The way my mind processes happiness is such an illogical process. In a logical plane there are events/people/objects that exist in varying degrees of positive/negative ways depending on how and what I'm measuring for. In an ordered, logical mind I would carefully record, chart and quantify these entities, noting where they fit on whatever scale I had decided to place them on. That's at least part of the way scientists do science. But better or worse the logic center of my brain does not come a la carte. I form a fondess and repulsion for stuff that goes way beyond what I know is reasonable. I do my best to fight it but I also know there's at least a part of me that's going to give in. I'm going to love and I'm going to hate and everything in between.
That's a pretty random introductory way of saying that I am really growing fond of Hisashi Iwakuma. I know that he's due to regress. That .220 BABIP and 87.7% LOB? Yeah those are two cards masquerading as foundational pillars for Iwakuma's success. They will, at least partially, crumble and reveal Iwakuma for what he is: A ground ball heavy, low walk pitcher who gets enough strike outs to be above average. Factor in his age (32) and the constant fear of shoulder injury and Iwakuma seems to be more of a stop gap than anything.
But, and this is where my brain starts being dumb again, there's all the fun, non-performance side of things. The Mariners signed Iwakuma for $1.5 million last year. By comparison in 2007 they had paid Jeff Weaver $1.5 million by ~May 1st. There's always that bizarre way he was barely used the first 2 months of last season. Aesthetically his delivery actually reminds me of Yu Darvish (possible racial stereotyping alert) in the way they both curl their wrist's around the ball when they bring the ball down from their heads, almost as if they both are planning on trying to throw the pitch behind their backs. It's all just very damn enjoyable, the Hisashi Iwakuma Experience.
None of this is news I know but sometimes it's nice to sit back and appreciate a good thing. Hisashi Iwakuma has started nearly a season's worth of games in the major leagues now. He has a career FIP of 3.52. As a starter he has a 152/41 K/BB ratio. He gets ground balls. He may just be one of the top 10 pitchers in the American League right now. If the Mariners ever actually got a playoff series Felix/Iwakuma would be a perfectly playoff worthy 1-2. Hooray for Hisashi Iwakuma, a good baseball player playing on a team that has had so few for so long.
- Nick Franklin Drool Fest wrapped up a second straight day. Fun fact: Through his first 17 plate appearances Nick Franklin has drawn as many walks as Miguel Olivo did in a 71 game, 256 PA stretch last season. In addition to reaching base 3 times Franklin showed again a really nice turn of a double play at 2nd. Scouting reports have been somewhat down on the idea of Franklin sticking at Shortstop and from the very, very little that we've seen thus far his range does not appear great. But I don't think these first few games could have gone much better. As always though remember that at this point it's mostly meaningless as far as predicative purposes are concerned. Enjoy Franklin's early successes and know that his failures cometh, and those right soon.
- The, I am told, delightful and, I am sure, quite short Shannon Drayer wrote today about it being time for the team to lock up Kendrys Morales to an extension. While that's a topic that deserves a more in depth analysis than a game recap can provide it's easy to see where the idea comes from. Morales has his .wOBA up to .373. He had a terrific month of May. He's not quite 30 yet. He smacked a hell of a fun dinger tonight that got Danny Farquhar Jiggy:
Of the 1-1.5 dimensional duo of Morales and Morse it's Morales who's looking like a real hitter. With the team looking like it's going to be a seller again Morales is a very obvious trade candidate. But before he's chopped up into little prospect sized pieces I fully intend to enjoy watching Kendrys Morales play Strong Fat Guy Baseball for the next two months.
- Speaking of the Mariners and records they just finished the Roman delineated arbitrary end point of May. In that month the team went 12-14, scoring 107 runs while allowing 108. In our two month sample the team spent April playing like we learned to expect them to the last ten years and May playing like the .500ish team most of us expected them to. That almost .500 May includes that horrific series in Cleveland and an eight game losing streak.
Playoffs may not be coming this year but after 10 years of the Daniel, Meshach and Abednego diet I think we should all take time to enjoy that the table of the 2013 Mariners includes occasional helpings of meat and cheese. Eat up while you can guys.
- Ho hum Brendan Ryan plays defense and melts your brain.