Game 68, Mariner at Red Sox
Adrian Sampson vs. Rick Porcello, 1:10pm
Adrian Sampson’s a strike thrower whose primary breaking ball’s a slider. He’s shown some sizable platoon splits in the minors, as his change hasn’t quite been MLB-quality. David Ortiz looms in the middle of Boston’s order, but that said, you can kind of see the thought process here, as the M’s opt to call up the righty Sampson instead of using Vidal Nuno for a spot start. Nuno’s a lefty reliever, and with David Rollins on the club last night, they could’ve backfilled Nuno’s role in the pen. But outside of Ortiz, the Red Sox line-up features a number of formidable and patient right-handed hitters. The Sox lead off with Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Xander Bogaerts, three (good) RHBs. All told, the Sox have just three lefties in the line-up today.
Now, the Sox haven’t exactly struggled against righties this year, despite their righty-heavy line-up. Their wRC+ is actually a bit better against RHPs, though it’s pretty much even. Still, given both Nuno’s recent workload and historical struggles with right handed bats, bringing in Sampson probably gives the M’s a bit better chance.
Rick Porcello’s still striking out a few more batters than he did when he was with the Tigers, but he’s still not a real strikeout pitcher. With very low walk rates, he can be pretty effective when his defenders turn batted balls into outs, and there’s no rhyme or reason to his BABIPs. He’s had awful years, like last year, where his ERA spikes, and good (or, “lucky”) years like this one where his ERA looks a lot better. His FIP is essentially unchanged from last year, but the batted ball luck means his ERA’s currently a full run lower than it was in 2015 (when, to be clear, 1B Hanley Ramirez was trying to play LF). Porcello’s historically run some normal platoon splits, hence the M’s lefty-heavy line-up.
1: Martin, CF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Clevenger, C
8: Aoki, LF
9: Marte, SS
The Rainiers beat up on Astros pitching prospect Joe Musgrove on their way to a comfy 10-4 win. Boog Powell and Tyler Smith homered for Tacoma. Old friend Jarret Grube, recently resigned with Tacoma, starts tonight’s game.
Jackson scored all of three runs *total* in their doubleheader with Tennessee yesterday, but that was enough for the Generals to earn a sweep. They won the first game 2-1 in “Extra” innings – they walked it off in the 9th (MiLB double-header games are 7 IP). They had another walk-off win in the nightcap with Brock Hebert’s bases loaded walk giving the Generals a 1-0 win. Lots of great pitching, but the bullpen was great with Ryan Horstman effective in the first one and Ryne Harper getting the win in relief in game 2. Jordan Pries starts today.
Bakersfield had no trouble with Lancaster, as they beat the Astros affiliate 12-5. Tyler Herb K’d 10 Jethawks against just 1 walk and 4 hits. He gave up 5 runs, though none were earned. Kyle Petty homered twice, and Justin Seager added another for the Blaze. Tyler Pike takes the hill today.
Clinton split a double header against Kane County, losing the first game 1-0 in a tidy 1 hour and 21 minutes. The Lumberkings won the nightcap in extras, getting 3 runs in the 11th to win 5-2. Zack Littell and Pablo Lopez were both excellent on the day, and Braden Bishop had 3 hits in total on the day, including the only base hit off of Alex Young in game 1. I would be remiss if I didn’t note here that Kane County has an infielder named Galli Cribs. I thought you should know.