Game 152, Mariners at Angels

marc w · September 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Wade LeBlanc, 7:05pm
Wildcard odds- Fangraphs.com: 24.4% Baseballprospectus.com: 22.9%

Happy Felix Day.

The playoff odds look bleak, as does the gap in the schedule between the M’s and Royals, but if you want to hang on to hope, forget the Mariners – just watch the A’s for a while. Tony Blengino had a fascinating post up at Fangraphs today on the A’s collapse, focusing on the disappearance of first-half stars Brandon Moss and Derek Norris, but they are fun to watch in a cringe-comedy sort of way. Yesterday, it was closer Sean Doolittle imploding against whoever those people are in Texas Rangers uniforms. Today, it was their (good) starting pitcher uncorking another sub-par start against the murderer’s row of Jake Smolinsky, Tomas Telis, and Ryan Rua. The M’s have been running in place right when they needed to be sprinting. This has very likely cost them the ability to chase down whoever finished 2nd in the AL Central. However, running in place is a hell of a lot better than what the A’s are currently undertaking.

Fortune’s bestowed a second gift to the M’s today, too. Jered Weaver’s been scratched and replaced by Wade LeBlanc. This was Weaver’s spot, and it shaped up as a classic pitcher’s duel: a repeat of opening night right when the M’s need a win the most. That’s dramatic and all, but I think we’d all take an easier path to contention as opposed to a “dramatic” one. We’ll get drama in the playoffs, should they get that far. Before that, though, give us your LeBlancs, your Tropeanos, yearning for a big-league paycheck. Yes, yes, the Tropeano thing didn’t work so well, but LeBlanc’s a guy that most of the M’s have faced.*

He’s a classic soft-tossing lefty, a guy with an 87mph fastball, a pretty good change and a not-so-hot cutter. He came up with the Padres in 2008, and faced the M’s here and there for years as a spot-starter/swing-man for our hated interleague rivals. He shuttled between San Diego and AAA for a few years, logging a decent record as a back-end starter in spacious parks, but not really grabbing a permanent job. In 2012, he was traded to Miami, and absent a familiar (if less-than-full-time) role with the team that drafted him, he’s really bounced around since then. The Marlins waived him in 2013, and he headed to Houston. Then he signed with Anaheim, who waived him, and he signed with the Yankees. After a single inning in the Bronx, the Angels re-acquired him on waivers, hence his appearance today. Many, many pitchers are in the position of not knowing who they’ll report to spring training with the following year. In the past two years, LeBlanc really has had no idea which uniform he’d be putting on a week or a month in the future.

The problem is that LeBlanc’s a fairly extreme fly-ball guy with so-so stuff. He’s tried to make that approach work in PETCO PARK and had trouble. Anaheim is a sneaky-tough park to homer in, but LeBlanc’s stuff eases the hitter’s burden a bit. To make matters worse, his control isn’t great. A walk rate over 8% seems like it’s far too high for a guy who doesn’t rack up strikeouts and has a gopher-ball problem. Really, there are only two reasons LeBlanc’s still a major leaguer. 1) He’s left-handed. 2) The change-up really is pretty good. In his career, he’s generated whiffs on about 35% of the swings at his cambio, and when batters put it in play, they’re more likely to hit it on the ground. He’ll still hang a few of them – he’s given 13 HRs on it overall – but it’s been effective overall. It’s also why he’s posted reverse-splits in his career, with righties posting a much lower wOBA and FIP against him than lefties. *LEFTIES* are hitting a combined .315/.372/.540 off of him, or a bit better than Miguel Cabrera’s 2014 line.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Denorfia, RF
8: Zunino, C
9: Taylor, SS
SP: FELIX

* Actually, as a guy who spent most of his time in the NL, and as a swing man, he’s missed more of these guys than you’d think. He’s faced Morales and Seager once, Taylor/Zunino/Jackson/Cano/Ackley zero. Denorfia and Morrison have seen him a few times, but that’s about it. That really surprises me, but there you are. LeBlanc has been around a while, and been in many places, but he has not actually pitched that many innings. He topped 100 back in 2009, when Seager/Ackley/Taylor/Zunino were in college.

Comments

92 Responses to “Game 152, Mariners at Angels”

  1. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:45 pm

    OK Bartender, these guys are cut off.

  2. Section329 on September 18th, 2014 9:45 pm

    This is disgusting.

  3. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 9:45 pm

    Wow…stepped away, and here we are 2 outs bases loaded? Here we go!

  4. kmsandrbs on September 18th, 2014 9:46 pm

    good thing we intentionally walked Boesch

  5. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:47 pm

    Whew.

  6. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 9:47 pm

    Whew….can we get some offense now???

  7. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 9:48 pm

    Thank god.

  8. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 9:49 pm

    How about scoring a damn run!

    Crimony

  9. Adam S on September 18th, 2014 9:50 pm

    Whew! Survived a critical inning with our 6th best pitcher on the mound. Those who think McClendon should be Manager of the Year haven’t been watching this team.

  10. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:55 pm

    Jones.

  11. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 9:55 pm

    Lazy outfielder for the Angels. He could have gone into a slide to get that. Even if he missed, he could have recovered in time for a throw to second.

  12. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 9:57 pm

    Hey kyle, you should hit a home run, that would be cool. Thanks.

  13. djw on September 18th, 2014 9:57 pm

    That was some seriously attentive baserunning for Jones there on the pitchout.

  14. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 10:00 pm

    Finally!

  15. JMB on September 18th, 2014 10:01 pm

    LO-MO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Section329 on September 18th, 2014 10:01 pm

    LoMo !

  17. djw on September 18th, 2014 10:01 pm

    Excellent. The intentional walk burns the other team.

  18. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 10:01 pm

    MOTHER LOVING LOMO!@!!!#%&@#

  19. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 10:01 pm

    I got the home run right! just the wrong batter πŸ˜› lol

  20. Sowulo on September 18th, 2014 10:02 pm

    LOMO! So maybe that swing will light a fire under this team and they will start playing like they WANT to win……

  21. JMB on September 18th, 2014 10:04 pm

    Pinch hitting for the Angels… Kendrick, Trout, Pujols. πŸ˜‰

  22. kmsandrbs on September 18th, 2014 10:04 pm

    That was needed!

  23. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 10:04 pm

    Yup….loosening up in the on deck circle…their REAL players!

  24. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 10:08 pm

    I dunno about you guys but If Rodney gets this save I kinda want him to shoot his arrow at the Angels dug out… just for fun.

  25. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 10:09 pm

    wow, worst possible spot to pitch to a lefty.

  26. JMB on September 18th, 2014 10:10 pm

    Oh brother is right.

  27. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 10:10 pm

    Oh boy

  28. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 10:11 pm

    I’ve never seen a team TRY to lose so bad.

  29. JMB on September 18th, 2014 10:11 pm

    I don’t understand the indifference call there… gets out out of the double play in a two-run game.

  30. JMB on September 18th, 2014 10:14 pm

    Let me stand next to your fire!

  31. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 10:14 pm

    Holy crap…saved my fingernails. Thank you LoMo!

  32. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 10:15 pm

    Woo!

  33. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2014 10:25 pm

    Double woo

  34. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2014 10:25 pm

    Double woo

  35. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 10:54 pm

    Man, the way all these wild card teams are playing… it’s almost like none of them want to win the darn thing.

  36. turin07 on September 19th, 2014 12:36 am

    I AM SO very very happy to see the 180 that these bozos on this “site”(?) have made in only one year. Groaning and Droning about acp’s and lpbss’s and rbi’s (yes, we call them rbi’s) Sometimes you just need kids to hit the ball. So where is the reaction! To all the negative BS from these clowns and from G. Baker. Baseball IS about #’s but it is NOT about #’s.

  37. stevemotivateir on September 19th, 2014 7:38 am

    Feel free to explain what the 180 is, turin07.

  38. LongDistance on September 19th, 2014 10:52 am

    stevemotivateir,

    It took me a while, but I finally got it.

    He means the 180 degree about-turn from longstanding disappointment to surprise that we bozos have demonstrated this year.

    I love his “this ‘site'”. The scorn for all things U.S.S. Mariner is impressive.

    In other words, it’s evidently our friend believes we don’t have the right to … “now” (I’m supplying his snark-marks for him) … find any joy in Mudville. Saying that anyone who doesn’t own every bobblehead available on B-head night for the past ten years, is a Crying Cassandra and that we should just go fuck ourselves and the +WAR-horse we rode in on..

    Yikes.

    Shutting up. Utter contrition.

    Go M’s!

  39. Westside guy on September 19th, 2014 12:45 pm

    Rbi’s? So the RBI owns something?

  40. stevemotivateir on September 19th, 2014 4:16 pm

    I understood the attempted shot, but I want examples for proof. The commentary here is as consistent as possible, and it’s really simple: dumb moves bore complaints; good moves bore praise. Nothing has changed.

  41. Westside guy on September 19th, 2014 4:33 pm

    Example: Michael Saunders is playing today – GOOD MOVE, LLOYD! πŸ˜€

  42. stevemotivateir on September 19th, 2014 5:09 pm

    I meant examples of a 180! Such as a bad move that generated praise.

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