Game 9, Mariners at Dodgers
Taijuan Walker vs. Brett Anderson, 7:10pm
Last night’s game going to sting for a while. Another late lead blown, and a lack of offense after David Huff came out of the game doomed the M’s, and they head into tonight’s game looking to avoid a sweep behind a pitcher who gave up 9 runs in 3+ innings in his first start.
Fangraphs’ odds give the Dodgers a 60% chance of winning, but despite Walker’s rough outing, that may be overstating things a bit. Walker was hit fairly hard by the A’s, and most of the damage came on fastballs. Walker’s command in Oakland was poor-to-nonexistent, so some improvement in that regard might help his results look different. And for whatever reason, Walker’s gone away from his curve a bit, and might need to mix a few more in to give hitters something else to think about. His split and cutter/slider are thrown hard enough that hitters can be expecting a fastball, react and still drive the ball – as Ben Zobrist did in the first inning in Oakland. A few more curves may make it harder for the Dodgers to sit on his fastball.
Brett Anderson, the oft-injured ex-Athletic gets the start for the Dodgers. Anderson spent a season rehabbing and occasionally pitching for Colorado, managing all of 43 1/3 IP in Denver.* With the A’s, Anderson was a ground-ball machine despite a four-seam and slider-heavy pitch mix. As time went on, he threw his sinker more, and that may have helped push his GB rates from the mid 50s up over 60% in very, very limited action in 2013-14. When healthy, he’s displayed great control, and though his velocity’s down from where it was 5 years ago, he’s not yet a soft-tossing lefty. In addition to his slider, he’ll use a change-up and a curve.
Despite his repertoire, Anderson’s run reverse platoon splits over his unfortunately brief MLB career. I wouldn’t want to bet on anything involving Anderson, but it’s odd that it’s persisted in every year except one of his career, and it’s true for slash lines and FIP as well. The reason is that his slider’s been much more effective on opposite handed hitters, which is just not something you see every day. There are a number of pitchers, Madison Bumgarner in particular, whose slider is effective against both, but I’m not sure I can think of too many players who have a breaking ball like this (as opposed to a change/splitter) with reverse splits. Maybe it’s luck, but righties whiff on the pitch more, swing at it more, and put it in play less than do lefties. Anderson’s a very effective pitcher, but he’s not the guy you want to overhaul your line-up to face.
Let’s see here….
1: Weeks, LF
2: Jackson, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Miller, SS
Not bad, I suppose. Ackley would help the defense, but Weeks’ own platoon splits come into play as well.
The Rainiers take on Albuquerque as Roenis Elias takes the hill. Jordan Pries had another rough go yesterday, and the M’s lost in the 9th, 6-5. Carlos Rivero continues to rake, while Chris Taylor went 1-5 with 2 Ks as the DH.
Jackson takes on the Mississippi Braves with Stephen Landazuri getting his second start. The righty went six scoreless IP in his first game, striking out 5.
The performance of the night came from Edwin Diaz, who went six scoreless innings against Modesto, giving up just one hit and striking out 8 in a 1-0 Blaze win. The two teams played today, with Modesto taking it by a score of 3-2, with Ryan Yarbrough getting a no-decision after 6 IP, giving up a run on 2 hits, a walk and 1 K. The 2-3-4 hitters of Tim Lopes, Tyler O’Neill and Austin Wilson all have slugging percentages under .200, so runs have been at a premium in Bakersfield.
* Anderson was traded from Oakland to Colorado for Walker’s adversary back on Friday, Drew Pomeranz.