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: 6/30/15 11:58pm
Interests: Health Travel News Fish (185903)
A question:  When was the last time a ML...Read more.
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-07-06 11:02

Wow, #Wellington Castillo has been a real beast for #Arizona. Sporting an .874 OPS in 74 PAs. That trade doesn't look so good right now.

2015-07-06 09:02

Agreed. Elias will be a starter in the league eventually..and sooner rather than later I feel.

2015-07-06 08:46

seriously...why is #Fish a tag

2015-07-06 08:45

Elias is a work in progress...nothing wrong with letting him go down to AAA and keep working on that dead #Fish change of his until he masters it.

2015-07-06 08:44

glad to see sanity returned to the all-star voting just in time - Omar Infante as the starter would have caused me to refuse to even watch the game out of protest. As would Kendrys Morales over Nellie Cruz.

2015-07-06 08:31

Got to give it up to Elias for the most part. Rough last few games but he filled in pretty well.

2015-07-06 08:20

So Iwaukuma is replacing Elias and #Montgomery gets to stay up...I like the bravery in that call. JaHapp (pronounced juh-HAPP) stays for now as well...Paxton probably won't be back until September if he comes back at all this year...he has to rehab and he just now started throwing...and we all know he is a bad pitcher until he pitches his way into the groove...no hurry. So get used to Felix/Kuma/#Montgomery/Walker/Happ

2015-07-06 07:52

Iwakuna back after two month hiatus. Happy for his return and hope it goes well. He was missed certainly

2015-07-05 19:15

Definately tacoma...Noone else but those two are going.. and neither one of those will be snubbed.

2015-07-05 17:36

So it is safe to assume that Nelson and Felix are the Mariners ONLY All-Stars this year? I know Lowe has had a great year, but no way does a reliever on the 4th place team in probably the worst division get 3 into the game does it?

2015-07-05 17:26

Hope that one was for Lloyd. Team really needs to get around him. I was hopi g he could light a fire around the team..but that didn't seem to be working out for him. Good W in a close game.

2015-07-05 15:40

Here comes the FRE.

2015-07-05 14:38

SETH SMITH!!

2015-07-05 14:28

I'm sure we'd all agree that if we were McClendon we wouldn't want to be there either.

2015-07-05 13:49

TR-pretty sure he is signed through next year. McLendon does not look like he wants to be there...

2015-07-05 13:42

Aside from the games I haven't been able to watch for some reason, in which games the Mariners explode as if on cue, watching the M's hit is NOT like watching paint dry. It's like watching DRIED paint peel.

2015-07-05 13:28

When are Mariners going to re-sign Seth Smith? He always seems to have a quality at bat.

2015-07-05 13:21

Definately sad #News. Hope the best. Tough time for Lloyd in deed a very tough situation with his youngest sister.

2015-07-05 13:17

Sincere condolences to McClendon and his family.

2015-07-05 12:22

I, too, am sorry for Lloyd's loss.

2015-07-05 11:47

Lloyd will not be travelling back to #Seattle after the game today, and Lloyd will miss the entire #Detroit series. Lloyd will be attending the funeral of his youngest sister. Sorry to hear of your loss Lloyd.

2015-07-05 11:40

Neftali Feliz has been DFA'd by the Rangers. Mariners are one of the first teams to get a shot at him. What do ya think? M's have room on 40 man roster, and would only have to send Guaipe back down. I can't imagine that the pro-rated portion of the $4M salary is that much of a worry

2015-07-05 07:46

More on #Montgomery I just read...last rookie to post three straight shutouts was the great Orel Horshiser. Good company and not an easy task. Will see if he can pull it off

2015-07-05 07:20

So excited to watch #Montgomery toe the rubber. Hope he can keep it up. Might really have something special here

2015-07-04 18:11

Had not seen the active posts tab. That helps.

2015-07-04 18:07

I'm not sure I'd call the changes "making an omelet", though.

2015-07-04 18:07

I use the active posts tab now which seems to be working fine. Think I'm keeping up OK

2015-07-04 17:50

Agreed on the side bar, Grumpy. But when you wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs.

2015-07-04 16:56

You know, I kind of miss the sidebar from the old site that listed the comments mase in the main posts. Kind of makes it harder to keep up especially as the posts disappear of to the right. Even though you can scroll to them, it creates an "out-of-site, out-of-mind" situation.

2015-07-04 15:20

M'S need to be clutch for once... find a way to win this late. It'd be a big step in right direction

2015-07-04 13:35

If in April, someone had told me that Rodney had imploded and lost the closer's job, that Leone had been traded and that both Farquahar and Wilhelsen had pitched his way to Tacoma, I would have assumed that the bullpen was a hot mess.

2015-07-04 11:10

Jones, Guaipe and Rollins up. RHB's are hitting .284 vs. Guaipe in AAA this year. Huh....
Jones likely #Travels again when 'Kuma comes up.
My goodness we love James Jones. He is hitting .275-.370 vs. RHP this year. But he's a .580 MLB guy vR....and is basically the same hitter vL.

2015-07-04 04:40

Just took a look and the M'S gotta take 8 of 9 to be above 500 at the break.. here's to dreaming

2015-07-04 04:36

Ya, hate when that happens. It was good with 4 homers in all

2015-07-03 23:42

Of COURSE the M's put on an offensive show tonight. I didn't get to watch a snitch of the game. Happens every time.

2015-07-03 22:45

Elias, Nuno, Bartender to AAA.

2015-07-03 20:34

Hell of an offensive show tonight. But....what will tomorrow bring

2015-07-03 17:47

Kind of forced to listen to a guy with that offensive track record. Zunino sure looks like he's buying in.

2015-07-03 17:37

They *are* playing to be the tailenders aren't they? If they hit last place in a 1-division league, just keep in mind. Edgar. Is. Good.

2015-07-03 17:19

Got a shot for last in the AL tonight. Are the Mariners considered an addiction for those of us who follow so close? Not sure how I can still get excited to spend my Friday night watching this team, but I do!

2015-07-03 17:04

Lil video on espn ap on non-stars.. guy picked Cano number 1. Hard to blame him, and that's the national attention this team has. He definately isn't playing up to par or his paycheck, and it seems to be contagious. On paper....hmm wow not bad, but on field...ummm? Big changes coming up ahead.

2015-07-03 16:34

robinwilliamsmovietitle...quite sweet. It's #Independence Day, it's hot, and clearly my brain is a little addled this afternoon.

2015-07-03 15:34

Rollins has been looking dominant in Tacoma. Decisions, decisions.

2015-07-03 10:59

On Taijuan, edit to add that he looked terrif after 76 pitches but the NL strategy played in to it. And so happened to pay off in a full nickels bin, as it were ...

2015-07-03 10:57

DaddyO … but how sweet is it to have the Taylor/Logo combo in, and Willie out … got to give it up that the M's ate the contract. Politically it's not easy either; you make a decision to give a "reach" contract and then next midseason you admit it was a reach. Very tough to do in a boardroom.

2015-07-03 10:56

Kazmir would have shut out any lineup in the majors on Thursday … not to say our offense doesn't have problemos but Kazmir could not miss the glove, even with his curve ball. If it were bowling he'd have scored 301.

2015-07-03 10:55

Taijuan gets quick hooks in lieu of / in addition to an IP count. Probably has its benefits. The last 10-20% of your reps cost as much wear-and-tear as the first 80-90% ...

2015-07-03 10:24

I question the quick hook on Taijuan more than Felix... 72 pitches and done? Did he look that bad after so few pitches?

2015-07-03 07:02

#Jordan Pries needed 33 pitches to get one out in the 1st w/Tacoma last night. 5 ER's, 2 BB's, 3 hits and two homers. Rollins, now on rehab, threw two innings of zero run ball. 1 hit and 4 K's. Beimel is likely gone soon.

2015-07-03 06:51

Yup zERO consistency.. they we're going for their first 3 game shutout in 7 years. Honestly.. where is the all star break

2015-07-03 06:07

This team is just sad.

2015-07-03 00:05

The Mariners are incapable of winning streaks. Losing streaks maybe, but not winning ones.

2015-07-02 21:04

The worst part of tonight... Billy Beane will now get more for Kazmir when he trades him, so today's lack luster game will haunt us for years to come.

2015-07-02 18:40

As expected, the first five minutes of the pregame show were spent gushing about Willie Bloomquist and what a shame it is His Belovedness has to move on. And my worst fear was realized. They opined about how once he hangs 'em up, perhaps he might come back and join the M's media team. Again, he's probably a nice guy. But I don't wanna see him. To me he represents all that is wrong with the Mariners.

2015-07-02 17:21

I think we, and alot of people, just expect so much of Felix. It was a rare game overall for him. Def disapointing, and he got hit up early. He will need a big bounce back that's for sure. I think alot of it is the high expectations any elite pitcher, or player in any sport,faces

2015-07-02 16:32

Thank you Matt. I feel better now.

2015-07-02 15:10

The change: his Pitches per inning ratio has dropped from 15.2 in 2009 to 14.5 in 2014. He's actually having a bit of an off year in 2015 overall, but that is largely due to getting absolutely shellacked twice at random.

2015-07-02 15:03

As for your question regarding pitch counts over time...Felix isn't losing 120 pitch games because he doesn't care to pitch deep into games and risk injury or because he's getting soft-shoed by the Mariners. He's losing 120+ pitch games because he's pitching more efficiently. His IP counts per season are steady and among the best in baseball.

2015-07-02 15:01

Neither, Tacoma. Felix was pulled from that game because he was visibly laboring late...throwing a TON of pitches and limping a bit on his bad ankle after having to field his position in the 6th. They yanked him because a laboring Felix who's struggling with his command can actually get really terrible really fast.

2015-07-02 14:48

I know I'm stomping on hallowed ground, but... is anyone else bothered by the last Felix start? Yeah, I know it was a no runs, 1 hit masterpiece in 100+ temperatures BUT.... leaving after 6 innings after throwing 96 pitches against a division rival in a game the Mariners really needed to win.
I realize the bullpen was fairly well rested, and Lloyd really mis-managed the bullpen to lose the game... BUT 96 pitches? And this highlights the fact that Felix has not thrown more than 120 in close to two years. Aren't aces / kings supposed to be horses that occasionally throw 130 pitches when it is needed?
Is Lloyd / Mariner's coaching treating Felix with kid gloves too much? Or has Felix decided that pitching another 7 to 10 years is more important than giving max effort this year?

2015-07-02 14:36

If he bombs like that Matt....in some extended trial....then I'm good with that.

2015-07-02 14:32

He'll at least get a September call-up. No reason not to.

2015-07-02 14:30

I am sure Guti gets at least 80 at bats before they cut ties with him... and based on the fact he can not play back to back days... that is easily well into August. I agree that Romero SHOULD get another significant look, but I doubt it happens until August... and possibly September.

2015-07-02 14:30

Most AAAA players get two shots at least. I'm sure Romero will too. And when he's finished hitting .198 with 5 HR and 100 K, hopefully we won't extend a third audition.

2015-07-02 14:00

Looks like the M's could get a young RHB who hit .352-.391-.599 at A+/AA and .321-.365-.559 at AAA. Well....I'm loading the dice. That's Stefen Romero, of course. And I dropped his first AAA year '13, which wasn't a disaster. In '13 Romero, in 411 Tacoma PA's hit .277-.331-.448 with 11 homers. Over 444 '14-'15 Tacoma PA's, he's hit .321-.365-.559 with 21 homers. Matt, I know you hate Romero based on the fact that he doesn't walk much and fizzled in #Seattle last year, but the guy has upped his game to the next level and can slug. If Guti doesn't hit, Romero should get a shot.

2015-07-02 13:20

The timing on this is weird just because it didn't make any sense to send him down lat time, but it is driven by this fact: Miller is hitting .143-.176-.153 vL this year, approx. .160-.215-.250 over the last two and .206-.260-.296 for his career. He's a hard hitting SS vs. RHP, but needs the vL help. Taylor isn't ripping up Tacoma right now (.701 over the last 28 days),but he's at .308-.370-.418 vL for the year, including his #Seattle stint. It doesn't make up a lot more flexible, but it helps us some.

2015-07-02 13:09

It had to be done. Taylor was hitting again in AAA, and we need someone who can actually play short up here to bench Miller against tough lefties.

2015-07-02 12:41

Oh no. They'll probably make Wille B the new manager, and all he'll want to do is talk about grit. jk. At least I won't have to listen any more to the incessant fanboy talk from the M's announcers and commentators.

I'm sure WIllie is a fine man personally. I'm just relieved to no longer be afflicted with his presence as a player taking the spot of someone who can contribute more.

I imagine there is a funereal atmosphere in the front office, where WIllie seemed to symbolize everything Fanboy Mariner-- overhyped and overrated.

2015-07-02 11:40

The end of Boom Boom. About...a year and a half too late

2015-07-02 11:33

Willie Bloomquist DFA'd and Chris Taylor brought up. Maybe some winning will break out.

2015-07-02 11:23

Take Luis Gohara for instance. He's now in #Everett kicking off his 3rd minor league season. It seems like he's been in the org forever, but he's only 18 years old. How he performs for the next 10 weeks or so in #Everett and then next year in full season ball is what will tell us if we actually have something of value.

2015-07-02 11:16

Vargas is a big, strong 16-year old. He's a $1.7 million lottery ticket. We'll see first if he can even play and progress in the minors. Probably, we won't even know if he's a prospect for at least two, if not three, years. It's a lottery ticket, a draw at the deck.

2015-07-02 11:05

Who gets booted really depends on how well Elias does today

2015-07-02 11:04

Another big athlete with unorthodox swing with contact issues. Chances high he moves to the OF, where he may not have enough hand-eye skills to succeed.

2015-07-02 11:03

Iwakuma: 1 R in 5.2 IP in AAA, with 6 punchies. Got a blister (says that happens every year when he starts throwing after a long hiatus) and expects to make his next start...soooooo....who do you send out of this rotation when Iwakuma arrives? I'm gonna be TICKED if they boot #Montgomery, the way he's pitching...but that is probably what they'll do, since he has options.

2015-07-02 11:00

Mariners sign Carlos Vargas (Dominican) to 1.7 M bonus. Thoughts?

2015-07-02 10:58

That would be very nice...but even if Bloomy doesn't retire, DFA'ing him can achieve the same result. But if you take Rollins off the DL, he has to be called up or sent back to his club that very moment. Who in the current bullpen leaves for Rollins? (I'd send out Beimel)

2015-07-02 10:27

Best case scenario? Bloomquist retires, Rollins onto the 40 man, Taylor in #Seattle.

2015-07-02 10:25

that would also be fine with me (Bloomquist DFA)

2015-07-02 10:23

@shannondrayer: Chris Taylor on his way up. Mariners could have another move Sat. as they must make a decision on Rollins by then.

2015-07-02 09:56

More likely WFB.

2015-07-02 09:47

Sounds like the club has come up with a miraculous, imaginary Ackley injury to get him off the roster and get Taylor up...I hope that is what happens here.

2015-07-02 09:24

I was driving in to work a little while ago and on the radio Salk mentioned something about Ackley being overweight and injured. Is that true? Maybe there's an injury, but he's never looked overweight to me.

2015-07-02 09:02

@ProspectInsider: Not hearing anything about a trade involving #Seattle. Taylor's call-up appears to be about an option, DFA or injury.

2015-07-02 08:24

Taylor apparently called up

2015-07-02 06:49

I noticed the Pizzano absence, too...GLS> He was removed mid-game a while back and hasn't been back. Drats. I want him in Tacoma. I did not watch Walker throw yesterday as I was listening to the game while tying flies....but I'm assuming he's still on that Buehrle-like rhythm where he gets a sign and throws. Little has been mentioned of that since the first game he did that....which was the game that began this streak.

2015-07-02 04:16

WOW...that...is some serious data-oriented managing. It explains why they yanked him after six today, as well. They must be watching the radar gun closely with him...looking for signs of the sort of fatigue that can lead to micro-tears.

2015-07-02 04:10

Lloyd came running out of the dugout with the trainer for apparently no reason to check Taijuan's #Health; even Taijuan was confused. Later, cameras showed that he scapula-shrugged twice on the mound, as if annoyed at a pain, and later later, Brooks showed it was three pitches into a little velo drop on the graph. (I don't support or not support him more or less but) Lloyd has a V-E-R-Y sharp in-game eye. Even sharper than Piniella's, looks like.

2015-07-02 04:05

Taijuan's command continues to spiral upward universes away from his first several starts. *Reminded* you even more today of the young Curt Schilling template, using the fastball alone to totally dominate. … also, his spikeball was the best it has ever been for him, absolutely the best ever, and yet he threw it only 2x per inning. ?!

2015-07-02 04:01

Quick reminder guys: no language at all, including *#@#$ marks. Thanks :- )

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