Game 12, Mariners vs. Royals, on The King’s Day

marc w · April 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Felix vs. Homer Bailey, 5:15pm

A happy and fruitful Felix day to you and yours. Not just any Felix day, mind you – a *Royal* Felix day, as this is the anniversary of the King’s blessed birth. And how better to celebrate but to put a group of pretenders (with the gall to call themselves “Royals” in his presence) to the sword. Spare no one, King Felix.

I recently had cause to go back and think about Felix’s rise, and the Spring of 2005, when the teenage phenom graced Cheney Stadium. He wasn’t perfect, but he was close enough. It was cool to see him matched up against some of the best prospects in the game at the time, all of whom had several years on him. I listened intently to a road game in which Felix started against another young starter named Matt Cain, who’d been drafted out of HS and was “only” a year and half older than the young King. Ian Kinsler was in the PCL that year, along with Prince Fielder, the Angels group of Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, and Dallas McPherson. Obviously, not all of them had the kind of impact we though at the time, but Felix reached the highest highs a player who’s never played a postseason game can reach.

Homer Bailey was just a touch behind that group. Picked #7 overall in 2004, the Texas HS phenom spent that 2005 season in a frustrating season in the Midwest League. He had a K/9 of 10.85 back in a season in which K/9 was a good 2/3 of pitcher evaluation for us stat-savvy bloggers AND when a starter’s K/9 of 10.85 was well-nigh unthinkable (except for Felix, you know, who had a K/9 of over 11 in the Cal League the year before, and was over 10 in AAA at 19). Unfortunately, he gave up far too many runs for someone with that kind of dominance, and though despite being a consensus top pitching prospect, it took him until 2007 to debut with Cincinnati, and it wasn’t until 2012 that he really established himself as a viable MLB pitcher. In that 2012 campaign, he finished strong, winning a 1-0 no hitter in September (a month after a certain someone spun a 1-0 perfecto for Seattle). The Reds made the playoffs and Bailey tossed 7 phenomenal innings at the Giants, giving up just 1 run and striking out 10 against a single walk. It wasn’t enough, as the Giants Ryan Vogelsong and a bunch of relievers sent the game to extras tied at 1, until the Giants won it in the 10th.

He had an even better 2013 season, but just as it looked like Bailey’d found it, he lost it again. Injuries struck in 2014, costing him a portion of that season and nearly all of 2015-16. He returned in 2017, but was a shell of his former self, posting an ERA over 6 in 18 starts. From there, he somehow got worse, going 1-14 last year, again with an ERA north of 6.

I’m not here to bury Mr. Bailey. He’s stuck it out despite years and years of struggle, and while he’s never come close to the magic of late-2012, he’s still around. He pitched perfectly acceptably in his first start this year, and it came on a day in which Corey Kluber struggled. I don’t think he’s fixed himself in KC, but I can imagine it’s nice to get out of Cincinnati and the weight of expectations built up over years. I don’t think it’d make him feel any better, but if there’s anyone in the game who can kind of relate, it’s probably Felix.

Bailey doesn’t have the velo he had at his peak, but he’s surprisingly close, with a four-seam average over 93. It has uninteresting movement, but he supplements it with three breaking/offspeed pitches: a curve, slider, and an intriguing splitter that he used a lot in his first start this year. That could help, as Bailey’s been undone by the longball in recent years, as his fastballs (he has a sinker, too) have been preyed upon voraciously by opposing hitters. The breaking stuff hasn’t been a lot better, but he needs something to keep the pressure off of his fastball. One thing that might help would be to avoid hitters’ counts, as he’s struggled with control (leading to more such counts), and with what to do once in them: batters slugged .409 off of him in all counts that ran through an 0-1 count. Not great, but not awful. But if he started 1-0, then batters slugged *.730* against him the rest of the PA. That’s… that’s a problem. The kind of problem this dinger-happy M’s line-up LOVES.

Facing a problem of how to keep Dan Vogelbach’s bat in the line-up, the M’s have decided to chase dingers against a pitcher who’s given up plenty and stick all of their 1B/DH types in the line-up at the same time. This comes at a defensive cost, as the line-up now lacks Mallex Smith in CF and presses Dylan Moore in at SS with Tim Beckham ailing. But ohhhh, the dinger potential is strong here. KC is a pitcher’s park, but that will make it all the more impressive when the Dingermen hit 3 tonight.

1: Haniger, CF
2: Santana, LF
3: Bruce, RF
4: Encarnacion, 1B
5: Vogelbach, DH
6: Healy, 3B
7: Narvaez, C
8: Moore, SS
9: Gordon, 2B

Tacoma lost 10-3 yesterday as Justus Sheffield’s org debut was…not so good. He went 4 2/3, giving up 4 earned on 5 walks and just 1 punchout. Whatever, come back next time and do better. The R’s played an early one today and lost a heartbreaker 11-10, blowing a 7-3 early lead. The R’s scored 7 in the 4th, but Ryan Garton gave up 5 runs on 3 dingers in 1 1/3 IP in relief, and RJ Alaniz gave up 2 in the 10th. Shawn Armstrong rehabbed with a single inning of really good relief, so he stood out like a sore thumb today.

Arkansas finally lost, dropping a 3-2 game to Tulsa. Today, Arkansas faces the breakaway region of Northwest Arkansas and try to preserve their union behind SP Darren McCaughan.

Modesto was down 9-0 to Lancaster following a 9-run 2nd, but chipped back and finally won it, 10-9. Luis Liberato hit his 3rd HR, and Joe Rizzo hit his 3rd double. The pen went 7 1/3 scoreless, which is far more impressive. The 4-0 Nuts head to Inland Empire tonight, with Ray Kerr on the mound.

West Virginia lost a close one, 5-4, in 10 innings, but Julio Rodriguez doubled twice, and Jarred Kelenic hit one of his own. They’re facing Lexington today, and are struggling against Royals prospect Jonathan Bowlan.


12 Responses to “Game 12, Mariners vs. Royals, on The King’s Day”

  1. Sowulo on April 8th, 2019 7:16 pm

    Can the M’s do it again? ;-D up 2 with the bases drunk and only one out. Bust it open Mitch!

  2. Sowulo on April 8th, 2019 7:21 pm

    Haniger and Santana deliver!

  3. Sowulo on April 8th, 2019 7:25 pm

    Is this the new “Every Day Eddie?!” 12-4 M’s!

  4. tame on April 8th, 2019 7:27 pm

    Can’t believe you said our dingermen will only hit 3HRs. One dingerman can hit two in one inning after all.

  5. schwingy on April 8th, 2019 10:10 pm

    I missed the early part of the game. Was Felix injured or just pulled after the 1st?

  6. MKT on April 8th, 2019 10:17 pm

    I had to literally step away from the radio (computer actually) after Encarnacion’s second home run. Because, as the announcers said, it’s like the Mariners are playing a video game. Baseball teams, especially the Ms, just don’t score like this. Tight game? Might be nice to bat around and have a player hit a couple of home runs next inning … and voila!

  7. MKT on April 8th, 2019 10:18 pm

    “Was Felix injured or just pulled after the 1st?”

    During the game they said he got sick with flu-like symptoms.

  8. marc w on April 8th, 2019 10:50 pm

    In context, I thought it was clear that they’d hit 3 off of HR-prone starter Homer Bailey, but it’s my fault if that wasn’t clear. They did, in fact, get their first 3 off of Bailey…

    Nah, I lowballed the dinger tally and for that I apologize.

  9. marc w on April 8th, 2019 10:57 pm

    Yeah, Divish said Felix thought it was food poisoning from a restaurant in Chicago he ate at with his brother (who also had the same symptoms).

  10. Sowulo on April 8th, 2019 11:24 pm

    If he wasn’t feeling well, he was hurting the team by going out there at all. There is a big difference between playing hurt if you can still give the team more than they might get from someone else and playing hurt when doing so means you are unlikely to help the team at all. The former is a good teammate, the latter is a selfish arse.

  11. Sowulo on April 9th, 2019 1:42 am

    Felix makes my point:

    “It started last night,” he said. “I woke up this morning throwing up, and I threw up like 14 times. I just tried to go out there. With the way our hitters are swinging the bats, I thought I had a good chance to get a win.”

    These are the words of a player more interested it getting something for himself rather than doing what is best for the team. Hint: Felix, you’ve been bad for three years while playing healthy. What on Earth makes you feel like you can go out there against healthy major league hitters and perform well when you are so sick you just threw up “14 times”????

  12. heyoka on April 9th, 2019 2:39 am

    With the way our heaters are swinging the bat, I thought I could eat out in Chicago

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