Game 108, Mariners at Red Sox
King Felix vs. Ryan Dempster, 4:10pm
So the first two games of the series could’ve been better. The M’s have had a few timely hits, and their pitchers have escaped some jams with double plays or through completely insane throws from CF to catch runners at the plate, but they’ve fallen short twice. Nice to send King Felix to the hill to stop a losing streak, but it’d be even better to stop sending Felix out to extend winning streaks instead of stopping losing streaks.
Ryan Dempster’s primarily a three-pitch pitcher: a 91mph fastball, a slider, and a splitter that functions like a change-up. The M’s looked vulnerable to splits last night as Koji Uehara cut through the line-up with ease (Nick Franklin has got to be hoping that Uehara doesn’t pitch tonight), but Dempster struggled mightily against the M’s at Safeco a few weeks back. In that game, he gave up nine hits in 3 1/3IP, including a HR to Kyle Seager. Homers have been a particular problem for Dempster this season, with 20 yielded thus far in 2013. Somewhat unusually for a slider-heavy pitcher, it’s righties who’ve done the most damage. As I mentioned last time, he’s got fairly even splits over his (long) career, with a better K% and HR% against lefties than righties. This is partially undone by much higher walk rates against lefties, however.
1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Saunders, CF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Chavez, RF
8: Ackley, LF
9: Blanco, C
Morse sits to allow Saunders and Ackley to play. Ackley moves to left today, which is somewhat unusual, but Saunders is still the superior defensive CF as he showed last night.
James Paxton starts for the reeling Rainiers at home against Omaha tonight. This is a big game for the Canadian lefty, as he could very easily find himself in the Tacoma rotation in the event the M’s slip Joe Saunders through waivers. He’s been brilliant recently, as we’ve detailed, and another month demonstrating good command will go a long way towards putting the calls for him to shift to the bullpen to rest. Stephen Landazuri starts for High Desert where his opposing starter will be intriguing prospect or historic bonus baby bust Michael Ynoa. Ynoa signed the all-time record (at the time) signing bonus with the A’s in 2008, but injuries and ineffectiveness have kept him in single A. Even so, he was added to the A’s 40-man roster this year; they still believe in the 6’7″ Dominican, though his statistics in 2012-13 do not inspire a lot of confidence.