5/18: Open Game Thread

it's early - Jason Miller

Not only do we get Joe Saunders today, we get a Joe Saunders who is probably groggy, stiff, and disoriented.

Yesterday we got to watch Lucas Luetge, the team's seventh or eighth-best reliever, cough up a game in the tenth inning while Tom Wilhelmsen watched from the bullpen. I had a lengthy screed prepared for this flagrant managerial ineptitude, until I remembered that he'd already pitched consecutive nights against the Yankees, throwing 23 pitches on the sixteenth.

Here are Wilhelmsen's career stats when pitching for a third consecutive day:

Sv K/9 FIP
Tom Wilhelmsen 0 0.0 0.00

Whether or not Wilhelmsen could perform such a task is certainly open to debate, and though we're unlikely to see a 1974 Mike Marshall ever again, it's been said (often by older relievers) that today's bullpen is treated with too light a touch. The balance of the estimated risk versus the reward of staving off Luetge-dom in a mid-May contest against the Indians is an exercise I leave the reader.

Today, hopefully, we will not have to talk about Lucas Luetge pitching in high-leverage situations. The lineups:

1. Chavez CF 1. Bourn CF
2. Ackley 2B 2. Kipnis 2B
3. Seager 3B 3. Cabrera SS
4. Morales DH 4. Swisher DH
5. Morse RF 5. Reynolds 3B
6. Ibanez LF 6. Santana 1B
7. Smoak 1B 7. Aviles LF
8. Montero C 8. Gomes C
9. Ryan SS 9. Stubbs RF
P. Saunders SP P. McAllister SP

I only seem to post game threads involving Joe Saunders. It makes me feel like I'm his personal catcher, like I'm Jamie Burke. I guess there are worse things in the world than feeling like Jamie Burke.

Things you should know:

  • Michael Saunders gets the day off, after starting all 15 games since coming off the DL. That sounds pretty impressive, but then, those 15 games came over the course of 25 days. Still, Endy Chavez catches all the fly balls today.
  • Resting Saunders also frees Wedge to ride the Hot Hand of Raul Ibanez. Currently Ibanez has a triple-slash of .235/.278/.541. It's the lowest OBP of his career, minus the early backup-catching days of his youth, and the second-highest SLG. Among the starters, only Seager and Morse have a higher OPS+ (126). Enjoy it while it lasts, if that's the sort of thing you enjoy.
  • Zach McAllister has a shiny 2.68 ERA, but beneath it he's a pretty average righty. He mixes a two-seam and a four-seam 91mph fastball, both of which are decent, with a curve and an occasional change-up, both of which are slightly less than decent. McAllister's FIP so far is 4.03, making him about a two-win pitcher on average.
  • Mark Reynolds is quietly having a great season, batting .263/.353/.564. What's more, it may not be a fluke: his famous strikeout rate (career 32.3%) is down to 25.6% this year, as he's making contact far more often. His contract is for $6 million this year, and according to FanGraphs, he's already produced $5.4m worth of value. He's only 29. In an unimpressive free agent class of 2014, he might earn himself a ton of money.
  • This isn't true, but it feels like the entire Cleveland Indians roster is comprised of players the Mariners shouldn't have traded, players the Mariners should have drafted, and players the Mariners should have signed. And Trevor Bauer.
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