Series Preview: Seattle Mariners "@" Florida Marlins

MARINERS (37-38) Δ Ms MARLINS (33-42) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -63.5 (30th) -1.9 -18.2 (22nd) Florida
FIELDING 18.7 (4th) 1.5 -2.5 (17th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA)
33.6 (2nd) 5.1 -21.4 (24th) Seattle
BULLPEN (tRA)
0.7 (18th) -1.7 11.7 (7th) Florida
OVERALL(RAA)
-10.5 (17th) 3.1 -30.4 (22nd) SEATTLE
Running (BsR)
-0.9 (16th) - -5.0 (27th) Seattle

The Mariners play below average and take a series from the Phillies. Then they play overall above average and are swept by the Nationals. There is so much complexity, so much randomness, in baseball --in all reality truthfully-- that while I try not to begrudge the desire to reduce things down into simple story lines and arcs, it just misses out on so much detail. And it's detail that's beautiful. Monochrome may be easy to grasp, but we shouldn't be content with easy. We should always strive for depth, because why else concern ourselves? The prize isn't so much in the knowing, it's in the puzzle.

The Mariners lost three times to the Nationals. There will be other opportunities. Other games, including these coming up. Baseball is a game, I believe, fundamentally different from our collective sports mindset in that I do not think that effort really offers much chance to impact the game. Football, soccer, hockey, basketball, boxing, lacrosse and others are all examples where effort can indeed matter. Arenas where the nebulous "hustle" can actually apply. In those competitions, I see validity in "statement games" or "turning the corner". I don't see that in baseball. No amount of will power is going to enable Chone Figgins to start hitting in the middle of the season. It's skill and luck. Felix might be able to throw faster on command, but that's not the same as running faster. There's no guarantee that a faster pitch will be better.

If the Mariners fall apart and become the 75-win team we mostly expected them to be, it will not be because they blew a 5-run lead to Washington. It will be largely because they had a talent base on the roster that amounted to about 75 wins.

Fri 24 Jun 19:10

FELIX HERNANDEZ
RICKY NOLASCO

It hasn't garnered as much notice, since wins and losses ultimately drive the conversation over performance, but the Mariner starters have put together another nifty run of quality starts. Over the previous seven games and 50 innings pitched, only seven runs (earned or otherwise) have crossed the plate against the team's starters. That's a RA of 1.26 along with an outstanding 43 strikeouts and just 11 walks or hit batters.

Felix's start opposite Vance Worley is the weakest link of those seven as three runs crossed the plate against Felix. In fact, only once this season has Felix limited opposing batters to zero runs while he's been on the mound. The Marlins have three hitters worth paying attention to for their prowess: Gaby Sanchez at first, Logan Morrison in left and Mike Stanton in right. Navigate around that trio, and Felix could cruise through the rest.

Sat 25 Jun 19:10

JASON VARGAS* CHRIS VOLSTAD

In contrast, Jason Vargas has three starts already this season in which he has allowed zero runs through nine innings. There's an obvious correlation between allowing home runs and allowing runs overall, but in games (8) in which Vargas keeps all the balls in the yard he has allowed zero runs (4 times), one run (3 times) or two runs (just one). In games (7) which have featured a home run allowed, he's allowed 3 (once) , 4 (once), 5 (twice), 6 (twice) and 7 (once) runs.

I know we've stated before how Vargas seems a tad bi-polar in that he seems to get hit hard or not at all. This might be where that perception comes from.

Sun 26 Jun 19:10

DOUG FISTER ANIBAL SANCHEZ

Anibal Sanchez broke out last season when he finally got his walk rate under 10%. He's lowered it even further this season and pushed his strikeout rate over 25% to boot. That's a potent combination and Sanchez is a tough opponent. However, you never know when someone is going to wake up feeling sore or just off or be confused by what all those people in the seats are doing watching you. Maybe Sanchez is like a bird and us fans can distract him with noise. I encourage you to go to Safeco and squawk at Anibal Sanchez. It'll totally work I swear.

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