Game 51, Mariners at Red Sox

marc w · May 28, 2017 at 9:39 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Christian Bergman vs. Rick Porcello, 10:35am

The M’s have now faced a hard-throwing lefty and a soft-tossing righty and scored a grand total of nothing in the series. Will they break out of their slump against the defending AL Cy Young winner? Actually, maybe. Rick Porcello’s having a much worse year than last year, which makes sense, as he’s not a true-talent ace; everything broke his way last year.

He’s not bad, of course. As the consensus top HS pitcher in his draft, his bonus demands made a bunch of teams pass on him, until Detroit – a team that did this a lot (Andrew Miller, for another example) – drafted and paid him his money. With Detroit, he was a sinkerballer with GB rates in the 55% range. Boston picked him up and instantly asked him to change – to throw more four-seamers and throw up in the zone more than he ever did. He’s done so, and while his 2015 and 2017 weren’t earth-shattering, he’s been a solid pitcher. It’s before and after picture time. Here’s a heat map of his fastballs (four-seam and sinker) from a random year when he was with Detroit. It’s representative of his approach with the Tigers:
Porcello FB 2011

Aaaand here’s the same thing from this year with Boston:
Porcello in 2017

Pretty clear change in approach. It’s helped Porcello – who’s always had solid control – cut down on his walks to the point where he’s consistently walking less than 5% of batters faced. He’s striking out many more batters as well – he’s got 9 K’s per 9 IP this year, after years and years in the 5’s with the Tigers. But this change in approach isn’t without risk. He’s also giving up a lot more home runs, something he did in 2015, too. His sinker’s yielded a number of home runs, just like always, but this year it’s his breaking balls and change-up that are getting hit a bit harder. The M’s need to jump on hanging cutters and change-ups today; Porcello won’t walk them, so they’re going to need to be proactive.

1: Segura, SS
2: Gamel, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Valencia, 1B
7: Heredia, LF
8: Dyson, CF
9: Ruiz, C
SP: Bergman

Today’s roster move: Rob Whalen’s been optioned back to Tacoma after his start yesterday, and up from Tacoma is Ryne Harper, another RHP that the M’s picked up out of the Braves organization a few years ago. Harper’s been a bullpen arm in the Tacoma pen and has been very effective this year, though it’s worth pointing out that everyone the M’s have brought up has been successful in the PCL…it just hasn’t translated. Harper’s 28 and this is his first time in the bigs – congratulations to him. The 40-man spot was opened up when the Dodgers grabbed Mike Freeman on waivers.

James Paxton’s set to begin a rehab assignment with Arkansas.

Former Phillies RP Tyler Cloyd starts today for Tacoma (who lost in Salt Lake city last night). Cloyd’s now made 3 starts for the Rainiers and has yet to allow a run – he’s coming off of injury, so he’s only pitched 12 2/3 IP, but that’s still not bad. At this rate, we’ll probably see him in Seattle in a month or two.

Dylan Unsworth starts for Arkansas tonight, Robert Dugger starts for Clinton, and Nick Neidert takes the hill for Modesto.

Yesterday’s best MiLB performance goes to Tyler Marlette of Arkansas who homered twice off of big time Rangers prospect Yohander Mendez in the Travs 5-4 win.


8 Responses to “Game 51, Mariners at Red Sox”

  1. Jake on May 28th, 2017 12:49 pm

    Paxton already had the rehab start with Arkansas two days ago; he’s set to pitch on Wednesday against the Rockies.

  2. Westside guy on May 28th, 2017 1:14 pm

    It’s nice that the team is winning today… but I gotta say that a poorly-performing baseball team is going to have a hard time competing with the essentially perfect weather this Memorial Day weekend.

    I didn’t even think about the game until now – the 8th inning.

    (Okay, I’ve lived in western Washington for enough decades that this actually seems a touch warmish – mid-70s are my perfect weather. But the 80s are still nice, especially when there’s a breeze).

  3. Westside guy on May 28th, 2017 1:35 pm

    Robinson Cano, ladies and gentlemen!

  4. Westside guy on May 28th, 2017 1:48 pm

    Love the errors. Don’t want the game to be too boring for you fellows.

  5. Jake on May 28th, 2017 1:49 pm

    “This should do it right here!” – Sims, right before Segura clanks the double-play grounder.

  6. Jake on May 28th, 2017 1:50 pm

    Good job, Diaz, your defense did you no favors.

  7. Westside guy on May 28th, 2017 2:04 pm

    Haha yeah, Jake, I was thinking “come on, Sims, what team have you been watching for the past two months?”

    Anyway… Woo hoo! Mariners win!

  8. msfanmike on May 28th, 2017 4:53 pm

    Great job by Bergman today. He’s had two really good starts … and one horror movie of a start, but he’s definitely earned additional opportunities.

    3 shutouts in 3 days in Fenway. That’s surprising, very surprising.

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