Game 51, Padres at Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. James Shields, 12:40pm
Well, that was more like it.
The M’s try to take the series in today’s day game against veteran righty, James Shields. You know Shields and what he throws: he’s still got a rising four seamer and a change up that’s been his signature pitch for a decade or more. In recent years, he’s developed a hard cutter at 87mph or so that he used as a change of pace, and he needs a pitch like that, given that he throws his four seam or sinker around 40% of the time *combined*. It also seems like an attempt to improve his ability to get right-handed hitters out. For years, his fastball/change game led to even or even reverse platoon splits. That’s fine, but he was only league-average or so against righties. Keep the lefty-destroying change, and get a slider-y thing to get righties out, and he’d become a star. He rode the cutter to his best performance vs. righties in his career last year, but there was a catch: now lefties torched him. He throws the cutter to lefties as well, and for whatever reason, they’ve annihilated it. His splits are back to normal (er, for him) this year, but he’s also gotten a handle on his HR rate, which spiked despite his move to Petco park last year, sinking his 2015 campaign. Maybe the M’s can remind him of those troubles today..
Another thing to look for: Shields’ velocity is down this year.
1: Aoki, CF
2: Smith, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Gutierrez, RF
8: Clevenger, C
9: Sardiñas, SS
So, uh, Tacoma…tied New Orleans yesterday. I am acquainted with ties; I follow soccer, this is not unknown to me. I just never thought I’d be telling y’all about a tie baseball game. 2-2. Cody Martin was solid through 3 IP, giving up both runs, and then Casey Coleman shut things down with 4 Ks in 2 IP. James Paxton takes the hill tonight in Tacoma as the R’s welcome Salt Lake to Tacoma.
Jackson was off, but Andrew Moore will make his 2nd AA start against Tennessee tonight.
Bakersfield came back from an early 6-1 deficit in their 8-7 win over Inland Empire. Drew Jackson had 3 hits and Chantz Mack homered. The Blaze have an off day today.
Clinton lost a tough one, 6-5 to Burlington on a dreaded walk-off error. Logan Taylor homered for Clinton, but it wasn’t enough. The L-Kings head home to start a series vs. Quad Cities today with Art Warren on the mound.