... Orcs 2, after 10 innings hard-fought Mariner baseball
unsung heroes again this week

.

MIKE LEAKE

This is a pitcher who -- with 5 different pitches and a decade's worth of strategems under the bill of his cap -- defies triangulation.  Servais laughed about as much in the postgame interview:  "He seems to find a different way to pitch every night."

Tonight, at long last, he mercifully had the command on his good plain old fastball back, going 26-for-39 with it and constantly staying ahead in the count with paintballs.  Under those circumstances he's got them guessing, no doubts there, and his (already quality) 81 slider and 85 changeup --- > play up into out pitches.

He threw 20 cut fastballs, which he can in 0-1 and 1-2 counts, and got a -0.44 run value on it (lower being better).  He wound up with an 0:3 CTL ratio and despite the feeble 3 SwStr%, seemed in control at all times.

If he can paint, he can torment batters with his other four pitches.  If he can't, he's got to scuffle with his offspeed stuff, go smoke-and-mirrors (which he had parlayed into a 6.00 ERA coming in).  But we'll see if that fastball hits the black going forward.  I wouldn't bet against it.

.

SENDING A MESSAGE

After the Orcs carelessly hit Mitch Haniger in the wrist ... Leake waited for his next 2-out, 0-on situation and then fired a fastball at some Orc's ribs.  Juuuuuust missed.  Got him in the hip.  Good purpose pitch, though.  Jim Bouton once explained the "purpose" as being to separate the enemy lineup from its courage, of course.

In the last James Paxton game, a Mariner got hit real bad.  Dr. waited for the retaliation.  And waited.  And waited.  It never came.  Let me ax you this:  WHY NOT.

There is ZERO reason for enemy pitching to be negligent inside, in any 3-game SERIES involving James Paxton.  They certainly did not in any Randy Johnson series - not until the season was over and Johnson was behind them on the schedule.  The fear was not only 98 inside, but 98 up and in.  ... I don't get it.  Why do other teams not fear this?  ... it's not rhetorical; it's literal.  Why are teams afraid of a rib shot or even a "whoops" beanball by James Paxton?  (Or even one of the M's 95+ relievers.)

You probably realize that the M's lead the majors in HBP by a long ways.  And it is hurting them, a lot.  It is time for James Paxton to take over his role as enforcer.  There are no two ways to look at this one.

...

You know, just for fun I'm going to send this in to Greg Johns.  Bah humbug.

.

WOLF PACK PITCHING

After only 14 straight dominant performances, Servais decided to get James Pazos a critical appearance.  He responded with a perfect 1.0 innings spread across the 6th and 7th.  Dr. D encourages this.

Beloved as the M's 8-man staff is, they're going to have to do something.  Nelson Cruz and Mitch Haniger might be day-to-day, but that also means that on a given day they might be OUT, and now you're talking about what?  A 1-man bench or a 2-man bench?

So the M's stretched both Pazos and Nick Vincent (?) across multiple innings each.  But it's been workin':  the M's bullpen is #4 for WAR on the season at +1.7, meaning that after you give away all its hiccups it is still upper-crust.

This passes the eye test.  Their closer leads all of the AL for saves at 17 and other notables are:

  1. LH Pazos at a 1+ ERA on the season
  2. Fillins (Wolfpack-ers) Cook, Goeddell, and Bradford coming up to run 0+ to 2+ ERA's (Goeddell's gone, but point is, we're diving into AAA and getting help)
  3. Diaz, Scrabble, Goeddell*, Altavilla over 10+ K's and Vincent, Pazos, Nicaso, Cook over 9+ K's

With Diaz, Altavilla, Cook, Pazos, and Nicaso, Dipoto does have the famed 95+ flamethrowers in his pen.  It's been up to Servais to scotch-tape it together and I've got to admit, so far he's been up to the tax.

....

Where is the M's bullpen going from here?  I dunno, but I hope it's moving towards James Pazos and possibly Ryan Cook.  By the end of the season, Cook could very possibly wind up the unsung hero.  In the meantime, Nicaso and Vincent aren't bad competitors.

Enjoy,

Dr D

Blog: 

Comments

1

Cook has the pedigree. 

Which means a trade we DON'T have to make.  Save the Cano money for another place.

2

You know, I recall reading stats on that recently... we've got the most HBP received in the league, but at the same time... our HBP given was only three fewer.

I'm all in favor of enforcement on this, ESPECIALLY from Big Maple, with the idea being to lower the overall incidence of HBP. (I mean... come on, seriously? Pre-suspension Cano, AND Cruz, AND Haniger... how many stars can we afford to lose?! Let's not go all anti-M's consipracy theory here, but... well fine, let's!) But this does cause me to wonder if some of our HBPs received have in fact been 'just' retaliation? (Or, on the other side of the coin, past retaliation we're not considering anymore?) Our HBP RATIO certainly isn't as lopsided as the counting stats would have you believe.

All that said... let's move on to the few HBP version of Seattle baseball ASAP, please - my emotional well-being may be at stake!

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