Game 147, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · September 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Sonny Gray, 7:10pm
Wildcard odds – 55.9% 50.1%

I’m tempted to leave Jeff’s piece below up to function as the game thread, because it encapsulates what this game feels like so well. As it turned out, the M’s didn’t exactly build off the momentum they had following that sweep of the Blue Jays. Instead, they meandered around for a few weeks, getting some huge wins, but losing to the Astros. Playing well against Oakland, but dropping a series to Texas. That can be frustrating, in that you can see what a difference a few wins would make in the standings right now, but a part of me is glad we get this game, in this situation, with these two guys on the mound. This doesn’t feel like a playoff race, this feels like a playoff game.

King Felix stumbled in recent weeks, as his incredible run of HR prevention gave out for a time. He’s now essentially right at the same HR rate he’s run for the past few season, and that means his FIP is now merely incredible instead of otherworldly. His numbers are down across the board in the second half, which makes sense as they essentially had nowhere else to go. Still, Felix is the M’s ace, and even down the stretch in a long, unusually hot summer, he’s still the guy the M’s want to see on the hill. Put aside the fielding independent stats, and he’s (mostly) the same guy. BA allowed in the first half? .199. In the second? .198. His slugging is up thanks to that HR barrage a while back, but you just expect Felix to pitch like an ace.

Contrast that with Sonny Gray, who, like the rest of his team, has declined in the second half. Gray’s fastball/curve combo was so effective because it neutralized lefties and righties equally, and because he gets ground balls, he could be effective at home and in places like Arlington and Houston. Gray’s still a work in progress, as his control isn’t ace-level yet, and while the curve’s been useful in generating bad contact, he hasn’t racked up as many K’s as he should at Felix’s age. In the second half, Gray’s numbers have declined across the board, and unlike Felix, he couldn’t fall as far and still be great. In the 2nd half, Gray’s FIP and ERA are in the low 4’s, and his K:BB ratio is a pedestrian 1.96. Gray’s still an extremely talented young hurler, but you wonder if he’s wearing down a bit; remember that Gray fell in the draft as evaluators saw his size as an impediment to his development as an ace/workhorse.

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

Best M’s news I’ve seen in a while, courtesy of Ryan Divish: The M’s have announced that today’s game is a sell-out. Nice work, M’s fans.

Dustin Ackley’s ankle continues to bother him, hence Endy Chavez in the 2 spot tonight. Michael Saunders gets a day off.

Logan Morrison’s first half/second half splits still look identical, thanks to an abysmal July, but he’s followed a decent August with a good start in September. With Zunino fading a bit, and with Morales still stuck a bit, the resurgence of both Morrison and Brad Miller has been critical to the M’s offense.

For the scoreboard watchers, the Tigers are playing Cleveland tonight, while the Royals take on Boston. Ex-Rays prospect turned Rule 5 guy Kyle Lobstein’s pitching for Detroit against diminutive fireballer Danny Salazar, while the Royals have Jeremy Guthrie taking on Sox prospect (ex-Dodgers prospect) Rubby De La Rosa.


65 Responses to “Game 147, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. bongo on September 13th, 2014 9:21 pm

    Rodney surprises Moss by throwing a strike.

  2. Grayfox3d on September 13th, 2014 9:22 pm

    wow! at least 2 of those damn pitches were strikes!!! omg what a way to potentially lose a damn playoff placing ball game, thanks ump!

  3. msfanmike on September 13th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Well that sucked.

  4. Longgeorge1 on September 13th, 2014 9:24 pm

    I understand that losing is part of sport, but walking 4 in the 10th is inexcusable.

  5. groundzero55 on September 13th, 2014 9:24 pm

    That disaster was in no way on the ump. Rodney looked like he was only throwing strikes on accident. I have no idea why, in a game with the implications this one does, Rodney was allowed to stay in as long as he did.

  6. MrZDevotee on September 13th, 2014 9:25 pm

    I cannot believe they left him in that whole inning… Can we have like a “team rule” 3 walks in an inning and you’re out of the game?

    Please? I mean, if we want to win baseball games. (So pissed right now…)

  7. msfanmike on September 13th, 2014 9:28 pm

    Groundzero is correct.

  8. MrZDevotee on September 13th, 2014 9:28 pm

    And Doolittle gets THAT pitch? Really?

  9. MrZDevotee on September 13th, 2014 9:29 pm

    I always love ruining a closer’s confidence by sticking him in non-closer situations… Oh, hey Tom Wilhelmsen… No I was talking about Rodney, not you last year.

  10. Longgeorge1 on September 13th, 2014 9:30 pm

    Rodney blew it! BUT I am all for Trackman to call balls and strikes

  11. Longgeorge1 on September 13th, 2014 9:30 pm

    Rodney blew it! BUT I am all for Trackman to call balls and strikes

  12. Grayfox3d on September 13th, 2014 9:49 pm

    I was watching on gameday cast so that’s where I’m complaining about balls/strikes from. But the fact that we lost in this manner anyway is unacceptable in any way. A chance to take the top spot in the wild card and we let a pitcher throw ball after ball, issue walk after walk, while the Manager just waits for something to happen.

    This is not to mention the absolute horrible at bats put together by the guys tonight, And when will Lloyd finally have Jackson sit a game or two, he’s obviously lost in outer space at the plate.

  13. LongDistance on September 14th, 2014 2:04 am

    Lloyd must have entered some sort of zone of denial after the second walk. We’ve seen so many times this year how F-Rod had it all on the precipice, and then yanked it back.

    Games won this year with the Mariners only scoring 2 runs: 6. And every one of them gave Rodney the save.

    Games lost this year with the Mariners only scoring 2 runs: 12. Of all of those, Rodney threw in only two, giving up 0 runs in one — although giving up a 9th inning loss in the other.

    All in all, a pretty stellar, if jittery (walks, etc.), season for a closer.

    Jittery is the word of choice. And, somehow, he does the hat trick.

    But this one, finally, got away from Rodney and Lloyd should have recognized it while it was happening. There are balls, and there are balls. I think a lot of people could see, and certainly the umpire, how fast and far Rodney was disintegrating. And certainly faster than Lloyd.

    Lloyd has to absolutely forget about what happened during the season from here on out. This is playoff ball, and everything has to be judged … ball by ball.

    Go Ms!

  14. bookbook on September 14th, 2014 10:19 am

    If the 35-year-old $8 million arm is too fragile to pitch in a tie game… I really don’t know what to say
    I will suggest that Rodney is not a guy you want issuing intentional walks to anybody. That’s asking for trouble.

  15. Westside guy on September 14th, 2014 10:37 am

    I think Rodney has been a very good closer this year, and the Fernando Rodney Experience has been pretty uneventful this season… The guy we saw last night will show up on occasion; that’s just part of who Rodney is. But still – 45 saves, 3 blown saves this season. Better than I expected coming in – he’s been very effective. But when he blows it, he generally REALLY blows it, Jose Mesa style.

    (And yes, “saves” are a stat we’d be better off without)

    It’s also amazing how often intentional walks turn around and bite the issuing team.

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