Game 139, Mariners at Astros

marc w · September 7, 2021 at 4:22 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Logan Gilbert vs. Jake Odorizzi, 5:10pm

Well, last night’s game was brutal. Yusei Kikuchi was off, and didn’t make it out of the second. The bullpen scuffled, albeit with the lesser lights of the pen logging the innings and taking their lumps. Houston again pounded the M’s, and the put the game out of reach immediately. Kikuchi *just* pitched a gem against this same line-up, but looked like a completely different pitcher, with his velo down and his control non-existent. It all culminated in this Ryan Divish recap where he says the chances of the M’s picking up his four-year option are now at zero. I hadn’t remembered that Kikuchi has a player option when/if the M’s opt out of taking the next four years. That might be an intriguing decision for him. It’s valued at $13 M, and I’m not sure he’ll get a lot more than that even if it’s spread out over 2-3 years. I imagine that he’ll attract serious attention from clubs if he becomes a free agent, but I’m not sure that he can command a ton of guaranteed money coming off this second-half collapse.

It’s a sad story. I thought Kikuchi was a great pick-up, and I found the Scott Boras-devised contract, with its multi-year extension and options intriguing. I think it’s ultimately worked more or less as intended, as Kikuchi got several years to show his value without the M’s committing to him for six years. He’s shown tremendous ability to increase his velocity, he’s shown the ability to quickly make changes to his repertoire (adding a cutter, modifying his change on the fly), and to make little adjustments as needed. What he hasn’t mastered is consistency, but I bet 29 other pitching coaches in the league would love to try to help him do that.

Today, the M’s try to see if Logan Gilbert can carry over the momentum of a solid start against these guys where Kikuchi could not. Like Kikuchi, Gilbert has seen them a few times recently, and while one appearance was great, the other was painful. A big part of that is that it’s tough to keep what’s probably the best line-up in the game bottled up indefinitely, but I’m still pretty convinced a bunch of this is T-Mobile.

If you split team batting by home/away, you’ll find two very different M’s teams. At home, the M’s are “hitting” .210/.293/.364, for a wOBA of .288, and a park-adjusted wRC+ of 89. They strike out at a 26% clip, and have a BABIP of .259, worst in the game. They are by many metrics the absolute worst offense in the game. Away, they’re…well, not exactly great, but they’re perfectly fine, with a .235/.308/.395 line for an OPS above .700, and a wOBA of .306. They strike out under 25%, and are generally MLB-quality. One big problem here is that they’ve hit the ball in the air a lot: their home GB% is the second-lowest in baseball behind the Dodgers. The Dodgers, like the M’s, have a brutal home BABIP, but it doesn’t really matter, because they’re more than capable of hitting home runs. The M’s have a bunch of fly-ball hitters who hit for power, but not enough to overcome the fact that any fly ball in Seattle that’s not a HR is essentially a guaranteed out. Jose Marmolejos’ BABIP is .182, Dylan Moore’s is .217, Cal Raleigh’s is .239. These guys don’t strike out at an alarming clip, but with those BABIPs, even an average K rate is going to nuke your offensive production. Of course, Kyle Seager is very much in this camp as well, and it’s driven down his BABIP for the past five years. This year, though, he’s hitting enough HRs to pull his overall production above league average *despite* an average of .212 and an OBP of .286.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, RF
3: Seager, 3B
4: France, 1B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Torrens, DH
7: Kelenic, CF
8: Murphy, C
9: Bauers, LF
SP: Gilbert


2 Responses to “Game 139, Mariners at Astros”

  1. eponymous coward on September 7th, 2021 6:12 pm

    And Kyle Lewis is done for 2021. If you’re keeping score at home, the M’s actual OF prospects under 27… none of them are running a SLG of .400 for 2021, in about 800 PAs.

    I get why Jerry got the extension, but this won’t do. Really, six years and we can’t develop ONE guy who can hit league average as an OFer who can stay healthy for more than five minutes? The only guys we have who hit are other orgs guys like JP, Haniger, Torrens, Toro and France, or holdovers like Seager?

  2. Stevemotivateir on September 7th, 2021 6:25 pm

    I still think part of the problem has been the lack of time in the upper-minors, or in Trammell’s case, a lack of success in the upper-minors.

    Though AAA is somewhat of a joke, none of Seattle’s prospects have spent much time there–if any time at all.

    So, maybe they should.

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