Game 109, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · August 2, 2017 at 4:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ariel Miranda vs. Andrew Cashner, 5:05pm

It wasn’t easy, but the M’s got a win they absolutely needed to have last night. Nick Martinez was predictably bad, but the M’s hurlers weren’t great, either. The back of the M’s bullpen – which has been remarkable over the past month – calmly dismissed the Rangers, ending any hope of a comeback, though.

There’s been some discussion on twitter about the true impact of deadline deals involving relievers. Because of chaining, does getting an elite reliever end up adding *more* production than his WAR would suggest, because you essentially knock each existing reliever back a place (8th inning guy to 7th, 7th to 6th or specialist role, etc.) with the end result being that you replace your *worst* reliever with a great one. Plausible, but it seems to me that what you really get is a fight over a limited number of very high leverage situations, and if the gap between the newcomer and your existing closer/set-up man isn’t huge, then I’m not sure the overall impact is all that big. When David Phelps was acquired, I noted that he wasn’t projected to be all that much more effective than Emilio Pagan, and Pagan’s absolutely on fire right now. But there’s another consideration: if you’re a team that, for whatever reason, has a LOT of high leverage situations, then you can still get a pretty big boost by bringing in a new set-up pitcher. The M’s have seen this the past few days, where they’ve been able to stagger Phelps and Nick Vincent, hopefully keeping both fresher/more effective than they’d otherwise be. The M’s rotation (outside of Paxton) may give up some runs, and the M’s offense is very capable of getting them back into games, so it’s possible that the M’s have enough situations where this surplus of set-up men is actually an effective strategy.

Today’s starting pitchers are among the league leaders in an odd stat: Ariel Miranda currently has a FIP 0.84 runs higher than his ERA; that gap ranks 10th in baseball. There’s no big mystery about why: Miranda’s yielding an absurd .227 BABIP, tied for 2nd best in MLB, but he’s also allowing buckets of home runs. FIP ignores the former, and is greatly alarmed by the latter, and you get this huge gap in actual versus predicted runs allowed. Cashner’s a different beast, but if he qualified, he’d rank even higher than Miranda, with a FIP over a full run higher than his ERA. The issue with Cashner isn’t HRs – Cashner’s somehow managing to keep the ball in the park in Arlington – but rather a dreadful K:BB ratio. His K-BB% is under 2, which puts him squarely in the “replacement level” camp by FIP, but a .207 BABIP with men on base means his ERA doesn’t look replacement level at all.

As I mentioned when the M’s saw him before, he’s a completely different pitcher to the 97-98 MPH guy he was several years ago in San Diego. He’s now around 92 with his sinker and four-seam, and complementing them with a change, cutter, and a rare curve. Those secondaries aren’t swing-and-miss pitches (refer again to his K rate), but they help him get ground balls, which is one reason he’s able to limit HRs. While his platoon splits don’t look too out of whack, lefties should enjoy a pretty big advantage. For one, his K-BB% is actually *negative* against lefties, and he’s got huge batted ball splits: righties pound the ball into the ground, while lefties are able to elevate it.

1: Dyson, CF
2: Segura, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Valencia, 1B
7: Martin, RF
8: Heredia, LF
9: Zunino, C
SP: Miranda

The M’s are generally always active on the minor league free agent front, and today’s no exception, as they’ve signed – re-signed, actually – SP Bryan Evans, who’ll start today for Arkansas opposite Royals prospect Josh Staumont. The extravagantly bearded Evans pitched briefly for Jackson last year, and has pitched in just about every Caribbean league as well. He was drafted way back in 2008. Good luck, Bryan!

Reggie McClain starts for Modesto, looking to end a loooong slump he’s been mired in. After posting sub 3 ERAs in the early going, he’s been lit up since mid-June or so. Is any of this related to his All-Star game hijinks or his chicken chasing championship? I can’t rule it out, dear reader. His ERA is 8.78 since the All-Star break.

Andrew Moore lost a pitcher’s duel to OKC yesterday 3-1 despite a HR from Taylor Motter. Moore yielded 1 HR in his 4 IP of work.

Modesto lost a heartbreaker to Rancho Cucamonga 2-1 in 12 IP, wasting a brilliant start from Robert Dugger, who went 7 shutout with 9 strikeouts. Eric Filia went 4-5 for the Nuts.

Nick Neidert was cruising through 5 for Arkansas when errors, a few bad pitches, and poor relief led to an 8 run inning for NW Arkansas and an eventual 9-8 win. Neidert K’d 4 in 5 1/3 IP, but gave up 5 runs (only 1 earned).

Cedar Rapids pulled off a remarkable extra-inning win over Clinton by doing one of the toughest things in the low-minors: putting the ball in play off of JP Sears. A hit and then an error put runners on 1st/3rd with no out, and then after a strikeout, the Kernels won the game on a walk-off passed ball. Sigh. Sears still had 3 K’s in 1 1/3 IP.

Filia’s 4 hits was the batting line of the day, and Dugger’s 9 K performance wins pitching line of the night.


3 Responses to “Game 109, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. Grayfox3d on August 2nd, 2017 5:31 pm

    Sweet! We have the lead… and its gone.

  2. Notfromboise on August 2nd, 2017 8:03 pm

    We hit so well that it makes us forget how truly awful our starting pitching has been this year.

  3. mrakbaseball on August 2nd, 2017 8:52 pm

    The mediocre starting pitching is going to prevent this team from ending that much above .500.

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