THE JAMIE MOYER COMP
Before, during and after the game Bat571 insisted on (the possibility of) this comparison. The exit velocity was clocked at 112.8 MPH when Scott Servais slammed exactly the same comp during his postgame interview - even sharing that Edgar and he were laughing about the Moyer/LeBlanc comparison during the game. That would be a lot of fun to watch if you were Bat, wouldn't it? Heh.
When Edgar blinkin' Martinez points his finger at one of 9,000 pitchers and says, now THAT guy takes me back, you've really got something.
Dr. D is not partial to Moyer comps --- > in the sense that --- > the things that made Moyer's game work were extremely distinctive. But Bat571 wasn't specifically referring to the inhuman command Moyer had, or the iconic flopping changeup that they made a TV commercial from.
He was referring to Moyer's strange age-arc, for one thing. He was a lousy pitcher through age 32, and then at age 33 Gained Enlightenment, exactly the year the Mariners happened to trade for him. He won 59 games up to age 33, and won 210 games after age 33, because of the Enlightenment.
Which I take to be his understanding that hitters will always put lousy swings on located offspeed pitches, for fear any pitcher should ever (shudder) throw a fastball by them. He organized his attack around this concept.
In the Shout Box, we mused as to whether Wade LeBlanc had gained a similar Great Insight while in Japan. Though LeBlanc's weapons are different from Moyer's, what was similar was the degree to which the Cardinals were "in between" - early on the changeup, way late on the 88 MPH fastballs. Hisashi Iwakuma gets hitters in between, that's for sure, but has he ever had a game like LeBlanc just did? In the sense of catching hitters way out in front on his shuuto, and failing desperately to get the bat around on 87 MPH fastballs?
For example, LeBlanc threw 27 changeups at -11 MPH to his fastball:
- 21 strikes but only 6 balls
- 17 swings on 27 pitches with a full 8 of those 17 swings put into fair play, but ...
- Of those 8 balls in play, 7 were easy outs
He had the Cardinals bending over at the waist, leaning wayyyyy out for the change with no leverage whatsoever, and the .125 BABIP on the change was absolutely no accident. They were so frustrated about this death pitch that when LeBlanc came back with 87, 88 MPH they swung as though it were 96 MPH. Which is muchly like a Jamie Moyer game.
Word of caution: Mike Montgomery pitched three or four games with a similar reaction from the hitters when he first came up for the M's. There were all kinds of ooooh's and aaaah's on the swingthroughs his changeup got. For what was it, three, four games?
The league got a look at him and adjusted. Then again, Montgomery wasn't fully capable of repeating his own game. And Montgomery is one of 9,000 possible big-splash rookies to compare; we're just saying that one tremendous game has to be kept in context. But of course you knew that.
Bat would ... actually did ... reply with, sure, it's one game, but one game in which nothing happened to contradict his pre-game Moyer comp. That'll do for us too.
In the 2014 videos, LeBlanc had a nasty habit of ripping his right ear down and to the right to accelerate certain pitches. Friday night he was much more nose-to-leather. We thought the acceleration of his CG, and his arm action, was more deceptive. Possibly this "smoothing" as Bat put it has been a big key for him.
Physically LeBlanc reminded me more of the young Barry Zito, down to the exaggerated glove over the head and down to the waist with the leg kick. Albeit with a changeup rather than a curve.
Could be there is no key, and no plateau leap. If the M's have pulled a mini-Zito, or mini-Moyer, out of a hat, though, they've got some interesting decisions. Hisashi Iwakuma will be fighting for the 5 spot before it's over with. Like we sez in the Shout Box, we got one of yer all-time great .500 teams :- )
Here's the videotape:
Pitch 1 = 79 MPH changeup outside. High, but mattered not. A leaning topper for the first-inning DP.
Pitch 2 = Diving changeup to blow away Brandon Moss. Encouraging because LeBlanc had had a reverse platoon split and changeups are vs. RH
Pitch 3 = 77 MPH changeup topped to Kyle Seager. Again notice it's okay if it's high
Pitch 4 = FKey7 auto-text macro
Pitch 5 = Jamie Moyer deadfish action for the garbage swing strikeout
Pitch 6 = Finally a highlight pitch that wasn't a cambio :- ) This is the cutter/slider that dropped to the knees
Miley is ready to go again; Taijuan can be put off for a start or two. Would the Mariners let Wade LeBlanc throw a 6-IP shutout and then flush him? Not real likely when your dugout is in there comparing him to Jamie Moyer after three innings.
ADAM LIND / DAE-HO LEE with O'MALLEY at BACKUP SS
Even before Friday's game-saving, maybe month-saving, home run, Adam Lind had been slugging .544 since May 8. This despite an unlucky BABIP of .230. In other words, since early May we've had the Adam Lind we expected when he got here.
Anyway, Dr. D finally got his Smith-Lind-Lee barrage around the Big Guns, only to forlornly watch Carlos Martinez throw 101 MPH to neutralize it. The lineup did finally pay off in one of the nine innings, though :- ) ... if it had been the 4th inning when Lind hit his bomb, we'd have figured the whole plan worked like clockwork. The way it worked out was okay with us, as it turned out.
The M's are 1-and-0 since we saw Billy Zoom's Curse of CarryAoki lifted. That ain't fair to such a classy player, but Dr. D will be counting. Even if only to encourage DiPoto to get Dae-Ho in there for Aoki.