M's 4, Rangers 10
Momentarily going by K-Pax as he resumes his search for his timing


James Paxton returned and fired a 35-for-41 strikes blizzard that had many people -- notably Dr. Detecto -- thinking he'd never walk a batter again, all the rest of his born days.  His last two starts, he reminded us that he's still early in his career, early in his new low-slot incarnation especially.  This speed bump may have knocked a wheel out of alignment, but does nothing to diminish SSI's enthusiasm.  True, it's a bit of a letdown that K-Pax will not run a 1.75 ERA the next ten years.  :- /  Demote him to "sensational young pitcher" and leave it at that.

Paxton sez


"I'm trying to figure it out right now," Paxton said after allowing a season-high seven runs in 3 2/3 innings as he fell to 5-2 with his second straight loss. "Something definitely isn't right. The last few starts you can tell something isn't quite there. I'm healthy. There is no issue with my arm. I'm not hurt. It's just my timing is off. I'm looking at video and trying to figure it out."


And Servais sez,


"The last couple games he just hasn't looked comfortable out there," Servais said. "There's no rhythm to his pitch sequencing and everything looks like a struggle. He's a big part of trying to dig us out of this little hole we've created here. So we've got to get him right and get him back on track."


Agreed.  Personally I compare it to Randy Johnson jelling in 1993.  He had fixed his forward lean in the 1992 offseason, talking with Tom House and Nolan Ryan.  If you look at the Unit's game logs -- and this was his first big year, 19-8, 3.24 in the Kingdome with 300+ strikeouts -- you see the fits and starts of a holocaust:

  • :- )  First 6 games, three HOF performances and three high-BB, bad games
  • :- D Three amazing starts in games 7-10, looked like that's all she wrote
  • :- (  But then three straight very high BB games in 11-13
  • :- D  From there to the wire, Randy Big Unit Johnson ... albeit with an 8-BB game here and there

It wasn't until 1995 that Johnson became a machine.  The point is, if James Paxton is a juggernaut in fits and starts, mostly starts, it ain't going to deter me any.  Your mileage may vary.



Ben Gamel scored yet another 3 runs and is bashing along with an 888 OPS.  Quite reasonable for a glove-first player.  Does his .463 BABIP make him an illusion?  Not if you watch a ballgame now and again.  Gamel has a ridiculously low 13% soft hit batted ball rate and a ridiculously high 30% line drive rate.  Nobody sustains a .463 BABIP, but this is a young hitter who will not swing at a ball, and who can zing crisp shots all over the park.  

He's at 145 OPS+ and Dr. D still does not envision an UP scenario much better than Seth Smith's ... 110, 115 OPS+.  So the BABIP is indeed making a nice young hitter look like an MVP.  But just 'cause he ain't an MVP don't mean he can't ring you up 3 WAR.


Mike Zunino with two more base hits, albeit with two strikeouts also.  His season slash line is .248/.313/.441, which over the last three years is very comparable to the slash lines of Evan Longoria, Danny Valencia, Kendrys Morales and Yasiel Puig.  We don't say Zuumball is out of the woods, but could you even *imagine* his bringing the slash up to what it is?  Even given a full year to repair it?

Sabermetrically, Zuumball is keeping a very high fly ball ratio.  He's at 0.68 groundout/airout.  Many times that's the key for a hitter; you remember Jose Lopez stung the ball but just could never catch anything but the top half of the ball, and his groundout ratio zapped his SLG.


Jarrod Dyson hit a home run, continuing to benefit from his attack mode.  In other words, the bottom of the lineup continues to Bomb Voyage the enemy pitching.  One a' yer all time great 102 OPS+ lineups :- )

Be Afraid,

Dr D




...I mean, after this year's rookie and otherwise breakout performances, it can be easy to forget that players develop.

It's not like every callup is Mitch Haniger.

I know it can be hard for a fanbase accustomed to plugging in a Dyson here, a Gamel there, a Heredia off yonder... slap some Diaz on the wall and see what sticks, take a couple spoonfuls of Gaviglio and call me in the morning.

But - somehow, though it's really hard - we really need to learn to give our young studs like Paxton time to work out the kinks.


I mean, it could be so worse. Remember whicheveritwas AL West team that had all those really exciting prospects a few years back? Whatever happened to them? :-P


His velocity was way down two starts in a row, his command evaporated, and he looked physically distressed...lots of walking around the mound looking at his arm, shaking it out, etc. I am encouraged to hear that he doesn't feel there's an injury issue. The threat, here, is that if his mechanics are fouled up, he could get hurt any day now.


Yeah, and that somethihg is the pitching coach.  

That's the person who's paid to figure this stuff out--not the pitcher himself.

To repeat my lament, there isn't one pitcher who's improved under his tutelege.  All improvement is made in the minors...and then they come up to the show, where Stottlemyre will help them fail.  


More marvelling at the way thigns have changed than critiquing as assessment of Paxton's status.

Given that it's mechanical rather than injury - and acknowledging that the former can lead to the other - I am actually farily unconcerned over the long term. We've got good guys; I'm sure they are working with him through this already. Hopefully it's a quick fix and we'll be back to seeing Paxton at his best shortly, even if inconsistently.


Yovani Gallardo's first three starts of the season looked like this (Innings/H/ER) 5/8/2, 5/7/4, 6/9/4.  Many of us were pretty leery of him then.  His last 6 starts have been 3.2/9/9, 5.1/7/3, 3/6/5, 7/6/5, 6/7/3, 5/6/5.

OK, he did only walk one guy in each of his last two starts.  Maybe he's found something.

Maybe not.  :)

He's had 14 starts (not once missing a turn) and thrown 75.2 innings.  He's going about 5.2 innings per.  He's gone 7 innings once, and 6.1 innings twice.  He's gone less than 4 innings twice. He's not really giving the bullpen a bunch of rest.

Yovani is 3 and 7, the team 5 and 9 in his 14 starts.  (for comparison, we're 3 and 4 in Bergmann starts.  In 2 of those losses he was perfectly atrocious, in 1 he threw 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 ER).

We're a .500 team, minus Gallardo's outings. I know, I know, way back on May 15th, he threw his third "sharp" game in a row (6/4/1, 5/4/3, 6.1/4/3), and that Gallardo might/could show up at any moment.

But if you blink, you miss the moment, and then you get to see a 7/6/5 guy in his next outing.

With the injuries to Felix, Kuma and Smyly, you have to imagine where we would have gone to fill Gallardo's 14 starts, if we didn't have him.  IDK, maybe you would have fast-tracked Moore. But whoever, it is unlikely we were any worse than 5-9 in those 14 starts.  In the 5 wins the M's managed to escape with, among those 14 starts, we scored 11, 11, 6, 6, and 14 runs.  It would be decently difficult to lose many of those.

I will give him this, in 5 of those 9 losses, the M's scored 0 or 1 run. Hard to win many of those. In the other 4 losses the M's scored 5, 3, 3 and 4 runs.  You might, normally, win some of those....but we gave up 10, 4, 6 and 10.

As I've said many times, he was always going to get lapped by a young arm (Moore) this season.  Well, Ta-Dah!  It has happened.

If 88 wins is still the target for a likely WC spot, then we have to go 55-37 the rest of the way.  We have 37 losses right now, so we've used up 50% of our season's allotment in 43% of the season.  55-37 is a 60% clip.  

With or without Felix, 60% is smoking!

I'm pretty unwilling to watch 14 more Gallardo starts, because I'm not real confident we go 7-7 in those games.  

A while back, I saiid that the logical spot for a Andrew Moore appearance would be June 17th (now come and gone) or the 22nd, back in Safeco.  Moore would be working on extended rest, but who cares.  He's a better bet than Gallardo.  Way better.

If Bergman is sharp today, Moore on the 22nd is more than a fair bet.  If Bergman isn't sharp today, we may see Moore on the 23rd. Or Moore on the 22nd and Gallardo on the 23rd.  Or Moore on the 22nd and Felix on the 23rd.  Wouldn't that be spiffy!

Super Two has to have come and gone.  Regardless, it is time.

Make it so.

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