After the maddening G-1 loss, Dr. D checked the box score fearfully. Then the cowardly Dr. D remembered that his fearfully was just a flinch-fully, since this is a very good team we're talking about, for the first time in about 15 years. Lo and behold, it turned out that the '18 M's had scored a Big Red Machine style 9-5 split of the DH. James Paxton looms on deck.
Terry, who knows as much or more about pitching as any of us, had demurred on the "Innings Eater" theory on the basis that Felix is not at all capable of locating a fastball. Point is well taken. That's what my eye sees also, that he takes careful aim, but ... the spirit is willing, the rotator cuff weak. Couldn't agree more with this observation. Agree also that it's tough to execute ANY specific type of game if you can't locate a fastball.
Still and all, Felix is running an 8 K, 4 BB profile and if the Mainframe is not mistaken, the M's brain trust would rather see that trend towards 5 K, 2.5 BB. Between TJM and I, neither of us is at all sure how far he can make it in that direction, true. The thing is that Felix is used to seeing hitters take garbage swings at his yakker, and he's still getting them.
So in 2018 the tread-bare Felix throws a fastball, and the count's 1-0. He comes back with a yakker, it's 1-1 ... and then he tries to paint for a 1-3 count. (Notice the M's commercial if you haven't seen it.) It's here, where he could come back with a much better piece of the plate and allow the (defensive) batter to ground out to short.
But that's not where his head's at. Again he got 7 strikeouts vs. 2 walks Saturday despite his saying "I had nothing." What did you expect to have, sir Mr. King sir? A glorious lockdown game is what he expected to have. As always.
Innings eaters, they'll give up 5 runs with a 7:2 CTL and say "After the second, I was hoping to keep us in the game. Some balls went through but the offense saved me this time." Innings eaters always say something about keeping their teams in the game, giving their teams a chance, giving the team six innings. Let me know when you hear Felix say anything remotely like that.
Bring the K:BB profile down on both ends, sir Mr. King sir. That's free advice.
A LOOOOOONG LINEUP
In the Gamel-Heredia platoon battle, Acting Manny put Gamel in left for the second game. As is reasonable. Gamel went 0-for-5, which ... 0-for-4 is an oh-fer. 0-for-5 is, "don't tease him about it in the locker room."
You wonder how close the M's are getting to flipping these two. In game one, Heredia was a cleeeaaaaan 2-for-2, two for two if a walk's as good as a hit. He also had a terrific heads-up play on his long, LF single ... Ryon Healy went 1st-to-3rd and the moment the LF let the ball go towards 3rd, Heredia hit the afterburners and took 2B. ...which is not only smart, but the run expectancy with 3B, 2B, 1 out is soooo much better 'cause of the double play. Well, it's 1.1 vs 1.4, but it sure feels better :- )
Healy wound up scoring to tie the game, 1-1.
What was I gonna say? Oh yeah. Heredia's chase rate has had our eye since he first came up. How's he doing there? He's got a 9:7 EYE, that's 9 walks 7 strikeouts, and his plate discipline is a breathtaking 17% chase - 68% swing in zone. (Average is 30-66).
As usual, Dr. D is preaching to the choir. Many, perhaps most, Denizens are fans of the Heredia. How do you keep that kind of player on the bench? He's an extreme glove specialist and he consistently leads your squad in the "Intelligent At-Bats" category.
Ben Gamel would be a magnificent #4 outfielder. Quick reminder, he was a AAA player of the year. Quick quicker reminder, sabermetrics is about weighting heavily the way players actually perform.
Whereas the end of the lineup impressed in G-1, it was the MOTO that inflicted the shock-and-awe in game two.
2 Haniger 2 hits
3 Cano 2 hits, homer, 3 RBI ...that reminds me of something
4 Boomstick 3 hits
5 Seager 3 hits, double
6 Healy 2 hits, double, homer ... wait where are this guy's stats right now
Ryon Healy, in the 10 games before the double header, was .359/.390/.795 per b-ref's little gamelogs tool. Let's go ahead and count it up by hand, where he is after the DH...
In 12 games, that makes 17-for-47 (.362) with 4 doubles and 6 homers (.830 SLG) and 3 walks (.400 OBP). More importantly, it is 13 runs and 13 ribbies during those 12 games. I remember when they used to say "When Buhner gets hot, he can carry your ballclub for two weeks."
Robinson Cano, in Game One there was a one-hop, sharply struck single up the middle. Cano appeared in front of it, backhand, and used that shortstop's arm to flip across his body at 95 MPH, taking away the hit. Have you ever seen anybody better at that throw?
Dewan has Cano for +1 plays made at second, compared to your garden-variety jitterbug second baseman in the majors, and +2 are to his right as you might think. If Cano is a quality glove at second, and boom-shak-a-laka he looks it every inch, then he's still a Hall of Famer who is in his prime.
...in terms of Fangraphs' camera angle, based on his .386 OBP he's got 1.1 WAR which projects to 4.7 WAR again. They're pitching around him a lot, for some reason I can't begin to figure out, and once a few HR's go over the fence for him he'll be comfortably over 5.