Game 74, Mariners at Royals
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. James Shields, 5:10 pm
Perhaps, disenchanted with the perpetual tightrope walk that is Erasmo Ramirez starts, you were wondering about the availability of one Taijuan Walker. To which, I must regrettably point out that in yesterday’s outing, young Mr. Walker gave up six earned in five innings, boosted by two dingers, though the K/BB was acceptable at 4/1.
We knock the Royals for the silliness of the “Trust the Process” cult, which few seem to buy into, but this year it appears to be paying dividends for them (bear in mind that Dayton Moore has been at the helm of the Royals for far longer than Jack Zduriencik has been in charge of the Mariners). They gave up Wil Myers, but James Shields has been worth more and the team leads the division ahead of the Tigers. But when your team’s hopes seem to hinge on Sabean-ing your way into contention now and then… well, I certainly feel my misgivings about rooting for these Mariners even when they’re good and I like baseball a lot more than I do other sports. By the way, the Moore and Sabean remarks are for those of you who think that it’s a given that Zduriencik is on a hot seat. It’s the same process that permits one to continue starting an over-the-hill hitter because he hit a dinger recently enough to remember it, so perhaps the problem is not so much the GM.
Shields has slightly reverse splits for his career, but this year has been slightly worse against left-handers, whom he’s always walked a bit more. ‘Kuma is ‘Kuma, whether you’re in the camp that calls him The Bear or you’re in the camp that tries to call him The Machine (note: cyborg bears are not a resolution to this or any other problem). He’s been pretty good against the Royals, but Shields isn’t so bad himself.
Tonight’s minor league news opens with me complaining that the Rainiers have two days in a row prioritized Justin Smoak and Xavier Nady over Ji-man Choi. Matt Palmer is on the mound for them tonight. In Jackson, Steve Landazuri makes only his second start since April, and back in April he looked like one of the better next-wave pitching prospects we might have. And Julio Morban has been activated from the DL. Will wonders never cease? Unsworth is going for High Desert, Huijer is pitching for a Clinton game in progress, Cleto tries to stop the skid against Tri-City, and Littell, an interesting late-rounder from last year, goes for Pulaski. We also have Arizona opening the season, which will mean first looks at Jackson, Morgan, Muhammad, and Gorgas, along with summer leaguers and rehab stints for various players we’ve been wondering about. Huzzah.
RF Endy Chavez
CF James Jones
2B Robinson Cano
DH Kyle Seager
1B Logan Morrison
LF Dustin Ackley
C Mike Zunino
SS Rad Miller
3B Willie Boom Boom