Game 98, Mariners at Angels
Chris Young vs. Tyler Skaggs, 12:35pm
It certainly feels nice to steal a win in a pitcher’s duel once in a while. After Friday’s game, yesterday’s looked so predictable, and while they couldn’t score two runs for Felix, at least they got two in extras to defeat the Angels who squandered Garrett Richards’ gem.
Today the M’s face Tyler Skaggs, the Angels prospect shipped to Arizona where he shot up prospect rankings before command issues and a troubling velocity drop made him extremely hittable. After a rough go with Arizona and then an equally rough trip through the PCL in 2013, he moved back to Anaheim, who promptly made a mechanical tweak that returned much of the missing velocity. The other big change concerns his batted ball profile. He’s got a fastball with plenty of vertical rise, so it wasn’t a big surprise to see him post low GB% in the Arizona system and in his MLB call-ups. But he’s a fairly extreme GB guy this year despite not much change to his pitch movement or pitch mix. He throws a four- and two-seam fastball, with a change-up and curve. He’s toyed with a slider this year, but he’s still mostly a four-pitch guy. In the past, his curve occasionally got grounders, but everything else generated fly balls. This year, the sinker and change in particular have been much better at getting ground-ball contact.
All those worm burners have really helped his biggest problem – the home run ball. His HR/9 rate has fallen substantially this year (though of course his entire career suffers from small sample size problems), and he’s been much better against righties. He seems like the kind of guy who’d have platoon splits, but he’s faced so few lefties, there’s no way to really know. He’s running reverse splits this year, but he’s faced only 82 lefties this year, compared to over 300 righties. Pretty much impossible to make much out of that.
Robinson Cano’s out today with a sore hamstring. Hopefully it’s nothing, but Willie Bloomquist gets his second start at 2B.
1: Chavez, CF
2: Bloomquist, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Romero, RF
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Hart, DH
7: Ackley, LF
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
I think Skaggs will see more lefties today (4) than he has in any other game. Romero’s a righty, and does better against lefties, but starting him in the clean up spot seems like the triumph of hope over experience. But hey, Go M’s. Let’s get a series win.