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Seattle Mariners Run Out of Excuses to Avoid Angels

MARINERS (21-25) Δ Ms ANGELS (20-25) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -33.7 (28th) -2.6 -19.3 (25th) Anaheim
FIELDING 25.4 (2nd) 5.3 11.7 (8th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA) 13.4 (10th) 2.4 16.8 (7th) Anaheim
BULLPEN (tRA) -15.1 (29th) -0.3 -8.8 (28th) Anaheim
OVERALL(RAA) -10.0 (18th) 4.8 0.3 (15th) ANAHEIM

The Mariners and Angels are performing quite similarly so far this year with the biggest difference (assuming you credit the same people with hitting and fielding) coming from the relief pitchers. And it's there that we get to see the gap that currently exists between the Mariners' bullpen and baseball's next best unit. It's a big gap.

I do think the Mariners' pen now is better than it looks as the Mariners' bullpen currently has baseball's highest HR/FB rate. That's unlikely to continue, or at least, continue being so high (16.5%). That contributes highly to the pen both having baseball's second-worst tRA and FIP. For reference, the unit's xFIP of 3.60 is tenth-best in all of baseball and the biggest difference between xFIP and FIP or tRA is the regression for home run rates.

Thu 24 May 19:10


I don't have anything to say about these two pitchers so here's where I'll stick in a mention that while Albert Pujols does have four home runs in May after zero (ha!) in April, his doubles have gone from eight to one. This can't keep up, right? The universe isn't this nice.

Fri 25 May 19:10


Blake Beavan possibly improving alert! Compared to last season, Blake Beavan is:

Throwing more pitches in the strike zone
Throwing many more first pitches in the strike zone
Getting fewer swings on pitches in the strike zone
Getting more swings on pitches outside the strike zone
Missing more bats, both inside and outside the strike zone
Throwing his fastball faster

It's not peachy across the board, he's hit six batters already, but there's definite reasons for optimism that Beavan can grow into a respectable 3rd or 4th starter in the rotation. You know, the sort of guy that Bill Bavasi would have paid $9 million a year for. Actually, comparing the two, Blake Beavan is actually statistically extremely similar to Mariner-era Jarrod Washburn.

Sat 26 May 16:15


This Saturday late afternoon game is Turn Back the Clock Day and it comes with a retro King's Court, which is neat. A few years back during either a retro night game or a game in which the scoreboard malfunctioned (I've been to both, I just can't remember during which this event occurred) the Mariners did an old-timey hydro race in which they merged it with Milwaukee's sausage race and had actual people hold up and "race" cutout boats along the outfield wall. It was hilarious.

If they did that every game I would love the hydro races. Something about it being low tech made it incredibly endearing and kitschy fun instead of a quasi-oppressive command to pay attention and be entertained when it comes from the overlord (read: scoreboard).

I was thoroughly shocked when I made the above chart for Jerome Williams. How? I'd come to grips with him not being terrible any longer, but his overall grades here are arguably better than Felix Hernandez's. That's preposterous, right? Wellllllll... Over the past two seasons, Felix has thrown 64% strikes, has a 9% swinging strike rate, an 80% contact rate and a 49% ground ball rate. Jerome Williams, over a much smaller sample of batters, has thrown 63.5% strike, has a 10% swinging strike rate, a 78% contact rate and a 55% ground ball rate. It's only been 85 innings in 2011-2, but damn, Jerome Williams has been really good by those metrics.

However, his higher-level results, the strikeouts and walks chief among them, are only so-so. Why? Digging deeper shows that Williams throws very few pitches in the strike zone. Recall last series how I made mention of Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz only throwing 40% of pitches in the zone? Williams is at like 37%. But Williams has an above average rate of swings against on pitches not in the strike zone. In clearer words, he's getting hitters to chase a lot. Don't chase, Mariners. Realize that he will throw you balls.

Sun 27 May 13:10


Speaking of other pitchers throwing balls, Mariner hitter's free pass (uBB + HBP) rate:

Mar/Apr: 6.5% (29th)
May: 9.0% (12th)

Series Beer: Kulmbacher Eisbock
The original ice beer. Not in the Coors meaning of it has to be ice cold so that you don't notice it's awful flavor (there's evidence that cold temperatures inhibit aromas and certain tastes), but in the actually uses ice way. The legend is that a barrel of bock bier was left out in the freezing cold and discovered months later. After they chipped out the ice, they found the beer left over to be stronger, sweeter and all around kickass.