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The Jays get to ease out of Interleague play against the worst team in the AL. I have no idea what's going to happen.

The Mariners have a new interim GM and a new interim Manager, Jim Riggleman. Riggleman had this to say about his new team: ""We're really just trying to get these guys back to where their history says they can play," Riggleman said. "We're all taken aback by this. Nobody could've seen this coming. We felt what we had was a good spring training, and then it just started getting away from us and started spiraling down."" Well, I wouldn't say nobody saw it coming. Most of the statistically inclined saw it coming - the Mariners weren't actually that good last year - they got outscored by 19 runs. Rob Neyer pegged them for 77 wins. I'm pretty sure Baseball Prospectus and all those guys thought similarly. I didn't think they'd do well, and they were one of our most popular 'snake' teams from our pre-season Snakes and Ladders thread. But what do we know.

In any event, Riggleman figures to be less profane than former manager John McClaren, at least.

Tonight sees Roy Halladay taking the mound against R.A. Dickey. Robert Alan Dickey is perhaps the most interesting story in the majors right now. When he was drafted it was discovered that he didn't have an ulnar collateral ligament (the one that is replaced in Tommy John surgery). Instead of signing for some 3/4 of a million, he signed for a tenth of that. Nevertheless, he eventually made the show with the Rangers. He was essentially a slightly below average pitcher in Texas for a couple years, missed almost two full years with injuries, and is now back in the majors at age 33... as a knuckleball pitcher. He got picked up by the Mariners in the Rule 5 draft this year, an unusual move to be sure, given his age. Still, he was the PCL pitcher of the year last year after going 13-6 with an ERA of 3.72. He's struggled on the year, with an ERA of 4.79, but his k/bb rate is decent (29/16 in 41.1 innings) and he has only allowed 3 homers. His FIP is 3.75. He throws the knuckleball about 75% of the time now, and his fastball the rest of the time - it clocks in at 85, which is still 10-15 mph faster than he generally throws the knuckler. He pitched two innings against the Jays earlier this year, walking one, whiffing two and allowing one hit. He also got a double play...

Tuesday it's Jesse Litsch vs. TBA/Felix Hernandez. It is unclear who the starter is on Tuesday, King Felix, or F-Her as I like to call him, is supposed to start, but after hitting a grand slam the other day against the Mets (off Johan Santana no less!), he sprained his ankle covering home when Carlos Beltran slid into him. Miguel Batista is another possibility if Hernandez can't make it, though he is also day to day, or Jarrod Washburn could be moved up a day, which would be his normal rest anyway. Apparently Ryan Rowland-Smith is the favourite at this point. More on this story as it unfolds.

Wednesday its Dustin McGowan versus Jarrod Washburn. Washburn has to be sad to see interleague play go. He was 9/32 with 5 walks heading into this season (though he went 0-6 this go around). Wasburn has been a pretty big disappointment, and I'd guess the Mariners would want the $37.5 million they are paying him over four years back. Despite similar underlying stats, Washburn was good for one year in Anaheim, after several average ones. He then went right back to being the same old average pitcher, except this year he got even worse. He has an ERA of 5.23, and a poor k/bb ratio. Despite this the big lefty has actually been very good over his last four starts, allowing only six earned runs in 25.1 innings. Still, he struck out only sixteen against eleven walks in that span. Washburn throws a lot of pitches - the fastball runs in there in the mid to high 80s, and he throws it about half the time. Otherwise he'll throw a slider, cutter, curve and change - at least according to pitch f/x. Barajas is 6/23 with a homer, John Macdonald is 4/14; he's hit for the cycle against him over several games. Kevin Mench might want to stay by his phone - he is 12/34 against Wasburn. Rios is 6/15, Scutaro 6/22, Wells 5/24, Zaun 7/23, and Stairs 3/10 with 2 homers.

The biggest difference with Riggleman taking over is that Ichiro! moves from centre field to right field. There has been speculation that Ichiro! basically runs the team – Mike Hargrove ‘resigned’ last year in the middle of a winning streak but still got paid after he and Ichrio! apparently didn’t get along, and after Bill Bavasi got fired this year, Ichiro! made his move across the outfield. The speculation is debunked a bit here, but whatever. In any case, Willie Bloomquist and Jeremy Reed are splitting time in CF. Reed is making his case, hitting .307/.369/.413 on the year. He’s 27, and is finally starting to make good after posting a .926 OPS as a 23 year old (in 58 at bats) four years ago. He was the centrepiece in a Freddy Sanchez trade oh so many years ago. He homered off Dustin McGowan earlier this year. Bloomquist is 30 and has a career line of .260/.317/.324, so I imagine Reed will start to see the bulk of the playing time as long as he stays hot.

In other news, Richie Sexson still sucks, as does Jose Vidro (who DH’s…), Kenji Johjima has been terrible this year, Adrian Beltre continues to be mediocre, Yuniesky Betancourt has drawn four walks in almost three hundred at bats, Raul Ibanez is still playing well, Jose Lopez is hitting a pretty empty .300 – he has 12 walks in 325 at bats, and doesn’t hit for much power.

In somewhat more interesting news, Jeff Clement appears to be in the bigs to stay. Clement was the third pick in the 2005 draft, and was seen as the Mariners catcher of the future. This didn’t stop the Mariners from re-signing Johjima this offseason to a three year deal. Bavasi strikes again! This is the second time he’s been called up – the first time he played a fair bit of DH, but now he appears to locking down the starting catchers job, though his .176/287/.324 line doesn’t help too much.

Star closer J.J. Putz has been injured several times this year, and is currently on the DL. He’s probably out til the all-star break. If only the Mariners had another top flight reliever who would be one of the best closers in baseball. Hey, if only they had a centre fielder of the future as well! Oh that Erik Bedard trade! Well, Brandon Morrow, the 5th overall pick of the 2006 draft, seems to be doing alright at least. He has a 32/7 k/bb ratio in 23.1 innings, and has allowed only 2 runs all year. I don’t know how many relievers the Mariners think they need, really, as they drafted another one in the first round this year as well. Oh well.

2008 Motto Rating: Apparently they don’t have one. A+

The infirmary: J.J. Putz is the only big one – he has a hyper-extended right elbow. As mentioned, Batista and F-Her are a bit knocked up and may not play.

The Credit Section: All offensive stats, pitches per PA for pitchers and league average stats are from the Hardball Times. Pitchers' stats and leverage indices are from Fangraphs. Minor-league stats are from Minor League Splits and First Inning. K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks as a percentage of plate appearances; GB% + LD% + FB% = 100. Alex Obal is once again the chart Wizard. Huzzah!

Advance Scout: June 30-July 2: Mariners | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Glevin - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#188185) #
Clement is going to play more than Johjima now. i am amazed, dumbfounded even that the Mariners continue to run Jose Vidro out there in the 3 and 4 spots every day. He has an OPS+ of 63 probably making him one of the very worst players to ever hit in that part of the order for such an extended period of time. A DH hitting third with a line of .220/.269/.326 in 227 PA is beyond atrocious. You'd think they'd want to give someone else, anyone else, a shot there.
Alex Obal - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 07:34 PM EDT (#188186) #
No kidding eh? They'd almost be better off with Betancourt hitting cleanup.

Dickey has been called for zero balks this year. That is annoying, because it means he's still being allowed to use his ultra-cheap stretch delivery in which his glove coasts slowly for a while, and then he kinda twitches it and immediately starts going home. Apparently, that passes for coming set. So he's more or less impossible to run on, despite being a righty knuckleballer. Dickey has held baserunners to 3-of-6 in steal attempts in 41.1 innings this year, and he has two pickoffs.
Glevin - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#188187) #
Sigh...Cito returns. Two games in a row that Lind is sitting for Wilkerson.
92-93 - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 09:24 PM EDT (#188188) #
Be fair - it's a knuckeball pitcher who's been owning lefties.
Magpie - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#188190) #
Lind was sitting yesterday because he'd fouled a ball off his knee on Saturday. Could still be sore, or he could be getting to miss the knuckler.
Timmy - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#188191) #
Wow, no wonder the guys at USSMariner hate Washburn and Batista.

Washburn's averages against equals approximately Justin Morneau (306/368/483/851)  and Batista's is at about Hanley Ramirez (294/384/528/912).  Nobody on the Jays is remotely close to that bad.  Well League's numbers aren't good, but he's only pitched 2.1 innings so far this year.

The closest is Wolfe at 268/311/446/758 and Litsch at 271/301/449/751.  That is about David Murphy (272/306/454/759).
Chuck - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#188192) #
And don't forget that Mariner pitchers get the benefit of a pretty good pitcher's park. And they're still second last in RA/G.
Glevin - Monday, June 30 2008 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#188194) #
"Be fair - it's a knuckeball pitcher who's been owning lefties."

If Lind is indeed hurt, then I take it back. However, the problem with the "well, he's a knuckler" is that you can always find an excuse not to play someone. "He's tough on lefties", "he's a high ball hitter and the pitcher is a sinkerball" etc...You have to let your young guys play.

John Northey - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 12:45 AM EDT (#188196) #
Wilkerson is now 0 for 10 with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts since Cito took over with just 3 starts.  I remember Cito used to start guys a few games in a row off the bench in order to get them going way back when.  Not a bad idea, to get them in a bit of a rhythm. 

Meanwhile Lind is 5 for 20 with 2 home runs with 6 starts and now 2 games off in a row.  He had gone hitless in his last 3 games before getting the minor injury so I suspect Cito might have someone working with Lind right now to keep it from becoming a major slump.

Nothing really wrong there.  Now, if Lind keeps sitting for a week I'd start worrying.

John Northey - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 12:54 AM EDT (#188197) #
Just thought... Halladay now has 6 complete games, his first shutout of the year.  His personal best is 9 in his Cy year (03) for complete games and 2 for shutouts (done twice). 

His 6 CG are the same as the next two guys in the AL.  Not counting Roy his 5 is more than anyone else in 2007/2005, tied for the lead with 2004, one behind the '06 leader.  2003 had 3 guys (including Roy) at 9.  2002 had one guy get to 7.  2001 had an 8 and 2 guys at 6 while 2000 had Wells (in Toronto) at 9 Pedro at 7 and 2 others at 6.

In other words, Halladay has a real shot at having more complete games this season than any other AL'er in the 2000's.  9 is the highest any NL'er has got during that stretch as well.  Just amazing, and with Cito at the helm I'd say he has a real shot as Cito seems to have a slower hook than Gibbons so far.

King Ryan - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 01:43 AM EDT (#188198) #
USS Mariner articulates the same thoughts, but puts it in this perspective:

Tonight was his 6th complete game of the season. The Mariners team has 7 complete games… since the start of the 2007 season. 7 CG’s in their last 244 starts for the M’s, one more than Halladay has in 17 starts this season.

Or, put another way, here’s the Complete Game Leaderboard for 2008.

Team	        CG<
Halladay	6
CLE		6
TBR		5
CHW		3
LAA		3
BOS		3
MIN		3

Yea, he just tied Cleveland for the major league lead in complete games. By himself....

Halladay rules. Now, if not for Kevin Mench. . .
ayjackson - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 01:48 AM EDT (#188199) #
The 8th and 9th inning infield defense by Rolen, JMac, Scutaro and Overbay was absolutely fantastic.  What a great game to watch.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 02:03 AM EDT (#188200) #
Most CGs in a season by a Toronto pitcher:

19 Dave Stieb (1982)
15 Jim Clancy  (1980)
14 Dave Stieb (1980, 1983)
12 Jerry Garvin (1977), Tom Underwood (1979)
11 Dave Stieb (1981, 1984), Jim Clancy (1982, 1983), Dave Lemanczyk  (1977, 1979), Doyle Alexander (1984)
10 Pat Hentgen (1996), Luis Leal (1982)

Doc now has 37 in his career (3rd on the Jays all time list, behind Stieb's utterly unreachable 103 and Clancy's probably too distant 73.

He now has 10 shutouts, breaking his tie with Hentgen for 4th place. Now he's tied with Key for 3rd, and needs just one more to catch Jim Clancy. Stieb, as usual, is way out of reach with his 30.

Magpie - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 02:15 AM EDT (#188201) #
Doc is also in 9th place among active pitchers in career CGs, and three of the guys ahead of him (Smoltz, Schilling, Glavine) may never even throw another pitch, let alone another complete game. And Maddux, the Big Unit, Pedro and Mussina don't go 9 very often anymore. Livan the Cyborg is the only active pitcher ahead of him.

He's also 10th among active pitchers in career shutouts (he was tied with A.J. before tonight).  He trails most of the same group of the generally Elderly and Infirm,  plus the Perpetually Infirm Chris Carpenter and the still pretty good Tim Hudson.
China fan - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 02:49 AM EDT (#188202) #
    It's striking to look at the all-time Jays records for CGs and to see how the CG was much more common in the 1970s and 1980s.   This, I assume, reflects the shift in how bullpens are used.  With the heavier reliance on bullpens these days, with the growing use of seven-man bullpens and the tendency for lower pitch-counts by starters,  the all-time Jays records will probably never be topped, even by Halladay himself.
Chuck - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 07:44 AM EDT (#188203) #

CF, another factor to add to your list is the change in the offensive context of the game. As teams score more runs, they send more men to the plate, thereby running up pitch counts. This makes it harder for starting pitchers to hang around.

scottt - Tuesday, July 01 2008 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#188213) #
Tonight's game is against a lefty reliever who might not go more than 2 innings. I'd hate to see a loss with a full bench left.
Advance Scout: June 30-July 2: Mariners | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.