Game 125, Mariners at Rays
Pineda vs. Shields, 10:40am
Happy Pineda morning! I sincerely hope we get a more watchable game then yesterday’s pathetic loss. After getting shut down by a mediocre pitcher on Friday, and then by an above-average one yesterday, the M’s try to avoid getting swept versus James Shields, the best starter (statistically) they’ll face. A long-time favorite of Dave Cameron’s, Shields has a great change-up that’s allowed him to neutralize left-handed hitters. Whereas Jeremy Hellickson’s still struggling against lefties, Shields’ xFIP against lefties is under 3.00, and his FIP is 3.22. He’s given up a few more HRs, but he’s struck out over a quarter of the lefties to face him.
The biggest outlier in his 2011 stats is his HR rate. Shields has always had a HR problem, but he hasn’t been hurt by it this year. This may be due to some HR/FB luck, or his improvement infield pop-up rate may be the result of an improved approach. It certainly wasn’t in evidence when Shields faced the M’s in early June. He yielded HRs to Jack Cust, Justin Smoak and two to Carlos Peguero en route to a 4 IP, 8 R, 3 BB, 4 K disaster start at Safeco Field – a game that probably bought Peguero another month on the big league roster.
5: Wells (LF)
6: Kennedy (3b)
7: Pena (DH)
8: Seager (SS)
The Rainiers are in Reno for Game 2 of their series against the first-place Aces. They came back from a 5-0 hole yesterday to take a 7-6 lead, then Cesar Jimenez gave up two in the 8th for the loss.
Jackson’s slumping too – they were swept in 4 games by Tennessee, and start a series against Mobile today with Andrew Carraway starting the first game.
Carter Capps makes his 2nd start in the M’s system for Clinton today. Ambioris Hidalgo gets the ball for Pulaski, as Alfredo Morales and Guillermo Pimentel try to recapture their early season form, while Tyler Marlette adjusts to wood bats (he’s 1-8 in two games so far).