Game 124, Mariners at Phillies

marc w · August 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. AJ Burnett, 4:05pm

Wildcard odds – 42.2% 43.2%

AJ Burnett was one of the biggest prizes on the free agent market this winter – a solid right-hander coming off a four win season, whose age would preclude the need for a long-term contract. The righty had an elite GB rate, which helped him avoid the dinger problems that plagued his Yankee tenure.

He signed a one-year, $16m deal in Philadelphia, and, like most things associated with this year’s Phillies, it hasn’t gone according to plan. To be clear, that’s not to say that he’s been terrible. His FIP and ERA are now above 4, as his K%, strand rate and GB rates have all fallen while his walk rate and HR rate rose. That said, he had some room to fall. He’s not going to post a 2-3 WAR season, but hes been mediocre instead of out-and-out bad. He’s throwing the same pitches- mostly a sinker, then a four-seam, a big curveball and the occasional change – at the same velocities. The big thing that’s changed is his command. He’s throwing a lot more balls, and that means he’s pitching behind. It’s interesting – if you just look at zone%, the delta looks tiny. But looking at the ‘ahead’/'behind’ numbers at Statcorner, or the Ball% numbers at Brooks Baseball shows a fairly dramatic decline.

That seems to be because the problem’s mostly affected his fastballs. A few more balls there, and he *has* to throw more strikes with his other pitches, leading to fewer whiffs, and more hitter’s counts mean more fastballs (especially sinkers) overall. This in turn puts pressure on his platoon splits. In his two good years in Pittsburgh, Burnett had the platoon advantage in a majority of PAs. That ratio’s lower this year, and the M’s will obviously pose a particular challenge for him. Of course, they should’ve posed a problem for Jerome Williams, too.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Morrison, 1B
6: Chavez, RF
7: Zunino, C
8: Miller, SS
SP: Iwakuma

Great article on a new frontier for baseball analysts by Ben Lindberg today at Grantland.


51 Responses to “Game 124, Mariners at Phillies”

  1. msfanmike on August 19th, 2014 3:19 pm

    Game #124, again?

    Please, let’s not re-live that gem.

  2. Westside guy on August 19th, 2014 4:02 pm

    Wow, it’s amazing how much the playoff odds swung just based on one loss!

  3. californiamariner on August 19th, 2014 4:09 pm

    I was gonna say that. How did the playoff odds drop so much after one game with almost 40 left? Detroit didn’t even play.

    Weird, Lloyd has 5 lefties in a row today, but normally having Ackley, Cano, Seager in a row is too many.

  4. Dennisss on August 19th, 2014 4:18 pm

    Well, maybe one win will bring the odds way up. I guess these are high-leverage games.

  5. msfanmike on August 19th, 2014 4:19 pm

    LoMo with a straight steal attempt.

    This shit is Priceless.

    Good first inning, though.

  6. Paul B on August 19th, 2014 4:27 pm

    2 runs on 1 hit? I’ll take it.

  7. Westside guy on August 19th, 2014 4:31 pm

    How many millions does Philadelphia still owe Ryan Howard, again? :-D

  8. Paul B on August 19th, 2014 4:35 pm

    Kuma, don’t swing!

  9. Paul B on August 19th, 2014 4:44 pm

    Ah, well he grounded out. I hope that would have been strike 3 anyway.

  10. OlyFanBase on August 19th, 2014 4:45 pm

    I loved watching Kuma run to first…He forgot to drop the bat.

  11. MrZDevotee on August 19th, 2014 4:48 pm

    Dave Sims ALWAYS… And I mean ALWAYS has to comment about the amazing speed of Dustin Ackley. Has anyone else ever seen it?

    It must just be a private thing between those two…

  12. Paul B on August 19th, 2014 4:51 pm

    I have to admit that I no longer really hear anything Sims says. He speaks words, mostly, but they don’t string together very well and I guess he is sort of like the background music in Safeway.

  13. Woodcutta on August 19th, 2014 5:28 pm

    There’s background music in Safeway?

  14. Woodcutta on August 19th, 2014 5:30 pm

    I’m not a fan of broken Ackley. Please stop pulling pitches on the outer half of the plate.

  15. californiamariner on August 19th, 2014 5:42 pm

    Seager!! Took advantage of a 3-0 high fastball

  16. californiamariner on August 19th, 2014 5:48 pm

    Mike Zunino: 378 plate appearances and more HBP than walks.

  17. californiamariner on August 19th, 2014 6:00 pm

    I wonder how Phillies fans feel about Burnett wearing Roy Halladay’s number the first year he’s no longer part of the team!

  18. msfanmike on August 19th, 2014 6:24 pm

    That was a great time for a hit!

  19. Westside guy on August 19th, 2014 6:30 pm

    Since when does Mike Zunino hit singles? I didn’t think he was capable of anything but homers, strikeouts, and being hit by pitches.

    (And does “homers, strikeouts, and being hit by pitches” count as three true outcomes?)

  20. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 6:36 pm

    Did Kuma just pull his groin? That didn’t look good… and on his last pitch of the game, too. Ugh.

  21. leon0112 on August 19th, 2014 6:39 pm

    Can’t imagine thePhillies winning at this point. Refreshing faith in bullpen compared to years past.

  22. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 7:04 pm

    Please go away, Miller.

  23. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 7:06 pm


    I saw that stat on Zunino today. I couldn’t believe it!

  24. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 7:07 pm

    Yeah, I will welcome the return of Saunders in right.

  25. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 7:09 pm

    This is embarrassing.

  26. msfanmike on August 19th, 2014 7:09 pm

    My imagination is a bit less certain, Leon

  27. Section329 on August 19th, 2014 7:09 pm

    Hoping you didn’t jinx us, Leon!

  28. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 7:10 pm

    They’re trying not to humiliate the home team after being served all those delicious sandwiches.

  29. msfanmike on August 19th, 2014 7:11 pm

    Medina kinda reminds me of Uncle Fester. Any other old people out there who get an Uncle Fester vibe from him?

  30. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 7:13 pm

    Brad Miller must be sh*tting his pants right now.

  31. TherzAlwaysHope on August 19th, 2014 7:13 pm

    stevemotivateir: Saunders in right? Why? Just being back in the lineup could “screw things up.”

    Free Saunders!

  32. Grayfox3d on August 19th, 2014 7:15 pm

    Asche just got Randazzo’d because that’s a thing right?

    Nice win boys!

  33. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 7:16 pm

    So tomorrow we’ll get to see Morales at 1B, as McClendon stated before tonight’s game. But I wonder if we’ll see Morrison in RF again.

    I had hoped that Llyod was smarter than that, but I don’t think he’s learned.

  34. Grayfox3d on August 19th, 2014 7:17 pm

    Ok now to switch my focus over to Tampa Bay! lets go Rays!

  35. HighlightsAt11 on August 19th, 2014 7:21 pm

    Greg Johns reporting for duty. Yes sir!

    Headline on his Seattle mlb ‘news’ propaganda piece: “Mariners practice patience in Saunders’ rehab”.

    Yeah, right.

    Another of his propaganda pieces: “McClendon has done a masterful job”.

    How much can one ‘reporter’ kiss ass?

  36. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 7:29 pm

    LoMo won’t be in RF tomorrow because there’s a lefty going for Philly. I’m sure Denorfia will be in right (Lloyd loves him against lefties), Taylor at short (most likely why Miller was playing tonight, to give him a rest and because there was a righty opposing them), and Morales will be in the lineup because he’s a switch hitter. I’m sure Lloyd will try to get as many righties in the lineup as possible. I doubt it will matter, but he loves his matchups.

  37. ivan on August 19th, 2014 7:50 pm

    Does anyone else besides me think Miller should have been charged with an error, which would have made the Phillies’ two runs unearned?

  38. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 7:56 pm

    I assumed it was ruled an error, Ivan. That was a routine play. Guess that’s what you call a “hometown ruling” huh?

  39. Westside guy on August 19th, 2014 8:06 pm

    Denorfia is hitting like crap despite being strictly platooned. I realize it’s too much to expect Lloyd to look past the “he’s right handed so he’ll always be in the lineup against lefty pitchers”, but it drives me nuts.

    And unfortunately I bet 60-70% of managers would do the same thing – Lloyd isn’t alone.

  40. ivan on August 19th, 2014 8:06 pm

    “Hometown ruling” is right. Unofficial box on ESPN called it a hit. BS if you ask me.

  41. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 8:12 pm

    Completely agree, Westside. When I finished writing my post I had to pick up my eyeballs because I was rolling them the whole time I was writing it (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration).

    And I would guess you might be on the low side when you say 60 – 70%. It seems like the vast majority of managers obsess over matchups, especially if it’s late in the game, even when it’s a small sample size.

  42. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 8:19 pm

    Yeah, I hadn’t looked at tomorrow’s night match ups. It probably will be Denorfia.

    But still, Morales at 1B is ridiculous.

  43. californiamariner on August 19th, 2014 8:20 pm

    Westside, while I agree with what you’re saying about Lloyd, in the case of Denorfia he’s right. Denorfia actually has a pretty strong split for his career. Career wRC+ of 126 vs lefties and only 90 vs righties.

  44. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 8:22 pm

    Oh absolutely. Personally, I think Morales in the lineup period, let alone hitting 4th, is ridiculous. But either these guys have some unwarranted faith in him or they feel like they need to try and squeeze something out of that trade. Either way it’s pretty damn frustrating.

  45. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 8:22 pm

    ^Denorfia has been terrible in Philly, though I still think he’d be the better choice given the alternatives.

  46. Seattleguy527 on August 19th, 2014 8:23 pm

    Anybody following this Tigers game? This just in — Grant Balfour sucks. Also, the sky is blue.

  47. stevemotivateir on August 19th, 2014 8:24 pm

    Oops, was a little late with that last comment.

    I tend to agree with Seattleguy.

  48. Don Money on August 19th, 2014 8:36 pm

    Saunders is like 3 for 18 with 7 strikeouts since his paternity leave, not exactly tearing up AAA. I would say LM has a real good handle on matching up his hitters with opposing pitchers. Who on this team is underachieving for the year? Miller is the only guy that jumps out and he has become a bench player. I think LM is doing a masterful job of utilizing this teams talent and the results back him up!

  49. Westside guy on August 19th, 2014 9:05 pm

    Don, you’re conveniently ignoring the seven walks Saunders has taken just since coming back from paternity leave. That’s a .400 on base percentage.

    Don’t cherry pick.

  50. ivan on August 20th, 2014 4:16 am

    I’m somewhat more impressed with Ketel Marte hitting a HR off Derek Holland.

  51. deflated on August 20th, 2014 10:10 am

    Underachieving for the year? Morales is currently 2 WAR under his pre-season ZiPS projection, there is plenty of hitting suckage to go around.

    Looking at the 40-man the only hitters on there that are clearly outperforming their projections are Saunders, Cano and Seager and one of those guys is stuck in AAA while LoMo (projected 0.3 WAR, actual -0.4) patrols RF. ‘Masterful’ is not the word I would use to describe LM’s outfield roster management.

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