Game 12, Rangers at Mariners
James Paxton vs. Ross Detwiler, 1:10pm
Felix did his job. As staff ace and de facto psychologist, Felix stymied the Rangers and assuaged the fatalism and disappointment surrounding the club, if only for a few days. Every fan base does this – it’s not just M’s fans who go “here we go again” after a bleak 3-4 game stretch – but it’s nice that Felix’ greatness is such that he seems to quiet the concerns about the *offense* by making offense look unimportant. Instead of elite athletes at the far, far edge of the talent distribution pummeling pitches all over the park, Felix makes hitting look like a series of pratfalls – mistimed lunges, tepid swatting (as if at a persistent bee), and confused stares. The M’s really should’ve done more against Colby Lewis, but it just didn’t matter.
Today, the M’s go for the series win against let-hander Ross Detwiler, the one-time 6th overall pick of the Nationals who came over in a minor trade in December. Detwiler’s battled a series of injuries over the years, including a surgically repaired hip and a pinched nerve in his back. After throwing a career-high 164 1/3 regular-season IP in 2012, those injuries and the Nationals suddenly stacked rotation pushed Detwiler to a long-relief/swingman role, but he’s back in the rotation with the, uh, unstacked Rangers.
There’s nothing that really stands out in Detwiler’s repertoire – he’s got a four- and two-seam fastball at about 93-94, a curve at 80 and a change-up that he uses, rarely, against righties. So, a FB/CU pitcher – not that much different from Paxton, right? Despite the surface similarities, Detwiler’s actually got more in common with Bartolo Colon. Combining four- and two-seam fastballs, Detwiler is extremely fastball-reliant. In his big year of 2012, fully 80% of his pitches were fastballs. Last year, that number was even higher, at around 84%. Against lefties, he’s pushing 90% fairly regularly, and he was over 80% last year against righties as well. Given that approach, it’s a bit odd to see that he’s got persistently high platoon splits. Lefties just don’t seem to see his fastball well, and have a career .302 SLG% against Detwiler. Thus, Detwiler typically sees more righties than lefties, and righties have fared fairly well. So that’s great, right? The M’s can throw out a righty-heavy line-up, and they’re just *fastballs* right? Aw, man.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Weeks, DH
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Ruggiano, LF
7: Bloomquist, SS
8: Morrison, 1B
9: Sucre, C
I like the top of that line-up, but it peters out towards the end. Bloomquist is at SS, and is the official back-up for a while as the M’s took Chris Taylor off the DL and optioned him to Tacoma.
Speaking of Tacoma, Mike Montgomery had a forgettable home debut last night as the Rainiers dropped the second game of their series against El Paso 6-3. Montgomery gave up 5 runs in 2 2/3 IP. Patrick Kivlehan homered. Today, Jordan Pries tries to make some adjustments and get back to where he was last season against the Chihuahuas and Jason Lane in an opening day re-match.
Jackson lost 7-3 to Mississippi yesterday, with Dylan Unsworth taking his 2nd loss; Jordan Shipers also got tagged for 2R in 2 relief innings. Braves prospect Mallex Smith, who came over from SD in an Upton trade went 3-5 with a triple. In the series, the lead-off man and CF is 10-20 with a HR. Cuban lefty Misael Siverio starts today for Jackson in the final game of the series.
Bakersfield won another 3-0 game behind Jake Zokan and Trey Cochran-Gill. The latter, another short righty from an SEC school with a good fastball, has had a brilliant start to his pro career, with 24 hits and 3 total runs in 45 2/3 IP, along with 55 Ks amd just seven un-intentional walks. We saw him a bit in spring training, where he showed a side-winding, sinking FB and a slider. Things aren’t going to get any easier today for San Jose as Edwin Diaz, who’s yet to surrender a run this year, makes his third start.
Clinton’s comeback fell short against Beloit yesterday, 6-5. Alex Jackson and Joe DeCarlo went 0-7 with 4 Ks, which isn’t what you want from your #3-4 hitters. Jefferson Medina starts today for the LumberKings against Dan Gossett, a 2014 2nd rounder for the A’s out of Clemson.