Game 112, Mariners at Orioles
Blake Beavan vs. Zach Britton, 4:05pm
Zach Britton’s season RA/ERA is 8.35. In his last two starts, he’s pitched 8 1/3 IP and given up 13 runs on 13 hits, 6 walks and 5 Ks. He’s pitched 18 terrible innings, and will probably lose his rotation spot with a poor performance tonight. It’s all gone wrong for the pitcher that started 2011 so strong, just missing out on an all-star bid. He was clearly out-pitching his peripherals in the first half last season, but his second half looked like a gambler’s fallacy version of regression – instead of regressing to the mean, he had equal and opposite luck. Of course, there was also a physical problem as well: shoulder stiffness that landed him on the DL in August.
This spring the shoulder was still sore. Instead of breaking camp with Baltimore, he went to AA and then AAA where he’s been solid, but considerably worse than he had been before. He made his debut with the Birds in mid-July and has one quality start in four tries. His velocity’s right where it was in 2011, but he’s not fooling hitters.
His primary pitch is a sinking two-seamer, but he had a good slider and change as well. The slider generated a lot of whiffs and helped him attack lefty hitters, whereas the change was a good weapon for whiffs as well as weak contact against right-handers. He’s throwing the same pitches this year, and his two-seamer’s getting just as many grounders, but poor command has put him in hitters’ counts, and he’s been awful in such situations.
Since his return from Tacoma, Blake Beavan has pitched 28 1/3 IP, struck out 18 hitters and given up only 1 walk (and 2 HBPs). He hasn’t been great, but this version of Beavan could be serviceable, as his FIP in that stretch is essentially right at 3.0. Today he faces a line-up with plenty of power, but with just as much swing-and-miss. He needs to expand the zone and get hitters to chase sliders off the plate, which is something he’s struggled to do in his career.
2: Robinson (LF)
4: Montero (DH)
6: Wells (RF)
8: Olivo (C)
James Paxton takes the hill for Jackson tonight. Tai Walker was solid yesterday, giving up a run in 4 IP, but you can probably expect a few more short starts from him as the M’s ease back on his innings-pitched and total pitches. He threw 75 yesterday, which may be his limit going forward. The Rainiers still haven’t used Danny Hultzen since his turn was skipped last Thursday, but I’d imagine he’ll be on a pitch limit too. Paxton’s been so good recently that I find myself hoping for a late-season call-up to AAA. He’s thrown fewer innings thanks to his DL trip, and I’d want to see if he has any of the command problems that have bedeviled Hultzen.
The Indians DFA’d ex-Mariner Jose Lopez today, while ex-Mariner Garrett Olson was called up by the Mets – he’s pitched 4 innings in MLB since the M’s cut ties with him.
As Jason Churchill reported, the M’s signed right-hander Matt Anderson as a free agent this week, and have assigned him to the Arizona League. He’d been pitching in a wood-bat collegiate league in California where he apparently showed better velocity than he had during the regular season. The more well-known Cape Cod league’s wrapping up now, as some of the better collegiate players position themselves for next year’s draft. Lefty Sean Manaea‘s been a break-out star, striking out 85 (to only 7 walks) in 51 2/3 IP, running a 1.22 ERA, and reportedly touching 98mph. Sitting 3rd in the league strikeout table is UW product Austin Voth, with 52 in 35 2/3 IP; he’s had two games of 11 Ks in 6 innings. His RA and K:BB stats are down thanks to a poor start in one game, but his experience on the Cape should set him up well next season. Voth had a disappointing season for UW, and could be another player who’s used a wood-bat league to prove that they’d be more useful in pro ball than their college stats would suggest – Forrest Snow is the poster boy for this.