Inept M's Watch Playoff Chances Go Up In Puff of Smoke

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And by "watch their playoff chances vanish" we don't mean in the sense of the old sportswriter cliche.  Well, we do mean it that way, but more we mean that the Seattle Mariners stood out on Petco Field and watched the San Diego Padres play baseball.

... sorry we weren't around as much last week, kiddies.  Circumstances intervened.  But we're here this week, even if the M's aren't.  The A's came from a 3-1 deficit to beat Charlie Morton 4-3, so the standings are:

WC Team W-L GB
NYY 84-48
Oak 80-53
Sea 74-58 DOA or -5.5 depending
TB 70-62 -9.5

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It woulda been one thing if the Mariners got locked down by Dallas Keuchel, or something.  But Jacob Nix is a 22-year old with a 93 MPH fastball making his fourth start of the season; his previous two starts he left after 5.0 innings and got K.O'ed in the 1st.  His curve is a roller; he threw it 21 times against 51 fastballs.  His line for the night?  8.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB 0 K.  79 pitches.  

Let me read that strikeouts line again.  It was a nothing game by a nothing pitcher; you don't face easier opposition than Nix.  The M's answered him with a long string of lazy fly balls and two-hoppers to second.

The Padres themselves are in the same situation as Nix.  They're headed for 100+ losses and every move they make looks like it.  Make a nice defensive stab at a grounder, roll over, and gun to first?  Yeah, yawn, OK, glad that happened.  Roll a single through the hole at SS and 3B?  Oh, ok, I'm on first?  The Padres played almost as limply as the M's did ...

... which, we'll go with what Bill Kreuger said after the game. All Nix did was throw fastballs for strikes, and and yet took a 60-something pitch count into the 9th inning.  That's you call "mailing it in"; the Mariners played as flatly as if they were 12 games back.

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In the 9th inning, if you actually watched the game, you saw some vigor, just for contrast.  All of a sudden Nelson Cruz jumped into the box to hit a long home run ... Denard Span fought with an idea of what he wanted to do at the plate, and saw 8 pitches .... Kyle Seager did about the same thing, grimly fouling off 2-strike pitches like he cared about the AB ...

If you wanted to see a team bearing down on a 100-game loser like the game should be theirs, you just hadda watch the 9th.  Only question is, what happened before then?

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Felix Hernandez looked "promising" once again, looked like a guy who finally is accepting that he's got to pitch like an innings eater.  Like Kreuger said, for ten years it's been Pick a Number, 1, 2, 3, wipeout pitch, you're out.  Now he's got to learn how pitches fit together.  That'll do for us too.

In this one he had good extension again, averaged 90-92 MPH on the fastball and mixed his pitches.  Specifically he threw 42-35-24 fastballs, curves, and changes.

And as Kreuger pointed out, does Zack Grienke have any better actual stuff?  His average fastball is 89.5 MPH and he pitches backwards; Greinke uses the Shaun Marcum pitch philosophy of 48-17-13-21 reading from fastball through slider and curve through change.  Greinke went through some adjustment problems too mid-career, but has figured out the keys to tricking people any more.

Yes, we know, Greinke commands the ball better.  But it still sez here that if Felix wants more of these 9 K, 2 ER Ultra Quality Starts, keeping 'em guessing on 0-0 is a good place to start.

BABVA,

Dr D 

Blog: 

Comments

1
SeetheZee's picture

Yeah losing one of the easy ones hurts. Now they need to win 7 of 8.

The Orcs play the Nastros and the F'ing (modifier altered) Yankees and in my dream go 2-6. Right back in the race.

And then I wake.

2

Another year.  Was really looking forward to a wildcard game party.

I have a Konspiracy Korner about fake news I'll draft up one of these days.

Keep on keepin on Doc.

3

And it's not looking good.

Rating Dipoto's acquisitions (at this point):

Span:  Well done Jedi, in the sense that Span has been productive for the M's.  .304-.347-.482 = .829

Maybin:  Bleh.  Or worse.  Turns out he and Heredia were about the same bet over a limited number of games.

Colome:  35 innings, 1.04 WHIP.  A nice get.

Warren:  Disaster

Duke:  Disaster

Tuivailala:  Disaster

The Span/Colome trade came early and turns out to be a good trade, although Span runs away after the season for more cash.  We keep Colome, however

After that, once we were really in hunt and the dog days, everything collapsed for JeDi. 

And, as many of us said, he failed to add the starter arm that we needed.  Once Paxton was given a reduced load, Gonzo, too and Felix was running ERA's of 5.5, then the lack of another decent starter to go to was a powerful negative factor. 

Getting Healy in the preseason was not a bad move, but it's sort of a pick 'em bet whether Vogelbach performs just as well, given the reps.

Gordon?  An interesting roll of the positional dice, but you can't really argue that it has been (this season) much of a success.  78 OPS + is not an impressive number.

Span/Colome was a sort of win.

Call Healy a sort of win, maybe a draw.  Well, a sort of win...we didn't give up anything we couldn't afford.

After that, Dipoto crashed and burned.  Although Gordon may yet work out....next season.   Did I miss some trade or signing?

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