Game 7, Mariners at Twins – Road Game #1

marc w · April 8, 2021 at 12:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. José Berríos, 1:10pm

I didn’t think Justin Dunn vs. Dallas Keuchel would feature a lot of Ks, and I suppose it didn’t. I didn’t think that the M’s could do a whole lot against what was supposed to be a very strong Chicago bullpen, and thus I thought that yesterday’s game might be a shorter, more action-packed affair. It was full of action, all right, but Dunn’s control problems made it a real slog, and it clocked in at nearly 4 hours. I’ve heard from so many people that these super-long games, even if they’re low scoring and finished in 9 innings, are kind of off-putting.

The question is what to do about it. I think we can all agree that M’s starting pitchers should avoid walking 8 opposing batters, so let’s mark that as done. But to get a bit solipsistic for a minute, I was chuckling about yesterday’s post when watching the at-bat that utterly turned the game around for Seattle yesterday: Ty France’s 11-pitch walk. Daniel Kramer’s got a good post about it at, and it’s worth checking out. France came back from an 0-2 count and spoiled a lot of good fastballs, but Matt Foster’s command of his change was wobbling. France took advantage, and made Foster work, until he finally walked him, loading the bases for Kyle Seager, who dropped a perfectly-placed opposite field lob shot to clear the bases.

If I was a Sox fan, this would’ve been frustrating as hell: the game just stops as France spoils pitch after pitch, then steps out of the box, back in, adjusts his batting gloves, etc. As an M’s fan, you knew you were watching something special; France wasn’t just staying alive, he was frustrating and whittling away at Foster’s effectiveness. As we talked about yesterday, relievers are built nowadays to come in and pump 15-20 96 MPH fastballs by people. Foster wasn’t “on” yesterday, but he sure wasn’t on after an 11 pitch AB. I’m not sure if it helped Seager see fastball or change out of Foster’s hand, or if Foster was just gassed, but few relievers can be effective after so many pitches.

Today, the M’s head to Minnesota to take on the 4-2 Twins. The Twins opened the year against Milwaukee, and then faced the Detroit Tigers. While I don’t think either of those teams is a big World Series contender, they can pitch. And thus, after six games, the Twins have a very high K rate, but it’s balanced by some patience and power. In other words, meet the new Twins, same as the old Twins. Gone is Eddie Rosaria, but they’ve got an interesting mix of super-low K contact guys, headlined by Luis Arraez and Willian Astudillo, and then some high-power, high-K guys, headlined by Miguel Sano. And in the middle, making it all work, is the ageless Nelson Cruz.

The Twins staff has obscenely good stats thus far, but it helps that half of their starts have come in Detroit, and the other half against a seriously scuffling Brewers team (what the hell happened to Keston Hiura? Yikes). Still, José Berríos is a guy the M’s know well, and know he can be very tough. He held the Brewers hitless through the 6th in his first start, so he’s off to a good start.

Berríos struck out 12 in 6 IP, so there weren’t that many balls in play, but the 6 that the Brewers did manage were hit exceptionally weakly. His curve/slider thing is a fascinating pitch, a bit like Lance McCullers’, in that it’s thrown from a slightly low angle, and thus features a ton of horizontal AND vertical movement. In that first start in Milwaukee, Berríos’ big breaking ball had even more vertical break than usual, which may account for some of the weak contact and whiffs. It’s certainly something to watch for today, particularly against the M’s right-handed bats.

1: Haniger, RF
2: France, DH
3: Seager, 3B
4: Marmolejos, 1B
5: Moore, 2B
6: Trammell, CF
7: Torrens, C
8: Haggerty, RF
9: Crawford, SS
SP: Gonzales

Evan White hurt his leg in yesterday’s game – what’s being described as a quad strain. We’ll see if he joins Jake Fraley (hamstring) on the IL. For now, they’re just going to give him a few days rest.


2 Responses to “Game 7, Mariners at Twins – Road Game #1”

  1. Stevemotivateir on April 8th, 2021 4:56 pm

    So, Paxton’s season is done, Marco’s command is AWOL, and the offense is tasked with Mission Impossible.

    Fortunately, I have beer and Mexican food to comfort me.

  2. eponymous coward on April 8th, 2021 6:47 pm

    Yeeeesh. This pitching staff is looking rough right now. And the offense, my god, it’s full of Ks. I guess this year is “screw control the zone, just get through some four hour games without an injury”?

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