Mariners, Athletics, First to Begin Marathon

MARINERS (0-0) Δ Ms ATHLETICS (0-0) EDGE
HITTING (wOBA) 0.0 (1st) 0.0 0.0 No team
FIELDING 0.0 (1st) 0.0 0.0 No team
ROTATION (tRA) 0.0 (1st) 0.0 0.0 No team
BULLPEN (tRA) 0.0 (1st) 0.0 0.0 No team
OVERALL(RAA) 0.0 (1st) 0.0 0.0 No team
Explainer

Well, this is the beginning. And what a beginning it shall be. In a dozen or so hours, the Mariners and Athletics take the field for baseball that will be recorded in the history books. Actually, almost all baseball that Major League teams play is recorded, but we have rightly and mostly collectively decided that those spring records should never be looked at. Don't look at them! They feed on your attention.

In their place we will get some incredibly small sample, but real, data. And for about a week, we will all get to look at only that data. How many articles are going to be written judging Ichiro Suzuki batting third based on these first two games? How many people will write off Chone Figgins if he doesn't get a hit while in Japan? I don't think anyone actually likes writing about Spring Training and now there's going to be some regular season games for these starved writers to comment upon. Prepare, all, to be overfilled. Data is better than no data, but data can be dangerously applied. Try and avoid that pitfall because sometimes there are crummy-looking scorpions down there.

Meanwhile, I created a primer for these previews which goes over hopefully all the frequently asked questions of "what is that?" and "what does this part mean?" It's the Explainer link on the bottom row the table above. It'll be present in each preview so if you have any feedback on the primer, you can post that here as well.

Wed 28 Mar 03:10

FELIX HERNANDEZ BRANDON MCCARTHY

Congratulations to Brandon McCarthy as getting the Opening Day start for Oakland. You've come a long way in just one year, Brandon. For McCarthy, I imagine his primary goal this year will be to remain healthy. He doesn't need to get a lot better in an overall manner than he was last season, posting a 125 tRA+ (better than Felix's 120), but he made only 25 starts.

Felix Hernandez is our boy though and essentially, I just hope he continues being Felix both on and off the mound. It's baffling and amazing that entering his age-26 season, there's little to nothing that I can reasonably look for Felix to improve in his performance. His ground ball rate fell a couple points last year and it would be swell to see it back in the high 50s that he used to inhabit, but he's fine at 50%. Just be healthy and Felix for the next decade and he'll go down as numerically one of baseball's greatest pitchers ever. He's so good. We are so blessed.

Thu 29 Mar 02:10

JASON VARGAS* BARTOLO COLON

We, as fans, are less blessed by Jason Vargas, but he perhaps gets too little credit. Part of that stems from him just not being very exciting and part of it is a sense that he's not in anybody's long term plans for the Mariners. None of that is to say he's bad. Over the past two seasons as a full time starter, Vargas has delivered about 400 innings of solidly league average starting pitching. That's great to have, up to a certain price and risk point. Certainly many (most?) of us here would rather Doug Fister still be a Mariner and Jason Vargas be a Tiger, or whatever, but I hope that people are adequately separating their perception of Vargas' tradability or likability or whatever with his actual performance ability.

Like McCarthy, Bartolo Colon also came a long ways back in the 2011 season, but I am less inclined to offer him salutations since he never entertained me on Twitter and, from a baseball perspective, I loathe Bartolo Colon. While my reaction to McCarthy's emergence was more like "neat!" even though he was doing it for a division rival. My reaction to Colon's was akin to "argh, you again?" even though the Yankees are a far less direct competition.

Series Beer: Alaskan Brewing Black IPA.
The black IPA style (a.k.a. cascadian dark ale) is a beer style that's becoming associated with the northwest, no matter who might object to such a characterization. It's like a traditional IPA but darker and with a bit more malty taste to it. It's also Alaskan's Spring release beer which I think makes it doubly appropriate for baseball being back. Additionally, the label has wolves on it! Three of them in fact. No moon, but still. Kickass wolves.

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