Mariners Insider

Rays 4, Mariners 1 — Medina’s mistakes cost the M’s

Post by Ryan Divish on Sep. 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm with 11 Comments »
September 9, 2013 11:36 am

Yoervis Medina has been a pleasant surprise for the Seattle Mariners this season. An afterthought in spring training, the one-time starter converted to reliever began the season in Triple A Tacoma. But because of injuries and attrition in the Mariners bullpen, Medina not only found him pitching for the Mariners in April, but pitching meaningful innings in key situations as the season wore on.

And while his season is still considered a success as a whole, his propensity to allow at least a base runner in each appearance is a something that needs to improve for the 25-year-old rookie.

On Sunday, that tendency turned into trouble in the Mariners’ 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brought on to protect a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning and then hand it over to closer Danny Farquhar in the ninth, Medina hit Evan Longoria with the first pitch of the inning. His next five pitches resulted in a walk to Luke Scott. Things only got worse, Medina gave up a double to right to James Loney that tied the game at 1-1.

Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge brought in Oliver Perez to try and limit the damage. But pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez lined a single up the middle to score two more runs. All three runs were charged to Medina (4-5), who was saddled with the loss.

Medina has made 57 appearances this season, throwing 61 innings. And while he’s struck out 65 batters, he’s also walked 36 hitters and hit three of them with pitches. And of those 57 appearances, he’s issued a walk or hit batter in 29 of them. Often times, it’s the first hitter he faces.

“He’s had some issues with that first hitter,” Wedge said.

That many free base runners can only lead to trouble. But with Carter Capps unavailable on Sunday and Wedge not trusting Tom Wilhelmsen to pitch in those situations right now, he turned to Medina. It’s been that case often in the last few months. There just aren’t many reliable right-handed options for Wedge.

“He’s done a great for us,” Wedge said. “He’s been a savior for us in the back end of or bullpen. We’ve had so many young kids that we’ve had bring in and use in more pivotal roles than is probably fair to them.”

Down 3-1, the Mariners tried to answer in the bottom of the inning. Abraham Almonte coaxed a lead-off walk from reliever Joel Peralta. Kendrys Morales later drew a one-out walk. But the Mariners didn’t capitalize. Peralta struck out Franklin Gutierrez and pinch hitter Raul Ibanez to end the inning and the Mariners’ victory hopes.

Hector Noesi gave up a run in the top of the ninth to make it 4-1. Seattle was set down 1-2-3 in the ninth by Rays closer Fernando Rodney.

Seattle was trying for just its third three-game sweep of the season. But it didn’t happen.

The offense mustered little in the way of run support for starter Erasmo Ramirez.

Tampa starter Matt Moore was solid, pitching 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. It was the 13th time this season Moore has allowed on run or less.

“He was good,” Wedge said. “He’s a good pitcher. He has a great arm. He throws the ball downhill with two or three plus pitches. He was tough on us today.”

Moore’s only major mistake came in the second inning when he left a fastball out over the plate that Morales jumped all over, yanking it into the left field stands for his 20th homer of the season.

“I was just trying to make contact and the let the speed of the pitch to the work for me,” Morales said through Mariners’ translator Ryan Schmitz.

In his last six games, Morales is hitting .421 (9-for-21) with a double, three homers and six RBI.

“I wasn’t seeing the ball as well earlier, I’ve corrected that,” Morales said. I’ve worked hard in the batting cage. My stance was a little too open and I’ve changed that.”

The solo home run gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead. They wouldn’t muster anything else, getting just three more hits against Moore. The Mariners now have a 20-29 record against left-handed starters this season.

“His kind of short arms it and his fastball gets on you,” said Justin Smoak.

Ramirez made the 1-0 lead stand up. He pitched six shutout innings, giving up just four hits while striking out five batters. The only negative was four walks.

“That was my favorite outing,” Ramirez said. “Nobody scored runs. I feel great. Even though I walked four, I was throwing to contact and not let the ball get over the plate.”

Ramirez got into a minor jam in the seventh, walking Kelly Johnson and giving up a single to Jose Lobaton. Wedge called on lefty Charlie Furbush to get the Mariners out of the jam. Furbush walked pinch hitter Will Myers, but then got pinch hitter Delmon Young to hit a soft comebacker to him. Furbush tossed the ball to home for the force out and catcher Henry Blanco fired to first to get Young for the double play. Furbush then got Ben Zobrist to fly out to end the inning.

Jake McGee (4-3) got the win in relief for TampaBay.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. Publico says:

    The bullpen pitching was awful. What’s his name allowed 4 hits in a row and Wedge let him stay. That is Wedge’s fault. How many times have we seen this scenario this year? The starting pitcher does a great or good job and the relief is a disaster.
    Noesi should be gone. Medina should be gone. Wilhelmsen is almost gone anyway. Add Leutge to the departed and we have a beginning for a new bullpen.

  2. westside_guy says:

    Wedge should be gone too – but that’s not going to happen, what with Zduriencik being “a big fan of Eric Wedge” (as he recently stated).

  3. Quinault says:

    So tell me why Wedge didn’t bunt Blanco, a .144 hitter with a runner on first and no outs? Oh, that’s right – it is always time to swing for the drawn in fences!

    This is Wedge’s loss. Although, I felt that his fate was sealed months ago [poor in-game decision making, failure to teach fundamentals, lack of a running game - which I feel is an assessment of the tools he has at hand, and win-loss record], this seals the deal for me. I think the simple metric is unless they surpass last year’s win total – somebody does not get a new contact / extension. No progress = no job.

    And how many times must I say: Just Say No To Noesi!

  4. From Yahoo sports,

    “Balentien moves within 2 homers of Japanese record”

    NAGOYA, Japan (AP) — Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 53rd home run of the season Sunday to move within two of Japanese baseball’s season record.

    Balentien has 23 regular-season games with the Yakult Swallows to reach the record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched by ex-major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002.

    Balentien’s solo homer in the top of the sixth inning at Nagoya Dome helped the Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-1.

    Balentien, who is from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds before signing with the Swallows in 2011. He hit 31 homers in each of his first two seasons in Japan.”

  5. Quinault says:

    I wore my Balentien Marineros jersey to the game for Salute to Latino Beisbal. I hope he gets the record. Then maybe the World Baseball Classic will have done some good.

  6. Medina has a 2.95 ERA is 57 games. 65 Ks in 61 innings and a .205 average against. You could easily argue that he has been the bullpen MVP. So what are you talking about? Do some research next time if you haven’t watched him pitch more than one or 2 games.

  7. Thanks for being the voice of reason bro.

  8. Let’s slow down on the Yoervis bullpen MVP stuff. Of his 57 appearances …. on only 15 occasions did he not allow at least one runner to reach base via hit, walk or HBP. And of those 16 appearances, he six of those were when he faced two batters or less. So let’s not label as great. He’s helped bail out the Mariners a lot this year. But the number of base runners he’s allowed is a red flag. And you could argue he’s been lucky as well as good.

  9. wabubba67 says:

    There’s a reason why Balentien is playing in Japan and not the US. Get over it.

  10. Div, I get what you are saying. While he’s not an All-Star, Medina has pitched well for a player of his age and experience, and figures to be a part of the ‘pen moving forward, not a throwaway piece that must go (as some on this blog have suggested).

  11. I never even said that Medina will be a good pitcher in the future. I simply said that he has pitched well this year and you could argue he was the bullpen MVP this season due to what has happened with the bullpen.

    The base runners he allows are a red flag, but at least for this year he hasn’t allowed a bunch of them to score. Hence the 2.95 ERA. At the end of the day, ERA is what it comes down to for a pitcher IMO. You definitely should look at many other things when trying to project a pitcher forward.

    Who else could you claim was this season’s bullpen MVP? You’re not exactly picking from Rivera, Kimbrel, and Nathan. You could make a case for either Perez or Furbush.

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