Game 3, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · April 6, 2016 at 9:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade Miley vs. Colby Lewis, 11:05am

After a triumphant, decisive win last night, the M’s have a great opportunity to win an early series at a divisional rival’s place today. Wade Miley makes his first official start for the M’s in something of a tough situation for him. At a very high level, he’s a middle-of-the-order guy who’s struggled at times with the home run, so playing in a park like Arlington’s going to challenge him (and everyone else, of course). That said, this *specific* game has some positives as well. First, Texas’ line-up has been re-jiggered a bit to get more right-handed bats in there. That makes sense given Miley’s pretty normal platoon splits, but it also means that the Rangers are throwing out something of a B team line-up, particularly down the batting order.

Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder are two of the Rangers’ best bats, but they’re also lefties. Miley will need to be wary of Adrian Beltre, but other than that, he’s going to face Ian Desmond (playing CF!!), Brian Holoday, Ryan Rua, Justin Ruggiano and Hanser Alberto. Rougned Odor’s another tough out, but he too bats lefty, making Miley’s job a bit easier. Choo’s platoon splits are fairly extreme, and it’s something that’s tugged his overall value down a bit, but Prince Fielder’s are sizable, too. This is a divisional game in a hitter’s haven, but this is still a favorable way for Miley to get his M’s career going.

Colby Lewis gets the start for Texas. The righty now throws in the high 80s, and has been dogged by platoon split issues of his own for many years. A more pressing concern has been health, as Lewis had Tommy John a few years ago. Impressively, he topped 200 IP last year for the first time in years, so he clearly put in the work, but I think that also says a lot about the dire situation the Rangers were in in 2014-15 with their pitching staff just decimated by injuries that Lewis was required to stabilize the rotation and become a workhorse.

Lewis throws a rising four-seam fastball and a lot of sliders at 83-84. He’s got a decent curve ball, but, like his change, he uses it sparingly and mostly against lefties. Lewis has great control, which is probably what’s kept him in the big leagues. Against lefties, he gets very few strikeouts and thus has a very high career FIP against them, but at least he doesn’t give up free passes. The M’s offense *liked* facing fly-ball pitchers (and Lewis is an extreme fly-ball guy) last year, and figures to do well against them again this year: Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager love pitches they can elevate and drive. It’s not dispositive, but it’s nice to see that Seager and Cano in particular have clubbed Lewis over their careers.

1: Martin, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Lind, 1B
6: Smith, DH
7: Sardinas, LF
8: Clevenger, C
9: Marte, SS
SP: Miley

Marte’s defensive lapses have been unfortunate, but it’s easy to chalk up to nerves. Something to keep an eye on, perhaps. Luis Sardinas, the utility man brought in in large part for his ability to play a competent SS, has now seen time at 1B and LF. The M’s will give the lefty-swinging Steve Clevenger his first start – a great move against a guy like Colby Lewis. Finally, after a spring in which pretty much no one could get him out, it’s great to see Seth Smith race out of the gates. As an M’s fan, it’s often hard to separate the beauty of a hitter’s swing from the results it produces, and I’m not sure I can, but I will just say that I love watching Seth Smith hit.

So, last night’s game was an entertaining one. After several innings in which pitching had the upper hand, the M’s broke through against the bottom half of the Rangers bullpen, getting to Federal Way’s Tony Barnette and then absolutely destroying Tom Wilhelmsen. Like many of you, it wasn’t as fun to see Wilhelmsen self-destruct as it would’ve been to see, I don’t know, Shawn Tolleson, but the M’s line-up looked much more potent than we’ve seen in a while. In a sense, that’s been the most surprising aspect of the first two games: the M’s got away from the all-HRs, no-glove approach and yet they’ve produced six HRs in two games with some pretty shoddy fielding thrown in. Whatever works.


28 Responses to “Game 3, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 11:15 am

    Cano is starting the season on a tear!

  2. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 11:20 am

    Nice to see the Mariners actually taking walks when the pitcher isn’t throwing strikes…

  3. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 11:33 am

    Haha, I know it won’t last; but seeing all these home runs being hit by the current Mariners team is pretty sweet!

    Control the Zone!

  4. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 11:40 am

    “Rougned Odor” is a great name.

  5. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 12:16 pm

    Ah! The sun is shining, I’m working from home and have the game on in the background. And the Mariners are currently winning 3-2 at the top of the fifth. Life is good!

  6. raul_podzednick on April 6th, 2016 12:26 pm

    “Rougned Odor” is a great name.

    First Klingon to play in the Big Leagues.

  7. Dennisss on April 6th, 2016 12:26 pm

    ESPN says Martin was caught stealing second with Marte already on second. So, double steal, or picked off first?

  8. raul_podzednick on April 6th, 2016 12:28 pm

    Why run with Cano at bat and Cruz behind him?

  9. Dennisss on April 6th, 2016 12:32 pm

    This game looks a little like opening night in terms of sequencing for Texas. Three base runners in five innings, all in the same inning, two scored.

  10. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 12:36 pm

    Dennisss – I wasn’t 100% paying attention, but I think what happened was Marte took off for third, then Martin (on his own) saw that and decided to go for second.

  11. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 12:37 pm

    Yeah, Prince Fielder can still hit.

  12. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 1:10 pm

    Darn. The run was nice, but with the bases loaded I was hoping they’d get more than one.

  13. seattleslew on April 6th, 2016 1:49 pm

    We’ll see how this team plays in Seattle, but I’m impressed thus far.

  14. seattleslew on April 6th, 2016 1:50 pm

    Big improvement over the last… 10 or so years.

  15. Dennisss on April 6th, 2016 1:51 pm

    Did they get enough for you now Westside?

  16. seattleslew on April 6th, 2016 1:52 pm

    Amazing! These home runs by Cano kinda remind me of Griffey in his prime.

  17. msfanmike on April 6th, 2016 1:53 pm

    Double hernia surgery during the off-season may become a “thing” for all MLB players.

  18. kmsandrbs on April 6th, 2016 2:02 pm

    “it wasn’t as fun to see Wilhelmsen self-destruct as it would’ve been to see, I don’t know, Shawn Tolleson”

    Ask and ye shall receive? 🙂

  19. Mike G. on April 6th, 2016 2:05 pm

    That was fun!

  20. mrakbaseball on April 6th, 2016 2:25 pm

    Last year Cano didn’t hit his 4th home run until June 26.

  21. Westside guy on April 6th, 2016 2:25 pm

    I had to run out for a while, so I finished the game on radio.

    Woo hoo! Yeah, Dennisss, that’s enough runs for me. 😉 And opening the season with a series win against a division rival is sweet!

    Who’da thunk that when Felix lost game one, the team would follow that with two wins?

  22. marc w on April 6th, 2016 3:01 pm

    Ha ha ha!!! That was incredible. kmsandrbs: yes, I made a humble request and we all have received.

    I’m the same guy who ID’d the Rangers ‘pen as an undervalued strength, but this is WAY more fun. May they Oakland-in-2015 their way out of contention soon. Not that Wilhelmsen is the last man in their pen, but it’s one thing to knock him or the guy Sardinas hit yesterday, but today they got runs off of Keone Kela and a bunch off of Tolleson. Those are their two best righty relievers, and hell, even Jake Diekman was back to walking people today.

    Really, really encouraging win. Yes, Miley got hit a bit too hard, but I’ll take the 7Ks to 0 BBs any day.

  23. Notfromboise on April 6th, 2016 3:21 pm

    Mariner bullpen 2016:

    9 innings pitched, one hit allowed, 0 runs allowed, 5 BB, 14 Ks. Just Wow.

    And yeah, Marc, there was a little bit of Tom Browning moxy being shown by Miley today.

  24. davepaisley on April 6th, 2016 6:21 pm

    Just like Jerry planned: so-so starting, ace bullpen, shoddy defense and lots of homers…

  25. marc w on April 6th, 2016 6:38 pm

    Somewhere Jack Zduriencik is shaking his head, and telling a bored bartender that this was HIS idea the whole time.

    And hey, NFB: nice Tom Browning reference. Solid lefty in the unrecognizable-to-today’s-game low-strikeout late 80s/early 90s. I think I know what you mean all the same.

  26. ck on April 6th, 2016 8:09 pm

    A come-from-behind road win against a closer.
    Who are these guys ?

  27. Notfromboise on April 6th, 2016 10:06 pm

    Marc – yeah, I just mentally connect Browning to any pitcher who seems determined to have everyone on the team plane within 2 hours of the national anthem. The “anti” Jim Deshaies… who only occasionally threw to home plate in between pickoff attempts

  28. stevemotivateir on April 7th, 2016 7:11 am

    I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an opening series as much as I did this one. I can’t remember the last time I came out of an opening series feeling more confident in a Mariners team.

    Watching the Cubs anaheimilate the Angels at the same time was icing on the cake!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.