K-Pax vs Brandon McCarthy
#143 vs #70. Vegas odds: +115


THWIP:  Bill James is now keeping an updated list of the Starting Pitcher rankings.  Brandon McCarthy is #70 'in the world,' David Huff is UNR, and Brett Anderson is #167.

THWAP:  Of course, James Paxton is merely #143 by the nature of the beast, Hisashi Iwakuma is a lofty #31 (both leagues), and Taijuan Walker is UNR.  The real point is that the M's are lucky enough to miss the #1 and #9 pitchers 'in the world.'

In this article, Bill explains what attracts him to the concept:  the fact that it creates storylines.  Hey!  You've got #1 vs #2 going on up there in Seattle!  Also, if the #143 beats the #1, that's a cool news line to be aware of.

From the world of NCAA basketball, rankings have value because they drive seedings.  From the world of chess, rankings have value because we have so much confidence in their accuracy.  The #1 player in WA State is a long, long ways ahead of the #9 player, and the #9 player is a long ways ahead of the #40 player.  Two guys sit down, right away you've got a feel for the David-vs-Goliath factor.

Tonight's game, in chess terms:  an established, strong veteran against a flashy junior player who's got a lot to learn.  Snake-eyed junior players with ratings of UNR, they are scary.  They ain't masters, but they're scary.

Paxton's ERA is #5 in the AL since his first start, about two years ago.  You can see the problem with counting the stat that way.  You can also see the non-problem with the stat.


THWIP:  Gordon tells us not to worry about Felix' quad.  Half a day later, the beat writers relay the news that Felix' quad is nothing to worry about.

THWAP:  Dr. D really appreciates our having a subcontracted Rick Griffin on staff.


THWIP:  Dustin "1-Iron" Ackley -- not Justin Ruggiano -- playing center field in place of Austin Jackson.  A Strat-O-Matic type move that Dr. D, of course, thoroughly endorses.

THWAP:  SSI had read McClendon as being more "loyal" to Austin "-0.34 Win Probability" Jackson than this.  He continues to deploy the Beane Count "earn your playing time" memo to every locker possible. This also is a move that Dr. D, of course, thoroughly endorses.

The Spring Training patter, on TV, had been that Jaxon was having oh just such a wonderful spring.  You, the erstwhile SSI reader, saw through it right away.

You erstwhile SSI readers also would like to know how well Ackley is going to adjust back to outside pitches.  Who knows.  But he has now had 2,029 major league at-bats to intuit the solutions.  Alex Gordon needed, what, 1,700 of them.

Best-case scenario:  Ackley hits his 4-5 WAR stride, the outfield becomes a TRUE 6-to-make-3 carousel, and the 2015 Mariners are a far better team for it.


THWIP:  The M's have 7 lefties against McCarthy, plus Boomstick and the catcher.

THWAP:  okay, so it's a little chickenfeathers to count Paxton as a lefty.  But still.  Earl Weaver Lives.


THWIP:  First time out, James Paxton was quite a ways forward of where SSI had expected him to be.

THWAP:  Who knows?  Maybe this time out, he'll even have a functional curve ball.  2-0 is the new 0-2, babe.

Paxton's life ERA stands at 2.68 going into start #19.  Good stadium to pitch in.


Dr D





4 home runs and counting.  Whenever this happens a pitcher should go before a meatball board to see if their current ranking is justified.  Paxton is way better than this guy.
The smart money was on the Mariners tonight.


Hadn't read this...but I shouted out exactly the same thing Doc.
My goodness.....You had better run for the hills.
People will think you're nuts.....we agreed on something!  :)

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