Game 89, Angels at Mariners

marc w · July 12, 2015 at 11:42 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Andrew Heaney, 1:10pm

Today’s game marks the end of the first half. Clearly, it hasn’t gone the way we hoped, but like any team, they’ve had their moments. Last night’s bases-loaded, no-out start looked like a disaster in progress, but Hisashi Iwakuma wriggled off the hook and then fired 8 shutout innings. It’s the kind of remarkable turnaround we’d remember for years if we hadn’t seen the exact same thing recently in Mike Montgomery’s start against Kansas City. Trumbo got timely hits, Jackson looked decent, and Mark Lowe (!), who I suspected would be an early cut this spring, finished the game with a 97mph fastball and another scoreless appearance. This is how it was *supposed* to look.

Another Taijuan Walker gem would really help go into the break feeling…well, if not exactly good, then a bit less sour. He’ll be facing the Angels top prospect to start the year, and their return for dealing Howie Kendrick, Andrew Heaney. Heaney was the 9th overall pick in 2012 out of Oklahoma State. Blessed with a fast arm and very good control, he seemed like the classic high-floor college pitcher – a guy with very good odds to make the majors, but perhaps not the top-flight stuff of bigger name prospects. In the minors, he pitched extremely well – a K:BB ratio nearing 4, thanks to low walk totals, and encouraging reports about his velocity. He pitched in AAA in 2014 and struggled a bit for the first time – his K rate was great, but he had HR issues a bit for the first time.

Traded twice this off-season, he ended up with the Angels and was sent to Salt Lake to open the year back in the PCL. In 14 starts, his HR issues disappeared, but he allowed a sky-high BABIP that pushed his ERA far above his FIP. In 3 starts since being called up, his FIP is exactly where it was in AAA, but his BABIP is just .222, giving him a superficially sparkly ERA. He’s walked just 3 in 20 1/3 innings, and while that’s even better than his MiLB track record, control is clearly Heaney’s calling card. He throws a sinker, a curve and change, and while his zone% isn’t all that spectacular, Heaney’s got the ability to hit the edges when he needs to.

His sinker’s averaging 92mph thus far and it’s got plenty of armside run. It gets a bit more rise than average, though, which explains the fact that Heaney’s GB rates aren’t noteworthy despite his sinker-dominant approach (he throws it about 70% of the time). His curve seems to be a pretty solid pitch, at least to lefties. It’s his putaway pitch to lefties, but he’ll use it to righties when he’s ahead in the count. Even with just two pitches to lefties, Heaney’s dominated southpaws at pretty much every level. Righties, though, have proven more difficult. His change has great run, but not a ton of sink – maybe that’s why it’s not been a swing-and-miss pitch thus far. It hasn’t hurt him yet, thanks to righties’ awful BABIP on the pitch, but he was surprisingly hittable for a top prospect coming through the minors, and it could be a problem for him going forward. This is a decent match-up for the M’s right-handers.

[EDIT: Guti’s back is barking, so the M’s have changed the line-up.]

1: Jackson, CF
2: Cano, 2B
3: Cruz, RF
4: Seager, 3B
5: Trumbo, LF
6: Montero, DH
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
SP: Walker

Ketel Marte and Edwin Diaz take part in the Futures game today in Cincinnati, representing the World Team. Lucas Giolito gets the start for the loaded US team, which also features C Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs. Marte actually faced Heaney three times- once last year against New Orleans, and twice this year when Heaney pitched for Salt Lake. Marte hit Heaney hard, going 5-8 with 2 doubles and a walk.

Tacoma heads into the AAA all-star break after their final game in Reno. Roenis Elias takes on ex-Colorado Rockie Jhoulys Chacin. Yesterday, the Aces beat the Rainiers 7-4, as Forrest Snow had his second straight sub-par start after his long string of excellent outings. Reno’s not a place to pitch if you don’t have everything working. Leon Landry homered and singled for the R’s.

Jackson gave up 2 runs in the 8th and lost to Birmingham 3-2. Dylan Unsworth had his best AA start, giving up a run in 5 2/3, but the South African took a no-decision when Grady Wood couldn’t find the plate, walking 3 in the 8th. CF Ian Miller had 3 hits and 2 2Bs for the Generals. Moises Hernandez faces off with Birmingham’s struggling sinkerballer, Tony Bucciferro, who has given up an astonishing 105 hits in 70 2/3 IP thus far, while striking out only 28 (and walked 20).

Bakersfield was on the right side of a late come-back, as they scored twice in the top of the 9th to beat Visalia 5-3. Rafael Pineda picked up the win in relief of Eddie Campbell – Pineda K’d 4 in 3 innings, giving up one run. Dan Altavilla starts today opposite righty Anthony Banda, who shut out the Blaze back in June.

Clinton played another extra-inning game, going 15 innings before losing to Peoria 7-4. The top of the order got 8 plate appearances – Austin Cousino was 2-7 with a walk, and Arby Fields was 3-8. At the other end of the spectrum, Gianfranco Wawoe was 0-7 with 5 Ks, giving him the rare platinum sombrero. Joe DeCarlo homered and walked *4 times* which seems like it should have a nickname – some very different kind of headgear, I’d guess. The golden pickelhaube, maybe. That’s just a first draft, but feel free to use that. Tyler Herb starts for Clinton, while Peoria will send Jack Flaherty to the mound. Flaherty’s the Cardinals 1st-round pick in 2014 out of Harvard-Westlake, and faced the L-Kings on July 1st.

Everett beat Boise 8-4, behind Alex Jackson’s 2-4 night featuring a 2B and a HR. Matt Clancy, a lefty out of St. Johns the M’s picked in the 13th round of the draft, pitched the final 2 1/3 IP without incident, and he’s now thrown 8 scoreless innings with 4 BB and 11 Ks to start his pro career. Andrew Moore starts tonight for Everett in Boise against Venezuelan righty Javier Palacios.


36 Responses to “Game 89, Angels at Mariners”

  1. mrakbaseball on July 12th, 2015 11:56 am

    No Gutierrez, out with a stiff back.

  2. LongDistance on July 12th, 2015 12:12 pm

    I hope for Guti it’s just spasms. But, on the other hand, if it’s that, you’d think he’d have his own TENS Device on hand just for these occasions. By now.

  3. Westside guy on July 12th, 2015 12:30 pm

    Ugh. What an outfield.

    Well, at least Ackley isn’t in center!

  4. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 1:34 pm

    Wow we really don’t wanna win this one do we…. can’t keep making mistakes and expect to win anything.

  5. Westside guy on July 12th, 2015 1:45 pm

    i know Cano recently talked about a stomach virus, but (and I have said this before) his longer-term overall play makes me wonder if he’s been playing hurt all this time.

    You know, like how a couple seasons ago Ackley had the bone spurs and we didn’t hear about it until after the season was over? I won’t be surprised if, at some point, we hear something similar regarding Cano.

  6. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 2:03 pm

    Nice, accurate arm shown by Trumbo. Can’t wait to see what he can do next with that gun.

  7. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 2:05 pm

    Montero has put together some very good at bats and I sure wish he could catch. We need someone in that slot who isn’t an automatic out.

    I know, that ship has sailed.

    What is the quota per team for 1B/DH types, anyway? Anybody have that number handy.

  8. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 2:19 pm

    Good contact, Jesus … Bad aim.

    He hit that ball well.

  9. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 2:37 pm

    7 pitches to Cano, No strikes thrown! and he strikes out in a key situation… we blaming this on the stomach issue or….

  10. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 2:38 pm

    Was that pitch 12″ or 18″ outside, Robbie? Way to come through in a high leverage situation. Again.

  11. jak924 on July 12th, 2015 2:40 pm

    I guess it’s too much to ask for two FREAKIN’ wins in a row.

  12. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 2:45 pm

    Walkers throw to “the third bad area” puts a nice tidy bow onto an excellent “first half.”

    Second worst record in the AL seems pretty secure heading into the break. Fortunately there are several mediocre teams ahead of them, so they can continue the mirage of being “in it” for a while longer. Hell, they may even get hot someday and win three games in a row.

  13. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 2:46 pm

    And that’s all she wrote. Here we go, falling into the second half of another lost season. Change has to happen, this cant continue for another 10 seasons. I don’t know what should change, but obviously what has been done is not working.

  14. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 2:53 pm

    Bye Walker…. Have fun back in Tacoma.

  15. jak924 on July 12th, 2015 2:54 pm

    These jokers are looking forward to their 4 days off.

  16. jak924 on July 12th, 2015 2:55 pm

    Laying a big, fat egg.

  17. mrakbaseball on July 12th, 2015 2:57 pm

    The curse of those awful cream uniforms. The Baseball Gods do not approve.

  18. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 3:04 pm

    I’m begining to think that the Mariners might be the only team that can’t hit at Safeco…

  19. msfanmike on July 12th, 2015 3:11 pm

    Hey Jack, a formal written apology would be nice, but an email will suffice.

  20. mrakbaseball on July 12th, 2015 3:25 pm

    I don’t want an email from anybody, I just wish Mather would hurry up and wish Zduriencik well in his future endeavors.

  21. Grayfox3d on July 12th, 2015 4:06 pm

    If we didnt just spend 8 innings getting our asses kicked, we might of made this game competative at the end….

  22. Westside guy on July 12th, 2015 4:07 pm

    How about that Mike Zunino?

  23. kimalanus on July 12th, 2015 5:37 pm

    I took the odds and skipped the game. How about a red kepi for Joe DeCarlo? The Fire Zouaves (aka 11th New York) were first to march into enemy territory, less than 24 hours after Virginia seceded from the Union. The Zouave uniform included a red kepi rather than the well known blue version. The Fire Zouaves were drawn largely from the fire departments. And they played baseball in the Civil War.

  24. sawsatch on July 12th, 2015 6:50 pm

    We should do what Cleveland did several years back and clean house. We’re going nowhere with no speed and terrible defense in a large park. We should trade major league talent for future talent.
    Ackley to the NL and Iwakuma and tilt cap can bring solid prospects. LM will bring value and AJ perhapswill too.
    Of course this will require a change in the system from top to bottom to try to take a page or two from the Cardinal and twin organizations

  25. jak924 on July 12th, 2015 7:59 pm

    It was announced today that while most MLB players will be taking a 4-day break, one club-the Seattle Mariners- are to attend MLB-supervised batting drills. Commissioner Manfred stated that “.. we will do all we can to rectify this embarrassment to the game.” Manfred concurred that this action is unprecedented, but that…”this situation has developed into an eyesore for all of baseball.”

  26. eponymous coward on July 12th, 2015 8:58 pm

    We should trade major league talent for future talent.
    Ackley to the NL and Iwakuma and tilt cap can bring solid prospects. LM will bring value and AJ perhapswill too.

    Iwakuma’s got less than half a year left on his deal, he’s a rentaplayer. Ackley’s got next to no trade value as a busted prospect. And Rodney as a trade chip? An erratic closer who lost his job? Puhleeeeze.

    If you’re talking about players who could actually bring in significant talent in a deal, you’re talking about Felix and Seager (Felix because, well, Felix, Seager because he’s good, young and he’s under team control for quite a while). Which basically means you’re blowing up the team, and oh by the way, you’re probably going to be carrying contracts for Cano and Cruz for a while, so you’re going to have the worst of both worlds; expensive players, bad team while you rebuild.

    And let’s face it… we don’t have Billy Beane as our GM. The organization isn’t going to fire GMZ and do the Mother of All Rebuilds in the next nineteen days. It ain’t gonna happen.

  27. LongDistance on July 13th, 2015 1:12 am

    Z has a couple of qualities which cripple careers and the team. One is the inability to admit mistakes and move on, the other is a sort of jealous refusal to trade players knowing they’ll probably do what the Mariners can’t. Ackley, once freed from his utility OF roles, will probably bloom as somebody’s shortstop.

  28. eponymous coward on July 13th, 2015 7:43 am

    Ackley, once freed from his utility OF roles, will probably bloom as somebody’s shortstop.

    Probably not.

    He got moved all around the diamond in college, too (2B/1B/OF)…

  29. Westside guy on July 13th, 2015 8:22 am

    What evidence we have shows Dustin Ackley to be an above average defensive second baseman.

  30. eponymous coward on July 13th, 2015 11:09 am

    What evidence we have shows Dustin Ackley to be an above average defensive second baseman.

    His dWAR for 2011-2012?

  31. eponymous coward on July 13th, 2015 11:14 am

    B-Ref and Fangraphs both think he was pretty decent at 2B those years. They don’t like him as much as an OF, but you see, there’s this guy Robinson Cano…

  32. dc24 on July 13th, 2015 12:33 pm

    Walker isn’t and shouldn’t go back to Tacoma, he’s starting to figure it out. That game could have been 0-0 or 1-0 heading into that dreadful sixth inning. He might not be as inclined to get the lead runner if we aren’t already down by three runs. He’s been awesome for the most part lately.

    Our problem has been timely hitting, we just aren’t getting it done with runners on base and in scoring position. If that changes in the second half we should win more than we lose, but with the hole we’ve dug, it might be too late.

  33. Westside guy on July 13th, 2015 2:40 pm

    Right, eponymous – I was more thinking about how Ackley might fit somewhere else, rather than here. I didn’t forget about Cano. 😀

    Either way it all revolves around Ackley’s bat (or lack thereof), of course – but I don’t think his arm plays very well in the outfield.

  34. LongDistance on July 13th, 2015 11:54 pm

    Ackley: 2B. I meant that. But it’s interesting I didn’t type it, as though somehow that positional possibility doesn’t exist anymore for some reason.


  35. LongDistance on July 14th, 2015 1:01 am

    I don’t know this team.

    Projected, before spring training even begins, to be the uncontested leader in their conference and probably the league. Vegas betting odds are so flat that nobody puts a dime on them. Oddly, they go tank galore in the first two weeks of the season, and then once they’ve established themselves as being more or less out of it, oddly — also — maintain themselves at that anaerobic level through this miraculous sequence of being able to win, sometimes quite handily, every other night, but also lose like total schmucks from another planet every other night.

    Which is the real team? Nobody seems to know, not even Vegas. Here were the betting line notes on the Mariners going into this game:

    “Scoring stats point to some edges in this matchup. The game features the Seattle Mariners No. 27-ranked scoring average of 3.51 runs per game, against a Los Angeles Angels offense rated No. 16 and scoring 4.11 runs per game. The Mariners have averaged 7.9 hits per game to date this season, less than the Angels hitters have managed (8.3 per nine innings). Seattle owns the No. 14 defense, allowing 3.51 men per game to cross the plate. That contrasts with Los Angeles’s No. 9-rated defense.”

    And yet, the Vegas betting line FAVORED the M’s.

    In other words, to best guess wins and losses, just look to see if they’re favored and bet they’ll lose.

    Go M’s. Whoever the hell you are.

  36. Ron Stevens on July 14th, 2015 6:19 pm

    I don’t know who will win the MLB all-star
    game;but rip National Anthem.

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