Game 43, Mariners at Red Sox – The King Has Fallen

marc w · May 12, 2019 at 9:03 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Hector Velazquez vs. persistent rain, probably-not-10:05am

The M’s grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first, and then watched it all burn yesterday in a thoroughly dispiriting 9-5 loss. Felix was mostly solid through 2, and then hit a wall in the 3rd, and left with one out and the game tied. The bullpen quickly untied it, and Felix was charged with 7 runs. Worse, he’s now been placed on the IL with shoulder pain, saying he felt “pinching” in his right shoulder on his last few pitches. Thankfully, his velocity didn’t seem to be impacted, as he threw a 90+ fastball a pitch or two before coming out. The flip side is that all of his secondaries aren’t working anymore.

If there’s anything good to come out of this, it’s that this opens the door for the MLB debut of one Parker Markel, a former Rays farmhand who pitched in the independent American Association last year. He always threw hard, but struggled to put batters away, posting K/9 in the 7 range. Despite that, he made it up to AAA in 2016 before getting released. That K rate jumped in independent ball, and the M’s pounced this offseason. Would he look more like the org guy he was in his last taste of affiliated baseball, or more like the power arm strikeout artist in Sioux City? The answer was neither, really. He was good in independent ball, but the guy we’ve seen first in Arkansas and then in Tacoma has been utterly untouchable.

Markel struck out 18 in 7 2/3 IP in AA, or 18 of the 27 hitters to face him. He walked just 2, and gave up 2 hits and no runs. Called up to AAA, he’s struck out 17 in 9 2/3 IP, giving him a K/9 of over 18 on the year. He was not terribly likely to earn a call-up, but he’s made it impossible to keep him down.

The M’s also recalled Dan Altavilla, who struggled in Tacoma before righting the ship a bit in Arkansas. To make room, the M’s are optioning Braden Bishop back to Tacoma after he went 2-20 with 7 Ks and no BBs. He’ll get another shot soon, but with Mallex Smith stinging the ball, it’s likely we’ll see Smith early next week. That means one of Altavilla/Markel will likely head down.

The M’s take on 30-year old righty swingman Hector Velazquez today (if the game gets played). A mexican league vet, the Sox picked him up based on his control and a solid split-fingered fastball. He’s pitched in a few seasons, mostly out of the pen, and has been pretty good for someone with no prospect pedigree. The splitter is one of my favorite pitches, and he shows why: it limits platoon splits, it induces a ton of swings, and it gets ground balls. All of that’s true for Velasquez, who gets a ton of grounders with both his sinker and the split. There’s surprisingly little separation in movement or velo between those two pitches, but he’s largely made it work. Unfortunately, batters are swinging a bit less this year, and that’s pushed his walk rate higher.

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


One Response to “Game 43, Mariners at Red Sox – The King Has Fallen”

  1. LongDistance on May 13th, 2019 12:03 am

    There’s no happy ending in this.

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