|SEA||Ken Griffey Jr||-0.841||-0.841||0.000||0.000||0.000|
Expected ERAs based on today's performances:
Ryan Rowland-Smith: 8.38
Kanekoa Texeira: 0.00
Sean White: 15.73
Brandon League: 4.71
Mark Lowe: 3.71
Gavin Floyd: 3.33
JJ Putz: 18.58
Matt Thornton: 0.24
Player of the Game: Jose Lopez (4.813 NRuns: 2.071 hitting, 2.742 fielding)
Hail the Conquering Hero: Andruw Jones (2.702 NRuns: 1.485 hitting, 1.760 fielding, -0.543 running)
CWS Luckbox: 1.272 NRuns
(Luckbox > 1.000 ---------> Other team screwed up a lot)
His fielding wasn't the problem: Matt Tuiasosopo (-1.488 NRuns: -1.229 hitting, -0.259 fielding)
Goat: Ryan Rowland-Smith (-2.439 NRuns, all pitching)
Remember when we were glad we lost him cause he sucked?: Matt Thornton (1.208 NRuns pitching)
Remember when we lamented losing him cause he was good?: JJ Putz (-0.560 NRuns in 0.2 IP = 7.56 R/G)
US Cellular Field: 6.079 NRuns
Two items stand out on everyone's radar, as well they should. And apologies but I'm going to digress from the numbers above in discussing them.
1. Sean White pitching the 7th. Lou Piniella had Bobby Ayala. Mike Hargrove had Julio Mateo. John McLaren had Rick White. And it appears Don Wakamatsu has Sean White. It seems that, save for Bob Melvin, who simply had bad career timing, every Mariners manager in recent memory has a sentimental bullpen favorite that gains a lot more trust than he deserves, and inevitably that overrated reliever gets thrust into key situation after key situation (often when better options are available) only to go grease-fire on those high leverage situations and often blow the game.
Last year, Sean White was a functional two pitch reliever with a swaying sinker and a hot fastball. But this year his stuff has cooled off back to his crappy 2007 form, when the Mariners took a shot with him in the Rule 5 draft and he pitched so poorly even in mop up and long relief that the team DL'd him at the first wince of arm pain and never took him off until they had to.
In 2007, he only hit the zone 40-41% of the time, with a 90-91 mph heater and pedestrian secondary stuff. After toiling in the minors during 2008, he came out in 2009 with a few extra ticks on his heater (now 93-94) and a sinker with some bite, plus better control, hitting the zone nearly 48% of the time. He posted stronger numbers across the board in 2009 and gave Wak every indication that he had emerged as a strong groundball reliever.
But now in 2010 his heater has cooled back off to 91-92, his once promising sinker has lost its bite... when it actually does sink instead of hanging in the zone, and speaking of the latter he's once again only hitting the zone 41% of the time. But now hitters are making more contact on his pitches than they even did back in his crappy 2007. Go figure that the ChiSox ripped two line drives off him in the 7th, setting up Alex Rios' game tying double.
Wak wants to think that the 2010 Sean White is still the 2009 Sean White. But he's not. He's basically the 2007 Sean White, and I have just as little an idea as to why as you do. But I do know for certain that Wak's hurting the team as long as he doesn't realize that the Sean White he has now is barely a replacement level reliever, and should be 5th or 6th in line when it comes to his high leverage options... not 1st or 2nd in line... at least until Sean can get himself back to that 2009 form... if he can at all.
I humbly suggest looking at DL'ing Sean White. He's lost velocity and control. He was hurt before this spring. Maybe something's still wrong. And you have a golden chance to do so without hurting the team, with Cliff Lee coming back and needing to unload an arm to open up space for him anyway. Yes, Jesus Colome sucks too and should probably go as well. Send them both away then: You've got several guys missing bats in Tacoma, and one of them could serve as your back-end mop-up guy if you must carry 12 pitchers.
But if he's okay, Wak needs to be realistic instead of optimistic with Sean White, and use him in lower leverage situations until he shows real signs that he's one of the bullpen's best arms for tough situations.
2. Jack Wilson bangs up his thumb and suddenly the team's only option for SS was... Matt Tuiasosopo, a barely passable defensive infielder at 2B and 3B who struggles at shortstop (though granted he wasn't worse than so-so at the 6 today). Now, obviously going forward the team ought to look at calling up Jack Hannahan or Josh Wilson (who is currently Tacoma's hottest hitter) to come up and hold down shortstop until Jack's thumb heals. Wilson's hot AAA bat may be worth a test drive, but Hannahan might be a better option as he's slated to return to the team from an injury anyway.
But IMO Wak missed another opportunity when he inserted Tui at SS. Whether or not US Cellular Field is a bandbox, every run counts for these Mariners and they need to field the best defense possible. Once Jack was hurt and had to come out, Wak could have been a bit more creative than just putting Tui in Jack's position.
Chone Figgins at 2B is probably the best infielder in the lineup at this point. While his limited career experience at SS with the Angels wasn't terrific (about -0.5 UZR in 150.2 career innings), the guy at least had considerable experience at the spot and would have been better suited to fill in at SS than Tui, who could have slid over to the more comfortable 2B in Chone's place. Since the ChiSox had a lineup of eight right handed pull hitters, the M's were better off having their better defenders on the left side of the infield. Jose Lopez, who has been great at 3B so far, was fine there, and while not perfect, Chone would have been a more suitable fill-in for the SS position. Sure, he's not used to playing there and would be a bit rusty not having played there since 2006, but he should have enough cross-applicable fielding skill and enough sense memory to do a functional job for six frames... at least better than Tui.
Now, back to the numbers. I'd be remiss not to mention Jose Lopez posting arguably the best single game performance by a Mariner this season, not only hitting that grand slam but making several key plays in the field that saved nearly 3 runs in their own right. While Jose's power bat hasn't shown up until today, he's been a beast in the field for the M's all season long. It's like he's become a different player defensively, and not just because he switched positions. He's more aggressive to the ball and hustling now, without rushing into too many mistakes.
And I'd be remiss not to mention Ryan Rowland-Smith doing his part to facilitate a ChiSox win by pitching like absolute crap. Blah blah bandbox, blah blah flyball pitcher. He gave up enough line drives that even if he didn't get unlucky with a couple flyballs and even if they were playing this game in Safeco, he would have looked awful almost no matter what. He's got to mix it up and locate his stuff down in the zone: If he's going to miss with his pitches (and his swervy pitches miss a LOT), at least miss low.
The broken play that injured Jack's thumb cost the M's 0.678 runs, a huge break that eventually led to Paul Konerko's RBI single (off, go figure, a line drive against RRS). Tui later screwed up a play that added another 0.457 runs to the ChiSox's chances. While RRS and Sean White's poor pitching had a big hand in the loss, the M's also gave away over a run to the ChiSox through miscues.