Another day, another step closer to Kumar Rocker. But as we will see in every game, there were plenty of positives to discuss. Let’s look at the some of the notes.
1. Kendall Graveman made his first MLB start in two full years, and it was awesome to see. So too was his raw stuff. He breezed through the top of the first, striking out George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman with an array of 97-98 MPH fastballs. But while the stuff was good, the command was not after the first inning. Graveman gave up 2 hits but got a double-play ball, but the writing was on the wall. Graveman’s velocity quickly dropped back to the 95 MPH range, but his pitches still featured plenty of movement.
In total, Graveman got nine swings and misses on 88! pitches and came away with 7 strikeouts in 4+ innings of work. You can see Graveman’s stuff has ticked up since the last time he pitched. Now, it’s all about commanding it against the tough lineups he’ll undoubtedly face this season.
2. Kyle Lewis is making adjustments incredibly fast. After the league finally understood that Lewis can turn over any fastball, the Astros’ fed him a steady diet of breaking balls away in the final three games of the series, and Lewis continued to pepper the ball with authority to right field. He added two more hits (and two more K’s) and has now hit safely in all 4 games thus far.
3. Evan White clubbed his first big league home run off Josh James, sending a ball more than 400 feet into left centerfield with an impressive 106.5 exit velocity. But White also added a single into rightfield later in the game after an impressive at bat. He fell behind early, got the count back to 3-2, and used an inside out swing to flip a 96 MPH fastball into right field for a hit. White continues to look more comfortable at the plate after what seemed like nothing but strike outs in the first two games of the serious. White still struck out 3 times, but will see lesser quality arms for the next 3 games and is slowly starting to make adjustments to how the league is pitching to him.
1. Kendall Graveman’s command was non-existint for two innings. Overall, Graveman flashed some serious stuff in this start, but most of the time he was unable to consistently spot it for quality strikes. Still, when you consider the lineup, the special situation surrounding the ramp-up of the season, and the adrenaline rush of pitching in the big league game for the first time in two years, this is a reasonable time to brush it away.
2. Once again, I have no idea why Scott Servais let his starter stay in for as long as he did. Graveman threw 88 pitches in his first start in two years and had been laboring for multiple hitters. And yet, Scott felt comfortable pushing him despite an 11-man bullpen. We have years of evidence that says Servais is bad at this part of his job and while it didn’t cost his team the win, it was still puzzling to say the least.
3. Once again, an error opened up the flood gates for the Astros. Unfortunately, this time the error was made by Gold Glover Kyle Seager, so the excuses that were present for Shed Long‘s struggles aren’t available. After being unable to handle a routine ball hit by Kyle Tucker, the Astros never looked back and opened up a big lead. Seattle tried to claw their way back in, but this Mariners’ team simply isn’t talented enough to give any team extra outs, let alone a stacked team like the Houston Astros.
The Mariners jump right back on the horse against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tomorrow night. First pitch is at 7:10.