Game 81, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · July 4, 2015 at 10:57 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Kendall Graveman, 1:05pm

Happy Felix Day, and Happy 4th to you all. This season has been so painful, but it’s nice that we cans still celebrate every now and again. The M’s dinger-fueled romp yesterday was the perfect appetizer to today’s game, a chance to win a road series against the formerly-hot A’s and watch Felix perform yet again. And crucially, we can do all of this while grilling and drinking with friends. Not bad.

Today the M’s face righty Kendall Graveman, a sinkerballer the A’s got from Toronto as part of the Josh Donaldson deal. Graveman, a right-hander, throws a sinker, cutter and change, and he’ll mix in a curve at times. The repertoire sounds a lot like Jesse Chavez, and in fact Graveman’s release point is nearly an exact match of Chavez’s. But in terms of pitch movement and shape, the two are very, very different. Graveman doesn’t have much velocity; his fastball is around 91, and he’s got the low strikeout rates that you might expect from mediocre raw stuff. Instead, Graveman gets good sink with pretty much everything he throws. His change-up has splitter-like movement, and he should be able to throw it to righties and lefties, but it doesn’t look like he does (despite telling David Laurila that he does). Instead, he’ll throw righties his slider-like cutter that comes in at 86 and has very good horizontal movement (unlike Chavez’s more fastball-like cutter). The sinker and change-up are his big ground ball pitches, and they’ve pushed his GB% near 50% – it’s above average, though not in Felix’s class.

That could become a problem for him. Graveman doesn’t have the stuff for strikeouts, and (rightly) attempts to use what he CAN do to his advantage. But without really high GB rates, he’s kind of stuck in the middle – he’s not great at managing contact, control or strikeouts, and doesn’t seem to have any elite attributes to balance that out. He’s giving up over a HR per 9IP, and while tiny samples are all we’ve got with him, it’s not clear how that’s going to change unless he does something different, particularly with that cutter. Graveman’s cutter is noticeably slower than his fastballs, and while it’s got movement, it’s got less sink than you’d expect given everything else Graveman throws. And despite the horizontal movement, righties have destroyed the cutter thus far while lefties have fared well on his sinker. That sounds more dismissive than I mean it to – I think Graveman could be a solid #4 in time. But right now, he’s getting by on an amazing strand rate.

Baseball-Reference shows that the M’s have fared pretty well (ok, for *them*) against ground ball pitchers. By bbref’s definition, Graveman probably wouldn’t qualify, but I think this is a proxy for how the M’s do against pitches (not pitchers) of a certain type, and Graveman throws a lot of those pitches. The M’s have a number of fly-ball hitters with a pronounced uppercut in their swing, and Graveman’s sinker feels like it could fall into their wheelhouse. This year, Seager and especially Zunino have been much better against GB pitchers, while Cruz has been good against everyone. It’s Oakland, it’s the Mariners, and Graveman’s been better since his late-April demotion, but this isn’t the worst match-up for the M’s line-up.

1: LoMo, 1B
2: Jackson, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smith, LF
7: Trumbo, DH
8: Miller, SS
9: Sucre, C
SP: El Rey

Day game after a night game and all, but it’s fitting that Zunino finally gets a match-up that looks decent for him…and Sucre gets the start.

So the M’s made a series of moves last night precipitated in part by the end of David Rollins’ rehab stint. The M’s have called up Rollins, righty Mayckol Guaipe and OF James Jones, and sent down Vidal Nuno, Roenis Elias and Tom Wilhelmsen. Nuno was the easy call, but the other two are somewhat surprising. Elias has been burned by the HR ball of late, but has been steady performer in the rotation. Wilhelmsen’s inconsistency is tough to figure out. This year, his strikeout rate’s up, but he’s been doomed by a terrible BABIP (it’s .413!). His FIP is almost two full runs better than his ERA, so in some sense this feels like penalizing Wilhelmsen for bad luck. You figure Wilhelmsen will work with Jaime Navarro for a few games and then swap places with Guaipe again. Jones is just biding his time until Hisashi Iwakuma returns on Monday, so this’ll be a short stay for him. I’m excited to see Rollins in the majors though. We talked him up in the spring, and he’s looked solid in AAA this past month.

Tacoma outslugged Las Vegas 12-7 at Cheney. There were 5 total HRs in the game, with the Rainiers’ Steve Baron, Patrick Kivlehan and Stefen Romero all homering. Neither starter was good; Stephen Landazuri gave up 4 runs in 4 innings while Vegas’ Rainy Lara apparently didn’t appreciate the hot, dry weather and gave up 7 runs on 10 hits (2 HRs) in 4 IP. Danny Farquhar had his best outing of the year for Tacoma, throwing 2 1/3 perfect innings with 5 Ks. The R’s took the lead for good in the 5th off of hard-throwing reliever Vic Black, who’s in AAA to rehab a groin pull. Today, the R’s head to Fresno to take on the Grizzlies and recently-demoted Astro Brett Oberholtzer.

Jackson lost the completion of their July 2nd game, but came back to beat Mobile 1-0 in a rain-shortened game behind Misael Siverio’s 6 shutout innings. The Generals prevailed after what looked like a game-tying sacrifice fly was taken off the board when the umpire ruled the runner had left 3rd base early. Former Mariner Dominic Leone got the win in the first game. Today, Jimmy Gilheeney starts for Jackson as they start a series against Mississippi. Prospect Tyrell Jenkins starts for the M-Braves.

Bakersfield topped Modesto 3-2 thanks to another strong start from Tyler Pike, who went 6 2/3 IP and struck out a career-high 10 batters. Paul Fry got the save, and deserves some attention for his excellent 2015 season. In 48 2/3 IP, the lefty now has 63 strikeouts to 12 walks, and he’s been equally tough on righties and lefties. Bakersfield returns home and begins a series with Stockton today.

Kane County beat Clinton 3-2. Catcher Wayne Taylor hit a 2R HR early, but that was it for the L-Kings offense. Jefferson Medina starts for Clinton tonight against the Cougars.

Luiz Gohara had another disappointing start in Everett’s 9-3 loss to Tri-Cities. He didn’t make it out of the 1st inning, giving up 3 runs…hope he’s OK. Everett’s home tonight to kick off a series with the Hillsboro Hops, the Diamondbacks NWL affiliate. Taylor Bird starts for Everett opposite Tyler Bolton.


35 Responses to “Game 81, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 11:29 am

    I would really like to see Gutierrez more often. I know he’s not an every day player because of his health; but even now he’s probably the best all-around outfielder they have (him or Seth Smith).

  2. tame on July 4th, 2015 11:58 am

    So Brad Miller is having a better offensive season than Seager? Walking over 10%. Positive base running score and defensive metrics like him. I hadn’t noticed how good he’s been till I checked his numbers today.

  3. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 12:49 pm

    Trumbo, oh boy!!!!!

  4. Woodcutta on July 4th, 2015 1:16 pm

    Another avoidable out of the basepaths. Well, same ‘ole M’s.

  5. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 1:16 pm

    Come on Jackson. Has he been successful on even half of his stolen base attempts this season?

  6. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 1:21 pm

    The Mariners base running sure seems pretty awful – seems like another area either the coaching or the organizational philosophy is sub-par.

  7. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 1:21 pm

    Settle down, Felix.

    Nice curve there afterward.

  8. tame on July 4th, 2015 1:25 pm

    Jackson 7/14 stealing

  9. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 1:26 pm

    When the ball is hit right to him, Cruz sure can catch it.

  10. thehemogoblin on July 4th, 2015 1:33 pm

    I’m stopping in just to kvetch about how heinous the Mariners’ and Athletics’ stars-and-stripes uniforms are. And how awesome it is that Brett Lawrie is still wearing his green-and-yellow stirrups with the whole ensemble.

  11. Woodcutta on July 4th, 2015 1:35 pm

    Trumbo is an out machine.

  12. tame on July 4th, 2015 1:37 pm

    Trumbo has as many GDPs as RBIs as a Mariner

  13. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 1:40 pm

    Haha Lawrie’s ensemble rocks.

  14. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 1:42 pm

    Hopefully Guti will start taking some of Trumbo’s playing time.

  15. Woodcutta on July 4th, 2015 1:42 pm

    He also has more GDP than runs scored as a Mariner.

  16. tame on July 4th, 2015 1:55 pm

    Yip and we gave up genuine prospect and a couple of fringe prospects to get him

  17. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 2:24 pm

    Groundball festival. Two Ks?

  18. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 2:43 pm

    Time to get a couple runs for your Ace, fellas.

  19. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 2:45 pm

    The slider and changeup finally working. But will the offense now please stand up?

  20. Grayfox3d on July 4th, 2015 2:48 pm

    I love watching The King Felix get out pitched by mediocre scrubs because of this pathetic lineup that gets trotted out there game after game.

  21. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 2:51 pm

    It’s go time, Kyle.

  22. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 2:54 pm

    2 on, 2 out… and heeeere’s Trumbo!!!

  23. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 2:56 pm

    Seager fails to move the runners up, or they would be tied after that Smith ground out. Super Trumbo to the rescue!

    To the rescue?

    The “rescue.”


  24. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 2:57 pm

    Thank you, Jack.

  25. Woodcutta on July 4th, 2015 2:58 pm

    Trumbdud comes through again.

  26. Westside guy on July 4th, 2015 3:06 pm

    Right handed power is its own reward. It goes beyond simple statistics.

  27. Grayfox3d on July 4th, 2015 3:08 pm

    I love Felix, dont get me wrong, but could you imagine how many wins he would have if he was on a team with a decent offense? I know wins arent everything but when it comes to Felix, all I want is for him to have lots of W’s.

  28. jak924 on July 4th, 2015 3:08 pm

    Great to see how Trumbo is fitting right in.

  29. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 3:17 pm

    Guti! … oh please.

  30. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 3:33 pm

    Right handed power is its own reward …..ha!

    Well done, Westy. I see you are in mid-season form, already.

    Game 81.

  31. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 3:43 pm

    Jackson ran the team out of an inning in the first and Seager didn’t advance runners in the 7th … And that’s all she wrote. This team has almost no room for error and they miss on too many little things. Details matter.

    Only three teams with a worse record in the AL – and still only 5 back of a wildcard spot going into today. Blech.

  32. LongDistance on July 4th, 2015 3:58 pm


    (lifting forehead from keyboard)

    Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the exciting, unpredictable baseball of the Seattle Mariners.


    Sorry, Felix. This was their *off* day. Tomorrow will be their *on* day with dingers galore.

  33. msfanmike on July 4th, 2015 4:16 pm

    Hey, after today’s games, there is now 1 team with a worse record in the AL than our Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are mere percentage point leaders over the Oakland A’s. Tomorrow they potentially play for last place supremacy in both the AL West and the entire AL.

  34. WestyHerr on July 4th, 2015 10:07 pm

    We say ‘Happy Felix Day!’ with the confidence of an addictive gambler saying he’ll pay you back. Went to the game today. You just knew from pitch 1 we wouldn’t score. Why does this team give off that horrendous vibe?? I’ll be there tomorrow. Look for me with a bag on my head.

  35. ck on July 4th, 2015 11:44 pm

    2015 Mariners have good pitching. As an M’s Fan, I wait and hope for a seven or so game winning streak so that the Season isn’t already over for the M’s playoff chances. Sadly, Objective observation of this poorly constructed Roster in action foreshadows that prospect to be Highly Unlikely. Only a true Fanatic would continue to hope against hope for this offensive Offense to be adequate enough to play .500 baseball this year.

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