Cruz's twitter handle is #ncboomstick which is hilarious. And he has been everything that we could have hoped for and more.
The Mariners came into their Saturday evening wishing to achieve a 4-7 record, thusly:
- 3-0 in Felix starts
- 1-7 in starts by the vaunted #2 - #5 rotation
But going into the game, Felix had a grabby thigh, the push-off leg, and then he started the game off throwing the way Dr. D hates to see him throw:
It's now SEVERAL years back that the Angels and Rangers demonstrated the right way to beat Felix: crouch down like Pete Rose, camera-zoom onto the knee level, and turn around fastballs and changes in that area.
Bad Felix is a contradiction in terms, like a "ground pilot" in the Seattle blog-o-sphere or the "guest host" in Dr. D's head. But if there's a Bad Felix, it's the one that stubbornly insists on pounding the knees with more and more hair-fine pitches.
Saturday's Felix did no such thing. He started cracking off the curve ball, throwing fastballs above the hands, and keeping Rangers in from recess. Once Saturday Felix changes the eye level, you can start your high-stepping at the 30-yard line. (Included in this is the jam pitch that keeps pesky rodent Rangers off his 92 black-painter.)
So Felix is 2-0, and the team 3-0 behind him. The three true outcomes are 23:5:1, the ERA 2.37, and the groundball ratio 60%. Back when Dr. D was a kid they used to refer to the staff ace as your "Stopper."
Looks casually in control of his games. He's pitching wrong, but if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
The SSI script called for 70% fastballs, to make sure the BB rate hit the floor. Happ is instead throwing 25% each of 5 different pitches :- ) and still walking 1+, nearly zero-plus.
Used to be you would grumble about a K rate of 2, but nowadays they've got newfangled stats like "swing strike percentage." Happ, for two games, has been coin-op quality start city. He ain't Cole Hamels but he can pitch for my ballclub.
And Dr. D still wants to see him use the 2014 pitch mix. They don't call me bulldog for nothing.
What can I say. When the kid's had his beauty rest, he's Fernando Rodney without the throws to the backstop.
Mr. 1.5 WAR
His "win probability added" stood at 1.22 going into Saturday night, so I guess he's due for 0.28 over the following 152 ballgames.
Oh wait! They have these in the box scores, too, right? Another +0.26 wins for Cruz tonight. So if we're paying him for 1.5 WAR, it's all gravy from here, boss.
As y'know, SSI had always thought of Nellie as a "camouflaged player" because the partial seasons meant a lack of 30-100 statlines that so impress the sabes. (Irony alert). Those who noticed this considered Cruz injury-prone, which he of course isn't (it could be that nobody is injury-prone, much less Cruz.) Also, everybody assumed that the park in Texas was buffing up his stats.
As y'know, all that was predictably inane; we know it was predictably so because it was in fact predicted.
Having peered at him through cheap Wal-Mart reading glasses for eleven games ... Two things we did NOT know about Cruz:
- The respect pitchers give him
- The bat control
Look, who wants to be sour after Felix Day. Okay. :: reboots :: Coming into the 2015 seasons we thought that Cruz was a serviceable #4 hitter, a quality #5 hitter or a championship #6 hitter. Much like his ancestor in Seattle, Jay Buhner.
Move all those semantics up, one half to one full notch. He's a quality #4 hitter, a championship #5 hitter or ... what's past "championship" 6 hitter?