Mariners Bandwagon Implodes, Lays in Ruin

MARINERS (51-62) Δ Ms ANGELS (59-53) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -99.2 (30th) -7.3 54.9 (4th) Angels
FIELDING (BABIP) 39.8 (3rd) 0.6 14.8 (10th) Mariners
ROTATION (tRA) 6.9 (16th) -1.4 14.6 (9th) Angels
BULLPEN (tRA) 2.5 (15th) 1.4 -23.8 (29th) Mariners
OVERALL (RAA) -50.0 (21st) -6.7 60.5 (6th) ANGELS
Explainer

The Mariners sit 8.5 games behind the Angels. That seems like a lot. It is a lot. Seventeen years ago, the Mariners sat eleven games behind the Angels. Those two facts have, outside the team names, absolutely nothing to do with each other.

But the Mariners can start playing a fun spoiler role. The fun part comes from not only damaging other team's playoff chances -- especially when that team is the Angels -- but also that in order to do so, the Mariners need to win. And winning is fun to watch. I suppose they could also accomplish being a spoiler by becoming headhunters and literally spoiling the physical carcasses of various players on other teams. That would be interesting for awhile. I wonder how many times they could do that and play it off like an accident or something.

The Mariners battled the Orioles into the late extra innings on Tuesday and then were gut punched by some controversial umpiring and lost. The Mariners were then blown out by Baltimore on the following day. It would be easy to narrate that after the frustrating call, the Mariners lost their mojo and weren't the same for the rest of the series. Like when Wil Wheaton pulled a gun on Kiefer Sutherland, they were already defeated and knew it.

That would be an easy story to spin. Such a story is probably in a book with a title similar to 101 plots for the lazy television writer. A problem though is that is backward. It's a product of retroactive writing, what happens when the result is already known and justifications for it are then searched for and found in earlier events.

Consider the opposite, say the Mariners steamrolled the Orioles on Wednesday, and imagine how easily another narrative forms. Energized by the slight felt at the hands of the umpires on Tuesday, the Mariners came out resolved to not let a close call decide their fate on Wednesday. They got their revenge like Andy Lindberg got on the tri-counties as they struck early and kept piling on and eventually, yah yah yah and so on.

Batter PA P/PA Slash line nBB K (sw) 1B/2B/3B/HR Sw% Ct% Qual+
B Ryan 29 4.2 .391/.517/.478 5 4 (3) 7 / 2 / 0 / 0 41 86 80.7
M Carp* 49 4.2 .364/.408/.500 4 9 (4) 12 / 3 / 0 / 1 41 83 116.0
K Seager* 54 3.5 .333/.370/.471 3 11 (6) 14 / 1 / 0 / 2 50 82 175.4
M Olivo 25 2.7 .280/.320/.520 0 5 (5) 3 / 3 / 0 / 1 62 67 134.4
J Montero 48 3.1 .333/.400/.400 3 4 (3) 14 / 0 / 0 / 1 50 87 137.6
J Jaso* 33 3.2 .259/.364/.407 5 6 (4) 5 / 1 / 0 / 1 38 85 129.8
D Ackley* 58 3.9 .236/.322/.400 3 11 (8) 8 / 3 / 0 / 2 43 86 126.4
E Thames* 24 4.4 .217/.250/.435 1 6 (4) 2 / 2 / 0 / 1 50 74 115.4
T Robinson^ 29 3.1 .222/.310/.296 2 9 (7) 4 / 2 / 0 / 0 56 73 140.5
C Wells 49 3.4 .174/.224/.283 3 5 (4) 6 / 0 / 1 / 1 49 86 43.8
M Saunders* 52 3.7 .160/.212/.240 2 16 (12) 4 / 4 / 0 / 0 45 71 63.2

P/PA = pitches per PA [avg~3.8], nBB = uBB + HBP, Sw = swinging [avg~45%], Ct = contact [avg~81%], Qual+ = a measure of quality of batted balls [avg=100, higher is better]

Ah gee, you guys. Why don't you just get more hits? Come on. This tune is old news.

Batter PA P/PA Slash line nBB SO (sw) 1B/2B/3B/HR Sw% Ct% Qual+
K Morales^ 45 4.0 .310/.378/.714 3 11 (7) 6 / 2 / 0 / 5 47 74 192.9
A Pujols 58 3.6 .327/.377/.764 2 10 (8) 6 / 6 / 0 / 6 51 78 173.2
T Hunter 52 3.9 .388/.423/.551 3 13 (12) 13 / 5 / 0 / 1 50 77 84.5
M Trout 58 4.1 .280/.400/.540 7 18 (11) 9 / 1 / 0 / 4 37 77 201.6
C Iannetta 30 4.7 .250/.400/.500 6 7 (4) 4 / 0 / 0 / 2 39 80 161.8
B Wilson 20 3.7 .333/.400/.389 2 6 (4) 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 50 81 120.9
M Izturis^ 45 3.6 .311/.333/.400 0 6 (3) 12 / 1 / 0 / 1 48 91 105.2
H Kendrick 46 3.5 .326/.370/.326 3 10 (8) 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 55 73 74.1
A Callaspo^ 56 3.9 .178/.339/.289 11 6 (5) 5 / 2 / 0 / 1 35 88 72.0
M Trumbo 51 4.0 .174/.255/.304 5 19 (15) 6 / 0 / 0 / 2 47 55 113.1

Eight hitters with a two-week OBP at or above .370. The Mariners have three. The Angel hitters also have had a power output unseen from any Mariner at any time this season. And it isn't just one Angel hitter.

MARINERS Δ Ms ANGELS EDGE
INFIELD 25.4 (4th) 1.1 13.3 (8th) Mariners
OUTFIELD 14.5 (10th) -0.4 1.5 (15th) Mariners
RBBIP 0.293 (2nd) -.001 0.298 (6th) Mariners
OVERALL 39.8 (3rd) 0.6 14.8 (10th) MARINERS
Explainer

Looking at 2007 onward (a.k.a. the pitch F/X era) the 2012 version of the Mariners are the best Mariners at infield defense. The outfield is good, but is still blown away by the 2009 squad. That was when Franklin Gutierrez was healthy and when Ichiro Suzuki was a Mariner and both were good at hitting. Such heady days those were.

10 AUG 19:05

ERVIN SANTANA FELIX HERNANDEZ
chart chart

Long live the King

11 AUG 18:05

DAN HAREN HISASHI IWAKUMA
chart chart

You can see an example of the disjointing of fastball-type pitches here with Dan Haren who profiles with a cutter, a fastball, a splitter and a sinker. Basically, he throws fastballs and fastball-like pitches almost exclusively.

See? I told you Hisashi Iwakuma's sinker is really hittable.

12 AUG 12:35

JERED WEAVER JASON VARGAS*
chart chart

Jason Vargas is better than Jered Weaver at throwing strikes and keeping away from fly balls. So why isn't Jason as go---oh, the stuff. Right.

Reliever BF Str% nBB Ct% K(sw) GB% HR Qual- LI
J Kinney 46 64.6 8 63.9 16 (16) 36.4 1 110.4 1.4
T Wilhelmsen 44 67.4 3 76.7 13 (8) 53.6 0 58.0 1.7
O Perez* 34 66.4 2 76.8 8 (4) 33.3 0 79.4 1.4
L Luetge* 31 66.7 1 71.9 8 (7) 54.5 1 97.9 1.7
S Kelley 30 65.3 1 82.0 3 (2) 23.1 1 73.8 1.6
B League 28 62.1 1 75.6 5 (4) 63.6 0 77.0 1.4
S Delabar 23 61.6 2 69.0 5 (5) 62.5 1 102.3 0.8

Str% = strike rate [avg~63%], Ct% = contact rate [avg~78%], GB% = groundball rate [avg~45%], Qual- = a measure of quality of batted balls [avg=100, lower is better], LI = leverage [avg~1.2]

Seeing Steve Delabar's name still clinging to the bottom of this table reminded to check out how he and Brandon League had done so far with their new teams. Delabar has struck out eight of the sixteen batters he's faced and League has been smacked around, but both are very limited samples of 16 and 10 batters faced.

Reliever BF Str% nBB Ct% K(sw) GB% HR Qual- LI
J Williams 55 60.0 3 83.9 8 (6) 45.5 3 165.3 0.6
L Hawkins 44 62.1 4 84.3 8 (7) 46.9 3 142.4 1.2
D Carpenter 43 55.4 5 85.9 4 (3) 35.3 4 161.8 0.7
K Jepsen 41 61.0 3 81.7 10 (9) 28.6 0 27.2 1.7
H Takahashi* 36 62.9 3 72.9 7 (6) 38.5 1 73.5 0.3
E Frieri 33 62.5 5 72.1 10 (9) 16.7 3 205.9 1.4
J Isringhausen 31 64.6 1 91.4 5 (5) 56.0 1 109.7 1.4
S Downs* 30 60.2 6 71.7 5 (4) 52.6 2 160.0 1.4

Whooooooooooooooo-ey, look at all those home runs allowed. Seventeen of them in the same time period as the Mariners' bullpen saw four such baseballs land over a fence between two tall usually yellow poles. Also heaps of walks and not enough of a heap of strikeouts.

Series Drink: Black Butte XXIV
Yes. Drink some. Drink more. It's so good.

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