Game 6, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · April 10, 2016 at 10:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Chris Bassitt, 1:10pm

Happy Felix Day. May the King lead us out of rather ugly two-game skid and back to the happier times of dingers and doubles, and annihilating opposing relievers.

The King faces off against Chris Bassitt today, an A’s right-hander acquired in the Jeff Samardzija trade. Bassitt seemed like a classic Oakland target – a big-league ready starter without much in the way of pure stuff, but solid command of four pitches. For the team that got Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin for Josh Donaldson, this seemed pretty normal/predictable, if a bit underwhelming considering what they were giving up. Bassitt’s been surprising, though – his velocity last year kept climbing, going from 92 with the White Sox to averaging 94 in Oakland. That, combined with very low HR-allowed marks allowed him to post a string of quality starts after getting a July promotion from AAA. To be clear: with a K rate solidly below average and a few too many walks, it’s not like Bassitt turned into a #2 starter or anything, but the improvements he’s made to date allow A’s fans to think the missed bats could come soon enough.

In his first start this year, the velocity was 95, suggesting he could average even higher by June/July. Again, though, he’s not yet a strikeout pitcher. As many have observed, including in the preview of the last time he faced off with El Cartelua, he doesn’t have much of a weapon against lefties. He’s been primarily a sinker/slider pitcher, and like most sinker/slider guys, he had big platoon splits in the minors and in his cup of coffee in Chicago. In recent games, he’s shifted to his slow curve a bit more. He’ll still throw his hard slider (85+ mph) to lefties, but he’s going with the curve as his putaway pitch. That sounds bad for an M’s offense that looked absolutely lost against Rich Hill’s curve (which he threw an astounding 54 times), but Bassitt’s a righty, and that should make a difference.

The real reason Bassitt’s put up very nice FIP (and ERA) marks in 2014-15 isn’t because he’s putting batters away, and it’s not due to great control. He’s been remarkably good at keeping the ball in the park. Oakland’s park probably has something to do with that, and there’s no way we can ascribe some kind of skill to him given the short track record, but I’m hoping the M’s can drive a pitch or two today. Bassitt gave up one HR in his 5 1/3 IP start against the White Sox last week, so hopefully the regression in HR/FB is already underway.

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

EIGHT lefties in the line-up today, plus Nelson Cruz.

Ryan Divish tweeted last night that the early MLBAM gameday total showed Hill had thrown 52 curves. This morning, BrooksBaseball had revised that upwards to 54. My first thought was: that has to be at or near a record, but it’s not. Last September, Lance McCullers of the Astros threw 54 against the Angels, and then 54 against the Royals in October. Jose Quintana of the White Sox threw an astounding 59 in September, also against KC. AJ Burnett got to 57 in a 2013 game, too. It’s still incredibly rare, but it’s not quite AS rare as I’d thought.

The Rainiers dropped their first game of the year yesterday, 2-0, to Albuquerque. Jeff Hoffman was solid, tossing 6 scoreless frames with 3 walks and 6 Ks, and the Isotopes bullpen made it hold up. James Paxton struggled with his mechanics a bit, according to BP’s Brendan Gawlowski, and sat 91-93. That’s pretty much on par with what we saw in the Spring – and perhaps a bit better – but still noticeably down from where he was in April a year ago, and in 2014. Not sure what it means. Paxton didn’t get hit hard – he gave up 2 hits in 4 IP – but he walked 5 against 3 K’s. Lefty Paul Fry made his AAA debut and K’d 3 of the 4 hitters he faced, tossing a perfect 1 1/3 IP. Today, the Rainiers finish up their opening series against the Isotopes, and the R’s send Adrian Sampson to the hill. He’ll face off with Albuquerque’s Shane Carle.

Jackson beat Montgomery 3-1, taking the first three games of the season against a very, very good Biscuits starting rotation. The Generals have now beaten Jacob Faria (the Ray’s #6 prospect) in game 1, Taylor Guerrieri (the Rays #3 prospect) in game 2, and Ryne Stanek, the one-time M’s draftee, then a candidate to be the #1 overall prospect out of Arkansas several years ago, and now the Rays #16 prospect last night. Sam Gaviglio got the win for Jackson, tossing 5 solid innings, and then the Generals got good relief performances by Steven Landazuri and Dan Altavilla, who struck out 3 in 2 IP for the save. Guillermo Heredia and Tyler O’Neill led the offense with two hits each. Brett Ash takes the hill for Jackson today.

Bakersfield was rained out for the first time since 2012 last night. Tyler Pike makes the start for the Blaze today.

Kane County beat Clinton 5-4, despite three hits from Ricky Eusebio. Zack Littell went 5 shutout innings for the L-Kings, striking out 8, but the bullpen kind of imploded behind him. Kyle Wilcox makes his 2016 debut on the mound today.


37 Responses to “Game 6, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 12:25 pm

    It’s early days, but I’m a bit surprised how often we’re seeing Cruz play in the field.

  2. Howdogg on April 10th, 2016 1:02 pm

    Quick question from a longtime lurker and a big fan of the experts on this site: I was just reading the Seattle Times’ piece on the evolution of King Felix, and I got to wondering which of the all-time greats looked the most similar to the pitcher Felix has turned into.

    The first person who jumped into my head was Greg Maddux. Both guys lost quite a bit of velocity over the years, but managed to stay dominant by becoming better pitchers. I see a common thread of “craftsmanship” in their games, which I would define as strategically deploying a diverse array of pitches — none of which are that impressive in isolation — and locating them impeccably.

    Anyway, this topic has probably come up here before, and there are probably better comparisons once you dig into the details of pitching approaches, but I’d be interested to hear what others think. Go Felix!

  3. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 1:40 pm

    The performance of the rotation, and especially Felix, Iwakuma, and Walker will be a big factor in how the M’s do this year. First time through, they were all OK, not great, so I am looking forward to another round.

    Felix looks good early.

  4. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 1:42 pm

    Lind, on the other hand. 12 at bats, 6 K’s, one hit.

  5. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 2:19 pm

    Lind being 1-12 doesn’t bother me as much as this series against Oakland as a team is bothering me.

  6. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:24 pm

    Given how tight the AL West is predicted to be, I’m going to do my best not to draw too many conclusions based on a grand total of six games. There just haven’t been nearly enough plate appearances to judge people – one good or bad game can shift someone’s average by 50 points (and OPS by even larger values).

  7. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:26 pm

    Come on, Clevenger!

  8. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:27 pm

    Ugh. Come ON, Clevenger…

  9. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 2:28 pm

    Just wanted to see a little more life in them this series. That Texas series was fun to watch especially them being all fired up after the Bartender bean ball.

  10. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:30 pm

    Believe me – I still feel the frustration, Grayfox3d. 😉

  11. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 2:34 pm

    Is “batter’s interference to pitcher” even a thing?

  12. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:45 pm

    Cruz really needs to be deferring to the center fielder. We’ve seen him do that before.

  13. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 2:57 pm

    Rather be lucky than good!

  14. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 3:12 pm

    So, who in the bullpen do they trust with this lead? I assume Benoit, but Cishek?

  15. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 3:20 pm

    What lead are you referring to, Dennisss?

  16. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 3:20 pm

    lol…. great work there to deny Felix of a win.

  17. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 3:20 pm

    That didn’t take long…

  18. Jake on April 10th, 2016 3:22 pm

    Ridiculous, where the hell was Benoit? He’s the overpaid setup guy.

  19. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 3:24 pm

    I have a sense that you really need three good relievers — a couple for the seventh & eighth innings, one for the ninth. I’m not sure who those guys are, but probably not Peralta.

  20. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 3:25 pm

    In general, I dislike uniforms that don’t have the players’ names on the back. I dislike it even more on a team like the Mariners where there’s been a lot of roster turnover.

  21. MrZDevotee on April 10th, 2016 3:27 pm

    I think the guys in the bullpen are happy to not have their names known, Westy…

  22. mrakbaseball on April 10th, 2016 3:27 pm

    Mariners trying to be “traditional” with the lame Sunday fauxbacks

  23. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 3:32 pm

    I wanna know who I’m yelling at, MrZ!

  24. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 3:43 pm

    Trusting Cishek with the tie at least.

  25. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 3:54 pm

    Bot 9th…. 2 pitches… 2 outs way to fight.

  26. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 4:02 pm

    I hate you Coco Crisp…. so damn much.

  27. r-gordon-7 on April 10th, 2016 4:03 pm

    I agree with Westside Guy about the uniforms . In fact, I came here today specifically to post about the foolish front office decision to omit names from the uniforms on Sunday (or really, on any day), especially on a team which has undergone such an extensive overhaul in the off season. From a marketing perspective, the M’s really need to facilitate and not frustrate the average fan’s familiarity with the new roster…

  28. Notfromboise on April 10th, 2016 4:03 pm

    3 hits in 7 innings after stacking the deck with left handed hitting….

    I’m starting to worry we’re just not going to hit again. …

    As I type that, speaking of things that never change, Mr. Crisp is annihilating the Mariners.. sigh =/

  29. r-gordon-7 on April 10th, 2016 4:04 pm

    …yeah, and to know whom to yell at…

  30. Notfromboise on April 10th, 2016 4:06 pm

    Seager, Cano, and Cruz coming up.. This ain’t over yet.

  31. Notfromboise on April 10th, 2016 4:09 pm

    Thats how you lead off an inning!

    Doolittle seems quite hittable once again, he’s my favorite A.

  32. Notfromboise on April 10th, 2016 4:13 pm

    And its up to Lee…

  33. Grayfox3d on April 10th, 2016 4:14 pm

    I know its early but this is just…. I dunno.
    Pitching looks good so far, as for the rest of the team…

  34. Westside guy on April 10th, 2016 4:16 pm


  35. Notfromboise on April 10th, 2016 4:17 pm

    Still don’t have a starter with a ‘win’ going into game #7…

  36. Dennisss on April 10th, 2016 4:17 pm

    Felix is not quite enough to make up for the entire remainder of the team…

  37. MrZDevotee on April 10th, 2016 7:05 pm

    We love you Felix… Especially for enduring your time in Seattle with love…

    2 starts, 1 earned run… 0-1 record.

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