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Series Preview: Boston Red Sox @ Seattle Mariners

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Seattle: 38-60
Red Sox: 57-73

GAMES

Game 1: Jarrod Washburn* vs Jon Lester*
Game 2: R.A. Dickey vs Daisuke Matsuzaka
Game 3: Felix Hernandez vs Clay Buchholz

Who is Jon Lester besides some guy who survived cancer and then threw a no-hitter for Boston thus guaranteeing him a lifetime achievement award at the ESPYs? In a word; average. He throws an average number of strikes, misses and average number of bats, strikes out and walks an average number of batters, and so on. The one thing he does above average is induce groundballs and limit home runs. He does nothing below average. One above average trait plus no below average traits = valuable pitcher.

Massive control problems this season for Matsuzaka and his strike percentage is now below 60% and he's walking nearly 15% of the batters he faces. He's missing fewer bats as well and his strikeout rate has dipped accordingly, down below 20%. He's getting fewer groundballs as well, down two points from 2007. Naturally, his ERA is down nearly two points. God ERA is stupid. It currently stands at 2.65 while he maintains a xFIP of 5.07. Why the difference? BABIP = .247, HR/FB% = 5.7%, LOB% = 81.5%. Ding ding ding!

We don't have much of a sample size for Clay Buchholz yet and what we do have flies in the face of his results from 2007 so now would be a good time to turn to a scouting report on Buchholz to get an idea of how he pitches. I don't have one of those. I can tell you that he's been a bit wild this year but misses a good number of bats and gets groundballs.

Likely Starters:
C Jason Varitek^
1 Kevin Youkilis
2 Dustin Pedroia
3 Mike Lowell
S Julio Lugo
L Jacoby Ellsbury*
C Coco Crisp^
R J.D. Drew*
D Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez has a pair of $20 million club options for 2009 and 2010. If they get declined and he hit the free agent market we could witness the Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez and Ken Griffey Jr. being free agent "outfielders" all at the same time. You could build the world's most hilarious outfield in one slew of signings!

Proof that many Red Sox fans are stupid? J.D. Drew.

CONTEXT

A successful lost series to Cleveland going exactly as expected which is pretty rare. We gained ground on Washington but we're facing a mighty challenge from the dregs of the National League as Washington, San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado and Pittsburgh are all going to give us a run for the money. We have a tiebreak over Colorado and San Diego, but for Strasburg we really need Raul Ibanez and Jarrod Washburn to get dealt as soon as possible because the Pirates are likely to be much worse on August 1 than they are on July 21st.

Speaking of trades, the Dodgers are still looking for a shortstop and the rumor is that they've now turned to defensive whiz John McDonald. Yuniesky Betancourt still has a rep as a defensive whiz among some circles and actually has a bat while John McDonald made the unusual career choice of trying to hit with a pool cue. Trade trade trade trade trade. Please?

In further, oh god I wish we could defect to the NL West news, our pitchers hitting have a .304 slugging percentage. Our DHs this year? .284 slugging.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale
Pike Brewing. Seattle, WA

One of my favorite scotch-style ales this one is a clear muddy amber color with a thin head but a bountiful aroma and taste of oats with some caramel and malts tossed in as well. Finishes a bit thin as is the Pike mainstay, but that's its only drawback.