Game 35, Mariners at Blue Jays

marc w · May 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chase de Jong vs. Marco Estrada, 4:00pm

Ok, so let’s get to today’s transactions! The M’s have sent down Dan Altavilla and recalled reliever Zac Curtis, who’s been with Arkansas this year. Curtis is a lefty the M’s got from Arizona as the third piece of the huge Haniger/Segura/Walker/Marte trade. He throws about 91, and has a very low arm slot, leading to some sink on his four-seam fastball. He has a change-up and slider, as well. The change is thrown hard, at 85-86, while the slider has a more traditional separation in velocity from his fastball. The diminutive Curtis struck out 13 and walked 5 in his 14 IP thus far with the Travelers. He pitched roughly the same amount for the Diamondbacks last year, and while it was generally unimpressive, he did post some oddly reversed splits. I didn’t think much of it, but he seems to have done that in the minors as well. His K rate’s generally been higher against righties than lefties. That might indicate his change is a bit better than his slider at this point, or it may have something to do with some deception in his delivery. Or maybe it’s nothing! Just striking to see a side-arming sinking fastball/slider guy have reverse splits over any length of time.

The M’s also picked up a right-handed reliever in Casey Lawrence, whom the Blue Jays DFA’d 2 days ago. Lawrence has been a starting pitcher in his minor league career, and made 2 starts for the Jays here in 2017, but a move to the pen hasn’t helped him. He’s given up 11 walks (3 intentional) against just 7 Ks in 13+ innings, and has been hit hard. Unlike Curtis, Lawrence’s platoon splits are a bit easier to understand. He has a sinker with lots of armside run, a slider and a change, all thrown from a low 3/4 arm slot. That seems like it’d be good news for lefty batters, and they’ve annihilated Lawrence this year. He’ll head to Tacoma, and take the 40-man spot of Evan Scribner, who’s been moved to the 60-day DL.

The M’s are at .500 again despite a plague of injuries. Their offense is now legitimately scary, and it’s quite novel to go into a match-up with Toronto and compare line-ups and almost feel sorry for the Jays. Toronto’s been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball, and they may be better than their record, but wwwwwoooowww today’s line-up looks bad. Justin Smoak, clean-up hitter! 6 hitters in their line-up have an OBP under .300 on the year, and Jose Bautista, who’s OBP is just barely above .300, has a SLG% under .300. On the other side, the M’s first 7 hitters are all above league average, most of them way, way above. We started the year talking about the middle of the order, the 3-4-5 core of Cano/Cruz/Seager, but the top of the line-up has been ridiculous all year, and their 1+2 hitters have been an OPS+ 96% higher than league average. Thank you, Jean, Mitch, and Ben. And yes, yes, I know it’s silly to look at early season stats instead of looking at the player’s career; I’m aware Jose Bautista doesn’t actually suck. But even doing that, would anyone take the Jays line-up over the M’s? Forget club control or how they’d age; the M’s line-up is flat out better, and I can’t remember the last time I could’ve said that before a game in Toronto.

You’ll notice that this line-up does not include Guillermo Heredia. Bob Dutton reports that this is due to a delay at the border, where Canadian officials wanted to take a closer look at the paperwork of Heredia and Ariel Miranda (the two Cuban defectors). They’re supposed to arrive later, likely when the game’s underway. Taylor Motter’s the beneficiary today, as he’ll make the start in LF.

1: Segura, SS
2: Gamel, RF
3: Cano, 2B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Seager, 3B
5: Valencia, 1B
6: Motter, LF
7: Freeman, 2B
8: Gosewisch, C
9: Dyson, CF

[Edit] Looks like Robbie Cano’s quad injury’s sidelined him today. Mike Freeman will take his spot today.

Marco Estrada’s the Toronto starter, and he’s one of the unlikeliest stars in the game. For years, he’s gotten away with a flurry of slow, elevated fastballs. This approach caused serious HR problems in Milwaukee, but he’s been even better since his move to the AL. This year, his K rate’s at a career high, and his HR rate continues to fall. He’s been underrated for years by Fangraphs’ WAR, as his approach produced a consistently low BABIP, something fWAR didn’t take into account. But this year, even his FIP looks well above average. He’s pitched some good games against the M’s in the past, but this year’s club is really hammering high pitches. Using the 5-zone gameday definition of a high pitch, the M’s have the 3rd best wOBA in baseball against high pitches, trailing only the Yankees and Nationals.

Tacoma hosts Round Rock tonight, with Kyle Hunter on the mound for the Rainiers against knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa. Casey Lawrence is heading to Tacoma, and may fill the void created when the M’s called up Sam Gaviglio.

Arkansas faces Springfield again, with Dylan Unsworth facing off with Jack Flaherty, who’s held the Travelers to 1 run in 11 IP over 2 starts this year.

Modesto’s at Lancaster, where Nathan Bannister – who filled in admirably for Tacoma – faces off against Jesus Tinoco of the Jethawks. Lancaster beat Modesto 5-3 last night, scoring 4 off starter Reggie McClain, who’s been very good for the Nuts this year.

Clinton was rained out yesterday, but they’ll host Great Lakes today to kick off a new series. Ljay Newsome takes the mound for the Lumberkings against Devin Smeltzer of the Loons. Smeltzer has 39 Ks and just 3 walks thus far in 27 1/3 IP. It’s not common for someone to even approach Newsome in the K:BB ratio category (Ljay stands at 34:2), but here we are. Should be a good game.


7 Responses to “Game 35, Mariners at Blue Jays”

  1. Notfromboise on May 11th, 2017 4:07 pm

    I don’t know whats crazier, the fact that the Mariners have clawed their way back to .500…

    or the fact that during the warm ups today over the PA it could very well be announced ‘If you are in section 7, Row B, Seat 4…. Report to the dugout, you’re starting tonight against the Phillies”..

  2. Slats on May 11th, 2017 4:15 pm

    Boom stick baby!

  3. msfanmike on May 11th, 2017 4:15 pm

    You had me at “Phillies.”

    The Phillies of Toronto, no doubt.

  4. msfanmike on May 11th, 2017 4:32 pm

    Smoak is looking a little on the svelte side. Good for him. Trunk turn/rotation – need it.

    Need it, Vogelbach.

  5. Notfromboise on May 11th, 2017 4:37 pm

    Msfan, lets not forget that its a road game, too lol.

    Hard to believe it wasnt long ago we were flinging guys like Walker, Montgomery and Miley around cuz we had a starting pitching surplus.

    On a side note, anyone see Miley get drilled by multiple line drives in the same inning the other night for Baltimore? Scary.

  6. msfanmike on May 11th, 2017 4:44 pm

    I kinda miss Montgomery. I’m missing Jason Vargas quite a bit now, too. Undoubtedly he will regress and more than likely – he will soon be sought after and the Royals will probably end up with a bit of an overpay by somebody.

  7. Grayfox3d on May 11th, 2017 6:46 pm

    Servais is really good at hanging pitchers out to dry

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