Game 135, Mariners at Diamondbacks

marc w · September 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Tyler Anderson vs. Madison Bumgarner, 6:40pm

Sorry for the delay on this post; I’ve just had a busy day with work and family obligations.

The M’s head south to take on the thoroughly beaten-down Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs had a respectable start to the year, then went into a tailspin that they’ve never quite pulled out of. They come into tonight at a pretty shocking 45-90, just slightly better than the Orioles. The D-Backs collapse is a little harder to fathom than the Orioles, who have a clear/obvious reason why they can’t win: they don’t really have any MLB-caliber pitchers. The D-Backs *do*, with tonight’s starter a good example. Zac Gallen, Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver – why is a club with solid pitchers who’ve logged some innings doing with a team ERA over 5?

The answer is that none of those guys I mentioned is a reliever. The D-Backs have the game’s worst bullpen, and it’s absolutely killed them when they find themselves in close, winnable games. In this respect, they are the anti-Mariners in 2021. Of course, their line-up has been atrocious too. Not worst-in-the-league bad, but surprisingly close when you strictly look at batting (they can catch the ball pretty well). A lot of this has to do with long stints on the IL for the best player, former Mariner Ketel Marte. Marte is hitting .344/.395/.549, which is ridiculous, but he’s done so in only 65 games. If he hadn’t gone down after starting the year on an absolute tear, this season could’ve gone differently.

Oakland and Boston have big leads at the moment, but at least Oakland is playing Toronto. The Blue Jays and their enviable run differential are too close for comfort, so maybe facing the A’s will open up the gap the M’s have enjoyed over Toronto. On the down side, both Boston and Oakland won yesterday when the M’s were off. Rude, in my opinion.

1: Crawford, SS
2: Haniger, RF
3: France, 1B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Toro, 2B
6: Murphy, C
7: Kelenic, CF
8: Moore, LF
SP: Anderson

So, we have to talk about Matt Brash. Brash has been on an absolute tear in AA after a mid-season promotion, and today garnered the kind of viral fame that pretty much all pitchers want in 2021: a Pitching Ninja GIF and tweet. The righty out of Canada – acquired from San Diego in exchange for Taylor Williams last year – tossed 6 no-hit IP in the Travelers’ combined no-hit win against Wichita. That brought his line with Arkansas down to 44 IP, 22 H, 16 BBs and 69 Ks. That’s video-game stuff. Logan Gilbert opened a lot of eyes in AA in 2019, but his line was nothing – nothing – like this. And while the M’s have had some control/command guys who’ve dominated at levels for months, none of them have the raw, wicked, physics-defying pitches shown in that Pitching Ninja tweet.

Brash started out the year as the least-heralded member of the absolutely stacked Everett rotation. Our preview gave him short shrift, noting he might move to the pen. Instead, he outpitched them all (George Kirby may have something to say about that, but Brash had a superior K rate). But since ascending to AA, something’s changed – he’s utterly dominant, and is on one of the more dominant runs I’ve seen in the high minors in years. In his last three starts, he’s thrown 18 IP, given up 4 hits (!) and struck out 32. It’s remarkable. I’ve seen put him in the top 10 M’s prospects (at #10), but at this point that’s too low.


9 Responses to “Game 135, Mariners at Diamondbacks”

  1. Stevemotivateir on September 3rd, 2021 8:14 pm

    With the offday, I was following that Arkansas game online and trying to catch clips. Perfect through 6 and Julio did his part to get him run support. You couldn’t ask for more.

    Kelenic’s gaffe in center tonight was ugly, but the HR he just hit is helping me get past it.

  2. heyoka on September 4th, 2021 6:45 am

    I’ve done the calculations, and if Kelenic hits .300 the rest of the year, he will end the season with a respectable.198 batting average.

  3. Stevemotivateir on September 4th, 2021 7:22 pm

    6 RBIs for Seager tonight and he’ll have a chance to add to that.

    Seattle needed to beat up on Arizona and they’re doing exactly that.

  4. Stevemotivateir on September 5th, 2021 4:43 pm

    Did not care for the aggressive base-running tonight. Sent runners (Toro) with two outs–twice–and tried to force one in extras when Arizona had clearly picked up the sign. Two outs on the base-paths in the 10th, then a double by Torrens and ended the inning without scoring.

    Luckily, they were able to exploit Arizona’s ‘pen in the 11th. Six runs are in and they’re still making them work.

  5. Stevemotivateir on September 6th, 2021 8:16 am

    Everywhere I turn I see someone screaming for Seager’s option to be picked up. Some have even called it a guarantee, or a no-brainer, as if there couldn’t possibly any other outcome.

    I think the odds of Seager returning are slim, but I wonder how the most loyal Seager advocates would feel if Seattle actually gets into the postseason this year. Would they be satisfied and ready to move on?

  6. eponymous coward on September 6th, 2021 2:40 pm

    I’m not convinced that they will be able to address the position in free agency or by trade, but if they did, sure?

    I think there are reasonable arguments both ways. Branch Rickey wasn’t wrong about “a year too soon”, really.

  7. Stevemotivateir on September 6th, 2021 4:17 pm

    ^Well, they don’t necessarily have to get a true third baseman, they could slide Toro to third and chase a second baseman, or even a shortstop to take second.

    Not mission impossible.

  8. eponymous coward on September 6th, 2021 11:17 pm

    Right, but it’s not like Jerry’s infallible with this stuff. As much as we’d like to block out Dee Strange-Gordon’s Mariner career out of our minds, that did happen.

    I’m not saying I think Jerry’s going to screw this up; there are lots of ways this could work. I think bringing Seager back could be reasonable AND moving on could be reasonable. It’s going to depend on things we don’t know yet.

    The thing is the really good players available in free agency like Semien aren’t likely to be available without a long term large financial commitment. We haven’t seen Jerry make those kinds of moves in a while. If the M’s aren’t willing to write a check, they’re going to have to be willing to move some kids, probably. I don’t know if the organization is in a position where they can start dealing kids for major league talent yet. You’d kind of like things like, uh, Kelenic hitting better than a buck-ninety five.

  9. Stevemotivateir on September 7th, 2021 5:05 am

    The thing is the really good players available in free agency like Semien aren’t likely to be available without a long term large financial commitment. We haven’t seen Jerry make those kinds of moves in a while.

    We’ve never seen him do that. Even Kikuchi’s deal really isn’t significant unless the option gets picked up, which is highly unlikely at this point.

    But a player like Semien might be the first. His positional flexibility would allow them to sit Crawford or Toro if/when necessary. Same could be said of Taylor.

    If they start dealing their elite prospects to address needs, they compromise the long-term. They really have no choice but to spend. They might get away with a lateral move, swapping Haniger for a starter for example, but free agency could do wonders for their contention hopes.

    And it’s not like they can’t afford big contracts. They could sign 3 players with an AAV North of 20 and still have a payroll under 100m.

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