|SEA||Ken Griffey Jr||-0.309||-0.309||0.000||0.000||0.000|
Expected ERAs for today's pitching performances:
Max Scherzer: 5.15
Phil Coke: 3.32
Ryan Perry: 3.22
Jose Valverde: 8.13
Ian Snell: 6.70
Kanekoa Texeira: 2.17
Sean White: 1.89
Jesus Colome: 10.70
Shawn Kelley: 5.35
Player of the Game: Miguel Cabrera (2.579 NRuns: 1.745 hitting, 0.834 fielding)
Damn Close, Though: Austin Jackson (2.543 NRuns: 1.178 hitting, 0.888 fielding, 0.477 running)
Definitely not player of the game: Ramon Santiago (-1.792 NRuns: -1.873 hitting, 0.081 fielding)
Top Mariner: Casey Kotchman (1.595 NRuns: 1.667 hitting, 0.762 fielding, -0.834 running)
If you saw the game you won't believe this: Eric Byrnes (1.512 NRuns: 0.653 hitting, 0.998 fielding, -0.139 running)
Goat: Ian Snell (-1.488 NRuns, all pitching)
Actual goat: Mariners Baserunning (-1.624 NRuns)
A couple of topics worth discussion:
The big Net Runs surprise is that the visually worst of the Mariners' gaffes, Eric Byrnes getting caught red handed at home plate, was actually not that damaging. The key meltdown moment of that play, once Casey Kotchman roped that single to right... was Casey Kotchman getting caught in the rundown that set up Byrnes' disaster gaffe. Kotchman's decision to turn at 1st and go cost the Mariners 0.834 expected runs, and that's if Byrnes stayed put and Kotchman was tagged out. There's no mistake that, given the choice, you'd rather have Byrnes at 3rd with two outs than have Kotchman at 1st with two outs. But in making the ill-advised decision to try and sneak home during the rundown, Byrnes cost his team a relatively mere 0.139 expected runs.
Run Expectancy with Kotchman at bat (Men on 2nd and 3rd with one out): 1.327 ExpRuns
Run Expectancy after Kotchman singled (Runner on 3rd scores, runners at 1st and 3rd, 1 out): 1.190 ExpRuns plus the actual run
Run Expectancy if Kotchman was run down and Byrnes stayed at 3rd (Man on 3rd, two out): 0.356 ExpRuns
Run Expectancy after Byrnes tackled Alex Avila for the 2nd out: 0.217 ExpRuns
Don't get me wrong: Byrnes made a damaging mistake (perhaps had Byrnes timed his takeoff better he might have had a shot at scoring instead of getting thrown out by 5 feet, but really the smart move would have been to stay at 3rd). But by turning for 2nd with the ball about 130 feet away in RF and Magglio Ordoñez throwing back to the infield, Kotchman's mistake was far, far more damaging. Byrnes will get the vitriol and the pub for getting nailed at home, but Kotchman deserves some lightning for taking a good scoring opportunity against a challenging Max Scherzer and helping flush it down the toilet with nonsensical aggression.
Right on time with Brett Miller's recent piece questioning Wak's bullpen usage with Mark Lowe, Wak made a strange decision to burn four relievers after Ian Snell's poor five inning performance, instead of extending one or two of them over a couple innings.
Part of this was Wak's own doing: By not using three of the four relievers he burned today (Texeira, Colome and Kelley) over the last few days, Wak was compelled to turn the final four frames into a bullpen relay of back end guys who needed to shake off some rust, raising the risk that he'd send in an arm that would get hit and let him down. Sure enough, Jesus Colome walked the leadoff guy, got ripped for a couple of line drives and allowed Detroit to extend the lead to 4-2 in a game where runs were at a premium thanks to Scherzer and an effective Detroit bullpen. Had he stuck with the more effective Kanekoa Texeira or Sean White for an extra inning, this might have been averted.
Wak has shown a curious aversion to extending his more durable middle relievers, while showing too much reliance in the middle innings on Mark Lowe and Brandon League, short relievers better served getting a final out in the 7th, working the 8th to set up Aardsma, or locking down the 9th to set up a bottom 9th rally. Instead, Wak won't use his more durable arms for more than an inning, and often avoids going to them altogether when he otherwise could.