Game 3, Giants at Mariners – New Ball, Same as the Old Ball

marc w · April 3, 2021 at 4:23 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chris Flexen vs. Logan Webb, 6:10pm

Last night, it was the M’s bullpen’s turn to struggle, as Drew Steckenrider couldn’t keep the Giants off the board, and the M’s lost 6-3. The M’s seemed to have Johnny Cueto on the ropes early on, but the veteran ended up pitching a decent game. Yusei Kikuchi was better than just decent, striking out 10 to just 1 walk in 6 innings. But for the second game in a row, the M’s allowed some dingers, allowing the Giants to get back in the game.

The M’s couldn’t punish the Giants last night for starting a guy coming off a couple of bad seasons, but hey, they’ll get another chance tonight. Logan Webb was the Giants 4th round pick in 2014 out of California high school, and rose up through the system thanks to very high ground ball rates and a change-up that’d miss some bats. He was never a big strikeout pitcher, and still isn’t, though he does manage to strike out about 20% of opposing hitters.

He’s got a four-seam fastball that sinks, and what looks like an interesting sinker with tons of armside run and sink. He uses the four-seamer to lefty batters, and does his best Marco Gonzales impression vs righties, where he’ll throw about 1/4 four-seamers, 1/4 sinkers, 1/4 change-ups, and 1/4 breaking balls. He’s got a curve, and picked up a hard cutter last year, thrown at 90-91 (his fastball’s only 93).

The change-up counters the platoon issues with a sinking fastball, so he doesn’t have big platoon splits at all; at this point, they’re actually negative. But like Cueto, his real problem has been stranding runners. Webb walks a few too many and doesn’t strike out enough batters to compensate. His GB tendencies and his home park have helped him keep the HR monster at bay, but with a BABIP of .340 in his short career, he’s just putting too many on base.

All of that said, he was the talk of the Giants spring, going 2-0 in 17 IP with 22 Ks to just 2 BBs. He allowed just 7 hits in those 17 innings, leading to a lot of hope among Giants fans that the 24-year old has figured something out. Does a performance that good illustrate that his success will carry over into the season, or is spring training still meaningless?

The Giants now lead MLB in homers with 6 in their first two games, while the M’s are one of several teams who haven’t hit one yet. It’s still way too early to say much about the new baseball, but if the idea was that the looser yarn would depress scoring…it hasn’t happened. The league batting average on contact and wOBA on contact is much, much higher, driven at least in part by a big spike in BABIP (remember BABIP had been down in recent years). That said, the percentage of balls in play that have gone for dingers IS down, at least after, uh, two games. We’ll have to check back later, but as of right now, strikeouts are up, walks are waaay up (though that may just be the Giants opening day performance spoiling the data), and scoring’s up, despite the fact that no one’s faced a 4th/5th starter yet.


1: Haniger, DH
2: France, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: White, 1B
5: Trammell, CF
6: Moore, LF
7: Fraley, RF
8: Torrens, C
9: Crawford, SS
SP: Flexen


2 Responses to “Game 3, Giants at Mariners – New Ball, Same as the Old Ball”

  1. Stevemotivateir on April 3rd, 2021 7:39 pm

    So, France gets Seattle’s first HR, Trammell gets his first MLB hit, White is showing offensive value, and Fraley continues to get on base.

    Flexen has looked decent as well. Not a bad start, but I want to see more doubles.

  2. Stevemotivateir on April 3rd, 2021 8:43 pm

    Player of the game has to be Flexen, but Graveman…


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