Game 40, Mariners at Orioles

marc w · May 21, 2015 at 9:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

JA Happ vs. Chris Tillman, 9:35am

It’s early.

Very nice win yesterday, as Roenis Elias continued to pitch far, far better in the bigs than his minor league track record would indicate. A reminder: When Elias was called up, he’d made 3 starts in Tacoma and had an ERA over 8 – he’d given up 15 runs in just shy of 16 innings. In the majors, he’s given up 10 in just shy of 33 innings. K:BB ratio in the PCL? 12:7. In the bigs? 25:9. He’s unrecognizable from the guy who scuffled, and I’m really, really glad. Elias has been a vital stabilizing force for a rotation that looked like it could spiral into disarray.

Today’s opponent is old M’s farmhand Chris Tillman. It’s been a bit over 4 years since he beat the M’s and noted that he felt a bit of extra motivation in facing the team that traded him away. At that point, he was a hard-throwing tools prospect who seemed to have little idea where the ball was going. While he was sorting out how to deal with the rest of the AL, he was fattening up on the Mariners. Even when he was bad (2009-2011) he was great against the M’s. Then, once his walk rate fell below 10%, he was solid-to-very-good against the league as a whole…but he was still gave the M’s fits. He’s gone from a Danny-Waechter-with-a-grudge to an All-Star In his career, he’s made 6 starts against Seattle, and he’s 6-0 with an ERA of 2 and 32 Ks to 9 walks. M’s batters are *slugging* .282 against Tillman, and that’s the one thing most other teams have done decently well against the righty.

In a sense, you could cut and paste everything I’ve written about the previous two O’s starters and it’d work for Tillman as well. At some point, it’s not a coincidence – this is a player type that the O’s prefer and seem to scout for. They’ve assembled a United Nations of fly-balling, rising-four-seamer guys who’ll give up HRs but “beat” their FIP. Yesterday I mentioned that Miguel Gonzalez is #1 in baseball since 2012 for the biggest (negative) gap between his ERA and FIP – and that Wei Yin Chen was just outside of the top 10. Well, Chris Tillman ranks #4. We talked about HR/9 rate, and how Gonzalez and Chen ranked highly as well (Gonzalez at #4, Chen at #10) – Tillman’s #11.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise, because they pitch similarly. Tillman’s four-seam fastball’s only 92 or so, but it has extremely high vertical “Rise” – #1 in baseball among qualified starters this year and last. With that kind of movement, you pretty much know that Tillman’s never going to be a ground ball guy, so his fly ball rates fit in nicely with his teammates Gonzalez and Chen. Like them, that’s helped push his BABIP down, and that’s one reason why his career ERA is significantly lower than his FIP. Another thing that helps is an absence of platoon splits. Against righties, he’s got a cutter and a curve ball, but he’ll also throw a change every once in a while. To lefties, he’ll stick mostly with the curve and change. The curve’s a weapon, and scouts have been talking about since just before the M’s drafted him out of a California HS. Lefties have struggled with it, but they’ve also done a bit worse on his fastball. A true over the top four-seamer shouldn’t have much in the way of platoon splits, but it’s possible there’s some deception in his delivery to lefties that’s led to a significantly higher HR rate against *righties* than southpaws.

Today’s line-up:
1: Smith, RF
2: Miller, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Castillo, C
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Ackley, CF
9: Taylor, SS
SP: Happ

Welcome to the club, Welington Castillo.

Mike Montgomery leads Tacoma against the Iowa Cubs and Felipe Paulino today.

Edwin Diaz makes his second AA start. He scuffled a bit against the loaded Tennessee Smokies; we’ll see how he fares against Pensacola, the Southern League’s most hapless offense.

The Bakersfield Blaze take on Stockton again behind Carlos Misell. Stockton won last night 8-6, as the Blaze bullpen faltered after a solid start from Tyler Pike. Guillermo Pimentel went 4-5 and Martin Peguero homered in a losing effort.

Zack Littell makes his second start for Clinton. Like Diaz, he was roughed up in his first, but unlike Diaz, Littell has to make his second appearance against his league’s BEST offense, Quad Cities. Clinton won last night 7-6, torching the River Bandits bullpen after starter Akeem Bostick held them in check for 7 innings. Estarlyn Morales homered, and then the L-Kings got a walk-off walk in the 9th to win it.


22 Responses to “Game 40, Mariners at Orioles”

  1. Sportszilla on May 21st, 2015 10:03 am

    Well, at least we’ve got Felix tomorrow.

  2. WTF_Ms on May 21st, 2015 10:07 am

    I thought this thread was mighty quiet….and for good reason! Always a deficit, and always an early one!

  3. Sportszilla on May 21st, 2015 10:41 am

    To be fair, sometimes we go out to an early lead and then the pitching blows it.

  4. kaleyk on May 21st, 2015 10:48 am

    Early deficit and the usual early stat … 0 for 3 with RISP ….. maybe we can hope for a rain out!?

  5. WTF_Ms on May 21st, 2015 10:55 am

    OK, I’ll concede that the rest of the time we blow a 3-4 run lead.

  6. Westside guy on May 21st, 2015 12:33 pm

    How can there be a rain delay? I just looked at Gameday, and the backdrop image shows a beautiful bright blue sky at Camden Yards.

  7. Woodcutta on May 21st, 2015 1:19 pm

    Well, they closed the gap and had a chance to tie but the nohit-itis with runners in scoring position showed up again.

  8. kaleyk on May 21st, 2015 1:22 pm

    The M’s got a hit with the bases loaded? I thought that was a rule violation.

  9. G-Man on May 21st, 2015 1:23 pm

    Castillo is a lousy pitch framer, per Lookout Landing, but he got the call(s) for Tom W on that AB.

  10. Woodcutta on May 21st, 2015 1:23 pm

    Ugh, a Weeks/Ruggiano/Miller OF. This could be bad.

  11. G-Man on May 21st, 2015 2:20 pm

    Nice, bases loaded for ……Bloomquist?!?

  12. kaleyk on May 21st, 2015 2:21 pm

    Thanks Kyle !!

  13. WTF_Ms on May 21st, 2015 2:21 pm

    And he does exactly as you would expect.

  14. G-Man on May 21st, 2015 2:27 pm

    Great AB by LoMo.

  15. JasonJ on May 21st, 2015 2:28 pm

    What happened to Seager?

  16. kaleyk on May 21st, 2015 2:35 pm

    Seager got tossed for saying a bad word.

  17. okinawadave on May 21st, 2015 3:06 pm

    I have dropped my head back and sighed so many times today.

  18. WTF_Ms on May 21st, 2015 3:09 pm

    With this line up, dropping your head and sighing should be fairly common. WFB should go, DA should go, Weeks should go, and on and on…

  19. okinawadave on May 21st, 2015 3:14 pm

    You’re right, but my neck is more sore than usual today. Maybe the muscles got tight during that big break.

  20. kaleyk on May 21st, 2015 3:16 pm

    So many opportunities … 3 hits with RISP … only one of which actually drove in runs.

  21. groundzero55 on May 21st, 2015 6:47 pm

    Weeks is supposed to be a bench bat. Not everyone can be an all-star. He’s certainly a better option than Willie, and by the way Weeks did his job today. I’d absolutely rather see him at the plate than Ackley. Ruggiano at this point is one of the best outfielders we have.

  22. mksh21 on May 22nd, 2015 5:50 am

    Weeks is doing what he is supposed to do.

    300/364/533/897 211 ops+ vs. left handers.

    Im floored he is killing it to that degree but that’s all he can do is hit lefties so hooray.

    The failure is the M’s have given him 41 PA’s against right handers as compared to 33 vs. lefties. He has an OPS+ of 7 (yes seven) vs. RHP. That’s the mangers fault and the GM’s fault for having dog crap alternatives like Bloomquist and Sucre on the roster most of the year. He should never EVER start a game vs. a righty and be pulled immediately if he has to face one.

    If platooning is back in vogue, the M’s are doing it wrong. Other managers are getting guys 80% platoon advantages (Clint Hurdle and Bob Melvin managed to get guys who can only platoon 87% and 80% advantages last year) Weeks gets the advantage at only 43% thus far, which is giving any value back he generates from crushing LHPs by hitting like Bartolo Colon against RHP and getting MORE at bats vs. RHP.

    If there is a reason to dump- The question is, how valuable is a short side platoon guy with zero defensive value?

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