Game 57, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · September 25, 2020 at 6:33 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Yusei Kikuchi vs. Chris Bassett, 6:40pm

The M’s season ends in Oakland, who just clinched the division. Tonight, we get a match up that kind of typifies the strange ease with which the A’s have outpaced the M’s in recent years. Chris Bassitt has pitched exactly 200IP if you combine this year and last year. In that time, he’s gone 17-7 with an ERA in the low/mid 3’s. Yusei Kikuchi has pitched 202 innings over the same two seasons, but has fared a bit worse: he’s 8-15 with a 5.55 ERA.

Yes, sure, Bassitt’s FIP is higher than his ERA, while the opposite is true for Kikuchi. And Kikuchi’s been better in 2020, with a velo spike leading to much better results in terms of K:BB and home runs allowed. But as encouraging as all of that is, Chris Bassitt, just a guy, ex-White Sox farmhand, trade throw-in, has helped the A’s win a lot more games than Kikuchi, free agent steal, WBC stalwart.

Look at the pitch stats, and there are no grand revelations to be had. Kikuchi throws harder, and his new cutter is pretty clearly better than anything Bassitt throws. Bassitt relies on mixing a four-seam, sinker, and cutter with well-timed curves and change-ups. Kikuchi’s cutter is a ground ball machine, giving Kikuchi the edge in ground ball rate. Bassitt’s ultra slow curve poached some called strikes, but batters don’t offer at it enough to be a real strikeout pitch.

I don’t want to talk down Bassitt even as I praise him. He throws 94; it’s not like he’s just a junkballer. But his fastball(s) don’t have any kind of distinguishing movement. This was supposedly one of the problems with Kikuchi’s fastball. There’s no obvious tell, it’s just that the A’s guy keeps coming out on top.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Lewis, CF
3: Seager, 3B
4: France, 2B
5: Marmolejos, DH
6: White, 1B
7: Lopes, LF
8: Bishop, RF
9: Odom, C
SP: Kikuchi


7 Responses to “Game 57, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Stevemotivateir on September 26th, 2020 9:11 am

    Kikuchi looked better, but when his team option is declined and he exercises his player option for 2022, he’s probably going to be in the bullpen–if not before then.

  2. heyoka on September 26th, 2020 8:29 pm

    Watch, he signs with the A’s in 2022 and becomes a world beater.

  3. eponymous coward on September 26th, 2020 10:20 pm

    You want to realize something mind-blowing?

    The 2020 Miami Marlins will have at least as many (and maybe more) wins than the 2020 Houston Astros.

  4. eponymous coward on September 27th, 2020 3:41 pm

    That’s official now, the Marlins won more games (31) than the Astros (29).

    Lots of interesting stuff to dig into. For one thing…Safeco’s back to killing run scoring again, so you need to dig into home/road splits. JP Crawford’s road hitting (.292/.381/.408) looks better than home, but the M’s staff isn’t as good as you think it is.

    Looking forward to Marc’s thoughts.

  5. Stevemotivateir on September 27th, 2020 5:02 pm

    ^It’s a 24-game sample at *T-Mobile Park without fans.

    I wouldn’t read into home/road splits much.

  6. Stevemotivateir on September 28th, 2020 6:50 am

    By the way, thanks yet again for another year of great posts, Marc. Much, much appreciated.

  7. MKT on November 3rd, 2020 5:18 pm

    A somewhat random but more than coincidental pairing of a couple of former Mariner employees: TangoTiger, one of the best sabrmetric analysts of all, now works for MLB but several years ago was a consultant for the Mariners for IIRC a couple of years.

    Today on twitter in response to a thread asking which major league ballplayer did you first get an autograph from, he wrote this:

    “First (and only), but it was technically for my kid who was with me: fellow Canadian Michael Saunders, Yankee Stadium, circa 2010. He was kind enough to have a conversation with my kid who was still in elementary school. He remains my kid’s favorite player.”

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