Game 66, Giants at Mariners
King Felix vs. Madison Bumgarner, 7:10pm
Happy Felix Day. It’s a perfect day for anything, really, but *man* is this a good day to watch Felix work. The weird, split home-and-home four game series with the Giants shifts to Seattle, so we won’t have to worry about the King taking a fastball on the finger. Instead, we can take in what feels like the most anticipated pitching match-up of the year so far.* Madison Bumgarner, post-season star and the Giants ace, gets the start for San Francisco. For years now, I’ve used Bumgarner as the template for pitchers who throw slider after slider (or cutter; the border is porous) without regard to the handedness of the batter. Bumgarner’s best pitch is his cutter, and so he’s going to make you hit it. In 2012, he threw about 40% cutters, and threw it more often against *Righties* which goes against the standard assumption as well as research on pitch-type platoon splits. It clearly didn’t hurt him, though. He held righties to a sub-.300 wOBA in 2012, and in his career overall. He’s got the standard platoon splits, but he’s so good against all batters that platoon splits miss the point.
In more recent years, though, Bumgarner’s tweaked his approach slightly. After throwing “only” 1/3 cutters in 2014, he’s dropped again to under 30%. Instead, he’s making more use of his curve ball, a pitch he’s thrown since coming into the league, but kind of got lost behind his cutter and change. His curve has been effective against lefties, and seems at least as good or better to righties. The M’s seem to do well on curves; Brad Miller, for one, waited on a Tim Lincecum curve beautifully for his HR the other day, and they’re 3rd in baseball in pitch type linear weights against them.
If you don’t like this match-up, you…wait, why are you here? Are you lost? For the rest of us, here’s hoping some well-deserved hype and our own high expectations aren’t setting us up for a fall – a scenario that seems pretty common for M’s fans.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Cano, 2B
3: Cruz, RF
4: Seager, 3B
5: Trumbo, DH
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Bloomquist, LF
8: Miller, SS
9: Zunino, C
SP: FELIX HERNANDEZ
The story about the Cardinals poking around the Astros’ proprietary data keeps getting stranger, with people now focused on what penalties might be forthcoming – first from the Department of Justice, and then from MLB itself. As Nathaniel Grow argues, MLB may not have much discretion at all to levy stiff penalties like a post-season ban. DOJ can issue criminal penalties, but it’s not clear that it will. Both the Computer Fraud and Abuse act of 1984 and the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 seem like they provide easy justification to prosecute, but it’s still not clear exactly what the Cardinals *did* once they broke in. Especially in the case of the CFAA, it doesn’t really matter, but if they just got in and started sending trolling messages, that seems like a different thing than actively mining it for insight, something more like a textbook case of industrial espionage. The problem is that we’ll never really know – some low-level office employee will be found, and I’m sure he/she’ll swear they did it as a joke. But that probably won’t appease Astros fans, and even if it was a joke, disseminating it to Deadspin (if the Cardinals did this – it’s not clear, and probably never will be) seems like escalating that joke pretty far.
Tacoma lost to Reno last night 14-7 after surrendering the game’s final 10 runs. Lucas Luetge got shelled in 2 2/3 IP in relief of Stephen Landazuri, who didn’t have a tidy appearance himself. Shawn O’Malley went 4-5 and Stefen Romero hit two doubles for the Rainiers, while Jamie Romak finished a double away from the cycle (with 5 RBIs) for the Aces. Justin Germano starts today against D-Backs prospect Aaron Blair, the guy I mentioned not too long ago when he faced off with Edwin Diaz and Jackson.
Speaking of Jackson, they face off with Birmingham today with Jimmy Gilheeney on the mound. Myles Jay starts for the Barons.
Bakersfield lost to Inland Empire 9-6, as the Sixty-Sixers put up 7 runs in the 7th inning. Kyle Schepel, the recent indie-league signee, made his Cal League debut in the 7th, and it didn’t go well – he gave up 5 runs without recording an out. Lost in the meltdown was an encouraging start from Tyler Pike, who went 6 solid innings and, more importantly, K’d 5 to just 1 walk.
Clinton snapped a dispiriting 15-game losing streak, beating Quad Cities 6-5 on a walk-off HBP in the 11th inning. Joe DeCarlo got the game-winning plunking, and also homered in the game. Pat Peterson tries to extend the L-Kings winning streak to 2 today against the River Bandits and starter Jorge Perez. Quad Cities is an Astros affiliate, so double-check the locks, and review your IT security protocols, Lumberkings.
* That doesn’t mean it’s the best. The Felix/Chris Archer tilt almost certainly takes that particular baked-good, but I think those of us on the west coast didn’t quite realize that Chris Archer had gone and pulled a Kershaw. We know now.