Game 120 – Blue Jays at Mariners
Michael Pineda vs. Henderson Alvarez, 7:10pm
Happy Pineda Day!
The M’s welcome the Blue Jays to Safeco tonight as both teams trot out some of the young guys they hope to contend with in some glorious, Yankee-less future. 3B Brett Lawrie hasn’t slowed down following his promotion, Colby Rasmus is adjusting to life without Tony LaRussa and tonight, 21-year old RHP Henderson Alvarez makes his second MLB start.
Alvarez is a righty who sat in the mid-90s in his debut against Oakland 5 days ago, touching 97. He appears to have two fastballs, a change and a slider, but he’s not a swing-and-miss pitcher – he’s a ground ball guy. He maintained 50%+ rates at every stop in the minors, which, combined with low walk rates, helped him work around the fact that he doesn’t miss bats. Good velocity and an amazingly easy entry into the majors (Oakland, then Seattle away?) have helped him, but he’s not a good MLB player yet. He had a tRA in AA of over 4, and he got 5 swinging strikes in over 100 pitches against a terrible A’s offense in his first start. He has no business shutting out an M’s line-up that just acquitted themselves quite well against the Boston Red Sox. And yes, I now almost expect that he will.
5: Wells (DH)
* Carter Capps makes his M’s system debut tonight for Clinton in the Midwest League.
* The Detroit Tigers acquired Delmon Young from Minnesota to shore up their corner OF situation, a situation they caused/exacerbated by trading Casper Wells to the M’s. No take-backs.
* The Rainiers close out a 4-game series at home against the Iowa Cubs, led by slugging 1B Bryan LaHair (who broke up Erasmo Ramirez’s shot at a CG shut-out last night with a 9th inning homer).
* Nick Franklin’s working his way back into game shape, playing in the Arizona League. Unfortunately, he went 0-5 with 4 Ks and two fielding errors today. Patience.
* The aforementioned Erasmo Ramirez had his best outing with the Rainiers last night, going 8 1/3 IP of 1 R, 7 H, 0 BB, 11 K ball against Iowa. He really struggled near the end of his tenure with Jackson, but this is still a great year for him. He sat at 94 for much of the game, and while he’s not been very consistent, I will call Henderson Alvarez a poor man’s Erasmo Ramirez for however long the former’s in the league.