It seems like Kuma pitches better after his blister forms and the set up. Maybe it helps his grip or something.
You'll enjoy this John Hickey report a lot more than you'll enjoy SSI this morning. Excerpts:
It says something that Sonny Gray gave up seven earned runs in seven-plus innings Tuesday and said afterward “this was the best I felt this year.’’
“I thought I threw the ball well. That’s definitely the best I’ve felt all year. It was really unfortunate the way it turned out.’’
“You pitch into the eighth inning and you come out with a bad start,’’ Gray said. “It’s a really weird game tonight."
In my other starts, I was a little sporadic with location and I was not throwing strikes. Tonight I felt great. I didn’t feel any different than I felt the previous two years. It’s just not really going my way.’’
Pitching into the eighth is good and all, but not when you give up seven runs. It’s just a weird game.’’
Orc-O-Vision Translation: "Usually I slaughter those guys. I threw great, but they were just way better than me. I don't really understand how they could have gotten so good so fast."
Dr. D was amazed during the game. Not only were they getting hits off Gray? They were launching him.
Leondys' sky-high jack came on a nice curve ball that painted the inside edge of the plate. Cano's home run took a chip out of the concrete facade in left-center. Kyle Seager raked a 92 jam pitch, hand high, down the line into the corner. Steve Clevenger effortlessly smoked a 1-0 fastball on a line the other way. Ketel Marte worked six pitches and then smoked a high-inside BALL for a long single. Gray threw a gorgeous "soft away" 79 curve on the black to Cano ... who roped it into the left-center gap.
Every one of the above hits were tee shots off pitchers' pitches, BABIP need not apply. The Mariners had other hits too; they tatoo'ed Gray for 11 of them. The above were merely the six cleanest ones off the toughest pitches.
Woke up to rave reviews this morning, apparently because of his 1-0, 1.43 ERA record in this particular game. However, he drew a frown from SSI, perhaps a little belatedly. His stuff is simply not what it has been; for example, his shuuto is just not breaking as concisely.
M's fans have fretted about King Felix and WBC-san; in one case the worries are unwarranted, and in the other case not. If Iwakuma has dropped a notch or two, he's still for choice over Wade Miley. His command was very respectable, he does have a variety of tricks and traps, and he's got the great pitchability. Could well be that this is the year he drops off to #3-4 starter.
Which would leave us with:
1 - Felix 130
2 - Taijuan 130
3 - Karns 110
4 - Iwakuma 105
5 - Miley 100
Which would leave us wondering what to do with Paxton's lifetime 117 ERA+.
HAPPY TOTALS, Dept.
No idea when the Mariners last ran out a 13-5 streak. It has taken them from -4 under .500 to +4 over .500 in less than three weeks.
The paper mentioned a May 2011 streak of six series wins ... hmmm. Sure enough, that team had a 13-3 run that took them from 17-24 to 30-27. That was the Felix-Bedard-Pineda-Fister ballclub that scored 555 runs, thanks to the UZR > RBI paradigm. They hung on to the .500 screen door until July 5 and then finally decided they were sick and tired of 1-3 losses. They threw in the towel and lost the next 17 games in a row, going from 43-43 to 43-60. Like Earl said, it's bad for morale when your starters feel like they have to throw a shutout to win.
THIS ballclub's OPS+ is 108, not 84, so no worries on the UZR = Slow Strangulation By Self-Shutout front.
Speaking of, the M's ERA:OPS is 120:108. I'm guessing the only Seattle club that ever finished with better team numbers than that would be the 116-win club ... lessee, they were 117:117. Wow.
The 2002 and 2003 M's were the next-best M's teams in history; they each won 93 games (the Unit-Griffey-Edgar M's never won more than 91, if you can believe that). The 2002 M's were 107:105, far behind the current team, and the 2003 M's were 115:103.
Hm. 115:103 is like 120:108. The 2003 Edgar-Boone M's had two star hitters and several strong ones; they had three good starters and two solid ones. Whattaya think?
The last 14 days, the Mariners have 7 hitters whose OPS+ would merit the All-Star game. Ketel Marte's 143 OPS+ is based on BABIP despite a weak EYE, but Kyle Seager's OPS+ should be 200 the last two weeks.
Three True Outcomes scoreboard:
- 222:202 strikeouts
- 89:73 walks
- 35:24 homers
Finally, the M's fielding-independent ERA (FIP) is 3.55, second in the league (White Sox). Our division rivals the Rangers have a team FIP of 4.86, worst in the league, and the Angels aren't much better at 4.32. Well, I guess bad is a lot better than catastrophic, isn't it?
The M'shave a team ERA of exactly 3.00. Gotta get that down one point, Felix.