Series Preview: Minnesota Twins @ Seattle Mariners

Seattle: 19-30
Minnesota: 30-20

-43.4(29th) -2.8 33.6 (3rd) Minnesota
FIELDING (UZR) 11.9 (5th) 0.0 11.0 (8th) Seattle
2.8 (16th) 1.7 23.8 (3rd) Minnesota
-1.9 (20th) -0.2 14.9 (3rd) Minnesota
-30.6 (24th) -1.3 83.3 (1st) MINNESOTA


NOTE: Numbers are valid through Saturday's game. They do not yet reflect Sunday. I will update later.

The hopeful optimistic rationalizing side of me kicked in almost immediately as I began to gather my thoughts for this preview. About two weeks ago, the Mariners had a three game series against the Rays that ended in a similar fashion as this past series. The team led, blew leads late and only took one of three. I wrote then:

What's to say? The team has been playing better of late, but has been unable to close out victories. Bad luck is a big part of it, but the Mariners don't get to use bad luck as a reason for resetting their record and they don't get to cash in a similar amount of good luck from here on out. There're no guarantees. What's done is done and the team is in a tough spot.

The same applies here and my first instinct (always hopeful that I am) was to write about focusing on how the team built leads as a positive sign and try to marginalize the blowing of said leads. I cannot write that this time for two important reasons. First, this wasn't the Rays we just blew leads to. The Rays are a good/great team. The Angels are a bad team. Secondly, that was 12 games ago and the Mariners are just about out of time to right the ship.

I thought this 2010 team had potential to be a playoff contender. I still think they did. They have not played up to that label though. Bad luck has played a part in it as I have strenuously tried to point out. Not as a means to explain away the entirety of our disappointment, but as a goal to understanding where part of the misfortune was occurring. Bad luck isn't the whole story. I tried to never claim it was.

This team has suffered a lot of bad luck. They have also played amazingly poorly. At the plate, on the bases, in the field, on the mound. I don't know what, if anything, the management will do as a reaction to the team's performance. I only urge people to try and remain grounded.

It's so easy when expectations are not met to look for a scapegoat. Just ask Alan Cockrell. And I understand wanting to vent frustration, but please keep in mind that each of us is just one of thousands wanting to vent that frustration and there are but a handful of people who take their time, with little reward, to comb through all the comments moderating this site. I don't want to have to read tens of thousands of reactionary comments about who needs to get fired. Do you? What does it accomplish?

I'm not putting a kibosh on any and all dissent or anything, just asking that people take 15 seconds and try to be even-keeled. Hey, if you really think Wak, or anyone, deserves to be fired, then start compiling a list of reasons why you think so and make it a FanPost. Make it rigorous. Provide comparisons to other managers. Offer possible replacements and what they might do differently. Make it like this. Make it worthy of discussion. Make it worthy of LL.

Mon June 31, 19:10: Doug Fister vs. Francisco Liriano*

Tue June 01, 19:10: Jason Vargas* vs. Nick Blackburn

Wed June 02, 19:10: Cliff Lee* vs. Kevin Slowey

Thu June 03, 19:10: Felix Hernandez vs. Carl Pavano

Meanwhile, as irritating as this season has been, it still continues and baseball is great. It's a wonderful thing and the highs wouldn't be as high without the lows for comparison. Minnesota comes to town playing some fantastic baseball and you could plan on going to any of these games without even the fear of ending up at an Ian Snell start!

Take a look at the BB ratings for the Minnesota starters. 35, 75, 80 and 75. WHICH DOES NOT BELONG AND WHY? WHICH DOES NOT BELONG AND WHY?

League average walk rates for a starting pitcher are around 8% by the way and all four of the Twins' starters this series are below that mark this year. Liriano has demonstrably improved his control over the past couple injury-filled seasons. I'll take this chance to note again that the below ratings are compiled over multiple years of data.

Doug Fister Jason Vargas Cliff Lee Felix Hernandez
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 59% 88 20 60 55
Change 20% 81 40 80 70
Curve 9% 75 55 25 75
Sinker 7% 89 30 45 65
Slider 5% 83 40 80 60
Overall -- -- 20 65 65
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 49% 87 55 35 30
Change 21% 80 80 75 40
Sinker 20% 85 35 50 35
Slider 7% 82 20 35 50
Overall -- -- 55 45 30
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 59% 90 70 80 45
Change 14% 83 55 75 55
Sinker 13% 90 50 80 40
Curve 8% 76 55 50 75
Slider 6% 85 35 80 45
Overall -- -- 55 80 45
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 68% 94 75 60 75
Slider 12% 88 75 65 75
Curve 11% 83 55 45 65
Change 9% 87 70 70 80
Overall -- -- 70 65 80

Francisco Liriano Nick Blackburn Kevin Slowey Carl Pavano
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 43% 91 60 20 50
Slider 23% 85 80 75 50
Change 18% 83 75 65 45
Sinker 16% 92 30 50 60
Overall -- -- 80 35 50
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 42% 91 30 70 75
Sinker 19% 89 25 65 55
Slider 18% 86 30 80 45
Change 10% 83 45 75 35
Curve 10% 77 25 65 35
Overall -- -- 25 75 65
Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 68% 90 75 80 30
Slider 12% 84 25 75 30
Curve 10% 75 40 65 25
Change 9% 83 30 30 45
Overall -- -- 50 80 20

Pitch % Sp K BB GB
Fastball 55% 90 35 65 50
Change 29% 81 70 80 65
Slider 14% 83 45 65 55
Overall -- -- 60 75 55
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