Game 68, Rangers at Mariners
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Joe Saunders, 7:10 pm
It’s hard to imagine having anything to say about this particular matchup. Saunders is Saunders. You saw him last year, perhaps too often. He pitches well in Safeco. We could be in trouble. Erasmo Ramirez is familiar with trouble. He’s given up dingers this year, he’s given up walks. Look at the big rates of K/9, BB/9, HR/9, BABIP, LOB%, HR/FB, everything’s increasing. This has been your afternoon summary of Fangraphs.
There’s not much you see off physically from Erasmo over his parts of three years in the majors. Stuff remains roughly the same, mile off a fastball, mile onto the slider, a couple miles added to the curve and one more off the change-up. You feel like this is within the margin of error for velocity. But the whole package has been terrible and the individual pitches have been terrible, except for the change-up, which has been not terrible, but not especially good either. For all the talk of in spring training, how McClendon wanted Erasmo to not live in the zone as much and to make quality pitches outside of it, his O-Swing% is at an all time low and for the first time, below league average.
I’ve thought about Erasmo lately probably more than I’d recommend and it seems like there is a line to be drawn between physically and psychologically off. I don’t know where he falls on it either. I’ve thought with the perceived loss of command, the elbow could be wrong in some way he isn’t telling the team staff. When I think about such scenarios, it seems possible to physically force your way through something like that. Plenty of hikes, I’ve come to the end wobbly and dragged myself to a resting spot. It seems like people who do these things, these physical acts in exchange for paychecks, might also push themselves to that limit or well beyond the point where the rest of us tucker out.
Of course, I’ve also thought that because I force myself to get to the end of that hike, the summit or just an appropriate vantage plateau, that forcing yourself to do something physical is easier in some ways. The body is after all just a body, and you’ll probably regret it until the pain goes away, but so be it [I have the luxury of saying such things as a younger man, who despite this has been dealing with a stress fracture for over a year]. Much easier than say, writing, where it’s harder to power your way through because inevitably you have results to account for and no one likes to throw away work. You could spend hours at it and get nothing, or reach the apex of your present powers only to discover later that even that in and of itself was not very good and the whole project ought to be abandoned or re-appropriated bit by bit. As this happens, and the work frustrates, and inspiration is wandering far fields, it can be harder to sit down and do it. But what about when the results you care about are the physical acts? Now things start to blur. I can care less about the results of hiking or what have you because my livelihood and my sense of self-worth aren’t contingent on it. If they were, I would be talking about it very differently.
Erasmo Ramirez is a pitcher at the highest level. He hasn’t been able to execute on things that he’s been able to do much of his adult life. He’s been told to try different things. These haven’t succeeded. He’s presumably tried other things in response. Is he blocking? Is he too damaged physically to do what he’s supposed to be doing? Was he never all that good to begin with, or does he lack whatever external factor that separates those with talent from those with craft? I don’t know that it’s any one thing right now, but it always just ends up as a combination of variables anyway, some bigger than others.
I’ll be at the game tonight because my dad and stepmom like to buy me tickets once a year and it usually falls on a bad pitching match-up. So I’ll be sitting there, watching a pitcher make some good and some bad pitches, and be thinking about life and the fact that Erasmo Ramirez could be a metaphor and also definitely is a real person. Not like that Jesus Montero guy. Go ‘Ners.
CF James Jones
LF Cole Gillespie
2B Robinson Cano
DH Jesus Montero
1B Logan Morrison
C John Buck
3B Kyle Seager
RF Stefen Romero
SS Willie Bloomquist