Game 133, Mariners at Astros
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Jordan Lyles, 5:10pm
The Seahawks have a preseason game, so if you’d like to tune in to this game, it’s on 770am and 104.5fm in Seattle.
Hey, at least the M’s didn’t lose yesterday’s game on a shady balk call, right? Huh?
At some level, we’re looking past *every* M’s game these days. It’s another lost season after decade full of lost seasons. Yes, yes, there are individual players to keep an eye on – growth, development, the ever-elusive taking-a-step-forward that we’ve seen from Kyle Seager and essentially not one single person in ten worthl…sorry. Anyway, today’s game is even more overlookable to coin an ugly phrase. Tomorrow’s game is the major league debut of the most exciting M’s pitching prospects since King Felix. Tomorrow’s game may come hours after resolution of Michael Morse’s status with the club. Today’s game, however, is a contest between two bad teams. Today, Taijuan Walker is tossing a football with his new teammates and Michael Morse is suiting up and pretending that the whole situation – his season, the waiver claim, all of it – isn’t completely awkward. Half of Houston can’t watch this game, and many fans in both cities may take a day off.
That’s not to say it’s worthless. I think Erasmo’s an important part of the M’s 2014, but some of his shine’s off after his second DL stint in two years, and the rough road to recovery he had in 2013. He’s just crossed the 100IP mark in his brief career, and so much has gone wrong – from a big HR spike this year to the time off and the command issues that time off’s spawned. But he’s been a perfectly serviceable pitcher, racking up 1 WAR in 1/2 a “season” of play. Plenty’s gone wrong, and he’s had some ugly patches, and he’s still more or less league average. If he catches a break, or if his HR/FB comes down, it’s easy to see him as a pretty good pitcher in a rotation that really needs some pretty good pitchers. His last two starts have been his best, and he has the advantage of playing the Astros tonight (though the Astros have hit well recently and still play in a hitter-friendly park). The projection systems all had his K rate falling this year, and it’s to his credit that it’s right where it was in 2012 despite everything. The HR and increased walk rate show that he’s not got pinpoint command, but there’s something about Erasmo that makes me want to accentuate the positive.
Jordan Lyles is the groundballing FB/Curve/Slider/Change guy that the M’s have seen several times this season, the last being in late July. As I mentioned then, his raw stats had improved over his career averages thanks to a drop in his previously-ugly HR rate. Well, since that time, he’s yielded 7 HRs in 5 starts and a couple of relief appearances and his raw stats now look exactly like those of his two previous seasons. Nothing to see here. The curve’s helped his GB rate, but he’s given up a few HRs to righties with it. The slider helps minimize HRs, but lefties and righties have no trouble barreling it up. He’s not a terrible pitcher, especially taking his defense and park into consideration, but he’s not a good one either.
1: Miller, SS
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Ibanez, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Gutierrez, RF
7: Saunders, LF
8: Ackley, CF
9: Quintero, C
Happy birthday to Henry Blanco, who turns really, really old today.
Rainiers need to win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. They send Hector Noesi to the hill in the last game of the homestand. It’s been raining all day, but who knows, they could get it in. Anthony Vasquez and Stephen Landazuri start in AA and high-A, respectively. Of note, South African control artist Dylan Unsworth continues his road back after an injury scare, as he starts today for Clinton. Unsworth went down with shoulder soreness in early June, then made three short appearances in the Arizona League. Tonight’s his first start back with Clinton, where he’s amassed an impressive 44:2 strikeout to walk ratio. Yes, that’s a 2. Add in his rehab appearances in Peoria, and it’s 54:2 in 68 IP this year. Can’t wait to see how he fares in High Desert next year; stay healthy, Dylan.