Game 153: Rangers at Mariners – 10 More To Go

marc w · September 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Cole Hamels, 7:10pm

Felix clearly didn’t have it yesterday, and despite a few good innings, unraveled in the 4th. Despite all of that, it’s nice to see his velocity is right back where it was at the beginning of the year, right around 91. He’s de-emphasized his four-seam fastball, a pitch he was relying on more than he had in years just before he hit the DL, so that’ll be something to watch in his next start. Despite the short outing and mediocre results, there were some things to like in Felix’s performance, and I’d say that fans are more nervous right now about Paxton and how HIS first appearance of his return to the line-up looked.

That says a lot about Paxton’s importance to the team vis a vis Felix, and the way our expectations for both have changed. Paxton may get a pass for his 1+ IP start 5 days ago, but he’s simply got to show something quite different tonight. Paxton seems really susceptible to mechanical problems, which is odd to me given how simple his mechanics look to the naked (and untrained) eye. Yes, he’s changed them markedly a few times, but he’s capable of repeating them well. And then he’ll come out and have something consistently “off” and he looks unrecognizable: velocity tanks, command goes south, etc. He’s very good about identifying and correcting them, but it seems like this happens frequently with him.

On the plus side, he seems to have right-handers pretty much figured out. Earlier in his career, he exhibited pretty normal platoon splits, especially in terms of K-BB% or just K%: he struck out lefties, and, when effective, managed contact against righties. Now, he’s simply blowing them out of the water, with a K% near 30% vs. RHBs, higher than his K% against lefties. An over-the-top motion was often seen as a way to counteract platoon splits, as the fastball’s movement (straight) didn’t tail on to the sweet spot the way a “normal” 3/4 delivery pitcher’s would. But as we’ve seen with Chris Sale and others, there’s often an advantage in deception when the ball isn’t released directly overhead. Paxton seems really hard for righties to pick up – at least when he’s “on.” Let’s hope he is in his final couple of starts this year.

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


5 Responses to “Game 153: Rangers at Mariners – 10 More To Go”

  1. Bremerton guy on September 21st, 2017 6:38 pm

    My God, why aren’t they giving Vogelbach any playing time? We traded a starting pitcher for him, for crying out loud. It’s time to fish or cut bait.

  2. LongDistance on September 21st, 2017 11:44 pm

    At this rate, Oakland will pass us.

  3. mrakbaseball on September 22nd, 2017 3:54 am

    I don’t want to accuse the Mariners of quitting and I don’t believe Servais is in jeopardy of losing his job, but this 6-game skid is just so disappointing. I guess it’s fitting the way the season started.

  4. Notfromboise on September 22nd, 2017 8:20 am

    Elias doesn’t lie. You simply can’t have a pitching staff this bad historically and be serious post-season contenders. It’s just too hard.

    On the positive side, we’ve hit solidly as a team for the first time in over a decade. Much of this in part due to the fact that our two positions of greatest weakness a year ago (Catcher and Shortstop) became positions of strength with the addition of Segura and Comeback Player of the Year candidate Mike Zunino.

    We went from having zero trustable outfielders not named Nelson Cruz to having a wealth of 5 outfielders we trust almost impeccably, and Nelson Cruz DHing most nights. Thats a double-win.

    We need a couple starting pitchers in a bad, bad way. But for the first time, in a long time.. Thats all we really need.

    Go Ms.

  5. Notfromboise on September 22nd, 2017 8:27 am

    P.S. Valencia (and later Alonso) were so solid this season it barely stung that Justin Smoak decided to not just not suck eggs, but to have an insanely epic season.

    And lets not forget Chris Taylor spending most of the season leading all of MLB in BABIP.

    I don’t quite understand why the baseball gods are so violently against us, but i do understand there are a ton of positive take aways on this season.

    It was a downright fun team to watch. Yeah we were basically a .500 club. But this year it was really fun to pop into the stadium from time to time (and onto the tv or radio the rest of the time) and hang out with the Mariners.


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