Game 138, Orioles at Mariners

marc w · September 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Josh Rogers, 6:10pm

Happy Labor Day.

The M’s return home after the most dispiriting road series split I can recall, a split that left them 5.5 games behind the A’s, and with their playoff odds quickly vanishing. On the plus side, the M’s get to host the Baltimore Orioles, the worst team in baseball in this year, while the A’s play the Yankees. But because we don’t get to have nice things, the A’s have already beaten the Yankees and the M’s can’t see this as a gimme with their starter coming off a disastrous start on the road trip.

The O’s famously declined to move impending FAs like Manny Machado and Zach Britton in the offseason, both to drive up prices and also to see if they could perhaps make one last run with their old core. With Chris Davis having a historically bad season, and with their entire rotation in shambles, they’ve instead slumped to a 40-97 record, and could hit 100 losses this series with another month of the season to go. Like the Royals, the Orioles have had a rebuild thrust upon them thanks to the syzygy of contracts, performance, and injuries. They’ve since torn things down, and gotten some decent prospects for the likes of Machado and Britton (today’s starter was part of the haul for Britton), but their system wasn’t prepared for a White Sox-style rebuild. They’re just bad and not terribly young, though they’re younger now than when the season started. There’s no obvious bad guy here, no self-inflicted tear down like the White Sox, and no stars riding off into the sunset with the nimbate glow of a recent championship like the Royals. They weren’t quite good enough before, and now they’re not really good enough to compete in the majors. It’s a rough state of affairs, and one I really, really hope the M’s can avoid in 3-5 years time.

Josh Rogers is a lefty command/control type, with a sinking four-seam fastball that tops out at 90-91, a so-so change and then a really intriguing slider. Theoretically, the slider shouldn’t really play, because batters would just wait for his fastball and destroy that, but it seems to be effective. With everything coming in so slow, it may not get a lot of whiffs, but mediocre contact would be a huge step up for the Orioles, who are now desperate for even so-so pitching. As a fly-ball-oriented pitcher, he’s going to need to run a low BABIP, and that’s going to be harder to accomplish with a defense that struggles as much as Baltimore’s. Their position players have been barely above replacement level as a whole thanks to a sub-.300 OBP and one of the worst wRC+ figures in the league combined with clearly worst-in-the-game defense, sprinkled with slightly below average baserunning. It’s a putrid combination, but they pull it off and in so doing somehow take more of the blame for the O’s predicament than their pitching staff, the guys with the worst ERA in the game.

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


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