Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics

MARINERS (58-78) Δ Ms ATHLETICS (61-76) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) -133.7 (30th) -1.8 -31.4 (20th) Oakland
FIELDING 21.6 (5th) 4.1 -36.4 (26th) Seattle
ROTATION (tRA) 15.0 (10th) -4.3 19.5 (9th) Oakland
BULLPEN (tRA) -15.0 (27th) -0.4 7.8 (11th) Oakland
OVERALL(RAA) -112.0 (26th) -2.3 -40.5 (20th) OAKLAND

Mariners current draft spot: 5th

While it would have been sweet to take the series from Anaheim, as far as playing spoiler to their playoff hopes go, splitting it 2-2 was good enough. The Mariners at this point represent games that playoff contenders are looking to win and holding serve against them hurts their chances. Coming into the four game series, CoolStandings listed the Angels at a 22.6% chance of making October matter. They're now down to 15.9%. That's a huge drop! Hey Angels, you know what teams that barely miss the playoffs get over teams that easily miss the playoffs? Worse draft picks. And that's about it.

Fri 02 Sep 19:05

JASON VARGAS* GUILLERMO MOSCOSO

It has been five starts since Jason Vargas struck out more than three hitters and he's done that in only one of his last nine attempts. That is probably a large reason why he has seemed to be a much worse pitcher of late. Strikeouts! You need them, pitchers! 

Sat 03 Sep 13:05

MICHAEL PINEDA BRANDON MCCARTHY

The Mariners appear to have successfully managed Michael Pineda's introductory Major League season. He's done well and despite pitching essentially the entire season, the team helped keep his innings low and, more importantly, kept his in game stresses low. Michael Pineda's longest start to date has been:

7.1 innings, once, 12 April
29 batters, once, 12 April
110 pitches, once, 30 July

Only twice has Pineda exceeded 105 pitches in a start and in both of those he was cruising.

Sun 04 Sep 13:05

BLAKE BEAVAN TREVOR CAHILL

Approaching equal sample sizes between Tacoma and Seattle now, Blake Beavan is ripe for some still inadequate sample comparisons. His batted balls and walks are consistent with how he's pitched ever since becoming part of the Mariners organization. The predictable downturn has been in his contact rate and swinging strike rates, which influence and explain his low strikeout rate.

I'm not sure how high those can climb in the future, but they need to rise at least a little since a 9% strikeout rate is typically just too low to survive with. Perhaps a more achievable result for Beavan is a return to being a ground ball pitcher that he was while in Texas. For someone who's not missing bats and possessing as tall of a frame as Beavan, it makes a lot of sense for him to go back to hitting the bottom of the strike zone and at least limiting his fly balls if he cannot punch hitters out. You probably need to do at least one of those, Blake. Not walking guys is a good tool, but you cannot be Chien-Ming Wang [ed note: wow, remember him? How fast they fall] without the ground balls and you cannot be Doug Fister [ed note: remember him? Of course you do] without at least some strikeouts.

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