Something (such as a force, weapon, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and powerful and cannot be stopped
Now everybody is above 90 OPS+ except Lind, and there are four guys with 150+. Gotta find a way to get Dae-Ho Lee more AB's, wouldn't you say? He can spell Aoki or Martin against RHP's, or of course Lind or Smith vs LHP.
The M's ERA+ / OPS+ has sailed up to 121:113. Taijuan tonight against Fister. We'll be watching for splitters and sliders that start just inside the zone to break outside it.
K-PAX SEISMOS INITIATE EVACUATION PROTOCOLS UP AND DOWN THE COAST
In starts 1 and 2, James Paxton could not execute his pitches; he walked 9 men in 6 innings. In game 3, he threw a 3-hit shutout* with no walks. In game 4, he repeated his success with 8 whiffs, 0 walks, and 0 ER in 5.1 innings; following that start, he credited video work.
Last Sunday, he had 7 strikeouts and 1 walk in another lockdown. Jason Churchill had a specific explanation as to the fix that Paxton had settled on: a less extreme pinwheel with his front glove.
There's no one-size-cures-all fix to wild, flame-throwing lefties. But most of these LHP fixes boil down to a more compact delivery. Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson are the two reductio ad absurdum fixes: both of them found that with a more "potato bug" compact windup, they could reduce "vertigo" on the backstroke and still throw the ball by hitters.
This is occurring right now with Paxton. A less centrifigual front side is evidently allowing him to stay more "gathered" during the backstroke, with more control of his CG. Ironically, this had added zip to his pitches, since he doesn't have to "steer" the ball as he lets it go. According to Lance Painter "the life has come back to his fastball" and "his stuff is exploding at the plate." He's working quickly and confidently. An excerpt from Churchill's quotes:
The way he’s thrown the ball over those 17 1/3 innings has impressed everybody, including a rival scout that was hoping they could pry Paxton from Seattle’s hands before he was fixed, but failed. “He’s a different animal,” the scout said, “but the stuff is undeniable; you don’t see deceptive 95 with life and a out-pitch curveball on a left-handed starter that often. He was outstanding last time out (April 25 vs. Sacramento).”
It's a safe assumption that he's back in the synch that butchered four playoff teams in late 2013. K-Pax faces Albuquerque tonight.
Paxton has been so convincing, even over three starts, that the scouts have now /cosigned Paxton as a bullpen arm for Safeco while the M's "wait" for an injury in the rotation. Certainly it's tough to consider moving any of the current SP's out of their roles when the big-league team is winning every time they take the field :- )
If he's in synch, he offers every possibility for an Andrew Miller-type asset for the bullpen. Of course that's with the proviso that it's a short-term assignment, which we're 99% sure it would be. JeDi is well aware that Good Paxton is an effortless 110, 120-pitch buzzsaw and the bullpen isn't exactly hurting as it is.
I didn't see any 2016 videos of K-Pax on the Rainiers' website, but here is an old video full of 96-98 fastballs and unhittable yellow hammers.
BY THE NUMBERS
The M's are now +18.5 games up on last place :- ) and have TWO days' worth of first-place margin for error. The last time the M's were up by 2.5 games was ... hm ... typically it is less than one week into the season that the M's are behind to stay. That was the case in 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006 ... in almost all of these years they had waved goodbye to first place during the second series of the year.
In 2005, Rich Harden shut them out 3-0 on April 21st to bury them. In 2004 they were blown out by the Angels in three straight (10-7, 10-5, 5-1) to go down 3 games; they were -5 after eight games played and -10 down on May 12th.
In 2014 they did not lose first place permanently until --- > April 12th. LOL.
In 2009 they were not powerflushed out of 1st place until Cinco De Mayo. Wow.
In 2007 they were in first until April 18th.
In 2003, they made a fight of the division. Jamie Moyer beat Victor Zambrano and the Rays in Safeco, leaving us 77-55 and tied for the division on August 26th, although they collapsed to go down -5 games shortly after that. These were the dying embers of the Edgar-Boone-Olerud-Ichiro Mariners.
Other things that were happening in 2003:
- Matrix, Finding Nemo, and Pirates of the Caribbean are top box office hits
- Yugoslavia ends after 85 years, reconstituting as Serbia and Montenegro
- Lance Armstrong wins his 5th Tour de France
- The Scott and Laci Peterson story
- Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is arrested by the CIA
- The Iraq War begins and ends, directed by (fairly-new) U.S. President Bush
- The Hussein sons are killed and Saddam is captured
- Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor of California
- Elizabeth Smart is found alive
- The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
THAT'S WHERE IT STARTS. THE FEELING OF POWERLESSNESS THAT MAKES GOOD MEN CRUEL.
The M's teamwide pitching slash line of 8.3 / 2.9 / 0.9 compares to Felix' HOF career line of 8.5 / 2.5 / 0.7.
As to 2015 pitchers, the M's team line compares most closely to ... Felix Hernandez at 8.5 / 2.6 / 1.0. The 2015 Cardinals, with their historic 134 ERA+, had a slash line of 8.2 / 2.9 / 0.8, almost precisely matching the 2016 Mariners.