Game 89, Mariners at Royals

marc w · July 10, 2016 at 10:22 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Mike Montgomery vs. Dillon Gee, 11:15am

Suddenly the All-Star break can’t get here soon enough. The M’s are .500, but trail six teams in the wildcard chase, and it’s looking like 86 wins or so won’t cut it. To make a run, they need to get significantly better, but it’s harder and harder to imagine Jerry Dipoto adding a significant piece at the trade deadline. This is a better team than they’ve shown. Whether it’s good enough to make a run (they’ll need to play at around a .600 winning percentage pace to do so) remains debatable.

Today, both the M’s and Royals trot out spot starters ahead of the four day layoff. For the M’s, it’ll be former Royals prospect Mike Montgomery, who’s been a revelation out of the bullpen. James Paxton’s big velocity spike gets the (deserved) attention, but Montgomery’s added 3-4 MPH himself this year. It’s apples to oranges, of course, as Montgomery’s role change is an important factor in his improvement, but it’s still a much bigger jump than average. The question now is how well he’s able to hold onto it as he moves back into starting. Carlos Carrasco of the Indians credited his time in the bullpen with his development from frustrating 5th-starter/swingman into a dominant-at-times #2 on a great Cleveland club. There’s something about UN-learning pacing that can be freeing for pitchers, though just as with anything in baseball, each pitcher responds differently. Personally, I’m just happy to see him throw more of his change, which I kind of figure he’ll do today. He’s throwing it far less often this year, and he’s become much more of a fastball/curve guy. Nothing wrong with that, but the change should be a good pitch against the Royals’ right-handers.

Dillon Gee is a sinker/slider/curve/change guy who’d been in the New York Mets rotation for years, but lost his spot when the club brought up Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. With a fastball in the 90-91 range, he’s far from overpowering. He relies on mixing his pitches and solid control to limit damage, and he’s actually been fairly good at it: his high strand rate’s allowed him to post a decent ERA despite so-so stuff and occasional HR problems. That’s not to say his 2016 line is sustainable – his 86% strand rate is off the charts good, and it’s needed to be. His FIP is 5.31 thanks in part to a very high HR rate. Gee’s in the rotation today because Chris Young dingered his way out of a job, but it’s only in comparison to Young that Gee’s HR rate looks acceptable.

Gee’s got some traditional platoon splits, as you’d imagine with a sinker/slider-heavy pitch mix, so the M’s will have plenty of lefties in there today. Another reason Dae Ho Lee’s sitting is the contusion/bruise in his hand that forced him out of yesterday’s game. Sounds like he’s doing OK, and that he’ll be good to go after resting it over the break.

1: Marte, SS
2: Smith, LF
3: Cano, DH
4: Cruz, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Martin, CF
9: O’Malley, 2B
SP: Montgomery

Zach Lee was solid over 6 IP, and Mike Zunino had 2 HRs in the Rainiers’ 5-3 win at Sacramento. Jordan Pries takes the mound for the R’s today.

Montgomery blitzed Jackson starter Brett Ash early and then held on for an 11-8 win. Jackson scored 5 in the 9th, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Bakersfield’s 9th inning comeback was a bit more successful, as the Blaze scored *7* in the 9th to walk away with a shocking 9-7 win over Visalia. 2B Gianfranco Wawoe’s hot streak continued, as he knocked his 4th HR of the year. He’s hit safely in 28 of his last 29 games, dating back to early June. Not a lot of pop there, but the IF out of Curacao has some great bat-to-ball ability. Zack Littell starts for the Blaze today.

Clinton didn’t need any showy late-inning comebacks, as they simply blanked Quad Cities 3-0 behind Luiz Gohara’s 6 great innings and Alex Jackson’s 8th HR. Pablo Lopez, who’s been very sharp in his 44 IP this year, takes the hill for Clinton today.

Everett beat up Spokane 10-3, as Kyle Lewis hit his 3rd HR, and 5th-round pick Donnie Walton hit his 1st. With Walton in the fold, the M’s signed all of their top-10 picks.

The AZL Mariners beat the Angels 1-0 on an 8th inning RBI triple from Joseph Rosa, an international signing a few years back. Nicaraguan righty Kevin Gadea was the big pitching star of the day.


19 Responses to “Game 89, Mariners at Royals”

  1. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 11:24 am

    It would be a nice touch if the M’s could finish with a winning record at the break.

  2. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 11:29 am

    Well this is a fine start.

  3. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 12:43 pm

    Cruz has been not very good lately, yes he has the occasional home run as to not totally be a waste of a spot but the man looks lost. it feels like its either a HR a DP or a K with him lately.

  4. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 1:22 pm

    Woah, this is getting to be a thumping on KC.

    Montgomery’s game logs on Fangraphs say he had a streak of 10 scoreless innings going into this game. Rotation spots are there for the taking if you show the ability.

  5. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 1:23 pm

    Pounders strikes out the side!

  6. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 1:58 pm

    Unfortunately, Diaz can’t pitch every inning of relief.

  7. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 2:01 pm

    Can someone get these last two god forsaken outs with out blowing a 7 run lead!!!!!! now 5! wow.

  8. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 2:03 pm

    I hope Dipoto dumps Benoit during the all star break… I know its wishful thinking but I don’t like him or trust him with any type of lead.

  9. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 2:11 pm

    I think they will keep Benoit because their bullpen alternatives are really, really thin. But he has not been good.

  10. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 2:16 pm

    I get the sinking feeling were gonna lose this game.

  11. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 2:21 pm

    Thank god! Cishek has looked so shakey as of late its like Rodney 1.5

  12. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 2:25 pm

    I agree that the Steve Cishek experience gives me the same sense as the Fernando Rodney experience. Unfortunately, not a lot of alternatives, again, unless you want to move Diaz from AA to closer within a couple of months.

    Just give the bullpen a 7-run lead and you’re relatively safe.

  13. Dennisss on July 10th, 2016 2:28 pm

    It is nice to have a winning record, however slim, at the All-star break. The offense is a pleasant surprise, really fun to watch.

    It does not look likely that the pitching staff will hold together, but it’s baseball, so maybe…

  14. californiamariner on July 10th, 2016 2:33 pm

    Really curious to see what the Mariners do with the rotation after the break. I still believe Karns is one of the 5 best starters.

  15. mrakbaseball on July 10th, 2016 2:38 pm

    This is just the 14th time in 40 seasons that the Mariners are above .500 at the All-Star break.

  16. Grayfox3d on July 10th, 2016 3:54 pm

    Well it starts with fixing that HR problem that the starters seem to have lately.

  17. djw on July 10th, 2016 11:50 pm

    Cruz has been not very good lately, yes he has the occasional home run as to not totally be a waste of a spot but the man looks lost.

    What are you talking about? In the month of July so far, his wOBA is .376, wRC+ 139; in June .381/143, despite a K spike. For the season, he’s 381/143. His performance has been remarkably consistent. There’s no plausible interpretation of “lately” in which he’s been “not very good.”

  18. Mid80sRighty on July 11th, 2016 8:21 am

    Well, in his last at bat he didn’t do shit, so there’s that.

  19. mksh21 on July 12th, 2016 6:11 am

    I dont get to watch a lot of games live. Have to watch a lot of “gamecasts” usually on CBSsporsline because ESPN’s is just a disaster.

    Im a stat geek love hovering over the players numbers… I dont think I’ve seen this many guys slugging over .500 for the Mariners in a long time. Even the empty average Marte is playable if he keeps getting fortunate.

    But damn all this “hitting” for once and the pitching shits the bed. Ugh it hurts. Plus the fact our run differential says we are even better than our record, which means we do have something to build on, are indeed at least a wild card team and not bloated record mirage Bavasi team.

    I hope Felix doesn’t go Jeff Weaver and can pitch with the diminished stuff and Walker, Paxton can give us quality at 3-4 while other teams are throwing out garbage.

    Even though the bullpen is eh, I find this type of season better because well at least they CAN hit… losing 8-7 somehow feels better than all the 3-0 games of the past.

    Lastly what seasons by Cano and Seager… Don’t know how many Cano has left, god I hope it isn’t wasted.

    Favorite moves so far… Hindsight dumping Montero and keeping Lee. Thought it was nothing but what a boost. Cutting bait with Aoki made me happy as well.

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