Angels 3 …..
STOP DA FIGHT

.

Angels' corner tossed in the towel about two 4-run innings ago, I think ...

.

Bottom Line

Paxton goes to 5-0, 1.75 in his first six MLB starts.  Maybe Gordon can draw us up a list of SP's who were 5-0 and 6-0 after six starts?

He's got 34 strikeouts and 9 walks, with 4 homers allowed, in 36.0 IP.  A nice symmetrical TTO line of 8.5 / 2.25 / 1.0 ... the two starting pitchers with the most similar TTO's to that, over the period 2011-13, are CC Sabathaa and David Price.  Like we sez, Paxton has deviated from script.  He has been pitching more like the virtuoso's than the napalm divebombers Koufax and Kershaw.

.

IP 1 - Paxton digs into the 3-run hole

Conventional wisdom -- that on TV, anyway, from McClendon & Blowers et al -- was that Paxton was amp'ed up for the Big Home Opener.  Made a few mistakes in the first, but settled in and mowed them down later.

SSI's take is different.

......

Start by understanding:  K-Pax is in a mode now to where he "gets too much of the plate," like Pineda did for a short while.  I mean, not really - for Paxton it is not much of a problem, but hold that thought.  The starter point here is:  the batters know that the ball is going to BE there.

The Angels had the motto, "Our best pitches will be early-AB and early-game fastballs" and they came out desperate to get Paxton early in the count.  If you study the GameDay, you'll find out that's exactly what happened.  He didn't particularly make worse pitches in the 1st than he did later, but ... the first time through the lineup, Zunino wanted to establish the heater.  The Angels realized it was now or never.

It really is nothing to worry about, not a long-term problem.  Randy Johnson, Clayton Kershaw, anybody like that ... the batters want to try to prevent the pitcher from "getting to his breaking pitches" with two strikes.  

Following a "lucky" ground ball single by Trout, Albert Pujols managed to get on top of a real high, letter-high, 92 fastball for a two-run homer.  The vast majority of the time, that ball is a fly out; there isn't really any adjustment needed, or maybe even any adjustment desirable.

(The pitch to Freese was a poor one.  Every pitcher makes 12 or 15 such pitches a game.)

.

/resume script

After the Angels' top half of the first, the 2014 battle reverted to normal.  Over the next 8.5 innings and 2.7 hours, the Mariners collected 8 hits and 5 runs against the Angels' 1 hit and 0 runs.

.

IP 2-3 - Paxton settles into the rocking chair

First guy up in IP 2 was Raul Ibanez ... Paxton kinda got away with one, a 91 MPH fastball out and over, ground ball out by Ibanez.  But from there:

  1. Paxton out-muscled the bottom of the Angels' lineup as he found his velocity on the night, and
  2. The second time through the lineup, he started sequencing and they had no chance.

For example, here's the leadoff guy Calhoun, first man up in the third.  Paxton starts him with a high fastball, then tosses two "roll off the table" hooks and it's See You Later.  Like Randy Johnson against John Kruk.

Then against Mike Trout:

  • Smokin' hot 94 fastball at the knees, 0-1
  • 87 change, off the plate, a "show me" pitch, 1-1
  • 95 fastball down-in tears Zunino's glove off, swing through, 1-2
  • Big yakker rolls off the table, the fabulous Mike Trout achieves the unpossible:  to ground out weakly

And so on.  The cliche on these Walking Death Machines -- Koufax, Unit, Guidry, Paxton -- is get them before they start sequencing, or mail in the loss.  You see why.

(If you're curious, Albert Pujols finished IP 3 by grounding out on a 95 MPH cut fastball right on the inside black -- Albert looks like he's back to his 1.000 OPS this year.)  

.

IP 4-5 - Stop Da Fight

In the 4th, after the M's took the lead, Paxton struck out the side with ridiculous ease.  Like they say, if there's a higher league, James Paxton would go to it ...

The at-bat against Hamilton was a mercy killing.  Paxton threw a yakker for a gimme strike one, and then two power slider/cutters looked like Unit-vs-Kruk again:

It could very well be that LH batters grab a lot of bench against Paxton, like they did against Randy Johnson.  He'll start sweeping that cutter to the outside corner and it'll get ugly.

..........

Paxton isn't going to go undefeated for his career.  He's groping in the dark out there.  But his debut stats run 8+ strikeouts, 2+ walks, 1.0 homers, and Dr. D is here to tell you that James is just now realizing that they can't handle his best game.

B'lee Dat.

.

IP 6 - the "Slight Lat Strain"

McClendon in the postgame emphasized the "slight" part.  As we all know, "lat strain" is a catchall that is sometimes applied to bone cancer or demonic possession.  In this case, based on watching Paxton throw, we'll gingerly guess it is a --- > slight lat strain.

Supposing that he's out for 4-5 turns ... Taijuan pitches on Wednesday and could easily slide right into Paxton's slot.  With three major benefits:

  1. Lightening Paxton's eventual IP load on the year, and keeping him fresh to win 4 games in October :- )
  2. Giving Roenis Elias a chance to show he's Livan Hernandez
  3. Giving Chris Young a chance to show he's going to be back to 2007-09 for a few months

You'll get the followup reports before I do.  Gordon, you know what to do, eh hoser?

.......

Nervous thought of the day:  Dr. Mike Marshall broke something in his ribs, essentially ending his reign of terror, by adding a new pitch.  Felix Hernandez got that forearm strain when he got transfixed by the swerveball.  I hope that Paxton's new lat strain isn't because of the new cutter, but it's entirely possible.

The chance of those two things being causative ... oh, 5%, we'll guess.  But just so's you know we're payin' attention.  Paxton only threw 8 cutters in 60 pitches, so it's not like he went nuts with it, and that's what bit him.

.

Bullpen

First seven games, we have seen our Best. Case. Scenario.

Wow.  SSI thought this group could easily bring the 2014 Jenga tower down.  Instead of that, they're out there one-up'ping each other.  And Justin Leone has hurled himself onto the pigpile.

.

Dr's Prognosis

The little DL stint is going to distract every other blog from the real news tonight.  That being, "James Paxton is having wayyyy too much fun out there."

Focus boys focus,

Dr D

 

Blog: 

Comments

1

...Is that it is a lot like "tendonitis." In doctor-ese, tendonitis means, "something is inflamed, and we don't know why.  Could be oversuse, or structural issues, or a torn whatchamicallit. Rest and see if it gets better."
A "lat strain" diagnosis means "something near your shoulder on your back went wonky, so we're hoping you didn't rip teres minor, jack up subscap, or mess up rib cartilage or an oblique.  The biggest muscle, that covers the whole area, is the lat, and it would freak out and seize up ANYWAY if something went wrong with a smaller muscle (rule #1 of musculature: big muscles attempt to cover up for small muscles when things go wrong) so we'll call it a lat strain and hope you didn't mess anything else up."
Paxton didn't seem too bothered, but I'm glad he didn't throw the next pitch.  If it IS a simple lat strain alone, it's merely an annoyance to recover from. Strasburg went through it last year and got DLed, IIRC - but only missed a couple weeks.
So that's what I'm hoping for.  Get the all-clear on other muscular and structural issues, don't push him that first week, and let him take the mound again after skipping a start or two.  We'll see - he might not miss any time, but I'd give him one turn out of the rotation, minimum.
~G

2

That we know he is. Glad to see him shooting out of the gate like a star in his big-league career - he's got crazy amounts of talent, and being able to dismantle lineups like this keeps proving (to himself more than anyone else) that he can dictate to anyone.
Glad we pulled out the win for him, and hope that he'll be good to go shortly and continue his assault on the league. I'm okay with having dueling ROY candidates in Paxton and Walker. 
That really would be fine with me. Make it so.
~G

3

...if there's nothing else wrong at all that they can see, then I would just rearrange and have Young take a start with that extra off-day and see if paxton feels good in a bullpen session...if he has any issue at all...he sits a start and you give the ball to Walker next Tuesday. If he has no problem in bullpen, he goes as scheduled.

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Chat: 9/1/15 5:22am
Interests: Baseball Football Soccer (215957)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-09-03 23:08

More DiPoto stuff: He signed Mike Trout to an extension so club friendly that Trout got in trouble with the union. Also, his teams won a lot with Jared Weaver as their best pitcher.

2015-09-03 21:32

Angels fans are afraid they will never get another good GM because Sciosca and Moreno now have a malignant rep and Sciosca is entrenched.

2015-09-03 21:28

Angels fans view DiPoto's strengths to be that he is good at running a farm system and he is a good sabe.

2015-09-03 21:05

Further, Angels fans universally loved DiPoto. Further, he wasn't fired. His team is fun to follow because he changes his scrubs from week to week. He doesn't hold with floundering rookies working out their kinks on TV.

2015-09-03 20:56

Jerry DiPoto to interview. DiPoto can deal with some nonsense. His boss, Moreno, signs or fires players, like Josh #Hamilton, on his own. His underling, Sciosca, refuses to deploy the shift. Sciosca apparently doesn't believe in it.

2015-09-03 20:09

So things appear to be working as designed now. Thanks, admins.

2015-09-03 19:52

Everything I've said, I stand by - but I also wanted to take time out to thank KLAT for their hard work on our behalf. There's no such thing as a free lunch, but you guys have given us almost that very thing, and that's rare. Our experience of Mariner #Baseball fandom would have been far emptier without your willingness to work with Jeff and put up with us whining when stuff doesn't work. :)

2015-09-03 18:40

Hey #Seattle Sports Insiders - We all hope that you enjoy the new #SeattleSportsInsider.com interface! We are working hard to improve your experience - and thanks for your patience with our launch. We look forward to your comments and hope that we are providing you a fun and informative site for your enjoyment - that's the goal of our project! - Richard

2015-09-03 18:34

I originally saw the sub categories at top when first loaded on #Mobile, but then they disappeared.. am I missing something?

Reply - Richard - 9/3/15 6:43pm
We're working on mobile menus now - and will work on improving links to relevant content shortly.Thanks for your help.
Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 7:41pm
Thanks much, definately appreciate the site and work you guys do.. I certainly could not.
2015-09-03 18:11

normal article functionality is back - must have been related to their efforts to subcategorize the site. Which, BTW, I actually very much like. I want there to be room here for #Football and #Soccer discussions and I don't want it to distract the group that's just wanting to talk #Baseball, so this change is very positive. Doc - I see and understand your point regarding how lucky we've been with KLAT. I am not trying to be ungrateful...please understand that. I think it is not a good policy to discourage folks from letting the KLAT team know when we are dissatisfied with features they're implementing, though. I believe you when you say they're super nice guys...that's a great thing to know. I've never accused them of being mean or anything. :) I just feel that it is very important to let the site admins know how things are impacting the users here. They don't owe us anything at all...I get that. But it really would help if we understood their long term goals...just a little...it would make us all feel a little better about the project, I think.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 6:32pm
Agreed.. this has definately been a baseball driven site Originally I thought it was just due to summer and regular season baseball play, until someone straightened me out lol
2015-09-03 16:37

Seems to work pretty decent on mine... what issues have you been having?

2015-09-03 16:36

Admins, yes, but the point is it does not work like it's supposed to. RIght now if I click on an article no matter what tab is activated it doesn't bring up the article. It just reloads the main page. That's what people are trying to tell you. Whether it's platform related, I have no idea.

edited to add, I take that back, now the first article loads when accessed with the Baseball tab activated, but not with the All tab activated.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:38pm
Ohbokay, yes I was having that issue just starting today
Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:48pm
ok. I now see that problem... I'm working on it... Thanks.
2015-09-03 16:09

For a social media focused platform you would think it would work better on a #Mobile.

2015-09-03 15:56

Re: click sport then pick article, you're right Ice, that works now. It didn't before. Clearly they are making ongoing tweaks today using the "live" site rather than tweaking a non-production version and only deploying it when they are satisfied that it works correctly. This practice does differ from what we're mostly used to, but to use a common phrase that my wife increasingly employs these days, "It is what it is." Klat is primarily a social media site that works according to it's own priorities and practices, and living with it is part and parcel of enjoying Doc's graciously provided site.

Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:04pm
Just to clarify... All articles should appear on the 'All' selection. Then only baseball articles/chats appear on the baseball subdomain. Only football articles/chats appear on the football subdomain, etc.... The new menu changes the subdomain.
Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:06pm
For writers of articles: If an article is created in the baseball subdomain, it appears in 'All' and 'Baseball'. Same for the other sports subdomains...
2015-09-03 15:07

Right now, it looks like you have to click the sport then pick the article.

Kind of absurd that you guys edit the production site while people are relying on it :-/

2015-09-03 14:34

Yup. Site is fully screwed at the moment

2015-09-03 13:06

I recall a similar line of reasoning earlier in the season when there were questions about why he wasnt called up then. Disappointing that he has not been able to fix it.

2015-09-03 11:41

Admins, FYI, now ALL articles when clicked on simply reload the main page.

2015-09-03 10:16

Re: "Tommy Gun" post, interesting that it only happens with that one article. Also, when I click on the "Active Threads" tab to see recent article comments, all the articles disappear. I provide this detail for the benefit of the admins.

Re: Divish and Montero, this certainly provides a rationale for a demotion allowing him to work on his swing, although you won't know if it's fixed until he's back up in a league where good fastballs are routine. Hopefully he can solve all this during the offseason, because when he's right he's productive with the bat. Also, hopefully, the M's staff are correct in their assessments.

2015-09-03 09:26

Divish with a note on the club's concern with Montero's swing:

"...there is some concern about the fundamentals of Montero’s swing, particularly the large dip of the head of the bat as he initiates his swing. That unnecessary movement slows down everything and leaves him behind on pitchers with quality fastballs. By instinct, Montero has to “cheat” on the fastball, starting the swing early. Pitchers recognize it and counter by throwing breaking stuff away when they are ahead. Why didn’t it affect him at Class AAA, where he hit .346 with 17 doubles, 6 triples, 16 home runs and 75 RBI with a .938 OPS? There is a lack of outstanding fastballs in the Pacific Coast League."

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:41pm
Also not as much intel in the minors. That's why they call it the bigs.. will be a tough adjustment
2015-09-03 08:43

Yup, same here

2015-09-03 05:10

The most recent post about the Mariner offense won't display for me...when I click on it, I get sent to a blank screen with the post selection slider again.

2015-09-03 05:06

Can't get Doc's latest article (Tommy Gun) to open on iPhone.

2015-09-03 04:25

Can't get Doc's latest article (Tommy Gun) to open on iPhone.

2015-09-02 22:55

I see more shouts disappeared.

2015-09-02 21:02

Too late to go on a run? :-)

2015-09-02 15:19

Montero's been slumping badly...so...not sure I blame the Mariners for not starting him.

2015-09-02 15:06

Apparently it wasn't Z who hated Montero...

2015-09-02 12:00

Sorry for the cut and paste tweets but the reactions from people that cover the team are interesting. One can feel their confusion. Witness: @CurtoWorld: Mariners option Jesus Montero to Tacoma. I believe this is first time they've sent a player down after Sept 1 in at least 17 years- not sure.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:43pm
Not just them though, just odd timing for anyone to do. I also do not know if I have ever seen one team send as many guys down as the mariners have here the last cpl months
2015-09-02 11:44

@StoneLarry: When you send a guy down AFTER rosters expand, I'd say it doesn't bode well for his future in the organization.

2015-09-02 11:25

@RyanDivish: Hearing that the Mariners have optioned Jesus Montero back to Class AAA Tacoma for the last five games of Rainiers' season. The Mariners face a fair amount of right-handers till then.

2015-09-02 10:07

RH swing looks like it has a slow launch to me. batspeed OK, but not full of life or anything...this swing would make Choi a .260 hitter with a decent eye and no power from the right side. Maybe.

2015-09-02 08:52

YouTube video from a game where they talk about it and show two RH at bats. Silly M's - the guy wants to switch hit when he signs and they say no. He gets to AAA and THEN the org gives its blessing. I wish I was surprised by that.

Not the most dynamic RH swing I've seen but we've seen worse RH swings from guys in Mariner uniform this year. It's just bizarre. Given how rabid M's fans are about the minors, I'm surprised this hasn't received more commentary.

https://m.youtube.co...

2015-09-02 08:38

I read something from Curto on Choi and IIRC, it was Choi's idea. He wanted to try it in ST and they gave him their blessing...then came the suspension. It's curious that he's doing it...successfully thus far. I mean, small sample size, but he's been a terror since he came back switch hitting. 957 OPS with more pop (500 SLG).

2015-09-02 07:44

If the Mariners were the ones that told Choi to switch hit, it confirms their stupidity. If Choi decided to do that on his own, the Mariners need to order him to knock it off.

2015-09-02 05:40

Choi doesn't have significant splits against same handed pitching, so he doesn't need to switch hit. Either it's a practical joke , or someone hates me.

2015-09-01 20:15

With you on Kivlehan

2015-09-01 17:54

How odd is it that Choi came back from his suspension and all of a sudden, he's a switch hitter? I mean, I don't think I've ever heard of someone that started switch hitting at 24, let alone at the AAA level.

2015-09-01 17:35

I'd like to see Choi get called up. Boy could we have used an Olerud-lite bat this year. Get Kivlehan up here too... he seems to need some time to learn/adapt to a new level (though he learns fast). Might as well have him start the process this year.

2015-09-01 17:21

Zych has a gun... but I fear it is pretty close to straight arrow.

2015-09-01 16:42

I like Zych, actually...great AAA numbers based on an interesting pitch mix...possible sleeper?

2015-09-01 13:46

Thanks Griz. I highly approve of Romero and O'Malley getting shots. I love the versatility of O'Malley: Plays everywhere and brings a vL bat that is .330-.387-.450 this year and .340-.398-.489 last year. He can play on my team any day. A Bloomquist (versatility) with a decent bat.

2015-09-01 12:55

I still get excited for Elias starts.. am I alone? Really love his repetoire of pitches. When he is on he is on. Hopefully a better game in store from that last one. Think it was good for him overall coming back from Tacoma getting his feet wet. Hope he has a good game/ and can contribute in future

Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 1:19pm
Elias is fun to watch...when he is on his game. I think he will be steady.
2015-09-01 12:29

@shannondrayer: First wave of callups are here. Romero, O'Malley, Jose Ramirez and Tony Zych all in #Houston.

2015-09-01 10:46

Blash and yesterday's huge opposite field dinger: http://www.milb.com/...

Kivlehan is quick and simple to the ball: http://www.milb.com/...

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:39pm
Love that opposite field power
2015-09-01 10:35

That's where I am, Matt. He is significantly improved this year in terms of BA. He's hit a heck of a lot of homers in not very many AB's. He K's like Gorman Thomas in the majors, but Thomas only K'ed on 20% of his AAA AB's....not 33%! Thomas was .225-.324-.448 over his MLB years. OPS+ of 114. He hit .241 at AA but .291 in AAA (#Sacramento). Hit below .200 his 1st two significant years in the bigs. Then Thomas figured it out a bit. He was 27 before he was very successful. And that was after another full year stint in the PCL (after two years in the bigs). Blash doesn't have that kind of MiLB pedigree....but this year indicates some sort of plateau leap. Well, maybe. He's a bit of a long shot, But if he can hit .240 he's will be a finie player. Thomas has 4 seasons above .240 (.246, .244, .259, .245) in those seasons his OPS+ was 142, 138, 146 & 137. Thomas didn't really walk more in the minors that Blash has. At .240 Blash is a player, regardless of the K's. But .240 will be tough for him to hit, based on his large AAA K rate which is still above 30% even in this "plateau" year. He may not make contact often enough. Kingman was a productive player when he was north of .235, even early in his career. He was above .260 4 times and in those seasons he was a tremendous hitter. But he Ked in only about 25% of his AAA AB's. The TTO guy can be productive. Trumbo never has walked enough to be a true TTO (55 pts in AA/AAA & 50 pts in MLB) but he is a "similar" guy. When he's in the .240 range he's decently productive. However he only K'ed in about 24% of his AAA AB's. Blash is over the line, K-wise, but way over the line, in a good way, BB-wise. As such, he's a guy that will get a chance.

2015-09-01 09:05

K rate dooms almost everyone when north of 25% in the minors. I said ALMOST everyone. Decent walk rate says something a bit different...he merits a real look.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:56pm
K rates food teams more than given credit for
2015-09-01 07:05

That's PA's....not (A's

2015-09-01 07:02

BTW (again): Down on the farm, Zunino is 7-12 in 3 games w/3 HR's. He likes AAA pitching! Blash has hit 32 HR's in 403 AA/AAA AB's this year. He's also walked 61 times (100 pts worth!!). But he's struck out 122 times in those 403 AB's. 22 of those HR's have come in his 194 AAA AB's. Wow!! He's a TTO guy. In 225 AAA (A's this year, he's HR-BB-K'ed 112 times....50%) He'll get a #Seattle look-see this year. The whiff rate will be scary (33% over his AAA career = what in the bigs?) but he can certainly ride the ball. Were he a .240-.320 guy with 30+ HR's he would be quite interesting. But, oh my, the K's!

2015-09-01 06:46

Endy Chavez's career vL OPS is .638. He hasn't been a MLB starter in decades, it seems. If you had a ++ bat at SS, like Tulo or classic Jeter (especially if they were a RHB), you could run Miller out there vL. But without some Miller improvement in that category it is unlikely that you use him without a platoon partner. We were using him with a partner at SS, remember. BTW: Marte is 1-17 over the last 4 games. Has anybody noticed if he is being pitched to differently? Has the league adjusted? No BB's in 3 of those games.

2015-09-01 06:25

More depth for LA to make a push. Rugg can play anywhere in outfield. I know Puig has been battling hammy issues.

2015-09-01 05:22

Mariners sell off Ruggiano for cash...

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