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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ New York Mets

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Seattle: 26-49
Mets: 37-37

GAMES

Game 1: Felix Hernandez vs Johan Santana*
Game 2: Miguel Batista vs Oliver Perez*
Game 3: R.A. Dickey vs John Maine

Johan has never had a higher groundball percentage, but his line drive rate is also higher and he's missing fewer bats this season, a surprise given his move to the National League. Johan had retired at least 20% of all batters he faced on swinging strikes prior to this year and his current rate stands at 14.6%, a pretty dramatic dip.

Oliver Perez's ball% is up over 40% which is even higher than it was during his disastrous 2005 and his missed bat percentage is down to a career low 7.4%. Furthermore he's allowing a high number of line drives which results in a 6.63 tRA. Batista is slated to return to the pen with Dickey to follow, but this is really all up in the air depending on, among other things, Bedard's health. It's probably better for all us if Bedard is given a DL stint to try and clear some of those lingering pains up.

John Maine is a fairly average starting pitcher. Misses some bats, tosses a reasonable number of strikes. His fastball velocity is up over last year hovering around 92 now and he's ditched the slider a bit in favor for more use of the changeup.

Likely Starters:
C Brian Schneider*
1 Carlos Delgado*
2 Luis Castillo^
3 David Wright
S Jose Reyes^
L Trot Nixon*
C Carlos Beltran^
R Endy Chavez*

This is going to be a challenge for Felix as he's historically struggled against left-handed bats and the Mets can conceivably run out a lineup that has eight (counting Johan) hitters standing from the left side. Felix is going to need to have his changeup working and for god's sake, mix up the pitches!

CONTEXT

We were granted a glimpse at what I'm sure the front office thought they were going to see a lot more often in the 10-2 win started by Erik Bedard. But from thereon out the dream scenario was smacked around by actual reality as we saw Bedard leave early due to an old man injury. This was followed by Washburn pitching well. but inefficiently, and capped off with a bullpen failure in the ninth and then finally a joke of a lineup trotted out against a dominant Tim Hudson with predictable results.

If you need something to root besides losses, root for Jeremy Reed and Jeff Clement to produce good results in ways that do not directly translate to wins on the surface so that they may keep playing while the team manages to continue hanging Ls on the schedule.

Jeff Clement performing well both at the plate and behind it would do wonders for opening up the possibility on what the new GM might be authorized to do this winter. I'm not giving up hope yet on Johjima's departure in some form or another until we see him as the opening day catcher in 2009 and even if so, there are ways to make a Johjima-Clement platoon work well for a year.

Jeremy Reed needs the chance so that we can see if him, now at this physical peak, can contribute enough with the bat to play a role in a possible contending team. Randy Winn made it work with terrific defense and a 770 OPS in LF and Reed can match Winn's defense so it rests on his bat. If he can push above 750 then he can make an adequate starting LF or, better yet because it indicates stength in the team, the perfect 4th OF, able to play all three positions. It may not seem like a 750 OPS and good defense is that great a value, but at the salary Reed would command, and the lowered blood pressure of our pitching staff, he's more than worth it.

It's not like we need another 200 PAs to figure out what Bloomquist brings to the table. We know that already. We DO need as much time as possible to figure out what Reed brings to the table because what he did in 2005 is irrelevant at this point.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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