As big a fan as Dr. D is of James Paxton, he never said he wanted to BE James Paxton. At a certain point James' forlorn-bloodhound eyes start looking like he has been cast for this role by Tim Burton.
Coming for Halloween 2016! "SISYPHUS" Introducing James Paxton as the Highwayman co-starring Helena Bonham Carter as Sophocles and Johnny Depp as Jupiter
Dr. D is probably crazy; what else is new. He thought K-Pax threw the ball better than in any other game. In saber terms, his FIP (that is, his ERA assuming normal defense) was 1.53 on the day, but his actual ERA 9.00. That's because he had 7 K, 2 BB and 0 HR ... but the Cards batted 7-for-11 on balls in play against his fastball.
I counted three different balls that Leonydas seemed to lose in the sun; a grounder to Seager that fell out of his mitt; a blooper down the line ... you'd think this slop has to stop happening sometime. Paxton's expected ERA (his FIP) is 2.84 on the season, but the giant boulder of Paxton's ERA is at 4.15 and gaining on him every time it rolls back down to the first inning.
His fastball again showed this remarkable velocity trend. Imagine the trendline shooting up through the clusters. Love that dozen-MIRV'ing cluster over Moscow at top right:
But it was precisely as the fastball hit 99, 100 MPH that the hits found all the grass for the Cardinals in the fifth. You remember how Doomsday appreciated the nuclear energy in his ear last month? The dirtier the H-bomb, the more 'roided Doomsday got and the better he swung the bat? The general and the President responded appropriately. They threw in the towel.
Ah, well. Maybe the Pirates or whoever's next, are less hardened to atomic weaponry. Use 'em or lose 'em, James.
Command? Paxton threw 43 strikes and 19 balls with the heater. He was going inside like nobody's business. It's just weird. But granted, he did have some 97 fastballs drift out over the plate. Other 97 fastballs down the pipe were "challenge pitches" and blew hitters away. :- )
Dr. D has been watching the game awhile, but nobody's ever quite 'splained to him why one Tom Seaver high-nineties heater is a challenge pitch and another one is a mistake. Picking the right time to challenge, I guess they say. Hard to tell exactly when that is Monday morning quarterbacking, and when it is a legit observation.
Foshball? 15 strikes in 21 attempts, four swingthroughs, usually garbage swings over the backfoot. Only one hit against.
Changeup? Paxton hadn't been USING it, but on Sunday he was 8-for-16 and he got 5 swings and misses. Obviously you introduce a third pitch into this maelstrom, it's OVERLOAD SYSTEM FAILURE. Show me a starting pitcher with 17% swings and misses, and I'll show you a fictional character. Well, Kershaw gets 14, 15%.
So, yeah, I thought it was his best game. Blowers opined the same, and volunteered that this is a pitcher you're going to see get sharper and sharper the whole year long. Just stunning that he has only 1 W to show for these six starts, but on the Seattle Sports Insider Blog, the seismos are reading "get your keister off the mountain."
LINEUP vs LEFT HAND PITCHERS
Gutierrez' game-tying home run, taking the score from 6-3 to 6-6, was a thing of majesty. It arc'ed WAY high in the air and still easily clearing the deep left-center wall. Just thought we'd take a second to remind you that at his low point, Dr. D clamored for Stefen Romero. Tomorrow's news today, babe.
The M's have been solid against lefties this year (.246/.306/.418 despite Safeco, with 40 homers in 62 games) and Sunday they racked up another 12 hits with two long home runs. Granted, against righties they're even better, and more so since Adam Lind resumed mashing.
COME-FROM AHEAD LOSSES
Disquieting chart on the TV that said the M's had lost 9 games in June when ahead after the fifth inning. Doesn't seem that it is because the M's don't have a bullpen. It's just been a variety of weirdness. Sunday's game was the 10th late blown game. Greek deities personified themes of life - Aphrodite was romantic love, could manifest herself whenever love sparked, and so forth. Is there a Greek deity that personifies sadism?
Playoff odds still 36% per Season Stats mode. siiighhhhhhh One thing you always hear around the time of junior high school, "Always have a Plan B." Good advice if you're talking about something like an Uber ride, or the Western Omelette at Waffle House, or a Mariners starting pitcher. Not so great if you're talking about something with predictability < < 50%. If your basic entertainment plan is to enjoy Mariners baseball this summer, make sure of the plan B as well as a plan "A," and a plan "C" ... the Mariners are likely to be none of this.
Nick Vincent was the performance issue Sunday. He got lit like Dr. D has always thought he looked like he should get lit up. But of course his results have been good. So we've got Cishek, Montgomery, probably Vincent if you force yourself to fly by your instruments :: grits teeth :: , we're fine to have Nuno in there and ...
Threw 5 or 6 pitches in triple digits, and all of them could be qualifed as rather brisk. That's twice in a row he's been back up to his debut radar gun. And the slider is there with the killer arm action. Think that's 19 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. A "small sample" of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances performance is still Miller and Betances performance.
Maybe right now Servais just needs to go with Cishek, Diaz, and Montgomery as our Daimajin, Nelson and Rhodes. :: shrug ::