OK, it was actually just 14 singles. It only seemed like a thousand.
But it is amazing that Kansas City did not get a solitary extra-base hit off of struggling Brandon Maurer Friday night.
ISO = .000
But when you get 14 singles it adds up … to six runs, although only four earned.
Nevertheless, the dink-and-dunk approach allowed the Mariners to justify keeping Maurer in there for a bullpen-saving 7.1 IP.
And, again, amazingly, Maurer had no walks and no strikeouts. He faced 34 batters and there were 34 balls-in-play. He got 20 outs and 14 singles.
I don’t ever recall a game with no XBH, no BB and no K. Just singles and outs.
But the singles were way too plentiful, and it wasn’t just bad fortune.
It’s pretty stark. And a good example of how little a “radar gun” approach can matter.
The top graphic is from Maurer’s first start in Miami, and that was when he unveiled his new “triangular” game with a hard cutter (ignore that it’s labeled as “slider”). Maurer’s release point is about a foot away from the center point, so that top cluster, coming in mid-90s, is pretty straight. It’s “good stuff” (“touching 96” as they say), but it won’t “fool” the big-league hitter.
In Miami he could offset that with the change, which had similar movement, but is 6-10 mph slower, and, for the first time at the MLB level, the hard cutter that broke “gloveside.”
This gave Maurer a three-prong whipsaw. Two pitches with similar movement but different speed, and two pitches with similar speed but different movement. It was very effective. Although he only went 4.1 IP due to not being fully stretched out after a spring back injury, he got seven swing-and-miss strikes and a Game Score of 57.
Now the bottom graph. Mush. Still “touching 96” but not enough distinction among any of the pitches to “fool” anyone.
Thus: only two swing-and-miss pitches (both on the cutter), and the Royals had no problem making contact.
On offense? Well, they made Jason Vargas look like an ace (7.0 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K). Nuff said.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
- Tacoma faced Mariner 2014 MVP Randy Wolf (tongue-in-cheek — Wolf’s abdication of the No.5 starter role resulted in Chris Young signing with Seattle). Wolf gave up four earned runs, but struck out nine and got the win.
- Ty Kelly had two doubles, a single and a walk.
- Abraham Almonte is 1-for-16 at Tacoma with 6 strikeouts. Sounds familiar. It would be nice to see Abe get it going, though.
- AA Jackson was in a pitcher’s duel, and fast-rising Gonzaga alum Tyler Olson was on the Generals’ side: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. They finally fell, 2-1, in the 13th. It was Olson’s second AA start after starting the year at High Desert. But the 2013 7th-round pick was attending classes in Spokane just a year ago.
- His former High-A mates won behind a homer from Jordy Lara, who also had two singles, and three hits also from D.J. Peterson, who also added his fourth stolen base.
- After flying up the charts last year, Edwin Diaz is hitting some stumbling blocks at Low-A Clinton. He gave up three earned runs in 4.0 IP in his third straight mediocre start. The LumberKings got enough offense to win (without needing a 16-run comeback), with Jeff Zimmerman contributing two doubles.