Getty Images

A’s reliever Sean Doolittle reviews “Rogue One”

15 Comments

If you have some time to kill, here’s a straight-up review of “Rogue One: A Star Wars story” from Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle over at MLB.com.

I link this because (a) nothing else is going on; and (b) it gives me an excuse to talk about “Rogue One,” which I saw on Thursday night. No, I won’t spoil anything here. I make no promises that jerks in the comments won’t, however. Commenters are gonna comment so enter the thread at your own risk.

Anyway: I basically agree with everything in Doolittle’s review. It started a bit rocky and choppy and it was hard to follow at first. Not impossible — this is Star Wars, not a psychological thriller — but a bit bumpier than the usual spoon-fed exposition of a Star Wars flick. It gains momentum in the middle. The ending, however, is absolutely fabulous, giving us some things we’ve never seen before. Stuff we’ve always imagined playing out in the Star Wars universe but which has never been shown. That’s all I’ll say about that. Suffice it to say, the movie pays off wonderfully at the end.

As far as the normal movie review stuff: the characters, as Doolittle and other reviewers have noted, were less-than-wonderfully fleshed out, with the audience being given more in the way of archetypes than actual people. Maybe it’s enough in a Star Wars movie to have a “Hero,” a “Secondary, somewhat more reluctant and jaded hero,” a couple of stock warrior types and some comic relief. I dunno. There’s an argument to be made that the original trilogy characters were kind of lightly written too and only assumed a lot of heft by virtue of 40 years of Gen-X nostaliga doing the work that George Lucas never bothered to do. Indeed, I’d be eager to have that conversation. I can see both sides of it.

Ultimately, though, it doesn’t much matter. This is not Grand Cinema. It’s Star Wars. And as as Star Wars movie it works really well, even if it does things totally differently than any of the other seven movies in the series have done.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.