Game 125, Yankees at Mariners

marc w · August 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. CC Sabathia, 7:10pm

Welcome back, Taijuan. Walker’s banishment to AAA lasted all of 2 starts, though he’s made 3 this month, if you include his rehab start against Albuquerque on the 1st. While Walker shut out the Nashville Sounds over 6 1/3 IP in his last start, there are still some warning signs: in every one of Walker’s starts this month, 3 in AAA and 1 in MLB, he’s walked or plunked more batters than he’s struck out. Walker’s vanishing K rate is a worrying sign, and it’s directly related to his problem with big innings; nothing helps a pitcher out of a jam like a big strikeout.

In his last game in the bigs, Walker was almost comically reliant on his four-seam fastball, throwing it on 50 out of 64 total pitches. It sounds like the M’s forced Walker to work on his secondary stuff in Tacoma, and that’ll be something to look for today. This will actually be his first game of the year with Mike Zunino as his battery mate. I don’t think Iannetta’s to blame for Walker’s poor start against the Angels, but if the M’s had a huge problem with his pitch selection, they need to make sure the M’s catchers are hearing that message as well. To be fair to both Walker and Iannetta – Walker’s curve didn’t look so good recently. He’s not getting the spin and thus the drop on it that he needs, and if it just didn’t feel right/wasn’t working, that may have played into their heater-centric game plan.

To make room for Walker, the M’s optioned Cody Martin to AAA. To bolster their bullpen, the M’s also activated Tony Zych from the 60-day DL today, with Stefen Romero surrendering his 25-man slot. They didn’t need to make a move on the 40-man, as they had an open slot in anticipation of either Zych or Evan Scribner being activated. Apparently Zych was further along.

1: Heredia, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Zunino, C
7: Lind, 1B
8: Martin, CF
9: Marte, SS
SP: Walker

Glad to see Zunino slide up a position in the batting order. Not a huge deal by any stretch, but the man simply deserves more at bats at this point.

Bob Dutton’s notebook article mentions that Hisashi Iwakuma’s about to trigger the vesting option in his contract for 2017. While Iwakuma’s looked shaky at times in the past year or two, that’s still good news for M’s fans. He, like Felix, has made a number of adjustments, and Iwakuma’s been a big part of the M’s recent surge.

The M’s 3 HRs last night take them to 92 home dingers on the year. That took them past last season’s total of 90 HRs hit at Safeco, and shockingly, ties them with the 92 they hit over 2010 and 2011…*combined.* In 2010, the M’s hit all of 35 home runs at home, which is one of the many stats about that club that is both horrifying and impossible to turn away from. If you’re wondering, the M’s allowed 69 HRs at home in 2010 and 77 in 2011, both far lower than this year’s 87, but the comparison isn’t as bonkers as it is for batters. The M’s allowed 90 last season at home, so they’ll certainly surpass that, but this year marks the continuation of an upward trend thanks both to the league-wide dinger uptick as well as the park-specific dimension changes a few years back. The offense, though…that’s harder to explain. I’ve certainly tried, but I think there’s still a lot of ground to plow in figuring out why Safeco’s suddenly playing so differently.


22 Responses to “Game 125, Yankees at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2016 6:45 pm

    It’s always mildly humorous when a player’s bobble head promotion doesn’t coincide with them actually playing during that game. It’s funnier when the player isn’t currently on the 25 man roster.

    Good luck tonight, young “Sky” Walker!

  2. mrakbaseball on August 23rd, 2016 7:12 pm

    Radio only tonight, & we’re stuck with Aaron Goldsmith, yuck.

  3. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 7:26 pm

    its on ESPN! if anyone has ESPN! also…. is this 2005 CC? cuz seriously those boys looked stupid up there that first inning.

  4. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 7:30 pm

    Judge is a damn monster….. HUGE!

    Walker already looks lost and its only the second inning….

  5. Bwilliam on August 23rd, 2016 7:46 pm

    I’m watching on Root. And I’d rather have Goldsmith. You can have Sims.

  6. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 7:51 pm

    I don’t understand the getting two strikes then dancing around the plate…thats how you get your pitch count up and make mistakes.

  7. bookbook on August 23rd, 2016 8:16 pm

    Since we’re talking batting order anyway… Shouldn’t Seager be batting #2 in the line up? Even without a resurgent Zunino at #5, weakening the sequence and giving extra PAs to Guti/Smith hasn’t really been optimal for months now. Or is there a human element to Seager batting #5 that I’m missing?

  8. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2016 8:19 pm

    So ESPN viewers get Griffey while ROOT viewers get Bone?

  9. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 8:19 pm

    You would think putting Seager at #2 would be a no brainer, I mean they aren’t getting much production with what they are doing with the 1 and 2 hitters, but who knows.

  10. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 8:23 pm

    Terrible pitch.. any body hits that out… what is going thru Walkers head! seriously.

  11. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2016 8:30 pm

    He lacks the will of the warrior. He currently has the will of a schoolmarm.

  12. Westside guy on August 23rd, 2016 8:32 pm

    I love seeing Zunino walk. It’s just unbelievable.

  13. WTF_Ms on August 23rd, 2016 8:45 pm

    Is it me, or does Walker look like he needs to drop a few lbs? Could that be one of his many issues?

  14. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 8:46 pm

    Maybe its the TV, he looks like he gained some weight in his core area.

  15. JMB on August 23rd, 2016 8:51 pm

    You can’t hit Seager second, gotta keep the L-R-L thing going. / conventional wisdom

  16. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 8:52 pm

    Losing to the Yankees really bites the big one, especially getting shut down basically by CC…. Hopefully the Mariners have a big inning or two coming up because it sure would be a good night for a win with Texas losing.

  17. bookbook on August 23rd, 2016 9:18 pm

    I’d be okay with batting Cano 2nd and Seager 4th

  18. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 9:36 pm

    Id be ok with scoring more than 1 run and 3 hits….

  19. JMB on August 23rd, 2016 9:38 pm

    Not our night, eh boys?

  20. Grayfox3d on August 23rd, 2016 9:38 pm

    So bringing in LeBlanc, is that like waving the white flag? what a rediculous game… and it was one ESPN! way to show how good we are hah.

  21. JMB on August 23rd, 2016 10:32 pm

    Just like the Sunday night blown game against the Cubs.

  22. Notfromboise on August 23rd, 2016 11:11 pm

    Bringing in Leblanc was kinda weird with how thin our staff has been.

    Of course, imagine if they brought in Ianetta to pitch the 8th and 9th live on ESPN… MLB would not be pleased loool.

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