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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers

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Seattle: 39-65
Rangers: 54-51

GAMES

Game 1: Felix Hernandez vs Scott Feldman
Game 2: Carlos Silva vs Luis Mendoza
Game 3: Miguel Batista vs Vicente Padilla
Game 4: R.A. Dickey vs Matt Harrison

Nominally a relief pitcher the past few years, Feldman has worked out of the rotation mostly this season to moderate success on batted balls. As far as his stuff and control goes, well... his strike rate is under 60% and he's only missing bats 4.4% of the time, whereas a league average SP misses bats 7.6% of the time and throws a strike 63% of the time.

Going from mediocre to horrible, say hello to Luis Mendoza. We have a limited sample size to this point, but holy crap, he has a 8.67 tRA in the rotation this year. Much like Feldman above, Mendoza throws few strikes and rarely misses bats but on top of that he layers on a ton of line drives and homeruns allowed.

Vicente Padilla has had a bit of a rebound from a terrible 2007, but he's still far behind his contract season of 2006. His groundball rate has steadily deteriorated with a corresponding rise in home run rate.

Matt Harrison has been awful so far.

Likely Starters:
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia^
1 Chris Davis*
2 Ian Kinsler
3 Hank Blalock*
S Michael Young
L David Murphy*
C Josh Hamilton*
R Marlon Byrd
D Milton Bradley^

Chris Davis illustrates exactly what this team needs in spades. Drafted in the 5th round in 2006, seven picks after we took Nathan Adcock, Davis mashed right away and worked his way up to AA in just his second professional year last year. This season, he continued destroying AA and was moved up to AAA and got even better and so with a glaring black hole at first base on the big league team, the Rangers called him up and oh he just has a 180 OPS+ so far.

Texas' lineup is just plain silly good. How good? They're above .500 and within challenging range of a wild card spot with some of the worst pitching and defense in baseball. Yeah, that good.

CONTEXT

Trade trade trade. Please go away Washburn. Please overpay for Ibanez, New York.

A huzzah to Jose Lopez who has finally drawn some damn walks and is up to a respectable .744 OPS. His .324 OPB is by no means good, but coupled with low strikeout rates and okay power, he's doing fine for a keystoner. If he can match 2008's offense with 2006-7 defense, it would eliminate the desire to upgrade at that position this winter and provide us with another valuable player.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Ølfabrikken Porter
Gourmetbryggeriet. Roskilde, Denmark

The south generally sucks as a beer region so heading to a location that doesn't get much pub, Denmark, we encounter a tremendous example of how to make both a porter and a very Danish brewery name. This porter pours much like a stout but just hits you with chocolate notes all over the place.