Game 92: Mariners at White Sox; Bats over (the) Pelfrey

marc w · July 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Mike Pelfrey, 5:10pm

Happy Felix Day! It’s nice to say that with a bit more optimism and joy than in the recent past.

After a solid win to open the second half, the M’s face the soft underbelly of the White Sox rotation today in the person of well-traveled Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey was originally a decent #4-5 who made up for a lack of strikeouts with decent grounder rates, leading to low HRs. That worked for a while, but the approach requires great command, especially since Pelfrey’s never been a Keuchel-level ground ball guy. The low K rate meant that getting out of tough situations was even harder for him, leading to a low strand rate. A move to the AL several years ago brought these flaws to the fore – no pitchers hitting (surprisingly) didn’t affect his K rates, but it ensured that his strand rates would stay low. Then, as HRs crept up league-wide late in 2015, Pelfrey’s one signature skill, avoiding HRs, was rendered moot. You can survive in this league without a ton of strikeouts, but you can’t survive without strikeouts AND without some HR-suppressing mojo.

As a sinker/slider guy, you might expect Pelfrey to run big platoon splits. You’d be right. This is a great match-up for the M’s lefties.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that while Felix was indeed throwing higher fastballs this year, it hadn’t helped. In particular, his sinker was abysmal. It’s worth noting that his pitch mix in his last start leaned a lot more on his four-seam, and while that pitch isn’t great on its own, it may have helped him turn back the clock with his change-up, that got 8 swinging strikes by itself against the A’s. Now, that’s not to say he’s fixed; he had isolated games with more four-seamers and comparatively few sinkers, but it’s only his second start of the year with a ratio like that. The other was his brilliant start against Texas back on April 14th – a game in which he went 7 1/3 giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and no walks. I have no idea why he’d abandon that approach after a game like that, but he did. Keep doing this, Felix, if only just to see how it goes.

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

Rough night in M’s system, as only Clinton and the AZL M’s won. Two affiliates got shut-out. Fresno used several pitchers to rack up 9 consecutive strikeouts against the Rainiers (what’s the opposite of batting around?). The pitching performance of the day goes to Jose Santiago, who struck out 10 in 5 great innings, giving up 1 R on 3 H and 2 BBs, but…Everett was one of the teams that got shut-out, so Santiago took a hard luck loss. Batting line goes to Adam Law, the 27-year old minor league veteran the M’s signed a month or so ago, who went 3-4 with 2 2Bs in a 4-1 loss to Springfield. Tyler Cloyd, Reggie McClain, Steven Ridings, and Justin DeFratus are among the pitching probables tonight in the system.


5 Responses to “Game 92: Mariners at White Sox; Bats over (the) Pelfrey”

  1. Westside guy on July 15th, 2017 5:07 pm

    I’m baseball-less for a few days, but – GO MARINERS!

  2. Grayfox3d on July 15th, 2017 7:35 pm

    Why does Diaz fall apart when runners get on base…. c’mon man! get it together 1 damn out! that’s all you need!

  3. Notfromboise on July 15th, 2017 7:39 pm

    Whew.. We will take it!

    2 games under .500 with some post-break momentum starting up. Go Ms!

  4. EdgarIsAHOFer on July 16th, 2017 12:36 pm

    Danny V with the clutch home run. Let’s get this sweep Ms!

  5. Grayfox3d on July 17th, 2017 1:40 am

    SWEEEP! and now the hard part… these next few series are gonna be brutal.

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