Game 49, Mariners at Giants (At Mariners?)

marc w · September 16, 2020 at 6:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ljay Newsome vs. Drew Smyly, 6:40pm

Soooo, we’re back, and the M’s are playing as the home team down in San Francisco against the Giants, where the air is a bit less toxic. The M’s face one-time quasi-Mariner Drew Smyly tonight. Back in 2017, Smyly drew raves for his performance in the World Baseball Classic, then sat out his first spring training start with a bit of dead arm, and then…nothing. He underwent TJ surgery, and after hitting free agency during rehab, never saw the mound in Seattle.

The trade that got Smyly to Seattle in 2017 sent fellow lefty Ryan Yarbrough to Tampa, where he’s been remarkably effective for a guy topping out around 88, and throwing little mid-80s cutter-darts around the AL east. That deal also included Mallex Smith, who had a couple of good years in Tampa before cratering back in Seattle. Interestingly, it was the second time Smyly was involved in an M’s trade, as he was part of the three-team trade that sent David Price from Tampa to Detroit in 2014. That deadline deal involved 2B Nick Franklin going from Seattle to Tampa and Detroit OF Austin Jackson coming to the M’s for a couple of lackluster half-seasons.

Smyly not only missed all of 2017, but all of 2018 as well. He had some minor league deals in that time, but just couldn’t pitch until 2019, when he popped up with the Texas Rangers. His velocity was right back to where it was pre-injury, but his control and command very much were not, and after a few months of wildness and an ERA well into the 8’s, Texas released him, whereupon the Phillies picked him up. He wasn’t great or anything, but looked much more like a decent major leaguer, with high Ks and under-control walks. He still gave up too many HRs, which kind of goes with the territory of being a high-release-point, high-rise four-seam and curve pitcher in 2019.

He’s been something of a revelation this year when he’s been able to take the ball, which, to be fair, has not been terribly often. Still, he’s got 19 Ks to 5 walks in his 12+ innings, and his velocity’s up noticeably; he now sits 94 and can get more. Smyly’s always been an interesting pitcher in that he just cannot get gloveside movement on his pitches. There are 12-6 curveballs, and then there’s Smyly’s curve, which *still* has a little bit of armside run. So too does his cutter, which comes in around 90 and gets less rise than his straight four-seam fastball.

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

JP Crawford’s back from the bereavement list, with Donovan Walton heading back to Tacoma. Meanwhile Matt Magill’s short DL stint will get a lot longer after news came out that he had a shoulder debridement procedure by M’s surgeon Neal El Attrache.

Newsome’s low-spin stuff has been sort of remarkable. He isn’t a true junkballer, trying to entice swings on pitches diving out of the zone. He just throws 92-93 MPH heaters and 85 MPH change-ups in the zone and dares you to make him stop. He’s allowed no walks yet, and as Lucas Apostoleris wrote over at BP, that wasn’t an accident: his fastball is tied for #1 in baseball in called strike probability – essentially a better version of how often it’s thrown in the zone. Who’s he tied with? Why, Drew Smyly of the Giants.


4 Responses to “Game 49, Mariners at Giants (At Mariners?)”

  1. Stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2020 5:24 am

    Well, Sadler struck out 5 in a row.

  2. Stevemotivateir on September 17th, 2020 4:18 pm

    No amount of magic from Kelenic or Gilbert could have bailed out this bullpen.

  3. eponymous coward on September 17th, 2020 7:06 pm

    29Ks in two games? Well, maybe there’s more that needs fixing than just Gilbert and Kelenic can provide.

  4. Stevemotivateir on September 18th, 2020 6:28 am

    Evan White has had 1 hit in his last 32 PA’s (I think) with 14 strike outs. That’s good for a 45.2% strike out rate, though he’s walked more as well (16.1% BB). He’s not the only one who has tapered off, either.

    This is still very much a season for learning. Contending, not so much.

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