Game 21, Mariners at Rangers
King Felix vs. Wandy Rodriguez, 5:05pm
Happy Felix Day. This is more like it – King Felix on the hill, going for a series sweep. Such a different feeling than King Felix, heroically trying to stop a losing streak almost single-handedly.
The Rangers were projected to be terrible, and for as much as you-can’t-predict-baseball remains true, it’s nice to see some confirmation every now and again. The Rangers have a wRC+ of 71 as a team, or a bit worse than Derek Jeter hit last year. Their staff’s xFIP is 4.19, and they’ve already dealt with injuries to Derek Holland and Yu Darvish. It’s those injuries that have allowed former Astro Wandy Rodriguez another shot in MLB.
The lefty was a minor star with Houston, making his debut in their pennant-winning 2005 team, and racking up some 3-4 WAR seasons from 2007 to 2010. In 2011, he was traded to Pittsburgh, and that’s where the wheels came off. He dealt with minor injuries here and there, but lost his effectiveness pretty dramatically in 2014. The Pirates cut him, despite him having one of their richest contracts, in May of last year. This December, he signed a minor league deal with the dumpster-fire Phillies, but failed a physical. He signed another minor league deal with the Braves, but was cut early this month. The Rangers are trying to resuscitate the lefty’s career, and he actually won his first start against the Angels. The Rangers are risking nothing here, and he may soak up some meaningless innings to save development time for the Rangers’ prospects (or just kill time until Holland’s healthy). But man, these are the games you target as an opponent.
Rodriguez was always a fastball/curve guy. He’s got a four-seamer with tons of vertical rise, a sinker, and that big curve. He’s also got a change-up that he’s used pretty sparingly. His arsenal shouldn’t produce a ton of platoon splits, and that’s what we see – when he was good, they’d be normal, even, or even reversed, and when he was awful, he was an equal-opportunity offender. This isn’t a case where the M’s need to really overload their line-up, though if they do, that’s not the end of the world.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Ruggiano, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Weeks, LF
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Bloomquist, 3B
8: Zunino, C
9: Miller, SS
SP: King. Felix.
I know, I know, it’s not the end of the world, but man, the line-up looks different when Bloomquist replaces Seager. It’s equally true that Seager’s played nearly 150 straight games and the M’s really *should* give him more days off.
Apropos of nothing, Chris Taylor hit another double last night. Just…throwing that out there. The Rainiers lost the game 3-1 to Sacramento, however, wasting a pretty good pitching performance from Mike Montgomery. The lefty gave up doubles to ex-Mariner SS Carlos Triunfel AND Ronny Cedeno. The Rainiers have a well-earned travel day today.
Jackson beat Montgomery again 7-6 in 10 innings. DJ Peterson is showing some signs of life, going 2-4 with a double. The two clubs played an early one today on getaway day, and Jackson *again* nipped the Biscuits with a late-inning comeback. Today, DJ Peterson racked up yet another double, part of a 2-5 day. More, please. The star of the day was reliever Trevor Miller, who pitched 3 1/3 IP in the middle of the game, giving up no runs and striking out 7.
Bakersfield lost to Stockton 5-3, but I’d like to tip my cap to Tyler Pike who, while hit fairly hard, struck out 5 and walked only 1 in 5 IP. He was opposed by rehabbing A’s star Jarrod Parker, but the Blaze got to the lefty, scoring 3 runs in 5 IP, with Justin Seager picking up a 2B. Today, Edwin Diaz pitched six more brilliant innings, striking out 7 and giving 3 hits, 1 walk and no runs. The Blaze beat the Ports 2-1 on a Luis Caballero walk-off single in the 9th.
Clinton beat Wisconsin 7-2, behind a good start from Pat Peterson, who struck out 10 in 5 IP. Arby Fields homered for the L-Kings, and Gianfranco Wawoe extended his hitting streak to 13. Today, the TimberRattlers got their revenge, clubbing Clinton 10-2. Lukas Schiraldi was bad, and Osmer Morales was equally bad in relief. Joe DeCarlo had a good game at the plate, and yes, Gianfranco Wawoe got another hit and two walks. His slash line is now .365/.443/.500.