Game 80, Phillies at Mariners

marc w · June 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Mark Leiter, 12:40pm

Happy Felix Day to all. Given yesterday’s post about Felix’s struggle to adjust to using the entirety of the strike zone (and not just the bottom), today’s game’s a good opportunity to see how his gameplan may be changing or adapting. I’d love to see a few less sinkers, and a more coordinated approach to using his four-seam fastball and the curve that he’s used so much this year. The change is still his best pitch, but he’s got to get to it more effectively.

It happens all the time now, but I’ll admit to being a bit stunned that today’s SP for Philly is the son of former Phillies and M’s pitcher Mark Leiter, sr. I get it – it used to make me double-take when I’d see that Mickey Brantley’s kid was in the majors. I used to be stunned that guys like Casey Candaele and Mickey Morandini looked old enough to be classic 1B coach types, which is another way of saying that I’m stunned that 1987 was 30 years ago. But we’ve got to move past that, apparently, as baseball presses on undaunted.

What can we say about the younger Leiter, beyond biographical quirks? Well, he throws about 91, and his four-seamer has very, very typical movement. His breaking balls – he throws a slider and curve – have some very good vertical drop, but his best pitch is probably his split-change. It’s got a bit less horizontal movement than his straight fastball, but has about a half a foot different vertical break. It’s clearly his strikeout pitch – he’s got 17 Ks on the year, and 15 of them have come on splitters. Given that he throws it more to lefties, and given that his fastball isn’t a swing-and-miss pitch, you might expect him to have smaller platoon splits. Kind of – his career’s only a half-year old, but at this point, he’s got huge *reverse* splits. His slider/curve aren’t big whiff pitches either, and thus he’s not able to rack up Ks against righties. The splitter means he CAN get some Ks against opposite handed hitters, and that’s led to a FIP against lefties of 2.52, backed by a 10:4 K:BB ratio, and a grotesque 6.52 FIP against righties (with 7Ks and 11 walks!).

Looking at his numbers in the minors, I’m guessing the splitter may be a more recent development or at least it got refined more recently. In the low minors, Leiter was a strong fly ball pitcher, with GB rates under 40% most of the time. Suddenly, that changed, hitting about 45% last year and then over 50% in both AAA and MLB this year. His splitter is, as you’d expect, a strong GB pitch, and while the slider doesn’t generate Ks, it too can yield grounders.

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

The story of the day is depressing, if not exactly shocking. SP Drew Smyly won’t be pitching for the M’s this year. Yesterday, we heard about a “setback” that scuppered a planned rehab start. Today we learned what that setback meant: he’s torn a ligament in his elbow, and now needs Tommy John surgery. Ouch. Get well soon, Drew.

A day after coming back from an 8-0 deficit to win 9-8, Tacoma coughed up a lead to Las Vegas. Tacoma led 5-1 and then 7-3 in the 8th, but allowed the last 5 runs of the game to lose 8-7. Casey Lawrence starts tonight’s game at Cheney Stadium.

Pablo Lopez’ 7 shutout IP in Modesto’s extra inning 2-1 win over Visalia was the pitching performance of the day, and 1B Onil Pena’s 4-5 with a HR in Everett’s 15-13 loss to Vancouver was the biggest day for an M’s affiliate batsman. Today’s SP probables include Anthony Misiewicz (Mod.), Andres Torrres (Eve.) and Danny Garcia (Cli.). Arkansas is off for the Texas League All-star break; the South beat the North (the division Arkansas is in) 10-3. CF Ian Miller led off for the North and went 1-3 with a 3B. Tyler Marlette was 0-2, Chuck Taylor hit 3rd and hit a HR in 4 trips. Peter Tago and Zac Curtis pitched a combined 2 shutout IP.


10 Responses to “Game 80, Phillies at Mariners”

  1. mrakbaseball on June 28th, 2017 12:27 pm

    I thought the Mariners were one of Mark Leiter’s (Sr) former teams and he pitched 2 games for the M’s in ’99.

  2. LongDistance on June 28th, 2017 1:31 pm

    Ouch. Only getting the game on the sucko ESPN “GameHQ”, so … zero details. Was the HR off one of the new-fangled pitches, i.e. up in the zone?

  3. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2017 1:38 pm

    I love you Felix, and all that you have done for this team but your costing them alot of money for this “production”… Hopefully you find your form before its too late.

  4. mrakbaseball on June 28th, 2017 1:47 pm

    89 mph 4-seamer. I forget Ty Kelly was acquired by the Mariners for Eric Thames once.

  5. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2017 2:34 pm

    Haniger looks like he’s pressing a little too much, needs to get back to his pre injury form. The 3-4-5 hitters are gonna be extremely crucial for them to make any kind of run, with the surrounding guys playing important roles as well, but all that money needs to produce.

  6. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2017 3:48 pm

    What an absolute WASTE… Why is Diaz closing tonight after that crap fest he threw last night? Blows the save on the first batter… nice job. Ok trying not to get to emotionally involved, I just want to see them make the playoffs again before I’m too old to care anymore.

  7. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2017 3:53 pm

    And we play the Angels next… they are gonna kill the Mariners. Awesome.

  8. Sowulo on June 28th, 2017 7:51 pm

    I still watch every game. But I must admit I quit caring long ago. Typical M’s team go on a streak to get to .500 and then once reached bank into the tank for a week or so.

  9. Mid80sRighty on June 29th, 2017 6:42 am

    Philly taking 1 of the 2 games is not the worst thing in the world, even the worst teams still win ~50-60 games, but losing both games is unacceptable.

  10. Westside guy on June 29th, 2017 3:08 pm

    What’s even worse… I couldn’t watch the game live, so I went out of my way to avoid learning the final score before I watched the “archive”.

    Now I wish somebody had spilled the beans so I didn’t waste those 3 hours and 30 minutes.

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