Lots of short stuff to get to today, none of it deserving of its own post, so back to the notebook we go.
Let’s be honest – the M’s haven’t been any fun to watch lately, but getting to see Chris Snelling take some hacks in the 9th inning last night was legitimately enjoyable. Yea, he struck out on a swing with far too much of an uppercut, and his recent performance in Tacoma doesn’t do much to support our cries for him to get regular playing time earlier in the season, but the kid’s been through hell the past four years, and the fact that he’s a major leaguer again makes my day a little brighter. I know we won’t see him much, but I’m glad he’s in Seattle.
2. Shut down Raffy. Please.
It’s not too often that you’ll see a guy strike out the side and cause pain and consternation at the same time. But that’s what Rafael Soriano did last night. The results were terrific, but he’s clearly not healthy. His fastball was 90-92, he threw a ton of sliders, and he’s been complaining of soreness for weeks now. The M’s season is over, and the guy missed two seasons because the M’s tried to let him pitch through arm problems back in 2004. Don’t make that mistake again. Shut him down.
3. How do you pronounce Nageotte? “Dun.”
After last nights performance, Clint Nageotte has thrown 16 2/3 innings in four August starts, facing 86 batters. He’s given up 23 hits, walked 14, hit 2 guys, and struck out all of 4 batters. He’s not even getting groundballs anymore. He’s throwing 87-89 and his slider doesn’t even resemble the pitch it used to be. At this point, the only chance his career has is a move back to the bullpen and a prayer that some velocity returns in shorter stints. But even that’s a longshot. Yet another cautionary tale of the attrition of young pitchers – Clint Nageotte isn’t even really a prospect anymore. I’m not sure he’ll still be on the next version of the Future Forty.
4. Hello Curve Ball.
How do you post gaudy strikeout numbers in the low minors? Feature a big breaking ball with all kinds of movement. Guys in short season ball just haven’t seen that many true 12-6 curves that start at their heads and end at their toes, and they often look foolish when they face a kid who can break off an Uncle Charley. So, meet the M’s newest low-level strikeout master, 2nd round pick Chris Tillman. Here’s his line from last night:
6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 10 K
In two starts, he’s struck out 15 of the 37 batters he’s faced in the Northwest League. His command still needs all kinds of work (7 walks and a hit batter in 8 2/3 IP), and he’s got a ton of growing up to do, but he’s going to post some ridiculous strikeout numbers. That breaking ball is just going to outclass low level hiters.