Game 18, Twins at Mariners

marc w · April 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Roenis Elias vs. Kyle Gibson, 1:10pm

James Paxton couldn’t overcome some errors, and while I agree with Lloyd McClendon that his start showed some improvement, the M’s are still 7-10, and Paxton’s numbers are still ugly. Of interest is his strand rate, which is currently below 50%. As you might imagine, this is in turn the product of his incredibly poor results with men on base. With nobody on, Paxton’s giving up a .208/.250/.377 slash line. As soon as someone gets on base, that plummets to .412/.477/.618. He’s been terrible with two outs as well, though that may be the result of one awful inning against Texas. Still, it makes you wonder if there’s something out of whack when he’s in the stretch. His HR rate is elevated, but while it’ll likely come down, we’re getting close to having to say that his previous record of HR *suppression* was more small-sample-oddity than real, lasting skill. Hope I’m wrong there.

Today, the M’s look to win the series behind Roenis Elias, just called up from Tacoma after yesterday’s game. As you probably know, Hisashi Iwakuma was placed on the 15-day DL with a lat injury, but he’s having an MRI on his shoulder, so that’s….that’s just fantastic. Elias was one of the surprises of 2014, but he was so so in the spring, and he’s been a bit worse than that in three starts for Tacoma. The Cuban lefty’s given up 21 hits in 15 2/3 IP, along with three HRs – one for each start. Last year, Elias was good enough against righties despite a low 3/4 delivery that *looked* like it would make his pitches easier for righties to track. He gave lefties fits, often dropping down to make his arm angle even more extreme, but it was his performance against righties that enabled a very solid 1.3 fWAR year. It could mean nothing, and it could be the result of working on specific pitches, but AAA righties have dominated Elias in the early going, and that’ll be something to look for today. Elias remains a great option for the rotation. Not every team can recall a guy who pitched 163 *good* big league innings last year. It’s just that this isn’t the way the M’s wanted to deploy Elias, and there’s now a bit more pressure on Taijuan Walker, as there’s no one else on the 40-man who could conceivably slot in. Making a 40-man move isn’t the end of the world, and pitchers get hurt all the time, but the pitching depth drops off markedly after Elias, and you’d hate to require a DFA just to bring in someone the team didn’t think was ready.

Kyle Gibson is a ground-balling righty with a sinker, a change and a slider. His fastball sits around 92 and has good arm-side run, but, as with everything Gibson throws, the intent is poor contact, not whiffs. In the minors, Gibson was something of a strikeout pitcher, with K% over 20% most everywhere, and over 21% in two long stints in AAA. Upon his call-up, though, the K’s were essentially gone – his K% hit 14% last year, a bit higher than the 12% he managed in 2013. This year, he’s K’d 3 of the 73 batters he’s faced, or 4%. Worse, he’s walked 9 and plunked another. Grounders can help you pitch around some control problems, but Gibson’s GB% is down as well in 2015 – all in all, it’s not been a great start to the year for Gibson. That’s a bit surprising, given that there were reports in the off-season and spring that Gibson’s velocity was up, and he had a solid spring, leading the Twins in strikeouts. It’s actually nice to see the whole “great spring, regular season face plant” thing happen to other teams too. For a sinker guy, he’s had relatively minor platoon split issues, but this does seem like a good spot for the M’s lefties.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Smith, DH
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Miller, SS
9: Sucre, C
SP: Elias

With Elias on his way up, Forrest Snow got a spot start last night for Tacoma and pitched well, as the Rainiers downed Sacramento 6-1. Snow went 4 2/3 allowing a run on 5 hits and no walks, while striking out 4. Joe Beimel pitched an inning, and then Logan Bawcom closed it out. Chris Taylor went 2-4, and John Hicks had a big double to help the offense. Sam Gaviglio starts today against Ty Blach.

Montgomery downed Jackson 7-4, as Dylan Unsworth gave up 5 runs in 2 IP. DJ Peterson had three hits for the Generals, though all were singles. Misael Siverio leads the Generals today, with Montgomery countering with mustached righty Austin Pruitt.

Bakersfield twirled yet another shutout, their 5th on the year, to beat San Jose 3-0. Ryan Yarbrough went 6 for the win, and Tyler O’Neill supplied the offense with a three-run HR. Bakersfield, who plays in the Cal League, in a park where the CF wall is 354′ away, now has a team ERA below 3.00. Dan Altavilla starts today against San Jose’s Nick Vander Tuig.

Clinton dropped a 4-3 contest to Beloit, though Gianfranco Wawoe’s hitting streak remains intact. Wawoe’s hitting .349/.417/.512 on the year in a pitcher-friendly league. Clinton plays a double header today, with Daniel Missaki and Tyler Herb starting.


47 Responses to “Game 18, Twins at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on April 26th, 2015 12:08 pm

    Gibson probably thought he’d get a lot of strikeouts today, but – HA! Zunino’s not playing.

    Still, he’ll probably get a few more strikeouts than average today.

  2. kimalanus on April 26th, 2015 12:38 pm

    It is starting to look like McLendon thinks Cruz is a better fielder than Seth Smith. He used Smith in the field yesterday which says maybe the bad leg isn’t really a thing anymore, then put him back at DH with Cruz in the field again…. Makes a guy wonder anyway.

  3. Westside guy on April 26th, 2015 12:57 pm

    McLendon may just be all about keeping Cruz happy right now – and Cruz has said he doesn’t think of himself as a DH.

    As long as Cruz is on an 80 HR pace for the season, his fielding is a secondary concern. It’s not as if the team’s other options are great defenders anyway.

    It’s funny, though, how once again we see how a guy’s hitting affects people’s perception of his defense. If Cruz suddenly runs into a cold streak people won’t be as forgiving. Even Michael Morse caught stuff that was hit right to him – and during his brief hot streak at the start of 2013, people were saying Morse wasn’t all that bad either. 😉

    (Fortunately Cruz isn’t in the same league, defense-wise, as Morse or Ibanez though. But he is bad.)

  4. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 1:13 pm

    Nice strike zone again today, I think that I complain to much about that. In other news, I’m glad were not the Brewers!

  5. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 1:50 pm

    Just win today Mariners, I really don’t want to have to buy my friend who’s a Twins fan a 6 pack of some stuff I have never heard of….

  6. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 2:30 pm

    Badly Aimed Baseballs In Play

  7. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 2:42 pm

    A chance to take the lead and Jackson swings at the first crap pitch thrown his way…

  8. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:07 pm

    Good Christ I hate the Rodney IBB.

  9. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:12 pm

    Well it worked for once thank Yahweh. I continue to object to McClendon’s habit of burning through relievers as fast as possible in tie games.

  10. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 4:19 pm

    Way to close of a pitch for Weeks to take that! what is he thinking! my god!

  11. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 4:19 pm

    One hell of a pinch hitting appearance by Weeks.


  12. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 4:22 pm

    Another good start to an inning just to end in typical Mariner fashion…. going down with NO fight.

  13. Westside guy on April 26th, 2015 4:31 pm

    Come on, Cruz, earn that paycheck!

    Argh, I thought Grayfox3d was talking about LAST inning…

  14. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:36 pm

    Gameday would seem to suggest the M’s are watching a lot of legit strikes sail by.

  15. Woodcutta on April 26th, 2015 4:39 pm

    If Cruz tried to go the other way every once in a while he could be an elite hitter and not just an elite power hitter.

  16. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:40 pm

    Gameday is also telling Olson’s first two to Robinson were right down the middle…

  17. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2015 4:43 pm

    Gameday just told me that Olson may have gas canned this game…

  18. Woodcutta on April 26th, 2015 4:43 pm

    Oh look, another ball hit to RF late in a game that Cruz couldnt’ get to.

  19. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:43 pm

    You know, when deciding to issue an intentional walk, checking to see it this will likely force you to pitch to Mauer with a runner in scoring position seems like a good idea. Dammit all to hell.

  20. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 4:44 pm

    Nice job on letting another one slip on by boys!
    “We’ll get ’em tomorrow” should be our slogan this season.

  21. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2015 4:52 pm

    Djw, that would require the use of logic, and I’m not so sure our relievers are possible of that at this point…

  22. Westside guy on April 26th, 2015 4:52 pm

    It’s okay, Woodcutta – if it had just been hit right to him, Cruz would’ve caught it.

  23. Grayfox3d on April 26th, 2015 4:53 pm

    But do we blame the AA reliever put into that situation? or the bench manager for calling for the intentional walk?

    If we could actually string together some hits, that situation could of been avoided.

  24. jak924 on April 26th, 2015 4:54 pm

    2013 revisited. Dumpster fire!

  25. djw on April 26th, 2015 4:54 pm

    I really don’t think relievers are authorized to choose when to issue an intentional walk. That’s on the manager.

  26. dc24 on April 26th, 2015 4:56 pm

    Got to be a little mad about Seager swinging at a terrible pitch with the potential winning run on third and less than two outs.

    I know he’s a great player and all, but he usually comes through there and he swung at a pitch head high.

  27. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:03 pm

    Consistently bad is not good, Mariners. Your overall product is crap. Just crappy, crappy consistently crap baseball.

    New unis look good, though. Kudos.

  28. mrakbaseball on April 26th, 2015 5:07 pm

    New unis actually look terrible. Underperforming team with bad uniforms, not a good combo.

  29. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:11 pm

    Can’t generate runs. Rely on Dingers. Don’t have a lot of dinger hitters. Bad pitching and bad defense so far. No team speed to speak of that provides for a threat on the base paths. Low OBP players EVERYWHERE. Shitty design. Shitty execution.

    Crap is becoming shit, now … Better stop before it gets worse.

    The “start” of the season is about 20 games IMO – but I’m ready to call it sooner … fuck this shitty crappy start. Boring fucking shit crap baseball.

  30. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:12 pm

    Still like the new uni’s though. We can agree to disagree on that. I’ll bet we agree on the rest.

  31. jak924 on April 26th, 2015 5:16 pm

    Honestly, though. They’re stuck with guys like Zunino, Ackley, Morrison, Weeks. Weeks? OMG Z got Weeks. What a masterstroke!

  32. Westside guy on April 26th, 2015 5:24 pm

    The bad news is, the Mariners are currently in the cellar.

    The good news is, the AL West is pretty much sucking from top to bottom right now. Houston’s in the lead, and the Mariners are 4 back.

  33. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:32 pm

    Taylor up – Miller to LF – Willie gone.

    Montero up – Weeks gone.

    Guti up – Ackley to DL with his gimpy ankle needing rest. By the time he’s ready to return, Guti will be hurt (that poor bastard – but we all love him and he is a better option than Weeks). Weeks can’t seemingly field any position. Montero ….. Freaking Montero may be better defensively.

    It might make for a more interesting team, or perhaps it would just stem the tide of mediocrity a little while longer. Tired of one dimensional players playing at half dimension levels.

  34. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:38 pm

    A left handed hitting catcher would be a good thing to have. Any hitting catcher would be a good thing to have for that matter.

    Zunino blocks pitches very well. He frames well. He has a strong arm, but his throws are frequently off line. In the 80’s, teams would have run on him forever. Good thing nobody runs anymore. And Zunino can’t hit his ass with both hands. He should be the second catcher. Or in AAA. If he just swings the bat as hard as he can in the same location every time – maybe the pitchers will accidentally throw the ball in that location. Oh wait … He does that already!

  35. kaleyk on April 26th, 2015 5:45 pm

    Just finished the game on DVR …. 0 for 12 with RISP! … Please no more Rickie Weeks! He misses a 2-0 meatball and then takes two called strikes … His purpose om this team is hitting and he cannot hit. Speaking of hitting, I’ve had enough of Morrison, I don’t care about his BABIP or quality ABs. The M’s desperately need a 1B that can hit .300 or 30 dingers or something in between … Morrison is neither. Does anyone have a better word for Ackley than “disappointing”? The Guy that could hit .300 in his sleep??? We lost 2 out of 3 to the Twins?!? …. Ok I am done ranting!

  36. msfanmike on April 26th, 2015 5:51 pm

    Keith Law was really high on Zunino. Extremely high. Could not say enough good things about him before he was drafted and also at around the halfway point last season during an interview on 710.

    I’m hating on Keith Law and somehow find it to be cathartic when in actuality he probably just misjudged the mariners player development department.

  37. kaleyk on April 26th, 2015 6:12 pm

    Unquestionably Zunino looks lost at the plate but at least he provides defense at a critical position ….. The 1B and DH positions, offense-oriented positions, are underwhelming.

  38. kaleyk on April 26th, 2015 6:31 pm

    Jackson, Cano, Morrison, Ackley and Zunino are a combined 5 for 67 with RISP …. 5 singles!?! ….. Morrison and Ackley are 0 for 24 combined. Kinda amazing they have won any games.

  39. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2015 7:30 pm

    I know that the IBB came down to a management decision. However, I also think that given how much the bullpen had been used up to that point not much else could have been done.

  40. don52656 on April 26th, 2015 9:24 pm

    Was at the game today and gnashing my teeth at some of the “strategy” used. First, Ackley leads off the 9th with a single against Fien, a RHP. Miller is up and is hitting .290+ and has the platoon advantage. Why on earth would you sacrifice when you plan to pinch hit Weeks for Sucre? The next 3 hitters after Miller are all right-handed. A waste of an out for one of your top hitters, in my opinion.

    Then the intentional walks….arrgghh! Three of them today, now the Mariners lead baseball with 12 IBB. Tyler Olson, a rookie, has 6 IBB in 8 innings, which is more than any other AL team except Cleveland. You IBB Dozier, hitting a whopping .200 so that you ensure you have to face Mauer? I am totally sick and tired of seeing miserable tactical decisions reduce our chances of winning games.

  41. bongo on April 27th, 2015 12:33 am

    It’s time for the Mariners to do what must be done.

    Call up Guttierez and DFA Weeks.
    Call up Taylor and DFA Ruggiano.
    Position player on the DL, call up Montero.

    Also, consider swapping T. Olson for Beimel/Germano/Lowe.

    Once Iwakuma comes back, consider keeping Elias up and sending down Paxon or Walker.

  42. djw on April 27th, 2015 7:42 am

    OMG the “let’s panic and overreact to small sample sizes!” brigade just slays me.

    Ruggiano has…17 plate appearances. It’s meaningless, given the sample size, but his wRC+ is 94–about what we could reasonably expect. If you opposed his acquisition to begin with, that’s one thing, but releasing him now based on his performance so far would be an extremely silly thing to do.

  43. kaleyk on April 27th, 2015 10:29 am

    I would like to see MORE of Ruggiano in left field and less of Ackley. If neither of them earns the position, then let’s see what Gutierrez has left in the tank.

    I have bitched about Rickie Weeks from day 1 …he’s another Brewers/Jack-Z thing …. Weeks is Corey Hart 2.0. And Morrison looks like Smoak 2.0. I suggest Weeks gets the DFA and Montero the call-up. Morrison hits the bench and give Jesus a chance. If Montero shows no signs of life, Quentin lurks in the shadows.

  44. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2015 3:00 pm

    If you’ve been honestly watching the games, then you know that Morrison is probably hitting the ball 4th or 5th best on the team right now…

    He’s seriously been smacking the crap out of the ball. Can we give these guys a couple months of at-bats before we decide who can and can’t bat?

    Calling for Montero already is like saying Weeks should have been starting at 2nd after Cano struggled the 2nd week of the season.

    Kaley, you yourself pointed out: “Jackson, Cano, Morrison, Ackley and Zunino are a combined 5 for 67 with RISP …. 5 singles!?!” Zunino issues aside, the other 4 aren’t going to sustain that level of ineptitude. It’s baseaball. You have to wait it out.

    The way this Division is playing out, the only thing that truly matters is which team is playing well late-August thru September.

    I think getting out of Safeco will do the M’s some good…

  45. kaleyk on April 27th, 2015 5:03 pm

    MrZ … Zunino, Cano and Jackson play up the middle, they have large defensive value. A first baseman is supposed to provide offense first. I watch every inning…I saw Morrison hit the ball hard to 3B yesterday when he drove in the run. Hitting the ball hard is nice but this is a team that desperately needs production. The team just lost 2 out of 3 to Minnesota! Morrison’s zero for 17 with RISP isn’t cutting it for me. Neither is Ackley. Weeks couldn’t hold Cano’s jockstrap. This year is supposed to be a great opportunity for the M’s and the games are slipping by.

  46. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2015 6:15 pm

    If you believe 0 for 17 is Morrison’s true talent level with runners in scoring position (which it’s NOT) then okay. But he obviously is going to do better than that moving forward, unless you believe he’ll go 0-fer-the season.

    If you quick jerk every guy out of the lineup who’s struggling then you never stay with someone long enough to get their production, and you end up playing everybody through their 0-fer-struggles and ultimately end up with down production.

    Even .330 hitters don’t go 1-for-3, 1-for-3, 1-for-3… They go 0-fer-15 (like Cano two weeks ago) then 12-fer-20… And end up at 12 for 35.

    Guys have to play everyday to produce.

    “Production” is not a predictable outcome on a daily basis. If Willie Bloomquist went 3 for 3 and Cano went 0 for 4, you wouldn’t play Willie the next day and sit Robbie, because Robbie is more likely to go 3 for 4 the next day and Willie is more likely to go 0-fer-4 the next two days, given where they’ll end up at the end of the year.

    Struggling is part of baseball. Oakland was 10 games better than everybody else at the All-Star break last year, with +100 run differential, and they had to win the last day of the season to make the playoffs.

    It happens. To everybody. The team it happens least to every year usually comes pretty close to winning the World Series (waving at The Giants).

  47. kaleyk on April 28th, 2015 9:04 am

    MrZ … really? I never suggested Morrison would be zero for the season. Nor I have suggested a .300 a hitter should always be 3 for 10. But thank you for the elementary education.

    If this was a developmental year, I would be all for giving Morrison & Ackley 400 plate appearances to prove or disprove themselves. They have both had that opportunity. Now they are off to a poor start in a season in which the M’s are supposed to be competing for a playoff position. In a competitive year, 20 games and 60+ PA’s with crap production …. as evidenced by the 0 for 17 with RISP, worst in baseball… is not a “quick-jerk”. It’s a time for change.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.