Game 139, Astros at Mariners

marc w · September 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ariel Miranda vs. Justin Verlander, 7:10pm

It’s not enough that the M’s can’t really compete with the Astros, or that they enter play tonight 15.5 games back of Houston in the AL West standings. No, tonight the M’s get to play host to Justin Verlander, who makes his debut as a member of the Astros rotation. It’s a twist of the knife not to the M’s fans who wanted the M’s to get JV instead – I don’t think it would’ve been a great move, and I’m not sure the M’s could’ve swung it – but to the front office, to see a divisional rival setting up their rotation and bullpen for playoff series, not a bid to make the wild card game. It’s September, and the M’s are on the periphery of the playoff race, and I should be happier about that, but 1) they’re miles and miles away from the Astros/Indians, and 2) there is ash literally falling from the sky like snow in much of the Northwest and the world just seems more tenuous and fraught than ever.

Ariel Miranda’s the only Mariner to make each start in the rotation. Normally, you’d hate that a guy with a FIP of *5.60* is Mr. Durability for the year, but then you’ve seen some of the M’s 6th-12th starter options. This is Houston’s *5th* game against Miranda this year, but hopefully they’ve forgotten him, as it’s been about 6 weeks since last they met. Miranda desperately needs to keep the ball in the park, but that may be harder than normal given the high gametime temperature today – the ball flies further in warmer weather.

Ex-TB Ray Ryan Garton threw an inning the other day, and while another righty 6th inning guy isn’t too noteworthy, the movement on his pitches looks interesting. He throws a cutter-ish four-seam fastball that actually has gloveside break of about 1″, and the most truly “12-6” curve I’ve seen.

Today, the M’s have recalled 1B Dan Vogelbach, who had a solid 2nd half in Tacoma, and they’ve also activated newly-acquired OF Jacob Hannemann, whom they just picked up off of waivers from the Cubs. Hannemann is your classic speed/defense guy; he’s struggled at the plate in the minors, but his defense boosted him to the back end of the Cubs top 30 prospect lists. He’s swiped nearly 30 bags this year, so he could have some value as a pinch runner down the stretch. But wait, you say: this sounds an awful like the profile of the two high-minors CF prospects the Mariners already have, and who greased the skids for the DFA of Leonys Martin: Ian Miller’s in AAA Tacoma and is more of a 40-50 stolen base threat kind of guy. And Braden Bishop makes more contact and plays brilliant defense, and he’s waiting for the Arizona Fall League to start. All of this is true, so it’s a bit odd, but I think the plan must be to get Bishop more experience against high-minors arms before throwing him to the wolves. Bishop isn’t in the same league as a baserunner as Hannemann and Miller, as well. Miller would make the most sense, but then he’s had a rough go of things in the PCL after starting off with a 12-game hitting streak. His walk rate’s fallen and when his BABIP dropped, it killed his batting value. Still, all of these players are plagued by a dearth of power – Miller’s problem is the most acute, while Hannemann is the best bet to run an ISO north of .100 (a low bar, I know). The problem is that Hannemann’s also the best bet to post an ugly K rate. Bishop would seem like the best option from that point of view, so then things like the timing of adding players to the 40-man comes into it. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the offseason, and if Miller gets added to the rotation or if Hannemann acts as the last-in, first-out guy on the 40-man, and yields his place to the next waiver claim Dipoto makes. Bishop’s probably the guy who’s most clearly in the team’s longer term plans, but it can’t feel good to see the club get a player very much like you and have that guy instantly move to the active roster in Seattle.

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


4 Responses to “Game 139, Astros at Mariners”

  1. HighBrie on September 5th, 2017 9:00 pm

    Suggestion was made that using Hannemann might save you burning options and service time on guys like Miller and Bishop. This might be valuable in part because, well, more time, and also because it might not be entirely clear which of the two has more value to the team going forward, though they fill a similar role (as you point out). I’d rather see them give Miller a try in a pinch runner capacity.

  2. WTF_Ms on September 5th, 2017 9:38 pm

    Pitchers. We need better ones. Period.

  3. Grayfox3d on September 5th, 2017 10:32 pm

    Glad to see the starting pitching some what show up but this bullpen just finds ways to blow games, and that offense just shows up once in a while then goes right back to being non existent.

    It’s just too bad they don’t have any real pieces that could net some decent future for this club.

  4. LongDistance on September 6th, 2017 11:41 am

    Given their strengths and weaknesses, they’re just about where they should be, which can be looked at either glass half empty half full. Empty, they’re not the sort of caliber to be among the best, and only wild optimism or hope, and a fantasy finish, would permit them to get anywhere near a playoff spot, let along anywhere else. Full, they are at least not being dragged completely under and on some occasions have inspired admiration. If only this was a buildable base, eh? Me, I’m beginning to paint these last few years as the Class of Close But No Cigar. My money on 2018 is: Full Rebuild Mode.

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