First things first …. Desmond Hague, the CEO of Centerplate, is about to become the former CEO on Tuesday. If you recall, Hague was caught on video in the despicable act of abusing a defenseless dog in an elevator. Centerplate provides concessions for many stadiums around the country, including Safeco Field. The Mariners pledged to donate a portion of all concessions sales in September to the local humane society.
It was a solid gesture, but clearly it wasn’t enough. The collective swell of pressure and anger from fans forced teams and Centerplate to act. The guy is out and deservedly so.
Here’s Walker’s numbers from Baseball by Brooks ….
A lot of fastballs, which is expected. That fastball touched 97 on the stadium gun and he threw it in some big spots. You see 16 changeups. That’s a good thing. Walker said he felt comfortable with the pitch. It has heavy sinking motion when it’s working. The pitch f/x at the A’s stadium for MLB gameday thought it was a splitfinger fastball.
In a way, it has that action. Walker, who has huge hands, grips the changeup with his whole hand, but spreads his index fingers a little wider which generates the sinking motion. It’s not a true splitfinger grip. I guess you could call it a splangeup … kind of like Jared Burton of the Twins.
Whatever the name, it’s an important pitch, particularly to left-handers who will load up on his fastball. In fact, all 16 of his changeups came against left-handed hitters.
So this is something to watch going forward.
Walker said his curveball was ok. He had no whiffs on the pitch. But he also didn’t really bury any to get swings and misses.
That’s been a concern from some scouts who have said Walker likes to throw the curveball the same way. Backdoor it to lefthanders, start it at a right-hander’s shoulder and break it in for a strike – basically same pitch and plane of break. But this is something he’s aware of and looking to improve. The pitch is improving. And there are days when he can bury it for a putaway pitch. But it’s just about commanding it consistently.
Overall, the success from this outing was from fastball command. He got ahead with the fastball and we saw the life on it.
Walker’s September call-up might be pretty important going forward if the rest of the starters continue to struggle.
As for Chris Young, he had a pretty brutal start. And he isn’t alone. Here are the Mariners’ starting outings since the start of the long road trip. Not pretty.
Some will say that McClendon’s decision to mess with rotation is a major factor for it. He would counter by saying, he made those changes because of these numbers. There is no real way to measure it. I did think Chris Young looked a little gassed yesterday (but to be fair that was based from the press box and watching pitch replays). His fastball was right around 84-85 and it didn’t have much life. He just couldn’t locate when needed and that can usually be a sign of fatigue as much lowered velocity.
He had one swing and miss yesterday with plenty of pitches in the middle of the plate and not many pitches on the corners.
*** podcast of my interview with Mitch Levy this morning.
*** My buddy Marc W over at USS Mariner had this quality sitdown interview with Classs AAA Tacoma pitcher Forrest Snow. Some honest stuff from him.
*** Down in Houston, Astros manager Bo Porter was fired along with his hitting coach Dave Trembley.
*** Jeff Passan’s 10 degrees
*** Here’s a story on the Angels’ bullpen. Have to admit that it’s significantly better than the bullpen at the beginning of the season.