flex R/X
predictability is overrated, even for robots like Dr. D


ZEN Dept:  Dr. D sometimes scribbles notes on a yellow pad during the games   That's how much he cares about you     A single tear rolls down your cheek

Nelson Cruz got the "perfect storm" on his 442-footer.  They talk about getting the bat head out in front?  Is 'cuz the bat is moving faster when it's farther along it's path.  So, this time Cruz' bat was the farthest out in front I've ever observed a bat be, and his lean and leverage were ridiculous, and he swung harder that time, and ...

Jack Nicklaus talked about "when I'm going for a big one" he thinks about clearing his hips or yadda yadda yadda.  Cruz just swung real hard :- ) and the ball was right where it needed to be, way inside so the bat could be even farther in front.  When it left the bat it looked from the CF camera like it would be farther than Mark McGwire's shot off the Unit, the one that hit the back wall* of the Kingdome.

It went what, 442 feet.  The trajectory probably wasn't optimal for distance before landing, but if you talked land-and-roll on an airport runway ... Cruz could have run for 13 bases.  Isn't it a shame that all touchdowns count the same 7 points?  And that all homers are the same four bases?


Said all that to say this.  We had notes to go though "FIVE STAGES OF WATCHING A NELSON CRUZ HOME RUN" when they ruined everything.  They asked Lloyd McClendon about it.

He gave that little chuckle, the one where he smiles 1 micron takes a single half-breath.  "He hits the ball hard."  Next question.

SSI was going to hip-dance off Lookout Landing's great piece on MPH.  Let's compare Cruz' 113-MPH upper deck shot to his 119-MPH ground ball to this player and that player and the next player and let's ask if Cruz really has the Power Index (PX) we believe he does.

Sincerely:  he stripped me, completely and forever, of all interest in MPH data as it pertains to Nelson Cruz.  With five words, Lloyd took us to the finish line.   

Now we can watch Cruz hit and look for other stuff.  Yes, Egbert, when he connects it's going to be vicious.


Iwakuma went on the DL and they seemed legitimately confused about who would start in his place.  In spring training, did there exist a #7 starter?  It was always going to be Elias first in line.  And his Tacoma performance is well within tolerance levels.

Dave Valle said it was good news that Iwakuma had a lat strain.  The idea is that --- > it means Iwakuma ain't getting old.  

Cool.  It's 1,000 games of catcher -- major leagues -- talking.  Real athletes reduce a problem to a couple of golf swing thoughts at a time.  Iwakuma's command was off; that's what happens when a guy like him (Jamie Moyer, Greg Maddux) gets old.  To Valle, Iwakuma looked like a guy whose shoulder was low on gas.

You find out there's a back muscle, that's great news to Valle.  Tentatively, of course.  As we have noted since we acquired Iwakuma, he is month-to-month on a shoulder injury.


Edit to add, we see Matty wondering why we were confident in Iwakuma.  Because he did not look to me like the old Jamie Moyer looked, or like the old Greg Maddux looked.  And because if you turn 2-3 home runs into outs, even his results were fine, despite the "small sample."  

Either the SSI CF camera is one step ahead of Dave Valle, or one step behind him.  You know which way to assume it.


Roenis Elias is in there.  What a shocker.



We did all that debating, in March, over who the best 5 starters were.  And what a travesty it would be for Taijuan or Elias to miss out.  But, we did realize that the M's would use 6 starters eventually.

So, how long did it take?  

This is about how long it usually takes.


And how long before Danny Hultzen is needed?  Jack Z has said that he wouldn't be up before June.  SSI would agree with that philosophy.  Not with the "2016, obviously" patter.


If Paxton or Taijuan or Elias had to go into dry dock ... McClendon wouldn't consider the Bartender "because he's needed too much in the bullpen."  (Imagine saying that about Felix.)  But maybe they'd consider Tyler Olson?


Gotta go with some "rhapsody" stream of consciousness for a little while.  The "coherent" articles -- going from A to B to C to demonstrate a theorem -- are feeling like a chore to Dr. D on reading them the next day.  So, they're probably feeling like a chore to you mooks too.  Gotta keep it fresh, babe.  Or leave some breathing room for people to actually comment, one a' the two.

Tomorrow, let's do a Konspiracy Korner that George W. Bush and Kyle Seager are servants of the lizard super-race.  Hollywood stars who konspiracied to get where they are:  Adam Sandler, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith... remember Kathleen Turner?  She did something to really tick them off.  Gave a refund or something.

Mariners who konspiracied to get where they are:  Kyle Seager, Danny Farquhar, Bartender, Patrick Kivlehan.

Mariners who are far above suspicion:  Iwakuma, because he wouldn't be interested in so much technique. McClendon, because the aliens can't get you 5 homers in 5 swings when you're twelve years old.  Paxton, unless he was DNA-engineered.


Felix' shutout.

  • After pitch 3, the players were nervous
  • After pitch 4, they were wide-eyed
  • After pitch 7, they were going "Uh-oh"
  • By the 3rd inning, they had the yips on defense (and Dr. D was texting folks to tune in)

Do you remember spring training, when Felix was getting hit?  "Maybe it's Verlander time for the King."  Now, four starts into the reg season.  "With this run support, maybe it's his 23-5 season."

Pitching is up and down, kids.  Never overreact to three starts or THIRTY starts.  Steve Carlton had an ERA+ of 182 in the year 1972, and then an ERA+ of 97 the very next year.  His career had five distinct See Saws.


Last night the M's batters had enough 100-MPH shots to be ahead nine runs.  By the fifth inning, that is.  Phil Hughes is a guy who will challenge you.  The M's were only too happy to let it rip.  And the score shoulda been ridiculous.

Yes, LrKrBoi29, by "100 MPH shots" we're talking loosely.  No need for an F/X data scrape to verify.  ;- )


It's fun to watch Nelson Cruz cross the plate after a tater, give Kyle Seager a good high five ... and then just go nuts when he sees Robinson Cano on the top step to celebrate it with him.  Did they hit #3-4 for the Dominican Republic?


Mike Zunino is lost because when you change your golf swing to do it the right way, you get worse before you get better.  This happens in every sport.  When Dr. D makes a chess adjustment he loses 200 rating points before gaining 100, net.

Plus, Zunino needs to see a lot more pitches, right?  Comfort yourself with James' maxim:  "The best place to learn the major leagues is in the major leagues."


Everybody has this huge sense of urgency with James Paxton.  By "everybody" we mean the beat writers, McClendon, etc.  It's as if Dr. D (a 30 handicapper) was golfing with MoeDawg and hit his first two drives into the rough.  Everybody starts screaming, at the top of their lungs, that the rest of Dr. D's shots have to be down the middle, starting with this shot right here.  

Does that help?

Paxton's young and he's not capable of fixing his motion On Demand.  A sense of urgency is the last thing he needs.  A MARGIN FOR ERROR is what he needs.


If you adjust for LoMo's bad luck ... 8 of the 9 batters have good stats.  It reminds me of the 2001 lineup, with three-four guys about average and the other four-five guys ripping it up.  Look at the OPS+ column.

This offense could be a great one.  (Twenty percent chance, LrKrBoi29.)  It has the potential to perform in a way that resembles the 2001 club.






I have this belief that no matter what you study you quickly find general principles that seem to apply to everything. Is that your experience? To put it another way everything I experience reminds me of something else. At first I found this fascinating and helpful but now I am wondering if it might not be a negative thing that seeing the similarities hinders me in appreciating the differences.
Asked by: Gfletch
Answered: 4/25/2015

Yes that's true. There are a very few general rules that apply to whatever you study. That's why it is foolish to say "We're talking about baseball here; this is not a place to talk about politics or culture we're here to talk about baseball." The real value in the discussion is using one to help you understand the other--using baseball to help you understand politics using politics to help you understand baseball. That's the only way that understanding grows.



I agree with Valle that an injury is good news. I boggled at your insistence that Iwakuma was fine because it wad visually obvious to me that he was not fine physically.
His breaking pitches weren't just not well located they were not sharp and did not get thrown with elan. His fastball was 2 mph slower than last year. He was running out of gas after 70 pitches. My point was that you were just flat missing the obvious injury I knew was there Not that I thought Iwakuma was done asa pitcher. It could be that I was misunderstanding what you meant by "he'll be fine"...you may have meant that he was going to be fine long term. ..not starting immediately. I'd so I apologize for the confusion


Thanks for clarifying.
Yeah I type up a lot of stuff real quick and didn't include the qualifier "assuming that there's no injury."  I was talking about Iwakuma's ability as such which others were fretting about.  The same goes for Paxton and Taijuan.  They'll be fine in terms of their ability to pitch in the big leagues -- assuming of course that the DL doesn't lurk and isn't affecting things.
Think we triangulated an agreement here.


I was as confident as I've ever been in a health assessment when I proclaimed Iwakuma damaged goods. That doesn't mean I think he's toast. I'll be more concerned if rest and rehab don't bring him back to full strength in July.


I just hope that we aren't spending the bulk of the season talking about potential. Yeah the potential is there to have a good lineup of hitters. The starting rotation is potentially good and deep. The bullpen is potentially great (again). The bench has a lot of potential. But potential doesn't get you to the playoffs.

GLS's picture

I wonder if you could maybe expand a bit on what you see Zunino doing as far as changing his swing. What I see is a lot of swinging for the fences type strikeouts and a lot of swings and misses. His contact% is at 57.3 which makes me wonder if he would just be better off simply not swinging.
So if he is changing something in his swing what is it he's doing and what's the goal? It doesn't seem like he's trying to make more consistent contact.

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