Game 28, Rangers at Mariners

marc w · April 25, 2019 at 5:07 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Taylor Hearn, 7:10pm

The Rangers starting rotation currently has an ERA that starts with a 6. Of the seven players who’ve started a game for Texas, only Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have ERAs under 7. Their FIP is somewhat better, but that’s a low bar. At 5.52, it’s 26th in the league, and remember that the league includes the Orioles. No one really expected the Rangers to contend, but they’ve been so thoroughly bad, it’s remarkable.

They’ve got the worst walk rate in the league, by a wide margin, at 4.55 walks per 9 innings. Atlanta’s in second, but at least their rotation is staffed with up-and-coming prospects, and plus, they generate some strikeouts. The Rangers K/9 ranks 26th, ahead of the Mariners’, who rank last. But again: the M’s don’t give up walks, and their ERA/FIP – while not earth shattering – are perfectly fine. A big, big problem for them has been the home run, and just like the M’s of a few years ago, they built a fly-balling staff (they have the lowest GB% in baseball) only for the ball to get all rubbery and lead to a volley of dingers.

Of course, arguing that their plan had failed due to bad luck may be to stretch the word “plan” past its breaking point. This rotation is pretty much all reclamation projects, from ex-Mariners like Drew Smyly and Adrian Sampson, to MLB vets like Edinson Volquez and Lance Lynn. Nominal ace Mike Minor is 31, and of their original starting 5, only Shelby Miller – another reclamation – was under 30. But with Smyly and Volquez hurt, the Rangers are turning to some of their numerous pitching prospects to log some innings. Rule 5 guy Kyle Dowdy was in the ‘pen, but made a spot start, and now the Rangers have given today’s start to their #9 prospect, Taylor Hearn. Hearn’s a 6’5″ lefty with a very live fastball and a solid curve and change. What he hasn’t shown much of yet is control. Thus far in AAA, he’s racked up 10 walks in 20 innings, though to be fair, that’s balanced by 26 K’s. He’s been solid in the Rangers system, having come over in last year’s Keone Kela deal from Pittsburgh, but he may not be the guy to bring down Texas’ eye-watering walk rate.

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

Modesto’s Ljay Newsome is pitching today, as the Nuts played an early game. He’s at 8Ks through 5 IP, which would tie for his *lowest* number of strikeouts on the season. It’s been a massive, massive improvement for the righty out of Maryland this year, and it’s been helped by an uptick in his velocity. He’d been great from a K:BB ratio standpoint in the past, though that was more the product of a very low denominator than a great numerator. This year, it’s both, and it’s moved him from great org depth to something more. Today’s start doubled his seasonal walks-allowed; he’s now given up 4 in 29 1/3 IP. But it brought his strikeouts up to 46, which is officially insane.

It’s kind of nice that Newsome’s got company in the best story among homegrown pitching prospects. Arkansas’ Darren McCaughan continued his torrid start in yesterday’s 8-1 win, running his season numbers to 1-1 in 4 starts with 23 Ks and 2 walks in 24 IP. He had 7 Ks in last night’s 7 IP performance, giving up just the one run.

Continuing this joyous theme, Vancouver, WA product Damon Casetta-Stubbs got his first professional win last night, spinning 5 hitless/scoreless in West Virginia’s 2-1 win over Columbia. He struck out 4 and didn’t walk anyone.

Sacramento beat Tacoma 4-1 behind a great Ty Blach start. Today, the R’s send veteran Tommy Milone on to start.


One Response to “Game 28, Rangers at Mariners”

  1. flightrisk on April 26th, 2019 7:32 am

    Has Marco risen to the level above “serviceable” or does his start to the season seem more like sample size magic? Maybe just magic?

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