Game 101, Mariners at Astros

marc w · July 29, 2022 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Robbie Ray vs. Justin Verlander, 5:10pm

A fun pitching match-up tonight between the ageless Justin Verlander, who’ll certainly rack up Cy Young votes this year, and the reining Cy Young winner, Robbie Ray. Ray’s velocity has been quite volatile recently, sitting over 95 just before the break, then dropping to under 93 in his last start. I’m kind of curious to see what it’s like today, particularly given his struggles against Houston. Verlander’s velo dipped noticeably back in 2014, but then he figured out how to get it back above 95, even after losing so much time to TJ surgery in his late-30s. It’s remarkable.

So much M’s stuff today. Fangraphs finished off their trade value series with players 1-10, and to no one’s surprise, Julio Rodriguez crashed the party in 4th position. Jake Mailhot’s got an article also at FG about the development of Penn Murfee and Matt Festa, and their resemblance (pitching-wise) to last year’s out-of-nowhere here, Paul Sewald. Michael Ajeto at BP notes George Kirby’s very recent development of a two-seamer (learned from Robbie Ray) and what looks to be a wholly-new sweeping slider. This last tweak is huge. I’ve noted here many times that Kirby’s breaking ball wasn’t good, and thus his ceiling was perhaps lower than you’d expect for a guy throwing that hard with elite control. Well, raise the roof. It’s early yet, but if that sweeping slider starts to elicit swings and misses, and if he becomes able to reliably put righties away, he’s an entirely different pitcher. Meanwhile, Julio Rodriguez continues to grow throughout the year. He’s cut his K rate dramatically from April all while improving his ISO by hitting far fewer grounders. He was an electric player early on with some slight flaws that he could work on. He’s essentially solved them on the fly.

Verlander always had ace potential, and he won an MVP and Cy Young with Detroit to prove it. But he wasn’t as consistent as you’d want. In 2008 and then 2014, he posted season-long ERAs closer to 5 than 4, and saw his K rate drop. His results bounced back each time, but I wondered what age and injuries would do to a guy who – even in his 20s and even healthy – would see his K rate mysteriously drop. In 2017, the Astros acquired him from Detroit in exchange for three prospects. It’s turned into one of the more lopsided deals you’ll see, and Verlander has achieved another level of performance – one he’s been able to stay at consistently, even after Tommy John surgery. It’s one of the more remarkable late-career surges we’ve seen since Randy Johnson’s departure from Seattle. Hey, at least the M’s did a lot better when they traded the guy.

1: Julioooo, CF
2: France, 1B
3: Santana, DH
4: Suarez, 3B
5: Crawford, SS
6: Lewis, RF
7: Raleigh, C
8: Winker, LF
9: Frazier, 2B
SP: Ray

Emerson Hancock had a rough first, and was untouchable after that, but Arkansas fell to Tulsa, 3-2. Dodgers top prospect Bobby Miller got the win; I wonder if they chatted before the game about what it’s like to see your name in Juan Soto trade rumors?

Tacoma best El Paso 4-1, with rehabbing MLBers Wil Myers and Mitch Haniger both homered.

Everett beat Vancouver with 3 runs in the 10th. Noelvi Marte went 2-4.

Modesto best Fresno 11-4. Victor Labrada went 2-3 with a homer and Edwin Arroyo was 2-5 with a double.


2 Responses to “Game 101, Mariners at Astros”

  1. Stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2022 6:42 pm

    Ray sure looks like he’s throwing with inflammation.

  2. Stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2022 9:09 pm

    High price for Castillo, but it’s a deal they could afford to make, needed to make, and perhaps it’s a hint that there will be significant spending in the offseason.

    For now, I just hope the additions lead to the postseason and success obce they’re there.

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