Game 78, Pirates at Mariners

marc w · June 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade Miley vs. Jameson Taillon, 7:10pm

Wade Miley returns from the DL, swapping out with Nick Vincent, who’ll head to the DL with a back problem. The M’s have certainly been hit hard by injuries in the first half, with Miley, Felix, Vincent, Adrian Sampson, Tony Zych, Joaquin Benoit, Leonys Martin and Ketel Marte all missing time, and Evan Scribner, Charlie Furbush and Ryan Cook suffering injuries during the spring.

Tonight’s game’s an interesting one, as the M’s get a look at long-heralded pitching prospect Jameson Taillon. Taillon went #2 overall back in the 2010 draft, a spot ahead of Manny Machado, and worked his way up the ladder, hitting AAA in 2013. He’s been a top-100 prospect, and even a top 10 prospect in baseball several times. He was primed for his big league debut in 2014, but blew out his elbow in April, spending 18 months rehabbing from TJ surgery. He then needed a hernia surgery that further delayed his return to baseball, so Pirates fans were justifiably nervous of what he’d be like when he started out with the Pirates’ AAA club this April. Taillon still sits in the mid 90s with his two fastballs, and his control seemed, if anything, better than before, and with the Pirates dealing with injury issues of their own, they brought him up. In his 2nd start, he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the Mets, and he looked like a guy who could spearhead a surge for Pittsburgh in the second half.

Things haven’t looked quite as rosy since that start against on June 14th. It’s just two starts, but he’s given up 16 hits and 8 runs in 8 IP since, with a 3-HR drubbing by the Cubs, and then another loss (at home) to the Dodgers. Any pitcher will have a couple of clunkers in their gamelog, so it’s not a big red flag, but it’s something to watch – can he keep big league lefties off the basepaths consistently?

No disrespect to his mid-90s heat, but Taillon’s best pitch is a great curve ball, a pitch that’s pretty firm at 80-81 MPH and features remarkable downward break. He’s got a change-up, but it doesn’t seem to be thought of as highly, and it looks pretty mediocre by pitch fx. His fastballs movement is nothing to write home about, as he’s essentially got dead-on average “rise” on both his four-seam and sinker. This scouting report notes his height and downward plane (at 6’5″, his release point’s a bit higher than average), but thus far, batters have elevated his four-seamer pretty easily. The sinker gets grounders, but it’s his curve’s ridiculous break that makes it his best ground ball pitch (when batters can put it in play, that is).

We can’t say too much about Taillon’s prospects, but given his struggles, I was struck by this scouting report mentioning that batters may get a long look at the ball in Taillon’s delivery. Taillon’s got plenty of velo, but his fastballs have both been hit hard thus far. Maybe that’s just a function of him running into a ridiculous Cubs club with less-than-his-best-stuff, but maybe there’s something to the idea that his fastball plays slower than it actually is.

1: Martin, CF
2: Smith, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lee, DH
7: Lind, 1B
8: Clevenger, C
9: Marte, SS
SP: Miley

Glad to see Dae Ho Lee get more at-bats against righties, and not be limited to strict platoon duty. Like many hitters who’ve played in NPB, he doesn’t show much in the way of platoon splits, and he’s actually hitting a bit better vs. RHP this year than lefties.

Guillermo Heredia’s in Tacoma now with Boog Powell suspended. Jesus Sucre’s with the Rainiers as well as he continues to rehab his leg. Zach Lee lasted just 3 IP in a loss to Fresno yesterday, but Tom Wilhelmsen was solid in relief, and Mike Zunino had 3 hits.


9 Responses to “Game 78, Pirates at Mariners”

  1. Dennisss on June 29th, 2016 8:26 pm

    The Pirates may end with more runs than the M’s have baserunners.

    Miley continuing the pattern of short, lousy starts briefly interrupted by Iwakuma last night.

  2. Dennisss on June 29th, 2016 8:57 pm

    Karns looking sharp in relief!

  3. Dennisss on June 29th, 2016 9:28 pm

    A couple of glitches in between, but six straight outs by strikeout for Karns.

  4. Dennisss on June 29th, 2016 9:29 pm

    M’s are up to 6 baserunners versus 8 runs for Pittsburg.

  5. Dennisss on June 29th, 2016 9:29 pm

    Seems like a lot of errors by Kyle lately, interspersed with some really good plays.

  6. JMB on June 29th, 2016 9:52 pm

    Did I not just say the other day Karns should be a reliever? Six K’s in two innings.

    Also, in case you were wondering, Mike Zunino is hitting .282/.366/.516 at Tacoma. You know, just in case you might have a reason to wonder about such things.

  7. Mid80sRighty on June 30th, 2016 9:33 am

    Good for Zunino! It’ll be nice to add him to the roster next year.

  8. Westside guy on June 30th, 2016 1:33 pm

    Yeah, I’d just as soon the team treat Zunino as conservatively as possible.

    I hate to say it, but even though the window on Cruz and Cano and Felix is certainly going to be closing at some point in the next couple of years – I don’t want to see them burning the future in an attempt to pursue a (unfortunately increasingly unlikely) wild card spot this year. There are so many teams to climb over, and they dug this hole they’re in themselves. If they were still on top and Clevenger went down, I might feel differently.

    Given that Jerry isn’t the one who signed either Cruz or Cano, though, I expect he’s probably going to be rational about the odds.

  9. Westside guy on June 30th, 2016 1:36 pm

    Wow, I could even just add this on to my last post, it’s so recent, but:

    Apparently Dipoto disagrees with my sentiment! Zunino is being promoted in time for today’s game.

    I guess that’s why I’m not running a ball club…

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