M's 7, Indians 1
stickin' it to The Man



If Wade Miley seems like an unappetizing night in the open air, having watched James Paxton and Edwin Diaz, tell that to the poor saps who watched Jeff (not Jered) Weaver, Horacio Ramirez and Cha-Seung Baek ten years ago.

GM Emanuel Lasker stated that the prettiest variation is always the most economical and functional variation - beauty is found in the least pretentious path to success.  Also in first innings that take 2 minutes, 41 seconds* to occur.


Miley and some ad hoc Indians starter matched zeroes until the latter made a mistake in the first inning.  His mistake wasn't in throwing the very best pitch of his 2016 season, a 95 MPH fastball on the hands at the top of the strike zone.  His mistake was electing to throw a pitch to Nelson Cruz.  Sometimes, the quality of the pitch is its own reward; in this case, there was also the reward of holding Cruz' homer to a paltry 401-foot air time.   Later he threw a less-quality pitch to Cruz and the homer distance reverted to its more typical 434-foot range.


That's really the only time baseball is 100% fun and 0% worry for me, when my team is up 2-0 after the first inning.  Somebody is going to score the next couple runs; if it's us, the game is over and we waltz through some celebration innings.  If it's them, it's back to the tie that we started the game with -- and aren't we all happy before the first pitch is thrown?

In the fourt, their middle infield pulled a howler, and we pounced for four runs.  I did that very thing once from second base in a softball game -- the other team was rallying, and one of the other guys' slugger hit a screaming meemie up the middle that our shortstop glommed onto, and he hopped up to flip it to second base to end the inning.  I was standing out at my position watching him.  Thirty years later his contemptuous look is burned into my retinas.  But do note that my junior-high error occurred on a park and rec field, not in Safeco Field and on television.

So there you go.  We're the mentally, physically, and morally stronger team, as Jay Buhner put it when his son's team won their last game 12-11.

Boomstick blew out the candles on this delicious little cupcake with the 434-footer.  Now, this is what we call a gameflow.  Take one more and call Dr. D in the morning.



Has been rackin' up the stats lately.  Specifically, a .725 SLG with a 202 OPS+ the last two weeks.  There's a takeaway here:  that league home run kings are meaningless next to Leonys Martin.

The Cruz "cluster-bombing," or carpet-bombing, puts wind in Matty's sails.  He was the one who expressed unflagging confidence in yon April-May Cruz' lean and hungry look.  But Matty's win is a sacrifice Dr. D will cheerfully make as long as he gets to run the following chart:


MOTO Avg Obp Slg HR RBI R Homers/162 RBI/162 Runs/162 OPS+
Cano, 2b .288 .345 .559 16 48 44 47 134 123 150
Cruz, rf .284 .385 ! .555 15 43 34 42 120 95 160
Seager, 2b .284 .357 .509 10 39 35 28 109 98 135


When I was a kid I used to root for stuff like that, for my team's three middle hitters to all get 100 RBI together.  Nowaday's that's unspeakably naive.  Are you a fan of Supertramp's "The Logical Song"?  Bet you USSM didn't realize they were going to be "The Man" when they fired up the site ...  :: shrug :: that's too melodramatic.  What I meant to say was that we're looking at Kingdome-era stats here.



Got off to a rough start, that rough start coming in eleven at-bats ... whoop!  Actually it was forty, wasn't it.  Ah well.  Laced a triple and slashed a single tonight.  The triple was one of the visually gorgeous plays in baseball -- a smoked liner that rolled too fast between the outfielders, up against the wall, while O'Malley raced around three bases to slide in comfortably against a swipe tag.

Forty at-bats, that's not a real chance, especially when your "fishing" rate is only 19%.  Could be we need to re-splace 'im, but let's not hold this two weeks against him at all. Now, if you want to hold it against him that he's not gifted at baseball, that's your prerogative.


MILEY (and Iwakuma)

Next article.  Both seemed to use the same little technical fix to sharpen up.  ... Or not; at least thinking of it that way allowed Dr. D a way draft approach to organizing his thinking about them.  Whether Dr. D thinks about them or not, they both sliced and diced.  Tolja!  Tolja!  Tolja this rotation wasn't six Horacios!  :: basks luxuriantly in other men's success ::

Fly by yer instruments.  In theory, this rotation bumblebee should fly just fine.  Hold it... or is it that bumblebees can't fly ...

The instruments, however, tell you to keep an airsick bag handy for Taijuan's start.  Maybe he'll be the third SP to use the magic-bullet technical fix?



Supposedly if you put this guy 6th in the order, behind three .290 guys with 40 homers and 120 RBIs, it would work good.  So far, no dice.  But Bat571 alerted us, in the Shout Box, that Lind is "coming around."  For the record, he did, with a clinical single smacked up through the middle slump-breaking style and another hit later.

Can only imagine this offense with a .500+ slugging Adam Lind into the bargain.



Dr D




Miley is giving us exactly what he gave Arizona-Boston over the last two years.  He averaged 197 innings and a 1.38 WHIP in '14 & '15.  In '16, he's on pace for 198 and 1.38.

His homer rate is up some this year, but everything else is exactly what we should have thought we were getting when we got him.  Well, BB's and K's are down slightly and hits are up smidge, but all are within the margin of error. 

We bought a durable back-of-the-rotation workhorse.  We didn't have one of those, if you will remember.  And that's what we got.  THe 2012 Miley hasn't existed for quite a while.  Anybody who thought we were getting that Miley was missing 3 years of contrary evidence. 

Given time, his FIP will come down, and his ERA+ wil normalize around 90 plus/minus.

Listen, he isn't starting games 1-4 of any 7-game post-season series that we might have coming up.  But, again, that's not what we bought him for. Dipoto bought him so that we might get there.

But the Good Doc is well aware of all that.  

Miley has gone 6+ innings in 9 of 12 starts this season.  And you all realized that the M's are 8-1 in his last 9 starts?  Of course, that includes the 68-run deficit, come-back win from last week. But hey, his 9 ER's in less than 5 innings kept us in the game.

KC won a World Series last year getting 61 starts/360+ innings fron Cueto, Guthrie and Duffy, all of whom rang up worse numbers than Miley.  

I know he's not Karns-Kershaw-Koufax.  Heck, he's not even Koosman (a nice alliteration, don't you think?).  He's a #3, tops, even on a terrible team.  He's a #5 for us, or a #6 when everybody is healthy. Well, #7 if you give Monty the ball.   But 200 innings from your #5 is more than decently valuable.  It was more so before we got Kuma back.  

Hey, he shaved!  At least give him that!!

I'm not naming any of my future kids after him, but he's doing pretty much what we got him for.




Thought it was apropos -- the torch has gone from Jamie Moyer to Jason Vargas to Wade Miley -- the durable, non-spectacular LH who gets better results than you think he should and just keeps going out and competing. Obviously Jamie had several years better than that, but that comment really gives a context


Hard to say it better.  Miley has seen a few extra balls go over the fence, but that could be mostly not his fault.  It *felt* frustrating that he had his bad starts with the wrong timing.

A real sharp start like Tuesday night's is all we need to put Miley back in perspective -- a ham-and-egger who gives us average-solid results *over the course of the year.*

Good thoughts as always Keith.


Name of Zduriencik, Jack.

Last seen ...

Well, where was he last seen?

Anyway, the large sums getting direct-deposited into the Cano, Cruz and Seager accounts were arranged by said Mr. Z, but the large numbers in the "SLG" column are a year too late to redound to Jack's political capital.

Such is the way of the world, of course.


Or would you call it *strictly* a matter of things not breaking right?

Would be SO frustrating to GM a team, and spot a player like Seager and hustle him to the bigs, and pay $240M to recruit Cano, and reel in your "anti-Blengino" RF ... bake the cake, and then have some other guy eat it.


Based on comments by both Miley and Paxton, I get the idea that Mel Jr. is the kind of coach that may LET a guy have a bad outing before talking to him about fixes. He gets a better buy-in that way, surely, but it also keeps the pitcher realizing it's HIS responsibility, not someone else's, to keep making adjustments and to ask for help when needed.

I do wonder how Taijuan will do tonight. If he, too, shows a step-up, we can look towards the Texas series with some hope.


Or is there room in the officer ranks for this kind of psychology and nuance... remarkable sir that given your career, you seem friendly to a more improvised way of bringing results ... but what would I know about leadership culture there ...


Obviously, in the military, you NEVER want a guy to fail during actual operations ----

BUT -----

most CPOs and officers are not above rigging drills or exercises towards showing guys a weakness in their approach that could be improved. This is especially true during refresher training, when you are trying to integrate new guys into the watch and casualty teams. They HAVE to depend on others; proving it to them is part of the purpose of the drills/exercises.

Obviously Major Leaguers (TM) are highly skilled and have practiced their craft over and over. Whether they take kindly to suggestions for changing something may require some sort of shortcoming before they are fully receptive. The long season makes this somewhat practical, but it's obviously subject to judgement and scrutiny, especially with pitchers. But it looks to me like Stottlemyre is not afraid of stepping in and suggesting things which have pretty quick results -- but only after the guy has tried himself, which is as it should be.

And, in comparison, providing power to a CVN in the Gulf, or to an SSN/SSBN under the ice, is major league, too. But the pay isn't quite as good.

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