Game 66, Mariners at Rays
James Paxton vs. Blake Snell, 10:10am
I completely understand that many fans might need a mental break from the M’s for a bit, and that 10am games aren’t helpful for many over here on the West coast, but if you can, this is a game to watch. James Paxton is pretty much appointment television at this point, and his opponent is Shoreline native turned uberprospect, Blake Snell.
We talked about Snell briefly last year in some minor league recaps, as the lefty made the leap from ‘solid lefty arm’ to ‘dominant.’ He started the year in high-A, and didn’t give up a run in 21 IP, so he moved up to AA. After a brilliant campaign for Montgomery, he ended in AAA Durham. All told he K’d 163 in 134 IP with an ERA of 1.41. He had a solid spring, but began the year in AAA to work on his command (like Kris Bryant needed to work on his defense) and, let’s be honest, give the Rays another year of club control.
He did make one spot start for the Rays, a 5 IP teaser in Yankee Stadium. There, we got to see what his stuff looked like against big league hitting, and what we saw was kind of intriguing. We talked a lot about rising fastballs yesterday, with Nate Karns and Drew Smyly matching up, and we talked about the Orioles love of rising four seamers with Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen (when he was there last year). Those guys feature fastballs with 10-11″ of vertical “rise” – meaning backspin prevents the ball from falling as quickly as a ball thrown the same speed but without spin. What’s this got to do with Snell? In that one outing in New York, Snell’s FB had more rise than any starter’s in the game.
Jeff Sullivan talked about it here, and you should click that to see gifs of Snell and his lanky, over the top delivery in action. With that kind of movement, Snell should be an extreme fly ball guy, but it any pitch that’s several standard deviations from the mean should get more whiffs as well.
The bullpen could use a rest, so the M’s may bring up an arm from AAA Tacoma, reports Ryan Divish. No word on that yet.
1: Marte, SS
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Lee, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Aoki, LF
9: O’Malley, CF