Game 34 + Minors Rewind: Work of Art

Wada_Sanzo-Japanese_Vocations_in_Pictures_-_Series_3-Baseball-009891-01-21-2009-9891-x2000== Iwakuma gets no margin of error, but doesn’t need any ==

Yesterday, we noted how Felix Hernandez‘ “Game Scores” (a Bill James stat) were around 70 or higher for four games and then have been more like 50 or below for the next four.

Well, Thursday night Hisashi Iwakuma threw exactly the work of art that his punch-less offense needed: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

Game score: 81.

That’s not one of the top 20 so far of 2014 (the cutoff is 83), but it’s still very, very good.

Baseball-reference.com [hyper-detailed boxscore here] had him with 14 swing-and-miss pitches, while Brooks has him with 15.  At a minimum, then, that’s 15% of pitches that were whiffs.  Last year his average was 10.3%.  So he had it going.

vertspeed.php34Note how everything moves but has different speeds, so when he throws the straight fastball (0:37 of the video against Danny Valencia), the hitter just swings right under it.

vlcsnap-2014-05-09-09h23m53s229Whereas the slider looks up and inviting (0:51 vs. Billy Butler) before the bottom falls out.

vlcsnap-2014-05-09-09h28m29s196And the splitter (0:57 vs. poor Valencia again) also tumbles down, but doesn’t have the horizontal movement and comes in five mph faster.

vlcsnap-2014-05-09-09h33m45s10Fun. Fun. Fun.

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Then came Fernando Rodney with a patented white-knuckle save in which he could barely throw a strike until he absolutely had to.  And then he did.  Then bow-and-arrow time.

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The offense?  Well it scored a run and that was enough.

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Daily Prospect-palooza

  • Tacoma got in an ol’-fashioned shootout in Reno, before losing 15-11.  Xavier Avery was 5-for-6 with a double and two steals.  He’s at .316/.350/.386 with 14 swiped bags (vs. 2 CS), and is presumably next in line if James Jones fails.  Why not give everyone a shot at Pencil-hood?
  • High-A High Desert put up the usual big offensive numbers, including D.J. Peterson with two doubles, a single, a walk and a steal; Jabari Henry with his 7th home run, plus two walks; Tim Lopes with his 3rd homer plus a single, a walk and a steal; and Aaron Barbosa with a single and four walks.
  • Barbosa OBP = .443 with 25 hits and 20 walks in 23 games.  Of course, he’s still behind last year’s .455 OBP.
  • It won’t last forever and it’s High-Desert-aided, but Henry’s ISO = .394!
  • AA Jackson went quietly, but Low-A Clinton got a shutout behind the Dutch Master Lars Huijer: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

 

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