(1090 The Fan) — The Seattle Mariners have fallen three full games back of the Kansas City Royals and remain three games behind the Oakland Athletics in the chase for a Wild Card berth. There are just five games left. Anything less than a 4-1 finish isn’t likely to be enough to even keep the M’s in it. Winning all five might be necessary.
Pitching Matchup | Jason A. Churchill, 1090 The Fan
Game 3: Wednesday, 4:07 PM PT @ Toronto Blue Jays — Taijuan Walker, RHP vs. Mark Buehrle, LHP
Walker was solid in Houston and has shown flashes of what he could be down the road. The 22-year-old is in a big spot Wednesday in what can be labeled one of those ‘must-win’ games, even though a loss does not eliminate them from contention altogether.
When Walker pitches off his four-seamer and cutter, he can be a tough customer and he showed some of that versus the Astros. He must finish and keep the ball down, however, and perhaps use the cutter a little more; he’d gone away from the cutter for awhile, perhaps to work on fastball command, but he’s back to using it and could use it more often.
Walker has never faced the Blue Jays, nor any of their current hitters.
Scouting Mark Buehrle
Grades reflect 20-80 scouting scale; 80 is outstanding, among league’s best, 50 is major-league average, 20 is poor, not in line with big-league standards.
Four-seam Fastball (82-85 mph): 40
Two-seam Fastball (82-85): 40
Cutter (79-81): 45
Curveball (71-74): 40
Changeup (77-80): 40
Buehrle Splits :
LHB: .280/.330/.420, 4 HR
RHB: .296/.333/.426, 11 HR
Home: 3.92 ERA, 8 HR, .310 BAA
Road: 3.12 ERA, 7 HR, .273 BAA
Dickey vs. Mariners
Robinson Cano: 7-26, 2-2B, 2 BB, 2 SO
Chris Denorfia: 1-10, BB, 2 SO
Corey Hart:3-5, 2 HR, BB, SO
Austin Jackson: 9-21, 2-2B, 2 BB, 3 SO
Kendrys Morales: 1-3
Michael Saunders: 0-6, 3 SO
Justin Smoak: 0-10, SO
Buehrle’s velocity has dipped below 85 on the fastball, so his game is 100 percent about changing speeds, location and avoiding the walk. He’s done that in 2014 despite possessing well below-average stuff, including no above-average individual pitches.
He’s not inducing many swings and misses and he’s a fly ball pitcher still, but he’s avoided the big inning enough to get through six innings while giving the Jays a chance to win most of his 31 starts.
The veteran southpaw throws a lot of two-seamers, cutters and changeups, but likes to get to his curveball when ahead in the count. Overall, Buehrle throws the curveball about 13 percent of the time. When ahead, that jumps to 23 percent.
He’s almost exclusively fastball or cutter to start at-bats — about 85 percent — and rarely strays from that approach the first time through the lineup.
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