Game 138, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · September 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Jon Lester, 12:35pm
Wildcard odds – 38.9% 37.0%

Happy Felix Day!

The M’s desperately needed a long outing from James Paxton last night following Chris Young’s less-than-an-inning disaster the previous day. They got one, and the M’s can now take the series with their ace on the hill.

I talked about Gray being potentially the A’s ace, and evidently that prospect frightened Billy Beane a bit, as he traded Yoenis Cespedes for today’s A’s starter, Jon Lester. The Piece County native has put up his best season in the majors, with a FIP under 3 for the first time in his career. His K% is now approaching his career high, but he’s also cut his walk rate substantially, all without a return of the home run problems that plagued his 2012.

Lester’s maintained his excellent peripherals and runs allowed stats since moving to the A’s, though his fastball velocity is down a bit from August of 2013. It clearly hasn’t hurt his whiffs, and he’s throwing more strikes, but it’s odd to see his velocity settle down a bit right when most pitchers peak, and where he was throwing hardest last year. Since moving to the A’s, he’s shelved his change-up, which was never a big part of his arsenal. He’s now a four- and two-seam fastball/cutter/curve ball pitcher. He’ll throw cutters in any count, to RHB/LHBs, and often features it more than his fastball.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Denorfia, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, 1B
5: Seager, 3B
6: Hart, DH
7: Zunino, C
8: Romero, RF
9: Taylor, SS
SP: King Felix

Seven righties in the starting line-up today against the lefty Lester. I understand it a bit, though Lester’s been extremely tough on righties this year, and has career splits narrower than many left-handers. I’m not sure the platoon-split gain of starting Romero is worth the trade-offs, but of course that’s got a lot more to do with injuries than anything. Endy Chavez has been hot, but you do not want him within a quarter mile of today’s starting line-up. If the choice was Romero or a healthy Saunders, I think you go with Saunders, but that’s not helping McClendon fill out the line-up card.

The A’s line-up’s been quiet recently, with many pointing to the departure of Cespedes in the Lester deal. But the A’s are also down a lefty hitter who’s put up a 119 wRC+ this year in 344 PAs – C/DH John Jaso, who’s been sidelined with the aftereffects of a concussion. Jaso spoke with Eno Sarris about his recovery today at Fangraphs.


58 Responses to “Game 138, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Dennisss on September 3rd, 2014 3:33 pm

    That’s our Manager of the Year candidate you’re questioning there!

    To be honest, I know that Lloyd makes some questionable decisions, but that seems to be a constant among managers, and even the sages who run this site say that strategy is the least important part of the job. I don’t think he’s the reason they are winning, but he seems fine to me.

  2. Westside guy on September 3rd, 2014 3:41 pm

    The one thing I think McLendon definitely deserves credit for is how he manages the pitchers. I think overall he does a really good job at that.

  3. Jake on September 3rd, 2014 6:45 pm

    Cleveland just beat Detroit; Mariners are 1/2 game out again.

  4. eponymous coward on September 3rd, 2014 6:47 pm

    The one thing I think McLendon definitely deserves credit for is how he manages the pitchers. I think overall he does a really good job at that.

    It’s sure not the offense that’s putting this team 12 games over .500… it’s pretty terrible.

  5. MrZDevotee on September 3rd, 2014 10:00 pm

    That was supposed to be tongue in cheek. I don’t understand half the shit Lloyd does, much less whether it was smart or not.

    Better manager than me. I feel confident in that assessment, at least.

  6. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 4:16 pm

    What about the pine tar?

    Where’s the Tejas thread?

    Scoreboard watching: Detroit has bases loaded in top of first at Cleveland.

  7. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 4:21 pm

    Which should I watch?

    Seahawks vs. GB
    Mariners vs. Texas

    (rhetorical question)

  8. HighlightsAt11 on September 4th, 2014 5:12 pm

    Detroit up on Cleveland 4 to 0 top of the first. Game over.

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