Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Seattle Mariners

Seattle: 18-20
Anaheim: 18-18


-36.0 (28th) -11.0 (22nd) ANA
10.6 (6th) -4.1 (21st) SEA
8.9 (10th) 17.3 (4th) ANA
-8.1 (23rd) -3.1 (19th) ANA
-24.6 -0.9 Anaheim

It is nice to see the bats climb out of the basement and surprise of surprises the three main motivators for the slight uphill climb in wOBA rank this past series were Russell Branyan (3 2Bs, HR), Ichiro Suzuki (2 HRs, 2 BBs) and Yuniesky Betancourt (HR, 3 BBs). Okay, so the first two aren't much of a surprise, but that's more than made up for the fact that, holy hell! Yuni! Did you know that Betancourt now has more walks drawn in May (5) than Branyan (4)? Crazy.

The fielding stayed put in rank, but had their overall UZR rise a couple runs. The main detractor is, not a surprise, Yuni who falls to over -8 on the season. However, Wladimir Balentien continues to impress on the defensive metrics and Beltre, Ichiro and Gutierrez are still building upwards. Jose Lopez is our other slouch on the negative end, but the entirety of his red marks come from errors as his range is rated as above average. Lopez has an established history of keeping away from super high error totals, so my bet would be that he ends up the season in the -5 to +5 range.

Neither Olson nor Vargas had quality starts, but Jakubauskas did. Keeping balls in the park goes a long way to keeping your tRA down and while he doesn't miss (m)any bats, One-eyed Jack does limit the line drives quite well.

Miguel Batista tossed three innings of exactly league average relief this past series, notable only because he threw 64% strikes, which was the highest figure amongst our relievers this weekend. Yech. Mark Lowe at least missed six bats in his 35 pitches and punched out five in two innings of work.



Game 1: Jarrod Washburn* vs. John Lackey
Game 2: Felix Hernandez vs. Matt Palmer
Game 3: Chris Jakbaukas vs. Ervin Santana
Game 4: Erik Bedard* vs. Joe Saunders*

John Lackey currently possess a tRA of 1042. That guy sucks. There's nothing to say about him so far this year, he's thrown just two pitches that count. His rehab in Salt Lake looked like it went well so I would not put much hope in him still getting back up to speed. Though if he were to pull another two pitch and gone outing, that would be a surely swell way to get into the Angels' bullpen right off the bat.

We are roughly 30% of the way into a typical sample size for Jarrod Washburn and so far this season he has the highest swinging strike rate and highest ground ball rate of his StatCorner recorded history. I doubt he is going to continue running a 113 tRA+, but anything that arrests the trend of 97-91-83 that he had been on in his first three Mariner seasons is a welcome relief to me. If he keeps it up, it's nothing but a win-win with either the Mariners stay in the playoff race and Washburn helping us or the Mariners falling out of it and him pitching well enough to dump him off come July.

Matt Palmer doesn't miss bats. He is somewhat of a ground ball pitcher, but over too little of a sample size to say much one way or another. What he is doing is running a .182 BABIP. It sure would be nice for the offense to wake up and swing a big morning regression surprise Palmer's way and remind everyone of why he's a 30-year-old nobody.

Felix shook off two mediocre starts and some people prematurely freaking out over his gameday velocity readings to shut down the Rangers in Arlington over seven innings. Nevermind the 16 missed bats (woot!), the post game comments made me do a handstand in order to get the blood to drain back to my brain.

I located all of my pitches today. I don't want to throw 97 in the middle. I just want to go at the corners and throw my two seamers. They have a pretty good line up and you have to locate your pitches.

Yippee. I don't want to get ahead of myself or the sample sizes, but this could be it. This could be Felix taking those steps we have been waiting and waiting for, with ever more growing apprehension and, in some cases, resignation, that he never would. His swinging strike rate is 11.5%, the highest ever, topping the 10% he posted in his debut 2005. His fastball frequency is down a bit. He's throwing first pitch strikes at a career high level.

Ervin Santana's second start of 2009. His first didn't go over that well, missing just four bats and recording just 50 strikes on 92 pitches and keeping just four of 17 batted balls on the ground.

Joe Saunders is the same pitcher he was last season but with a so far even more depressed line drive rate, currently residing under 10% against his career average of just over 18%.


Vlad the Imp Aler
Cascade Brewing @ Raccoon Lodge. Portland, OR

A crisp sour ale with a little tart to it, but not so much as to destroy the palate. Dark orange amber color with light lacing a medium head. Port-like aroma and highly sweet with interesting wine like characteristics. A dangerously sneaky and delicious 10.2% ABV brew and I think a rather fitting name for this series.

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