Thanks Moe! Will kick the soccer ball down the field on the 3-v-2 breakaway here, just cause we all got our quot-urs to quaff.
Rumor #1: The King is dead! The King is dead!! The King is........Oh!........Never mind! - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/rumours-you-might-have-heard#comme...
Classic Felix game. Quick look at the first three hitters of the night, remembering that:
- The 1st inning is the only one in a ballgame that is guaranteed to have the best hitters at the plate, and
- The book on Felix now is to try to get fastballs early in the game. If he avoids them, get ahead in the count, and
- This doesn't work.
First hitter, Escobar, Felix threw a 91 fastball down-and-in, but with enough of the plate that it was a guaranteed strike. Escobar "jumped" on it but the result was an easy fly ball. Textbook example of "if you're going to swing at a pitcher's pitch strike one, you going to give the SP some low-pitch innings." Pick your poison.
Second hitter was Moustakas. Here is a quintessential Felix strike zone plot, six pitches and absolutely nothing to be seen in any decent part of the plate:
It's true that pitch 6, the fly out, got a bit of the plate, but note carefully that it was a yakker. You can't locate a curve ball any better than that. 90% of pitchers can't locate a curve there, period. And notice that 50% of the pitches to the SECOND hitter were offspeed. And notice the changing eye levels. This is 6th-inning grade starter's rhythm, and the game hadn't started yet.
Third hitter was Cain - another barrage of pitches that seem to have a mortal aversion to the strike zone. Tell me which of these pitches you can swat with a Back Leg Special?
When he's right, Felix will rip off a long series of pitch sequences like this. It's simply impossible to square up pitches that is on the handle of the bat or its end, with eye level changing into the bargain. It cannot be done. The trick is, Can the SP nibble and pick like this without a lot of 3-1 counts? Felix is one of the only pitchers in baseball who can. And he can, b'lee DAT.
Last year Felix had many, many more pitches that leaked out into hitters' zones. This year he has completely fixed that. He did walk four guys in one of his starts, simply because he was working so hard to achieve this goal, the "nothing to hit" pitch sequence.
People thought his arm was going out and he was simply losing his command?!, but actually he was facing real tough lefty EYE hitters. He still held them down - his ERA sits at 1.38, after all - but we spoiled M's fans expect one start after another to show 1 BB and 8 K's. With the fastball sitting 90 MPH now, he'll need a bit more emphasis on creating "BLONKS" rather than garbage swings.
The Mainframe firmly insists that this Felix would be a TOR starter even topping out at 87 MPH. It's due to his skill set. He's still using his large muscles, throwing with his body, throwing free and easy.
Pitch count last night:
- 38 fastballs and sinkers
- 35 dry spitters
- 33 yakkers
- 8 hard sliders
The Mike Marshall Dice Roll lives, baby.
You want to trade him to me in Roto, I'll be glad to give you Iwakuma & Leonydas for him :- ) Or, if you want Taijuan for Felix, sure. I can do that.
Rumor #2: Rumors of the batting renaissance of other our King (of Spalding) are perhaps overstated. 5-45 since April 11th, over his last 14 starts. Oh, 18 K's to go along with. 1-16 vs. LHP. He did get an incredible jump on that game-ending flash of leather, however: Credit where it is due, of course. - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/rumours-you-might-have-heard#comme...
Thanks for keepin' us up ta date.
His catch against the wall was 1 WAR hard on the barrelhead. As it were. And the play coming in to his left was another "marginal" out - made easy, into the bargain. I'm startin' to get it.
Other defensive plays:
- Gorgeous step-and-CS by Iannetta despite an offspeed pitch
- Sweet baserunner kill at 3B by Lind
- 98th-percentile step and dive to Seager's left
The M's sit #8 in park-adjusted defensive efficiency this morning and it's looking legitimate. Last night their defense won them a game in which they had 1 hit - their 4th such game in 40 years. You just saw a once-in-a-decade "Run Prevention Model" game.
DiPoto actually only made one real change on defense and Dr. D was dubious about much improvement on defense. Somehow, though, the synergy is there, the shifts and positioning and focus, and the D looks reliably tight.
Leonydas is on pace for 185 strikeouts, but his OPS+ is 99 and right now he's holding together a lousy OF defense. I've got to admit, this particular lineup needs his glove out there until his OPS+ is totally prohibitive.
Rumor #4: Rumors of Luis Sardinas being on the 25-Man roster may indeed just be rumors: 2 PA's and no starts since April 20th. In the meantime Taylor and O'Malley are getting on base at a .400 clip and C'ing the Z down on the farm. Will be interesting to see if we sit Marte in the day game on Sunday, vs. the RHP. - See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/rumours-you-might-have-heard#comme...
Yep. At this rate, he'd be in line for a quick trip back to Tacoma to kick the rust off.
Which again amazes me, as to how Servais is making the substititions (and even pinch-hitting) look so seamless despite the kludgy roster. Aside from the backup catcher, and with Sardinas having nothing to do, Servais is down to Franklin Gutierrez' spotty availability and Dae-Ho Lee's DH/1B as his only subs. Very refreshing to see a manager who not only avoids griping and moaning about his options, but actually squeezes the last drops out of the tiny sponge he's given.