Game 88, Mariners at Reds
Joe Saunders vs. Bronson Arroyo, 10:10am
I’ve learned to avoid the phrase “well, it can be worse than yesterday’s game” but hey – Bronson Arroyo gives up just as many long balls as Joe Saunders, so…go M’s?
I feel like I’ve written this about each of the Reds’ starters, but Arroyo’s fortunes are strongly tied to his HR rate. OK, *every* pitcher’s fortune is tied to his HR rate, but since Arroyo doesn’t strike many out and limits walks, it’s pretty the only thing with season-to-season variation for him. In 2011, he yielded an absurd 46 homers, and was therefore a replacement level pitcher. In 2012, he gave up 26, and was a bit above average. It’s got to be weird for a contending team to count on a guy throwing 88mph fastballs up in the zone and hoping they stay in the park, but hey, a contending team picked up Joe Saunders for the stretch run last year.
Arroyo’s a true junk baller, throwing 55-60% off-speed and breaking stuff, with a change and a curve thrown most often. He’s backed off his change-up usage since that awful 2011 season, when he gave up 15 HRs on the change-up alone. The curve’s been a bit better, but because his change isn’t great, he’s shown just massive platoon splits in his Reds’ career. On paper, or in pitch fx’s xml, Arroyo looks incredibly beatable, but then you look and he’s got a fairly good FIP and an ERA under 4 for the 2nd straight year at Great American Ballpark. He’s got to be one of the most frustrating pitchers to lose to, so don’t lose to him, M’s.
Now this is a very good line-up given the opponent:
1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Ibanez, LF
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Chavez, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Ackley, CF
9: Joe Saunders
All lefties except Zunino. Not bad.
Tai Walker starts for Tacoma today, and Edwin Diaz is on the bump for Pulaski.