Game 133, Mariners at Guardians

marc w · September 3, 2022 at 3:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Robbie Ray vs. Xzavion Curry, 4:10pm

Since July, Robbie Ray’s sporting one of the most improved fastballs in the game, ranking 10th in Cameron Grove’s stuff/command metric improvement. Is he throwing his four-seamer harder? More break? No, it’s really not due to stuff at all – instead, he’s showing much better command of it. Essentially, his locations are expected to generate bad swings and bad outcomes by hitters. Do we see that in real games? Yes, kind of. Ray’s four-seamer has generated significantly more swings than it did in the first few months of the year. For a guy who’s struggled off and on with control and command in the past, that’s a notable achievement, and by and large, the results have followed.

But not entirely. Since August 1st, Ray’s four-seamer has become nearly untouchable, with batters hitting .122 and slugging .268 against it. But one of the big changes he made to get hitters OFF of that four-seamer was bringing in a sinker, and that pitch is… well, in that same time, batters are slugging .500 off the sinker, and righties, who face him a lot and see the bulk of those sinkers, are slugging .619. I get it – there are interactions at play, and you can’t just stop throwing a change-of-pace pitch without it impacting the rest of the arsenal. It’s not an open-and-shut case that going back to being (essentially) a two-pitch pitcher is the right course of action.

That said, if you throw a pitch that turns league right-handers into 2022-Paul Goldschmidt when they face it, you might want to throw…literally anything else. Ray was brilliant in August, but he’s still had an up and down year. Mostly up, don’t get me wrong, but there’s still room for improvement here.

Xzavion Curry has thrown all of 5 big league innings, and was called up to take the place of Aaron Civale, who went on the IL. Curry came into the year as Cleveland’s #11 prospect after a huge 2021, though he’s struggled quite a bit in AAA this season. Control had been his calling card coming into 2022, but he’s walked far too many this year. The key to his control was his four-seam fastball, an arrow-straight offering with good vertical movement. That rise has enabled him to throw it in the zone a ton, as hitters in college and the low minors would swing underneath it. I wonder if that’s happening a lot less in the upper minors… the scouting report on his secondaries isn’t glowing, so I’m not sure Curry had a plan B if his invisiball heater started popping up on the more advanced radar systems used by elite hitters. He’s had HR troubles occasionally in the minors as well, which makes sense given that fastball shape. No one’s going to have trouble elevating it – the only issue is making contact.

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

Luis Torrens played some 2B in Tacoma’s win last night over Sacramento. No jokes, no scouting reports, just…just thought you’d like to know. Mason McCoy hit a grand slam in the R’s 6-3 win.
Tyler Dollard starts for Arkansas today; he’s the biggest prospect among the affiliates’ probable starters.


One Response to “Game 133, Mariners at Guardians”

  1. Westside guy on September 4th, 2022 12:45 pm

    Seems like the Mariners pretty much own the Guardians right now.

    But darn it, the tarp is out…

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