Life Essence: Tie - Jeremy Bonderman, Kendrys Morales. (.272 WPA)
Leach: Tom Wilhelmsen (-.188 WPA)
- Jeremy Bonderman came into the game with a 3.68 ERA, 3.90 K/9 and corresponding 5.22 FIP. He lowered two of those number tonight, although not the one that usually best predicts future success. After tonight Bonderman's K/9 is 2.92. 2.92! The lowest qualified K/9 this year is Scott Diamond at 4.07. This is what vintage Carlos Silva looks like but with more walks. This is not a major league pitcher.
The revolution of the last decade with pitcher evaluation has revolved largely around the idea of separating what a pitcher can/cannot control. Tonight in 6 innings Jeremy Bonderman's BABIP was a lowish .250. He walked 3, hit a batter, struck out none, allowed 10 baserunners and did not allow a run. Again, 10 baserunners in 6 innings,
0 runs(Trumbo'd). You can already hear the roar of the waves. The tide of regression is washing ashore for Jeremy Bonderman. It is an ill tide filled with dread, and that's too bad. Comeback stories are always fun to root for. Bonderman has overcome a long battle with injury to reach the major leagues. But this comeback story isn't a heartwarming Disney movie. It's your friend's Vine. It's short and it sucks.
- One of the last pillars of the Tom Wilhelmsen House of Sand came crashing down tonight as he finally allowed a dinger. Tasked with holding a one run lead in the 8th Wilhelmsen thew this to Albert Pujols:
Pujols did this and the game was tied. It followed the recent trend of Wilhelmsen getting super terrible results and given the pitch location and hitter face it's hard to argue it wasn't merited. However, the overall line shows 1.2 IP and 16 of 25 pitches for strikes, including a sexy curveball appearance to strikeout Peter Bourjos. Wilhelmsen was going to give up a home run this year, and he did. To Albert Pujols. But the rest of the outing? It was better, and that's nice. As always it's a small data point. Baseball is an endless collection of tiny data points that are meaningless until they aren't. Keep watching. More importantly keep reading your clicks pay for my daughter's diapers.
- For some reason there is almost nothing in baseball that infuriates me more than the LHH strike zone. It strikes me as incredibly unfair. A batter standing on one side of the plate operates with a completely different set of one of baseball's core tenets than a batter standing on the other side. Enough ramble. Look at the glorious testament to incompetence John Hirschbeck gave baseball tonight:
(via Brooks Baseball)
That is a breathtakingly huge strike zone. The Mariners strike out. A lot. It's easy to roll eyes when you see Cupcakes Blanton match his career high with 11 K. But remember that left handed hitters, of which Seattle started 7 tonight, had to deal with pitches ~.17 Altuves outside the strike zone being called strikes. Please, please fix this MLB. It's beyond frustrating.
- Justin Smoak returned from injury tonight. The first pitch he saw he hit for a home run. He hit a would be double that was caught because Peter Borjous has one of those Animal Power Suits from Wild Kratts (I watch a lot of PBS kids shows) set to "Antelope". He hit another ball hard on the ground that resulted in an out. It was the classic Smoak peep show. There is almost no way that Justin Smoak is going to end up being anything other than an average bat at a position that requires the bat to be above average. But until this team finds a better solution he's going to play, and he's going to tease.
Josh Hamilton: 0-5, 3 GIDP, 2 K, 8 outs. Season line: .213/.269/.388, 73/19 K/BB. Josh Hamilton is like concentrated schadenfreude. I don't wish him any personal failure or ill will but I cannot resist the urge to take great, great gobs of joy from the pain he causes Angel fans. May it continue.