Game 138, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · September 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Jon Lester, 12:35pm
Wildcard odds – Fangraphs.com: 38.9% Baseballprospectus.com: 37.0%

Happy Felix Day!

The M’s desperately needed a long outing from James Paxton last night following Chris Young’s less-than-an-inning disaster the previous day. They got one, and the M’s can now take the series with their ace on the hill.

I talked about Gray being potentially the A’s ace, and evidently that prospect frightened Billy Beane a bit, as he traded Yoenis Cespedes for today’s A’s starter, Jon Lester. The Piece County native has put up his best season in the majors, with a FIP under 3 for the first time in his career. His K% is now approaching his career high, but he’s also cut his walk rate substantially, all without a return of the home run problems that plagued his 2012.

Lester’s maintained his excellent peripherals and runs allowed stats since moving to the A’s, though his fastball velocity is down a bit from August of 2013. It clearly hasn’t hurt his whiffs, and he’s throwing more strikes, but it’s odd to see his velocity settle down a bit right when most pitchers peak, and where he was throwing hardest last year. Since moving to the A’s, he’s shelved his change-up, which was never a big part of his arsenal. He’s now a four- and two-seam fastball/cutter/curve ball pitcher. He’ll throw cutters in any count, to RHB/LHBs, and often features it more than his fastball.

Line-up:
1: Jackson, CF
2: Denorfia, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Hart, DH
7: Zunino, C
8: Romero, RF
9: Taylor, SS
SP: King Felix

Seven righties in the starting line-up today against the lefty Lester. I understand it a bit, though Lester’s been extremely tough on righties this year, and has career splits narrower than many left-handers. I’m not sure the platoon-split gain of starting Romero is worth the trade-offs, but of course that’s got a lot more to do with injuries than anything. Endy Chavez has been hot, but you do not want him within a quarter mile of today’s starting line-up. If the choice was Romero or a healthy Saunders, I think you go with Saunders, but that’s not helping McClendon fill out the line-up card.

The A’s line-up’s been quiet recently, with many pointing to the departure of Cespedes in the Lester deal. But the A’s are also down a lefty hitter who’s put up a 119 wRC+ this year in 344 PAs – C/DH John Jaso, who’s been sidelined with the aftereffects of a concussion. Jaso spoke with Eno Sarris about his recovery today at Fangraphs.

Comments

58 Responses to “Game 138, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. naviomelo on September 3rd, 2014 12:09 pm

    GO MARINERS!!! Let’s win this!

  2. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 12:40 pm

    Lloyd sounded skeptical yesterday regarding whether they’d get a healthy Saunders back this season or not.

    It’s got to be frustrating situation for Condor.

  3. kaleyk on September 3rd, 2014 12:43 pm

    Wow, that lineup is nauseating … looks like a punt.

  4. don52656 on September 3rd, 2014 12:59 pm

    Don’t you have to believe that having Ackley in the lineup against a LHP is better than having Romero in the lineup? Romero is hitting .213 against LHP in the majors this year. Hart is hitting .178 versus LHP, though to be fair, his lifetime average is .291.

    Lifetime against Lester:

    1 Jackson .435 10-23
    2 Denorfia .143 1-7
    3 Cano .246 17-69
    4 Morales .167 2-12
    5 Seager .200 2-10
    6 Hart .333 1-3
    7 Zunino 1.000 2-2
    8 Romero .000 0-0
    9 Taylor .000 0-0

    Smoak is 5-13 against Lester.

  5. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 1:06 pm

    Yeah, Ackley doesn’t show much in the way of platoon splits – someone who thought about this at more than a cursory level would put him in the lineup.

    Now for an alternative (and possibly fairer) take: Lloyd might just be using this as a chance to let Ackley rest and get the lesser guys some playing time.

  6. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 1:07 pm

    Don/Westy,
    To my eyes, Ackley still looks pretty awful against LH breaking balls, with that front foot stomp/swipe swing, even while being our hottest hitter, and Lester has one of the better ones in the AL…

    Not to say I’d rather bat Romero, though…

    Also, Smoak 5-13 vs Lester… Holy heck, Batman. How?

  7. don52656 on September 3rd, 2014 1:18 pm

    I should have mentioned that Ackley is 2-7 against Lester….

  8. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 1:21 pm

    Not a difficult play (for the third out) by Taylor there, but it sure looked nice!

  9. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 1:29 pm

    Dammit. Nice play by the A’s… Outs at 3rd suck.

  10. taylor.mariner on September 3rd, 2014 1:40 pm

    Dunn and Oakland are a dangerous combo.

  11. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 1:41 pm

    Outs at 3B do suck, but with Hart and Zunino hitting behind him, Seager is trying to force the action and make a play. It was a mistake, but so is having those two guys hitting back to back in the lineup behind him.

  12. don52656 on September 3rd, 2014 1:43 pm

    And also that Dunn was 3-12 with 2 HRs lifetime against Felix….

  13. jak924 on September 3rd, 2014 1:49 pm

    Why the hell are Romero and Hart in the starting lineup?

  14. eponymous coward on September 3rd, 2014 1:54 pm

    And also that Dunn was 3-12 with 2 HRs lifetime against Felix….

    We should have totally played the matchups then and started Erasmo.

  15. eponymous coward on September 3rd, 2014 1:59 pm

    Why the hell are Romero and Hart in the starting lineup?

    Because they are stacking the lineup for platoon advantage, and the M’s don’t have a lot of decent RHBs. As was noted above, you really want to play Chavez against a good LHP? He’s hitting .069 this year.

  16. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 2:04 pm

    I think “advantage” needs to be in quotes there, EC.

  17. jak924 on September 3rd, 2014 2:13 pm

    Exactly! No advantage. So why send up Romero against Jon Lester? Yeah. That works.

  18. JasonJ on September 3rd, 2014 2:15 pm

    This is pretty much how I would expect a 1-game play-off with these guys would go.

  19. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:15 pm

    Fucking huge!

  20. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:16 pm

    Hart says Ha!!!

    Good for him. About damned time.

  21. californiamariner on September 3rd, 2014 2:17 pm

    Seager! And Hart!! What just happened!!!

  22. Dennisss on September 3rd, 2014 2:17 pm

    All those lovely matchups and one of your two lefties homers.

  23. Dennisss on September 3rd, 2014 2:18 pm

    Hart? OK, that was a surprise.

  24. JasonJ on September 3rd, 2014 2:18 pm

    My mind is blown!

  25. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:25 pm

    We need you now, King … Need you now!

  26. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:30 pm

    Good easy inning for Felix. I’m thinking Lloyd gets up nobody in the pen – and rides his ace.

    It’s your game, Felix.

  27. naviomelo on September 3rd, 2014 2:30 pm

    He has to be thinking CG with the way the bullpen has been lately.

  28. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:36 pm

    Well, the offense did its part to keep Felix warm and loose.

  29. eponymous coward on September 3rd, 2014 2:38 pm

    Why the hell are Romero and Hart in the starting lineup?

    Ahem.

    Exactly! No advantage. So why send up Romero against Jon Lester? Yeah. That works.

    Because wearing out your starters is stupid. You’re going to have to give them days off, even down the stretch, especially if you’re playing a 36 year old OFer regularly (Chavez). Might as well do it on a day where they don’t have platoon advantage.

    Yes, Lloyd would like to have better options on his bench. And I’d like a pony, while we’re at it. Stacking your lineup righty against a LHP when giving players days off isn’t stupid.

  30. Seattleguy527 on September 3rd, 2014 2:43 pm

    So Rodney is going to give us all ulcers?

  31. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:44 pm

    No freaking way Felix is coming out of this game. It’s his to win. He Just had another low pitch inning. Ride the horse, Lloyd.

  32. Dennisss on September 3rd, 2014 2:45 pm

    Another three runs or so here would make me feel better about handing this one to Rodney.

  33. Seattleguy527 on September 3rd, 2014 2:46 pm

    I hope you’re right, but Lloyd has been hesitant to let him throw a lot of pitches this year. Then again, hopefully he’ll realize…

    nope, Rodney warming up. Just as I suspected.

  34. naviomelo on September 3rd, 2014 2:47 pm

    He has to let Felix go back out there in the 9th, right? He HAS to!

  35. Seattleguy527 on September 3rd, 2014 2:47 pm

    They really need to get at least a run this inning. Otherwise I think this could end up going bad quickly.

  36. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:49 pm

    I agree … If the Mariners were to score three runs this inning – then I would take Felix out. Up to that point, screw it … He’s going back in.

    Rodney is warming up, though. Hopefully it’s just a bluff.

  37. Seattleguy527 on September 3rd, 2014 2:52 pm

    Ugh. Well, I’m turning this off — win/win… if we win I’ll be happy, if Rodney blows it I will have saved my blood pressure. :)

  38. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:54 pm

    Nobody is happier with this decision than the A’s.

    I hope you are right, Lloyd. This is why Managers make the big bucks.

  39. JasonJ on September 3rd, 2014 2:54 pm

    So glad I’m at work and can’t watch this.

  40. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:55 pm

    That was a good pitch, dammit.

  41. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:57 pm

    Big out getting Donaldson.

    Now go get that big Donkey.

  42. msfanmike on September 3rd, 2014 2:58 pm

    Yes!!!!!

    Good call Lloyd. Your balls are bigger than mine.

  43. californiamariner on September 3rd, 2014 2:59 pm

    Shoot dem arrows!!

  44. californiamariner on September 3rd, 2014 3:00 pm

    On to the Rangers and Astros for 7. Need go at least 5-2!

  45. Longgeorge1 on September 3rd, 2014 3:01 pm

    Just another day of stupid decisions by that dumbass Lloyd, crumby lineup, how did they win?

  46. naviomelo on September 3rd, 2014 3:01 pm

    Huge win!!!!!

  47. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 3:04 pm

    That was a satisfying win. Ahhhhh…

  48. djw on September 3rd, 2014 3:05 pm

    Just got out of class to watch the final half inning! Yay!

    While Romero should obviously only play in blowouts or 17 inning affairs as long as the playoffs are still a possibility, I can’t share the animosity toward Hart PT. He’s got a track record as a strong hitter, and he’s been dealing with injuries all year. If they really think he’s finally fully healthy, giving him a chance to hit isn’t a terrible gamble. Certainly a better one than Morales, who he has actually outhit this year.

    His crappiness so far has been frustrating, but let’s not let that frustration override our analytic assessment of probabilities. (In that sense, he’s the anti-Endy Chavez.)

  49. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 3:07 pm

    Oh those stupid dumbass decisions that have us 12 games over .500 in September… How does he keep his job?

    (Lloyd thumbs his nose at you, Longgeorge!)

  50. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 3:15 pm

    MrZ, it seems a bit unsupportable to be crediting Lloyd for the team being 12 games over .500. Having Cano and Seager on pace for 6 WAR seasons, along with what’s been a historically good performance by the pitching staff, might have a tiny bit more to do with it.

    For all we know, with another manager the team might be 20 games over .500.

  51. Dennisss on September 3rd, 2014 3:33 pm

    That’s our Manager of the Year candidate you’re questioning there!

    To be honest, I know that Lloyd makes some questionable decisions, but that seems to be a constant among managers, and even the sages who run this site say that strategy is the least important part of the job. I don’t think he’s the reason they are winning, but he seems fine to me.

  52. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 3:41 pm

    The one thing I think McLendon definitely deserves credit for is how he manages the pitchers. I think overall he does a really good job at that.

  53. Jake on September 3rd, 2014 6:45 pm

    Cleveland just beat Detroit; Mariners are 1/2 game out again.

  54. eponymous coward on September 3rd, 2014 6:47 pm

    The one thing I think McLendon definitely deserves credit for is how he manages the pitchers. I think overall he does a really good job at that.

    It’s sure not the offense that’s putting this team 12 games over .500… it’s pretty terrible.

  55. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 10:00 pm

    Westy/LongGeorge,
    That was supposed to be tongue in cheek. I don’t understand half the shit Lloyd does, much less whether it was smart or not.

    Better manager than me. I feel confident in that assessment, at least.

  56. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 4:16 pm

    What about the pine tar?

    Where’s the Tejas thread?

    Scoreboard watching: Detroit has bases loaded in top of first at Cleveland.

  57. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 4:21 pm

    Which should I watch?

    Seahawks vs. GB
    -or-
    Mariners vs. Texas

    (rhetorical question)

  58. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 5:12 pm

    Detroit up on Cleveland 4 to 0 top of the first. Game over.

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