Jays 3 ...
don't leave your hair lying around just anyplace, Mike

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PLAYOFFS

WC Contender Record GB
[Bos-NYY loser] 26-11 sacre bleu
LAA 23-14
Sea 21-14 -1.0
Toronto Blue Jays 20-18 -3.5

Note that all other clubs are .500 or worse, including Cleveland at 18-18, Minnesota at 15-18, and the Orc Horde.  6 teams have terrible records and several teams have records worse than .333.

Note well that Houston is technically behind LAA.

Note carefully that of the four teams in "pennant" contention, one is Toronto.  Whose clock we just cleaned!  On the road, with the 2 wins being Paxton's no-hitter and Thursday's "tripling" of the score on them.  Let them try to forget that one any time soon.  Next time, schedule UNLV and Hawaii, you hosers.

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MIKE LEAKE, INSIGHT STAGE ONE 

Leake has always been an average-solid pitcher.  For years.  In the NL, which had booked him in about 1998.  Dr. Detecto surmised that Leake might have a season or two of nice performance, having switched over to the league that hadn't booked him.  Well, at least to the league not so used to him.  You can buy books fairly cheaply at the Winter Meetings.

Dr. Detecto, as so infrequently, was wrong.  True, Leake was great last fall, but his first 7 starts for us this season retched up a 3-3, 6.28 mess.  In which many of his component stats, notably BB and GB/FB, were ruinous.

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STAGE TWO

It's actually a positive to note that Leake's negative results were due to Leake's own negative pitching.  For instance, click through to his card and scroll over to BB/9.  See if you can, um, detect anything out of alignment.

His groundballs are also way off, as is his HR/F (usually groundball pitchers cough up lots of gophers per [rare] flyball).

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STAGE THREE

Leake threw the ball great on Thursday.  Just trust me.

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STAGE FOUR

Leake threw tons of fastballs Thursday.  Just trust Brooks.

Leake, the 3-3 6.28 guy, had been throwing a crazy low 36% fastballs.  His fastball sinks, very very hard.  Thursday he threw 55% fastballs.  He got his normal groundball rate.

Everything's aright!  And Leake's beard is growing in quickly, compensating for the hair loss that the Philistine shrew inflicted on him.

No, "everything's aright" would be section three above.  Section FOUR notes that Leake threw all these fastballs in response to a Jabba-sized, bloated early lead.  

.....

Leaving us where?

:: shrug ::  "You can't cheat this game," said Bill James or Pete Rose or somebody.  Leake is who he is.  It was nice to see him pitch like it, but it doesn't change his projection.  Which is average-solid.

.... I really like the daffy ways his pitches move, by the way.

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JAMES PAZOS

Threw a great inning.  "He'd be a real shot in the arm for our bullpen," sighed Scott Servais surreptitiously.  How soon will he start to throw strikes?  I dunno.  His mechanics (including his CG) are as good as the next LOOGY's.

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BABVA,

Dr D

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Comments

1

Prior to laat night, Leake has the worst average batted ball velocity, the sixth worst xwOBA, and the tenth worst barrel percentage in all of baseball for pitchers with at least 100 PA against and 50 batted ball events.

That is to say, he was literally the worst starting pitcher the Mariners had thrown in at least a decade and one of the handful odd worst pitchers in baseball to date.

To me, it looked like Leake was still throwing very poorly through the fourth inning. He had a bunch of hard contact at people, several extra base hits, a lot of deep counts...and the ball was up in the zone more than half the time. Then in the fifth, he woke up from his nightmare and threw well the rest of the way.

Let's hope he remembers the difference...get the ball down or die.

2

When he was so effective last September, he was barely throwing the cutter (12%), and then it was in a 2-strike count often (27/59).  This season, he's using it often (23%), and not waiting until strike 2 (55/170), so hitters are getting a better look at the cutter vs. the sinker.  I think the idea was to turn his sinker (which has been hit hard since 2016) into a bait pitch, throwing it high to look more like a curve/cutter, to help him set up a (theoretically) improved change(it is getting more sink than years past), curve, and the afore-mentioned cutter, but since the cutter is looking more visible this way, the whole project isn't working against RHB (LHB are hitting pretty much the way they always do against Leake).  In the last 3 games, Leake has FINALLY gotten his cutter usage vs. RHB under 15%, and voila, Mike Leake looks like Mike Leake vs. RHB since then.

This isn't to discount the control problems that Leake has clearly had, which makes everything worse.  IF Leake has mastered his wildness, and hopefully has fully gotten over his brief cutter obsession, then I think he'll get back to the 7 K/9, 2 BB/9, 1 HR/9 pitcher he should be.  I think the hot shots are always going to be a problem; Leake allows some of the lowest angle flyball contact at one of the higher average velocities (I mentioned this in the other thread about Healy - Matt, you made a comment last night about Leake turning every batter into Ryon Healy, and I think that's largely true), which is why the low walk rate / not accidentally hanging 1/3 of in the zone pitches is desperately important to Leake.  Here's to hoping the curve and change continue to come along and he keeps the low sinker as his primary weapon

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