...I started out watching last night...turned the game off when they got behind 4-0, turned it back on just as Miranda was striking out their slappy second baseman ahead of Cain in the fifth...who promptly homered less than a minute later. Turned the game off in disgust again. Turned it back on in the top of the 9th and got to see them choke in the tenth. So...in the game I saw, they lost 9 to 0.
MIRANDA 5 IP 5 H 6 R 6 ER 2 BB 6 K
Sherminator with a cascade of interesting and accurate thoughts on the entire M's rotation at this locale. As to Miranda he sez
-Do we expect Miranda to go 8/10, or even 6/10 lockdowns from here? Serious question. I like the guy, but I'll believe it when I see it. His ERA vs FIP last year was 3.88 to 5.25. Now it's 3.82 to 5.14. Is he the rare man who can routinely overperform his peripherals? I haven't heard a reason WHY yet, but would love to hear one.
Yes. He's been pitching in nice luck. No, of course Ariel Miranda is not a $200M pitcher as of 07.06.17 (the kind who can be projected for 8 lockdowns in 10 starts). Furthermore, his 95th percentile upside does not include that scenario. :- ) ... our man Sherm does not quite yet have the feel for the Mainframe's tongue-in-cheek that the oldtimers have. The 8/10 lockdown note was just in the spirit of, "yippee kai yay we've gotten some sweet byproducts out of the kid while he learns on the job."
Neither does the Mainframe -- that's Dr. D's blend of sabe and decades-long pattern recognition, for what little that's worth -- expect Miranda to be the type of pitcher who will overperform his peripherals. (He MAY if the changeup develops a Melancon-like touch and feel against his fastball, but that's nowhere near true yet.)
Ariel Miranda's chance to be a staff ace rests not on things hidden in his stats to date, but rather on the scads upon scads of ways in which he can improve from here. He's pretty decent right now, and he's got endless options for improvement. Any ONE of the following things could represent a clear plateau leap for him:
1. If he learns to dead-fish the changeup low in the zone -- and then to set up pitch sequences around the threat. His changeups right now are high. Very, very high. It's a testament to the life on his fastball, and the arm action on his change, that his high-change shtick works to any degree at all.
2. If he comes up with a sharp gloveside slider. His slider (er, "splitter") is right now extremely mushy and is a work in progress.
3. If he refines the command on his plus fastball, to go jam-up-down at will. But this one is asking a lot. He's not that graceful of an athlete.
4. If he gains a sense of the hitters' aggressiveness and expands the zone on teams like the Royals, who were sitting dead red on him. Right now he just hucks the ball, which is okay, right now.
The kid is still in the 20's for his career starts, and if you back up 20's ago, he was at a spot where nobody much except DiPoto saw a big league career at all. Miranda's charm is in his lively spirit and in his potential, but as a work in progress, he's giving us quite a bit already.
Right now it does seeeeeeeeeemm as though the M's always get their 6 runs on a night when their SP doesn't have it, and pick their 1-run outbursts on the nights when their SP's are tough. The Mainframe -- that's 30-40 years of watching baseball -- groks that it always seems this way during a losing streak. Life lesson: you can't talk yourself OUT of what you behaved yourself IN to. :- ) The M's need a string of W's, end of story. Then everything would look obvious in retrospect. Until then, nada.
Fortunately, no team has run away with the 2nd wild card.
The last 30 days: Jean Segura .350/.375/.500. The next 3,000 days might not be all that different.
Ben Gamel continues to hit in super great luck, .350/.380/.490 the last month, and is now officially leading the league in batting at .335. Just ahead of Jose Altuve :- ) He's got only 15% soft-hit balls; he's getting a whale of a lot of wood on the ball. Still and all he's roughly a Seth Smith-quality hitter, but Seth Smith with wheels is a guy who can play for me any time.
Jarrod Dyson is batting a hard .282 the last month. He and Bogaerts are leading the league in runs created on the basepaths, and Dyson is on pace to finish the season with a clean 4 WAR in center field. This is a dynamic lineup that I flat out enjoy watching. ... now if they can only go out and spend a week or two proving it ...
Tonight's lineup has Gamel in the 2 ahead of Maniger in the 7, which is saying a lot, and then we got Dyson right in front of Zuumball the way we like it. See you at the ballpark.
UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU, Dept.
The Mariners' brain trust has ID'ed the current moment as a critical point in the 2017 season. They are interested in a pennant race this year, not some future imaginary year, and want to be moving forward into the All-Star break. A nice little brace of wins, and some trade rumors, would be their Action Step going through the weekend.
You know Doc, I wasn't really suggesting that there was anyone on the other side of the argument. I get the impression that we're all on a similar page about how good Ariel Miranda is right now, and I figured asking some pointed questions would bring that into focus. Maybe you just haven't gotten the feel for my vociferous argumentation style *arches a brow, then waggles them*
Anyway, what I was trying to highlight is that when you look at the rotation and ask who might throw a greater-than-pitiful number of lockdowns, you have Zeus... and Miranda just did it for ten starts. And that's it. So the question is, can Miranda keep pitching at the top of his game for the next month or so, until Felix figures something out and/or we pick up Sonny Gray? Or maybe it's actually, is this the top of Miranda's game, or has it been a combination of that and a lot of luck? And if Miranda is due for massive regression, and we're -4 from 500 while he was overperforming... that's not great.
Basically, my point is that our rotation is bad. I'm not sure it's that much better than when it was plagued by injuries. You look at our scads of hitters, and how well our starters have performed relative to expectations, and this feels like a 95 win team. Then you look at other teams around baseball, and past Mariners teams, and realize that in a vacuum with no previous expectations, the starters just don't have the immediate upside that they need to. One year from today, I expect some number of Felix, Miranda, Paxton, and Moore to have leaped a plateau. Maybe 2 of those 4. But next month, at the outset of the playoff race? Not likely. We're in dire straits if the offense doesn't step up and carry us.
Paxton and Moore are guys I expect to throw near-lockdown or lockdown starts when they pitch.
Miranda is all or nothing.
Felix...his stuff looks great and they keep reducing good pitchers pitches to pink mist somehow...very strange.
You think so Matt? I figured Moore's shtick was competitive ballgames, at this early stage of his career. 2-4 runs in 6-7 innings with high frequency. That doesn't allow room for many true "lockdowns," just a ton of quality starts. Do you think he's got more lockdowns than an average ML pitcher in him, over the next couple of months? That'd certainly make me feel better about the rotation going forward.
But...if lockdown is "ulra-quality-start (7 innings or more, 2 runs or less), yes, I think he has more than the average number of those in his arsenal. It helps that he's hilariously pitch efficient and aggressive, so he's going to go deep into games a LOT. 200 inning arm for sure once he's in for a full season as long as he stays healthy. How many lockdown starts did Brad Radke have? Because this guy is fairly similar. :)
Yeah, I figure anything 2 runs / 6 innings or better is a lockdown. It's a little fuzzy, but the point is that it's a game where you can win in a pitcher's duel. I wouldn't have pegged Moore for many of those this early, but I'll defer to your judgement on this. He looks really cool so far, that's for sure. And if he's more of a #2 than a #3, we're edging closer to acceptable shape.
Also, I hope he bests Radke's career 5.4k/9. Can't imagine he settles in anywhere near that low. The long career full of 219 innings and 113 ERAs though, that looks real nice.
:: airplane :: my momma dint raise no fools
yer spot on as usual Sherm. The pointed Q's are deffo servimg their intednded purpose.
That said, an ace and three 100 starters is a tasty goal - that's a recipe for big success if the bats are there -
We're teetering on the edge here. These guys have to be able to push themselves forward NOW (not in a few weeks) if they want that little bit of help. They're more than capable, and the overall clubhouse vibe seems good... maybe just a hair tentative compared to where they were in April.
It's always hard to lose in extras. But my takeway from last night was that we were down 4-0 in the first, then got 2 back right away. These guys aren't short on fight. We got tothe extras, then you basically flip a coin (just like getting to payoffs - okay, I'm overstating it).
Last night wasn't a travesty, it was just a little hard luck to top off a solid showing of grit from the lineup. Caps on, bills backward, let's do this M's...
Meant to reply to Matt
Paxton is borderline a true #1; An Ace. A mid-1.2's WHIP just keeps him on the edge.
Miranda is a #3, with #2 upside. His FIP will always be a bit high, simply because he doesn't K 8 guys a game and he walks 3, but he induces weakly hit balls to makeup for it. If his K's jump, he's a #2.
Moore was a #4, in my book, when the season began, sans MLB experience.We just didn't give him the opportunity (until recently) to show it, outside of ST. In two starts he's show almost no downside of concern, the drop to #5 isn't preciptious, if that is all he is. but he sure shows a lot of upside. If Kuma was a 2, Moore has that upside, simply by adding a few more swing-and-misses. Moore has had 17 starts, at all levels, this season. In only 3 of them has he given up more hits than innings pitched. 2 of those were at the AA level. In 11 AAA/MLB starts it has happened only once.
Pick any #4 in the game and check on that.
At some point soon, if we're 44-50 just after the All-Star break, we have to consider selling assets. Valencia, Dyson, Pazos, Cruz, maybe. Guys who might bring something young in return. At 44-50. 88-72 looks a LONG way away, and the Wild Card road is littered with teams with better records than you. So you have to get REAL hot, and hope that a KC or Minn. doesn't do the same. REAL hot would mean 44-22. It would be a rally of historic proportions. Could we win as many games in 66 tires as we just did in 94 attempts?
Of course, rather than going 3-5 over the next 8 games, we could go 5-3 and then you're at 46-48, on a mini-roll. The future looks brighter there. The next three series may just well tell us how much of pretenders we are or are not.