clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Canadian Flakin’: Seattle Mariners (50-72) at Toronto Blue Jays (51-73)

Feel something akin to the electric thrill I once enjoyed when Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette came to town on the very same historic day!

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Fresh off the conclusion of the season series with the Tigers, the Mariners make their 1 hour flight across the border to Toronto to face the Blue Jays. I have to be honest: Since they quit trying to win a bit ago, I honestly have no idea what the Blue Jays are doing or how their rebuild is going, outside of having, like, two amazing prospects/rookies. Let’s find out together, reader!

At a Glance

Mariners Blue Jays
Mariners Blue Jays
Game 1 Friday, August 16 | 4:07 pm
LHP Wade LeBlanc RHP Jacob Waguespack
43% 57%
Game 2 Saturday, August 17 | 12:07 pm
TBD RHP Trent Thornton
45% 55%
Game 3 Sunday, August 18 | 10:07 am
LHP Yusei Kikuchi TBD
39% 61%

It’s kind of important to note here that the Mariners and Blue Jays are both in the stage of the season, for bad teams, where figuring out a starter is at least 60% the work of a divining rod. We’ve given it our best shot.

Team Overview

Overview Blue Jays Mariners Edge
Overview Blue Jays Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 91 (11th in AL) 103 (6th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (DRS) 3 (7th) -65 (14th) Blue Jays
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 105 (10th) 113 (13th) Blue Jays
Bullpen (FIP-) 100 (9th) 110 (14th) Blue Jays

I get how DRS works, but it will never not be funny to me to be in mid-August with about 120 games played and see “DRS: 3” next to a team. It makes it sound like it’s an event on the level of catcher interference or stealing home. In other news, the Jays have actually done most things at least passably, so long as you don’t look at their hitting. On the merits, you’d look at these numbers and think the Mariners really shouldn’t have an issue staving the Jays off for the coveted Buster Posey Memorial Trophy, awarded to the 5th-worst team in baseball each year. The trophy is in the shape of a young man who is very good at baseball.

Blue Jays Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Bo Bichette SS R 81 0.451 188 -1.6
Cavan Biggio 2B L 280 0.266 94 2.9
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B R 381 0.302 111 -3.6
Justin Smoak DH S 409 0.224 106 -3.1
Randal Grichuk RF R 480 0.292 92 -2.3
Teoscar Hernández CF R 345 0.272 94 0.5
Brandon Drury 1B R 353 0.266 74 1.5
Derek Fisher LF L 95 0.259 76 0.7
Danny Jansen C R 323 0.243 74 0.4

This is a pretty interesting lineup, both for its young potential star power and its true feast-or-famine nature. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (admittedly currently hurt), Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio is about as neat of a 1-4 as you could get in baseball these days, non-Trout category. And then there’s the back end. Justin Smoak? Brandon Drury? Yikes. There’s some other marginally interesting guys here—Derek Fisher and Randal Grichuk may have lost some prospect sheen, but there’s a lot of underlying talent there still—but you can see how this offense has mostly sat in the AL’s cellar with the bad midwestern wines, especially after shipping Eric Sogard to the Rays.

Probable Pitchers

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

RHP Jacob Waguespack

39 2/3 17.7% 7.1% 13.0% 42.7% 4.31 4.89

Jacob Waguespack, of the Louisiana Waguespacks, went undrafted in 2015 and signed with the Phillies. He zipped through their minors, considering he was undrafted, and was traded to Toronto last trade deadline for Aaron Loup. Now he’s posted 0.2 fWAR for the Blue Jays this year. It’s kind of amazing: Baseball America never even posted a scouting report on him, and here he is, pitching competently enough in the majors at 25. Good for you, Jacob Waguespack.

Oh, also, the Phillies got his velo from the low 90s to the mid 90s, even touching 98, which is probably basically how he got to the majors at all. He throws an array of other pitches—seemingly an everything but the kitchen sink type of approach—but from a quick glance, none of them seem terribly effective.

RHP Trent Thornton

114 2/3 21.6% 9.2% 13.4% 30.3% 5.34 4.77
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 43.9% 93.4 2381 106 106 96
Cutter 15.5% 88.3 2713 104 140 94
Splitter 8.1% 83.7 1488 65 73 95
Slider 29.7% 80.5 3093 75 100 78

Trent Thornton is 25. That’s about the most interesting thing I can find on him, as he’s relatively young and putting up relatively good results in a big-league rotation. Not that good, though: the fWAR may be 1.3, but the FIP and xFIP indicate that that’s basically a Leake-esque innings eating number. The former Astros fifth rounder potentially has more good things to come: the stuff is pretty good, and so is the command, but he needs to harness them more consistently. This one worries me a little, as it feels like the Mariners always struggle against guys with a good slider/curve combo, and Thornton has that.


Dawn in temperate rainforest. Reflection Lake Mount Rainier National Park Washington USA. Photo by: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Blue Jays haven’t even announced a third starter, so here’s a lovely picture of Reflection lake on the slopes of Mount Rainier.

The Big Picture

AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 78-44 0.639 -- L-W-L-L-L
Athletics 69-52 0.570 8.5 L-W-L-W-W
Rangers 60-61 0.496 17.5 W-L-L-W-L
Angels 60-63 0.488 18.5 W-L-L-W-W
Mariners 50-72 0.410 28.0 L-L-W-L-W

AL Wild Card

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Cleveland 73-49 0.598 +2.0 W-W-L-L-W
Rays 71-51 0.582 -- W-W-W-W-L
Athletics 69-52 0.570 1.5 L-W-L-W-W
Red Sox 64-59 0.520 7.5 L-L-L-W-W
Rangers 60-61 0.496 10.5 W-L-L-W-L

Cleveland and Minnesota continue to do the Great Lakes Two Step around each other in the standings (it’s just a lot of polite shuffling by with muttered “scuse me”s and “gonna get past ya here”s) while the A’s stand in the corner on their phone and the Red Sox and Rangers stand outside in the rain, wailing and gnashing their teeth.

2020 Draft Order

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Tigers 36-82 0.305 -- L-L-L-W-L
Orioles 39-82 0.322 1.5 W-L-L-L-L
Royals 43-78 0.355 5.5 L-W-W-L-L
Marlins 45-75 0.375 8.0 W-L-L-L-W
Mariners 50-72 0.410 12.0 L-L-W-L-W
Blue Jays 51-73 0.411 12.0 W-L-W-W-L
Pirates 50-70 0.417 13.0 L-L-W-W-L
Rockies 54-67 0.446 16.5 L-W-L-L-W
White Sox 54-66 0.450 17.0 L-L-W-W-L
Padres 56-64 0.467 19.0 W-L-L-L-W

Just behind us, if you didn’t pick it up from context? THE JAYS. Show ‘em who’s boss, Mariners. Commit inexplicable errors. Flail at pitches in the dirt. Lob eephus pitches through the zone. I believe in you.