Game 8, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade Miley vs. Derek Holland, 7:10pm

Four home losses in a row, and it’s easy to feel detached, pessimistic, angry, or a mix of the three. Perhaps worse, there’s no clear, easily identifiable problem with the way the team’s been constructed, no obvious solution for people to rally around. Adam Lind looks awful (“why go after declining 1B/DH types in free agency?”), but so does Ketel Marte (“The M’s had no plan B if their beloved prospect flopped”). The line-up can’t score, but the biggest problem – even bigger than their issues with left-handed pitching – is BABIP. The bullpen doesn’t *feel* secure, but they’ve struck out 28 in 22 IP.

It’s still too early to really get a sense of the team’s flaws, or rather, which flaws to target. That’s unnerving for fans of a team that’s been out of it by mid-June rather frequently, because the AL is so tightly bunched, the M’s don’t have the luxury of taking a few months to do a proper diagnostic evaluation. If the run-scoring is all just BABIP luck, then it could turn around tonight. If the team’s made some bad bets on low-cost, over-30s complementary pieces, that’s another thing entirely. Still, it’s almost reassuring how all-over-the-map M’s fans are on twitter. I’ve seen everything fingered as the Real Problem, from two-strike approach at the plate, to Safeco Field, to the bench players. The M’s have opened with one of their most frustrating weeks in a while, and that’s saying something. But they’re clearly not as bad as they’ve looked. The question now is how much the start’s hurt them, and how quickly they can reach their potential.

Tonight, they face lefty Derek Holland. Holland’s an oft-injured hurler who never quite regained the form he showed in 2011 and 2013 as key contributor to some of the Rangers’ best teams. Yes, the injuries have had a lot to do with that, but even when he’s been healthy (and his 2015 velocity looked about the same as it always did), he’s been ineffective. Because of his approach and home park, home runs are always going to be a concern with Holland, and the M’s need to take advantage. Holland has a fastball, a change, a curveball, and a slider he’ll throw to righties as well as lefties. His velocity’s a bit better than average, but right-handed bats have done plenty of damage to each of his offerings. The slider’s his best pitch, but it may be declining – righties slugged .500 on it last year.

1: Aoki, LF
2: Sardinas, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Iannetta, C
7: Gutierrez, DH
8: Lee, 1B
9: Martin, CF
SP: Miley

So, last night was Donn Roach’s first start for Tacoma. Which Roach would we see? The lights-out, bat-missing Roach from spring training or the early-80s throwback who couldn’t miss a bat if it was laying on a chair, but succeeded by inducing grounders? In 5 2/3 solid innings against El Paso, Roach struck out… nobody. Ok, cool, glad to know that career numbers are still more predictive than spring training. Huh. The R’s won 6-3, as Roach racked up the groundouts, and the bats stayed hot against draft cautionary tale Greg Reynolds. Joe Wieland takes the mound tonight against the Chihuahuas’ Carlos Pimentel.

Jackson was rained out yesterday, but kicks off a series with Chattanooga today behind South African starter Dylan Unsworth.

Bakersfield mounted a late comeback against Modesto, eventually winning the contest 8-7 in 11. The Blaze fell behind early, as starter Eddie Campbell couldn’t locate the zone, walking six with no K’s in 3+. Meanwhile, Modesto starter Ryan Castellani held the Blaze in check, but the Blaze found lots of suitable kindling in the Nuts’ bullpen. Drew Jackson had 2 hits and his first stolen base of the year, and Ryan Horstman was the best reliever on the day, with two absolutely perfect innings – he faced 6 hitters and K’d them all.

Clinton lost to Beloit 10-6, as Nick Wells had a forgettable start to his 2016, giving up 7 runs in 3 1/3 IP. Luis Liberato had 3 hits, Ricky Eusebio added 2 including a HR, and catcher James Alfonso had two doubles. Art Warren starts for Clinton tonight against A’s prospect Dustin Driver. In researching the draft in 2013, Driver turned up as one of the better prospects from the state of Washington. The big righty out of a Wenatchee HS fell to the 3rd round due to signability concerns (I think he’d committed to UCLA), but the A’s gave him an over-slot bonus and sent him to the short-season NYPL. Driver, who apparently touched the high-90s at times, pitched all of 11 1/3 IP before being shut down with a back injury. Not sure if anyone knew how serious it was at the time, but Driver missed all of 2014, and came back late in 2015, and looked predictably rusty. He’s still young, but that’s a lot of development time to miss.


22 Responses to “Game 8, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2016 7:44 pm

    I like this Miley guy… He’s just the right amount of off-kilter…

    (I typed, right before he put guys on 1st and 3rd with no outs…)

  2. JasonJ on April 12th, 2016 7:59 pm

    Same old Mariners…

  3. WTF_Ms on April 12th, 2016 8:06 pm

    Once again, see my user name. This teams is a disaster.

  4. mrakbaseball on April 12th, 2016 8:09 pm

    Remember, “it’s early”.

  5. eponymous coward on April 12th, 2016 8:11 pm

    Once again, there is no floor.

  6. mariner_funk on April 12th, 2016 8:31 pm

    Maybe Bertha can dig a new floor under Safeco. The one we have now isn’t working, we keep falling through it.

  7. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2016 8:33 pm

    Two on one out.

  8. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2016 8:35 pm

    Two on Two out.

  9. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2016 8:38 pm

    Another rally gone

  10. Notfromboise on April 12th, 2016 8:38 pm

    Miley is Dipoto’s first ‘big’ get… It’d be pretty tragic if Miley busts and Paxton/Montgomery end up with those innings.

    It’s early, small sample-size, etc, I know… I just get this feeling i’m on hidden camera, and instead of having the mariners stink out of the gate, the producers of the show thought as an added bonus *only* Chris Ianetta would hit… Basically, the Universe (or just Hollywood) may be out to get me lol.

  11. msfanmike on April 12th, 2016 8:45 pm

    The daily minor league report is the highlight of the day – so thanks, Marc!

  12. Longgeorge1 on April 12th, 2016 8:48 pm

    Too bad the Rainiers got rained out.

  13. Westside guy on April 12th, 2016 8:55 pm

    Man, the Mariners are really digging themselves into a real hole right now.

  14. msfanmike on April 12th, 2016 9:03 pm

    I’m not sure what constitutes a “start” of the season – in terms of number of games played, but I am going to pretend that number is somewhere between 20-40. Between now and then I would like to thank the team from the heart of my bottom for making my evening TV viewing decisions quite simple.

  15. WTF_Ms on April 12th, 2016 9:11 pm

    They look horrible. I just hope the horrible doesn’t last too long. A .500 season is almost too much to ask for at this point.

  16. mariner_funk on April 12th, 2016 9:17 pm

    I wasn’t sold on this team when it was built, but there isn’t a lot the new boss can do. Not a ton of money to spend, lots of holes to fill, from minors on up. It will take some time for the new culture to develop. Until then I get to see the King throw every few days, so that’s pretty sweet.

  17. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2016 9:24 pm

    This has been a bizarre game really. Highlighting the BABIP hole the M’s are in… The Mariners have been hitting the ball HARD since the first inning, with many being a foot away from being hits, while the Rangers (except Beltre) have had bunches of bloop singles, rollers that find holes…

    The Baseball Gods are rubbing it in our face for some reason.

  18. Woodcutta on April 12th, 2016 9:27 pm

    Ugh, just heard Harold Reynolds say again that Cano gets “bored” when they shift him especially onto the outfield grass and that is THE reason he didn’t play well in the 1st half of last season. Can someone please take his job or something? He has said some of the dumbest things I have ever heard someone that has played the game say.

    On this season, it is still early and players like Lind will hit eventually (hopefully). If the M’s are under .500 or way under .500 when May starts then maybe some things need to be changed imo.

  19. Notfromboise on April 12th, 2016 9:33 pm

    Weird stat that pops out at me: Miley struck out 3 more batters, allowed 6 more hits and 6 more runs than Holland…..

    over the same 6 innings.

    And Miley somehow threw 3 fewer pitches.

  20. MrZDevotee on April 12th, 2016 9:39 pm

    Another weird bit of luck: Coming into tonight’s game, we’re in last place in the West… AND… We’re the only team that DOESN’T have a negative run differential…

  21. Mr. G on April 12th, 2016 9:40 pm

    Just think, after this game they ONLY need to go 86-68 (Hah!) to get to the 88 win mark if that’s what the wildcard takes…ugh.

  22. raul_podzednick on April 13th, 2016 10:05 am

    where is that Rob Schneider in The Waterboy gif again… I had it here somewhere…

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