Game 159, Mariners at Rangers
Charlie Furbush vs. Derek Holland, 12:05pm (ROOT sports tv, and the local radio broadcast is on 770AM, as KIRO 710 is broadcasting the Seahawks game)
Today’s game promises to be better than the game preceding it, if only because yesterday’s game was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. The Rangers strung together a number of swinging bunts, watched the M’s cough up runs on questionable defensive plays, and then knocked Felix out of the game with a line-drive to his right forearm. If the Rangers hit 5 HRs off of Furbush tonight, at least it’ll look like a proper beating. Even better: today’s the final road game of the season. The end really is nigh!
And the 5 HR thing isn’t out of the question with the way Charlie Furbush has looked recently. His velocity’s down noticeably from a month or so ago. Whereas he was able to hit 93 MPH with one of his final pitches against Boston in mid-August, he barely hit 91 in his last start against Cleveland, and was under 90 for much of the game. The game before that, he started normally, but had trouble maintaining his velocity in the middle innings. Furbush has been inconsistent and frustrating in his time with Seattle, but at least he’s been moderately intriguing. He’s had good velocity and the makings of a good breaking ball. Homers and righties have killed him, but he’s looked like someone with enough stuff to make some adjustments. The Furbush of the past few weeks? The one without great stuff, who relies on a weird delivery to fool a few hitters? That’s not intriguing.
I don’t put a ton of stock in ending a season on a high note, but Furbush (and many of the rookies in the line-up) could use a quality start today. There are a couple of lefties with much, much better stuff in the system behind him and his platoon splits have always made a bullpen role a possibility. It’s late September, Furbush has played for two different organization and two different levels. It’s ultimately not all that shocking that he’s tiring a bit. Today’s meaningless game isn’t a referendum on Furbush as a major-league starter, but it’d be a good time to show the organization that he’s got the repertoire and strength to succeed in the role.
6: Pena (DH)
8: Seager (SS)