Game 132, Rangers at Mariners
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Colby Lewis, 12:40pm
Wildcard Odds – Fangraphs.com: 52.2% BaseballProspectus.com: 50.8%
Hey, someone on the Rangers I’ve heard of! Colby Lewis, to his great credit, has come back from serious injury and an extremely long layoff and has put up, by FIP, a fairly typical Colby Lewis year. He’s got a decent K%, a good (though less good than it once was) walk rate, and he’s actually limited HRs fairly well this year despite a very low ground ball rate. Unfortunately, it’s been far from a typical year from an ERA and runs-actually-scored point of view. From an RA/9 WAR standpoint, Lewis has been well below replacement level. From a FIP-based WAR standpoint, he’s nearly league average. Is this the result of historically bad luck – the microcosm of the entire Rangers season – or is he doing something differently?
As a big fly baller, Lewis typically ran very good BABIP numbers. In his three seasons from 2010-2012, his HIGHEST BABIP was .279. This year, it’s .365. That sounds remarkably unlucky, but it’s buttressed with a line-drive rate that’s among the highest in baseball. Even when he was good, Lewis always struggled against left-handed hitters; his wOBA-allowed to lefties ranged from .360 in 2011 before improving to .331 in 2012 and collapsing now to a .406 mark in 2014. More troubling is that he’s no longer able to get righties out. From not allowing a wOBA better than .277 from 2010-2012, righties are hitting .342 this season. While the movement and velocity on his fastball haven’t changed, the results clearly have. This started a bit in his injury-shortened 2012, when righties started to hit his four-seam fastball harder. He was able to balance that with some very good results on his breaking pitches, particularly his slider/cutter, but it hasn’t worked to the same degree in 2014. Why? Because far more balls in play are falling in for hits this year. This is where we really need scouts; the data we have are somewhat contradictory and clearly limited. He’s getting hit harder, but he’s also paying a much higher price for all kinds of contact than he’s ever paid before. Is this the beginning of the end, or is this what happens when literally everyone in the pre-season depth chart gets hurt?
1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, DH
4: Morales, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Zunino, C
7: Morrison, RF
8: Taylor, SS
9: Miller, 2B
SP: Erasmo Ramirez
As we speculated yesterday, Erasmo didn’t make that scheduled start in Tacoma, and thus Tacoma had a bullpen night. Andrew Carraway started and pitched five very good innings against Kris Bryant and the Iowa Cubs. I misspoke yesterday in saying it was the series finale…it’s not. Tonight’s game is, so you’ve got one more chance to see the heralded 3B in the minor leagues. Bryant struck out three times last night, against three different Rainiers hurlers. He’s a huge talent, but there are still some facets of his game that need a light finish.
The M’s announced the players they’ll send to the AFL this, er, fall. They are C John Hicks, 3B DJ Peterson, 1B/3B/)F Patrick Kivlehan, and pitchers Matt Brazis, Stephen Landazuri, and Matt Anderson.