Game 159, Mariners at Blue Jays

marc w · September 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Tom Wilhelmsen vs. Daniel Norris, 1:07pm

The A’s continue to slide, but it’s too late now. A fifth consecutive loss has apparently allowed the M’s to go with a bullpen day today, and with the stakes even lower for the Jays, they’ll do the same. Wilhelmsen could conceivably pitch 3-4 innings, but it sounds like the Jays will limit Daniel Norris, one of their big prospects, to 2-3.

Norris was never an afterthought – as a 2nd rounder in 2011, and the highest draft pick to actually sign with Toronto (they couldn’t get Tyler Beede under contract) – but he’s never been a top-100 prospect, and was ranked below fireballers Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard. Sanchez battled spotty results, command issues and so-so strikeout rates, but stayed atop the Jays’ prospect lists thanks to a high-octane fastball. Syndergaard was traded to the Mets, while Stroman rocketed up the ladder and enjoyed a breakout season for Toronto this year. The point is: Norris was never the #1 pitching prospect for Toronto, but that’s not to say he was unheralded. In fact, many would probably slot him in ahead of Sanchez at this point thanks to his astonishing 2014 season. In 124 2/3 IP this year, the lefty’s struck out 163, while walking 43. He doesn’t have a 70-grade fastball, but that clearly didn’t slow him down.

Depending on who you ask, Norris’ best pitch is a big breaking curve ball (a pitch he K’d David Ortiz on in his first big league appearance), a slider, or a change-up. Fangraphs says curve, MLB goes for the change, and BP’s repeatedly called attention to his slider. The slider gives him a weapon against lefties, while he uses the change vs. righties. In his 3+ inning career thus far, he’s thrown far more change-ups than breaking balls, which may be because he’s faced a couple more RH bats. Early in his career, he had serious command problems, and he was getting hammered well into 2013 because of them. Since then, he’s been death on a stick to righties in particular, so it certainly looks like getting a feel for his change-up was the key to his success.

His fastball sits in the low 90s, with the change in the mid-80s. The change looks a bit like a splitter, with heavy, heavy sink and little armside run. His fastball’s got a lot of “rise,” and the curve ranges from the low- to mid/high-70s. If that arsenal sounds familiar, it should – that sounds a bit like Taijuan Walker. Walker’s right-handed and throws a bit harder, obviously – seeing him hit 98 yesterday was pretty cool – but he too has a big, slow curve and that new and nasty split/change. Their fastballs have very similar movement as well.

Tom Wilhelmsen seems to have the stuff to start, and he has basically no platoon splits. He hasn’t been great as a starter in the high-minors, and he wasn’t sharp in a spot-start this year. There’s no clear reason for it, so it’s easy to chalk it up to sample size, but if the M’s want to get a look at Wilhelmsen in the rotation, they need to do more than give him spot starts on bullpen days. After another great year in the ‘pen, I’m fine if they want to leave him alone and hope he can remain an effective set-up man, but I understand the temptation to squeeze more value out of him.

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

Interesting line-up today.

M’s are three behind Oakland for the 2nd wild card with four games to play. Oakland’s in Texas to take on the Rangers (Jason Hammel vs. Colby Lewis), while the Royals are in Chicago facing the White Sox (James Shields vs. Jose Quintana).

Comments

39 Responses to “Game 159, Mariners at Blue Jays”

  1. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 12:18 pm

    Who is this right fielder? He looks familiar – I think I’ve seen him in camera shots of the Mariners’ dugout.

  2. Mid80sRighty on September 25th, 2014 12:40 pm

    Soooo, are you a fan of this Saunders kid? It’s hard to tell…

  3. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 12:46 pm

    Westy, I think Lloyd finally buckled under the pressure of our constant derision and let the Condor play, plus the game doesn’t really matter anyway.

  4. LongDistance on September 25th, 2014 12:53 pm

    Anymore, identifying fanlike response in general, is hard … like trying to find a pulse in a corpse. Rah rah.

    Go M’s.

  5. MisterEd on September 25th, 2014 12:53 pm

    The beatings will continue until Morales improves.

  6. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 1:06 pm

    I predict that the beatings will continue 4 more games.

  7. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 1:28 pm

    Well, I do understand why Lloyd keeps batting Morales fourth. You don’t want all your lefties in a row – ideally, you break them up by putting an easy out between them.

  8. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 1:36 pm

    We’re going to stand by Morales until the bitter end…

  9. Jake on September 25th, 2014 1:43 pm

    That was a pretty short start for Tommy.

  10. Longgeorge1 on September 25th, 2014 1:54 pm

    Not with a bang but a whimper

  11. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 1:59 pm

    On the bright side, it can’t be a perfect game…

  12. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 2:08 pm

    Wow, a Mariner actually executed a good bunt!?

  13. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 2:17 pm

    LOMO!!!!

  14. Jake on September 25th, 2014 2:18 pm

    Bye Justin Smoak.

  15. Jake on September 25th, 2014 2:20 pm

    Away down the Mendoza hole Zunino goes.

  16. Section329 on September 25th, 2014 2:32 pm

    Crazy legs lives!

  17. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 2:33 pm

    Go Rad go!

  18. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 2:38 pm

    Watching Jackson and Morales bat every day is a kind of dark comedy.

  19. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 2:38 pm

    Yeah, I’d walk Cano to get to Kendrys too.

  20. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 2:42 pm

    Wow, that probably wasn’t part of Toronto’s game plan…

  21. Bremerton guy on September 25th, 2014 2:51 pm

    Just take him out and put Smoak in at first. Put me out of my misery, Lloyd.

  22. Section329 on September 25th, 2014 2:52 pm

    More tragedy than dark comedy, Dennisss.

  23. Jake on September 25th, 2014 2:57 pm

    Medina may vulture a win out of this.

  24. Section329 on September 25th, 2014 2:58 pm

    Crap

  25. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 2:59 pm

    That was not a Rad throw.

  26. G-Man on September 25th, 2014 3:00 pm

    Nice backup, Medina.

  27. Jake on September 25th, 2014 3:07 pm

    Good job Morrison. #2!

    Medina may still vulture a win out of this :( .

  28. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 3:30 pm

    Seager out on the bases again. At least he gets on.

  29. Jake on September 25th, 2014 3:41 pm

    Rodney may finally pitch for the first time in a week.

  30. Longgeorge1 on September 25th, 2014 3:57 pm

    I am pretty sure LoMo has a job next year. I would not touch Smoak, Morales or Hart

  31. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 4:05 pm

    Don’t DO that, Rodney.

  32. Jake on September 25th, 2014 4:10 pm

    And Medina vultures the win.

  33. Dennisss on September 25th, 2014 4:11 pm

    84 wins. Not bad.

  34. Longgeorge1 on September 25th, 2014 4:11 pm

    They really need to change how the “win” is given out to pitchers

  35. Longgeorge1 on September 25th, 2014 4:12 pm

    If they finish 85 or 86 wins I am OK

  36. MrZDevotee on September 25th, 2014 7:59 pm

    Beltre just hit a walk off homer to beat the A’s… We’re 2 back, with 3 games to go…

    The fat lady is not on the stage yet…

  37. Eastside Crank on September 25th, 2014 8:33 pm

    Oakland is doing its best 2011 Red Sox impersonation.

  38. Westside guy on September 25th, 2014 9:50 pm

    KC did win, though.

  39. LongDistance on September 25th, 2014 10:51 pm

    Salt in the Wound Department: watching the Astros crawling back into their hole.

    Welcome to Limbo Baseball.

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