Game 129, Mariners at White Sox; Game 1 of the Post-GMZ Mariners

marc w · August 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. John Danks, 5:10pm

Zduriencik’s last action as GM was the long-overdue demotion of C Mike Zunino to AAA. Given rosters expand imminently, it seems he’ll be with Tacoma for about 72 hours or so. Replacing him on the roster is John Hicks, the M’s 4th round pick in 2011 out of Virginia. Hicks had a reputation as a good defender (he leads the PCL in CS%), and has moved up the chain steadily, albeit with wildly inconsistent offensive lines. He was great in the Cal League, then fell apart in AA. Repeating the level in 2014, he put up a 121 wRC+ in 200+ PAs, but struggled after a promotion to Tacoma. This year, which he’s spent platooning with Steve Baron, has been his worst as a pro. It is the first day of the Jeff Kingston era, and the Mariners starting catcher is officially Jesus Sucre. 2015 is a hell of a drug.

We just saw this matchup back in Seattle 5 days ago, with the M’s winning a slugfest, 8-6. The M’s torched Danks for 7 runs in 5 IP, but the White Sox fared well against Taijuan Walker as well. Jose Abreu’s HR highlighted the fact that Walker is having real problems with right-handers recently; his FIP vs. RHBs is 4.87, well over a run higher than his FIP vs. lefties. His fastball *should* be effective against RHBs, but hasn’t been, perhaps because his breaking stuff still isn’t quite ready for prime time.

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

With team president Kevin Mather signalling that he’s not interested in an inexperienced GM, interim guy Jeff Kingston’s in an awkward position (as is Lloyd McClendon, of course). Ownership/Mather may want a veto over personnel moves, as we saw when Frank Mattox was interim GM. What Kingston can do is really focus on figuring out what the M’s have in Hicks, Ramon Flores, Ketel Marte and the rest of the high-minors talent the M’s have. That’s tough, as getting a look at, say, Jabari Blash and Forrest Snow come September would mean 40-man roster changes. There are some spots the M’s could conceivably swap out, but they may be loathe to do so right now. Beyond that, I’d imagine his main job is figuring out what the heck’s going on with Jackson and Clinton, and where the player development strengths in the org really are. Zunino’s demotion may just be a way for him to work on things in a low-pressure environment, but there’s simply not enough time to get a lot of meaningful work in, whatever you think of Cory Snyder as a hitting instructor.

The Rainiers hit another 5 HRs last night in a big 12-5 win over the Nashville Sounds. The R’s lead the PCL in home runs, which is pretty amazing given how their home park stacks up with some of the launching pads in in the PCL. Forrest Snow was the beneficiary of all the run support, but he gave up 2 HRs of his own. He’s given up 22 HRs of his own, good for 2nd most in the PCL behind converted OF Jason Lane, who’s also pitched about 40 more innings. Something to work on going forward for the local product, who’s had a solid year despite the gopheritis. James Paxton makes rehab start #2 tonight against Nashville. Go see him if you’re in the area.

Jackson’s bats came alive yesterday in an 11-3 win over Montgomery. Jabari Blash and Guillermo Pimentel homered. Edwin Diaz pitched a solid 6 IP for the win. Stephen Landazuri starts tonight as Jackson opens a series with Pensacola

Visalia downed Bakersfield 4-1 behind a great pitching performance from Dormagen, Germany’s Markus Solbach. The lanky righty gave up an unearned run in 6 IP with 6 Ks and no walks. Scott DeCecco gave up 10 hits including 3 HRs in 6 IP for the loss. Bakersfield heads to Adelanto to face High Desert today; no word on their starter.

Burlington scored 2 in the 8th to beat Clinton 4-2. Zack Littell’s solid start (6 IP, 2R, 7Ks) was spoiled as the Lumberkings bats couldn’t do much. Clinton’s runs scored on a passed ball and a throwing error. Tyler Herb starts for the L-Kings tonight.

Everett beat Salem-Keizer 4-3 behind great outings from Enyel de los Santos and reliever Joe Pistorese. De los Santos went 7, yielding 2 runs, and then Pistorese tossed the final 1 1/3 with 3 Ks. Drew Jackson had 2 hits, including a double. Rohn Pierce gets the ball tonight for Everett.


20 Responses to “Game 129, Mariners at White Sox; Game 1 of the Post-GMZ Mariners”

  1. WTF_Ms on August 28th, 2015 6:10 pm

    Huh? I’m the first comment?

    Thoughts on today’s activity:
    1) Zunino needed to be sent down months ago. Maybe he can figure something out, maybe not.

    2) Jack Z needed to go, and I’m glad they did it early to get things going for the off-season.

    As for replacements for Jack Z., I think our best bet already got hired (Dave D.). It’ll be interesting to see how much ownership has their hands in the decision making.

    Manager: I think we’re OK there, but most of the coaching staff needs “refreshed”. They made a good start with Edgar, we just need to get better at everything else.

    Farm system: Obviously, there needs to be some help there. I’m not a GM, so I don’t know the process there. I’m fairly certain it isn’t anything like the movie Moneyball. 🙂

    Let’s finish somewhat strong!

  2. Kazinski on August 28th, 2015 6:14 pm

    The only thing that makes the Mariner’s watchable in the dog days of August is the continued excellence of Franklin Gutierrez. Add to that the fact they (Jack) never would have traded Castillo ( he of the 15HR for Arizona) for Trumbo if he thought Gutierrez could still play.

  3. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:24 pm

    Shows how much I’ve been paying attention lately – I thought they were still I Seattle. I just popped in to read about the 7:10 game, and here it is the fifth inning already. 😀

    Hopefully Zunino starts 2016 in Tacoma. I don’t know if he’s fixable at this point, but they need to make a serious effort at doing so.

  4. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:30 pm

    It’s Elvis night in Chicago, huh…

  5. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:32 pm

    Seager goes yard!!

  6. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:39 pm

    People seem to have stopped worrying about Cano – but the past two months improvement seems to be driven largely by a high BABIP. He may end up being a problem sooner than anticipated.

  7. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:39 pm

    Now Guti goes yard!

  8. JMB on August 28th, 2015 6:48 pm

    On some level I think it’s not worth worrying about Cano… he’s here, and he’s not going anywhere.

  9. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:51 pm

    Yeah, at this point I suppose you’re right.

  10. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 6:53 pm

    I will say that Mac seems to be using Guti well. It’s unfortunate he’s not capable of being an every day player, but his ability is still undeniable.

  11. WTF_Ms on August 28th, 2015 7:38 pm

    As I mentioned above, Mac is managing well with what he has. I think he would do even better with more talent!

  12. Woodcutta on August 28th, 2015 7:39 pm

    Isn’t Cano also in the top 2 or 3 of highest % of well hit balls since the All-Star break? I thought I saw something on MLB Network about that (Wellington Castillo was 1st I think).

  13. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 7:52 pm

    Just in July – he was on fire. His August numbers are more like last year’s – still decent but well below his career norms. And his first three months were putrid.

  14. Westside guy on August 28th, 2015 8:09 pm

    Woo hoo! The post-GMZ Mariners are 1-0!

  15. marc w on August 28th, 2015 8:47 pm

    Guti’s resurgence is both wonderful and frustrating, which kind of sums up being an M’s fan.

    Totally agree w/JMB that Cano (and Cruz) are just going to be here, and it’s up to the new guy to build around them. May he/she do better than Z.

    Walker apparently strained his hip flexor…fingers crossed. James Paxton’s night in Tacoma: 62 pitches, 3 IP, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K. (Jabari Blash w/ another HR).

  16. Kazinski on August 28th, 2015 10:52 pm

    You could make a case that Cano’s second half resurgence is fueled by his .363 babip, but it’s more likely just regression to the mean, for the season his babip is .311 which is lowest since 2008 which is not coincidently the last year he hit below .300.

    There is no doubt Cano’s power is down as a Mariner but his second half line looks not terribly inflated from his career 2nd half line:
    2015 2nd half: .340/.403/.569 .368 babip
    Career 2nd half: .319/.368/.521 .336 babip

  17. Westside guy on August 29th, 2015 12:36 am

    If it’s not clear, I wasn’t arguing that Cano’s awful spring numbers were his new normal – I was just pointing out that a lot of the July chatter regarding his resurgence and power was likely BABIP fueled. His August numbers, as I believe I said, are more in line with last season.

    But as a player obviously heading into decline, I think using his career BABIP as a baseline going forward is probably unrealistic.

  18. HighBrie on August 29th, 2015 5:38 am

    Enjoyed the writeup. It would appear you conflated Jabaris in your minor league writeup, but no matter. Henry or Blash, funk on.

  19. djw on August 29th, 2015 5:49 am

    I can’t give McLendon a pass for his atrocious bullpen management.

  20. JMB on August 29th, 2015 6:16 am

    Bullpen: it must have been so easy last year, they were all great and it worked no matter who he put in whatever situation. This year… not so much.

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