Game 131, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · August 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Nick Martinez, 7:10pm
Wildcard odds – Fangraphs.com: 53.2% Baseballprospectus.com: 48.3%

Last night was another in what’s become quite a series of inexplicable collapses against bad-to-mediocre starting pitchers. It technically does happen to every team now and then, but I’m a bit nervous because the Rangers are sending yet another not so good starter to the mound tonight in Nick Martinez. If you look hard enough, you can convince yourself that Martinez is actually different in some important ways to Miles Mikolas, but that won’t make the queasy feeling go away.

Like Mikolas, Martinez is a fly-balling right-hander, who relies primarily on a four-seamer, but also throws a change, a slider and a curve. Like Mikolas, the slider’s his breaking ball against righties, while he throws the curve and change to lefties. Unlike Mikolas, Martinez has shown normal platoon splits; lefties have torched him this season. He’s not much of a strikeout guy, and hitters have tended to push him off the plate. He’s thrown fewer strikes than average, as you’d figure given his walk rate. What he does well is generate fly balls. If you’re Chris Young, inducing lots of fly balls is a great thing. If you’re just most other pitchers, it’s not immediate clear that this is cause for congratulations, and if you pitch half your games in Arlington, it’s downright worrying. Indeed, Martinez has been destroyed at home – his home ERA is 7.52, and batters are slugging .546 against him. Perhaps as a result, he’s walked more than he’s struck out in Arlington. On the road though, he’s not a lost cause. He’s still not good or anything, but he’s limited the damage. Perhaps this is why he’s made 14 road starts against just 8 at home.

So, all of those fly balls. Martinez’s fly ball rate ranks 7th in baseball among pitchers with at least 80 IP. Chris Young is way out in front at #1, of course, and there are some other pretty effective pitchers in the top 10 – from Danny Duffy of KC to Jake Odorizzi of Tampa. Martinez hasn’t quite made the transition to effective starter yet, but that’s to be expected as he spent nearly all of 2013 in the high-A Carolina League. His four-seam fastball has plenty of vertical rise, and comes in at 92 or so. I know I’ve beaten this particular drum far too often, but tonight’s match up is interesting in that both pitchers rely on very similar four-seam fastballs. Paxton’s got horizontal run of around 5″ and vertical rise of 10-11″. Martinez is essentially a mirror image – run of 5″ (the other way, of course), and rise of 10″. When batters put Paxton’s four-seamer in play, about 55% of them have been ground balls. When batters put Martinez’s in play, only 33% have been hit on the ground. That latter figure makes some intuitive sense. Paxton’s doesn’t, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather enjoy it than understand it.

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

The Rainiers and the Iowa Cubs finish off their series tonight at Cheney with an interesting match-up of pitchers who’ve bounced between AAA and the big leagues. Dan Straily starts for Iowa, while Erasmo Ramirez gets the ball for Tacoma. Both have enjoyed some limited success in the bigs, both have struggled to adjust after some rough stretches, and both have given up too many HRs. The M’s are again shifting their rotation around next week, with Felix starting the first game against Washington on Friday. That means that they’ll probably make a roster move to cover the finale of the Rangers series on Wednesday afternoon. Since Taijuan Walker pitched last night, that would make Erasmo Ramirez a pretty good candidate. Meaning, while it’d be fun to see Erasmo against the I-Cubs and Straily, I wouldn’t bet on him making this start.

Comments

23 Responses to “Game 131, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on August 26th, 2014 6:17 pm

    This just in – Ichiro has made it through waivers, and the Mariners have announced their intentions to pick him up and have him as the starting pitcher for tomorrow’s game.

  2. ivan on August 26th, 2014 6:17 pm

    Curto says Luetge is getting the start for Tacoma tonight. That probably means Erasmo for the M’s tomorrow.

  3. Paul B on August 26th, 2014 6:20 pm

    Lloyd on the radio said it will be Erasmo.

    Ichiro would be cool, though.

  4. Will on August 26th, 2014 6:46 pm

    Sucre has been playing way too much lately.

  5. SeattleSlew on August 26th, 2014 6:55 pm

    Speaking of Ichiro, he has 2,821 hits. He got close to 3000 pretty quick.

  6. Paul B on August 26th, 2014 6:56 pm

    Zunino seems to need the off days, though.

  7. Longgeorge1 on August 26th, 2014 7:21 pm

    HEY Z if you are there: understand you sentiment from earlier today, but their failures against lesser pitchers is a little depressing BUT MAYBE not tonight , Nice shot Robbie

  8. JMB on August 26th, 2014 7:43 pm

    Let’s go Big Sugar!

  9. JMB on August 26th, 2014 8:31 pm

    Wait–Ichiro’s available? Thanks for all you’ve done this year, Endy.

  10. Section329 on August 26th, 2014 8:33 pm

    Woo! Endy makes the most of his talent.

  11. G-Man on August 26th, 2014 8:35 pm

    I don’t care what people say, Endy does a lot of good things. I was hoping they’d let him hit away.

    Damn, I wish he hadn’t given up the out at third. I don’t think they were getting those guys at home.

  12. Grayfox3d on August 26th, 2014 8:37 pm

    G-Man the thing about that possible play at home is you never know, so what Endy did was the right thing to do in that situation. Ill take the 1 out with 2 runs rather than 2 outs with no runs.

  13. WTF_Ms on August 26th, 2014 8:57 pm

    Dave Sims makes every routine fly ball to the track, seem like it’s a home run…until someone does the same thing the next at bat.

  14. Breadbaker on August 26th, 2014 8:58 pm

    Ichiro’s projected to get only about 100 hits total this season.

  15. Grayfox3d on August 26th, 2014 9:11 pm

    I feel like whenever we get a lead, we start to get careless at the plate and end up just hacking at anything and everything.

  16. alfredodm on August 26th, 2014 9:11 pm

    I’m not watching the game. Does Paxton look like the real deal or is he just facing a weaker than usual lineup?

  17. djw on August 26th, 2014 9:18 pm

    Bringing back Ichiro and dumping Chavez is such a no-brainer. Ugh.

  18. G-Man on August 26th, 2014 9:22 pm

    I seriously doubt that the Yanks are going to let Ichiro go for nothing. Teams put all sorts of players on waivers.

  19. Grayfox3d on August 26th, 2014 9:44 pm

    that’s now 2 absolutely perfect pitches thrown by the Mariners that were called balls. I know its only 2 pitches but that extends at bats.

  20. Westside guy on August 26th, 2014 9:55 pm

    If it’s not obvious, my early post with regard to Ichiro was intended as a joke. But since I have to explain it, it’s quite apparent it was not a GOOD joke. :-P

  21. yougottalovetheseguys on August 26th, 2014 10:03 pm

    I’d love to see Ichiro back, if he wanted to come back. Maybe we could tempt him with the pitching gig…

  22. Dennisss on August 26th, 2014 10:04 pm

    That’s more the way a game against the Rangers ought to go.

  23. Longgeorge1 on August 27th, 2014 12:15 pm

    Let’s GO
    ErasmO

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