THE LIGHTNING THIEF, Dept.
Sorry. Didn't have time to see the game. Have to go off the video, the Brooks report, and the Think Tank Library of Infinite Wisdom. Remember Albert Brooks and Rip Torn in Defending Your Life? "You read NUMBERS?!" "Yes Sir." Thusly:
Brooks Baseball sez
√ HMMMmmmmmm twice in a row, zero changeups. Three games ago, the change was a nice weapon. Inference: Zeus' touch-and-feel has left him three shudder-inducing primary weapons.
√ HHHMMmmmm 77% fastball strikes. 63% foshballs, 72% yakkers. Must have been filling it up. The defining characteristic of a Zeus outing, 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, hide the wimmen and children
√ Few (five, LOL) fastball whiffs, but crazy Knuckle Curve results. Ergo: Great lineups are attempting the Randy Johnson strat-er-gy: get a fastball in a certain spot, tip your cap on the rest. Zeus is happy to provide "the rest."
Or that's what Brooks said. As it happened, the video could not have been more consistent with this take:
VIDEO - PAXTON SHINES AGAINST ASTROS
Pitch 1 = Fosh used as a splitfinger, garbage swing by RH
Pitch 2 = Hard yakker used as above (see the third checkmark comment in previous section; they want the fastball too much)
Pitch 3 = Fosh low-away (whooo doggie gonna hafta watch this tape)
Pitch 4 = Fosh paints the knees for called K -- don't forget to enjoy the batter watching his own death with extra attention
Pitch 5 = Yakker on the black
Pitch 6 = Fosh used as splitter
Pitch 7 = Back-foot yakker, Unit style
I believe this lad is getting the hang of baseball. Don't get yourself into a play-in game against him, you know what I'm saying?
The Astros are sporting a 135 team OPS+, as compared to the 1927 Yankees' team 127 OPS+. Except, the Astros are silly right handed, no less. When Zeus commands his offspeed stuff around the edges, it Will. Not. Matter. if it's the NL All-Star team in the box.
G linked us up to Jeff Sullivan's interesting analysis of Gray. Here's the Exec Sum of Sully's grok, not mine. "In 2014-15 Gray averaged 14-8, 2.95 using two wicked pitches, slider and curve, to set up his whole game a la John Lackey. This year Gray's offspeed is not wicked. His K's and peripherals are back but his game isn't. Tread with care."
The Mainframe has not seen Gray pitch much, so can only offer a couple of suggestions. SUGGESTIONS.
√ I notice he DOES have a new 4th pitch, a changeup, racking +2.00 on the value scale. Pitchers evolve and their touch-and-feel evolves. :: shrug ::
√ The times I've seen Gray, he's got Mike Mussina savvy and presence on the mound, working the zone like a maestro. Excellent rhythm and attack.
√ No guarantees.
My default position on Gray would be, here is a pitcher who has grokked dominance. Unless his stuff or control evaporates he's going to be a Top of Rotation (TM) guy. Don't know that it has.
Your turn :- )
M'S TRADE MARKET
Sez here that Dipoto will leave no stone unturned. Mariners' life is really good now, win or lose. Used to be, back in the days of "we'll offer a competitive club and a nice night at the ballpark," we had no idea whether the suits would try as hard as the players did. Used to be, we would watch through July 31, and THEN form an opinion as to whether the suits were invested in the pennant race. Nowadays we don't wait for July 31. If Jerry Dipoto comes away with nothing whatsoever, we already know that he did whatever could be done.
When Jerry Dipoto asks you, as a fan, to come to the park, he can look you in the eye while doing it.