Game 43, Mariners at Twins

marc w · May 18, 2014 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Ricky Nolasco, 11:10am

Well, at least Nolasco’s not a ground ball pitcher. After getting shut down by Samuel Deduno and Kyle Gibson, the M’s get one of the Twins HR-plagued fly-ballers. The Twins’ 2013 starters posted the worst FIP, the worst ERA, the worst K rate, and the worst strand rate in all of baseball last year, so the fact that the Twins committed a combined $73 million on two FA hurlers seemed reasonable. Nolasco was the big prize, signing a 4-year, $49m deal after a solid season split between the Marlins and Dodgers.

The righty has always posted solid FIP numbers, with a career 3.80 mark over 1363 career innings. But, like a poor man’s Javier Vasquez, his actual runs allowed have generally come in much higher. His ERA’s been higher than his FIP each year since 2008, and in several, the gap’s exceeded one full run in two of those years. It’s not like you can point to one specific weakness; it’s not all BABIP, it’s not all sequencing. He’s just disappointed. No one capable of posting 4.4 K:BB ratios over a full year (or two!) of work in a big league rotation should post ERAs of 5. If you’ve read this site at all, you know that ERA can be misleading and that Nolasco probably isn’t a replacement-level starter, which is what his RA would tell you right now. You can’t justify the argument that Nolasco is 100% responsible for what happens once a ball is put in play. But 1,300+ innings suggest that he’s probably not 0% responsible either.

Nolasco throws a 91-93mph four-seam and two-seam fastball. His primary breaking ball’s his slider, which was very effective for many years, but has been his Achilles’ heel this year. He’s got a curve ball, but his other weapon is the oh-so-trendy splitter. It’s more like Dan Haren’s in that it looks/acts like a change-up, so it’s not terribly surprising that he only throws it to lefties. Lefties have given Nolasco trouble throughout his career, and they’re destroying him so far in 2014, but it’s not the splitter that they’re hitting. That may just be noise, or the fact that he can’t get to the splitter because they’re crushing fastballs first, but even a struggling M’s line-up isn’t a great match-up for Nolasco (at least on paper).

1: Jones, CF
2: Saunders, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
SP: King Felix

Happy 34th anniversary of the Mt. St Helens eruption. It’s one of my earliest memories as a kid – going up to the attic and looking south at the towering ash cloud.

With Brad Miller struggling, it’s not surprise that the M’s are considering re-calling the hot hitting Nick Franklin. But Franklin’s been playing some OF recently, and Lloyd McClendon’s mentioned that positional flexibility’s a key to getting Franklin more playing time. After spending the spring asserting that the SS battle was an open competition, Franklin seems to be well and truly out of the running (though he could obviously be a factor for the M’s as a utility OF/IF). That’s probably got as much to do with Chris Taylor as anything, and I honestly wonder if they’d call up Taylor if he was healthy.

Erasmo Ramirez starts for Tacoma against Sacramento. The big story involving the RiverCats this morning is the rumor that they’ll switch affiliation to the other Bay Area club, the Giants, as early as next season. Don’t know if the A’s would take Fresno or if there’d be further swapping. Tyler Pike starts for High Desert. He’s walked four batters in each of his past five starts.

Taijuan Walker and James Paxton both had bullpen sessions yesterday and seem fine today. Sounds like they may do a simulated game on Tuesday.


68 Responses to “Game 43, Mariners at Twins”

  1. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 1:50 pm

    Miller should bunt every time stevemotivatier says be should. Even the times when Steve says nothing.

  2. G-Man on May 18th, 2014 1:58 pm

    Please let Felix pitch the 9th. I want a nice relaxing Sunday, not a Rodney, edge-of-my-seat closing.

  3. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 1:59 pm

    The throw to 1B by Felix.- on that bunt attempt – was thrown as hard as any pitch he made today. Not sure how they will gauge it toward his pitch count total, but let’s hope it’s not enough to have to bring in Rodney.

    Blyleven sure has some disdain for modern day pitch counts per today’s pre-game radio interview. He made some really good points, too … Leaning heavily to the “old school” side of the equation, as one might have been able to guess.

  4. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 2:00 pm

    … Then he simply said the pitch count total (barometer) should be 120 instead of 100 – for a starting pitcher. Seems as if he is not totally for or against pitch counts.

  5. r-gordon-7 on May 18th, 2014 2:02 pm

    Uh-oh, they just mentioned Rodney… Time to power up the defib…

  6. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:02 pm

    Holy Cow! Blyleven pitched, like, forever! 1970-1992…

  7. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 2:02 pm

    Why can’t everyone try to hit the ball up the middle and to the other side? Works for Cano.

  8. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 2:04 pm

    … And right on cue – Smoak with an extreme pull to the 1B

  9. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:04 pm

    Hey this is interesting…

    Things Bert Blyleven Has Worn on His Head

  10. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:06 pm

    Ah, Smoak, my favorite Mariner…

    He’s not the team’s biggest problem – not by a long shot – but he irritates me no end.

  11. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 2:06 pm

    Do you have more than one available port on that defib?

  12. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:08 pm

    Oh man, can’t we have a nice no-stress ninth inning for ONCE?!

  13. Section329 on May 18th, 2014 2:11 pm

    sadly, only one per person on defibrillator.

  14. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:16 pm


  15. msfanmike on May 18th, 2014 2:16 pm

    Good win. Nice one game roll.

  16. r-gordon-7 on May 18th, 2014 2:17 pm

    Nice – only one base runner – how un-Rodney-like!
    Putting away the difib until next 9th inning lead.

  17. Westside guy on May 18th, 2014 2:17 pm

    Thank you, Fernando Rodney, for a fairly stress-free ninth inning.

  18. HighlightsAt11 on May 18th, 2014 2:46 pm

    I’m ok with letting the BBQ guy play SS for the M’s.

    Please, let Miller be in Tacoma’s starting lineup tomorrow against Reno.

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