M's 9, Orcs 4 after 6
discussion thread

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M's up 9-4 in the middle of the 5th as we type this.

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M's OFFENSE

All Dr. D wanted for his baseball birthday? was nine hitters who would look at the wall the same way he looks at Olive Garden's potato soup.  For five innings, they definitely served up refill after refill of peppery goodness.  They being the M's, that is, not OG's cooks.

To be fair, Mike Fiers looked like it was his first game of spring training.  If I recall correctly he spiked two or three pitches in the first couple innings, grooved fastballs and generally swatted at the catcher's return throws like he was his own least favorite person.  

Liam Hendricks, their "opener," has a long ways to go to GET to first game ST form, and the pitch Ryan Dull threw to Tim Beckham looked 87 MPH, centered, letter high and generally 100% worthy of drawing a backup shortstop's pinwheeled bat flip.

.....

In general there's no such thing as weaker pitching than that in a big league game.  Just the same, the M's hitters looked sharp as tacks to me.  Even Ichiro battled 8+ (?) pitches for his walk, appeared to be seeing the ball great (taking pitches early, holding up easily, etc).

On Slack you can catch a half game's worth of chitchat and most the Denizens there are talking big things for Sunday Santana.  Bases juiced, the RH Santana ripped a screaming meemie down the FIRST base line to clean 'em off, and those +4 runs weren't even half the runs the M's had by the time I had to retire to post yer up here.

In the comments, a coupla you guys might fill me in what it is you love so much about Santana? Not challenging yer, just seeking clarification.

Dee Gordon led the game off with a "CRACKKKK!" line drive right at the RF for a fly out, and his next up was a clean single followed by an oh-so-easy swipe of second.  A return to form in Dee Gordon's case would signal ... well, it would signal a healed toe, prolly.  Ryan Healy smacked a clean double into the corner with a nervous, careful half-swing, perhaps signalling that he's happiest when he's a starting player.

Our catcher is lefty and swings out of his shoes at everything, despite a high .342 career OBP, and by the fourth inning they had Eduardo Perez going "This is a rebuild?!  Looks like way too much offense to me" or something pretty similar.

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MARCO GONZALEZ

Was a victim of circumstances, if you count two hanging curve balls as "circumstances" in this case.  The first IP was a clean string of located fastballs, and even the rolling curve for Piscotty's HR shows on Game Day as low-in.  The second IP was (1) a high can of corn that flared in for a cheap single followed by (2) a DP ball thrown into LF, so the A's got a second run there.

Making a long, sad (for Dr. D) story short Marco looked like he'd only thrown 10 inning in ST; he had fair command of a fastball, solid-to-good command of a changeup and a worthless curve ball.  When he doesn't have his 30-30-30 game rolling, he can't afford DP balls thrown down the line, so the Orcs landed some arrows in his backside.

Ah well.  Dr. D is a big fan of arenaball and where are we now ... Bottom of the 6th, still 9-4 good guys.  Potatoes in the pot always welcome.  :- )

Haven't seen the 5th and 6th yet.  As you know, we live ta serve.

Be Afraid,

Jeff

Blog: 

Comments

1

Healy with a throwing error, but he started two Around-the-Horn DPs, as well.   From there, Dylan Moore gets his first MLB appearance, EE o’fers (now 4-34 with one double, including ST), and Bishop does not get in late in the game.  Booooo, to that. 

Just pointing out:  Coming into the season, Haniger has been a .281-.364.-489 hitter while playing RF (and better than that in very limited LF appearances), while hitting .253-.308-.448 playing CF.  .753 is still decent for a CF not named Trout, but Mitch seems to be comfortable elsewhere.  

2

The announcers said it was Healy with the throwing error.  The box score shows Jay Bruce started at 1b.  They had a shift on at the time with Healy between the 1b and 2b although he was playing 3rd.  One of the guys on the call said that he'd argue that isn't his normal position.   The idea being his spot in the field on the play is one players don't practice throwing from because they're only there in extreme shifts.  As I like to say, an explanation isn't necessarily an excuse.  I'm used to Cano being in that spot during shifts and wonder why Servais shifted Healy all the way across this time.  I understand that he's not Seager and the overall defensive makeup of the infield is 4of4 different than most of Servais' previous extreme shifts.

Santana is the incoming huge power guy to replace Cruz and Zunino in that respect.  He may be the only one regardless of Encarnacion's billing.  The grand slam looked like a foul ball with not great distance at the point of impact.  He clearly didn't even square it up.  Santana's shown a good eye and decent contact ability as well as more speed than I expected.  The K's seem acceptable with his profile.   His last 3 years total of .270/.355/.470/.826 in 1123 PA attests to that.  I think he eventually gets traded or plays more 1b/DH as the youth presses up.  Jay Bruce like but younger with apparently no better defense except his arm. 

The combination of Smith, Santana, Haniger and Gordon are in many ROTO top 50 OF lists, not that Gordon should retain eligibility for long. 

Encarnacion by the location of pitches might have earned himself 4 or 5 walks but was not rewarded by the imperfect human calling them.  I recall 2 of his 3 K's were looking on borderline calls but am not sure of the other.  Not to say they were called wrong because I'm not sure.  I kept wanting him to swing but thought his takes were good.  He seemed to want to swing but was pitched around all game.  My questions won't be answered until April when he's playing in T-Mobile park which I just can't imagine a good nickname for.  What a crappy field name.  T-ball park it is.

Marco finished much stronger than he started and admitted to some early jitters.  He did eventually find his curve a couple times but his slider was also pretty good throughout.  68 pitches through 6.  Aggressive pitcher matched by aggressive hitters helped his count and by the time he was pulled to give some relief work in blowout time, Gonzales had been in a rocking chair for 3 innings.  Best MLB start ever on this day in history.  Most years he'd have still had 1 more spring start to ramp up but in this early opener I've got to say he did the job an ace should.  Not everything was working but he battled through as well as Felix, Randy, Langston or Moyer (why is this list so short?) when they needed to.  All the guys I've seen win the opener in similar fashion.  Sorry Paxton.

There was some confusion on Slackchat about whether Ichiro may have pulled himself out.  IcebreakerX, from the Tokyo Dome (with picture(s) shared) wondered that and it did seem like the first action was Ichiro walking towards the infield.  Supposedly the plan was that Griffey was going to retrieve him with tickles, maybe he was just not feeling ticklish? 

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