Game 1: Ryan Rowland-Smith* vs Brett Anderson*
Game 2: Felix Hernandez vs Dallas Braden*
Game 3: Erik Bedard* vs Trevor Cahill
Brett Anderson has pitched a total of 31 innings above A-ball in his career. He had a pretty good 31 innings in Double-A at the end of last season, but wow, what a jump. He came over in the Dan Haren trade and has been highly regarded by scouts. He posted great strikeout and groundball rates in the minors last year and many people are going to be watching his first start.
Velocity will be a key indicator for our favorite current Mariner hailing from Oz. After some passing reports from Spring Training of him sitting in the Washburn range on his fastball, it would be very soothing to see Ryan go out and push the 90mph barrier. Also of note, but requiring a longer sample than just one game, will be which stat regresses for Ryan as a starter: his swinging strike rate (a solid 7.2%) or his strikeout rate (a mediocre 12.3%).
Dallas Braden had arguably the worst fastball in all of baseball last season and his first start didn't do much to alleviate those concerns. Braden garnered just four missed bats in 97 pitches. He does limit walks, but he's not much in the way of the groundball department, so his upside looks limited.
We'll all be keeping eyes on Felix's mechanics looking for any lingering hangover from his ankle. Beyond that, it's the same old story with Felix. Predictable fastballs early? Will the groundballs return? Will the missed bats?
Trevor Cahill made his Major League debut in an expected fashion earlier this week, with lots of walks. Five walks to just one strikeout and a majority of batted balls going in the air is not a recipe for success. Cahill ran good to great groundball rates in the minors so we'll assume that skill will show up, but he's never been much in the control department.
Just keep doing what you did, Erik. That was excellent.
An incredibly busy week did nothing to clarify how I want these previews to go. I know that I don't think there's much value in posting the lineup given how much they change from game to game and the pitching match ups seem the most pertinent information. I do expect to eventually add in some general paragraphs on the oppositing team's offense and defense, but we have some sample size issues to deal with for now.
THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Uberhoppy Imperial India Pale Ale
Valley Brewing Company. Stockton, CA
1 pound of hops were added every 10 minutes during a 100 minute boil, a total of 10 different boiling hops. 4 different fresh hops were used in the hopback and then the beer was passed through a chamber containing 10 lbs of fresh hops on the way from the serving tanks to the bar taps.
That's a lot of hops.