Game 157, Athletics at Mariners – The Day After

marc w · October 1, 2022 at 12:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Luis Castillo vs. JP Sears, 1:10pm

The M’s are officially a playoff team after Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run, a shot that’s now in the M’s pantheon of memorable hits with Doug Strange’s in 1995, Edgar’s grand slam in 1995, maybe

It was fun interacting with a deliriously happy M’s Twitter last night, and every game is probably going to take on the feel of a victory lap from now on. That’s both understandable, and perhaps unwise. The team is jockeying with Tampa and Toronto for wild card seeding, and each spot matters. It’s still a longshot to get the first WC slot, but it’s worth the effort. That’s the only way to ensure a home playoff game for the M’s, and I think this fanbase deserves that. They can of course earn home playoff games by, you know, *defeating* their wild card round opponents too, and that would work. But hosting the Jays, for example, would be a huge boon to the tired pitching rotation vs. playing in the batter-friendly Rogers centre.

Today the M’s get to nurse their hangovers and do something playoff teams have to do a lot: shake off a rough loss to a pitcher they very recently faced and figure out how to beat him. JP Sears handcuffed the M’s over 5 IP, yielding no earned runs and striking out 7 back on September 20th. Since then, he was utterly destroyed by the Mets. But what do the M’s do differently now? They still don’t have Julio, so their line-up is a bit worse, but Sears doesn’t have the benefit of being completely unknown. Like so many pitchers who’ve moved through the Yankees player development system, Sears has a very good change-up. With Sears very low 3/4 delivery, it gets both a ton of armside run, and impressive sink compared to his fastball. That fastball, though, has been a problem.

The A’s are doing a piggy-back starter thing, so Adam Oller will also pitch. Oller, a career minor leaguer who cracked the A’s opening day roster. Oller has a four-seam, a cutter/slider, a sinker, a change, a curve, etc. He’s your classic junkballer, but a right-hander. He’ll touch 94, but just like Sears, bad things tend to happen when he throws fastballs. His four-seam has been hit hard; batters are slugging over .580 off of it. Sadly, he might need to stick with it, as (in a small sample), batters are slugging an unbelievable 1.174 off of his sinker. You see Oller’s problem: he’s a fly ball guy, and even with slightly deadened baseballs and a cavernous home park, batters are driving those fly balls over the fence.

1: Moore, SS
2: Winker, LF
3: Santana, 1B
4: Torrens, C
5: Kelenic, CF
6: Haggerty, RF
7: Frazier, 2B
8: Toro, 3B
9: O’Keefe
SP: Castillo

Today marks Brian O’Keefe’s major league debut. Not a bad one, I suppose, given the opposing starters. Here’s hoping he gets a center-cut fastball and does something with it. O’Keefe is 29, and spent six years in the Cardinals org, then joined the M’s in 2021. O’Keefe started hitting for more power than ever, albeit with a higher K rate. But he was successful enough to move to AAA at the end of 2021, and spent most of this year as the Rainiers primary catcher. His overall production was down this year, but he’s been a great minor league free agent pick-up, and it’s great to see a guy who has been grinding through the minors for so long get a shot.


2 Responses to “Game 157, Athletics at Mariners – The Day After”

  1. Westside guy on October 1st, 2022 4:12 pm

    Looks like they solved the JP Sears problem! 😀

    On a side note, I am holding my breath and being cautiously optimistic regarding Jarred Kelenic. Divish and others have commented on his simplified approach at the plate (really cutting down that leg kick, especially with two strikes). While his numbers of late are still not exactly Judgian, his OPS is up over 700 recently (and approaching 800 the past seven games). His defense is good. I can still cross my fingers and dream about Julio and Kelenic filling out two thirds of an awesome outfield over the next six or more years…

  2. schwingy on October 3rd, 2022 4:57 pm

    “Judgian” haha love it.
    Your description above is great, just makes me sad for K Lewis and what could have been for him and Ms.
    Doesn’t look like the Orioles are going to help us. Here’s hoping we get to see the team back at T-mobile after Wednesday.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.