Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics

Seattle: 7-8
Oakland: 9-6

GAMES

Game 1: Felix Hernandez vs Joe Blanton
Game 2: Carlos Silva vs Lenny DiNardo*

In a great matchup, Erik Bedard out-dueled Rich Harden in crushing people's hopes and dreams yesterday. Many considered Bedard an underdog in the endeavor but few were counting on the regularity of Harden's injuries and the numbness that now accompanies his bi-monthly hospital visits. Bedard on the other hand, while no slouch himself in getting hurt, had managed to delude an entirely *new* fanbase into wishcasting for his health and when he laid the smack down like an 80-foot tall mechanical Joe Frazier.

Joe Blanton gets some groundballs. He does not, especially so far this season, miss any bats. He doesn't walk many, but he's not actually that stingy with throwing out of the zone, so if the Ms are patient, they could be successful at drawing walks.

Lenny DiNardo was one of my regression candidates for 2008, but in the helpful way (for him and Oakland, which actually isn't helpful for us). So far (and that's a very big "so far" as he's only faced 28 batters) he has been like a more extreme version of Joe Blanton. He gets way more groundballs and his strikeout to walk ratio should be markedly better in 2008 than it was in 2007.

Likely Starters:
C Kurt Suzuki
1 Daric Barton*
2 Mark Ellis
3 Jack Hannahan*/Donnie Murphy
S Bobby Crosby
L Jack Cust*/Emil Brown
C Chris Denorfia/Ryan Sweeney*
R Travis Buck*
D Mike Sweeney

Yeah, there's a lot of "who knows" in their day-to-day starting lineup between platoons and injury. Jack Cust is regressing, shocker. Overall, the Athletics take a lot of pitches (surprise face) and do a fine job of making solid contact and drawing walks (surprise face), but what they lack is any discernible power so far in 2008. Their entire lineup boasts an isoP of .115 compared to a league average around .140 and the Mariners who are holding at .150. Yuniesky Betancourt has a career isoP of .119.

If Felix is on his game tonight, he should be able to make quick work of the Oakland hitters, but if his command is spotty, it could lead to a rough outing. I'd be paying more attention to his location than his actual stuff in the early going this evening. Silva might be the perfect pitcher to toss against Oakland since he won't let them work the count.

CONTEXT

The Ms looked horrible against Greinke and then great against Bale. It's still early, but this is a tough team to figure out. Hopefully with our newly appointed 1-2 sorta-punch going, we can start a winning streak against these A's that so tormented us two seasons ago and then bowed before our relative magnificence in 2007.

No good news on J.J. means we'll be sticking with this closer-by-random for a little while longer. We'll also find out about the call up for Bedard's spot sometime today; likely soon. The general guessing has centered around Brandon Morrow. Hooray for that. I guess it would at least keep McLaren from using Sean Green in 30 consecutive games.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Pliny the Younger
Russian River Brewing. Santa Rosa, CA

Super good news as the Russian River Brewing Company is moving into new, bigger, digs in Santa Rosa and will soon commence bottling their beers, which means they should start popping up all over the west coast. Pliny the Younger is routinely rated among the top beers in the country. It's cousin Pliny the Elder is no slouch itself but why settle for 8% ABV when you can get 11%? Pliny the Younger is dry-hopped four separate times and that shines through with hops dominating both the nose and the taste. There are other elements present though, notably some citrus and a bitter finish.

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