Game 18, Mariners at Marlins
Brandon Maurer vs. Kevin Slowey, 10:10am
Ah yes, the reshuffled line-up. The first step in breaking a losing streak – one level below “closed door team meeting” and three steps below “fire the hitting coach.” That sounds snarkier than I really intend it, but there’s something about losing to the Marlins that has everyone feeling fatalistic. And it’s not like Miller hasn’t earned himself a day on the bench.
Brandon Maurer – not sure at all how this is going to go, but a successful Brandon Maurer would really, really help the M’s pitching depth. Kevin Slowey’s the ex-Twin whose career looked to be over when HR problems made his command skills unworkable. Really, Blake Beavan’s been trying to make this skillset work: very low walk totals, a few Ks, and a low BABIP driven by extreme, Chris-Young-style fly ball rates. Like Beavan, avoiding walks and giving up elevated contact meant giving up lots of HRs. Like Henderson Alvarez, Slowey’s been better in Marlins park, in part because the park suppresses HRs, and in part due (I guess) some sort of mechanical tweak. He returned with Miami last year and while he wasn’t great, he ran a sub-4 FIP over 90+ innings.
Unlike Beavan, though, he doesn’t have big platoon splits. While Beavan’s actually OK against righties, Slowey’s splits are completely normal, and hasn’t been great (or awful) against opposite-handed hitters. Part of the problem seems to be that his curve ball wasn’t great, so righties teed off on it. We’ll see if he adjusts and starts throwing more of his cutter. After last night’s game, he’s probably feeling fairly confident.
1: Almonte, CF
2: Bloomquist, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, RF
5: Ackley, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Franklin, SS
8: Buck, C
OF James Jones was optioned to Tacoma to make room for Maurer on the 25-man roster.
On the plus side, the Marlins line-up is extremely right-handed, with only Garrett Jones and Christian Yelich batting lefty against Maurer who struggled mightily against lefties in 2013. Sure, some of the righties include Ozuna and Stanton, but this isn’t a bad match-up on paper.