Game 137, Mariners at Athletics
James Paxton vs. Sonny Gray, 7:05pm
Wildcard odds – Fangraphs.com: 35.2% Baseballprospectus.com: 31.4%
Quick one tonight, as I’m pressed for time. This is a great match-up of young arms that we could see for years as the M’s look to become a rival/equal of the A’s. As good as their pitching has been, and as good as Gray himself’s been, the A’s aren’t exactly outclassing the M’s. Gray’s excellent, and he’ll rack up more than 3 fWAR by season’s end, but that pales in comparison to the seasons Felix and Iwakuma have produced. Still, in Gray the A’s have a cost-controlled pitcher without much in the way of platoon splits who’s excellent in the cavernous O.Co Coliseum and on the road. He’s got a solid fastball at 94-95, a solid average change-up and a true weapon to LHB/RHBs alike in his hellacious curve ball. That was famously the pitch that no one in the big leagues had ever hit for a home run until he gave up two in one game to the Angels (Mike Trout’ll do that to you).
He’ll be a pain in this division for years, but pitch for pitch, James Paxton may be better. That’s saying a lot, and I hesitate to press “publish” on this, but seriously – Paxton has been a revelation, even if he’s been sidelined for far too long. I have no idea what happened to him last August, but everything’s clicked for him, and like all M’s fans, I just want this run to continue – and I want Paxton to be healthy enough to take the ball every five days for many, many years.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Morales, DH
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Chavez, RF
8: Miller, SS
9: Sucre, C
Yes, Paxton and Erasmo have been called up now that the MiLB season is officially over. The most successful clubs in the affiliated minors (above the complex league) were the Tacoma Rainiers, who finished four games over .500, and the Pulaski Mariners in the Appy League, who closed on a hot streak to finish six games over. Jackson and High Desert (AA and A+, respectively) finished below .500, in the middle of the pack in their divisions, while Everett recovered from a disastrous start to finish at 17-21. The only team to win a division crown were those complex league AZL Mariners, who finished 31-22.