== No ground gained vs. Astros, but Blash! Splash! Splash Again! ==
A four-game set against last-place Houston looked like an ideal opportunity to pick up some positive traction vis-a-vis the .500 mark.
But it turned out that the M’s could only manage a split, losing Sunday’s Iwakuma game to drop back to 24-25 on the season.
After (not unexpectedly) dropping the Brandon Maurer start on Saturday, Sunday’s 4-1 loss, the M’s fumbled their chance to take advantage of Iwakuma’s start when their bats went silent (again) and Kuma gave up his third and fourth homers of the year.
Houston is now 5-5 against Seattle and 14-27 against everyone else.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
Dallas Keuchel now has two brilliant starts against the M’s and one in which he gave up 4 ER in 6.0 IP.
But it’s not just Seattle. He was coming off strong starts and wins over Detroit, Texas and the Angels.
Keuchel was a 7th-round pick out of Arkansas in 2009, He has suddenly sliced his walk rate in half, and his ERA and FIP along with it. For his first two seasons he was nothing special. Now he’s one of the best starters in the league.
And George Springer‘s three homers in two days marked the second time this year that the M’s were haunted by someone they could have taken in the 2011 draft instead of Danny Hultzen. Springer went to Houston with the 11th pick, although he was touted earlier in the year as a top-5 possibility.
Same with Sonny Gray, who went to the A’s at No. 18, and who already has two wins over Seattle this year.
Sorry, Danny. Get well soon.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Safeco for three:
Wednesday: Felix vs. C.J. Wilson
- Tacoma got into a proverbial barn-burner with El Paso before losing 14-12 in the 9th. But before that:
Yes, our man Jabari Blash had been struggling to make the jump to AAA, but not Sunday. First, in the 5th inning, it was Grand Salami Time! Then in the 7th it was a two-run blast. Blash also added a walk, which was his 29th of the year.
He’s been hampered by a .233 BABIP since his promotion, but his combined AA/AAA line is .234/.365/.468.
He’ll need some time to consolidate his game at AAA (K-rate up, BB-rate down since promotion), but he has a huge advantage over Jesus Montero as a right-handed power bat in that he can play outfield (or play in the field, period). He has that very same advantage over Corey Hart, by the way, though maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
- I’ve said it before: expect a Michael Saunders-esque bumpy ride with Blash when he hits the bigs. But it should be worth it.
- Speaking of Montero, he had a double and two singles, and Xavier Avery added a homer of his own.
- But sad outings for Stephen Pryor (0.2 IP, 3 ER), who continues to struggle, and also Carson Smith (1.0 IP, 4 ER), who seemed to be on track.
- AA Jackson had its offense rolling, with homers for Patrick Kivlehan (first in AA; 10th overall), Mickey Wiswall and Jack Marder. Plus three more hits for Ketel Marte, including his second triple.
- High Desert fell despite two doubles from Jordy Lara.
- Low-A Clinton got a decent start from Lars Huijer (6.0 IP, 2 ER), and strong relief from the wildly inconsistent Seon Gi Kim (3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K), but couldn’t capitalize.