We sent this in to Hey Bill:
The Mariners just put Ryon Healy on the DL and called up RP Chasen Bradford, for a 9-man bullpen.
Their #7 reliever, Casey Lawrence, threw 8 perfect outs in Game 2 of the regular season and hasn't pitched since. The #8 reliever, Wade LeBlanc, hasn't pitched yet at all.
Most managers prefer to control a game via their pitching matchups rather than via pinch-hit matchups. And I realize you can't comment on a specific team's decisions. But could you help me out as to as why the *industry* has tilted SO far towards "buffer" relief pitchers? Teams are not using their 7 and 8, and they call up 9? I'm honestly baffled.
I believe you were right about 9th-inning "closers" being an artificial construct that would wash away in the sands of time eventually. And in any sport I've never agreed with managers' illusion of "controlling" a game through defense; in chess your chances are just as good to "control" a game by attacking. Same with the NE Patriots, right?
I'm honestly fishing for an answer here. Maybe you Denizens could help me out?
First game, threw a shutout vs. the Tigers over seven innings. Only three singles and a 6:1 CTL, and this in a 1-0 victory. Last year, he had a 7.3 / 2.3 / 1.4 gopheritis slash line, so if the count is 3-1 he'll give in to a hitter. The M's will probably have to hit their way to victory, as opposed to drawing four or five walks.
According to Fangraphs, he's strictly a sinker-slider RHP, with a 90 MPH fastball and 81 MPH slider. Hard to say how he does well with that arsenal vs lefties ... let's see.
-- minus pitch value on the fastball, plus value on the slider. Edwin Jackson type?
-- Weird. No platoon splits in 2017 to speak of. .448 SLG vs lefties, .431 SLG vs righties.
Oh, OK. Here we go. This video of his 1-0 win helps explain it. His sinker had a nasty downward bite in this game at least, and his overhand slider looks like Ohtani-lite. So those two pitches are pretty tough.
Servais will have to stack his lineup with lefties ... oh, wait. Chasen Bradford hits righty, doesn't he? :- )
Compared to what we were expecting, in his first start Marc-O
-- Did not throw 94 MPH
-- Threw two dozen cut fastballs
-- Threw a changeup with sweet arm action, thrown at the knees to dive below them
-- Had a weird 2:0 CTL in six innings, got weak contact
This spring in Arizona and in game one, Dr. D was pretty blown away by his easy command. Let's see a couple of dartboard 50's in the first inning and the Royals shouldn't pose too big of a threat.
Here is a unique little pre-game betting prediction, not that we bet on the games. They point out that the Royals are off to a 2-5 start, scoring only 2.3 runs per game so far. They like Seattle tonight ... even minus four starting position players. :- )
FOR FURTHER READING
Bob Dutton is doing a great job at Klay1180.com. Couple of fresh insights in each blog entry, and he's free to be a little more opinionated these days.
Dr. D is still geeking out about Daddy-O's catch on John Kruk. LOL.