Game 47, Indians at Mariners
James Paxton vs. Corey Kluber, 7:10pm
Corey Kluber’s FIP last year was better than King Felix’s career low. Thus far in 2015, Kluber has tossed an 18K, 1H game against the Cardinals and *lowered* his FIP to an unreal-for-anyone-but-Kershaw 2.17. His K/9 is 10.72 and his BB/9 is 1.55. For good measure, his HR rate is lower than average. These are video game numbers, but Kluber is 2-5 with a 3.49 ERA. As I discussed earlier, a big part of this is the Indians’ general inability to catch hit baseballs, which pushes Kluber’s BABIP to .348. In addition, his strand rate has fallen markedly this year from 78.6% to 68.1%. Finally, his platoon splits have been a bit wider this year. As a slider/cutter pitcher, this probably isn’t a big surprise.
The key for the M’s today is to get as many lefties in the line-up as possible, yes, even Ackley, and to get him early. Lefties see first-pitch fastballs nearly 70% of the time. They get a lot more breaking stuff as the count moves on, and they’ve done less with bendy stuff. Righties? Good luck. If he makes a mistake with a sinker, feel free to hit it hard, Nelson Cruz.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cruz, DH
4: Seager, 3B
5: Morrison, 1B
6: Miller, 2B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Taylor, SS
9: Zunino, C
Cano could use a break, and with Miller, they don’t have to lose a lefty in the process. Would’ve been nice to see him sit against a lefty, I suppose, given Kluber’s splits, but in the grand scheme of things, this is fine. I suppose you could argue there’s a knock-on effect because it gets Jackson’s bat back in the line-up, but that’s somewhat secondary, and seriously, Jackson just needs to produce right now. This is an awful match-up for him, but it’s time to show he’s not a platoon player.
The Rainiers dropped yesterday’s game in Omaha 5-2, as former Royals star prospect John Lamb got the win a day after former Royals star prospect Mike Montgomery pitched for Tacoma. Stephen Landazuri threw a decent 5 IP, and Danny Farquhar yielded a HR in his first AAA inning of the year. Justin Germano starts today for the Rainiers against Omaha’s Andy Ferguson.
Jackson destroyed Montgomery 12-4, as the bats finally came alive. Even DJ Peterson, who’s been in deep freeze thus far, hit a 3r HR the opposite way. Jabari Blash homered as well, and Felix’s brother Moises got the win in relief. Today, the Generals face Rays prospect and Seattle-native Blake Snell, who is having a rather solid year. He’s made 9 appearances and 7 starts on the year, throwing 52 innings. In that span, he’s K’d 66 and given up just 21 hits. Oh, and one run. He enters the game with an ERA of 0.17, which marred by the one run he gave up to Tennessee, which pushes his AA ERA way up to 0.29 in 5 starts.
Bakersfield lost at Visalia 10-5 despite HRs from Kyle Petty and Tyler Marlette. Today, Eddie Campbell tries to get his ERA out of the 30s. In better Bakersfield news, the guys from Cespedes Family BBQ have been journaling their road trip through California for Baseball Prospectus, and wrote about Bakersfield’s historic Sam Lynn ballpark here (no subscription needed).
Clinton beat Peoria 8-2 behind another strong Jefferson Medina start and 3 doubles from LF Chantz Mack. Kristian Brito had 2 doubles of his own. Tyler Herb takes the mound against the Chiefs tonight, and converted position player Fernando Baez.