Game 31, Athletics at Mariners
Felix Hernandez vs. Jesse Chavez, 1:10pm
Happy Felix Day, and a very happy Mother’s Day. It was my mom who instilled a love of baseball in me as a toddler, and it’s my wife who tolerated my love of baseball and encouraged me to take our kids to countless Rainiers games.
The M’s go for the sweep against the reeling A’s, who are now a full game below Texas in last place. Their bullpen’s been atrocious, as we saw in the first game of the series, but their rotation’s been hurt by underperformance and injury. Jesse Hahn’s better than he looked yesterday, but he clearly hasn’t quite adjusted to the AL quite yet. So today the A’s are turning to Jesse Chavez, the reliever turned (effective) starter turned swingman again. Chavez’s career took off in Oakland, but he never seemed like a great candidate to move to starting, but he made 21 starts last season and was a key part of the A’s torrid start. His pitch mix changed pretty dramatically last year, as he opted for the old Brandon McCarthy special – out with the four-seamer, and in with a sinker and cutter. His fastball’s around 92-93, and he’s also got a change and a curve ball. The change-up’s a plus pitch, and it helped him dominate left-handers – he limited lefties to a sub-.300 wOBA last year, and he’s been just as successful in the early going of 2015. With the influx of new players like Hahn and Kendall Graveman, Chavez began the year in the bullpen. He moved back to the rotation in late April, and I’d expect he’ll remain there for the rest of the year. The A’s depth has taken a big hit with Jarrod Parker’s recent injury, and Drew Pomeranz has been shaky since a solid start.
1: Smith, LF
2: Weeks, DH
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Ackley, CF
8: Miller, SS
9: Sucre, C
SP: El Rey
Miller’s back at SS today after Chris Taylor suffered a hand injury in last night’s game.
Tacoma’s game should be an interesting one. The Rainiers have called up Bakersfield reliever Trey Cochran-Gill to make a spot start today at Fresno. He’s obviously close by, given that he’s in the Cal League, and AAA teams do this occasionally if they’re low on pitchers – it’s not necessarily a sign that the M’s are really high on someone. That said, I’ve been intrigued by Cochran-Gill since he got a few innings for the M’s this spring. He’s got a low-90s fastball with good sink and some run, and he’s putting up extremely high ground ball rates thus far in high-A. That’s a good plan when your home park has a CF wall only 350′ away, and it’s a good plan in the homer-happy PCL as well.
Stephen Landazuri’s making the start today for Jackson as they finish up the series with Chattanooga. They’ll be home to face Biloxi tomorrow – Biloxi’s the new club in the Southern League – with Danny Hultzen on the mound.
The suddenly Cochran-Gill-less Bakersfield Blaze are off today. They lost an 8-6 decision to Visalia yesterday, despite a two-HR game from the surging Tyler O’Neill. Unfortunately for the Blaze, as O’Neill’s awoken, Tyler Marlette’s cooled off – he’s in a 3-37 slump. Edwin Diaz takes the hill for Bakersfield tomorrow.
Clinton’s also off today, but they’ll open a series at Wisconsin on Monday.