M's 9, Nassssssty Orcses 7 - the Bullpen
you gots one year to live, brother

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MARC-O

We left off after four innings yesterday.  Marco had been making do with a located 88+ fastball and an okay changeup, but ... like a klepto, when it got bad, Marco took something for it.  In the 5th inning he came out spinning his curve ball, and during the 5th and 6th he got his 33-33-33 game rolling in proper fashion.  The oh-so-pleasant outcome:

5th

#3 Matt Chapman groundout to SS

#4 Stephen Piscotty whuff swinging on a low pitch that just clipped the knees

#5 Khris Davis popup to Maniger on an 0-1, up-and-in pitch

...

#6 Chad Pinder bouncer to Ryon Healy 3B

#7 Matt Olson 1-2 jam pitch, skied for an OF out

#8 Jurickson Profar 0-1 knee pounder, whuff on a foul tip

In other words, beginning with innings 15-16 on the season, Marc-O got into his top-20 rocking chair and mowed um down like a staff ace.  Despite the wobbly start he reeled in what was technically a QS, with 6 IP 3 ER and a 1:4 CTL ratio.  mmmmmm juicy I like it.  It took Marc-O a while to find his game, but once he did he knocked down the last 9 hitters in a row with remarkable ease.  This pitcher is no mirage.

Can you win your next pennant with this player?  Championship #3 starter is phrasing it in a greedy way, since he's liable to clock in at about #15 in the league.  Like Bill James put it 30-40 years ago on John Smiley, "Throws fastball, curve, change.  Mixes 'em evenly, works ahead in the count.  Been workin' a hundred years, and in a hundred more, it'll still be working."

At #15 in the league, Marco is fairly modest at #2, as would be John Smiley, Jimmy Key, Jamie Moyer or John Candelaria.  Hey, listen up for a second.  Dipoto had said a week or two ago, "there were a couple teams that suggested they would go beyond normal return for Gonzales and Haniger.  But you have to build on something."

In other words, teams haul out their Jimmy Johnson-style points grids and look up the Marco trade equivalencies and they tell Dipoto, "Hey, we don't care if you win the deal.  We just want Marco.  How much do you want for him?"  But the kid is a gamer -- take last night for example -- and I'm proud to have him in our unies.

:: rest, puffs chest out :: so tonight.  YU SEI KI KUCH I.  You psyched?  Me psyched!

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NICK RUMBELOW

Ooooh!  Ooooh!  me!  me!  Volunteered for Tacoma.  With a bit too much alacrity for my taste.  Entered 9-4, nobody out in the 7th.  Left 9-7, mighty A's lineup with 9 outs left.  YUK.

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CORY GEARRIN

Came into the game an 8+ / 3.8 / 0.7 (low) pitcher.  50-50 pitch mix, wants to get you out with the slider.  Threw a few too many of them.

But the CONTEXT here is:  we're not looking for a lockdown bullpen, not trying to find guys who replace last year's aces.  We want an AVERAGE-MEDIOCRE bullpen, three or four guys who throw strikes and won't beat themselves.

Gearrin appears to have a tight-spin slider and a 92 fastball that works decently good for da 7th.  In this one it was 9 strikes 7 balls with a bunch of dives right by the catcher.  But no walks and a K.

Sez here Gearrin is an early candidate for a bondo'ed-up 7th inning.  He's a journeyman AAA/MLB reliever with a bunch of 20-IP seasons behind him, age 33 now and some guile to go with it.  Sez here he's a decent bet to provide the 3.70 ERA that he's done lifetime.

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ZAC ROSSCUP

Comes with one of the better careers and pedigrees out of the Very Motley Crue that is the M's bullpen.  But he was the first M's pitcher this year to throw the ball dangerously; he has a slashing LH fastball that puts the burden of proof on the lefties he faces.

Career platoon split:  .138 (!!)/.266/.275 vs LH, .317/.389/.634 vs RH.  Could we draw you a better picture with a 3-D printer?  Funny thing is, he's got exactly the same 46:19 CTL (vs 41:17 CTL) vs lefties, meaning he's throwing the same pitches.  They just work on lefties, end. of. story.

He throws a 50-50 mix of 92 mph 2-plane slashballs and 86 mph power sliders.  Hey lookee here.  A 2nd viable piece for the 'pen?

Next year the majors go to a 3-batter minimum, I believe, 3 batters or the end of the inning.  Slap me silly, what an extreme LOOGY. ... watching him one game I was glad to have 'im.

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HUNTER STRICKLAND

His established level of performance is about 8+/3.0/0.7 (low) in 226 ML innings.  He throws a 2-1 mix of 95 heaters and 83 MPH sliders.  The slider is an overhand breaker that pops a nice parachute and racks up the garbage swings.  Sometimes the 1/3 offspeed cut gets a changeup at 88 MPH.  

What are the M's doing with him at $1.7M, incentives to $2.7M?  Haven't looked into it; impression was that he had a nicked-up off year in 2018, or off half-year.  He wasn't off Wednesday; he was a viable lower-tier closer.  Well, it's one game.

He looked fresh Tuesday, in other words, past his physical problems.  That showed 2.5 viable pieces out of the 'pen, if your standard is a fairly low "let the lineup and rotation carry you."  Maybe the ad hoc bullpen will keep us in it until Erik Swanson and a mystery man (?) get a chance to get up, impress, and take over the big roles.

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M's 1-0 unbeaten, untied and well scored upon,

Dr D

Blog: 

Comments

1

What a game for summing up the 2019 Mariners! Deep and ample offense, good but not great starting pitching, and an Arson Squad bullpen that hopes to hang on by a thread. Worked tonight (this morning?) because it's very, very hard to lose a game in which you hit a grand slam. In the future? Eh, we'll see.

I had the same read Doc: Gearen and Rosscup look capable, if uninspiring. Guys who won't embarass your team. Jerry's contention is that as an ex-journeyman-RP, he can spontaneously generate five or six 3.70 ERA releivers if given free rein to churn the roster like a psychotic Amish housewife. This year will be a great test of this. He's never had less to work with.

And Doc, I believe the piece you're missing is that Hunter is supposed to be a bit of a headcase. One part too-cocky, one part punches-water-coolers. On any other team, you'd be insane to call this man your Closer. On this one? Oddly enough, maybe it works out. Seems like his immaturity may be somewhat abated by being the biggest fish in a tiny pond. Maybe the lack of competition actually allows him to settle into his game, instead of feeling the need to thump his chest and try to out-alpha better pitchers.

2

Seems to be the one way we should call 2019 a stepback year.  Churn is exactly what I expect too.  Strickland was the only other pitcher that to me looked dominant yesterday.  I saw the career 5.21 ERA for Rosscup as a guy who turns 31 this summer and stopped looking.  There's still no guarantee on 3 batter faced rule, it seems the most divisive issue on the docket.

I think nobody wants to say it but Haniger looked bad in the box yesterday.  Just one day but he was almost the only Mariner that didn't seem to be seeing the ball well.

3

I'll cosign that, sure. I'm not worried. He's our best player, give or take Domingo Santana (I kid, mostly). He was red hot all spring, then had a bad opener. He'll be fine. Call me in a month if he's hitting below .230, and I still won't be worried.

Incedentally, this is Best Bet time of year isn't it? I've got one for you guys. Domingo. I don't know why it took me this long to realize I should do this, but here we are. I see absolutely no evidence to disuade me from the thought that Domingo is going to be a minor star for the Mariners this year. Let's call it >2.5 WAR this year, next year, every year.  90% confidence. Does that meet the definition of a Best Bet? Doc? Anyone?

4

But Dom Santa's defense has dragged his production down previously.  He might project best as a DH and there's 15 teams that may be considering acquiring one next year. 

5

Caught one off the wall this morning to end the game.......maybe he's no.........nevermind. I'm not gonna say it. If I do it will all crumble :D

 

2-0 Gentlemen

 

Go M's 

6

No, that's right Sherm, it's a new one on me that Strickland's supposed to have lousy makeup.

I'll comfort myself with the thought that ALL these guys, without exception that I can see, are supposed to be short-term Band Aids.  Maybe Gerson Bautista.

The SF Giants did live with Strickland for 3+ consecutive years and *then* made him the closer, so there's some more solace.  By the same token there was some reason that they waived him outright with three years to go on club control.

.....

In any case I am NO! fan of Hunter Strickland even as a 7th-inning guy, much less a closer.  The only question is, if you're looking for a guy who throws two solid pitches and throws strikes, he seems the only guy down there.

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