Game 134, Mariners at Orioles

marc w · August 30, 2017 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Ariel Miranda vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 12:05pm

It’s getaway day in Baltimore, and I think the M’s are pretty happy to put this road trip behind them. The disappointment of the Yankees series has led to two awful games in Baltimore, and now the M’s are playing to avoid a sweep in a HR-friendly park behind a HR-friendly starting pitcher. Of course, the M’s line-up has to like seeing Ubaldo Jimenez’s name, too. Ariel Miranda’s currently tied for 3rd in baseball for most HRs given up in 2017, but Jimenez, despite pitching far fewer innings, is hot on his tail. Jimenez’s HR/9 rate ranks 3rd among all pitchers who’ve thrown at least 100 IP, while Miranda’s is 9th.

Jimenez’s career is a fascinating one, as he’s gone from ace to broken shell of his former self to respectable middle-of-the-rotation reclamation story and then back to one of the worst starting pitchers in the game. After the Lucas Sims game and Dylan Bundy’s utter dominance last night, I’m a bit gunshy about talking down an opposing starter, but…just look at Jimenez’s numbers: in 126 IP, Jimenez has an ERA of 6.57 and a FIP of 5.64. That FIP is the 2nd worst in the league, and would be second worst in each year since 2015. It would rate as the worst in 2014 or 2013. In recent years – James Shields a few years ago, or Derek Holland this year – we’ve seen pitchers give up an astonishing number of HRs, which pushes their FIP (and ERA) way up near 6. But Ubaldo combines a poor walk rate with a poor strand rate and drizzles it over his long-standing inability to keep the ball in the park. All of this means that, pace Shields or even Miranda, his FIP isn’t overstating his problems – it’s actually understating them.

The M’s playoff odds are down under 10%, and their wildcard odds now rank 8th in the AL, so I’m not sure how much to talk about must-win games, but if they want to jump back into things, they absolutely need to beat Ubaldo Jimenez today. Fangraphs’ game odds give Baltimore the edge, which is pretty remarkable, but if you can’t beat Jimenez a day after getting one-hit, maybe high-stakes baseball isn’t for you. Jimenez has been particularly hurt by lefties, despite the fact that his splitter’s a decent pitch against them. Like Miranda, the problem is that opposite-handed batters really see his fastball well. Since the start of the 2016 season, lefties are slugging .739 against his sinker, his primary fastball. Righties are slugging .465, which isn’t too bad. But all of the three true outcomes are cranked to 11 against lefties – he strikes more of them out, but also walks more, and gives dozens and dozens of dingers. Good match-up for the M’s lefties today.

1: Gamel, LF
2: Alonso, 1B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Cano, 2B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Haniger, RF
7: Zunino, C
8: Heredia, CF
9: Motter, SS
SP: Miranda

A day off for SS Jean Segura, who’s been in a tailspin for a few months now.

Max Povse wasn’t sharp in his start last night against Salt Lake, walking 3 and K’ing 1 in 3 IP (the Rainiers are giving their starting pitchers 3-4-5 IP per game these days) in an 8-1 loss. Evan Scribner made a rehab appearance, pitching one scoreless inning. Modesto and Arkansas both notched wins behind strong starts from Tyler Jackson and Bryan Evans, respectively. We’ll give Jackson the nod for start of the day thanks to his 8 Ks in 5 IP. Tommy Romero got his 4th win in the AZL, and the 20-year old now has a K:BB ratio of 51:15 in 43 1/3 IP.

In bigger news, the M’s just acquires SP Mike Leake from St. Louis for cash, SS Rayder Ascanio, plus international bonus pool slot money. More on this soon.


6 Responses to “Game 134, Mariners at Orioles”

  1. mrakbaseball on August 30th, 2017 12:09 pm

    In the past few years, it seems Leake has had decent first halves and has fallen off a cliff in the second. A Leake would be a bad thing for a Mariner, right? Signed thru 2020.

  2. mrakbaseball on August 30th, 2017 1:59 pm

    “the M’s are playing to avoid a sweep in a HR-friendly park behind a HR-friendly starting pitcher.”

    4 homers allowed by Miranda, not surprising at all.

  3. Westside guy on August 30th, 2017 3:27 pm

    Remember how, for a few days, we had Wellington Castillo?

    Ah, memories…

  4. Jake on August 30th, 2017 3:44 pm

    Wellington Castillo has absolutely clobbered the Mariners ever since they traded him. Remember the series against the Diamondbacks two years ago?

    He’s now 13 for 29, with five homeruns against Seattle….

  5. LongDistance on August 30th, 2017 3:59 pm

    Seattle Mariners. Regardless of anything else, one of the great farm teams in baseball history. In fact, setting late season snark aside, this suddenly seems like something worth looking up.

  6. mksh21 on August 30th, 2017 5:58 pm

    I’m just dejected.

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