Game 52, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · May 22, 2019 at 10:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Jesse Chavez/Adrian Sampson, 11:10am

The M’s are now firmly in last place in the AL West, and their opening day starter is reeling, having given up 17 runs in 16 2/3 IP this month. After an odd but impressive April, the wheels have come off of both the Mariners and Marco Gonzales, and it’s imperative that both figure out how to re-attach wheels immediately. Marco’s bizarre velocity drop has ceased, as his May velos are up slightly from April. However, they remain lower than his *lowest* month of 2018, and the longer term trend here is troubling. Gonzales sat at 92 after the trade, and was within a fraction of that in May of 2018. Since then, it’s been a fairly steady drop through 2018 and into 2019. That makes the cessation of the drop worth celebrating, but if 89 is the new normal, then he’s going to figure out how to adjust the way he attacks hitters, and the M’s should probably be thinking about how an important starter lost 3 MPH in just over a year.

The M’s face old friend and Bellevue College alum Adrian Sampson today. Jesse Chavez will act as the opener before Sampson takes over to take the bulk of the innings. That’s the plan, at least; Sampson’s had some rough outings in the early going. I was going to call him a poor man’s Tommy Milone, but that’s probably not fair to either pitcher. Sampson ends up in a somewhat similar place as Milone, but he gets there rather differently. Milone throws a really slow four-seam fastball with tons of rise and pairs it with a change-up. This approach generates a lot of fly-ball contact, which is nice if the ball stays in play, and dangerous if it keeps flying into the seats. Sampson throws much harder – he’s at 93 with his four-seam fastball – but has much less vertical rise than average. His outpitch, if you can call it that, is a slider that he throws to righties and lefties. The slider is fairly middle of the road, and to his credit, Sampson doesn’t have the splits issues you might think (he actually has substantial reverse splits, though in only 69 IP in his career). But the issue is ultimately the same as it is for Milone: Sampson generates a ton of fly balls. In 2019. In Texas. Worse, he gets fewer strikeouts. If the ball stays in play, this sort of works for a 5th starter, but he’s now given up 15 HRs in 69 career IP. By FIP he looks ~ replacement level, and by DRA he’s pretty clearly below it. But by good old ERA, he hasn’t been a total disaster, which is why he’s already tossed 41 IP for these Rangers.

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

Congrats to Shed Long on his first MLB hit last night.

Erik Swanson struggled a bit in his return to AAA, going 3 IP and giving up 3 R with 2 BB, 2 Ks and 1 HR. That said, the R’s won comfortably 12-3 by beating up on ex-UW Husky Austin Voth and generating 19 hits in the game. Ian Miller went 4-5 with 5 RBIs from the 9 spot, bringing his seasonal line to .302/.352/.523. Justus Sheffield takes the mound for Tacoma today as they host Fresno.

Arkansas was rained out, so they’ll play two today. Ricardo Sanchez starts game 1, not sure who’ll start game 2.

Modesto was off last night, but they play San Jose tonight. Their ace, Ljay Newsome, gets the start, so good luck with that, San Jose.

West Virginia lost 10-7 to Greensboro last night, as Damon Casetta-Stubbs struggled. The youngster from Vancouver didn’t give up a run in his first 12+ IP this year, but is in a skid in which he’s given up 22 runs in his last 15 1/3 IP, with 34 hits allowed in that span. Jarred Kelenic homered for the Power, and his seasonal line stands at .299/.385/.515. They’ll play Greensboro again today with Steven Moyers taking the hill.


One Response to “Game 52, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. LongDistance on May 23rd, 2019 9:42 pm

    Fittingly, April has indeed proved to be the cruelest month.

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