Game 35, Mariners at Hitless Jays

marc w · May 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Wade LeBlanc vs. Jaime Garcia, 4:05pm

The Mariners try to turn James Paxton’s no-hitter into some sort of momentum as they again face the suddenly-struggling Jays, whose season started brilliantly, but who have been treading water for weeks.

The pickings for free agent starters were pretty slim this past offseason, but there were a few FAs that M’s fans wanted Jerry Dipoto to pursue: Yu Darvish at the high/unrealistic level to Lance Lynn in the middle, above the one-year bounce-back guys and minor-league-contract-with-invite-to-spring-training guys like, uh, Wade LeBlanc. I took it as an ominous sign that the M’s never seemed to seriously pursue any free agent pitchers besides Shohei Ohtani, all the while talking up their starting pitching depth like it was a strength and not a weakness. The club seemed to think they were a playoff team already, while many of us who wanted them to stretch a bit and actually *be* a team with great pitching depth were stunned at these pronouncements. That said, it’s not like all free agents are created equal, or that any of them would be similarly helpful. Lance Lynn had a ton of red flags, and I wrote about a few of them before the year. It’s not just Lynn, though. On the whole, the FAs that were talked about as potential targets have fallen on their face a bit.

Yu Darvish has an ERA right at 6, with a FIP of 5.09. That’s actually better than Lynn, whose ERA is over 7, and whose FIP is in the mid-5’s. The guy I wanted, Jaime Garcia, is not looking like the smart buy I thought he was, either. His ERA, like Darvish’s, is right at 6.00, but then, so is his FIP. His groundballing ways are over, as his GB% has plummeted by 14 percentage points, while his HR/9 has more than doubled from last year. His velocity’s down since 2017, but then, that’s never been the focus of Garcia’s game: he’s at 89 MPH now, and he was at 89 MPH in 2012, when he was an effective starter for the Cards for over 100 IP.

His slider – probably his best pitch – looks nothing like the sharp, hard pitch it used to be, but it’s now just as effective as a Kluber-style curve/slider hybrid. It’s thrown slower, but has more break now, and it’s been good for him this year. His fastballs…have not. As time’s gone on, he’s thrown his four-seamer more and more, particularly against righties, who’ve always given the left-handed Garcia some trouble. This year, though, his sinker has been the big problem. The movement on it isn’t appreciably different – it has less vertical movement, but that may just be because it’s slower this year – and his arm slot hasn’t changed. For whatever reason, batters are seeing it well, and hitting over .400 against it with 3 HRs. He’s given up another 3 HRs on his four-seamer, which has always had mediocre results, and which looks OK only in comparison with his sinker in 2018. It’s an odd, sharp decline for Garcia, who may snap out of this at any point, of course. But until he does, he looks less like a guy who could’ve put the M’s over the top and more like a left-handed Erasmo Ramirez-in-2018.

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

Rob Whalen starts for Tacoma tonight, with Reggie McClain getting the nod for Modesto. Arkansas is off tonight, and Oliver Jaskie and the Clinton Lumberkings already lost to West Michigan, 8-5. Clinton’s undrafted, overachieving OF Jack Larsen hit his 5th HR.


4 Responses to “Game 35, Mariners at Hitless Jays”

  1. Jake on May 9th, 2018 5:06 pm

    And there’s why Gordon’s dWAR is -0.8 already…

  2. WTF_Ms on May 9th, 2018 5:55 pm

    Man. Are the umps even watched ngt the game? Why are we reviewing an obvious double?

  3. mrakbaseball on May 9th, 2018 6:58 pm

    Nicasio making things right.

  4. Grayfox3d on May 9th, 2018 7:23 pm

    What a very fitting game to follow a no-hitter. thanks Nicasio, thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.