If the Mariners’ little town blues are going to melt away in 2014, it will probably be mostly due to the changeup of Felix Hernandez, now joined by the splitter/shuuto of Hisashi Iwakuma, and, a late entrant, the curveball of Roenis Elias.
The first one on that list was front-and-center on Monday, as the Mariners photo-bombed the Bronx for a makeup game on their way to Atlanta.
Brooks says Felix threw the change 33 times for 21 strikes, and it induced 10 swings-and-misses.
Video link here demonstrates that the Yanks had no chance against it.
Final line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
Of course, there will have to be some hitting, and Kyle Seager was up for the job Monday, with what has to be one of the most unusual feats in baseball.
I’m not one to care a bunch about “the cycle” since it has no inherent baseball importance, but to miss the cycle just due to a missing single is probably fairly rare.
But to miss the cycle because of two triples and no singles … that’s going to be very unusual.
I did a quick google to see if anyone had looked up how many times it’s happened, but didn’t find anything.
So I went to the baseball-reference.com Play Index, which told me it had been done six times since 1914, most recently in 1973 by Hal Breeden of the Montreal Expos.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
And Brad Miller finally seems to be breaking our of the bad-luck-plus-bad-habits combo that put him deep into the frozen tundra at the plate.
He has four hits in his last four games, and though that’s not much, it comes after he had made marked improvement with his K/BB ratio in May.
As frequent commenter, and valuable baseball analyst SABRMatt put it at SeattleSportsInsider.com:
Brad Miller is showing the classic pattern of a hitter coming out of a slump. First, he started relaxing into a better strike zone (2 BB, 28 K in April, 11 BB, 16 K in May), then he started hitting more groundball and flyball outs to LF and CF instead of right field (check his spray chart for the month of May – it’ll make you feel better), then he started increasing his batted ball velocity, then he started getting some base hits.
Let’s hope so, since we could use some of that.
Miller’s middle-infield mate Nick Franklin, having failed to grab the opportunity presented by, among other things, Miller’s slump, Corey Hart‘s trip to the DL, Robinson Cano‘s short-term absence, needs in the outfield, etc., will head back to Tacoma to make room for Erasmo Ramirez.
But since e-RAM is essentially replacing Brandon Maurer, it is really Endy Chavez filling the Corey Hart spot now.
That’s not good.
Of course, Logan Morrison (.297/.366/.405 at Tacoma) is probably going to claim that spot soon, but he’s left-handed and his ability to play in the field is uncertain (he’s played 10 games as DH; 4 in RF and 3 at 1b).
Rumor has it that Chris Taylor was on the verge of a callup when he got hurt, and will get a shot when he’s healthy (broken hand), but we don’t know when that will be. And he wouldn’t fill an outfield role.
Also wouldn’t surprise me to see switch-hitting Ty Kelly at some point. He’s played in the outfield some.
The next possible long-term solution, though, is Jabari Blash, and I wouldn’t expect to see him until later in the summer.
Patrick Kivlehan, D.J. Peterson … maybe September. Jabari Henry, Austin Wilson … maybe next summer. Tyler O’Neill … 2016 or later.
- Suddenly Low-A Clinton is where the action is, and not just for miracle comebacks.
- And the man in the middle: Austin Wilson. He got his second homer in as many nights, and is now 9-for-18 with five extra-base hits in his last four games. On the season: .297/.374/.495.
- And on the mound, unheralded Carlos Misell: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Somehow, Misell got suspended for PED before he even signed a pro contract. That happened in 2011. He’s only just now getting started.
- Jack Reinheimer had four hits and got his 20th stolen base.
- Jackson racked up some runs as well, with Dario Pizzano leading with way with Grand Salami Time. It was his first AA homer.
- I haven’t mentioned Jack Marder much, but he’s picked himself up off the mat and has a .771 OPS. He had his second triple of the year Monday.
- High Desert put up 8 runs in a losing effort, but … Deeeej! The 11th homer for D.J. Peterson put him back in a tie for the organizational lead. Travis Witherspoon also went deep.
- Gabriel Noriega had three hits for Tacoma, though the Rainiers couldn’t manage any extra-base knocks.