Game 138, Rangers at Mariners
James Paxton vs. Martin Perez, 7:10pm
So the M’s got to knock around Cole Hamels *and* make one of the Rangers’ top prospect’s MLB debut a low-key nightmare. Not bad. It just came at the expense of another awful King Felix start.
I mentioned it just a few days ago, and I don’t want this blog to be me just lamenting the sheer volume of mediocre baseball we’re all subjected to, but: this is kind of a forgettable day as far as the M’s go. They’re playing out the string against a good Rangers club, but we don’t get to watch an interesting opposing starter – it’s just Martin Perez, whom we’ve seen plenty of times, and who, somewhat improbably, has a K-BB% of under 3. That’s…that’s whatever’s below replacement league. I’m not saying Perez himself is a AA starter, but for years, people thought he’d hone his stuff and the strikeouts would come. Instead, he’s hemorrhaging whiffs, AND walking more batters as well. It hasn’t hurt his overall results, because hey, it’s the 2016 Rangers, where peripherals don’t matter.
The point is, the minor league playoffs start tomorrow, and that’s fun. It doesn’t make up for the M’s late August collapse, but it’s something to follow, and given the players involved, you can start to see the outlines of another decent M’s team. Yesterday was Felix Day, tomorrow the Rainiers, Generals, Blaze, Lumberkings, and Aquasox all take the field in the postseason. The main interest in tonight’s game is the structural integrity of James Paxton’s finger.
I thought this was the most interesting stat about Martin Perez, and it’s kind of a microcosm of the Rangers and M’s this year. Perez is running a GB% this year of 52.9%, and he’s pitched about 170 IP. Felix has tossed 127 IP with a GB% of 52.4%. Martin Perez has watched his teammates turn *35* double plays behind him. Felix has seen just 12 turned by the M’s defense. So Felix has played a bit less, so let’s make things interesting. Felix had 30 DPs turned behind him in all of 2015. And 2014. Combined.
Yes, yes- Felix has comparatively fewer in part because he’s capable of generating strikeouts, something Perez (perhaps smartly?) doesn’t deign to do anymore. But it’s the perfect encapsulation of the Rangers’ “clutch” season. James Paxton, Tai Walker, Felix Hernandez and Nate Karns have combined to get 36 DPs turned behind them, and Martin Perez is at 35 by himself. This isn’t Elvis Andrus having an insane season; no one else on the Rangers has 20. It’s just one of those weird things that’s gone Texas’ way this year.
1: Heredia, LF
2: Gutierrez, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lee, 1B
7: Martin, CF
8: Zunino, C
9: O’Malley, SS
SP: James Paxton
No minor league games today; we’ll preview the playoff series tomorrow. For now, check out Todd Milles’ series preview and look at the work first-year hitting coach Scott Brosius has done with the R’s bats in this News Tribune story.