Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rainiers Report #5 - Lord Byron, WladWatch '07, Joe Saunders

The Rainiers were held to a mere 3 hits over 8 strong innings by Joe Saunders and lost a 6-2 decision to the first-place Salt Lake Bees today in Tacoma.
At least the R's made the most of their hits: Brant Ust homered to right on a change away, and Jeff Clement broke out of a slump with a pulled HR to right on a fastball. Bryan LaHair had the other hit off of Saunders, an inside-out liner down the third base line, but he was erased trying to stretch it into a double.
R's starter Jake Woods went 6 innings, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits, striking out 6 and walking 3. Using a very good curve (around 76-78) and his mid-high 80s FB, Woods did a great job of limiting the damage from the heart of the Bees' order: 2-3-4 hitters Terry Evans, Jeff Mathis and Kendry Morales were a combined 1-14 with no runs scored. Unfortunately, lead-off hitter Nathan Haynes was 3-5 with a HR (as a LHB, no less), and Matt Brown was 2-4 with a 2B.
The Rainiers videotaped an inning or two of Woods pitching; perhaps they could work on how he's holding runners on. The Bees stole 4 bases before Adam Pavkovich was caught stealing second (off of Byron Embry - more on him later) - 3 steals came off Woods. The first baserunner of the game, Terry Evans, immediately stole second and then third off of Woods. I've been wondering why Rob Johnson's CS% has been down this year - today was a clue.

"Lord" Byron Embry came on to work the final three innings, and the husky righthander struck out 5 of the first 6 he faced. Through two, the big fella was simply untouchable. While he gave up an unearned run in the 9th, it was still an impressive performance for the indy-league veteran. Below are a few photos of his delivery, this time from the third base side. I'd intended these to show that Embry hides the ball, ala Emiliano Fruto, making his 90-93 FB seem much faster. I'm not sure that they do show that, though I suppose they'd need to be taken from the batter's viewpoint to say definitively. I'd also wondered if they'd show more of a 'short arm' delivery, again, like Fruto, but the only thing they proved to me is that Embry is a large, large person.

This one actually hints at why Embry's so tough: he does look like he may be hiding the ball behind his head. It also shows that Embry is putting his per diem for meals to good use.

This one shows Wlad Balentien waiting for a fly ball that never comes: Embry K'd 5, had 3 GB outs and one CS in his 3 innings of work.
All in all, a great job by Lord Byron, who really needs a better nickname.

Special Feature:
Mariners Morsels Asks the Tough Questions (and gets questionable results) #1:
Tonight's subject, SP Justin Lehr

MM: Justin, has the M's organization worked on your delivery/motion at all this year?
JL: *look that implies questioner is either annoying in general, or has annoyingly just farted*
MM: You've traditionally had a much higher GB ratio than this year; it's closer to even in 2007.
JL: *look that says, 'if I could punch you without consequence, I *totally* would.'* "Well, my last start it was 12 GO to 5 AO."
MM: That's good to hear; the previous start was 9:9.
JL: *smiling the way one smiles to people who've explained the Venusian conspiracy that's taking over the food supply* "Yeah."

Tough questions: MM asks them. Like the person who merely loosens the jar's lid, I bet Justin will spill his guts to the next person who merely asks him for an autograph - all crying like it's a Barbara Walters interview, some confused 5 year old tentatively reaching for his ball back to go ask someone more stable.
Stay tuned for more hard hitting journalism...


At 5/07/2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Jay Y. said...

Reminds me of my turn trying to interview Jason Snyder a few years back...

Me: Anything else fans following the M's minor league system should know about you?
JS: (shakes head) Nope.
Me: ....

At 5/08/2007 10:52 AM, Blogger Snave said...

It's time to call up that big 6'2" righthander! How about "Free Byron Embry"?

At 5/09/2007 1:48 PM, Blogger marc w said...


'Big' somehow doesn't do it justice. It seems like an understatement.

But yeah, he's been quite good so far. It's also nice to see Huber and Brad Thomas turn things around, and Green's already up in the show. The M's bullpen has plenty of depth - it's just that that's not where the problems are, and thus, I'm not sure what kind of opportunity Embry/Thomas will get.
You've gotta think Embry's behind Huber, just because Hargrove knows Jon. And Thomas was behind O'Flaherty, who's behind GS52 - how many LOOGYs do you need?

Maybe in September.

At 5/10/2007 2:56 PM, Blogger Snave said...

I dunno, but after today's outing in Detroit, I think maybe it's time to rename one of our major league starting pitchers Jeff Waiver.

0-6, 14.32 ERA... a WHIP well over 2.50. 50 hits allowed in six starts, which have lasted a total of only 22 innings. It is gut-wrenching to watch the guy implode, knowing that he does have a live arm and has had success in the past. I want him to succeed, but I now want him to succeed in a Rainiers or Diamond Jaxx uniform, or maybe in a uniform of a team affiliated with some other MLB organization. I am guessing he needs to have some counseling as well as some coaching.

Re. all the LOOGY guys in the system, that IS tough for goods one to get breaks re. the "cup of coffee" or a major-league tryout. I hadn't thought about how deep the M's are in the bullpen, but wow... they are! I dread the idea of Bavasi making trades, but I have to wonder if some organization with lots of starting pitching and not a lot of relief might like a couple of our LOOGYs for a starter or two.

Ya gotta LOVE the way Sherrill has been lights-out this year. There's some other guy who has been lights-out lately, he has assumed the closer job for Atlanta... I can't seem to recall his name at the moment.


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