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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Baltimore Orioles

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Seattle: 2-1
Baltimore: 1-1

GAMES**

Game 1: Jarrod Washburn* vs Steve Trachsel
Game 2: Miguel Batista vs Adam Loewen*
Game 3: Erik Bedard* vs Jeremy Guthrie
Game 4: Felix Hernandez vs Brian Burres*

** Not responsible for weather shitting all over this series as seems likely has already happened.

Well thank god we missed Steve Trachsel named Jarrod Washburn the 4th starter over Miguel Batista because otherwise we might have had the misfortune of being forced to witness a Trachsel-Batista matchup, a game sure to rival only curtain shopping with a woman in terms of pointless standing around waiting for something to happen. Never fear though, we have plenty of bad news to go around, starting with game one two. Adam Loewen is a decent pitcher. He's also left-handed, which means, we might see our first incarnation of the Ibanez-Ichiro-Morse outfield. Luckily, we have Batista going that game and there's no other single pitcher I'd trust more to be smart enough to figure out that he needed to go groundball heavy that game to survive.

Bedard-Guthrie is a mismatch in our favor as Erik gets the chance to face his former team, facing off against his pseudo-successor. Closing out, Felix Hernandez looks into the evil mirror on the wall and sees nothing at all related to himself in Brian Burres, a flyball lefty with meh stuff and poor control.

Likely Starters:
C Ramon Hernandez
1 Kevin Millar
2 Brian Roberts^
3 Melvin Mora
S Luis Hernandez
L Luke Scott*
C Adam Jones
R Nick Markakis*
D Aubrey Huff*

Luis Hernandez makes me embarrassed for Oriole fans. Adam Jones makes me homicidally angry. Nick Markakis makes me drool. The Orioles outfield is solid with a legit star in Markakis, a solid Jones and a unspectacular Scott, who's likely to find himself exposed against southpaws as a full time player. The infield on the other hand, ugh. Once the Bedard trade actually happened, I assumed that Brian Roberts would find himself gone as well. Unless Angelos feels they can keep him around, which may be the case, I don't know, then it would have been prudent to ship him off somewhere.

In fact, nabbing Roberts along with Bedard should have been been pursued by Bavasi since Roberts upgrades the offense sufficiently to have made up a divisional favorite at this point and also profiles as the perfect 2-hitter for this team. Besides Roberts, Millar is mediocre, Hernandez has a career MINOR LEAGUE OPS of .621 and Mora is now four years removed from his two-year peak. Ramon's offense took a nosedive last year and he nabbed only 20% of would-be basestealers.

CONTEXT

The big story is obviously J.J. Putz and what his absence is going to mean to us. If he's out just the minimum, then we'll be fine. The issues escalate as the length of his stay on the disabled list grows. We all have Felix's injury last year in the back of our minds as his return date kept getting pushed back and back and back. Still, that should pale in comparison to the worry about J.J. trying to force his way back too soon, doing additional damage and putting himself on the shelf all summer. Don't just get healthy J.J., get 100%.

Last year, our most patient hitter was Raul Ibanez, at 3.9 pitches seen per plate appearance and our team was last in the majors at 3.63 pitches per PA. We bitched about this all year long. The last four years Brad Wilkerson has seen 4.3, 4.2, 4.2 and 4.3 pitches per PA. I can sympathize with the short leash for Sexson, but can we cut Wilkerson some slack?

That being said, you noticed how many times we've remarked about how many more pitches the Mariners seem to be taking this year? Well, so far they have been taking more, clocking in at just over 3.8 pitches per PA. That was exactly the AL average last year. That's right, the hitters that for the past three days have had us gushing about their new found patience are seeing exactly a league average number of pitches.

With the forecast being what it is, there's a better than 50% chance that at least one of these games ends up rained out which could play all kinds of havoc with the pitching matchups should one manager choose to just skip a starter and another stay strict with the order [who called it?]. As it stands, they are about as good as we could hope for; the second game being the only one that doesn't look like an easy edge for us. There is further good news in that there's a lot more to it than just the starters. Baltimore is considered one of the worst teams in the AL for a reason, their bullpen is pedestrian for one, and their lineup is hardly imposing. For the most part, Seattle took advantage of a weaker opponent in Texas, they just need to keep that up in Baltimore.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale
Clipper City Brewery. Baltimore, MD

Variety is a driving force in my life and my choices in beers is no different. Unless there's a limited selection, or some kind of special running, I will never fail to not only order a different beer, but a different type of beer entirely from what I just finished drinking. Now, I have some general preferences for certain types at certain times or in certain orders, but one type that I never tire of at any time is a strong India/America Pale Ale and as far as I'm concerned the hoppier the better. It's no wonder then that I find this one of my goto beers on the east coast, and is something I wish I could find with more ease out in Seattle. This is brewed with 3 pounds of hops per barrel and is hopped 3 different ways: in the kettle, in the hop back and finally dry hopped as well.