the KKKKKKarnivore chews on the Lastros
the most interesting predation this year, Dept.



"Trusting your stuff," as a motto, is:

(1) Overused

(2) Completely devoid of original thought

(3) Trite

(4) Banal

(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.



... 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.




Not for you.  For ME
Not for you. For ME


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.


Be Afraid,

Dr D




Certainly the game, but moreso reading back on the "don't panic" series and especially you guyes's discussion of Mordor, and the ring and the eagles and Sauron's Luftwaffe, and learning the lessons of warfare and life through alliances in Middle Earth and all that. My exposure to Tolkein is limited to the film versions and Led Zepplin. My wife, OTOH,  devoured the books as well, and it occurs to me that in similar fashion, she is also great company in life (btw, our servers have been given names by her such as Frodo, Faramir, Legalos). What a bunch of loveable nerds you all are. :-)

So, what say we take our toys and vicariously go and win a pennant, and then the World Series for DaddyO, shall we? 


Karns' curveball gets two names:  It isn't just a Yakker or simply an Uncle Charlie, it's a Yakkin' Uncle Charlie!

My goodness!

Blylevin, Doc....Blylevin.  Well, his had more horizontal movement, as well as rolling off the table.....but Karns was throwing a weapon of that sort last night.


Did you make that up or had you heard it before?  If you just coined it, that's a mystery of life that it hadn't been coined a hunnerd years ago.

Bert Blyleven, Aaron Sele ... hm ... Darryl Kile.  Maybe Roy Oswalt?  It's hard to think of true Aaron Sele type pitchers who could go 60 curves, 60 fastballs, game after game.  A lot of guys throw excellent curves; not many throw them for effortless strikes, and can throw a lockdown based on nothing but the curve.  

Like, Mike Mussina and Dwight Gooden and Josh Beckett had curves better than Karns, but of course they had other things they did that mattered more than their curves.  Adam Wainwright has a gasp-inducing curve, but I don't know whether he pitches in Sele style with it.  He may transcend even his own epic curve; I don't watch the NL much.

For one year Erikkk Hanson was that way.

Sele-class Yakkin' Uncle Charlie starters ... last night Nate Karns looked like one of 'em.  The first I remember since Aaron Sele.  Can you imagine Aaron Sele with a 94 fastball?!

Other names?  Doesn't seem like there'd be so few Blylevens and Seles around.


Pitched a cup of coffee midseason for the Mariners in '85. I remember him because when he came up, all he had was a curve. Nothing else. Just a curve. Actually he did have a "fast"ball that if you saw it and were a teammate, you'd never want to see it again. So he pumped nothing but curves up there. He had a major league curve for sure, but he couldn't throw it at will, as evidenced by his atrocious BB/K rate and subsequently lousy ERA's. But it was funny, watching a guy in the bigs with NOTHING BUT a curveball, throwing nothing but his curveball.


Good catch amigo.

Remember Mike Campbell?  If I remember him right, his curve broke so much that umps blew too many calls on it and that was mostly what kept him from having a career.


The curve I thought was overlooked is the lollipop one Koufax had. His fastball of course made it look better than it was, but if you or DaddyO want to put a smile on your face, go here and watch poor Bobby Allison get abused by it at 33:00 and 1:12:30. 

Or for you old Pilot fans, watch Sandy throw it against Rich Rollins at 1:19


Doggone you, Rick. How am I gonna get dinner ready for when my hard-working wife walks in the door when I'm sucked into watching the entire broadcast of the seventh game of the 1965 World Series?

Thanks for the link!

Edited to add: Just started to watch, and immediately I am struck by the joy of listening to Vin Scully in the very center of his prime.

Edited to add: A pregame note shows the huge difference between today's MLB and that of the mid-'60's. The Twins announcer notes that each of the first six games of the Series had been a complete game for the starter of the winning team.


Buy her some peanuts and crackerjacks. She won't care something something.

But yeah, isn't that precious? Last year I was at the Minneapolis Mall of America, and if you stand at homeplate somewhere in the center of Bikini Bottom (a mini theme park area), and look up and out - way out on the far wall, you'll see a red seat, situated right where Harmon Killebrew hit the longest home run in the old Metropolitan Stadium (where the Mall now resides).


Gotta go cut lettuce, tomato and onion for tacos, but re: Killebrew, just his name used to cause fear when I was a boy watching the '65 Series. I mean, I really thought he was gonna kill us with his bat.


Let's see. I had 1965, 1981, and 1988. Why? Because I'm greeeedy.

Naw, actually because the Mariners are a separate rooting stream. The moment I transferred my allegiance to the M's on moving to Seattle in 1995, my World Series count reset to zero.

Re: 1975, it really is amazing that the Big Red Machine only managed one World Series win.

Anyway, it would be very gratifying this year just to see the M's GO to the World Series.


But yeah.  If you scan through that decade, it's easy to see why Sparky Anderson was one of Bill James' early whipping boys.  Only two championships to show for the last HOF-studded team before free agency.

In 1971, for example, they actually went 79-83 (!!) with Bench, Rose, Lee May, Perez ... Hal McRae, Bernie Carbo, etc ... Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, and Jim McGlothlin.

In 1973 they lost the NLCS to an 82-79 team that had an OPS+ of 83.

In 1974 we somehow lost the division despite 98 wins :- )


i suppose three makes a dynasty, but the Big Red Machine cast a longer shadow than just two seasons. The Oakland series was classic. They beat a great team.


Koufax, Unit, Carlton, probably half the lefty HOF'ers ... :- ) David Wells, Chris Sale, lotsa guys ... 'tis why Dr. D goes so batty at the idea James Paxton's changeup is supposed to be critical ...


Gooden, of course....good call.  I forgot about him for a moment.  I remember his curve as almost of the wiffle-ball variety.  It was almost unfair that he had that, considering the heat that he could bring for a while.  I remember thinking, during his Cy at age 20 year, that it couldn't get any better than this.  That was back in the day when the Cubs and the Braves were the only teams you could watch all the time, of course.  I tried to watch if he was up.

I just did the B-R thing and compared that year to Gibson's '68.  There's not much more than a smigeon of difference.  Gooden was that good in '85.

Gibson had a 1.12 ERA in 304 innings, with 268 K's and a 258 ERA+.  Walked 1.8 and K'ed 7.9.

Gooden?    A 1.53  ERA in 277 innings, with 268 K's and a 229 ERA+.  Walked 2.2 and K'ed 8.7.

OK, Gibson had 28 CG's and 13 shutouts, but Gooden's 16 and 8 weren't too shabby.  All that from the lower mound, too.

But I digress.  Karns was nearly in that class last night.

Go team.


I wish I could blame it on  someone else! Maybe Yogi.  He might have said it.   :)  But it's a Moe-ism.


That's kind of odd, that the offense would go from 102 to 103, and the pitching from 106 to 112, based on last night's 11-1 score.  But, okay.  And their 3.20 team ERA is second in the league.

Sez here that their 27 homers is #1.


ERA is calculated per inning (there are 9 of those per game, give or take), OPS is calculated per PA/AB hybrid...there are 35-50 of those per game. this point in the season (and always, generally) OPS moves much more slowly than ERA.


There are 27 inning thirds per game, right?  If Nate Karns has 22.1 IP and 9 ER, his ERA is 3.63.  With the next out he records (22.2 IP) his ERA changes to 3.57.

True, OPS is on a 700-900 scale but ERA is on a 300-500 scale, give or take a couple decimal points.  Not sure why the M's status relative to the other 14 teams would move faster via OPS than ERA.

Am sure you have a handle on this but I'm a little foggy on what you're saying.


Wow - *that*, I like. Karns is quoted in the Times saying that he had a really good scouting report on the Astros. I'm guessing they are maybe vulnerable to the curve or something? Although Walker didn't have any trouble throwing the FB by them...

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