Game 52, Mariners at Padres

marc w · June 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Christian Friedrich, 7:10pm

What is normally a celebration is now a day of reflection and somber determination. Our great King has been sent to the 15-dal DL, retroactive to May 28th, with a calf strain. That’s…let’s be clear, that’s a good limb for a pitcher to injure, assuming (as seems to be the case) that a pitcher must injure something. Now is not the time for histrionics and wailing. Our King would want us to soldier on. But clearly, we can’t do what we normally do, not just because Felix isn’t pitching, but because Felix was injured in the very ACT of celebrating. Celebrations themselves seem suspect right now. Time for Marshawn Lynch-style handshakes for the next few HR, I mean, observations.

The M’s announced Paxton was coming up last night, which made for a very uncomfortable evening of trying to tell myself that the move wasn’t about Felix, even though it was pretty obvious from the timing that the move had everything to do with him. Paxton’s been solid in AAA overall, but his line is the product of some serious peaks and valleys. He’s given up more runs than innings pitched in three of his 10 starts on the year, but in the other 7, he’s given up a TOTAL of 3 earned runs. Adding in unearned runs brings it up to 6, but that’s still less than a run per start. His K:BB ratio are better now than they’ve ever been at the level, and he’d have a brilliant FIP if it wasn’t for some HR problems: his HR/9 is a career high, setting aside a weird 12-inning stint in 2014. He’s striking out more than a batter per inning for Tacoma, a bit more than he did in his last extended AAA time in 2013, but the biggest improvement has come in his control.

One of the many things that’s always confused me about Paxton is the fact that he’s displayed even or reverse platoon splits at the big league level. Seriously, take a look: the very few lefties to face him have hit a combined .314/.403/.419, while righties hit .206/.276/.321. FIP sees through the huge BABIP issues with the lefties, but still shows him with essentially even splits. In the minors, however, Paxton’s shown sizable splits, and that’s continued this year, where lefties hit just .136 off of him, while 5 of his 6 HRs have come against righties. I’m assuming the Pads will stack their line-up with righties, so here’s hoping his BABIP devil magic against MLB right-handers continues.

Christian Friedrich is someone I’ve always kept an eye on after seeing an impressive start against Tacoma on his way to the majors in the Rockies org. Unfortunately, injuries and altitude torpedoed his career. After being waived by Colorado this spring, he signed on with the Angels – a team that could seriously use some pitching depth right now. After a physical, they decided not to take him, and he was sent back to Colorado, who then waived him. I mentioned he was pitching in the Cal League for the Padres org back in April, and, well, here he is, pitching for the big club. He’s made three starts for them thus far, and he’s coming off a real gem: 7 shutout innings giving up just 3 hits and a walk, while striking out 5 D-Backs. He had serious control problems in his first two starts, but he hasn’t paid a high price for it, in part because he hasn’t given up a dinger yet. He’s getting more grounders than he did in Colorado, which is interesting because he has a very, very similar release point and throwing motion to Paxton. Both are lefties who release their fastball about 7′ above the ground, and generate the kind of backspin you’d expect from such over-the-top deliveries. It’s interesting, then, that their *other* pitches look nothing alike. Paxton’s curve is much firmer, and thus has a bit less vertical drop than Friedrich’s. Friedrich’s cutter has strong vertical drop, especially compared to his fastball and change, while Paxton’s is more of a horizontal breaking pitch.

1: Aoki, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Lee, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Sardiñas, SS
9: Paxton, SP

Abbreviated MiLB news today, but wanted to point out that Patrick Kivlehan rejoined Tacoma today in time for their day game against Salt Lake. Kivlehan had 3 hits in the game, and lead off man Ketel Marte had 2 – both players doubled. Tacoma won 5-1 behind a solid start by Brad Mills.

Kivlehan was the player to be named later in the Leonys Martin/Tom Wilhelmsen trade this winter, but he struggled mightily with Round Rock, hitting .184/.252/.262. Texas then offered him back to Seattle, and so he’s back with the team he played for last year.


33 Responses to “Game 52, Mariners at Padres”

  1. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 7:31 pm

    I can’t believe they didn’t pinch hit for Paxton with the bases loaded. What a waste of an opportunity.

  2. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 7:41 pm

    Goddamn, if they had only listened to me, we wouldn’t have seen that crap-ass performance out the bottom of the inning.

  3. mrakbaseball on June 1st, 2016 7:44 pm

    James Paxton is in for a short night.

  4. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 7:49 pm

    I wonder how many innings they’ll ask from Montgomery tonight.

  5. djw on June 1st, 2016 8:04 pm

    This is quite the dumpster fire.

  6. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 8:10 pm

    This illustrates the massive difference between the Minor Leagues and the Majors as far as hitters go. Dumpster fire is a good description. Get well soon Felix!

  7. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 8:12 pm

    Paxton’s looked good at this level, he just wasn’t consistent. Lot of nerves shown early tonight in his 2016 debut, though. Hopefully he’s settling down after those 2 K’s.

  8. djw on June 1st, 2016 8:13 pm

    I was really optimistic about Paxton’s future throughout 2015. What happened? His stuff looks really flat.

  9. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 8:14 pm

    He looks like he’s leaving his FB up. A big no-no. That, and the ump sucks. Let’s squeeze the call-up, and see how it goes, eh?

  10. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 8:19 pm

    Seriously, what is up with the Mariners base running–every single year?

  11. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 8:20 pm

    Oh, Lordy, Lee is almost Montero-esque there on the base paths.

    Could he be any slower?

  12. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 8:24 pm

    Oh boy, Paxton is hitting with men on. Again.

  13. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 8:24 pm

    I was thinking the same thing, with Lee’s short choppy stride there!

  14. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 8:25 pm

    Hahahaha – Paxton walked!

  15. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 8:29 pm

    Come back quickly, Leonys Martin!

  16. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 8:37 pm

    Come back quickly, Ketel Marte!

  17. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 8:41 pm

    Yeah, we all have overlooked some of our injuries haven’t we??? Those two, now Felix, Furbush, etc…Amazing we’ve done as well as we have!

  18. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:01 pm



  19. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:02 pm


  20. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 9:03 pm

    Payback for the 16 run game…

  21. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:04 pm

    Yeah, we all have overlooked some of our injuries haven’t we??? Those two, now Felix, Furbush, etc…Amazing we’ve done as well as we have!

    You’re right, WTF_Ms, and I guess we need to see things in context… but still, I’d gotten used to them rolling along!

  22. stevemotivateir on June 1st, 2016 9:08 pm

    Tough choice coming up with Zych on his way back. Keep Peralta, who has been hanging everything, resulting in 8 runs over his last 10 appearances, …or Steve Johnson, who hasn’t been giving up runs, but has 7 walks in 11 innings pitched?

    I’m not sold on Peralta. Not sold on Johnson, either, but I think I’d stick with Johnson.

  23. Notfromboise on June 1st, 2016 9:08 pm

    K, been watching this from the start, finally stopped vomiting enough to collect my thoughts:

    Paxton’s throw to 2nd missed Cano by a half-a-zipcode, but it still was closer than Aoki’s throw home (or 3rd base, considering where it went).

    Funny how a single error always leads to multiple runs…

    I hope Servais and Stottlemyre aren’t patting themselves on the back for burning both long releivers (Nuno/Montgomery) for a *single* inning each last night in a … complete blowout.

  24. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:10 pm

    Man, it seems there’s been way too many GIDPs tonight…

  25. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 9:12 pm

    I agree with the tough decision. Peralta has to go. I’ll take a few scattered walks over home runs any day. A home run is 100% chance of score, where a walk may be much lower?

  26. Notfromboise on June 1st, 2016 9:33 pm

    @Westside : Agreed, and yet we still somehow stranded 7 baserunners in the first 3 innings…

    as for Peralta… It’s not his fault management burned through both long relievers the night before in a blowout.. win…

    And yet, yeah I’d still take the unknown in Johnson.

    Oh, and as for the talk about ‘luck’ involving injuries…

    Can we consider ourselves super lucky that Martin and Marte were doing good enough in their roles that they are sorely missed? We are indeed lucky in that regard, imo!

  27. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:39 pm

    Oh good grief, this really is the Bizarro-world version of last night’s game…

  28. Notfromboise on June 1st, 2016 9:42 pm

    Look on the bright side Westie, we scored 4 more runs than we would of had Felix pitched!

  29. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 9:44 pm

    Hahaha true!

  30. Notfromboise on June 1st, 2016 9:57 pm

    At least Cleveland beat Texas. Let’s call it good and let Clevenger pitch the last 3 innings.

  31. WTF_Ms on June 1st, 2016 10:01 pm

    Hey, I’d be satisfied if the totals for yesterday and today, we would still end up on top???

  32. Westside guy on June 1st, 2016 10:33 pm

    Well thank goodness that is over.

  33. Grayfox3d on June 2nd, 2016 3:19 pm

    And there goes Peralta!

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