Game 106, Red Sox at Mariners

marc w · August 3, 2016 at 4:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Rick Porcello, 7:10pm

You may be able to steal a game against the regular M’s bullpen, Boston, but you – and everyone else – must yield to Edwin Diaz. Jeff’s post at Fangraphs adds some great detail to what we M’s fans have seen: folks can’t hit Edwin Diaz, and they look funny when they try.

Let’s be clear: Steve Cishek is not the reason the M’s turned sellers at the deadline, but when a team underperforms its BaseRuns and pythag the way the M’s have, questions are going to be asked about the bullpen. And while the pen in general and Cishek in particular have ok K:BB and runs-allowed numbers, they’ve struggled in the clutch. Edwin Diaz, especially after a tiny mechanical tweak, doesn’t look capable of struggling – in the clutch or not. Of course, one good reliever can’t change a team’s fortunes – we know that from watching Diaz pitch well on an M’s team that continues to be about .500. But it’s nice to think that we may see fewer of the heartbreaking, yelling-at-the-tv kinds of losses the M’s have suffered in the late innings.

Rick Porcello is both a testament to FIP and an object lesson in its weaknesses. From 2011-2016, his yearly FIP has stayed in a narrow band from about 3.4 to 4.10. His K rate’s grown since his days as a pitch to contact sinkerballer, while his BB rate’s consistently good. He’s had HR trouble occasionally (especially last year), but still his FIP pegs him as a remarkably consistent, a-bit-above-average, SP. Look at his ERA, though, and consistent isn’t a word that’d spring to mind. His ERA approached 5 last year, but a touch *under* 3.5 this year and 2014. After approaching 4.80 in 2011, it fell every year until last year’s post-extension stinker. More than HR fluctuation, Porcello has had trouble in the past with BABIP and stranding runners (the two are related, of course). This year, he’s been solid in those areas, and thus, this year his FIP and ERA are pretty close. When he doesn’t – like last year – they diverge.

Despite the up-and-down results, Porcello signed a big four year extension with Boston last year. The deal was a signal to many that starting pitching – even pitching with a few warts and ‘hasn’t lived up to his potential’ – commanded big bucks and lots of value in trade. In completely unrelated news, Ariel Miranda will make his M’s debut and get the start in Thursday’s game.

1: Aoki, LF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Martin, CF
8: Zunino, C
9: Sardiñas, SS
SP: Iwakuma

I first saw it in a tweet by Jamey Newberg, but all of the M’s beat writers have confirmed it: the Rangers are shifting ex-M’s OF James Jones to the mound. The M’s selecting him as an OF out of Long Island U was somewhat controversial at the time, as many scouts preferred him as a pitcher (he touched the mid-90s as a collegiate pitcher). Best of luck to him. After a dreadful year at the plate in AAA, it seems like his best chance to get back to the bigs.


11 Responses to “Game 106, Red Sox at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on August 3rd, 2016 6:06 pm

    Good luck to James Jones. He seemed like a good guy – someone you’d pull for, even if the outfield routes he’d choose would occasionally drive you batty.

    I remember how the M’s broadcast team kept talking about how strong his throwing arm was… without mentioning that he didn’t seem to have much of an idea where the ball was going to end up. Hopefully he has better control over that when the distance is 60 feet, six inches.

    Back to the topic at hand… Edwin Diaz is lacking one important trait as a dominant closer – a great nickname. Let’s get right on that!

  2. Westside guy on August 3rd, 2016 6:33 pm

    Speaking of closers… Boise pointed out (at the end of yesterday’s game thread) that the guys who gave Diaz his inaugural Gatorade bath were Cishek and Wilhelmsen. I thought that was a pretty classy move.

    Anyway, Divish has a story on it.

  3. Dennisss on August 3rd, 2016 9:01 pm

    Three hits, three home runs. Weird game.

  4. Notfromboise on August 3rd, 2016 9:13 pm

    It would be super sweet if Zunino proved in the 2nd half that Dipoto could focus his off season attention on corner outfielders, shortstops, and pitchers.

    In fact, Zunino showing strides might be the most important storyline outside of the pitching staff for the rest of the season.

    I’m not saying it will happen, I’m just saying it’s something i’m especially rooting for.

  5. Westside guy on August 3rd, 2016 9:24 pm

    I’m pulling for Zunono, and not just because he’s a Mariner. Jack Z might’ve ruined the kid’s career before it got started. I wasn’t hopeful he could unlearn so many bad habits, but so far things look good.

    And what the heck is Diaz doing? Calm down, kid!

  6. Westside guy on August 3rd, 2016 9:29 pm

    Cano makes those throws look so easy…

    Woo hoo! Mariners hold on and win!

  7. Dennisss on August 3rd, 2016 9:32 pm

    A little shaky, but save number 2 is in the books. I still felt more confident than I did when Cishek was closing.

  8. JMB on August 3rd, 2016 9:35 pm

    Is everyone giving up on Marte already?

  9. Notfromboise on August 3rd, 2016 10:05 pm

    I’m not sure what to root for in Marte. Obviously, if you post a .650ish OPS you are going to need to be Brendan Ryan to stay in the bigs…

    So Marte either needs to make some tangible strides with the glove, or he is going to need to get on base a lot more frequently.

    On the plus side, he’s walked 11 times in 300ish plate appearances, so there’s a *lot* of room for improvement in that dept.

  10. Notfromboise on August 4th, 2016 1:10 am

    Random side note: It’s been a year since we traded Dustin Ackley for Jose Ramirez and Ramon Flores.

    Ramirez had a cup of coffee with the club in September, then was traded to the Braves for a player to be named later.

    Flores was swapped for Luis Sardinas. One of the few times in the Jack Z era where we retained an asset. 😉

    So net result was Ackley for Sardinas.

  11. JMB on August 4th, 2016 9:28 pm

    I don’t disagree, the .650 OPS is dreadful. But it’s only 300 PAs and he’s 22. We also have nearly as many plate appearances last year, with a .750 OPS. And this year is marred by two injuries.

    So what I’m saying is, I don’t know what to make of him either.

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