Pregame: #32 vs UNR
First place? It's in the bag

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In reverse chrono order, the Shout Box sed:

GLSI wonder if Divish or Shannon Drayer could find out if that's something the Mariners track as well.3 hours 9 min ago
SABR MattLeone is missing by like 18" per pitch, BTW3 hours 53 min ago
SABR MattThe Yankees track that stat, FWIW. They have interns watching the game footage and recording estimates of how far the catcher's glove moves between set-up and catch. The average SP in MLB misses the glove by roughly 11 inches per pitch...command artists like Hamels and Lee miss by 5-6 inches and I'd guess that, right now, Walker is missing by 14-16" per pitch.3 hours 54 min ago

GLSWith Walker, I'm curious how well he's able to hit the target that Zunino gives him. How many times in a game does Zunino set up and not have to move his glove to grab the ball? When I watch an at bat, I'm trying to be more aware of this myself, but it's not something I'm tracking throughout any given game.

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Taijuan's "spikeball" is missing by 30", but at least it's a 30" vertically....  

When SSI first called this pitch a "spikeball" we weren't trying to evoke images of Karch Kiraly and volleyball.  Like we sez, it's gotta be nerves.  Taijuan has thrown well in the past, and he's thrown well in the majors in the past.  The first two starts were greatly annoying but do not change who Taijuan is.

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The two stats we've always wished for are (1) catcher's glove movement and (2) batter's reaction in-between-ness…  Until those two stats are publicly available, local shlubs will keep their jobs on the interwebs, it seems ...

About ten degrees off this idea, Matty sez

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SABRMatt:  From the 8th inning on, the mariners ran a nearly unbroken string of ABs in which they fought off pitch after pitch after pitchers' pitch and check swings on sucker pitches...all under huge pressure. It was truly awesome. In the literal sense of the word. 

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It was disorienting to watch this occur, the Seattle Mariners lineup stand in the box and joust like the 1998 Yankees.

It brings up the question of, "Which current Mariners could, perhaps, do this consistently?"  Believe it or don't, Chris Taylor is one such.  Granted, his inexperience limits his results a bit.  But that's the way he hits.

Obviously that is the way with Robinson Cano.  Also, Nelson Cruz does it -- after his fashion.  He has strikeouts, but so does @Trouty20 and we don't notice that pitchers can afford a pet routine to attack Trout.  Kyle Seager is, Dr. D tritely adds, a very "tough out."  Taro and Gordon banged their spoons on the table for Seth Smith for five years, precisely because of this trait.  Those four guys are givens.  What else?

SSI has always admired Austin Jackson's bat control, line drive percentage, and eye for the strike zone. He's not Smith, but he's certainly capable of being a tough out, especially in a rally.  We'll see what happens there.

We've seldom watched Rickie Weeks play.  Certainly he was a big part of the problem Sunday - the Rangers' problem, that is.  Maybe you guys can fill me in on Weeks' "tough AB" factor.

There are others:  Ruggiano against LHP, Brad Miller is certainly growing, and (choke or don't) Willie Bloomquist battles.

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The question comes in whether the ballclub can get a SYNERGY going.  Pro AB's are contagious, no question.  

The (right kind) of check swings (or imperceptible check swings)  occur because a batter is ready to attack, and a pitch comes close to being attackable.  

The "in-between" swings disappear because the batter is "taking away" certain pitches, narrowing his focus to those particular swings he plans to do damage on.  

The slop pitches, you see the batter relax with the ball halfway to the plate.  

The tough pitches, you see a quickness that denies the pitcher satisfaction ... 96 MPH jam pitch to Seth Smith, he snnnnnaaaaaps the bat around and gets the big Sac Fly anyway.  All of it boils down to the hitters having their thoughts organized at the plate.  "Pro AB's" the scouts call them.

And a pitcher gets battle fatigue from having to be perfect all the time; yesterday we saw Neftali Feliz His Ownself develop it.  Tonight's key to the game, and this week's key to the games, let's check for the CRITICAL MASS effect that could occur when you string a series of Seth Smith at-bats all along in a row.

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#32 Pitcher In the World vs Unranked (not in top 184 starters)

In F.A. Cup terms, this is Everton out of the Premier league going up against Ladybugs United out of a Leicester pub.  Coin-Op-san should be in better form for this start, and he doesn't exactly have a crushing lineup to go against.  If he doesn't have a nice K:BB ratio by the fifth inning, you may fret with Dr. D's blessing.

We notice that Wojciechowski throws a RH 90 fastball, 82 slider (ugh) and 80 changeup.  ZIPS projects him for a 3-9, 5.50 :- ) season and more to the point, Robinson Cano is not known for being overpowered by such pitches.  Too bad it's not BECU family night.

See you in first place,

Jeff

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Comments

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And that's with an everyday lineup that has two starters OPSing .450 (Zunino and LoMo).  Our benchies Weeks and Ruggiano are at .520 and .540 respectively.  And STILL the offense is kicking in 4 runs a game (650 pro-rated for the year or about what we did last year).
But there's nothing we can do when we're climbing out of pits to start 3 out of every 5 games.
ERA+ by starter:
Felix - 163
Happ - 145
Paxton - 72
Kuma - 59
Walker - 23
That's not good.  Those guys have to get it together and Lloyd did nobody any favors by yanking Kuma in that game at 74 pitches.  I know what he was trying to do but Medina didn't have it and Farquhar lost it - and now neither guy is available today.
Nelson Cruz can't keep running a 250 OPS+ this year. The staff is gonna have to get over their hiccups because we're not winning these early games.  We should be 3 games over not 3 games under.  Amazingly heroic comebacks can't be the norm not when the staff can't hold any of the leads it is given.
The offense even with some guys going through massive struggles has been enough.  When we won 116 it took Wilson and Bell a couple of months to get on track IIRC but it didn't matter because everybody else was hitting.  We can survive Zunino in the early going.
The starters have to get it together. TODAY.
~G

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