Game 111, Tigers at Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Michael Fulmer, 7:10pm
The M’s fete The Kid and pass the Astros, Ichiro! knocks his 3000th hit, and A-Rod will play his final game this week and take a job as an advisor to the Yankees. Yes, yes, we’re supposed to oppose cheap nostalgia, but none of this was forced or cheap, and I’m still kind of giddy about Ichiro. (We’re also supposed to downplay round number mania, but who cares: Ichiro!)
Tonight’s game is a fascinating match-up between a resurgent Iwakuma, and the young Tigers phenom who continues to impress. Can’t remember if I mentioned Fulmer before, but he was the big get when Detroit traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets. He features a straight, rising four seamer, a sinker with a half a foot more horizontal run than his straight fastball, a good slider, and a very interesting split-change thing that may be his best pitch.
Early on, he got attention for a scoreless streak, and thus had astronomical strand rates and a microscopic BABIP. Since then, regression’s gone to work on those two stats, but they’re still above average and Fulmer’s still pitching really well. Er, it helps if you overlook a recent bout of HR troubles (4 in last 3 starts).
His K rate isn’t all that impressive, but the change has helped him post well above average GB marks. It’s also a prime reason why he’s been so tough on left handed bats; he’s got reverse splits through his first 100+ IP.
1: Aoki, LF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Martin, CF
8: Zunino, C
9: Freeman, SS
Mike Freeman makes his first big league start at SS. I know he’s versatile, but this seems like a force – getting a lefty bat in yo face a righty. But O’Malley’s a switch hitter, so perhaps this is just about resting O’Malley, which is not a phrase you thought you’d hear when this season started.