Game 84, Tigers at Mariners

marc w · July 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Kyle Ryan, 7:10pm

Many years ago, the M’s had a farm system that was short on impact talent, but had a number of more-or-less MLB-ready pitchers on hand in the high minors. There was very little upside in the group, but they could go out and not embarrass the club, and who knows, maybe they’d compensate for poor velocity with experience and guile once they made the adjustments to the big leagues? For years, I’d argue with Dave Cameron in the comments here that Cesar Jimenez or Bobby Livingston or Travis Blackley or Ryan Feierabend should get a legitimate shot. We agreed we didn’t like freezing out these guys by signing the likes of Carlos Silva to long-term deals, but we differed in our assessment of how lefties with 87mph fastballs and slurvy sliders transition from the high minors to the bigs.

Dave’s pessimistic take seems pretty accurate, though Feierabend lives on in the minors. Livingston got hurt after playing for Cincinnati, and Blackley had that one improbable good year with Oakland, but by and large, this group couldn’t quite overcome their lack of pure stuff. I’ve often thought about how odd it was that the M’s had so many players of the same type at the same level at more-or-less the same time. Blackley, Livingston and Jimenez all played for the Rainiers in 2006, and Feierabend came up in 2007. Sure, they weren’t the ONLY players in the system. Clint Nageotte was different, and the offense had a lot of high-ceiling promise in Adam Jones and Jeff Clement, but the M’s clearly saw this template – the high-80s lefty, especially change-up guys – as undervalued, and they practically horded them. I thought about that era of the M’s a lot as I was looking into Kyle Ryan’s skillset. The Tigers started the year with lefty Kyle Lobstein, a one-time Rule 5 guy out of the Rays org, in their rotation. The bespectacled Lobstein’s a lefty with an 87mph fastball who strikes almost no one out, but, at his best, is a perfectly respectable 5th starter thanks to a good ground-ball rate and general pitching intelligence (low HR rate, good with men on, etc.). Anyway, Lobstein’s shoulder started barking in May, but the Tigers had a facsimile in AAA in lefty Blaine Hardy. Hardy’s the fireballer of the group with an average FB of around 89-90, but he’s been so effective in relief that the Tigers decided to keep him in that role, and call up *yet another facsimile* in Kyle Ryan.

Ryan throws a four-seamer and sinker at 88-89, a cutter at 85 and then a slider and change-up that he’ll go to occasionally. Like Lobstein, Ryan is not a strikeout pitcher; his K% was 15% or lower in the *minors* and he’s had control issues off and on since coming up. Lobstein and Hardy don’t have much to throw at right-handers, but they’re able to control lefties. Ryan never had much in the way of platoon splits, and while that’s often a plus, it’s sometimes a sign you don’t have a good breaking ball. Ryan’s cutter’s a decent pitch, but despite it, a slider and a freakish release point, lefties haven’t been bothered by Ryan at all. Ryan releases the ball about a foot further towards 1st base than Charlie Furbush does – the only guy I can think of in that 3-4′ from the center of the plate release point was Carter Capps when he played for Seattle. Given the angle and the arsenal, it looks like a good match-up for the M’s righties, though this isn’t a game where Trent Jewett should shuffle everything to minimize lefty plate appearances. This is Detroit’s Ryan Feierabend, or their Cesar Jimenez after their Feierabend got hurt. To my great surprise, big league teams never seemed to mind facing our 87mph lefties. The problem is, I won’t be surprised about any outcome in this game. If they hit 3 HRs, well yeah, of course. If they get 4 hits in another depressing 3-1 loss, well yeah, of course.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Gutierrez, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Trumbo, DH
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Zunino, C
9: Taylor, SS
SP: Walker

You…you tried to minimize lefty PAs, didn’t you? Ah well. If Taylor’s going to be on the team, he should probably play now and again, but the strange insistence that they are NOT platooning Taylor and Miller looks harder to defend when you see this. If you’re doing it, defend it – there’s a case to be made. Otherwise, maybe it’s time to stop making definitive statements about the shortstop position only to self-sabotage them a few days later. Just more weirdness in a weird year.

As bad as this offense has been, I’m enjoying the fact that Taijuan Walker’s quickly becoming appointment television. The right-hander’s quick adjustments and newfound command have been stunning, and it’s amazing both how different and how similar he is to the guy who looked absolutely lost in May.

Tacoma lost to the Fresno Grizzlies 8-2 after Forrest Snow had his worst start in quite a while, and Andrew Kittredge gave up an 0-2 grand slam to catcher Max Stassi. Roenis Elias starts tonight for Tacoma for the first time since his recent demotion. He’ll take on Fresno sinkerballer Mike Hauschild.

Jackson edged Mississippi 2-1 thanks to 6 innings of 1-hit, shutout ball from Edwin Diaz. The Puerto Rican struck out 7 and walked only 1. Jordy Lara was the hitting star once again with a 3-4 night. His .731 OPS this year is bad for a corner guy, and disappointing considering his huge year in High Desert last season, but in this org this year, it looks downright powerful. Moises Hernandez starts for Jackson today.

Bakersfield beat Stockton 4-1 as Eddie Campbell and Will Mathis both went three scoreless innings. Dan Altavilla faces off with Giants prospect Keury Mella tonight as the Blaze head to San Jose.

Clinton was rained out in Quad Cities yesterday; they’ll make that one up today. Tyler Herb starts Game 1 of the double header while Jarrett Brown takes the mound in Game 2.

Hillsboro held on for a 2-1 win over Everett. Lane Ratliff gave up 1 run but took the hard-luck loss as Hops starter Cody Reed struck out 10 in 6 shutout IP. LF Corey Simpson had a golden sombrero on the night. The two teams face off again tonight with Anthony Misiewicz starting for the AquaSox.


31 Responses to “Game 84, Tigers at Mariners”

  1. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 5:40 pm

    What’s going on with DJ Peterson? I have not heard a peep about him in a long while it seems. I don’t pay alot of attention to the minor league teams other than looking at the scores/summaries you post during your game write ups.

  2. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 6:28 pm

    Guti sighting! Hopefully his teammates will get some hits too this time…

  3. mrakbaseball on July 7th, 2015 6:55 pm

    I guess this Ryan guy constitutes a “tough lefty” as Miller is benched once again.

  4. Sowulo on July 7th, 2015 7:05 pm

    DJ has recently surged all the way up to a .211 average at Jackson. Another “can’t miss” bat looking like crap in the M’s system…..

  5. jak924 on July 7th, 2015 7:13 pm

    R the Peterson comment:this why if or when Jack Z is canned, the scouting director and player development director need to be cut loose, as well. Most of these guys coming up have fear in their eyes and exhibit bad body language.

  6. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 7:21 pm

    Well I can already see how this game is probably gonna go.

  7. WestyHerr on July 7th, 2015 7:30 pm

    Yay! Game over. Goodnight.

  8. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 7:36 pm

    Lol, we have such faith in our team. Down 3 – 0 and were already chalking it up as a loss.

  9. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 7:37 pm

    GO AWAY TRUMBO! ill take the loss of Leone and others at this point if you just grab your shit and leave please.

  10. Section329 on July 7th, 2015 7:51 pm


  11. nvn8vbryce on July 7th, 2015 7:54 pm

    A grand salami and a solo shot from Jackson and Guti?!?! Are pigs flying near Safeco right now???

  12. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 7:58 pm

    Maybe I should complain more often… 😀

  13. nvn8vbryce on July 7th, 2015 8:09 pm

    Why can’t we have nice things like leads?

  14. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 8:09 pm

    Whats with the excessive amounts of home runs the Tigers are hitting! and with out Miggy!

  15. jak924 on July 7th, 2015 8:13 pm

    Walker does not have it tonight. Why is no one warming up? Why is he still in there? This is bull****.

  16. enazario on July 7th, 2015 8:24 pm

    It is easy to see Guti’s talent. What could’ve been…

  17. Woodcutta on July 7th, 2015 9:06 pm

    I’m calling it now. Rodney comes in to save the game. K, BB, BB, Single, K, Double, Game Over.

  18. Section329 on July 7th, 2015 9:13 pm

    So the Carter run is over? Boo.

  19. Grayfox3d on July 7th, 2015 9:22 pm

    Close call Woodcutta, but Rodney did give up the lead! so you got that right!

  20. MrZDevotee on July 7th, 2015 9:38 pm

    Has anyone been able to figure out how a catcher can be so brutally and thoroughly confused by breaking balls when he’s batting?

    Especially a catcher who is a platoon mate to Felix Hernandez? He has to catch the damn things, and block them, predict where they’re ending up, and is rated as one of the better guys in the league at it… But somehow, put a bat in his hand, and he can’t pick it up to save his life. I’ve never seen a guy swing at so many balls that hit the ground before they get to the plate.

    Kinda weird, really.

  21. MrZDevotee on July 7th, 2015 10:08 pm

    Are you FUCKING kidding me, Miller? Jesus…

    You suck at the most inopportune times. Seriously.

  22. Woodcutta on July 7th, 2015 10:08 pm

    Well, that’s our shortstop.

  23. enazario on July 7th, 2015 10:08 pm

    This ump can rape the strike zone better than Bill Cosby.

  24. msfanmike on July 7th, 2015 10:09 pm

    Mr. Fundamental!

  25. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 10:09 pm

    Oh Brad…

    I really don’t get how he always seems to screw up on the simple plays. Seriously, it seems like if he’s gonna screw up, it’s gonna be on a really simple play like that one.

  26. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 10:13 pm

    A dinger right here would be really opportune.

  27. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 10:46 pm

    Come on Guti!

  28. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 10:47 pm

    Don’t try to steal please, Austin. You suck at it.

  29. Westside guy on July 7th, 2015 10:55 pm

    Woo hoo! Robbie comes through!

  30. enazario on July 7th, 2015 10:56 pm


  31. LongDistance on July 7th, 2015 11:31 pm

    *On* Day. If they win on the 9th, and go on to split the series with LA, I’m going to start betting.

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