There was a time, say, two years ago, when Dr. D would have had to come on the postgame and convince the denizens of what happened. Now they know before he tells them. So we'll settle for guessing at what you might not have noticed, what you might want to wallow in a bit further, or what entertains Dr. D his ownself regardless of its usefulness
VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE
Dr. D is completely baffled as to how the villagers score three runs on Zeus hurling lightning bolts from Mt. Olympus. We're guessing there would be a lot of scurrying, death, and luck involved. The gameflow would be ironically amusing, even for Zeus.
And that's our own reaction to the M's losing this game 3-1. Wry smile and, if you got out of that game alive much less with a few bites to Paxton's ankles, power to the serfs.
FASTBALL, er ZEUSBOLTs
This Brooks chart -- direct link here -- racks up the 100-MPH bolts by the dozens. We count 25 of 'em. It's such a cool number, isn't it, 100?
1) It's the sum of the first 10 odd numbers (1 + 3 + 5 ... +21)
2) It's the sum of the first 9 prime numbers
3) It's the sum of the first four cube numbers, 1, 8, 27, 64
4) There are exactly 100 prime numbers whose digits ascend left to right (59, 239, and ... 123456789, which is also a useful K-Pax strikeout banner)
5) Every country on the planet has a $100 bill (okay, it's not necessarily dollars everywhere, maybe)
6) Tigers are pregnant for 100 days (you figure out a way to connect that; I'm moving on)
7) It's how fast James Paxton throws a baseball
8) Lots of homers are hit with exit velocities less than that; Dae-Ho Lee's eight homers average less than 100 off the bat, and he's a huge guy using a lever on the ball
NEVER NOTICED THAT, AND THERE'S A REASON WHY Dept.
We'll add only one thought, that being Blowers'. He marvelled, if you are going to throw upper 90's onto the inner third of the plate, then left-on-right they can't hit it "even if they're LOOKING for the pitch." This makes sense. It's too far to get the bat head around in too little time.
"And it has an effect, once you do that," sez Mikey - well, sure. It's a threat you're guarding against. "The threat is stronger than the execution" - GM Aron Nimzovich
So this is another facet to admire on the diamond that is James Paxton's talent. Watching 98, 99 fastballs inner third to righties. Mike was right: the best they could ever do was foul-tip it back. Every single time.
Wallowing ... the 99, 100 MPH was an easy 99 MPH. The 105th pitch of the night was 100 MPH. It was so weird that to lead off the 5th inning he threw a ball 96 MPH and I wondered if he was tiring! In the old days they'd have had Paxton throw 160, 180 pitches. He came out for no other reason than modern pitch limit theory.
The TV screen lit up 100 again and again. I asked Cindy, puzzled, "Do you remember Randy Johnson hitting a hundred this often?" Her reply, "I don't ever remember him hitting a hundred."
The radar gun is probably different these days. Hand to mitt, it seemed like Paxton was about equal to Johnson when he was a Mariner. Johnson no doubt stepped closer to the plate, but the gun did have Paxton quicker. Hey, whether the radar gun is faster nowadays or not, it's the same one that has had Felix at 90 and Taijuan at 91 and Miley at 90 and so on. Taijuan Walker's fastball is literally Paxton's offspeed pitch right now.
If Paxton threw like he did the first two outings, he and Noah Syndergaard would be the two quickest starting pitchers in the game. The possibilities of having a sensation like Thor are mouthwatering.
Paxton's second pitch was key. He threw it more than half the time in the first inning. Obviously they had locked this game plan in iron, the previous four days, and scripted the first 25 pitches Bill Walsh style.
The pitch looked funky from here -- like a 89-92 changeup with telegraphed arm action. But Servais praised it as "Paxton's slider, or cutter, or whatever that is" and in the virtual realm of SSI we henceforth dub it a Moshball. Here's the movement, that clump in the center -- catcher's point of view:
The stats say that Paxton's heater had 8x8 movement, which is nice hop. The stats also say that the moshball (released like a football spiral) averaged 2x5 movement ... Hm.the above chart show a delta of sometimes 12, 14 inches.
Dr. D's fave at-bat of the evening, the first inning, the M's defenders put runners on 2B and 3B, one out. Cleanup hitter, Mike Napoli.
- 92 cutter in the dirt, 0-1
- 98 fastball swung way behind it, 1-1 count
- 100 fastball swung behind it still, 1-2 count
- 100 fastball Napoli just tipped it back, 1-2
- 91 MPH "dead fish" Jamie Moyer changeup, third swing and miss of the AB (a major leaguer's waking nightmare)
Well, it looked like a Moyer deadfish change, low and away. Turns out that it was a bit of a "back door slider." Either way, here's the point: Any time Paxton threw the moshball (1) low outside, or (2) knee high, or (3) in on the hands, they were dead meat.
The "fertile crescent" of Paxton's moshball location was shaped like a U. When he threw it in those locations it had a Moyer-type effect. Away, or low, or well in off the plate, in a target area that's functionally curved. Here U go, amig-O -- 21 swings and misses for Paxton on the night. WOW.
We were waiting around for Paxton's yellow hammer, and that was okay too (12 curves, 5 strikes, 3 swingthrus, none put in play) but this is more of a fastball-change attack. Who knew that the cut fastball was going to be the whipsaw rather than the curve.
's OK by me,