Game 141, Angels at Mariners

marc w · September 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Mike Leake vs. Ricky Nolasco, 7:10pm

Time is growing short, and the number of teams the M’s need to hurdle is long. They’ve got to play nearly perfect baseball from here on out, and they still don’t have Felix or Paxton back yet. Stabilizing the rotation was why the M’s picked up Mike Leake, and to his credit, he was far better than advertised in his first game out, striking out 7 Oakland A’s in a convincing win. The M’s are going to need more of the same, and having another such performance against a much better opponent – like the Angels – would go a long way towards extending Seattle’s 2017 hopes and building some optimism for 2018.

Leake’s velocity dip in the second half this year was a worrying sign, especially as it coincided with a drop in Ks and overall effectiveness. Thus, it was great to see Leake’s velocity up noticeably in his first game in an M’s uniform. His sinker averaged 91+ and he touched 93. In his final start for St. Louis, he averaged 89+ and didn’t ever hit 92. He was 90-91 most of the second half, so it’s not like he’s suddenly throwing much harder, but it showed the declining trend was some kind of death sentence. He also threw more curveballs than in any start he’s made this year with the Cards; it’s a good pitch, and while he still threw more sliders, it’s nice to see that he’s got another pitch to keep hitters off of his sinker/slider combo. I’d say I hope we see more of the curve tonight, but by pitch type linear weights, the Angels struggle more with sliders, so if he wants to throw a bunch of those, be my guest.

I get something out of writing this blog, and there are times I can easily come up with reasons I spew words about pitching match ups every day, and the patterns of thought it engenders. Then I mentally tally the sheer volume of words I’ve written about Ricky Nolasco, and kind of want to quit. Why must the M’s face Ricky Nolasco so often? Can’t he turn interesting, the way Doug Fister has, or any number of other pitchers who either come back from near baseball death or transform themselves completely? No? Ok, Ricky Nolasco throws two fastballs around 91, has a decent-looking splitter, and a slider. He was once a decent starter, but settled in as a mediocre, near-replacement level arm after signing a contract with the Twins. He was traded for fellow HR-prone pitcher Hector Santiago, and both he and Santiago have continued to be mediocre, homer-prone starters in new cities.

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

The Modesto Nuts are the one M’s affiliate in their league’s playoffs, and they’re off to a great start. They got a HR from Kyle Lewis in an 11-5 drubbing of Stockton yesterday and now have a 2-0 lead in the best of 5 series. They go for the series win tonight behind Robert Dugger, who was dominant for Clinton but struggled a bit in his first taste of the offense-friendly Cal League.


3 Responses to “Game 141, Angels at Mariners”

  1. mrakbaseball on September 8th, 2017 8:16 pm

    Good to see the Mariners facing a mediocre, homer-prone starter look like a mediocre, homer-prone starter for a change.

  2. mrakbaseball on September 8th, 2017 8:58 pm

    The California Angels have 14 pitchers in their bullpen, I mentioned this the other night, but MLB really needs to do something to stop September games from resembling Cactus League games. I thought there was grumblings about this from front office execs last year or the year before but nothing ever came from it. A team should only be allowed to have and use 25 players on their active roster.

  3. mksh21 on September 9th, 2017 4:42 pm

    Baseball kind of has three seasons and they don’t make sense.

    Regular Season 25 players
    40 Man roster season in the most important time of the year.
    Small playoffs with 25 players.

    If you are a terrible team I get why its good to have 40 players to be able to look at some young guys because you can’t send down veterans out of options.

    It makes for crappy baseball from a pitching stand point though as you can play the matchup 14 times in this case which is terrible for everyone.

    I do like during a pennant race seeing young position player pinch run or hit or do anything it adds a little something.

    Capping total pitchers would be nice.

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