Game 109, Angels at Mariners

marc w · August 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Tyler Skaggs, 6:40pm – Note the odd start time

Taijuan Walker makes his return from the DL tonight; we’ll see how long his foot holds up. Walker’s critical to the M’s going forward, as the M’s rotation suddenly needs all the help it can get. HR issues aside, it’s been a solid year for him results-wise. But with his foot injury lingering and with a FIP of 4.72, questions remain. I’ve been a big Walker believer for many years, but it’s sad to see another year go by seeing only tantalizing flashes of what he could become.

Tyler Skaggs, the lefty who missed parts of 2014, all of 2015 and half of 2016 rehabbing from TJ surgery, makes his third start of the year. To say he’s been good is an understatement. In 12 1/3 IP in his first two games back, he’s K’d 13 and walked 3, given up just 7 hits and allowed a grand total of 0 runs. Once the prize of the Angels farm system, he moved to Arizona in 2010 in the Dan Haren-for-Joe Saunders swap. That deal came in late July of 2010, when a young, interim GM in Arizona had been on the job for about 3 weeks. Jerry Dipoto’s first big trade was a big one, and while Saunders replaced Haren’s innings in the majors, Skaggs was seen as the real prize for the rebuilding Diamondbacks. Unfortunately for Arizona, Skaggs’ stuff didn’t comport with either his top prospect reputation or his (very good) results in the minors in 2011-2012. He had a cup of coffee with Arizona in 2012, and got hit hard, surrendering too many HRs and averaging just 90mph on his fastball. Sure, he was a lefty, and he was never supposed to be a high-90s fireballer, but he wasn’t any better in 2013, and worse, he got hit just as hard in the minors.

After that season, the Diamondbacks sent him back to Anaheim in the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona, Hector Santiago to Anaheim and Adam Eaton to Chicago. The GM acquiring him in that trade? Uh, Jerry Dipoto again. Almost immediately, he added the MPH to his fastball that he’d lost in the desert, and he averaged 92+ for the Angels. It’s not like he was an ace or anything, but he was a solid pitcher, with a FIP in the mid-3’s and a much better walk rate than he’d shown in Arizona. Unfortunately, he succumbed to a torn ligament during 2014, and his rehab took a bit longer than expected. At one point, Skaggs had talked about trying to get back within 12-14 months and pitch in games (perhaps in the minors) in 2015, but that obviously didn’t happen.

Given the layoff, I’m sure even the Angels didn’t quite know what to expect, but thus far, he’s been better than ever. His velocity’s over 93 at this point, with excellent rise. His curve, thrown about 76, has a ton of movement as well. He’s got a decent change, but it’s clearly behind the hook. He’s been hard on lefties, but he’s really improved against righties recently – he dominated them in the PCL this year, and that’s continued in his first couple starts with the Angels.

The story of today’s game isn’t Skaggs, nor even Walker’s return. It’s the ceremony honoring recent HOF inductee Ken Griffey Jr., who’ll have his iconic #24 jersey retired tonight. It’s been a great weekend, with Griffey bobblehead day yesterday and Griffey jersey giveaway tomorrow. I’ve tried to say how much Griffey meant to Seattle and to baseball, but I can’t come close to capturing it. He was one of a kind, and I’ll always be thankful for seeing his career play out.

1: Heredia, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Lee, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Martin, CF
9: O’Malley, SS
SP: Walker

The Rainiers look for a 3-1 series win over El Paso tonight with Joe Wieland on the mound. They’ve pounded the Chihuahuas thus far, scoring 30 runs in the first three games, highlighted by a PCL-classic 16-15 win the other day. Stefen Romero’s homered in each of the past two games and continues to put together an eye opening season. Pat Venditte will be activated and ready to pitch for Tacoma. Yesterday’s 7-5 loss was marred by 4 Tacoma errors and 5 unearned runs. Tacoma’s record on the year is 66-47, best in the PCL. They have a 3 game lead over Fresno in their division.

Jackson faces Birminham today, with Tyler Herb taking the hill for the Generals. Recent acquisition Paul Blackburn (part of the Mike Montgomery deal) is off to a fast start, giving up 2 runs in 14 IP over 3 starts with his new team. He’s still not missing many bats, but hey, so far, so good. Ryan Yarbrough’s given up 1 earned run in his last 18 innings. Jackson is 30 games over .500. After winning the first-half title going away, they’re leading the second-half race as well.

Bakersfield faces Lake Elsinore today with Zack Littell throwing for the Blaze. The North Carolinian has been dominant for Bakersfield, even if his long scoreless streak was snapped in his last start. He’s 5-0 with an ERA of 1.66 in 6 games in High-A. Bakersfield’s only 60-52, which makes for a poor year in this year’s M’s affiliates. They DO have a solid lead in the second half standings in the Cal League North, so the dream of every full-season affiliate making the playoffs is alive and well.

Clinton and Ronald Dominguez face off with Beloit tonight. Dominguez has worked out of the pen and the rotation, and has a nice 50:8 K:BB ratio for the Lumberkings. Clinton swept a doubleheader from Cedar Rapids last night, scoring 4 runs in the 8th and 9th to beat the Kernels 7-3 in Game 1, and winning 5-3 in the nightcap. Augustus Craig’s 8th inning HR was the big blow in game 1, but Alex Jackson had 2 hits and a double in each game. Nick Neidert pitched the second game, and now has a 56:8 K:BB ratio with only 58 hits allowed in 70 IP. Clinton, like Bakersfield, leads the second half standings in the MWL West, and at 66-45, they have the 2nd best record in the MWL as a whole.

Everett dropped a 7-5 contest to Hillsboro last night, despite a HR from rehabbing SS Ketel Marte. They face the Hops again today, with Tim Viehoff on the mound. Viehoff, the M’s 12th round pick, has 34 Ks and just 13 hits allowed in 24 2/3 IP. Everett, too, is leading the second half standings in their division.


29 Responses to “Game 109, Angels at Mariners”

  1. Notfromboise on August 6th, 2016 3:34 pm

    Zunino’s going to stop hitting dingers if he’s continually taken out of the lineup the next day.. Not much of a reward system. Too lazy to look it up but i don’t think Zunino’s gone yard and played the next game all year.

  2. mrakbaseball on August 6th, 2016 6:46 pm

    Trout, at it again.

  3. WTF_Ms on August 6th, 2016 6:48 pm

    Why on earth have we f’d things up to the tune of 3 runs in the first inning AGAIN? Frustrating is an understatement.

  4. Notfromboise on August 6th, 2016 7:18 pm

    At least Walker has only thrown 27 pitches. If he can gain momentum he still might go a full 6-8 innings.

  5. WTF_Ms on August 6th, 2016 7:28 pm

    Pitch count up now. I would hit Trout in the ass every time up. Damn the reprisal. A HBP is better than a 3 run Homer and a triple.

  6. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 7:29 pm

    I love Mike Trout. I also hate him with a passion.

  7. msfanmike on August 6th, 2016 7:32 pm

    It’s hard to believe Walker could not get Trout out with fastballs thigh-high down the middle. Baffling how that happens.

    His fastball has always had very little to no horizontal movement and he doesn’t command it very well.

    Did the team maybe rush him back out of need? I don’t know – It’s hard to say – because he looks very much to be the same.

  8. WTF_Ms on August 6th, 2016 7:45 pm

    Argh. I hate this kind of play. Let Walker struggle as long as possible right after coming off an injury. WTF. For reals.

  9. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 7:46 pm

    Nice dp!

  10. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 8:07 pm

    GUTI BOMB!!!

  11. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 8:37 pm

    Well that inning didn’t go as well as it could have.

  12. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 8:40 pm

    Yeah, that was disappointing.

  13. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 9:10 pm

    All right guys, you will only get so many chances like this…

  14. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 9:11 pm

    Okay, the bases are juiced AGAIN – do something with it this time, guys!

  15. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 9:16 pm

    YES!!! YES!!!

  16. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 9:19 pm

    O’Malley, of all people! Fantastic.

  17. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 9:19 pm

    You gotta love this offense.

  18. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 9:20 pm

    Also, playing against crappy teams is fun.

  19. Dennisss on August 6th, 2016 9:45 pm

    Yay! Diaz is three for three.

  20. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 9:48 pm

    Woo Hoo! Mariners pulled it off!

  21. WTF_Ms on August 6th, 2016 9:49 pm

    Glad I abandoned that game early! O’Malley!

  22. Westside guy on August 6th, 2016 9:49 pm

    Diaz is the MAN!!

  23. Notfromboise on August 7th, 2016 4:56 am

    Diaz didn’t strike anyone out tonight. This is his version of struggling. We’ll get used to it.

    O’Malley came into the game tied with Ianetta in .OPS — random stat of the day, O’Malley obviously breaking the tie today..

    And say what u will about Guti, but any dude that can put up an .800 OPS consistently, albeit in a platoon, is still valuable.

  24. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2016 2:43 pm

    Mike Trout is just pay back for all the years that they had to deal with Griffey… at least that’s my excuse to as why he’s single handedly keeping the Angels in this series.

  25. Dennisss on August 7th, 2016 2:43 pm

    Trout with three strikeouts on the day. A little different from the last two days.

  26. Dennisss on August 7th, 2016 3:23 pm

    I think it’s safe to say that Paxton has Trout’s number, at least for today.

  27. Dennisss on August 7th, 2016 3:33 pm

    So when Diaz is not available you just tell your starter to throw 120 pitches?

  28. Dennisss on August 7th, 2016 3:46 pm

    Sweep! With the Bartender getting the save.

  29. Westside guy on August 7th, 2016 4:00 pm

    Woo Hoo! Break out the brooms!

    It’s a lot easier to handle an opponent’s great plays, like Trout’s going over the wall and stealing a grand slam, when our guys win anyway.

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