So, Brandon Maurer. We all want to believe that there’s a major league pitcher somewhere in there, but so far all we’ve seen is crap. Maurer should be toast right now, except the only – and I mean only – alternative is Erasmo Ramirez, who has been bad in Tacoma. Maurer’s been worse as a Mariner than Ramirez, certainly, but there’s only so much more of this that is even bearable.
Four innings. Six hits. Five runs, all earned. Four walks, two strikeouts, and a three-run Erick Aybar home run. Hell of a box score, that is. Maurer has every bit earned his 7.52 ERA, and as such there’s no reason to watch his starts without consciously bracing yourself for a painful, tortured experience. Or you’re numb. Hopefully you’re numb. Not literally, of course, but then even that wouldn’t be far from the ideal state for experiencing Brandon Maurer.
This game wasn’t without it’s merit. James Jones had a double as part of a nice two-hit night. Kyle Seager‘s home run helped mask his looney throwing error. Michael Saunders drove in three and had a homer of his own. Brad Miller had two hits! Brad Miller! But there were also Nick Franklin‘s four strikeouts in the two-spot. There was Robinson Cano missing the game with illness. And there was Michael Saunders hitting third in a major league lineup.
On the downside, the Seattle Mariners weren’t quite able to take the four-game series from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. On the upside, hey, they just split a series with a division rival who has so far been one of the league’s best teams. On the downside, the Mariners are back under .500. On the upside, the Mariners still have the fifth-best run differential in the AL. On the downside, the Mariners are back in fourth place. On the upside, Houston has won six straight, and hey wait a second, there’s not really any upside to that. Huh.
The homestand continues tomorrow, but it doesn’t get any easier as the Detroit Tigers come to town. Detroit’s been going through a rough spell lately, which you would never guess looking at their 30-20 record. They lead the AL Central by 4.5 games, which sounds about right. The Tigers are chugging right along, still looking like one of the best teams in the world. Miguel Cabrera leads the charge, with Ian Kinsler and his big year right behind. Victor Martinez has perhaps been the most impressive Tiger of all, as he currently has a bonkers .341/.396/.600 line that is 65% better than league average.
Tomorrow’s 7:10pm game features Hisashi Iwakuma and Justin Verlander, two pitchers who are often thought of as aces. Except that Verlander hasn’t been pitching like an ace lately, if you are to judge by his 4.04 ERA. It’s all in the strand rate, one might think, as the percentage of runners he’s left on base is only 66.5%. But then there’s Anibal Sanchez and his 2.49 ERA, and he’s left 62.8% of guys stranded. Verlander’s having a weird year with K’s, as he’s only striking out 6.31 per nine frames. Couple that with a 3.79 BB/9 and you have reason for concern. But he’s not really allowing any homers, so his FIP is still a strong 3.45. Not that that makes his season any less concerning, but it’s a nice reminder that even this Justin Verlander is probably good.