Face it. If the Seattle Mariners were a first-person shooter, you'd have logged out of the game last weekend. And missed the final cut scene where you saw the center of the galaxy.
Okay, the M's haven't exactly seen the center of Downtown Seattle Ticker Tape yet, much less the center of the galaxy. But those who stayed, saw that after the bolo-plastique took their heads off, they re-spawned in a turreted sniper tower with a "broken" rifle. There you go, SSI told you so. Five such iterations down, eight more to go. And nobody gets to mention the fact that Dr. D told you so in 2015, too. And 2014 ...
No. Even a stopped clock is right twice per article, and the GM Transplant definitely "took." This isn't a team driven by suits in the GM booth taking down notes for Eric Wedge's marching orders.
In lieu of an ossified postgame show in this spot, refer to the fluid dynamics of last night's Shout Box. If you are reading this before your first sip of coffee -- and fantatical SSI readers obviously do so -- what you do is go to the Shout Box and scroll back to 7:10 pm. That's the "agent mode" logical deduction, which personally I require coffee to make.
POOF! Taijuan Walker had his gate-swinging back leg and his 96 fastball back. He drove it deep in the zone again and again, and he needed no second pitch. Simply 96 high in the zone, and as panicked Indian batters "cheated" their bats up to the hands, the low-away 96 embarrassed them even more. It's called "changing the eye level," and though Major League coaches dislike it, if it's painted with hot yellow mustard it is a recipe for 30-2 Call of Duty tables.
Dr. D has come to realize there are many distinct variations of Taijuan Walker. This was the Curt Schilling version, the version that can get 14 different swingthroughs on his fastball alone -- coincidentally, the same number that K-Pax got on his fastball. Paxton totalled 21 with all pitches, though, compared to Walker's measly 17.
No idea why you would care about Terry Francona's opinion when you've got mine available. But Dutton had the quote:
"He beats us with velocity," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "and then he threw a split that came off at the same angle as his fastball. Not sure what he was doing with these other teams but he’s just really impressive.
"We’ve seen him four times and tonight might have been the best."
LOSING STREAKS: TAKE TWO FUN GAMEFLOWS AND CALL DR. D IN THE MORNING
As some of the SSI denizens noted, those two bad spins of the rotation carousel occurred in the nine games between two good Hisashi Iwakuma starts. Backing up the Google Earth satellite camera, we can now see that it was just an odd convergence of bad games by the starters at the same time.
Okay, you can say it this morning. Two words. WHEE - EEW. :: mops brow ::
Had an 84 OPS+ before the game and we're sure it will be 114 in the morning. One section of the in-game chat debated the merits of calling up Mike Zunino IFF Lind is going to Kendrys Morales us much longer; you probably don't want to miss this part. But at the end, some incredibly astute denizen pointed out "this is Chris Iannetta's team" and everybody nodded. Pass on. Except to say wasn't it cool to see the payoff for all of Iannetta's grit and determination? :- )
Iannetta in his prime was a solid 110 OPS+ hitter -- that's superb for a catcher -- based on a very good EYE ratio. At ages 32-33, this year and last, he seems to have leveled off at about 85, which would be perfectly decent collateral damage from a catcher.
The thing is, he's looked better to me than his .220 batting average. Quite a bit better. Huh. When in doubt, go get a few facts.
Sabermetrically? His fish rate (swing rate on pitches outside the zone) is a paltry 18%, and his whiff rate (swings and misses) is the same 11% it was in his prime. Okay, his decisions at the plate are right where they were at age 29; he is seeing the ball as well as we thought he was.
His hard hit ball rate was 32% in his heyday, down to 25% last year ... Huh! 32% again this year. Line drives, same thing -- 21% in his top years, 13% last year, 21% this year. He's squaring up pitches like he did when he OPS'ed 120. In fact his hits up the middle this year hit the peak that he did in his career year.
Strikeouts generally -- he fanned 24% of the time at ages 27-30, 26% last year, but that's down to 21% this year.
Time to peek at luck stats and hope they're at the bottom of this. BABIP is ... :: goes and checks :: yep, .269 when it was .284 to .329 before. Homers per outfield fly ... nope, he's fine there.
Infield pops have been way up. That's digging in to his stats some.
Heh! Just went and checked and Fangraphs updated his OPS+. Up to 104.
Look, none of these newfangled data facts mean anything next to Dr. D's good old eye test. And it says that Iannetta has swung the bat well this year. Dr's Prognosis: for nice contributions out of the 8 slot, nicer anyway than his numbers have sometimes shown.
Couldn't happen to a cooler guy. We'd hoped that Iannetta would help transform the 2016 Mariners into a Real Ballclub (TM), and so far he is delivering. Big time.
NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS BASE BALL CLUB
Well, maybe there's one cooler guy than Iannetta. If you missed it, Keith's (Moe the Dog's) brother runs the Oregon Historical Society. Somebody rich paid over $3,000,000 (!) some 1857 papers which seem to be the very first written rules of base ball. That guy offered OHS the first chance to display these papers. Keith has offered to set up an inside tour for Seattle Sports Insider members.
If you missed it the first time, check out Keith's article here. And I'll ask James for his position about the papers, not that he's more authoritative than Moe Dawg, but it's quite a scenario for baseball historians.