We’ve been mentioning fairly consistently that home runs are tending to be the Achilles Heel of this pitching staff, but it also appears to be only the starters.
Starters: 1.1 HR/9
Bullpen: 0.6 HR/9
But, more specifically, it is the non-Felix starters:
Felix: 0.3 HR/9
Non-Felix Starters: 1.38 HR/9
MLB Average = 0.9 HR/9
So, even though Chris Young and Roenis Elias have kept the season alive by bolstering the pitching staff, they have also come with that warning flag. Young has given up a homer in eight of his 12 starts, including two 2-HR games; while Elias has given up a homer in eight of his 13 starts.
Saturday’s game was his first multi-homer game, but it’s been pretty clear all year that Elias is going to leave some tasty-looking pitches up in the zone in every game, since his deception relies, in part, in not knowing exactly where the ball is going to end up (“effectively wild”), as opposed to pinpoint command.
It’s a question of how much he can get away with, and how much margin of error he’s given.
And on Saturday, he had the margin of error and the team went to 4-1 on its most-unusual road trip.
Leading the hit parade was Cole Gillespie, who homered, and has been making the most of his first extended shot at MLB playing time since 2010. Way back before the season started, I concluded that Gillespie might, in fact, capitalize on an extended shot, if he were given one.
He did flash some interesting potential in the minors, of the type that indicates a successful MLB career is a possibility. Circumstances now seem to be conspiring to give him that shot, and we’ll see what happens.
Also providing offense was Dustin Ackley, with two hits, and Robinson Cano, whose consistent but oddly ISO-lacking contribution has become routine.
The value of Ackley’s encouraging May was sapped by a low BABIP, and now he’s been back in no-power, no-walk mode for awhile.
But the team is staying in contention with watered-down Cano and a nothing-special supporting cast, and your view of how to take that obviously depends on your general outlook.
I view seven runs from a mediocre lineup, allowing a fun-but-flawed pitcher to overcome gopheritis, as hopeful.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
- Mariner affiliate scoreboard here. New! Just realized they’ve doing this.
- Is Jordan Pries for real? I’m still not sure. But another good outing for Tacoma on Saturday: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. But Albuquerque scored late off the bullpen to seal a win.
- Xavier Avery homered, and had two other hits and a walk. He seems to be next in line for an OF shot.
- Jackson got buried despite three hits from John Hicks.
- Tyler Pike put up good strikeout numbers, but continues to struggle for High Desert: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.