Game 20, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · April 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

JA Happ vs. Ross Detwiler, 5:05pm

Now that’s more like it, Taijuan. Armed with better command, Walker carved up the Rangers line-up, and while the Rangers aren’t exactly Murderer’s Row, they had enough lefties to give someone like Walker fits. That they didn’t is very good news. Early on, he used his curve ball, and that seemed like a good change of pace, but then he put it away and stuck with his FB/cutter and change (the M’s announcers mentioned that he used his curve more, but he only threw 4 on the day). To me, the biggest takeaway was that Walker was able to find a pitch that worked when he didn’t have his best stuff. Against the Rangers’ lefties, I expected that pitch to be his splitter, but unfortunately, the splitter is still a work in progress – it was better than it’s been, and he gave up some hard contact even when he put it where he wanted to (like Rougned Odor’s single), but it’s simply not fooling anyone, and I’m still not sure why. That said, his cutter picked up the slack, and he felt comfortable using it against lefties – the strikeout of Choo in the 2nd, for example, or the double play that Leonys Martin hit into. Put it all together, and Walker had his second best career start, and he did it essentially without a change-up and using his curve 4 times total. I’d still like to see what he could do with three or four pitches functioning at the same time, but it’s nice to know he doesn’t HAVE to have that to win.

The M’s face Ross Detwiler, the guy who started the great 11-10 comeback game 9 days ago. As I mentioned then, Detwiler’s got massive platoon splits, with righties hitting .282/.347/.446 off of him in his career. This year, their wOBA is a Nelson-Cruz-inflated .523. He hasn’t pitched since that wild game at Safeco, and he’s given up 18 runs in 12+ innings – it’s not like Texas has a lot of good alternatives, but you’ve got to assume he’s another bad start or two from swapping roles with a current reliever. The M’s will try to hasten that along with their righty-centric line-up.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Ruggiano, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Weeks, LF
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Miller, SS
9: Zunino, C
SP: Happ

The Rainiers lost 6-5 to Sacramento in extra innings last night, failing to hold a few late leads. Ronny Cedeno tied the game with a HR off of Joe Saunders in the bottom of the 8th to send it to extras. I love the PCL sometimes because of blasts from the recent pasts like that, perhaps the most 2009 sentence you’ll read on this blog all year. Chris Taylor went 3-5 with a 2B and 3B, while Carlos Quentin went 2-3 before being lifted for a pinch runner. Mike Montgomery starts today against Austin Fleet.

Jackson was on the other end of a late comeback, scoring 4 runs over the final two innings to beat Montgomery 5-4. Stephen Landazuri was sharp in the early going, and then the line-up bailed the Generals out after some shaky relief work in the middle innings. Gabby Guerrero had two hits and Dario Pizzano three. Lefty Kyle Hunter starts today for the Generals.

Bakersfield lost to Stockton 9-4, as starter Paul Fry recorded only a single out, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits. Tyler Marlette went 2-5 with a HR, and 2B/SS Brock Hebert pitched a scoreless inning in relief – the only Blaze pitcher not to yield a run. Tyler Pike starts today, and maybe *this* will be the start where his control clicks back into place. I know I’ve been saying that for the best part of a year now. Annnnny day now.

Clinton faces ex-M’s affiliate Wisconsin today. Pat Peterson starts for the L-Kings, and David Burkhalter goes for the TimberRattlers.


20 Responses to “Game 20, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. Westside guy on April 28th, 2015 5:23 pm

    David Burkhalter – do they call him “The General”?

    (let’s see how old everyone here is…)

  2. mksh21 on April 28th, 2015 5:48 pm

    I was already thinking yesterday were gonna make Detwiler look like Koufax.

  3. Jake on April 28th, 2015 5:48 pm

    Positive: Zunino did not strike out with the bases loaded.

  4. mksh21 on April 28th, 2015 5:50 pm

    Good god Hogan’s Heroes. I use to watch that with my dad growing up lol.

  5. mksh21 on April 28th, 2015 6:09 pm

    The odds of a Cruz triple and a Weeks HR in the same inning. Im going to go buy a lottery ticket, at least LoMo struck out to provide balance to the universe.

  6. californiamariner on April 28th, 2015 6:10 pm

    Is there any chance Goldsmith takes over this job?

  7. ivan on April 28th, 2015 6:18 pm

    Pitchers drive me nuts. Happ makes Fielder and Beltre hack at bad pitches for two quick punchouts, then he puts the tying runs on base and can’t find the plate. Then he ends up striking out the side.

  8. Jake on April 28th, 2015 6:22 pm

    Negative: Zunino is back to striking out 🙁

  9. Jake on April 28th, 2015 6:25 pm

    Mariners try and pick up Saltalamacchia, send Zunino to the minors and make a corresponding 40 man move?

  10. mksh21 on April 28th, 2015 6:38 pm

    Bad timing Ivan, Happ is straight up dealing now lol. I didn’t think he would have a game like this on the road all year.

  11. californiamariner on April 28th, 2015 6:49 pm

    So at what point do we start to wonder if Happ is going to be legitimately good this year?

  12. MrZDevotee on April 28th, 2015 6:52 pm

    Well that’s new… Brad Miller rushes a throw and people get to take extra bases… (snark)

  13. MrZDevotee on April 28th, 2015 6:54 pm

    I remember being worried when all the positive talk was going on preseason “only problem is, where are we gonna find another Chris Young…”

    Enter J.A. Happ. Bizarrely our most effective starter after Felix.

  14. californiamariner on April 28th, 2015 7:03 pm

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Happ has taken that role and then some. Now, if only Paxton and Walker could get it together…

  15. ensignofcommand on April 28th, 2015 10:31 pm


    I don’t know if that improves the team. Salty’s a poor defender and appears to be declining offensively. He’s hitting .069 with an OPS+ of 8, and his 90 OPS+ last year was only two points better than Zunino’s.


    I’d experiment with Miller in CF. He’s probably the best athlete on the team, and if he sticks he’d be an offensive upgrade over Jackson.

  16. djw on April 29th, 2015 5:49 am

    The way Zunino looks right now, replacing him is less about improving the team right now and more about his development. What he needs to figure out he can’t do here.

  17. Westside guy on April 29th, 2015 8:07 am

    Unfortunately I expect that ship has sailed, djw. The org claimed he was working on his approach all winter, but apparently that accomplished nothing. He’s also 24 – not such a kid anymore.

    The org made their choices a couple years ago, and now they (and he) have to live with it.

    It’s funny to think, once again, how little spring performance means yet how much people still pay attention and draw conclusions from it. Look – Zunino’s fixed! He’s having a great spring!

  18. ensignofcommand on April 29th, 2015 11:06 am

    It’s mind boggling how quickly he was moved through the system. I still remember an interview with Jack where he said that they weren’t going to rush guys to the majors. He brought up Smoak as an example of a guy who was called up too early and emphasized the importance of minor league seasoning.

    And then Zunino’s in the majors a year after he’s drafted, while in the midst of a .227/.297/.478/.775 17 BB/66 SO season at Triple-A.

  19. djw on April 29th, 2015 11:56 am

    That’s entirely premature. 24 isn’t so old that he’s stuck in his ways. I’m not saying he will get better, but he certainly could. He’s got way too much talent to give up on now, and it’s not like he needs to be a good contact guy. If he could get his strikeout rate/contact rate in the ~20th percentile or so for major league hitters, he’d be a solidly above average player.

  20. ensignofcommand on April 29th, 2015 7:04 pm

    It’s easy to forget how a slight tweak can completely change your career. The middle of Toronto’s lineup is a testament to that. Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion were all late bloomers, and they weren’t running a major league pitching staff at 23.

    Besides, even if he turns into Olivo 2.0 at the plate, he would still be extremely valuable given his defensive abilities. He’s as good a framer and blocker as I’ve seen.

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