Game 92, Red Sox at Mariners
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Ryan Dempster, 12:40pm
Early game today for getaway day. This series was looking so good a few innings into the game on Tuesday. Oh well.
The M’s are bringing up Erasmo Ramirez to start today’s game, as we expected. Because they DFA’d Jeremy Bonderman, the M’s still have an open spot, and it’s looking like they’ll let Lucas Luetge stick around until Stephen Pryor’s done with his rehab, which should be soon. That’s good news, because, as expected, the M’s sent down Carter Capps following last night’s game. Pryor pitched a simulated game yesterday, so he’s obviously getting close. Capps clearly has some mechanical things to work on, but I figure we’ll see him again at some point this year.
Ryan Dempster’s a familiar face, and though his walk rate’s slipped this year, he’s still capable of getting strikeouts and whiffs thanks to a pair of breaking balls. He throws an 90mph fastball and backs it up with a slider and a splitter that functions a lot like a change. Like Doubront last night, Dempster doesn’t limit the slider to righties and the split to lefties; he’ll throw any pitch to any hitter. To me, the split’s his best pitch, as it generates quite a few whiffs, and while his slider can miss bats, he’s hung quite a few of them. Since the start of 2012, he’s given up 15 homers on sliders. The split’s also helped him to post even or even reverse splits in recent years, and he’s struck out a higher percentage of lefties than righties over his (long) career. Like just about any pitcher, he likes to pitch away, and gets hurt when he misses his spots and leaves a pitch middle-in.
Erasmo Ramirez tantalized with a brilliant 2012 season, but missed several months with forearm tightness/elbow pain. Just when we thought it was all but inevitable he’d have to have TJ surgery, he was back in Tacoma, mowing down PCL line-ups. In recent starts, he’s been a lot less exciting, yielding more runs on a lot more walks. But his velocity appears to be back, and at least *some* of those struggles may have been because the M’s wanted him to work on certain things. In his most recent start, a rather ugly game in Salt Lake in which he walked six in 5+ innings, he used his change-up sparingly, if at all. It may have been because he wasn’t commanding it, but he wasn’t commanding much of anything on the night. It wouldn’t be the first time a pitcher in the minors has had specific instruction to focus on a particular pitch – Danny Hultzen’s thrown fewer change-ups at times than I’m sure he’d like to in AAA so the M’s can assess the progress of his slider. Ramirez’s change was stunningly good in 2012, and getting a pitcher who can pitch to righties and lefties and get whiffs from both is a boon to the M’s rotation.
1: Miller, 2B
2: Chavez, RF
3: Ibanez, LF
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Saunders, CF
9: Ryan, SS
Chance Ruffin looks like he’s headed up to AAA Tacoma to take Erasmo’s spot in the rotation. The reliever-turned-starter has had an up and down season in AA – he started off well, limiting runs despite not many Ks, but he may be tiring. That wouldn’t be a big shock given that he hasn’t started since early in his college career.
Nick Franklin was pulled from yesterday’s game in the 7th due to knee pain, and he’ll sit out today’s game as well. I know, I know: at the time, it was 9-0, so there was no point in keeping him out there, but this lingering injury’s annoying because there’s at least a chance that Franklin would be feeling better if he was pulled from the game when it happened. Instead of icing it to reduce swelling, Wedge ran him out there, thinking that it was a good test of character and a chance to get experience playing through pain. Great.