Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Wednesday, June 14.
As bad as the Mets’ pitching has been, counting their latest loss 14-3 to the Cubs, the Mariners seem to be outdoing the Mets in terms of awful pitching. For both teams the reason is the same-injured pitchers and particularly aces. The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard may be back in august or may not. Closer Jeurys Familia hopes to return during my august vacation, so if he does you won’t hear about it from me. Even the Mets’ replacements find ways to get hurt. Tommy Milone who was signed in desperation while Steven Matz and seth Lugo were hurt is now on the DL. After the thrashing the Mets got last night I wouldn’t be surprised to see newly-signed Daniel Bard at Citi Field. 11 days shy of turning 32, Bard hasn’t fired a pitch in the bigs since 2013 and was 10-19 as of then, all with Boston. The Mariners’ King Felix Hernandez might return by the end of this month at best. Hisashi Iwakuma went on the DL Sunday and might be back by the end of the month. At best Drew Smiley could return in July. So both teams scramble for starting pitching. It doesn’t help that the league is overcrowded, with 30 teams trying to find pitching in a shallow talent pool. If MLB would go back to 24 teams it would make pitching easier to find.
Last night, the circus that the Mariners call a pitching staff allowed 28 hits in a 20-7 demolition by the Minnesota Twins. Even when the Mariners played in the notoriously hitter-friendly KingDome they never gave up 28 hits in a game. The Twins’ Eddie Rosario who will never be confused with Aaron Judge nonetheless hit 3 home runs at Target Field against the M’s. He was hitting 9th in the order. Not since Boston’s Trot Nixon has a 9th-place hitter launched 3 home runs and Nixon did it In 1999. Christian Bergman was the unfortunate victim on the hill. He had done well against Minnesota at Seattle’s SafeCo Field, a known pitcher’s park. Last night he gave up 9 runs and 10 hits, only retiring 8 men. He gave up 2 of Rosario’s 3 home runs along with blasts by Max Kepler and Brian Dozier. Jason Castro and Kenys Vargas notched 4 hits and Eduardo Escobar collected 5 safeties. None of these are exactly household names-not even in their own households-but they were facing a AAA-quality pitching staff at best. After Bergman, Casey Lawrence gave up 11 hits and 6 runs and only got them through the 6th. He ran out of steam with one gone in the 7th. The next man, Marc Rzepczynski only got one out giving up 5 hits and 4 runs. The next announcer trying to figure out how to pronounce his name should be the broadcaster for Tacoma, the Mariners’ AAA team. Tony Zych managed to end the 7th but could go no further. In desperation Mariners’ manager Scott Servais turned to aging catcher Carlos Ruiz to pitch in the 8th and he nearly gave up a home run but the umps called it a double. He gave up two hits and two walks but only one run. The Twins put up 7 in the third and 7 in the 7th. Kyle Gibson of the Twins wasn’t fooling anybody on the hill, giving up a dozen hits and 6 runs in 6 innings but his team gave him all the support he needed. No Twins’ pitcher has been so beat up and batted around while getting a win since Kyle Lohse in 2003.
If you hope to hear the day’s earliest game, hurry with your coffee. The earliest start is at 10 AM, a doubleheader between Lakeland and Clearwater at what should still be Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida. 90 minutes later Hickory and Greensboro begin a South Atlantic League doubleheader caused by rain all over the Carolinas yesterday. All told, 10 minor league teams host day games. In the bigs, the Athletics face the Marlins in the day’s earliest game at Noon in Miami. Righty Daniel Gossett, Oakland’s number 5 prospect makes his MLB debut in Miami. He was their second-round pick in 2014. He played his college ball for the legendary Clemson Tigers’ program. They’ve been to the College World Series a dozen times and come clost to going a dozen more. Five times they’ve been beaten in the Super Regionals once that format was adopted in 1999. Jack Leggett coached there for 22 years, calling it a career after 2015. Gossett played there late in Leggett’s tenure. He makes his debut against Edinson Volquez-who only threw a no-hitter a couple of starts back. The Reds and Padres meet a few hours later, at 3:40 PM Eastern in San Diego. The Royals and Giants also play in the afternoon at San Francisco. The Braves face the Nationals in a rare 4 PM midweek start in Washington. After two extra-inning games in Boston, both won by the Red Sox their series with the Phillies moves to Philadelphia for a night game tonight. The D-Backs welcome back starter Taewon Walker after a month on the DL. He faces the Tigers in Detroit. The Mets need Matt Harvey to go deep in this game even if he takes a beating. Last night’s starter Zack Wheeler didn’t get out of the second inning and gave up 8 runs. The Mariners need a similar diligent effort from Sam Gaviglio after the abuse their pitchers took last night. The Yankees start Michael Pineda against the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker in a 10 PM start.0