Think Tank: Innings 4-8
Neftali makes dubious decision, sticks fingers in Kyle's mouth



Well at least we've climbed back to within striking distance. Talk about "a-NOTH-ers," We gat a-NOTH-er Cruz boomer. He's like a PAIR of Ohio class submarines. I thought he would be just one (they cap out apparently at 24 SLBM')s. But he's starting to look capable of up to 48.


You can't stop DaddyO, you can only hope to contain him.  The man has 8 bombs in his last 12 stops by the site.

Without disagreeing a whit here, Nelson Cruz to me is what he's always been:  a .500 SLG number five hitter.  Who was denied credit for his ability because people outside Texas assumed that the park created his numbahs.

If by "Ohio class submarines" you mean "Mike Morse / Jason Bay / Corey Hart dumpster dives," then he's like seventeen of them?  Or if you mean "Kendrys Morales value acquisitions," yeah.  Two Kendryses equal one Nelson Cruz and one pitcher, interleague game.

If by "Ohio class submarines" you mean "2014 Mariner DH's," we're going to need a math major.  SABRMatt?  You got anything here?  The M's are 5-7.  Somebody figure out what they'd be with a 2014 Mariner DH in the lineup instead of Cruz.  That's be a cute little article, no?  Going through the box scores and replacing one Cruz AB per win with a popup?



Who do you go to if you have to make the call to send Paxton down to build up his arm or Walker down to get his head screwed on straight?


Tyler Olson. He can throw his curveball for 5 innings.


It says here that with K-Pax, just relax and let him finish April.  Taijuan, one more nervy performance and he gets to "pitch for his job."

But yeah.  Olson would cobble some ticket-window dinero out of Dr. D and Mrs. D.



I can't believe Seager got a hold of that in the shadows.

SABR Matt:

You missed all the fun DaddyO...four walks in the 8th and a K-Money special...then a tremendous...TREMENDOUS sequence of professional quality ABs against Feliz...what a game for these guys...seriously...that is the best I've seen them look offensively since 2007 at least.


The Seager AB to which Grizzle refers was the one after 4 walks, a Nelson Cruz strikeout, and six Neftali Felix pitches the last two of which tore holes in the space-time fabric.

The 9th inning didn't feel quite like it had maximized my experience on earth.  But!  The Seager at-bat, that's a different subject.  The medium-strength swing he took, steering the ball into the widest gap on the field .... :: choke ::  Dr. D is trying to think of an Ichiro moment in which the ballet was of superior quality.  The throw-out of Terrence Long, yeah ... can't think of anything else.  

Played the swing many times.  Like a fine Zen koan, it gained with each re-reading.




We'll take that AB as the epitome of what Matty is referring to, the avalanche of gritty, professional AB's.  Just out of the mind's eye:

  • Rickie Weeks had a gasp-inducingly beautiful checked swing that led to a walk
  • Austin Jackson's liner down the RF line, the whole AB was rawhide-tough
  • Seth Smith, Robinson Cano and a bunch of guys had dangerous check swings that said "you sure you want to make this your problem, boy"

We've got to admit that the meteorologist crushed this one.  That is the longest string of pro AB's we've seen since the Nationals last came to Seattle.


SABR Matt:

all except the opener, yes, G. I think Cruz is sitting at like +0.6 WAR right now from all the dingers. But his WPA is like +2...LOL


The AL West is developing an early "Nelson Cruz WPA-WAR Fatigue Syndrome".  Can Dr. D call shotgun on that stat this year?





From the 8th inning on the mariners ran a nearly unbroken string of ABs in which they fought off pitch after pitch after pitchers' pitch and check swings on sucker pitches...all under huge pressure. It was truly awesome. In the literal sense of the word.


That was the thinking behind the metaphor. Sometimes I have to laugh at myself. The thought process went "Boomstick HR" > the word "boom" > word association with "boomer" = nuclear submarine. A quick Google search because at first I started to (mistakenly) post about a Los Angeles class sub but sensed I might have things confused (good thing I checked else Bat571 woulda disowned me). Then I noted while reading a brief blurb about the correct sub the Ohio class I noticed the 24 missile limit which got me thinking about how apropos that number was to conventional Nelson-Cruz-in-Seattle-not-Texas-or-Baltimore opinion. Which got me thinking about how doubling that limit is beginning to look like the real upper limit for Cruz the way he's going. Feel free to refer me to the men in the white coats any time the urge strikes you. But there is a certain rationality behind my irrationality.


The M's run guys in the 2-5 spots that ooze this attitude:  "I can hurt you!"
Pitchers know it.  If Ackley or LoMo could fill that #6 hole and hurt the ball then you have a critical mass of bats.  The game starts to change in the 6th inning if it is close for opposing pitchers....because you can not easily avoid eventually throwing to Cano-Cruz-Seager twice.  Oh...and you really can't pitch around the first two.
Gimme 24 of those Ackley taters at #6 and we've got something going.  That number is too high I suppose.  OK...gimme a rookie named Kivlehan playing 1B.  
You guys realize of course that we are 12 games into the season and Morrison doesn't have an extra-base hit.  I can grab a calculator and quickly do the projected season's total for him if this continues.  Hmmmmm.....Zero X 13.5 = Zero.  Go figure.
Justin Smoak has a double in his 21 AB's.  Can we have him back?  :)
Something is happening here....C'mon Morrison get on the bus!


I still feel as though Morrison is hitting into a ton of bad luck right now...but if after a couple more weeks he's still hitting on the we give Montero one more shot and then turn to Kivlehan if he fails?


(as I'm sure you'd agree). This is one of those tough calls that a manager has to make. Is he convinced patience will pay off in the end with LoMo? Only Lloyd knows for sure. There will be of course a breaking point for patience. It's nice that we have alternatives and I for one am all for giving Montero a chance if that point is reached. The kid will have to seize the opportunity and because of his history he won't get an extended chance to do so. 'Cause if he doesn't Special K awaits his chance.


Thanks Matt! I nearly included that Montero likely gets first whack at it if we were to boot LoMo in short order.   Montero is hitting the ball hard and for average.  No errors in 8 1B games.
He will likely be first in the pecking order unless LoMo gets 30 more games there.  After June 1 (assuming Kivlehan is hitting) all bets are off.
Morrison has only K'ed 5 times this year he's 8-36 on balls in play.  That is fair to add.  


The Navy in deciding to build the OHIO Class did a number of studies to optimize performance for the boat esp. stealthy speed v. missile capacity. The optimum missile tube number was found to be 20 for a 42' hull diameter and the power of the S8G reactor and the design proposal was approved by the DepSecDef and forwarded to the President. When President Nixon was briefed the Navy explained why 20 not 16 or 24 or more was the optimum. But apparently he was preoccupied because when he then made the announcement proposing the ships he said they would have 24 missiles. VADM E.P. 'Dennis' Wilkinson who had been the USS NAUTILUS (SSN571) first CO was Commander Submarine Forces Atlantic at the time was part of the briefing team and was just about to take over as Deputy CNO for submarines. You guessed it - his first task was to get Electric Boat to redraw the final plans for the ship to have 24 instead of 20 tubes! And people wondered why the ship was a few months delayed! (By the way because they had more tubes they built less ships so the final missiles deployed v. cost calculation came out better in the end).
Anyway 2x20 is 40 and if Cruz has THAT capacity playing 81 in Safeco I'd say the design margins were satisfactory!

csquared's picture

Okay innings 4-8 Paxton is out after three. Olson finally had statistics catch up to him and gave up runs although it was inherited runners scoring when Smith gave up the hit with men on (yes statistics and Smith's own history say that Smith is going to have runs scored against him shortly as well). Wilhelmsen is due off the 15 day come Friday and the over-used bullpen should (theoretically) be sending a man to Tacoma.
Leone has been turning in valuable innings and his ERA is sitting between Medina and Hernandez with all other relievers except Smith letting more runners score per inning. You are in the driver's seat - not Mac. Who do you send down if any?
My money right now is on sending Tom on a rehab stint. He hasn't been pitching all that well either which was ostensibly the reason Leone was sent instead of Smith. Leone since his call up may be missing slightly but he has been effective in long relief and given the problems the starters have been having staying in games (other than Felix) I am a little reluctant to not have the option. The alternative is keeping all the relievers in recognition of the fact they are being stretched out and temporarily sending one of Ruggiano/Seth Smith/Weeks to Tacoma for a short stint. I agree Bloomquist needs to be sent down in favor of bringing back Taylor as Taylor is an upgrade in the utility role.
The upside of keeping both Leone and Wilhelsen is sending a message to the entire team - be effective you stay. Ineffective we consider removing you.


I'm sure we have no idea how many times big things have after so many brilliant minds have invested months and years of careful study have turned on such vaguaries and contingencies. Makes me think of Apollo 11 and how in an unanticipated crisis a handful of people were suddenly thrust in a room and told to come up with a way to jury rig a carbon dioxide filter using only materials that happened to be readily available in the spacecraft. My Dad was involved in that crisis though on other matters involving electrical engineering. American ingenuity in action but your story also shows an often hidden side of the politics of the Presidency.


If it's me I keep the current number of bullpenners and indeed send Wilhelmsen on a rehab stint. But I'm with Lloyd that the stats aren't always the best measurement for making decisions about who to keep and who to send down. It's more a matter of how well a pitcher is throwing. (Admittedly there's usually a correlation between the two but McClendon has shown a penchant for making this distinction and I like long as his judgments on balance continue to benefit the team--- and they have so far.


If the local shtick-seller had been less out of it he might have remembered that if you alter the last metaphor you've got to state it.  
Or something.  ... How many Ohio-class 24-missile subs are we going to finish with this season?  8?  10?  Where's that poll feature...
Right now the M's have 18 missiles in 12 sailings for a neat little ratio of 1.5.  What's 1.5 x 162?  Safeco Smafeco.  The team record is 264 by ... the 1997 Mariners.  That was the heart of the stretch in which Randy Johnson went 45-5 or whatever it was.
Thanks DaddyO.  :- )


There's a life lesson in there somewhere.  Or a Byte Sized bit of sthick anyway.  The anecdotes continue to boggle Bat.


But Smith has been pitching in VERY high leverage situations and throwing well.  McClendon seems to be moving him into an 8th inning role with some speed :- )
Wilhelmsen makes $1.4M and AFAIK a "given" for McClendon in part because he's the one who can absorb innings in the middle of the game...  Nothing wrong with a "rehab" for Wilhelmsen if your preference is to buy an extra week.
Your point is well taken CSquared.  If you are just going by who is throwing the ball the best which relievers give us the best chance to win this coming week ... it's a different question.  All of these guys have comparable value in the longer term.
If it's me I send Leone down for more work unless a "gut feeling" about Leone pushes us into the Bartender rehab-stint idea.
:: fistbump ::


How many Ohios? If the pitching doesn't start coming around we're going to need to import Mike Trout for CF Prince Fielder for 1B and Johnny Bench behind the plate to keep up. But yeah gotta love offense throughout the lineup all with some power. We DO need to start doing a better job of taking advantage of scoring opportunities. To mix metaphors as is my habit we've left a lot of low-hanging fruit on the trees.

GLS's picture

I'm sure the Bartender goes on a rehab stint maybe even a lengthy one. When he's ready to come back Leone goes down since he has an option and because Smith and Olson are better. None of the position players you listed can be sent down without going through waivers.
When Chris Taylor is ready to come back my money is on Willie Boom Boom getting DFA'd or released outright. This will be cause for celebration.


In favor of Chris Taylor? Perhaps but I'll believe it when I see it. And despite my career-long irritability with the way the Mariners media fawns inordinately over Willie B in the case of a club trying to win it all this year if we straighten things out and put ourselves in a position to do so Bloomquist could yet play a veteran benchie role down the stretch and in the playoffs that a young player like Taylor might not be able to fill (a self-imprecation on me for saying it!).


Taylor is better.
And there will be the possibility of re-signing Bloomie to Tacoma if no one picks him up.
And the veteran benchie might be named Franklin Gutierrez (11 hits 2 HR in first 8 games) who could slide right into the Rugi slot.

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