M's Climb Out of Cellar. To 2nd Place.
M's 6, hapless Stanton and Marlins 1


If you can't get enough shtick after a Mariners victory, and who can?!, check out last night's Shout Box and Dr. D's Twitter account.  Better stuff there than here, since Wishhiker, KingCorran and Rick were editing me for accuracy.  Oh, and commenting the game themselves, but who cares about that.

The M's are now +59 runs -58, which is not bad for the worst 2 weeks of your season.  That's better than the Rangers usually do when they win the division.  But you would know that if you were on Twitter with us.


MIRANDA RIGHTS (to the #5 SP role) DEPT.

We tweeted during the 1st that Miranda was looking like he had a lockdown going.  He radiated ownership of the game from the first hitter, through Stanton and Bat571's boy Ozuna, and navigated the 6th inning well.  Diderot, also in the mezzanine, seconded our emotion on Miranda's vibe.

Bill James has emphasized that --- > when it comes to fringe starters, you are better off "seeing if you can build on" the 30-start guy than just swapping every time somebody makes 4 starts without impressing.  That's true even if the ERA's are 4.95 for the 40-start guy and the 4-start guy.  Dr. D believes this is 100% accurate as a generalization, and it is also the right way to live life.  Not to make a value judgment or anything.  Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.  

Have the Mariners proven (to their own satisfaction) that Ariel Miranda cannot pitch?  Of course not.  So on that basis he is at the head of the Overton/Povse/etc line.


He also has one of the better LHP fastballs in the league.  He has a splitter that can K people and his K rate is in fact up.  He's got a very live arm.  His mechanics are miles ahead of where they were when we got him.  His makeup is fiery if not actually volatile.  He's working on a third pitch he is trying to decide whether to throw his third pitch to break in or out.

If you are a Miranda believer, stick with it mate.


All that said, there were 3 people last night who raised caution flags:  Scott Servais, Ryan-Rowland Smith and Dr. Detecto.  The nature of the problem is that all his pitches break gloveside and they don't really separate the "look" the batters get.  Also that he leaves lots of pitches out-and-over.

So, as Servais said, the 3rd time through the Marlins' lineup they were starting to adjust to the way Miranda's fastball surprised them, and starting to zero in on Miranda.  (Third time through, two sizzled hits and a deep fly ball that was a lucky 1/8th inch low on the swing.)  And if that's true of the Marlins seeing him for the first time, what about your 3rd, 4th trip around the AL?

Which is why RRS cautioned, Miranda's success as a SP -- for his career -- will depend on his results the 3rd trip through lineups.

That's the nature of the problem.  In my opinion as well as the M's.


Now, that said, Miranda is developing.  He can indeed learn how to expand the zone, learn when to challenge and when not to.  He can continue to refine his command.  He can (according to RRS) make the "slider" actually break gloveside against lefties.  Right now when Miranda throws a "changeup" it swerves gloveside 10"; when it swerves gloveside only 5-6" for some reason everybody calls that a "slider."

He's got all kinds of room to grow.  No doubts there.  It says here he needs to.

But there again, Shannon Drayer reminded Hyphen "but as a number 5 starter?" and instantly Rowland-Smith recaptured perspective.  "Oh yeah, oh yeah.  He's throwing well."  Sure.  One man's "non-moving slider" is another man's "tunnel changeup."  Miranda can already lock you down on the right day.



Mo' Dawg has perpetual Adopt-a-Player rights on this one.  He's been out in front, that's for sure, though SSI Denizens will predict 1.12 ERA's and MVP/ROY's if that's what it takes to jockey for pole position.  ... joking.  You know we love it.  People actually root for the Mariners here.  Doesn't mean they don't see the same things a cynic does.



On the radio after the game, Servais said "he's earned the right to stay in the lineup more consistently" and that when Segura's back they'll find ways to move him around in the lineup.  It's cool that this is already Servais' intention but that was going to happen regardless, if Motter remains one of the M's best 8-10 players.  You can r-e-l-a-x about Motter hitting the bench when he is swinging like he is right now, which is:

(1) Early in his hand load, quick to the zone, so he's got plenty of time

(2) Peering at the pitches studiously as they come in

(3) Putting massively aggressive swings on the ball when he gets his pitch

(4) Hitting upper-deck shots in official American League(TM) facilities

It's not like they can pitch around Cano, Cruz and Seager to get to Motter.  He's going to continue to sneak up on people.


And Dr. D is beginning to wonder, just a little bit, if Motter might actually slug .450 this year because of an odd interview.  Motter called it "the best day of his life" to get traded to the Mariners and something clicked in Dr. D's head about the weird interviews back in March.  There are a few guys who suddenly become happy, who stay happy, and who stay hungry.  Segura himself was in this category, right?  What, is it JeDi mind tricks that leads the M's toward these guys?

From tourney chess you learn just how important it is to believe that it's possible.  It affects your calculations and decisionmaking.  Perhaps Motter now believes that it's all possible.



Hyphen's remark:  those crushed pitches Monday were fouls back last week.  The Denizens' takeaway:  the difference between 39 homers and a slump is hair-fine, so with players of very high caliber a week isn't enough.  Try six weeks.  Then we might start worrying, or not ...



... with some exceptions.  :- )   [actually let's separate this out?]



We would call it the "Talking Points Memo" but some North Korean would fire a random bullet at the border, resulting in who knows what, at the mere reminder of something political right now.  If you really insisted we could put up a "Strategic Patience vs Un-Strategic Impatience" since few diplomats read SSI.  Anyway:

(1) Is Dr. D being too hard on Miranda?

(2) Just how good might the offense be, if it's getting 6 runs a game now and it gets Segura back Friday?

(3) Are Haniger's and Motter's chances to be Fred Lynn and Jim Rice 1975, better than Dr. D's estimated 15%?  If that's too broad in scope, (3b) Is Taylor Motter ever going to hit a single?  Is his AVERAGE LAUNCH VELOCITY EVER GOING TO DROP BELOW 99.47 MPH?

(4) You like Rick's comp of Koufax-Drysdale?

(5) Do the M's, as Mike Salk thinks, "have a decision to make" on Mike Zunino?  :- / 



Incredibly, 538.com has us as slight faves.  It is not correct, as it wasn't on Hamels day, but we won that one.  So.

... Hold it!  Hold it right there!  The 1975-76 Reds WON a lot of Billingham Days!  That's 'cause they scored like the M's are doing.  And caught a lot of balls behind him.  It could happen, right?


See you on SSI,

Dr D




The best was "Is Motter ever going to hit a single?"

9 hits, 7 for XB...Motter is a lot of fun...the results AND the persona. Ya gotta love the star Mariners getting into hair flip antics with him. Motter is grateful to be here with a real chance to play, his teammates are exciting to play with, and he's dialed in. He's also running a 9:3 K/BB, and that K rate suggests he's probably not gonna hit .321. :) But as UTLs go...he could well be a championship caliber UTL. Or we could DFA Danny Sucklencia and let Motter play first.


If he only ever hits Motter pops?  I guess the original tweet of that phrase was from a fan back in March.  I don't love it or hate it yet.


Watched the game Sunday.  These guys are really good!  If Motter is hitting better than Smoak, Lind, Montero, Morales or basically any Mariners first baseman or DH except that one good year of Richie Sexson then we ought to play him, regardless of who is under contract.  The job qualifications for 1B should include slugging .450.  


I could see a Motter move to 1B...well really I could see him playing a lot of 1B, along with the Utility schtick..  His value as Zobrist Jr. is more than as Valencia Sr. 

We're sort of stuck with Valencia.  We can't option him out, he likely gets picked up off the WW (we could arrange a trade), and we sort of married him when we sent Vogs down.

Now he's not the pretty young thing we thought we married.  I don't mind letting him hit at LHP for a while, but he is indeed pretty terrible vs. righties.  

And I'm givbing Heredia the starting LF position for a bit.  Let Martin and Dyson share CF.  


it's not like Motter is going to play first base for three years, but he can be a Band-Aid on a slumping putting partner –

Bach is rolling in AAA so he could be called up at anytime –

Seattle Sports Outsider's picture

Again, Motter is the best thing about the Mariner season so far. Reminds me of the excitement around Bucky Jacobsen mashing home runs out of obscurity, power and flair (of a different kind). Here's hoping he's around for years to come!


Which actually has a lot of entertainment in my view, was when a reporter said Motter "seems to have good bat speed".  Servais replied "Seems to?".  The bravado is more fun now that they're "seeming to" be the team they are on paper. 


For hitters, many of these guys grew up idolizing Griffey or Ichiro.   It amazes me on Mariners magazine were still hearing new players say they idolized Griffey growing up.  


Let Motter play Util on the days Valencia gets 1B. Done. (Until Vogelbach forces the issue, then you have a plays-five-days-out-of-six Zobrist-style player in Motter - he's your 10th regular who gives EVERYONE else regular rest. .5/6 each 3B/2B/SS/RF, 1/6 each 1B/LF/'CF' (slide Haniger to CF). Skip C/DH.)


13 career starts:  72.2 innings, 57 hits, 53 K's, 23 BB's, 1.10 WHIP, 27 ER's, 3.33 ERA, .217 BABIP, 14 HR's (1.8/9 iinings), 53 K's.

He gives up a .460 BABIP on line drives, but so does the world.  On GB's it is .273.  Weirdly, on FB's it is only .038.  He's allowed 12 fly ball hits, 9 of them flying out of the park.

13 career stars isn't a bad place to begin to evaluate what he's got. And it certainly isn't bad.  Even though he gives up some fly balls and doesn't rack up tons of K's, he still isn't bad.

Over his career, excluding BB's, 19.3% of his faced batters have K'ed.  28.1% had hit ground balls, 32.1% have hit fly balls, and 20.4% have hit line drives.  Lefty Smyly?  25.6%,  27.6%, 31.1% and 15.6%. 

He threw 23 strikes that elicted no swing last night  (Paxton has thrown 11, 26 and 18 in his three gems), He's fooling some folks.

The knock against him:  He gives up FB's and doesn't K 8 guys a game.  Fair enough, but not many teams are throwing lefty #4's that are any better than Miranda.

His career starts (Innings rounded and ER's):  6/2, 5/3, 6/3, 4/3, 6/4, 6/0, 6/0, 7/2, 4/3, 5/1, 5/2, 6/4, 7/0.

6 quality starts, not counting the 5/1 and 5/2 games.

He doesn't pitch you out of games and he often enough shuts the other bats down.

He's been worth 1.2 WAR in those 13 starts.

He'll do.


Lastnight about him going 5+ innings in all but 2 of his starts last year, it's a good reason to be happy with him in the rotation.

He seems to induce a lot of pop ups.  Are those registering as flies in those numbers?  Also was thinking if Smyly had given us so far what Miranda has this year we'd be happy. 


I keep thinking about the quote I saw from a scout in spring training: "Breakout teams have breakout players."  Not everyone can be the '27 Yankees, right?  Especially in an Age of Parity.

So, with Haniger and Motter we seem to have a couple of good contenders.  (And maybe Heredia if he got the chance). 

But the most important one might be Miranda.  He's our third best starter right now.  If not Smyly...or Povse/Moore...it's got to be him.  And of course, the truism, "wait until the league figures him out" applies.  But also to Haniger and Motter, right?  

Kuma aside, the rotation has been better than I feared.  But Miranda has to be #1 on my list of hoped-for breakouts.  We need him.  


Let's not forget Zuse as a "breakout Star"

While we may not consider it a "breakout" I'm pretty sure the rest of the league does........especially if they are standing in the batters box watching the lightning bolts rain down!


of the game that made it 2-8, when Paxton's start's were the only wins 2 times through, I shouted "Paxton and pain or pray for rain.  Damn retractable roof."

At this point I'm enjoying Miranda starting, but nothing against the booze otherwise.  I'll be booing a couple starters if they continue the crooked number campaign. 

Nathan H's picture

Anyone else notice that Gallardo has outpitched Quintana so far in three games this year?

And...*grits teeth* J.A. Happ near the top of the league so far with a 2.09 xFIP. If someone could explain in small words why he didn't succeed here I'd be much obliged.

Nathan H's picture

Genuinely feel bad. Hate seeing guys get hurt in the midst of success.


Happ had blue funk.  It is a disease that saps 100 percent of professionalism, manhood and ability out of its sufferers, and is fatal to a career.  The only cure is to trade or DFA the infected player.  Usually, as soon as the player takes off the Mariners jersey, he has a complete recovery.  Blue funk is mostly known to affect hitters, the most severe case being Kendrys Morales, but it can and does affect pitchers as well.  When a player is suspected of blue funk, it is important to quarantine him, usually via the 10 day DL, to make sure the infection doesn't spread.  I'm not sure why Danny Valencia isn't being tested and quarantined.  Maybe JeDi is so confident in his trading abilities that he thinks he can handle a full blue funk epidemic, or maybe there were so few people left over from the Z regime that they didn't leave notes about blue funk.  


But hopefully no longer growing as quickly.  Jeff Cirillo was another big one.  Good answer, btw.

I think Dipoto has simply spread the funk throughout both leagues, picking up uninfected players to replace them.  Although there may be an infection that needs lanced at 1b.


Cirillio, Morales, Beltre (who STILL managed to be worth his contract), Carlos Guillen (who became a MOTO slugger pretty much as soon as he left), Rich Aurilia...I'm sure there are more (and I'm also sure that most teams have *similar* histories) but those are the ones that jump off the page to me.


Remember how some of us suggested, this past winter, that Eric Thames would be a cheap-ish, Cobra-quick LHB, who had just stomped all over the KBO like Godzilla?

Well, now:  Thames' Milwaukee line is .405-.479-.1000 w/ 7 HR's (currently on a back to back to back to back to back 5-game/6 dinger string)

Good thing we've got Valencia!


I hadn't noticed Thames was curb stomping the NL like that...


Once Dyson was acquired.  Good for him though.  

Update: he only managed a pair of doubles and a single yesterday so the HR streak has died.  Now 1.491 OPS

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

Well, there is always some miasma going on some place or another.

Valencia hasn't punched a team mate out yet (that we've heard about) .... and Vogelswagen has reached base in 10 straight games for the Rayoneers. 

Putting in Dyson for every 2 of 3 consec days in CF opens up LF time for Motter even though Marteen seems to have finally remembered what the bat is for.

The middle of the order is not gonna sit for more than one game at a time now that the 3 and 4 have gotten to swinging the bat.

You're not going to see Corey's brother or Haniger sitting very often.

So, let's bring in another spot of speculation tossed out in the opening about Mr. Zunino.

Why did a trip to purgatory (Tacom) work last year in getting his attention?  Perhaps he prefers 4 star hotels to bus rides  ... I dunno.

In Tacoma, Steve Baron is out with injury and Goosewitch is out with the flu (goose, flew, ya know) ... so the Rayoneer's took a spring practice catcher with them on the trip to San Anton.

Ruiz is not gonna catch a hundred games this year, so Salk's conjecture about Zunino being discussee in the clubhouse may step up to a fast idle.  Mr. Martinez does not seem to be able to implant a permanent circuit in Zoonino's head which flashes red on down and away stuff.

But, after the dismay infecting the populous last week things are creeping back to the top about star billing.

The standing O for Itchy Row did not require a translation, and I'm sure it will stick with him when he enters Cooperstown, probably with an interpreter by his side.

Yes, this week has certainly been a lot more enjoyable ... they have remembered how to win, and not just how not to lose.

Go Guy Art Dough.




Tonight:  6 innings, 4 hits, 1 BB, 7 K's and 1 ER.

We have two MLB pitchers in AA.

Moore: 3 Starts, 19 innings, 9 hits, 3 BB, 16 K's and 1 ER:  0.47 ERA

Povse:  3 Starts, 18.2 innings, 9 hits, 5 BB, 18 K's, and 1 ER:  0.48 ERA


On two veteran RH Starters.  Willing to eat some salary.

Love the pair of (so many possible double-meaning adjectives)  Nuts... but they're blocked by contracts.  Paxton Felix and Miranda belong for sure at least for now. 


I would move one up right now.  The other to Tacoma.

Seasoning?  Bah!

Gallardo was the good Gallardo last night.  The 4 runs could have been 7, or more.  

Give a kid a chance and energize the team.


With Gallardo.  But it's kind of like my issue with some uses of FIP.  The outfielders of previous years might not have gotten to this or that, however this is the outfield that was playing behind him.  *If* didn't happen so what we have is what did.  It was at times uglier than a 4 run performance but at times he did dominate an inning.

I'm in agreement with the tickets except the timing.  One more start like the last from Kuma and I can see moving him to the pen.  Has anyone in AAA earned a demotion this early?  It may just be a couple more weeks before figuring out who goes out to fit them in. 


Love Motter! 

He's an inside fastball hunter with + bat speed/exit velocity. He's also an A+ teammate and currently must-watch TV.


he's vulnerable on the outer half. His swinging strike % is elevated (esp. against RH) and will likely go up as pitchers avoid the inner half.

Verdict: He should play against every lefty (LF) and give Valencia a breather against RH when Freeman isn't. Valencia needs to be platooned and hit only LH and he'll bounce back.

p.s. where is Dr. D's twitter handle to be found?


...his fix was the Ted Williams cure...otherwise known as hitting correctly, rather than incorrectly. :)


Sorry we got to the computer so late.  Will have an article up or two tonight for tomorrow's 'news cyle' :- ).  Till then this stub will have to do...

And you're left to fend for yerselves as to whether a Billingham 1st IP can take the starch of a team's bats, or not.... 


Dr D


I wanted a RH hitting OF that could play CF, and would complement the Cano-Cruz-Seager lineup core by hitting a high-.700 OPS minimum. DiPoto didn't get Ozuna, but I'm thinking that may not be a bad thing. Let M_Hanny be M_Hanny! 

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