Game Posts :- )


Matt sez,

Not even BAKER is commenting on every game this spring...that's annoying to I seriously the only one around that wants to talk Mariners baseball daily right now? Doc? G? Anyone out there paying attention? :)

Noted, Matty.  Tomorrow we'll try to start game posts.  Once they begin, these will end after Paxton's win in game six of the World Series.


=== Loogie, Dept. ===

First up:  SSI is already very queasy about Mssrs. Sherrill and Kuo, and our eyes go slideways.  Want to know about Mauricio Robles' ability to handle the LOOGY role.  Instanter.

Whattaya think G.  Can Robles throw strikes with Angels on base, in April?  Not that a bullpen needs a left hand pitcher anyway ...


=== Does a 4-1 Record Matter? ===

If you just arrived ... think of it this way.  Suppose that the Mariners played the Angels in April ... and it was a charity event, with 60% of the players being UW Huskies and UCLA Bruins.  Would you care about a 3-1 series win for either side?

It's those 7th and 8th innings, against the other teams' stud relievers, that matter most, and in these games those runs are simply scored at random.  No, right now the record really doesn't matter.

What does matter is that a lot of things are going right, that the M's are scoring runs in bunches, that Chone Figgins is happy and etc.


=== Chone Figgins ===

Quick.  Why did you click on SSI?

Was it to see if there were any rumors?  Was it to get a sizzler or fizzler?  Was it to put off work for another five minutes?  You dunno?

If it took you longer than 0.20 seconds - one eyeblink, down to up again - you were too slow to do Chone Figgins' job.  His coherency needs to be total, when the pitch is in the air.

Somebody asked him about his job this spring.  "My job is to frustrate pitchers," he replied clearly, decisively.  And here's some game commentary:  there were two more walks for him today.

Within the realm of sports, Aiki-Doc weights sports psychology heavily.  Within the realm of sports psychology, he weights mission coherency heavily.  Within the realm of mission coherency, he weights optimism heavily.

Players have UP years and DWN years.  Sabermetrics has no idea why -- and it does not want to know.  A little knowledge of the causes of UP and DWN years would just foul up the clear two-dimensionality of its world view.  ;- )

Aiki-Doc gives a good 30%, 40% chance that Chone Figgins is about to post a .350 OBP this season.*  If he does, there are 3 WAR for you.


=== Musical Chairs ===

I'm queasy about Shawn Kelley, too.  Two years ago, at 94 mph, with his command and his unusual movement, he was intriguing.  He had a chance to be an impact short man, back then.  But!  He was never so good that you'd accept a reduced version of him.  Not in this crowd.

In my mind, Forrest Snow is a Mariner already.  This year's Tom Wilhelmsen, only more so.  Bring 'im on.


Dr D


*With a 60-70% chance that Figgins-type hitters are destroyed by Safeco, and/or that Figgins was never a good enough player to survive the downward-arc altimeter of "age 34."  But Figgins looks different this year, so.


ghost's picture

I do not like the look of Kuo...everything was up today...he was getting creamed.  I think he's a lost cause unless this is just rust.  We'll see soon enough.  Sherrill I haven't seen pitch logs yet...not sure on him.  I like Robles much better.

Lonnie of MC's picture

I played him once on TV...
From inning 1 through 5 Robles pitches like his hair is on fire.  From inning 6 and on the way he pitches will make you want to set your own hair on fire.
I don't know if it is an issue of stamina, or what, but once he has gone through the lineup twice he falls apart.  Walks and hits go way up and strikeouts wane.  
I think that this year will be the make it or break it year for Robles as a starter.  Either he shows that he can handle it by June or he gets moved into the bullpen.
As a potential relief arm, Robles suddenly becomes much more interesting to me.  G_Money and I have been lamenting about Robles as a starter almost since the day he arrived.  If given the opportunity, Robles' stuff is good enough to work out of a MLB bullpen right now.  The big question in my mind is whether or not Robles is 100% healthy right now.  He had all those issues in 2011, and then in the Venezualean Winter League he got lit up bad and was shut down after just a handful of innings.  We'll have to wait and see, I guess.
Speaking of arms that are on the verge of transitioning to the bullpen, keep this name in mind: Steven Hensley.  Hensley has struggled as a starter for the last few years, so may be on the verge of moving to the bullpen.  There, Hensley's stuff could be lights out!  I'm talking about a flamethrower who doubles as a magician. 


Soriano couldn't go more than 5 innings in the pros with his one-weapon approach.  Robles can't do it because he's squat and heavy and becomes more erratic as time goes by.  His max-effort approach to get the ball to go that fast at his height wears him out.
The arm injury and our depth at starter have allowed him to go to the pen. 
Before the injury he was throwing 92-96 as a left-handed starter.   I know we seem to grow those guys on trees now but it's actually pretty rare.  In last year's camp guys were raving about his changeup, and the way he throws gives him deception and makes him extremely hard to square up.  But it makes him erratic.  I'm not sure what they've done to help his landing leg issues or clean up some of his motion since his injury, but I hope it doesn't mess with his deception.
Through the first 4 innings in his career he strikes out around 10.5 per 9 and walks 3.5.  And he's unhittable.
WHIP and BB/9:
Age 19: 1.18 and 5.3
Age 20: 1.31 and 4.4
Age 21: 1.35 and 4.5
H/9, career: 7.3
That's a Jeff-Nelson sort of line.  You can pitch in the bigs for a long time with that.
We get to watch him today, Doc.  Or at least, he's scheduled.  Time to see his mechanics + velo.  I want to see if the change has bite and the fastball has hair.
Because they used to.  George Sherrill throwing 95 would be a terror, and I compared Mauricio to Gagne in the past for that reason.  95 from a lefty is 98 from a righty, and Robles has a fascinating change.  He also just turned 23 this week.  He's that tantalizing kind of work in progress that will drive you crazy.
I wanna see what progress he's made, both in his recovery and approach.  If he's the same dude he was in 2010, then he's an absolutely viable bullpen candidate.
But keep in mind he's been harder on righties than on lefties in his minor league career.  LOOGY he isn't, or at least hasn't been.
He's just a scary lil guy when he's right, and he has ice-water in his veins when he's on the mound, even when guys are kicking the ball around behind him.  I'd love to see him healthy and a contributing member of the 2012 Mariners.
PS - Forrest Snow is gonna be hard to keep off this team, I agree.  I feel like we put Super-Gro in the farm system's soil.  It's crazy.


Robles: career 9.6 K/9
Furbush: career 9.5 K/9
Butler: in his healthy seasons 9.0 K/9
That's three shots at an impact LH pen arm with hard stuff, plus
Moran: career 9.9 K/9
who is just as effective with his finesse stuff.
Then we had two rookies who put up dazzling numbers from the left side:
Cam Hobson: 43.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 10.5 K/9
Kyle Hunter: 47.0 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, 11.9 K/9
Except for being 22 and in the low minors, those two had as good of results as anyone in the organization.


Unfortunately, Asia is losing.
Among pitchers "we care about" Kuo and Iwakuma far and away the most disappointing to date.
Elsewhere, Sherrill and Kelley are "locks" but Furbush and Wilhelmsen showed way better stuff from the data.


is one of my favorite low-minors pitchers.  When he's on, he can be special.  If he can get consistent then look out - especially with the results other talented people are getting from our training program.
He has better stuff than Hunter.  His fastball as a starter gets up to 94, sits around 91. Nice tight break on his offspeed and his 2-seamer is interesting when he throws it for strikes.  He's also a hard-nosed gamer.  If we move him to the pen he could climb the ladder quickly. 
I don't expect to do that yet.  Furbush more than ever is looking like the LH guy in the pen to start the season, though.  I remember how nice it was to have Arthur Rhodes as the bullpen lefty to demolish all opposition.
Be nice to get another one.  At least we have some draws at it.  Moran's still the dark horse.  His struggles to start last year left an impression he has to work off, but I think he's destined for a pen role with us by the end of the year as well.
Our AAA team is gonna be fun to watch if a bunch of these guys don't make the 25-man.  Potentially Catricala (or F-Mart), Peguero, Franklin, Saunders, Moore, Robinson, Liddi and Wilson in the lineup with some mixture of Paxton, Hultzen, Ramirez, Carraway, Beavan, Snow, Moran, Pryor and Robles on the staff...
There's a lot of fun to be had there.
Bischoff, Burgoon and Kesler are also climbing the reliever ladder to AA or beyond by some point next year.
Reinforcements are on the way.


If I knew that Robles wasn't going to be nervous, throwing high-pressure pitches in 3-deck stadiums, he'd be my go-to LHR.  Right now.
As it is, maybe he only needs like April to acclimate...
With Robles' background starting, could definitely see him in a Scot Shields role, throwing 100 innings in relief and being one of the six or eight most important members of the ballclub...


He's making, what, $1.1 mill and that's guaranteed, right ... under the circumstances (LHR) that means he's a Mariner?
His elbow is hurting, his elbow WILL be hurting ALL  YEAR, he's throwing 87, and his fastball was always marginal in the first place... my question is whether he is a lock no matter how badly he throws the ball...
What are the precedents here.  Do new-sign $1M LHR's always make the 25-man?


Good line Lon-Man.  Heh. ... in my case it would just fizzle and pop for a second and I'd be okay.
Robles is short and heavy, steps to the 1B side, crossfires around the corner and that puts a lot of fatigue on him real quick... the motion could be termed 'max-effort' not in the sense that he screams when he comes through, but in the sense that he's never going to have a starter's rhythm with that motion IMHO...
On the other hand, that weird crossfire does help to befuddle hitters... gotta go with G here on the bullpen role...
There are worse things than a 2-, 3-IP Arthur Rhodes!


For my $0.02 ... I have an inkling that when it shakes down, Furbush could be the late-inning lefty in April ...
The centered pitches are a little easier to get away with for 1, 2 innings - plenty of relievers around the league get away with lots of, um, 'challenge' pitches - if a hitter hasn't seen Furbush for a month, and he's seen Jason Vargas that day, he is a little more likely to pop up the 93 fastball out and over...
M's want him to throw 150 IP in AAA and get his release point down, but unless Robles steps up, I don't see who else the Mariners have from the left side...


If he was a RHP, then no, but lefties are hard to get and if Furbush takes a liner off the noggin on April 8th we can't afford to have our bullpen structure fall apart. 
You can send Snow to AAA, let Furbush be your 2nd lefty/long relief (or 6th inning, whatever you want to call it) and if Sherrill's elbow unwinds like a ball of twine then Charlie can slide into the LH setup role and Snow (or whomever) can come up for long relief.
Easier than taking Robles out of AAA and making him your 8th inning-in-a-tie-game-in-Yankee-Stadium dude right off the bat.


It is becoming alarming that Figgins has not recorded a hit yet this spring training.  Today, he battles Jared Weaver, who is unlikely to give him any freebies.
Last year, SSI had this idea that the division rivals had scouted Figgins and come to the conclusion that all they had to do was throw him strikes and he would turn those strikes into outs.
The idea being that it is nearly impossible to succeed in the AL without any extra base power.
So, can Figgins succeed with a return to his OBP tricks?  Can he succeed against good pitchers, or does his skill set limit him to mopping up scrubs?  Is he an effective leadoff hitter?  Are his 34 year old muscles okay, or have they lost too much oomph.
We have popcorn and front row seats.


Where you cannot - CANNOT - be left out to dry by your defense without giving up multiple runs, Robles had several games where guys would boot balls around behind him, throw em into the stands, whatever.
He bears down hard.  That stuff did not affect him or get him away from his game, and most of those unearned baserunners never came around to score.  The radio play-by-play would make note of it - and of his fearsome heat, btw.  He was nasty.  There were times he was wild, too, but he could be awfully impressive. 
My only concern with him out of the pen is making sure he knows what his rhythm is.  When the Ms first promoted him from A ball they stuck him in AA for one solitary inning of relief (in which he was bad), then moved him down to A+ and put him back in the starting rotation.  This was after several days off.  He got thumped HARD.  But then he got back on his rotation schedule and started taking it to a league that punishes slop, gets cheap HRs (which Robles never gave up until his injury year) and otherwise drives pitchers crazy.
I'd prefer it if we weren't in High Desert, but since we are, I watch the pitchers that go through there and see what happens to em. 
Some of em get there, have their ERAs explode into the stratosphere and never recover (hoping Gillheeney isn't that way, because he's another future pen lefty with heat who could be useful - if he doesn't center a pitch for a HR 3 times a game).
Some of them get beat up, get out and are fine.  They have a tough mental makeup and don't take the beating as a reason to screw up their approach to the game.  Snow is in this group, and it's one that very good major leaguers can come from. Carraway's here too.
Some guys don't get hit, and laugh at the tough environs.  They just keep right on trucking.
Guys in the last group:  Pineda.  Moran.  Brandon Maurer is in this group for me - until he got tired (hurt?) he was mulching the Cal League.  So did Robles.  Take out his first start in the Cal League when he was off-rhythm (5 walks in an inning, IIRC) and he demolished the league even more than the stats indicate.
But I'd definitely want Mauricio to get the hang of the bullpen rhythm before throwing him to the MLB wolves.  IMO he should start in AAA as a pure late-inning reliever and practice for his future starring role.
Again, assuming health that will allow him effectiveness.

ghost's picture

First things I notice...Bobby Abreu is doner than done. His swings on Beavan's outside fastballs were hilariously slow.
Second...Saunders looks MUCH better at the plate. MUCH better...more confident...more focused, less shrill, and he ripped a hard single to right on a nasty inside fastball that he'd have swung over the top of and way late last season.

ghost's picture

So after two innings, I'd go:
SIZZLER: Kyle Seager
The man can play third base. Period. He just made a nice pick on a rocket to his right and he had about...oh...0.000003 seconds to read it. His bat looked OK too...he made an out the first time around, but it wasn't on a bad swing or any sort of chase of a pitch out of the zone...he appeared to have the necessary focus.
FIZZLER: Blake Beavan
Sorry...but other than Abreu, he's not fooling anyone at all. He's been VERY lucky thus far.
SIZZLER: Michael Saunders
I'd say at least some of the hype is warranted regarding his improved approach, as I mentioned earlier. He's more focused, his swing is more forgiving, and he can now get aroud on inside heat from Weaver. That's...MUCH better than last year.
FIZZLER: Brendan Ryan
His base hit was a real cheapy and his entire at bat he looked like he was in pain to me. You could just tell from his expression. I don't see how he stays healthy all year.


I'm only able to watch on gameday, with no pitchfx - but going through the Angel's first team with only 2 hits and one walk and 3K's - he's got to be fooling somebody, 'cause we know he ain't blowing it past them.


well, here's the chance for Robles to impress. Not that Romine, Lindsay, and Deeds are the Yankees -- but hey, it is the eighth!


well, he got Langerhans with two on, two out. I'm encouraged, even though he put the two on.

ghost's picture

In those four innings, he gave up:
A hard base hit to right to start the game
An at'em ball to left for a lucky LIDP
A weak K to an aging hitter with no batspeed
A deep fly to RF that Saunders made a hell of a play on to rob a double
A rocket-ball to third that Seager speared on the dive for a line-out.
A rocket ball to first that nearly killed Luis Rodriguez (as in...sound of ball hitting bat, followed instantly by sound of ball hitting L-Rod's glove...followed half second later by the sound of L-Rod landing on the outfield grass butt-first from the shear momentum imparted by the ball)
A hammered high fly ball to LCF that the wind killed
A worm-burning one-hopping to short
You get the picture? :)  Everything was crushed right at people.  It does happen.

ghost's picture

Currently the AL is 37-27 in ST (amd vice versa for the NL)...the ST schedule is even more robust than interleague play.  The records aren't a perfect measure of team performance, given the constant flux of players who have no chance to be big leaguers...but aren't those records a measure of depth of quality talent?  If the AL beats the NL severely in ST...does that tell us anything?


With your sizzlers and fizzlers, and with your assessment of Beavan.  He could have been rocked but skated by.  The only things that fooled anyone were a couple of changeups that fell out of the zone for strikes. Other than that...he was brutal, and lucky.
With Seager, the only other thing I'd say is his swing was fine but he was swinging HARD, trying to crush a ball and not just to put it in play.  I think the competition with Catricala is making him press a little when it comes to making an impression.
That play with the glove was great.  I just want him to play his game and not to compete with Catricala in a power contest, because Cat will win that one.

Lonnie of MC's picture

... or so the statheads say.  Folks who can't read between the lines to save their own lives cannot fathom how anyone else can see 37-27 and think that there is meaning to be found there.  To them, those of us who CAN read the tea leaves a bit are just fooling ourselves.
Their loss, I say.

jokestar's picture

You're right about them crushing Beavans pitching, he was lucky, but what about Weaver? That dude was lucky. Was it 4 or 5 runners stranded in his two innings. I think last years Cy Young runnerup looked much worse than Beavan did.

ghost's picture

I would say that Weaver looked considerably better than Beavan...a few of his base hits were cheap dinks...though Saunders did smack one hard.  He also fanned some Ms and made them look hideous in the process.  He wasn't sharp...but he wasn't getting tattoo'ed like Beavan was.

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.