Game 78, Red Sox at Mariners
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Jake Peavy, 7:10 pm
That was some game last night, right?
This one will feature two guys who have not been what their respective teams expected them to be, though in Peavy’s case it’s more impactful. By whatever metric you care to look at, Peavy has not been good. His home run/fly ball percentage is the worst that it’s been since his sophomore season back in 2003 and his walks and K rates are in the same camp. He’s also lost a mile off his heater relative to last year, which is weird, because he’s using it more and hasn’t busted out the cutter nearly as often, if the pitch types are to be believed. Peavy has never been a pitcher with great stuff, so any loss of it is something that you can see the effects of. When, in addition to that, he doesn’t have good command, then things get rather bad for him. The Mariners have also hit him well in the past, when he was good and with the Padres or the White Sox. This looks like a winnable game for the Mariners which means that we could either win or lose the game.
A lot of lip service was played to the most recent start by Erasmo being the best. It is technically accurate in that he went six innings without a run and the last three starts have spanned scoreless 15.2 innings. But then this most recent outing against the Padres was the first in which he had more strikeouts than walks. By one. The Red Sox have the fourth best walk rate in the MLB. This could get aggravating in a hurry. Fortunately for Erasmo, the Red Sox rank 24th in isolated slugging as a team ahead of the Padres, Yankees, Rays, Mets, Cardinals, and Royals. Okay, some of those names seem like they belong there.
Some of us will likely be paying attention to the Taijuan Walker start in Tacoma tonight, just to figure out if he’s getting any closer. Others will be paying attention to it because Michael Saunders is hitting .529/.556/.941 (!) through his first four games there and our offense plainly looks a lot better with Condor in the lineup. One other consideration I would have is the whole Justin Smoak thing, beyond the fact that he’s been taking away at-bats from the previously red-hot Ji-Man Choi, which irks me. Smoak has been batting .217/.296/.391 down in Tacoma so far. The walks and power (sort of?) have been there, but he’s still striking out a bit and hits aren’t falling in for him regularly. Now that Logan Morrison is looking like he could be a solid lineup contributor, the question is what you do with first base once Smoak is ready. Play Smoak at first and keep with the defensive gains, leaving Morrison to DH, or play Morrison at first, take a hit on defense, and try to find an actual hitter to use at designated hitter instead of oh look here’s another lineup:
RF Endy Chavez
CF James Jones
2B Robinson Cano
3B Kyle Seager
1B Logan Morrison
C Mike Zunino
LF Dustin Ackley
SS Rad Miller
DH John Buck
D.J. Peterson, who was promoted to Jackson last night, and Gabriel Guerrero, who was not, have been named to the Futures Game. I will have stuff to say about both of them in the future myself, but NOT NOW.