Game 53, Mariners at Padres
Wade Miley vs. Colin Rea, 6:10pm
Well, last night’s game sure was something. There’s no way to sugar coat James Paxton’s results: he got hit hard, and giving up dingers in Petco prevents any attempt at crying BABIP: Paxton threw poorly located pitches and the Padres hit them hard. And yet it’s kind of hard to be too upset.
Paxton’s four seamer *averaged* 98 mph, according to MLBAM. He touched triple digits during a start in which he threw 100 pitches. His curveball’s movement was unrecognizable from the one he threw last year. Whereas his curve in September last year had essentially no horizontal movement and 2-3″ of drop compared to a ball without spin, this new pitch has actual gloveside break and drops a lot more despite having the same or even a bit more velocity. Much of the change in movement comes from a shift in his arm angle – instead of the old over-the-top Paxton, we saw a more traditional 3/4 delivery. That, of course, doesn’t explain the additional velocity, nor the increase in spin on his hook. It’s all a part of a package – a package which, at least last night, contained some wonderful, expensive gifts, but also contained a dead rat and twenty cigarette butts. Wait, what’s that? You just read this article? Sullivan, huh? Damn it.
I don’t want to get carried away and say that the good things we saw (100mph velocity, better curve) are somehow “real” while the serious command problems were the transitory byproducts of a serious mechanical change. But, like, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Today the M’s face Colin Rea, a right-hander with a 92-93mph four-seam and sinker with essentially average movement. His primary breaking ball is a cutter at 88mph, but he also throws a fairly firm curveball that gets good downward break. The curve and change-up get a lot of ground balls, which help keep his overall GB rates around average. Rea’s claim to fame in his brief MLB career was his start against the Mets in early May in which he went 8+ innings, giving up just 1 run, and taking a no-hitter into the 8th. That success wouldn’t last, as Rea was optioned to AAA El Paso just a few weeks after that start against New York, and he’s just been recalled to make this start. Rea isn’t an overpowering guy, as his K rates are fairly average, and he walks a bit more than you’d like from someone who doesn’t miss that many bats; his walk rate is 10% this year, and some control issues led to a series of short starts just before his demotion.
1: Aoki, CF
2: Smith, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Sardinas, SS
9: Miley, SP
The big news in the minors tonight is that Tim Lincecum’s making the start for Salt Lake tonight in Tacoma. Lincecum last pitched in Tacoma in 2007, in what is still probably the most electric, most jaw-dropping performance I’ve ever seen live. Tonight will likely *not* be a repeat of that; I don’t think Lincecum will sit 98 with his fastball tonight, but it’s still going to be interesting to see where he’s at. I want to pull for him, as he’s one of the most unique pitchers in recent memory AND a local success story, but…did you have to sign with the Angels?
Here’s a quick check on how the M’s affiliates have done on the year:
Tacoma: 31-21, run differential: +49
Jackson: 34-18, +42
Bakersfield: 24-28, +13
Clinton: 28-24, 0
Cumulative record: 117-91
Cumulative run differential: +104