Game 7, Mariners at Twins

marc w · April 7, 2018 at 10:54 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Mike Leake vs. Jose Berrios, 11:10am

Another day, another day game. This has been the strangest start to a season I can remember, purely from the logistics and scheduling of it all – and that doesn’t even get into the eagle alighting on James Paxton the other day. Not sure what it all means, but I’d like to think it’s keeping the players fresh. I just wonder how they’ll react once the standard schedule kicks in and they’re playing night games pretty much every day.

Mike Leake turned in one of the most impressive performances of the year so far from a starter last Sunday in Seattle. He held a very good line-up in check for 7 innings, and showed a bit more bat-missing stuff than he’d shown previously. The M’s will need him to build on that, as the top of the rotation has shown some signs of weakness. Paxton was mostly great two days ago, but HRs have resulted in a couple of brief starts. Felix…let’s not talk about San Francisco.

The M’s face tough righty Jose Berrios, a righthander who throws two fastballs, a change, and a death-dealing slurve/curveball from a low 3/4 arm slot. His release point is way over towards third base, and he generates an obscene amount of run and break on his pitches. As a result, he can start his curve at a RHB’s hip and it’ll break over the plate or even off the plate away. He can throw a sinker that starts well wide, but might catch the outside edge by the time it gets to the plate.

With a sweeping breaking ball and sinking fastball (even his four-seam has run to it), you’d expect Berrios to have platoon splits, and that’s exactly what we see: his career FIP is under 4 vs. righties, but over 5 vs. lefties. He’s improved after a disastrous initial call-up in 2016, so his true talent splits may not be THAT wide, but there’s no doubt that his breaking ball is way, way ahead of his change, and thus he’s going to be much tougher against right-handed bats.

One thing that might help him reduce those platoon splits is to refine his pitch mix to lefties. His four-seam fastball’s been pretty effective against both LHB/RHBs, but that running sinker has tailed on to the barrel of many lefties. They’ve destroyed the pitch, and thus, widened those platoon splits. This makes sense: a sinker has high “natural” platoon splits; it’s common for them to be much more effective against same-handed batters. Even though it’s not Berrios’ primary FB against lefties, it’s been so bad that it’s sunk his overall numbers against lefties. This would be an easy change, of course…maybe one he can make in some other game.

Berrios tossed a complete game in his season debut, going 9 without giving up a run, and striking out 6. He only walked one, which is a good sign considering the trouble he had with walks in 2016. He’d brought his walk rate down last year, but if he can bring it down still further – without a corresponding increase in dingers – he can really help stabilize a rotation that could use solid innings.

1: Gordon, CF
2: Segura, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Haniger, RF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Vogelbach, DH
7: Healy, 1B
8: Ichiro, LF
9: Marjama, C
SP: Leake

Tacoma got beat 8-2 last night, but the won their season opener on Thursday 5-0. They face Sacramento again today with Erasmo Ramirez getting a rehab start opposite ex-M’s prospect Tyler Herb. It was a bullpen day yesterday, as Josh Smith got the start and went 4 IP, giving up 3 runs on 3 solo HRs. He gave way to new guy Ashton Goudeau who gave up 3 runs in 3, and then Pat Light went the final 2, giving up 2 runs of his own. New C Garrett Kennedy hit his first AAA HR for Tacoma, while Ian Miller led off and went 0-5 with 4 Ks; that’s 5 in 7 ABs now, which is odd, as he’s not been a big swing-and-miss guy in the past. Christian Bergman was the star of Game 1, throwing 5 2/3 shutout and striking out 8 – one shy of his career high in Ks. The R’s didn’t need more than 5 hits, as they controlled the zone to the tune of 7 walks drawn to 6 strikeouts.

The Arkansas Travelers won their season opener 3-1, with Andrew Moore outdueling Padres top prospect Cal Quantrill, who walked 5 in less than 4 IP. Moore K’d 7 and walked 1 in 5 2/3 solid innings, and then Darin Gillies got the win with 2 1/3 spotless IP in relief. The Travs were rained out yesterday, but they’ll try and get in a doubleheader today, with Anthony Misiewicz and Chase de Jong starting.

Modesto lost their opener 9-7 despite a dinger from Gareth Morgan, as Ljay Newsome gave up 7 earned in the first two IP before settling in a bit. Yesterday, a similar scene unfolded, as rehabbing Ariel Miranda gave up 5 runs in the first two, before settling down and eventually earning the win as the Nuts came back against Lancaster, 7-5. The Nuts got HRs from Anthony Jimenez and the unlikely pair of Donnie Walton and Bryson Brigman. No word on their starter today.

Clinton would very much like to play, but haven’t been able to yet due to the snowstorms in the midwest.


12 Responses to “Game 7, Mariners at Twins”

  1. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 11:13 am

    26 degrees at game start!

    (Fahrenheit… 26C would be pleasant)

  2. tame on April 7th, 2018 11:26 am

    Ron Healey – continuing the proud tradition of negative WAR at 1st base

  3. mrakbaseball on April 7th, 2018 11:54 am

    But the Metrodome was a “dump”. A warm dump.

  4. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 12:06 pm


  5. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 1:38 pm

    Haha, the seats in the shade there are a lot emptier than those in the sun. I wonder if those guys left when it was 5-0.

  6. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 1:47 pm

    This game seemed comfortably in hand, just a little while ago… but the Mariners don’t seem to know how to close it out. And now they’ve let the Twins load the bases.

  7. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 1:57 pm

    YEAH! Dodged a bullet there.

  8. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 2:17 pm

    Okay, 5 additional runs puts the game back into “safe” territory…

  9. Westside guy on April 7th, 2018 2:33 pm

    The cold seems to be affecting the Twins – they’ve gotten really sloppy.

  10. mrakbaseball on April 7th, 2018 2:56 pm

    Coldest game in Mariners and Target Field history.

  11. mrakbaseball on April 7th, 2018 3:38 pm

    Congrats to Seager on hit #1000 and I guess Ichiro misplayed a few balls hit to left. Father Time making his presence known once again.

  12. Westside guy on April 8th, 2018 8:22 am

    They just announced that Sunday’s game has been postponed due to snow.

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