Noise, 2.28.18
The wolves starts to look more pack-intensive


James Paxton took his first start in the style of the men who already have their three Cy Youngs on the shelf.  He sat a few MPH below norm, put up a few zeroes incident-free, and sounded like Anatoly Karpov as a technician:

"Right now it's about finding my rhythm," he said. "I threw all my pitches today, which was good. I had a hard time getting inside to righties, which is kind of my bread and butter. Because I was leaving early, my hand was getting on the side of the ball a little, and it was sailing on me.


If they go to a 6-man rotation "at times," along with the days off, let's see [Dr. D's post-concussion syndrome makes the calculator a guilty pleasure] =162/6 is 27 starts.  Plus a couple since they're not convicted about the 6-man rotation and probably won't have that #6 guy throwing well very often, do you think?  But if James Paxton makes his 28 starts this year, with Felix, then the Mainframe suspects that Jerry Dipoto will let Bill Krueger and Mike Leake moan and groan all they want about "long rest ruins your touch."


There are things in ST that are worth looking at, but W-L records are indeed not among them.  Have you CHECKED the scheduled pitchers each day?  Who or what are Cook, Morin, and Moll?


Zip has re-tooled his delivery in an attempt to justify Dipoto's "Wolf Pack" millions.  He knocked down the side today in one inning.  Dr's Diagnosis:  NOISE


Andrew Romine is the 2018 backup infielder.  Trust us.  Dipoto on TV talked sadly about how Taylor Motter does fine if he plays every day but has a tough time when he can't stay in rhythm.... we're sure without looking the stats don't jibe but our faithful GM was probably just trying to be nice.  On the other hand the GM was almost breathless about Andrew Romine's versatility and attitude.

So, somebody POTD the dude, instanter.


Ariel Miranda helped himself with a 3 IP, 4 K, 1 ER outing but he's got to beat Marc-O out by a mile.  Of course, exactly the same was true last year, and Miranda even started the year in Tacoma, but he wound up starting 29 times.  That's 29 exclamation point

When Dr. D thinks of Miranda he always thinks of Bill James' warning, Stop futzing around changing pitchers every two weeks, hoping somebody will impress you.  You have a pitcher with 40 starts under his belt, let's see if you can build on something.

Which is not to say Dr. D is in Miranda's corner.  Just idly wondering whether he's the responsible thing to do.  So to speak.  In any case he does chip in a few street-cred points on that difficult "Wolf Pack" sell.


Dan Vogelbach is back and is doing little other than reaching base (at a .556 clip).  Still has received no love, either directly from the GM/Manager or indirectly from the beat writers who reflect corporate values as the moon reflects the sun.  I'm genuinely curious what Vogs did that was worth writing off a Mike Montgomery-sized investment.  Maybe one of the beat writers could just hint at it a little bit?


Speaking of beat writers reflecting the manager's perceptions as a mirror, here's a Divish article that says Altavilla has a chance.  [here's the problem] Of course Phelps and Nicasio are givens alongside Nick Vincent, as is the closer and the two left hand pitchers.  #7 and #8 were really looking pretty set with Zych and Rumbelow; Dipoto speaks VERY highly of the latter.

But Divish is a very fine writer, whether he's exactly my kinda guy or not :- ) and he's got an entire piece, nearly 1,000 words it looks like, up on Altavilla.  [The Mainframe has less than nothing against Dan Altavilla.]  Also it's fascinating to see the Times begin to use SSI/LL style before-and-after imagery.  So, go enjoy.


Dr D



Hi Doc, I'd like to challege you at chess again before you recover to much from your injuries.  We mean it in the nicest way possible :)

You got any time for some blitz or rapid?


You have noticed that my rating is down 400 points, eh?  LOL.  A bit like Conor McGregor demanding a rematch from Floyd Mayweather right after he's been in an 80 MPH car crash.

j/k Mojo my friend.  I love the cheek!  And will happily fight you with two broken wrists.  Want to send me your email?  (or we can use SSI to chat the timing.)  Could shoot for Friday afternoon?


Hey Doc, I checked some of your recent games.  You appear as dangerous as ever, but appear to be hanging peices now and again.  It kind of hurts my feelings that concussed dilantin sloppy Doc is the chess player I aspire to be someday.  I think that out of five games, I might win one if you get bored and distracted.   How about Friday 2 pm Pacific time?


will shoot for that.  I'll see what I can do to accidentally get occupied to prevent the match.

And it's not dilantin.  It's gapapentin, dilaudid, keppra and ativan.  They couldn't think of anything else to drag my brain circuits (to prevent seizures) and thereby induce this extra-addled shtick Dr D has been pawning off as authentic SSI material.

:- )


I have a PET scan Friday afternoon.  Sorry amigo.  Can we do next week?  Shoot for Tue 2 pm maybe?


Who or what is a PET scan?  Is that one of those parties where everyone wears a dog costume?  I think you've been living in Seattle too long.  No worries.  I'm slammed next week though.  Week after that will be pretty good.  I'll throw down a proper challenge week after next.  

Get well.


It uses radioactive sugar tracers to "light up" any areas of your body that might be clustering cancer cells (into small tumors).  Especially good at capturing inflamed, mean-looking lymph nodes.

The CT scans and MRI's, of which we've had about a dozen lately, have found nuttin' despite some wonky stuff going on.  PET scans are a relatively pricey way to up the ante on the imagery.

March 4th will be the 4th-year anniversary of my original diagnosis "six large tumors in the liver, metasized, original location of tumors unknown" for which they gave me 5 months' life expectancy originally.  Here we are 4 years out, no formed tumors, doing great.  Pretty cool, no?  I can still whip any ten men :- ) 

And it is nice to live in the Puget Sound area, one of the best places in the world to receive cancer treatment.


I don't recall you ever taking an extended absence here at SSI four years ago...that was an interesting offseason, would probably have gone offline completely with a diagnosis like that.

You are a very positive person...never ceases to impress me.

RockiesJeff's picture

Jeff, hope you get great results from tests today!!!!!


And of course we've been buried in prayer - in my case, the prayers of 1000's, since Cindy puts it on Facebook and I'm fairly visible in our church.  The odds against my being in good shape like this, 4 years on, are really statistically rare.

The ones I feel for, are the ones who face these problems alone, unseen, in some apartment isolated somewhere with no friends.  My friends (and my Creator, in my view) have made this the positive experience of a lifetime.

But then you knew I was a little off-center to start with :- ) 


Every time a new post goes up at SSI, our new Slack channel gets a notification. So I can shoot over here and digest it pronto.

The mechanical change to Altavilla does look do his results from September of 2017 when he was "almost there" and thusly lowered his ERA from over five to 4.24. I also love that he is going to throw Paxton's slashball. He was getting devoured by lefties and, as Paxton will tell you, the slashball is the great equalizer against the platoon advantage for a power pitcher. Also, a pre-cocked hand is less likely to cause arm injury throwing that pitch than the usual in-delivery wrist-snap--the injuries happen when the snap doesn't occur at the right time and is, thus, out of synch with the rest of the sports motion, causing excessive torque. Take that risk out, and all you have to do is make sure you don't throw it so often that your arm tires.

It is, BTW, reassuring to me that the Mariners are convincing players to trust their teaching with real data, and that Stottlemyre is identifying problems and applying fixes that the players buy into. I hadn't seen much evidence that Mel had, thus far, accomplished anything at his job, but Altavilla isn't the first such story I've heard recently. He was also working with advance analytics and arm slot changes and pitch selection with a couple of the younger/newer arrivals early in camp, and he's been helping Felix craft a different sort of conditioning program (and this article mentions the impact he had on Paxton in early 2016). Plus he's been working during the offseason with Diaz, trying to get his mechanics ironed out.

So...maybe this year will be better than I fear on the pitching side.


Should have been a front-pager...

Lemme separate out the Slack Chat shtick...

RockiesJeff's picture

Glad you are hanging in there with the ever-agonizing M's Matt!!!! Hope you are doing great and not banging your head into the desk...have missed you stats and insights!!!

RockiesJeff's picture

Hope this finds you well Doc! Keep writing this season and make something happen! Hopefully I will be around to read some. Busy with way too much going on. Speaking of Vogelbach, at an AAA game last year in Col Springs vs Rainers, I was able to sit next to Mr & Mrs Vogelbach. Very nice people. I have wondered why there seems to be so much negative about a player that they gave up a very quality pitcher for. Did they not know what they were trying to get?



esp. when it pertains to pitching mechanics... don't know what it is about real baseball men that they offer their actual solutions much more meekly than do the bleacher bums guessing at them :- )

RockiesJeff's picture

Been way too busy Jeff. Got too busy coaching golf instead last summer/fall. Then my wife has had some health issues from Rheumatoid Arthritis that has demanded a lot. So thanks!!!! Much appreciated. Hopefully be around more this year. Also, Jeremy is recoving from knee surgery. Long story trying to be discerning for now but he pitched all last season with a tear in his left knee.  As you know, life often anything but simple!


Same thought here.

We had a very valuable resource, and had him just at the time that RPs like him were getting more valuable.  After careful consideration, we traded him for a AAA 1B who bashed some and got on base like a bandit.  He's basically kept that up for Tacoma.  But we seem very reluctant to really give him some MLB time.  It is possible to read the Healy trade as a abandonment of Vogelbah to the netherworld of AAAA status, or maybe just a delay of much Vogs use until '19, when Cruz could be gone.

I don't know.  But somewhere in the Monty-for-Vogs trade we erred, if we're not willing to roll the big guy out there.

RockiesJeff's picture

You got it. Didn't it seem like there was negativity on Vogs from the beginning? I don't think they thought he was going to be the human vacuum at first. Not even Epstein could pull that one off. Hiding him for the DH hole in the future? Very possible? But I would say the trade for Healy and then statements about not going R/L seals that one. Nice kid and family. I hope he leads the AAA in opp doubles!

Hope you are doing well. Still keeping the little adjustment on the grip? 


Jeff, do you have a guess as to where Vogelbach's power numbers are going to go over the next 2-3 years (for some other org, presumably)?


How locked in do you reckon Zych and Rumbelow are? I would not argue with that "Core Six",

but Armstrong and Moll seem off to good starts in the competition for those last two slots. 

Meanwhile, I don't see Miranda beating out any of the Top Five starters. Nor Moore, after 

blowing up agasins the Royals a couplf of days ago! I'd rather see both of them stretching

out as Rainiers. (Now, if Wrasmo's lat proves problematic, or Feilx's contusion continues,

then- all bets are off! BUt- that's why we stretch them out, wherever!) 

Btw: Thanks for the continued intelligent, obsecenity-free commentary. It's a continuing

pleasure to start my morning this way!


Quite likely in fact that an SP will be forced into one of those spots.  Dipoto speaks of Rumbelow glowingly, and as if he's a probable to make the team, but in my view you are right that the spots are quite in flux.  Any pitcher (esp. Shawn Armstrong) could force his way onto the roster.

As we all know, the original 13 pitchers on Opening Day will change within the first week anyway :- ) 


He isn't going anywhere quickly, and it's tough to count on him giving more than 40 IP.  I'm open to anything that moves the needle an inch, and at least one of the K's Zep picked up the other day was actual capable righty Manuel Margot! which is already over 14% of his 2017 K total vs. RHB.

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