Game 140, Astros at Mariners

marc w · September 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Andrew Moore vs. Lance McCullers, 7:10pm

A day after getting to face Justin Verlander in his first start in an Astros uniform, the M’s have the honor of welcoming Lance McCullers back to the majors to make his first start in over a month. After spending the first half of the season as one of the league’s premier starters, McCullers struggled mightily in July, and then, after giving up 5 runs in 5 IP, he went on the DL with back issues. This isn’t new for McCullers, who’s essentially a more southerly James Paxton: dominant when healthy, but frequently unhealthy. That DL stint that cost him August was his 2nd of the season, and he’s missed tons of time in previous seasons as well. Paxton and McCullers have pitched an eerily similar number of innings over the past 3 years, 307+ to 312+.

Sooo, Andrew Moore. The M’s announced he was coming up to bolster the bullpen, but after using Marco Gonzales in long relief the other day, Moore will get another opportunity to start. With so many of the M’s depth options, I’ve advocated using the Yankee (and Astros!) strategy of throwing a blizzard of breaking balls to maximize effectiveness. McCullers throws his slurvy curveball more than any of his pitches at over 40%, for example. Well, Moore should not do that. He’s given up 5 dingers on his rising four-seam fastball, but it’s been a decent pitch overall. Not great, mind you, but not disastrous, which is the only way to describe what’s happened when he’s thrown other pitches. His whiff rate is better on his straight four-seam fastball than it is on his curve, which simply doesn’t generate enough break. His slider and change are a bit better at generating whiffs, but batters have put more of them in play, and they’ve put more of them in the air (the change especially). It’d be nice to see if he can modify his usage of the change to get more below-the-zone swings on it.

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

Ariel Miranda was effectively wild last night, walking 6 in 6 innings, but holding the Astros hitless through 6 before giving up a decisive 2-run HR in the 7th. That’s his second game this year where he’s walked 6, and it marks his 5th start giving up *at least* 4 walks. But in those 5 starts, covering 26 2/3 IP, he’s given up a total of just 2 home runs. By contrast, he’s given up zero walks in 4 starts, covering a total of 20 innings. And in *those* games, he’s given up 9 dingers, or 4.05 HR/9. His HR/9 in the high-walk games is a very un-Miranda-like 0.7.

Shawn O’Malley was DFA’d in the series of moves that enabled Rainiers IF and ex-White Sox player Gordon Beckham to earn a 40-man spot and a place on the M’s bench. O’Malley made it through waivers and was outrighted to Tacoma, whose season is over. Hmmm. “Shawn, please report to Tacoma…and when I say “Tacoma,” I mean “anywhere but here.” See you next year, possibly.”

Fangraphs’ David Laurila had a post talking about M’s relief prospect JP Sears, the guy with the incredible K rate stats in Everett and Clinton; it’s worth a read.

Speaking of Fangraphs, their playoff odds now give the M’s just shy of a 5% chance. Darn. BP’s odds have been more bullish on the M’s chances this year, but no longer; their odds are fractionally lower than Fangraphs’ now.


2 Responses to “Game 140, Astros at Mariners”

  1. WTF_Ms on September 6th, 2017 9:49 pm

    See my username. That is all.

  2. mrakbaseball on September 6th, 2017 10:43 pm

    Thanks for your efforts again this season Marc W., but this season is toast.

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