Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Series Preview

Bob Levey

A look at one of the least interesting series of the season.

Matt Vasgersian: Astros! Mariners! An exciting AL West showdown takes place this week, and we've got all the coverage for you here on MLB Network.

Date Time Venue Probable Pitchers
6/10 7:10 pm Safeco Field
Dallas Keuchel vs. Hisashi Iwakuma
6/11 7:10 pm
Safeco Field Bud Norris vs. Aaron Harang
6/12 7:10 pm Safeco Field Jordan Lyles vs. Jeremy Bonderman

Matt: These two teams come in jockeying for positioning in the ultra-competitive AL West. Only 5 games separate the teams, and it's anybody's guess how this one will shake out, though the Astros have a chance to close the gap on the front-running Mariners if they can achieve a sweep.

Sean Casey: Talk about the exciting pitching match-ups in this one, Matt.

Matt: The Astros will run out Dallas Keuchel in game 1, who is...(shuffles notes) a pitcher. Our stat team says he's held hitters in the #2 spot to a .327 OPS, so that could spell trouble whoever hits in that spot. He earned his way to the majors by posting a career 4.69 ERA in AAA, so that's....(looks helplessly at crew, they shrug)

He's what some of the stat geeks would call a replacement level player, but he's here to prove them wrong. The Mariners send underrated ace Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound today, whose 1.94 ERA is 2nd in the American League. Iwakuma has been dealing with a blister this season, but it hasn't affected his performance, as he's been one of the best starters in the American League. He has 6 win-

Harold Reynolds: 6 wins? How can he be one of the best pitchers in the American League? Bartolo Colon has 7 wins, now that guy is a true battler, has that veteran savvy, knows how to win ballgames. You know Scott Bankhead once told me that in 1989, he found TWTW and won 14 games, I'll explain-

Matt: Alright, Harold. Game two features Bud Norris and Aaron Harang, a couple of K-men who are always a threat to ring a batter up. Both bring tenacity and -

Brian Kenny: Actually, Bud Norris has seen his K rate disappear this season, while Aaron Harang has seen his jump to the highest it's been in 6 seasons. Let's fire up the graphic here:

Matt: Did you guys move the set or something?

K/9 from 2009-2013:

Bud Norris Aaron Harang
2009 8.73 7.87
2010 9.25 6.61
2011 8.52 6.54
2012 8.82 6.56
2013 6.04 8.28

Matt: So it looks like Aaron Harang has returned to his former 200 K bulldog self, while Bud Norris has struggled to punch batters out in a down season. Thanks for stopping by, Brian. Next up,

Brian: Bud Norris has the lowest FIP, but highest xFIP of his career. He isn't striking as many batters out, but he's keeping the ball in the park. This isn't likely to be sustainable, and his ERA should start rising from 3.43 once his home run rate stabilizes. Or at least his FIP, since the Mariners seem to have a distaste for home runs with anybody on base.

Matt: Thank you for that, Brian. Game 3 features another riveting match-up, as Jeremy Bonderman continues his miraculous comeback attempt against Jordan Lyles. This exciting Wednesday -

Eric Byrnes: this is the worst fucking matchup i have ever seen

Harold: Bonderman's story of perseverance is inspiring! Plus, Jordan Lyles strives to live up to his former top prospect status, I like these guys. They've been through -

Eric: there are only three games on wednesday night are you shitting me, i have to sit around in studio for this game to finish

Harold: Bonderman is a grinder. This is a guy who puts his heart on the line, local boy, came out strong last week, and the Astros are fired up knowing that their boy Mark Appel is on his way up next month, this kid is too talented to keep out of the bigs -

Eric: oh my god does anybody take this guy seriously, get this miserable series over with already

Matt: There you have it, coverage begins tonight at 7:10. Coming up next, our guest Hawk Harrelson and Harold Reynolds will discuss...

/commercial

Matt: i don't think i can do this anymore you guys

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