But I completely agree with the second to last paragraph. We are sliding out of contention for the Division title, but I am enjoying this team. I just have this feeling that we just keep moving forward, follow the game plan DiPoto has put together, and it'll all be good, regardless of what is going on elsewhere. I can't tell at times whether some of these losses are just bad luck (seems that way) or exposing a flaw in our approach, but I know if it's the latter, it will be fixed.
“I never do anything I don't want to do. Nor does anyone, but in my case I am always aware of it.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
"Chess can be a relaxing game if you play it that way." - Mikhail Tal
"I don't know about reporters, but I LIKE being at the ballpark." - Rob Neyer
Q. Is Adrian Sampson a quad-A starter?
A. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck ... check the late bite on its slider.
In Sampson's case, that power slider could be a "separator" that makes him a little bit different from other PCL starters. As well, he seems to spot a slightly plus fastball well and, in Servais' words, he likes to change the eye level with two strikes. Okkaaayyyyyy.
Dr. D was prepared to dismiss Sampson with a wave of the hand, but he showed different. After one look you'd give him a chance to be Dan Straily, not that this team needs Dan Straily.
Q. Does Dr. D give any credence to the idea that Edwin Diaz wouldn't hold up in the rotation?
A. It gets harder and harder to go on the record about anything when Jerry DiPoto is in the other corner. But. G-Money floated the idea of Chris Archer and ... you would have to explain to me, slowly in one-syllable words, what's wrong with that comp.
We had the five Opening Day starters. Paxton was #6. Vidal Nuno has forty decent starts in the big leagues; that's #7. Mike Montgomery we all thought was right behind Paxton. That's #8. Edwin Diaz is #9. So Adrian Sampson was one of a handful of guys at the #10-13 slot, and he looks like he could ERA+ 90 with little problem.
Slap me silly, if this season were a thousand games long the Mariners would be a shoo-in. I got your layering right here, babe.
Q. Why is Rollins back down?
A. Come to find out he now has zero (0) walks in 28.0 combined innings and has thrown over 75% (!) of pitches for strikes. That is hard to do in warmups, you know what I'm saying?
So if you are attempting to throw EVERY pitch for a strike, there is the question of what keeps them off you. Especially if you've got a 92 fastball and a prototype lefty slider you aren't too in love with. With Rollins, there was a suggestive way about his going up-and-down the strike zone, and he does have a power slider.
Churchill gives 9-for-48 as his statline against lefties in Tacoma. It sounds weird, but that's a guy I could close games with in a pinch. Bring him in to innings where there are two lefties due up and he'd be fine, wouldn't he?
But it's part of the reason that SSI doesn't get the hand-wringing about tired bullpens. Why not just yo-yo a scrub up from Cheney and give him the ball for the last three innings of your next game?
Q. Are they going to put King Leonydas on the Mariners' Mt. Rushmore?
A. He parachuted back into Safeco and has hit .300/.364/.500 his first five games back. Lighter on the loop zone, heavier on the top hand, the lad appears to be good at hitting now. I know somebody in that dugout who needs to go on Mt. Rushmore, but it ain't Leonydas.
Q. The TNT has the M's #14 in the power rankings.
A. It's a free country.
The run differential has the M's wayyyyyyyyy out ahead of the pack in #2 position. Here, sort this by run differential and enjoy. The #3-5 teams, Tex Cle Tor, are ten lengths back and the entire rest of the league is back around the turn, out of sight.
Yer missin' a great ball game, b'wana. Besides the M's having a very powerful team, they're interesting! They got Dae-Ho Lee and James Paxton and Edwin Diaz and a bright, smiley culture we can be proud of and they got four mashers. They have got an exciting upside in 2016, and needless to say they got the best blog in sports.
Long ways to go ... until the All-Star Break, that is. Try ta relax. Worse things in life than baseball.