Game 32, Phillies at Mariners

marc w · May 11, 2022 at 12:10 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Logan Gilbert vs. Bailey Falter, 12:40pm

A day after the Rainiers had a mid-week matinee, the M’s have one. Looks like a nice day for it, too. Wish I could be there.

After holding on for a much-needed 5-4 win, the M’s face spot-starter Bailey Falter with a chance to win the series. This is kind of a fascinating match-up between two starters who get the most out of a fastball that looks, on paper, somewhat underwhelming. Both have elite extension that helps that fastball play up, and both are still trying to figure out what secondaries will play best at the big league level. But because Logan Gilbert has 4 extra mph on that heater, he’s just in a far better position to make it work.

Bailey Falter throws a *lot* of fastballs. He’s about 70% for his brief MLB career, and it’s a pitch he leaned on a lot in the minors, where he was often a strikeout maven. He’s only thrown 35+ innings at the AAA level, but he racked up an impressive *54* strikeouts in that time. How does he miss so many bats? Well, it’s not velo. He’s been 90-91 this year, and was 91-92 last year. It’s not spin; Falter has one of the lowest spin rates I’ve seen on a four-seamer, down below Justus Sheffield’s before the M’s shifted him to a sinker. That lack of spin extends to his primary breaking ball too, a slider at under 2,000 rpm. That’s at least superficially similar to Gilbert, who, while not freakishly low, is nothing special from a spin point of view (and we can certainly debate whether that’s anything to be concerned about). But Falter gets 7.4′ of extension at release, exactly the same as Gilbert, with today’s starters tied for 3rd most in MLB.

That extension causes the pitch to play up. Falter got some K’s at the MLB level last year despite a pitch that Stuff+ thinks is a recipe for disaster. He’s only thrown 5 innings thus far, but it’s possible that Stuff+/Pitchingbot was onto something: in a tiny sample, he’s simply not getting any swings and misses. The slight drop in velo may be a part of it, but I’m not convinced given that he threw only 91 last year. Extension may help mess up batters’ timing, as the pitch gets on them quicker than they expect. But I wonder if that timing is teachable, and if batters can fairly quickly adapt. Thankfully, they’ve not done so against Gilbert, but then Gilbert has better secondaries. I’d think it’d be very tough for Falter the 2nd/3rd time through the order, but Falter’s not going to see the 3rd time through the order. Hell, these days, essentially no one does.

Except Reid Detmers, who tossed a no-hitter last night for the Angels against the Rays. It gives me no pleasure to report this, but the Angels appear to have some pitching this year for the first time in quite a while. They’re 21-11 with a low-3 ERA despite a bottom-10 K rate. Their defense isn’t great, but it doesn’t need to be with what is currently the game’s best offense. They’re going to be tough to overtake.

1: Frazier, 2B
2: France, 1B
3: Rodriguez, CF
4: Crawford, SS
5: Suarez, 3B
6: Torrens, DH
7: Winker, LF
8: Moore, RF
9: Raleigh, C
SP: Gilbert

Winker drops down and Kelenic drops out with the left-handed Falter on the mound. JP Crawford makes his first-ever start in clean-up.

Taylor Dollard’s on the mound for Arkansas today. He won the Texas league pitcher of the week in early May. He’s not getting as many K’s as he did in A-ball, but he’s dramatically improved his wOBA and average-against.

Tacoma’s hosting Reno, and could really use a win. Yesterday’s loss dropped them to 9-22, the lowest winning percentage in the high-minors (AA/AAA) with a AAA-worst -65 run differential. C’mon Rainiers!

Everett is last in the Northwest League, and they too have the worst run differential in their circuit. With guys like Spencer Packard off to a hot start, run scoring isn’t their problem. It’s that they’ve allowed dozens more runs than any other team.

Modesto’s the one affiliate with a positive run differential, but they’re still below .500. The system’s off to a bit of a slow start, I guess is the takeaway here.

There are always bright spots, however.
Joseph Hernandez of Modesto’s putting his name out there, leading the Cal league in ERA and striking out 29 in 25 IP.

Taylor Dollard doesn’t yet have enough innings, but may get there today. His ERA is safely under 1 in 18 IP thus far.

The aforementioned Spencer Packard leads the NWL in OPS at 1.023, over 100 points higher than the second place guy. He leads the league in HRs, too.

Robert Perez leads the Cal league in HRs with 8, the most in the system.


One Response to “Game 32, Phillies at Mariners”

  1. Stevemotivateir on May 12th, 2022 7:42 am

    Seattle’s offense is running a 90 wRC+ over the last two weeks, good for 23rd in MLB.

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