Mariners Now on the Cusp of Second Place

Week 6 Recap

Date Home Team Score Away Team Score Result
5/6
5/7 Pirates 4 Mariners 1 L
5/8 Pirates 1 Mariners 2 W
5/9
5/10 Mariners 6 Athletics 3 W
5/11 Mariners 3 Athletics 4 L
5/12 Mariners 6 Athletics 1 W
  • During this short week, the Mariners won three of five games and launched themselves to within half a game of second place in the AL West and just two games under .500. The results were pretty predictable, Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma won their games and Joe Saunders won his, but only because he was pitching at home. Overall, another solid week.

  • Let’s be clear, the Mariners are not on the cusp of contention right now. They’re still under .500 and the Rangers have a six game lead on second place. Barring a miracle finish to the season, we’ll be watching the playoffs unfold from home this year. This could mean we’re ahead of where we expected to be this year. We’re just under a quarter of the way through the season and we were expected to win around 72 games this year. This current pace (a rough estimate to be clear) has us winning 78 games. That’s progress, I think.

Player Performances

One of the features I’m including is a look at the recent player performances from the past two weeks. That small of a sample size will give us some pretty extreme data points. If you want to see the methodology behind these statistics, check out this page. The two tables below are the batting and pitching data from the last two weeks (4/29-5/12).

PA 1B/2B/3B/HR AVG/OBP/SLG K%/xK% BB%/xBB% HR%/xHR% SCOUT
Jesus Montero 28 2 / 0 / 1 / 1 .160 /.250 /.360 21.4/19.0 10.7/6.1 12.5/11.4
-1.6
Kelly Shoppach 15 0 / 1 / 0 / 1 .167 /.333 /.500 33.3/33.4 20.0/8.9 33.3/12.4 4.7
Justin Smoak 37 5 / 4 / 0 / 0 .321 /.486 /.464 16.2/27.7 24.3/12.3 0.0/9.9
-7.0
Kendrys Morales 42 7 / 3 / 0 / 1 .289 /.357 /.447 19.0/18.3 9.5/7.0 9.1/11.0 -3.1
Dustin Ackley 36 6 / 0 / 0 / 1 .206 /.250 /.294 27.8/21.3 5.6/8.9 12.5/11.4 1.8
Robert Andino 24 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 .095 /.167 /.095 29.2/21.9 8.3/7.7 0.0/10.4 -7.8
Brendan Ryan 22 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 .048 /.091 /.048 18.2/15.8 4.5/7.1 0.0/10.5 -6.0
Kyle Seager 48 8 / 1 / 1 / 1 .268 /.333 /.415 20.8/18.2 10.4/7.6 9.1/10.9 -2.6
Mike Morse 41 5 / 1 / 0 / 2 .222 /.317 /.417 26.8/23.3 12.2/6.8 25.0/13.2 10.8
Jason Bay 33 4 / 2 / 0 / 2 .296 /.394 /.593 15.2/21.3 15.2/12.5 33.3/13.7 23.6
Raul Ibanez 12 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 .364 /.417 /.909 8.3/15.2 8.3/8.5 16.7/11.5 3.8
Endy Chavez 12 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 .167 /.167 /.167 25.0/11.4 0.0/5.2 0.0/10.8 -4.3
Michael Saunders 49 8 / 1 / 0 / 3 .286 /.388 /.524 28.6/26.8 14.3/9.1 30.0/14.4 21.6
  • Not much to talk about this week, offensively, unless you want to talk about how offensive Brendan Ryan and Robert Andino have been at the plate. I’m not a comedian.
  • Michael Saunders is still hitting, Dustin Ackley has cooled off, and Jesus Montero can hit mammoth home runs but nothing else. Blah.
  • One interesting note, Justin Smoak might have actually figured out what he’s doing at the plate.  His walk rate is sky high and is now at 15% on the season. He’s cut down on his swing rate while maintaining his contact rate. He still isn’t showing much power but I think we can safely assume that the power won’t develop to the levels we thought it would. As a prospect, Smoak was praised more for his batting eye and plate discipline than his raw power. And it’s not a skill set that uncommon in first basemen. James Loney and Travis Lee made a living with this skill set (though certainly not franchise cornerstones). In fact, the Mariners employed a first baseman who might be a peak comparison for Smoak, John Olerud. I do think this year is a make or break year for Smoak and so far, he doesn’t seem completely broken.
IP BF K / BB ERA/FIP K%/xK% BB%/xBB% HR%/xHR% SCOUT
Felix Hernandez 16 55 12 / 1 0.56 / 1.79 21.8/22.1 1.8/6.2
0.0/9.2 16.3
Hisashi Iwakuma 14 53 14 / 3 1.93 / 1.74 26.4/22.0 5.7/6.9 0.0/9.3 14.9
Joe Saunders 20 1/3 84 8 / 6 4.43 / 5.12 9.5/11.3
7.1/7.2 14.3/12.1 -8.1
Brandon Maurer 9 41 6 / 4 7.00 / 7.43 14.6/18.4 9.8/8.2 25.0/13.2 -12.6
Aaron Harang 12 47 11 / 2 3.00 / 1.77 23.4/20.3 4.3/6.7 0.0/9.5 13.0
Hector Noesi 2 13 1 / 2 13.50 / 5.10 7.7/15.5 15.4/8.9
0.0/10.8 -0.2
Yoervis Medina 4 2/3 14 4 / 0 0.00 / 1.39 28.6/20.6
0.0/7.6 0.0/10.8 4.2
Lucas Luetge 1 1/3 4 1 / 1 0.00 / 3.85 25.0/20.7 25.0/12.8 0.0/11.1 -5.1
Oliver Perez 4 1/3 19 8 / 4 2.08 / 5.18 42.1/25.2 21.1/13.1 50.0/13.8 -19.6
Carter Capps 3 2/3 16 4 / 1 7.36 / 8.83 25.0/26.8 6.3/8.7 50.0/13.4 -10.4
Charlie Furbush 3 1/3 11 5 / 0 2.70 / 4.00 45.5/23.5 0.0/8.4 50.0/12.7 -7.6
Tom Wilhelmsen 4 14 2 / 1 0.00 / 2.85 14.3/23.8 7.1/9.6 0.0/10.8 6.1
  • At this point in Felix’s Cy Young season (2010) his overall line was 3.88/4.12 (ERA/FIP) 46 K / 22 BB. This year his overall season line is 1.53/2.16; 56 K / 9 BB. That is all.
  • Maurer started against the Athletics who stacked the lineup with seven lefties. Maurer took the opportunity to start throwing his rarely used curveball, throwing 11 of them on the night. His results were mixed, generating three strikeouts (matching his season total against lefties) but still giving up two home runs. The major leagues might not be the ideal place for him to develop strong secondary pitches but at least we’re seeing him use them a bit.
  • Last week I talked about Joe Saunder’s home/away split and sure enough, he only allowed one run against the Athletics on Sunday.
  • Dont look now, but Aaron Harang has put two decent starts together in a row. He’s striking people out at a higher rate than his career and isn’t walking very many. He’s delt with a bit of a home run problem but he’s not completely broken. There’s some hope yet for the back end of this rotation.

AL West Standings

Team Win-Loss Win% Games Behind
Rangers 24-13 .649
Athletics 19-20 .487 6.0
Mariners 18-20 .474 6.5
Angels 14-23 .378 10.0
Astros 10-28 .263 14.5

The Week Ahead

Date Away Team Probable Pitcher Home Team Probable Pitcher
5/13
5/14 Mariners R Felix Hernandez Yankees L CC Sabathia
5/15 Mariners R Hisashi Iwakuma Yankees R Phil Hughes
5/16 Mariners R Aaron Harang Yankees L Andy Pettitte
5/17 Mariners R Brandon Maurer Indians R Ubaldo Jimenez
5/18 Mariners L Joe Saunders Indians R Zach McAllister
5/19 Mariners R Felix Hernandez Indians R Justin Masterson

Given the opportunity with three days off in eight days, the Mariners adjusted the rotation to ensure Felix gets to pitch as often as possible. That means we get to see him twice this week against to tough opponents. The Yankees have been decimated by injuries but their team is still dangerous, especially in the launching pad that is the new Yankee Stadium. Also, Ichiro, we miss you! After New York, the Mariners travel to Cleveland to face a red hot Indians team. I would think winning three out of six would make this week a success.

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