"Trusting your stuff," as a motto, is:
(2) Completely devoid of original thought
(5) Critical to MLB(TM) success
(6) Seldom a factor in MLB(TM) games
(7) A phrase nobody understands, especially the broadcasters
(8) All of the above
(9) None of the above
But Karns showed us the occasional (5) that you'll see sometimes in big league games. He had an attitude of, "Here it is, hit it," and if they went yard on him fine. But he was going to pitch from 0-1 counts. As he threw more "challenge" pitches, his fastball gained life. Rather than being flat and hittable, it cut and hopped - Brooks gave him an average 11" rise on it. He had an extra +1 or +2 MPH into the bargain.
Rather than throwing a curveball and then nibbling and picking with a fastball 4" outside, Karns took more of the plate. First two innings, it resulted in some quick ground ball outs; fourth through seventh innings he rolled the table with his heavy raises and reraises.
So, yeah, "Trust Your Stuff" can apply to a young pitcher, once in a while. As long as his stuff is worth trusting.
Let us know, too, the next time you see a Brooks chart with 50+ in the curve ball row. That's any pitcher, any team. Karns two-hit the Astros with this mix:
- 53 overhand yakkers (-13 MPH off his fastball)
- 44 fastballs averaging 94.1 MPH (max touching 97)
- 7 changes
And for most of the broadcast, the subject was how important Karns' changeup is and how much Iannetta wanted him to get a feel for it. Nada. Be good at two things rather than mediocre at three. Alternatively, watch a game sometime, preferably THIS game.
:: smiles innocently ::
Karns doesn't have to pitch exactly like this to be effective; he already had been effective, this year and last. For him, there are a lot of roads to Rome. But he gained steam as the game went on, and you got the feeling from the postgame interview he'd learned something. ... It happens to guys in their first 200 innings.
There must have been five different people, on TV and on the radio postgame, who sounded very pleasantly surprised that Nate Karns was capable of this game. The entire culture around the Mariners seemed surprised. Ah, well. At least Jerry DiPoto was not surprised. And he's the guy in charge of who is on the ballclub.
ROBINSON CANO 21 RBI in 20 GAMES
... Josh Donaldson led the league, going into the game, with 19 RBI. Cano's RBI frenzy might have put him in charge of the black ink for the day.
Before tearing the Astros limb from limb on Tuesday, the Mariners had an OPS+ of 102 and an ERA+ of 106. They padded their stats in this one, which must leave them at about 104 and 107. Remember Dr. D's almanac-thumbing rule that if those two numbers add to 210, you're a legit contender. If they add to 220, the league probably spent the summer in considerable fear of you.
Or, shifting camera angles a bit, Fangraphs had the Mariners #3 in xFIP and #6 in wRC+. If you could maintain that status you'd be playing big games in September.
One recent team that was somewhat similar to this was the 2014 Orioles, who had ... Nelson Cruz and Steve Clevenger. :- ) They won 96 games, although they wound up at 106 hitting and 112 pitching. The M's would need a coupla more 11-1 wins to get to 106 and 112 ... probably if you flip over to their b-ref card you won't find them stocked with massively more talent than the 2016 M's. They had three semi-MOTO hitters and had "no easy outs" in their lineup, as Servais boasted after Tuesday's game.
Another recent team with 100-105 offense and 110'ish pitching was the 2012 Tigers, who won 88 games and the pennant. Look up and down that lineup and it's hard to see how their hitting finished at only 102 ... they bled a lot of runs off the bench. Good model for the M's to imitate, though -- two aces and five solid starters. Just noodling here. The comp teams don't hold up to tight scrutiny, but help organize your perception a little.
TTO count: 173:156 advantage in K's, 66:63 in walks, 27:19 in homers. Supportive of a record better than 11-9.
After Tuesday's game the M's have scored 89 runs and allowed 69. That would prorate to 720* runs scored and 560* allowed, which would project to 97 wins. Just saying - as we hit 20 games here, the numbers aren't half bad.
IS IT TOO SOON?
You might enjoy re-reading the classics ... classic Panic Room articles, that is. Here is one in which Dr. D lays down RISP suppressive fire and here's a Lost Weekend in Mordor dirge. I find gloating heightens my pleazhur.
We hope the M's will see many, many more 2016 games "closed out" by the other team's catcher. This also heightens Dr. D's pleasure. As did Matt's comment about Kratz serving as the black velvet backdrop to MLB(TM) pitching diamondry. As does the knowledge that at 82-85 MPH, Kratz outthrew Jered Weaver.