Looks like DiPo ain't so great at picking centerfielders. Did somebody say M Smith was a plus defender. Man, he looks horrible out there. This is two years in a row our visionary GM envision a future that didn't come cloe to happening.
Editor's note - going to hafta streamline the shtick a tad here kiddies. For a bit. Typing is a bit persnickety, so out go the wit wisdom and warmth, and in stay the acerbic abrasiveness and errors. May only streamline from 450 to 435 but it's the principle of the thing.
The M's were skateboarding down the winning ramp like Galadriel down those stairs to the mirror fountain when Mikey took a 1x4 and broke it across our shins. Out goes the 16-8, in comes the 16-9. Which leaves us on pace for a measly 104 wins.
Did the M's have a bad pitcher going today, axs Dr. D's wife? (Funny how M-o-Centric we all get. Every W is normal; every L was a mistake that needs to be cleaned up.) No, Dr D sez, just lotsa W's and L's in baseball.
Mikey is who he is, meaning that you get a steady performance out of him and it's worth something, though not anything to get too carried away about. He's still rolling 1+ walks and still keeps them off the strikes with 5 legit pitches and good command. Hope his velocity bounces back, though! When Shaun Marcum's velo fell from 89 to 88 to 87 he had only 7 years left. Leake's at 4.30 ERA and will probably finish the season there - if the M's young guns haven't run him down from behind by then.
Now that the overwhelming majority of the evidence has been turned in on Kikuchi's career, we can see clearly that he's on sked to appear in several All-Star games. Let's take the first batter of the 2nd inning Saturday, Kevan Smith:
- Pitch #1 - 92 ball
- Pitch #2 - Big 70's yakker belt high freezes him. Barry Zito
- Pitch #3 - Back-to-back yellow hammer, up, freezes him again. David Wells
- Pitch #4 - Slider 85 right in on hands, weakly fouled away
After this drop-dead gorgeous pitch sequence to reach 1-2, Kikuchi hits the nitrous.
- Pitch #5 - ball 95 way up
- Pitch #6 - Lo-in 85 slider NICE NICE NICE somehow some way he fouls it off?! How?
- Pitch #7 - 94 fastball in and up OVER hands NICE NICE NICE blows him away, STRIKEOUT
You ask, why not every time there Dr D? Tell ya why not every time. Kikuchi's confused about two things.
- He fails to get his curve up, for a called strike, Bedard style, and
- He gets his slider down, for a called strike, when they'd be fanning over the top of it if it were a ball.
Curve too low, wasting a freeze for a ball. Slider too high, wasting a garbage swing. Watched that very thing all night long. One time Kreuger mentioned it. But real quick here he'll make the adjustment to MLB, will realize they can't touch his curve, and then whoo momma. 95-85-75 and that third pitch is, in his case, an actual third pitch.
Back to the game - I didn't see but 3-4 balls squared up all game as it was. Went an hour between hard contact one time. Just the three pitches and nothing else were plenty 'nuff even without being oriented. The only reason for the 4.63 ERA is that the three luck stats are all lousy as a group (60% strand, 14% homer/fly and normal BABIP). Also, the defense has played badly behind him.
Love love love Yusei Kikuchi. He is the balm to my Paxtonless Gilead. 3.40 ERA at the end of the year, top 15.
Is pitching for his life.
Not in theory. You can visibly watch him pitch for his life.
It suits him. Very nicely. 3.92 FIP after 5+ the last two years, starring a 0+ walk rate. Go dude. Save your job it's okay by alla us.
Mallex Smith has worrisome splits.
Look at his home/away splits last season. Very good playing in Tampa, very bad playing on the road.
This kid loves playing on turf so much that he used it to swashbuckle his way to 20+ more singles at home than on the road with similar plate appearances and only a smidge more power, the extra singles uncharecteristically propping up his Home OPS.
My take: he used the turf to his advantage by slapping rollers through the holes. A strategy that dies a quick death on the slow T-Mobile grass.
I still like him, especially if he part of a CF platoon. He’s a career .626 bat vs. lefties, with no pop, whatsoever (career .074 ISO). He’s dWAR‘ed as a good glove in CF for three years, I think this yeat’s # is a bit of an aberration. He has A .254 BABIP this season, that will improve.
Anybody else concerned about this?
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the first of 3 vids on a kid in Modesto named Haberer. Watch the “hop” on the fastball as the batter swings under it.