Hector Noesi just has not been what the Mariners had hoped he would be when he came over this offseason as a part of the Michael Pineda – Jesus Montero trade. Noesi had a very rough first half to the season. He pitched 96.2 innings with a 5.77 ERA and a 5.64 FIP. He had a poor K/9 at 5.59 and a high BB/9 at 3.17. There were some starts this year where he was impressive but for the most part, the command just was not there for Noesi. He had the second highest HR/9 in the league with 1.86. Imagine if he had a different home park than Safeco Field. Noesi just has not been able to keep the ball down in the zone this year as his 45.9% fly ball percentage, which is 3rd highest in the league, suggests. Well Noesi was demoted just prior to the All-Star break to AAA Tacoma. His first start came last night and I was on hand for the game. Check out my game report following the break.
In the first, Noesi looked good. He kept his fastball down in the zone and on the outer part of the plate. He had some rough breaks though bringing in an unearned run. The first batter reached on an infield single and after stealing second, a ball was hit to Alex Liddi which skipped right over his glove and the runner came in to score. Noesi needed 12 pitches on the inning and picked up a strikeout on a change up.
The second was a much different story for Noesi. He was still keeping the ball down in the zone but he was continuously just off the plate. You could tell he was trying to nibble at the corners but he just couldn’t quite keep it on the plate. He walked two batters on the inning and with two outs and runners on first and second, Noesi left a fastball up in the zone that was driven to left for a homerun. This would seem to be a turning point for Noesi in the game. After this, he just could not keep the ball down. The next batter drove another fastball up in the zone for a double but Noesi would get out of it, getting a ground out to end the inning. After two innings, he had thrown 40 pitches.
The third inning would be a long one for Noesi. The first batter of the inning kicked things off with a double to left. He threw a slider that just didn’t move much and was left in the middle of the zone. That was followed up with a base hit putting runners on first and third. He was then able to get a fly out and a foul out but couldn’t get out of the jam as he left another fastball up in the zone that was driven for a base hit, bringing in two runs to score. After three, he had 68 pitches.
The fourth would be the last inning for Noesi. He led off the inning giving up a base hit on a slider that lacked movement. He then walked the next batter, throwing almost all off speed pitches. He was able to then get a flyout but then after that he would walk another batter throwing nothing but breaking balls and that would be it for Noesi, leaving with the bases loaded. The final line for Noesi on the night would be 3.1 IP 8H 7R 5ER 5BB and 1K.
I was asked be MLB Dirt’s own William Tasker whether I thought it was a bad outing for Noesi or just a case of the “sent down blues” and I thought it was just a bad outing all around. He lost command of his fastball, not being able to keep it down in the zone and he really seemed to lose confidence in the pitch. Towards the end of the game, he stopped throwing his fastball but his off-speed pitchers weren’t breaking very much for him. Of his 18 pitches in the 4th inning, only 5 were fastballs. He had a total of 87 pitches on the night and only 48 were thrown for strikes. This was not the kind of start Noesi wanted if he wants to get back into the Seattle rotation any time soon. If the Tacoma rotation stays in order, he should make his next start on the 19th at home against Sacramento and I should be on hand to see that one as well.