Game 155, Mariners at Angels
Joe Saunders vs. Jerome Williams, 6:05pm
I thought we had ‘em last night, you guys.
Jerome Williams has gone from a fascinating story to your standard #5 starter. The novelty wears off, and he’s just another Angel pitcher giving up home runs like it’s 1999. He’s got fairly large platoon splits, so this is a decent match-up for the rejuvenated Michael Saunders, the hopefully figuring-thing-out Nick Franklin and a rested Kyle Seager. Against lefties, Williams throws a 92-93mph sinker, a change-up and a cutter. To righties, he’s primarily a four-seam/cutter guy, with an occasional curve.
The M’s suffered their 13th walk-off loss, and their 14th extra-inning defeat last night.
A year ago, the M’s were 72-80, on their way to a 75-87 finish. With 87 losses already, the M’s are on their way to 90+ losses. Before the season began, many thought that while the M’s wouldn’t contend, the inertia from last year’s finish and the replacement of black holes like Miguel Olivo and Chone Figgins virtually guaranteed the team a shot at .500. This isn’t about quibbling with projections or playing gotcha with people (since I predicted the team would be much better than this too). But what would you have said if someone had told you that the team would lose 90 games, or that the team would finish with a worse record than 2012?
1: Ackley, 2B
2: Almonte, CF
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Saunders, RF
8: Franklin, SS
9: Blanco, C
SP: Joe Saunders
That’s a very good line-up to throw at Williams. Franklin looked OK at SS yesterday, though I still say he’s not an average MLB SS long term. I’m happier about his bat waking up.
Divish mentioned that Michael Saunders made a slight tweak to his swing in the St. Louis series, and that he’s looked much better afterwards. Hopefully he can keep that momentum going against Williams.
Dave mentioned early on that Danny Farquhar was intriguing despite what was, for a time, a truly ugly ERA. He was getting strikeouts, and his stuff had improved markedly, but every ball fell in for a hit and every runner seemed to come around to score. It’s by no means the same situation, but I feel a bit bad for Chance Ruffin who now has 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 IP. He’s got three unintentional walks, and of course one forced in a run. Add it up, and his xFIP is less than HALF of his ERA. I’m not saying Ruffin’s going to get a shot at closing the way Farquhar has, but it’s just good to see him pitching fairly well after an awful 2012 that saw him struggle to get strikeouts in the PCL.