Game 36, Mariners at Angels – HugWatch

marc w · August 30, 2020 at 1:02 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Justin Dunn vs. Griffin Canning, 1:10pm

Last night’s game was a disaster, as the Angels scored 16, the final two off of M’s DH Tim Lopes. Given that context – a bullpen unable to get off the field, a starting pitcher who walked 4 in 4 1/3 IP, etc. – it’s perhaps unsurprising that the M’s are starting back-up catcher Joe Odom today. What IS a bit surprising is that the M’s have recalled C Joe Hudson from Tacoma, optioning Braden Bishop back down. With the trade deadline set for tomorrow at 1pm, could Austin Nola be headed to a contender?

It’s possible the M’s just want to maximize their options at C, and it’s possible that with Jake Fraley up and Dylan Moore returning soon after his 10-day stint and the birth of his son (congrats), the M’s decided to get Bishop more PAs in Tacoma rather than Seattle. But as Ryan Divish and others have noted, Nola’s got a lot of value as a good, bat-first catcher making the league minimum and with plenty of club control. He’s 30, which cuts into his trade value, but he makes sense as a win now move for teams like the Rockies, D-Backs, or even potentially the Jays – teams who are good, but have black holes at C – this Jay Jaffe piece at Fangraphs discusses all of the contending teams in need of the sort of upgrade Nola would provide.

The M’s have downplayed how active they’re going to be in the next 24 hours, with their bullpen largely sidelined with injury or ineffective. I’m not sure they’ve been actively shopping Nola, but I’m sure they’d listen to offers. The club seems very smitten with Tom Murphy, and while he’s missed all of 2020 with an injury, I could see them believing they can limp through 2020, then allow Cal Raleigh to apprentice for Murphy in 2021.

We still don’t know what the return is for the biggest move they’ve made: sending Taijuan Walker to Toronto. Walker tossed six scoreless in his first start for the Jays, and Ljay Newsome staked his claim to that rotation spot, and is penciled in to start in the M’s next series, against Oakland.

About that next series… an A’s player tested positive for Covid yesterday, necessitating a quarantine in Houston. The A’s won’t play today, and that next series is in serious jeopardy. That may necessitate some double headers for the M’s, whose six-man rotation may make them a bit more prepared for them than other clubs.

Justus Sheffield’s run of success came to a screeching halt last night, as he struggled with control and command all night. Batters swung at just *7* of Sheff’s 39 fastballs on the night, missing none of them (he had no whiffs on his change, either). As good as the slider is, he’s still *got* to have command of his fastball to be effective. The same could be said of Dunn, albeit reversed. He’s slowly improving his zone rate with his fastball, which is leading to more contact on it. That sounds bad, but it isn’t – batters haven’t fared well on his fastball, as it seems like they’re keyed in on his slider, which they’ve destroyed. I think stories about unsuccessful pitchers tipping pitches are overblown, but the Angels believe several of their starters may have been tipping, and I kind of wonder about Dunn.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haggerty, 3B
3: Lewis, CF
4: Seager, DH
5: Marmolejos, LF
6: White, 1B
7: Fraley, RF
8: Gordon, 2B
9: Odom, C
SP: Dunn

The Rangers are apparently listening to offers not just for Lance Lynn, who’s long seemed like one of the win-now prizes of the deadline, but also for three-true-outcome OF Joey Gallo. That would be a very interesting move, pushing out their window of contention (depending on the return, of course) past 2022. The Rockies gave up two decent prospects for the Orioles Mychal Givens, which highlights why the M’s are frustrated that Austin Adams, Matt Magill, and others have been hurt. There’s always a market for a solid set-up man at this point in the year, and the M’s wanted to be in a position to sell one or two.

Interestingly, the White Sox are rumored to be in talks with Cleveland to acquire talented-but-quarantine-defying SP Mike Clevinger from Cleveland. Would Cleveland really deal Clevinger to one of their most important playoff rivals (in-division, of course) in 2020? There are also rumors that the Tribe might consider moving SS Francisco Lindor, though perhaps not right now. Could the M’s move in for him, as this Mike Salk tweet asks? I’d love a big-time move like that, though of course I wonder what it’d cost. But I’m not convinced that JP Crawford would really work at 2B for a win-now club. He could, and his hot streak is showing that he’s better than the player he looked like for much of August, but he’s remarkably streaky, and needs to show that he can slug above .400 for long stretches of time.


One Response to “Game 36, Mariners at Angels – HugWatch”

  1. Stevemotivateir on August 30th, 2020 9:03 pm

    Crawford is probably going to be most valuable in a utility role. If he at least showed some gap power I might think otherwise. But he has less than a handful of extra base hits and this is after putting on muscle.

    Still digesting the big trade, mainly where France should fit in. I would guess we’ll see him DH most of the time this season, unless Seager gets moved as well.

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