Game 43, Tigers at Mariners – Welcome Back, Ryan Cook

marc w · May 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Matt Boyd, 7:10pm

Tonight’s game is a repeat of the matchup 5 days ago, the one in which Gonzales pitched quite well before tiring and giving up the lead in his 6th inning of work. That’s two straight games that’ve followed that pattern for him – solid work through 5, and then a little slip up in the 6th tarnishing both his ERA and the M’s chances of winning. Of course, it only hurt the M’s chances of winning because they couldn’t quite figure out Matt Boyd. If you want to read up on Boyd, his evolution as a starter, and his repertoire, check the game preview from last Saturday here.

The M’s made a roster move today, optioning Christian Bergman back to Tacoma, and purchasing the contract of reliever Ryan Cook. I know some will grumble, but there’s not currently space in the M’s rotation for Bergman, but he’s presumably first in line when someone goes down. I think sending him back was always the plan, regardless of how well he did against Texas. I don’t think anyone expected 7 shutout innings, but still – can you bump Wade LeBlanc, who is ALSO coming off a scoreless start? Marco Gonzales, the guy the FO expects so much out of? Felix? C’mon. Mike Leake? Not likely. I think Bergman’s excellent work keeps him ahead of Rob Whalen and Andrew Moore,* and his position on the 40-man means he may get recalled at some point to help the bullpen as well.

The corresponding move is more interesting. Ryan Cook came up with the Diamondbacks, but was traded to the A’s in the big Jarrod Parker/Trevor Cahill trade. Almost instantly, he became one of the surprising A’s best relievers, racking up 3 fWAR between 2012-2013. He pitched a bit less and wasn’t quite as effective in 2014, and then was completely awful in 2015, which led the A’s to essentially sell him to Boston where he was every bit as bad. His velocity was down only 1 MPH, from 96 to 95, but his command had left him. The M’s signed him in January of 2016, as Jerry Dipoto tried to remake the bullpen he’d upended with his trade of Carson Smith.

As Ryan Divish captured in this story from March, Cook tore his latissimus dorsi (back muscle) in spring training that year as he faced his first batter. While rehabbing that, he tore his hamstring. He eventually progressed well enough to go on a rehab assignment to the M’s Arizona League team, where, again facing his first batter, he tore his UCL, requiring Tommy John surgery. He’d faced two batters, and would now be out for not only all of 2016, but 2017 as well. The M’s had signed him to a one year deal, but he re-signed with the club again, and kept working.

He was healthy enough to appear in the Cactus League this spring, which was encouraging, but as amazing as this tale of perseverance is, there are comeback stories throughout the minors. Hell, Jayson Werth is in Tacoma right now, and ex-M’s hurler Anthony Vasquez, who came back from a nearly fatal brain lesion *and* shoulder problems 6 years ago, is pitching in AAA this year. No, what makes Cook’s call-up impressive is that it’s not just a goodwill gesture to someone who worked incredibly hard. Cook’s suddenly good again:

Cook’s thrown 13 1/3 IP with 17 Ks and 3 walks. If anything, he’s getting better, as he’s yielded 3 hits, no walks and no runs in his last 6 IP (with 6 Ks). Cook always had a good sinker (that he’d mix with a four-seamer and a sweeping slider), and he’s getting tons of ground balls again. As that Mike Curto tweet notes, he can’t be a workhorse in the bullpen, but a guy touching 98 with sink sounds pretty good to me.

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

Tacoma’s finally back at home tonight, hosting Las Vegas. Johendi Jiminian takes the mound for Arkansas against breakaway province Northwest Arkansas. Nick Wells of Clinton takes on Peoria’s UDFA control artist Zach Prendergast. Modesto and SP Randy Bell have already dispatched San Jose 6-3.

* I thought Max Povse would be challenging for that spot, but it has been a rough, rough year for him; Povse’s given up 37 runs in 36 2/3 IP.


3 Responses to “Game 43, Tigers at Mariners – Welcome Back, Ryan Cook”

  1. 11records on May 17th, 2018 6:01 pm

    You say that Cook is a sinker guy… Would be good to have someone to bring in for Double Play situations. Whereas the rest of the righty relievers on the club are more K’s and fly balls… (except maybe for Bradford?)

    Congrats on resisting the urge to say that Marco would have been thru the 6th inning if Acta would have challenged the damn play at the plate.

    (I’m known to dwell on shit…)

  2. WTF_Ms on May 17th, 2018 8:10 pm

    Alright boys. Let’s right the ship, and get this done! And right as I say that, baserunning gaff.

  3. WTF_Ms on May 17th, 2018 9:52 pm

    I’m the thread killer. Or is it our late inning crap play??? You decide.

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