Game 79, Red Sox at Mariners
Hector Noesi vs. Aaron Cook, 7:10pm.
Wow. I realize that not every day can be King Felix-and-Hultzen day, and I realize the M’s aren’t the only team involved in the game, but this is…this is not an inspiring match-up.
On the plus side, facing the 33-year old Cook might do more for the M’s offense than any stadium reconfiguration. Cook’s had a broken leg, a pulmonary embolism, shoulder problems and then this year, in his first start, this nasty gash in his leg that sent him back to the DL. At this point in his career, Cook simply throws sinking fastballs in the zone and hopes for the best. He is a slightly modified pitching machine. Those of you who remember Cook from his days in Colorado may argue that all he’s ever done is throw sinkers in the zone, but he used to mix in a cutter and even a curveball from time to time. He appeared to be increasing his curve usage in 2010 and 2011, but in his very brief time with the Red Sox this season, he’s thrown sinkers 83% of the time. His last start, against the Braves, offers a blueprint of his approach, though the word “blueprint” implies a level of sophistication and detail that’s entirely unwarranted here. In his two starts, he’s thrown a blizzard of sinkers and one time the results were pretty good, and one time the results were really bad. He has struck out nobody.
Hector Noesi’s coming off a good start against the Padres and desperately needs to build on that momentum. The win statistic is dumb and all, but he hasn’t had one since May 6th, and he hasn’t had a quality start against someone other than San Diego since May 27th. Having easy-to-fix issues (like Noesi’s struggles on 0-2 pitches) is wonderful and all, but it makes the repeated failure to actually go ahead and, you know, correct them all the more maddening. The Red Sox have hit lefties better than righties so far this year, but they’re still a dangerous line-up and Noesi needs to avoid the center of the plate.
The M’s line-up includes last night’s hero John Jaso at catcher, but it’s also time for the monthly Figgins start. I know it’d be bad form if Figgins never played at all, but in a Noesi/Cook start? Maybe it’s a good idea to start him when the Sox are in town, as thousands of faux-Bostonians are going to buy tickets anyway. Wells gets the start in CF for the injured Franklin Gutierrez which is odd given that Cook’s a right-hander. Maybe Mike Saunders needed a day off, but I’m sure it didn’t escape Wedge’s attention that the Sox started a lefty just last night.
2: Wells (CF)
4: Montero (DH)
5: Jaso (C)
8: Figgins (LF)
SP: Hector Noesi
In other news, the M’s have apparently reached an agreement with first-round pick Mike Zunino…we just don’t know what it is. Lots of speculation that it’ll come in around $4 million, thus saving the M’s from all matter of unpleasantness with the new draft system. If so, hooray.