Game 112, Tigers at Mariners
Wade LeBlanc vs. Daniel Norris, 7:10pm
Things are different now, Scott Servais says. What the M’s can overlook when they’re ten games back (or ten games up) can’t be overlooked with the M’s now 2.5 games out of the second wildcard. Thus, Taijuan Walker’s been demoted due to a lack of competitive edge. The Mariners, who started someone named Mike Freeman at shortstop *because Shawn O’Malley was sick* need to squeeze every ounce of production out of each spot.
The Zduriencik M’s used to talk a good game about talent, and trying to be more talented than their opponents. I have no idea what this new emphasis on ‘edge’ is, but there’s no doubt the M’s are less talented today than they were 2 weeks ago. They are also on a winning streak, so hey, maybe talent isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But let’s be clear: the M’s are removing Walker from their rotation because Ariel Miranda threw a good game once and Wade LeBlanc’s the hot hand. Everything that makes this move coherent and ‘logical’ takes it further from a process we’d recognize as data driven and rational. It smacks of pop psychology and tiny samples. Of course, it’s worked to date, so maybe we just need to stop worrying and sweep the Tigers.
Detroit starts former top prospect (of the Blue Jays) Daniel Norris. The lefty has a fastball around 93, a slider, curve and another good change up. Personally, I think Michael Fulmer’s change, fastball and everything else are better, and apparently big league hitters agree. Norris is an extreme fly ball pitcher and he’s paid the price for that in home runs but hasn’t extracted a benefit in terms of low BABIP.
He’s also suffered some control problems that he seems to be moving past, but again, when he’s around the plate, he gets hit fairly hard. His slider in particular has been a longstanding problem. Batters are slugging .533 on it, and given that it’s his put away pitch to same-handed batters, that’s insanely bad. Lefties have, perhaps unsurprisingly, hit Norris harder than righties, who face his best pitch, the change.
1: Heredia, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
5: Lee, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Martin, CF
9: Marte, SS
The standard vs. LHP lineup? Ah well. Go M’s.
The M’s roster fallout continues, as the Yankees picked up DFA’d reliever Blake Parker, while these Tigers just claimed Donn Roach. On the plus side, sounds like Arquimedes Caminero will be active tonight and Pat Venditte should make his Rainiers debut tonight at Cheney (hat tip, Curto, of course).
More importantly, Ketel Marte’s been activated from the DL, so the M’s have an actual SS on the roster again.