Game 88, Mariners at White Sox

marc w · July 6, 2014 at 10:34 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Hector Noesi, 11:10am

This isn’t the first time the M’s have faced Noesi, and it’s not the first time they’ve seen him since enthusiastically cutting him back in April. Still, this is his first start against his former team/enabler, and it’s M’s fans first chance to see him since he hooked up with pitching coach/reclamation guru Don Cooper. Many of you will remember that it took Cooper something like 25 minutes to turn Matt Thornton from homer-prone, fungible M’s reliever into one of the premier left-handed relievers in baseball. Could the same thing happen again?

If it does, it’s obviously going to take longer than it did with Thornton. Noesi’s improved a bit with the Sox, but that’s regression for you: he had nowhere to go but up. He’s still yielding too many HRs for a guy with his stuff, and while his K rate’s gone up, he’s both too hittable and too wild for that to matter too much. When the M’s acquired him, he looked to have the makings of a formidable sinker; even if he didn’t strike many out, the sinker should’ve allowed him to get grounders and avoid 0-2 HRs. Instead, he’s become an extreme fly ball guy, and his “sinker” now gets fewer grounders per ball in play than his four-seam fastball. The root of Noesi’s problems has always been the fastball. Batters have hit a remarkable 25 HRs off of his four-seamer in his career, including seven in two-strike counts. Coupled with that below-average sinker, and Noesi’s simply not able to get to his breaking stuff. He’s experimented with a cutter this season, and there may be something salvageable in his change-up, but for them to play, Noesi needs to spot his fastball far better than he has.

Cooper’s done some amazing work in the past, but his record isn’t exactly perfect. The fix with Thornton was a mechanical one, and that doesn’t appear to be Noesi’s problem. For whatever reason, Noesi likes to pitch up in the zone, but he hasn’t had the command to either get whiffs or avoid mistakes while doing so. That’s something Cooper could help with, but it’s probably not exactly news to Noesi.

Taijuan Walker makes his second start of the year for the M’s. He’s still throwing 95, still has the good slow curve, but he pitched a bit differently in his first start than he did last season. The story of 2013 was the development of Walker’s cutter, a hard (91mph) pitch with slider-like horizontal movement. Some scouts who saw it raved about it, while I never saw it when it was “on.” In any event, he threw very few (if any) against the Astros – the pitches coded as “cutters” came in with horizontal movement almost identical to his four-seamer. Maybe he saw that and ditched it in favor of his splitter/change, or maybe the M’s are making a conscious decision to have him go with the splitter against lefties instead. We’ll learn more today.

Line-up:
1: Chavez, CF
2: Saunders, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Buck, C
8: Ackley, LF
9: Miller, SS
SP: Walker

The M’s have moved Felix’s next start to Friday, so he’ll face Oakland instead of Minnesota, and potentially lining him up to start against Jeff Samardzija. No word yet on who’ll actually start that Thursday game in Minnesota.

Starting today in the M’s system are Erasmo Ramirez, Victor Sanchez, and Lukas Schiraldi.

Comments

62 Responses to “Game 88, Mariners at White Sox”

  1. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 11:20 am

    Lloyd loves him some Endy.

  2. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 11:25 am

    A less old center fielder would probably have turned that into a routine out.

  3. Microsoft Zunino on July 6th, 2014 11:26 am

    I worked with a White Sox scout briefly a few years ago. They’re supremely confident in Cooper’s ability to get every last ounce of talent out of pitchers, and love finding “buy low sell high” guys. So all the “Dayan Viciedo for Brandon Maurer” rumors these past few days scared the bejeezus out of me. Thankfully, it sounds like the M’s are pouring some water on them.

  4. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 11:28 am

    One would hope the Mariners have learned their lesson regarding mediocre one-dimensional players like Viciedo, but I’ll have to see them NOT make these sorts of stupid moves for a while before I’m convinced.

    And what’s up with Taijuan today?

  5. californiamariner on July 6th, 2014 11:30 am

    Taijuan is all over the place.

  6. lokiforever on July 6th, 2014 11:32 am

    I’m prepared for Noesi to have his best start in the bigs today.

  7. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 11:35 am

    Robinson Cano has never gotten a hit off of Hector Noesi.

  8. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 11:47 am

    Do you expect/want Chavez to not play at all, Westside? I only ask because he didn’t play in the first two games when the Sox threw out lefties — and he SHOULDN’T have because he’s horrendous against lefties. But given our limited options in the outfield and the fact that he’s done well against righties, I’m not sure who else should be playing in those situations?

    As long as Lloyd doesn’t play him against lefties I think he’s using him the right way. Also, I would rather see him in left and let Ackley never see the field again, but that may just be me.

  9. Paul B on July 6th, 2014 11:55 am

    I would rather see Endy in center than WFB.

    Yeah, Jones is on the bench today.

    Against Noesi, why did the Mariners decide to swing at evetything?

  10. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 11:57 am

    Seattleguy, I wouldn’t have him leading off, and I wouldn’t have him in center since he no longer has any range. Saunders is not a great center fielder but he can at least get to the balls most center fielders are expected to catch.

    But given the roster I figure Endy has to play. I just think it’s silly for Lloyd to continue treating him as if he was still his 27 year old self rather than the 37 year old person he actually is.

    (Let’s see if that can reverse jinx him)

  11. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:01 pm

    Paul B,

    I don’t think anyone wants to see WFB in center. I would rather see Endy, Jones and Saunders as the regular outfield. That’s a below average outfield, but given how bad our outfield options are it’s probably the best we can do for now.

  12. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 12:03 pm

    If Hart weren’t so fragile he could platoon in left with Endy. But that’s probably not a great idea given his health issues.

    I’m not sure that’s a below average OF, Seattleguy, at least defensively.

  13. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:06 pm

    Agreed, Westside. I think his OBP is too low to hit leadoff and you’re right, his range is definitely lacking. Saunders is a much better option at CF but I don’t know if anyone else on the roster has the arm to play RF. As everyone was saying yesterday, I think the ultimate answer is that they need to bring in another outfielder (please excuse the obvious comment of the century, there).

    It’s probably not below average defensively, but I was meaning overall. Endy isn’t a great offensive player and to be honest, I’m still skeptical about Jones. And although Saunders has hit well this year, over his career his value has definitely been with the glove. I hope as much as anyone that Saunders has turned the corner offensively, but I think it’s too early to assume that.

  14. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 12:08 pm

    I must admit I don’t have a sense for how good or bad Endy’s arm is, so I’ve assumed he’s average (if people don’t comment on it then I figure it’s middle of the road).

    Does he have a weak arm?

  15. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:12 pm

    I’m pretty sure Endy has a noodle for an arm. It’s funny you bring up arms because the announcers always rave about what a great arm Jones has, but I’ve yet to see that.

  16. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:17 pm

    Endy has a pretty good arm … Even at his age. Not a RF “gun” … But he has a major league average outfield arm from what I can see. Only seen him twice in person, though. I think his arm is more than adequate for CF or LF and he has real good fundamentals for his set up and release.

    He has lost a step plus, though.

  17. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:19 pm

    Now Ackley … He has a noodle arm. Maybe a half-noodle for a major league outfielder.

  18. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:19 pm

    Really? I didn’t realize he had a good arm. But then again I think I was going more off of a hunch than actually seeing it in person, which was probably not the wisest of decisions on my part.

  19. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:21 pm

    This teams offense has me commenting on the strength of Endy’s arm.

    I need a new hobby.

  20. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:27 pm

    I’m conflicted about Walker — my expectations of him are pretty much through the roof, yet watching him pitch is maddening. I realize part of it is probably just rust, but oh man.

  21. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:30 pm

    Seattle….you must not watch every game as I have. James has been more than solid this season given that he is only a 25 year old rookie. .280 hitter so far and would be the leading run scorer if not for the Almonte experiment gone wrong. Couple that with leading the team in SB’s along with being thrown out ONCE. And, yes he has a cannon for an arm which he has shown off several times in the past three weeks. This kid is the real deal.

  22. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:32 pm

    Now….”noodle arm”? Look it up and you get a picture of Raul Ibanez!!

  23. bookbook on July 6th, 2014 12:33 pm

    Walker’s a rookie. Remember, it took Felix about three years to really take control of his domain.

    He’s clearly not in great control today, but he’s muddling through thus far.

  24. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:35 pm

    Walker has been shitty today. No fastball command at all and he is a Buck misplay away from throwing a shutout so far. Of course, with his pitch count, he will only throw five today. Still…..he has good enough stuff to do what he is doing today. As BookBook says….he is muddling. Good pitchers sometimes “muddle”

  25. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:37 pm

    Westy…I figured this could happen today….but Noesi??? C’mon man!

  26. bookbook on July 6th, 2014 12:41 pm

    Dear Mariners. Bunting doesn’t work for you (as well as not bunting).

    Sincerely,
    The Obvious

  27. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 12:44 pm

    I definitely haven’t watched every game this year, so you may have a better idea than I do about Jones. From what I’ve seen he’s put up pretty good numbers thus far, but the sample size is far too small to make any kind of definitive conclusion as to whether he’ll keep it up. I said I’m skeptical because there are times when he just looks overmatched at the plate. As you said he’s just a rookie so in no way am I trying to predict what kind of career he’ll have, I’m only saying I wouldn’t be surprised to see his numbers drop as teams figure out how to pitch him.

    As for the arm — yeah, I dunno. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the bad throws. But I distinctly remember the Astros testing him a few times and he didn’t look good. On one play, a guy tagged from 2nd and moved to 3rd on a ball that was hit to shallow right center. I actually looked away when he made the catch because I assumed they wouldn’t try to tag. The throw was a one-hopper to third that was off-line. Then the next batter hit a fly ball to medium straightaway center and the runner tagged and scored easily because the ball was one-hopped (not bad considering the distance), and was also about 12 feet offline to the right.

    But again, I haven’t seen every game so I guess you’ve seen more of him than I have.

  28. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:46 pm

    Walker is all of 21 years old … And it’s hard for any super hyped prospect to live up to inflated expectations.

    I think he will be fine, though. He’s 21.

    21.

    But he needs a lot of polish. Paxton is much more polished … And three years older.

  29. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:49 pm

    He certainly doesn’t want to face Sale again, but few lefties do. Even with the small sample size, the thing that supports future success for me is that he already knows how to hit to all fields. A huge advantage for any hitter, young or old. And, you can’t coach speed.

  30. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:53 pm

    Jones has a cannon for an arm, but I remember those throws against the Astros, too. His throws had a left-handed tail to them. Like a fade for a golfer. He cranked it up to 95 mph as an amateur pitching prospect – if that helps to paint a better picture of arm strength. Accuracy may be a different matter, though.

  31. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 12:56 pm

    Jones has absolutely no power – that’s probably his biggest drawback. His ISO is lower than Brendan Ryan’s was as a Mariner.

    The announcers talk about his arm because of the singe “threw the ball over the left field wall from home plate” story. I don’t recall seeing him do anything special from the outfield, but I have missed a number of games this past month. My bias is that Saunders has the best arm in the org, but even his falls in the good-not-great category since he doesn’t have the consistent pinpoint accuracy of, say, Ichiro.

    Mike may correct me on any of these points, though. ;-)

  32. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:56 pm

    Yeah Mike. Strength of arm is a different metric than strength of throw. He will get better with experience, but the kid has a major league plus arm. No doubt about that. And did I mention his speed?

  33. msfanmike on July 6th, 2014 12:59 pm

    Hart just let Noesi off the hook by swinging at too many shitty pitches.

    Hector Noesi. It’s fucking Hector Noesi, guys.

  34. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 12:59 pm

    And Mike, I like to call them fades too, especially on the course. “Slice” is such a negative term. I prefer to be positive. LOL

  35. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:01 pm

    On the golf course, I have what my dad referred to as a “duck hook”. I’ve never seen a throw that could match the path. :-D

  36. Seattleguy527 on July 6th, 2014 1:01 pm

    Fair enough. If you guys all say he has a plus arm, that’s good enough for me. I was only going off of what I’ve seen, but as I said, I haven’t seen every game.

    In other news… Hector Noesi. This is the stuff ulcers are made of.

  37. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 1:04 pm

    SWING AT STRIKES!!

  38. djw on July 6th, 2014 1:05 pm

    Jones strikes me as, best case scenario, roughly what Endy Chavez was before he was rendered a useless shell of his former self by age and injury. He makes enough contract to hit for a decent average, but with few power and walks. He’ll make it work with + defense at a premium position (although the cannon-arm won’t be of much actual value because of accuracy issues, although that is one aspect of his game where improvement is possible). He’s someone you can potentially live with as a starter, but on a really well-constructed team he’d be a 4th OF.

  39. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:09 pm

    Djw, I’d have ended that first sentence with “… by age and Yunieski Betancourt”.

  40. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:24 pm

    Let’s see if Lloyd pinch-hits WFB for Saunders here.

  41. djw on July 6th, 2014 1:25 pm

    Amended. Although he was still had enough in the tank to be a useful piece for the Rangers in 2011, with a bit of BABIP luck.

    The notion that he should have any significant role on an MLB team now, though, is absurd. He’s had roughly a full season’s worth of playing time in the majors since 2012 and he’s produced something like -2.7 WAR. And even if he managed to go back in time five years, his usefulness to the M’s would be very limited given the extent to which he duplicates what Jones has to offer.

  42. djw on July 6th, 2014 1:28 pm

    I’ve haven’t been watching this game, but just following on gamecast. If GC is correct, it would appear that Noesi is doing this to us while getting squeezed by the home plate ump, which, if accurate, adds to the WTF factor here. Does it appear that way to the naked eye?

  43. Section329 on July 6th, 2014 1:28 pm

    5 hits against Noesi? Aargh.
    Anyone else worried that Jack Z will trade Walker+ for Price?
    Noo!

  44. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:29 pm

    Bases loaded for Cano!

  45. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 1:30 pm

    Sigh…..

  46. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 1:31 pm

    DJW….that was the most strikes I have ever seen Noesi throw.

  47. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:33 pm

    Crap.

    Djw, I’m only half-watching the game… but it’s seemed to me that the Mariners were to some degree doing it to themselves. But Noesi definitely appeared to be pitching pretty well.

  48. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Yes….many of those strikes were bad swings by the M’s

  49. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:37 pm

    Mauer may have discovered his niche.

  50. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:41 pm

    Nice catch by Eaton there. Unfortunately.

  51. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:47 pm

    Nice catch by Cano there. Fortunately.

  52. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:50 pm

    Huh. I was looking at Adam Dunn’s FanGraphs page – he appears to be having a very Adam Dunn sort of season. Only a .225 average with a 31% K rate, but a .366 OBP and a wRC+ of 120.

  53. lokiforever on July 6th, 2014 1:51 pm

    It’s a little too sunny out there.

    How did Noesi Do? “</end snark/"

  54. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 1:53 pm

    I’d dope-slap you if you were nearby, lokiforever. :-D

  55. juneau_fan on July 6th, 2014 1:54 pm

    Last chance, boys.

  56. juneau_fan on July 6th, 2014 1:59 pm

    *sigh*

  57. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 2:00 pm

    Well that sucked.

  58. Eastside Suds on July 6th, 2014 2:01 pm

    Man….that was hard to watch. Garden here I come. Have a great Sunday evening everyone.

  59. Westside guy on July 6th, 2014 10:46 pm

    Hey, I just came across this interesting piece, by Joe Posnanski, about Raul IbaƱez.

    It’s more human interest than statistically rigorous, but I always enjoy JoPo’s writing.

  60. ivan on July 7th, 2014 8:10 am

    It is the silly season and everybody has an opinion on who the Mariners should get, even extending to dead bodies. Joel Sherman thinks Alfonso Soriano “makes sense.” No. John McGrath goes even further. Johnny Damon? Hell no! But hey! Why not Manny Ramirez? Why not Wily Mo Pena? Why not Wladimir Balentien? Is Greg Pirkl available?

  61. MKT on July 7th, 2014 12:54 pm

    It an excellent piece about Raul. Although I don’t know him personally, everything that I’ve read about him, and every interview of his that I’ve heard, supports what Joe Po says: Raul was a consummate professional; dedicated and thoughtful and intelligent in his approach to baseball.

    But it was still a mistake to bring him back in 2013 (though the M’s lucked out when he hit better than expected). Likewise, Junior brought years of delight to Mariner fans, but it was still a mistake to bring him back in 2009 and an even bigger bungle to bring him back in 2010.

    I was sure that the Ms were going to repeat their mistakes by re-signing Raul for 2014. One of my first signs of hope for this season, faint though it was back then, was that they let him go to the Angels.

  62. Paul B on July 7th, 2014 3:30 pm

    I liked seeing Raul hit. What I didn’t like was seeing his limited range in the oufield.

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