Game 92, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · July 5, 2019 at 9:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Yusei Kikuchi vs. Brett Anderson, 7:10pm

The Mariners begin a series with the A’s tonight at T-Mobile, facing Brett Anderson, the oft-injured lefty who came up with Oakland back in 2009. I was wondering about which opposing pitchers I’ve written about most since starting here in the 2010 season, and Anderson would be in the running if he could stay healthy. His 96 1/3 IP this year already give him his fourth-highest season total out of 11 potential MLB seasons. He’s never been a big strikeout guy (he relies more on grounders), but he’s taking that to a new extreme this season, ranking last in K/9 and K% by a mile. In K%, the gap between Anderson and 2nd place Ivan Nova is the same as the gap between Nova and #15 Rick Porcello.

Anderson’s a lefty, and like any lefty starter, that’s meant that he’s had to learn to deal with opposite-handed batters from an early age. We often talk about the little advantages lefties have in this game, and the way a LOOGY can craft a weird/lucrative career out of doing one little thing pretty well, a baseball version of a long-snapper or punter. But the flip side is that lefty starters will face line-ups that give put them at a platoon disadvantage 3/4 of the time, day in and day out. That’s a pretty big thing to overcome, but essentially all of them figure it out. Anderson came up throwing four-seamers and a lot of sliders, and gradually increased his sinker usage for many years. That wouldn’t seem like a way to neutralize righties, but solid command and sink on his pitches gave him a way to succeed.

Interestingly, he never missed the bats of the few lefties who’d face him. Like a few starters we’ve talked about over the years, Anderson’s a guy who has pronounced batted-ball splits. That is, he’s always posted obscene GB% *against lefties* – it’s nearly 66% for his career. He’s still a GB guy against righties, albeit not quite as pronounced. But then, he’s always had better K rates against righties. That’s still technically true this year, when he’s barely striking out anyone.

He throws a cutter now, a new pitch he developed in May, and which has some solid separation in movement both from his four-seam and especially his sinker, but also from the slider that’s still his putaway pitch (if someone with a K/9 under 5 can be said to HAVE a putaway pitch). It’s helped him bolster his repertoire as a junkballer, and someone without easy-to-guess pitch sequences. He’s still a sinkerballer, but he throws 5 pitches around 10% of the time or more, which makes it harder to just sit on the sinker.

The M’s DFA’d Mike Wright for the second time this year to make room for Matt Wisler, who’s reported to the team after the minor trade with San Diego. Wisler could fill Wright’s long-relief role, or they could work on his mechanics and try to fashion another middle-inning reliever. We’ll see how they use him and how his mechanics look different – if at all – from his San Diego stint.

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

The stateside M’s affiliates went 4-2 on Independence Day, with Modesto and Arkansas winning by shutout. Justus Sheffield went 7 brilliant innings against the Springfield Cardinals, giving up 0 runs on just 2 hits, 1 walk, and 5 Ks. Logan Gilbert pitched 5 shutout in the Nuts 9-0 win over Stockton, giving up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. Joe Rizzo and Jake Scheiner both had two HRs in the game, and Cal Raleigh hit one.

West Virgina beat Lexington 12-7 in 13 innings, in a game that went to extras 4-4. Fun times with the minor league extra-inning rules. Each team scored one in the 10th and 11th, but none in the 12th, and then West Virginia decided to start their July 4th festivities and scored 6 in the 13th, headlined by Ryan Ramiz’s grand slam.

Tacoma got blanked by Fresno and tough righty Kyle McGowin, 3-0. McGowin went 7 IP, and scattered 5 hits. Andrew Moore was solid, pitching 6 IP with 2 R, and 3 walks and Ks.

Everett beat Boise 13-4, with Juan Mercedes pitching well for 6 IP, and IF Austin Shenton getting a single, double, and triple for the Frogs. Shenton’s hitting well enough that he may end the season in the Sally League. We’ll see.


3 Responses to “Game 92, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. Stevemotivateir on July 6th, 2019 12:40 pm

    What’s the point of using Beckham at DH? I get that he’s been hot lately, but I’d rather see Nola getting PA’s. He might actually be the opening day first baseman next season if he keeps hitting. It helps that he can catch, which allows Narvaez or Murphy to DH when they want Vogelbach at 1B.

    Beckham has another year of control, but is he really likely to be on the team next season?

  2. LongDistance on July 10th, 2019 9:12 am

    This is turning into the longest seeming season in Mariners history… there is sooooo much more to go.

    Uh… digressive amusement: if you go on Google Earth, the stadium is still called Safeco Field (and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is still mostly standing).

  3. heyoka on July 11th, 2019 5:05 am

    The AL all stars secure home field advantage for the M’s in this year’s WS.

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