Game 115, White Sox at Mariners

marc w · August 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Hector Noesi, 6:10pm (note odd start time)

Early start tonight for the M’s as they celebrate Lou Piniella and induct their ex-manager into the team’s hall of fame. James Paxton gets the start tonight as the M’s look to re-take the lead in the race for the second wild card slot. Opposing him is old friend Hector Noesi, who dominated the M’s back in Chicago.

With the M’s surging again, it’s natural to look at the remaining schedule as a key factor in the wild card race. The M’s have a fairly favorable run down the stretch; they played a lot of road games early, and saw the A’s and Angels an awful lot (not that either of those teams dominated Seattle). Now, they get the soft underbelly of interleague play (Philadepelphia), the AL teams who were supposed to be good but weren’t (Boston and Texas), and two series against Houston. They also get seven games against Toronto – the first three start Monday – the team sitting just behind them in the WC standings (tied with New York). Their schedule’s one reason Fangraphs’ playoff odds gives the Mariners the best chance to win that second wild card spot; KC has a half-game lead, but they’ve got a tougher road in August/September, and thus are forecast to play .500 ball. Cleveland has a great schedule, but they’re four games back of Seattle, and they’ll struggle without Asdrubal Cabrera or a healthy Justin Masterson. Still, the imbalance between the divisions is concerning. The Royals have to face Detroit, but they’ve still had a whole lot of Minnesota to rack up wins against. The M’s would be in a much better position if they could transfer the front office to, say, Chicago (hey, Boeing did it) and play in the Central. Sure, divisions wax and wane, but the Central’s been the weakest of the three since realignment.

James Paxton is pretty good, people. He clearly didn’t have his best command the other day in Baltimore, but he still kept a very good – maybe the best – right-handed line-up off balance. That’s been the key to his remarkable run in his brief MLB career – his success against righties. Lefties don’t stand too much of a chance with plus-plus velocity from the left side and two very different breaking balls. Paxton’s fastball’s over the top, so it’s not *too* uncomfortable, but they’ve really struggled to elevate anything, and they’re clearly not seeing his breaking balls at all. So it’s been up to righties to do some damage, and while he’s given up his share of HRs, he’s still incredibly effective against them. It’s got nothing to do with his change, a work in progress that still needs lots more work. He’s doing it all with his fastball.

Against righties, he’s thrown fastballs 72% of the time. If the batter’s ahead, or on first pitches, it’s nearly 90% fastballs. There’s nothing tricky about this pattern. It does help explain why a guy who struggled so much with his control has limited walks (excepting his last start) in the bigs. He’s learned to trust his fastball and spot it better than he did with Tacoma, and as a result, he’s got several chances to get the count back in his favor. The key is that even when righties know what’s coming, and even if they know it’s going to be in the zone, they’ve struggled to consistently elevate it. Most of the time it’s put in play, it’s a ground ball. It’s tough to know how to project him. On one hand, excelling against opposite-handed hitters so early is incredibly encouraging; he’s most of the way towards hitting his ceiling as an elite #2. On the other, you’d figure that hitters would eventually learn how to hit a fastball, especially one with so much vertical rise. On yet another hand, if batters DO start tracking his fastball a bit better, he can probably just ramp up his curve ball usage which is among the most effective curve balls in baseball (very, very, very small sample, but very, very, very good hook).

Hector Noesi is still the same guy. Chicago PC Don Cooper has him throwing a cutter now, but it looks pretty much exactly like the slider he threw with Seattle – same movement, same velo. He’s traded off great results (like the game against the M’s) with disastrous starts, another pattern he learned here, although he’s clearly having a bit more success with Chicago than he did in either Seattle or Texas. Noesi’s running reverse splits this year, which is nothing new. In his career, they’re reverse by wOBA and nearly identical by xFIP, with lefties having a SLG% advantage, while righties enjoy an OBP advantage.

The line-up:
1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Zunino, C
7: Morrison, DH
8: Taylor, SS
9: Chavez, RF
SP: Paxton

The Rainiers won last night’s game, their salute to WSU, behind UW-guy Forrest Snow. Today’s the “Paint the Park Purple” night honoring UW, but there won’t be an WSU Cougars starting. Mike Curto notes the only Coug hurler in the PCL is on New Orleans’ roster. Instead, it’ll be ACC product Jimmy Gilheeney on the hill against SF prospect (kind of) Mike Kickham. The game starts at 7 – go if you’re local. Looks like a great night for it.

Victor Sanchez, a top-5 M’s prospect, starts for Jackson tonight, while Jose Flores goes for Clinton. Jeffeson Medina gets the ball for Everett in Spokane.

Via Bob Dutton, the M’s are calling up Erasmo Ramirez to make tomorrow’s start, with Roenis Elias already in Tacoma. The idea is to start to slow Elias’ down and avoid running up too many IP (though he’ll start on Tacoma’s upcoming road trip). The M’s also brought up Lucas Luetge yesterday when they optioned Elias – Luetge’s expected to be sent back tonight/tomorrow to make room for Erasmo. Dutton also notes that this will be another one-and-done call-up for Ramirez – he’ll head back to Tacoma after making the start. He suggest the M’s may recall James Jones, which’d probably bridge the bench until Michael Saunders is 100%.


41 Responses to “Game 115, White Sox at Mariners”

  1. Jake on August 9th, 2014 5:15 pm

    ROOT keeps showing graphics stating that Lou managed from 1993-2003.


  2. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 6:39 pm

    7 pitches for Noesi in the 1st inning, Let me guess Lloyd, another bad offensive game plan…?

  3. Mid80sRighty on August 9th, 2014 7:02 pm

    Noesi looking like Cy Young again…

  4. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2014 7:09 pm

    Never change, Lou, you sexy old bastard…

  5. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 7:10 pm

    This is down right embarassing.

  6. Longgeorge1 on August 9th, 2014 7:20 pm

    A turning point?

  7. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Can someone check the weather forecast for “Hell”, cuz it might be freezing over… Zunino with a walk!

  8. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 7:23 pm

    Nice LoMo, way to get a fastball down the middle… and do nothing with it.

  9. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 7:39 pm

    So does anyone think Jack Z get’s extended again after this season? I’m ready to move on personally.

  10. Jake on August 9th, 2014 7:47 pm

    Yes, he will.

    When Wedge said at the end of last year that he didn’t want to work for this organization anymore, the last thing the Mariner ownership group would do is change the GM position. They’re steadfast in showing that everyone they hire is correct at this point.

    It would “validate” Wedge’s statements, as well as the stories about the general idiocy of the ownership, so yes, Z will be resigned.

  11. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 7:54 pm

    Yes, I think he will be re-signed, too.

    Nobody is going to non-hyphen his job status this year.

  12. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 7:57 pm

    Ackley showed some emotion

    Holy shit, he showed emotion!

  13. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2014 7:57 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of Jack as I gave expressed many times, but in what world would you fire a GM who has:

    * Drafted very well
    * Signed Robinson Cano
    * Made some savvy moves before the trade deadline without giving away any talent
    * Added WFB, Chavez, Young and Morrison who have all contributed
    * Hired the popular Lloyd McLendon
    * and……sees over a club that is in the thick of the playoff hunt in mid August.

    Jack isn’t going anywhere folks.

  14. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 8:06 pm

    Nice job by Paxton tonight.

    Let’s hope the offense wakes up. Hector Noesi … Crimony.

  15. Jake on August 9th, 2014 8:16 pm

    Cy Noesi again.

  16. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 8:17 pm

    I’m at a loss of snarky mean things to say right now, this is not very intriguing for a team trying for a playoff spot.

  17. Longgeorge1 on August 9th, 2014 8:29 pm

    Don’t know what fans expect. Winning 6 of 10 for an extended period is nearly impossible. Only the A’s are doing it this year. There are just a lot of losses every year. But getting just one unearned run against Noesi is hard to stomach.

  18. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 8:59 pm

    What frustates me is a game like tonight, getting dominated by a pitcher named Noesi, its like he’s Verlander 2.0 when he faces us, maybe its just our hyper aggressive lineup plays into his style.

  19. Jake on August 9th, 2014 9:00 pm

    Cool, can’t wait to see Farquhar hit in a couple innings.

  20. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 9:06 pm

    I think it will be Miller who eventually pinch hits, but it might as well be Farquar.

  21. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2014 9:07 pm


  22. juneau_fan on August 9th, 2014 9:09 pm


  23. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 9:09 pm

    we dont always lose, but when we do, its because our shortstop makes an error lol.

  24. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 9:09 pm

    One thing about Taylor’s few errors … They have all been costly.

    That play just has to be made.

  25. Woodcutta on August 9th, 2014 9:09 pm

    You just knew that when Taylor didn’t make that play that run was going to eventually score.

  26. Jake on August 9th, 2014 9:10 pm

    Regarding the Mariners shortstop defense, I think Bon Jovi had it right:

    It’s all the same
    Only the names have changed

  27. Woodcutta on August 9th, 2014 9:15 pm

    Is the M’s bullpen tired or something? Teams don’t usually bring in their closer in the tenth inning in a tie game.

  28. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2014 9:15 pm

    Often at the very worst times, too.

  29. Jake on August 9th, 2014 9:15 pm

    They have an 8 man pen, plenty to choose from.

  30. Jake on August 9th, 2014 9:17 pm

    What a game for Taylor in the last inning. Wow.

  31. Seattleguy527 on August 9th, 2014 9:17 pm

    It’s because we’re at home, Wooodcutta. The thinking is you bring in the closer to get them out and then hope your team wins it in the bottom half.

  32. Eastside Suds on August 9th, 2014 9:17 pm

    All Lou’s fault!

  33. msfanmike on August 9th, 2014 9:18 pm

    Hector Noesi kicked us in the nuts.

  34. Seattleguy527 on August 9th, 2014 9:19 pm

    We needed this one. With Ramirez going tomorrow we’re probably looking at a split now. Boo.

  35. Woodcutta on August 9th, 2014 9:23 pm

    “The thinking is you bring in the closer to get them out and then hope your team wins it in the bottom half.”

    We are talking about the Mariners here, right? The reason I even bring it up is that closers are conditioned to come into the game in very specific situations and when they come into games that are blowouts or tied they tend to not pitch as well as they would with a lead. At least that is what I have witnessed over the years.

  36. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 9:25 pm

    He ended up giving the winning run up yes, but he could of just as easily been out of the inning if Taylor makes that play, both players are at fault in some way, but I would also point to the manager in that situation as well.

  37. Seattleguy527 on August 9th, 2014 9:28 pm

    Yeah, I wasn’t saying I agree with it, just saying that teams have been doing it for years. In a way it makes sense though — if you’re the home team and the game is tied in extras you obviously won’t be using your closer in a save situation. Either the game will be tied or you will be behind… If you’re ahead the game would be over. The alternative is to not use the closer at all, but most teams consider the closer their best guy so they use them.

  38. Grayfox3d on August 9th, 2014 9:32 pm

    After sitting on my comment for a few, It’s not really fair of me to point the finger at any one person in particular, because in reality, when you get schooled by Noesi like we did tonight, then that goes down as a team loss, everyone did their part to make this game as easy on Noesi as possible.

  39. Woodcutta on August 9th, 2014 10:46 pm

    I don’t understand why McClendon keeps trotting Morales out there. If I was the manager I would have pulled Morales after he swung at a pitch that was never knee high and didn’t cross the plate. There has to be someone in AAA that might hit better than the lower .200s with slugging in the .400s.

  40. Vortex on August 9th, 2014 11:14 pm

    I wish Morales was slugging in the .400s. Heck even .300s would be an improvement. He’s an “experienced” hitter according to McClendon. There just isn’t any reason even if you play him, that he should be hitting 4th.

  41. stevemotivateir on August 10th, 2014 8:10 am

    ^I wondered why he did that from game 1 with Morales. Seager was doing nothing to suggest he shouldn’t be in that slot.

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