Game 63 (Monday) + Minors Rewind: Kings of the Road

00aRoger_Miller_-_King_of_the_Road1

== A long, strange trip ends 6-1 ==

It started with one game in the Bronx (a makeup of a rainout).

Then an odd, quick, night-game/day-game two-game set in Atlanta.

Then a day off.

Then a four-game series in St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Goofy Dome, consisting of one night game followed by three consecutive day games.

And at the end, the Mariners ended up as Kings of the Road, with a 6-1 record despite an ongoing mix-and-match lineup.

The only loss came at the hands of an unusual renaissance performance from our old buddy Erik Bedard.   Other than that, the M’s used their trip to open up a 1-1/2 game lead in the race for the second Wild Card.  As so:

AMERICAN W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
LA Angels 35 28 .556 19-13 16-15 300 264 +36 Won 4 5-5
Seattle 34 29 .540 14-15 20-14 262 230 +32 Won 3 8-2
Baltimore 32 30 .516 1.5 13-14 19-16 268 274 -6 Won 1 6-4
Cleveland 33 31 .516 1.5 21-11 12-20 295 294 +1 Won 3 9-1
NY Yankees 31 31 .500 2.5 13-16 18-15 249 280 -31 Lost 2 3-7
Chicago Sox 32 33 .492 3 18-14 14-19 290 307 -17 Won 1 4-6
Kansas City 31 32 .492 3 16-16 15-16 244 259 -15 Won 2 6-4
Texas 31 33 .484 3.5 15-18 16-15 272 313 -41 Lost 3 3-7

===

On offense, the team got a boost from some unlikely older guys:

  • Cole Gillespie, who’s 29, but is deemed to be in his “age-30” season, got seven hits while appearing in six of the seven games.  He’s been boosted by a fortunate BABIP that’s likely to come down, but if he can maintain his low strikeout rate there’s no reason why he can’t be a valuable role player.
  • Willie Bloomquist.  Yes, Wee Willie himself.  He had six hits and two walks for a .444 OBP in five of the seven games.  We told you at the start of the year he was not a bad pickup as a role player spotted against LHP, and, sure enough, there he is with a .708 OPS in 44 plate appearances vs. LHP this year.  Team as a whole: .636.  (We just didn’t understand the two-year commitment.)

And, somehow, Robinson Cano is carrying the team on his back with a sub-.100 ISO.  Ichrio did it, but we certainly weren’t expecting Cano to do it that way.

===

On the mound:

  • Of course, Epic Felix — 2 starts, 23 strikeouts, 1 walk.  He was even unlucky on balls in play (.414 BABIP), as if it mattered.
  • Erasmo Ramirez survived Monday afternoon.  He walked five, but had enough working to induce 11 swinging strikes in 4.2 IP.  Five of the whiffs came on his changeup, which he also used for seven called strikes.  He didn’t have perfect command of it, but he wasn’t getting burned by it either (one single, one double off the change, and then two singles off the fastball).
  • Bullpen!  Here’s what the pen did on the road trip (in alphabetical order):
G W L SV IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Joe Beimel 3 1 2.2 1 0 0 2 2 0 0.00 1.125
Danny Farquhar 3 3.1 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 0.900
Charlie Furbush 2 1.2 1 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.600
Dominic Leone 3 1 3.0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0.00 0.000
Yoervis Medina 2 1 2.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 0.500
Fernando Rodney 4 4 4.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 0.000
Tom Wilhelmsen 2 4.0 3 1 1 3 3 0 2.25 1.500

Yes,the Barkeep gave up the only run given up by the bullpen on the entire road trip.

And, yes, we were touting Leone long before it was cool, but we weren’t really expecting him to be the team’s near-MVP.

  • Monday’s hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.

===

And we got so caught up in analyzing the road trip, that Taijuan Walker was relegated to near-afterthought.

He got the start for Tacoma: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

The 2 ER were both on solo homers.  One in the 1st and one in the 2nd.  Walker was touched only for a lone single in his final three frames.

He threw 77 pitches, so presumably he’s “stretched out.”  Either Walker or Ramirez will get the MLB start next time around.

Despite the decent outing from e-RAM, our money is on Walker.

===

Daily Prospect-palooza

  • Mariners affiliate Monday scoreboard here.
  • After Walker left down 2-0, the Rainiers rallied to a 2-2 tie that wasn’t broken until Ty Kelly went deep in the top of the 12th (his 8th).  After which, Brandon Maurer pitched a scoreless inning for the save.
  • Jackson lost late, but saw the return of our man Ji-Man Choi from his suspension. Choi just keeps hitting: 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
  • High Desert also lost, despite four homers.  One of those was the 13th from D.J. Peterson.  He had just two in April, but 11 so far in May and June.  The Travis Witherspoon hit two (his 5th and 6th), and Brock Hebert got his third.
  • Clinton also went down narrowly, but Austin Wilson snagged his second triple.

===

And here’s the song:

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4 thoughts on “Game 63 (Monday) + Minors Rewind: Kings of the Road

  1. Hey, jim… Thanks for the updates. It surprises me that despite your early projections for Leone, his performance to date, what his stats tell us about the kid, and the fact that all he does is do his job and compete, there is so much noise coming from so many places about how he isn’t really all that good. Logan Davis flat out says it’s Zunino that deserves credit for Leone’s pitching, not Leone. With all the crap being flung at him from the ‘experts’ on Seattle’s boards, it would serve them right if Seattle cashed in on the kid, traded him to the Angels or Rangers for some iffy right handed bat, and then had to face him multiple times a year.

    Anyway, from what I have seen, you are still the only one seeing value in him.

    • I can’t imagine I’m the only one “seeing value in him” when his ERA is 1.35 and his K/9 is 10.5. His xFIP is 2.67. Folks are really sneering at that? I don’t read the comments at USSM and only sometimes at LL. I read Logan’s piece when it came out, and didn’t think it was as overwhelmingly negative as you make it sound.

      But it’s also out of date. Leone’s stats, in fact, during the first month (Apr 6 – May 6) were a bit hollow. But the last month (May 11 – June 9) he’s been devastating: no HR, only 2 XBH, only 2 BB, 17 K in 12.2 IP.

      So while a dose of skepticism might have been valid a month ago, it shouldn’t be valid now.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Spec… I see that Taylor is back.. and hitting.
    I also saw that Reinheimer was named a starter in the low A All-Star game.
    I do have another question for you… how do you think Reinheimer would have done in High A / the High Desert? I know that Tyler Smith is starting to hit in the desert – and I like Tyler, but do you think Reinheimer needed to start lower – or did he just draw the short straw?

    • Yeah, I don’t think they wanted T. Smith and Reinheimer splitting time at shortstop (same with Marlette and Littlewood at catcher), so someone had to get the lower assignment. Smith had an impressive spring, if I recall. I think they’re both pretty comparable, but Reinheimer obviously has more speed (22 SB vs. 9 SB). Both got lapped by Ketel Marte, and eventually they’ll be in danger of getting lapped again by Greifer Andrade (if he sticks at SS). And neither is as good as Chris Taylor. But I like them both, and they’re both good guys to have around.

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