Game 129, Mariners at Red Sox

marc w · August 24, 2014 at 9:09 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Allen Webster, 10:35am
Wildcard Odds – Fangraphs.com: 49.7% Baseballprospectus.com: 52.4%

Sorry for the lack of a game thread yesterday – after the incredible five-run 9th inning on Friday, and the seven-run inning yesterday, the M’s are in position to sweep a three-game series in Boston for the first time in franchise history. Perhaps more importantly, they’re in position to go 6-3 on this road trip and push their wild card lead to two games as they head home to face the playing-out-the-string Rangers.

Allen Webster’s a heralded righty who came to Boston in the massive Crawford/Gonzalez/Beckett trade/salary dump a few years ago. He’d been one of the Dodgers top arms (along with Rubby De La Rosa, who came with Webster to the Red Sox system), with solid velocity and a potential plus change-up. He’s never shown even average control/command, but a 94mph fastball, a slider and a change-up meant he could post solid numbers in the minors. He made his big league debut in 2013, but his seven starts were unmitigated disasters. His walk rate soared, and worse, he gave up way too many home runs. Lefties torched him, and as a result, his ERA hovered near 9, and his FIP was over 6. He went back to the minors to start this season, and showed enough to get a return trip to Boston. He posted his lowest walk rate since rookie ball for Pawtucket, and got his HR rate back under control. Perhaps more encouragingly, he’s been decent against lefties thus far – since joining the Red Sox, he hasn’t allowed a HR to a LHB yet (although he’s only faced 62 of them).

That said, the control fixes didn’t make the jump to the big leagues. Webster’s walked 18 and hit another 3 so far in just 26 innings. His K rate’s falling too, as he’s gotten just 13 strikeouts. This is how you can have an RA/9 and a FIP around 5 despite not allowing many HRs and enjoying a .247 BABIP. If you needed any further proof of the irrelevance of the win statistic, Webster’s 3-1 despite it all. How’s he changed since last year, when the M’s knocked him around? Well, he’s throwing noticeably slower. In his call-up in 2013, his four-seamer actually averaged about 95mph, with his sinker at 94. This season, both are just shy of 93. He’s not throwing any more strikes with his fastball; his ball% is actually up this year. He’s still potentially useful, as his change-up really has the makings of an effective pitch once his fastball gets sorted out. He’s getting experience to see if he can help the Sox make a run next year. It’s really fun, and really odd, to be on the other side of games like this after spending so many Augusts getting a look at prospects who might help down the road, or trading for Henry Blanco, or trying to play spoiler. As the M’s media information staff pointed out, the M’s can win their 71st game today. Last year’s win total? 71.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Denorfia, RF
8: Zunino, C
9: Taylor, SS
SP: Iwakuma

I’m not trying to minimize this M’s game at all, but the correct Baseball Play today is to head to Tacoma and watch the Rainiers host the Iowa Cubs. Hey, you can watch/listen to most of the game before heading to Cheney. Why a AAA game? The Iowa Cubs came into the season as the most prospect-laden club in the land, with guys like Javier Baez, Junior Lake and Arismendy Alcantary in the line-up. I worried that most of them wouldn’t still be on the club by the time they rolled into the northwest in late August, and indeed, Baez, Lake, Alcantara and others have made the leap to the big leagues. Ahh, but as it turned out, the best prospect in the system may not have been Baez after all – it’s 3B Kris Bryant, who has laid waste to the upper-minors, with a combined 42 HRs in 130 games. He’s got a .660 SLG% in AAA, which is down a bit from the .700+ figure he put up in the Southern League. He’s hit for average (which a lot of people thought he might struggle with), he’s certainly hit for power, and his defense hasn’t been disastrous. He’s an easy top-5 prospect in all of baseball, and you should go see him in this series. I have to figure he’ll make an appearance in Chicago when the calendar page flips over. But it’s not just Bryant. Cuban OF Jorge Soler’s now with Iowa as well, and he’s shown some impressive power as well. Mike Olt, the one-time top-prospect of the Rangers, is now protecting Bryant in the line-up and is producing at AAA (though he again face-planted in another big-league trial). Finally, the Cubs signed a rather unusual player/coach to keep an eye on all of these prospects: Manny Ramirez. The 42-year old Manny has earned 72 ABs thus far, and seems to enjoy his role as an instructor who can still come in and hit dingers every now and then. As Mike Curto notes, you really need to get to Cheney for this. Today’s game at 5:05, and the next two are both 7:05 starts.

Comments

108 Responses to “Game 129, Mariners at Red Sox”

  1. djw on August 24th, 2014 10:00 am

    Always had a strange and irrational affection for Manny. Good to see him in the game, hope he’s enjoying himself.

  2. eponymous coward on August 24th, 2014 10:07 am

    A coin-flip for the playoffs. Have to say I like this compared to the last decade or so.

  3. enazario on August 24th, 2014 10:48 am

    Same kid as yesterday should’ve saved us from slow poke Morales

  4. Dennisss on August 24th, 2014 10:55 am

    On the radio yesterday the third base coach joked about how slow Morales is, said if he had been the runner on that play where Ackley scored from first on a single, Kendrys would have had to slide into third.

  5. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 10:56 am

    Doesn’t the ADA and the Casey Martin case allow Morales to use a golf cart when he’s “running” the bases?

  6. enazario on August 24th, 2014 11:44 am

    Kuma struggling today plus some bad luck.

  7. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 11:53 am

    If they lose this game Lloyd has to take a lot of the blame. Yeah Kuma was awful, but it was obvious in the first inning he had nothing today. Not wanting to tax your bullpen is less important than actually trying to win.

    Also, screw Boston. They’ve been mailing it in for about a month now. The one time they show up had to be against us?

  8. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 12:04 pm

    -Seattleguy527

    When you’re a top pitcher, like Kuma, you’re going to get a long leash when you’re struggling. Lloyd took him out when it was time to take him out.l

  9. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 12:04 pm

    Is Morales the worst baserunner in the bigs? Me thinks he is

  10. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 12:06 pm

    Cano left due to dizziness……did he go out last night or what?!

  11. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:09 pm

    Cano may have been bitten by the same “flash flu” bug that bit Morrison.

    I had it last week. One day – all better. Weirdest and fastest “flu” ever. Like a mini noro virus. Like a bad night of drinking without any actual drinking.

  12. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 12:10 pm

    It looked the time to take him out was in the first inning after he hit his second batter of the inning. A guy with pinpoint control, hitting two batters, both times with two strikes, should be enough to tell you he doesn’t have it. Lloyd got greedy and tried to squeeze more out of him than he should have. So now we are behind and the bullpen gets taxed anyway.

    But I do agree with you that managers give a longer leash to better pitchers.

  13. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:21 pm

    Lots of bodies in the pen and tomorrow is an off day. I am more vexed about giving up two easy outs at 3B in the first inning on offense than at Lloyd for his in-game pitching strategy.

    Sometimes a stud pitcher “finds it” after struggling a bit and sometimes they don’t. Today Kuma didn’t.

    The game is still very winnable.

  14. destinationtubes on August 24th, 2014 12:24 pm

    Zunino, 6 straight K’s… what is that… the Diamond Sombrero?

  15. Westside guy on August 24th, 2014 12:24 pm

    Saunders wa sent home from AAA with “the flu” a few days ago – might be something making the rounds in the M’s system, who knows.

  16. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 12:25 pm

    @Seattleguy,
    You have no idea what your talking about. Its pretty common for even aces like Iwakuma to struggle with their command and figure out what pitches are working. Managers that panic over a even a terrible 1st inning don’t last long as managers.

  17. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:25 pm

    And there we go. Nice rip, Ackley!

  18. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:28 pm

    The diamond sombrero … Nice!

    He’s shooing for platinum!!!

  19. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 12:28 pm

    Agreed, Mike. I guess it’s possible he could have turned it around but going off of that first inning it sure didn’t look likely. Given that we are in a playoff race I would rather see a quick hook to the best bullpen in the majors than leave a clearly struggling pitcher out there too long. But like you said, still a long way to go.

  20. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 12:31 pm

    Ha! If you say so Kazinski. I guess the fact that the bullpen was warming up in the first inning doesn’t mean anything? If he had given up another hit or two he was done. But feel free to deny that.

  21. Westside guy on August 24th, 2014 12:32 pm

    You know a pitcher is having trouble when he walks 2014 Kendrys Morales.

  22. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 12:39 pm

    Sure. If he let another 2 guys on base, yeah take him out. But to say he should have already taken him out is flat wrong.

  23. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:43 pm

    Anybody else lose their Root broadcast? I assume it’s just not my TV.

  24. Westside guy on August 24th, 2014 12:45 pm

    I lost my broadcast for a minute or two, Mike… but it is back now.

  25. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 12:45 pm

    We can agree to disagree. Kuma didn’t look to have anything today, IMO. I realize he has been great for us, but today he just didn’t have it. It happens. I just thought that outcome was rather predictable. If you didn’t, that’s fine.

  26. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:49 pm

    Speaking of Saunders, Westy – he was taken off his rehab assignment (formality by the sounds of it) and can’t be put on the DL for five more days. Doesn’t sound like he will be doing anything for five more days, actually. Maybe practice/work out. Then he can be out on another rehab assignment for the last few days of the AAA season before being called up. Whatever the team did sounded “procedural” in nature and I might have missed a detail or two, but I don’t think the recent action can be retroactive to the point in time where Saunders was originally sent home with the flu.

  27. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:52 pm

    Root is frozen in time, apparently. Except for the sleep country girl commercial. Gotta get the commercials in and the sleep country girl is as good a place to start as any.

  28. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:56 pm

    Zunino! Finally gets on base – gets picked off. At least according to the radio broadcast.

  29. djw on August 24th, 2014 12:58 pm

    Why the hell is Zunino trying to steal?

    (never mind, previous comment answers the q)

  30. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 12:59 pm

    Three outs at 3B today.

    Fuck.

  31. terry on August 24th, 2014 1:02 pm

    I don’t get Taylor trying to take third there. Austin was about to be walked. If he gets a hit, Taylor scores from second. Also Ackley was on deck. Really dumb base running.

  32. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 1:07 pm

    4 outs on the base paths today. You’ve got to figure that’s cost them at least a run or two. I don’t if Lloyd gave the sign to Taylor or a rookie mistake, or if Morales was on the 3rd base coach. Austin was just bad luck, Zunino was stupidity. But they need to fix it.

    I’m glad Ortiz can’t run either.

  33. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 1:08 pm

    Dude. Kuma was a cy young finalist last year and has pitched in similar fashion. you don’t pull a guy like that because it looks like he “doesn’t have it today”. That’s just silly. And we are channeling our inner ’01 selves lately! hit hit hit hit hit hit!

  34. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 1:13 pm

    Then why was the bullpen warming up, Ghosts? If the thought of pulling him in the first was so ridiculous, why even have anyone warming? You guys are too easy…

  35. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 1:19 pm

    There is a little thing called “precautionary measures”. Shit yeah they should be warming up, for if things kept getting real bad. You have to be ready. But you don’t yank him based on “he don’t got it”.

  36. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 1:21 pm

    also, as a former participant in the game of baseball, If Cano is ok tomorrow, I would bet money on Chris Taylor not playing on monday. Love the guy, he’s great. But making the 3rd out, attempting to steal 3rd? guaranteed that wasn’t signed to him.

  37. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 1:28 pm

    I would argue pitchers get pulled when they don’t have it all the time. And yes, even aces have been pulled in the first inning before. People are trying to act like taking him out would have been absurd, yet the bullpen had been warming up for about 5 minutes. He was damn close to getting pulled. Pretending like that wasn’t even a possibility is silly.

  38. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 1:38 pm

    False. False false false false.

  39. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 1:38 pm

    BUT….. LORD FARQUAR!!!

  40. Westside guy on August 24th, 2014 1:39 pm

    I don’t think either of you is going to convince the other, guys. :-D

  41. ivan on August 24th, 2014 1:39 pm

    Wow, nice fielding by Danny on the DP. Good reaction to glove that.

  42. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 1:41 pm

    Haha… you’re right, Westside. My bad. My piehole is officially shut.

    Go ‘Ners!

  43. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 1:43 pm

    Okay Lloyd, you just answered my question! Thank you

  44. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 1:44 pm

    This guy looks like Sucre in Philly.

  45. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 1:45 pm

    Great run pickup! Well done Kyle!

  46. djw on August 24th, 2014 1:49 pm

    guaranteed that wasn’t signed to him.

    Eh, this organization has been committed to dumb “aggressive” baserunning for quite some time. This is a guarantee you could make about some (smarter) teams, but not this one, unfortunately.

  47. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 2:02 pm

    Seattle,
    Don’t move the goalposts. You said that Lloyd left him in too late and should have taken him out after the second hit batter. That’s wrong. The fact that there was a scenario to pull him if things kept going south doesn’t save your argument.

  48. Will on August 24th, 2014 2:06 pm

    The bullpen is starting to show their true colors…

  49. djw on August 24th, 2014 2:12 pm

    Whew.

  50. Will on August 24th, 2014 2:20 pm

    Is it 7-7 or 7-6? At Bat can’t seem to decide…

  51. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:21 pm

    I like that you tell people their opinions are “wrong,” Kazinski. You’re a funny dude.

  52. Breadbaker on August 24th, 2014 2:22 pm

    8-6. A veritable insurance run! Who are these guys?

  53. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:22 pm

    Tuning in just in time to catch ANOTHER ridiculous mention of “Ackley can really run…” by the M’s announcers…

    (laugh)

    I guess on a team that’s seen the likes of Morales, Hart, Morrison, Morse, Ibanez, Jose Lopez, Olivo, etc., Ackley has blazing speed…

    I’ll take the run, though. Nice hustle Dustin.

  54. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:24 pm

    Just think how much faster he would be without that 8 pound beard holding him back?

  55. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:24 pm

    (after reading through the comments)

    Hey Kaz-
    Have you won the argument yet? Definitely worth staying focused on… Don’t give up. Make him see the error in his ways… Not like there’s an interesting game to watch or anything… (rolls eyes)

  56. Will on August 24th, 2014 2:28 pm

    Ackley is a plus baserunner but I’ve heard Sims compare him to the likes of Bourjos and Gentry which is ludicrous. He’s a 15-20 SB guy at best.

  57. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:28 pm

    In fairness, Mr. Z, I spent way too much time on it myself. Luckily Westside Guy knocked me out of my annoying stupor.

  58. Will on August 24th, 2014 2:32 pm

    If we hold on today, this team could feasibly sweep the Rangers at home this week. Three pitching matchups in our favor against the worst team in the league. Sure would look great to be fifteen or sixteen over .500 heading into September…

  59. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 2:32 pm

    Indifference drives me crazy. Must be the HS baseball coach in me, but I hate losing the force at 2nd. I understand it. Just don’t like it.

  60. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:33 pm

    Will-
    Yeah, Ackley is definitely not a dead weight out there… But they talk about him almost EVERY game like he has James Jones-like speed… Ever since he came up from the minors, it’s been one of his special attributes, that has never shown itself. In 4 seasons he has double digit steals ONCE. Ackley’s blazing speed is like Ichiro’s homerun prowess… The stuff of legends.

  61. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 2:34 pm

    Ackley has Willie Wilson speed don’t you know? Or was that Flip Wilson?

  62. djw on August 24th, 2014 2:35 pm

    Is the force at 2nd really more valuable than the territory you give up holding the runner on first? Don’t know, but it doesn’t seem obvious that it is.

  63. HighlightsAt11 on August 24th, 2014 2:35 pm

    I’m thankful Ackley does not trip on his beard. Because his beard sure looks trippy.

  64. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:35 pm

    He has to throw him a changeup eventually, right?

  65. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:37 pm

    COME ON, Rodney… This is not necessary every game… Just so you know. I know you think we get our money’s worth this way… But we also like boring and efficient, too.

    Just saying.

  66. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:37 pm

    Seriously? They weren’t ready for that?

  67. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:38 pm

    YOU LET THE TYING RUN TAKE SECOND??!

  68. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:38 pm

    Okay… now THAT indifference I really don’t get… Seager could easily cover 3rd there.

    (scratches head)

  69. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:38 pm

    FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (breathe)

  70. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Wow. Don’t groove one here, Rodney.

  71. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Why????? I guess “keep this guy off of 2nd base” doesn’t apply here”? WTF?

  72. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Fastball, please. No passed balls or WPs

  73. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:40 pm

    Gotta be FB – but Johnson on deck maybe not?

  74. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:40 pm

    WHY can’t he throw a freakin’ strike once he gets to a 2 strike count?

  75. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 2:40 pm

    B r e a t h e

  76. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:40 pm

    This isn’t going to end well. Close to 30 pitches?

  77. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:41 pm

    First pitch to Johnson will not be grooved. Might be the change.

  78. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:41 pm

    Okay. Pop up please. Nice easy, undramatic pop up to Morrison.

    I’ll tip well, if you personally hand in my order.

  79. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:42 pm

    throw fbs

  80. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:42 pm

    Okay, Seattle and Kaz… When do we take Rodney out? Commence…

  81. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 2:42 pm

    erp

  82. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:43 pm

    He’s gassed. This could be comical if Cespedes gets a shot.

  83. G-Man on August 24th, 2014 2:43 pm

    Thanks one more

  84. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:44 pm

    I think I just crapped my pants… The muscle release was too great to contain it after strike 3… Gotta go change my pants…

    (sigh)

  85. Seattleguy527 on August 24th, 2014 2:44 pm

    HAHA… good one, Mr. Z. I’ll defer on that one.

  86. Eastside Suds on August 24th, 2014 2:45 pm

    38th Save the hard way, but we”ll take it! Go Mariners!

  87. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 2:46 pm

    4 + hours. jeeze!

  88. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:46 pm

    HAHA!!!

    Did you guys see Rodney’s description of his arrow to Morrison after he shot it… He made his hand go in little circles like that one fell helplessly from the sky… Making fun of himself…

  89. djw on August 24th, 2014 2:46 pm

    Yikes. I think maybe let someone else close tomorrow, give Rodney a day of rest.

  90. nvn8vbryce on August 24th, 2014 2:46 pm

    Do we have a cardiologist on staff?

  91. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 2:47 pm

    Piece of cake. I like it when things happen as they were drawn up to happen.

  92. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 2:48 pm

    msfan-
    If that worked like it was drawn up, I’d like you to work on your drawing skills please… (laugh)

  93. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 2:50 pm

    Mr Z with a “wet rainbow” courtesy of Fernando Rodney.

    That’s awesome.

    No better way to get a three game sweep in Boston.

  94. stevemotivateir on August 24th, 2014 2:53 pm

    Rodney had bent arrows today. But that just made it more memorable, right?

  95. HighlightsAt11 on August 24th, 2014 3:06 pm

    “tomorrow is an off day”

    @msfanmike

    Just want to make sure you know there is a game tomorrow night. The off day is Thursday. Unless you refer to games against the Rangers as off days?

  96. msfanmike on August 24th, 2014 3:07 pm

    Yeah, I boned the calendar/schedule. I was focused on trucks trucks and more trucks.

  97. Kazinski on August 24th, 2014 3:47 pm

    I thought was surplusage to have 8 guys in the bullpen, especially the way the starters have been rolling. But you have too credit the last two games to having that many rested arms ready to go.

    Lloyd is handling this pitching staff is as well as I’ve seen it done. I was skeptical of Rodney, his usage of Farquhar and Medina early on. But he’s been spot on with the starters and relievers. Even his management of Erasmo in his spot starts has been great, but hopefully we’ve seen the last of that.

  98. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 5:22 pm

    Kaz-
    I agree. And as “old school” as Lloyd gets accused of being, he’s handling the bullpen awesome in a “new school” way. He has something that is “best in the league” so he’s not afraid to go to them early, and often… And since it’s his strength, and offense is NOT a strength, he’s carrying MORE guys out there than the normal team. Figured out a way to NOT wear them out, but to still go to them often.

    It makes sense, in hindsight. And it’s working. I tip my cap, even though I thought it was weird to carry that many pitchers when it headed into the 2nd week or so.

  99. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 5:28 pm

    And I TIP my CAPS lock BUTTON to YOU

  100. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 6:50 pm

    FASCINATING.

    (Caps lock is actually when a whole posting is in caps, like G-Man’s up there, y’know, like if you actually use caps lock… I just used SHIFT… This internet stuff can be confusing, it’s okay… LOL #Oops).

  101. Don Money on August 24th, 2014 6:58 pm

    Anyone that saw Ackley score from first on Cano’s single to right is aware of his above average speed and base running ability. He has a ton of baseball ability, he just needs to stay aggressive. As for Erasmo, he appears to have regained his control in his last cole of starts and I’ll be happy to see him up in September.

  102. GhostofMarinersPast on August 24th, 2014 7:08 pm

    THATS it! MRzDEVOTEE! its A duel! WE face OFF tomorrow AT high NOON!

  103. Woodcutta on August 24th, 2014 8:05 pm

    Does that mean another Twitter war?

  104. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 8:14 pm

    iT’s oN… Or SOMETHING!!!!!!?

    (Just don’t make fun of my ellipses… I’m really fond of ellipses… It’s like I can’t HELP myself… Woohoo…)

  105. Woodcutta on August 24th, 2014 9:39 pm

    ………… …………… … …
    … … … …
    … … … …
    … … … …
    ……… … … …
    … … … …
    … … … . …
    … … … . . …
    … … … . . …
    … … … …

  106. Woodcutta on August 24th, 2014 9:41 pm

    Tried to type FTW in ellipses but as you can see that didn’t work.

  107. MrZDevotee on August 24th, 2014 11:26 pm

    “A” for effort, Woodcutta…

    Holy crap, I just heard on the news the M’s have the same number of wins as we FINISHED the season with last year… Hadn’t realized that (after blocking out last season).

    I’m gonna call that an improvement, with 33 games to play.

  108. eponymous coward on August 25th, 2014 12:48 pm

    The short version of what’s happened in August is that this team is a hell of a lot better when there’s a DH hitting (Morales: .758 OPS in August), a 1B hitting (LoMo: .848 OPS in August), a SS hitting (swapping Chris Taylor in for the slow death of Brad Miller), and Ackley is looking like he might turn into a version of Randy Winn in the OF. The offense actually looks like an offense instead of Cano + Seager and 7 guys struggling to hit above the Mendoza line.

    There will likely be some regression for LoMo, Taylor and Ackley, but we’ll also get Saunders back, and if AJax regresses some to the mean, this team will do OK.

    It only took us, what, 5 years to turn into Oakland North (good pitching and defense, adequate offense) again? It was regrettable that we took a detour into DINGERS!!111!!!1!!1 last year, but better late than never, I guess.

    The other thing to note is that unlike in years past we didn’t overpay in prospects for veteran bats, like in years past (*cough*Choo*cough*), and we weren’t boned when a prospect struggled badly, like in years past (Ackley or Loafie). So… progress.

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