Game 144, Rockies at Mariners

marc w · September 13, 2015 at 11:31 am · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Kyle Kendrick, 1:10pm

Sort all pitchers who’ve logged at least 100 innings by FIP, and Kyle Kendrick comes in dead last, #125 of 125 pitchers. Only 5 guys have made at least 20 starts and posted a FIP starting with a 5. Kendrick isn’t among them, because his 6.16 mark if off the scale. To make matters worse, his ERA has actually been worse than his FIP, thanks to a so-so BABIP and struggles with men on base. His fangraphs page is a charnel house; a HR/9 that starts with a 2, a K% under 12, RA/9 WAR and fWAR solidly in negative territory.

Enough of that, though. Kendrick is a graduate of Mt. Vernon high up in Skagit County, a school that also produced one of my favorite low-K, high-HR survivors, Mark Hendrickson. Hendrickson pitched in a slightly different era, but had a similar game: very low K%, low walk totals, and the HRs that came as an expected by-product of that approach coupled with high fly ball rates. You can say that Hendrickson pulled it off while Kendrick hasn’t, but that’s the thing: up until this year, Kendrick had too. Kendrick came to Colorado with a bad FIP, but a surprisingly good ERA and a solid W/L record. Sabermetric fans saw Kendrick-in-Colorado as a disaster waiting to happen, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he logged a lot of innings in a reasonably tough place to pitch and came out bruised by unbowed.

Maybe the point is that, despite the constant tinkering, not all adjustments work, or at least, they don’t work everywhere. Kendrick already ditched his four-seamer for a sinker, and he’s played around with a curve ball as well to complement his cutter and splitter. Kendrick could make MORE adjustments, of course, but you don’t get to the big leagues by changing everything about your game because you struggle. Kendrick probably still believes in his stuff – I just think what he believes about Coors Field couldn’t be printed in a newspaper. Kendrick’s 2015 is one of the worst seasons we’ve seen in recent memory. No one’s thrown over 120 IP with a FIP starting with a 6 in over a decade: broken Scott Kazmir, Jose Lima’s disastrous 2005 – they got close, but couldn’t touch Kendrick’s mark. Sure, the run environment changes the FIP constant, but it just shows how out of step Kendrick is with MLB starters in 2015. And yet, he’ll be back. He’ll still throw 89, and his splitter won’t sink enough, but he’ll believe that his luck is gonna change. I hope it does next year. Just not today.

1: Marte, SS
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Cano, 2B
5: Trumbo, LF
6: Smith, RF
7: Morrison, 1B
8: Miller, CF
9: Baron, C
SP: Paxton

Welcome back, James. I remember when he first got hurt, “at least it’s just a finger injury.” Several months and another lost season later, he’s finally back from that strain. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, and he’ll be fine for next year, but his injury history is pretty lengthy now.


11 Responses to “Game 144, Rockies at Mariners”

  1. Longgeorge1 on September 13th, 2015 1:00 pm

    Well I could be talking to my self, not much of a football fan. Paxton and Hultzen, two of the bg three. Will they ever be healthy. Would not be surprised to see a lot of runs today.

  2. Dennisss on September 13th, 2015 1:17 pm

    I tried to watch some football, but my heart isn’t in it, and the crush of commercials drives me nuts.

    It really seems like it has been the pitching that faltered this year versus what we have come to expect, so I think the team needs Paxton next year. It would be good to see him pith well today.

  3. Dennisss on September 13th, 2015 1:23 pm

    Or pitch anyway

  4. Jake on September 13th, 2015 1:37 pm

    How cute, Dustin Ackley 2-2 with a homer today.

  5. Jake on September 13th, 2015 2:02 pm

    Shocking, more stupid base running calls, as Morrison is thrown out easily on a ball that bounces into homeplate. Ri-f’ing-diculous.

  6. Dennisss on September 13th, 2015 2:15 pm

    Five years from now when I hear the name LLoyd McClendon, the fist thing that will come to mind is “bad base running.” I thought Lloyd was OK last year. This year, he convinced me otherwise.

  7. Jake on September 13th, 2015 3:13 pm

    And there’s Cano, not even bothering to leg out another DP.

  8. Longgeorge1 on September 13th, 2015 4:00 pm

    I don’t think Marte just now was more bad baserunning, the guy made a great catch, if he had held up if would not have scored anyway

  9. mrakbaseball on September 13th, 2015 4:07 pm

    Cano still bothered by the ab strain I guess.

  10. Mariner.lovechild on September 14th, 2015 12:31 am


    haha I just signed on here to comment about Ackley too.
    Could barely recognize him, all clean shaven. I know he’s changed his swing a lot, but you could tell it was him by the way he pulls so many homers to right…

  11. Westside guy on September 14th, 2015 2:11 am

    Ackley’s only had 16 plate appearances for the Yankees – let’s not read too much into them.

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