Keep in mind the staticky radio. You might only be able to make out every third word, but what price can you put on accurate intel when you're in the drop zone? That's right, baby. In the jungle there's only one thing more priceless than your six-pack of 84-degree coke. That's knowing what's going to happen next.
What's going to happen over the next month, is that batters are going to keep hoping for that one thigh-high fastball that ties the game up.
His curveball results are off the charts, because it's a good one and because of the above. His fastball at 92 MPH is pretty blinkin' quick for a sidearmer. But as you might have noticed, the plane of the pitch may seem familiar ... being as it is the plane the hitters swing their bats on.
The obvious antidote is curve strike one, nibble with the fastball from there. There have been a LOT of closers who liked to start with offspeed pitches -- KRod, Trevor Hoffman, Tom Gordon. Failing that, we the intrepid M's fans are left hoping that Cishek will come into more games with 2- and 3-run leads.
This guy will always have to be V-E-R-Y careful with elevated fatballs to power hitters. But two runs up, of course, he's fine; he can pour it in there and odds are (89%, in fact) that the fly balls will be caught on the warning track. Maybe one day we won't be in 2-1 and 3-2 games every single time he comes in?
Not truly worried about anybody other than him and maybe Franklin Gutierrez. Lind has an 0:10 EYE and he has never looked to Dr. D like he wanted to be here. I don't say that's the gospel truth; it's just a sneaking suspicion. If it turned out to be true, who needs him; I'd shed the lad and use Romero and Dae-Ho Lee in a Whitey Herzog (non-platoon) jobshare at 1B.
Just noodling. Hopefully this week he responds the way he should to pitchers who think they can knock the bat out of his hands.
Looks just fine to me.
But, hey, if you want results and not excuses, put Sardinas in there. You're the manager; I'm just a blogger.
THE OFFENSE GENERALLY
Today the MOTO was 1-11 with four strikeouts (check me on that) and has been AWOL at the moments we've really needed them. The timing is, of course, ill luck and nothing more; Cano, Cruz, and Seager are not known for timing their RBI to their team's disadvantage.
iThe batting order is middle-of-the-pack on everything. Middle on swinging strike percentage (#7 of 15). Middle on contact out of zone (5th-worst out of 15). Middle on K% (#7). Middle on BB% (#10). Middle on swings out of the zone (#11 of 15, better than the Rangers, an eyelash worse than the A's). They are middle-of-the-pack on hard hit ball %. They're middlin' on soft-hit ball %.
There's one place they're an outlier: they're last in BABIP. They're at .250; the Rangers' BABIP is .315 so far this year. A lineup full of .250 hitters is one thing, a lineup of nine .315 hitters another thing. As baseball percentages go, a teamwide difference of 65 points is worth considering.
Here, CLICK THIS LINK. It's pure data hard on the barrelhead, and it assures you that [BABIP with men on base] is both (1) a luck stat, and (2) capable of making a huge difference. Like 2, 3, 4 runs a game times twenty or thirty starts for a pitcher.
And check this table out. The Rangers have had .358 of their batted balls go through with runners on, compared to the M's .254 -- but the M's have a higher % of hard-hit balls in that situation.
When Nori Aoki bounced a medium grounder down the RF line for two RBI Wednesday, it felt like a miracle, din't it? :- ) Well, picture about three of those a game ... for the Rangers, that is.
It's super frustrating, no doubt. But the fact is, for two weeks the M's have just hit a few extra balls at fielders with men on base. And it has created the impression that these guys can't score runs.