Game 119, Blue Jays at Mariners

marc w · August 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. RA Dickey, 7:10pm

RA Dickey was the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner, and he signed a big (ok, maybe “moderate” is more accurate) contract with the Jays the year after. And yet, he’s clearly the second best pitcher tonight, and that’s the big reason why Fangraphs gives the M’s a better-than-60% chance of completing the series sweep tonight.

Dickey’s always been just about impossible to project. In his first few seasons as a knuckleballer, first with the M’s and then with Minnesota, his control got him into trouble, and while he limited BABIP (the knuckleballer addendum to Voros McCracken’s DIPS theory), it wasn’t enough to make him more than replacement level. But upon joining the Mets in 2010, he suddenly stopped walking so many and nearly instantly became a good, solid MLB starting pitcher. He posted better-than-league average WARs in 2010 and 2011, and that clearly understated his value: because his true talent BABIP was lower than the average (something FIP ignored), he was much better on the field than you’d know by looking at his fielding independent stats. In 2012, he went nuts and became a strikeout pitcher as well, as batters started chasing his knuckler out of the zone. His control was excellent, and that allowed him to get ahead of hitters and get them to expand the zone. In addition, the low BABIP meant higher than average strand rates, and boom, 20 wins, less-than-3.00 ERA, hardware.

Before he signed with Toronto, Dave tried to correct the idea that Dickey was a one-year wonder, and indeed, Toronto ended up paying not for his extraordinary 2012, but something like his 2010-2011 level of performance. In a lot of ways, that’s what they’ve gotten. His BABIP is right where it was, his walks are up a bit (expected after switching leagues), but his K’s have stayed fairly high too. He’s not getting as many whiffs, but that’s not the story. The story is that he’s lost that traditional knuckleballer skill of stranding baserunners because of his low BABIP. The low BABIP’s still there, but the strand rate keep falling.

Most pitchers have a very similar pattern in their three-true-outcome stats when the bases are empty and when there are runners in scoring position. Traditionally, K rates are highest, walk rates are lowest, and HR rates highest with the bases empty. Hisashi Iwakuma is the best example, as he challenges hitters with the bases empty, then gets a bit cagier with RISP (even if that means pitching around a tough hitter). Dickey was just like everyone else when he was with the Mets, but now, the reverse is happening. Or rather, he’s not seeing any gains in HR-rate from his losses in BB rate with RISP. He walks more hitters, but he’s giving up his HRs when they hurt the most. The odd thing is that it’s not JUST Dickey. The entire Blue Jays team has a higher HR rate with RISP than they do with the bases empty. That makes no sense. Not sure you can blame this on the HR-inflating properties of the Rogers Centre, not sure if it’s pitch calling, or something the catchers are doing, but it’s really weird. Dickey’s retained some of the benefit that adheres to knuckleballers, but he’s lost the others. No idea if he can get them back.

Line-up:
1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Denorfia, RF
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller SS
SP: Iwakuma

Comments

58 Responses to “Game 119, Blue Jays at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on August 13th, 2014 5:47 pm

    Marc, I really appreciate the interesting and informative game posts you put together, day in and day out. I feel as if I’ve learned something, yet again today! Thank you for the time you put in to USS Mariner.

  2. Paul B on August 13th, 2014 7:14 pm

    Remember when Wedge didn’t think Iwakuma was good?

  3. Jake on August 13th, 2014 7:15 pm

    Remember when shortstops didn’t make stupid throws?

  4. Paul B on August 13th, 2014 7:22 pm

    Miller does seem to be slowly losing his job. Of course the Ms have a bad track record with rookies that get off to a fast start.

  5. Jake on August 13th, 2014 7:27 pm

    WOW How in the HELL did he hit that pitch? That was amazing

  6. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 7:27 pm

    Morales!! The man can hit again!

  7. Paul B on August 13th, 2014 7:27 pm

    Morales jusf kind of whacked at a high pitch.

  8. Slats on August 13th, 2014 7:27 pm

    Kendrys!

  9. alfredodm on August 13th, 2014 7:29 pm

    Morales has awaken. Hopefully. Really, really hopefully.

  10. Jake on August 13th, 2014 7:37 pm

    Damn, Miller just redeemed himself.

  11. Paul B on August 13th, 2014 7:37 pm

    Miller making up for the one he threw away in the first.

  12. WalterNeff on August 13th, 2014 7:37 pm

    Release the Kendrys!

  13. Dennisss on August 13th, 2014 7:38 pm

    I did my best to slam Morales two days ago, and he has two doubles and two homers since. It’s good to be wrong.

  14. Jake on August 13th, 2014 7:43 pm

    They are hitting everything hard off thus far. This is good.

  15. Paul B on August 13th, 2014 8:02 pm

    Yankees lost, at least that one went the right way.

  16. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 8:12 pm

    Ok Iwakuma, get your pitches under control!

  17. Jake on August 13th, 2014 8:12 pm

    Attaboy Kuma!

  18. Breadbaker on August 13th, 2014 8:15 pm

    Kawasaki lets the good times roll!

  19. WalterNeff on August 13th, 2014 8:15 pm

    48-10 with 4 runs or more: isn’t everyone like that?

  20. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 8:18 pm

    so Dickey throw’s an “Eephus”? according to gameday.

  21. Jake on August 13th, 2014 8:38 pm

    Damn, that ball almost came out of Hill’s glove.

  22. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 8:39 pm

    Damn! Seager hit that pretty hard. Feel like they’re handling Dickey better than the 2 runs show.

  23. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 8:39 pm

    This game should already be just about over as far as the score goes, we just cant get that one big hit! Cmon guys!

  24. alfredodm on August 13th, 2014 8:40 pm

    Looks like we’re gonna make this interesting, make ‘Kuma earn this one.

  25. Jake on August 13th, 2014 8:53 pm

    Denorfia, continuing to impress.

  26. Westside guy on August 13th, 2014 9:01 pm

    Saw this about 45 minutes late, but – Breadbaker is showing his age.

    And, given that I recognized the reference… so am I.

  27. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:02 pm

    Walking Kawasaki is painful. Please go take Kuma out now.

  28. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 9:10 pm

    Can anyone throw a strike or what!

  29. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:12 pm

    Is Root not broadcasting Friday’s game?

  30. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 9:14 pm

    Lord Farquhar! Big strikeout

  31. Section329 on August 13th, 2014 9:15 pm

    Good to see Danny in a non mop up role.

  32. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:15 pm

    Amazing, Farquhar can perform without a 5 run cushion/deficit!

  33. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:16 pm

    What a helpful stat for a reliever:

    Starts: 0

  34. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 9:26 pm

    Seriously? Farquhar is only good for one out and then it’s time to go to Medina? Medina against the middle of the order… Got a bad feeling here.

  35. leon0112 on August 13th, 2014 9:32 pm

    A shut out through 8! Mariners pitching is amazing.

  36. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 9:34 pm

    And Medina made Cabrera and Bautista look absolutely stupid. Guess I was wrong.

  37. taylor.mariner on August 13th, 2014 9:34 pm

    SWWWEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!

  38. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 9:39 pm

    Seager has had a rough night.

  39. Eastside Suds on August 13th, 2014 9:40 pm

    Okay. Deep breath everyone!

  40. leon0112 on August 13th, 2014 9:40 pm

    C’mon Rodney. Get the save.

  41. taylor.mariner on August 13th, 2014 9:40 pm

    That swing SCREAMED rough night.

  42. Eastside Suds on August 13th, 2014 9:42 pm

    Just, for once, make this stress free. Pleeeeease!!

  43. taylor.mariner on August 13th, 2014 9:46 pm

    Makin’ good plays, we got this, we got this.

  44. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:51 pm

    YES!

  45. californiamariner on August 13th, 2014 9:51 pm

    Sweep! This is as good as I’ve felt about this team in quite a while, keep it up guys.

  46. leon0112 on August 13th, 2014 9:52 pm

    Awesome!

  47. Grayfox3d on August 13th, 2014 9:52 pm

    oh man what a great win! congrats guys, keep it up!

  48. alfredodm on August 13th, 2014 9:52 pm

    Nice!

  49. HighlightsAt11 on August 13th, 2014 9:52 pm

    Way to go at ‘em Rodney!

  50. taylor.mariner on August 13th, 2014 9:53 pm

    SWEEEEEEEWWWWEEEEEEWWWEEEEEEEEP!

  51. Jake on August 13th, 2014 9:55 pm

    Jen Mueller with the hard hitting questions!

  52. leon0112 on August 13th, 2014 9:58 pm

    Ten games over .500. New high for the year.

  53. Sowulo on August 13th, 2014 10:00 pm

    The hell with the Wild Card. Go catch Oakland.

  54. msfanmike on August 13th, 2014 10:02 pm

    Kendrys barely speaks Engljsh. I wouldn’t expect Jen to ask him any questions about international monetary policy. She did alright with her questions – and kudos to Kendrys for trying.

  55. HighlightsAt11 on August 13th, 2014 10:03 pm

    Good that Comerica Park was not impacted by the flooding in Detroit. Let’s keep it rolling M’s!

  56. Westside guy on August 13th, 2014 10:06 pm

    Detroit won tonight, and KC seems determined not to lose another game this season. I know we’ve talked about smoke and mirrors with regards to the Mariners; but the Royals seemingly have that market cornered.

  57. Kazinski on August 13th, 2014 10:12 pm

    Lloyd channeled Earl Weaver in the postgame interview: “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher”.

    I’d be happy if he managed more like Weaver: fewer sacrafice bunts and more 3 run homers.

  58. ensignofcommand on August 14th, 2014 12:14 am

    To be fair to Lloyd, it’s a lot easier to play pitch/defense/3-run homer ball when you have Palmer, Cuellar and McNally leading your staff, and Boog, Brooks and Frank Robinson leading your position players. Not to mention glove guys with solid bats like Paul Blair and Davey Johnson.

    That was a beast of a team.

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