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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sullivan: Mariners No Match For Whatever The F*** Is Powering The Orioles

Holy Shetrone! There’s no stopping the O’s!

I really hope the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series. I really hope the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series, and other teams respond by trying to do what the Orioles have done. It’s one thing to be the team that spends the most, or drafts the best, or trades the best, or focuses on undervalued skillsets, or whatever. It’s quite another to be the 2012 Baltimore Orioles. This team doesn’t count as proper science, because it can’t be replicated.

GM: So, the Orioles won. We didn’t. What can we learn?
Assistant: Well-
GM: First and foremost, we’ve focused too much on adding as much talent as possible.
GM: What we need is a roster that isn’t actually very good at all.
GM: I mean, we don’t want a bad roster.
GM: Nobody wants a bad roster.
GM: We just need to find the right mix so the team as a whole can overachieve.
Assistant: Your plan is to build a team that you hope will overachieve.
GM: The Orioles bottled lightning!
GM: We need to bottle lightning.
Assistant: This doesn’t-
GM: I’m going to need you to go get some bottles.
Assistant: Nobody actually bottles lightning.

Repoz Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:03 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners, orioles

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   1. Belfry Bob Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:19 AM (#4240838)
Not a lot of there there in this...wasn't funny, wasn't well-written, didn't really say anything. (The 'mouldy bread analogy' I found especially weird.)

Guess the title is pretty cool, though.
   2. Esoteric Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:12 AM (#4240853)
Um....couldn't disagree MORE with everything you said. It was funny, well-written, and said a lot.

Of course maybe you have to be a Mariners fan to notice.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 20, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4240861)
I thought this was pretty funny. I think it strikes the right mix of "they are overachieving" and "damn it's fun". I thought this quote was especially good.

But the Orioles aren't concerned about long-term sustainability, because they're just trying to win however they can win right now, every day. And even when you're aware of the unsustainability it can still feel like the Orioles are being powered by magic. Somehow this is a more satisfying explanation than statistical randomness
   4. Esoteric Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4240874)
My favorite quote was this, which rings true:
Jones homered to turn 1-1 into 3-1, and just to drive the point home, a few pitches later Jesus Montero caught a low curveball in the throat. The Orioles had nothing to do with it; it was a Mariner who threw the curveball, so it was a Mariner who hurt his own teammate's neck. The Orioles have a way of making other teams feel like they're beating themselves. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than having been beaten by the Orioles. If you can't tell I'm having trouble figuring out how this is our reality. The Orioles aren't magic, because there isn't magic. The Orioles might be the closest thing to magic that exists, aside from seedless watermelon on a hot day, and sour beer.
   5. DKDC Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4240889)
I get the sentiment and all, but despite all the extra-inning excitement, the bottom line is that the Orioles are a much more talented team than the Mariners.

The Orioles have had quite a few breaks this year, but there's really nothing mysterious about this particular series. You’re going to get swept in some series where you get outscored 17 – 7.
   6. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4240903)
The Mariners are so ####### bad. They've had 12 innings the last two days where they only needed to push across a stinking run to walkoff.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4240909)
The Mariners are so ####### bad. They've had 12 innings the last two days where they only needed to push across a stinking run to walkoff.

I'm shocked Seattle is 70-80. To me they look like a AAA team with Felix Hernandez attached.
   8. SG Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4240981)
I realize Safeco's a tough place to hit in, especially this year, but the bottom of the 10th was disgraceful. You get a rare runner on base when Saunders walk to lead it off and then Wedge tries to bunt with Miguel Olivo so that he can have Casper Wells and his .221 average (or his pinch-hitter Trayvon Robinson with his .218 average) and Brendan Ryan and his .191 average (or his pinch-hitter Mike Carp with his .216 average) average single him in?

It seems like a single from any of those four people is somewhat unlikely which is why I'm citing the averages. Olivo hasn't hit for average either, but at least he has enough pop to possibly hit one into the gaps and score Saunders from first.

It's been annoying to watch as a Yankee fan, but good for the Orioles. It's been a hell of a run, regardless of how it ends.
   9. The Good Face Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4240988)
The Mariners are so ####### bad. They've had 12 innings the last two days where they only needed to push across a stinking run to walkoff.

I'm shocked Seattle is 70-80. To me they look like a AAA team with Felix Hernandez attached.


Agree. On paper and on the field, they look like a terrible team, but the record says they're just ordinarily bad. Especially odd considering how tough the division is.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4241006)
I realize Safeco's a tough place to hit in, especially this year, but the bottom of the 10th was disgraceful. You get a rare runner on base when Saunders walk to lead it off and then Wedge tries to bunt with Miguel Olivo so that he can have Casper Wells and his .221 average (or his pinch-hitter Trayvon Robinson with his .218 average) and Brendan Ryan and his .191 average (or his pinch-hitter Mike Carp with his .216 average) average single him in?


I don't hate that call. Olivo is a pretty good DP candidate and the bunt then pray for a bloop single somewhere plan doesn't sound like the worst option in the world. I don't have that much confident that Olivo is more likely to plug a gap than Robinson or Ryan is going to break his bat and flare one to right-center.
   11. JJ1986 Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4241027)
If you're going to play for one run there, I usually think it's a good idea to steal, then sacrifice. That way you can get the run in a bunch of different ways, plus the infield is usually going to play in (or they're going to walk two guys). Saunders is a good base-stealer and the numbers have to be in favor of doing that.
   12. Belfry Bob Posted: September 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4241066)
Um....couldn't disagree MORE with everything you said. It was funny, well-written, and said a lot.

Okay, I re-read it. Still didn't think anything much of it. That's why they make chocolate and vanilla!

Hey, Buck had some questionable bunting decisions both nights, too. It seemed like both managers really wanted to play all night long.

   13. AROM Posted: September 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4241086)
If you're going to play for one run there, I usually think it's a good idea to steal, then sacrifice. That way you can get the run in a bunch of different ways, plus the infield is usually going to play in (or they're going to walk two guys). Saunders is a good base-stealer and the numbers have to be in favor of doing that.


I see the logic in this. In this game though, the Mariners tried a steal with Saunders, in the bottom 11th, 2 out, representing the tieing run. He was thrown out to end the game.
   14. andrewberg Posted: September 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4241097)
a few pitches later Jesus Montero caught a low curveball in the throat.


I was at the game. By that time, the stadium was pretty empty so I'd moved down to the 10th row behind the Mariners' dugout. There was a drunk idiot a section over with his buddy- the kind of drunk idiot who is old enough that he should no better, or at least have someone at home telling him what a drunk idiot he is. When Montero was laying motionless on the ground in what was briefly a scary situation, the guy started yelling "Hurry up! Let's go!" It was the closest I have ever come to punching someone at a baseball game.

Saunders is a good base-stealer


True, but he also ended the game on that defensive difference play.

Agree. On paper and on the field, they look like a terrible team, but the record says they're just ordinarily bad. Especially odd considering how tough the division is.


The Mariners have an inordinate number of players with 12-18 homeruns.
   15. Gamingboy Posted: September 20, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4241129)
GM: So, the Orioles won. We didn’t. What can we learn?
Assistant: Well-
GM: First and foremost, we’ve focused too much on adding as much talent as possible.
GM: What we need is a roster that isn’t actually very good at all.
GM: I mean, we don’t want a bad roster.
GM: Nobody wants a bad roster.
GM: We just need to find the right mix so the team as a whole can overachieve.
Assistant: Your plan is to build a team that you hope will overachieve.
GM: The Orioles bottled lightning!
GM: We need to bottle lightning.
Assistant: This doesn’t-
GM: I’m going to need you to go get some bottles.
Assistant: Nobody actually bottles lightning.


I read this with the GM sounding like the Seinfeld Steinbrenner and the Assistant sounding like Mr. Smithers.
   16. bookbook Posted: September 20, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4241203)
The current M's are essentially the opposite of the Griffey-A-Rod-Edgar M's of the nineties.

They have a bunch of players who could be good supporting players on a contender, but Felix aside, none of the stars. (They also have a shockingly bad manager.)

Seager, Saunders, Jaso, Ackley, Vargas, Iwakuma, Millwood, Ryan (for the defense), Guti (if/when healthy), Montero...

It's a line up of #4 starters and #7 hitters, with upside.

Yeah, Safeco has also been brutal,
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4241261)
Seager, Saunders, Jaso, Ackley, Vargas, Iwakuma, Millwood, Ryan (for the defense), Guti (if/when healthy), Montero...

It's a line up of #4 starters and #7 hitters, with upside.


Yeah. The thing that shocks me is some of the WARs B-Ref claims for theses guys.

Ackley's got an 84 OPS+ and 2.9 WAR. Ryans got a 58 OPS+ and 3.1 WAR. Are they that great defensively?
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4241269)
that defensive difference play.


I like it.

   19. bookbook Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4241297)
Ryan is phenomenal. He'll never win a gold glove, but that's all about the bat.

Ackley was supposed to be a guy who was a stretch at 2b, but many observers say he looks very good out there, as well.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4241308)
The Mariners hitters are bad, but a lot of the raw numbers are park effect creations. Safeco has a 90 PF. Jesus Montero is hitting 261/298/392 and he rates about league average.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4241311)
Ryan is phenomenal.

+27 though? That's Ozzie Smith territory.
   22. bookbook Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4241314)
The 2012 Safeco park factor is .68 for runs according to ESPN, 30th in the major leagues. It's less than .58 for home runs. Things will probably normalize a bit next year, and we'll all be wondering where Ackey, Saunders et al came from. (all the OPS+ based on three year park factors won't capture the extremity of this year's anomaly)
   23. bookbook Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4241316)
I'm not smart enough to know how Ryan's defense should translate into numbers. Maybe Jeter's dragging down the average? :-)
   24. Esoteric Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4241318)
+27 though? That's Ozzie Smith territory.
And anyone who's seen him play out there on a daily basis would affirm that, yes, Ryan's glovework is indeed at the Ozzie Smith level right now. He's superb. Nearly Adam Everett (still my gold standard) level.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4241329)
And anyone who's seen him play out there on a daily basis would affirm that, yes, Ryan's glovework is indeed at the Ozzie Smith level right now. He's superb. Nearly Adam Everett (still my gold standard) level.

OK. Have you seen that confirmed by professional scouts?

The 2012 Safeco park factor is .68 for runs according to ESPN, 30th in the major leagues. It's less than .58 for home runs. Things will probably normalize a bit next year, and we'll all be wondering where Ackey, Saunders et al came from. (all the OPS+ based on three year park factors won't capture the extremity of this year's anomaly)

I'm sorry, there's no way the true park factor for Safeco is 0.68 this year. That's just a fluke.
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4241333)
Seattle hitters have been insanely bad at home this year. It's got to be mostly a fluke, though it is possible that due to weather / wind / etc that Safeco has played as maybe an 80 or 85 this year.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4241344)
Seattle hitters have been insanely bad at home this year. It's got to be mostly a fluke, though it is possible that due to weather / wind / etc that Safeco has played as maybe an 80 or 85 this year.

Yeah, maybe I could but 85. But, the multi-year is ~0.90, and the park hasn't been altered, so I don't think there's anyway it's 0.68
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4241366)
+27 though? That's Ozzie Smith territory.
And anyone who's seen him play out there on a daily basis would affirm that, yes, Ryan's glovework is indeed at the Ozzie Smith level right now. He's superb. Nearly Adam Everett (still my gold standard) level.


Seen them both, and yes Ryan is that good.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4241373)
Seen them both, and yes Ryan is that good.

Shame he's such a putrid hitter. Should've been born in 1950.
   30. bookbook Posted: September 20, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4241388)
Seattle opponents' hitting has been insanely bad as well, which isn't all about Vargas' lucky mound. Washington's been colder that the rest of the country and the wind has been blowing in. It's flukish and it's not provably .68, but the field has played substantially worse than .90. I remember one year when I was a kid, Fenway played as a pitcher's park for weather-related reasons, though it was normally the biggest hitter's park in the league. Strange things happen.
   31. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4241459)
The Orioles are like Keith Richards. They can't be killed by conventional weapons.
   32. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 20, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4241476)
There's probably some flukiness to the Safeco park factor, but it's been a cooler than average summer in Seattle (which is already pretty mild in the summer), while it's been a hotter than average summer almost everywhere else. It's been particularly tough weather for hitting in a park that was already difficult for hitters.

EDIT: Or what bookbook said.
   33. escabeche Posted: September 20, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4241494)
In this game though, the Mariners tried a steal with Saunders, in the bottom 11th, 2 out, representing the tieing run. He was thrown out to end the game.


By extra-innings clutch god Taylor Teagarden, naturally.
   34. phredbird Posted: September 20, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4241545)
Ryan is that good.


remember seeing him when he was with the cardinals in 2010. i second cfb, he was awesome. he was making plays all over the field and he has a cannon. i wish he hadn't got on carp and tony's bad side.
   35. Chris Fluit Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4241675)
Re: #1 & 2:

I'm n Orioles fan and I thought it was hilarious.
   36. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4241728)
I'm sorry, there's no way the true park factor for Safeco is 0.68 this year. That's just a fluke.

If memory serves, ESPN's park factors are home-park only, and B-R's are half home park, half road parks. A 68 home-only park factor works out to roughly an 85 overall, which is still quite extreme, but not utterly unreasonable.
   37. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 20, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4241739)
Tonight they won in 11 innings after starting Joe Saunders against Felix Hernandez, after scoring a runner from first on a single, after walking three Mariners in the bottom of the tenth. An errant pickoff throw that would've put a Mariners runner in scoring position bounced off the Mariners' first-base coach and kept the runner on first

Good stuff. Being an Oriole fan this year must be the best.
   38. dave h Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4242013)
Good stuff. Being an Oriole fan this year must be the best.


Those who have stuck with the team really deserve it. I went to several games at Camden Yards over the last few years, both Red Sox games and others. O's fans were stuck in a tough spot - they either go to the game, and get bombarded with opposing fans, or they don't go to the game, which is how the crowd gets overwhelmed with the opposing fans in the first place. I would happily have been one of the few people rooting against the O's when the Sox where in town, and rooted with a big crowd for the O's when they weren't.
   39. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4242028)
OK. Have you seen that confirmed by professional scouts?

From what I can tell: scouts like his defense a lot (GG candidate level) - but never as much as the stats have (where he's just short of Ozzie/Everett territory year after year, with two different franchises).
   40. AROM Posted: September 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4242050)
A better comp than Ozzie for Brendan Ryan is one that old school Orioles fans can appreciate: Mark Belanger.
   41. Chris Fluit Posted: September 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4242106)
Good stuff. Being an Oriole fan this year must be the best.


Yes, it is.

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