July 2018

ain't it great, the number of LEFTY Zeuses on the 'net?
Posted by jemanji on 07/30/18
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. One night after Dr. D "offered" a choice of a 7-run early lead or a late-game dramatic HR, he felt his stomach do a slow pitch-and-roll to the left ... as he pictured the M's as victims of just such a scenario.  Fortunately, inning after inning Zeus locked down the champs and handed the ball to the Twin Closer machine.  Just another close game win by the good guys. .... Gerrit Cole brought unfortunate imagery of the vintage Nolan Ryan.  97-100 fastball backed by a heavy power curve.  No-hit after 5 innings, I didn't see how the M's scored in 15.  But, of course, time and pitch counts wait... Read More
and a remarkable Felix piece
Posted by jemanji on 07/30/18
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. The M's gave $1.25 in international money to the Yankees for two months' worth of Adam Warren, RHP.  Warren has those eight weeks remaining on a $3M salary before free agency.  In 2017, he'd thrown a clean 8.5 K, 2.3 BB, 0.6 slash line with a 2.35 ERA.  Before the year, Shandler at Baseball HQ was a little down on him, writing, Former middling long-reliever found home in shorter stints, posting best stats and skills of career.  Here's why it won't happen again:  (1) strikeout rate not supported by SwStr%; (2) lucky BABIP drove ERA down; (3) subpar 1st-strike % dove as season went along. .... Read More
#3 in the American League in wins at 12-5
Posted by jemanji on 07/30/18
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. Marco posted yet another A+ quality start on Sunday night, with six innings, 2 earnies, and a 2:7 control ratio. He did this, sadly, with his B- stuff.  Dr. D was in a deep melancholy, watching him pitch without his curveball, honestly the very first game I remember all year in which he didn’t have it to work with. Despite this, he continued a 5-0, 1.58 tear in which opponents are batting .198 and he maintains a 31:5 control over 34 innings.  Over the season, his 12-5, 3.37 tear has him #10 in ERA and #3 (!!) in games won.  With 12 starts remaining he's got to win 8 of them to score 20, but... Read More
Most 1st-inning runs since 2013
Posted by jemanji on 07/28/18
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. Philosophical sports dilemma to start your cuppa.  In today's Paxton-Cole matchup.  If Dr. D offered you one of two games, which would you take?  (1) A thrilling, suspenseful 2-2 tie all the way to the bottom of the 9th, whereupon Mitch Haniger hit an upper-deck walkoff 3-run homer, gutshot to the Astros to start the series.  (2) A first inning in which 7 runs piled up for the M's and then, laughing all the way, they pulled away to an easy series opener.  Which one you take? Dr. D has never had any problem with this one. He remembers a cranky Yankees executive from the 1950s who was never... Read More
Posted by moethedog on 07/27/18
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Remember this?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kbTbg00AJU Since June 16th, the Orc-ish Oakland A's have reeled off a smoking 27-7 streak.  They have been simply the hottest team in the galaxy.  Kate Upton is only barely this hot.   Over the same time period of time, the hometeam has plodded at a pedestrian 16-16.  While we hold our breath for a "huge" Matt Harvey* (* substitute in your favorite marginal arm acquisition) trade, the Orcs have gobbled up the head start we had and we can't seem to shake them.  So I figured that we might just have a look-see at who is driving the A's and try to... Read More
And more trade names heating up
Posted by jemanji on 07/26/18
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. Dr. D wouldn't know how to watch a game on computer even if he wanted to, so he didn't actually see what happened any more than you did.  On the other hand, most of us would rather read about a win than to watch a loss, so ...  Segura knocked in Heredia with this bouncer up the middle and ran the M's record to 14-29, or 15-29, or something sick, when getting locked down to 3 runs or less.  How does an average pitching staff accomplish such a thing, you may ax?  (The M's ERA+ is a mere 102.) The answer is in the old saw "There are lies, there are cursed lies, and then there are statistics... Read More
But nothing can depress Dr. D this year
Posted by jemanji on 07/24/18
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. Dr. D's impressions of Tuesday night's action being: . JAMES PAXTON Before the season we weren't shooting for 32 games started.  We were shooting for 27+, and he's on track for that.  Spasms in the lower back are undesirable and all that, but unlike Kendall Graveman's season-ending arm surgery. After 5-6 years of watching Pax through the minor leagues and all, it does seem that he's more of a Ferrari than a Civic.  He is a big, loose dude and may have some issues making 75 starts in a row.  That said, his next arm injury will be his first one. . . OAKLAND A's Went behind 10-2 on Tuesday... Read More
Next Tuesday's the last day, bro's
Posted by jemanji on 07/24/18
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. You know Dr. D is a big fan of Greg Johns' mailbox feature for two reasons:  (1) he's got the ability to put his finger on relevant topics, and (2) he's got a hair-fine feel for what is truly actionable between ML teams.  So we look forward to this feature each week. The method should also be familiar by now:   Quote the I/O Action Item by Johns Give the Mainframe's opinion / shtick / meanderings on the subject Leave the CMS comments area for the Denizens' final word . We'll start with this: I read the Royals might be interested in Ryon Healy. What do you think the return could be with him... Read More
The M's get 6 RBI from a dead man walking
Posted by jemanji on 07/23/18
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. RYON HEALY personally nixed the White Sox' fruit cup, with two towering 3-run jacks on Sunday.  If you want to see them live and in the flesh bab-eh, here's the video. This left Healy with 20 homers in 82 games played, to go along with 53 RBI.  It's not often that you see a player with a 40-100 type season become a moot point, but a lot of wacky-n-wunnerful things are happening to the Mariners this year. Also via StatCast, he's not doing bad via xwOBA.  If you just joined us, think of this stat as "normalized OPS+", normalized to take luck out, and the other thing about it is that it's... Read More
Dr. D can't believe what he's seeing from Marc-O
Posted by jemanji on 07/23/18
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. Dr. Detecto is here to tell you something, swee' pea.  He is one, maybe two Marco Gonzales starts from declaring him an established star in the major leagues. I mean, of course everybody will consider him a minor star after he finishes this year 18-8, 3.32 and then goes into next August 11-5, 3.32 with another 104:23 CTL.  But Seattle Sports Insider is about tomorrow’s news today and not yesterday’s news today. It was kind of funny watching him convert Ryan-Rowland Smith.  Hyphen finally, at long last, allowed today that it was "old school" to establish heater-change early in the game and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 07/21/18
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. So, that was one of my fave games for pitching I've seen since Moyer.  You know, real pitching.  You might think that at 33-62 the White Sox couldn't hit a koosh ball with a cricket bat, but actually their OPS+ is a respectable 93, far above the real sad sacks of the league KC and Bal at 81.  And at 6-1, 3.44, Wade LeBlanc becomes the second M's lefty to exceed James Paxton in earned run average. .... Malcontent had tried to tell me that LeBlanc has a curve ball, which I kinda laughed off because the 72-MPH change curve is target-rich in today's 110-MPH launch velo environment.  But his... Read More
what's not ta like, man
Posted by jemanji on 07/21/18
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. Contenda W-L GB NYY 62-34 SEA 59-39 Orcs 55-43 -4.0 Rays 49-48 -9.5 Rodent Angels 49-49 -10.0 Like we sez, +4 isn't twenty up, but neither is it five down. . Q.  Were Dee Gordon's 4/4 hits earned, or just one of those things? A.  Earned with a capital E. Earlier in the year we wondered about him turning his hip into the pitch and adding power to his game.  The Mainframe was hopeful but forced to predict that he'd be forced to revert.  Such has been the case.  Earlier we were hoping for more, but at this point what we want is the .310/.340/.375 shtick he ran in Miami, preferably along with... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 07/20/18
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. 1.  The A's UPCOMING FUNK.  Very shortly they're going to fold over a handrail like a skater not watching where he's going.  They've won 21 of their last 27, and if they were to keep that up they would beat not only us easily, but Houston and the Golden State Warriors. Their best offensive player is Jed Lowrie, not to be confused with Nelson Cruz or Mitch Haniger or Jean Segura.  Their number two starter is Sean Manea, and their closer is Blake Treinan, also not to be confused with Sugar Diaz. Not only will the A's hit a patch in which they go less than 21-6, they will also hit a patch in... Read More
easy as pie, thanks to Dan
Posted by jemanji on 07/20/18
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. HOW WE’LL GET IT DONE! Feeling much better!  And per Dan’s direction, we’ve settled on a business model to assure continued Dr. D shtick.   Just about ready to launch!  And I think you’ll like it very much. We will have 6 articles per week on SSI that are totally free, as they have been – thanks to Klat.  (Sorry for those int’l users having problems.  We’ll copy-and-paste now and then on request.) Then here on D-O-V we will have additional content as a “thank you!” for sponsors.  No gate; anyone can read.  I never did like the idea of a “gate” to keep people out.  This will be like a “... Read More
Dr. D has always enjoyed word clouds.....
Posted by jemanji on 07/19/18
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. As we head into the last day of non-sports activity.  I think I read that this week contains the only 3 days of the year in which there's really no pro sports activity going on.  That must presume that an NFL week counts as a sports week, or do they play hockey during that little period after the NBA's done and MLB hasn't started?  :: shrug :: Anyway, as Calvin said, BOOOOO-RRRRRRING . In an MLB chat transcript, Jeffrey Todd brought up several players nobody has talked about, and said this about Jacob DeGrom: I think I expect him to be moved more than most anyone else. He's throwing better... Read More
Johns likes Eovaldi as a "6th Man"
Posted by jemanji on 07/18/18
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.  Greg Johns has his typically even-handed take up on the next two weeks at the M's site.  Sez he: What they have to offerThe ability to take on salary is a significant factor, since many non-contending teams are willing to accept a smaller prospect package if they're able to unload higher-priced veterans for the final two months. The Mariners don't have as many elite prospects to compete on the trade market as most other contenders, but Dipoto hasn't let that stop him in the past. . There's an old axiom, "Where there's a will there's a way."  Jack Nicklaus memorably used it with reference... Read More
some amigos don't think 2018 important in the scheme of things - ?!
Posted by jemanji on 07/16/18
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. MLBTR sez: There was some buzz last month about the Mariners discussing a trade for Cole Hamels, though the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish hears that the Mariners’ “interest was greatly overplayed.”  Whatever talks the M’s and Rangers had about Hamels could have been simply due diligence on the part of Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto, who “checks in on every player and will never toss away any proposal immediately.” The Mariners’ general need for pitching is further explored by Divish as part of his mailbag piece, as he isn’t sure Seattle will necessarily target a starter.  For one, a clear top-of-the... Read More
and you know how we love our stats
Posted by jemanji on 07/14/18
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. PS Question Does anybody know what "xwOBACON" stands for?  Perhaps xwOBA assuming contact without strikeouts? I notice also, browsing this table, that Ryon Healy has a better launch angle x launch velo than Jean Segura.  That's got to be some tough luck he's had in the first half. I notice also that most of the M's have hit the ball much better (xwOBA) than their results show (wOBA), which would explain to ME, at least, the mysterious lack of run differential they've owned so far.  Just for instance:  1) Nelson Cruz is slugging .538 but "should" be slugging .601.   2) Mitch Haniger should... Read More
something went wrong somewhere, after the 8-gamer
Posted by jemanji on 07/14/18
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. PLAYOFFS The Orcs got smashed by the Treants by a 7-1 score, leaving us with a comfy 5-game lead still: Playa + - GB / remark NYY +61 -32 on pace for about 105 wins and a 2nd-place finish SEA +58 -37 Pesky rodent Orcs +53 -42 Can't see them winning 90, or us winning only 90 (+18) TB +48 -46 -9.5 Irrelevant LAA +48 -47 If you can't figure out why they're still being listed, that's on you  We're playing sluggishly, that being +3 - 6 following an 8-game winning streak, but that's one of the perks we get with a huge lead.  You can play sluggishly for a few weeks somewhere. . FIFTH INNING In... Read More
We have some bashers, but offensive holes are still holes, all the same.
Posted by moethedog on 07/13/18
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Wasn't it The Bard who penned, "O Robbie-o! Wherefore art thou Robbie-o?" OK, we have a 5-game WC lead on the Orcs and 9.5 on TBR.  There is some breathing room.  But, in case you missed it, we've a dinged up pitching staff (hopefully no worse than that for Zeus) and we have some offensive issues, sort of.    OK, sure, Segura (.326/.820), Haniger (18 HR's/.853), Cruz (Ageless Male/22 HR's/.901) and Span (I was wrong about him/.310/.843 since coming over) are raking and packing our water.  Plus, Healy (18 HR's/.726/99 OPS+), Seager (16 HR's/.717/98 OPS) and Gamel (.297/.370 vR) are chipping in... Read More
Marco headed for 20 ?!
Posted by jemanji on 07/12/18
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. Hannibal sez, People calling for a #2. We got one. He cost us O'Neill. I'm looking for a salary dump innings eater. Maybe the Twins? Odorizzi or Lynn could be an adjustment away from useful as our "#6." I'm sure there are others, but I'm saying we need not mortgage the farm for Hamels. . Well, there are some who would say we mortgaged the farm long ago, but ... :- ) Marco is pitching like a #2 right now, thass' fo' sho'. I think over his last 3 starts he's got 22 IP with an 0.82 ERA and a 18:2 CTL.  Krueger characterized him as "going from taking the 100 class to teaching the 400 class"... Read More
Samson & Delilah, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 07/11/18
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. FIZZLERS - MIKE LEAKE The kind of guy who when he's on, you think he's a "gamer" who's going to go 12-11, 4.01 every year.  (I cheated; those are his actual lifetime 162-game averages.)  When he's off, he's nibbling and picking with 87 MPH and you think he doesn't dare throw a strike in the zone. Tuesday, he faced an Angels team overly-familiar with him and coughed up 11 (!) hits in 4 innings.  This drove his ERA to 4.36, his ERA+ to 91 and his FIP/xFIP are no different.  His 5.5 strikeout rate is way under budget, but then again his SwStr% is 7.9%, well ahead of his lifetime rate. He'll be... Read More
Edwin Diaz "swims" through the air to the tune of 14.9 / 2.5 / 0.4
Posted by jemanji on 07/09/18
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. Q.  Would the M's be in Panic Mode if they'd lost Sunday's game? A.  I saw this in three major places, different major places, so I guess it must be a sentiment with some gumption to it.  Let's see, would mean old Dr. D need to bust out his yardstick, and go "do a study of" (actually, grab several examples of) 93-win teams losing 3-of-4 games at any point in their seasons?  Or merely saying it out loud, can we cashier this one right away? The fact that M's fans (elsewhere) were jittery, on a 3-of-4 "losing streak" (!!) goes to show that M's fans (elsewhere) flat-out do not believe in this... Read More
Of razors and clubhouses
Posted by jemanji on 07/09/18
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SABE CORNER Bill James had this answer: Re Coors question from before, I don't have any evidence either, but seems to me were I GMing a team that plays half its games in Coors, with regard to run prevention to would want a) sure handed infielders and fast outfielders, because extra outs will kill you there faster than anywhere else; b) strikeout pitchers, preferably those who can do so without a breaking ball (fastball changeup or fastball splitter pitchers would probably be best, i.e. Ubaldo Jimenez or Hideo Nomo); c) extreme ground ball pitchers would be OK too, but those are few and far... Read More
When 5 IP, 3 ER never felt worse
Posted by jemanji on 07/07/18
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. Q.  Would you take a shaky 5 IP, 3 ER from your #5 starter if you could have the same thing every time? A.  This comes from backgammon and skittles chess, where two pro's will barter the "settlement" of a game in a particular position.  Let's say White is sitting with a 60% chance of winning, and the two players have bet $10 on the game.  Black offers $5.50 cash to quit the game on the spot.  Should White accept? Of course, the theoretical answer is no; his game is "worth" $6 at the moment. ..... You could apply the same device to a baseball tabletop game, and I don't know why this idea isn... Read More
starter rope pulled on the CF chainsaw?
Posted by jemanji on 07/05/18
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. PROPS TO Guillermo Heredia and his new approach to pull the ball.  All the M's crew were on talking points memo - radio, postgame, all the folks.  Heredia is now to get the bat head out in front and pull the ball, and he is to take fewer pitches. Sherm had earlier provided the brilliant observation that Heredia's tilted-gyro swing doesn't match his inside-out intentions, nor his intentions to lift the ball to right-center.  Servais noted this on SSI :- ) and came up with the simple fix.  In this case by "simple" we don't mean "unintelligent;" we mean "shortest path to an objective with the... Read More

CF

the guy SHOULD be quite a bit better...
Posted by jemanji on 07/04/18
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. As TJM notes, it's not a long-term problem -- we assume -- because we have 5 years of Robinson Cano, 2B and that is AFTER this year.  Unless Jerry decides he likes his "sleek" team and comes up with something really blockbusterish .... naaaahhhh ... Mo' Dawg sez: . BTW, if you are not concerned about Heredia’s bat, you should consider it.  I suppose he has to hit LHP at some point (.553 this season) but he may continue to crash vs. RHP (.702 and sliding).   He’s settled right in to his normal 84-ish OPS+ which wouldn’t be too bad if his CF glove was plus.  It hadn’t been this season.  -0.4... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 07/04/18
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. Q.  How much is LeBlanc's deal FOR, anyway?! A.  Thanks to Jonezie for getting a front-page piece up right away.  He's so happy with the deal he's typing in tears and he thinks it's worth $32M.  So we'll assume he speaks for most of the SSI community in the general spirit. ;- ) just joshin' kiddies It is hard as Oklahoma dirt to figure out what the deal IS worth.  According to this report, it's $2.0M next year, with the other reports of "$2.75M guaranteed" explained by the buyout in 2019. Or you could figure that the deal is worth as much as $2.75M + $650k x 3 = $4.1M .... Or you could... Read More
are they kidding with these 100s? wouldn't doubt it
Posted by jemanji on 07/04/18
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. PLAYOFFS How sweeeet it is... . WC W-L GB NYY 55-28 Sea 55-31 Orcs 47-39 ?! -8.0 Rays 43-42 -11.5 Rodent Angels 43-43 -12.0 True, the rodent Angels may be only -8 runs to us in run differential, but the Mainframe is confidently telling me that our +24 RD will helium up towards +100 by the end of the season. . Q.  Did Nelson Cruz get all of that homer or what? A.  Or what.  Blowers thought he "missed" it, getting it out on the end.  I think he did.  While we're on the definition of cool, we take it you saw the sleeveless-shirt game.  You think Bobby Wagner has guns that size or no? Well,... Read More
Now this, ladies and germs, is a textbook example of striking while the iron's hot.
Posted by misterjonez on 07/03/18
8 Comments

Wow, that was unexpected.  MLBTR has the scoop, and the story is up on mlb.com/mariners as well, so it's official: Wade LeBlanc just signed a no-risk (for either himself or the team) four year extension with the club which in may respects mirrors low-risk/high-reward NFL contracts.  I don't know what Doc's take is on all this, but I'll give you a quick breakdown of the details (as I understand them) and my opinion while we wait for sempai's input. The deal sounds like it's a little under $3mil guaranteed, with club options for 2020-2022 which, if exercised, would pay the man $5mil per year... Read More
well, we call it an 'urban myth' ... I guess Ron would know
Posted by jemanji on 07/02/18
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. Ron Fairly told the story about 50 times on the M's network.  His '60's Dodgers teams would trot out for the first with Sandy Koufax on the mound, ready to battle for the lead because once they had it, there was no way he was losing it. So ..... about the 2nd inning, the Dodgers would grovel a run and then somebody would go tell Sandy, "OK, THERE's your LEAD!"  with the semi-tongue-in-cheek idea that, why's it harder to hold a 4-3 lead than a 1-0 lead.  :- / The M's inflicted that on Zeus yesterday.  Bottom of 2nd, one out, Kyle Seager blonked a long line drive into the corner for a long... Read More