Game 82, Mariners at Athletics
JA Happ vs. Chris Bassitt, 1:05pm
Yesterday marked the half-way point of the season. Yesterday marked the M’s largest deficit in the West, as they fell 10 games behind Houston. Yesterday marked the M’s 9th shutout loss. The M’s are shut down by Chris Archer, sure, but the M’s democratize the shut-out. They’ve been shut out by the since-demoted Brett Oberholtzer, by Ryan Vogelsong, by a group of Rays relievers, by Kendall Graveman. We look at their tendencies, and beyond a tendency to make a ton of outs, there’s not much rhyme or reason to it. They’re not a good offense, and haven’t been for many years, but the way this team seems to look so overmatched is concerning – concerning above and beyond all of the losses and squandered opportunities and failed promise. Baseball can do this – it makes even good offenses look inept, and often the beneficiary is some AAAA non-entity. This is the unpredictable nature of sport and baseball that makes each game worth watching. But with the M’s, it’s more like standard operating precedure, and the only thing that’s unknown is when it’s going to happen next. The M’s were a good team of sorts last year, and they got shut out 19 times – far more than they did when they were well and truly abysmal in 2010-11. They’re at 9 half-way through the year – they’re on pace to challenge last year’s mark and it feels like they’ll blow past the 2010-11 shutout totals in a week or so. The M’s have worked for *years* to fix the problem they and every fan knows they have, and the result is a team that could very easily get shut out today by a pitcher I’ve barely heard of.
Chris Bassitt is starting because Sonny Gray was laid low by a stomach virus this week. He’s made one start on the year – he was demoted after struggling in the A’s bullpen early on (he faced the M’s in fact on May 9th). He came to Oakland from the White Sox org as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade, and he seems to have improved – his velocity’s up a tick from where it was in his brief look in 2014, and he was excellent at AAA Nashville. But there are still some warning signs. He had issues with walks in the White Sox org, and he’s given up 12 free passes (9 walks, 3 HBPs) to just 11 Ks in 15+ innings this year. He’s got a good looking sinker – it’s depressingly similar to Kendall Graveman’s in shape), but he’s been a fly-ball pitcher. He’s working on a change, but doesn’t throw it much, and thus he doesn’t have much to throw against lefties. As a result, his command problems are magnified against lefties. The M’s have lefties. They’ve occasionally been good against sinkers. But at this point, I’m not sure it matters.
1: Jones, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Smith, RF
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Ackley, LF
8: Miller, SS
9: Zunino, C
Brett Oberholtzer didn’t find the Rainiers as easy as he did the M’s, but he and Fresno still crushed the Rainiers 10-3. Jesus Montero hit his 14 HR, but Sam Gaviglio couldn’t get the final out of the 6th inning, and that turned a 3-2 lead into an 8-3 deficit. Vidal Nuno makes his Rainiers debut today, as he’ll start opposite lefthander Luis Cruz.
Jackson lost to Mississippi 4-2. All of the M-Braves runs scored in the 7th; starter Jimmy gilheeney was excellent through 6 1/3, but Scott DeCecco was tagged for 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Jordy Lara went 3-3 with a triple in the loss. Today, Anthony Fernandez makes his 3rd start of the year as he continues his comeback from TJ surgery.
Stockton edged Bakersfield 2-1. Dylan Unsworth was the hard-luck loser, and indie-league pick-up Kyle Schepel pitched two scoreless in relief. Schepel had a couple of seriously ugly outings early on with the Blaze, but is intriguing as he can be given that he’s a single-A reliever with an ERA in double digits. He sits in the mid 90s, and while the Blaze have some solid relievers, he could be one to watch if he improves his consistency.
Kane County topped Clinton 6-3, as Jefferson Medina gave up 5 runs in 6 IP. 1B Pat Leyland, a recent pick-up from the Detroit org, had three hits for the L-Kings. Zack Littell starts today against the German Markus Solbach.
Hillsboro beat Everett 8-7 to complete the organizational sweep. What a year. Hillsboro scored 3 runs off of Kyle Wilcox in the 9th to tie the game, then won it in the 10th. Alex Jackson hit 2 doubles and a single for the AquaSox. Jose Santiago starts for Everett tonight.