Game 91, Astros at Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Lance McCullers, 1:10pm
After losing to Doug Fister and the Astros last night, it’s not going to get any easier today, as the M’s face hard throwing Lance McCullers. The young righty uses a hard, sinking four seam fastball averaging 95 mph around 40% of the time, but his primary pitch is an extremely hard curveball that gets some serious movement and is thrown at 85. He throws that hook almost half the time, mixing in a rare change and cutter.
Coming up through the minors, McCullers struggled with walks, a problem he seemed to largely correct last year. This year, though, the problem’s back; his walk rate’s over 13%. It hasn’t mattered, somehow. McCullers’ ground ball rate and hard breaking curve have helped him limit HRs, and they’re also pushing his K rate up near 29-30%.
1: Robertson, LF
2: Martin, CF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Lee, 1B
6: Lind, DH
7: Gutierrez, RF
8: Sucre, C
9: O’Malley, SS
That line-up is…something.
Chris Taylor had a career day for the Dodgers last night, finishing a single short of the cycle and launching a long grand slam for his first HR. The HR in particular looked like a swing he just wasn’t capable of when he was here. I still wonder what the M’s tried to do with Taylor, especially in 2015, where the M’s seemed to focus on hitting to the opposite field and working counts.
The biggest story of the night came in Tacoma, where Felix Hernandez tossed 5 2/3 brilliant innings against Colorado Springs. Felix gave up 1 run on a solo HR, and he struck out 7 while walking only 1. DJ Peterson had 2 hits, and Tyler Smith homered. Jarrett Grube starts for the R’s tonight.
Luiz Gohara struck out 9 in 6 solid innings for Clinton, giving up 2 R in the L-Kings 4-2 win. Perhaps no prospect in the M’s system has seen his results improve as much as Gohara – not DJ, not Alex Jackson, not Tyler Herb. Great to see the Brazilian go from talented enigma to low-minors force.
Speaking of Herb, he’s in AA now, and he’s starting for Jackson today.