|Final - 4.30.2013||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
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Brandon Maurer throws pretty hard, has a nice slider and can generally find the strikezone, which is to say he shouldn't have much of a problem putting together a Major League career, health permitting. The big question is, at this point, whether that career will come in the starting rotation or the bullpen.
No one is suggesting pulling the plug on Maurer as a starter, but his biggest flaws through six starts would be easily masked in short relief. He makes an appealing relief prospect. He already shows good stuff with a fastball that reaches the mid-90s as well as a tough slider; just imagine what the pitches might look like if he could truly air it out in a single inning of work. More importantly, he could be shielded against tough lefties.
Brandon Maurer, his changeup, and left-handed opposition-- we've spent a lot of time discussing these three things and how they relate to each other and will continue to until he clears the hurdle. No other obstacle seems particularly important in the mean time.
Not much progress was made Tuesday night. Lefties helped break the game open in the very first inning: Nate McLouth homered, Nick Markakis singled, Chris Davis walked, and Matt Wieters doubled. 3 of the 22 pitches thrown to these hitters in the first inning were changeups: a called ball and two fouls.
But it wasn't just about the lack of a changeup in this one as Maurer's command was off to boot. Fastballs and changeups failed to go where catcher Kelly Shoppach ordered them and the slider had a mind of its own. Following McLouth's leadoff home run, Manny Machado doubled and then scored on two wild pitches.
To his credit, Maurer was able to tighten it up just enough to log three scoreless innings following the four-spot in the opening frame, but even then his command wasn't there.
- Full disclosure: I had a work thing come up this evening that kept me from having the drive or time to make it through the full game. I only saw the first five innings or so.
- The Mariners had a chance to jump back in it 6th down 6-0. Michael Morse led off with a home run to right field (6-1), then the M's loaded the bases with no outs for Kelly Shoppach. The Mariners' win expectancy jumped from 3% at the top of the inning to 13.5% as Shoppach stepped up. Shoppach then hit into a fielder's choice, driving in one (6-2) and dropping win expectancy to 10.8%, leaving it up to Brendan Ryan with runners on the corners. Suddenly: 3.5%.
- Ryan hit into a double play, ending the inning and any chance the Mariners had to crawl back into the game. This coincided with another great performance in AAA Tacoma by Nick Franklin, who is now hitting .410/.538/.623 while showing signs of improved contact ability. Are you ready for the Brendan Ryan era to end? How would you feel if Nick Franklin got the call Wednesday?
- Blake Beaven has gotten torched in all but one appearance this season and doesn't appear to be any better out of the bullpen. His days are numbered.