Game 160, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · September 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Taijuan Walker vs. Raul Alcantara, 7:10pm

Thanks to a Mike Zunino HR and Edwin Diaz regaining some semblance of command at the last minute, the M’s remain alive in the wild card race. Tonight, they’ll try to focus on the A’s and rookie Raul Alcantara and not so much on the games back east, though that’ll probably be difficult. With Jesus Montero again nabbed for a banned stimulant and his pro career now in hanging in the balance, this’d be a good time for Michael Pineda to do something nice for the Mariners franchise.

Alcantara’s intriguing for me in two very different ways. First, he’s got impeccable fastball command. He displayed very low walk rates all through the minors, and he’s sitting on a 3% BB rate in his first cup of coffee with Oakland. He can target different areas of the zone and uses an occasional sinker to supplement his four-seam. It looks like he can get batters to expand the zone a bit with it, and at least initially, he’s avoided a lot of hard contact – it helps that he’s averaging 94mph with both fastballs.

The second reason is much, much worse for Mr. Alcantara, and better for M’s fans clinging to hope: I’ve never seen someone so incapable of spinning a breaking ball. Ok, ok, he gets a decent amount of horizontal movement on his cutter-y slider, but it gets much less vertical drop than average, and that’s still a far sight better than his low-80s curve, which looks more like a true slider. He’s thrown a total of 50 of these breaking balls, so this truly is a miniscule sample, but batters have swung and missed at these things a grand total of two times. His whiff/swing rate is far better with his fastballs, and thus, when he’s gotten strikeouts, it’s because of the fastball: he has 10 Ks on four-seams/sinkers, and just 1 on breaking balls. He’s given up 2 HRs and 2 doubles on breaking balls, meaning he’s given up an equal amount of HRs and whiffs, or 4 times as many extra base hits as strikeouts. That’s…those are not the ratios you want. To get a better sense of what it looks like in action, click here.

Lucky for him, his second-best offering is a change, a pitch which benefits by not being quite as terrible as his slider. It doesn’t get much vertical movement, but it’s 8 or so MPH slower than his fastball. It’s a fly ball pitch, and it helps explain Alcantara’s very low GB% despite a sinking four-seamer and an actual sinker. It also helps explain why Alcantara’s run extreme reverse splits thus far. Lefties may have a hard time picking the ball up from him, but righties have destroyed him: they’re hitting a combined .342/.400/.707 off of him. That screams small sample oddity, but he had the same trouble in AA this year. Righties hit 10 HRs off of him in the Texas league, while lefties managed just 1. Across 3 levels this year, RHBs have 15 HRs while lefties are at 2.

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: Marte, SS
SP: Walker

The A’s oft-injured Jed Lowrie’s scheduled for another surgery soon, this one for a deviated septum. I though that sounded like the most heavy metal injury ever (didn’t Deviated Septum open for Yautja at the MigrationFest afterparty?), displacing thoracic outlet surgery and plantar fasciitis. I then spent far too long making this handy table:

Name Baseball Injury? Metal Band?
Thoracic Outlet X  
Concussion X X
Plantar Fasciitis X  
Planta Cadaver   X
Mantar   X
Deviated Septum X  
Deviated Tomb   X
Broken Hamate X  
Hammers of Misfortune   X
Subluxation X  
Subterrax   X
Cyst X X
Avulsion   X
Avulsion Fracture X

In more newsworthy information, the M’s announced their minor league awards for 2016 (hat tip to Ryan Divish). No points for guessing who the position player of the year is; when you win league MVP, lead your team to a title, and win title series MVP…you’re probably on the short list for something like this:
Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year: Tyler O’Neill
Jamie Moyer Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Moore, who also had one of the minors’ best games of the year as ranked by Game Score (courtesy of BA).
Edgar Martinez PTPA award: Dalton Kelly (1B, Clinton Lumberkings)
Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner” Award: Zach Shank (IF, Tacoma/Jackson)
Dan Wilson MiLB Community Service Award: David Rollins
Dave Henderson MiLB Staff Member of the Year: Mitch Canham, manager for Clinton


13 Responses to “Game 160, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. Grayfox3d on September 30th, 2016 5:22 pm

    I really don’t care to root for the Red Sox or Yankees on normal occasions but right now I’m all in on those teams coming up with big wins!! Let’s go boys!

  2. mrakbaseball on September 30th, 2016 8:01 pm

    Well, it looks like the Red Sox did their part. Can’t say the same for the Yankees or the Braves.

  3. JMB on September 30th, 2016 8:06 pm

    Watching the Huskies roll over Stanford… but it’s about time to switch over.

  4. JMB on September 30th, 2016 8:56 pm

    Cano carrying this team right now…

  5. marc w on September 30th, 2016 9:54 pm

    Proud of the M’s for this finish. No, beating the Twins and A’s doesn’t make up for scuffles at home v. Astros and Jays, but this M’s club responded and has held up their end of the bargain. With Detroit and Baltimore winning, that may not be enough, but right now, tonight, I don’t care. Keep winning.

  6. leon0112 on October 1st, 2016 4:58 am

    October 1 and the M’s are still alive. My guess is that they need to win the next two and hope they end up in a tie for the second wild card.

    Another guess: Detroit has to play the make up game with the Indians on Monday. So even if M’s make it through they don’t play until Tuesday.

  7. Grayfox3d on October 1st, 2016 5:09 pm

    Baltimore lost…. this could be huge if the Red Sox pull out a win and somehow the braves beat the Tigers…….. but we still have to win….

  8. stevemotivateir on October 1st, 2016 5:30 pm

    Everything is going right today to this point, though the Red Sox could let their offense loose any time now.

  9. JMB on October 1st, 2016 5:42 pm

    Braves winning right now, which is a miracle given that they started a pitcher with an ERA of 8.

  10. JMB on October 1st, 2016 5:45 pm

    I hope we get a Game 161 thread!

  11. leon0112 on October 1st, 2016 5:55 pm

    Braves 3 Tigers 1. Sixth inning. The M’s could start their game tied with the Tigers.

  12. JMB on October 1st, 2016 6:00 pm

    3-2, top 7th, Tigers batting…

  13. JMB on October 1st, 2016 6:19 pm

    5-2 Braves!

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