23 Swings and Misses



The real drama in a great movie often comes from bit characters WATCHING the hero.  Linda Hamilton crawling away from the Terminator in horror, as she realizes what she's up against, while that Kyle Reese guy desperately screams at her to get up, that conveyed Arnie's force more than Arnie could have.  

Denizens' reaction shots to Zeus are unlike Sarah's and Kyle's.  But let us go savor some other sites' reaction to three shutouts to open the season ...

Doug Miller's postgame has a kewl first paragraph ... Bob Dutton's postgame studiously avoids reaction to that which demands reaction ...  Ryan Divish gets right to the point ... Here is LL's game thread.



15 swings and misses ... on fastballs alone!  Bill James once said, with a lot of truth, "major league hitters don't swing and miss at fastballs.  They miss breaking pitches."  

The knuckle curve threatens to become Unit-reliable; he threw 17-for-23 strikes and seemed able to bounce them or get them called.  This means the foshball is the 3rd weapon, and it was 3rd-weapon quality Saturday, but that's okay.


One Delino DeShields at-bat ... he was cheating so bad that he foul-tipped straight back THREE high-90's fastballs.  On a full count Paxton threw a LOW fastball and DeShields took it, meaning the Rangers were reduced to looking for 1 pitch in 1 spot, and hope they get it.  They dain't.


Paxton several times used the whipsaw:  high heat, Kershaw curve, high heat.  Same angle the first half of the pitch, which is when the batter has to decide (the second half of the pitch he is actually swinging).  Not much in the way of jam pitches.  Paxton has SO many weapons.  Minimum of 6 different K pitches.  He didn't throw a curve for a called strike until inning 4, that I saw; his movement of the fastball up and down was almost enough by itself.


Several times Zeus got to a 3-2 count and --- > said "here it is, hit it" at 98 MPH or so.  They couldn't, because Paxton now mixes his pitches with an air of confidence, so the occasional challenge pitch plays up.  We remember this with Randy Johnson; he came to a point where he knew when he could just throw it by people, because it was properly sequenced.


Fave stats?  .113 average against?  22:4:0 slash line in three starts?  They said this is the longest shutout streak to START the year as a Mariner.  Wait.  Did the Unit ever have more than 21 scoreless innings at any point of a season?  Probly.

We're guessing the Plate Discipline stats -- out of zone swings, in zone takes -- won't look bad after this one?

In no inning did Zeus throw more than 19 pitches, despite all the K's.  Eight innings times 11-19 pitches.


Blowers pointed out that the easy motion messes up a hitter's timing.  This makes sense.  Their 100,000 pitch recognition database gets crossed up.


Servais today gently broke it to the crowd in the postgame:  "Some days he's our best pitcher."  We noticed that Paxton got huge laughing hugs from everybody except Felix gave him a minimal congrats.  

;- )


Zeus won't go 30-0, we don't suppose.  He'll walk 5 guys one of these days.  But he found his fix, and his feet are on concrete now instead of wet grass.  


Dr D




I'm sure you are too modest to really toot your own horn too much, but I remember the conviction with which you exclaimed Paxton an SSI best bet and held firm on the notion all along.

S'one of the long list of reasons SSI is first on my long list of Mariners' reads. He's humble, meanwhile 9.5 times outta 10, he's right on the money.

Good on you, Dr. D.


Brings to mind his forced eulogy of Clouseau .... :: sob :: he was a ... ?? ... HUMBLE man ... :: sob ::

Thanks though BPJ :- )


Paxton's performance was on in the background as we sat with our kids and played with the grandkids. But every time I looked at it Paxton was inducing weak fly balls that would have been caught by little leaguers.

To quote a favorite source: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


I think,  Hmmmm.  It's tough to bet against him doing so.  That's a serious year though.  Not just topping the team record 2.27 (Felix 2010) or Gawa's 1.48 record (relief) from '03?  He could combine the 2 records, removing the need for the caveat.  I'll go with 1.47 for that reason. 


the 1.73-1.77 Koufax/Kershaw level would be insane.  Before that the low lefty ERA is a 1.66 Hubbell year (1933), then 1.58 Marquard in 1916.  That's the low for a lefty since Dutch Leonard's 1914 0.96 ERA.  That's #3 on BPs ERA+ single season list @ 279 just behind Pedro's 2000 of 291.  So anything under 1.728 (Koufax in '66) has been unseen by a lefty in over 80 years. 

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