Game 110, Mariners at Orioles
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Scott Feldman, 4:05pm
The M’s hope Erasmo can regain his command and sharp change-up tonight following their 4th straight loss. With the Angels comeback win last night (I bet that felt somewhat cathartic for a team that suffered three consecutive walk-off HR losses), the M’s are now back in 4th, a half-game back of the Halos. Baltimore’s two straight wins have coincided with Tampa’s two straight losses, which means the top of the AL East is a fascinating three-way race between the Orioles, Red Sox and Rays.
Scott Feldman came to Baltimore in an early-July trade with the Cubs. Our fearless leader had praised the Cubs signing Feldman, and liked Baltimore picking him up for the stretch run. The reason? Feldman looked like a very good buy-low candidate after a poor ERA marred some solid peripherals. Feldman’s turned in a typical Feldman season (K% around 17%, BB% around 6-7%, HR/9 around 1), and some BABIP luck and an improved strand rate have his ERA below 4.
Back in 2012, Dave also noted that Feldman has shown reverse platoon splits over his career, pointing to his split/change as the big reason why (similar to Iwakuma’s reverse splits). He’s still got slightly reversed splits, but here’s the weird thing: that change/split pitch? He’s ditched it. As you’ve probably guessed, Feldman’s a tinkerer, always tweaking his approach (and that spirit seemed to rub off on Brandon McCarthy, whose career reinvention surpassed anything Feldman’s done). He’s been a four-pitch guy for quite a while: a sinker, cutter, curve and change have been his pitches for many years. In 2008, he threw the sinker most of all, with the cutter his second-most used offering. In 2009, he threw the cutter most, with the change-up languishing in 4th. He was mostly the same in 2010, though he threw proportionally more curves, and then he missed most of 2011 with injuries. When he returned in 2012, he threw more sinkers and more change-ups than ever. This year, he’s nearly dropped the change and he’s throwing more curves again. It’s not like one approach is terrible – as we’ve seen, he’s been very consistent in K%, HR%, etc. But with 90mph velocity, tinkering probably helps keep him in the league.
1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Morse, RF
7: Smoak, 1B
8: Saunders, CF
9: Quintero, C
So, Dustin Ackley’s reign as starting CF appears to be well and truly over, as Saunders’ hot streak (and his superior D) give him the job, and Morse’s return forces Ackley to the bench.
Biggest prospect taking the hill in the M’s minors is Pulaski’s Edwin Diaz. Tacoma turns to Hector Noesi, who is not the biggest prospect in the M’s minors today. Double-header in Everett starting at 5 if you want to go see some baseball. The AquaSox are hosting Boise, the Cubs NWL affiliate, and the team with #2 overall pick Kris Byrant playing for them. They’ve also got OF Trevor Gretzky, whose dad was sort of famous, I’m told.