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More to Maurer’s debut than perhaps meets the eye

By Shannon Drayer

This will be real quick because the plane does not have Wi-Fi, but I wanted to get a few thoughts out about what we saw in today’s 8-2 loss to Oakland from Brandon Maurer, who had a tough go of things in his big-league debut, giving up six runs on six hits.

While that no doubt is disappointing, what happens next will be what is important.

Brandon Maurer had a disappointing major-league debut, allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings. (AP)

There are positives and key learning moments to take away from the game and that is what the focus for Maurer should be. For the most part, he was able to do what he wanted to do with the baseball. He threw just 74 pitches – 52 for strikes – in six innings and did not walk anyone. He was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes.

He got hurt when he made mistakes, like the 1-2 fastball to Josh Reddick that Kelly Shoppach set up high for but that Maurer didn’t get high enough. Or the 2-1 slider to Yoenis Cespedes that should have been thrown way out of the zone like the three he chased in the previous at-bat when Maurer was ahead in the count.

These are learning opportunities. The stuff was there. A few mistakes were made, mistakes that maybe you can get away with at Double-A but you can’t at the big-league level. We saw this with Erasmo Ramirez last year and Blake Beavan before. All are strike-throwers who need to learn to throw a bit better of a strike. You also need to know when to throw a pitch out of the zone or bury a breaking ball to try and get a guy to chase. By all appearances this is something that Maurer should be able to do.

Where he goes from here and how quickly he makes the adjustments will be what is most important. Today he got roughed up on mistake pitches to two of the more dangerous hitters in the league. It will be very interesting to see what he takes from the experience and where he goes from here.

Wheels up. Talk to you from Chicago.

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