Marc-O vs Jacob Junis
Only 500 starts to go, kid



We sent this in to Hey Bill:


The Mariners just put Ryon Healy on the DL and called up RP Chasen Bradford, for a 9-man bullpen.

Their #7 reliever, Casey Lawrence, threw 8 perfect outs in Game 2 of the regular season and hasn't pitched since. The #8 reliever, Wade LeBlanc, hasn't pitched yet at all.

Most managers prefer to control a game via their pitching matchups rather than via pinch-hit matchups. And I realize you can't comment on a specific team's decisions. But could you help me out as to as why the *industry* has tilted SO far towards "buffer" relief pitchers? Teams are not using their 7 and 8, and they call up 9? I'm honestly baffled.

I believe you were right about 9th-inning "closers" being an artificial construct that would wash away in the sands of time eventually. And in any sport I've never agreed with managers' illusion of "controlling" a game through defense; in chess your chances are just as good to "control" a game by attacking. Same with the NE Patriots, right?


I'm honestly fishing for an answer here.  Maybe you Denizens could help me out?



First game, threw a shutout vs. the Tigers over seven innings.  Only three singles and a 6:1 CTL, and this in a 1-0 victory.  Last year, he had a 7.3 / 2.3 / 1.4 gopheritis slash line, so if the count is 3-1 he'll give in to a hitter.  The M's will probably have to hit their way to victory, as opposed to drawing four or five walks.

According to Fangraphs, he's strictly a sinker-slider RHP, with a 90 MPH fastball and 81 MPH slider.  Hard to say how he does well with that arsenal vs lefties ... let's see.

-- minus pitch value on the fastball, plus value on the slider.  Edwin Jackson type?

-- Weird.  No platoon splits in 2017 to speak of.  .448 SLG vs lefties, .431 SLG vs righties.

Oh, OK.  Here we go.  This video of his 1-0 win helps explain it.  His sinker had a nasty downward bite in this game at least, and his overhand slider looks like Ohtani-lite.  So those two pitches are pretty tough.

Servais will have to stack his lineup with lefties ... oh, wait.  Chasen Bradford hits righty, doesn't he?  :- )



Compared to what we were expecting, in his first start Marc-O

-- Did not throw 94 MPH

-- Threw two dozen cut fastballs

-- Threw a changeup with sweet arm action, thrown at the knees to dive below them

-- Had a weird 2:0 CTL in six innings, got weak contact

-- WON

This spring in Arizona and in game one, Dr. D was pretty blown away by his easy command.  Let's see a couple of dartboard 50's in the first inning and the Royals shouldn't pose too big of a threat.



Here is a unique little pre-game betting prediction, not that we bet on the games.  They point out that the Royals are off to a 2-5 start, scoring only 2.3 runs per game so far.  They like Seattle tonight ... even minus four starting position players.  :- )



Bob Dutton is doing a great job at  Couple of fresh insights in each blog entry, and he's free to be a little more opinionated these days.



Dr. D is still geeking out about Daddy-O's catch on John Kruk.  LOL.






tjm's picture

. . . I think is dictated as much by simple arithmetic as anything else. Pinch-hitters succeed how often? Most years pinch hitters hit for about a .225 average. I couldn't find data on OBP but just assume it too is at scrub level. Given that, pinch-hitting doesn't seem to be a great route to success. If you platoon your relief pitchers instead of your pinch hitters, seems like you're optimizing your chances of succeeding.

Don't get me wrong - I hate the bloated bullpens. I think they're basically a huge security blanket for teams, but the reasons behind them seem to make some sense.


The only backup 1st Baseman in Tacoma is Matt Hague, who's likely aid to the big league club is dubious.  At best, he's a better fielder than Vogelbach and a worse hitter with better power than calling up Chasen Bradford to be a ROOGY if the team is thinking that Nick Vincent is still finding his good deception makes the most sense from a standpoint of, "What are you going to get from the move?"


The AAA help is scary weak.  And that was one of James' 1980's markers for playoff chances, whether you can reach down to get help.

We'll have to hope for Seager, Cano and Segura to get their 150 games.  The OF and DH can be patched since we have 4-5 OF's.  Fortunately we do have some POSITION players with track records of 155-game seasons.

tjm's picture

I think you're right, Mal, in that this was a solution to a current probelm. But isn't that a problem created by management to begin with?

I also wonder about a third order effect of big bullpens: What effect does it have on a pitcher's efficacy not to pitch for ten days? When you create bigger bullpens you create longer lag times, no? Is this a good thing?


There is no way on God's green earth that Mike Ford wasn't a better baseball option (considering future output and not simply maximizing marketing) than Ichiro.

If you were already keeping both Motter and Romine, then Ford makes sense.

Gamel can't get here fast enough, btw.  And, as I said earlier, Tank wouldn't look too bad in LF right now.

Or Andreoli or Nieuwenhuis.  :)

And Moe favorite Jeremy Hansaker, who thumps RHP and plays three OF positions, was recently waived by the Diamondbacks.  I guess a .856 vR isn't quite enough.  

Ah, ignore me, I'm just depressed by tonight's thumping:  Marco got creamed, Ichiro and Heredia were 0-5 but Bradford was a highlight! Who would have thunk it?

Go team.  Get 'em tomorrow.


It's seldom when you start to realize a mistake within a week, and it's not a good sign.  In chess, when you make a move and regret it as soon as you punch your clock, a resignation is not far behind.

I'm curious.  Are you thinking Ford could have played OF?  Or if we committed to him for 162 games where would that have left 'Bach?  Not countering, just inquiring.


From Greg Johns:  Mariners will go with 9-man bullpen for KC series, but expect Nelson Cruz and Ben Gamel to possibly be back by Friday's home return and Mike Zunino possibly by end of weekend or early next week as well.

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