I gotta admit it looks a lot like Paxton's start in Seattle.
Last year, Paxton said the big key was to shorten his backstroke. Looks long to me again. Maybe he forgot, or maybe he doesn't care whether he walks three guys in a row, or maybe Dr. D is hallucinatin', Simon.
1. So even though he was armed with nothing more than a fastball that he couldn't throw for a strike, James Paxton held the Padres to 0 runs on 3 scratch singles in 6 innings.
2. The punch line: San Diego's offense is so fearsome against lefties that Roenis Elias was yanked from Wednesday's game.
3. The punch punch line: the moment Paxton left, the vaunted Mariner bullpen (#1 in ERA last season, both leagues) gave up 1.333333 runs per inning.
Wow. This would be most comparable to which?
- The Seahawks down to Jon Ryan at QB, but Marshawn Lynch gaining 231 yards
- Kevin Love getting his arm ripped off by Scorpion, but LeBron beating the Bulls in Chicago
- Tom Brady playing with a legal football and throwing for 200 yards
You see why Dr. D loves this guy. Then again, he loved Randy Johnson in 1990.
Dig the pitch-type numbahs:
|Curve||6 (!)||2||Like we said, Jon Ryan|
|Changeup||9||4||The 5 balls were six feet high|
I defy you to show me a table like that again this season. Especially in a shutout deal-io.
The TV had a great little squib about A.J. Burnett: on this date 14 years ago, he fired a 9 Walk No Hitter against the Padres. Yes, kiddies, there is such a thing as effectively wild. If the pitcher doesn't know where it's going, how does the hitter?
A good major league rising fastball hops by 8 inches. The hop on K-Pax' fastball is below charted against the blizzard of curves that he threw. Here is the direct link, or:
McClendon had a great line: "His arm was so live that he couldn't keep the ball in the strike zone." That was actually true, because the home plate ump took four rule-book strikes away from Paxton high in the zone. That's tough, when your fastball has just hopped up like a Mexican jumping bean. All of the robbed strikes were, you can be sure, on 3-and-2 counts ...
Brooks gave K-Pax' velocity as 97.0 MPH on the A-V-E-R-A-G-E, for the 91 pitches they classified as four-seamers. Check the trend as the game went along! The lad is building arm strength.
Yet another fun fact: after six innings the Mariners had 12 hits and about five more taken away from them. The Padres had 3: a seeing-eye slow grounder up the middle, a parachute hit so softly that Cruz couldn't get to it, and a medium-strength grounder in the SS hole.
Blowers pointed out, when the M's were up 7-1, that "none of it was comfortable and it's hard to enjoy it." He was right. Then again, you think Randy Johnson 1990 was "comfortable"? What's the opposite of comfortable, without using a prefix ... Tense. Harsh. Agitating. Exasperating. One Left Hand Pitch Versus Matt Kemp. Take yer pick.
Danny Farquhar is in free fall. He was brought in to a 7-0 game (?!) ... and yanked out of it after four batters. SSI was surprised to hear McClendon frankly admit that Farq is a mess.
Mark Lowe and Tom Wilhelmsen also got hit a fair distance around the block, despite having good stuff. Charlie Furbush and James Paxton didn't. That puts all five pitchers into perspective for us. Not that the Padres are the 1975 Reds, but ... the game was a pretty reasonable microcosm of where all five pitchers are right now, if they're taking on a lineup like the 1975 Reds.
When will Paxton revert to 2014 form and stay there? Well, the Big Unit himself took about 800 big-league innings to get his mechanics figured out, as did C.C. Sabathia (in my opinion). Sandy Koufax, 800 innings.
Mark Mulder, a hard-throwing groundball lefty, took only 150 IP. Clayton Kershaw, 300-500 IP depending on how you want to count it. Name a flamethrowing, 20-win lefty and I'll find you an IP total to match his developmental period.
For Paxton, it could be anywhere from here to Tuscaloosa. But I thought he said it was all about shortening up his backstroke. What happened to that?
I'll take the ups and downs this year and I'll live with the occasional blowout. I'd like to see Paxton clean up his mechanics though. The way he rocks back in his windup to the naked eye it looks uncontrolled. But he's a big guy and I expect it will take time.
The later Randy would actually lean his head towards 1B a bit as he reached back on the windup. Brought his knee and head close together and kept him "compact."
Seems K-Pax could benefit from exactly the same thing. It might only need to be an inch or two or even an aiki "moving without motion" thought to keep his head toward 1B. But that would be one of the first things I'd ask him about anyway.
do his 2015 starts *feel* to you like RJ's first games here? :- ) I'm wondering why you and Moe and Lonnie & etc. haven't jumped in on that one ... :: shrug :: probably Dr. D is out ta lunch again.
Of course K-Pax is not walking 6 men per game. It's just the general feel of his starts white-knuckle on a knife's edge we're talking about. Last night's start coulda become AS WE WATCHED IT (1) a 2nd-inning KO or (2) a shutout. Coin flip we got the shutout.
Since I didn't really become a Seattle Mariners fan until I move to Seattle until 1995. As a baseball fan I knew who Randy Johnson was but I can't say I had any real feel for his games. I'm not saying you're wrong not at all. I'm actually saying perhaps you're right that Paxton will outgrow his initial struggles. I certainly HOPE you're right.