Rox 7, Felix & M's 1
When 5 IP, 3 ER never felt worse


Q.  Would you take a shaky 5 IP, 3 ER from your #5 starter if you could have the same thing every time?

A.  This comes from backgammon and skittles chess, where two pro's will barter the "settlement" of a game in a particular position.  Let's say White is sitting with a 60% chance of winning, and the two players have bet $10 on the game.  Black offers $5.50 cash to quit the game on the spot.  Should White accept?

Of course, the theoretical answer is no; his game is "worth" $6 at the moment.


You could apply the same device to a baseball tabletop game, and I don't know why this idea isn't more popular.  Strat-O-Matic game.  "I'll give you 7 IP, 2 ER for Verlander right now."  "No, I want 7.1 IP and 2 ER, or 6.1 IP and 1 ER."

Alternatively you could use a chess principle to analyze the degree to which Felix is hurting the ball club.  "If you had 1,000 positions like this, would you make the same move every time" or did you just make a move that is a gamble, and will be refuted a lot of the time.  If Dipoto had the 2018 season to play 1,000 times, would he stick with Felix in the 5 spot all 1,000 seasons?


Going back to 5 IP, 3 ER ... 

I feel that if I'm playing the Rockies in the tabletop game, that's a very fair offer because:

1) The literal 5.40 ERA isn't much different from Felix' actual ERA of 5.13.

2) Felix has been going literally 5 IP, 3 ER a lot.  Oddly, in 13 of Felix' last 14 starts he has given up precisely 1, 3, or 5 runs.  And in 3 of his last 4 starts he's gone exactly 5 innings; in 5/8 starts he's gone 5 innings or 3 innings.


Q.  Back to the question:  would Dr. D accept 5 IP, 3 ER if he were playing the Mariners?  And is this okay?

A.  I would take the 5 IP, 3 ER for Felix, because it doesn't "penalize" the Mariners for the ugly FEELING they have, giving up tons of traffic and runs in the first two innings.  Felix is a cat hanging from a screen door by its claws, from the first pitch of every game.  And the cat has pretty short nubs it's using.

Is 5 IP, 3 ER okay from your #5 starter ... you need 4+ runs offensively, and you have whatever your 6th and 7th inning pitchers are going to give up, before you get to your twin closers.  Last night was a ghastly example of what can happen to those mid-inning pitchers.... we're not talking about whether the average team in baseball wants 5 IP, 3 ER.  We're talking about whether THIS PARTICULAR TEAM, the 2018 Mariners, is fine with a SHAKY three runs in a short start.

On the other hand, after we're all done swapping PRO's and CON's here, the Mariners ARE IN FACT 10-9 in Felix' starts.  That's what this particular team has scraped from Felix' leavings.  Not bad from your #5 starter, a solid .500 record!


Q. Would YOU swap him out.

A.  Would I?

Q.  Would YOU.

If I can swap him out, I swap him out in a New York second.  This shtick where the other team gets two-three-four baserunners every inning to start the game?  It's not worthy of a championship team.

I have an excellent team, winning 95 games, I want better than that from ALL my starters.  If I can get them.

And isn't it funny how, supposedly a journalist site ;- ) and therefore its neutrality a given ;- ) sums up the SP trade targets as "The Yankees Should Target One of These Pitchers."

  • Bumgarner
  • Hamels
  • Fulmer
  • Happ
  • Ross

On the TV show last night, Dipoto spoke of a 6-man rotation as something the M's might well use, as a way to soften Marc-O's year specifically.

Happy Zeus Day,





His shoulder seems to have scratches on the cylinder walls, have lost compression and is failing.  He cant slip very much more or he will be out of baseball.


Great analogy.  I mean *great* analogy for the devolution of a star into an innings eater, that he's "lost compression" in his shoulder.  Or that he's got a lot of silt in the tranny pan?.  Don't tell me you're a mechanic on top of everythin' else.


I feel like he has a razor-thin margin or opportunity to pull it together. Let's say he doesn't, and our championship run simply CANNOT be squandered by keeping a legacy around that can't pull a minimum weight. What do we DO?

Do you cut him entirely? Seems unlikely for oh so many reasons.

Do you move him to the pen? What does that even look like, how effective would he be, how do you sell Felix on it, what does that do to 2019, and who does he displace there (e.g. is that a positive or negative move in the first place - especially once we have our pick of players under our control back from injury)?

What other options ARE there? You don't trade away a Felix. But neither do you cut him, or demote him - not really, I mean - so what else is there? Can you DL him and blame his back and have that somehow be a win?

I don't see a way out of this, and it's really hard.


And like SeetheZee sez below, probably the answer is nothin'.

NEXT year he's on his last year of $27M and after you let him pitch for a couple-three months, THEN a DFA starts to come into view as a feasible option.

SeetheZee's picture

Felix has one year left on the contract after this year and he'll be given the chance to work his way into Felix 2.0 until the last possible moment. He'll even get a playoff start if the Ms get past the wild card game this year..

Too many $millions, still enough movement on the pitches, and too much proven, two-way personal investment/loyalty to throw away. I have a friend who named his first child Felix for goodness sake and he's not the only 2-10 year old in the area named Felix to be sure.

Let's just be happy that our five's pitching like a Moyer two and our four is pitching like a two/three. Makes having our 2/3 pitching like a 5 more bearable.

Felix never could command the fastball well enough anf now he has to figure it out or face an ugly end to his career. He has a lot of pride and was certainly on a Hall of Fame track...I still wouldn't bet against him (wouldn't bet on him either, unfortunately). This offseason will be his last chance make major changes as an M.

tjm's picture

I'd DL him as soon as I found somebody better, then let him come back in relief after rosters expand.

The question then is who can you get who's better. If the Giants are really going to trade Bumgarner I'm all in. Even if so, they ain't going to do it until they're out of the hunt. I'm leery of Hamels cuz that makes us so much more LH w/o the upgrade you get from Bumgarner, which, given the playoff lineups, ain't what you want. The thought of going into Fenway or Houston will a nearly all lefty rotation scares the bejesus outa me. 

I might take a gamble on Archer, thinking the ab injury might have been the source of his problems, or just maybe that you can get him straightened out. If so, he's cheap and a potential future piece as well.

tjm's picture

. . . is a good point of comparison. I thought LeBlanc, the not so great white whale, pitched really well. OTH, he gave up 4 ER in 6. We'd complain about that from Felix! I guess the point is, we need to shed expectations and look at results. At this point, it doesn't matter that the guy is overpaid. Amortize that over the course of his career and he's been a huge bargain.

Plus, ya know, I wouldn't mind having to roll him out there in a Game 7.


.....LeBlanc struggled today and was saved by a Cape Canaveral shot by Healy.  But over the last three seasons combined, LeBlanc is running a WHIP of 1.15.  He’s got something going and he does it with regularity.  Felix’s shoulder/arm is failing with a regular procession. Look at his past 4 seasons and you can see it in H/9, HR/9, BB/9.....K/9.  

But right now, do we have anybody better?  

If I can get a Hamels or Bumgarner (who we may not have enough for) then I am buying.....right bleeping now.  

Even Johnny Unitas got sat down at some point.  Or maybe you give it a 6-Man go and hope the extra day for Felix is just the thing.

But it Likely won’t be.  In only 3 of his starts this season has Felix allowed fewer base runners than innings pitched.

He’s a 5.....with little likelihood of great improvement.  


I'll sign on for a 6-man rotation. Get us a horse that'll save the bullpen an extra inning a week and let our SPs throw 115 instead of 100 to save a few more innings for the bullpen. They will need the bullets on the post-season, not the starters (Paxton notwithstanding).

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