Game 22, Mariners at Angels

marc w · April 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Chris Stratton, 7:07pm

Happy Felix Day. It *almost* feels like old times, doesn’t it? The M’s are in a bit of a nose dive, and turn to Felix to pull out of it. Felix’s K rate doesn’t exactly remind you of 2010-2014, but on this staff, it’s noteworthy (as is Mike Leake’s, which is nuts). It’s been one of the stories of the early season that the M’s have taken pitching to contact and keeping hitters off-balance to new heights, and it’s another way that they’re moving in an opposite direction from the game as a whole. Of course, more starts like the one we saw yesterday from Erik Swanson should boost the M’s team whiff rates.

Swanson’s fastball averaged 92, but with its rise and location, it was easily his best pitch. His slider would’ve been his best if he’d only throw it a bit more; he mixed in more of his change given the handedness of the Tribe’s line-up, but the slider looked intriguing.

Anyway, tonight Felix looks to keep his decent start going. Felix is no longer capable of generating a lot of helpless flailing swings at out-of-zone pitches, but by mixing things up, he can occasionally get called strikes. He leads the team in the percentage of pitches *in* the zone that are swung at (meaning, his rate is the lowest). That’s helping him maintain a low walk rate thus far, though that’s somewhat misleading, as he’s conceded one walk, but plunked three batters in the early going. Still, I’ll take crafty junk-balling Felix if we’re bound and determined to have a rotation full of crafty soft-tossers.

Opposing him is Chris Stratton, whom we’ve had the pleasure of discussing once before. As I said before, Stratton throws a straight FB at 91, and can’t quite get to his useful curve thanks to the general mediocrity of the rest of his arsenal. Like a lot of pitchers this year, Stratton’s exiting the strike zone, as throwing a juiced baseball where batters can do damage is a scary proposition these days. That’s led to 10 walks in 13 IP for him thus far against only 7 K’s. I totally get why a guy like Stratton, who wasn’t too bad for the Giants two years ago, was quickly picked up and placed in a major league rotation, but I can’t quite get why a team that wants to win picked him up instead of, say, Dallas Keuchel.

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

Good to see Haniger back after an illness kept him out in yesterday’s game. Gordon missed yesterday’s tilt after fouling a ball off of his foot on Tuesday, but he’s obviously healthy enough to go today, too.

Justus Sheffield had his best outing for the R’s yesterday, but 1) that’s a really low bar and 2) the bullpen had one of those games again and the R’s lost 11-10. Sheffield went 6 2/3, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks versus 6 K’s. 11 walks now in 15 1/3, but hey, progress, I guess. Matt Festa took the loss, giving up 4 runs on 2 dingers in 1 1/3. He and Nick Rumbelow haven’t gotten off to the best start thus far. JP Crawford extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and Austin Nola homered. Today, Nabil Crismatt takes the mound down in El Paso.

Arkansas lost a pitcher’s duel 2-1 to breakaway republic Northwest Arkansas. Dominican righty Ofreidy Gomez allowed just 2 hits over 7 shutout, and while Zac Grotz and the Travs’ pen kept it close, they couldn’t get past the Naturals. The Arkansas staff leads the Texas league in most pitching stats while the offense has been lacking of late. Kyle Lewis is hitting .170/.278/.362 and C Joe DeCarlo’s line is at .059/.238/.059, which is not where you want it. The Travs have the worst hitting stats in the league, but sit at 10-3, so, hey. Anthony Misiewicz starts tonight.

Visalia kept Modesto in check in a 3-1 win. Nick Wells had probably his best start of the year in a losing effort, going 5 IP and giving up 2R, but striking out 9 Rawhides? Raws-hide? No word on the starter tonight.

West Virginia beat the Lakewood BlueClaws 7-1 behind Ryne Inman’s 5 solid IP, giving up 1 run and striking out 7. Jarred Kelenic went 1-5, bringing his line on the year to .280/.410/.440.


4 Responses to “Game 22, Mariners at Angels”

  1. WTF_Ms on April 18th, 2019 9:39 pm

    Let’s see if we can blow a 10-2 lead shall we?

  2. WTF_Ms on April 18th, 2019 9:46 pm

    Bullpen implosion? This is it.

  3. WTF_Ms on April 18th, 2019 9:52 pm

    My user name checks out!

  4. WTF_Ms on April 18th, 2019 10:23 pm

    And there ya go. 8 run lead erased. Bullpen help maybe?

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