Game 66, Yankees at Mariners
Roenis Elias vs. Chase Whitley, 7:10 pm
So a couple nights ago, Marc hits me up on e-mail noting that I put up a Saturday game thread and, “since no good deed goes unpunished,” a phrase Marc repeated to me which my grandfather was also fond of, I’ll be taking over for the next three weeks.
Particularly in their pitching staff, the Yankees are featuring a lot of players I can’t remember hearing of prior to this series. Yankees fans likely don’t know who Whitley is either on account of him never having been much of a prospect. He was a two-way player at Troy and intrigued late thanks to his pitching development. What’s changed in his roughly four years in the minors is that his fastball has gained a little life, now averaging around 91, and he’s ditched his below-average curve in favor of a slider that has been a good pitch for him so far. The change, on the other hand, has not performed up to expectations and his splits give a decided advantage to left-handed hitters. Incidentally, we are running out another lineup that has seven of those. Today’s variation on the theme: Stefen Romero at DH, batting fifth.
RF Endy Chavez
CF James Jones
2B Robinson Cano
3B Kyle Seager
DH Stefen Romeri
LF Dustin Ackley
1B Logan Morrison
C Mike Zunino
SS Brad Miller
Unless you’ve spent the morning under a hole in the ground (that’s right), you probably heard that Jesus Montero has been called up as a spare 1B/DH with Michael Saunders heading back to the DL. If you want a positive take on that, I suppose that you could go with this:
Jesus Montero says he's learned to value the opportunity to play in Majors and wants to do what it takes to stay in big leagues now.
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) June 12, 2014
Sounds lovely, does it not? And if you want more positive news, I could tell you that just last night, Montero walked three times, none of them intentional. It’s good to try to be wholly positive now and then. Now I’m going to be less positive.
Here’s some splits for you from Montero’s Tacoma tenure:
April (87 PA): .288/.322/.613, .390 wOBA, 23% Ks, 4.6% BBs
May (133 PA): .252/.353/.351, .314 wOBA, 18.8% Ks, 13.5% BBs
June (35 PA): .290/.371/.419, .340 wOBA, 17.1% Ks, 11.4% BBs
The defensive reports are roughly the same, “runs and defends well for a golem or a prize-winning pumpkin but it’s not so great when you consider that it’s coming from an alive dude.” Thus, you have a lot riding on Montero’s ability to have success with the bat. When I look at those splits, I consider the case of our old friend and former Double Play Twin Jose Lopez. Lopie was always rather aggressive at the plate and could be because he was good at putting the bat on the ball, but when you sat and tried to get him to take a walk, the power would start to disappear. Those were two thoughts that Lopie didn’t seem to be able to hold in his head at the same time as he was holding a bat.
Could Montero? To be honest, I never expected to see him as a Mariner again. I thought he was toast. Now we have him out there as perhaps our DH when we face left-handers. I see the decrease in strikeouts over the past few months and I feel something resembling hope. Maybe he redeems himself by solving the mysteries of the bendy pitch and we ride that heaving train into the playoffs. I don’t know anyone that seems to rationally think he will though.
It raises some questions about how exactly this team has managed so far. As much as we point to the Rangers falling apart and effectively becoming the Round Rock Express, the Mariners haven’t fared exceptionally better. We’ve been running out #6 and #7 starters for much of the season, our non-Cano offseason bat acquisitions of Corey Hart and Logan Morrison have provided negligible contributions, Guti wasn’t even a factor for more than ten minutes of spring training, and the injury/ineptitude of Smoak have had us starting Willie Bloomquist at first. I personally have been more excited to see Cole Gillespie bat than Dustin Ackley. Eat it, 2011 Jay.
So we continue to sit around and await the possible arrival of Ji-man Choi, who will definitely save us all. Go ‘Ners.