|Seattle||27-19||On pace for 95 wins|
|LAA||26-21||-1.5 to Sea|
|TB||22-23||Doesn't count when you're under .500|
Q. Is Dr. D worried by the M's Pythagorean splits? They've scored +209 runs and allowed -204, which suggests a record more like 24-22 than 27-19.
A. In this case, not so much. For several reasons.
(1) They are #4 of 30 teams in OPS+, and that's not just a cherrypicked stat. They've got a near-elite lineup. They are #16 of 30 teams in xFIP; their staff overall (including the Stars Paxton, Marco and Diaz as well as the scrubs) is average-mediocre.
In a quick check, I couldn't really find the run leakage (their bases gained and lost should produce a better differential than 209-204). Their luck stats (BABIP, HR/F and LOB) are normal. Their defense is middle-of-the-pack so far. They're around 8th in the league in most pitching categories. But, still, IMHO the hitting is better than the pitching is bad. They should be winning comfortably, which they are.
(2) Their problems are fixable, and rather easily so.
(3) Offense teams are come-from-behind teams, like my beloved Big Red Machine always was. And believe it or not, they're getting their share of nice bullpen evenings, such as Sunday.
This is an example of what we're talking about with Pythag. Haniger put a rawhide-tough AB on the Tigers' closer, ruined tough pitches, and took advantage when he got a pitch. This is coming from a fan who has seen 40 years' worth of foul tips straight back when a Mariner got a pitch.
"Heart" is an intangible, but at SSI it's okay to talk about intangibles. This is a club that will stalk an AB and stalk an SP on a good day, Fullmer or Liriano or whoever. They'll give you 300 pitches' worth of their most intelligent baseball, and I'm blinkin' likin' it.
Haniger's got 11 jacks and 35 ribbies, putting him on pace for 39 HR and 123 RBI.
Did you see Segura as he watched the HR sail over his head? This is a club likes each other, and that likes to win.
On Sunday, he delivered in actuality what Juan Nicasio was supposed to deliver in theory. Does everybody remember that Cook used to be an AL All-Star? On Sunday he was throwing 95-96 and the shape on his 86 slider was biting, the location on it good-to-excellent.
Earlier, a gentle Denizen proposed the Jamie Moyer theory. :- )
Welllllll .... on the one hand, you've got James' maxim that given enough time, MOST pitchers would figure out a formula and wind up making nice money. It's a question of whether they stick around long enough ... LeBlanc has been in the big leagues 10 years. Who was that Texas guy who just debut'ed 17 years after being drafted? Good for him. ... is it impossible that LeBlanc found the ingredients:
- 86 fastball
- 83 cut fastball
- 77 changeup
- Ten years' worth of moxie and pitchability
And from that learned how to consistently bake a Quality Start pie?
... Dr. D sadly puts his odds at 10:1 against or more, even after four straight sweet starts from the man. How many 90 ERA+ journeymen have ever come into a team and started off with 4 nice games?
.... sigh, but on the other hand, if he got good, how would you know.
He hasn't been lucky; he's pitched very well. If he were to execute like this next game, he'd win next game. Right now he really is throwing that ball lights-out, pitching as well as you can with that arsenal. He's backing guys up who hang over, he is pulling the string when guys get the bat out in front, he's going up and down and ... would you believe he said tonight that he's pitching "back to front" in the zone? you ever hear that anywhere 'sides here? Yeahhhh baby
I'll guaranTEE you the Mariners are thinking game-to-game on Wade LeBlanc, but guess what. Sunday he just bought himself two more games. If it turns out he suddenly got good, I'll be the happiest camper here. :- )
JeDi is squeezing the sponge on him, draining every last drop, and Dr. DL is enjoying it as much as the next guy. If you want to make your case for LeBlanc's career year, hey, CMS below.