Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays @ Seattle Mariners

MARINERS (44-60) Δ Ms RAYS (54-50) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -120.4 (30th) -6.1 3.2 (10th) Tampa
FIELDING 21.6 (6th) 2.7 47.2 (2nd) Tampa
ROTATION (tRA) 29.0 (5th) -1.3 -10.1 (19th) Seattle
BULLPEN (tRA) -4.4 (18th) -0.3 -11.1 (23rd) Seattle
OVERALL(RAA) -74.1 (26th) -4.9 29.2 (12th) TAMPA BAY

With the allure of an epic streak gone, we are instead left solely with what is now a really crummy team and record. There's a few short days left until the trade deadline and it is likely that at least some player is gone by Monday. Erik Bedard, pitching tonight, is the most credible candidate, but a bullpen arm like Jamey Wright would not surprise me nor would Adam Kennedy.

There's little left in Tacoma that is exciting and waiting to be called up. The Wily Mo Pena situation has already been duly covered by Jeff, but by and large what I can see that we have to look forward to the rest of the season is paying attention to how the youngsters look and desperately hoping to see signs of life from the Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro Suzuki trio. Justin Smoak bouncing back would be a massive relief as well, but since I'm of the opinion that his slide has more to do with injury than slump, I'm not as worried there.

Time to play spoiler again. Only two months this season. yaaay

Fri 29 Jul 19:10

ERIK BEDARD* JEFF NIEMANN

In some ways it will be like the streak is still going because many eyes will be on this Mariner game, but it will be to scout Erik Bedard rather than to gaze in macabre fascination at a losing streak. I'm not a scout and I don't work for a team so no, I don't know what someone like the Boston Red Sox will be looking for. Will fastball speed be enough? Does Erik need to show good control? Does he just need to not limp? Do I even want him traded? I could fret and worry about these questions or I could acknowledge that my mental expenditure will have no effect either way,  open a beer and just hope Bedard does well. For his sake and for the Mariners, regardless if the two interests are still intertwined on Monday.

Sat 30 Jul 13:10

MICHAEL PINEDA ALEX COBB

Michael Pineda loses his change up off the pitch grade chart because it has fallen below the 5% threshold in MLBAM classification. For a couple reasons, I would not be bothered if Michael Pineda went back to Tacoma instead of Blake Beavan for a few weeks. Send him down, put him in a six-man rotation and tell him he has to throw 20 change ups a game or he stays in Tacoma all year.

Of course, even if they did that, I wouldn't hear about that last part. And it's not like I have any idea if that plan would be helpful or appropriate. For all I know, Pineda is working incredibly hard on his change up in side sessions. All these mock suggestive demands for what the team should/must do are just cloaking for what we really mean. I really mean that I want to see Michael Pineda get better and I believe that at least a passable third pitch would greatly assist him.

Sun 31 Jul 13:10

JASON VARGAS* DAVID PRICE*

Maybe we'll get a surprise trade and someone like Jason Vargas or Brandon League will be dealt. Probably not though. Probably, Jason Vargas makes this start against David Price. Writing of probability, my lasting memory of David Price will, with substantial odds, always be his relief appearance in game seven of the 2008 ALCS against Boston. Much like Boston of 2004, I was hoping the national underdog prevailed and similarly to 2004, I lost all interest and actively rooted against that very same team after the pennant victory and have not let up since. 

Still, even though I figured the eventual tide turning of my rooting interest was coming, I was legitimately happy when Price closed out the ALCS for the Rays over the Red Sox. It would be swell to have a similar feeling at a similar time related to the Mariners in the near future. It would be even better because in the back of my mind wouldn't be the knowledge that it was a hollow moment. I won't stop pulling for the Mariners if they win the pennant.

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