Game 148, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · September 18, 2015 at 4:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Yovani Gallardo, 5:05pm

Sooooo, the Rangers, huh? The Rangers are fresh off a dominating, potentially season-defining sweep of the erstwhile 1st place Astros. Now 2.5 games up, the Rangers playoff odds have shot up by 44 percentage points. In a week. When Felix was polishing off the Rangers and Derek Holland, I noted that the loss – and the resulting split of the four-game series – had done some serious damage to the Rangers’ playoff hopes. As it turns out, the Rangers had a solution for that.

This’ll be Gallardo’s fourth start of the year against Seattle – he shut them out through 5+ last week, his second scoreless start against the M’s this year. The righty continues to be an important stabilizing force in the Rangers’ banged up rotation. I’ve got a big post coming later on the Rangers blowing apart not only their pre-season projections, but also their in-season peripheral stats, but I’ll just say that, Gallardo aside, pitching has not been a real strength of the club. That said, they’ve performed much better in recent games. Part of that is figuring out which of their young arms to trust out of the pen (Sam Dyson/Keone Kela), and part of that is the byproduct of utterly dominating the Astros in four games, including knocking Dallas Keuchel around.

James Paxton needs to stay healthy and find the strike zone. As great as his pure stuff still looks, there are some worrying trends that show up – and that’s setting aside the huge gaps in his performance record for time spent on rehab. Paxton’s never been a guy who gets hitters to chase pitches out of the zone, but it didn’t matter when batters struggled to make contact on strikes. Each year, Paxton’s slipped in that measure, and to make matters worse, he’s slipped in the percentage of pitches in the zone too. If people aren’t going to swing at balls, and you throw more balls, you’ll have to deal with some walks. That all sounds grim, but one thing Paxton still seems to do well is limit contact. He’s running a very low BABIP again, just as he always has. Given the sample, it’s tough to know what to make of that, *particularly* because he’s not the guy who gets a ton of contact on balls out of the zone (which tend to be turned into outs very frequently). Pure velocity may help with that, and a great curve probably does too (as does being left-handed), but I’d be more comfortable if he could balance that out with a plus K%. There’s no reason for someone of Paxton’s talents to be at 18%.

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

Just for fun, here’s BP’s playoff odds graph for the AL West. This week has been…uh…important.
AL West odds


2 Responses to “Game 148, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. Westside guy on September 18th, 2015 7:49 pm

    Wow, I’m guessing everyone is doing fun stuff tonight!

    That graph is mind-blowing, Marc – especially when it comes to the Angels and Rangers.

  2. Longgeorge1 on September 18th, 2015 8:11 pm

    What can I say! Got to get as much golf in as I can before the heavy rain hits. I get tired of everyone running down Lloyd anyway. He didn’t sign all these over the hill DH’s. Hope the bartender does this!!! Go M’s!!

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