Your quick "Friday night" recap:
Biggest Contribution: Jamal Strong, +32.2%
Biggest Suckfest: Julio Mateo, -16.3%
Most Important "Hit": Sexson walk, +11.9%
Most Important Pitch: Roberts double, -14.6%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -9.6%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +51.3%
A cursory glance at those numbers demands some sort of explanation. Jamal Strong, who went 1-4 with a single, makes the biggest contribution? Julio Mateo, who got two bigs out in the eighth inning, hurt the most? Alas, it is so, for without a perfect throw from Strong to nail Brian Roberts at the plate after a single in the eighth, the game would've been tied. Instead, Strong's cannon preserved the lead, and the Mariners went on to win by a single run. (Mateo was thus charged for allowing a game-tying single, while Strong was given credit for preventing this from happening. It was a big play.)
Other win expectancy decisions? I had to give Jeremy Reed some love for the catch me made on the Javy Lopez fly ball in the seventh, so where Moyer was charged for a double, Reed was credited for making the out. That was one hell of a snag, the kind that makes you wonder if Reed's going to have some accident one of these days that forces him into involuntary retirement. It's hard to watch him (and hear him) hit the wall without wincing.
Why The "Holds" Statistic Is Stupid And Needs To Go The Way Of Action Photo Shirts And Lloyd McClendon:
- Julio Mateo allows a potential game-tying single in the eighth, but gets saved by Strong's throw from left field. Mateo gets a hold.
- George Sherrill starts the ninth and allows a home run to the only batter he faces. Sherrill gets a hold.
It may seem hard to believe, what with his developing reputation as a guy who gives up home runs at the worst possible moments, but after yesterday, JJ Putz is now one of three Mariner relievers to have a positive full-season Win Probability Added rating. It may be sloppy analysis, but if you take away those two mid-May grand slams, Putz has actually been the third most valuable Mariner all year, behind Felix Hernandez and (yes, still) Randy Winn. The point isn't that I think JJ Putz is better than Eddie Guardado, of course, but rather that his performance hasn't been nearly as bad as you'd think, given how people talk about him. He doesn't get enough strikeouts to be a top setup man, but for close to the league minimum, he's a quality arm who gets groundballs (second-highest GB/FB on the team) and who's absolute murder on right-handed hitters (.193/.275/.263). Ideally, you go into 2006 with Putz and Sherrill briding the gap between the starters and Soriano/Guardado in the 8th and 9th innings. Used properly, we're going to have one of the better bullpens in baseball next year, and - Guardado aside - it's not going to cost much money. Hopefully the team learns something from this to take with them the next time they think about handing a multiyear deal to another Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
Jamie Moyer @Home: 2.62 ERA, 2.95 K/BB
Jamie Moyer @Road: 6.37 ERA, 1.18 K/BB
Jamie Moyer on Himself:
You can come up with all sorts of plausible explanations - Moyer's a flyball guy who feels more comfortable throwing strikes in a huge stadium, for example - but if Moyer himself is unaware that he pitches differently at home than he does on the road, where does that leave you? Is it a subconscious thing, or is it really just a coincidence? Between 2002-2004, after all, the difference wasn't nearly this extraordinary - Moyer's road ERA was just 7% higher than his home figure, pretty much what you'd expect from any guy pitching in Safeco. This is something Bavasi & Co. will have to consider when they think about bringing Moyer back for another go-round in 2006. Do you do everything you can to limit his road innings, or do you call 2005 a fluke, no more meaningful than Julio Mateo's 2003 season in which he was better elsewhere than he was in Seattle?
Rodrigo Lopez and Jeff Harris tonight, with a weird 6:05pm start time.