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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Kansas City Recap 

I've already apologized to Ryan Franklin for having any doubts about his ability to perform as a starting pitcher. It should be noted, though, that so far in 2005, Franklin's surrendered batting average on balls that are put into play (basically, every at-bat that wasn't a strikeout or a home run; simply put, the ones the fielders have a say in) is a cool .178. The Major League average is around .300. If, say, Franklin's balls in play had dropped in at a .280 average (still about .020 less than league average), he would have allowed 13 hits rather than just eight in his 12 2/3 innings of work. The effect of these additional baserunners is debatable, but anyone would agree that they would push Franklin's ERA much higher than the 2.13 that he currently enjoys. Franklin said it himself:
I made pretty decent pitches. I didn't leave too much over the middle of the plate. It was just one of those days. A lot of those balls could have fell in. A lot of those ground balls could have found the hole. But I had luck on my side today. (Thursday's Seattle P-I)
We'll see if Franklin continues to keep the ball in the park after that brutal Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles of Anaheim-Oakland-Cleveland-Texas-Oakland-Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles of Anaheim-Boston-New York-Boston-New York stretch takes the Mariners from the end of April to mid-May.

Aaron Sele, despite his Washington State University heritage, in fact failed to Coug it against the Royals, putting up 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball Wednesday. Sele, like Franklin, is having early success despite putting a lot of balls in play. I expect his ERA to rise to the 4.50 region by season's end.

Sele's numbers, incidentally, could be a lot better than the 3.75 ERA he currently boasts. In his first start against the Texas Rangers, Sele left the game after 5 2/3 innings, having given up only two runs. Ron Villone and Julio Mateo failed to do their jobs in the sixth inning, allowing both of Sele's baserunners to score. Sele could quite easily have an ERA of just 2.25. This subject is inspiration for an upcoming post.

Today was all about Jamie Moyer. He went seven innings, allowing two runs, scattering nine hits, walking one and striking out four. Moyer, Like Sele and Franklin, has been the beneficiary of good fortune (although not nearly to the extent to which the other two have). Moyer has allowed 21 hits and walked five in 18 innings, giving him a baserunners-to-innings ratio of an I'd-Like-To-See-Better 1.44. He has actually been a bit unlucky with his balls in play numbers, though, surrendering a .339 batting average. His strikeout totals, while not earth-shattering, are a respectable 6.5 per nine innings. While I don't envision Moyer's 2.50 ERA holding up for the rest of the season, I think it's reasonable to expect something in the neighborhood of 3.5, which would be just fine by me.

The sweep of the Royals leaves the Mariners with a 5-4 overall record and an early tie with the Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for first place.

The only fault for this weekend's starting pitching is that none of them got a complete game. All three starters could have stayed in longer, judging by their pitch counts, and at the very least, Franklin could have stayed in for one more out.
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