April 2018

looking at a career year?
Posted by jemanji on 04/11/18
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. DEE GORDON + Dr. D is getting so he is really geeking out about Gordon.  Has hit in all 9 games; Tuesday he got a VERY tough pitch in a 2-strike count, a hot fastball from the LH-on-LH Danny Duffy low and away ... and flipped it over the 3B's head for a clean single.  Came around to score. Jerry Dipoto, bless his heart, was FOCUSED on creating "traffic" in Seattle and that is what he has accomplished.  From a chess perspective, a Golden Axiom is "consistency" -- if you are facing an isolated queen pawn, your EVERY move has to be to that end.  You have to MAKE the pressure on that QP develop... Read More
Felix at long last, figuring out the 2nd half of his career?!
Posted by jemanji on 04/11/18
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. M's PLAYOFF CHANCES + The M's wound up with a 2-month-long road series enough to break weaker men.  It featured staccato day-on, day-off scheduling, along with half of its lineup missing, a ferocious Twins team, and Johnny Cueto / Danny Duffy firehosing Grade A stuff at them.  Oh yeah, and the weather and the injuries (Healy). No excuses!  I like it.  They split in SF, split in the Minnesota icebox, and won 2-of-3 in Kansas City as they were supposed to.  All in all, a 7-game, 28-day road trip that is what you want to see from a playoff contender.  If we'd been axed on March 27, "Would you... Read More
batted .308/.399/.390 in his last season, then quit
Posted by jemanji on 04/10/18
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. MARC-O's BANE Very, very discouraging loss on Monday.  You can list all the reasons why, so next paragraph... All pitchers get KO'ed.  If an SP gets 20 QS out of 32, he's among the league leaders.  Also, HQ runs a count of DISaster starts, KO'ed before the 5th inning or horrible H / K / BB / HR in a lucky start.  It runs a good 25%. Also, you might recall that James Paxton got blasted in his first start, 4 IP and 6 ER via 4 BB and 2 HR.  Felix gave up 19 runs last start.  Everybody but Leake is running 1-for-2 on surviving the first few innings :- ) ... A few Dr. D detractors look at a... Read More
take a breath, these 6 posts are in sequence
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. Would you believe me if I told you that Marco threw only one bad pitch?  Only one that the Royals hit, anyway.  ... Okay, you're not going to believe your eyes, but we'll lay it out for you in gory detail.  As the Russian Grandmasters say, "show me the concrete variation." Above is the picture of the pitch sequence to JOHN JAY, leading off the game Monday.  We'll have to put these in separate posts, because the system will not take graphics in the body of the post. On a 1-1 pitch to start the game, Marco threw a cut fastball 89 MPH on the black to the lefty Jay.  Actually not even on the... Read More
hitting #2 in the first inning
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. Hitting #2, Whit Merrifield, RH.  The count goes to 1-1 and then Marco throws a changeup, the blue pitch in the low-away 9th of the grid. What are we going to say, that we wanted the changeup 3" lower?  There's not a human being alive who can do better than hit a certain 9th of the grid.  That's a nice pitch selection on 1-1 and it's nicely executed. Merrifield smoked it up the middle for a hit.  Two on, nobody out to start the game. . . NEXT
hitting #3 in the first inning
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. The #3 hitter in the game, the Royals' only good hitter, Mike Moustakas.  The pitch sequence is above.  Marco does get behind 3-1 but then what does he throw?  That's a 92 MPH jam, perfectly on the black, half the baseball in off the plate and half over it. That's a bad pitch?! Are you going to tell Marco, "Never throw 92 MPH on the inside black." Moustakas crushed it into the power alley, pulled the jam pitch?! for a double.  What is going on here? . . The #4 hitter in the inning was a strikeout, K. The #5 hitter in the inning was Marco's one bad pitch, a changeup waist high.  It was a... Read More
Hitting #6 in the first inning
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. Above Marco falls behind 2-0 -- not missing any of these pitches by much.  He's being careful, trying to paint.  But it is a hitter's count; we're not saying Marco was a Cy Young winner in this game. But what do YOU throw 2-0?  He needs a strike with runners on.  He hits his target, a cut fastball (moving in rather than the usual easy-to-hit armside sinker) right at the knees. Orlando hits a sharp grounder up the middle, maybe taking Segura to the bag for a DP ... but Gonzales deflects it with his glove, infield hit. Is the above knee-pounder a bad pitch?  Of course it is not.  Baseball... Read More
Leading off the 3rd
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. OK, we're in the 3rd inning.  Jorge Soler leading off.  Above, you can see that Marco starts him with a paintball on an 0-0 count.  An 89 MPH cutter that bisects the black, part of the baseball hanging off the plate. Soler rips a 95 MPH shot into right field to Mitch Haniger for a single. So, what do you think, Gentle Denizen?  Speak your minds.  :- )  Do you advise Gonzales to avoid that first pitch fastball on the black for a strike? . . . NEXT
Batting #2 in the third inning
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. Runner on 1B, 0 out, here comes the mighty Paulo Orlando again.  Marco goes to 2-1 and then throws the blue pitch above, a fastball at the SHINS and way inside, ball three except ... ... Orlando absolutely blasts it down the LF line for a double.  Like we tolja, it has only been three or four times that Dr. D has ever seen this, every single hitter going wild on a pitcher who's throwing well.  Norm Charlton was tipping off his pitches for a couple of weeks in 1995 and it looked about like Monday's game -- not as bad. . . OK, runners on 2nd and 3rd, nobody out, Cam Gallagher strikes out, K... Read More
Only 500 starts to go, kid
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. CHASEN BRADFORD We sent this in to Hey Bill: ... The Mariners just put Ryon Healy on the DL and called up RP Chasen Bradford, for a 9-man bullpen. Their #7 reliever, Casey Lawrence, threw 8 perfect outs in Game 2 of the regular season and hasn't pitched since. The #8 reliever, Wade LeBlanc, hasn't pitched yet at all. Most managers prefer to control a game via their pitching matchups rather than via pinch-hit matchups. And I realize you can't comment on a specific team's decisions. But could you help me out as to as why the *industry* has tilted SO far towards "buffer" relief pitchers? Teams... Read More
and some happy totals for M's fans
Posted by jemanji on 04/09/18
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. It's funny.  Dr. D can work hard on a Sizzler and Fizzler, which engages the Seattle Mariners, and Denizens nod politely and move on.  :- )  Or he can swing by a Bill James column for 15 minutes' work, tag on a couple M's at the end, and get 30 comments in a breeze.  I guess the Think Tank is sabermetric at heart.  No, I'm kidding of course; James' columns usually have a fresh idea to work with. His latest is "Pitching and the Persistence of Excellence."  It's a monster article, 3,000 words it looks like, and he's attacking this question he had.  James once said he is always thinking about... Read More
we'll take anybody with 1,000 innings pitched, comrade
Posted by jemanji on 04/07/18
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. Jason Churchill is a guy with a sharp baseball mind, and nobody will ever question his networking and connections.  This very info-taining article, "The Comp Has Evolved in Baseball Scouting," is worth your clickthrough and then some. One of the key insights he makes is that SINCE baseball execs today are younger and more dynamic, and since jobs tend to transition quickly, and since scouts tend to be much younger with 1-5 years experience before they move on ... "Comparisons" to players from the 1970's and 1980's are difficult currency.  Jason quotes an assistant GM, "I still use the same... Read More
whattta I gotta do to get a game around here, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 04/07/18
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. JAMES PAXTON ++    We're always nervous until a pitcher throws his first good game.  Bill James' latest article included this: This is driven by the opening days of the 2018 baseball season, in which we have seen that Chris Sale is still a really good pitcher, and David Price also looked like a really good pitcher at least in his first two starts, while other very good pitchers have looked like they perhaps are not as good as they used to be.  There is some magic about it. . .about these opening days, but also about the fact that a player was really good last year and still is this year. ... Read More
an' I don' have to paint my teeth to play?!
Posted by jemanji on 04/07/18
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. RYON HEALY -    Only one "minus" because he is a good player and he will have a good year at 1B for Seattle.  Did follow up his 2-for-23 start with a very painful ankle injury. Gentlemen, let me ask you with smiling body language and a friendly tone that the internet does not convey.  Is it really necessary to blame the Mariners' organization for every injury?  What are you supposed to do about Nelson Cruz stepping on slippery plastic steps with plastic cleats and slipping?  Are you supposed to tell Mike Zunino not to take his batting practice if he's tired, which he is every day of the... Read More
Question posed, question addressed.
Posted by SABR Matt on 04/06/18
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I never imagined I would wade into the waters of Doc's self-crafted "Konspiracy Korner" posting style. I'm more of a 'what is demonstrated to be' than a 'what might be' kind of guy and rarely take much of an interest in debates centered around unknowable things. But, today, I will depart from my normal tendencies and suggest a conspiracy that I, personally and very passionately, believe is true. This is in response to a great question Doc posed in our slack chat yesterday. He wanted to know why we wouldn't root for Shohei Ohtani? On one level, I agree with him - an important level at that. I... Read More
M's fans want 4-2 and James Paxton descends from above to gift it to us
Posted by jemanji on 04/05/18
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. FELIX GETS SMASHED.  SSI SPORTS IS LIFE, LIFE IS SPORTS DEPT. Felix is a likeable, happy-go-lucky type.  He's like a 12-year-old in many ways, which is a compliment -- from my point of view, if you are one of those interested in beginning a spiritual life, you have to start it with a childish mentality (Matt 18). But it can be dangerous to give a home-schooled child -- with the emotional worldly sense of a 14-year-old -- an adult's job and $$ and resources, and throw them out into the water of the world, where there are predators who are only to happy to exploit them. Felix wore his stardom... Read More
morning quiz: what do you think of when you see the graph below?
Posted by jemanji on 04/04/18
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. TABLE SETTERS It was what, about February 2010 when Chone Figgins grabbed his big contract from the Mariners and did a TV spot.  "Ichiro and I will be one of the best 1-2's in MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY :: laughs :: .... Hopefully." So then ... 700 or 800 painful M's losses later?, we just saw Dee Gordon and Jean Segura rack up 3 hits a-piece in the Giants game Tuesday.  The Denizens have run out of players, as far as asking "So what do you think this guy's upside is?"  :- )  Well, except for with Dee Gordon it's no upside to hit .300 and steal 60 bases.  It's what he does for a living.   But!  ... Read More
let's hope Ty is as Blech as HQ sez he is
Posted by jemanji on 04/03/18
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. Very excited to watch Marc-O take the mound.  In case you missed it, last week Dr. D proposed Jamie Moyer as a comp for Marc-O, loosely, because he hadn't seen that type of command since Moyer.  The Denizens called and raised, using his 92-94 mph velocity to plump for Cliff Lee (!!) as an upside comp instead.  In any case, if Marc-O executes the pitches we saw in his last ST game, he will finish with an ERA in the 3's, end of story. Oh, unless the Denizens are so entranced after the game that they want to go with "ERA in the 2's."  HEH ... Ty Blach, starting for the G'ints, had an amusing 4... Read More
Casey, mighty Casey ... how does that go again?
Posted by jemanji on 04/03/18
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. In this Times article, Mitch Haniger explains something about slumps that I'd never thought much about.  He reveals his swing key as this:  if he gets his load (the raising of the hammer before it falls, the "cocking" of the weight trigger before it is pulled) timed right, he'll get the right feel at the plate.  If he has precisely the right backwards windup, he'll be set for timing fastballs vs. offspeed stuff.  Ryan Divish does a tremendous job in this particular article.   And by the time you're done reading you'll have two big takeaways: (1) Haniger sounds like a surgeon when it comes... Read More
Come for the gameday chats, stick around to talk shop
Posted by G_Money on 04/02/18
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Let's start with this: Here is the updated SSI Slack Chat link that should never expire.   Right now it seems to be an easy way to have game chats and general conversation, some of which stimulates new articles and some of which NEVER should.  Everyone is welcome, and it's not hard to set up your login. You should just have to enter your email address, verify your email and be free to log in after creating a log-in ID.  You'll already have access to all the chat channels. If you have any problems, please post them here.  The link may tell you it's not active but should re-set the second time... Read More
Make M's Baseball Great Again, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 04/02/18
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. ... couple of posts up within the hour.  ;- )  April Fool's Belated, Dept. In the meantime (1) please note the requests for invites to slack chat in the Felix thread, and (2) if a few users threw potatoes into the hobo pot -- one sentence regarding your own fave takeaway from the Cleveland series, I'd be thrilled to find the potatoes by the time I'm done.  :- ) Make the Mariners great again ... . Q.  Pretty good series, eh? A.  That is the first time I recall, since the Piniella Mariners,* that a Mariner squad played like that against a great team.  They stood toe-to-toe against Apollo in... Read More
guess who's starting the All-Star game, kiddies
Posted by jemanji on 04/02/18
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. Q.  Mike Leake 7 IP, 2 ER against a 100-win team.  In the clutch, where we take the series.  Not too shabby, eh? A.  Malcontent has the following theory about Leake: So on that article I never wrote, I was going to say that I think Leake's success with Seattle was largely due to an adjustment he made against LHB. Specifically, he began throwing his sinkers, cutters, and curves in the zone more often, and higher. The sinker, cutter, slider, and curve can all look similar coming out of the hand, and Leake, who is already a top 20 pitch tunnel guy, usually has an obvious release on the curve... Read More