MiLB back-up catcher Manny Pina to the Tigers org for a PTBNL. I basically forgot about this move by the time I got to the ‘P’ in PTBNL. Best of luck to you, Manny, whoever you are.

I’m off for a few weeks, but JY will be around, and he’s a better writer anyway. Go M’s!


22 Responses to “Game 65, Yankees at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on June 11th, 2014 5:11 pm

    I am not happy with Saunders’ nagging shoulder problem. I hope this doesn’t drag out too long.

  2. BoomBoom on June 11th, 2014 5:55 pm

    Your threads will be missed, Marc. I hope it’s a happy and productive absence.

  3. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 6:54 pm

    Chavez ph too. Crazy.

  4. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 6:56 pm

    I just noticed Seager is hitting cleanup.

  5. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 7:19 pm

    Jeter. Just retire and go away already.

  6. Longgeorge1 on June 11th, 2014 7:30 pm

    Listening to the radio today and a lot of Jeter talk. 1st ballot HOF, but not one of the “all-time greats” seemed to be the sentiment. Take Alex out of the equation because it’s my rules. I realize there have been numerous gloves better than him, Little O and Ozzie come to mind. But as the whole package who has been better? (At SS)

  7. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 7:34 pm

    Cal. Honus. I think Ozzie. That is without looking up career WAR, or WAR for the prime years.

  8. BoomBoom on June 11th, 2014 7:35 pm

    That Ripken guy comes to mind. Robin Yount. Those are the guys I saw play that I thought were better all around, Longgeorge1.

    Of course, Honus Wagner is always at the top of most SS lists, but I’m not old enough to have seen him…quite.

  9. Woodcutta on June 11th, 2014 7:38 pm

    So Morales is off to a good start with the Twins. Sometimes I wish I lived in an alternate universe where the M’s had a competent front office.

  10. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 7:44 pm

    Reportedly they offered Kendrys more than he is worth, twice.

  11. Grayfox3d on June 11th, 2014 7:46 pm

    I misses the bottom of the second, Did the Mariners really go down on 3 pitches?

  12. Longgeorge1 on June 11th, 2014 7:48 pm

    Honus is way up there in WAR, but a lot of “old guys” are and I think the competition back then was not as deep, and I certainly didn’t see him either. Yount played a lot of OF, Ripken certainly is there as is Ozzie. Unfortunately in this area I didn’t see Ozzie much. I guess seeing Jeter in the play-offs so much colors my thinking, especially since he did pretty good in the post season. I still would keep him near the top, appreciate the discussion

  13. Paul B on June 11th, 2014 8:14 pm

    And there goes the perfect game and no hitter.

  14. juneau_fan on June 11th, 2014 8:31 pm

    Let’s see…Another inning before I give it up here?

  15. absolutsyd on June 11th, 2014 8:41 pm

    I hate Yankees “fans” so god damn much.

  16. WTF_Ms on June 11th, 2014 8:41 pm

    @juneau – You still have daylight left, so yea, give it up. It can’t get much better.

  17. WTF_Ms on June 11th, 2014 8:44 pm

    Also, BTW, where was the MacLemore bobble head on that car? Arizona?

  18. Dennisss on June 11th, 2014 9:54 pm

    Cano finally homers in Safeco. Might be too little too late.

  19. Westside guy on June 12th, 2014 11:09 am

    Saunders to the DL, then Montero to the big club.

    Given the roster, this may have been the best move they could make. But man, for a club run by a guy who’s one supposedly inarguable skill is drafting… they sure suck at outfield depth.

  20. MrZDevotee on June 12th, 2014 11:19 am

    In my namesake’s defense (if there is one) as far as drafting… OF was the only thing we had in abundance when he arrived (Balientien, Saunders, Hallman, Snelling, Joeherm Chavez)… And I think he’s in agreement with you given how the first 3 picks of this draft, in a pitcher heavy draft, saw the M’s take 3 OF’s (if you consider we’re gonna swap Jackson to OF, which has already been determined).

  21. eponymous coward on June 12th, 2014 11:49 am

    LoMo, Montero, Gillespie, Jones, Chavez…

    Ladies and gentlemen, your Tacoma RainiersSeattle Mariners!

  22. MrZDevotee on June 12th, 2014 2:47 pm

    Wait, Eponymous, wouldn’t they be the AAAA team? Who is that nowadays? The Tukwila Twin Peaks?

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