Game 7, Mariners at Angels

marc w · July 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Dylan Bundt, 6:40 pm

So, the M’s have made one complete cycle of their six starting pitchers. As a group, they’ve given up 28 runs in 21 1/3 IP. Putting aside Graveman and Walker, the young core of Gonzales/Sheffield/Kikuchi/Dunn allowed 12 walks against 10 Ks. They’ve shown flashes of promise, but have been brutal at stranding runners. They simply need to get better – a lot better.

That’s why today’s game is an interesting barometer. The Angels wanted to revamp their pitching instruction, too. They picked up ex-Indians pitching coach Mickey Calloway and took a flyer on one-time Uber-prospect and Orioles flame-out, Dylan Bundy. The righty had been brilliant back in spring training four months and seven lifetimes ago, but we all know spring stats don’t mean much.

In his first start, Bundy flummoxed the A’s by essentially becoming a junkballer. He threw more breaking balls and change-ups than 91-mph fastballs, and was able to keep a good line-up off balance. For all the talk about fastball velocity, or working the top of the zone, the first few games of 2020 have been all about bendy pitches. Shane Bieber’s dominant start (14 K’s in 6 IP) produced no swinging strikes off of fastballs. Likewise, Bundy recorded no whiffs on 40+ FBs against the A’s, but K’d 7 to just 1 walk and 3 hits in 6 2/3 IP. To put it plainly, if the Angels are better at teaching pitching than the M’s, this rebuild is in trouble. Seattle can’t just use their own prior development record as a point of reference or baseline. Being better than they used to be is not enough.

Despite Cleveland and Cincinnati’s starting pitchers looking great, Seattle has some company: lots of teams starting pitcher numbers are brutal right now. It’s interesting to me, because while there’s zero precedent for playing a season like this one, the owners’ lock-out in 1990 was a recent-ish example of teams not having a real spring training, and then hurrying through an abbreviated/late version of it. And in that case, pitchers entered the year *miles* ahead of the hitters.

Almost immediately, Mark Langston (and Mike Witt) tossed a no-hitter in his first time playing against Seattle. Later that month, Brian Holman came within an out of a perfect game for Seattle, and months later, Randy Johnson got the franchise’s first no-no. Randy’s was the first of four in the month of June, with two occurring on the same day.

This year, walks are up and HRs continue to fly out of parks. BABIP and average are down, though. I guess the season seems bifurcated, with the M’s unable to stop teams from scoring while Cleveland continues to strike out everyone. The M’s and Mets have hit well, while four teams are still below the Mendoza line.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Lopes, LF
3: Lewis, CF
4: Seager, 3B
5: Marmolejos, 1B
6: Long, 2B
7: Vogelbach, DH
8: Smith, RF
9: Hudson, C
SP: Gonzales

If you want to read more about the Mariners’ player development philosophy, check out this interview with Andy McKay at Fangraphs.


4 Responses to “Game 7, Mariners at Angels”

  1. Stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2020 4:01 pm

    Do the Angels actually have much in way of pitching prospects that they can develop? Detmers and Sandoval (who we just saw a couple of nights ago) are the best they have and neither have particularly high ceilings.

    I’d love to see Sheffield and Dunn earn a spot in the rotation, but I’ve always felt they were more likely to be used out of the bullpen. The starting pitching prospects Seattle really needs to hit on, in my opinion, are Gilbert and Hancock, and to a lesser extent, Kirby.

    We’ll have to wait a little before we get a look at any of those three. I suppose Williamson is in that camp as well.

    Meanwhile, Lewis, Lopes, and Crawford have been fun. White’s glove-work has been phenomenal.

  2. Stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2020 7:05 pm

    Pretty good first. Curious how things go in the fourth.

  3. Stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2020 8:17 pm

    Major shake up of the scouting department is apparently under way.

  4. WTF_Ms on July 30th, 2020 9:37 pm

    Some questionable pitching decisions to start the season too? Maybe NOT use Altavilla 2 nights in a row?

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