Game 84, Mariners at Astros
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Jarred Cosart, 5:10 pm
Driving home from work last night, I realized that the Young vs. Bauer game in the last homestand marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Mariners playing their last game at the Kingdome, and while I had known about it, I had completely forgotten to mention it. I apologize for this regrettable omission.
Writing up intra-division pitching match-ups can be a bit of a pain. I know that if a guy hasn’t pitched against the M’s this season, I can talk a little bit about his arsenal, what he’s been up to relative to prior seasons, various introductory level bits of data. With the teams that we see with unbalanced regularity over the course of a season, writing up pitching match-ups in that style is like bumping into someone for the third or fourth time and realizing that you’re still trying to get their name down. In my defense, this isn’t my regular shtick and I’m not accustomed to thinking about major league players on other teams except as names to attach to the game I’m listening to.
Cosart is a late-rounder who did all right by himself in spite of that. Classic “put it in play” groundballer whose weakness is not so much elevating pitches to where they’re hit out of the park, but missing too often and not inducing enough swings to compensate for that with Ks. He’s basically a fastball/curve guy too, whereas groundball-oriented pitchers usually prefer sliders as their breaking pitch. There are splits from left to right, but left-handers tend to lose a little bit in average and make it up in power numbers. To no real surprise, he allows a greater slugging at home, so we could have another dinger-tastic game in the offing. I could be down with that.
Of course, it could also be a bad thing because ‘Kuma hasn’t been ‘Kuma the last couple of outings. Was it the neck thing lingering? Is it something else? What we’ve had the past couple of times out is a lower groundball and strand rates than we’re accustomed to seeing and a higher BABIP. Home runs have been allowed each time, but unlike the Erasmo Ramirez variety of home run, they have not been preceded by multiple walks. He’s also had a rather short leash, not exceeding 80 pitches either time out. Naturally, my distracted brain was drawing conclusions and saying “yeah, he was throwing too many pitches and that’s why he was pulled,” but nope, wasn’t happening, and you look at his strike% and it really isn’t all that bad. He was at 71% in Kansas City and 67.5% against Boston, both better-than-league-average marks by a sizable margin. The problem has more been a good amount of not-good contact. I wish I had something more substantive than that, but I’m radio-only for most of my baseball consumption and that makes objectivity a more difficult task. I try to visualize what’s happening on the field and all I get is the South Side of Chicago and Southern League baseball centering around Memphis.
DH Endy Chavez
CF James Jones
2B Robinson Cano
3B Kyle Seager
1B Logan Morrison
C Mike Zunino
RF Michael Saunders
LF Dustin Ackley
SS Rad Miller