Whenever there are morning games, I have to listen to the game at work, since there are no TVs at work. Sidebar: if there were TVs at work, work would be awesome! Every time I flip to the station, I get those glances. You know, those glances. Why do you even care anymore? they say. Oh the Mariners are horrible again this year! they remark. I try to level with them as we go about our business, explaining to them that this is a rebuilding process we can actually get behind.
But no one listens. Any semblance of hope that I can glean from these games falls on deaf ears. Anytime “winning” and “Mariners” are in the same sentence, most people shut down. They aren’t as optimistic as we bloggers attempt to be. Harsh remarks and sarcasm are flung towards those who think the Mariners will ever make it to the point of a winning record.
Today, the Mariners were handed a loss by the Minnesota Twins. It was sort of a nail biter, but in the back of my head I couldn’t help but think that these Mariners couldn’t sweep any given baseball team, let alone the team with the worst run differential in baseball. It’s just baseball. My suspicions were correct, as the Mariners were walked-off on thanks to substitute teacher Steve Delabar. As exciting as his first win was on September 14th, he now gets to come back down to earth. Mark the date, September 22nd! The life of a reliever is so fickle.
Today, the Mariners had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Twins had an eleven-game losing streak snapped. It’s impossible to win every game, and it’s ludicrous to think as much at this point in the season. At this point, there are only a handful of positive things we an look at.
As we waddle through the drudge of a losing season, we can imagine what it would be like to have clinched a playoff berth.
I like Blake Beavan. After doing some research and reading old scouting reports, I’m interested in what he can become. His velocity is down from the time he was drafted, but that decrease was to the benefit of his control. He’s always had spectacular command and control, and his time in the pros has affirmed his accuracy. He hasn’t walked a batter in 24 innings pitched. Looking back at his minor stats, his BB/9 rate is absurd. I mean, really absurd. I had to clean my glasses to make sure I was reading that right. He’s never had a BB/9 over 2.0 while in the pros. This year, his BB/9 rate stands at 1.38. Anthony Swarzak‘s BB/9 is 2.41. If we want to exclude the amount of innings pitched, we can throw Beavan into this company: Josh Tomlin (1.14 BB/9, 165.1 IP), Dan Haren (1.25 BB/9, 230.1 IP), Roy Halladay (1.34 BB/9, 227.2 IP), Blake Beavan (1.38 BB/9, 92 IP). Of course, sample size, but that’s good company to keep. His minor league numbers show that he could keep it up with a bigger inning load – in 2010, he pitched 128 innings, and had a BB/9 of 1.09. His control is excellent, and it definitely could be an asset to the future of the Mariners.
But that’s one of the problems – he could be an asset. His is FIP 4.46. He lives in and around the strikezone, but perhaps he visits it too often. His GB% is 38.3, and his LD% is 22.0. When he gets hit, the hitter makes solid contact. He’s not giving up a boatload of homeruns, though. His HR/FB rate is only 9.2%, and that’s about league average. He doesn’t help himself by missing many bats, either; out of the 49 swings the Twins took against Beavan, seven of them missed, giving him a 14.2% swinging strike rate. So what kind of pitcher do the Mariners have here? They have a strike throwing rookie that gets hit hard, but keeps the ball in the yard at an average rate. Examining his delivery, it seems very Anthony Vasquez-esque: minimal effort, low-impact delivery. I’ve always thought that sort of delivery didn’t suit people of his size very well. He has the frame to produce 95+ mph on the radar gun consistently, so why wouldn’t he use it? It’s something to look at in the off-season.
The biggest problem of the game was, of course, the thing the Mariners regressed back to: hitting with runners in scoring position poorly. 2-for-13 with RISP. 12 men left on base. One of the things that we’ve seen spurts of is consistency. It seems that, at times, the Mariners can hit well, field well and pitch well, all at the same time. And then there are those games where the entire team goes into a slump all at the same time. Wedge was quoted, saying that it’s something they need to work towards for next season. We’ve seen glimpses of it, the Mariners just need more experience. They’re getting that experience now, and hopefully it carries over with them into next year as they make improvements.
- Among other things, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager are still hitting. Tonight they went for a combined 3-for-7. The term “check in with a hit” seems odd, because of all the things to be compared to, I don’t think swinging a baseball bat at a baseball is anything like checking into a hotel. They are usually so kind, and there is so much aggression in the batter’s box.
- Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI before Wily Mo Pena pinch ran for him in the eighth. Wily Mo Pena.
- I swear Kyle Seager has a Brendan Ryan face.
The Mariners avoid a hundred-loss season!
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