Game 43, Mariners at Giants – Smokescreen

marc w · September 9, 2020 at 5:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Nick Margevicius vs. Tyler Anderson, 6:45pm
oracle park
This is what Oracle Park looked like a few hours ago, as dense smoke choked out the sun. Wildfires are burning up and down the coast. Over 300,000 acres in Washington burned in 24 hours earlier this week, and more than 2.5 million acres have burned in California. We still don’t know how many people have lost their lives, but we know a one year old boy died in Eastern Washington. The pandemic continues its toll, too. The M’s are going to try to perhaps play San Francisco with…all of this as the backdrop.

Houston, scheduled to play across the bridge in Oakland, was mulling not playing or at least demanding to know how
safe it was. I wouldn’t be shocked if both games are postponed, but for now, the M’s are set to play at 6:45.

The Giants came back after knocking Ljay Newsome out early on a line drive that struck the young hurler in the wrist (sounds like he’ll be OK), and the M’s bullpen couldn’t hold a 5-1 lead. After pitching a lot of innings, the M’s predictably made a roster move, optioning Brady Lail to Tacoma and bringing up ex-Orioles pitcher, Jimmy Yacabonis. A righty, Yacabonis has a low 3/4 delivery, and gets a lot of sidespin on the ball, producing loads of armside run. For a four-seamer, it’s a fairly unique pitch, with tons more run and much less rise than average. It’s thrown around 94, and seems like an interesting pitch, but it’s just not one he’s been able to command. Yacabonis has walked 5 batters per 9 innings over his 100+ IP career.

He’s also got a slider and change-up, and while they’re fine, they weren’t enough for him to keep hold of a rotation spot in Baltimore – against some, uh, uninspiring competition. Still, we’ll see if the M’s were able to release his inner zone-controller, and it’s possible he won’t pitch all that much if Margevicius gives the club some innings.

Tyler Anderson is a lefty who pitched for Colorado for four seasons before moving to the Bay Area this year. He came up with the Rockies in 2016, and had some immediate success thanks to good control and a sneaky/weird 92 MPH fastball that, despite some rise, induced a lot of ground balls. Indeed, Anderson was the archetype Rockies pitcher of that era: lots of four-seamers, lots of grounders. The next year, pitching around some injuries, Anderson’s FB got hit in the air a bit more, giving him a high HR rate (it was 2017; that was happening a lot) which wasn’t a good trend to go with an increased walk rate.

Unfortunately for Anderson, 2018 saw more of the same. A higher walk rate *and* a fastball that was now a fly ball pitch, leading to tons of HRs. He missed most of 2019, but posted a freakishly high walk rate and an ERA near 12 in 20 innings. With the Giants, the trajectory has continued: he’s now an extreme fly ball pitcher, with the same fastball that got grounders in 2016 now producing them on just 12% of balls in play. It’s also down to 90 MPH. He throws a change, which, to his credit, has gotten a bit more effective over time and a cutter. Those secondaries are good choices to reduce platoon splits, and Anderson does have essentially even splits over his career. It’s just that both sides have hit him fairly well. This is an opportunity, and the M’s have to take advantage if they fancy themselves a playoff team.

Speaking of which: if the M’s actually wanted to push for the playoffs, they’d call up some of their highly prized prospects. There was a discussion on that topic at Lookout Landing today, and I find the reluctance to give up a year of control or what not to be self-defeating. The M’s non-Kyle Lewis OFs have not covered themselves in glory, and if winning was really the goal, they’d probably look to change that by bringing in more talented players. Whom they have in Tacoma. The same could be said about Logan Gilbert, who’s passed over by Newsome or Margevicius (who’ve both been good; this is not a shot at them) not because they’re better or met X,Y, or Z milestone at the Alternative Site, but because the club doesn’t care about their contract status in 2026 and very much does care about Gilbert’s.

Keeping an eye on such things is a part of their job, and they’re right to weigh it as a consideration. But when it becomes a driving, overriding factor, something may have gone wrong. The team with the longest playoff drought in US sports should probably think about…ending the playoff drought, and if 2023 or so really is the year, they’d still have every player we’ve talked about under team control.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Moore, LF
3: Lewis, CF
4: Seager, 3B
5: France, 2B
6: White, 1B
7: Torrens, C
8: Marmolejos, DH
9: Ervin, RF
SP: Margevicius

Photo credit: NBCSports Bay Area.


2 Responses to “Game 43, Mariners at Giants – Smokescreen”

  1. 3cardmonty on September 9th, 2020 6:24 pm

    Regarding outfield reinforcements, what about Puig, how the heck is he still a free agent?

  2. Stevemotivateir on September 9th, 2020 7:07 pm

    It would take Puig weeks to get ready and up to speed. His season was done when he tested positive for the virus.

    Recalling Bishop would be interesting. He’s been on a tear and offers elite defense.

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