Dunno what it was, Dead Arm Phase or shooter's off night or what-have-you, but this is what it looks like when a finesse starting pitcher goes out against a good lineup and doesn't have a thing. The Cubbies didn't exactly splash the fences on Gonzales, but swing after swing sent low liners whistling into the OF grass. Watching Marco try to pitch himself out of these bases-loaded innings was like watching your 17-year-old beagle wif no teeth, try to gum a chew toy to death. And being scared by the squeaks every time.
1. Gonzales' fastballs were consistently off ... by oh, six inches. Or eight. So if you wanted an 0-1 or 0-2 count, No Can Do. He tried to protect himself with the inside cutter, but would miss with those two and watch them get whacked under K-Swag's glove.
2. His curve wasn't there. His changeup was, but was up. So there was no pitch sequencing, no setup and knockdown effect. Watch 70 pitches one after the other and you won't see a single deadfish change followed by a high fastball. No 0-0 leadoff curves. No painted fastballs for 0-1. Just no nuthin'.
3. Of course Marc-O isn't going to nibble a 3-1 pitch off the plate, so instead of 5 walks you had 12 (!) clean base hits in 3.2 innings. Amazing that your pitching coach would leave you out there for 12 hits.
That's spring training, though. Sometimes you go out there and shoot 2-for-11. Sorry that it was on the first TV game we had time to sit down for.
So, rather than bite his nails into the quick that LHP rookies have nature's highest return rate, Dr. D will console himself with a few 2018 stats :- )
A) #10 WAR in the American League at 3.6. Gimme a top ten war finish from Yusei Kikuchi, or either of the trade jewels, and I'll take that too.
B) #5 CTL in the league, with that swoooooon-worthy 4.53 K:BB, which beat our Gerrit Cole and David Price and Dallas Keuchel and everybody, except four guys named Corey Kluber.
Dr. D likes K:BB in a pitcher. With a simple K:BB sheet he could kick your keister in roto. Alternatively, with a simple K:BB sheet, Marco Gonzales could finish #17 in ERA, if you put him in a left hand pitchers' park.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY OBSERVATIONS
Dee Gordon looked as if his toe was okay. What does that look like? It looks like a whippet-type athlete bouncing around second base as if laying claim to the GG there.
Mitch Haniger looked as if he had his "swing load" synched to the pitchers' arm motions. Thus far he's off to a .308/.412/.923 slash line, so he'd better get it going. There's only like a week till Tokyo.
Balls were hitting the grass at various points of the compass around Ichiro. Hey, at least two of you guys know how to look up footspeed at Baseball Savant.
Jay Bruce may not be as daid as they first rumored. A POTD on that forthcoming. His bat launch surprises you, the quickness thereof. His splits for same-hand platoon look good great; HQ has him at 899 OPS LH-on-LH over the second half. For that matter, Bruce SLGGed .467 overall the second half. It looked it Friday.
Shawn Armstrong and his weird little FB-Cutter repertoire graded A-/B+, at least. Servais wants to see the offspeed (Armstrong used a 40-40-20 mix last year) and Armstrong threw several real crisp little faders in there. The M's are scraping the mayo jar for RP's who can even pitch the 6th, much less the 8th, so Armstrong's early dominance (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K) has him front-and-center.
Erik Swanson, the 'throwin' on the Paxton/Sheffield care package, gets the start Saturday. Definitely a last call for a lad who's got 4 R, 4 BB and 1 K in 1.2 IP this spring.