Game 17, Mariners at Marlins
Roenis Elias vs. Henderson Alvarez, 4:10pm
I honestly don’t know what to say about the fact that its up to Elias to stop a Mariner losing streak. Uh, go get ‘em kid. Watch out for Stanton. That slow curve? Keep it far away from the spot Medina placed his slider.
The plus side isn’t just that Elias is a fly baller in a park that’s hard for non-Stantons to homer in- the plus is that the M’s are facing Henderson Alvarez. I kept trying to think of who Hector Noesi reminded me of – who else threw a swerving 94mph sinker with a breaking ball that didn’t look obviously bad and posted terrible results? Henderson Alvarez, of course! While with the Blue Jays, Alvarez managed the near impossible trifecta of early-80s, sub-Beavan K rates, ground balls AND an awful HR rate. He faced the M’s 3 times, giving up 3 HRs in 18 IP, with 8 free passes given up against just 6 Ks. Because these facts pertain to the M’s of 2011-12, I should note that he went 2-0, but still – bad numbers.
Then, pretty much immediately after joining the Marlins, he turned into a decent, sometimes better, but clearly not terrible starter. The K rate improved, as it would when you suddenly get to face pitchers. But the big change was the HR rate. He gave up just 2 HRs last year Ina bit over 100 IP, a year after yielding 29. He’s still never given up a HR in Marlins park. He’s not exactly good, and lefties still have a distinct advantage against him, but he limited the damage they could do. The BABIP gods may not be as kind to him this year, but he looks like an ok back of the rotation starter, and he just turned 24 yesterday.
I mention this because it’s clear to me that this will play out for Noesi too. He’s not going to win any Cy Youngs, but someone – maybe Texas, maybe his next stop- is going to make a tiny adjustment to his mechanics or grip and Noesi will turn into an innings eater who gives up few HRs. It’s easier if you prepare yourself ahead of time and react intellectually, perhaps musing on the nature of coaching, or of maturity.
1: Almonte, CF
2: Miller, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Saunders, RF
6: Seager, 3B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Elias, SP
I don’t believe Elias has ever batted professionally.
Jordan Pries, who’s been on a tear to start the year in AA, starts for Jackson. Dutchman Lars Huijer starts for Clinton.