Game 76, Royals at Mariners

marc w · June 17, 2019 at 5:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Tayler Scott/Tommy Milone vs. Danny Duffy, 7:10pm

This wasn’t the plan. Tayler Scott was a minor league free agent who’s biggest claim to fame was his nationality. A sinker/slider guy, he struggled with lefties in the minors, and despite mid-90s velocity, wasn’t exactly a prospect. Tommy Milone is a mid-high-80s velocity command and control fly baller trying to keep hitters off balance right when the ball change means batters can hit home runs even if they’re off balance. He, too, was a minor league free agent coming off a rough 2018 with Washington. This was supposed to be Erik Swanson or Justus Sheffield’s start. Even if you wanted to manipulate their service time, that deadline’s come and gone – you could bring them up and get an extra year of club control. The problem is they’re not playable right now.

Tayler Scott seems to have improved over the off-season, as he’s brought down his consistently poor walk rates while increasing his K rate. Using a sinker with Brandon Brennan-like run at 95 and then a good slider, it’s easy to see why he’d give righties fits. It’s also somewhat easy to see why lefties might like facing him. The Royals are a somewhat RH-dominant team with Jorge Soler and Whit Merrifield swinging righty, but only one of the first three batters Scott will face will do so swinging righty.

Milone, too, is having a surprisingly good season. His K rate is up even over his AAA mark, and he is still very stingy with walks. He still gives up plenty of HRs, but he’s been helped by a shockingly low BABIP, even for him, a guy who’s approach is based on limiting base hits. It’s amazing given that it’s the Mariners defense attempting to turn balls in play into outs. One key has been featuring his best pitch – his change-up – more. He’s throwing it as often as he throws his four-seam fastball, and, importantly, getting balls in play off of it. It’s not a real strikeout pitch, though when Milone gets whiffs, it’s probably on the change. The key is having more balls in play come via the cambio than the heater, and that’s worked thus far. With 0 strikes, batters hardly ever put his FB in play, likely because he’s trying to steal a strike or throw a ball. But his change gets put in play well over 20% of the time in such situations, and it rises if he’s got a strike on the batter. Only with 2 strikes does that rate drop, likely because Milone’s trying to expand the zone and get a chase.

1: Smith, CF
2: Crawford, SS
3: Santana, RF
4: Vogelbach, DH
5: Murphy, C
6: Seager, 3B
7: Gordon, 2B
8: Williamson, LF
9: Nola, 1B
SP: Scott/Milone


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