Game 136, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · September 1, 2014 at 11:55 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Chris Young vs. Jason Hammel, 1:05pm
Wildcard Odds – 45.6% 40.2%

What a comeback yesterday – it looked like the M’s were on their way to a crippling series sweep when Dustin Ackley’s three-run shot off Tanner Roark turned the game around. Yesterday’s odds were in the mid-high 30% range, so you can see what a difference the M’s comeback (and the Tigers loss) made to their wild card odds. It’s still August, so there aren’t technically must-win games, but that one felt pretty big. If you mapped win probability to playoff odds, Dustin’s HR was as big a single play as we’ve seen in a while – it felt like it was up there with the 9th inning win over Uehara in Boston. Now they need to keep it up against the reeling A’s.

The A’s enter today’s game five games behind the Angels in the West – a divisional lead that looked un-losable has been lost, and the A’s have all but played their way out of the all-important division win/first-round bye. The A’s and Tigers were the most active teams on the trade market before the deadline, with Oakland grabbing Jason Samardzija and today’s starter Jason Hammel and then getting Jon Lester a month later. The Tigers picked up David Price in the Nick Franklin/Austin Jackson deal, with everyone hailing the moves as two playoff-bound teams tweaking their post-season rotations. Since the trades, though, both teams have scuffled. Samardzija’s been solid, but the A’s offense has gone AWOL. Hammel was awful in his first handful of starts for Oakland, but has bounced back recently. Price has been alternately brilliant and mediocre, with his famous nine-straight hit, 2IP/8R disaster against the Yankees his last time out. This isn’t to judge the deals in hindsight or to argue that teams shouldn’t trade for pitchers, but it’s a lesson that pitchers – even great ones – have rough patches, and when you acquire one, you just have to hope that you’ll miss that rough patch.

Jason Hammel seems to be coming out of his rough patch. He’s had three solid starts in his last four tries, with a hard-luck no-decision in Houston’s comeback win on the 26th. Hammel throws a sinker and a four-seamer around 92, with a slider, curve and change up as his secondaries. To righties, he’s primarily a fastball/slider guy, and while he’ll throw his slider to lefties as well, he mixes in the change and curve to them as well. In recent years, he’s not shown too much in the way of platoon splits; a bad 2013 is balanced with even splits this year and even reverse splits in his breakout 2012 year. Even after picking up the sinker in 2012, he’s still been something of a fly-ball pitcher, and that’s made him vulnerable to homers. It’s an interesting career arc – a fly baller in Coors Field who didn’t actually give up a ton of HRs but wasn’t consistent enough (and didn’t have enough swing-and-miss in his arsenal) to be effective, he remade himself as a ground-ball pitcher in Baltimore. He posted the best GB% in his career in 2012 while also seeing a strikeout rate spike…despite moving to the AL. Unfortunately, injuries limited his time, and they took a bite out of his 2013 as well. His velocity was down a bit in 2013, but not enough to explain the barrage of HRs he gave up, the GB% dropping by 13 percentage points, or his K rate sliding back. He’s been better in 2014, but while all of his rate stats have bounced back somewhat, they’re not close to his 2012 rates. Despite his success with the sinker and slider in 2012, he’s throwing more four-seamers again, perhaps just to keep hitters off balance, and perhaps because it’s easier on his arm.

Chris Young got some extra rest heading into this start, which is part of Lloyd McClendon’s canny usage of his rotation down the stretch. Felix and Iwakuma have received an extra day’s rest here and there, and now the veteran Young – coming off another shoulder surgery – will too. Felix and others have struggled a bit, but I don’t think it’s due to the shake-up of the every-five-days grind of the rotation. In any event, this is a huge game for the skyscraping righty. The M’s need a win with the Tigers and Royals facing lesser teams (although at least the Tigers are facing Corey Kluber today).

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

The rosters have expanded, so the M’s called up seven players from Tacoma. You see Smoak’s name in the line-up, and Corey Hart, Stefen Romero, Taijuan Walker and Lucas Luetge have been recalled. Two newcomers are Humberto Quintero, a back-up catcher who hit a big HR in yesterday’s game in Fresno, and Carson Smith, the relief prospect with a riding sinking fastball and a big slider. The M’s made room on the forty-man for these two first by moving Willie Bloomquist to the 60-day DL and then by placing Jesus Montero on the suspended list. This is a suspension without pay for Montero, and it opened up a spot on the roster. Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton should be called up after the Rainiers’ season ends today.

Eno Sarris has a great article and interview with Danny Farquhar at the Fox Sports blog Just a Bit Outside. Check it out.


36 Responses to “Game 136, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:10 pm

    Wait – “it’s still August”?

  2. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:24 pm

    Well, right now it looks like the Mariners may be just what the doctor ordered… for the Athletics.

  3. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 1:28 pm

    Can’t make the Paxton and Ramirez callups until the Rainiers season is over. The 10 day rule still applies until the minor league season is completed – and they were sent down to AAA less than 10 days ago … Assuming I am following your train of thought, Westy.

  4. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 1:31 pm

    Chris Young – the slump busting tonic.

    Damn, what a shitty start.

  5. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:33 pm

    Don’t know if my thoughts qualify as a train – but, if they do, it derailed quite some time ago.

  6. Section329 on September 1st, 2014 1:34 pm

    Darn-just tuned in from the Phillies no hitter. Not such a great beginning.

  7. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 1:35 pm

    Holy crud. I got here a bit late, and already down 4-0? Don’t know if our offense can make this up.

  8. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 1:36 pm

    Go buy some Chris Young rally tonic … That should help cure whatever ails you, Westy

  9. californiamariner on September 1st, 2014 1:36 pm

    At least we get to watch Walker pitch?

  10. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:44 pm

    Oh boy, Zunino is up to bat.

  11. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:47 pm

    Good thing I was sitting down for that shocking result.

  12. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 1:48 pm

    He can swing and miss fastballs, too. Super.

    And then he nodded … Yep, I missed them! All three of them.

    He must be really beat up and sore by this point in the season, but he sure has sucked for the past (fill in the blank) weeks.

  13. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 1:49 pm

    Isn’t that a trend with this team? Great defense, but NO offense? Remember the Short Stop position? How many Mendoza rovers have we had at SS?

  14. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:53 pm

    I wonder if Zunino is either tired or gritting through an injury – his August ISO was down over a hundred points compared to the rest of the season.

    Prior to that, he at least hit the crap out of the ball… on those occasions he managed to actually run into one.

  15. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 1:56 pm

    The 2013 team would take exception to that characterization, WTF_Ms.

  16. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 1:58 pm

    Was cleaning the son’s bedroom, and found a Brendan Ryan poster. Also had Guti on there too. Brought up old memories of really good defensive SS, but wayyyy bad at the plate.

  17. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 1:59 pm

    Good job by Walker after the lead-off walk. Getting through Moss was a battle. He’s a tough out.

  18. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 2:06 pm

    Fuld sure seems to play well against the Mariners. He has been worth 2.6 fWar this season in 88 games played (which was a bit astounding to me to learn) and worth about 5 fWar in his entire career.

    He’d be a good guy to have as a 4th/5th outfielder. Primarily so he wouldn’t be able to play against us – and he would also be an upgrade in both talent and age – over Endy. I wonder if he is a FA after the season.

  19. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:14 pm

    I know it’s not true, but sometimes it seems like every Athletic has been worth one or two WAR… just in games against the Mariners.

  20. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 2:32 pm

    Trying to steal 2B – down by five runs – what a brilliant move.

    There is no way Endy has a green light in that situation. It had to be called from the bench.

  21. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:38 pm

    Oh man…

    Well, thankfully that passed ball didn’t end up costing a couple more runs

  22. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 2:42 pm

    Maybe Sucre needs a few more days here in the last month?

  23. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 2:42 pm

    Nice rip by Miller.

  24. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:42 pm

    Rad Miller hits it out!!

  25. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:49 pm

    MLB At Bat could be great… it the men in charge of MLB didn’t still think it was the 1960s.

  26. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:52 pm

    If the runner is already going, restricting how the pitcher is allowed to turn around (the balk rule) seems rather silly.

  27. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 2:55 pm

    That balk call seems to have shaken him. I agree with the “silly” part too Westy!

  28. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 2:58 pm

    Adana Dunn may very well be a great pickup for the A’s. Based on the news stories I’d read, I expected him to be sucking this season – but his wRC+ this year is 117.

  29. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 2:59 pm

    It’s simple, though. Gotta be engaged on the rubber to throw a legal pitch and you have to properly disengage from the rubber to become an “infielder.” All he had to do was step back with his right foot, first – and he didn’t do it.

  30. WTF_Ms on September 1st, 2014 3:05 pm

    In that case, he should have just allowed the steal.

    Also, it appears that Smoak still has “Warning Track” power.

  31. msfanmike on September 1st, 2014 3:10 pm

    A good base runner will try to get the pitcher to flinch – by leaving early – in the hope of getting the balk. You usually see it done with a pitcher that the runner believes can be rattled. Walker’s mind is spinning quickly and they got him in “mid thought.” He reacted to the “he’s going” screams of his teammates. When the game slows down a tick for Walker – I doubt he will fall for that play. It was a good play by the A’s runner. It’s hard to train yourself not to immediately turn and react when someone yells “he’s going.” Teams usually try to yell “step off – he’s going,” but, rookies.

  32. Don Money on September 1st, 2014 3:18 pm

    Ackley looks like he’s been playing left his whole career, really gets a great jump on the ball. Looking more an more like the second overall pick we wanted to see!

  33. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 3:21 pm

    Haha, Blowers on Zunino: “Right now Mike is just not seeing the baseball”.

    Looking at his batting line, he apparently hasn’t been “seeing the baseball” ever since he was called up to the majors.

  34. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 3:25 pm

    I’m still kind of gun-shy regarding Ackley, but right now it sure does look like maybe he really has finally figured it out.

  35. californiamariner on September 1st, 2014 3:25 pm

    Walker didn’t look amazing or anything, but I have to wonder if he’s a better option than Elias or maybe even Young for the final month.

  36. Westside guy on September 1st, 2014 3:41 pm

    Whelp, that was fun.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.