Game 141, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · September 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Derek Holland, 12:40pm

Vidal Nuno’s night wasn’t quite perfect – not with that weird control lapse in the 2nd, and not with a couple of HBPs (though one of those was, let’s just say, questionable). But with a game score of 83, he put up one of the better starts of the year.* What struck me wasn’t just the surfeit of whiffs – that was interesting, but Nuno’s approach will get him swings and misses, particularly if he gets to face Drew Stubbs – but the nature of the contact against him. Even when the Rangers hit a ball hard, it went straight up – Shin Soo Choo’s fly out to CF looks dangerous in a box score, but the launch angle meant it never had a shot to leave the yard. Nuno induced a flurry of topped ground balls and IF pop-ups when he wasn’t striking people out. He’s still Vidal Nuno, but that was the platonic ideal of a Nuno start.

Today, the Rangers draw Felix in what’s become a pretty critical game for them. The M’s win yesterday coincided with an Astros win, meaning the Rangers are back to 2 games out in the AL West. And when Miguel Sano homered in the 12th, the Twins picked up a game in the wild card race as well. By BP’s metric, the Rangers playoff odds dropped by more than 11% yesterday, from 70% down to just under 60%. With the Twins and Astros idle today, the Rangers need to make up some of the ground they lost yesterday.

Derek Holland’s making his 6th start of the year, and the 5th since his return from injury. His velocity is right back where it was in his 2011-2013 heyday, and his slider continues to be a plus pitch, with batters whiffing on about 1/3 of them, and over half of their swings on it. He’s only walked 3 batters this year (though he’s also plunked 2), but he’s given up 5 HRs, and HR issues have been an on-again, off-again concern for the lefty for years. Beyond HRs, Holland has never been great at stranding runners, which is interesting given his very good stuff and solid K%. That inability to get out of jams is one reason why his career ERA is higher than his career FIP, despite an average to better-than-average BABIP. In general, Holland has pitched poorly with men on and especially with RISP. So it must have been a pretty fun month for Holland, as his strand rate is currently an off-the-charts 95%, and RISP are hitting .077 against him. This is the kind of small sample oddity that’s ripe for psychologizing, but we’ll leave that to others. This is due for some regression, and may the Mariners be the instrument of that regression today.

1: Marte, SS
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Cano, 2B
5: Trumbo, LF
6: Smith, RF
7: Montero, 1B
8: Sucre, C
9: O’Malley, CF
SP: El Cartelua

Welcome back, Nelson Cruz.

* Taijuan Walker’s CG win over Minnesota and Hisashi Iwakuma’s no-hitter are tied for the top spot at 91, and Felix had two games at 86.


4 Responses to “Game 141, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on September 10th, 2015 12:18 pm

    Ah, Cruz is back and at his true position. That should help.

    Unfortunately we have another less-skilled DH also in the line-up, but that’s been the Mariners for the past 4 seasons or so. At least it’s only ONE extra DH!

  2. mrakbaseball on September 10th, 2015 1:22 pm

    The Mariners have DHs in left and at first.

  3. Dennisss on September 10th, 2015 2:52 pm

    Felix is doing his best to live up to Nuno’s example.

    It has been a down year for the King, but he’s still pretty damn good.

  4. heyoka on September 11th, 2015 9:00 am


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.