Some Good News
Because you don’t need any kind of special insight from me on how badly this team has played the last few weeks, let’s look at one player who is actually giving reason for optimism – Kanekoa Texeira.
With some really good pitching in his last few outings, Texeira has now racked up 11 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings pitched, showing that he can miss bats with that nasty breaking ball of his, which complements his groundball sinker fairly well. Due to the GB+K combination, Texeira’s currently sporting a nifty little 3.06 xFIP. Even better, he’s proving that his ability to get lefties out in the minors wasn’t a fluke.
He’s faced 26 left-handed hitters so far this year, allowing just five hits, walking two, striking out six, and running a 56% ground ball rate against opposite handed hitters. His numbers are better across the board against LHBs than RHBs, which is what he showed in the minors as well. His xFIP against LHBs is 2.59, which is about what you’d expect from a lefty specialist.
Yes, it’s all a tiny sample, and most of his performances have come in low leverage situations where he wasn’t facing the best hitters the opposing teams had to offer, but the simple fact that he’s showing that he can get left-handed hitters out and get swinging strikes with his breaking ball has to be encouraging. With Mark Lowe on the DL, the bullpen needed someone to step up and give them good innings, and it sure wasn’t going to be Sean White. At this point, Texeira and Kelley should be sharing the 7th inning duties, with Brandon League setting up David Aardsma in case the team ever goes into the ninth with a lead again.
Amidst all the other problems, one positive has emerged – it looks like the M’s have found a pretty decent reliever with Kanekoa Texeira.