Seattle Mariners Arrive Way Late for Spring Break

MARINERS (11-12) Δ Ms RAYS (14-8) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -15.0 (23rd) 1.4 15.2 (4th) Tampa Bay
FIELDING 5.3 (11th) -1.1 -7.2 (24th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA) 6.2 (9th) 1.5 4.9 (12th) Seattle
BULLPEN (tRA) -7.5 (28th) -4.1 -0.8 (15th) Tampa Bay
OVERALL(RAA) -11.1 (20th) -2.4 12.1 (8th) TAMPA BAY
Explainer

The Blue Jays outscored the Mariners 19-11 during the series, but both teams knocked five dingdongers a piece. The Mariners surrendering that many was not a surprise given the pitchers they offered, but five for the Mariner hitters was a pleasant surprise. The walks (9-8 Toronto), hits (29-25 Toronto) and extra base hits (14-13 Toronto) were all close to equal as well. A big difference, perhaps the difference, came from the timing of hits with runners in scoring position. The Blue Jays were 8 for 22 in those cases. The Mariners were 3 for 33. Yeah, big 'ol difference right there.

Also of note is that the Blue Jays came in with baseball's best defense by my measurement. Then they managed to bungle a bunch of balls and generally just look like clowns, hired to entertain the guests. On the other hand, the Mariners netted 20 hits on 83 balls in play which is a .241 BABIP and the Jays came in allowing a .242 mark. The errors were bad though.

Mon 30 Apr 16:10

FELIX HERNANDEZ JEREMY HELLICKSON

You might recall Jeremy Hellickson's name from Rookie of the Year talk last season when most of the attention went to Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Hellickson and stupidly Mark Trumbo. We are all familiar with the goings on of Pineda's 2011 season and he got a bit jobbed in the voting with only a fifth place finish. Ivan Nova wasn't a bad pitcher, but he was pretty average by our metrics, he just happened to pitch for a very successful team and people still cannot separate team wins from pitching talent.

Hellickson though was lucky to pitch both for a good team that granted him many wins, but also in front of a talented and aggressively managed defense that enabled him to credit from a very low batting average on the balls put in play against him. Typically we do not regard that as a skill of the pitcher. Stripped from the offense and defense that he pitched with, Hellickson's individual numbers were mediocre. He and Pineda had similar walk rates, but Pineda's strikeout rate was massively ten points higher.

As punishment Jeremy, for your undue attention received and some siphoning of votes away from Pineda, you will now feel the wrath of the Seattle Mariners left-handed heavy lineup. Except for Miguel Olivo, who of course will still start.*

*c'mon, reverse jinx

Tue 01 May 16:10

HECTOR NOESI MATT MOORE*

Matt Moore is the latest Tampa Ray to sign over the next many years of his life in exchange for lots of money and simultaneously not that much baseball money. An eighth-round draft pick back in 2007, Moore scythed his way through the minor leagues one level at a time, posting strikeout rates in the 30-40% range at each prolonged stop along the way. After just 40 batters faced in the Major Leagues, Moore signed a contract with Tampa that gives him guaranteed money through the 2016 season and gives the team three additional option years that could keep him in Tampa until he's at least 31 years old.

Aside from the intermittent command, Hector Noesi has also had a hard time keeping batted balls on the ground so far. It's early of course, but Noesi posted far more neutral batted ball rates in the minors and was even trending toward being a slightly groundball-friendly pitcher of late. That trend has died as hard as I wish the trend would die of people obsessing and admiring Charlie Sheen. Seriously, you people are terrible. He's terrible and you're worse.

Wed 02 May 16:10

BLAKE BEAVAN JAMES SHIELDS

As Jeff pointed out in his recap of Sunday's game, Henderson Alvarez throws in the high-90s and with a fair amount of movement. Blake Beavan throws in the low-90s with apparently no movement at all since any deviation from a straight line could spark some writing interest. And yet batters make contact against Alvarez's pitches more often than they do against Beavan's. It's baffling and about the only conclusion I can draw is that there has to be something deceptive in Beavan's delivery (and, conversely, plain in Alvarez's) or that the two's perceived velocities are far closer. I hope so and I also hope that someday soon we figure out what it is because until then I will never stop expecting Beavan to get Dresden'd in his next outing.

Thu 03 May 10:10

KEVIN MILLWOOD JEFF NIEMANN

In the snap poll post concerning the current Mariner pitcher not in the rotation that y'all think would excel the most there, Hisashi Iwakuma led with 25% of the vote followed closely by Erasmo Ramirez at 22% and then Danny Hultzen at 21%. That was mostly before Iwakuma's poor performance on Saturday so perhaps he wouldn't top it in a re-vote.

Of course, Erasmo Ramriez hasn't flashed very good control to date which is what I think we all thought we'd at minimum see from him. Instead he has almost as many walks (four) as strikeouts (five) and, if you include hit batters — he has two — then Erasmo has put more hitters on base than he's struck out. I wonder at what point will he go back to Tacoma's rotation and Shawn Kelley (17 strikeouts to 4 free bases in Tacoma) will retake his spot.

Kevin Millwood didn't pitch much in 2011 while with the Rockies, but against 222 batters faced he walked only eight. This year, he's already walked eight among far fewer (99 total) batters faced. Not that anyone could have reasonably expected Millwood to maintain a walk rate of 3.6% for long, but so long to that dream. That really specific and boring dream.

Series Beer: Wyder's Dry Raspberry Cider
Cider's can be neglected by the beer drinking crowd. They shouldn't be. While a touch weaker in alcohol content than many of the microbrews that we are used to up here, ciders are not just fizzy fruit juice. This particular one has 4% ABV and though that may seem weak, it is higher than most (all?) of the American macro lagers. Also, it tastes way better.

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