I'm really concerned with Servais's eagerness to get to the bullpen as soon as possible. Seems Leblanc could easily have gone another inning. Or two! He only threw 58 pitches. Looks like the manager is trying to execute a plan without possession of the assets the plan was predicated upon.
Baseball is not a "game of inches." Baseball is a "game of luck." Curse baseball. Curse it to the depths.
Dr. D had whined and moaned when JeDi rostered the #407 starting pitcher on Bill James' Fantasy Newsletter, Wade LeBlanc ... who proceeded to idle in dry dock, unused, for the first two weeks of the season.
However, JeDi's plan became apparent when the M's first rotation injury occurred on day 16* of the season (loosely speaking, which is all Dr. D ever does these days). JeDi turned up his nose at Rob Whalen, Ariel Miranda, Andrew Moore and Max Povse, opting for the un-talented but experienced LeBlanc. This plan found its justification when "Stoploss" LeBlanc threw 4 shutout innings in his debut and then 5 IP, 1 ER yesterday. JeDi simply wanted to kick the can down the road a couple of months on his talented but raw starters in AA/AAA.
An extra month's seasoning for Andrew Moore, that is a GM's prerogative. What this says about Ariel Miranda -- and Roenis Elias -- you'll have to judge for yourself, however.
Early on Jamie Garcia was throwing lousy, in accordance with his 6.00 ERA. Wade LeBlanc was nibbling like the starving mouse under your cabinet, and after the early innings Seattle was up 2-0.
The luck part comes in with the Mariners' LOB's. Although they did score 2 runs, which was good, they left the following men on base, which is bad:
IP 1 - Segura dumped into the trash bin on a rundown between 3B and home.
IP 1 - The M's compounded their errors by leaving Cruz, Maniger, and Seager on base (3 men on base) (bases loaded) (3 wasted runs). Ryon Healy swung at a pitch in the rafters and then took a horrifically bad swing at an 89 MPH pitch outside.
IP 2 - Heredia took first on one of Jaime Garcia's 5 walks -- not speaking loosely here, kiddies -- and early in the inning, 1 out. He was promptly picked off.
IP 3 - Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager wallowed like garbage scows on 1B and 2B when Ryon Healy, evidently the hero of the game, got a center-cut fastball and grounded it to 3B.
IP 4, 5, 6 - etc. We weren't kidding about the 5 walks thingie.
Some irate Denizen might complain that the M's need to sharpen their game, pay more attention, etc. He might be partly correct, but he should also remind himself that RISP isn't a stat that persists. Ryon Healy's sharp grounder might have easily have gone through the hole as hit a fielder, for example.
The M's were still up 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, when they should have been up about 7-1. So in the big picture, Dr. D writes this one off to the offense.
However, when your $8M setup man bungles his "hold" opp by setting up a 4-run turnstile at home plate, you've got to worry some. Velocity? Nah, that was 94.0 MPH on 10 fastballs.
What we do notice is that Nicasio's 6.00 ERA is underlaid by a 3.73 xFIP, no different from last year's 3.63 xFIP. He's averaging 9.5 K / 0.5 BB / 2.0 HR; the HR could have easily been caught on the warning track.
The lessons are two: (1) Curse baseball to the depths. (2) $8M for a setup guy is a lot of dinero, and a 3.63 xFIP isn't very impressive for a short man. (3) JeDi is spending a lot of money on Honda Civic pitchers (Nicasio, Scrabble, Leake, etc) in his desperate attempt to avoid all appearance of paying real money for real impact pitchers.
But, mostly, (1). Curse baseball.
image: Nigel Collin, after John McGraw
Our pen is not good. It has good ERA numbers...ish...right now, but it's not good. We have one good pitcher, one talented but incredibly streaky pitcher, one pitcher who pretends to be good in the NL but is clearly not good in the AL, one pitcher who's numbers say he's good but who seems very...very wobbly to me against good hitting, and a bag of cowpies.
The wolfpack strategy only works if the other wolves have teeth.
" to avoid all appearance of paying real money for real impact pitchers"
.....the more they remain the same.
Leake+Nicasio+Rzep = $25mil a year
Lance Lynn: 10 K/9, 7 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9, 7.3 ERA, 5.5 FIP
Yu Darvish: 11.1 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 1.8 HR/9, 6.0 ERA, 5.1 FIP
Alex Cobb: 4.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9, 7.6 ERA, 5.3 FIP
Tyler Chatwood: 8.8 K/9, 7.5 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9, 3.3 ERA, 4.3 FIP
Jaker Arrieta: 5.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, 3.15 ERA, 3.7 FIP
There's also Trevor Cahill (who has actually been fantastic and there were plenty calling for his signing), Andrew Cashner and Jhoulys Chacin, who were cheap and are more effective than most of this list too