|MARINERS (19-24)||Δ Ms||RANGERS (26-16)||EDGE|
|HITTING (wOBA)||-31.1 (28th)||6.0||44.9 (2nd)||Texas|
|FIELDING||20.1 (3rd)||5.6||24.2 (2nd)||Texas|
|ROTATION (tRA)||11.0 (10th)||-1.3||16.3 (5th)||Texas|
|BULLPEN (tRA)||-14.8 (29th)||-0.8||19.2 (2nd)||Texas|
|OVERALL(RAA)||-14.8 (19th)||9.4||104.6 (1st)||TEXAS|
Those were refreshing wins, literally. My enthusiasm and tolerance for the Mariners was at or near a season low coming into the Rockies series. Now it has been refueled and I am back to being, maybe not excited, but eager for the upcoming games. All I ask is for baseball to entertain me and for there to be entertainment, I require hope. Not hope for playoffs necessarily, but hope on an individual game level. Before the Rockies series, that hope was on life-support. It felt impossible for the Mariners to take control of any game. Now I remember what that can feel like. It's way more fun.
The Rockies entered the series against the Mariners as the worst team in baseball by my measurements. That's the fourth time now that's been mentioned on the front page. Being swept by the Mariners will not help Colorado but perhaps some teams (cough Pirates cough) had worse enough weekends to get past them. I could look that up, but then I would know and then I'd have to go back and erase those sentences and it's just not important.
However, the Mariners are going from the worst team to the best team in the Rangers. That's the important bit and the root of the headline reference.
Mon 21 May 19:10
|FELIX HERNANDEZ||YU DARVISH|
Hopefully this match-up goes half way better than the Yu Darvish premier opposite Hector Noesi. Specifically, I am hoping that the Mariners preventing runs half is the one that gets better. Darvish is unsurprisingly proving difficult to hit against, but falls into periods where he's his own enemy. That could persist, he could sharpen his control over time or the league could catch up to and adjust to his stuff and movement and force him to move further outside the strike zone. No matter what, I'm sure we'll construct elaborate narratives to justify our old thoughts and explain what happened unexpectedly.
Tue 22 May 19:10
|HECTOR NOESI||MATT HARRISON*|
Matt Harrison took a big step forward for the Rangers last season. This year has been a small regression in his strikeout rate
Wed 23 May 12:40
|KEVIN MILLWOOD||NEFTALI FELIZ|
The Mariners get another crack at cracking their Neftali Feliz juju, but perhaps they should consider a strategy of simply not swinging a bat at all. Based on pitch f/x and the roughly rule book strike zone, Neftali Feliz is currently throwing pitches in the zone only 40% of the time. If the Mariners simply never swung — and the home ump was fair — they'd walk approximately 54% of the time and push at least one run across in about 37% of the innings. Anyone think they'd do better swinging?
Now, you might scoff at such a notion. Surely a pitcher would notice by about pitch number 10 that the batters are no longer swinging and thus he's free to simply chuck the ball down the middle for easy strikes. Ah, but I counter, have you noticed how bad pitchers actually are at hitting their target? Also, players are dumb. Not all of them of course, but have you noticed the rise in infield shifts? Have you noticed how often those leave an entire wedge of the infield completely open? Do you remember bunting; how it's like the easiest baseball maneuver to execute? Do you realize that succeeding on a bunt against the shift, really easy to do, only 50% of the time would result in a .500/.500/.500 batting line, which is tremendously good? Do you notice how often players bunt against the shift? Yeah, dumb.
Also, it might be the logical next step to Jeff's prior suggestion of only bunts against Yu Darvish. Darvish, I'll point out, throws strikes at only a fractionally better clip, so maybe the Mariners should make it a series-wide policy. Be like Gandhi, Mariners. Major League Baseball can force you to play these games, but they can't force you to swing! Resist the man!
Series Beer: Cascade Vlad the Imp Aler
Vlad the Imp is a strong sour-ish type ale. It's classified as a sour anyways, but though I don't mind sour beers, I start to mind them on about the third one. Vlad is less harsh. It's willing to just hang out. It doesn't need to burst through the door and mess the place up just to let you know that it's there. I'd almost consider it kind of a wine.