For two consecutive starts, Hisashi Iwakuma looked like not quite his real self, and the Brooks Baseball charts confirmed that his famed splitter or “shuuto” was not getting quite the usual “bite” or vertical movement. His straight fastball is not all that formidable without the shuuto setting it up, so he got knocked around a bit (relatively speaking). There was speculation that he was having issues with his shoulder or neck.
Tuesday night he was back.
Here’s the side-by-side of June 25 to July 1.
In the prior game, you can see that the shuuto did not drop below the hitter’s expected location and was too close to the straight fastball. David Ortiz homered, and the Red Sox racked up eight hits and five earned runs off Kuma.
In Tuesday’s game, you can see the shutto dropping lower, and having several inches of separation from the straight fastball. And Houston’s hitters couldn’t catch up, managing only seven singles and one earned run.
And Brandon Maurer.
Ever since his first start of the year against Miami, we’ve been saying that he’ll be unhittable if he can get his “triangular whipsaw” going.
- The fastball and change are similar in shape and movement, but 10 mph different in velocity.
- The fastball and cutter are both fast (cutter averages 91-92 — screaming for a cutter), but the cutter breaks “gloveside” like a slider (without a vertical break).
The chart calls it a slider, but you don’t see sliders at 92 mph.
Six doubles, a triple and a homer. Team SLG for the game: .644.
I still don’t believe in Endy Chavez (guys don’t magically learn to hit at age 36) but he’s a heck of a good-luck charm.
And I don’t really believe James Jones will hit much beyond what’s good enough for a center fielder, but that, and disrupting on the bases, is more than what Abe Almonte was doing.
So no more negative vibes on those two. Let it roll!
Just let it roll on a short leash.
- Baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
- Mariners affiliates scoreboard here.
- Glamour prospects in Arizona: Alex Jackson 2-for-2 with 2 BB (.400/.458/.500 through 5 games); Gareth Morgan 1-for-4, double (.176/.391/.235).
- Erasmo Ramirez was back on the AAA mound: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
- Justin Smoak did not play (not sure why), but Corey Hart had two singles and a walk. Nine rehab games for Hart: .306/.342/.528.
- Jabari Henry got his 15th homer, plus a double and a single, but High Desert was outscored by Rancho Cucamonga.
- We’re rooting for Isaiah Yates to perform at Low-A Clinton while subbing for injured outfielders. He’s 4-for-22, but of his four hits, two are doubles and one is a homer.
- We’re not sure why young Brazilian starter Daniel Missaki only went 2.0 IP, but he struck out two and his ERA is still 0.00.