Tag Archives: Tom Wilhelmsen

Bullpen Decisions in Walk-Off Losses

The Mariners have fallen victim to walk-off losses what seems like countless times.  Whenever they play in Chicago, Baltimore, or Washington D.C. I just count on the game to be a walk-off loss.  This season has brought even more of these.  As of the afternoon on August 20th, the Mariners had suffered 10 walk-off losses in 124 games.  Over 8 percent of the Mariners games have ended in a walk-off loss this season.  Furthermore, walk-off losses can only happen on the road, although the M’s might find a way to make it happen otherwise.  There have been 61 road games with 10 walk-off losses.  Over 16 percent of Mariners road games have ended in a walk-off, and not the fun Zoolander kind. Seattle sports…

Eric Wedge (and Robbie Thompson) aren’t exactly known for their bullpen usage.  With this in mind, I went on a journey to find out in what situations these walk-off losses happened (pitcher vs. batter match-ups).

Below, you will find the score of each walk-off loss, a little summary of what happened, who was pitching, hitting, and left in the bullpen.  I will also add a little bit of analysis.  Of course, my research isn’t perfect.  There were days when some bullpen arms weren’t available and I don’t have all of that information.  I’ve tried to make my analysis as fair as possible.

Walk-off loss #1:  April 7, – Chicago White Sox 4, Mariners 3

The Matchup: RH Kameron Loe vs. RH Dayan Viciedo
Who Was Left In The Bullpen:  RH Tom Wilhelmsen, LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Stephen Pryor
Summary:  A walk-off solo dinger.
Analysis:  This wasn’t all that bad of a decision.  Pryor had pitched the two nights before so I’m guessing he wasn’t available.  Furbush wouldn’t have made sense as a lefty.  Wilhelmsen probably should have been in the game but the Mariners like to keep their closer available.  I don’t agree with this but this decision wasn’t atrocious other than the fact that Kameron Loe was bad and shouldn’t have been on the team.  Robert Andino and Brendan Ryan did start this game at SS and 2B though…

Walk-off loss #2:  May 17th – Cleveland Indians 6, Mariners 3

The Matchup: LH Lucas Luetge vs. LH Jason Kipnis
Who Was Left In The Bullpen:  Not many guys available, everyone had thrown the day before.
Summary: 3-run walk-off dinger.
Analysis:  Not a bad process here aside from maybe leaving Luetge in too long.  You want the lefty on lefty matchup and Luetge is typically good against lefties.  Furbush had already pitched and Perez had pitched over an inning the night before.  Luetge was probably the best option to pitch against Kipnis.  Wilhelmsen (arguably the best reliever at the time) did not pitch in this game.

Walk-off loss #3:  May 18th – Cleveland Indians 5, Mariners 4
The Matchup:  RH Yoervis Medina vs. RH Mark Reynolds
Who Was Left In the Bullpen:  Wilhelmsen, Furbush, Luetge, Loe (I think)
Summary: Jesus Montero forgot to keep his foot on the plate and the winning run scored as he pulled his foot off of it.  You can’t make this stuff up.
Analysis:  Probably the right match-up.  Perez was bad before Medina came in to face Reynolds.  It was a really exciting game aside from the horrible ending!  Medina is a good guy to face Reynolds.  Cleveland is so stupid.  Wilhelmsen, again, wasn’t used.  Instead they went to a rookie in his first week in the majors.

Walk-off loss #4:  May 20th – Cleveland Indians 10, Mariners 8
The Matchup: LH Charlie Furbush vs. Yan Gomes
Who Was Left In the Bullpen: LH Lucas Luetge, RH Farquhar (maybe)
Summary:  Wilhelmsen blew the save in the 9th while dropping the final out at first.  Then, Furbush came in for the 10th and gave a up a 3-run walk-off dinger.
Analysis:  Many people believed he should have come out for the 10th because he was pitching well, hadn’t pitched in 4 days and a few righties were coming up.  I’m one of those people.  Leaving Furbush in to face righties was dumb.  This may have been the worst decisions of the walk-offs, so far.  Andino and Ryan started this game at SS and 2B.

Walk-off loss #5:  May 29th – San Diego Padres 3, Mariners 2
The Matchup:  RH Yoervis Medina vs. LH Will Venable
Who Was Left In the Bullpen:  All of the lefties
Summary:  Wilhelmsen blew the save in the 9th and Venable hit a walk-off single in the 10th, after loading the bases and not getting an out.
Analysis:  This one is bad.  Medina faced 3 lefties (2 were switch-hitters, although they have better splits from the left side) and one righty.  Furbush had pitched the night before but there was no sign of Perez, for some reason.  Medina to start the inning may have been fine but he should have been out after the first hit.  The pitcher spot was coming up in the batting order, which may have caused Wedge to not change guys.  This is a constant in the bullpen decision-making: playing for the hypothetical instead of putting yourself in the best situation right now.

Walk-off loss #6:  June 1st – Minnesota Twins 5, Mariners 4
The Matchup: 
 RH Wilhelmsen vs. S Ryan Doumit
Who Was Left in the Bullpen:  RH Noesi, RH Farquhar, RH Medina
Summary:  Wilhelmsen walked 3 guys and then gave up a walk-off triple.
Analysis:  Managers have a way with sticking with a closer in the 9th, no matter what.  I don’t blame Wedge for this philosophy but why does it exist?  Wilhelmsen should not have been in the game after walking 3 straight guys.  This one is a baseball problem, not a Mariners problem.  By the way, that was 5 walk-off losses in 15 days.  There was also a homestand in that stretch.

Walk-off loss #7 :  July 31st – Boston Red Sox 5, Mariners 4
The Matchup:  LH Luetge vs. LH Stephen Drew
Who Was Left In the Bullpen:  RH Wilhelmsen
Summary:  Drew hit a walk-off single in the 15th inning.
Analysis:  Luetge had thrown 2 innings before coming out for the 15th and he almost made it through that inning, as well.  He had also thrown the night before.  He seemed a bit fatigued.  Wilhelmsen hadn’t pitched in either game.  I know the options are limited in the 15th inning but I don’t know why you don’t put your best pitcher out there.  Or put in a starter.

Walk-off loss #8:  August 1st – Boston Red Sox 8, Mariners 7
 Matchup:  LH Perez vs. S Daniel Nava
Who Was Left In the Bullpen: LH Luetge, RH Farquhar
Summary:  Felix is awesome.  7-2 heading into the 9th.  Wilhelmsen sucks, doesn’t get an out.  Wrong pitcher is called in by Thompson (accidentally called for Perez instead of Medina).  The wrong pitcher gives up runs.  Medina isn’t good either.  This one sucked.
Analysis:  The Mariners meant to do the right thing and accidentally failed at that.  Medina was supposed to be called in to face Victorino and Pedroia.  Instead Perez was called in and was bad and then Medina was left in too long due to the accident.  This is a dumb rule in baseball and a brain fart by Thompson.  It was an awful game too.

Walk-off loss #9:  August 14th – Tampa Bay Rays 5, Mariners 4
The Matchup:  
RH Farquhar vs. LH Matt Joyce
Who Was Left In the Bullpen:  LH Luetge, RH Capps, LH Perez
Summary:  A leadoff triple and then a walk-off single.
Analysis:  A few bloops and one hard hit led to a walk-off.  Sure, they could have taken Farquhar out to play the match-ups but he’d been pretty good  and, as I’ve said, managers stick with the closers.  This one isn’t too bad.

Walk-off loss #10:  August 19th – Oakland A’s 2, Mariners 1
The Matchup:  RH Capps vs. LH Brandon Moss
Who Was Left In the Bullpen:  Everyone but Furbush.
Summary:  Capps gave up a walk-off ding-donger to a lefty.
Analysis:  This was really stupid.  Capps has been the worst guy out of the pen against lefties.  He faces one in the bottom of the 9th (with Perez and Luetge available) and gives up a dinger.  This is one of the least defensible.  Luckily, no one really cared because the Mariners fell to 10 games under .500.

Conclusion:  Yes, the Mariners bullpen is terrible.  Some of these losses are inevitable no matter how good your bullpen.  But, some of the decisions that were made were pretty ridiculous and a few of these outcomes probably could have been avoided.  In-game management has been a struggle this year and, while that is not the only job of a manager, Wedge and Thompson should be held accountable for some of these decisions.

– Andrew


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Seattle Mariners Throw No-Hitter

This won’t be a long post.  At least, I don’t plan on writing for very long.  We don’t usually do game recaps here at the Good Guys blog, usually we just focus on bigger ideas and lately we’ve been focusing on prospects.  Tonight though is cause for a little something to be said.

If you haven’t heard, six Mariners pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter.  Kevin Millwood started and was awesome but then he came out with a groin injury at the start of the 7th inning.  It’s a shame he couldn’t keep going because, from what I saw (I did miss the first few innings), he had a real chance to do it all himself.  But, fate had him coming out and, for some reason, that just seems fitting.

These Mariners are different then most teams we’ve seen before.  In the last couple of years they’ve started with a mix of veterans and young players and went from there but this year they started with mostly young players.  The young players have shown promise, but they’ve taken their lumps as well.  They’ve taken more lumps than anything else.  Over the course of the last road trip the team became exciting though.  They struck for 21 runs.  They kept games close, even when they lost.  They came back and won.  The Mariners were actually improving and getting better.

I remember around the third or fourth year of the Tyrone Willingham era in UW football.  We’d go to the stadium every week and after giving him the benefit of the doubt for the first few years, it was easy to see that the coach wasn’t getting his team to improve each week.  In fact, they were getting worse every week.  This is exactly how the last few Mariner last few seasons have been.  This is the first time we’ve seen real improvement.  Sure, we’ve seen winning streaks but not definite improvement.

The Mariners will continue to take their lumps.  They’re still young and will suffer a few more losing streaks throughout the season.  Justin Smoak will go through a cold spell (in fact, he’s going through a mini one right now).  Michael Saunders won’t continue to look like Josh Hamilton.  Kevin Millwood won’t throw 6 innings of no-hit ball.  But, I’m betting that the good times will start to outweigh the bad.

For a second tonight, I thought about the M’s making a run at the playoffs this year.  It’s most likely not going to happen and that’s okay because I’m truly starting to believe in the future of this club.  I have for a while now, but it seems that all of Seattle is starting to buy in.  Tonight the Mariners, Tacoma (AAA), and Jackson (AA) gave up a total of 4 hits combined.  It’s not just happening on the major league level right now, there’s encouraging signs everywhere.  Are you starting to believe?  This team is growing up in front of our eyes and tonight was another major step in the right direction.  Go M’s!


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It’s Almost Mariners Time!

This has been a weird offseason for Your Seattle Mariners, but it’s surprisingly almost over.  Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona in a few weeks, with the season just over two months away.  Actually, since the Mariners open the season in Japan, their season starts a couple of weeks early.  Yes, the season opener will be at like 3:00 in the morning on the other side of the International Date Line.  Plan your lives accordingly.

Anyway, if you haven’t been paying attention or haven’t stopped to think about what the team looks like, I’ll try to help you out with a little fake Q & A.  I’m making up the questions and I probably won’t have any answers, so don’t expect too much, but this will still be a pretty good time.

Who’s new this year?

Well, Jesus Montero’s the big one.  More on him in a minute.  Then there’s John Jaso, the mediocre young catcher acquired from Tampa Bay, who could actually be a pretty big upgrade.  Not a lot after that.  There are a bunch of relievers who may or may not make the team.  More importantly, the Japanese pipeline is back open, with Hisashi Iwakuma likely to join the rotation and Ichiro’s workout buddy Munenori Kawasaki vying for a backup infield spot.  Iwakuma could be pretty good.  Kawasaki is good with the glove but unlikely to hit, so that’s nothing new.  They just signed Kevin Millwood for rotation depth as well. Continue reading

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Mariners 2011- What Still Has My Interest

I can’t imagine there are that many people still watching the Mariners on a regular basis.  I’ll turn them on once in a while, but I haven’t watched a full game in weeks.  Still, they’re an interesting team at the moment, just not a terribly watchable one.  I have a few posts in mind I’m hoping to get to before the season ends.  This offseason could be fascinating, so I’m going to try to work through the roster before we get to that point.

First up: what would I be watching for if I were still watching games regularly.  I’ll try to keep these short and simple, because they’re not terribly surprising and if we’re being honest, not that exciting either.

  1. Alex Liddi’s debut.  I’ve made my Liddi love quite clear on this blog, but it’s based almost entirely on his Italian-ness.  His baseball skills are intriguing but incomplete.  He has solid power and reportedly plays an improving third base, but like many Mariner power-hitting minor leaguers, he likes the strike outs.  Nonetheless, he’s joined the Mariners and should make his debut soon, which makes me happy.  He’s not likely to do much, this year or next, but sports are for fun, and Italian baseball players are nothing if not fun.  On a related note, how will Kyle Seager finish out the year?  Can he be the main man at third next year?
  2. The Mariners suddenly have a glut of talented outfielders.  Unfortunately, none of them is close to a sure thing.  Casper Wells and Trayvon Robinson could be starters next year, or they could be trade bait.  Michael Saunders, the forgotten man, is back with the big club, filling in for Franklin Gutierrez and his strained oblique.  Has he finally found a swing that will translate to the majors?
  3. Tom Wilhelmsen.  When Wilhelmsen was sent down early in the season to work as a starter, the move made sense.  He wasn’t pitching well, and starting would give him more innings to work on his stuff, and if they got lucky, he might turn into a solid middle of the rotation guy.  He didn’t seem to get much better in the minors, but then he was recalled anyway, and he’s been okay.  If you haven’t noticed, the rotation is potentially a little shallow next year.  I have my doubts about Blake Beavan and Anthony Vazquez.  If one of them is my fifth starter, I can live with it, but I’d really like Wilhelmsen or Charlie Furbush to bring actual strikeout stuff to the rotation.  I doubt September will give an answer to whether they can, but we might catch some glimpes.
  4. Justin Smoak has had a season from hell.  After a thunderous first month, he fell apart at the plate.  Also, his dad died, his nose got broken and he possibly had a serious thumb injury.  Who knows how much all that influenced his decline, but it can’t have helped.  I’d love to see him get hot this month.  I like the guy, and he clearly has talent.  Here’s to a better September and a breakout season in 2012.  He’s still the key to the future, in my mind.

There are some other things going on, like Ichiro and the young relievers, but this is my list.  What are you watching (or not watching) for?

Next up: a breakdown of where each position stands going into the offseason.



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Ranking Your 2011 Mariners

The big news today is basketball related, with Isaiah Thomas announcing, rather unexpectedly, that he will indeed forgo his senior season at UW. He’s off to the NBA, which sucks for Husky fans. Time will tell whether this is a wise decision by IT, but I’m happy for him. Next year’s expectations will be lower now, and it could very well be our last year watching Terrence Ross, but the team should still be good, and contend for the conference yet again.

With that news, I’m officially closing basketball talk on the blog, until at least the draft in June. Why? Because today is opening day! As Andrew noted, things have been dry on here lately, but nothing like some M’s baseball to stir conversation. In case you have not heard, the 25 man roster is official. Looking over the team last night, I started ranking guys in my mind, and that’s what this post is all about. In addition to ranking the 25 man roster, in terms of most valuable to the team in 2011, I’m also throwing 3 more guys into the conversation: Ackley, Gutierrez, and Aardsma. The latter two are on the DL, and Ackley will probably be up sometime in June, so they belong on this list too.

    Ranking the Roster (Most Valuable to Least Valuable)

1- Felix Hernandez—He is the King of Seattle, and the best pitcher on planet Earth. Yes, Felix is the Mariners’ most valuable player. Go away trade rumors!
2- Ichiro—The team’s best hitter and most valuable everyday player. Also, the coolest Mariner ever.
3- Justin Smoak—I want to fall in love with Justin Smoak, and so does this city, but he has a lot to prove. IMHO, this guy is the lynchpin to the M’s offense in 2011.
4- Franklin Gutierrez—I fear for Guti’s long-term health with every day that passes without an explanation, but assuming this mystery stomach ailment gets treated, Guti is the team’s best defender, and a top 5 hitter, a valuable asset indeed.
5- Milton Bradley—Depending on which Milton shows up, batting 3rd, Bradley could easily lead the team in production this year. But can he stay healthy AND out of trouble? I wouldn’t bet on it.
6- Erik Bedard—Hard to argue that a guy who did not pitch last year could hold much value, but IF healthy, Bedard provides huge value to this team. And IF his spring performance is an indicator of what’s to come, his worth is as high as a #2 starter.
7- Chone Figgins—This guy had better bounce back, and I expect he will now that he’s back at 3rd and settled into Seattle. The M’s should be annoying to play, and Figgy leads that annoyance.
8- Jason Vargas—I still don’t think of Jason Vargas as a #2 starter, but he earned this spot after last season. Can he provide an encore?
9- Jack Cust—Batting clean-up for your Seattle Mariners…Jack Cust. Really? You better believe it! He will strike out a ton, but I gotta think he is an upgrade at DH, and he is an awesome interview.
10- Miguel Olivo—The team’s main acquisition this winter, Miguel can’t be worse than our catchers last season, but he must improve on his first go around in Seattle if he is to win over the fans. Continue reading

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Mariner Roster Notes

Sorry for the lack of content here lately.  I can’t speak for the other good guys, but it’s been a really busy time for me.  Luckily, the best day of the year is just around the corner.  Baseball opening day is April 1st, with the Mariners in Oakland to start the year.  The home opener is a week later on the 8th against Cleveland. 

The roster is almost set, so I thought I’d give my thoughts on a few things:

  • The biggest surprise development of camp hasn’t been a good one.  The news came early that Franklin Gutierrez has been dealing with stomach issues that likely contributed to his poor second half in 2010.  Doctors thought they had a diagnosis and treatment plan, but three weeks or so later, Guti’s not feeling any better.  It now seems likely that he’ll start the year on the disabled list.  To be honest, I’m already writing him off for the season.  He might play, but I’m not expecting a breakthrough or anything.  I hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like a good situation at all.  On the field, there are two ways to look at this.  First, Franklin from 2009 is a huge loss.  Getting him back to or past that level would have been a huge improvement to the team.  That wasn’t a given no matter how healthy he is, though, so replacing 2010 Guti shouldn’t be that hard.  He’s still excellent defensively, but I think Michael Saunders and Ryan Langerhans can provide a reasonable facsimile in that aspect.  Looking at the other outfielders not named Ichiro… Continue reading

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