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. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2014 6:16 pm

    Her we go again another guy we should beat like a rented mule and he will look like Cy Somebody

  2. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 6:31 pm

    Somewhere out there exists an apoplectic Westy.

  3. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2014 6:35 pm

    I agree msmike – I was just about to say that there should be more lefties against a guy with his splits. Hopefully we are “wrong” again.

  4. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 6:37 pm

    I am rational and calm, Mike. I am completely centered. Ooohhhhmmmmmm……

    I am also resigned to an old-school approach being the norm with this org for as long as this regime is in place.

  5. JMB on September 18th, 2014 6:47 pm

    I’d hit Taylor leadoff. Just sayin’.

  6. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 6:48 pm

    Saunders should have been starting tonight. He needs to play. He is one of their best players. He needs to get his game timing back. Doing it against a AAAA Angels lineup would be a perfect time for it.

    Plus, Denorfia sucks.

  7. JMB on September 18th, 2014 6:51 pm

    At least Smoak isn’t out there.

  8. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 6:52 pm

    I would hit Taylor at leadoff, too.

    Good call.

  9. kmsandrbs on September 18th, 2014 7:04 pm

    Enjoying the game live tonight! Hoping to see Felix throw a gem!

  10. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2014 7:04 pm

    I would go with Miller over Taylor – pitcher has reverse splits (very heavy)

  11. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 7:06 pm

    I think I would go with Miller over Jackson – and have him start in CF, at this point.

  12. JMB on September 18th, 2014 7:09 pm

    Anyone over Jackson (who hurts us more, since he’s a “proven leadoff hitter”).

  13. JMB on September 18th, 2014 7:14 pm

    Two outs, bases empty, Morales on deck… I’m surpised Cano doesn’t get IBB’d every time up.

  14. PackBob on September 18th, 2014 7:14 pm

    If the M’s can win tonight, and what better chance do they have with Felix, they will be one game behind both Oakland and KC (KC has a near-automatic loss in hand). Two behind Detroit.

    I’m not so much concerned about the level of competition for each team. Good teams lose to bad teams all the time. It’s going to amount to which team plays the best in the last remaining games.

    The M’s need offense and Seager is the key.

  15. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 7:59 pm

    Nice play, dammit.

    Oh boy, it’s Kendrys.

  16. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 8:06 pm

    We just returned the favor the Angels did for us an inning ago.

    And LoMo tried to kill Felix Hernandez.

  17. JMB on September 18th, 2014 8:09 pm

    FIP and WAR again. Don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.

  18. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 8:10 pm

    FIP and WAR??? On ROOT???

    Hahaha JMB.

  19. kmsandrbs on September 18th, 2014 8:13 pm

    Why cant we get run support for the King with a scrub pitcher?

  20. JMB on September 18th, 2014 8:18 pm

    This is going exactly as well as you would have expected.

  21. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 8:19 pm

    I think anyone in the crowd could do better at bats than Mike Z. Literally, pick a regular Joe out of the first few rows, and put him out there, and he’d probably do better.

  22. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 8:20 pm

    Longgeorge1 has, unfortunately, turned out to be rather prescient so far.

  23. Soda Popinski on September 18th, 2014 8:23 pm

    One simple question about the Fangraphs and BP playoff odds. Do either of those sites factor in the fact that Kansas City is 95% likely to have one more loss as a result of their suspended game?If not, the projects of those sites are a total joke. (Just like when Fangraphs had the M’s as a 70% fave with a struggling Kuma on the mound, on the road no less, against the best team in the AL.)

  24. JMB on September 18th, 2014 8:27 pm

    I just wanna uuuuuuse your love, tonight….
    I don’t wanna looooose your love, tonight…

    Need this series to be over for no other reason than to not hear that song!

  25. JMB on September 18th, 2014 8:28 pm

    At least Joey is coming out of the game.

  26. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 8:32 pm

    I’ve had enough of this four-corner stall. Get some hits for fuck sake.

  27. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 8:33 pm

    Jackson must be getting desperate. He took out his future oral cancer and is now chewing gum.

  28. juneau_fan on September 18th, 2014 8:36 pm

    I’m awake! I’m awake!

  29. G-Man on September 18th, 2014 8:36 pm

    Just tuned in. WTF’s the problem? We should be teeing off on this guy.

  30. Section329 on September 18th, 2014 8:42 pm

    G-man-you aren’t familiar with the M’s strategy of making scrubs into Cy Youngs?

  31. JMB on September 18th, 2014 8:47 pm

    Back to Jackson’s at-bat, “everything away”… is he incapable of going with the pitch to RF? Huge hole with Taylor being held on.

  32. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 9:00 pm

    It’s pretty embarrassing that the Angels’ second team is playing even with our guys…

  33. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 9:01 pm

    I really don’t get Lloyd’s weird aversion to giving his center fielders an occasional breather – something he religiously does for the rest of his team.

  34. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:03 pm

    Chavez? Not Saunders?

  35. Woodcutta on September 18th, 2014 9:03 pm

    Chavez pinch hitting for him has to be a low point for Denorfia.

  36. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 9:04 pm

    Endy is pinch hitting – not Saunders? Ugh.

  37. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 9:07 pm

    Nice flacid swing, Endy. It wouldn’t have cracked an egg.

  38. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:07 pm

    Got all of that one.

  39. Westside guy on September 18th, 2014 9:08 pm

    Chavez’s “swing at everything” approach works again.

  40. Woodcutta on September 18th, 2014 9:09 pm

    Is a walk really a bad thing there, Endy?

  41. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 9:13 pm

    4 hits and no runs off all of the Angels back ups… nice way to show up for the king tonight guys!

  42. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:13 pm

    Josie’s on vacation far away…

  43. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 9:15 pm

    So, any predictions on whether Rodney comes into a tie game in the 9th inning, again?

  44. Woodcutta on September 18th, 2014 9:17 pm

    Felix better come back out for the 8th.

  45. WTF_Ms on September 18th, 2014 9:23 pm

    There’s your answer woodcutta…jersey’s untucked..

    I see another no-decision.

  46. msfanmike on September 18th, 2014 9:25 pm

    The lucky chew is back. Good things will happen now. Couldn’t stand to be without it for very long. It might just be addictive.

  47. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:26 pm

    No Rodney, on the road, you can “save” him for the save.

  48. JMB on September 18th, 2014 9:35 pm

    0-2? Pitch out. Snap throw to first.

    Edit: Nah, not with a lefty batting.

  49. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 9:41 pm

    and he steals 2nd anyway.

  50. Grayfox3d on September 18th, 2014 9:45 pm

    Hmm walking the bases loaded, where have I seen this before…

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

    OK Bartender, these guys are cut off.

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

    This is disgusting.

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

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

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

    good thing we intentionally walked Boesch

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

    Whew.

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

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

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

    Thank god.

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

    How about scoring a damn run!

    Crimony

  59. 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.

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

    Jones.

  61. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    Finally!

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

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

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

    LoMo !

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

    Excellent. The intentional walk burns the other team.

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

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

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

    I got the home run right! just the wrong batter :P lol

  70. 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……

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

    Pinch hitting for the Angels… Kendrick, Trout, Pujols. ;-)

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

    That was needed!

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

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

  74. 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.

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

    wow, worst possible spot to pitch to a lefty.

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

    Oh brother is right.

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

    Oh boy

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

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

  79. 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.

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

    Let me stand next to your fire!

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

    Holy crap…saved my fingernails. Thank you LoMo!

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

    Woo!

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

    Double woo

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

    Double woo

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

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

    Feel free to explain what the 180 is, turin07.

  88. 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!

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

    Rbi’s? So the RBI owns something?

  90. 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.

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

    Example: Michael Saunders is playing today – GOOD MOVE, LLOYD! :-D

  92. 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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