THREE (LIFETIME MEMORIES) ON A MATCH, DEPT.
The Indians' magic number for eliminating the Mariners is, well, 105. No way Dr. D goes into fire sale mode until the enemy has the five inch death punch down to within about 90 games. Y'feel me? Tonight it's a hot Jake Odorizzi against the pick of the Mariner Scrub litter, Christian Bergman. (Their pick of the litter, not mine.) PREVIEW
Scott Servais had a summary which is of course inferior to one you'd find at SSI, but still and all, it's from Bergman's acting manager so it's worth throwing in alongside the road:
"The key for Bergman is throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count and using his cutter off the plate and getting guys to chase it," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "It's interesting, when you watch Bergman pitch from the side, it's often hard to distinguish what his pitches are because the movement is more side-to-side, getting off the barrel. He's in the lanes, in the corners, on the edges. Versus when you watch [James] Paxton, you see the depth of the breaking pitches."
If we never heard that phrase again, "the key is throwing strikes" we would ... well, whatever. Face life with cheer and optimism or something. MORE. SPECIFIC. PLEASE. "The key for the Cavaliers Sunday will be making buckets." Actually the erudite SSI Denizen watch for whether Bergman is (1) using a quasi-Fister approach on the first pitch, mixing jam pitches, paintballs, ladder pitches ... and cutters to inner thirds and outer thirds
(2) IN ORDER TO
(3) Throw early-count strikes without getting blasted.
... and of course if a pitcher is up 1-2 then he can "expand the zone" with a pitch breaking off the plate.
We kid. A little bit. If you were a major league manager you'd drive-by your interviews with FKey7 phrases, too.
Bergman did set up one of his twin Lifetime Memories with a hellacious overhand curve ball that --- > firmly placed the batters "in between," tentative and guessing, very early in the game. That's a variant on his game. You've got a spit-and-polish AAA pitcher here, trying to do things the hard way, execute a long series of middlin' pitches well enough to go 6 IP, 3 ER.
The good news, Bergman has been HOT all year, had the 5-0 Rainiers record and has been executing his three different fastballs. The other good news is, the bullpen is ready to take over after 5.1.
Can launch the bat, or rock the DL, with equal suddenness and conviction. Update expected at 3:20 PST for both him and Boomstick. Mo' Dawg sez
Assuming that Segura gets, at minimum, a 10-Day DL stint, we will have to call up a Tacoma guy who can play SS. Freeman is now gone, and O'Malley isn't ready. That leaves Tyler Smith, Dan Muno or Gordan Beckham. The last two guys have MLB experience but aren't really SS's. Beckham has played two games there this season, and in only 13 of his 953 MLB games has he played SS. He isn't really one. Muno hasn't played more than a handful of games at SS since '13, none this season. He isn't really one, either. But Smith is in our SS pipeline. He's got 46 games there this season, 51 last season, 106 in '15 and 91 in '14. He plays 2B/3B, too. I've been telling you guys that he will be a fine MLB utility guy and that he's a dirt dog type. He's the most likely to get the call. If he and Moore were to both come up, that would give us three OSU Beavers on the roster. Motter will get the starts, but we need somebody on the bench, just in case. If he doesn't start in Tacoma tonight, you'll have your answer.
You really gotta feel for Jerry Dipoto. When Mojo and I play Star Wars Holo Monster chess, we don't plot out a 5-move sequence .... but then watch a mini-holo lightning bolt fly over the board and randomly waste three of our pieces. How do you play that way?
You know what, there are chess variants like that, with pieces appearing or disappearing based on this or that. They are considered --- > SILLY.
1. Gallardo has thrown 9,000 miles better than Dr. D ever expected.
2. Despite this, he's got exactly the same 6.5 strikeout, 4.5 walk ratio as he did last year. So you have a guy who got way better and is still terrible.
3. He's 2-6, 6.24 with a 5.08 FIP in Safeco.
4. The Mariners have won 3 and lost 8 in Gallardo's starts, most of the losses (6 or 7 of them) coming horribly ... 10-5 early blowouts, big leads botched, and so forth.
5. We are coming up on the "dozen" starts that Dr. D conceded would be required. Delightfully, Scott Servais just now said "We've got to get him going." Skip-speak, You're stuck with him.
6. Gallardo shrugged quizzically and sez, No idea why things aren't going good. See line 2. Mushy command and "better than last year" doesn't mean "plus pitches" in the first place.
FELIX SIM GAME
What, today or tomorrow? That would give us three pitchers.
Struck out 9 in relief yesterday. Here's a quality video.
Pitch 1 - Throws a fadeaway changeup lo-away on a dime, tip your cap
Pitch 2 - Sets up (with paintballs) a medium fastball to the inner third, decent pitch, rates 6 of 10 including pitchability
Pitch 3 - That's a pretty deceptive RH-on-RH slider rat there
Pitch 4 - Misses by two feet with a heater, "effectively wild," gets lucky on the K
Pitch 5 - Sidearm knee pounder, good for him, but that can go 440 feet if the batter isn't confused (not complaining, y'understand)
Pitch 6 - Pretty cool slider/fork/whatever middle shins
ARSENAL His fastball sinks and swerves pretty good. His changeup sinks and swerves really good, about -10 MPH. His slider sinks and cuts gloveside fairly good, -8 to 10 MPH. As tall sidearm arsenals go it's interesting, but tall sidearmers have an uphill struggle to start with.
TEMPLATE In the minors he's averaged 5+ strikeouts and 1+ walks, super low homers and we assume lots of wormburners.
One thing that IS cool about Casey Lawrence is --- > he's got the Japanese grok. He gets that it's a game of precision, not power. Can he overcome the bat-plane-matching arm angle? Nice game yesterday. Not holding my breath.
In its inimitable Tomorrow's News Today, SSI advised yer that Tuffy was on a 3-day countdown about three days, before. Tuffy forced the M's hand on Mike Zunino much earlier than they would have liked, but the 72-hour pass and the week in Tacoma gave Zuumball a cosmetic re-set.
Zuumball is slugging .464 since his three-week vacation, BUT ... has a 2:15 EYE in thirty plate appearances. Hence Mike Zunino, despite the appearance of a re-boot, is also on a short countdown.
TWO SECONDS AGO
The M's DL Jean Segura, send Casey Lawrence out on option (in the 29-man roster concept since Lawrence has to rest for 3-4 days), and DFA Andrew Aplin stunning Moe and Dr. D. The M's do not DL Boomstick. Tyler Smith is the call for backup SS, which Mo will be happy to see, and Tyler Cloyd will sponge innings for a few days.