Game 42, Mariners at Blue Jays

marc w · May 23, 2015 at 9:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Mark Buehrle, 10:07am

Oh great, another absurdly early start.

The M’s face long-time foe Mark Buehrle, who’ll make his 18th career start against Seattle. The lefty’s fastball is now only about 85-86, but he put up a 3 fWAR season last year at the age of 35. He throws a four- and two-seam fastball, a good change-up, a cutter and a curve. Partly because he doesn’t strike anyone out, he’s known at least as much for his pace than his repertoire. On average, Buehrle’s delivered a pitch every 17 seconds or so, compared to a league average around 23. It’s early, but he’s cut another second off that average this year, averaging just over 16 seconds between pitches. With new rules in place to speed up the hitters that used to slow Buehrle down, it makes sense that his pace should be down a bit from his career numbers. By eschewing overthinking and routine, Buehrle shaves plenty of time off a game. This is how you come up with something like this: a game between the M’s and White Sox in 2005 that took 1:39 to complete.

Who’s the fastest worker on the M’s staff? It’s actually today’s starter, James Paxton, whose pace ranks 10th in the league so far (Buehrle is, obviously, #1). Paxton seems to have righted the ship a bit after a poor start, and he continues to benefit from a low BABIP, but his control issues have resulted in lots of hitters’ counts thus far. That may be part of the reason why he’s given up so many more fly balls this year than ever before. He’s still a ground ball guy, but definitely not as extreme as he was before 2015. Toronto’s obviously a place where fly balls get punished, as park factors or Mark Buehrle’s elevated HR rate will tell you.

1: Weeks, LF
2: Bloomquist, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Ruggiano, CF
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Zunino, C
9: Taylor, SS
SP: Paxton

Lots of righties today, but Buehrle doesn’t have much in the way of platoon splits.

Justin Germano starts for Tacoma today in Iowa. The I-Cubs topped Tacoma 10-9 last night, getting a walk-off win against Mayckol Guaipe in the 9th. Leon Landry and Carlos Rivero homered for the Rainiers.

Jackson faces Pensacola and enigmatic Reds prospect Robert Stephenson today. The Generals knocked Stephenson out in the 1st last month, but he’s still a guy with 97-98mph velo as a starter. The Blue Wahoos blanked the Generals yesterday 3-0. Jackson got 6 singles and 7 walks, but couldn’t get a timely hit to score a run. Today’s starter for Jackson is well-traveled vet TBD.

Bakersfield lost to High Desert 5-2, as Eddie Campbell did indeed get out of the first, but was knocked out after 2 IP and 5 runs allowed. That lowered his Cal League ERA to 37.13. Tyler O’Neill hit his 11th home run in the 8th. He’s got an OPS over 1.000 in May after struggling mightily in April. Still only 19, the OF from Maple Ridge, BC seems to have figured something out; his K:BB ratio was 31:1 in April, but just 15:6 in May, with the same number of ABs in each month. Ryan Yarbrough starts tonight for the Blaze.

Burlington beat Clinton 10-7 yesterday, despite two doubles from Gianfranco Wawoe. Tyler Herb starts tonight’s game against Jeremy Rhoades of the Bees.


15 Responses to “Game 42, Mariners at Blue Jays”

  1. jak924 on May 23rd, 2015 9:36 am

    Jack Z is refusing to dump Ackley because he was his first draft pick. Dumping him is something Jack Z hasn’t done because it would reflect poorly on Jack Z. Flash! Not another MLB team would have Ackley on its roster.

    Maybe the better move would be to dump Jack Z.

  2. MissouriMariner on May 23rd, 2015 9:59 am

    So we have two RF today? Might help the defense….

  3. Dennisss on May 23rd, 2015 10:10 am

    I had such high hopes for the outfield this year — 5 competent outfielders, potentially, enough to field a decent three even if one or two failed. Now today we have Weeks in left, Bloomquist in right, and it’s just depressing.

  4. californiamariner on May 23rd, 2015 10:12 am

    Bloomquist shouldn’t be on the roster, but whatever I’m not going to freak out about him playing every now and then. However, no way in hell should he ever bat 2nd.

  5. Will on May 23rd, 2015 10:14 am

    Ruggiano played that ball very poorly

  6. Grayfox3d on May 23rd, 2015 10:32 am

    Buerhle looks very efficient against this weak offense so far, could make for a very short long day if that makes sense.

  7. californiamariner on May 23rd, 2015 10:46 am


  8. Dennisss on May 23rd, 2015 11:16 am

    Got to give Willie his due — that was an outstanding play to get the out at second. Not to mention two RBI.

  9. VikingArthur on May 23rd, 2015 3:58 pm

    Taking a look at Fangraphs, Brad Miller is our best defensive player by a reasonable margin. Food for thought… the occasional bad throw is something that people notice but his range is definitely above average at SS and it looks like he can play other positions as well.

  10. groundzero55 on May 23rd, 2015 4:22 pm

    I’d rather have Willie on the roster than Ackley. Take that how you will.

  11. Don Money on May 23rd, 2015 8:05 pm

    What do you want for a 25th man? I don’t want to have a young player sitting for 4-5 days between appearances, I want him in the minors playing everyday. WB, with his experience and versatility, is the perfect fit. Miller is becoming our true utility player to spell starters when they need a day off, so specifically who would you prefer to fill WBs roster position. Criticism without a suggested solution sounds a lot like whining.

  12. Woodcutta on May 24th, 2015 2:25 am

    WFB should not be on a winning team’s roster, 25-man or 40-man, period. He has had exactly 1 positive dWAR season since 2009 and was still barely above replacement level that season. Granted, he had a good game yesterday and that is good for him but forcing someone to play multiple positions (or at all) b/c he has in the past and is oozing with veteran grit, imo, is absurd. Ackley has played LF and 2B well enough at times during his career and Miller should be able to fill in where needed the remainder of the season. WFB is taking up a roster spot that could be used to take a look at another hitter that actually has a shot at helping this team in the short and long term.

  13. LongDistance on May 24th, 2015 3:59 am

    Woody: Generally, I agree with you, and for long stretches I’ve felt the same way about WFB. But I’ve sort of had a sea change about the guy. He was, is, and will always be the utility-player-slash-Swiss-knife, filling in at a just-rationalizable level. Do winning teams always have this sort of plug-player on the bench as a first-aid tourniquet/crutch? Maybe not. But given the pretty obvious weaknesses in the defense, which isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a winning team’s defense either, the decision to keep/use Willie shows the FO knows they need some sort of reliable, replacement level backup man-for-all-seasons/position f-ups. Enter Willie.

    Ackley, yeah, he does LF well enough. But his batting has gone to the Dark Side, farther than that, and we don’t know if he’ll ever make it back far enough that it matters.

    Miller? I’m going to say something that will perhaps draw some serious disagreement, but other than an extra step in speed, he’s not much better than WFB.

    Willie is Ackley Pepto-Bismol, period. Unless you’re prepared to see Ackley work out his personal demons, game by game, for the rest of the year, get used to the WFB Experience.

  14. ivan on May 24th, 2015 6:44 am

    “Miller? I’m going to say something that will perhaps draw some serious disagreement, but other than an extra step in speed, he’s not much better than WFB.”

    That’s just absurd. His power alone puts him several levels above.

  15. LongDistance on May 24th, 2015 8:50 am

    Dunno. Dingers, OK. But all other things equaled out… percentage of RBIs/ABs, etc… frankly, I’ll stick to my guns. I prefer seeing Miller, of course, but I’m just saying Willie has, unfortunately, a logical place on this team right now.

    Come to that, to be brutally honest, I’m so freakin tired of Dustin, the days he’s playing, I’d almost rather see the pitchers batting, and his butt get DH’d.

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