...so today we shall see if he has what it takes. Given that Felix hadn't generally been pitching very well apart from the last couple of starts before the fateful mushiness of his most recent attempt, all Marco needs to do to hold serve is be serviceable. It would be nice if he got hot. :)
Dr. D enjoys playing the smartphone game "Pokemon Go" with his family. If you consider yourself above such childish endeavors -- as you definitely should -- the "pocket monsters" battle each other in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. That is, water Blastoise does double damage* against fire Charizard and easily douses the dragon's flames. But Charizard burns up grass Venusaur like ... well, grass in a brush fire. And, neatly, grass Venusaur turns right back around and pollutes water Blastoise, so it goes in a circle and you have level ground on which to deploy your specialized weapons.
My personal fave is that electric Jolteon beats anything water, and it's kind of fun to pull out your smartphone and watch Jolteon "electrocute" Vaporeon in hilariously simple fashion.
The moral of the story? Perhaps there isn't one. Is there ever a point to Dr. D's parables?
Oh yeah. Sometimes you can have a bunch of equal things, in which case specialization comes in real handy. ... All Denizens are sharp cookies, but when you match an airborne SABRMatt Skarmory to take out an earth-bound fighting Machamp math problem, you win in about a quarter the time.
All Denizens are well capable of crunching any given baseball problem, such as Marco Gonzales, but it turns out Bat571 has been following the lad raptly since college. Marco's college, not Bat571's, we assume ... :: ulp ::
Very cool when a Denizen comes from a particular city, or alumni'ed a certain college, or played a particular position.
Yes, Tacoma, it's me [Bat571] that likes Marco, and I have liked him since Gonzaga. The interesting thing to me is all the "13.50 ERA" comments around the 'Net about his callup. I've had some issues in my life that required some rehab, and I currently have to go to PT to maintain my ability to walk and stand even a little bit. For Marco, coming off TJ surgery and not pitching at all last year, getting built up in April, then pitching a few games in Memphis and then getting called to pitch in a DH for the Cardinals is actually quite good progress.
He got hit. OK. The Cardinals are among the best at developing pitchers. They didn't DFA him right there. The sent him back down to Memphis, where he pitched lights out for 6 games and then got traded. Two more games in Tacoma to get used to things and settle back into the NW (his home is Seattle, even when he was with the Cards). Now we get to see him.
Yes, he's a LH pitcher who throws a change-up. But word is his FB is back sitting 91-92, touching 93 again - and maybe better movement than before TJ. And, he's known for a first-class brain and iron determination. We're not talking an 85 mph fastball here (though he struggled to maintain 90 in his Cardinal call-up). We're not talking razor-thin margins to BP pitching. This guy was pitching in the majors for one of the best-run clubs in baseball a year out of college and doing so in the playoffs with LOTS on the line. And he's hitting his stride after rehabbing for over a year.
Each Denizen places his own weight on the St. Louis Cardinals' judgment: some +1, some +4, some +8. Dr. D is wayyyyy towards the heavy end here. It is a great comfort that the Cards not only deemed Gonzales capable of playoff leverage as a rook -- but they actually 'rushed' Marco in Kyle Seager fashion. Goodie.
His velocity is apparently back. ...both Bat571, and Dr. D, and several Denizens, know what serious rehab is like. The TRUST, the touch-and-feel, the confidence, comes back later than the 98% physical restoration does. I don't doubt in the least that Marco has needed a nice easy glide path towards his best command. How are Gonzalez' game logs? Thusly in July:
7/28 = 6 ip, 2 h with 3 er and a 4:4 CTL
7/24 = 6 ip, 6h with 3 er and a 1:5 CTL
7/18 = 6 IP, 6h with 4 er and a 2:1 CTL
7/13 = 6 IP, 3 h with 2 er and a 1:8 CTL
7/5 = 6 IP, 4 h with 1 ER and an 0:6 CTL
His last two starts of June were even better, so in his last seven starts he's got 44 IP with a 38:11 strikeout to walk ratio and, it says here, only 1 HR allowed in that time. He's gone 6+ innings every blinkin' time, and there's something to be said for bringing a repeatable game.
Unfortunately we can't take his Saturday callup as a statement in itself that he's throwing well. We are willing to take a quality start against the Royals as a statement that he's throwing well ....
Not trying to talk myself into Gonzales. If he were a top-25 prospect then the Cards would have thrown us somebody else. But Zoom, and Bat, and his general template, and this video, have me excited to see him.
KEY TO THE GAME SATURDAY being --- > do you see any Royals "behind" his fastball the second time through? That would signal that his warp-drive change speed game is online.
...you have Pokemon, I have Summoners War...I think most adults under the age of about 55 (who therefore spent most of their adulthood playing computer and console games with family or friends as those things became ubiquitous) have at least one silly game that they enjoy to relax the mind.
Today's (Sunday's) games:
KC places Salvador Perez on the DL. Sorry for Perez and KC, but this is war. He is their cornerstone player.
Also, incredible as it sounds after all the disappointments this season, a doubleheader sweep would vault us into at least a tie for the second Wild Card position. If Tampa Bay loses, we would own it outright.
(Of course if swept, we would be 3.5 games behind KC.)
Edited to add: None of the above. This evening it appears a split is in the offing.
Did Perez come out of that game on Friday because of something he did on the swing when he struck out in the sixth?
In any event, their number one catcher is now Drew Butera...who is one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball and also a bad hitter. OUCH
Tough day for the pitching. Sonny Gray has also lost his only decision in NY so far so it's not all bad, I guess - and Kyle Lewis is hitting .313 / .377 / .583 / .961 in High-A with a 13% K rate - and that doesn't include the walk and single he has already tonight.
Keeping Lewis might be the most important deadline decision the Mariners made - but their choices of pitching additions are making it hard right now with Felix on the DL. Phelps might be done for the year as well. Dipoto's use of resources on pitchers who need elbow surgeries could be increasing surgery.
Stay healthy, everyone else!
Because this is getting ridiculous
More bad news, it just seems to be piling up regarding injuries and such. Each time I've thought a resurgence (like a winning streak at home) was forthcoming, this team manages to disappoint. We are truly running out of time to gain a playoff position by simply winning a few more games than we lose. Playing .500 baseball is more likely to happen than having to win 60% of the games left to qualify for a playoff. And August ends with a brutal 12-game road trip. Although, as contrary to prediction as this team is, they might play well on the road and avoid an implosion. My bets are split.