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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Anaheim Angels

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Seattle: 57-87
Angels: 88-57

GAMES

Game 1: BRANDON MORROW!!!! vs Jered Weaver
Game 2: Ryan Rowland-Smith* vs Joe Saunders*
Game 3: Ryan Feierabend* vs Jon Garland
Game 4: Felix Hernandez vs Ervin Santana

For the third straight year, Jered Weaver's tRA has regressed toward the league average and his tRA+ now rests at just 104. While his ability to throw strikes continues to improve marginally, his number of missed bats took a dive last year but has managed a slight rebound this season. However, the amount of called strikes that he's managed has fallen each year and the line drives allowed have sky rocketed up to over 20% as his groundball rate falls back to 2005 levels.

Joe Saunders has come back from a terrible 2007 year to post a reasonably solid 2008 campaign though his missed bat rate has fallen to just 6.5% and he only throws strikes 62% of the time. The problem with thinking this might be sustainable is that Saunders is posting just slightly above average tRAs in his good years, and those are largely the result of very low line drive rates, on the order of around 16% while in his two other years they've been above 23%. It's a wide variance and something tRA* would regress heavily and likely put Saunders at below average.

We called Jon Garland terrible at the beginning of the season and he's only managed to be worse this season, having his tRA rise a few points while overall offense fell in the league. Even though he's upped his groundballs to the highest mark of his recent career.

What the hell happened with Ervin Santana? I still don't know. He went from a 5.69 tRA in 2007 to a 3.40 tRA this year. He's throwing strikes at a good rate and suddenly started missing tons of bats. Guh.

Likely Starters:
C Jeff Mathis/Mike Napoli
1 Mark Teixeira^
2 Sean Rodriguez
3 Chone Figgins^/Robb Quinlan
S Brandon Wood
L Juan Rivera
C Torii Hunter
R Vladimir Guerrero
D Gary Matthews Jr.^/Garret Anderson*

With a clinch of the division, we might see the Angels mix in some other players. The Angels playing Brandon Wood at shortstop is rather hilarious.

According to BaseRuns, the Angels are the 7th best team. In the American League.

CONTEXT

Our manager, approved by our temporary General Manager, penned a lineup that had Raul Ibanez playing left field, Wladimir Balentien playing center field and Jeremy Reed playing the fiddle while he sits on the bench.

If you replaced Feierabend with Erik Bedard, this would be represent four consecutive games that I would look forward to watching with high hopes of seeing good pitching. That's astounding. Not that Feierabend is terribly awful or boring, but he just kind of doesn't belong with the other three.

Combined, the four starters in this series for our side make about $1.3 million this year. That is:
-less than twice what we voluntarily paid to Miguel Cairo.
-about three times what the Mariners paid Horacio Ramirez to not pitch for them this season.
-less than three times what the Mariners paid Jose Guillen to kill an option that never would have been exercised.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Hercules Double IPA
Great Divide Brewing Company. Denver, CO

A creamy, lightly citrusy, somewhat malty strong IPA from one of the better brewers in the country (best known for the Yeti Imperial Stout).