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Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Seattle Mariners

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Seattle: 57-98
Angels: 96-59

GAMES

Game 1: Ryan Rowland-Smith* vs Ervin Santana
Game 2: Ryan Feierabend* vs Jered Weaver
Game 3: Felix Hernandez vs Jon Garland
Game 4: Carlos Silva (questionable) vs ?

Rowland-Smith has had thoroughly mediocre results out of the rotation so far this year despite possessing the talent to be a satisfactory back end option. The main culprit has been the disappearance of those strikeouts.

As a reliever, Rowland-Smith went 0-2 on a hitter 20.3% of the time (average ~18.5%) and overall notched a strikeout in 19.8% of all PA (average 19%) [NB: these two figures are not computed dependently. That is, I'm looking at total strikeouts, not strikeouts after reaching an 0-2 count].

As a starter, the 0-2 figure has dipped slightly to 19.7%, but the average starter only reaches that mark about 17.8% of the time so Ryan is still above average in that regard. However, compared to an average strikeout rate of 16% for league starters, Rowland-Smith's currently stands at just under 11%.I'd like to think that's just a sample size problem and he'll go back to punching out hitters at a slightly above average rate which would return him to usefulness.

Like Matt Tuiasosopo and Felix Hernandez, it's easy to forget how young Ryan Feierabend is because he's been a part of our collective conscious for going on three/four years now. But he's only 22 and while he's still not anything special, and does not really possess the tools to turn into anything of that regard either, he has been markedly better in the big leagues this season over prior attempts. Notably, the walks are well down and he's actually missing a fair number of bats.

In fact, if you want somewhat depressing numbers, Feierabend has so far (SSS alert) generated a swing and a miss on 8.1% of pitches. Felix is at just 8.7%. Speaking of Felix, this is the last start of the year for Felix. By recording 16 outs, he'll surpass 200 innings for the season.

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*

Hopefully, the Angels continue to play most of their regulars. They might not have anything to play for over the final week of the season, but dammit, we have seven more games to lose!

CONTEXT

On this date, over 12 days ago, the Mariners won a ball game. It dawned a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest but as the sun peaked over the Cascades and onto the city, a fierce battle was being prepared for. The men all knew it was coming, Miguel Cairo would later say he could just feel it in his bones, but none of them knew just how tough it would turn out to be.

With their main artillery force still wounded from the previous battles, the Seattle squad would turn to a virtual unknown, Cesar Jimenez, to helm the corps. He had shown himself useful under fire in other roles and with little other choice, Field General Riggleman made the call to go with Jimenez, hoping to get just enough out of him before having to abandon the unit and move to guerrilla tactics.

Jimenez would do everything that could have been expected of him and beyond. For about an hour, he held off the charging Texas offense, before finally being relieved of duty around 8:12 pm local time. But it was not in defeat that he left, but in apparent victory, as the Seattle offense had taken the initiative, scoring several key positions and pushing the front lines out.

But Riggleman would become too complacent, too sure of eventual victory and he left the flanks sag and the Rangers came back in one fell swoop and crippled the Seattle's progress, forcing the battles back to its original lines. Not used to fighting on land, the Mariners nonetheless equipped themselves valiantly, not letting their poor leadership drag the whole force down. They would strike back quickly, while the Rangers were still trying to reorganize.

But once again the Rangers came and re-took all the ground gained. Still determined, the Mariners built another attack, slowly pecking away at the Rangers and using their familiarity with the battleground to their advantage. Things got dicey near the end when the unit responsible for mopping up the last vestiges of the Rangers attack let a few through and nearly ruined the whole game, but General Riggleman finally made a correct, though uninspired decision to trust the remainder of the battle to J.J. Putz, as experienced in endgame situations as anyone in Seattle.

He, in turn, would vanquish the remaining Texas threat and off into the Seattle dusk rode away the Rangers, never to be seen again that year. Pumped full of vigor, Riggleman would steam forward in chase, leading the Mariner brigade across the west in an effort to capitalize on their rousing victory. Instead, he found nothing but bitter defeat and roundabouts a fortnight later, they returned home, beaten, and disgraced.

THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

The Abyss
Deschutes Brewing Company. Bend, OR

Been on my to drink list for awhile but for whatever reason could never seem to find it in stores even up here in Seattle. Go figure that of all places it was San Diego (bless you Toronado) that would have it. Very yummy, though I will say it got blown away later by AleSmith's Speedway, but that's in no way a knock against Deschutes since pretty much everything gets knocked away by Speedway. One beer that doesn't however... (tune back in four days for this season's final series preview)