Game 101, Diamondbacks at Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Zack Godley, 7:10pm
So, yeah, not every game can end with a Gutierrez walk-off, and the M’s overtaxed bullpen is clearly struggling at this point. My heart still flutters when Carson Smith trots in from the bullpen; I’m not too worried about his mini-slump, but I would like to see the M’s play some easy games and not have Smith rack up tons of stressful innings.
I’m going to be honest: I’ve talked my share of s$#% about the Diamondbacks front office and their odd approach to player development. This is the team that seemingly gave up on their 2014 first-rounder Touki Toussaint, the team that insisted for a month or two that Yasmany Tomas was a 3rd baseman before moving him to the OF, and then insisted that Peter O’Brien was a catcher before quickly giving up and moving him to the OF where he could be blocked by Tomas. The return when they traded a veteran starting catcher seemed light – a Dominican phenom named Jeferson Mejia who was pitching well, but in the complex league, and a minor-league reliever who had good K numbers but was old for his league… some guy named Zack Godley.
As soon as he got to the D-Backs, they converted Godley to a starter and the results have been fairly remarkable. He maintained a lot of swing-and-miss but was easily able to work deep into games and flashed good control with ground-ball tendencies. Godley never sniffed the top 20 in a loaded Cubs system, but he was an afterthought in the D-Backs…less loaded system, too. No one seemed to know who he was when the D-Backs called him up to fill in for an injured Chase Anderson. He’s spent most of the 2015 season pitching for Visalia in the California league, where he faced the M’s affiliate Bakersfield twice. Less than a month ago, we talked about him briefly when he made his AA debut against Jackson – he went 5 shutout innings in that contest, striking out 2. It’s not that Arizona doesn’t have other options. Highly-touted prospect Aaron Blair is in AAA, and while he’s not exactly excelling, he’s seen a lot more of the high-minors than Godley. They could try out Allen Webster again, just as they did earlier in the year – he’s a known-quantity, on the 40-man and in AAA, though it’s worth noting that he’s been an absolute mess for Reno. The D-Backs instead called upon Godley, someone pretty much only they knew about, and he responded by throwing 6 shutout innings in his big league debut.
So what does Godley throw? It can be a bit tough to find information when Brooks is down and we’re talking about a guy who seemed like an org lifer 5 months ago, but here’s what we’ve got. Godley has 2 to 3 different fastballs, all thrown from 90-93. Gameday shows him with a sinker, a four-seamer and a cutter, and I think that’s probably true, though Gameday isn’t quite sure where the boundary between the pitches lies. I think he’s got an arrow-straight four-seam without much vertical rise, and the cutter has almost the same movement, but a touch more sink – that said, the difference is so slight that if Godley says they’re all cutters (or four-seamers), that’s fine by me. The sinker’s clearly distinct, and while it doesn’t have a ton of run, it’s a fairly text-book sinker and should get some grounders.
He should also get plenty of groundouts with his change-up – a pitch that almost looks like a splitter. It often comes in with very little horizontal movement and breaks sharply down, wherein it confuses the Gameday algorithm *again* by looking suspiciously like his curve. So much of what Godley throws breaks in a very narrow band around 0, and everything’s either 80-82 or 90-92. It’s somewhat odd, and I wonder how much of it is just pitch fx effects and not “real” – I guess we’ll find out tonight. Still, with what LOOKS like an interesting change-up, Godley seems both a bit odd and someone who shouldn’t have huge platoon issues. I have no idea what kind of report the M’s hitters got on him, and it’ll be fun to see how they approach their task.
1: Jackson, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Cano, 2B
5: Smith, RF
6: Trumbo, 1B
7: Miller, SS
8: Zunino, C
9: Ackley, LF
Tacoma heads to El Paso to take on the Chihuahuas tonight; Chien-Ming Wang gets the start for the Rainiers against former Padre and Ranger Daniel McCutchen.
Jackson faces the Biloxi Shuckers and former Angels prospect and Milwaukee Brewer Jonny Hellweg, who’s trying to come back from TJ surgery he had in 2014. South African Dylan Unsworth takes the hill for the Generals.
Bakersfield begins a series with ex-M’s affiliate High Desert tonight. Scott DeCecco, recently sent down from AA, starts versus Richelson Pena.
Clinton heads home to host Cedar Rapids, and Lukas Schiraldi will share the mound with 80s prep-school movie villain Keaton Steele.
Everett had a day-game today to finish off their series with Vancouver, and the AquaSox came away with an 8-5 win. While starter Andrew Moore pitched fairly well, the game was notable because Moore finally walked a batter – his first on the year, bringing his K:BB ratio down from infinity to a mere 27:1. Anthony Misiewicz, an 18th rounder out of Michigan State, followed Moore and again delivered a whiff-filled performance, going 4 IP and striking out 6 without a walk. In his last two appearances, he’s thrown 8 innings, given up no runs on 2 hits and 1 walk, and K’d 13.