Scrabble Needs New Board; M’s Win Anyway

Seager Grand Slam
Jean Segura greets Kyle Seager after his first inning grand slam to give the M’s a 4-0 lead over Toronto. Seager hit a solo homer in the 5th inning as the M’s routed the Blue Jays 9-3 in Toronto.

The Mariners closed out their series with the Blue Jays with a 9-3 win due to clutch hitting from Kyle Seager and a cast of what seemed like thousands.  Two homers from Seager, including a grand slam, solo blasts from Ryon Healy and Mike Zunino, Jean Segura chipped in four hits.  The M’s had 16 hits in all. Mike Leake threw a solid seven innings to right his season.

The blemish on the night was another poor performance by Marc Rzepczynski. Zep or Scrabble (in fairness he prefers the former,) in his 13th appearance of the year, faced two batters and retired neither, allowing an infield single to Lourdes Gurriel and then walked Anthony Alford before being replaced by Chasen Bradford.  It didn’t help that Bradford allowed a single that kept the inning alive, but it’s Rzepczynski’s performance that is truly concerning because his is typical for this year.

Scrabble

In his 13 appearances, Scrabble has completed only 5.1 innings, though he has faced 33 batters.  If you do the math, that’s 11 innings worth of batters. He’s allowed 11 hits, five walks and two home runs.  His ERA stands at 10.13, his FIP is 8.04 (not including tonight’s game,) and his WHIP is 3.00.

In 2017 Rzepczynsk signed a two year deal for $11 million deal as a lefty specialist.  With all of last year’s pitching injuries and the wear on the bullpen, he was often pressed into filling innings, pitching in a role that wasn’t intended, and his stats from 2017 reflect that.

This year, with a healthy staff, Rzepczynski is now relegated to mop-up relief.  Against lefties, he’s allowing a .350 OBP.  Righties are worse with .636 OBP and 1.300 slugging. His two homers allowed have come from the right side.

I hate to point this out, but the M’s bullpen has been less than sterling the last week or so. Though he’s owed some cash, it may be time to throw Scrabble overboard and consider some other options.  That would leave James Pazos and Wade LeBlanc the only southpaw pitchers with bullpen experience this year.  It would likely require bringing up Ariel Miranda or Roenis Elias, both left-handed starters,  from Tacoma and shuffling LeBlanc back to his long relief role.

In a pitching rotation that was not strong to begin the year, and continues to need regular injections of relief help, it seems wrong to keep a guy who simply cannot help.  It’s time to use all the spots on the roster in a productive manner and bid farewell to Scrabble.

Go M’s

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