Cactus League Game 6, M’s vs. Indians (
Nate Karns vs. Trevor Bauer, 12:05pm
Today’s game’s televised on MLB.tv. Indians broadcast only, but hey, I’ll take it.
Yesterday’s game featured long HRs from Dae Ho Lee and Kyle Seager, balanced by some bad pitching by the M’s. James Paxton’s velocity still isn’t where I’d like to see it, though it’s still early March and the readings were a bit low for some of the relievers as well. Still, Paxton’s been extremely hittable, and I’d just love to have some sort of explanation for that, or some mitigating circumstances to point to. In the Arizona Fall League, he wasn’t throwing a curve. Still solid K:BB ratio, not throwing his best breaking ball, fine, it’s just BABIP and “developing his change” related stuff. Now, he IS throwing his curve, and he’s giving up a bunch of hits. As the broadcast team mentioned, most were on the ground, and Peralta had two hits grounding away from the shift, so the hit total itself may be a bit inflated, but Paxton still gave up lots of loud contact and struck out only one. If he’s learning to pitch up in the zone, we just haven’t seen much of it yet. That’s not a slam on him; I’d imagine changing your approach takes time. I just thought he’d be a bit further along at this point just because he got some work in for Peoria in October/November.
Nate Karns stands to gain if Paxton scuffles, of course. Bob Dutton of the News Tribune has a good article on Karns’ competition for the 5th spot, and how fighting for a roster spot feels pretty normal for him.
1: Aoki, CF
2: Sardinas, 3B
3: Smith, RF
4: Montero, DH
5: Lee, 1B
6: O’Malley, 2B
7: Zunino, C
8: Taylor, SS
9: Robertson, LF
Scott Servais has said Ketel Marte may eventually become the #2 hitter for Seattle, which seems to show just how highly they think of him at the plate. More and more, it’s looking like Marte – perhaps even more than Martin – is absolutely critical to the M’s season. He’s got bad projections but glowing scouting reports, and the offense could look very different if the projections miss low.