Game 159, Tigers at Mariners

marc w · October 3, 2022 at 6:39 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

George Kirby vs. Brayan Garcia, 6:40pm

The M’s are still technically chasing the Jays, but they’re going to need to win out, essentially. Toronto is winning tonight, and with a two and a half game lead, the M’s path to WC1 is getting tougher and tougher to see. That may be okay, if it allows the M’s to get ready for the wild card round, and a big part of THAT is getting healthy. That’s why, win or lose, the best thing about tonight’s game is the return of Julio Rodriguez. He’ll DH tonight, but should play CF at some point this series.

That leaves the rotation to consider. I’m glad to see Kirby out there to shake off the rust of that weird outlier KC start, but he’s now gone three straight games yielding at least one walk and 5 given up in his last 14 1/3 IP, which, for him, is something of a concern. I think it’s quite likely he’s tired, and thus I hope tonight’s start is a short one. The M’s moved Chris Flexen to the pen, and it’s questionable whether or not he’s rostered in the playoffs; if this isn’t a situation in which he can absorb 3-4 IP, I’m not sure what is.

Kirby faces the Tigers, an absolutely dreadful offensive club. They have the worst wRC+ in the game, an 81 figure that would be tied for the lowest in a full season since 2019…when the Tigers finished at 77. They have developed some pitching, though even that’s been patchy. But they simply cannot develop any bats, and it is destroying them. They paid Javy Baez this year, which was something of an odd choice for a revitalizing free agent pick-up, and he’s been slightly below average. Worse, their huge prospects – Riley Greene and especially Spencer Torkelson, have struggled at times to get acclimated. Greene’s been solid for a while after suffering an injury in spring training, but is still below MLB average at the plate while Torkelson had to be sent down to AAA to find his swing after a brutal start to 2022. Not everyone can be Julio.

Pitching tonight is Brayan Garcia, a righty with a sinking fastball, slider, change arsenal. Garcia’s had a rough go of it by peripheral stats; he hasn’t struck out too many, but has walked a ton and given up far too many HRs for a pitcher whose home park is among the toughest in which to dinger. His FIP and expected ERA are thus in the mid-6’s. But thanks to a great strand rate, his ERA is passable. His fastball gets some sink, but isn’t really designed to be a swing and miss pitch. His slider legitimately has been a big swing and miss pitch this year, which is odd, because it’s not TOO different than his slider last year or 2020, which wasn’t that remarkable. Small sample weirdness? His career splits look about what you’d expect for a guy with a sinker/slider as his best two pitches. His change is pretty hard, at 87, and yields a lot of elevated contact. Maybe a good pitch for a lefty to drive one on a warm, smoky night like this.

Today was opening day in the Arizona Fall League, and the Peoria Javelinas won thanks to some great performances by M’s prospects. Bryan Woo got the win, tossing 4 scoreless innings with 0 H, 1BB, 1HBP, and 5 Ks. Glendale scored 3 once Woo was out of the game, but Peoria scored 5 in the 9th, with Robert Perez, Jr.’s 3-run bomb the difference maker. Juan Then got the save. Robert Hassell III plays for Peoria, while old friend Noelvi Marte’s on the Glendale roster (he went 1-5).

1: Juliooooooooooooo, RF
2: France, 1B
3: Haniger, RF
4: Suarez, 3B
5: Raleigh, C
6: Kelenic, CF
7: Moore, SS
8: Haggerty, LF
9: Frazier, 2B
SP: Kirby

Jesse Winker had been in the line-up, but is a late scratch.

Tampa took a 3 run lead against Boston, but the Sox have come back and now lead 4-3. The Jays are up 5-1 on a fading-fast Baltimore club. Detroit comes in kind of hot, winning 10 of their last 12. I legitimately thought they could challenge for a wild card with so much young pitching and their top two prospects joining Baez, but it obviously didn’t happen. Injuries and the putridity of that line-up erased any chance of that, and ultimately cost GM Al Avila his job.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.