Game 59, Indians at Mariners

marc w · June 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10pm

Last night’s win was a big one, not just to snap a losing streak that saw their playoff odds tumble, but because they needed to start winning games they should win. When Cody Anderson fills in for an injured Danny Salazar, you need to take advantage. Tonight, the M’s face a top-notch starter, but one who’s coming off a long layoff with a hamstring injury, and is having something of a let-down season. Can the M’s take advantage?

Carlos Carrasco turned heads in the second half of 2014, when the long-time swing man/reliever moved back into the rotation out of necessity and starting blowing people away. In 14 starts, he struck out 10 per 9IP, walked less than 2, and posted a FIP of 2.22 while sustaining 95mph velocity and throwing a nasty slider and change to back it up. Last year, Carrasco sustained the spike in K rate, posted another lovely FIP, but allowed quite a few more runs than his FIP would’ve predicted. His HR/FB rate went from good-lucky in 2014 to bad-lucky in 2015, and that essentially counteracted the improvements in K:BB. But the real story in his 2015 splits wasn’t platoon splits; lefties weren’t driving his increased dinger rate. Instead, it was his home park. Carrasco got hit much harder at home than he did on the road, giving up 12 HRs at home to just 6 on the road, despite logging more innings away from Cleveland. It pushed his home ERA/FIP well above his overall mark, but while Cleveland’s a good hitter’s park, it seemed like an oddity. Given the samples here, it probably *is* and oddity, but it’s a funny one. In 2016, that trend continues. He’s given up 5 HRs on the year, and *all* of them have come at home. At home, his ERA is 4.41, similar to last year’s 5.03, and his road ERA is 0.84 (2.49 last year). Are the M’s doomed because they’re playing in Safeco? No, and they should do their part to restore some balance to these nonsensical splits by hitting several homers tonight.

Carrasco’s velocity’s down about a tick on the fastball (he throws a four-seam and a sinker, both with some sink to them), and his fastball’s given him problems thus far. 4 of his 5 HRs allowed have come on FB, so he’s given up 4 HRs and struck out only 4 on four-seamers and sinkers combined. That’s good for the M’s, as Carrasco’s other pitches still look nasty. He throws a hard slider that looks cutter-y to me, so we’ll see two pitchers tonight who throw what look to any neutral observers like cutters, but they call them sliders. He’s also got a very hard curve (~82-83mph) with some good break. His change-up is, like everything else he throws, very hard at about 89mph. In speed and movement, it’s an absolute dead ringer for Felix’s hard cambio. At least in 2015, the results on it were similar, too – both get swinging strikes and a ton of grounders on that pitch, despite the fact that the velocity gap between change and fastball is quite different for each pitcher. The moral of the story here for the M’s is keep Carrasco in FB counts, and don’t take fastballs in the zone.

In the past two years, Carrasco’s been masterful at getting batters to chase, but his o-swing% has tumbled this year – it’s gone from 39% a year ago to just 26% this year. Given his layoff, the 2016 sample’s tiny, and Bauer’s awful o-swing numbers didn’t appear predictive in his start against the M’s. Still, it’s another encouraging sign that Carrasco’s not quite the ace-in-the-making he appeared to be in 2014.

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

Ketel Marte’s neck spasms forced him out after batting practice yesterday, but he seems to have healed up. Weird glut of short-lived neck spasms on the M’s this year…

As mentioned last night, the Rainiers had a forgettable day in Las Vegas, as Adrian Sampson got knocked around for the first time. So forget that. Today, the story is that Tacoma will host the 2017 AAA All-Star game, quite a coup for Cheney and Tacoma. That should be a fun one – I look forward to seeing some pretty good prospects play at Cheney next year. Tacoma’s off today, but look for Leonys Martin in the line-up tomorrow as the R’s return home to face Reno. Martin’s supposed to get 7 IP, but with Donn Roach on the mound, I don’t know how busy he’ll be.

Jackson beat Pensacola 4-1, getting two runs in each of the first two innings and coasting to victory. Dylan Unsworth, one of SEVEN Generals named to the Southern League All Star team, pitched one scoreless IP before giving way to Kyle Hunter. We’ll have to see what’s going on there – no word on a promotion as yet. The Generals magic number to clinch the first-half title is now at 3 with 12 games left.

Bakersfield completed a 7-0 road trip and won their 8th in a row overall with a 7-3 win over San Jose. Tyler Pike wasn’t great, but pitched out of trouble, but the bullpen was solid behind him. Kyle Petty and Austin Wilson each had 3 hits for the Blaze. Bakersfield will have three representatives at the California League All Star game: 1B Kyle Petty, SP Tyler Herb and RP Kyle Schepel. The Blaze have a day off.

Clinton blanked Wisconsin 6-0, as Zack Littell dominated for 6 IP, striking out 8. Logan Taylor had 3 hits and a homer, while Dalton Kelly doubled and tripled for the Lumberkings. Art Warren starts for Clinton tonight.


16 Responses to “Game 59, Indians at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 7:33 pm

    Hey, Mike, you may have seen this already but…

    Thanks to Baseball Reference, I was able to get the Cruz comp info through game 56 anyway – and he’s definitely a ways below where he was over the same period last year:

    Cruz’s 2016 line: .288/.379/.524 (.913 OPS)
    Cruz’s 2015 line: .326/.382/.615 (.997 OPS)

    To do this, you go to the “game logs” for a season. Then you can click on any two games to specify the range you want included.

  2. Notfromboise on June 8th, 2016 7:33 pm

    Walker looks great, and more importantly, he looks p*ssed off, which is what I enjoy seeing out of him. A little nasty streak can go a long way in this business.

    On a side note : Houston looks primed to finally beat the Rangers for the first time… this season. We’ll take it.

  3. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 7:35 pm

    Go Astros!

  4. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 7:55 pm

    We forgive you, Ianetta!

  5. msfanmike on June 8th, 2016 7:57 pm

    Thanks Westy … Appreciate it.

  6. msfanmike on June 8th, 2016 8:00 pm

    I would like to see the replay process tweaked. Why do teams have the option of viewing the replay a couple times (with the dude down the tunnel) before deciding whether or not to challenge? If the manager thinks the ump missed the call – March out there right away and ask for a challenge. If you are not sure – then live with the call.

    Too much wasting time. Live with the visceral reality and deal with it.

  7. msfanmike on June 8th, 2016 8:09 pm

    In terms of OPS+

    Nelson Cruz is currently at 160.

    He ended last season at 160.

    His triple slash line (same comparison points) is virtually identical, too. That’s some nice and very much appreciated consistency.

  8. msfanmike on June 8th, 2016 8:18 pm

    Did Seager swing because he thought they were playing pepper all of a sudden? Why swing??

  9. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 9:18 pm

    It’s definitely nice to have a catcher who can hit.

  10. californiamariner on June 8th, 2016 9:25 pm

    Well done Taijuan! I keep waiting to see Diaz pitch since I missed his one outing. I guess I can’t complain though if he’s not pitching because the starters are going so deep into games.

  11. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 9:28 pm

    I love watching Taijuan pitch when he’s “on”. He gives off a vibe like he might eventually be a worthy successor for the King.

  12. Notfromboise on June 8th, 2016 9:42 pm

    As the resident Ianetta-hater here at USSM, I would like to whole heartedly congratulate Chris Ianetta on an effort of a lifetime… in order to bump your other-worldly OPS (.729) over the .700 line.. with a 2-hr day..

    On a better note, man I called it earlier in the thread.. Tajuan had the eye of the Tiger in those first couple innings.. and you ‘just knew’… Theres a very, very small # of pitchers in my lifetime that I could look into their eyes and ‘just know’ victory was guaranteeed.. Doc Gooden… Pedro….Clemens… etc.. Tajuan is really good.. He may very well one day be ‘great’.

  13. Westside guy on June 8th, 2016 9:53 pm

    Woo hoo!

  14. Notfromboise on June 8th, 2016 9:57 pm

    We win! Texas loses! good day, indeed.

    fun fact: Texas lost because Bartender gave up the winning runs. Bartender karma dividends. He’s worth more to us now as a member of Texas’s bullpen then he ever was pitching for our actual team. lol

  15. marc w on June 8th, 2016 10:48 pm

    Totally agreed, Westy – there’s something about Taijuan when he’s locked in… There’s real ace stuff in there. Consistency is the issue of course, but he just looks *different* when the command is there. Batters just don’t have much of a chance.

  16. Grayfox3d on June 9th, 2016 3:02 pm

    If Taijuan and Paxton could perform on a more consistent basis, they could be a pretty bad ass 1 2 punch. I know better than to expect constant repeats of their recent performances, but anything resembling that stuff would be fantastic. Would definently take the sting out of losing Felix for an extended period.

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