M's 7, Sox 6 in 10 innings
unfortunately not pictured below: Valencia -before- the fateful Holland pitch


SOX 6 ...

No excuses for Andrew Moore.  He was never going to throw 100% quality starts.  And if he doesn't actively impose a sense of confusion on hitters, he is subject to getting beaten soundly about the head and shoulders.  As is Hisashi Iwakuma.

We talked last week about the fact that most pulled fly balls are off 'tasty' pitches.  The first two homers off Moore were not tasty ... as such, in a vacuum.  They were executed exactly as Zuumball called them and set his mitt.  So how could a nicely-executed pitch wind up scattering the peanut hawkers?  

Bill Krueger, aptly I thought, tut-tutted about the pitch selection as opposed to the pitch execution.  For example, the two-run jack that put Moore down 3-0 early?  It was a fastball thrown perfectly into Zuumball's mitt ... but down-and-in, right into the "loop zone" for lefties.  Almost the only place that Omar "83 MPH Launch" Narvaez can hurt you.  

As Krueger pointed out, finesse pitchers have to be aware of individual hitters' games.  This guy wants to extend his arms, that guy needs the ball down.  Moore at the moment is pitching without any of this knowledge.  "Know both your enemy and yourself and you will win the majority of battles.  If you know yourself only, you will lose one battle for each one you win.  If you know neither you will always lose."  - Sun Tzu, Art of War

Dr. D is put off not one whit.  If you play roto, this morning is the time to push in an offer on the lad.



So that's three nice wins out of the gate.  Based on:

√ a three-run bomb by Robinson Cano in a close game

√ a monster CF homer by Nelson Cruz to turn around the lead (425 feet to center off a 96 fastball)

√ a game-winning overtime blast by Nelson Cruz

Like Ground Chuck said, big games are won by big players.  Well, Chicago in July isn't Monday Night Football but at SSI we love seeing rich guys deliver succulent hors d'oeuvres for the home town hungry.


No sooner do we talk about the inevitability of Daniel Vogelbach than Danny Valencia drags us back into the middle of the Wild Card race, only -1 to mister 500.  The M's loaded the bases in the middle innings, down 5-1 and Blowers warned, "they have to get at least two out of this."  Segura smoked a ball that took Melky's glove off in deep left and then Valencia took a big leg kick ... "There it is." said Blowers quietly almost on the throughswing.  He has taken to injecting a quick phrase when something interesting is happening.  We approve of this.  It's fun to get a major leaguer's quick eye on the action as the ball is in play.


One time when Ben Gamel was up, Blowers talked about how grimly the kid sticks his nose into the zone against lefties.  Right on cue, Holland came at Gamel's earhole with a power slider that broke back and nicked the outer edge ... which Gamel stayed with, and flipped into left field for a hit.

The formulas give him credit for a .260, .270 batting average.  That's fine, but the formulas aren't setting his career arc based on plays like that.


Guillermo Heredia check, especially since he's about to get some PT in place of a dinged-up Haniger.  Heredia has got a 16:29 EYE and a "subpar" 84 MPH launch velocity.  Heredia's 1.31 groundball ratio is zapping his power; he's not getting many of the Back Leg Specials that we want from a fireplug like him.

But!  Heredia is a glove specialist   -- AND -- over the last month, he's got the very best fish rate on the ballclub at 21%.  His swing and miss rate is only 6% over that time.  Baseball's about the strike zone and Heredia is plus with the strike zone.  We don't say that Heredia is going to create 90 runs a year, but we like his chances going forward.  It's my club, we'll commit some time to him.

At Bill James Online, an argument rages about whether Launch Velocity should replace OBP and SLG and all that.  Dr. D finds himself wondering what Boggs and Gwynn would have "launched" on all those little flips into left field -- and what Dave Kingman and Rob Deer would have averaged on their launches.  Launch Velo is only apples-to-apples if you compare 1B-to-1B and SS-to-SS, right?  Well, y'know.


That's +3 games out of the break which gives a lot of impetus to Dipoto's trade gusto.  You would think?  Cinch up your harness, though, cuz

Five Thirty Eight thinks the Astros are better than the '27 Yankees.  ;- )  A record of 4-5 or 5-4 is just peachy keen over the next nine games.  Looking forward to seeing Aaron Judge, though.




Three against the Astros, 4 against the Yankees (our chief wildcard rival), and 3 against the Red Sox...ouch.

They need to split the Yankees stood at a minimum and they need to go 5-5 in this stretch.

Jed's picture

 I was hoping the stretch before the AS break would go better. It would've given a little wiggle room.

At least we'll have another week or two of meaningful baseball and I plan to enjoy it.


I imagine the all-star game and corresponding days off of baseball broke our rhythm. Denizens aren't the kind of scrubs who can play every fifth day and be productive. Give us regular playing time or trade us to someone who will!

I dunno about the need to go 5-5 Matt. If the current incarnation of the Ms has taught me anything, it's that whenever they hit a stretch that could "decide their season" they will play exactly well enough to still technically be alive, but poorly enough that their relevance is always tenuous at best. Therefor, I figure they'll go 4-6, maybe even 3-7. But then they'll go 6-3 against the Mets, Rangers and Royals and we'll all nod our heads sagely and say, "you know, they only lost those games because they were facing such good teams. They're still a tier two, wild card relevant squad."

Of course I also assume we eventually miss the playoffs by 2-4 games, so maybe they DO have to go 5-5 to actually prove me wrong.


...that they needed to go 5-5 for us to cling to hope that somehow they might get hot later in August or September and make up lost ground...and...

I said they needed to go 5-5 to have a realistic chance to catch the Yankees. :)


Yeah, I kinda talked my way around to the same position by the time I was done. Problem is, I don't really hold out any hope that they'll do it. This team is talented, but they've never given me any indication that they've got what it takes to be a playoff team. They're whatever is directly below that. But hey, at least they're highly watchable, and we can talk about what they need to do to get a playoff berth without sounding insane.


It wouldn't surprise me if the M's won or lost ten in a row.  I like Zeus, Felix Moore and Giviglio though.  These guys seem to be reaching some sort of consistent stride.  The offense is great. Nothing to complain about there.  

Lakay's picture

Great back-and-forth win by the Ms against the league leaders!


Yeah man, this sets us up nicely. Now if we win the Wednesday Zeus vs Morton matchup, we'll have actually taken a series from the best team in baseball!

These first two Astros games were the ones that looked impossible. Going 4-5 from here actually looks pretty doable.

Electrokrakenjr's picture

This one felt like the 50/50 game this series, with the Zeus game feeling very winnable and tomorrow feeling like we would probably have to steal it, today felt extra important. Also anytime we get those monsters in that ridiculous ballpark feels so so so good. It's also great to see the big boys finally getting those bombs. Out slugging Houston in Minutemade is a legit feat. Man what a game!


That's about as close to real-time enjoyment of a game as I can get these days.  It was a pretty thrilling outcome, for sure; I wasn't feeling all that confident when I re-tuned into the ninth inning with Guy Yard Oh on the mound...


Sources: increasingly active on buy side of trade market. Only 1.5 out in WC. Controllable starting pitching is priority.


If they had lost 5 in a row they would be selling.  They still might if they lose the next 5. As everyone has been saying, it's a rather important next 10 days for the 2017 Mariners, but at the moment at least they're exploring upgrades that are not #6 AAAA starters.


He's got 2.5 more years left on his club control (FA in 2020), is consistently one of the lowest hits-allowed guys in the league, career FIP of 3.60 and profiles as a really quality replacement for Iwakuma who has had some ace-level stretches in him.

The As are said to want legit prospects.  The Mariners have an outfield full. Would you be willing to part with top-5 Ms prospects O'Neill and Neidert (plus some low-minors extras) for Gray and his career 113 ERA+ despite the injury concerns from last year? It's not what Quintana brought back but it's about as close as the Ms are likely to get.

Good article on Gray from Sullivan, btw:  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sonny-gray-is-back-and-he-isnt/


Would be nice to package in a bullpen arm. Is Dull still around?

Those are good prospects. Gray is a quality mlb pitcher. Losing Smyly kinda makes it necessary to trade good prospects for pitching. With Pineda down and having TJ surgery, the Yanks figure to be interested, along with others, of course. The A's are in a strong position to get a good return.


in roto, Somny Gray would be a max priority target that's for sure - contribution a given and star power a tasty possibility -


Gray is an outstanding pitcher.  Neidert hopes one day to be his equal, and O'Neill is currently sluggling like there is no tomorrow but isn't close to big-time MLB impact, IMO.  He really is slugging though:

Updated numbers on the Tyler O'Neill Tear: last 25 games, 330/432/723 with 11 HR, 25 RBI. This has come over 94 ABs with 16 walks and 31 K's


I just don't know that the As will take O'Neill as he doesn't exactly fit their normal profile. I would certainly try for it, though - I'd even be willing to send Gamel, which is basically heresy after he won us ANOTHER game. Hard to break up the Flo Bros, so hopefully it doesn't come to that.

But one real lock-down starter and the Mariners could be playoff bound.  Make the trade today, DiPoto.


I can't imagine many people would say no to that scenario, unless they're particularly confident in Tank (who has lots of questions) or Neidert, who I really don't know enough about. Even if both become productive starters later, I would think the deal is worth it as long as neither becomes an all-star. This team is quite clearly one TOR away from being playoff worthy, and it's been a while since we made the playoffs.

I'm 22. I became a diehard fan in 2006. It's been a decade of futility, and I have no memory of any time in which this team played in the postseason. I don't say this to be selfish, but to highlight that the Ms have literally been losing for more than a generation. They've got a shot now. If the deal is there, I expect Jerry to make it. He's kind of obligated to.


Also, next year's rotation of Zeus, Gray, Felix, Miranda, Moore looks downright dynamic. Gaviglio plays the Ariel Miranda, "overqualified 6th starter" role. Maybe Drew Smyly comes back for the stretch run, assuming we tender him this offseason. I like it a lot.


I said in ST that he was gonna need surgery.  They wanted to see if they could heal him without it (otherwise they paid that trade-price for nothing) and now he won't be ready for half of next year either. Chasing that sunk cost will probably hurt us next year too.


I love the idea that JeDi has made such an investment thus far that he's obligated to grab for the brass ring going forward.  It makes sense.  I've got thirty additional years tacked on to your 22 and feel the same way you do Sherm.  WE GOTTA DO THIS!!!  I'm bettin' and hopin' and wishin' and prayin' that you is a prophet my friend.


He'll be good. He's adjusting to AAA now, at a good young age. But he's a chip, hopefully a blue chip, to be used in a trade. Haniger and Gamel have our corners manned into the forseeable furure.


- per Blowers.   Taking into account the opponent, the season situation, the chest up confrontation, and all the rest of it. 

 That's one reason the board gets a little slower :-) is that people, appropriately, have been hesitant to buy into the M's. They need to show some real star power and last night was an example of it.  

 Their ability to overpower quality teams will depend on some pitching truly stepping up - Miranda getting hot, Felix going on a run, or a Sonny Gray type stepping in and delivering some lockdowns.  Need some true face up beatdowns against good teams of which last night provided quite the blissful example ... Looks on Houston's faces were awesome  particularly Altuve against Sugar...

 The bullpen has the best ERA in the league the last two months, so shortening the game could be part of that… 

Take 2 of 3 from Hou and then outslug the Yanks, there will be 20+ posts a day but Dr D is also suffering from fatigue talking about talent and potential :- )

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